Mail Delivery By Rockets…..

The history of the postal system is inextricably tied to the history of transport. Advances in transportation technology have not only allowed people to travel farther and explore more territory, it also allowed the postal system to expand their influence over a larger area. As new inventions and discoveries shortened the time of travel, messages and letters began to reach distant recipients in lesser time, and the postal system became more efficient. By the time the first trans-pacific airmail was delivered, the postal service had tried every mode of transport available to man, including rockets.

The cover of a rocket mail delivered in the state of Sikkim, India, on 28 September, 1935. Photo credit:regencystamps.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The earliest type of missile mail was one which you’ve probably seen in historical movies where a parchment is wrapped around the shaft of an arrow and shot through the air into a castle or enemy territory. A more modern version of the idea was presented to an astonished audience by a German poet and dramatist, Heinrich von Kleist, through a newspaper article in 1810. At that time rocketry was still in its infancy. Rockets of that age were gunpowder powered and were primarily used as artillery in battlefields. Kleist amused himself by calculating that a rocket could deliver a letter from Berlin to Breslau, a distance of 180 miles, in half a day or one-tenth of the time required by a horse mounted carrier.

Kleist’s theory was put into practice on the small Polynesian island of Tonga, halfway around the world, by a British inventor, Sir William Congreve, using rockets he designed. But the rockets were so unreliable that the idea of using them in mail delivery was summarily dismissed, and no further thought was put into it until nearly a century later, when Hermann Julius Oberth, a German physicist and engineer and one of the founding fathers of rocketry, revisited the topic in 1927.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermann Oberth (center, in profile) demonstrates his tiny liquid-fuel rocket engine in Berlin in 1930. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

In June 1928, Professor Oberth delivered a convincing lecture on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Scientific Society of Aeronautics in Danzig, where he proposed the development of small rockets with automatic guidance that could carry urgent mail over distances of 600 to 1,200 miles. Professor Oberth’s lecture generated a great deal of interest throughout the world, and even the American ambassador to Germany took note. But it was a young Austrian engineer that became a pioneer in this field.

Living in the Austrian Alps, the young engineer Friedrich Schmiedl was well aware of the fact that mail delivery was extremely painful between mountain villages. What could be an eight hour walk between two villages could be only two miles apart as the rocket flies. Friedrich Schmiedl was already experimenting with solid-fuel rockets, and in 1928 undertook experiments with stratospheric balloons. After several unsuccessful attempts, Schmiedl launched the first rocket mail in 1931 and delivered 102 letters to a place five kilometers away. The rocket was remotely controlled and landed using a parachute. His second rocket delivered 333 letters.

Schmiedl’s rocket mails inspired several other countries such as Germany, England, the Netherlands, USA, India and Australia to conduct similar experiments with varying degree of success. In 1934, in an attempt to demonstrate to the British the viability of his rocket delivery system, a German businessman named Gerhard Zucker loaded a rocket with 4,800 pieces of mail and launched it from an island in Scotland. Government officials watched as the rocket soared into the sky and exploded, scattering scorched letters all over the beach like confetti. After his failed demonstration, Zucker was deported back to Germany where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of espionage or collaboration with Britain.

Experiments on rocket mail were largely successful in India, where a pioneering aerospace engineer named Stephen Smith perfected the techniques of delivering mail by rocket. Between 1934 and 1944, Smith made 270 launches, at least 80 of which contained mail. Smith created history when he delivered by rocket the first food package containing rice, grains, spices and locally-made cigarettes to the earthquake wracked region of Quetta, now in Pakistan, across a river. Later, Smith tied a cock and a hen together to one of his rockets and launched the frightened birds across another river. Both birds survived the trip and were donated to a private zoo in Calcutta after their ordeal. His next parcel contained a snake and an apple.

Despite his quirky nature and questionable choice of payload, Stephen Smith was wholeheartedly supported by the Maharaja of Sikkim, a British Protectorate in the eastern Himalayas, where he carried most of his rocket experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 1934 Indian Rocket Mail. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Indian Rocket Mail from 1934. Photo credit: www.stampcircuit.com

Things didn’t really took off in the US until 1959, when the Post Office Department fired a Regulus cruise missile with its nuclear warhead replaced by two mail containers, towards a Naval Station in Mayport, Florida. The 13,000-pound missile lifted off with 3,000 letters and twenty-two minutes later struck the target at Mayport, 700 miles away. The letters were retrieved, stamped and circulated as usual.

