Monday, September 28, 2009

Kannan elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha

Former Speaker P. Kannan was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha after deadline for the withdrawal of nominations ended on Saturday at 3 p.m. Secretary, Legislative Assembly, M. Sivaprakasam, told The Hindu that he had communicated to the Election Commission that since there was no other valid nomination, Mr. Kannan, sponsored by the Congress, was declared elected.

The seat fell vacant following the election of V. Narayanasamy to the Lok Sabha.

He subsequently became Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture.

Mr. Kannan will be the eighth prominent politician to represent the Union Territory in the Rajya Sabha.

The first election to the Rajya Sabha from the Union Territory was held in 1963 and Congress member P. Abraham won the seat.

Mr. Sivaprakasam handed over the certificate declaring his election to Mr. Kannan. Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam and Minister for Public Works M.O.H.F. Shahjahan were present.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

India ranked ninth in world tree planting

India has been ranked ninth in the tree planting roll of honour in a campaign to plant a billion trees, which was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in November 2006.

The country has registered 96 million trees. Under this plan, civil society and governments are asked to register the number of trees that have been planted in their respective countries. So far, 167 countries have participated in this programme.

The initial target set by the UNEP was to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year. The billionth tree was an olive planted in Ethiopia in November 2007.

After the campaign hit the two billion mark in May 2008, the UNEP decided to set a new goal of seven billion trees, which is one for every person on the planet. The four billion mark was reached in May 2009.

India, however, could be much higher in the ranking, according to UNEP officials who say that the country does not formally register or report all its campaigns.

"India could have planted a billion of trees already this year," Satinder Bindra, director of communications at UNEP, said. "It would be fantastic if those trees were also registered with the campaign."