Cyclonic Storm – ‘Laila’ brings heavy rain – May 19th

Heavy rain and squally winds lashed the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday even as cyclonic storm ‘Laila’ was expected to hit neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of Thursday.

Two deaths were reported by evening, taking the death toll to six in Tamil Nadu.

Widespread rains pounded the Cauvery delta districts, including Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli. A Jet airways flight with 70 passengers on board from Madurai to Chennai on Tuesday night survived intense wind turbulence while flying over Cuddalore district, sources said. A fisherman was dragged away by a huge wave in Ramanathapuram district, while a 24-year-old techie was electrocuted after she stepped on a live wire that had snapped following heavy winds in the Chennai suburb of Vellachery.

Large parts of arterial roads were under knee-deep water with the city recording a maximum of 8 cm rainfall. CBSE students, keen to check the Plus Two results announced on Wednesday, were hampered by water-logging.

Power supply and transportation in different parts of the State were badly hit. Over 140 boats including an Indian Coast Guard vessel and two boats of the Tamil Nadu Police’ Coastal Security Group, suffered heavy damage as strong winds lashed the coast on Tuesday night near Rameshwaram.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has put all the nine coastal district administrations on a high alert as the cyclone intensified, bringing heavy rain, gales and thunderstorms that have claimed about 25 lives in the last two days.

Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force and CISF have been deployed in the coastal districts, relief camps have been set up and necessary relief materials are being mobilised.

Chennai/Hyderabad, May 19, DHNS: From Deccan Herald

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Setting Out Fishing on a Coracle on a Stormy Day in Kerala

Setting Out Fishing on a Coracle on a Stormy Day in Kerala ! by Anoop Negi / © All rights reserved

Coracle is a strange contraption for living a life on the water. It is a round and flat woven basket with the underside covered with animal hide. Since hide prices are very high, you see here that the water proof covering used is a plastic/canvas sheet which may have been impregnated with a bit of bitumen or tar to give it some extra strength and water proofing.

The boat appears flimsy and unwieldy while in water, and so it is. The big advantage is that it is as light as can be and moves very fast. I have seen the coracle fisher men out pace the traditional canoes by more then a leg and a mile. The contraption is much is use in Karnataka in India on the River Cauvery.

These fisher men, (and If I recollect properly this gentlemen is called Sidanna) , are from Karnataka and are migrant fishermen in the waters of Kerala. The whole family moves together with the boat and the cooking utensils in tow and they stay in a lean to shelter on the river bank.

On a stormy day in Cochin, from under the bridge where the family stays, Sidanna gets ready to go fishing.

Anoop Negi

Tamilnadu: Project to study climate change on Agriculture

COIMBATORE: With climatic conditions playing a crucial role in agriculture, a project to study how the sector is affected by climate change is currently on in the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University with the area of focus being the Cauvery basin.

The ClimaRice project funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, was aimed at sustaining rice production under changing climatic conditions in Cauvery basin. TNAU scientists in collaboration with International Pacific Research centre, Hawaii and BIOF ORSK, Norway, are working on the project, University Vice-Chancellor Mr P Murugesa Bhoopathi said.

The project, which was originally sanctioned in Jan 2008 for two years, has since been extended upto November 2012, with a budget of Rs.4.15 crore and a Climate Control Chamber at a cost of Rs.60 lakh has been set up in the University, he said.

The project integrates all aspects of climate change in agriculture including adaptation, mitigation and socio economic components.

In addition, various adaptation and mitigation measures including water and nutrient management, microbial technologies to minimise methane emission from the rice fields have also been developed for dissemination, he said.

The project would result in generating a standard methodology to address climate change related issues with specific reference to agriculture and this standard protocol would be useful to other similar regions to develop measures to address the vulnerabi lities within the changing climate, Mr Bhoopathi said. – PTI

From BUSINESS LINE

Mettur: Ferry ride can be a risky journey across Cauvery

Boats have no worthiness certificate; boat owners not aware of safety measures

METTUR: Danger lurks under water for hundreds of villagers who routinely commute in mechanised wooden boats and coracles across the Cauvery river between villages situated on both sides of its banks in districts, including Salem and Dharmapuri, through which the river snakes through.

These boats ferrying villagers have neither worthiness certificates from any proper authorities nor carry safety equipment, such as life jackets and life buoys aboard, thus putting the lives of many at great risk.

The respective village panchayats are allowed to issue permits to private boat operators, who ferry passengers on a yearly lease, violating all safety norms. “Unfortunately no government department has the right to interfere,” says a senior PWD official. More or less similar conditions prevail in Erode, Namakkal and Karur districts where villagers living on either side of banks depend on such ferry services.