All 3,000 letters were copies of the same written by the Postmaster General. Each crew member of the submarine that launched the missile received a copy of the letter, so did President Eisenhower and other US leaders as well as postmasters from around the world.

“The great progress being made in guided missilery will be utilized in every practical way in the delivery of the United States mail,” the letter read. “You can be certain that the Post Office Department will continue to cooperate with the Defense Department to achieve this objective.”

The successful delivery of the mails prompted Postmaster Summerfield to enthusiastically declare that “before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.”

But it was not to be. The cost of rocket mail was too high—that little experiment with the Regulus cruise missile cost the US government $1 million, but generated only $240 in revenue by sale of postage stamps. Neither the Post Office nor the Department of Defense could justify the cost of using missile mail, especially when airplanes were already making mail deliveries across the world in a single night at the fraction of a cost.

And that was the end of the program. No further attempts to deliver mail by rockets have been made since then.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusing planet.com

Natarajan

 

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வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை …” நிழலில் தேடிய நிஜம் “

 

நிழலில் தேடிய நிஜம்
…………………
நிழல் என்றும் ஆகாது நிஜம் !
பதவியும் பணமும் வெறும் நிழல்தானே !
அந்த நிழலில் தேட வேண்டும்
நிஜம் என்ன என்பதை ?
நிழலில் தேட தேட நிஜம்
என்ன என்று புரியும் !
நிழல் நிஜம் ஆகாது
என்னும் உண்மையும் தன்னால்
தெரியும் !
நிழல் எல்லாம் நிஜம் என்று
நம்பினால் நிஜம் என்ன என்று
தெரியாது கண்ணுக்கு !
நிஜத்தை தொலைத்து விட்டு
இல்லாத நிழலில் தேட முடியுமா
நிஜம் எங்கே என்று ?
K.Natarajan  in http://www.dinamani.com
Dated 8th April 2018

ஒழுக்கத்திற்கு வழிகாட்டும் தாத்தா…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

தாத்தா ஒருவரால் தான் குடும்பத்தில் எல்லோரையும் மன்னிக்க, கண்டிக்க ஏன்… தண்டிக்கவும் முடியும். வானளாவிய குடும்ப அதிகாரம் படைத்திருந்த தாத்தா இப்போது எங்கே?

தாத்தா, பாட்டி உறவு தாமரை இலை மேல் தண்ணீர் போல ஒட்டாமல் போனதால் தான் இன்றைய பல குடும்பங்கள் சுக்கு நுாறாய் உடைந்து, சிதறிப் போயிருக்கின்றன. வீட்டில் சாப்பிடாமல், நாக்கில் ருசியின்றி கிடக்கும் குழந்தைகளை, மருமகளிடம் திட்டு வாங்கினாலும் பரவாயில்லை என்று ஓட்டலுக்கு கூட்டிச்சென்று புரோட்டா, ஸ்பெஷல் தோசை, ஐஸ்கிரீம் என வாங்கி கொடுத்து வீட்டிற்கு அழைத்து வந்த நாட்கள் என்ன… காய்ச்சலோ, வயிற்று போக்கோ வண்டி கட்டிக்கொண்டு முதல் ஆளாய் டவுன் ஆஸ்பத்திரிக்கு, பெரிய டாக்டரை பார்க்க அழைத்து போகும் உத்வேகம் என்ன… அந்த தாத்தாக்கள் எங்கே?

கயிற்று கட்டிலில் நிலாவை காட்டிக்கொண்டே காற்றோட்டத்துடன் கதை சொல்லும் பக்குவம் என்ன… அவை எல்லாம் இந்த காலத்து குழந்தைகளுக்கு கிடைக்காத பாசபிணைப்பு காலங்கள்.

தாத்தாவின் அதிகாரம்:
தாத்தா கையில் தான் வீட்டின் சாவிக் கொத்து இருக்கும். கல்யாண நாளில் திடீரென ஒரு பெரும் தொகையை மருமகளிடம் கொடுத்து, பிடித்த நகை வாங்கிக்கொள்ளம்மா என்று குடும்ப சக்கரத்தை பக்குவமாக நகர்த்தி செல்லும் தாத்தாக்கள் இல்லாததால் பல குடும்பங்கள் தடம் புரண்டு கிடக்கின்றன. வீட்டிற்கு யாராவது புதிய ஆள் வந்தாலோ, ஆண் குரல் கேட்டாலோ யாரு என சத்தமாக கர்ஜிக்கும் குரலில் எதிராளி சற்று ஆடிப்போய் விடுவார்.

