Siberian cranes at Kaziranga?

Reporting on the centenary celebrations of the Kaziranga National Park in Spectrum (Aug 28), Prabina Rashid concludes the account with the sighting of a Siberian Crane there. Now, that is a patent case of false identification, as the following will show:

The recorded history of the migratory crane beginning 1854 shows that they have never crossed the 75 east meridian in India. And Kaziranga is beyond the 90 east longitude. Unlike most other winter migratory water fowl, the Sibes are exclusive to a fault in maintaining the integrity of their flock, from take off to destination. There is not a single record of a vagrant or wayward straggler. The International Crane Foundation has for the past two decades monitored movements of all Sibes and particularly those of the “central flock” which alone wintered in India and whose numbers had fallen below 40. The Foundation would have positively known within days if not hours if a sick Siberian crane was at the Kaziranga marshes. A stork or an egret has been mistaken for the Siberian crane.


All wintering Siberian cranes in India, throughout the last century, have been sighted in Bharatpur and Bharatpur alone. From 200 birds in 1964, their numbers declined steadily under pressure of mindless trapping for trade in exotic birds and for food, during their genetically-imprinted stop-overs in Kazahkistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan before their final touch down at Bharatpur. The return migration was no safer.

It brought tears and more when in 2000 AD, just one Sibe arrived at Bharatpur. And never again since, because from the “Central flock”, none survive.

Lieut-Gen BALJIT SINGH (retd),  Chandigarh

Confronting the judiciary

It is unfortunate that the country is witnessing a very serious but quite unnecessary and avoidable confrontation between judiciary and parliamentarians, i.e. politicians. These netas need to be reminded that their public perception is at the lowest ebb. The words politics and politicians have frankly become hate words.

Of the four pillars of democracy, the press has some credibility, the executive a little and politics the least credibility. The judiciary is still held in high esteem by the people, who regard it as the only saviour of democracy. Any distrust, attributing motives or attempts to denigrate the judiciary shall be suicidal for democracy. The politicians should keep their hands off and avoid any confrontation with the courts.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula

Illegal site sales

This is with reference to recent news items about the illegal sale of sites.

We in the middle class are generally apathetic to what is happening around us. We don’t remain vigilant and we do not fight for a cause, even when it affects us individually. The cooperative housing societies are a big scandal. The main spirit behind the allotment of land for such societies is to provide affordable housing to lower and middle classes. This spirit has been hijacked by the builder-mafia-politician-bureaucrat nexus. In certain cases the black sheep among the middle class are also hand-in-glove with this nexus.

The modus operandi is as follows: A number of persons band together, become office-bearers and form a society. This is then registered and land is allotted by the Land Allotment Authority. In the mean time certain members, who are actually not in need of a house, sell their membership at a premium. In certain cases founding members sell their society to a group of people propped up by a builder. These new office bearers change the format of the flats and raise the costs. In the bargain, many of the original members, who can’t afford the new price range, surrender or sell their membership. The new management (the proxy of the builder) then sells the flats at a premium.


Energy crisis

M.V. Kamath in his in-depth piece ‘Meeting India’s energy needs’ has rightfully drawn our attention towards the calamitous energy crisis looming over the country. Our heavy dependence on fossil fuels like coal and oil is indisputable and we are frantically searching for alternatives to keep the growth rate up.

Bringing natural gas from Iran, Myanmar and Russia through neighbouring countries and striking a deal with the US to have easy access to their nuclear energy technology are correct steps, which need expeditious translation to action. An equally important step would be to harness solar power in which field Japan is the world leader.

MAJOR BALDEV SINGH (retd), Ambala Cantonment

MiG crashes

This refers to the letter on MiG crashes by Mr A.S. Issar (Aug 29), alleging sabotage by foreign agents. This is nothing but giving an uncalled-for twist to the tragic MiG accidents and sowing the seeds of suspicion against the men in uniform. Seeing a foreign hand in every happening in India is an old game. Please spare the armed forces.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


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