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Sabyasachi Patra

IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 7 Issue XII

IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 7 Issue XII

Newsletter-December-2015 (2.5 MB, 391 downloads)

Poison in the Air

Amir Khusro, the famous poet had written a couplet which was famously used by Emperor Jehangir to describe the beauty of Kashmir “If there is heaven on earth, then it is this, it is this.” Delhi, the Capital city of India today, can be best described by paraphrasing Amir Khusro, “If there is Hell on Earth, it is this, it is this”.

Air, the single most important thing that any person, animal, bird, insects etc depends on to live, is so bad that it will not allow us to live. Neither will it allow us to die in peace.

The quality of air in Delhi is terrible. It is not only Delhi, but along with it there are twelve other cities in India that have abysmal air quality to get into the top 20 polluted cities in the world list. An ignominy in any other time, but not relevant for today’s politicians.

We have been writing about the sad state of affairs and campaigned for “Right to Clean Air” as one of our Fundamental Rights. Unfortunately, politicians despite their statements of support care less about air quality. (IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 6 Issue I)

Knee-jerk Reaction:

Finally the Delhi Government woke up due to the rebuke from the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. In their eagerness to show that they are working and also to cause some inconvenience to the ruling party at the Centre – with which the Kejriwal led party is at logger heads- the Delhi Govt. has announced that it will ban vehicles based on odd and even number plates from plying on the roads on alternate days.

Though the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India has said that he is ready to do car pool with his fellow judges and immediately the Delhi Govt. seized it as a support to their muddle headed idea, forcing cars to ply on the roads on alternate days is a big mistake.

Pollution not only due to Vehicles:

The first major mistake is that this action solely blames the automobiles for the pollution. This is farthest from the truth. The pollution levels in Delhi is a result of several factors key among which are dust from construction activities, burning of wheat stalk in the Punjab, pollution from factories apart from automobile pollution and lack of trees for absorbing the pollution etc. Infact, the Chief Justice of India has said that he brought the problem of wheat stalk burning to the notice of India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and still the problem is continuing.

Why is there so much of construction in Delhi, NCR and throughout India?

The Government of India had launched the scheme to promote housing in India and started giving tax breaks. Today India is flush with buildings. Most of the people own multiple houses. The amount of unsold houses in inventory of builders is roughly six and half years in the NCR region as well as in Mumbai, Bangalore and many big cities of India. Greed is driving these construction business. At one point of time it was the case in China and now they have entire ghost cities ie fully constructed cities without anyone to buy or occupy those. A lot of places in the NCR region and other cities in Delhi have such constructions without anyone to buy. The construction of houses goes on every day with tremendous amount of dust and noise pollution. There is no body to monitor. If the Government stops giving tax breaks to people for buying houses, then this madness will stop. Unfortunately, the NDA Government is overtly sympathetic to the builder lobby and is more keen on regularising past constructions as was seen in the ESZ notification for Okhla which even modified the boundaries of the ecologically sensitive place to help builders. (http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/indiawilds-newsletter-vol-7-issue-viii/)

Construction at Noida   Courtesy - Amit Gupta

Massive constructions in Noida affecting air pollution      Courtesy – Amit Gupta

There is supposed to be a housing shortage of 19 million houses in India as per the 2011 census. Interestingly 11.09 million houses are vacant in urban areas in India as per the 2011 census. The country needs affordable housing. However, the class of people who can benefit from the tax breaks associated with the housing loans take it multiple times to build several houses, a number of which remains vacant. The country has to bear the associated pollution of air, water as well as clearing/reclaiming land for construction.

The Government has to now act and remove the housing tax-breaks given to citizens. If a person has already taken the benefit of tax breaks related to housing once, then he/she should be barred from taking this again.

Who will enforce Odd-Even Car rule?

Forcing cars to ply on alternate days based on whether their number plate is odd or even hasn’t worked anywhere in the world. It won’t work in Delhi either, more so because it is DELHI.

