Sunday, October 30, 2005

Narrow point in Hospital Road

A narrow point in the Hospital Road leading into Chitoor-Cuddalore High Road.

As you see merely a bus can pass though.This is one of the busiest road and this narrow point posses a threat especially to two whellers.The space available on the left side can be well utilized to expand the road at this point.

On opposite side you could see a temple occupying much of the space meant for road.This temple can be relocated elsewhere to provide more room for the traffic.

The Asian Tsunami: A Protective Role for Coastal Vegetation -with graphic details

The graphics here shows how far the tsunami waves penetrated in areas where there were no coastal vegetation.

Take a look at the image. Dark green shows dense costal forest/tree cover. Light green shows open tree vegetation. Blue with dots show inundated regions, and red shows damaged regions.

There is NO overlap between the greens, and the red and blue. Basically, the costal forest areas suffered almost no damage.

The data speaks for itself. (Science, Vol 310, Issue 5748, 643)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Asian Tsunami: A Protective Role for Coastal Vegetation - Science

Below I have pasted the full text of an interesting article I came across in US Newswire.

'The Asian Tsunami: A Protective Role for Coastal Vegetation'
Finn Danielsen, Mikael K. Sørensen, Mette F. Olwig, Vaithilingam Selvam, Faizal Parish, Neil D. Burgess, Tetsuya Hiraishi, Vagarappa M. Karunagaran, Michael S. Rasmussen, Lars B. Hansen, Alfredo Quarto, Nyoman Suryadiputra

originally published in Science .The summary of the findings is found in Newswire's article.

New Science Study: Mangroves Shielded Communities Against Tsunami

To: National Desk, Environment Reporter

Contact: Tom Lalley of the World Wildlife Fund, 202-997-0899 or

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A new study released today in the journal "Science" shows that areas buffered by coastal forests, like mangroves, were strikingly less damaged by the 2004 tsunami than areas without tree vegetation. This is believed to be the first peer-reviewed empirical and field-based study to document a clear link between coastal vegetation and protection from the tsunami. The study was undertaken by a large research team, comprising ecologists, a botanist, geographers, a forester, and a tsunami wave engineer, from seven nations.

"The tsunami left a horrific human tragedy in its wake but also some lessons. Among them is the tremendous importance of mangroves, which are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems," said Faizal Parish, director of the Global Environment Centre in Malaysia and co-author. "While no one could have prevented the tsunami, we can use this experience to prevent some of the destruction future events will cause."

The study's authors used before and after satellite photographs of the Cuddalore District in southeastern India and surveys on the ground to reach their conclusions. The study confirms earlier laboratory experiments which have shown that 30 trees per 100 square meters may reduce the maximum flow of a tsunami by more than 90 percent.

The Cuddalore District provided a unique experimental setting to test the benefits of coastal forests against the tsunami. The shoreline there is relatively straight and the beach profile is relatively uniform. It also contains stretches of vegetated and non-vegetated areas and there are well-documented cloud-free pre- and post-tsunami satellite images.

"Coastal vegetation could probably not have protected against catastrophic destruction in areas of maximum tsunami intensity. In less hard hit areas, however, this study shows very clearly that areas with trees suffered less destruction than areas without trees," said Finn Danielsen, director at the Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology in Denmark and lead author.

While the study adds another important example to the list of key life support services provided by natural wetlands, the study's authors caution against blanket tree-planting programs. While in some cases these programs are useful to restore deforested areas, they can be counterproductive if beach ecology is disrupted. Some countries affected by the tsunami have initiated tree planting programs without fully considering their ecological impact.

Five of the villages examined in the study include two on the coast and three behind mangroves. The villages on the coast were completely destroyed, whereas those behind the mangrove suffered no destruction even though other areas unshielded by vegetation at the same distance from the coast were damaged. The study concluded that the forested areas protected the villages from tsunami damage by reducing the energy of waves.

"The sorrow I feel over the tsunami is magnified by the knowledge that a great deal of destruction could have been avoided," said Selvam Vaithilingam, programme director with the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation in Chennai, India and co-author. "In the five countries most affected by the tsunami, human activities reduced the area of mangroves by 26 percent between 1980 and 2000."

