Category Archives: Nature

Ancient Gond wells yield water all year

Perennially full: The kantam well of Kanchanpalli in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district. S. Harpal Singh

In arid Asifabad, a ‘kui’ dug over a century ago still fills the needs of the tribals of Kanchanpalli

The water shortage in what was undivided Adilabad district is of comparatively recent origin, if one looks at the evidence of a few surviving open wells, which are over a century old. It makes it clear that the residents of the area, mainly people of tribal origin, like the Raj Gonds, who live between the Penganga and the Godavari, had a close connect with natural resources.

These wells, known locally as ‘kui,’ yield water through the year, even in high altitude areas. One example is the well called kantam (perennially full), in Kanchanpalli village, in the Lingapur mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district. It serves the needs of 80 families and over 100 heads of cattle. “It never dries up,” says Athram Bheem Rao, the 62-year-old inheritor of the Gond Raja title.

The sides of the rectangular kui are lined with teak logs, and at the top, thinner logs provide a secure place for the person drawing water to stand. A boom at the side, rather like those one would see at a railway crossing, lowers a pot or bucket attached to a rope into the well.

The water drawn is poured into a hollowed-out log, which pipes it into another hollow log. This collection method ensures that any silt that comes up settles at the bottom. After taking the water, the locals leave the lower log full for animals to drink.

The Gond people say that the water level in this well increases whenever there is rainfall in the catchment areas of the Kadem, a stream about 15 kilometres away. This indicates that an underground stream connects the two; the Gonds call this subterranean stream the Satganga.

Only a handful of such kuis still remain functional. One other can be found on the road between Chinna Dhoba and Seetagondi village, Sirpur mandal.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by S Harpal Singh / Adilabad – May 08th, 2017

Techie who extols benefits of organic milk

Maintaining purity The organic farm set up by Kotesh Mukkamala. | Photo Credit: Arranged

Techie sets up farm not just to supply milk, but also to breed the best bovines

Just like his love for IT profession, his passion for organic milk is unadulterated. He doesn’t want to milk profits from his supply, but purely believes in maintaining the purity of nature’s gift to mankind.

No wonder this IT professional with a comfortable job in the United States has set up an organic farm not just for supplying healthy and unadulterated milk but also to breed the best bovine in the country. “To maintain purity we grow fodder on the 9 acres farm on the outskirts of the city for the 150 animals consisting of 70 cows and 80 buffaloes,” says Kotesh Mukkamala, an IT professional in the USA.

On the eight acres of the 9 acres land, he cultivates green fodder recommended by NG Ranga University to feed the animals year round. The remaining acre is used for housing cattle, staff and other infrastructure. As the grass grown in the cities is produced in the drainage segregation area and is infested with synthetics and human waste here only ground and rain water is used. Cultivation is pesticide and chemical fertiliser-free. Diet of the animals is balanced with the right quantities of protein and fodder.

His passion is also driven by the growing craze for organic milk in cities. Kotesh’s Organics Dairy currently services about 300 plus customers supplying 500 plus litres a day. Importantly, milk is delivered within two hours of milking and it never undergoes any processing.

Interestingly, lot of IT and data is used in enhancing the milking capacity of the animals and maintaining quality. “We have established data points and capture mechanisms at various levels like recording milk production patterns during different months, patterns of cattle coming in to heat during different seasons, onset of diseases and they are effectively tackled.

Mr. Kotesh says he has Murrah breed buffaloes procured from several villages in Haryana, the Jaffrabadi breed buffaloes from areas around Bhavnagar in Gujarat. The Holstein cows are from the Kolar area apart from the Ongole cows, Kankrejs, Holsteins, Girs, Ratis, Punganoors, Jerseys, Khillaris and Shahiwals.

After his success with milk, Kotesh wants to get into the breeding domain and supply the best quality semen from the top bulls breed with proper data collection and proven records. “The goal is to supply quality semen doses at optimal pricing to the farmers and help improve the average yield of animals across the country by at least 20% in the next 5 years. This would help make quality milk affordable and available to the poorest of the poor. The plan would encompass training the farmers on the best practices.”

