SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
O P I N I O N S

Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped

EDITORIALS

Et tu, Naveen?
BJP left to lick its wounds
Mr Naveen Patnaik has indeed given the BJP a jolt by walking out on it in Orissa and choosing to ally with the Left. It is bound to hurt the BJP’s ego and electoral prospects for the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly. Indeed, by taking this decision, the suave and soft-spoken Chief Minister and BJD supremo has caught the BJP off the guard. Feeling hurt, the BJP has withdrawn support to the government in retaliation.

SC breather
Andhra HC ruling against cops stayed
The Supreme Court has rightly stayed the questionable Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling directing the registration of cases of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code against the individual police officers responsible for encounter deaths or the killing of Naxalites in the state. Indeed, policemen across the country have been deeply agitated over the High Court’s ruling on February 6.




EARLIER STORIES

Limits of protest
March 9, 2009
Underachievers at school
March 8, 2009
Mahajot in Bengal
March 7, 2009
Pawar at play
March 6, 2009
Blame-game won’t help
March 5, 2009
Pak terror in sporting arena
March 4, 2009
A destabilisation game
March 3, 2009
Zardari courts trouble
March 2, 2009
In quest of a new identity
March 1, 2009
Perfect 10
February 28, 2009


Fiscal lapses
CAG takes a critical view of Punjab
A recurring grudge of the Punjab Chief Minister is that the Centre does not give the state sufficient funds. The truth is that the funds made available to the state under several Central schemes remain under-utilised or unutilised. A Planning Commission team has confirmed this. The team has particularly pointed out the poor implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

ARTICLE

Victory strategies
Old is still gold in Indian scheme of things
by S. Nihal Singh
With the election bugle having been sounded, party strategists are busy planning their winning formulae to take their parties and candidates past the winning post. There is no guarantee that clever ploys and techniques will bring victory, but every little bit helps and if a new web projection is catchy or a fetching jingle can do the trick, no effort will be spared.

MIDDLE

Old chestnuts
by Raj Chatterjee
You say that your son is the “apple of your eye”, but do you know that the phrase is as old as the Bible? “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 17:8). The “apple” is the pupil which is the most sensitive and precious part of the eye.

OPED

Missions to moon
India, China have similar objectives
by Shubhadeep Choudhury, our correspondent in Bangalore
In the bygone days if an Indian ventured to go overseas (“Kaalapani”), the act would have made him vulnerable to punishment by society. From then to now, when India is making a determined bid to conquer the space, we Indians have certainly come a very long way.

Carbon cuts are not enough
by Michael McCarthy
The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office.

Delhi Durbar
Paswan, Lalu coming together
Ram Vilas Paswan may pretend before TV cameras that he is still unyielding to Lalu Prasad for an alliance in Bihar, but his confidants got wind of his change of heart quite some time back when he left the decision about joining hands with Lalu to his younger brother, Paras Nath.

  • The guessing game

  • Media centre


Top








EDITORIALS

Et tu, Naveen?
BJP left to lick its wounds

Mr Naveen Patnaik has indeed given the BJP a jolt by walking out on it in Orissa and choosing to ally with the Left. It is bound to hurt the BJP’s ego and electoral prospects for the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly. Indeed, by taking this decision, the suave and soft-spoken Chief Minister and BJD supremo has caught the BJP off the guard. Feeling hurt, the BJP has withdrawn support to the government in retaliation. Though the relationship between the two alliance partners has been tenuous ever since the Kandhamal attacks on Christians by Sangh Parivar activists, the BJP didn’t expect the BJD to walk over to the Left. It has often accused the BJD of acting like a big brother in Orissa while the state party thought the BJP was acting too high and mighty. The BJD was reluctant to give more seats to it for the ensuing elections, particularly after the BJP’s humiliating defeat in the municipal polls, including those for the prestigious Bhubaneswar and Cuttack corporations.