குழந்தைகளை முதல் நாள் பள்ளியில் கொண்டுபோய் விடுவதிலிருந்து, மருமகளை அடுத்த பிரசவத்துக்கு ஆஸ்பத்திரியில் சேர்க்கும் வரை தாத்தா தானாகவே இழுத்து போட்டுக்கொண்டு செய்யும் வேலைகளை இப்பொழுது செய்ய யாரும் இல்லை. ஆட்டோக்காரர், கால் டாக்சிகாரர்கள் அந்த பணியை செய்ய வேண்டிய நிலை. இதுவேதனையானது மட்டுமல்ல மூத்த உறவுகளை உதறிய பாவத்தின் தண்டனை தான்.

ஒழுக்கத்தின் அடையாளம்:
தாத்தா வீட்டில் இருந்ததால் பெரும்பாலான குடும்பங்களில் ஆண்கள் மது அருந்துவதையும், புகை பிடித்தலையும் தவிர்த்தார்கள். லேட்டாக வீட்டிற்கு வந்தால், கதவை தட்டியவுடன் முதல் ஆளாய் கதவை திறந்து ‘ஏன்டா லேட்’ என மகனையும், பேரனையும் அதிகாரத்துடன் கேட்கும் உரிமை தாத்தாவிற்கு மட்டும் தான் இருந்தது. அந்த உரிமையை பறித்ததால் இன்று வீட்டிற்கு ஒன்றிரண்டு ‘குடிமகன்கள்’முளைத்துவிட்டனர்.

பாடம் சொல்லி கொடுப்பதாகட்டும், வாத்தியாரிடம் சென்று ‘படிக்கலைனா நல்லா அடிங்க’ என்று சொல்லிவிட்டு, பேரன் போன பின்பு ‘அடிச்சு கிடிச்சுப்புடாதீங்க; ஒரு பேச்சுக்கு சொன்னேன்,” என்று மறுநிமிடமே வாத்தியாரிடம் மல்லுகட்டும் அந்த தாத்தாவின் அன்புக்கு ஈடு இணையே இல்லை. குழந்தை பருவத்தில் உண்டியல் தான் தாத்தா கொடுக்கும் முதல் பரிசு. சேமிப்பு பழக்கத்தை முதல் காசு போட்டு தொடங்கி வைக்கும் தாத்தாக்கள் உண்டு. ‘தாத்தா நீ செத்துப்போனா எனக்கு யாரு பொம்மை வாங்கித்தருவா? யாரு காசு கொடுப்பா?’ என விளையாட்டாய் கேட்கும் போதெல்லாம் சிரித்துக் கொண்டே ‘உன் கல்யாணத்தை பார்த்துட்டுதான்டா நான் சாவேன்’ என முத்தமிட்டவாறே சொல்லும் அந்த முதிய குழந்தை தாத்தா இப்போது இருப்பதெல்லாம் முதியோர் இல்லங்களில்.

முதுமையை போற்றுவோம்:
குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களின் மூக்கணாங்கயிற்றை அதிகாரமாக கையில் வைத்திருந்த பல முதியவர்கள் இன்று முதியோர் இல்லங்களில் கட்டிப்போடப்பட்டிருக்கின்றனர். சமீபத்தில் ஒரு ஆதரவற்றோர் இல்லத்தில் எழுதிப்போட்டிருந்த வாசகம் நெஞ்சை உருக்கியது. ‘இது மனிதர்களை பார்க்க விலங்குகள் வந்து போகும் மனித காட்சி சாலை’. பல ஆயிரம் அர்த்தங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய வாசகம் இது. தங்கள் வீட்டின் முதியவர்களை முதியோர் இல்லங்களில் கொண்டுபோய்விடும் மகன்கள் அங்கு சொல்வதெல்லாம், ‘இங்கேயே ஏதும்ஆனா கூட பரவாயில்லை! நாங்க உங்களை ஏதும் சொல்லமாட்டோம். திரும்ப எங்க வீட்டுக்கு மட்டும் அனுப்பிவிடாதீங்க!’ குடும்ப உறவுகள் அந்நியமாகிப்போனதின் முதல் அபாயமே, வீட்டின் முதியோர் புறக்கணிப்பு தான்.

