|Saturday, May 13, 2000,
nothing from mistakes
hero of Everest
MAY 13, 1925
DID the proposal to set up a National Population Commission emerge from the office of some under-worked but seemingly hyper-active bureaucrat in Delhi? Or, was it conceived in the exclusive political laboratory of the Bharatiya Janata Party; although the constituents of the National Democratic Alliance would be made collectively responsible for the healthy growth of the "baby"? To use an Americanism, the idea may have been born anywhere but the buck must stop at the desk of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. After all, he could not have agreed to become Chairman of the National Population Commission without being convinced that it is what the "doctor" should have ordered 50 years ago for keeping the country's burgeoning population under control. There should be no disagreement among population experts that the idea is flawed and occasion for announcing the formation of the NPC with Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission K. C. Pant doubling up as Vice-Chairman of new commission was doubly flawed. One can understand the launching of a project for the uplift of the underprivileged sections of people on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi because of Father of the Nation's interest in their welfare. Most children oriented programmes used to be launched on November 14, the birth anniversary of Chacha Nehru. In this case the occasion for announcing the setting up of a commission which would study the problem of over-population could not have been more inappropriate. Does it make political or administrative sense to wait for the birth of the billionth Indian before putting into place a mechanism which the BJP-led Central Government believes would solve the problem whose solution should have been accorded the highest priority after Independence?
In fact, a politically
correct strategy would have been to notify a workable
population control programme immediately after the
official announcement of the likely date of the birth of
the billionth Indian. It would have reflected the
political leadership's determination to somehow stop the
country's population from crossing the mark which has
made India the second country after China with a
population in excess of the one billion. Instead, the
powers-that-be waited for the dreaded day to arrive for
announcing the setting up of a commission which itself
appears to be "over-populated"! There was no
need to establish a commission for the specific purpose
of evolving a strategy for arresting the rate of
population growth. Global agencies have compiled all the
information which may be required for introducing
region-specific projects for population control. The 100
wise members of the NPC, including the ruling party and
Opposition leaders of the two Houses of Parliament,
cannot add to or take away a line from the observation of
the United Nations Coordinator on population issues, Ms
Brenda McSweeny, that the best way to reduce population
growth was to educate the girl child. And she was not
being original when she made the statement in Delhi on
the "billionth Indian day". Nobel Laureate
Amartya Sen and other noted Indian economists have cried
themselves hoarse telling the country's political
leadership about the obvious link between population and
prosperity and how communities can achieve the objective
of striking a happy balance between the two. Mr Vajpayee
is a shrewd politician who does not mind calling
all-party meetings for evolving a broad consensus for
tackling contentious issues. Instead of being talked into
setting up a commission, which is not likely to serve any
useful purpose apart from becoming an avoidable burden on
the exchequer, he should have consulted leaders of all
the political parties for finding a common approach for
tackling the population problem with the help of inputs
already available with different agencies.
THURSDAY'S general strike did not have an all-India impact and perhaps that is the reason why it did not receive as much media coverage as it could have. What seems to have been missed is that the effect was near-total in states like West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Tripura and Kerala all of which happen to be "opposition" ruled. This agitation marks the return to the centrestage of trade unions which had been in virtual hibernation for quite some time now. (Incidentally, this phenomenon is taking place not only in India but in several countries of the world, including France, England and even the USA.) Even more significant is the active participation of workers of the unorganised sector and the small-scale industry and the peasantry, youth and women. In all, more than 25 million joined the agitation, a large number indeed. The ostensible reasons for protest were many: unemployment, steep hike in prices of essential commodities, privatisation of banking and insurance, etc. But the various issues boil down to one point: the extreme difficulties caused to the low-income groups by the reforms. It is an acknowledged fact that privatisation and globalisation can be a painful process, at least in the initial years, in those countries which have spent many years cloistered from the rest of the world. But these teething troubles can be reduced through proper sequencing of reforms. That, unfortunately, has not been happening in India. Ad hocism in this regard has led to a situation when privatisation does not bring much money to the coffers to the government and yet endows it with an anti-poor image. Take the subsidy cuts for instance. These have made life difficult for some sections of the downtrodden while at the same time many well-heeled ones continue to enjoy subsidy benefits. While the reform process has reached a stage where there is no turning back and that is not advisable in any case the government surely has to work sincerely on ensuring that the changes can be brought about without too many convulsions.
