Seashell collectors, snorkelers and scuba divers do not understand the risk while touching or collecting few marine animals on shore or in shallow waters.

Generally, people think that snails are slow-moving creatures or a tasty food and they do not harm or have strength to hurt human.

But, one family of snails have the speed and deadliness of a tricky fighter-the cone snails.

Cone snails are cone-shaped with beautiful colored outer shell. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands 51 species of cone snails are reported till now.  All of them are venomous and few are deadly.

Maximum population of these snails occurs from the shore to shallow inter-tidal region.

Cone snails have a venom gland and hollow needle like tooth to hunt its food.  It shoots the venom filled tooth aiming its prey that is similar to a handgun mechanism. As soon as the needle hits the prey it becomes immobile.

Some species have also killed many amateur sea shell collectors and divers who have carelessly handled these snails.

The venom is a neuro-toxin and affects the nervous system within seconds. Symptoms shows strong pain followed by paralysis and respiratory and cardiac failure.

Species like Conus geographus that are present in Andaman and Nicobar waters could kill a human in 5 minutes. Till now there is no anti-venom.

So, children in this summer vacation, when you play on sea shores avoid picking cone snails. Sea shell collectors and divers be careful in collecting this beautiful cone snails. Pick up the snails only by the broad end. The ancestors of local fisher folk use to advise their generations to shake-well a sea shell when you pick so, it cannot quickly hurt you due to instant stress.

- Dr. J. Benjamin Franklin, Scientist, NIOT, Dollygunj, Port Blair 

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The Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been known for its rich diverse and endemic flora and fauna, its thick and varied forest types, its coral reefs with high biodiversity indexes have been well documented for their conservation values. But there never has been a wetland of sizable importance in these islands. The only wetlands have been the numerous mangrove creeks in both Andaman and Nicobar island groups.  A contiguous wetland ecosystem has never been a part of the island bio-geography.

This changed with the boxing day tsunami and the earthquake which caused it on 26th Dec 2004, tectonic forces had changed the shore profile of the islands and the invading sea which had claimed a sizable chunk of agricultural land at Sippighat and the surrounding villages of Taylorabad, Garacharma, Attam Pahad never retreated creating a wetland here in these lowlands. Spanning a vast area, these wetlands are best described as separate water bodies and marsh lands comprising of several connected blocks of different eco-types in different stages of ecological succession, some being of shallow & medium depths colonized by reeds, marshes, mangroves and mangrove associates while some are deep water blocks with breeding fish stocks.  Being connected with the sea results in daily tidal flushing, bringing in nutrients and fresh fish stock to this wetlands, while fresh water inflow occurs during both the NE & SW Monsoons to this water-body making it a dynamic ecosystem. 

Known as the Sippighat wetlands this site today is a rich and evolving wetland ecosystem. The current status of the Sippighat wetlands is that it stands on revenue & private land holdings.  The conservation value of these wetlands can be easily judged by resident and migratory water fowl as well as raptors which have started colonizing these wetlands, its proximity to Port Blair and ease in accessibility ensure it being a must-visit birding spot in the itineraries of both amateur and serious bird watchers. This ease however also attracts local hunters who have been frequenting this site for hunting the Lesser Whistling & the endemic Andaman Teal inhabiting these wetlands.  

Wetlands have very short nutrient cycles and thus are one of the most dynamic ecosystems easily colonized by biota and just as easily can become waste lands as a result of mismanagement. Being recently formed it has yet to be colonized by heronries and that day might not be far away if these wetlands are protected and managed properly.       

This wetland is a potential Ramsar site being a habitat for endemic species like the Andaman Teal. It could be a good conservation success story if proper steps are taken for its management.

There is a real and urgent need to study and document the ecosystem of these wetlands so that a conservation policy can be framed for its protection and management. A well-managed Sippighat Wetlands could be a high value tourist destination, involving the local community in its protection and management would generate a sense of ownership among the community itself making it a wonderful success story creating new bench marks in conservation.

- Amlan Dutta (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  

Disclaimer: The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Discipline and Education are the two major components involved in the process of any kind of teaching learning situation. The goal of Education is to help people use their minds better to think about what’s true in the world and what’s not true, what’s beautiful and what may not so qualify, what’s ethical and what’s not. For any type of learning, discipline is must and a pre requisite. Discipline in any sense should not be considered as something rigid and rude as commonly perceived by everyone. 

