57 Naxals including 25 women surrender in odisha

News4u-News Desk- In a major blow to naxal menace, 57 naxals including 25 women surrendered in odisha and another 3 naxals laid down their arms in Chhattisgarh.

The rebel supporters of Maoists’ Kalimela and Padia Dalam units surrendered before the police with a pledge to join the mainstream.

Those who surrendered were members of Andhra Odisha Zonal Committee Division of the outlawed CPI-Maoist.

57 Naxals including 25 women surrender in odisha

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Poor sanitation responsible for unfavorable pregnancy outcomes in India

News4u-News Desk- It is poor sanitation practices like open defecation, in pregnant women that leads to adverse pregnancy outcomes in India, particularly two rural areas of Odisha state, claims a new research.

Bijaya K Padhi from the Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, and colleagues enrolled 670 women during the first trimester of their pregnancy, recorded information about toilet access and sanitation practices for each woman at enrollment, and followed them through pregnancy until birth.

They observed that nearly two-thirds of the women practiced open defecation, and a quarter experienced an adverse pregnancy outcome, most commonly a preterm birth and/or having a baby with low birth weight.

After adjustment for potential confounding factors they found that, compared with women who used a latrine, women who defecated in the open had a significantly greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes overall and preterm birth, but not low birth weight.

Pinaki Panigrahi, senior author of this paper at University of Nebraska said the study indicated that in the context of maternal and child health prevention research, sanitation was an important dimension of women’s health and distinct from social class and caste.

The study is published in PLOS Medicine. (ANI)

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Climate change sparks tension in tea gardens

News4u-News Desk- As the effects of climate change become more visible across walks of life, people in the colonial-era tea gardens in Jorhat are also feeling the heat as they try to cope with rising temperatures and erratic rainfall.

Unrest is brewing among Assam’s so-called Tea Tribes, whose forefathers were brought here by British planters from neighbouring Bihar and Odisha more than a century ago, as changing weather patterns upset the economics of the industry.

Scientists say climate change is to blame for uneven rainfall that is cutting yields and lifting costs for tea firms such as McLeod Russel, Tata Global Beverages and Jay Shree Tea.

While rainfall has declined and become concentrated, temperatures have risen - ideal conditions for pests like looper caterpillar and tea mosquito to infest the light green tea shoots just before they are ready to be plucked for processing.

Deputy Chairman of Tea Board of India, Prabhat Bezbaruah, said that the infestation of pests was a very major worry for the tea planters.

“The pests and disease incidents have gone up tremendously over the last five to seven years. May be even more if you take the last decade and compare it to previous decade, pests and diseases are much more prevalent now than before,” said Bezbaruah.

Use of pesticides and fertilisers has nearly doubled as a result in Assam’s 800 big tea plantations, known as gardens, and the rising costs are making Indian tea less competitive.

Bezbaruah added that overall the climate change was killing the tea industry in India, one of the world’s largest producers of tea, as it was impacting the yield and quality.

“North Indian tea has always been a seasonal crop but, our season used to be (of) nine-and-a-half months, now it has contracted to seven-and-a-half-months and the way things are going, may be after 20 years tea will be produced only for six months in the year. So then what do we do with our workers for the balance six months?” asked Bezbaruah.

According to Bezbaruah, tea plantation is as of now an unviable industry. Explaining the math behind the same he says that one worker working one manday produces only 2 to 2.3 kilograms of tea which is worth rupees 345 and already workers are being paid rupees 225, in cash and kind.

He says how much more can a tea plantation owner pay when he also has a lot of other expenses, including those of fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides, irrigation costs, managerial costs, diesel and electricity etc.

The average temperature in Assam has risen by 1.4 degrees Celsius in the past century and rainfall is down by 200 mm a year.

Less rainfall resulted in an 8 percent fall in tea exports last year, according to the Indian Tea Association (ITA).

The tea planters have now taken it upon themselves to counter the ill-effects of climate change.

