By Zubair Ahmed

Its forty seven years now that the Islands started sending their elected representatives to Lok Sabha. For the first 15 years after Independence, the Member of Parliament was nominated.

When the Island goes to poll on 10th April 2014, it would be thirteenth time that the Island will elect a representative.

For the first time, in 1967 the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands exercised their right to send an elected representative to the Lok Sabha. K R Ganesh, a son of the Island, a veteran trade unionist and a political leader, who justified his election, made the Islands an effective entity on the political map of India. He rose to become Deputy Minister of Finance in his first term as Member of Parliament.

The Islanders might be quite justified in questioning his loyalty to the Islands and his contribution towards its development. But his contribution to the growth of trade unions and his crusade against dictatorial bureaucracy of the time cannot be wished away. It was largely due to his efforts that these Islands are a Union Territory now.

But, he proved that as a Member of Parliament, he too can play a major role in setting the destiny of the nation, not just to be a rubber stamp, as the position has been demeaned by his successors.

Whenever he intervened in the debates, he raised questions regarding the development of the Islands. But, the scope of his parliamentary activities did not remain confined to the Islands. He spoke on internal and external policies with force and clarity. He took keen interest in the political struggle against the conservative elements both inside the Congress and outside. His writings and speeches set the tone for discussions on vital issues.

He had found the Andaman Association in 1954 which merged with the Andamans District Congress in 1958 and won the first election on Congress ticket.  K R Ganesh made his maiden speech in the first session of the third Lok Sabha pleading for the development of fisheries and rubber plantation in Andamans, for which he said there was great scope.

In his first address in the House, he said, “…as the population increases as more and more people are settled in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it is becoming absolutely necessary that the administrative system that existed in the Islands must be transformed and further democratic reforms introduced in the Islands…”

On KR Ganesh, The Statesman wrote on 1 April 1967, “Living in the Andamans has not made Mr Ganesh insular. He made his debut in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the Budget with a speech which showed insight into the problems not only of the area he comes from but of the mainland. He wants to specialize in basic economic policies.”

To focus public attention on the problems of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, K R Ganesh asked nearly 170 questions in the Lok Sabha related to administration, development and resources, corruption and administrative lapses, agriculture and new settlement areas, transport and shipping, education, forest and industry, Nicobar and tribal issues. And, the significance of these questions can be judged from the fact that they were tabled during the first 15 months of his election to the Lok Sabha.

Many questions that KR Ganesh asked in 1967 are the same set of questions that his successors, after fifty years are still asking without any major change on the ground.

On 21 December 1967, he raised the issue of scarcity of specialists in the Island hospitals and asked about the efforts of the Government to post doctors possessing specialist qualifications in medicine in the Andaman Civil Hospital. The search for a permanent solution still continues, and maybe the move to establish a Medical College will be the answer he was seeking.

On August 5, 1968, he enquired about the possibility of oil resources in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and about schemes to conduct deep sea drilling in the Islands? On August 6, 1968 he asked about survey of the mineral resources of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As a result a survey was carried out by the Geological Survey of India, and occurrences of limestone, chromite, asbestos, sulphur, volcanic ash, lignite, coal and clays were recorded.

On 5 July 1967, he also did ask about the result of students who had appeared for the Higher Secondary School Examination and the reason for the dismal performance. The reply was that no special study had been conducted to find out the reasons.

On 3 April 1967, he had asked about a proposal to upgrade the Port Blair Radio Station, and he was told that the equipment required for up-gradation is being arranged and will be implemented within the 4th Five Year Plan. The state of the Station today is nothing to talk about even after 12th Five Year Plan.

The issue of large scale misuse of Government labour for private domestic purposes especially Class IV employees working in the residences of officers was also raised by him in 1967.

