World Expo 2010 at Shanghai is the occasion for China to bring the world at home, and for the world to feel at home in China. The theme of Expo 2010 is "Better City, Better Life," representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments.
I was fortunate to be a part of this event & was proud to see my country stand amidst all the other countries. 
The Indian pavilion is around 4,000 square meters. It has a crimson central dome, symbolizing the theme "Unity in Diversity". The pavilion showcases India's rich cultural heritage, its diversity of faith, culture and language, traditional and modern technological development and urban-rural interface. I managed to capture the lovely memories in my camera and bring them back to India, to share it with all.

The central dome is herb-roofed with the "Tree of Life" in copper.
The entrance to the pavilion is through a vaulted portal with the "Tree of Life" carving. 
Inside the pavilion the 360-degree Holographic Projection depicts India's evolvement over its long history, from the ancient times of Mohan Jodaro and Harappa (dating back to 2000-3000 BC) through the medieval period to modern India.
360-degree Holographic Projection
Though I must admit that the Indian Pavilion lacked a focused theme unlike the pavilions of other countries. With so many showcase events happening, surely the lack of networking and feedback from the right people can hardly be cited as an excuse by India for not displaying its best at such events.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said "China is a sleeping giant. Just let him sleep, because if he awakes he'll stun the world…"  

Hope India awakes to world class standards before it’s too late. 
Exactly a hundred years ago on 22 November 1909 Vedappan Solomon died at Rangoon, while on the way to India for treatment. His sojourn in the Andaman Nicobar Islands yielded great rewards for the Nicobari people, changing their lives forever. He succeeded where the Jesuits, the Moravians, the Danes and the Dutch had failed. What they could not achieve in 3 centuries he did, mainly through his earnestness, simplicity, humility and dedication to the service of God and humanity. 

The need for a missionary to cater to the needs of the aboriginal people was felt ever since the beginning of the settlement. With the establishment of the Andamanese Homes an officer was given the charge of taking care of the needs of the natives, both spiritual and temporal. Rev Corbyn and Rev Chard, the Chaplains at Port Blair, tried their best to work towards their spiritual upliftment. To the predominantly Andamanese orphanage some Nicobaris were also added. This was to educate them and bring them out of superstitions that plagued them due to the influence of the witch doctors. 

When the attempts of Rev. Corbyn, Rev. Chard, Mr. Homfray and Mr. MV Portman did not make much headway the then Chief Commissioner Col. Cadell felt that the Andamans needed a missionary “who is practical and will go to the jungle with them when required”. It was then the charge of the orphanage was placed in the hands of Mr. Vedappan Solomon, the Catechist. MV Portman describes him as an “earnest and intelligent man.” The orphanage was shifted to Haddo from Ross Island. By that time the Andamanese inmates have all died or gone away. Only the Nicobari boys were left. Among them was one named Ha Chev Ka. He was to become later the “Father of Modern Nicobar” and assume the name of John Richardson. As the boys felt homesick and longed to be back with their loved ones Mr. Solomon volunteered to go to Nicobar. Together with his wife, who ably assisted him in everything he shifted to Car Nicobar.

His landing on Car Nicobar on 15th March “Temple Villa”, the house where Vedappan Solomon stayed in Mus became the center for the evangelization of Nicobar as never before. 

In the early days on Car Nicobar Solomon was given many additional responsibilities like Government Agent, Port Officer, Meteorological Observer, school master, unofficial Magistrate and amateur doctor. In his official capacity he would board the vessels that called at the port and beg the captains and crews not to trade goods in exchange for ‘intoxicants’. Slowly and steadily the tireless efforts of the Solomons started changing the Nicobari society. Their faith became stronger and, along with it their society, which was at the mercy of unscrupulous traders for centuries. The use of cows for milk, cultivating fruits and vegetables and learning sewing and carpentry have been started by the Solomons. They introduced domestic pigeons. Mrs. Solomon taught the children in school and also ministered to their health needs.  

