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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Narendra modi

Modi in traditional dress of Gujrat 

Monday, 8 October 2012

ASI faces uphill battle over Jain temple

 Kundalpur, Damoh, Mon Oct 08 2012, 03:26 hrs
Source;Indian Express
Six years ago, defying the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), members of the Jain community shifted an ancient idol from a protected monument atop a picturesque hill here to a new location, less than 100 metres away, where they plan to build a grand temple.
Arguing that the old structure could collapse and damage the idol of Lord Adinath, thousands of Jains blocked the roads leading to the hill as the relocation was carried out in January 2006.
In fact, the Sri Digambar Jain Atishay Kshestra Kundalpur Public Trust, which manages a group of 63 temples spread over nearly 200 acres on the hill, about 300 kms from Bhopal, had started construction of the new temple in 1997 itself.
Claiming ownership of the protected site, the ASI asked the state government to stop the construction work, but there was no response.
Now, the Jains, who enjoy significant political clout, have got legal backing, with the Madhya Pradesh High Court recently rejecting the ASI’s ownership claim. While the community is quietly celebrating the court order, calling it as much a victory of faith as facts, the ASI is set to move the Supreme Court.
The court told the trust to seek the state government’s permission for further construction work on the new temple. If permission is not granted, the trust will have to restore construction as it stood on May 20, 2006.
But the trust is not worried because the state government has always been on its side. Even as the case was going on in Jabalpur, the principal bench of the High Court, hundreds of artisans from Rajasthan were quietly working on expensive marbles and sandstones, making slabs that will eventually fit into the grand temple.
Earlier, an exquisitely designed dome was constructed over the idol, after the trust won an interim order in its favour as it argued that the idol was without a roof and needed to be protected.
“We had no support from the administration,’’ said ASI counsel K N Pethia.
Cabinet Minister Jayant Malaiya, who belongs to the Jain community, is the legislator from Damoh.
The chairman of the construction committee, Viresh Seth, said the proposed temple will be the biggest in the country and the entire project will cost around Rs 500 crore, more than double the amount the trust had in mind in 2006. Copper, silver and gold will be generously used in place of iron.
To be built in Nagar style of architecture, the temple will have a sanctum sanctorum, gudh mandap, nritya mandap, a 90-feet man stambh and a huge entrance door. The main temple will be encircled by a water body.
Incidentally, besides the ASI, which had made the MP government and its various departments respondents in the petition, a section of the Jain community was also opposed to the Kundalpur trust.
Jaipur-based Jain Sanskriti Raksha Manch had expressed concern over the trust’s restoration work saying the sanctity of the old shrine and the deity had been violated.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

55cr expansion plan for museum

MUMBAI: The BMC, along with the trust that maintains the Bhau Daji Lad museum, has charted out a Rs 55-crore expansion plan for the museum. Amenities on the lines of international museums like the one in Singapore will now be provided at the museum.
The highlight of the expansion plan is the construction of an exhibition area, souvenir shops, heritage conservation laboratory and seminar halls in the area behind the museum, which currently features some dilapidated structures.

The central government will contribute Rs 5 crore towards the expansion plans, while the civic body and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which runs and maintains the museum, will contribute Rs 25 crore each.

A decision to this effect was taken on Wednesday in a joint meeting held by civic chief Sitaram Kunte, mayor Sunil Prabhu and standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale and INTACH officials. The new construction will add 50,000 sq ft to the existing building. The museum hosts at least 1.5 lakh visitors every year, of which 10% are foreigners.

"The budgetary provision for the project will be done in next year's budget and the expansion will be completed by 2015 Consultants will be appointed to prepare models for the new structure and the one who submits the best model in terms of design and architecture will be awarded the contract," said Shewale. He said that the budgetary provision for the project will be done in next year's budget and the project will be completed by 2015.

The Bhau Daji Lad Musuem, which is Mumbai's oldest museum, hosts at least 1.5 lakh visitors every year, of which 10% are foreigners. had been renovated between 2003 and 2007. Built in 1872 as the Victoria and Albert showcase, the museum is symbolic of Mumbai's growing importance as a trading hub

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Climate change mitigation & its importance for professionals