No change is possible
without the people's support but the public backing has
been greatly damaged because of various errors of
commission and omission. A rethink is necessary not only
for the sake of the economically weaker sections but also
to cope with the likely political fallouts. The Bharatiya
Janata Party is only the leading member of an alliance of
parties in the government. There is palpable disquiet
among the supporting parties over the growing
disenchantment among the public over the consequences of
the reforms. Unless correctives are initiated, the
political alliance itself may come under strain. Even if
some of the harsh decisions are inevitable, it is
necessary to soften the "insensitive" image
that the government has willy-nilly come to acquire.
FOR the rupee it was an excursion to panic-land on Wednesday. It shrank in value by 0.85 per cent, sending shock waves among the small number currency traders normally idling their time in an RBI backroom. But within 24 hours it rebounded, climbing out of the pit of below-Rs 44 to a dollar. Currency fluctuation is nothing unusual and those of Asian countries are taking a drubbing at the hands of the mighty dollar. But it is different in Mumbai where the rupee has been steady as a rock for most of last year, moving in a very narrow band of Rs 43.20 and Rs 43.40 to a dollar. What added to the surprise were related factors, all of which are unusually sound. Inflation is in low digits, although it has started creeping up during the past few weeks. Foreign exchange reserve stands at a healthy $38 billion and trade deficit is manageable at 1 per cent of the GDP. Short-term loans are a small portion of foreign debt and hence are not a destabilising factor. Yet the rupee took a tumble and its guardian angel, the RBI, was happily looking on without moving a muscle. It went one step further. The RBI winked at the State Bank of India buying dollars in a surcharged market, creating a clear impression that it was part of a plan to make the Indian currency weak against the dollar. The plunge was triggered, as in the stock market, by a wild rumour that foreign investors had sold $ 100 million worth of shares and are about to take the money out. Importers jumped in to buy dollars to meet their obligations before the supply dried up. The SBI buying completed the rout. By Thursday SBI reversed its role and unloaded as many dollars as the traders wanted and their demand is always small since the market itself is puny and under severe control. The fear of shortage melted away and the rupee settled down at Rs 43.85 or thereabouts.
Analysts, or those who
go about under the name, had a field day. They saw in the
RBI indifference a calculated move to peg down the real
effective exchange rate (REER) of the rupee. This is the
notional value of a currency and depends on one or
several changes. Inflation erodes the value and also
pushes up the cost of exports. Managed value shedding is
the only way out and the RBI seems to have performed
precisely this. Also, a higher value for the dollar
should help the economy in three ways. It will make
foreign investors more confident, will increase their
profit and encourage them to retain their active role in
the share market. But if the fall in the rupee value is
steep, the country faces the danger of imported
inflation, costly imports pushing up the general price
level. It is one of the prime tasks of the RBI to keep
the currency well aligned to achieve these somewhat
conflicting roles. But export concern claims priority and
dipping rupee graph should hopefully have to an opposite
impact on exports.
ISLAMIC fundamentalists based in southern Philippines struck this time at the Malaysian holiday Island of Sipadan on April 23 and seized 21 hostages, which included 10 foreigners. The hostages were moved out to some other island nearby which was considered more inaccessible for rescue teams. Earlier on March 20, the terrorists seized 58 persons, including several school children from the Basilan island of the Philippines. The terrorists involved in both these cases belong to an Islamic militant outfit called Abu Sayyaf which means Bearer of the Sword.
The Abu Sayyaf emerged in 1990 under the leadership of an Islamic fundamentalist, Abdulrazak Abubakar Janjalani. Like so many other Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist outfits from West and East Asia, this also traces its origin to the chaotic days of Afghanistan when Islamic fundamentalists from several countries were collected and trained to fight the Russians there. The area of operation of this organisation was mostly the southern islands of the Philippines. Janjalani was shot dead by the security forces in 1998 and he was succeeded by his younger brother, Khaddafi Janjalani who recruited more men, with the present strength estimated around 200. Once the militants found out, after the Sipadan attack, that there were some foreigners among the hostages, they became bold enough to make extraordinary demands such as the release of three Muslim terrorists convicted in the 1983 World Trade Centre bombing in New York.