It may be debatable whether he was a good representative or not, he did leave a mark. He did falter and he had to pay for it. The Islanders did not give him a second chance. In spite of all his public failings he was the first Islander to hoist and unfurl the national flag at Gymkhana ground on Republic and Independence days. He did make us proud at some point of time. His tenure as Minister had brought these Islands into sharp media focus.

 

For a contrast, if the report card of his successor, who was elected by the Islanders for about eight terms, is prepared, it would be quite a disappointing exercise.

By Zubair Ahmed

Despite heavy downpour, the turnout for the Andaman Marathon was commendable, and the Organizers deserve appreciation for that. As announced earlier with pride, as many as six athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia participated in it and in true sportsman spirit beat the Island marathoners in the main event. And, we all clapped and clapped, till they felt that they deserved the applause.

After the devastating 2004 Tsunami, a well-prepared Andaman and Nicobar Islands braced the fury of Cyclone Lehar, which crossed the Islands leaving behind a trail of devastation. With no casualty, the Disaster Management proved its ability to secure human lives by evacuating people from vulnerable areas. Kudos to ANI Admn. and the "never giving up" spirit of the Islanders!

A wave of dissent is simmering throughout the Islands, with rallies, meetings, representations being submitted to the Administration concerned with mainlanders nabbing majority of jobs in the Islands, especially the 420-plus vacancies notified for teachers.

In the half marathon, in General Category female, the Kenyans, Ms. Gladys J. Tarus,  Ms. Everline N. Ancha and Ms. Chenaneat Lorva came First, Second and Third respectively. In the Reserved Category for Islanders female, Ms. Birshi Bhay was 'declared' winner. In the half marathon male, Mr. Daniel Yegum (Kenya), Mr. Antony Moungh (Kenya) and Mr. Gebre Gizachew (Ethiopia) came first, second and third respectively. In the Reserved Category for Islanders male, Mr. Kapil was 'declared' winner.

All the winners truly deserve "applause". There was another category of 10 kms, which was 100% reserved for Islanders. And, once again applause for all those who won their races.

A few decades back, most of the weather forecasts were taken with a pinch of salt. "Chances of rain and sunshine" was a cliché used for weather forecasts. Things have changed. Now, they are able to scientifically predict the speed, intensity, direction and probable time of a cyclone with accuracy to an extent. But, nobody can reduce the speed or intensity, change the direction or postpone a cyclone as per their wish.  Cyclone Lehar came, created havoc and left to "mainland". Applause for the disaster-preparedness!

Contrary to the firm belief, around 1126 applications from mainland have landed at DEO, South Andaman for the 420+ vacancies for teachers. Nothing like speculation! Even if after scrutiny, 50% applications are rejected, there are about 500 applications from mainland with CTET pass. After verification of original testimonials, merit list on the basis of self-marking will be prepared and the results announced.

Now you might be wondering, what is the connection between Andaman Marathon, Cyclone Lehar and Teachers Recruitment.

In Andaman Marathon, all six winners came from outside and took away all the prizes except those 'reserved' for the Islanders. Cyclone Lehar came from outside and created havoc and left. Our share of destruction was however less, as 90% of the fury was "reserved' for mainland. As expected by the 'rumour-mongers' and unforeseen by the Administrator, more than a 1000 applications from the mainland has already reached the shores of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Now, it has to be seen how much mayhem it will generate.

Fortunately, we have an Administrator, who likes to talk his heart unlike his predecessors. Irrespective of the occasion, he touches every issue and tries to convert it into a public spectacle winning huge appreciation and applause.

After the marathon, with his soul-stirring and passionate speech, the Administrator won the hearts and souls of the gathering. They clapped non-stop. He too truly deserved the applause! In fact, the Administrator clinched the opportunity to address those gathered after the culmination of the marathon to clarify or rather express his mind about the confusion or the uproar about Teachers Recruitment. He also utilized the Coop Week function to throw light on the issue.

