Archive for December, 2008

Coast To Coast – Securing our maritime borders must get priority

December 30, 2008

C Uday Bhaskar – Times of india on 30/12/2009

Mumbai derives its current name from the stone goddess Mumbadevi revered by the Koli fisher-folk, the earliest inhabitants of the region. The fortunes of this city have been inexorably linked with the Arabian Sea and it merits recall that the first Englishmen to set foot on the Portuguese hamlet were raiders who came by sea in 1626. Subsequently transferred to the English crown as a dowry gift, the first military fortification to ward off enemy raiders and pirate attacks dates back to 1682 when the British installed a coastal battery on the Middle Ground island. 

 

Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

   In recent times, the vulnerability of Mumbai due to Maharashtra’s coastal expanse was revealed in 1993 when explosives were furtively landed on the Ratnagiri coast and the city experienced its first terrorist attack. The audacious terrorist attack last month has once again brought the vulnerability of India’s 7,600 km coastline into sharp and bloody focus and a slew of new policies have just been announced. Speaking in Parliament, the mint-fresh home minister P Chidambaram announced the setting up of a Coastal Command (CC) for the overall supervision and coordination of maritime and coastal security. While further organisational and funding details are yet to be announced, it is envisaged that the long coastline would be divided into Maritime Defence Zones (MDZ) along the western and eastern sea board, as also in the Andaman & Nicobar islands. 

 

   The inference is that the operational responsibility would be tasked to the navy, the coast guard and the marine police of each coastal state and that the new CC would introduce the much-needed inter-organisational synergy. Lack of synergy and internecine rivalry among various departments of the great Indian octopus — the government of India — remains the abiding Achilles heel that has bedevilled India’s chequered security experience. This is evident in the painful reconstruction of the tragic events that led to the 1962 debacle with China, the more recent 1999 Kargil war and now November 26. If the CC is to meaningfully discharge this onerous responsibility — protection of a 7,600 km coastline with limited fiscal and human resources —the devil in the details must be noted with objective candour. 

   Currently four major central ministries have varying degrees of responsibility for the management and protection of India’s vast maritime assets. These are defence, home, finance and shipping. Intelligence inputs come from the cabinet secretariat that is notionally with the home ministry but managed by the national security adviser who is part of the Prime Minister’s Office. Individual coastal states are entrusted with local law and order and have their 

own marine police units ostensibly buttressed by the central customs and revenue officials. 

   But most of them are decrepit and have little operational credibility against the likes of Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. If individual departments such as the ONGC are added to the list, then we have a merry medley of 14 individual egos and vastly different organisational cultures that have to be synergised. 

   Even under the most optimum circumstances, given the intrinsic bureaucratic caste-system that characterises the Indian octopus, it is evident that rather than seamless cohesion, what ensues more often than not is the equivalent of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. Thus it is imperative that the proposed CC have a unified command structure wherein the assets of the principal maritime departments — viz the navy, coast guard, revenue/customs and the local marine police are pooled together for appropriate operational tasking. This will not be easy given the traditional insularity and the civilian-uniform divide that permeates the Indian system. 

   But other nations have been able to arrive at such organisational models that have been specifically evolved for coastal security. The French experience of having a National Maritime Prefect who is answerable to the prime minister merits consideration. The need to have a national maritime coordinator and a maritime commission has been mooted in the past — but in vain. Post the Mumbai tragedy, this structural void must be redressed quickly. 

   Innovative use of technology and human intelligence for coastal security warrants highest priority and piecemeal acquisitions by individual departments will be counterproductive. For instance, a virtual coastal fence (akin to the barbed-wire fence along the Indo-Pak land border) comprising static radar chains with a S-band radar, AIS (automatic identification system) centres supported by low-cost aerial surveillance and complemented by involving local fishermen communities is a case in point. The lateral induction of naval and coast guard personnel into the state marine police is long overdue. Coastal states would be well-advised to appoint individual maritime advisers. 

   It’s ironic that currently the only trained security professionals in the country — the apex of the armed forces — are not in the loop of higher defence and security management in India. This is a warped Nehruvian legacy further exacerbated by the civil service. The simmering discontent over the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations wherein the military has been placed at a rung below the police and the paramilitary is illustrative of this anomaly. If these disparities are not redressed with dispatch, the proposed CC will flounder and remain still-born like the post-Kargil policy recommendations that dealt with the same national security inadequacies. 

The writer is a Delhi-based security affairs analyst.

Save Earth – Plant a Tree

December 24, 2008

In the developed world the average[1] persons carbon dioxide emissions are almost 10 metric tonnes per year.

PATT Foundation

PATT Foundation

This is called their carbon footprint and comes mainly from their household energy usage and transport requirements car travel, flights and commuter transport. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which, when released into the atmosphere, acts like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing the planet to warm up. To help prevent global warming, we all need to reduce our emissions and look at ways we can mitigate the emissions left over that we are responsible for. Trees are a natural green machine which absorb carbon from the atmosphere and release it as oxygen. To this end, trees are an effective way of absorbing the carbon you release into the atmosphere.