Delhi is a city which has been grappling with the frequent sexual attacks on women and children. Often infants have been raped and the police force is inadequate to protect. A lot of police men are engaged in VIP security. So the number of police for common men and women is way too less, as is often said by the police officers themselves. In such situation, who will monitor the traffic to enforce cars with odd and even number plates plying only on alternate days?

For most of the traffic violations, Delhi people as well as the police are adept at “settling it” ie bribe and move ahead. So this will be another inconvenience to pay some more money while you drive. Delhi is a city where everyday people from neighbouring states commute. It is financially not feasible for most of the people to travel by metro. A person coming from Noida has to change several times to reach his/her destination. Parking the car at the metro stations are way too expensive. So the overall cost of driving down is cheaper. Similar is the situation from Gurgaon to Delhi journey for commuters.

There are 55 million two wheeler users in Delhi. They are exempted from the alternate day arrangement. So pollution from the two wheelers will continue.

Most of the elites and wannabe elites in Delhi have multiple cars. Only a few executives at the lower rung are single car homes. So the people who have money will anyway drive to work in their cars. A very low percentage of people will car pool as driving to office in car is an ego issue in Delhi. Many of them would buy second cars, albeit used ones. So some used car dealers will gain.

Why don’t people take the public transport?

Delhi is a state with terrible public transport system. The metro in certain areas is as crowded as the Mumbai local second class compartments with limb if not life, being at danger. The auto rickshaws are a law onto themselves and fleece the customers. The radio taxis really bomb your wallet. So people in Delhi have no where to go without their own vehicles. Unfortunately, the politicians as a breed are never known to attack the problem. Instead they react to symptoms and pat themselves in the back for their hair-brained ideas.

Unfortunately, the quality of air in Delhi and in many other Indian cities has reached alarming levels and has induced a panic like situation. We humans are not known to come out with logical solutions when we are in a panic mode. Traces of it can be clearly seen when the Hon’ble Supreme Court has banned new registration of diesel vehicles with more than 2L engines. Unfortunately an attempt has been made to brand one fuel and technology type as a villain forgetting that the main villain is the quality of fuel in this country. There appears to be no effort to dramatically tighten the technology standards ie moving to Bharat VI from Bharat IV. Fortunately, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has not forgotten the problems due to construction and has said that enforcement agencies need to the ensure that norms of CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) are enforced by use of curtains and other devices at construction sites. However, the Hon’ble Supreme Court needs to be briefed that the curtains often put up at the construction sites are not effective and dust due to construction is all pervasive. Since the construction mafia and the enforcement authorities are always hand in glove, who will the citizens complain?

The email ids and phone numbers of the enforcement authorities of various cities have to be put up in pubic hoardings so that citizens can complain. Else, the majority will continue to suffer silently.

The silver lining in the Supreme Court order is giving a deadline to the Delhi Government to procure vacuum cleaning vehicles for Delhi before 1st April, 2016. Hopefully our roads will be a bit cleaner.

In view of this, despite the grand standing by various politicians, and Supreme Court making interventions, there is not likely to be any improvement in the quality of air on a sustainable basis, unless the Hon’ble Supreme Court is properly guided about the root causes of pollution and it forces the Government to act. Till then, insurance companies will come out special insurance packages for cancer, bronchitis and other air pollution related diseases, air purifier companies will start scaling up their businesses and make merry and the people of Delhi, rich and poor alike will continue to suffer. And the Government, as usual, will be absent when its presence is really required.

Poisoned air affecting Foetuses:

The Poisoned Air of Delhi is impacting the growth of foetus in pregnant women finds a study conducted in the Sir Ganga ram Hospital in Delhi by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) & London School of Hygiene.

This study had a big sample size of 10,565 births in the hospital and the real-time air quality data of nearby monitoring station was linked with each birth to analyse the effect. The study found that CO, NO2 and other toxic gases impact the growth of the foetus and also lead to premature births.

The poisoned air not only affects us but also affects our future generations. If the Government is serious that it has to first make “Right to Clean Air” as our fundamental right and start acting to clear the core problems that results in poisoned air.