Discipline is referred to systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". Often, the phrase "to discipline" carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order – that is, ensuring instructions are carried out – is often regulated through punishment. “The word discipline comes from the Latin word disciplina, meaning ‘teaching, learning.’ Discipline shares a common root with the word disciple: ‘one who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of another’”

Discipline may be treated as a tool required in the proper management of all aspects that are conductive for a perfect teaching learning environment. A good and nurturing environment is very much required to have a positive learning to occur. It is the prime duty of a teacher to mould his students in a positive manner so that they can excel in life with exceptional capabilities and skills. Discipline is required in every activity one indulges in since the morning to one retires for the night. Discipline is the only path which can lead an individual to a bright future.

Some of our greatest fears as parents, teachers and mentors that surround discipline is that how much is enough? How harsh is too harsh? Am I helping, or somehow making things worse? Psychological researches suggest that being successful with discipline means looking at discipline as teaching, and not as a punishment. Discipline is not about getting students to do what a teacher/mentor want them to do. That's what dictators do, and a teacher/mentor is not a dictator. Discipline is providing an environment in which positive teaching and positive learning can occur simultaneously. Discipline is not a control from the outside; it's an order from within. Nature is the best mirror of perfect discipline to all of us. The earth, the sun, the moon and other planets are governed by certain laws to maintain perfect harmony and beauty. Any deviation from these set rules, will spell an utter disaster in nature.

Discipline is necessary for both the teacher and the taught in a teaching learning atmosphere. A good teacher has a great responsibility of keeping a high image of his personality in the society. He can't do it unless he maintains an intellectual and more discipline of a high order. No student will obey and respect an indisciplined teacher, however high may be his knowledge. Similarly only a serious and self disciplined student achieves something worth in the life. Students who are not disciplined,  just wander here and there, waste away their precious time and energy in useless activities and later on repent in life. They soon learnt that there is no shortcut to success and it is only through consistent hard work and self discipline that they can achieve their objective in life.

Discipline is not only desirable but indispensable. Absence of discipline in teaching learning atmosphere means decay. To prevent decay, discipline has to be imposed. Discipline is essential for the success and development of a child and It is the only key to success. A teacher/mentor should be able to shape and mold the young minds of students' with discipline  and an approach  to remind them of how important they are to the society and that their future will depend how they adjust to different situations. When the teachers in ancient India taught their students, it was their trust and belief in the teachers and the discipline shown by the students that learning was possible even through the word of mouth. The core values still remain in the modern days, although more technicalities have permeated the manner in which students learn nowadays.

Our present system of Education stresses much for value based education, but the absence of discipline is seen everywhere which will fetch only bitter consequences. It depends on all of us to think that where we are going …Whether in the right or wrong path.


