Thursday, April 19, 2007


I was presented with a request by a reader to delete the photographs of dead deer and black buck on the IIT Madras campus from my blog. The person who supplied the photographs to this reader, wants them taken off because he or she does not agree with me.

The dilemma was - this is my blog and I am entitled to write what I want and was given the photographs. Yet that does not make the photographs mine and now the person who gave them wants 'their' photographs removed.

So what I have decided to do this time is to remove them because I did not take them in the first place.

The people at IIT who introduced me to whats happening to the deer and black buck inside are disappointed that I am swayed by Ranjit Daniels argument of cutting down 30 hectares of trees. But I think I would go with a scientist with 30 years experience than a layperson.

Ranjith Daniels says, "My methods are not based on a whim. A lot of effort has gone into this. Let people be assured of that. Whats destroyed the IIT campus is the Prosopis Juliflora tree. Now we are trying to clear two or three hectares on an experimental basis. World over, loss of habitat is the biggest problem faced by conservationists."

Its no different with the black buck and thats why they are dealing with that threat first.

But people have argued that why not deal with the solvable problems first - like controlling traffic and construction activity? Ranjith acknowledges that traffic is a problem and signs will be put up to request people to drive slowly. But he says that these fears of traffic and construction are not the biggest threat and steps are being taken to ensure that the black buck isn't allowed to go extinct.

As far as the birds and other life in the trees that he plans to cut is concerned, he says, "The Juliflora has not allowed anything else to grow. Birds nests are not just in trees but in bushes also and these trees have destroyed the biodiversity on the campus."


Sathej said...

Hello Alaphia,
It is indeed sad to se the trees go!But,it is an expert's opinion that should count.Nevertheless,on such a tricky issue,in my personal opinion,I think it would be wise to form a panel of experts,not just one.The panel could then deliver a solution which could be implemented.

Sathish N said...

By Google's grace.. pix are still available :)

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Hi Sathej,

I think that that the fewer the number of people, the easier it is to place responsibility. 'Expert panels' can sometimes just push the blame around.

Sathish - Thats quite wicked of you! I have done what I had to .... Now Google takes care of the rest.

Sathej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sathej said...

Yes,of course,it is easier to place responsibility.But,nevertheless,experts can have different opinions and it is nicer to examine all possible solutions and then come to a consensus.It may take time and there may be other issues,but,clearly,this is so important a matter that it 'deserves' several angles of view,doesn't it?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sathej said...

Hello Alaphia,
Must have been great reporting from Sriharikota.Truly a historical day for the ISRO scientists and everyone in the country.

REFLEX said...

ur mail id plz, if u dont mind.

Vaibhav Arora said...

Hey! long time ... are you planning on doing a story on the sethusamudram project anytime soon? I've just started reading about it, and found this interesting sri lankan perspective.

GeekBeyondRedemption said...

Saw your report from Sriharikota. I've seen the launch of a sounding rocket, and that was itself quite awe-evoking. The PSLV launch must have been out of the world!

Hope ISRO has many more successful launches!

Avnish Katoch said...

Hydro-electric power projects of private firms in Himachal Pradesh are being pushed by local officers who have made it clear to the people that they have vested interest in these projects. Officers of the state government have tried to influence local activists to support projects that would destroy the livelihoods of local villagers. Revenue officials are openly canvassing for these projects collecting signatures from villagers for approval.

GeekBeyondRedemption said...


Alaphia, I've been reading a bit about the PSLV launch and am a bit confused due to some contradictions in the reported cost and financials of the launch.

While the Hindu quotes $30K per kg for the launch, charged to the Italians, the NDTV site quotes 'about 30% less than the international rate of $15,000 to $20,000 per kg'.

Since you were there and must surely have followed this, can you clarify?



Alaphia Zoyab said...

Hey Geek... Much as I dislike saying this...Hindu is right and we are wrong!

We charged the Italians much more... but it was also because we were the only ones who could offer them the exact specifications they were looking for - ISRO's advantage in Sriharikota is that it is very near the equator.

So we charged them 29,000 dollars per kilo. Their satellite 'AGILE' was 352 kgs.

GeekBeyondRedemption said...

Thanks Alaphia!

It was quite amusing to read two absolutely contradictory reports.

The launch cost Rs 68C ~= $ 16M.

The NDTV report quotes that ISRO made money on the launch, but 352 x $29000 = $10 M.

So clearly that quote is also out of context :-(..

While that reduces my trust of NDTV, it at least reinforces my faith in the Hindu :-)

Have Fun!!

REFLEX said...

Why can't u write something abt the future of TN's water scarcity as no other neighboring states deny water to TN.