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Rain and floods claim 15 lives, cause destruction in Madhya Pradesh

The authorities have enlisted the help of the Army and called for helicopters to be used for rescuing people marooned by floods

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Flood (Representational Image.)Wikimedia

BHOPAL, August 20, 2016: Since Friday, fifteen people have died across Madhya Pradesh in the devastation caused by three days of continuous rain and resulting floods, including building collapses in Sagar and Satna districts, officials said on Saturday.

The authorities have enlisted the help of the Army and called for helicopters to be used for rescuing people marooned by floods.

Seven members of an artisan’s family died and three were seriously injured early on Saturday in Baniyani Ghat area of Rahatgarh in Sagar district when their house collapsed due to continuous rain, police said.

The collapse resulted in the death of Manu Rani (55), Vikas (18), Vipin (13), Sanjana (10), Kallu (30), Sarla (25) and Tamanna, who was one-and-a-half-years old.

The three injured are in a serious condition in a hospital.

In Maihar town in Satna district, a newly built, three-storey building with construction workers’ families living in it collapsed amid heavy rain on Saturday, burying many people under the rubble, police said.

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Four people have so far been pulled out of the rubble; many more are feared trapped and efforts are being made to rescue them, the police said.

The building was constructed by Madhya Pradesh Housing Board, a state government agency.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan met reporters here and discussed the situation brought about by the rain and floods.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

He confirmed the incident in Satna and said a rescue and relief operation was underway.

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Rescue operations are also underway elsewhere in Satna, Rewa, Panna and other districts to save people trapped by floods, Chouhan said.

The government has also been setting up relief camps in safer places for people in flood-hit areas to find shelter in, he said. (IANS)

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Undaunted Initiative by tribal women for forest preservation in Muturkham, Jharkhand

Muturkhum forest saved from deforestation and exploitation under Timber mafia due to collective efforts of tribal women

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forest under the threat o deforestation in Muthurkam saved by tribal women. pexeby

8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.

Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.

This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.

 

orest saved from deforestation by tribal women in Muturkham. pexeby

Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.

Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.

“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.

In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.

Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.

But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.

‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.

Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.

“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.

Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.

“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.

Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.

With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.

There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.

“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.

The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.

“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.

“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.

For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.

“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.

Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.

Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.

“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”

The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.

In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.

Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.

She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”

But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.

(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at mudita.g@ians.in)

 

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Incessant Rain Brings North East India to a halt, badly affects normal life

Officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD) predict that due to the depression, the rains accompanied by a light squall would continue till Sunday.

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Low lying areas, patches of roads, paddy fields and several houses have been inundated by the rain water in Tripura. VOA

Guwahati, October 22, 2017 : Normal life was badly affected in most parts of the northeastern region due to the incessant rains since Thursday due to a hyperactive depression in the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

Officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD) predict that due to the depression, the rains accompanied by a light squall would continue till Sunday.

Low lying areas, patches of roads, paddy fields and several houses were inundated by the rain water in Tripura.

Incessant rainfall also continued in different parts of Assam on Saturday, with brief intervals at some places since Friday evening dampening the festive spirit.

An official of the Tripura Disaster Control Centre said though the water level in most of rivers in Tripura is heavily increased, they are flowing below the danger level.

ALSO READ Exclusive : Our Islands Are Vanishing! | Tracing the Inundation of Parali I Island

Tripura Revenue and Relief Minister Badal Choudhury and Urban Development Minister Manik Dey, accompanied by officials, visited some rain affected areas and assessed to take some future measures to check inundation of water.

The IMD office in Agartala recorded 157 mm rainfall since Friday morning.

“A light to moderate rain occurred at most places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura with isolated heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura along with isolated very heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and light rain occurred at most places over Nagaland during the last 24 hours,” said a senior official of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Guwahati on Saturday.

“Heavy and very heavy rain fall at isolated places were predicted over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya on Sunday too,” he said. (IANS)

 

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

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Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.