‘India could soon experience extreme heat waves that break human survivability limit’

News Network
December 7, 2022

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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 7: Severe heat waves, responsible for thousands of deaths across India over the last few decades, are increasing with alarming frequency and soon the country could become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that break the human survivability limit, according to a new report. The World Bank report titled "Climate Investment Opportunities in India's Cooling Sector" said the country is experiencing higher temperatures that arrive earlier and stay far longer.

"In April 2022, India was plunged into the grip of a punishing early spring heat wave that brought the country to a standstill, with temperatures in the capital, New Delhi, topping 46 degrees Celsius (oC) (114 degrees Fahrenheit). The month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded", it said. The report will be released during the two-day "India Climate and Development Partners' Meet" being organised by World Bank in partnership with the Kerala government.

Predicting that heat waves situation in India could break the human survivability limit, it said the recent heat wave supports what many climate scientists have long cautioned about with reference to rising temperatures across South Asia. "In August 2021, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the Indian subcontinent would suffer more frequent and intense heat waves over the coming decade.

"The G20 Climate Risk Atlas also warned in 2021 that heat waves across India were likely to last 25 times longer by 2036-65 if carbon emissions remain high, as in the IPCC's worst-case emission scenario," the report said. It also warned that rising heat across India can jeopardize economic productivity. "Up to 75 per cent of India's workforce, or 380 million people, depend on heat-exposed labor, at times working in potentially life-threatening temperatures. ...By 2030, India may account for 34 million of the projected 80 million global job losses from heat stress associated productivity decline", the report said.

It further said India showed the largest heat exposure impacts on heavy labor among South Asian countries, with more than 101 billion hours lost a year. Analysis by global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company shows that lost labor from rising heat and humidity could put up to 4.5 per cent of India's GDP –approximately $150-250 billion – at risk by the end of this decade. It said India's long-term food security and public health security will depend on a reliable cold chain network. Transporting food and pharmaceutical goods across India requires a system of cold chain refrigeration that works every step of the way.

"A single temperature lapse in the journey can break the cold chain, spoiling fresh produce and weakening the potency of vaccines. With only 4 per cent of fresh produce in India covered by cold chain facilities, annual estimated food losses total $13 billion", it said. It also noted that the third largest producer of pharmaceuticals in the world, pre-Covid-19, India lost approximately 20 per cent of temperature-sensitive medical products and 25 per cent of vaccines due to broken cold chains, leading to losses of $313 million a year.

"As temperatures rise across India, so will the demand for cooling. However, in a country where two-thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day, and where the average cost of an air-conditioning unit can vary between $260 and $500, air-cooling systems are a luxury available only to a few." According to analysis presented in the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP), only eight per cent of Indian households own air-conditioning units.

"Indoor and electric fans can help to maintain thermal comfort, but these too are expensive to buy and inefficient. As a result, many poor and marginalized communities across India are more vulnerable to extreme heat, living in inadequately ventilated, hot and crowded homes without proper access to cooling", the report warned. Staying cool during extreme heat is about more than just comfort – it can constitute the precarious line between life and death, it added. 
 

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News Network
January 23,2023

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Jammu, Jan 23: The demand for statehood is Jammu and Kashmir's biggest issue and the Congress will use "our full power" to get it reinstated, party MP Rahul Gandhi said on Monday as his Bharat Jodo Yatra arrived here to a grand welcome.

Gandhi, who met a cross section of people from Jammu and Kashmir during his yatra, said J&K has the highest level of unemployment in the country.

"The Congress party will fully support you and your statehood (demand). To reinstate statehood, the Congress will use our full power," Gandhi told a gathering at the Satwari Chowk here.

"Statehood is your biggest issue. There is no big issue as big as statehood. Your right has been snatched," he said.

Gandhi said he spoke to a cross section of people from J&K during his yatra and they raised their issues. He said they told him that their voices are not being heard by the administration. "The entire trade is being run by outsiders and people of J&K watch them sitting haplessly," he said.

Gandhi said Jammu and Kashmir has the highest level of unemployment in the country. Youngsters aspire to become engineers, doctors and lawyers but they find they cannot, he said.

"There was another way (to get employment) earlier. It was with the Army. It has also been closed now by a new scheme, called Agniveer, introduced by BJP. That path is also now closed," he said.

In August 2019, the NDA government revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed the state be divided into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
 

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News Network
January 25,2023

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India, as of the moment, does not have access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh. The situation is worthy of mention considering India-China stand-off along the 3500 km border.

“Presently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence is lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs,” wrote PD Nitya, the Superintendent of Police of Leh, Ladakh’s main city, in a research paper accessed by media. 

The report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in Delhi, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

"Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs or civilians since long, the Chinese were present in these areas. This leads to a shift in the border under control of ISFs towards Indian side and a "buffer zone" is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to loss of control over these areas by India. This tactic of PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) to grab land inch-by-inch is known as 'Salami slicing'," it said.

"PLA has taken advantage of the buffer areas in the de-escalation talks by placing their best of cameras on the highest peaks and monitoring the movement of our forces... they object our movement even in the buffer zone, claiming it to be 'their' area of operation and then further ask us to move back to create more 'buffer' areas," the officer wrote.

She said this Chinese strategy was seen in Galwan Valley, the site of a deadly clash in 2020 when 20 Indian troops and at least four Chinese soldiers died in hand-to-hand fighting.

Ms Nitya also said that marking areas as out of bounds and keeping them barren affects troop morale as well. "During an interaction with one senior officer whose unit is based right on forward area, he shared that, if by retreating 400 metres back, we can buy peace with PLA for 4 years, then it's worth it," the report said.

The report was released after a mere few weeks of India accusing China of “unilaterally changing the status-quo” on the Line of Actual Control (LOC).

The encounter in the Galwan Valley in 2020, which sparked a major uptick in tensions between the two nations, was considered to be the most serious confrontation since the December 9 incident in Arunachal Pradesh. Since then, there have been a number of military negotiations that have resulted in a cautious withdrawal of forces on both sides.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi accused PM Modi of being the weakest PM India has had for “ceding land to China”.

Delhi chief minister (CM) and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal also accused the Centre of continuing and increasing trade with Beijing despite Chinese aggression.

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News Network
January 24,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 24: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal Tuesday afternoon with tremors also being felt in parts of Delhi, national capital region and Jaipur.

The quake struck at 2:28 pm with the epicentre in Nepal at a place 148 km east of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, the National Centre for Seismology said.

"It was scary as the tremors hit," said Shantanu, who resides in a high-rise tower in Noida.

Amit Pandey, a Delhi resident, said, "I was on the fifth floor of one of the blocks at the Civic Centre. I felt a growling noise beneath my feet and a mild shake, when the tremor passed through perhaps."

Many others in the towering Civic Centre, the headqauters of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, also felt the tremors which hit when the House proceedings were underway.

Tremors were felt in parts of Rajasthan's capital city of Jaipur as well. There was no immediate report of loss of life or property from there. 

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