Floods in Godavari put focus on plight of those displaced due to Polavaram project
The recent heavy floods in Godavari river again brought to the fore plight of thousands of families to be displaced due to the Polavaram major irrigation project being constructed on the river in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district.
Due to tardy progress in rehabilitation and resettlement of project evacuees, several villages located along the river course in the backwaters of Polavaram project suffered massive inundation during the floods in July second week.
Worst sufferers were the residents in the seven submergence mandals (revenue blocks) — Chintoor, Yetakapa, Kunavaram, V R Puram, Bhadrachalam (rural), (now part of AlluriSitaramaRaju district), Kukkunuru and Velerpadu (part of Eluru district) — which were de-linked from Telangana and merged with Andhra Pradesh post bifurcation of combined state through an amendment to AP Reorganisation Act in June 2014.
According to original estimates of 2004, the project envisages displacement of as many as 44,570 families from 271 revenue villages of eight revenue blocks but the number went up to 98,818 families, 80% of whom are tribals in 2014-15. By 2021, the number of families to be evacuated had gone up to 1.06 lakh.
These families are supposed to be rehabilitated in alternative locations like Buttaigudem, Jeelugumilli, Darbhagudem, Pedaryagudem etc., apart from safer locations within the same mandals, closer to their original habitations. Each family will get a monetary compensation of ₹6.8 lakh to ₹10 lakh depending on the location, apart from land to land and housing facilities.
“Apart from a few cases, there has been no rehabilitation of the submergence villages. A few hundred tribal families whose agriculture lands were submerged due to the Polavaram project were paid monetary compensation, rest there was no progress in construction of new settlements to rehabilitate the affected families,” said Chintoor resident J Venkatesh.
As per the revised estimates in 2017-18, the total cost of Polavaram shot up to ₹ 55,548 crore. But it was scaled down to ₹ 47,725 crore by the Revised Cost Committee appointed by the Union Jal Shakti ministry. Of this, ₹28,191 crore is meant only for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of the project evacuees.
PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina to inaugurate Maitree Power Project in Bangladesh
Prime Minister NarendraModi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are expected to jointly inaugurate the 1320 MegaWattMaitree Super Thermal Power Station when the latter visits India for a three-day visit in the first week of September.
Touted to be Bangladesh’s largest power plant, the coal-fired station is being set up by Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between India’s NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board. The project is worth USD 1.5 billion.
While Bangladesh PM Hasina is expected to visit India any time between September 5 and 7 and stay for two to three days, the visit has been accorded utmost importance by the Modi government as Dhaka happens to be one of India’s closest allies. Before PM Hasina arrives in Delhi, trial runs between Kolkata-Chattogram-Mongla ports for India Bangladesh trade will begin posting a new chapter in the bilateral ties.
The first vessel from Kolkata is expected to reach Mongla, on Pashur River, on August 5 carrying 16 tons of iron pipes in a container with destination Meghalaya using the Tamabil-Dwaki border points and 8.5 tons of pre-foam in another container for Assam using the Birbirbazaar-Srimantpur border points. This exercise will create cheaper and alternative routes for India to reach its North-East region while at the same time carrying export-import containers for Bangladesh.
Even though Bangladesh has approached the IMF for a loan, the economy and the infrastructure development under Sheikh Hasina are progressing with the Bangladesh project to grow by over 6 per cent this financial year. Dhaka like all the other countries in the Indian sub-continent have been hit by the hardening of USD because of which exports have become costlier. However, Bangladesh currency Taka is holding against the USD as compared to Pakistani Rupee and Sri Lankan Rupee.
India pharma sector exports rises 8% to $6.26 billion in first quarter
Indian pharma exports registered a growth of eight per cent during the first quarter of the current financial year to USD 6.26 billion, as officials hope for a 10 per cent growth by the end of the fiscal.
UdayaBhaskar, Director General of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), a body under the Department of Commerce said pharma exports to European Union and other CIS countries which were hit by the ongoing war in Ukraine and restrictions are expected to improve once the situation becomes normal.
"In the first quarter, our exports recorded 8 per cent growth. We are positive of a growth of 3.6 per cent to the US in the first quarter, where 30 per cent of our exports go."
"I am optimistic that our exports to EU and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) will improve once the situation of Russia-Ukraine war settles. Our exports may be around USD 27 in FY 22-23," Bhaskar told PTI.
India clocked USD 24.61 billion worth of pharma exports in FY22, registering one per cent growth over FY21.
Further, the official said COVID-19 vaccine exports stood at 239 million doses to over 100 countries and they continue to grow.
Replying to a query on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, he said the former is an important country for India and occupies fifth position in terms of pharma exports.
Nearly 60 per cent of the overall exports to CIS countries go to Russia and with the war figures are dwindling, he further said adding due exports to Europe also have also been impacted.
"If the situation improves, India may witness USD one billion worth of exports more," he opined.
He said Pharmexcil and the Russian Embassy in New Delhi organised a webinar with the representatives of Russian Trade Commission, bankers, India and Russian businessmen to address the issues related to shortage of pharma products there.
"The aim of the webinar is on how to improve Indian exports and how Indian and Russian companies need to address the issues," he said.
::SCIENCE AND TECH::
Debris from Chinese rocket falls back to Earth week after launch
Debris from China's Long March-5B rocket, which was launched last week, fell back into the sea in the Philippines, news agencies reported quoting the Chinese government. “Vast majority of wreckage burned up upon re-entering the atmosphere,” officials were quoted as saying by AP.
Several users in Malaysia reported sightings of the rocket debris on social media. One such video was re-shared by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Centre for Astrophysics, US.
US Space officials said that while it could confirm the booster had re-entered over the Indian Ocean, it referred to China ‘for details on technical aspects’, including impact location. “The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information as their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson tweeted separately.
“All space-faring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy-lift vehicles, like the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property,” he added.
This is the third such incident of an uncontrolled entry by a Chinese rocket booster. NASA accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris” after parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean in May 2021. Before this, an 18-tonne rocket fell uncontrolled in May 2020.
In 2016, Tiangong-1, China’s first space station crashed into the Pacific Ocean after Beijing confirmed it lost control. China has dismissed Western concerns over debris, calling it a smear effort as the US-China space race escalates.
England beat Germany in extra time to win Euro 2022
Just when it seemed England might again be weighed down by expectations and history, Chloe Kelly made the breakthrough.
Kelly's goal in the second half of extra time — the first time she had ever scored in a competitive international game — propelled England to its first major women's soccer title, beating Germany 2-1.
By the time Kelly scored, England looked to be tiring, even with the boost of the home crowd, and struggling to deal with Germany's fresh substitute players. The game had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes at Wembley Stadium with LinaMagull for Germany canceling out Ella Toone's goal for England.
Then Kelly prodded in a loose ball at the second attempt in the 110th minute after Germany failed to clear a corner. Cue the celebrations, chants on Trafalgar Square, and congratulations from the queen.
“I always believed I'd be here, but to be here and score the winner, wow. These girls are amazing,” said Kelly, who returned from a serious knee injury in April. “This is amazing, I just want to celebrate now.”