Suddenly tragedy struck when Mrs. Solomon died in January 1901 due to an apoplectic fit. Solomon was shattered but he did not leave his mission. He continued to work among the Nicobari brethren. His second wife Anboo Betsy proved to be an equally dedicated missionary wife. Solomon gave up his government jobs and started working as a full time missionary. Together they brought about a dramatic change in the society. All the superstitions and ignorance have disappeared. The transformation was so striking that a British visitor to Car Nicobar after the Second World War remarked, “In all my life I have never been so profoundly aware of the Divine power of goodness as I was during my visit to Car Nicobar…”. The same was the feeling of many who visited Car Nicobar after the deadly tsunami of 26 December 2004. The fortitude with which the Nicobaris bore the devastation of the calamity was the result of the strong Christian foundations laid more than a hundred years ago and nurtured by Bishop John Richardson. 

The deadly climate that terminated the efforts of the earlier missionaries took its toll on Vedappan also. While going to Madras on leave he died at Rangoon on 22 November 1909. His death was deeply mourned in Car Nicobar. But he had already prepared a disciple to take on his mantle. Ha Chev Ka whom Vedappan baptized and christened as John Richardson became the greatest leader of the people of Nicobar. Solomon’s wife Betsy continued as school mistress at Car Nicobar for another six years after Vedappan’s death, teachingthe Nicobari girls to sewing, embroidery, cooking, housekeeping and many such things. She died at Port Blair on 23rd June 1921.  

This remarkable life of dedication made Bishop N.C. Sargant to say that Vedappan “became a true apostle to the Nicobar Islands,…”.

On the 100th anniversary of his death it is befitting to remember him and his wife for their life of great sacrifice.

Introduction: Agriculture in modern times is getting more and more dependent upon the steady supply of artificial fertilizers and pesticides with the introduction of green revolution technologies. In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands about 1,50,000 hectares of forest was deforested to make way for agriculture and settlers. This resulted in the loss of top soil and reduction of soil fertility. Agriculture in the Andaman Islands is new as most of the pests and diseases are introduced. Due to change in the cultivation practice and also due to the limiting factors of Island ecology, many of the minor pests and diseases became major. A total of 15556.62 lakhs is the crop loss estimated by CARI in the year 2008.
Agriculture in the islands started with the establishment of penal colony in 1858. The modernization of agriculture was started by advocating the use of chemical fertilizer, pesticide and improved seeds which are imported from mainland and distributed to farmers at subsidized prizes. A track record of over 20 years of agriculture in the Islands shows that the land which supported the giant evergreen forest has not been able to support worthwhile agriculture.
The soil fertility map of Andaman Islands show medium availability of N and low availability of P and K. Hence it becomes necessary to enrich the soil quality using various artificial fertilizers. Further toxic chemicals like insecticides pesticides, fungicides, rodenticides are generally used to kill insects, weeds fungi and rodents respectively to protect crop plants or their harvested parts against their attacks. These chemicals are collectively called biocides. 
The Islands man made ecosystems comprise of agricultural crops and plantations, to grow more and more crops chemicals are being used indiscriminately. This may cause environmental disaster especially in coastal zones.