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by R Ravikanth Reddy / Hyderabad – February 23rd, 2017

Radio Kisan Diwas celebrated at AIR

or farmers: Visitors taking a look at old radio sets at the AIR office in Adilabad on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH;S. HARPAL SINGH – S_ HARPAL SINGH

All India Radio, Adilabad, celebrated Radio Kisan Diwas on Wednesday, the date on which it started the ‘Kisan Vani’ programme. Agriculture came to be the central theme of the programme, and its manifestation in local ethos was showcased as part of the celebration.

While the Adivasi Thotti troupe of Pendur Tukaramsang a Gondi folk song in which gods order a Gond king to cultivate millets, the local Burrakatha troupe sang songs related to agriculture.

Telangana Grameena Bank, Adilabad, regional manager P.R.V. Ramchander Rao spoke about his experiences. The AIR felicitated progressive farmers, including those who take up organic farming, from Adilabad and neighbouring districts. The farmers too spoke about their experiences.

Millet food prepared by Ram Babu of Hyderabad and the exhibition of old radio sets, however, became the centre of attraction. Mr. Babu is an expert in millet food and its correlation with Ayurveda and the human body.

Scientists from Adilabad Agriculture Research Station, Kisan Vikas Kendra, District Agriculture Advisory, and Transfer of Technology Centre attended the programme. AIR Adilabad deputy director Sumanaspati Reddy and deputy director of Vijaya Dairy Madhusudan also participated.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Adilabad – February 15th, 2017

Historic tank to come back to life

Tourist spot:Collector Yogitha Rana and MLA Bigala Ganesh Gupta inspecting the locations around Raghunathalayam, in Nizamabad on Sunday.– Photo: K.V. RAMANA
Tourist spot:Collector Yogitha Rana and MLA Bigala Ganesh Gupta inspecting the locations around Raghunathalayam, in Nizamabad on Sunday.– Photo: K.V. RAMANA

Raghunathalayam atop the Quilla Indur in Nizamabad will be developed to attract devotees

The Raghunathalayam, atop the Quilla Indur dating back to the 10th century, will be developed to attract devotees from across the State as part of the Mission Kakatiya works undertaken at Boddemma cheruvu abutting the Quilla. A park would be built on three acres, and 12 acres would be allocated to the Kendriya Vidyalaya coming up nearby, according to MLA Bigala Ganesh Gupta.

Mr. Gupta, who inspected the works on Sunday to give shape to the tank as a mini tank bund, told reporters that an action plan would be prepared with proposal of funds required to develop the historic location. Collector Yogitha Rana and Joint Collector A. Ravinder Reddy, who accompanied the MLA, said that a detailed survey would be conducted to know about government land available around it.

They said that Quilla Indur and the Boddemma cheruvu would become important public recreational spots for the residents of the district headquarter town in the coming months. The government had sanctioned Rs. 6.28 crore and works were launched under the second phase of the Mission Kakatiya project. The bund strengthening work is almost complete.

Plantations and railings on both sides of the bund, as well as parks, would come up as part of the project. The 4.5-kilometre bund would be raised on a height of 8 metres with the same width, enabling passersby to move freely on it. Benches would be put up too. Nizamsagar main canal, which brings water into the tank and is one of the drinking water sources of the town, would also be strengthened with revetment.

“I request the government to revise the original plan as the amount sanctioned initially would not be sufficient to complete all works,” the MLA said.

Since it is meant for drinking water purpose, the only one sluice that exists for the tank may be removed. There is no clarity on it, but locals want it to continue. Raghunathalayam irrigation tank gradually became a drinking water source, with the ayacut under it having disappeared with the expansion of the city.