CA Rajkumar S. Adukia
The Threat to the environment, posed by the global climate change is real. Human activities are increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. All theoretical models predict that these increases in greenhouse gas concentrations will cause changes in climate, both regionally and globally — with adverse consequences likely for human health, as well as to ecological and socio­economic systems.
Carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas produced by combustion of fuels, has become a cause of global panic as its concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere has been rising alarmingly. This devil, however, is now turning into a product that helps people, countries, consultants, traders, corporations and even farmers earn billions of rupees while in turn benefiting the environment. This was an unimaginable trading opportunity not more than a decade ago. Carbon credits can form a massive source of revenue for the developing world.
Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty to address the danger of global climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty that sets general goals and rules for confronting climate change. The UNFCCC provides the basis for concerted international action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impacts. Its provisions are far-sighted, innovative and firmly embedded in the concept of sustainable development.
With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the UNFCCC treaty, has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.
The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The clean development mechanism (CDM) allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reductions (CERs), each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. With more than 4,500 registered projects in 75 developing countries, the CDM has proven to be a powerful mechanism to deliver finance for emission-reduction projects and contribute to sustainable development.
The greenhouse emission reduction credit or “carbon credit” market has become a multi-billion dollar industry for credits issued under the Kyoto Protocol internationally. India is being heralded as the next carbon credit destination of the world. On 7th September 2012, the one billionth CER credit under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was issued to a project at a manufacturing plant in India that has switched its fuel source from coal and oil to locally gathered biomass.
The UNFCCC was adopted at the United Nations Headquarters, New York on the 9 May 1992. In accordance with Article 20, it was open for signature at Rio de Janeiro from 4 to 14 June 1992, and thereafter at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 20 June 1992 to 19 June 1993.
Pursuant to Article 22, the Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by States and by regional economic integration organizations. States and regional economic integration organizations that have not signed the Convention may accede to it at any time.
The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. Currently, there are 195 Parties (194 States and 1 regional economic integration organization) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and is an addition to the UNFCCC treaty.
The Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997. In accordance with Article 24, it was open for signature from 16 March 1998 to 15 March 1999 at United Nations Headquarters, New York. Pursuant to Article 22, the Protocol is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by Parties to the UNFCCC. Parties to the UNFCCC that have not signed the Protocol may accede to it at any time.
The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and currently, there are 193 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC.
India signed UNFCCC on 10th June 1992 and ratified it on 1st November 1993. India acceded to the Kyoto Protocol on 26th August 2002. Under the UNFCCC, developing countries such as India do not have  binding GHG mitigation commitments in recognition of their small contribution to the greenhouse problem as well as low financial and technical capacities.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, is the nodal agency for climate change issues in India.
In today’s increasingly challenging and volatile macro world, the role of the Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) and Chief Financial Officers (CFO’s) of their companies has also evolved significantly. Their roles have expanded and evolved as strategic partners and advisors. The Key Personnel of an organization perform four main functions of Steering, Operating, Motivating and Planning, – they are in the best position to guide their organizations in shifting their business models towards adherence with the climate change agenda.
Organizations also stand to gain from environment protection and sustainable development. New business can be started as green businesses. Credits can be earned under the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, thereby benefiting the Organisation and the Environment as a whole.
Professional Opportunities in the Climate Change industry include:
1. Conceptualizing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project
2. Quantification of greenhouse gases (GHG) Carbon Footprint
3. Selection of Cleaner technologies for New projects
4. Project risk analysis
5. Registration of project – both national and international level
6. Obtaining Host country approval
7. Preparation of Project Concept Note
8. Preparation of Project Design Document
9. Selection of Methodologies and Baseline
10. Legal and regulatory advice during negotiations with host country Designated National Authority (DNA)
11. Advice on the appointment of independent validators
12. Assistance to achieve registration of the project by the CDM Executive Board
13. Assistance in getting verification done by Designated Operational Entity (DOE)
14. Ensure Compliances
15. Assisting various Ministries associated with National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)
16. Carbon Finance
17. Energy Audit under The Energy Conservation Act 2001
18. Advise on investment in carbon credit
19. Accounting advisory services
20. Taxation advisory services
Professional Opportunities in Environmental Laws and Green Sectors:
1. Professionals as consultants can obtain consents for establishment of a Unit under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
2. Before establishing an industrial unit a certificate from a professional about proposed Capital Investment or Gross capital investment (Land, building, plant and machinery) is required to be submitted along with the consent application for establishment of a Unit. This certificate is also known as Gross Block investment certificate. This certificate should include the cost of land, building, plant and machinery without depreciation.
3. Professionals as environment consultants can play an important role in obtaining environmental clearance under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification. The environmental consultant should be conversant with the existing legal and procedural requirements of obtaining environmental clearance for a proposed project. The consultant should guide the project proponent (i.e the person who is going to establish an industrial unit) through initial screening of the project and establish whether Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies are required to be conducted and if so finalise the scope of such study. The consultant should also be fully equipped with required instruments and infrastructure for conducting EIA studies. The environmental consultant is responsible for supplying all the environment-related information required by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) through the project proponent. The consultant is also required to justify the findings in the Environment Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) during the meeting with the expert groups at IAA.
4. Professionals can also assist the Industrial Units in record keeping of various hazardous wastes, chemicals etc, as prescribed under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 and Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989.
5. Professionals can also provide information on the capital and recurring (O&M) expenditure on various aspects of environment protection such as effluent, emission, hazardous wastes, solid wastes, tree-plantation, monitoring, data acquisition etc. This is important information to be given in the application for consent to establish/operate/renewal of consent.
6. Status of compliance of Rules 5, 7, 10,11,12,13 and 18 under the Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 need to be given in the application for consent to establish/operate/renewal of consent. This status of compliance can be given by a professional in the form of a certificate of compliance.
a. Rule 5- Notification of major accident
b. Rule 7- Notification of sites
c. Rule 10 – Preparation and submission of safety report
d. Rule 11 – Updation of safety report
e. Rule 12- Requirements of further information to given to the authority
f. Rule 13 – Preparation of on-site emergency plan by the occupier g. Rule 18-Import of hazardous chemicals
7. After consent to establish/operate is obtained under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, professionals can ensure on a monthly/quarterly/half-yearly basis that the conditions of the consent order are complied with by the industrial unit.
8. In the same manner professionals can also ensure on a monthly/quarterly/half-yearly basis that the conditions of the authorization are complied by the industrial units under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989.
9. Professionals can give a report or certificate with regard to capital investment under the Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. This is an important document to be submitted along with the application for authorization.
10. Professionals as environmental consultants can give opinion on – viability of various projects, technologies to prevent pollution and clean up polluted resources.
11. Environmental audits can be conducted by Professionals. Environmental auditing refers to the monitoring of environmental management system of the Unit, checking the status of consent orders, compliance of consent orders, water cess, other legal requirements, industrial data collection regarding product process, electric consumption, water consumption, raw materials and energy balance etc