 

Book Review

Wildlife of India By E.P.GEE

I have been looking for a copy of this famous book “The Wild Life of India” by E. P. Gee for a long time and finally found a collectors version in US. This was first published in the USA by E. P. Dutton & Company, INC in 1964. This book was printed in Great Britain.

 

THE WILD LIFE OF INDIA BY E. P. GEE

THE WILD LIFE OF INDIA BY E. P. GEE

Read further by clicking on the below link –

http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/%E2%80%8Bthe-wild-life-of-india-by-e-p-gee/

 

Conservation News:

Climate Change Agreement in Paris

In the recent memory, seldom a name of a city evoked the spectre of death as well as hope in quick succession. Soon after militants mowed down innocent people in Paris and the world was drowned in sadness, the Conference of Parties was hosted by Paris, which gave the world some hope in the form of an agreement to contain the global warming to below 2 degrees.

The whole world has hailed the climate change agreement in Paris where more than a hundred heads of States and thousands of negotiators were huddled in for days together engaging in negotiating to protect their own petty interests whereas the whole world is burning, getting hotter and hotter and hurtling down the path of irreversible climate change.

Climate Change Summit in Paris

Climate Change Summit in Paris

According to principles of negotiation, in a long drawn negotiation, most of the times the buyer is loathe to let it go and buys into a sub-optimal deal. That is precisely what happened in the Conference of Parties COP-21 at Paris.

The poor and developing nations have all along blamed the developed industrialised world for being the lead cause of global warming. Now the global warming leading to impacts like rising sea levels is going to inundate many low-lying nations, islands and cities bordering the seashore and has naturally have these nations worried. With hardly any money at their disposal to fight the impact of climate change, these countries are rightly aggrieved when the developed world wants to wriggle away from any commitment for funding the war on climate change.

Since 2009 it has been said that the developed countries are going to create a 100 billion US dollars fund by 2020 to help in mitigation efforts. However, in the month of October this year, just before the COP-21 was to start in Paris, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) – an organization funded by 23 developed countries – issued a statement that more than half of the 100 billion dollars has been already pledged. While this statement found ready applause in the developed world, there were eyebrows raised.

India’s climate Economic Affairs Ministry did an analysis (http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2015/nov/p2015112901.pdf) and tore apart this claim of OECD that $57 billion dollars of aid has been pledged in 2013-2014. In the foreword to the report, Shri Shaktikanta Das wrote “At best, the OECD report is at least partly right: ‘there remains significant work to be done to arrive at more complete and accurate estimates in the future’. That could well have been the title of the OECD report. There are some issues as to why there was so much rush to produce a document with inflated numbers, what has been termed as ‘green-washing’ of finance. We need to do better. At this time, the actual cross-border flows from 17 special climate funds since their inception are some USD 2.2 billion. This was reported by relatively independent and credible sources, as disbursements of climate change finance from developed to developing countries. This is far from the USD 100 billion a year goal”.

Later at Paris, in the dying moments when the climate change agreement text was about to be approved, US raised an objection and forced changing of the draft agreement claiming a typo. In the original draft it was mentioned that “Developed countries shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets”. The word should was mentioned for developing countries. However, US wanted to dilute it by changing the word shall to should. All parties in the conference were forced to agree as they felt any agreement is better than none. So the final change in the article 4 in page 21 was adopted as follows “Developed country Parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances”.

There were intense pressures from the oil producing nations, however, the good thing about the COP-21 was the clear direction that fossil fuels need to be reduced. So there would be some action regarding harvesting clean energy. An international solar alliance has been formed between countries with the secretariat at New Delhi. USA, France and India have also jointly launched Mission Innovation to develop green technologies.

More and more countries are waking up to the reality of climate change. Unfortunately, the democratic party in USA continues to deny that Climate change and is against any move towards climate change mitigation efforts. Hopefully there would be increased pressure from countries who believe in climate change and from activists to collectively force the non-believing countries or developed countries who are loathe to implement their Intended Nationally determined contributions (INDCs).