“Most gardens are investing in irrigation equipments now. We have taken steps to have integrated pest management. Rather than relying only on chemical pesticides we are now relying on biological pesticides, botanical agents, which we are using in lieu of chemicals,” said Bezbaruah.

Another issue facing the tea planters is the fact that tea gardens have permanent work forces which have to be fed all round a year but, with the produce falling it is getting harder for planters to shoulder the responsibility of labour costs.

Labour accounts for 60 percent of the total costs for tea firms in Assam, whose prices last year were higher than those auctioned in Mombasa in Kenya, Chittagong in Bangladesh, Limbe in Malawi and Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Profit margins at Kolkata-based McLeod Russel, the world’s largest tea producer, are estimated to have fallen to their lowest in six years in the year ended March 31, according to Thomson Reuters data.

To cut labour costs, tea companies like Aideobarie Tea Estates, owned by Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) chairman, Raj Barooah, are exploring greater use of machines to harvest and spray nutrients or pesticides. (ANI)

Climate change sparks tension in tea gardens

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Cyclone Hudhud: 6 killed in AP, Odisha, Vishakapatnam worst hit

News4u-News Desk- Cyclone Hudhud pounded the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha with heavy rain and winds of almost 200 kmph on Sunday killing six people and left a trail of destruction with Vishakapatnam where the very severe storm made landfall the worst hit.

Nearly three-and-a-half lakh people-about 250,000 in AP and nearly one lakh in Odisha-were evacuated and tens of thousands of people were still being taken to safe places and housed in special shelters, officials said on Sunday.

High velocity winds battered Visakhapatnam, which is home to a Naval base, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts throwing normal life out of gear after the cyclone made landfall shortly before noon downing power and communications lines and closing roads and railways.

Trees were uprooted and roofs of thatched huts and sheds and hoardings blown away.

Transport services came to a halt in the region. Dozens of trains were either cancelled or diverted and flights in the region were also disrupted.

Streets largely wore a deserted look as panic-stricken residents remained indoors.

According to Andhra Pradesh’s Revenue (Disaster Management) Department, the cyclone left railway lines in Visakhapatnam badly damaged, besides causing damage to the airport there.

A total of 2,48,004 people were affected by Hudhud, which also damaged 70 houses and left 34 animals dead, it said.

Three people were killed in rain-related incidents in AP while one person lost his life in Odisha.

“The impact is tremendous,” Union Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said. “Three deaths have been reported due to impact of Hudhud. Two died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compound-wall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts, respectively,” AP Chief Secretary I V R Krishna Rao said.

A fisherman was caught in the sea current amid a tidal surge while he was trying to save his fishing boat anchored in the coast of Puri, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

On Saturday, a nine-year-old girl drowned when a boat engaged in evacuation of the people in Satbhaya area of Kendrapara district capsized in the Baunsagadi rivulet.

In Delhi, IMD Director Laxman Singh Rathore said that as the cyclone was crossing AP coastline the wind speed was 170-180 kmph and gusting up to 195 kmph.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and discussed relief and rescue measures and promised all possible assistance.

Cyclone Hudhud lost its intensity by evening as it moved further 60 km northwest of Visakhapatnam, the IMD said.

Hudhud, which was so far a very severe cyclonic storm has now converted into a severe cyclone and its speed is now limited to 100-110 kmph, said M Mahapatra, Scientist at the Cyclone Warning Division of IMD.

Hudhud loses intensity: IMD

Cyclone Hudhud, which made a landfall in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday noon, lost its intensity by evening as it moved further 60 km northwest of Visakhapatnam, the IMD said.

Hudhud, which was so far a very severe cyclonic storm has now converted into a severe cyclone.

Its speed is now limited to 100-110 kmph, said M Mahapatra, scientist at the Cyclone Warning Division of IMD.

The cyclone hit the port city of Vishakapatnam on Sunday bringing with it torrential rains in three coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha besides snapping power and communication lines.

Normal life was thrown out of gear as winds with a speed of 170 to 180 kmph earlier Sunday battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.

The very severe cyclonic storm made landfall in Visakhapatnam before noon.

The gale, accompanied by heavy downpour, resulted in trees being uprooted and roofs of thatched huts and sheds being swept away.

Cyclone Hudhud: 6 killed in AP, Odisha, Vishakapatnam worst hit

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Cyclone Hudhud: Five killed in AP, Odisha, normal life hit

News4u-News Desk- Severe cyclonic storm Hudhud hit the port city of Vishakapatnam today bringing with it torrential rains in three coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha besides snapping power and communication lines.

Normal life was thrown completely out of gear as winds with a speed of 170 to 180 kmph battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.

The very severe cyclonic storm made landfall in Visakhapatnam before noon.

The gale, accompanied by heavy downpour, resulted in trees being uprooted and roofs of thatched huts and sheds being swept away.

While authorities in Andhra Pradesh evacuated 90,013 people across the four districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhaptnam and East Godavari, about 68,000 people were evacuated from coastal districts of Odisha.

In Delhi, IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said that “Due to the hilly topography, the cyclone’s intensity will reduce in next six hours and further reduce in next 12 hours. However, the area (Vizag) will experience heavy to very heavy rainfall for the next three days.”

As the storm progresses, it will bring heavy rainfall to very heavy rainfall in Chhatisgarh, Bihar, East Madhya Pradesh and East UP and Gangetic belt of West Bengal.

“We are in touch with the chief secretaries of these state governments and providing with bulletins.

Warnings have also been issued to shift crops which have been harvested to minimise the impact of heavy rains in these areas,” Rathore said.

Aircraft services will be able to operate from tomorrow morning as the weather is expected to improve.

“The PMO is monitoring the situation arising out of the cyclone at regular intervals,” he said.

While three persons were killed in rain-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh, two were killed in Odisha.

“Three deaths have been reported due to impact of Hudhud. Two died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compound-wall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts, respectively,” AP Chief Secretary I V R Krishna Rao said.

Casualty in cyclone Hudhud rose to two in Odisha.

A fisherman was caught in the sea current amid a tidal surge while he was trying to save his fishing boat anchored in the coast of Puri, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

On Saturday, a nine-year-old girl drowned when a boat engaged in evacuation of the people in Satbhaya area of Kendrapara district capsized in the Baunsagadi rivulet.

Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth said the Prime Minister was concerned not only about AP and Odisha but also wanted other states, which could face heavy rains minus the cyclone, to be alerted.

Cyclone Hudhud: Five killed in AP, Odisha, normal life hit

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32 crocodile nesting sites found in Odisha

News4u-Features Desk- Wildlife authorities in Bhitarkanika National Park of Odisha’s Kendrapara district have spotted 32 nesting sites of estuarine crocodiles as the annual breeding ritual of these reptiles have reached its final stage.

Sighted by wildlife enumerators of the forest department along the creeks and water-inlets, it is an ideal habitat salt water crocodiles.

Female crocodiles lay 50 to 60 eggs and the hatchlings usually emerge from the nests after 70 to 80 days of the incubation period.

Forest department officials said due care has been taken by wildlife staff to ensure that crocodile eggs are not devoured by predators like snakes, jackals and dogs.

Adequate conservation measures by the state forest department have led to a systematic rise in the number of these reptiles over the years, said officials.

The number of salt water crocodiles, the species which are not found in any other river system in Odisha, as per the latest census, in Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary stood at 1,654.

The wildlife sanctuary has remained out of bounds for tourists and visitors to ensure disturbance-free annual nesting of crocodiles.

Growth is getting stabilised and is also getting stagnated,” the DFO said, adding nowhere in the country are these species of crocodiles spotted in such abundance.

Wildlife researchers studying salt water crocodiles are of the view that the habitat of this species is getting squeezed in about 26 square kilometre of water bodies within the national park.


32 crocodile nesting sites found in Odisha

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