Exposed to danger: Daily ferry services are being operated in the Cauvery without adhering to any safety norms. — Photo: E.Lakshmi Narayanan

Exposed to danger: Daily ferry services are being operated in the Cauvery without adhering to any safety norms. — Photo: E.Lakshmi Narayanan

Villagers from Dharmapuri district, including women and children, prefer boat travel across the 151-sq. km. water spread of the Stanley reservoir to come to Pannavadi in Mettur taluk since the bus route from their villages is circuitous.

It is just 2 km of water spread that separates the villages such as Nagamarai, Neruppur, Eriyur, Ottanur and Yemanur on the other side in Dharmapuri district from Pannavadi village. The travel time is less than 30 minutes, which is nearly 2 hours by road. Hence, they prefer this mode of transport despite knowing the fact that it is dangerous. Many of the villagers work in Salem, Erode, Tirupur, Coimbatore and Bangalore. They come to Pannavadi during week-ends and festival seasons to catch a boat to their villages.

But what disturbs many is that these wooden boats and coracles carry none of the safety equipment, which the government has been insisting on it after the Thekkady boat tragedy. The boat driver also is unaware of any safety measures.

Towing of coracles

To add to it is the towing of badly maintained coracles, now being replaced by fibre class ones. The coracles tied to the boat carry heavy luggage such as bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds and even cattle sometimes. Instead of permitted 20 persons, the caravan of boat and coracles carry nearly 40 to 50 per ride. “We prefer ferry service as it saves not only the time but also money,” said a villager.

Safety measures are found missing in boats that ply between Poolampatti in Salem district and Nerunchipettai in Erode district across River Cauvery. Recently, its passengers had a miraculous escape when the boat capsized, fortunately nearer to the river bank enabling a few to swim to safety and others to be rescued by villagers.

Social activists and general public urge the district administration to study the safety aspects in such boat services across the Cauvery in Salem district with immediate effect.

R. Ilangovan – From THE HINDU

Cauvery Festival – Thousands witness Theerthodbhava at Talacauvery

The Cauvery Theerthodbhava brought out emotions of the people instigating them to jump to the Pond and shouting the slogans as “Cauverammana Paadakke Govindaa.....” which were echoed by the people gathered in thousands around the pond.

The Cauvery Theerthodbhava brought out emotions of the people instigating them to jump to the Pond and shouting the slogans as “Cauverammana Paadakke Govindaa.....” which were echoed by the people gathered in thousands around the pond.

The Theerthodbhava was held on the auspicious Meena lagna.

Devotees from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka started arriving here since morning to witness the event.

Karnataka Minister for Women and Child Narendra Swamy, H Vishwanath, MP and others also took part in the festival.

The Kodagu district administration and police made elaborate security arrangements. KSRTC arranged special bus service for the devotees arriving from neighbouring districts.

It is believed that Goddess Cauvery appears in the form of a sudden upsurge of water in a small tank to give darshan to the innumerable devotees gathered here.

This event known as Theerthodbhava, is celebrated with much festivity in Kodagu.

From NewKerala

Mettur Water Level-Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009

The water level in the Mettur Dam stood at 88.29 feet on Monday against its full level of 120 feet. The inflow was 7,480 cusecs and the discharge, 23,000 cusecs.

From THE HINDU

More water to be released through Cauvery, Vennar

Responding to complaints of inadequate receipt of water at the tail-end of the Cauvery delta, the State government on Saturday decided that the discharge of water through the Cauvery River and Vennar would be increased to 5,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) and 10,000 cusecs, respectively.

An order to this effect was issued by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, according to an official release.

Till now, the discharge through the Cauvery and Vennar was about 4,300 cusecs and 9,400 cusecs, respectively. About 3,200 cusecs was being issued through the Grand Anecut canal and 1,900 cusecs through the Lower Coleroon canal.

[As per the turn system, the maximum amount of release of water is being done through the Vennar. From the evening of October 13, the Cauvery River will be covered. This will be alternated between the two for every six days, a senior official says].

One of the reasons for the complaints was that the Cauvery delta districts – Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam – did not receive much rain. During June-September, the three districts were among those which recorded deficient rainfall.

The government also decided to increase the release of water from the Mettur dam by 1,000 cusecs, considering the interests of the farmers. The discharge would be 23,000 cusecs even though the northeast monsoon was yet to set in over the State.

The release of water from the dam began on July 28 for irrigation with 5,000 cusecs. Gradually, it was stepped up to 22,000 cusecs, taking into account the requirements of the farmers.

In view of less rain in the Cauvery catchment of Karnataka during the southwest monsoon, the water level of the Mettur dam did not reach its full level. The maximum level it touched this season was 101 feet. Now, the level stood at 91 feet, the official release added.

On Saturday evening, the dam’s storage was 53.5 thousand million cubic feet. An inflow of 8,200 cusecs was registered.

From THE HINDU