sighting of a snow leopard in Uttarakhand is a good sign

Predators in the snow

The recent sighting of a snow leopard in Uttarakhand is a good sign. But it also underlines the urgent need to protect the habitat of this endangered animal

Shishir Prashant / New Delhi Oct 06, 2012, 00:08 IST
Source: Business Standard

As now leopard (Panthera uncia), the elusive large cat which lives in the snow-bound ranges of the upper Himalayas, has finally been sighted in Uttarakhand. A specimen of this endangered species was caught on a camera trap for the first time on April 10, 2011, and again in June this year. (A “camera trap” is a camera placed in the wild, especially in areas that wild animals are known to frequent. These are activated by light or motion and are now widely used in animal census.)

The snow leopard, known for its beautiful greyish-black fur, is a solitary animal but is occasionally found in family groups. It breeds in winter and cubs (two to three) are born after a gestation of 90-100 days. Snow leopards are a highly endangered species, their numbers steadily depleting as a result of poaching fuelled by the international demand for their fur and bones, and retaliatory killings by farmers who fear the predators will kill their livestock. The fall in the population of their prey — herbivores such as the Himalayan blue sheep (or bharal, as they are known in these parts), musk deer (kasturi mrig) and Himalayan tahr (thar) — owing to competition for food from livestock, is another factor affecting snow leopards, experts say.

The carnivorous animals are found all over central Asia, from Mongolia to China, across the Hindu Kush mountains in the north-west to Sikkim in the south-east, covering an area spanning over two million square kilometres. There are between 4,500 and 6,000 of the big cats left in the wild today. In India, the snow leopard population is estimated to be around 500. In Uttarakhand, the “him bagh” or “tharuwa”, as it is called, is thought to live at altitudes over 3,000 metres. Its presence has been confirmed in Protected Areas such as the Nanda Devi, Valley of Flowers, Gangotri and Govind National Parks, Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and the buffer zones of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

“For the scientific community, it was a great moment,” says S Sathyakumar, a scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). “In the past few years, we were afraid that the snow leopard had vanished from Uttarakhand. But now, we know that snow leopards are present in the snowy wilderness of the high altitude regions of Uttarakhand,” he adds. WII is working with the state forest department officials to conduct research on the snow leopard. It was a joint WII-state forest department team that captured the first camera-trap images of the snow leopard at Malari in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

“The conservation of the snow leopard is globally significant, and so it was great achievement,” says Dr V B Mathur, the dean of WII.

Snow leopard is the apex predator in the Himalayan ecosystem and its conservation will help the entire eco-system of the upper Himalayas. The principal prey of the animals are the wild sheep and goat found in these regions, but it also hunts small mammals such as marmot (locally called pheya), pika (runda) and the Galliformes or heavy, terrestrial birds like snowcock, monal and snow partridge. It is also an opportunistic predator which sneaks up on domestic livestock such as goat and sheep grazing on the high-altitude pastures during summer, and this is what brings it into conflict with humans.