Referring to rumours that mainland candidates will take away majority of the jobs of teachers, being recruited by the Education Department, the Lt. Governor urged the teachers and students to have confidence in him and reassured them that their interests would be protected and a 'viable' solution arrived at which will stand legal and administrative scrutiny.  He also appealed to the youth not to be misguided by rumours. He said the whole procedure would be fair and transparent.

Now, who are the rumour-mongers? Many delegations have met the Administrator and submitted representations demanding reservation of jobs for the Islanders. Bishnu Pada Ray convened a press meet. Vishal Jolly personally met him. Kuldeep Rai Sharma led a rally and addressed a gathering of candidates and met the Administrator and submitted a representation. Now, who among the three are spreading rumours? All of them are conscious of the fact that there are legal and administrative issues, as a policy is not yet framed. What all of them are demanding individually or collectively is the same - To get an executive order from the Centre for reservation of jobs for the Islanders like it exists in different UTs viz. Daman and Diu, Pondicherry, Delhi etc. What is perplexing is the fact that Kuldeep Rai Sharma's rally and public meeting was an eye-opener and a positive step, whereas all others are rumour-mongers. It’s the same old beaten path Bhopinder Singh had followed. What Island Protection Forum is demanding and other political and social organisations are asking for are the same. And it’s a fact that 1126 applications from mainland have already landed in Andamans.

The Islanders have been smitten not once, but twice - Tsunami farmers issue and Buffer Zone. Hence they are thrice shy now rather than lucky! They are anxious and apprehensive.

The Administrator has already assured that he will not leave any stone unturned in protecting the interests of the Islanders, but with a caveat, as it’s not in his hands. He will approach Prime Minister and other leaders in the Centre.

What the Islanders are genuinely worried is the precarious situation where after a long wait outside the operation theatre, door opens and the doctor comes out, pulls his gloves off and says, "Sorry, I couldn't save him."

By Dr. Sudip Chakraborty, MBBS, MD (Medicine)

Just like me, there must be many runners participating in this edition of marathon just for fun and some exercise. They need to go to duty the next day and attend to daily chores. So all those non-professional and non-defense personals’, the aim must be to complete the marathon without picking up any injury.  So here are some tips that might help;

1) Warm up and cool down, each of ten minutes before and after running marathon is a absolute must. Stretching is very important particularly ankles knee and hamstrings. One simple exercise to do the job is sitting in Padmasana pose and practicing it daily before running.

2) Alignment and form is another important thing. Try to run straight with toes pointing straight, shoulder hanging down and far from ears, elbow locked at nearly 90-degree angle and close to the body with palms in a position as if holding a glass. This position will give you the thrust u might need when accelerating and aerodynamically won’t be blocking air. Don’t run marathon without practicing at least for one month of graded incremental run. You should have completed at least 80% of the distance in your trial run.

3) Remember to conserve energy. Don’t go full throttle at the outset. Harmonize your steps with your breath. I prefer 2 deep inhalation followed by 2 exhalation, expiration time should be longer than inhalation. Especially when you are down with the reserves, just concentrating on breath instead of the cliff ahead, will help you.

4) Every runner comes across a thing called the WALL. It happens when the liver glycogen gets depleted and blood sugar level goes down. You will feel down and an irresistible urge  to quit. Just hang on. Slowly but surely, muscle glycogen will come to rescue, what is popularly known as second wind.

5) Hydration and salt intake just before and on the day of marathon is important to prevent cramps. So have good dose coconut water\ Electral\pedolyte etc. Try complex carbohydrates like potatoes and other tubers before marathon.  It will release sustained glucose without stuffing your stomach too much.

6) Land on your toes and forefoot and not on the heel. Run as if you want to show the sole of your shoes to the person who is behind you. Shoes should have good shock absorbing sole and a size bigger to accommodate the inevitable swelling of toes. Apply moisturizer in between toes to prevent chaffing and blister formation.

7) The first half of marathon is run on the legs and the other half on mind. You will have to grind it out and concentrate on steps, one at a time.