Going by the number of MLAs paraded by Mr Patnaik before Governor M.C. Bhandare in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, there seems to be no threat to his government. In the 147-member House, the BJD (61 MLAs) has the support of another 15 members — one each from the CPM and the CPI, the NCP (two), the JMM (four) and Independents (seven). Incidentally, these members had won the 2004 Assembly elections with the BJD’s support. Nonetheless, the Governor has rightly asked the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the State Assembly on March 11. This is in tune with the recommendations of various expert committees and the Supreme Court which held that a Chief Minister should prove his government’s majority by seeking a vote of confidence in the State Assembly and not by parading MLAs at Raj Bhavan.

A fallout of Sunday’s divorce between the BJD and the BJP is its impact on the nebulous Third Front. The Left leaders like Mr Sitaram Yechury have been holding parleys with the BJD for some time. They will be too happy to rope in the BJD into the Third Front though Mr Patnaik is keeping his cards close to his chest. The Left wants the BJD to set aside one Lok Sabha and 22 Assembly seats in Orissa. Of the 21 seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha from Orissa, 18 are held by the erstwhile alliance of the BJD (11) and the BJP (7). And if the BJD-Left pre-poll alliance comes through, it will give a fillip to the Third Front — at the cost of the BJP, which is still trying to get over the shock given to it by Mr Patnaik. Mr Prakash Karat has begun smiling seeing the BJP slipping.

Top

SC breather
Andhra HC ruling against cops stayed

The Supreme Court has rightly stayed the questionable Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling directing the registration of cases of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code against the individual police officers responsible for encounter deaths or the killing of Naxalites in the state. Indeed, policemen across the country have been deeply agitated over the High Court’s ruling on February 6. It had virtually turned policemen into criminals, making them face trial and await court orders to be cleared from charges of murder or culpable homicide for deaths of Naxalites, terrorists and other subversive elements in encounters. In the process, the government’s movement against these dangerous elements would have received a setback for the simple reason that no action could be taken against them. A five-judge Bench of the High Court had passed the directions on a case relating to the killing of eight Naxalites in 2006 by Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds team formed to fight the Naxalites.

The petitioners have dubbed the High Court order as bad in law because it erred on various counts. Mr Harish Salve, on behalf of the AP Police Officers’ Association, has told the apex court that if such orders are passed, all the police officers engaged in thwarting the attack on Parliament in December 2001 and the NSG commandos who killed the Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai last November would have to face criminal charges. Moreover, the High Court should not have ruled that provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code would not give any immunity to policemen involved in an exchange of fire while dispersing an unlawful assembly and would be treated on a par with any civilian who uses force in self-defence.

The apex court Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal may not have quashed the impugned order. However, the fact that it has stayed the High Court ruling and issued notice to the state government and the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee implies that it shared the policemen’s concern and is interested in making a close scrutiny of the order.

Top

Fiscal lapses
CAG takes a critical view of Punjab

A recurring grudge of the Punjab Chief Minister is that the Centre does not give the state sufficient funds. The truth is that the funds made available to the state under several Central schemes remain under-utilised or unutilised. A Planning Commission team has confirmed this. The team has particularly pointed out the poor implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Funds available for canal repair lapse as the state government fails to meet the Central guidelines meant to ensure transparency and maintenance of records, and instead relies on contractors to do the work.Even MPs do not make proper use of the money the Centre provides for development works.

Punjab is slipping in growth because the government misspends its finances. It is hard to believe that the state government spent Rs 922 crore, a major part of the budget, in a single day — on March 31 last year. The amazing feat has been discovered by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG). It is common for government departments to go on a spending spree in the closing days of the financial year in stark violation of the rules, which require funds to be spent evenly in a planned way throughout the year.