Although the study only looked at the 2004 tsunami, the study's authors say that the lessons from the tsunami are transferable to other extreme coastal events, such as storms. While tsunamis are relatively rare events, coastal storms occur many times every year and create significant destruction.

"Just as the degradation of wetlands in Louisiana almost certainly increased Hurricane Katrina's destructive powers, the degradation of mangroves in India magnified the tsunami's destruction," said Neil Burgess, a conservation specialist with World Wildlife Fund and a co-author. "Mangroves provide a valuable ecological service to the communities they protect."

Along with providing a buffer for tsunamis and storms, conserving or replanting mangroves also enhances fisheries and forestry production, benefits that man-made coastal protection structures do not provide. Mangroves and other coastal vegetation can be replanted relatively inexpensively. Mangroves are however suitable for planting only in certain locations where tidal currents and wave actions are not too strong, such as in former mangrove areas, behind coastal mudflats, in river estuaries and lagoons. . Elsewhere, the conservation of dune ecosystems or green belts of beach forest trees could fulfil the same protective role.

In response to the tsunami a number of organizations coordinated by the Malaysian based non-governmental organization Global Environment Centre have developed a Coastal Greenbelt Initiative to share experiences and resources between groups involved in rehabilitation of coastlines.

"Since the tsunami we have been working to help local communities to rebuild their lives and reestablish coastal vegetation in the areas affected by the tsunami in Aceh," said Nyoman Suryadiputra from Wetlands International-Indonesia and co-author of the study. "Local community members strongly support this action as they realize that areas with intact vegetation were less damaged."

The new "Science" study was funded by Solstice Foundation, Denmark.

Courtesy: US Newswire

History:Cuddalore under British Regime

Europeans started establishing their business settlements in Indian coast ever since 17th century.In the eastern coast French establised their business settlements in Pondichéry and British established their settelements and business establishments in Cuddalore.

Later British started ruling the region and they built several forts.Fort St.David was the first fort built by British.Robert Clive,who laid a strong foundation for British rule in Indian subcontinent used St.David Fort as the centre for his military operations.

Fort St.David: Fort St.David was built in 1653 A.D. by Elihu Yale.The fort was strengthened on 1693,1698,1702,1725,1740 and on 1745.

Until 1758 Cuddalore was the capital to South Indian terrioties which was under British control then.British ruled a greater part of South India(entire Tamil Nadu,parts of present Andra Pradesh,Kerala and Karnataka) from this fort(St.David).

The fort was attacked by French in 1758.It was after this attack St.David Fort lost its political importance.The operational power was shifted to Fort St.George,Madras. Even today the post office in Devanampattinam (popularly know as Silver Beach) uses the rubberstamp with Ft. St.David embossed in it.

Garden House: The present official residence of Cuddalore District Collector was then know as Garden House.It was then the residence of Robert Clive.The roof of the Garden House was built without steel and wood.It was built using only bricks and slaked lime.It bears testimony of the later medival architecture.St.David fort was also built using the same ingredients and techniques.

The large vacant space next to Garden House which now know Chevalier Shivaji Arangam or Manajai Nagar Ground was an esplanade then.British used to have esplanades near their fortresses.

Brookes Pet: Brookes Pet is half a kilometer from present Vandipalayam.It was named after Henry Brookes who ruled between 1767 and 1769.

Cumming Pet: The area to north of Thriupathiripuliyur is know as Cumming Pet.It was named after William Cumming who ruled the region from 1778.Cumming Pet was once a place meant for washermen.On 1798 Tipu Sultan-The King of Mysore invaded Cumming Pet and the settelements there cleared on the invasion.

Cuddalore Old Town(O.T.) Present day Cuddalore O.T. was know as Islamabad during the Mughal period.Even today the majority of the people in Cuddalore O.T. follow islam. Cuddalore O.T. has one of the oldest and biggest mosque in South India.The mosque and most of the houses there(still) were built in Persian style.Until 1866 District Collectorate,Cuddalore Municipal Office and other administartive offices were in present Cuddalore O.T..In 1866 all these offices were shifted to Manjai Nagar.It was only after the shift in 1866 the term Cuddalore OT and Cuddalore NT (NewTown) came into existance.Still there are several streets and localities named after popular British rulers.Clive street,Wellington street are some to name.

