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Saudi communication and IT authority blocked 68 Percent of 900,000 violated Internet Links in 2016

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Internet, (Representational image). Pixabay

Riyadh, April 17, 2017: Saudi communication and IT authority revealed on Monday that 68 per cent of 900,000 violated internet links were blocked last year, Al Arabiya local news reported.

It said 92 per cent of those links were porn and more than 1,300 linked were with abusive nature against children. The authority also interacted with content providers to deal with 52,000 links to prevent the availability of porn contents to internet users in Saudi Arabia.

Since 2008, the authority have dealt with 5.5 million internet links, of which 91.4 per cent were porn. The authority calls upon the public to report porn contents on the internet, especially those involving children and use its newly introduced filtering system. (IANS)

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Bengal Focuses on Alternatives after Banning Stubble Burning

Echoing Majumdar, state Pollution Control Board (PCB) chief Kalyan Rudra said the practice of stubble burning was not there historically

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Bengal, Stubble Burning, Banned
The problem is that the stubbles have become longer due to the use of machinery, Pradip Majumdar, advisor, agriculture and allied sector in the Chief Minister's office, told IANS. Pixabay

Having banned stubble burning earlier this year, the West Bengal government is now relying on an intense awareness campaign and use of advanced agri-equipment to ensure farmers do not indulge in the polluting practice, but officials claim that the problem has not yet reached major proportions in the eastern state.

Officials say the source of the problem of stubble burning lies in the farmers resorting to the “quick” technology of mechanical harvesters which leave behind a substantial part of the root of the crop as a residue.

“Stubble is always there in paddy cultivation. The problem is that the stubbles have become longer due to the use of machinery,” Pradip Majumdar, advisor, agriculture and allied sector in the Chief Minister’s office, told IANS.

Echoing Majumdar, state Pollution Control Board (PCB) chief Kalyan Rudra said the practice of stubble burning was not there historically.

Bengal, Stubble Burning, Banned
Officials say the source of the problem of stubble burning lies in the farmers resorting to the “quick” technology of mechanical harvesters which leave behind a substantial part of the root of the crop as a residue. Pixabay

“Due to recent technological advances, the window between the Kharif and Rabi crop has narrowed down. So to prepare the land, the farmers resort to a quick technology by making use of a mechanical harvester. In this process, a substantial part of the root of the crop remains as a residue,” Rudra told IANS.

Majumdar said that unlike in the northern states, at this point of time the problem is non-existent in West Bengal, with the Kharif crop yet to be harvested. “The fields are all green everywhere now,” he said.

The problem could recur in Bengal after November when the farmers prepare the land for the Rabi crop, Rudra said.

Emphasising that stubble burning was still notA a major problem in Bengal, Rudra conceded that the practice was reported last season from some districts like East Burdwan, West Burdwan, Hooghly, Murshidabad and Nadia.

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“We have announced the ban keeping in mind the experience of Delhi,” he said.

Rudra said the state PCB had no data on the extent to which stubble burning has impacted pollution levels in the state as “the source apportionment study carried out in Kolkata did not record this particular problem caused by the practice”.

On February 8, the state environment department came out with a notification prohibiting “the indiscriminate burning of left-over paddy and straw/stubble in the whole state of West Bengal with immediate effect,” saying the “indiscriminate burning… in the open fields after the harvesting of crops is causing widespread air pollution in the whole state.”

Rudra said the authorities have suggested to farmers to use balers in case they opt for the mechanical harvester.

Bengal, Stubble Burning, Banned
Stubble is always there in paddy cultivation. Pixabay

“We have suggested that if you want to use the mechanical harvester use a baler which uproots the stubble completely. We have made it clear that farmers cannot resort to stubble burning and can use the mechanical harvester only alongside the baler,” he said.

Baler, most often called a hay baler, is a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut and raked crop (such as hay, cotton, flax straw, salt marsh hay, or silage) into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport, and store.

The authorities are also doing satellite monitoring to trace the areas of stubble burning.

“Whenever we come across even one case, we are immediately asking the district magistrate concerned to take the necessary steps,” said Rudra.

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Majumdar said intense campaigning was on to convince the farmers about the adverse impact of stubble burning.

“We have told them that the high temperatures generated due to stubble burning would destroy micro-organisms beneficial to the soil. It destroys the soil texture and the live population,” he said.

The state also faces a practical problem. The MGNREGA scheme and other such government programmes have led to a scarcity of labour force for agriculture. “As a result, labour has also become pricy”.

“Now if there is a residual stubble on the land, there can be ratoons. Not seeing any direct benefits, the farmers think the land can be freed without incurring any monetary cost by burning the stubble. So in our campaigns we are highlighting the harmful effects on the land, and, towards the end, mentioning the damage caused to the environment,” Majumdar said.

He said suggested alternatives to stubble burning include using new machines which cut the crop as close to the roots as is done manually.

“Research is also on to find some chemical process to derive the benefits. In Malda, we have experimented with a machine to remove the stubble and reuse it for energy. Similar efforts will be made in the south Bengal districts also.

“But these are now in way forward stages. We will consider all options and take the cost efficient process for the farmers for their adopting,” he added. (IANS)