By this act of brazen cruelty, the Islamic terrorists under the banner of Abu Sayyaf have once again highlighted the worldwide reach of this growing menace. The Philippines had been a long sufferer due to the insurgency of a much bigger Islamic fundamentalist organisation, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which claims a strength of about 20,000 militants. The Moro insurgents were fighting for independence of the Mindanao group of islands in the Southern Philippines, which have a majority of Muslim population. President Marcos had entered into an agreement in 1976 with the MILF whereby a certain amount of autonomy was conceded for the Mindanao region. The Organisation of Islamic States enthusiastically backed this agreement but some of the Arab states were responsible for encouraging the Moros to resort to insurgency until they attained full independence and they were regularly dispatching arms shipments to them. An uneasy peace prevails in the Mindanao islands.
The terror which struck the unsuspecting tourists in Sipadan island in Malaysia is symbolic of the ever-spreading reach of Islamic terrorism. What is significant is that the common bond between all these groups is Afghanistan, the cockpit of Central Asia, which became the scene of Russian invasion in 1979 and which drew an extraordinary American response. The prime actors were the USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who collected over 30,000 Muslims from about 30 countries from West, Central and East Asia. It is now estimated that the USA and Saudi Arabia jointly funded the 10-year long Mujahideen war against the Russians and the total cost was about $ 10 billion. The price which the USSR paid after the war was very heavy and far reaching in that not only did the USSR break up the communism itself collapsed and disappeared from its home the USSR. But it was not only Russia which paid a huge price but also several countries of West, Central and South Asia, which became zones of conflict promoted by the Islamic fundamentalists. Religious conflicts erupted in Egypt, Xinjiang province of China, Algeria, Lebanon, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan, etc, Pakistan and India are no exceptions to this phenomenon.
After the success of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, the Central Asian states, north of the Amu Darya river, became vulnerable to the Taliban extremists who were not content to stop at the border and mind the more important business of building up Afghanistan. The revolt in Chechnya, an autonomous region of southern Russia, was secessionist and it was promoted by Islamic fundamentalists who had mounted a sustained attack against the Russian forces. During President Yeltsins time the Russian army suffered serious setbacks and even after an uneasy truce was declared, the Chechen terrorists struck in the very heart of Moscow by bombing a series of multi-storeyed apartments, many of them accommodating the families of Russian soldiers. Yeltsins nomination of Putin as Prime Minister to take charge of the troubled state of Russia was indeed remarkable and far-sighted. In a short time Putin put down the Chechen rebellion with an iron hand though with a heavy cost of human suffering in Chechnya. Putins assessment was that it was a necessary operation since the remaining Islamic semi-autonomous regions in Russias southern borders would also be instigated by Islamic fundamentalists to resort to similar secessionist revolt.
Islamic fundamentalism now poses a serious threat to the Central Asian States and the Xinjiang province of China. President Jiang Zemin of China took the initiative and organised the Shanghai Summit at Bishkek, capital of Kyrgistan, in August, 1999. Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgistan attended this. A treaty was signed by the participants agreeing to coordinate various steps to contain the movement of Islamic militants between their borders. The Shanghai Meet was followed by a convention, at the initiative of Russia, at Kazakhstan and this was attended by 16 countries, including the Central Asian States, China, India, Iran, Israel and Pakistan. Indias Foreign Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, attended the meeting and pledged full support for fighting international terrorism.
A meeting of heads of security services of the Central Asian States, known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, was held at Moscow in April this year and set up an anti terrorist centre with Russias Federal Security Chief, Gen. Boris Mylnikov, as its Director. President Putin is expected to convene a conference of the heads of the Central Asian States to fine-tune these decisions. The security treaty signed by India and Uzbekistan during the recent visit of President Islam Karimov is yet another example of cooperation between India and Central Asian States in fighting Islamic terrorism.
The USA is not far behind in fighting Islamic terrorism but its scope and reach are limited. After all the Americans were the progenitors of the Islamic terrorists who were trained and set against the Russians in Afghanistan. This is why the USA is soft-pedalling in dealing with Pakistan even though it has been officially declared as fostering Islamic terrorist groups like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba. A 5000-strong convention of fundamentalists was held at the Lashkar headquarters in Muridke near Lahore on April 27 when jehad against India was openly declared and Pakistan and the USA warned against interference. The Clinton administration recently appointed Michael Sheehan, a State Department official, as in charge of a newly formed task force against terrorism. The FBI is also posting an official as part of the US embassy at New Delhi for constant liaison with the Indian security agencies. The US State Departments Annual Report on Terrorism for 1999 specifically refers to Pakistan and Afghanistan for sponsoring terrorism and terrorist activities but has stopped short of naming Pakistan as a terrorist state. It is explained that Pakistan is a friendly country and does not merit being designated as a terrorist state. Therein lies the US dilemma and duality in approach towards Pakistan.
There is no doubt that unless the Western countries, particularly the USA and Russia, along with the Central Asian States and the Muslim majority states in Asia make a determined effort to ruthlessly put down Islamic terrorism it would continue to flourish. V.S. Naipaul wrote in his book, Beyond belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples, 1998, that there probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. Islam seeks as an article of faith to erase the past. An analyst wrote in the Economist in August, 1994 that Muslims think the world is against them. If it is, then they are against the world. Hence the xenophobia that gets foreigners murdered by Koran-quoting terrorists. Islam, as Prof Samuel Huntington put it, has bloody borders. This analysis is being proved constantly in Central Asia, India and now in Malaysia and the Philippines.
is N-power generation
DR A.P.J. Kalam, the eminent physicist, aptly maintained that a key factor determining Indias transformation from a developing to a developed country would be an increase in generation of electricity with the use of nuclear power. Power generated from nuclear plants was clean and cost effective, he said, and urged scientists recently at a meeting of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics to focus their attention in this sphere now that nuclear research in the country had made a headway.
At the same meeting, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Dr R. Chidambaram, echoed the views of Dr Kalam and said the need of the hour was to go in for nuclear plants more so because the capacity of such plants had increased from 70 to 75 per cent (when the USA had imposed sanctions on India).
There can be no denying the fact that nuclear power is not only clean and environmental friendly but also has many other advantages. Around 80 per cent of energy in France is from nuclear power while among the developing countries Japan and lately China have given great attention to developing nuclear power. India has been lagging behind and with 12 reactors the share of nuclear power is a rather low at 2.21 per cent. The Tarapur power plant generates electricity at a nominal 83 paise a unit, thereby making it the lowest cost per unit. With the plant load factor (PLF) increasing, the cost of nuclear power is expected to be much less.
The fear of radiation risks of nuclear plants is totally unfounded. The accidents in 1986 at Chernobyl and in 1999 in Japans processing facility have had psychological and social repercussions. Some fears about radiation may be justified, many however are due to lack of knowledge. Human beings are exposed to radiation in various ways, specially through X-Rays and other such medical checks. In comparison the radiation from nuclear power generation is within permissible limits.
The nuclear power generation is based on the fission (splitting) of Uranium-235 by the bombardment of neutrons of appropriate energy. Fission releases heat, gamma radiation and two or three neutrons and two new nuclei are produced during splitting. The two new nuclei called fission products have potential hazard if they find their way to the environment. Careful cooling and shielding of the irradiated fuel are essential and this is observed in all nuclear plants in India and abroad.
In many activities of the production of nuclear power, the average radiation doses are usually in the same range as in the medical work. The average annual doses to the occupational personnel range from 1000 uSV to 3000 uSV in the fabrication of fuel elements and 10,000 to 30,000 uSV in mining, reprocessing or reactor operation and maintenance activities but the individual doses now rarely exceed 20,000 uSV in a year. This contributes about 5 uSV per year to the dose to the general population that would increase the average effective dose to the population from natural sources by less than 0.25 per cent.
In India (as also elsewhere) all nuclear plants have treatment systems to remove radioactive materials escaping from the reactor. A fraction of the radioactive gaseous and particulate materials however, pass into the atmosphere through the reactor stock. Some radionuclides are discharged into the stream of cooling water going to sea or river. The discharge of each type or group of radionuclides is controlled below the limits laid down by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board in the country. During normal operations of a nuclear power plant only small quantities of radioactivity are released to the environment through gaseous and liquid routes and only small quantities are generated and stored at site.