The tank is one of the major centres where Bathukamma is hosted during the nine-day celebrations. The tank will provide a panoramic view with lush green surroundings if water fills to the brim this monsoon.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by P. Ram Mohan / Nizamabad – June 13th, 2016

Telangana chief secretary reviews plans for fish prasadam at Hyderabad

Hyderabad :

The state government is making all arrangements for the distribution of ‘fish prasadam’ for asthama patients in the city.

At a review meeting on the arrangements for the fish prasadam at the Secretariat here on Thursday, chief secretary Rajiv Sharma instructed the officials to install CCTVs, provide proper lighting, erect strong barricades and temporary sheds for patients, more counters and provision of adequate water tankers for storing fishlings.

The fish prasadam will be distributed at Exhibition Grounds on June 8 and 9 in the city. Security will be provided to Bathini Harinath Goud family. The chief secretary also stressed on maintenance of sanitation, garbage clearance, regular cleaning with bleaching powder.

As many as 110 special RTC buses would be operated from bus stands and railway stations to the exhibition grounds for the convenience of the patients. Usually over a lakh people from across the country attend the event.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Express News Service / May 27th, 2016

Growth can’t be at the cost of natural heritage

Hyderabad:

The KBR Park is known for its bio-diversity and wildlife. Spread over 400 acres, it is a virtual forest in the midst of a burgeoning metropolis, home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It is a part of Hyderabad’s over 400-year-old heritage – which includes gardens, lakes and its cosmopolitan culture.

Originally known as Chiran Palace, the park was the residence of Prince Mukarram Jah and was later rechristened after former chief minister Kasu Brahmananda Reddy after its acquisition under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.

Till the late 1990s, I remember, the KBR Park was surrounded by a nine-kilometre compound wall. This wall was demolished when the then TDP government in united AP began road widening around the park, and NTR Trust Bhavan and a cancer hospital of NTR family came up nearby.

This was the first blow dealt to the park, a mini-Deccan ecosystem.

It is true that the city has grown manifold in the last six decades.

As an economic hub, Hyderabad has great potential to become a global city. It needs a massive step-up in its civic infrastructure to cater to the burgeoning population. An upgradation of road network and better traffic management are key elements of de velopment plans envisaged for this sprawling city .

For this, government has drawn up the Strategic Road Development Program to meet the longterm needs of the city.

However, while taking up these works, the government has to ensure that the eco-system of KBR Park remains unaffected as it is the city’s natural heritage.True, development of civic infrastructure is the need of the hour.

But equally imperative is the preservation of this natural habitat in the midst of urban sprawl.I would urge the authorities to ensure that the eco-system of this natural heritage be preserved, not harmed in any way .

Without eating into land spaces of the park, the authorities need to work out alternative proposals for the six multi-level grade separators to be constructed at six junctions around KBR Park.

Already , disappearance of gardens and lakes from this city over the decades has turned it into a tropical hotbed. Every successive summer seems to make the city hotter with soaring temperatures.

We definitely need better roads and junctions and traffic management but not at the cost of our natural, cultural and architectural heritage. KBR Park and all other green spaces in the city must be preserved to make Hyderabad a liveable city again.

(The author is MIM president and Lok Sabha MP)

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Hyderabad / Asaduddin Owaisi / May 26th, 2016

Hyderabad to host conference on India’s COP21 commitments

Hyderabad :

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has been selected by the United States Department of State to organise a conference focused on implementing India’s COP21 commitments to be held here on June 24-25.

The conference, ‘Future Is Now: India from COP21 to Reality’, would include international experts and practitioners, environmental NGOs, in-country development organisations, finance experts, Indian companies and philanthropic organisations as well as India’s top national and state decision-makers, a media statement from the U S Consulate General Hyderabad said.

“The participants will explore India’s key climate change issues and opportunities in light of India’s Paris commitments,” it said.

ISC is partnering with the Center for Environment and Development to present the conference, which will feature Indian and US experts on topics such as clean energy, energy efficiency, climate finance, resilience, climate mitigation, air pollution and waste reduction, the statement said.

The Department of State’s Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Desai Biswal, was quoted as saying, “India is a vital player in addressing climate change and we look forward to increasing our partnership to expand clean energy deployment and access.”