Gadilam Castle: Nawab Umdat-ul-Umara built Gadilam Castle in 18th century.Gadilam Castle was located to the North of Gadilam river.It was bulit excatly in the place where the present Brindhavan Hotel is located.

Capper Hills: Capper Hills was named after Francis Capper who was the Captian till 1796.He resided in a palace in there.British buit a prison in the Capper Hills.Freedom fighters like Barathiar and other prisoners of war were imprisoned there.

Bristish educational instition: In 1717 St.David school was started in Cuddalore O.T. to educate the children of East India Company.On 1886 a college was started in its premises.The college was named after St.Joseph.It is one of the earliest schools in India which follows Western education system.

Roads named after British like Napier Road,Lawrence Road,Imperial Road and streets like Clive street,Wellington street, business establishments like Panpari market and Parry's House remains a reminder of the British rule here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Uneasy calm in Cuddalore

As the cyclone is expected to cross the coast tonight,uneasy calm prevails in Cuddalore.Most of the streets looks deserted.Despite being festive season even active shopping areas looks deserted.
There is some considerable activity in Panpari market area.People are hasting home after buying essential commodities.
Strong winds which were blowing up for the past few hours are also down.Things seems as if something big upto come.

Pity is the state of the tsunami victims who still remain in make-shift camps.

Bye for now,gonna charge my batteries.I will keep updating the blog if have got the power and connection right.

Scanty rainfall in Cuddalore-potential threat

Though entire Tamil Nadu and other parts of South-India are receiving heavy rainfalls Cuddalore has received a very little rainfall till date.Rainfall here is 64% lesser than normal.If Cuddalore remains to be hotter than its surrounding areas there is a greater risk of pulling-in cyclonic clouds.

Cyclone warning for Cuddalore

Met. department has issued warnings of cyclone.Fishermen in Cuddalore are advised not to venture into the sea.People of low lying coastal areas like Devanampattinam,Thazhlanguda,Suba Uppalavadi (all three are badly affected by tsunami) are being shifted to other areas as a precautionary measure.

A huge quatity of water is flowing in Gadilam and Then Pannai rivers.Backflow of water from the sea into the rivers supposedly posing more threat that the flood itself. District admistration and the police department has issued warings to people in other lowlying areas (along the river) of possible flood and they are advised to shift to safer areas.

Crash-averter gets crashed

The crashaverter at the south end of Cuddalore-Chennai bypass road.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cuddalore preparing for monsoon

Cuddalore is preparing for the monsoon ahead.One the major problems faced by the Municipal Corporations across India is water stagnation in the roads interupting the flow of traffic.

As a per-emptive measure,to faciliate the free flow of rain water Cuddalore Municipal Corporation is removing sludges from the drainages across Cuddalore.But the work is not without flaws.Removed sludges are not cleared immediately and it remain along the drainage for several days making it uneasy for the passerby.

It would be of good if the drainage construction work in Hospital Road is completed before the onset of the monsoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

P.T.Usha in Cuddalore

Couple of days back P.T.Usha was in Cuddalore for selecting girl athletes for Project Suvarna a sport-centred initiative of the Fair & Lovely Foundation.Selected athletes get an opportunity to be trained by Usha at Usha School Athletics,Calicut.

The selection trials was proposed to be held at Madurai, Coimbatore and Cuddalore and Chennai.

The selection was already held in Chennai.It is really encouraging to know there were 750 participants from Cuddalore as againt 500 in Chennai which is atleast 20 times larger in terms of area and 25 times larger in terms of population.She said many athletes could not shine for want of proper coaching and sponsorship.She was amazed by the huge participation here.

The selected girls from each city would be given kits worth Rs. 5,000 and would be made to train under their coach for certain period of time and their progress would be monitored.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Expanding urban areas and environmental impact

In recent months there has been unprecedented heavy rains in urban areas.Few months back Mumbai received heavy rain which is a record high (nearly 100cm in 24hrs).This is an extreme case.Met. records say this is the highest in past 90 years.Few days back there has been heavy downpours in Chennai(>25cm in 24hrs).Again this is the highest in the decade.

Why rains target urban areas? Researchers in Spain has got the answer.They say it is the concrete structures that bring such heavy rainfall to urban.They are now planning to built concrete structures on the outskirts of the towns in the dry ares of Spain.