Every year the CAG exposes deficiencies in the state’s fiscal management but no lessons are learnt. Now the CAG has tracked irregularities of Rs 2,500 crore in the accounts. It has objected to the Chief Minister’s handing over of Rs 1,000 crore at “sangat darshan” programmes and called for auditing of the public money collected by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board. It is this board that funds the Chief Minister’s programmes. If the taxpayers’ money is to be spent according to whims and fancies of ruling politicians, the whole purpose of the budgetary exercise is defeated. How much importance the Punjab government attaches to the budget is evident from its decision to go in for a vote-on-account instead of having a regular budget. On its part, the Opposition has failed to take up serious fiscal issues raised by the CAG. It has chosen to stay away from the assembly on petty issues.

Top

 

Thought for the Day

Sorrow is tranquillity remembered in emotion. — Dorothy Parker

Top

Corrections and clarifications

n The page 1 report from Islamabad (March 4) has this expression “Among those killed included the driver of the bus….” It should be either “Among those killed was the driver” or “Those killed included the driver”.
n The report “Most Indians prefer good work profile over pay” (March 4) actually says Indians are ready to accept pay cuts if work profile gets better and not as the headline intends to convey. Besides, “prefer” is followed by “to” and not “over”
n The headline “Farm suicide victims to get Rs 2 lakh” (March 3) is incorrect. The government is to pay Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those farmers and farm labourers who have committed suicide since 2000.
n Dr Surinder Singh Shahi ( not Sahi, March 7) is the BSP ‘s choice for Khadoor Sahib

Despite our earnest endeavour to keep The Tribune error-free, some errors do creep in at times. We are always eager to correct them.

We request our readers to write or e-mail to us whenever they find any error. We will carry corrections and clarifications, wherever necessary, every Tuesday.

Readers in such cases can write to Mr Amar Chandel, Deputy Editor, The Tribune, Chandigarh, with the word “Corrections” on the envelope. His e-mail ID is amarchandel@tribunemail.com.

H.K. Dua
Editor-in-Chief

Top

ARTICLE

Victory strategies
Old is still gold in Indian scheme of things
by S. Nihal Singh

With the election bugle having been sounded, party strategists are busy planning their winning formulae to take their parties and candidates past the winning post. There is no guarantee that clever ploys and techniques will bring victory, but every little bit helps and if a new web projection is catchy or a fetching jingle can do the trick, no effort will be spared.

The serious business of selecting candidates and forming alliances is the province of heavyweights in each party, but there are many other tasks that fall to the lot of aspiring politicians and experts that are avidly taken up for the rewards success might bring. While these are early days yet to assess the fortunes of the two main parties and others, their direction can be discerned.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and its leadership are placing their faith in modern means of communication. Mr L.K. Advani is so impressed by Mr Barack Obama’s victory and the use he made of the Internet to gather funds and communicate with the young that he has set up his own site with blogs keeping his audience informed. A similar technique was tried — unsuccessfully as it turned out — by Mr A.B. Vajpayee before the last general election, with mobile owners being pleasantly surprised to hear his voice soliciting votes.

India is not America and Internet users are a minority and largely urban. The majority is no doubt young but they generally belong to the middle and upper middle class and pose two kinds of problems for Mr Advani. An 80 plus aspiring Prime Minister, even one showing off his ability to lift weights in a gym, is unconvincing and for people hankering after a modern western lifestyle, the prudery and worse of the Sangh Parivar in BJP-ruled states are particularly off-putting.

The Congress, on the other hand, believes that a jingle can be its mascot to success. Somewhat in the manner of the “India Shining” credo of the BJP, which came to haunt it, the Congress has bought the rights to the Slumdog success Jai Ho as its signature tune for the election. It is undoubtedly a catchy tune and has an impeccable pedigree in the Oscars it has won, but will the infectious song come to signify what the Congress stands for?

The Congress is, of course, projecting Mr Rahul Gandhi both as a future leader and as a young man in tune with the hopes and aspirations of the new generation. And the young Gandhi is assisted by a posse of young savvy computer-wielding brigade putting technology to the service of the Congress. However, will the youth be beguiled by the power centres being opened up to their generation when they see the party being weighed down by septuagenarians soldiering on despite their infirmities? In the Indian scheme of things, old is still gold.