Hopefully the world can together achieve the target agreed in Paris to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial era.

 

IndiaWilds App for Android Mobile

In India most of the internet penetration is happening through mobile phones. And the existing users who have access to desktops and laptops are becoming much more mobile then they used to be a few years ago. So to raise awareness and reach out to more people we need to adapt ourselves and make IndiaWilds easily accessed through a mobile phone using android OS.

We have created a mobile phone app so that people can access IndiaWilds anytime, anywhere without being tied to a computer. No need to type. One can access at the click of a button.

We have developed this app through Business Compass LLC a company based in Randolph, New Jersey, United States so that we create a good app.

Awareness is the first step before a person can become a champion of wildlife. I hope this will help us in reaching out to more people to raise awareness and make a real impact on the conservation landscape. If you have an android device then please download the app from this link:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.businesscompassllc.indiawilds

 

Equipment Discussions

Sigma Announces WP Ceramic Filters

Sigma has announced, what it calls the world’s first highly shock resistant and scratch resistant clear glass ceramic filter.

It says that the WR Ceramic Filter has roughly ten times the strength of a conventional filter and three times stronger than a chemically hardened glass filter.

Use of this filter will result in extremely high light transmission. The Water-repellent coating applied to the filter results in only 0.24% light from the visible spectrum getting reflected. This ensures minimum flaring and ghosting.

Sigma WP Ceramic Filters

Sigma WP Ceramic Filters

The WR Ceramic filters come in the size 67-105 mm. So all users of DSLR lenses as well as some cine lenses should be able to take benefit of these filters.
Sigma is yet to announce the pricing or availability of these filters.

I normally don’t use any filters except polarisers. However, I would be very interested to check these filters because of the quality of light reflectance as well as strength.

 

AJA Ki Pro Ultra

AJA has launched the Ki Pro Ultra, a file-based recorder capable of recording upto 4K 60p and able to play back with a built-in HD 720p resolution LCD monitor of 4.8” size.

This recorder is capable of recording Apple ProRes files upto the latest Apple ProRes 4444. You can record 4K in DCI or UHD format as well as 2K and HD in various frame rates including 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p and 60p.

AJA Ki Pro Ultra

AJA Ki Pro Ultra

It has 3G-SDI, HDMI input and output options as well as option to connect via Fiber for powerful and efficient connectivity. Another 2k monitor can be connected via HD-SDI.

The built-in handle indicates its portability and can mounted on a rack.

The recording is made directly to AJA Pak SSD media with the largest being Pak1000 with 1TB SSD drive. One can also use Pak512 and Pak256 with capacities of 512 gb or 256gb respectively. However if you have CFast 2.0 cards, then you can use an adapter, which is available at an additional cost to record to CFast 2.0 cards.

The twin media drive bays help in seamless recording shifting from one to the other when the first drive is filled.

The AJA Ki Pro Ultra can be remotely controlled using the built-in RS-422 port.

The Ethernet port allows it access advanced remote control as well as control multiple AJA Ki Pro Ulttras, especially in multiple camera recording situations.

