• Minor earthquake felt in Jammu and Kashmir

  • 'Forest fires indicate city is drying up'

  • Quarrying sees groundwater go deeper

  • Water samples found okay

  • Minor earthquake felt in Jammu and Kashmir


    NEW DELHI: An earthquake of slight intensity measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale rattled Jammu and Kashmir in the wee hours of the day.

    The tremor, with epicentre at 36.3 degrees latitude and 74.1 degree east latitude, occurred at 0343 hours, a MET official here said.


    ‘Forest fires indicate city is drying up’


    NEW DELHI: Though the bush fire in and around the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Thursday was not a major one, experts say forest fires indicate dangerous changes in the city’s environment.

    The dry leaves and vegetation cover in forests easily catch fire even from a burning cigarette. But why is vegetation drying up?

    ‘‘Moisture in the soil, leaves and the atmosphere is gradually decreasing because of falling ground water levels. The vegetation cover draws more and more moisture from the soil, leaving it drier. In the heat, the green cover also loses moisture fast,’’ said S Mukherjee of JNU’s environment centre.

    The poor depend on forests for wood, honey or to relieve themselves. Even a burning stub they leave behind can ignite a big fire. ‘‘Forest fires can rage for two days before being noticed. While it can be as disastrous as any other natural calamity, we have no risk management in place for it,’’ Mukherjee said.

    Emphasising the urgency of protecting Delhi’s forest area, urban designer K T Ravindran said: ‘‘The desert of western Rajasthan is slowly inching towards this area. The Ridge is Delhi’s only hope. If this natural barrier burns down, nothing can save the city.’’

    S K Shah of the environment planning department, School of Planning and Architecture, said the fact that annual rains have not decreased in the city so far has saved it. ‘‘But the extreme heat in this season is conducive to forest fires,’’ he said.

    Is there a solution? ‘‘Entering a forest should be made difficult. A strict vigil is a must to ensure that people don’t leave burning stubs behind. Artificial lakes should be made in the green areas. Apart from harvesting water, they will come in handy to extinguish small fires,’’ Mukherjee said.


    Quarrying sees groundwater go deeper


    BARANGAL: Unabated sand quarrying is showing its impact on the water-table in the upland regions of Warangal district during the current season.

    Though the desiltation works in the tanks and ponds have helped recharge water-table in the villages in Wardhannapet and Station Ghanpur regions, simultaneous quarrying has resulted in a slump in the groundwater levels here.

    In Shanigaram, Meedikonda and Kothapalli villages in Parakal belt too, groundwater levels have depleted due to quarrying.

    Quarrying has also resulted in crisis in Thatikayala, Rajawaram, Peddapendial, Chinnapendial and Nashkal villages, where the streams of Akeru river ensured recharging of the water-table every year. Farmers in the villages along the Akeru river dug numerous wells for irrigation purposes. But quarrying has led to the slump in the groundwater levels in the villages near the streams to such an extent that the water which was available at 14 metres from the ground during the 80s, has now fallen to abysmal levels.

    According to the officials of mining and groundwater departments, the areas along the streams of the Akeru river, which flows through Illendu, Nandanam and Wardhannapet, is being exploited by sand contractors of Warangal city for quarrying.

    Sand from Wardhannapet is transported even to the Atmakur mandal limits for use in construction works.

    Quarrying along the streams and river branches, according to the mining officials, was causing concern with regard to maintenance of groundwater levels in the district.

    While Ghanpur and Cherial limits have been declared stress zones, water-table in Wardhannapet too has touched alarming levels during the last three years.

    However, desiltation has helped the villagers to recharge the water-table to some extent in Wardhannapet.

    Similarly, water-table in the Uppugal village of Zaffargadh mandal too has depleted due to quarrying activity.

    The mining department, despite the serious consequence of the depletion in groundwater level, has been calling for open tenders for quarrying in this region.


    Water samples found okay


    HYDERABAD: The residual chlorine content in water samples collected from 453 locations in the city had been tested and the quality had been found satisfactory, according to a report by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

    All the chlorination plants at 35 places are working and are being hourly monitored by a special chlorination cell round the clock, according to a press release here on Thursday.

    However, the consumers had been directed to clean the sump and overhead tank once in every 15 days to ensure safe potable drinking water.

    Pollution, if any, identified during water quality testing due to outlived pipes, and criss-crossing of drainage lines will be promptly rectified. After rectification, the samples will be collected to confirm the potability, it said.