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Indian Coast Gaurd’s dornier aircraft still missing; ISRO to join search operation

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Chennai: The intensive search for an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft, that went missing near Karaikal in Puducherry, continued for the third day on Thursday with no signs of the wreckage, an official said.

There was no information on the aircraft and the three-member crew missing since Monday night, a Coast Guard official told IANS.

He said that a naval submarine was also deployed in the search operation.

The Coast Guard has sought the Indian Space Research Organisation’s help to locate the missing aircraft with the help of its satellites.

According to the official, there was no update on test done on samples of oil floating in Karaikal sea – an area where search was being conducted.

The coastal security agency on Wednesday said that 15 highly specialized Coast Guard/naval ships and several patrol boats of coastal security group were involved in the search operation.

Air sorties too have been carried out to locate the missing aircraft.

Queried about tower signals of cellphones of the aircraft’s crew, a Coast Guard official told IANS that no such signals were received.

The crew included Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar piloting the aircraft, his co-pilot and Deputy Commandant M.K. Soni and navigator/observer Subash Suresh, all in their 30s.

The missing aircraft was deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay. It took off from Chennai airport around 6 p.m. on Monday for a surveillance sortie but did not return.

An official statement issued on Tuesday said that the last contact with the aircraft was made at 9 p.m. on Monday.

The last known location of the aircraft, as per Trichy radar, was off Karaikal in Puducherry, where it was tracked till 9.23 p.m., 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

“The aircraft was the latest induction in the Coast Guard inventory in 2014 and was being flown by highly experienced crew,” an official statement said.

The latest incident comes months after a Dornier-228 of the Indian Navy with three crew members went down in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Goa. (IANS)

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CMFRI, ISRO Join Hands to Protect Coastal Wetlands

“Wetlands are highly prospective for some selective aquaculture ventures which will help the local people earn economical gains” he added

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In an effort to build resilience against the impact of climate change on wetlands, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have teamed up to map, validate and protect smaller wetlands in the coastal region and restore them through coastal livelihood programmes.

This is the first time that a fisheries institute is collaborating with the ISRO to develop a comprehensive climate resilient framework for fisheries and wetlands.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the ISRO to develop a mobile app and a centralised web portal with complete database of wetlands in the country which were smaller than 2.25 hectares.

Such smaller wetlands cover an area of more than 5 lakh hectares across the country, with Kerala alone having as many as 2,592 such wetlands.

According to the MoU, the two institutes will identify and demarcate the wetlands and restore the degraded ones through suitable livelihood options such as coastal aquaculture.

The mobile app will be used for real-time monitoring of the wetlands and giving advisories to the stakeholders and the coastal people.

climate, global warming, celsisu, oceansac
A fisherman stands on his boat as he fishes at the Tisma lagoon wetland park, also designated as Ramsar Site 1141 in the Convention on Wetlands, in Tisma, Nicaragua. VOA

The collaborative move is part of a national framework for fisheries and wetlands recently developed by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), a project of the CMFRI.

The NICRA project aims to find ways and means to mitigate the impact of climate change on marine fisheries and coastal region. According to the MoU, the National Wetland Atlas, already developed by the SAC, will be updated with real-time data of physical, chemical and biological parameters of the wetlands to be provided by the CMFRI.

P.U. Zacharia, who is attached to the NICRA project, said the real-time data of the demarcated coastal wetlands would greatly help in developing a conservation plan for the degraded wetlands in the region, besides utilising these resources for livelihood prospects in the area such as shrimp and crab farming.

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“Smaller wetlands across the country are in a highly neglected state owing to multiple reasons. Climate variability induced rainfall drastically changes the physio-chemical characteristics of such wetlands, which was evidently seen during the devastating floods in Kerala last year.

“The collaborative initiative will help develop a comprehensive wetland information system which could facilitate the village-level wetland advisories to the local people by scientific communities,” Zacharia said.

“Wetlands are highly prospective for some selective aquaculture ventures which will help the local people earn economical gains” he added. (IANS)