8) Runners run for themselves, not for glory or prize. Elite marathons like Sparathalon has no prize money just a completion certificate. Western state endurance race, a 100-mile foot race to be covered in 24 hrs through multiple canyons and inhospitable trail, gives only a buckle without a belt, on completion. So run to redeem yourself and see how far you can stretch your self-imposed limits.

9) Stay motivated. Very easy. All you need is tell all your relatives and friends that you are preparing for marathon.  Indians are very demanding, not from themselves but from others. So the moment they see an inch of flab in your waist, they will make fun of you and your running, never mind if they are having a belly that makes a gynecologist smack his lips.

10) Running is sport that thrives on momentum. So try not stopping never mind how slow is your pace. If you stop, then to restart against inertia, is more energy sapping.

So have a injury free marathon and enjoy the ride.

By Dr Sudip Chakraborty, M.D (Medicine)

In continuation with my previous three articles on marathon, this one is the last of the series. It feels great to see increasing number of joggers at Marina Park early in the morning. It is like marathon is in the air.

If you live in a place for long enough, you become the place. It happened with me. Being a third generation son of these islands, I am witnessing a sea change in the attitude of Islander’s especially inadequate physical activity and rise in cardio vascular diseases that include diabetes. Therefore, these articles are aimed for a change in habits, however small it might appear. No amount of kudos will be enough for Andaman chamber of commerce for organizing a event which has the potential of transforming health and saving the loss of man days because of ill health.

So here follows the ten points;

1) Have a pacer. Pacer is a friend or known person who runs for some distance during various stages of race. They are invaluable source of motivation and keep you from quitting.

2) Keep as many relatives and friends at as many points of marathon route with juices, coconut water etc so that you are well motivated and encouraged. Moreover, in this process invariably you will some inspire some of your friends to run the race next time.

3) Try to keep your mouth moist by sucking some gum or toffee. It fools the brain that you are well hydrated and postpones tiredness to some extent.

4) Keep your eyes fixed to the ground beneath and try to run on a straight line. You will have fewer distractions and won’t know how many people has crossed you, thus saving your ego from getting hurt.

5) Pain is inevitable except for seasoned runners. So don’t be surprised and take it on your stride.

6) Brisk walking is more strenuous than slow jogging. It hurts tendon achillies and heel of foot.

7) Conserve energy, probably the most important thing by less talking, going slow and at sustained manageable pace and avoiding mouth breathing as much as possible.

8) Match your breath with the sound of your footsteps. Develop a rhythm and concentrate on it. In no time, you will see the finishing line.

9) Read motivating books on long distance running like ultra marathon man by Dean Karnazes , runners world guide , Lure of long distance etc.

10) Finally some powerful quotes to keep your mind from going astray;

a) Pain is temporary and regrets forever.

b) What counts in a battle is what you do when the pain sets in.

c) Success seems largely a matter of hanging on when others have let it go.

d) That which does not kill you, will make you stronger.

e) He, who suffers, remembers.

f) If you are going through hell, you rather keep going. There is not much scenery to look around.

g) Second half of marathon separates boys from men and girls from women.

So here is wishing all the marathoners good luck. A reward of higher self-esteem, self-respect and mind expansion is waiting for you. Go and earn it.

 

DEEPAWALI is a famous Hindu Festival. On this occasion Puja is performed. The people show their joy by illuminating their houses at night. All young & old enjoy firecrackers. However, crackers contain toxic constituents, which are released into the Atmosphere and are thereby harmful for Health & Environment. Bursting of crackers deteriorates ambient air quality by releasing suspended particulate matter, oxides of metals along with carbon particles, poisonous/toxic gases and high noise level.

Constituents of crackers:

The following are the main constituents of crackers (Source-Bombay National History Society Laboratory, Mumbai.)

