T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JANUARY 13, 2017
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ALL SET FOR
ACTOR RAM CHARAN
Mr Rajakumar Chandra
champions the cause of
businesses in Little India and
works towards making the
area an attractive place for
locals and tourists
stop abruptly once in awhile.
According to a news report by
the Times of India, the particular
pacemaker is the most advanced
pacing technology at one-tenth
the size of a traditional pace-
It is implanted directly
into the heart, provid-
ing a safe alternative to
without the complications
associated with cardiac
Dr Dilip Kumar of
ity Hospital said the
procedure took about
20 minutes and she was
discharged the next day.
cash prize for AP’s
first Nobel laureate
A CASH prize of Rs100
crores will be given to the
first Nobel laureate from
The announcement by
Chief Minister N. Chan-
drababu Naidu was made
during the inaugural
ceremony of the Children
Science Congress at Sri Padmavati
Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam.
He encouraged students to
pursue science with emphasis on
research and innovation, saying:
“We expect to see several lead-
ing scientists and Nobel prize
winners emerge from this lot. As
youngsters are more adaptive to
technology, we hope the existing
demographic dividend will pro-
vide several innovative ideas.”
Bhubaneswar airport to start
handling international cargo
INTERNATIONAL cargo handling
operations will begin from the
Biju Patnaik International Airport
in Bhubaneswar from Jan 27.
A hall near the domestic air
cargo terminal has been designat-
ed for the international air cargo
Ministry of micro, small and
medium enterprises secretary L.N.
Gupta said this will fulfil the long-
standing demand of exporters to
have hassle-free exports of their
goods to foreign countries, as well
as boost export from the state.
toilet complex in Delhi
DELHI Chief Minister Arvind
Kejriwal has inaugurated a toilet
complex in a south Delhi neigh-
bourhood, which has almost 150
During the inauguration, he
said the government has already
constructed nearly 7,000 toilets in
the city and 1,000 more were in
At the same time, he also an-
nounced that concrete houses will
be built for the people living in
slums in the coming three to four
years as was promised by the Aam
Aadmi Party before it came to
power in February last year.
He also spoke of plans to im-
prove healthcare in the state, say-
ing: “Our target is to build 1,000
more clinics in all areas of Delhi.”
Mumbai launches India’s
biggest public Wi-Fi network
INDIA’S largest public Wi-Fi net-
work is now live at 500 dedicated
hotspots across Mumbai.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadna-
vis said another 700 hotspots will
be active by May 1.
During the trial pe-
riod between Jan 2 to
8, 23,000 users signed
up for the network and
downloaded more than
2TB of data.
Mr Fadnavis described
this as “a major aspect of
digital empowerment in
Rare felines seized in
UP from trafficker
IN A significant catch, five
caracals and a leopard cat
(right) — both rare and
less-sighted members of
the cat family — were
rescued from a trafficker,
identified as Mohammad
Arif, in Uttar Pradesh’s
The animals, kept in
cages, were being taken
from Bihar to Hyderabad,
The police rescued them after a
tip-off and intercepted a vehicle
the suspect was transporting them
in, said Mirzapur’s district forest
officer K.K. Pandey.
The cats, which appeared to be
as young as one year old, were
healthy but scared, he added.
The forest officials gave the
animals some food and water and
moved them to Lucknow zoo for
Chennai attempts to break
‘largest tennis lesson’ record
AS MANY as 956 young tennis
players got together at a training
session with coaches to attempt
to break “the largest tennis les-
son” record in Chennai’s SDAT
Stadium last week.
The children got to play with
leading tennis players such as Le-
ander Paes and Rohan Bopanna.
The Guinness World Records
may take some time to decide, but
the participants were confident
that they had set a record and suc-
cessfully put India on the world
map for this achievement.
The current record of 803 play-
ers is held by Liverpool, England.
More security for women
RATTLED by the outrage over the
molests on New Year’s Day, the
Karnataka government has taken
more security measures.
Home Minister G. Paramesh-
wara said: “About 550 CCTV
cameras will be installed across
the city at a cost of Rs39 crores
over the next two months for
It plans to have about 5,000
CCTV cameras over time to
strengthen the state’s security.
The government has also
decided to increase the quota of
policewomen from 5 to 20 per
cent for the protection of women
across the state.
Lighters and knives now
accepted on Delhi Metro
LIGHTERS, matchboxes and
small knives are now off the re-
stricted list of items on the Delhi
The decision was made by
the Central Industrial Security
Force, which has been left with
thousands of such items piling
up at its depot in Shastri Park, an
official of the force said.
Officials said over 100 lighters
and matchboxes were seized on
average daily at different stations.
They have also received a
request from labourers to carry
mechanical tools on the metro.
In such cases, the tools will be
examined and the passenger’s
details will be registered so he or
she can be traced if needed.
Bus to run on biogas in
Kolkata from end-March
A 75-SEAT bus powered by
biogas will ferry passengers in
Kolkata from March 30.
The operators claim it will be
India’s first such bus service.
The bus will run on renewable
fuel generated from waste.
A nominal fare of Rs1 will be
The bus, which will run on the
17.5km Ultadanga-Garia stretch,
will be one of the fleet of 12
buses to be eventually deployed
along 12 routes across Kolkata.
Each bus will cost Rs 18 lakh.
Woman in Kolkata gets
world’s smallest pacemaker
THE world’s smallest pacemaker
has given a new lease of life to a
65-year-old woman in Kolkata.
Bithika Ghosh used to experi-
ence severe bradycardia — slow
heart rate — that made her heart
January 13, 2017
on the march again
Better policing and
protection the reason
for their population rise
ERE is one of India’s most successful
conservation stories: From a popu-
lation of barely 75 in 1905, there
were over 2,700 Indian rhinos (Rhinoceros
unicornis) by 2012, according to the World
Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India), a
global wildlife advocacy.
Rhinos are mega-herbivores, part of a
small and disappearing group that weigh
over 1,000kg and include the elephant and
the hippopotamus. These large herbivores
are shapers of their landscape and environ-
ment, and the rhino may well be a keystone
species, according to 2014 research con-
ducted in South Africa’s Kruger National
By eating only certain kinds of grass —
and trampling dense vegetation — rhinos
indirectly affect smaller herbivores in their
area, creating a cascade of effects that, in
turn, affects other species, from tigers to
The Indian rhinoceros is also known to
help in seed dispersion, moving large tree
seeds from forested areas to grasslands
The Indian rhino was moved from its sta-
tus of endangered (since 1986) to vulnerable
in 2008 by the International Union for Con-
servation of Nature (IUCN). This was after
a survey in 2007 by the IUCN Asian Rhino
Specialist Group, which estimated that there
were close to 2,575 one-horned rhinos in
the wild, spread across parts of India and
Nepal, with India being home to 2,200 rhi-
nos, or over 85 per cent of the population.
The habitat of the Indian rhino once ex-
tended from Pakistan into northern India
and modern-day Myanmar, reaching into
Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. However,
loss of large tracts of habitat and extensive
poaching for its horn — believed to have
medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties —
led to its extinction in all but India and Ne-
By the 1900s, only between 100 and 200
rhinos survived in the wild. From there to
its current population is a remarkable turn-
around, according to the International Rhi-
In India, rhinos can now be found in parts
of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam.
In 2012, more than 91 per cent of Indian
rhinos lived in Assam, according to WWF-
Within Assam, rhinos are concentrated
within Kaziranga National Park, with a few
in Pobitara wildlife sanctuary. Kaziranga is
home to more than 91 per cent of Assam’s
rhinos — and more than 80 per cent of In-
dia’s count — with a 2015 population cen-
sus by Kaziranga park authorities revealing
2,401 rhinos within the park.
A rhino horn could fetch as much as
US$60,000 for 500g in the contraband
market in 2015, largely in countries such as
China and Vietnam, according to a report in
The Washington Times.
Although rhino poaching peaked in India
in 2013, when 41 of the herbivores were
killed, it has declined since, largely because
of better policing and protection by the As-
sam government and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), according to Mr Tito
Joseph, programme manager of the anti-
poaching programme at the Wildlife Protec-
tion Society of India, an NGO.
But outside the park, transport of poached
horns is not adequately tracked, said Mr Jo-
seph, a key factor being regional insurgency.
During the 1980s and 1990s, poachers ex-
ploited the destruction of park infrastruc-
ture during conflicts and killed almost the
entire population of rhinos in many of As-
sam’s protected areas, such as Manas, Laok-
howa and Burachapori.
Rhinos are solitary creatures. Each con-
sumes almost 40kg of vegetation a day.
However, within the parks of Assam with a
large rhino population, animals have been
seen in groups which is an indication of lack
of space. These observations are coupled
with increasing fights for dominance among
rhinos, competing for available space.
Currently, the threshold population of
Kaziranga is estimated at 2,500, while Pabi-
tora’s threshold is 100. Exceeding carrying
capacity also means that the rhinos are more
likely to venture out of protected areas,
which increases chances of human-animal
So, rhinos need to move to ecologically
similar but distant areas to ensure species
survival, according to the Indian Rhino Vi-
sion 2020 programme (IRV2020), a collab-
orative effort between various organisations,
including the International Rhino Founda-
tion, Assam’s Forest Department, Bodoland
Territorial Council, WWF-India, and the US
Fish and Wildlife Service.
The first successful attempt to move rhinos
out of Assam and re-introduce them into a
similar habitat was made in 1984 in Uttar
Pradesh’s Dudhwa National Park, which has
33 rhinos today.
IRV2020 hopes to raise the number of rhi-
nos in Assam to 3,000 by 2020 and spread
them over seven of the state’s protected
areas: Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang National
Park, Manas National Park, Laokhowa wild-
life sanctuary, Burachapori wildlife sanctu-
ary and Dibru Saikhowa wildlife sanctuary.
“We have already added one area as a
rhino-protected area, and it is likely that we
will add two more by 2020,” said Mr Amit
Sharma, senior coordinator of the rhino con-
servation programme at WWF-India. “The
present population trend shows that growth
is healthy, and achieving the target of 3,000
rhinos in the wild is very much possible.”
Indo-Asian News Service
January 13, 2017
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