Reduce your emissions

  • Reducing your emissions is a vital part of combating climate change. We encourage everyone to be aware of their energy usage and its effects, and take steps to reduce this. What remains can be offset through our Carbon Free programme.
  • By being more energy efficient at home, you can reduce your emissions and lower your energy bills by more than 30%.
  • Adjust your air conditioner and heater thermostat when you go out and shut down your system when you are away for extended periods.
  • Turn off and unplug stereos, radios, TVs, and DVDs when you leave for holidays. These appliances have a stand-by function that uses energy even when they are turned off.
  • Close doors to unused rooms trapping heating or cooling in rooms in use.
  • Consider switching to compact fluorescent lighting. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use about 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • Insulating your walls and ceilings can save 20 to 30 percent of home heating bills and reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 1 tonne per year.
  • Clean all of your heating and cooling appliances, making sure they are dust free. Energy is lost when heating units have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Ensuring that your air conditioner filter is clean can save 5 percent of the energy used.
  • Wash your dishes manually, or ensure your dishwasher is full when you run it. Allow your dishes to air dry, by not using the heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
  • Where possible walk or bike to your destination. Fuel use through transport constitutes a large proportion of total UK emissions.
    Recycle glass, metals, plastics and paper.
  • Plant shade trees and paint your house a light color if you live in a warm climate or a dark color if you live in a cold climate.
    Turn your refrigerator down.
  • Select the most energy-efficient models when you replace your old appliances. Look for the Energy Star Label – your assurance that the product saves energy and prevents pollution.
  • Slow down and drive sensibly. The faster and more aggressive you drive, the more petrol your car uses.

The role of trees in offsetting your emissions

Trees are green machines that act as natural filters of our air. Through the process of photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide (a key GHG and principle contributor to global warming) from the atmosphere and store it in their trunk, branches, leaves, roots, soil and foliage, while releasing oxygen back out.

Whereas deforestation, degradation and poor forest management reduce carbon storage in forests, sustainable management, planting, and rehabilitation of forests can increase carbon sequestration.  In fact the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation states “global carbon retention resulting from reduced deforestation, increased forest regrowth and more agro-forestry and plantations could make up for about 15% of carbon emissions from fossil fuels over the next 50 years (2006).”

Not only are trees an effective means for absorbing and storing the carbon you emit, they have far reaching benefits that extend well beyond that of filtering the air. Sustainably managed forests and urban forestry projects have multiple environmental and socio-economic functions important at the global, national and local scales, and play a vital part in sustainable development. Forests are sources of wood products. They help regulate local and regional rainfall. And forests are crucial sources of food, medicine, clean drinking water, and immense recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual benefits for millions of people.

– by PATT Foundation

Traffic Violation in Chennai

December 20, 2008

News
THE HINDU:
The Chennai City Traffic Police have identified 25 zones prone to drunken driving and over-speeding. A total of 11 special teams have been deployed along these stretches where about 1,000 cases were registered in the last 10 days.  – on 15/12/2008

Traffic Violation

Traffic Violation

Times of India:
Traffic violations, apart from making life difficult for beat cops, are also raking in moolah for the traffic police, according to city 
police commissioner R Sekar. The amount collected also points a finger at the rising number of traffic violations in the city in recent months and also better enforcement of traffic rules.

“The city police have collected Rs 77,000 as fine amount till date this year from Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) alone for violating traffic rules and getting involved in accidents. The traffic police have already collected a fine amount of Rs 7.12 crore so far this year as against Rs 5.35 crore for the corresponding period in 2007,” city police commissioner R Sekar told mediapersons at the commissionerate after inspecting the display of stolen valuables which were recovered by the police.

Access MicroSD Card – Google Android G1 Mobile

December 20, 2008

mOBILEAccessing MicroSD card in Google Android G1 HTC mobile.
Normally you can’t access memory card in G1. It will say “Please insert a Disk into Drive”. To avoid follow the steps below.

G1 Insert a disk Error

G1 Insert a disk Error

 

  1. Plug in the USB cable to your phone with computer.
  2. It will show the notification on top of the display area.
  3. Slide that notification to scroll it down.
  4. Click on the “USB connected” notification.
  5. Click “Mount” button on that popup window.
  6. Go to your computer and now select new “Removable Disk (G:)” partition to access your MicroSD card.
  7. Now you can create a folder as you wish and upload data in it.

                     To easy access files in your phone Install OI File Manager from Android Market. You can also install APKInstaller to install applications easily.

Watchful Eye

December 15, 2008
 Mother Care
A mother sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is fiercely and and justifiably protective of her young. The rock-strewn hillocks of the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, near Hospet in the Bellary district of Karnataka, are a haven for these otherwise elusive animals. Sloth bears are viciously persecuted by wildlife traders who kill the mothers and capture the cubs, which are then sold to madaris who earn a living by making them ‘dance’ on city streets.
Photographer: T N A Perumal
Published by TOI on 15th Dec, 2008