கேள்விக்குறி உறவுகள்:
தாத்தா பாட்டி உறவுகள் தற்போதைய குழந்தைகளுக்கு கிடைக்கிறதா என்றால் கேள்விக்குறிதான். தாத்தாக்கள் கிராமங்களில் தனியாக ரேடியோவோ, தொலைக்காட்சியோபார்த்து அன்றாட பொழுதை ஓட்டிக்கொண்டிருக்க, நகரத்து குழந்தைகள் பள்ளி, டியூஷன், டான்ஸ் என பிசியாக காலம் கழிக்க, என்றாவது வரும் தாத்தாவும் நகரத்து வீட்டில் தனியாகவே இருக்க, தாத்தா- குழந்தை உறவுப்பாலம் நுாலிழையில் தொங்கிக்கொண்டு இருக்கிறது. டிரங்கால் போட்டு கூடுதல் பணம் செலவு செய்து போனில் தாத்தாவிடம் நலம் விசாரித்த காலம் போய், இப்போது பணம், அலைபேசி, நேரம் இருந்தும் மனம் இல்லாமல் தாத்தாவுடன் போனில் பேசுவதையே தவிர்த்துவிட்டோம்.

தாயின் அன்பை போன்றே தாத்தாவின் அன்பும் ஈடு இணையற்றது. ‘தாத்தா நீ செத்துப்போயிட்டேன்னு சொல்லி இன்னிக்கு நான் லீவு போடப்போறேன்’ என்று பேரன் தாத்தாவை கிண்டல் செய்து ஓடுவதும், ‘இரு உன்னை உங்க வாத்தியார் கிட்ட சொல்லித்தரேன்’ என்று சொல்லி தாத்தா செல்லமாய் துரத்துவதும் இனி கிடைக்காத நாட்கள். எந்த ஒரு செயலையும் பக்குவமாய் அணுகி தீர்வு சொல்வது தாத்தாவின் கைவண்ணம். வயதும், அனுபவமும் தாத்தாவை பக்குவப்படுத்துகிறது. ஆனால், அந்த நிதானமும் பொறுமையும் இல்லாததால், இன்று இளைய தலைமுறை இயந்திர கதியாக இயங்குகிறது.

கோடையில் தாத்தா வீடு:
கோடை விடுமுறையில் தாத்தா வீட்டிற்கு கிராமத்திற்கு செல்வதை குழந்தை பருவத்தில் ரசிப்போம். தாத்தாவும், பாட்டியும் சேர்ந்து தலைக்கு நல்லெண்ணெய் தேய்த்து குளிப்பாட்டிவிடுவார்கள். மாலையில் வடை, இரவு சுடச்சுட தோசை சுட்டு கொடுப்பார்கள். திடீரென எல்லா குழந்தைகளுக்கும் விளக்கெண்ணெய் கொடுத்து பேதியாக்கி, வயிற்றை சுத்தம் செய்வார்கள். பள்ளி திறக்கும் முன்பாக சென்ட்ரப்பர், பென்சில், நான்கு வண்ண ரீபில் பேனா, புது ஜாமின்ட்ரி பாக்ஸ் என தாத்தா குழந்தைகளை கவனிக்கும் விதமே தனி தான். பெரியப்பா, பெரியம்மா, சித்தி, சித்தப்பா, மாமா, அத்தை என சம உறவுகளோடு கிராமத்து வீட்டில் குழந்தைகளாக ஆட்டம் போட்ட நாட்கள், குளத்திலும், கண்மாயிலும் நீச்சல் கற்றுக் கொண்டு நாட்கள், பம்புசெட்டில் குளித்தநாட்கள், கோடை மழையில் நனைந்தவாறே கிராமத்து வீட்டு முற்றத்தில் குதித்த நாட்கள் இன்றும் ரம்யமானவை. அந்த நாட்களின் பாசப்பிணைப்பு தான் இன்றும் நம்மை நமது சொந்தங்களோடு இணைத்து வைத்திருக்கிறது.

குடும்ப உறவுகள் அறுந்து போகாமல், நேசங்களும், பாசங்களும் விரிசல் விடாமல் ஆண்டுதோறும் புதுப்பித்து கொண்டிருந்த ஒரே உறவு தாத்தா தான். டேய் என்ற தாத்தாவின் கம்பீரக்குரலுக்கு அப்பா, பெரியப்பா, சித்தப்பா, மாமா, அண்ணன், தம்பி என அத்தனை பேரும் சர்வநாடியெல்லாம் அடங்கி பதுங்கி இருந்த காலம் மறக்க முடியாதவை. தாத்தாவின் குரலுக்கு ஆதரவாய் புதிதாய் வந்த மருமகள்களும் இணைந்து போய், கூட்டுக்குடும்ப உறவுகளும், வரவுகளும் சங்கமிக்கும் கோடை விடுமுறை இப்போது டியூசன், இசை, நடன பயிற்சி என்று தடம் புரண்டு போய்விட்டது. 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் குழந்தைகளுக்கு மே மாதத்தில் கிராமத்துவீட்டில் கிடைத்தது எல்லாமே தாத்தாவின் அன்பு அரவணைப்பு தான்.

