Friday, October 31, 2008
Sikkim was an independent nation till the year 1975. However, in the spring of 1975, unavoidable circumstances led to its inclusion to the Indian Union as its 22nd state.
In 1947, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal.
Meanwhile trouble was brewing in the state after the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for the Nepalese. In 1973, riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. A historic agreement was made on 8th May, 1973, between the Chogyal, the leaders of the political parties representing the people of Sikkim and the Government of India supported by the unanimous desire of the members of the Sikkim Assembly. The Chogyal promulgated a Bill on the 4th July, 1974 as the Government of Sikkim Act, 1974. For the speedy development of Sikkim in the social, economic and political fields, section 30 of the Government of Sikkim Act, 1974 empowers the Government of Sikkim, inter alia, to seek participation and representation for the people of Sikkim in the political institutions of India. On the 28th June, 1974, after passing the Government of Sikkim Bill, the Sikkim Assembly resolved unanimously that measures should be taken, amongst other things, for seeking representation for the people of Sikkim in India's parliamentary system.
The Chogyal was proving to be extremely unpopular with the people. In 1975, the Kazi (Prime Minister) appealed to the Indian Parliament for a change in Sikkim's status so that it could become a state of India. In April, the Indian Army moved into Sikkim, seizing the city of Gangtok and disarming the Palace Guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the people voted to join the Indian Union. A few weeks later, on May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the monarchy was abolished.
In 2000, in a major embarrassment for the government of the People's Republic of China, the seventeenth Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who had been proclaimed a Lama by China, made a dramatic escape from Tibet to the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this issue, as any protests to India would mean an explicit endorsement of India's governance of Sikkim, which the Chinese still regarded as an independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognised Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted Tibet as a part of China. This mutual agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations. On July 6, 2006 the Himalayan pass of Nathula was opened to cross-border trade, further evidence of improving relations in the region.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
India's maiden lunar mission was launched successfully Wednesday at 6.22 am IST when the unmanned Chandrayan-1 spacecraft was placed in orbit by the Polar Launch Vehicle. All the different stages of the rockets performed flawlessly to place the spacecraft smmothly into orbit. With successful launch of Chandrayaan-I, India today became the sixth nation to send a moon mission. India joined the elite club of moon faring nations -- the US, Russia, European Space Agency, China and Japan.
Live Television pictures showed the PSLV-C11 blast off from Sriharikota off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state. About 18 minutes later, the 1,380 kilogram, or 3.042-pound, Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was placed into Earth's orbit amid loud cheers from Indian Space Research Organization scientists.
The Chandrayan objectives include finding water in the polar region of moon and Helium-3 gas, a replacement for fossil fuels. The mission will last about 30 months. The spacecraft is to reach its targeted lunar orbit at a height of about 62 miles from the surface after about two weeks, the Press Trust of India reported.
Another interesting objective of the Chandrayan-1 is the attempting to place the Indian flag on the moon's surface. If successful, it would make India just the fourth country in the world to have ever done so after Russia, America and Japan. The flag will fly all the 4,00,000 kilometers to the moon on Chandrayaan-1 and on command from Indian space scientists, it will hurtle down to the moon's surface. Called the Moon Impact Probe, this 35 kilogram computer monitor sized instrument was included on Chandryaan-1 at the proposal of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
The 11 payloads include five from India, three from the European Space Agency, two from the United States and one from Bulgaria.The U.S. payload consists of lunar mapping instruments. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said its Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources and its Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar will map the lunar polar regions looking for ice deposits.
The ground segment of the Chandrayaan mission mainly consists of Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN), Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) and the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC).
Monday, October 6, 2008
Bhitarkanika is a fascinating location of rich, lush green vibrant eco-system lying in the estuarine region of Brahmani- Baitarani in the North-Eastern corner of Kendrapara district of Orissa. The area is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East. The alley between the meandering creeks and rivers, houses the second largest viable mangrove eco-system of India.
Bhitarkanika is a hot-spot of biodiversity. During 2002 the Bhitarkanika mangroves having an area of 2672 sq-km. been declared as a Ramsar site being a wetland of international importance. It's home to India's largest population of giant salt water crocodile, the largest crocodile on earth. Also home to more than 215 species of avifauna including amazing eight variety of Kingfishers. It is the second largest viable Mangrove Eco-System in India. Gahirmatha beach, which forms the eastern boundary of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary sup ports the largest known nesting beach of olive ridley sea turtle in the world. Nearly half a million olive ridleys nest every year at Gahirmatha. Its 672 sq.kms. of mangrove forest & wetland, provides home to well over 215 species of birds including winter migrants from central-Asia and Europe. Giant salt water crocodiles and variety of other Wildlife inhabitate in this eco-system which form Asia's one of the most spectacular Wildlife area.
BHITARKANIKA NATIONAL PARK
An area of 145 Sq.kms. have been notified as Bhitarkanika National Park vide Notification No.19686/F & E dated 16.9.1998 of Forests & Environment Department, Govt. of Orissa. It has much significance with regard to ecological geomorphological and biological background which includes mangrove forests, rivers, creeks, estuaries, back water, accreted land and mud flats. Bhitarkanika National Park is the core area of Bhitarkanika Sanctuary.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary was declared vide notification No.6958/FF AH Dtd. 22.04.1975 over an area of 672 square kilometers. The Sanctuary comprising Mangrove Forests meandering rivers, innumerable criss-crossed tidal inundated creeks provide last refuge to the already endangered salt water Crocodile (Crocodile Porosus). Besides estuarine Crocodile, the Sanctuary is rich in avifauna mammalian and reptilian population. Theses Mangrove forests are good habitat for King Cobra, Indian Python and Water Monitor Lizard. A large number of water birds visit Bagagahan heronry which is an area of approximately 4 hectare. within the Bhitarkanika Forest Block near Suajore creek from the month of June to October. Most of the Birds are Asian open bill. Egrets. Black Ibis, Cormorants, Darters & etc.
Bhitarkanika is one of the largest contiguous patches of mangrove forest in the country, representing the Indo-Malayan mangrove community. So far 58 species of mangroves have been recorded in India of which 55 are found in Bhitarkanika. Mangorves forests are salt tolerant, complex and dynamic eco-system that occur in tropical and subtropical silt deposited inter-tidal regions. Bhitarkanika sustains more than 70 species of plants among Mangrove and its associates. Existence of three species of Rhizophora, Heritiera and Avicennia each and four species of Bruguiera are some of the interesting features of flora of Bhitarkanika. In Bhitarkanika a variety of wild rice grows abundantly in tidal mud flats. Based on the genetic strain of this wild rice, several saline and flood resistant varieties of rice have been developed.
Bhitarkanika harbours one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that 10 percent of the adults exceed 6 m length. Nearly 700 saltwater crocodiles inhabit Bhitarkanika and its associated river systems. Nearly half a million olive ridley sea turtles on an average, nest every year along the Gahirmatha coast of Bhitarkanika. Besides water monitor, which is common, yellow and common monitors are also sympatric here. The mangrove forests and its adjoining wetlands support large number of resident as well as migratory waterfowl. Of the 174 species of birds, 82 breed here and 57 species winter in Bhitarkanika. The endangered lesser adjutant stork also breeds here. Bhitarkanika is also home for several mammals. Five species of marine dolphins have been recorded from the area. The common species encountered in this area is the Indo - pacific humpbacked dolphin. Notable among the other mammalian fauna of Bhitarkanika are striped hyaena, fishing cat, jungle cat, smooth - coated otter, civet, Indian porcupine, wild boar, spotted deer and sambar. One of the largest heronries in the country is located here. More than 20,000 birds consisting of 11 species nest in this heronry during June to November every year.
Air : The nearest airport is situated at Bhubaneswar.
Rail : The nearest railhead is situated at Cuttack and Bhadrakh.
Road : One can reach the sanctuary from north through Rajnagar via Bhadrakh and from south through Rajnagar via Patamundai, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.