In fact, wastes of nuclear power plants are much less than thermal plants. The burning of coal (and its decay products) has two effects on radiation radon as a gas and other nuclides in the flyash. But the wastes from nuclear power plants are limited and practically all such hazardous wastes are disposed of in a controlled manner. Moreover, most countries including India, have decided to store spent fuel assemblies for 30 to 50 years before either disposing it as waste or reprocessing it.
According to a study by the Nuclear Power Corporation, the operation of nuclear power plants in the world during last year gave rise to around 7000 tons of spent fuel. If the same amount of electricity had been generated by the combustion of coal, it would have resulted in the emission of 1600 million tons of Co2 and millions of tons of SO2 and NOx even with the best fuel gas cleaning equipment and about 1,00,000 tons of poisonous heavy metals, including arsenic, chromium and lead. It is thus quite clear that if other industries (and power plants) have as good methods for waste management and disposal as the nuclear power industry does, the world would have far fewer environmental problems.
Thus, one can easily conclude that nuclear power is environmentally benign and reliable and increasingly important for sustainable development. Moreover, since the technology is fully indigenous and cost effective, it is imperative for the country to go in for nuclear power.
In fact, experts at the
Nuclear Power Corporation, Atomic Energy Commission and
also elsewhere have urged that there should be an optimal
energy mix of thermal, hydel and nuclear power. It is
thus imperative at this juncture to go in for nuclear
plants, at least one or two in the eastern region where
there are no such plants. With a rich reserve of thorium
and uranium, India is in the right position to go in for
nuclear power plants for these would help in the long
nothing from mistakes
THE sight of L.K. Advani waving happily from a boat on the Dal Lake last week evoked in me poignant memories of a Kashmir that seems lost forever. In that lost Kashmir, at this time of year, Srinagar would have been full of tourists. Houseboats on the Dal as well as the more snooty Nagin would have been bursting with people from Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and even distant Chennai, who would have spent long lazy days floating around in shikaras or sitting in the carved walnut verandahs of their houseboats. The Boulevard, that runs along the Dal Lake, would have been crowded on balmy evenings with tourists taking the air and seeking places to eat Kashmiri food in the ugly, new hotels that Farooq Abdullah allowed to mushroom too close to the lake. Those who knew better would have known that the best place to look was Ahdoos on the bandh.
In the really old days tourists who came to Kashmir would stay long periods weeks and even months and after they had their fill of Srinagar they would drift off to Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam. Those keen on the outdoors would find trekking routes in gentle, sunny forests and trout to fish in rushing streams. Those who could afford to, in the old days, would stay in Kashmir till they heard that the rains had come to Delhi or Mumbai, and then they would return, reluctantly, for Kashmir always seduced any tourist who stayed long enough. Could those days have gone forever? It seems that way judging from how few Indians dare to go to Kashmir any more. There was a brief summer, a couple of years ago, when we could once again count tourists in thousands but then came the war in Kargil and everyone deserted Kashmir again.
This summer, the only tourists seem to be the Home Minister, his daughter and his BJP colleague, Narendra Modi. Well, although this does not signal a return to good times it is a reasonably good beginning because it indicates at least that the Home Minister has recognised that the only solution in Kashmir is not a military one.
As someone who has covered the Kashmir story since 1981, when I went up for Farooq Abdullahs investiture as the old Sheikhs heir, I have noticed that all Home Ministers follow the same route. They start off by putting their faith in ending all secessionist thoughts and actions in the Valley with the uncompromising crunch of the jackboot. Then, when time passes and this does not work (as it never does) they being to explore the possibilities of dialogue. This has been especially true since 1989 when in the first week of December Yasin Malik and a few of his comrades from the JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) kidnapped Home Minister, Mufti Mohammed Syeds daughter and began a new, violent phase in Kashmirs secessionist movement.
We forget so easily so I want to remind you that the movement had virtually died by the mid-seventies when Indira Gandhi signed her accord with Sheikh Abdullah. It was she who then undid everything she had achieved by wrongly dismissing Farooq Abdullahs Government thereby reminding Kashmiris once more that they had never had fair elections. Rajiv could have rectified this wrong had he chosen simply to order fresh elections in 1986 but his Home Minister began with the jackboot and first forced Farooqs National Conference into an electoral alliance with the Congress. So, the Valleys two non-secessionist political parties committed joint political suicide. Farooq, who without the alliance would definitely have won, was allegedly obliged to use unfair means to keep the openly secessionist Muslim United Front (MUF) out of power. This was when Kashmiri youths started crossing the border into Pakistan to seek weapons and training in terrorism.
When Muftis daughter was kidnapped there was a new government in Delhi led by Vishvanath Pratap Singh. It could have disowned past mistakes and chosen a new way but it did not.
And, it has been the same story ever since with the supreme irony being that even the BJP has chosen to claim the mistakes of the past and travel along the same beaten path Congress Governments did first the jackboot and now dialogue. The Home Minister timed his visit to Srinagar with the release of several leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference clearly in the hope of beginning the process of dialogue. But, the Hurriyat is itself a confused, motley lot of fairly discredited leaders. Let us just look at the antecedents of some of those who were recently released. We have Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Jammat-e-Islami. His party has been around for decades and never managed to win more than a couple of seats. Then there is Abdul Ghani Lone who often in elections past failed to win even his own seat. Then, we have Yasin Malik of the JKLF who cannot have anything at all in common with someone like Geelani whose partys stated position is that Kashmir needs to be merged with Pakistan. The JKLF has always wanted independence for Kashmir.
Confusion begets confusion so, last week, we had Geelani talking about accepting a possible division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, along religious lines, if that is a solution. Others within the Hurriyat refused to comment or openly voiced their opposition. There is no indication that Hurriyat even reflects the feelings of the people of J & K but since Farooqs National Conference is once more a discredited party it is seen as a credible alternative. Farooq is himself to blame for losing the gains he made when he managed to get elected Chief Minister again, three years ago, because yet again he had proved himself bereft of even minimum administrative abilities. His vulnerability makes him oppose all moves by the Central Government to talk to anyone in Kashmir other than him.
But, talk the Home Minister must because only by talking to everyone will there be any possibilities of a political solution. And, without a domestic political solution India will have no choice but to involve Pakistan in the process of dialogue. As it is it could be too late for any attempts to solve the problem by making peace in a purely domestic sense as we did in Punjab, Kashmir was always different and our political leaders should have realised it before they made the mistakes that have led us to a situation where international mediation and talking to Pakistan could be the only solution left.
KATHMANDU (DPA): Over the next few days intrepid climbers from all over the world, including a 14-year-old Nepalese boy will try, weather permitting, to reach the summit of 8,848 metre-high Mount Everest.
But one man who matters the most will remain un-noticed and his name will never make the world headlines.
Yet it is he who makes it possible for the climbers to negotiate the most difficult part of the Everest climb - the treacherous Khmbhu icefall which has taken a toll of at least 19 lives so far.
The unsung Everest hero is 60 year-old Angdima Sherpa who has been making the icefall route for the past two decades.
Its his duty to get up very early each morning and inspect the route and ensure that it is safe for the climbers who go up from the base camp or come down to the base camp.
The Everest base camp located at a height of about 5,400 metres is used by those climbing the Everest, known as Sagarmatha in Nepal, and the 8,516 metre-high Mount Lhotse.
The icefall route which comprises ladders and ropes needs almost daily maintenance because of frequent movement of the climbers and high altitude porters from the base camp up and back.
This year he has fixed 44 ladders and 1,100 metres of sturdy nylon ropes to enable an easy passage over the icefall.
Angdima Sherpa assisted by two other Sherpas make the route and maintain it for three months during the current mountaineering season.
Angdima Sherpas two assistants are Gyaljen Sherpa and Motilal Gurung. Gyaljen Sherpa also doubles as a Buddhist priest visiting different climbing expeditions at the base camp and offering prayers before they set out for the climb.
Angdima Sherpa is paid about $ 1,500 plus some expenses for three months he spends at the Everest base camp maintaining the icefall route.
This is my profession and I depend entirely on this job for maintaining my family, Angdima Sherpa told the Nepali language daily Kantipur at the base camp.
TO an agricultural country in the position of India the preservation and improvement of cattle is a matter of extreme importance and to the poor agriculturist, whose capital in most cases consists of cattle alone, it is of the utmost importance that he should be able to speedily and suitably replace the cattle which he loses through disease or accident.
The decision of the Madras Government to start cattle insurance societies, therefore, is a step in the right direction. The societies will be managed on a cooperative basis, and, for the present, will be started in only one district as an experiment.
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