இழந்துவிட்ட நமது கலாசார உறவு மேம்பாட்டுக்கு குழந்தைகளை கோடை விடுமுறைக்கு தாத்தா வீட்டிற்கு அழைத்து போவோம். ஒதுக்கப்பட்ட முதிய உறவுகளிடம் அன்பு கேட்டு தஞ்சம் புகுவோம். உங்கள் குழந்தைகளுக்கு தாத்தாக்களை நீங்கள் அடையாளம் காட்டுங்கள். பேரக்குழந்தைகள் தாத்தா உறவை கற்றுக்கொள்ளும் மே மாதம், கோடை விடுமுறையில் தாத்தாவிடம் சங்கமிப்போம். கொடுப்பதற்கு ஒன்றுமில்லை என்றாலும் தன் நடுங்கும் கரங்களால் தங்கள் பேரக்குழந்தைகளை வாஞ்சையுடன் தாத்தாக்கள் தடவி, வருடும் போது இருக்கும் அன்பு எதற்கும் ஈடாகாது. உறவின் ஆழத்தையும், அன்பின் விளிம்பையும் குழந்தைகள் உணரும் தருணம் அது.

-ஜெ.ஜெயவெங்கடேஷ்சித்த மருத்துவர், மதுரை

98421 67567

Source….www.dinamalar.com

This 69 year old Man has helped start free Libraries across Chennai , and YOU can too !

No membership, no one to supervise, and no last date to return books: Mahendra Kumar’s libraries run on no rules, and plenty of goodwill.

Chennai-based Mahendra Kumar speaks about reading and books with reverence and passion. “It is a character-building activity,” he says earnestly.

In April 2015, he decided to do something which he hoped would encourage people to read: He opened a library in Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai.

It wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill library. The most unique part about it wasn’t even that it was set up in a cement shop, where 69-year-old Mahendra shared a table with the shopkeeper.

What truly set it apart was there was no membership fee, no register to keep track. Literally anyone could walk in, pick up one of the 20 books, and take it home. They could return it whenever they wanted.   

This was the first Read and Return Free Library (RFL). Now, Mahendra says that there are 66 of them across TN, and a few other states, with 10,000 books in all.

His first library in Thirumillaivoyal has now expanded to three cupboards, which he keeps outside his house,bursting with books. It stands completely unmanned.

“I could have kept a register perhaps, where people could sign with the book they were taking,” he adds as an afterthought. But Mahendra snaps out of it the very next moment. “I wanted no protocols, no control. Just people free to read and return books, as per their conscience.”

Encouraging others

Presently, there are 48 RFL libraries in Chennai alone. The others are in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Aurangabad and Mumbai.

But setting these up has not been an easy task. Unable to travel to these places himself, Mahendra would try to convince others to start such libraries.

“I would sometimes see contact numbers in books. Someone who has written an introduction or a foreword – I’d try to find their numbers. I would try to convince them then to start this in their locality. And I would send whatever little money I could to help them,” Mahendra shares.

One such person he convinced was a former classmate of his, Captain R Venkataraman, who started a RFL library in T Nagar, Chennai, in 2016.

“But there are only so many friends or family members who can be convinced,” Mahendra says. “If there are 66 libraries today, you can assume I made 6,000 calls for them.”

Not as easy as it seems

In the past two years, RFL libraries have sprung up in many different places – gated communities, railway stations, hospitals and even a barber shop.

RFL at a Railway Station….

Mahendra is reluctant to share that this has required a considerable amount of legwork and resources from him. He believes it will discourage people, and make them wary of starting more RFLs.

“When people initially came to know about the concept, they wanted to donate books. So I would speak to a few of them, start at 5 am in the morning, make a round with multiple stops and come back with a car full of books,” he recounts. “Sometimes, I would sleep in the car because I’d get tired.”

The problem was that everyone wanted to donate books, but no one wanted to start the library. “Sometimes, people seemed on board with the idea, but they don’t really follow it up with action. I have been wanting to start one RFL library in Bengaluru as well, and got a volunteer too. But they have not really taken it forward after that.”

Mahendra says that he is ready to send some books, and whatever token amount he can from his pocket to help them get started, if only people volunteer.

He also mentions that he is grateful for his wife, who has never raised an objection against him going around the city at odd hours to collect books, and spending money for the RFLs.

Helping students

Mahendra put together the RFL website in 2016. While he is not very familiar with the internet, he says that he somehow learnt some basics and put it together. “The logo looks very childish, no? I made it on Microsoft Paint,” he says, sounding anxious.

The sole purpose for starting the website, he says, is to promote something called ‘Students Corner’.

It allows students to post requirements for second-hand course books, as well as if they have books to donate. Once they fill a form under that section on the site, other students can see it and get in touch. The donor can either mail the books or have them collected by the recipient, as per convenience.

However, Mahendra rues that this has not become as popular as he would have liked it to be.

He also wishes for more people to start RFLs in their localities. “But, it is quite simple really. You just have to see it from time to time to ensure that the infrastructure, wherever you’ve put it, is okay. You can also start it, madam!” he says, cheerfully.

Source…..Geetika Mantri in https://www.thenewsminute.com/

Natarajan

Death of Padma Scientist at Airport Spurs Son To Demand Medical Aid at All Airports…

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

Death is inevitable. But nothing shocks us more than when a death, which could have been prevented or avoided, occurs due to sheer negligence. Human apathy makes death painful and stark, making us question everything – medical advances, the quality of healthcare, laws, regulations, and the value of life in our country.

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

The airport was not equipped to handle this medical emergency, and by the time he was taken to the hospital – a good few hours later – he had breathed his last. The doctors who examined him say that had he been provided with oxygen supply during the “Golden Hour”, he could have been saved.

What makes it even harsher is that precious time was lost in getting formalities like an “Exit Pass” organised for him due to security reasons. What good are processes that are supposedly put in place to keep people safe when they end up killing them?

Up until I started my research for this piece I had assumed that all airports across the country would be equipped to handle emergency medical situations and would also have an ambulance on call.

My assumption was wrong.

If they did then perhaps Prof Lalji could have been saved.

Airports have become a place to shop and eat. They are all well equipped with restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, every brand that you can think of has a presence here, and liquor outlets thrive – and yet one of the most basic requirements of having a medical room with functional facilities is missing.

We, at the Better India, spoke to Late Prof Lalji’s son, Abhisekh Singh, who is asking some pertinent questions.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.


On December 10, 2017, Prof Lalji was travelling from Varanasi to Hyderabad on an Indigo flight. Hailing from a village in Varanasi, Prof Lalji started Genome Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to diagnose and treat genetic disorders affecting the underprivileged, especially from rural India.

Having reached the airport well in time, Prof Lalji enquired about the wheelchair he had asked for while making his booking. He had nagging knee pain and hence wanted the wheelchair.

Unfortunately, the staff at the airport told him that there was no request and they couldn’t provide him with one. Since he was travelling alone, he went in to the airport and checked in.

Abhisekh says, “Since I was not present there at that time, I have requested the airport to provide me with the CCTV footage from that day. However, so far I have not received it. I can only, therefore, corroborate what I am saying with what people present there have said to me.”

After he checked in, a wheelchair was provided. Abhisekh also mentions that around this time he called his father to check on him.

A little after that Prof Lalji faced some difficulty in breathing and went to the counter to ask for help. He was taken to the medical inspection room where the compounder after checking him insisted on having him taken to a hospital for immediate medical intervention.

“While the airport had a medical intervention room there was no doctor or medical supplies there. Looking back they did not even have an oxygen cylinder in the airport,” says Abhisekh.

An ambulance was asked for but since did not arrive Prof Lalji had to be taken in a private car to the nearest hospital which was also quite a distance away. Given the strict security, once a passenger enters the airport, they are not allowed to leave until an exit pass is shown.

Despite being in great distress, Prof Lalji had to wait to have that pass made and only then was allowed to leave the airport.

The doctor who checked Prof Lalji mentioned how he could have been saved if he had been administered with oxygen during the ‘Golden Hour’. Prof Lalji was alive even after the heart attack, but the delay in getting him medical treatment cost him his life.

Here are some of the questions raised by Abhisekh:

1. While there is a medical intervention room, it is virtually of no use.

What is the point of having a designated room in the airport and calling it medical intervention room if there are no trained medical professionals there? In places like Varanasi where even the nearest hospital is quite a distance away, what happens in cases of medical emergencies?

Are these airports waiting for such incidents to occur to act?

2. Should airports not be equipped with basic medical infrastructure?

Unfortunately for us in India, heart disease is still the leading cause of death.

Knowing this should we not be working towards equipping the airports and railway stations, places that see thousands of people day in and day out, with basic medical infrastructure?

An oxygen cylinder, a defibrillator, an ambulance on call?

3. Is there a standard operating procedure in cases of medical emergencies?

Are our airports equipped to handle medical emergencies? Manuals like the Airports Authority of India, Terminal Management clearly states the need to have a well-equipped first aid box ready. This includes a small oxygen cylinder with delivery accessories and a facemask.

The manual also states that it is desirable that an updated list of Telephone numbers and addresses of the hospitals and nursing homes ( indicating the specialised Treatment rendered) in the vicinity of the Airport should always be available with the Terminal Manager.

If these are guidelines then why were none of them implemented on December 10, 2017? Are these guidelines just printed because they look good on paper? Does the DGCA ever audit the airports to ensure that all the norms are being followed?

So important questions for us all.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

Source……. Vidya Raja  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan

Mumbai Beach Welcomes Olive Ridley Turtles After 20 Years….!!!

On Thursday morning, the Versova beach in Mumbai welcomed around 80 palm-sized turtles, making their way slowly but surely in the Arabian Sea.

Why is this event so special?

Well, for starters, the turtles in question are Olive Ridley Turtle, and their eggs hatched on a Mumbai beach after 20 years, and it was all thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Mumbaikars who have been cleaning the Versova beach for over two years now.

The Olive Ridley Turtle has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species, which is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

According to WWF India, “Olive Ridley Turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world” and live in the warm parts Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The females lay their eggs on the same beach that they hatched from!

However, for the past 20 years, these turtles had stopped visiting Mumbai, thanks to the number of pollutants and plastic on the beaches. Not only is the trash an unwelcoming home to lay eggs, but is also a threat to the lives of the tiny turtles who have to walk from their nesting site to the sea all by themselves.

Afroz Shah had taken the initiative to clean up Versova beaches and collect all the plastic dumped there. According to the Hindustan Times, in only 126 weeks, Afroz Shah and the Versova Residents Volunteers’ team has successfully cleared 13 million kg of garbage, which included plastic from the beach.

Speaking about the Olive Ridley Turtle hatchlings, Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer, Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit said,

“Such an incident happened after 20 years. The presence of more turtle nesting sites cannot be ruled out. We will push for the development of a turtle rescue centre close to this nesting site, and we expect it to be built soon.”

Week 127 .

Fantastic news for Mumbai .

We got back Olive Ridley Sea Turtle after 20 years. Historic moment

Nested and Hatched at our beach. We facilitate their journey to ocean.

Constant cleaning helps marine species.

Marine conservation centre needed at @versovabeach

Apart from Versova, these turtles are found on the beaches of Velas, Anjarle, Harihareshwar, Maral and Diveagar in Maharashtra.

The largest nesting site of the world is in Odisha along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal. Villagers in Odisha, too, have made attempts to save the nesting sites and ensure safety to the newborn turtles. You can read more about this story here.

Edited by Gayatri Mishra.

Source……. Tanvi Patel in http://www.the better india.com

Natarajan

 

 

Green Glory: This Indian State Is Ahead of Denmark and Sweden In Wind Energy!!!

With 14.3% of its energy needs being fulfilled through wind and solar energy, it is also a global leader in renewable energy!

In a recent report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis(IEEFA), a US-based think tank, ranked Tamil Nadu as one of the top nine markets in the world for acquiring a high percentage of net energy needs from renewable energy sources.

The study was an assessment of the top 15 countries or power markets in the world, where the share of solar and wind energy in proportion to their total energy requirements is high. Denmark leads the way, with 53% of its energy coming from renewable sources in 2017, followed by Southern Australia and Uruguay.

In 2016-17, Tamil Nadu acquired 14.3% of its energy needs from wind and solar energy sources.

“Tamil Nadu also leads India in installed renewable energy capacity. Of the total 30 GW of installed capacity across the state as of March 2017, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6 GW or 32% of the total. Firm hydroelectricity added another 2.2 GW or 7%, nuclear 8% and biomass and run of river, 3%. As such, zero emissions capacity represents a leading 50% of Tamil Nadu’s total installed renewable energy. With much of Tamil Nadu’s renewable energy coming from end-of-life wind farms installed 15-25 years ago, average utilisation rates are a low 18%, making the contribution of variable renewables to total generation even more impressive,” says the IEEFA report.

Total installed renewable energy capacity for Tamil Nadu stands at approximately 10,800 megawatts (MW), of which 7870 MW comes from wind and 1,697 MW solar, while the rest comes from biomass and small hydro projects. Although it comes third in solar energy capacity behind Andhra Pradesh (2,010 MW) and Rajasthan (1,961 MW), the state tops the charts in wind power capacity ahead of Gujarat (5429 MW) and Maharashtra (4,752 MW). Tamil Nadu generates more wind energy than Sweden (6.7 GW) and Denmark (5.5 GW), the birthplace of wind energy.

“This rise in renewables is predicted to coincide with a slide in coal’s share in Tamil Nadu’s electricity mix, from 69% in 2017 to 42% 10 years later,” says the World Economic Forum. The state has also diversified into biogas and small hydro plants as well.

“As of March 2017, the state had 1 GW of biomass and run-of-river small-scale hydro, 2.2 GW of conventional hydroelectricity, and 1 GW of gas fired power capacity operational (plus another 1 GW of gas under construction),” reports the IEEFA. In an interesting aside, it also hosts the second largest solar farm (Kamuthi) in the country with a capacity of 648 MW.

This is a heartening development as it comes a time when the Government of India has set a target of sourcing 175 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources by 2022.

When it comes to renewable energy in India, one could consider Tamil Nadu as a pioneer of sorts. Most of its wind farms, for example, were built approximately 25 years back.

The natural conditions in the state favour the growth and development of solar and wind energy. The Tamil Nadu coast receives high wind density and velocity. For six months it receives heavy wind flows, while four months see moderate flows. Also, the state receives 300 or more days of sunshine.

The state’s sojourn into renewable energy began as an emergency attempt to fill the growing deficit between supply and demand of power.

Major industries like automotive parts, textiles, cement and leather-tanning, for example, demanded large amounts of power and consequently, the feed-in tariff (payments to ordinary energy users—people or businesses—for the renewable electricity they generate) for the wind energy sector was encouraging.

The price at which wind energy is sold to the people today is determined at an open auction for power utilities. Earlier, the state power regulators had a stranglehold on determining prices but changed to an auction system in 2016.

With the local textile sector first grabbing the bull by its horns, Tamil Nadu also became one of the first states to allow industrial units to establish their own wind power plants. These 20-year-old wind farms owned by the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association (TASMA) generates a little less than 40% of the state’s total wind energy capacity (3000 MW). The Muppandal wind farm outside Madurai, for example, generates 1.5 GW of energy, making it the largest wind farm outside China.

With favourable tariff conditions, the state also made serious progress in the solar energy arena.

“In recent years, the government has also worked to improve its transmission infrastructure, encouraging firms to expand. Since renewable energy is infirm, managing the fluctuation in power generation is key. Tamil Nadu has begun forecasting the flow so that the grid is ready to handle things,” says this recent report in Quartz India.

Having said that, the IEEFA has argued in its report titled ‘Electricity Transformation in India: A Case Study of Tamil Nadu’, it argued how the state’s growth in wind and solar energy generation isn’t enough.

“Tamil Nadu should double its wind energy capacity to 15GW and increase its solar capacity to 13.8GW by 2026-27 to deliver cheaper electricity to customers,” the report said.

Instead, what the state is doing is looking to build 25,000 MW of thermal power projects. “Despite being a world leader in wind energy, Tamil Nadu’s wind farms have ageing and outdated technology. Upgrading the existing turbines alone could double the state’s leading wind energy capacity,” said Tim Buckley, IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australia.

There are other concerns, as well. “Renewable energy assets in Tamil Nadu are facing significant back down (as state power utilities are buying little power from these plants). This adversely impacts their feasibility,” Kanika Chawla, a renewable energy expert at Delhi-based non-profit Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, told Quartz India.

Primarily, the major concerns stem from state regulation-related issues. For starters, the state-owned power utility Tangedco has proposed an additional imposition of taxes on rooftop solar plants, says this Times of India report.

Last July, Tamil Nadu was unable to use all the solar power it generated. In the wind energy sector, the government could stymie TASMA’s ability to drawing back the excess power it delivers to the power grid in the event of a shortage (wind banking). What one must understand is that TASMA generates and delivers excess wind energy to the power grid.

However, the biggest concern is the dire financial condition of the state power utility. In 2016-17, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) posted a loss of Rs 3,783 crore, besides year-long delays in the payment of dues to power-generating units.

As a result, these power generation units are unable to repay loans they had taken from the banks to install all the necessary equipment. The poor state of regulation in the state’s power sector is a real concern.

Source….  

in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan