Sunday, November 30, 2008

Plethora of Birds at Ousteri Lake & Bahur Lake

It’s really a feast for our eyes at the Ousteri Lake and the Bahur Lake as they are nurturing a plethora of birds in them. The various varieties of birds are so beautiful and they attract more number of tourists from in and around the union territory.

The Bahur Lake welcomes lots of “cattle egrets” during the peak period of paddy cultivation. The “waders” occupy the area when the water rises and when the water recedes the “filter-feeders” living on zooplanktons crowds the lake. But the Ousteri Lake acts as sanctuary for many varieties of birds through out the year. The frequently seen species are Spotbill ducks, little egrets, large egrets, pond herons, grey herons, reef herons, shovellers, darters, cormorants, pinteal ducks, common coots and kingfishers.

Openbill storks, painted storks, pelicans, flamingos, pheasant-tailed jacanas, spoonbills are among the species that visit these two lakes during the August – December period seeking food, shelter and an ideal place for breeding.

Measures such as creating more islets in the lake, planting babul trees and also two varieties of fast growing bamboos are taken in order to provide the necessary cover and shelter for the birds. The officials of the department have also planned for a boat shaped watchtower with its lower deck housing an interaction center having various informative exhibits, besides highlighting the importance of protecting the eco-system. On the top floor, a telescope would be installed to enable the visitors to watch the birds more closely. Hence, we can soon expect beautiful bird sanctuaries at our home town with all facilities along with the proper security from the poachers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Trip in for a Clean and Green Pondicherry

Our territory is known for clean roads and now making it still more alluring is at the hand of both Public and Government. The act of the Local Administrative Department (LAD) demands more applause and co-operation as it had launched a “Clean and Green” initiative.

The mission was the output of an idea that germinated from the mind of our Honorable Governor. This mission is implemented before a week in all the wards of Pondicherry Municipality and certain areas that fall under the Oulgaret Municipality and it is under the direct control of the officials of LAD. The mission is going to march round the clock in places such as Maraimalai Adigal Salai, Mahatma Gandhi road, Ambedkar Salai, Cuddalore road and Rajiv Gandhi road. The areas have been partitioned into different zones and the task is assigned to the private contractors.

In our scenic beach, the work is carried out by the self-help groups in three shifts starting from 11.00 A.M. The members engage themselves by cleaning even rock rubbles till late night. The Department also has the idea of issuing pamphlets to those visiting the beach highlighting the need to maintain the area hygienic. It had also planned to hold meeting with the traders and the hoteliers to seek their co-operation. Steps are also taken to replace the old dustbins by the new ones. And for the lustrous green look of the territory, massive tree plantation drive in selected places in the town and adjoining areas are planned. So we must also co-operate in keeping our city clean and green as we citizens are going to be gifted with hygienic living environment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Curb Poachers to Enjoy the Beauty of Birds

Pondicherry is emerging as a sanctuary for nearly 50 species of migrant birds from southern states. Pondicherry has also become a transit point for flamingos that travel from Gujarat to Sri Lanka in order to mingle with lakhs of their own species. The Ousteri Lake and the Bahur Lake houses all these winged visitors. But these birds are now under the serious threat of poaching as the Narikoravas and some land less people use catapults, country made guns and nets to kill or trap the birds.

This has become a great concern for bird lovers, ornithologists and personnel of the Forest and Wildlife Department. In order to curb this mindless poaching efforts are on to help the Narikoravas and the landless people to switch over to some job. The revenue department has been asked not to give new gun licenses and not to renew the old one to those who indulge in hunting. The process of training the educated unemployed youth will also serve in enlightening these sorts of people.

The wild life and the forest department have also taken steps to attract more birds, create public awareness and promote eco-tourism in and around these two lakes. Hence, curbing the poachers will lead to the retention of more varieties of birds thus promoting the tourism.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Marching Towards Zero Dropout Rates in Schools by 2012

It’s indeed a great pleasure to announce that our union territory has achieved zero dropout rates at the primary school level last year. The steps don’t stop with this result and its marching towards the next level. The goals are all set to curb the student drop out rate in the middle school level. The plan to achieve the zero dropout rates by the year 2012 are chalked out and they are in the fast progress. We can also shook our collars that out home town has ranked on par with Kerala for achieving the zero drop out rates at the primary school level. The measures which are in the quick implementation have reduced the dropout rates from 10% to 2.39 %.

The Government is taking measures to reduce the drop out rates by assuring seats at the higher secondary level. The mid day meals and the incentive scheme up to standard 12 have also supplemented a lot for the retention process. The students are also provided with the free accessories such as uniforms, text books, footwear, stationary items, dictionary, raincoats and bicycles. These features reduce the parental burden and curb their hesitation to send the children to school, thus decreasing the drop out rates.

The bringing back of the dropouts through the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, the three to six months training courses to bridge the gap when the dropouts are mainstreamed, reaching out to children of nomadic tribes and migratory tribes, starting exclusive schools in their habitation and solving problems through counseling or special coaching are the forth coming plans to increase the literacy rate and thus we can strongly hope that our government will surely curb the problem of student dropouts from the schools.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Forest Department Urge to Protect The “TALI POT” Palm Trees

Do you people know about the “Tali Pot” palm trees? They are known as “Kodaipanai” in Tamil and they bloom once during their life time. The botanical name of the tree is “Corypha-umbraculifera”. The tree is given the name Kodaipanai as its flower resembles an umbrella. The tree grows to a height of six to eight meters in length.

The most striking factor of the tree is that it contains about 12 million small flowers and produces 500 Kg seeds in each inflorescence. The above said set up is used to maintain the progeny of the tree and it is also the largest trees in the palm family. Have you people started wondering why this article is so far talking about the palm trees?

The necessity has come to talk about this “Tali Pot” palm trees because the forest department of our home town has taken serious measures to protect these trees from the Rhinoceros beetle attack. The department has rescued ten Tali Pot trees that found near the Velrampet Lake. The department has sprayed pesticides and it is also providing the root treatment. It has also planned to erect iron rods around the tree as a protective measure.

The trees that are found near the Velrampet Lake are more than 60-foot tall an over 30 years old. The department has applied Lindane dust with fine sand on the top of the trees. These types of trees are also found on the Malabar Coast of the Western Ghats. They have also been taken to Singapore, the United States, Panama and Honolulu as ornamental trees. Thus this article throws light upon the urge of the forest department to protect a tree variety.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Problems behind the Construction Of Ariankupam Bridge

I was traveling to a renowned temple at Cuddalore through the Ariankuppam Bridge. When I was crossing the bridge, I was stuck at a traffic jam. Many private busses ply from Pondicherry to Cuddalore. The area also nurtures several educational institutions, hospitals and industrial areas. So the old bridge is not able to host this heavy traffic. Records say that the work to replace the 150-year-old bridge was started in the year 2005 and it was suspended due to the paucity of funds. The work that was commenced three years back has ended up with only few columns and piers being laid.

The initial estimate of the bridge is Rs. 15 crores and this lethargy in the work will surely lead to the increase in the estimated cost. Meanwhile the columns of the new bridge had sinked. But the defect was rectified after getting suggestion from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. The problem of the sinking columns could have been avoided if the Public Works Department had conducted a proper study on the sand condition. The other aggravating problem is the big cracks that are formed on the either side of the old bridge and they pose a big threat to the people who pass the bridge. So the Government must take immediate steps to release the funds and it must also take measures to give the contract to the responsible persons.

The executive engineer of the National Highways division has said the reporters that the new bridge would handle four-way traffic and have adequate space for pedestrians. So let us all hope that this will take place in the near future.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New prison complex at Periyakalapet, Puducherry

The new prison complex constructed at the outskirts of Periya Kalapet, costing Rs. 12 crores was opened on 21st August. The inaugural release issued by the Jail Department cites that the decision to shift the prison from the Jawaharlal Nehru Street was taken in February 1997. The construction of the new complex was started in the year 2001. The new jail complex is infrastructured with an administrative block, separate yards for male and female prisoners, hospital, workshop, kitchen with modern facilities and quarters for the jail staff. It has the capacity to house more than 500 prisoners. The new complex also has an interior and outer wall and also an area for the vegetable cultivation.

The Chief Minister Mr. N. Rangaswamy inaugurated the new prison complex on 21st August. During his inaugural address the CM said that the government had sought Rs. 15 crores from the centre in order to utilize it to procure equipment, enhance security and construct additional buildings. The CM also stressed on the necessity to make the union territory a “crime-free” place and appealed the jail staff to work with commitment and dedication. Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) M. Ramadass, Chief Judicial Magistrate Mr. Kaliamurthy, Inspector-General of Police (in-charge of prisons) S. Vasudeva Rao and Chief Engineer Public Works Department Mr.Chandrapal Singh were the other important personalities who were present during the inaugural function.

Note: Though the info is not bit new, I felt this could bring still light over Puducherry Government activity in the Union Territory.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fountains Demand Attention

As a part of making beautiful Pondicherry, fountains were constructed at various parts of the town. But the fact is most of them are neither in working condition nor paid attention. The fountains at Rajiv Gandhi Square, Indira Gandhi Square, Marai-Malai Adigal Salai, the one at the premises of Perunthalaivar Kamarajar centenary educational complex, the fountain at the Muthialpet clock tower and Saram are not functioning at present.

In yet another case the fountains on the either side of the Rajiv Gandhi Square are fully covered with plants. Damage of the construction can be seen at the fountains of Perunthalaivar Kamarajar centenary educational complex due to complete negligence. Even though the workers do often visit these fountains to switch on the lights, the concerned officials aren’t taking care of these fountains and relate the issue with the fund constraint.

I peruse reports on newspapers that say about the measures that are taken by the Municipality to keep the town clean and green. It is always wise to promote and protect the available resources instead of scheming new plans.