If the old, cutting across parties, look at new methods of snagging votes with indulgence and some disbelief, they remain convinced in their belief that computers and logical conclusions do not win elections. In their book, there is no substitute for the lessons learned in the heat and dust of Indian constituencies, how seeming absurdities influence voters and workers and how man management and local factors separate defeat from victory.

Political leaders will no doubt set out for different constituencies complete with posters and party flags in their caravan of jeeps carrying party workers to take in as many areas as possible. For leaders in the top rungs, there are, of course, helicopters to commute from one point to another in a whirl of dust and quick election speeches. But the pattern of these forays varies from party to party.

Taking the Congress party first, Ms Sonia Gandhi proved to be the most indefatigable of vote gatherers in the 2004 campaign; she received little help from other national leaders and the Congress victory was truly hers. This time around, son Rahul, who had confined himself previously to Uttar Pradesh, will help her on a countrywide scale, apart from others who choose to lighten the party president’s burden.

The picture on the BJP side is less comforting. Whether Mr Advani likes it or not, a leader of his age has his limitations in undertaking punishing election campaigning interspersed with speeches and handshakes although the namaste will stand him in good stead. Of other leaders, only Mr Narendra Modi has wide appeal, but he comes with a toxic label and is inclined to polarise voters along religious lines. The party president, Mr Rajnath Singh, is not impressive and comes with his mannerisms; others are distinctly second rung.

There are no dilemmas for such emerging parties as the Bahujan Samaj Party or, in different ways, with Mr Lalu Prasad’s RJD or Mr Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Jan Shakti Party or Ms Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK. They are associated in the public mind with one-person parties and carry with them the virtues and weaknesses of such an image. They bank on their own pull and leadership qualities.

One trait, however, is much more prominent this time around. The regional parties are fighting much harder for securing Lok Sabha seats in their arrangements whereas previously they were content with a larger chunk of assembly seats. The logic of the change is clear; each regional party wants to increase its Lok Sabha strength with an eye on future bargaining with its big brother. This phenomenon has seen the end of the BJP-BJD alliance in Orissa because the Biju Janata Dal was no longer content with what the BJP was prepared to offer. And the Congress’ travails with Mr Mulayam Singh of the Samajwadi Party in sharing seats in Uttar Pradesh also stem from rising regional aspirations.

The props do help create conditions for political parties to win elections, but even more important are how the electorate perceives a party’s performance or promises and a party’s ability to get the voters out to the polling booth. The Congress starved its grassroot worker, once its great strength. The BJP, on the other hand, has the enviable resources of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, but local and regional synergies or lack of them often decide the enthusiasm with which RSS workers help candidates.

Meanwhile, Jai Ho and other chants will at least enliven the proceedings.

Top

MIDDLE

Old chestnuts
by Raj Chatterjee

You say that your son is the “apple of your eye”, but do you know that the phrase is as old as the Bible? “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 17:8). The “apple” is the pupil which is the most sensitive and precious part of the eye.

“To beat about the bush” is to say something in a roundabout way instead of directly and frankly. Trees and bushes are beaten to dislodge birds. “He bet about the bush while others caught the birds,” wrote Robert Gascoigne in the 16th century.

Have you ever had a “bee in your bonnet” about something? Like, say, campaigning for prohibition? This, again, is a 16th century phrase ascribed to one Nicholas Udall, who wrote: “Who hath suche bees as your maister in hye head?” This means that your master is an eccentric sort of a fellow. Our crusaders and campaigners, unfortunately, do not stop at just being a bit “eccentric”.

“To bite off more than one can chew” is an idiom of American origin and refers to the chewing of tobacco.

Are you the black sheep of the family? The idea of being worthless or morally bad comes from the fact that a sheep with black fleece is less valuable than one with white fleece.

Blood, it is often said, is thicker than water. There is the story of an American naval officer who in 1859, finding the English having a hard time with the Chinese, went to their rescue. In his report to his government, justifying his action, he used those words.

