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Friday, July 29, 2011

Medicinal/EthnoherbologicalApplications of Pansit-pansitan or the Peperomia pellucida

Peperomia pellucida in a wild habitat

Pansit-pansitan (family: Piperaceae) is an herbal medicine also known as Ulasiman-bato, olasiman-ihalas & tangon-tangon in the Philippines. English name: peperomia.Peperomia pellucida is an annual herb. It is shallow rooted and may reach 40 cm high. It has succulent and angular stems. Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped and turgid, as transparent and smooth as candle wax.Inflorescense is spike with tiny dot like flowers scattered along solitary stalik.Fruits are naked; they mature gradually from the base to the tip and turn brown when ripe. Propagation of the plant is brought about by seeds. Numerous tiny seeds drop off when mature and grow easily in clumps and groups in damp areas. They don’t have any dispersal mechanism and this is the reason behind their rare occurrence. One can see these plants growing in every rainy season again and again on the same place.
Peperomia grows on damp and often loose soil. It is found growing along the wet margins of drains, and in nooks in the gardens and yards. It is seen growing most often in the rocky parts of canals.
Nutritional value
Leaves and stems of the plant are commonly used by human beings who use it for salads, vegetables, and for medicinal purposes. Taken as a salad, Pansit-pansitan helps relive rheumatic pains and gout. An infusion or decoction (boil 1 cup of leaves/stem in 2 cups of water) can also be made and taken orally- 1 cup in the morning and another cup in the evening.
Infusion and decoction of leaves and stems are used for gout and arthritis. It is used externally, as a facial rinse for complexion problems. Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for boils, pustules and pimples. Peperomia pellucida belongs to the “preferred list” of Philippine medicinal plants, being studied for its use in the treatment of arthritis and gout. For arthritis: Leaves and stems of the fresh plant may be eaten as salad. Or, as an infusion, put a 20-cm plant in 2 glasses of boiling water; and 1/2 cup of this infusion is taken morning and evening.
Peperomia pellucida has been reported to be used traditionally as an Anti-hyperuricemic Agent ie. it can be administered for lowering uric acid level in blood. Besides this, its applications have been reported for the treatment for abscess and boils, arthritis, edema, headache, kidney troubles, migraine, neuralgia, and rheumatism.
For the herbal treatment of skin disorders like abscesses, pimples and boils, pound the leaves and/or the stalks and make a poultice (boil in water for a minute or two then pounded) then applied directly to the afflicted area. Likewise a decoction can be used as a rinse to treat skin disorders. For headaches, heat a couple of leaves in hot water, bruise the surface and apply on the forehead. The decoction of leaves and stalks is also good for abdominal pains and kidney problems. Like any herbal medicine it is not advisable to take any other medication in combination with any herbs. Consult with a medical practitioner knowledgeable in herbal medicine before any treatment.
Key Words: Pansit-pansitan, Piperaceae, Ulasiman-bato, annual herb, Ethnoherbological,anti-hyperuricemic Agent                            More Reading...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority is to be set up ...

A National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority to revamp the process of granting Environmental Clearance, is to be set up in India shortly.

The Environmental Appraisal Authority would help protect the ecology without supporting the system of license permit prevailing so far. This opinion was expressed by Dr. Manmohan Singh while he was speaking in an International Seminar on “Global Environmental and Disaster Management: Law and Society”.

Mr. Singh reportedly added that the authority after its formation could lead to a complete change in the process of granting environmental clearances. This authority will be equipped with dedicated staff and will work on full time basis to evolve better and more objective standards of scrutiny report news papers.

Speaking in the conference Dr. Singh added that the current technological developments would play important roles in addressing environmental concerns of the time. As per reports Mr. Singh said, “The task ahead is to design a system of intellectual property rights which provide adequate incentives to invest in the development of new environment friendly technologies and, at the same time, ensuring that these technologies become available to poor countries at affordable costs.

Mr. H.S. Kapadia, the Chief Justice of India who has also been reported to address the conference, called for a regulatory mechanism for appraisal and pricing of minerals. As per his suggestions – besides a monitoring mechanism in charge of appraisal of mining projects, there should also be a proper pricing mechanism. The mining sector is facing a big problem to pricing of exportable minerals. The excavated minerals should have a price- discovery mechanism. Chief Justice was of the opinion that it was due to differences between the royalty paid to the government and the amount they realize abroad, that illegal mining was continued under the nose in many states of the country.