How they work: Fertilizers and pesticides may be introduced directly into the environment in a liquid phase, as a dispersion or solution or in a solid form as powder or granular form. Sprays are directed to the foliage. Solids are applied to soil surface or foliage. Some fertilizers are systemic that is they get absorbed in the Plant tissues and end up in the consumers. Some of them are contact, which are applied on the surface to fight pests and diseases.
These biocides tend to remain active long after destroying the target i.e. pests weeds, fungi and rodents. On continued application these agrochemicals causes contamination of food of food materials, disruption of natural balance of ecosystem by killing non target species and gradual increase in the immunity of target organisms to these chemicals. Further since most of these chemicals are not biodegradable they enter the food chain and persist in plant and animal bodies.
Bioaccumulation and bio magnification of pesticide: Continued use of huge amounts of different kinds of poisonous agricultural pesticides increase their concentration in the organism and multiplies through food chain and a phenomenon called biomagnifications is caused which moves up in the food chain and affects the apex species in the food pyramid. Man also situated at the higher tropic level of food accumulates these poisons and many cases of food poisoning and contamination are reported.
What compounds are used: The most common fertilizers used are DAP, MOP, Urea and Rock phosphate. These fertilizers provide Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are very vital to plant growth. 
Nitrate: The dramatic response of this fertilizer has led many farmers to use it excessively which gets leached down to the ground water. In Neil Island ground water has been declared unfit for consumption because of leaching of fertilizers into the well. Nitrates cause eutrophication of water bodies. Nitrate causes health hazards like Methaemoglobnemia, cancer, and respiratory illness and toxicity to plants.
Fluoride pollution : Phosphates fertilizers and rock phosphate are very popular contain F as an impurity leading to high level of fluoride accumulation in soils and ground water leading to mottled teeth in children.
What pesticides are commonly used in the Andaman Islands: About 120 pesticides with 200 formulations have been approved for manufacturing and usage. Pesticide residues in food and milk are highest in India. 
Most pesticides such as DDT, DDE, DDD, dieldrin and heptachlor epoxide and most herbicides such as 2,3,5_T( 245 trichlorophenoxy acetic acid ) dioxin have been extensively used for control of diseases and crop destroying insects. Carbofuran, phorate, endosulphan, Quinolphos, Carbaryl, Dithane M,thiram, Strptocycline, bavistin, Streptoclcline, formalin, carbendazim,copper oxychloride, Dimecron Thiram etc are a few of the available pesticides in the Islands. Endosulphan series ,cyper methrine,DDT,BHC and weedicides such as glyphocite for eradicating grasses, termites for destroying ants,snails,and termites
In the Andaman Islands the agricultural department through their depot sell most of the pesticides and there are few private shops supply in pesticides. It was observed that 90% of pesticide sold was being for vegetable and rest 10% on other crops. The most wide spread contaminants because of agricultural are nitrates and phosphates inputs.
What is the withdrawal period: Most pesticides when used have a withdrawal period that is they should be applied in a stipulated time before their harvest. But this is not being followed by the farmers as vegetable production is mostly done by sharecroppers who want to reap maximum benefits in a limited time. The farmers are not aware about the dosages of fertilizers and pesticides and depend upon the sellers. Sometimes they are also misguided and end up using doses that are incorrect and unnecessary
Off late vegetables have become the focus of most farmers especially share croppers who get agricultural land on lease for farming activity. Vegetable production is very profitable and there is a tendency to use more than required dosage of artificial fertilizers. But the intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides is producing more vegetables but these vegetables come with a lot of side effects as the fertilizers and pesticides used are systemic and are retained in the tissues of the vegetables and can cause serious health Issues when consumed. The Shelf life of the vegetables produced presently is very small and also leading to economic losses.
Adverse effects are being noticed due to the excessive and imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers. This situation has lead to identifying of various diseases such as hypertension, kidney Failure, calcium deficiencies, stone formation in gall bladder and kidneys and bone disease. Use of Harmless bio-fertilizers such as vermin-compost in crop cultivation will help in safeguarding the soil health and also the quality of crop products. In a study conducted by Tamil Nadu agricultural university it was concluded that vermin-compost application reduces the inorganic fertilizer bill to the tune of 25 per cent.
The continued usage of chlorinated pesticides in agriculture has been responsible for the presence of residues in the grains, milk, eggs, vegetables and human tissues including breast milk. 
What are the consequences if pesticides are ingested: 

They should go to the hospital immediately or seek medical care
Suggestions to use biological control
Pheromone traps and light traps to be used instead of pesticide
Disposal of pesticide container or traces will end up in cows’ milk

Pesticides and herbicides have created two major problems by persisting and accumulating in the environment and contaminating numerous plants and animals and secondly they affect human health directly or indirectly. Pesticides can pollute air, water and soil and can have harmful effects on plants and human beings. They can also be hazardous for all forms of aquatic life.