Bency Joy


PhD scholar in Psychology

It is said that “Human brain” is the most outstanding object in the world. It functions 24 hours a day, say 365 days a year. It functions right from the time we are born and stop only when we enter the examination hall”. Is this is what happening with you during your exams? Check out why? Competition has become an inseparable part of our lives and it is the fear of this competition that leaves us feeling unhappy, paranoid and worried. The fear of being put to test can be quite stressful for many people. This affects them adversely and they fail to perform to the best of their ability. Students whose attitude towards education is negative have mostly scored less or average marks while students who enjoy studying have always topped the class or been among the toppers. That’s why; thinking about studies as dull, boring, hard, etc. will only add more difficulties in your learning process. Love your studies, the way you love your favorite music or sports. Give it the same attention and passion. After all, studies give you a qualifying degree, eligibility for job, a means to earn money and fame, independence, ability to bring up your family in future, a respectable place in the society and an opportunity to make your life more meaningful and useful.  
However, some positive steps may help students cut out the stress. Here are some simple tips to help you overcome that needless fear of what’s called “exam fever”.
Many a time students are advised to prepare a Time Table and follow it regularly. However, very few follow this advice and as a result, a fortnight before the exams they find themselves in deep waters. In such a situation, it will be helpful if the student identifies which subjects/papers/topics are hard to deal with but are essential from the exam point of view. Every night just before going to sleep, you should go through those difficult topics and the next morning, revise them. This should be done everyday, till the exams commence. If this practice is followed for at least two weeks, there will be remarkable progress and you’ll gain confidence.
A revision timetable can be one of the most valuable tools available in the run-up to exams. Preparing a timetable creates a visual plan that will show you clearly how you are going to cover all of the topics that need to be included in your revision.
A good revision during exam time will surely relax your mind and helps you to avoid unnecessary exam stress. So prepare a special strategy for course revision and prepare special short revision type notes. Plan your revision schedule as early as possible and follow the same honestly and keep reviewing it and make necessary changes as and when necessary. This would definately help you to deal with lengthy course and improve your revision strategy. Select chapters as per your strength and gain tremendous confidence by practicing more & more questions. Just follow your revision schedule strictly.
Stress actually is contagious. During exam week, resist the urge to have a study session with your super-tensed friend, especially if he/she’s complaining about all the work she has to do and breaking pencils all over the place. His/Her stress will only add to your stress.
Practise deep breathing, meditation and yoga as forms of relaxation. They help your body relax and reduce stress. Alternately, take a brisk walk in fresh air after your day's revision is over. Rest is just as important as revision so make sure you get plenty of sleep. "Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get into a routine. "You should also cut down on caffeine, alcohol and other drugs to help you get a proper night's sleep."
Avoid junk foods, especially avoid meat, fried foods, chocolates and soft drinks etc. Drink lots and lots of water. It's good for you. It helps your mind to think better.
Whether you agree with it or not, exam-taking is a fundamental part of education and being well prepared for taking them is of massive importance. Start early, spread out your workload and try to stay relaxed during the whole process. A bit of careful planning goes a long way, and if you are methodical and organized you will find the whole process much easier. If you believe in God, pray before you start studying. Prayer will help you increase confidence; reduce your stress as well. Exams are just to assess your preparation. So just relax, it is not the end of the world if you do not fair well in them. You’re you, so you can only do the best you can.

Bency Joy
PHd Scholar in Psychology
GSSS Sabari Jn, Rangat

Today is 14th November and in India 14th November is celebrated as Children’s Day. This day commemorates the Birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Nehruji liked children very much and it was his wish that his birthday to be celebrated as Children’s day. After Nehruji’s death, his birthday has been celebrated as children's Day in India. Children's Day is not just a day,It is a day to remember a leader who, in his quiet but determined way, laid the foundation to convert a nascent nation into a world power. Pt Nehru is seen as a special child of India as he was the first Prime Minister of India, which was achieved after a long struggle for freedom and Independence, of which he was a part. He worked passionately for the welfare of children in India. He was fond of Children and thus became popular CHACHA NEHRU among his little admirers. Nehruji was very particular about the progress of the Indian Youth. He wanted to create responsible citizens out of Young boys and girls. Under his regime he included and highlighted the point in his five years plan that every child in India would get free and compulsory Primary Education.
Why we celebrate Children’s Day? Is it a mere day for celebration or there is something else behind it. Do the parents and elders in the society have to do anything with the Children’s Day celebrations? Do we elders/parents take time to be a part of our kids Children’s Day. For many parents, it is an important date and they take initiative to celebrate Children's Day by giving gifts and spend the day with them to make them feel special. Are you among one of the parent mentioned above. If not take a chance this year to be a parent of this kind and make a difference in your child’s life.

Children’s Day is a reminder to all elders and parents to renew their commitment for the welfare of the children’s. Childhood is about innocence and playfulness. It is about joy and freedom.

Childhood is perhaps the best part of anyone’s life as during this time we enjoy life to the fullest. Children’s do not know what sorrow is, they do not know the harsh realities of time and go about being happy in their own merry world.

Children’s Day is a special day that aims to celebrate childhood, the most wonderful stage in the life of a person. Celebrating Children’s Day is about giving children the right to enjoy and grow into healthy and educated citizens of the country. If parents/Elders can teach their child the value of sharing with others what they are lucky to have, then not only your child will grow into a responsible human being, but also another child who otherwise could have ended up being a delinquent, had it not been for your thoughtfulness. We cannot hide the fact that many children in India are not getting basic privilege like education. Many Children are earning money instead of playing. The true essence of Children’s Day is to understand the significance of Childhood in our lives. The values and disciplines learned as a child are responsible for the kind of adulthood one has. Thus Childhood is special and should be celebrated to remind all young and adults about Children’s right to enjoy their childhood without any boundaries and to be educated adult in the future.  

It is our prime duty to provide our children’s with a safe and loving environment in which they can grow as well as giving them ample and equal opportunities through which they can take great strides and contribute to the progress of nation.

BY Bency Joy, GSSS Sabari, Rangat