Key Words : Appraisal, mining authority, Dr. Manmohan Singh, India, minerals, royalty

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Government Plans to set up vulcher-care units at Muta

With only 260 vulchers left in the Jharkhand state of India, the State’s Forest (Wildlife) Department is serious towards their healthcare and Protection.

In view of protecting vulchers of the state the State Department of Forest (Wildlife Division) is planning to set up a vulture care unit at Muta near Muta Crocodile Breeding Centre, about 23 Km from Ranchi Town.

The Vulcher Healthcare Unit which is to be set up in view of saving vulchers in the state from extinction is aimed to provide safe spaces for their health examination on regular basis. This unit is to be the part of the ‘Vulcher Breeding Project” which is a Central Project to come up at Muta in association with the Central Zoo Authority with the aim of increasing the number of species in Jharkhand. The project is to be started with an initial input of Rupees 40 lakh.

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The falling number of vulchers in Jharkhand has been a matter of concern for experts who are regularly studying all possible causes of their reducing population, Setting up of Vulcher Healthcare Units at Muta would encourage them reaching to some conclusion and devising latest method of their population. Under the project, two quarantine units are to be set up at some distance from the Healthcare Units.

As per the planning, the first quarantine unit is to be set up on an area of 10/10 feet at the bank of the Bhera rivulet located at a distance of 4-5 Km from the Vulcher Breeding Centre. The second quarantine unit is to be set up at an area of 40/10 feet. It has been planned to import baby birds from other areas. These birds are to be tested against carrying any contagious disease. When these birds would be found fit, these would be released from the second quarantine.

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As per the strategy, the baby birds are to be reared at the first quarantine where as the sub-adult birds are to be kept and reared at the second.

The main aviary is being constructed at an area of 100x400feet. The roof of the aviary is to be covered with a huge net. The adult birds are to be kept in this area. Near the breeding centre a small hospital is to be set up. The overall project is to be taken care of and monitored by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Central Zoo Authority of India. These centres will be responsible for directing the State Department for the conservation of birds and implementation of norms what ever is decided from time to time.

The Crocodile Breeding Centre at Muta is situated at a distance of 23 km from Ranchi on Ranchi Ramgarh Road near Ormanjhi. It covers an area of 0.02 sq km. It was commissioned in 1987 under the IUCN programme for conservation of endangered species. Crocodile breeding was started here with 5 Crocodiles, 3from Madras Crocodile Band and 2 from Bhera River. Marsh crocodile was first spotted in Bhera River in late 1960s, which flows nearby. There are around 50 crocodiles. A small forest rest house maintained by the Forest Department and a Rest-shed cater provided here to the need of visitors.

Key Words: Muta, quarantine, healthcare, aviary, vulcher,
Picture credit: 1. World Press, 2 and 3  Stephen Daly 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Changes in the composition of free amino acids during the decay of Cynodon dactylon Pers.


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More about Cynodon dactylon

Ambient Temperature and Relative Humidity play a key role in fungal colonization on grasses

A Pre- Published Research Paper 

                                                                                                                         Page 2


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cleome , a weed of rainy season

Cleomes are beautiful plants that grow in diverse habitats during rainy season. These belong to taxonomic family Cleomaceae. Earlier it was placed in the family Capparaceae.Later, when DNA studies found it to be more closely related to Brassicaceae, it was placed in Cleomaceae.
The genus Cleome includes about 170 species of herbaceous annual or perennial plants and shrubs.It has sub-cosmopolitan distribution through out the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world.
Cleome gets it's nickname "Spider Flower" from the spidery-like flowers with long, waving stamen which are held on tall, strong leafy stems. It is one of the few annuals that looks at home among shrubs and perennials. Planted in mass, they look like blooming shrubbery with 8-inch balls of blossoms. They will reach a height of 6 feet in a good season. Violet Queen (pictured), Cherry Queen, Pink Queen and Helen Campbell (white) are among the most popular cultivars.
Start seeds indoors four weeks before the last frost or plant them directly outdoors in spring after danger of frost has passed. Germination takes about 10 days. Space the plants about 1 foot apart. They will often reseed themselves. The seeds will lie dormant until spring. Hybrids will not breed true.
Cleome tolerates heat and dry weather well, and continue to look good well into the summer. Lower leaves tend to fall at the end of summer, and this can be covered by companion plants.
They make excellent cut flowers if conditioned by soaking them in very warm water, but their musky scent is sometimes not pleasant. For the same reason, you may not want to plant them near windows and doors.

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Key Words : Cleome, spiderwort,diverse habitat,Capparaceae

Oxalis triangularis is commonly known as love plant and purple Shamrock. It is found growing along roadsides during July and August months along with other families of the genus. It also grows along marsh sides, embankments, low lands and moist places. Its beautiful foliage and dainty flowers make it a good choice for containers, borders or indoors.It belongs to family Oxalidaceae or Papilionaceae.
The deep green or purple triangular leaves that close at night form noteworthy characteristics of the plant. It is reported to be native to Brazil. However it has been naturalized in many countries. It grows as a weed in India during rainy season.
It contains little amount of oxalic acid and does not have many medicinal properties. It is prone to fungal leaf spot diseases, rusts and smuts. Leaf miners and spider mites cause considerable damage to the plant.It can be grown indoors through rhizomes.

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Key Words: Oxalis tringularis, oxalidaceae, marshes, moist , rainy season

Oxalis triangularis

Oxalis triangularis is commonly known as love plant and purple Shamrock. It is found growing along roadsides during July and August months along with other families of the genus. It also grows along marsh sides, embankments, low lands and moist places. Its beautiful foliage and dainty flowers make it a good choice for containers, borders or indoors.It belongs to family Oxalidaceae or Papilionaceae.
The deep green or purple triangular leaves that close at night form noteworthy characteristics of the plant. It is reported to be native to Brazil. However it has been naturalized in many countries. It grows as a weed in India during rainy season.
It contains little amount of oxalic acid and does not have many medicinal properties. It is prone to fungal leaf spot diseases, rusts and smuts. Leaf miners and spider mites cause considerable damage to the plant.It can be grown indoors through rhizomes.

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Key Words: Oxalis tringularis, oxalidaceae, marshes, moist , rainy season

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Efforts to woo back birds

The Kerala Forest Department has been reported to undertake various artificial measures to woo back birds to their natural habitat and to conserve them. For this, the department is providing artificial nests, feed and nesting material, and it is trying its best to improve birds’ habitat.
Earlier, this type of efforts were taken up by some NGO’s alone, but current efforts of the Kerala Forest Department is sure to send a novel message to the Forest Departments of other states of India as well, and encourage officers and employees of the department to device and implement conservation measures on their own while doing their duties defined by the government.
It has been reported that the Kerala Forest Department has planned to set up about 300 artificial hide outs for barn owls in Alappuzha town of the state. It is observed that barn owls usually make nests in old structures like mosques, temples, churches and traditional buildings. Now, since most of these buildings have been transformed into concrete structures and abandoned buildings are hard to find due to growth in human population, land reclamation etc., barn owls have lost their habitats completely. The Department of Forests is trying to provide artificial hide outs to barn owls, and pigeons in buildings.

1.Barn Owl
Common Mynas, wood peckers and parrots roost in holes of dead trees. In order to facilitate these birds in finding out suitable habitats, the Kerala Forest Department is formulating projects to consume and protect lofty and dead trees as well. The officers of the department have reportedly developed projects for constructing hide outs for barn owls, pigeon holes in tall buildings, for protecting lofty trees for certain birds that make nests in their holes; and for providing food and roosting sites for attracting birds of domestic and migrant categories. The project is planned to be launched in the area near the Vambanand Wetland System.

2. Holes in a tree trunk made by wood pecker

3. A Wood - pecker
The Kerala Department of Forests is taking up an initiative to create and widen natural habitats and to regenerate ecosystems. The above mentioned programmes form the part of these initiatives. The financial arrangements amounting up to 4 crore for these projects are to be made through Kuttanand Financial Package.
Key Words: Kerala, Forest Department, woo back birds, artificial nests, holes, barn owls, lofty buildings, financial package, ecosystem, Kuttanand

Friday, July 15, 2011

Some rare birds on trade

Some reports regarding increasing bird trade in endangered species that were published recently by the local media are matters of concern not alone for environment and wildlife lovers, but for common public as well. The reports mentioned about trade in some endangered, rare or vulnerable species of birds such as Grey Headed Parakeet, Plum Headed Parakeet, Java sparrow, Common Hill Myna etc. Let me introduce these birds to those who are not well familiar with these birds.

Grey-headed Parakeet
This bird is scientifically known as Psittacula finschii. It is closely related to the Slaty- headed Parakeet. These two together form a super species Psittacula finschii which is named after the German naturalist and explorer Otto Finsch.

This bird is found in North-eastern India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. This bird is recognised by its grey/ green face and dull green colour of its rest of the body, faint pale green band below cheeks and a short tail.

Plum- headed Parakeet
This bird is taxonomically known as Psittacula cyanocephala. It is a green parrot usually up to 33 cm long and a 22cm long tail. Head of the male bird is red; and crown, nape and cheeks are purple blue. A narrow black neck collar and black chin stripe form principal features for identification of the bird. A red patch is found on the shoulders and rump and tail are bluish- green in colour. The tip of the tail is white. Mandibles are yellowish in colour.

The head of the female bird is grey; its upper mandible is corn –yellow in colour. It lacks the black neck collar, chin stripe and red patch of shoulder. Heads of young birds are green in colour with yellowish mandibles.

This bird is endemic to Indian subcontinent. However, it is a resident breeder in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangla Desh. It is a gregarious and noisy species. It is reported that this bird can learn to mimic beeps and whistles though not a good talker. It nests in holes in tree trunks and lays 4 to 6 white coloured eggs.
This bird is usually found in forests and open woodlands. Its population is being reduced gradually due to trade in urban and heavily inhabited areas. Some countries have issued stamps depicting Plum- headed parakeets. These countries are Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.

Java – sparrow
Java- sparrow is a small passerine bird taxonomically known as Padda oryzivora. It is locally known as Java-finch, Java rice sparrow or Java rice bird. Though it is a resident of Java, Bali, Indonesia etc. it has been introduced in a large number of other countries too.

The length of this bird is up to 17 cm. The under parts and breast of an adult bird is grey in colour. Its belly is pink, head is black, cheeks are white, eye ring is red, feet are pink, and bill is red and thick. The bill of this bird is black and bases are pink.

Song of this bird is rapid series of call notes chipchipchipchipchip …It builds nest in a tree or building and lays up to 8 eggs. It feeds on grains and other seeds. It can be frequently seen in open grassland and cultivation.

Habitat loss and large scale hunting are serious threats to this bird. It is this reason that Java sparrow has become uncommon in its native range. The IUCN red list of threatened species has listed it as vulnerable. It has been placed in Appendix II of CITES. In India, it is found as introduced species but it is not a successful resident of Indian mainland. It has established a breeding population around Colombo, Sri Lanka, several of the Hawaiian Islands etc.

Common Hill Myna
A resident of Hill regions of South Asia, and Southeast Asia, Hill Myna is a member of Starling Family which is taxonomically known as Sturnidae.

It is stocky-jet black bird. It has orange- yellow patches on naked skin and fleshy wattles on the side of its head and nape. Its length ranges from 20 to 29 cm. This bird is taxonomically known as Gracula religiosa.
The plumage of this bird is black purple tinged on head and neck. Large white wing patches on wing are obvious in flight but covered when the bird is sitting. Bill and legs are bright yellow. Yellow wattles are found on the nape and under the eyes.

The Hill Myna is a resident breeder from Kumaun division in India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, the Lower Himalyas, Terrai and foothills up to 200m ASL. It is reported extinct in Bangladesh due to habitat destruction and over exploitation for the pet trade. In Puerto Rico, Hawaii and in the mainland USA it is found as introduced species (Salim Ali and Sidney Dillon Ripley, 1983).

·         Birdlife International (2004). Psittacula cyanocephala. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006.
·         Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6.
·         Finches and sparrows by Clement, Harris and Davis, ISBN 0 – 7136- 8017-2
·     Arnaiz- Villena A , Ruiz- del – Valle V, Gomez Prieto P, Reguera R, Parga- Lozane, C, Serano- Vela Ji( 2009)Estrildinae Finches(Aves, Passiformes) from Africa, South Asia and Australia: Amolecular Phylogeographic Study. Open Ornithology Journal 2, ISSN: 1874- 4532.
Key Words: endangered, rare, vulnerable, Birdlife International, Ornithology, IUCN, Red List, Appendix, Salim Ali

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bird Trade in Jharkhand, India

Birds have been hunted for sports, meet, and fur since long. Habitat destruction, large scale use of pesticide mainly in agriculture, has contributed further to cause extinction of many species. Sparrows and many other birds have already occupied their places in the list of endangered species, and similar is the position of many birds other species across the world. Jharkhand state of India is gaining new name where the danger against lives of birds have suddenly raised up to great heights due to rising trade in rare and endangered bird species.

Different species of birds including rare, endangered and vulnerable are sold in fair, market places and on roadsides in most of the urban areas and rural markets. Some birds are sold for their meet where as other are sold for keeping them as pets. Some of the bird species are reportedly being hunted for smuggling outside the state and even beyond the boundary of the country. Even migratory birds are caught on a large scale and sold along with local birds. Some hunters use to walk with guns around water bodies and shoot birds for their taste.

Jharkhand has been identified as a big market for birds. People trap birds from forests, wet lands and crop fields and sell locally. It is reported that some small traders have links with big traders in Kolkata and Patna and sell birds to them. These big traders sell birds on high prices. Some birds like a grey headed parakeet which is a rare bird for not only this area but for the whole country is sold for rupees 200 to 400 per bird. The blossom headed parakeet costs rupees 150 to 300 per bird report local media. The black headed munia costs rupees 50 to 200 per bird. The Java sparrow, a very rare bird, is also sold in the markets and fair is sold at the rate of 100 to 200 rupees per bird.

Hunting birds, killing them, and keeping them in cages are defined as punishable activities under Wildlife (conservation) Act 1972. Section 51 of this act has the provision of penalties for these activities. Department of forest, custom, police and even CBI are law enforcement agencies against these criminal activities. Still the bird trade goes on under the nose. In other post find detailed information about birds mentioned in this post.

Key Words : Hunting, sport, wetland, water bodies, bird trade, Jharkhand

Friday, July 08, 2011

Ban on polythene bags in Jharkhand, India

A welcome ban has been imposed on sale and use of polythene of less than 40 micron thickness by State Pollution Control Board, Jharkhand.
Any person found engaged in the production and use of polythene of thickness greater than the recommended, will be prosecuted.
The ban on the use of plastics or plastic materials for making packaging of gutkha, tobacco, tobacco products etc. has already been imposed in the state.CNN-IBN on March 03, 2011 wrote - Even as India waits for harsher pictorial warnings on all tobacco products - a new ban is put in place for plastic packaging of gutka.The Supreme Court's landmark decision to ban the use of plastic in sachets for storing or selling tobacco, gutkha and pan masala came into effect across the country from March 1 this year.
The ban on plastic wrappings as observed in Jharkhand state of India  had lead shortage and even black marketing of these materials for about some months and lastly paper packed materials appeared in the market. It is important to note that consumption of tobacco in the form of gutkha has reached to even remote parts of Jharkhand and in the city area greatest addiction can be observed among students. The government had already tried to impose a complete ban on gutkha but could not. However, the ban on plastic as a packaging material and carry bags is hoped to go for long time, and hence it is welcomed by environment lovers with hope and happiness.
Banned Materials
·        Bags and containers made of polythene of less than 40 micron thickness
·        Bags and containers made of recycled plastic
·        Packaging on gutkha and tobacco and products thereof.
·     Under Section 15 of Environment (Protection) Act 1986  – 5 years’ imprisonment and penalty worth rupees one lakh
·        In the disobedience of the rule, a fine of rupees five thousand per day.
Key Words : plastic, polythene, 40 micron, Jharkhand,State Pollution Control Board

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Parthenium causes up to 40% yield loss in various crops - report scientists

A GUEST ARTICLE BY:  kathak Mehta

Every morning as you take the newspaper in hand and hear about prices of food grains, vegetables, and other agricultural produce rising, you wonder whether it is the national policy makers to blame or the agriculturists; whether you can do anything about it or go ahead and take things as they come rather than fret over it. One of the major reason, by the way,  as often cited by print media for the rise in the prices of vegetables, pulses and other food grains is more demand and less supply.  This supply-demand mismatch they conveniently say is the villain.  But, as the day goes on, with numerous other chores, you forget about it completely until you stumble upon another such headline a few days later. 

Invariably the prices of agriculture products are on an all-time high - a fact which I too worried over in the mornings, only till I got too busy into the routine of the day.  Incidentally on some such morning recently, I came across a piece of news which talked about how various weeds are a major source of loss in crop yield and it talked about Parthenium - an obnoxious and one of the most feared weed species in the nation. 

According to Directorate of Weed Science Research (DWSR), Parthenium is reported to cause 15-27% and up to 40% yield loss in various crops.

Scientists say that parthenium weed control could help increase crop yield and the country’s food grains production by 25-30 per cent.  “Proper management of the weed could increase crop yield by 30 per cent and help us achieve self-sufficiency in import-dependent food items such as pulses and edible oil,” DWSR Director Jay. G. Varshney said.

Ahh! then it clicked to me,
If this is to be believed, this, up to 40% yield loss due to parthenium can be one of the major reasons of the hike in grain prices.  And we thought it was only the policy makers and the government which was responsible. 
A lot of us might not have come across parthenium weed and may not have been touched by its adverse effects as such.  But I am sure after reading this, we realize that each one of us is a victim of the adversity of Parthenium to a sizeable extent.

Parthenium is spreading like wild fire in India.  Its growth rate on an average is 5% annually since parthenium weed produces large quantities of seeds, up to 100,000 per plant.

For a country like India which has a large and diverse agriculture and where agriculture plays an important role in the economic, social, and political fabric, these figures are alarming!

The situation calls for immediate action.  It’s time we initiate a movement against parthenium as the Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev movements against corruption before we realize it’s too late.   As we are trying to remove corruption from the roots of the system, let us also join our hands to uproot parthenium from the nation!
P.S.  There is a blatant need for an efficient product for treatment of parthenium.  Anyone who has or knows of a technology for treatment of parthenium is requested to post it here.   

Key Words: Parthenium, crop, agriculture, crop,Anna Hajare, Baba Ramdeo

 Contact : kathak.mehtaa@gmail.com 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Vitality and growth of Banyan- roots

To study a banyan tree
You not only must know
Its main stem in its own soil
But also trace the growth
Of its greatness in the further soil
For then you can know the true nature of its vitality

- Rabindranath Tagore

Learn from the Banyan Roots

OSPCB’s notice to close four Thermal Power Plants in Orissa

Fly ash disposal and management is a major environmental and legal responsibility of thermal power plants but many of them don’t take it seriously unless law enforcement agencies take strong steps. Such a case relates to Super Thermal Power Plants of the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) located in Orissa.

In spite of repeated directions and show cause notices from the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to take corrective measures on fly ash disposal mechanism, the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited failed to address concerns over disposal of fly ash generated by four units of Talcher Super Thermal Power Stations (TSTPS) at Kaniha in Angul district of Orissa. This had led the OSPCB to conduct a personal hearing on the issue. Finally, the OSPCB asked the NTPC on June 28, 2011 to stop power generation at these units.

Sidhant Das, the Member Secretary of OSPCB has reportedly said that the OSPCB has issued closure notice for four out of total six power generating units at TSTPS because the company failed to put forward any robust mechanism to dispose huge volumes of ash being generated from its six units.

The mine void
As per reports, a mine void located at a distance of about 45 km from Kaniha was identified for TSTPS for disposal of its ash but no concrete progress was made on this front. The OSPCB has estimated that TSTPS discharges about 6 lakh metric tonnes of ash slurry per month into ash ponds.

The power deficit
The four NTPC units that have received closure notice belong to NTPC’S Stage II operation and each unit generates 5oomw of thermal power annually. The combined thermal power generation of all the six units is 3000 mw per annum. If power generation from these plants is halted, several stages are likely to face power deficit.

Ash ponds
The fly ash from thermal power plants is generated from burning of coal. Four ash ponds were constructed near the site to dump the fly ash. These ash ponds as per assessment of OSPCB are expected to achieve full capacity by the month of October 2011. If four units are closed the remaining space in ponds is expected to be filled within a year.

It is reported that OSPCB had given three choices to NTPC and these choices were – raising dyke of ash pond, disposal of ash in the form of high density slurry and transportation of ash through pipeline into a mining void. The company reportedly did not show any visible progress with regard to three alternatives.

Earlier in the month of May 2011, the OSPCB officials observed cracks in one of these ponds. The cracks were developed due to high pressure of ash. However, the crack was repaired in time. It is important to note that if breached, the ash contained in an ash pond can cause serious land and water pollution and can ruin crop in a vast area.

Key Words : Orissa, flyash,OSPCB, NTPC