Most pesticides such as DDT, DDE, DDD, dieldrin and heptachlor epoxide and most herbicides such as 2,3,5_T( 245 trichlorophenoxy acetic acid ) dioxin have been extensively used for control of diseases and crop destroying insects. The most common fertilizers used are DAP, MOP, Urea and Rock phosphate. These fertilizers provide Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are very vital to plant growth are being extensively used in the Andaman islands. This practice is leading to Eutrophication of nearby coastal area leading to degradation of coasts. These inputs are chemicals which are non biodegrable pollutants that do not degrade or degrade very slowly. Thus they contaminate the ecosystem and enter food chains. Since they become more concentrated at higher trophic levels causing bioaccumulation and biomagnifications. Certain pesticides have mutational effects on human DNA molecules. DDT which is commonly used is reported to have lethal effects in small doses. It is also suspected to be carcinogenic in human tissues.

There are 10,414 land holdings in the Islands. The average land each household has two acres of paddy land and two acres of hilly land. The utilization of land and water by the farmer is not efficient so farming becomes uneconomical. In the present agriculture practice greater use of chemical fertilizer is creating problems of salinity, affecting water table and day by fields per hectare are going down. Soils are being degraded due to soil erosion and leaching of plant nutrients. Agro forestry is a system which combines the benefits of forest ecosystem and agricultural practices which seems to be ideally suited to the islands.

Visualizing the damaging effects of pesticide and fertilizer pollution biofertilizer seems to be a good alternative. The concept of biofertilizer such as Vermicompost is gaining momentum and has the potential to reduce the environmental costs accrued to use of fertilizer and pesticides. Organically grown vegetables are also being explored by various multinationals and health conscious individuals. In South Andaman’s and Little Andaman’s about 800 organic vegetable gardens have been set up for tsunami affected women beneficiaries under the backyard Agro forestry promotion of ADRA India NGO. They also produce and use Vermicompost.

The residents of Bambooflat, Wimberllygunj, Shore Point and several other villages of the Ferrargunj Teshil for many years have been dreaming about a bridge connecting Chatham and Bambooflat. A people’s movement is gaining momentum, demanding the construction of a bridge across the sea that separates Chatham and Bambooflat by at least one kilometer. 
Just imagine, if such a bridge really comes up connecting these two parts of the land, it not only increases potential for economic progress that improves general living conditions but will facilitate round the clock movement of people and vehicles. The critically ill and seriously injured patients will be immensely benefited as they can be immediately rushed to G. B. Pant hospital in the shortest possible time without wasting precious time and travelling through the long road route. 
People can even come to this part of the city by walk. The huge rush of passengers in the ferry boats/ vehicle ferries witnessed on a daily basis can be done away with. Besides improving the connectivity, it will ease the rush of passengers in ferry boats and vehicle ferries. The Directorate of Shipping Services, which is finding it very difficult to cater to the growing movement of passengers and commuters can also heave a sign of relief.
“We have been watching in the Discovery and National Geography Channels about massive bridges being constructed in a number of foreign countries, but such a bridge in our Islands, hard to believe, not possible”, said one Ashok Sharma.
“A bridge between Chatham and Port Blair, great to hear, said a resident of Bambooflat. Yes, the Govt. must go for such a project immediately. It will benefit in quick transportation of critically ill patients to the main hospital at Port Blair”, he lamented.
The construction of such a bridge would in fact provide an option to the passengers to travel either by ferry boats or over the bridge. The Administration must without much delay moot a massive bridge project proposal, which should be included in our development plan and implemented on an urgent basis so that a long-standing demand of the people of the region would be fulfilled. Before this, a feasibility study of the bridge must be explored to the full through a survey by a team of experts. 
The bridge would not only go a long way in improving road connectivity between Port Blair and Bambooflat, but will help in the all-round development of the Islands besides help exploit the commercial market for the produce of this region and enable price control of vegetables and food items. Long distance from the city was one hassle that plagued the transportation of produce from this part of the area to find its way in the city market.