Monday June 24, 2019

Jumbo gesture: This small town in Odisha is building ponds for elephants for the summer

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By Prateek Kumar

At a time when elephants are killed for their tusks across the world, a small town of Odisha in India is making an effort to help the jumbos survive the onslaught of extreme summers.

The forest officials of the rural town of Dhenkanal in Odisha have come up with a plan to build small water ponds for the elephants in the nearby forests. “About 22 big and 14 small ponds at the cost of Rs 90 lakhs, will be constructed by the government to provide proper water facilities for elephants in nearby forest regions,” officials said.

The money to be spent on digging ponds will be made available by the state wildlife authority from the funds of Compensatory Afforestation Management Programme Authority (CAMPA). Allotted cost for the construction of each pond is presumed to be between Rs 2 – 2.5 lakh.

Considering the temperature in the eastern part of the country shoots over 40 degrees Celsius, it is a great step towards taking care of the wild. It also helps in avoiding the man-animal conflict that results in the death of many elephants and humans.

Animals will reach out to the residential complexes for refuge, if proper measures for their conservation are missing from the spectrum of the officials. Therefore, to overcome these fatal scenarios, the government has decided to make water storage reservoirs in the form of ponds for drinking water, ” said J N Das, Assistant District Conservator of forests.

“On an average an elephant requires 250 kg of fodder and 200 liters of water to survive. However due to shrinking forests, food available to them has depleted, following which they intrude sugarcane and paddy farms for their requirement”, Das informed, and added, “Apart from 120 elephants from Dhenkanal, around 80 from neighboring districts of Keonjhar and Angul enter this area in search of food and water.”

The Kandhra reserve forest in Hindol forest range is a major habitat of pachyderms for which six ponds will be dug in the region. Work on 28 ponds has already begun and digging of eight more ponds will begin soon.

The instances of human–animal conflict in the districts have increased manifold in the recent years. Jumbos from the nearby forests often trespass into the human territory killing several and destroying crops worth crores of rupees. Out of the eight forest ranges in Odisha, seven are severely affected by the jumbo menace.

Pradipta Kumar Sahoo, Divisional Forest Officer, said “the rise in elephant population coupled with water scarcity has posed serious problems due to which the decision was taken to dig ponds.”

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Microsoft Ready to Help Indian Startups, Says President Anant Maheshwari

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Armed with a cutting-edge technology platform, a well-established partner organisation and an expansion of M12 venture fund, Microsoft is ready to help Indian startups across the spectrum embrace the next phase of growth, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said here on Monday.

India, which saw a tremendous growth in the startup space in the last couple of years, is now witnessing a growth in the business-to-business (B2B) tech startups coming up with innovative ideas to deal with local problems.

“With our intelligent tech expertise, deep focus on trust and unique global go to market partnering, we empower unicorns and startups to scale sustainably at a global level,” said Maheshwari.

“We remain excited about India’s entrepreneurial startup potential and will continue to accelerate it as a growth engine for the economy,” he added.

India witnessed a dramatic rise of eight unicorns in 2018 from among the start-ups across verticals as against a mere nine in six years from 2011 till 2017, according to IT industry apex body Nasscom.

The start-ups joining the select club for their valuation over $1 billion are Oyo Rooms (hospitality), Zomato and Swiggy (food delivery), Udaan (retailer marketplace), Byju’s, (edu-tech), Paytm Mall (e-tail), Freshworks (software programmer) and Policybazaar (digital insurance).

Maheshwari said Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support Indian startups to achieve scale and evolve from market ready to enterprise ready.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

The introduction of M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, in India in February is creating new value for startups, VCs and the company itself to maintain the pace and direction of innovation.

“M12 is looking at investing in innovators who have aligned their focus on cutting-edge technologies that better enable digital transformation. The portfolio development team at M12 is specifically built to help support and scale companies by leveraging the expansive resources of Microsoft,” said the company.

According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 — 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.

Also Read: Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

Under the “Microsoft for Startups” initiative, startups can co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs in the global arena and mentorship from industry veterans.

In less than 18 months, Microsoft for Startups has closed more than 120 co-sell deals with more than $126 million in active pipeline for startups.

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months. (IANS)