In Indian cities ever increasing concrete structures bring extremely heavy rainfall.Indian cities are poorly planned to manage anything of this sort.If alternatives are not taken we will be seeing the pictures like this year after year.

PVC factory soo poisonous!!

There had been strong opposition and protests againt seeting up a PVC plant in Cuddalore SIPCOT area. I never realized how hazardous PVC would be until I read the news item `Poison factory' takes the life of one more worker'.

Cuddalore Municipal Park

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Railway Ministry's medal for bravery

Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable B Deshi, attached to the Chennai Division of the RPF, has been selected for Railway Minister's medal for bravery for the year 2005.

Mr.Deshi is a native of Cuddalore.Mr Deshi was selected for saving the life of four persons at Devanampatnam seashore in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, during the Tsunami on December 26 last.

It is said that Cuddalore District Collector Mr. Gagan Deep Singh Bedi wrote a letter to RPF Inspector General, Chennai, lauding the bravery of Mr Deshi for his courage and the IG recomended Mr Deshi's name for Railway Minister's Bravery medal, the sources said adding that the medal also carried a cash reward of Rs 20,000.

Women's needs in Tsunami affected communities-ReliefWeb

ReliefWeb has come up with an article about the women in Cuddalore district.The article Women's need in Tsunami affected communities posted on 9th October 2005 brings the sufferings of women in tsunami affected regions into picture.Please make use of the link.I'm unable get you even parts of the article because of copy right restrictions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Park outside Cuddalore General Hospital

Short lived the fortune of the park outside Cuddalore General Hospital.Setting up this park was one of the earliest measures taken by the District Administrator Mr.Gagandeep Singh Bedi to beautify Cuddalore.In less than a years time the park has gone unattended.Now even the potective structures are broken.

The park was setup and maintained (?) by Tagros Chemicals.The park once used to be watered regularly.As you see,the arrow pointing the hose-pipe (which was used to water the plants there) remains unattended for months together.

Now the lawn there became a resting ground for the auto-rickshaw drivers of the nearby auto stand.They convene there for a gossip.

In few months time remaining plants and the lawn will dry up and the demolished structures will remain to tell the story of a glorious past.

Plight of archeological sites and antiquities?

The death tool has crossed 30000 mark after a devastating earthquake in Pakistan.Bulidings and roads are broken apart.Both local and foregin news agencies are concentrating on the coverage of rescue operations.Non till now (to my knowledge) reported about the archeological sites and buildings.

Indus Valley is a cradle for one of the world's oldest civilizations.Also there are sculptures of Budhhist period in NWFP and in Afganistan (one such was demolished my Talibans).The plight of them after the earthquake are unknow.

Also the plight of museums and antiquities remains a mystrey. Importance must be given to protect these the acheological treasures.If proper care is not taken certain section of people (who well know the value of antiquities in world market) would loot everything they could (as happend in Baghdad).

Consumer awareness poor: survey

Following deatails are from THE HINDU's article named Consumer awareness poor: survey

Federation of Consumer Organisations — Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) conducted the survey with the help of NSS volunteers.

Here I just paste some of the selected finding of the survey.

"consumers lack basic awareness about the purity of jewellery, wastage and cost. Over 78 per cent do not attach any importance to these factors, and concentrate only on design"

"... 54 per cent buy saris named after actresses, and do not bother about the texture of materials or the mills that have made them..."

"...75 per cent of them said most of the jewellery shops did not issue bills. Even if they did, they did not specify the caratage, wastage and making charges, vital data required for moving the consumer court, in case of a dispute..." .I will post more about this particular issue later on.

"....Less than 56 per cent of the consumers were aware that the unfair trade practices could be contested in the consumer courts. They did not even insist upon the correctness of bills. Hardly 30 per cent knew that the rate of sales tax should be mentioned in the bills....."

In hotels-"..82 per cent of the customers said the bills did not carry the names of dishes and their prices..." "...28 per cent alleged that child labour was rampant in hotels.."

BloggerBar for Firefox

I have just now installed BloggerBar for Firefox extenstion.BloggerBar for Firefox extension is basically a toolbar which makes it possible to post from the toolbar.Also am posting this message through this functionality.Let me if it works.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More details on Cuddalore - Chennai rail project

I have posted earlier( Cuddalore - Pondicherry connection ) about the proposal of connecting Chennai and Cuddalore through rail.I could not confirm by the time I posted it.But I have confirmed it now.New information is that Southern Railways will submit the proposal to Railway Board by October end.