Steve Nicholas, Vice President of Urban Programs at ISC, said, “The Paris Agreement is an incredibly important opportunity to reduce emissions and implement green development projects in India. Connecting US and Indian leaders to each other is critical because those professional relationships will continue to pay dividends.”

“We’re honoured to be working with our colleagues in India to understand their challenges, share what we’ve learned, and talk about what’s possible,” he said.

Conference participants, who may include leaders from local government, industry, NGOs, academics, and national government officials, would have the opportunity to connect with their peers and share challenges, solutions and resources, the statement added.

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source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Hyderabad / PTI / May 09th, 2016

Hopped up on Seeds, Crops and Hope

GoodSeeds01TELAN27apr2016

When Narayan Murthy came to India from the United States, he didn’t know that he would end up retracing his roots, in a journey that would last forever.

A management consultant by profession, he is the founder of GoodSeeds, an organisation that sells organic food and home products. And it doesn’t end there.

Narayan works closely with farmers across the region to help them find a platform where they can find buyers and connect with other farmers for better reach and productivity.

Says Narayan, “I left India in 1992 and went to the US for higher studies and a job. I completed an MBA from Booth School of Business, Chicago, after which I started working as a management consultant. I was earning quite a decent package and monetarily I was very sound. But there was a voice in my head which kept on telling me that this is not what I wanted to do. But I didn’t know what it was that I was looking for.” That’s when he decided to come back to India and spend a few years here, “I came back and after a year or so, I realised that it was my roots that I had been missing.”

Narayan Murthy, founder of GoodSeeds, which sells organic food and home products
Narayan Murthy, founder of GoodSeeds, which sells organic food and home products

Originally from Chennai, Hyderabad is now his home. But how did he land up here? He answers with a chuckle, “I got a job here in Microsoft as a strategic planner in 2008. Now this city is my home.”

It so happened that one day his friend complained about how good organic food is not available in Hyderabad. Since Narayan was already wondering what to do with himself, the idea appealed to him. Thus was born GoodSeeds in the year 2012. “The name came about because it was about sowing good ideas about what we eat, drink, who we live with and where we live,” adds Narayan. Sort of an eco-friendly contribution to society.

While the company sells a variety of organic items ranging from organic baby food and organic fruits to organic personal care products, farmers often come to them to gain market connections, “Many farmers get in touch with me. I connect them to the market and customers who choose to buy organic products. This way they are able to connect to other farmers as well. We also help them get access to seed banks, so that they can expand their crop portfolios,” informs Narayan.

GoodSeeds03TELAN27apr2016

He goes with farmers to different areas like Yadagirigutta, Anantapur, outskirts of Mysuru and Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu) for advise and to network. As a result of his efforts, farmers are coming closer and becoming part of co-operatives. Narayan adds further, “It’s beneficial that small farmers become part of small co-operatives. For example at Timbaktu, Anantapur there’s a small co-operative of 40 farmers. A farmer can’t do everything alone. If he tries everything and it goes wrong then unfortunately it will be him who will starve. These days people give their lands to farmers on lease to grow crops. In return, the farmers are paid on a monthly basis. So, even if there’s a drought, farmers will get their money and manage to keep their respect intact, as well.”

They also encourage things like the Sunday organic bazaar held at Saptaparni, Lamakaan, Our Sacred Space and Goethe Zentrum, where farmers sell everything from organic fruit to staples like rice. It’s probably not as fancy as the farmers’ markets in the US, but hey, with people like him around — it may become a reality sooner than you think!

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Education> Edex / by Saima Afreen / April 25th, 2016

A showcase of biodiversity of vegetation

Steeped in history:The entrance of Gandhari Vanam in Adilabad district – Photos: S. Harpal Singh
Steeped in history:The entrance of Gandhari Vanam in Adilabad district – Photos: S. Harpal Singh

Gandhari Vanam in Mancherial town will soon have a museum showcasing millions of years of biodiversity of Adilabad.

Gandhari Vanam, a nature park near Mancherial town in Adilabad, is where you can go millions of years back in time. The 174-million-year-old tree fossils to be exhibited in a section of the soon to come up facility will help you visualise what the district must have looked like back then.

Steeped in history:  Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar observing a Jurassic-era tree fossil at the nature park.– Photos: S. Harpal Singh
Steeped in history: Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar observing a Jurassic-era tree fossil at the nature park.– Photos: S. Harpal Singh

“That was the time when the giant dinosaurs roamed here, thriving on these coniferous trees. The Pranahita-Godavari valley of upper Gondwana is unique as it has preserved many of nature’s components from the era in its 3,000-metre thick sediments deposited over a period of 200 million years,” said Mancherial Divisional Forest Officer B. Prabhakar, pointing out the uniqueness of the nature park being developed by the Telangana Forest Department at a cost of Rs. 3.6 crore.

The park, located on the Mancherial-Mandamarri main road on the fringes of the coal town, is named Gandhari Vanam as the Gandhari fort is located close to it. It is a 350-acre facility divided into three parts.

“A 20-acre plot on the left side of the road (coming from Mancherial) has been developed as a picnic spot with ornamental plants, apart from a host of things. At least 500 visitors come here on weekends,” the DFO said.

The second 50-acre enclosure will become a good forest, and the department has plans to make it a deer park and an aviary in the near future. The third section, and the most important one, is the 280-acre facility on the other side of the road. It is like a repository and museum of the huge local biodiversity in terms of vegetation.

“Adilabad forests at one time had boasted of at least 500 types of trees, and we are planting many of these, which, for the sake of awareness and convenience, have been segregated into a few sections. For instance, we will have a medicinal plant section with 250 species, and others which will have trees linked with horoscope and nine planets,” Mr. Prabhakar disclosed.

For nature enthusiasts, Gandhari Vanam also has a walking track, while a boating facility and a couple of check dams are coming up. The authorities have also put up boards with information regarding the given sections, trees and fossils for the benefit of people. “We have designed the park to be educative too. People should know about nature, what it was and what it should be,” the DFO said.

The 280-acre facility is like a repository and museum of the biodiversity in terms of vegetation

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by S. Harpal Singh / Mancherial (Adilabad District) / April 25th, 2016

Dual delight intrigues botanists

Bi-coloured wonder:A mahua tree with dual coloured foliage.–Photo: S. Harpal Singh
Bi-coloured wonder:A mahua tree with dual coloured foliage.–Photo: S. Harpal Singh

The mahua or ippa tree can be seen on the Utnoor-Asifabad road in Adilabad

Many miss this natural wonder while zooming past on the Utnoor-Asifabad road in Adilabad, but those who do spot the colourful tree, stop to marvel at its beauty. A majestic mahua or ippa tree, located about 500 metres from Heerapur village in Utnoor mandal, towards Jainoor, is a visual delight and scientific curiosity — half the tree has red-brown leaves while the other half has green leaves.

The tree retains this dual foliage from the end of March for about a month, soon after it sheds its flowers.

Adilabad has an estimated five lakh mahua trees, mostly in the tribal belt. The mahua flowers have medicinal value and form a major non-timber forest produce for the forest dwelling Gond and Kolam tribal communities.

The tree bears two differently coloured leaves at the same time apparently because it has a dual leaf development stage. “This could be because of two different seeds joining at the time of germination but retaining individual characteristics of growth on maturity,” said a forest department official of the rare phenomenon.

The tree is about 40 years old, according to villagers. “It was a young tree when I was a child,” recalled Atram Shankar, a 40-year-old Gond farmer from Hasnapur village, about 2 km from the bi-coloured beauty.

The Forest department has taken note of the tree with the rare foliage and Forest Range Officer of Utnoor, P. Ramesh Rao and others have visited the place to document the occurrence.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by S. Harpal Singh / Adilabad – April 18th, 2016