Detailed Specifications

  • LCD size: 4.8″ 1280 x 720 TFT LCD display
  • Recording: 720p 60fps up to 4K DCI 60fps
  • ProRes 422 Proxy to 444
  • Recording Media: 2 AJA Pak Slots
  • Video Input: HD/3G-SDI (SMPTE-292/296/424, 10-bit) (12-bit input supported processing is 10-bit) 4K DC/UHD 4:2:2 / 4:4:4 : 4 x BNC, Single Link 4:2:2 / 4:4:4: 1 x BNC, Dual Link 4:2:2 / 4:4:4 : 2 x BNC, Dual Channel Fiber: 2 x Ports (optional SFPs required), 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • Video Output: HD/3G-SDI (SMPTE-292/296/424, 10-bit) 4K DC/UHD4:2:2 / 4:4:4 : 4 x BNC, Single Link 4:2:2 / 4:4:4 : 1 x BNC, Dual Link 4:2:2 / 4:4:4 : 2 x BNC, Monitor: 1 x BNC, Dual Channel Fiber: 2 x Ports (optional SFPs required), Version 2.0: 1 x HDMI 2.0 (4K DCI/UHD 50/60 fps in 4:2:0 8-bit format only)
  • Audio Input — Digital: 8-channel, 24-bit SDI & HDMI embedded audio, 48 kHz sample rate, Synchronous // 8-channel, AES/EBU
  • Audio Input — Analog: 8-channel, 24-bit A/D analog audio, 48 kHz sample rate
  • Audio Output — Digital: 8-channel, 24-bit HDMI/SDI/Fiber embedded audio, 48kHz sample rate, Synchronous // 8-channel, AES/EBU
  • Audio Output — Analog: Headphone: 1 x 3.5mm stereo mini jack, Dual Mono: 2 x RCA, 8-Channel: 1 x DB-25 (Tascam pinout) 24-bit D/A analog audio, 48kHz sample rate
  • LTC Timecode BNC In/Out
  • RS-422: 1 x DE-9 female connector with SONY 9-pin serial protocol
  • Power draw: 65W Max
  • Size: 8.64″ x 9.34″ x 3.31″
  • Weight: 2.52 kg
  • Price: $3,995

Click the below link to buy: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/AJA_Ki_Pro_Ultra/Ntt/AJA%2BKi%2BPro%2BUltra/N/0/kw/search/BI/19990/KBID/13252/DFF/d10-v1-t12

 

Natural History

COUNTRY NOTEBOOK: M. Krishnan: ‘MORE ABOUT BARKING DEER’ By Saktipada Panigrahi

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?8852-Country-notebook-m-krishnan&p=78077#post78077

 

Wilderness Updates

Bungkulung – A pleasant treat to the eyes by Samrat Sarkar

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17111-Bungkulung-%85-A-pleasant-treat-to-the-eyes

 

Wildlife Photography

Sundarbans:Drinking Habits of Rhesus Monkey by Saktipada Panigrahi

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17087-SUNDARBANS-May-2015-Drinking-Habits-of-Rhesus-Monkey

Rhino by Abhirup Dutta Gupta

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17080-Rhino-in-jaldapara

Tigress in Kanda by Debasis Bose

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17015-Elegant-and-beautiful-queen-of-Kanda-foothill

Grey Langur by Prashobh Ailyam Nair

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17077-Grey-Langur

Lone Elephant by Rajan Kanagasabai

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17011-Lone-Elephant

Black Shouldered Kite by Sucheth Lingachar

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17086-Black-shouldered-kite

Shikra by Shyamala Kumar

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17045-SHIKRA-A-One-legged-perch

Small Blue Kingfisher by Mangru Minz

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17039-Small-blue-Kingfisher

Alien World by Prajwal Ullal

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?17031-The-alien-world

 

I look forward to your inputs and support in preserving the last tracts of wilderness and wildlife left in our beautiful country. For other interesting articles and images check –http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/

To post in the IndiaWilds forums, you can register free of cost using your Full Name as user id at

http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/register.php

If you are already a member of IndiaWilds and have forgotten your user id and/or password you can mail to
administrator@indiawilds.com

If you want to contribute original articles, or for any image enquiries please send a mail to
administrator@indiawilds.com

 

Regards,

Sabyasachi Patra

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Newsletter-December-2015 (2.5 MB, 391 downloads)
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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
Sabyasachi Patra
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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the kind comment on my quitting my job. It gave me a lot of hope! Though I do not live in Delhi and if I have to go I take the metro, but all the cars in my home are even number plate! I agree it is a knee jerk reaction by the government.

  2. I was lured by the Sigma ceramic filters. Currently, I stick to Nikon NC filters, i.e., if at all I am doing any photography. Do let me know how you find them. I used to shoot lots of videos on Mini DVs and I am still to switch to HD formats. What I need is a Mini DV reader and player. Do you think they might be around still?

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