Were you born with a silver spoon in your mouth? The phrase is mentioned in James Kelly’s “Scottish Proverbs” (1721). “Every man is not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.” Goldsmith in his “Citizen of the world” wrote, “One man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth and another with a wooden ladle”.

We in this country know of yet another type, the successful politician or “wagon jumper”. He is usually born with a wooden laden in his mouth, but on his way up he replaces this with a silver or even golden one. Almost always this is at the tax-payer’s expense.

“A feather in his cap” has been acquired by a number of people in Delhi. The metaphor comes from the old practice among the Red Indians of adding a feather to their headgear for each enemy killed. In keeping with our national ethos, we have given the expression a non-violent twist.

“Casting pearls before swine” is another phrase mentioned in the Bible. “Give me that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6).

Most of us are prone to day-dreaming or “building castles in Spain” with that Rs 2 crore lottery win round the corner. The expression dates back to the 18th century when Spain was looked upon as a land of romance. This notion was put to an end in the 19th century!

Top

OPED

Missions to moon
India, China have similar objectives
by Shubhadeep Choudhury, our correspondent in Bangalore

In the bygone days if an Indian ventured to go overseas (“Kaalapani”), the act would have made him vulnerable to punishment by society. From then to now, when India is making a determined bid to conquer the space, we Indians have certainly come a very long way.

Patiala-born Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Rakesh Sharma went to space back in 1984. Looking at earth from the Soviet aircraft that took him to space, Sharma described India as “better than the whole world” (“Saare jahan se achchha”).

Kalpana Chawla, the woman astronaut originally from Haryana, who unfortunately died when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas, did all her space travel aboard American spacecraft.

It is about time that India is able to send astronauts to the space in its own spacecraft. The good news is that the day when Indian astronauts will be able to go to space in indigenously designed and developed spacecraft is not really far off.

Six years down the lane and we can see Indian astronauts engaging themselves in a bit of space walk. The government has already sanctioned a budget of Rs 12,400 crore to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for sending a manned mission to the space. The mission is slated to be launched in 2015.

Meanwhile, ISRO will continue to work on its second moon mission, christened Chandrayaan 2. This is slated to be launched in 2011-12. While Madhavan Nair, ISRO Chairman, who was recently conferred the Padma Vibushan award for the success of Chandrayaan 1, laughed at the suggestion of a race between India and China over space exploration, the fact is that China, too, is planning to send a mission to the moon at about the same time as 
Chandrayaan 2.

Interestingly, the launching of Chandrayaan 1 in October followed close on the heels of first space walk by two Chinese astronauts in September, 2008. On March 1, China crash-landed its spacecraft Chang’e 1 on moon, three and half months after the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) aboard Chandrayaan 1 landed on moon.

The objectives of Chandrayaan 2 and Chang’e 2 of China also are strikingly similar. Both missions intend to drop rovers on the lunar surface and collect samples from the lunar soil.

Since the moon forms the central focus of all the space agencies of the world, including NASA, it is perhaps inevitable that the programme of the two Asian neighbours will overlap to some extent.

India, however, will have a couple of challenges on hand while giving shape to the Chandrayaan 2 mission. First of all, while Chandrayaan 1 was launched with the help of a PSLV rocket, a GSLV rocket is slated to be used for the next mission.

“The satellite will be much heavier in the case of Chandrayaan 2. We shall need a GSLV rocket for that”, Nair said.

Nair was in Russia recently but the visit apparently had nothing to do with arranging cryogenic fuel for the GSLV rocket. Nair said he went to Russia to participate in a meeting that takes place between Russian and Indian space agencies after every six month.

Cryogenic fuel for the GSLV rocket, the ISRO chairman said, would be produced indigenously. “We have the know-how for producing cryogenic fuel”, Nair said.

In December ISRO successfully conducted the flight acceptance hot test of indigenous cryogenic engine at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre’s (LPSC) Mahendragiri (Tamil Nadu) facilities.