If the project is cleared, a line will be laid from Chennai to Cuddalore through Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry.This is a healthy proposal as against the earlier one which had plans to connect Pondicherry through Thindivanam. If connected through Thindivanam it would increase the travelling time.

The first survey seems to have been conducted in 2002 to assess the rate of return from operations on the Chennai-Mahabalipuram section, and the second in 2004 to calculate the returns on the Cuddalore-Pondicherry-Tindivanam stretch. Both showed a negative trend. For railways to start operations, there has to be a minimum 14 per cent return.

The findings of two earlier surveys on the project's viability are being updated considering the development activities along the ECR.

The proposed new rail is to flow through Sedarapet and Thatanchavady industrial estates inside Pondicherry and the route thereafter is not yet planned I think.Making a path from Pondicherry into the Cuddalore must be the biggest challange of the project,as it would be necessary to clear some of the heavily congested residential areas in Cuddalore.

Let us hope that the project will take a right shape at the earliest.

Also see

Chennai-Pondicherry rail ? NO it must be Chennai-Cuddalore

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cuddalore - Pondicherry connection

There was already a proposal to connect Cuddalore and Pondicherry through rails.But it seems to been in cold storage for years together.

Recently a friend of mine told me that the work is to begin by mid 2007.I was really happy to know that but it did not post about that for I could not confirm it(even now as type this I could not confirm it).

He also told me that,they are to connect Chennai and Pondicherry and thus a link between Chennai and Cuddalore.He expressed his fear that all the train to Chennai would start only from Pondicherry and not from Cuddalore, and only connecting train from Cuddalore would start from Cuddalore to Pondicherry.

This is a fear worth it.If implemented this way,people from Cuddalore would not get the fullest benefit of the service.

Consider this case of a man travelling from Cuddalore to Chennai.His first phase of journey from Cuddalore to Pondicherry would take around 30 minutes and then his must start his second phase of his journey in another train.There would be atleast a 20 minutes gap between the trains,and the second train (Pondicherry<->Chennai) would would reach Chennai after a journey of around 2 hours (assuming 80km/hr).So here is take around 3 hours(30mins+20-30mins+2 hrs) on total to travel from Cuddalore to Chennai.

If a direct train had started from Cuddalore(to Chennai) it would have taken only 2 hours time(assuming 80km/hr).Thus saving 1 hour.

This difference in time would increase if the travelling speed is less than 80km/hr.Business people with huge volume to luggages would suffer the most.The kind of service would highly benefit Pondicherry compared to Cuddalore.Pondicherry would attain even higher developement rate(as the service would greatly help business people) in comparison with Cuddalore.

This acceleration in Pondicherry's developement would lead to Cuddalore's economic backwardness(may be for ever).

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sand heaps along-side medians

A large heap of sand(along with red soil) and gathered along the bottom edges of the newly built road divider(median).Some of the sand would have accumulated is natural elsewhere,but a large amount of red soil which contribute to the heap are those brought by workers to cover up the median's center part to grow the lawn over that.This gives a poor look.

Malfunctioning traffic lights

The traffic lights near the Krishnalaya complex is malfunctioning in every possible way it could.It appears to work well but that not the case always.For instance when I noticed once,the timer gradually decremented to zero but the there was no Green glow.Everyone was waiting for fews seconds only to realise thats there is something wrong about it.

This is just an example there are several other problems with it.

Also as a general case the Orange light is seldom glows(quiet often it dont-there is a transition from Red->Green).

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Traffic direction boards in poor condition

Long time ago the yellow coloured traffic boards in our cuddalore gives clear information on the distance of other towns and directions.

e.g. 1. opposite new cinema theatre (adjacent to ellaiamman temple)
2. Near Collector's office (adjacent to water filling station)

But these vital boards nowadays were pasted with so many posters and the very purpose of these boards were itself defeated. The Govt. has spent money on these boards for helping travellers know their routes, but these boards are now being used by various people for their propoganda purposes by pasting posters on these boards.

Ofcourse Govt of India is promoting "INCREDIBLE INDIA"

Will the concerned authorities look into this.