The Indian government initiated its first Project Snow Leopard in 1989, but it never took off. It started a second project in 2006 on the lines of Project Tiger in the five Himalayan states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The project is an ambitious one that is focussed on the snow leopard, but also seeks to safeguard the habitat of other high altitude wildlife species. It aims to promote participatory conservation practices and collate scientific information on the snow leopard and other wildlife species of the Indian Himalayas.

Buddhist relic on display

Darjeeling, Oct. 5: An exhibition of Buddhist artifacts dating back to 2nd century B.C. and collected from Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sikkim and Darjeeling began in the Raj Bhawan here today.
The statues and models depicting every stage of Lord Buddha’s life, transformation of Buddhism and evolution of Buddhist art form would be on display till October 11.

It was one of the rare occasions when the gates of Raj Bhawan were thrown open for the public when the governor himself was present in Darjeeling.

Along with Buddhist art, the exhibits also portray work from the Kushana period in the 2nd century B.C. The Kushanas were known for their carvings on schist stone.

Every stage of Lord Buddha’s life, starting from the dream that queen Maya had about conceiving him, the birth, childhood, marriage, renunciation, attainment of bodhi, propagation of the doctrine to his demise, have been depicted at the exhibition called Buddhist Art and Crafts of South Asia.
The event organised by the Indian Museum and the Inner Wheel Club was inaugurated by governor M.K. Narayanan this morning. “The organisers need to encourage people from outside Darjeeling to attend the exhibition,” he said.

The exhibition at the Durbar Hall would be open from 11am to 5pm everyday.

“The most interesting part of the exhibition is the depiction of the transformation of the medium of work and the interpretation of the teachings of Buddha. One cannot miss the transformation of medium from schist stone in the 2nd century B.C. to bronze and basalt from the 10th century B.C. through the 8th century B.C,” said Suzet Tamang, an art follower from Darjeeling.
Some of the interesting exhibits include a trumpet made of goat horn collected from Lhasa and another made of human thigh bone found in Bhutan.

“Indian Buddhism and its art and craft were initially disseminated beyond India in purely Indian forms. However, all Buddhist countries in Asia quickly developed their own particular artistic trend,” said Anup K. Matilal, the director, Indian Museum. He added that a huge crowd was expected.

The artifacts will be taken back to the Indian Museum in Calcutta after the exhibition.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Buddhist statue made from meteorite


Undated photo of an ancient Buddhist statue brought back from Tibet by a Nazi ecpedition shortly before World War II.
AP Undated photo of an ancient Buddhist statue brought back from Tibet by a Nazi ecpedition shortly before World War II.

An ancient Buddhist statue that a Nazi expedition brought back from Tibet shortly before World War II was carved from a meteorite that crashed on Earth thousands of years ago.

What sounds like an Indiana Jones movie plot appears to have actually taken place, according to European researchers publishing in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science this month.

Elmar Buchner of the University of Stuttgart has said the statue was brought to Germany by the Schaefer expedition. The Nazi-backed venture set out for Tibet in 1938 in part to trace the origins of the Aryan race — a cornerstone of the Nazis’ racist ideology. The existence of the 10.6-kg statue, known as “iron man”, was only revealed in 2007 when its owner died and it came up for auction, he told AP.

German and Austrian scientists were able to get permission from its new owner, to conduct a chemical analysis that shows the statue came from the Chinga meteorite, which crashed in the area of what is now the Russian and Mongolian border around 15,000 years ago.

The meteorite was officially discovered in 1913, but Mr. Buchner said the statue could be 1,000 years old and represent a Buddhist god called Vaisravana. The Nazis were probably attracted to it by a left-facing swastika symbol on its front.

Scientists said the research linking the statue to the meteorite was credible.

“Looks like a solid piece of geochemical ‘forensic’ work,” said Qing-Zhu Yin, a researcher in geology at the University of California, Davis. “No terrestrial artefact would generally contain that much nickel content. Chemical elements don’t lie.”

Rhian Jones, an associate professor at the University of New Mexico who specialises in meteorites, said the claim appeared conclusive. But Mr. Yin cast doubt on the claim that the statue represented a Buddhist deity. “I am not a historian. But the ‘iron man’ does not look like a Buddha to me from my cultural background,” he said. “It looks more like a warrior with a sword ... (a) resemblance of Genghis Khan. ... I have never seen a Buddha with a sword or knife.”