               The highly toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead in addition to other metals like copper, manganese, zinc, sodium, magnesium and potassium are the main constituents in firecrackers.

               Few of these metals are in the form of nitrates and nitrites. Both these radicals are oxidizing agents that are a ready source of oxygen in the process of combustion.

               Oxides of sulphur, phosphorus are present in the form of Sulphate and phosphates respectively.

               The average concentration of lead, copper is usually in the range of 462-744mg/100g with a maximum in green sparkle showing 850mg/100g. Magnesium was found in huge quantities when compared to other metals like copper, manganese and zinc. The mean levels of magnesium in about 2622 mg/ 100g. zinc is in the least concentration (324mg /100g) among the various metals.

               The proportion of nitrite, phosphate and sulphate in the crackers is almost similar and ranged between 1160 to 1420 mg/gm, whereas nitrates which are strong oxidizing agents, are in considerable amounts as compared to the other three. Their mean levels were 1624mg/100g.

Effects of Pollutants on Environment & Health:

Large scale bursting of firecrackers results in deteriorating the environmental quality with respect to ambient air quality, noise levels and generation of solid waste. The constituents harmful to health are released when crackers are burst.

               SUSPENDED PARTICULATE MATTER (SPM):

 The increase in level of suspended particles in the air causes eye, throat and nose problems.

 Chronic Pulmonary Diseases (Bronchitis, Asthma) get aggravated by sufficient high concentration of SPM.

 The particulate matter may contain some heavy metal oxide/salts, which get deposited in the lungs causing irreversible damage.

               SULPHUR DIOXIDE (SO2):

 Sulphur Dioxide is readily soluble and dissolves in the larger airways of respiratory system. This stimulates a contraction. At higher concentrations severe contraction restricts the breathing process.

 Allergy problems are also caused to skin.

  Sulphur dioxide adversely affects plant growth and productivity by interaction with different physiological processes and damaging the licences and pigments.

               OXIDES OF NITROGEN (NO3 )

 Nitrogen dioxide cause respiratory allergies like asthma especially to the susceptible population.

 Cause throat and chest congestion and are like to aggravate problems for these already suffering from coughs, colds and allergies.

               CARBON MONOXIDE (CO):

 CO causes harm by binding with haemoglobin in our blood forming caboxy haemoglobin (COHb). CO attaches with haemoglobin roughly 220 times more strongly than the oxygen so that amount of CO in the air we breath can cause significant amount of our haemoglobin to be tied up has COHb. The haemoglobin thus tied up cannot serve its normal function to transport oxygen in the blood. Thus as the bloods ability to transport oxygen declines, various parts of the body suffer oxygen deprivation. 70% or more percent caboxy haemoglobin is normally fatal.

              CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2):

 CO2  atmosphere CO2  is the major source of organic carbons in the biosphere. There has been steady increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is about 350 ppm. At this concentration it has no harmful effects to human, but increased emission of CO2 are the largest signal cause of global warming.

NOISE POLLUTION:

Noise is unwanted sound which is a dangerous pollutant hazardous to health. Noise magnitude is measured in Decibels (dB).

 Noise pollution can cause lead to hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleep disturbance.

SOLID WASTE :

Large scale bursting of Fire crackers also generate huge amount of solid waste in a form of packing materials, remains of fire crackers etc.

DIRECTIONS ISSUED BY HON’BLE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA: 

The following directions are issued for strict compliance by one and all-

 Imposed restriction on the manufacture, sale & use of firecrackers not exceeding Noise level 125 dB (A1) or 145 dB(C) peak.

 Use of high sounding instruments between 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM is not permitted.

 Bursting of fire crackers between 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM is not permitted.

 Bursting of fire crackers are prohibited at hospitals, educational institutions, places of worship.

This information will provide awareness to the public at large for control and safe use of fire crackers to make a happy and eco friendly DEEPAWALI.

Rishikesh

Senior Scientific Officer-II

Department of Science & Technology.