The engine is proposed to be used in the first indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage project (CUSP) to be used in the next Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle mission (GSLV-D3).

Chandrayaan 2, in all likelihood, will be the first mission in which the indigenously developed cryogenic engine will be put to use.

Nair said the focus of Chandrayaan 2 would be determined by the findings of the Chandrayaan 1 mission. The rover, that is slated to be lowered by Chandrayaan 2 on the lunar surface, will be landed in an area that is identified as a useful area of exploration by the Chandrayaan 1 mission.

The stated objectives of the Chandrayaan 1 mission included looking for various minerals on the moon as well as to find traces of water on the lunar surface.

Without going into details of the possible findings on the moon by Chandrayaan 1, Nair said the satellite had sent a huge amount of data through its instruments and the data was being analysed.

“By the end of this year, we shall be ready to announce some of our findings from the Chandrayaan 1 mission”, he said.

The ISRO Chairman said a concrete achievement of the Chandrayaan 1 mission to date was controlling the spacecraft from the ground control in Bangalore.

“Maintaining the spacecraft on a circular orbit 100 km above the lunar surface is an achievement in itself”, Nair said.

The moon mission is not all about extracting minerals from the moon or setting up a camp in it. The objective of Chandrayaan 1 and Chandrayaan 2 and the subsequent ISRO missions is also to enhance scientific knowledge about the moon.

Scientific exploration of the moon is likely to lead to the explanation of some of the unanswered questions with regard to the origin of the universe.

Top

Carbon cuts are not enough
by Michael McCarthy

The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office.

The key aim of holding the expected increase to 2C, beyond which damage to the natural world and to human society is likely to be catastrophic, is far from assured, the research suggests, even if all countries engage forthwith in a radical and enormous crash programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions – something which itself is by no means guaranteed.

The chilling forecast from the supercomputer climate model of the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research will provide a sobering wake-up call for governments around the world, who will begin formally negotiating three weeks today the new international treaty on tackling global warming, which is due to be signed in Copenhagen in December.

The treaty, which is due to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, is widely seen as the Last Chance Saloon for the community of nations to take effective action against the greatest threat the world has ever faced.

But the Met Office's new prediction hits directly at the principle guiding all those hoping for an effective agreement, with the European Union in the lead: that of stopping the warming at two degrees Centigrade above the "pre-industrial" level (the level of average world temperature pertaining two hundred years ago).

Today, world average temperatures stand at about 0.75C above the pre-industrial, and many scientists and politicians agree that further increases have to be stopped at 2C if catastrophic impacts from the warming are to be avoided, ranging from widespread agricultural failure and worldwide sea level rise, to countless species extinctions and irreversible melting of the world's great ice sheets.

But the Hadley Centre's simulation indicates that even if global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing the warming, were to be slashed at a very high rate the chances of holding the rise at the C threshold are no better than even.

The scenario, prepared for Britain's Climate Change Committee, the body recommending the UK's future carbon "budgets", visualises world CO2 emissions peaking in 2015, and then falling at a top rate of 3 per cent a year, to reach emissions of 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

At the moment, global emissions are thought to be rising at nearly 3 per cent a year – so turning that into a 3 per cent annual cut would be a gigantic slashing of what the earth's factories and motor vehicles are pumping into the atmosphere.

There is as yet nothing remotely like that on the table for potential agreement in Copenhagen, and if a deal of this ambition were to be done, it would be regarded as a triumph.

Yet even with that, the Hadley Centre research suggests, the chances of keeping the rise down to about 2C by 2100 would be only 50-50. Furthermore, the simulations suggest that there is a worst-case scenario – about a 10 per cent chance – of the rise by the end of the current century reaching, even with these drastic cuts, a level of 2.8C above the pre-industrial, which is well into disaster territory.

With any action that is slower than the scenario above, the likeliest outcome is a much higher eventual temperature – and in fact, the model indicates that each 10 years of delay in halting the rise in global emissions adds another 0.5C to the likeliest end-of-the-century figure.

So if emissions do not peak and start to decline until 2025, we can expect a 2.6C rise by 2100, and if the decline only begins in 2035, the figure is likely to be 3.1C – even with 3 per cent annual cuts.

These new figures suggest quite unambiguously that the world is on course for calamity unless rapid action can be taken which is far more drastic than any politicians are so far contemplating – never mind the general public.

If action is sluggish or non-existent, the model suggests that climate change is likely to cause almost unthinkable damage to the world; under a "business-as-usual" scenario, with no action taken at all and emissions increasing by more than 100 per cent by 2050, the end-of-the-century rise in global average temperatures is likely to be 5.5C, with a worst-case outcome of 7.1C – which would make much of life on earth impossible.

"Even with drastic cuts in emissions in the next 10 years, our results project that there will only be a 50 per cent chance of keeping global temperatures rises below 2C," said Dr Vicky Pope, the Met Office's Head of Climate Change Advice.

"This idealised emissions scenario is based on emissions peaking in 2015 and changing from an increase of 2-3 per cent per year to a decrease of 3 per cent per year. For every 10 years we delay this action another 0.5C will be added to the most likely temperature rise.

If the world fails to make the required reductions, it will be faced with adapting not just to a 2C rise in temperature but to 4C or more by the end of the century."

— By arrangement with The Independent

Top

Delhi Durbar
Paswan, Lalu coming together

Ram Vilas Paswan may pretend before TV cameras that he is still unyielding to Lalu Prasad for an alliance in Bihar, but his confidants got wind of his change of heart quite some time back when he left the decision about joining hands with Lalu to his younger brother, Paras Nath.

Paras Nath is the leader of the LJP in Bihar and has had a long association with Lalu Prasad as a minister in Lalu’s government. Somehow Paras Nath has all along disagreed with the elder brother whenever Ram Vilas decided to part company with Lalu Prasad and join hands with the Sharad-Nitish duo in Bihar, starting from 1997 when they all got together to oust Lalu from the Janata Dal to the last state assembly elections when Paswan had a tacit understanding with Nitish Kumar.

That is why the moment Paswan left the decision to Paras Nath, Lalu’s bete noire, Ranjan Prasad Yadav, left the Paswan camp, realising fully well that Paswan will now go with Lalu only.

Now Paras Nath has been given the responsibility of sitting together with Lalu Prasad and discuss the seat- sharing arrangement.

The guessing game

Speculation over the announcement of poll dates had turned into a favourite pastime for politicians and journalists on political beats until the Election Commission announced the poll schedule last week.

Several “knowledgeable” reporters turned this into a full-time evening activity by participating in impromptu discussions, initiated over a drink at the Press Club of India.

Reporters covering the Congress, of course, claimed to be knowing more than others and that was true also to a large extent.

Even as the Election Commission was finalising dates by meeting the Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary, a few people went into an overdrive, speculating that the announcement would be made a day after the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on February 26.

This was not to happen. The next date speculated was Sunday, March 1. The ECI did not announce the poll dates on that day too. The schedule was finally announced on March 2, setting all speculation at rest.

Media centre

Though infrastructure projects for the 2010 Commonwealth Games are running behind the schedule, one project that seems to be taking shape rather too fast is the state-of-the-art media centre at the Pragati Maidan.

The India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) has been asked by the government to provide all necessary assistance to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) to set up the media centre well in time.

Officials say the media centre, which will easily accommodate more than 1,000 journalists, will have all modern gazettes and broadcasting facilities.

There will be another media centre, though smaller in size, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium that will cater to the needs of journalists coming from all over the world to cover the mega sporting event. Small media centres will also be attached with different stadiums being built for the games.

At least the fourth estate can’t complain that the government is not serious about preparations for the games.

Contributed by Faraz Ahmad, Ajay Banerjee and Ashok Tuteja

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |