Thursday, October 8, 2009

TN loses coastal villages in sea erosion

Study: TN loses coastal
villages in sea erosion

Oct. 4: Demographic pressures
and poor management
practices like construction
of rubble-mounted systems
and laying of giant boulders
may cause some areas
including the 21 coral-rich
islands in the Gulf of Mannar
in Tamil Nadu to disappear
from the map due to
sea erosion.
According to a study on
the ‘Impacts of global
warming and climatic change’
carried out by SIEMENPUU
Foundation, Finland,
along with Southern initiative
NGOs forum for participatory
development, in
nine coastal districts in
Tamil Nadu, the pace of
erosion is so great that within
a decade some parts of
the coastal villages will be
lost to the sea. Unscientific
attempts at stabilising erosion
at one location often
aggravate problems at
adjoining locations.
The coastal hamlets of
Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli
and Thoothukudi district are
losing land to the sea. Vembar
village in Thoothukudi,
which was 200 metres from
the sea 10 years ago, has
come closer: houses are
hardly 10 metres from the
sea now.
The construction of retaining
walls and dumping
groynes in Kanyakumari
pose a threat to the 1,000-
year-old Bhagavathi Amman
temple, said, Dr Gladwin
Gnana Asir, a geology
professor at Dr Sivanthi
Adithanar Engineering College,
Tiruchendur, part of
the team that did the study.
Mr Patterson Edward,
director of Suganthi Devadasson
marine research centre,
pointed out that two islands
— Vialgusalli Poovarasanpatti
in the Gulf of
Mannar — were submerged
in just 7-8 years.
Though erosion on the
southern side of Thoothukudi
harbour was minimised,
it doubled in the villages
Vellapatti and Tharuvaikulam,
in the north of the harbour,
as the breakwaters
constructed for the harbour
blocked the natural sea current
that changed its course
towards these villages.
The groynes laid along
Puducherry coast have
accelerated erosion at Kottakuppam,
in Villupuram.
This study suggests ecofriendly,
anti-erosion methods
like creation of mangrove
and non-mangrove
forests along the coasts. The
construction of anti-erosion
walls, if needed, must be
attempted after conducting a
scientific study about the
opographty and water current
to minimise destruction
in nearby areas. It suggested
construction of jetties in the
harbours as separate blocks
to facilitate the movement
of sediments naturally in the
water currents.

Once fertile village on brink of abandonment

S M Arun
First Published : 03 Oct 2009 04:42:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 03 Oct 2009 09:39:43 AM IST

THOOTHUKUDI: The parched twin villages of Melaramarayarpuram and Keelaramarayarpuram in Thoothukudi district were once high yielding fertile lands rich with paddy, maize and millet cultivation. Of the two, Keelaramarayarpuram is already deserted and Melaramarayarpuram is on the brink of abandonment due to absence of basic amenities.

J Prabakar of SINFPAD, that conducted a study on these villages, told Express that around 150 families belonging to THE Vaathirayar community (Scheduled caste) inhabited these villages for six generations right from the zamindari period.

“Melaramarayarpuram presently has a population of eight persons (2 men and 6 women) and they are all ready to abandon the village due to absence of basic amenities in the village”, said Prabakar. The village’s name ‘Keelaramarayarpuram’ was last spotted in the government records in 1995, he added.

Jeyapaul, one of the eight inhabitants of Melaramarayarpuram told this reporter that the migration started 30 years ago as the place was found to be inauspicious.

“Failure in seasonal rainfall and low ground water level forced the people to abandon agriculture and migrate to other places”, he added.

Melaramarayarpuram now has two families, that of Jeyapal and Amirthakani.

The nearest shop in sight is at Vembar, 3km away from the village. Jeyapaul has founded a committee called ‘Village Development Committee’ with the support of other migrants and is trying to rejuvenate the village.

“Though the government is working on developing the villages through the Five Year plans and also through the Anna Marumalarchi Thittam, it is unfortunate that the twin villages have not benefited by any schemes”, said Prabakar. He added that the situation arose in these villages because of the complete absence of basic amenities. He emphasized that the government should provide alternative housing for these last eight inhabit
ants at least, as bringing the village back to life is practically impossible


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Training on Global Warming

Global Warming seems to be more serious when compared with HIV/AIDS .. to prevent HIV/AIDS at least we have condoms and other practices that can be adopted by anyone with ease and economy. But for Global Warming? Is there any special umbrellas?.. We cannot think of a vaccine. Global Warming is a challenge to our collective survival. Understanding global warming from a scientific perspective is the first step to contribute a solution.

This was the feed back expressed by the participants of the four days training program organized for SINFPAD Network partners from 20-23 Febraury 2009 at Life Centre at Nochiodaipatti in Dindugal District

The serene atmosphere of the LIFE Centre, a three star hospitality at an affordable cost, run by the Claratian Brothers served as a backdrop for the training.

Training Schedule

General Perception of the Global Warming and Climate Change
Impact of Global Warming in India
Rationale for taking up research on global warming in Tamilnadu
Reasons for prioritizing Agriculture & Fisheries sector

SINFPAD - Siemenpuu study on Global Warming in South Tamilnadu
The project area –Understanding more about the 9 Districts of Tamilnadu
Aims & Objectives of the project
Integrating the project aims into individual partner NGOs Vision & Mission
Project rationale & information requirement to
understand global warming at micro level
Data to be collected and mode of collecting data
Departments and organizations to be approached
Evolving formats to collect & submit data by the NGOs
Monthly review meeting for the executives to monitor the project progress
Review meetings for the staff for information & knowledge sharing
Reports to be submitted to Siemenpuu & SINFPAD

On the first day there were 55 participants including the NGO executives and the staffs attended the training. In the remaining three days, training was focused on improving the capacity of the NGO staff to understand and collect information relevant to the global warming study.

Mr. Pugazhendi, Director, ORSED and his staffs handled the four days training sessions in a lively manner. Diagrams on the board, power point presentations, brainstorming and group discussions complimented and enriched the learning of the participants

For more details on the content and methodology of training

in Tamil English

Details about the southern districts of Tamilnadu to view in Scribd Slideshare

Saturday, February 7, 2009

SINFPAD-SIEMENPPU - Global Warming Project Implementation Plan –Partners Meet

A meeting of the SINFPAD partners was held on 27.1.2009 from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm at VMMK (Virutcham Mahalir Munnetra Kazhakam) in its office at Virdunagar. It is a practice followed by SINFPAD to organize the partners meet at different places. Mr. Rajendra Prasad moved a condolence resolution for the sudden demise of Mr. Xavier and Mr.Suresh Dharma and recollected their contribution for grassroots development. Mrs. K.Vijaya, Secretary, VMMK welcomed the partners. Mr. Rajendra Prasad and Mr. Prabakaran, Coordinator, SINFPAD explained the purpose of the meeting i.e. to discuss about the project implementation plan of Global Warming Study sanctioned by Siemenppu. ORSED (Organization for Social and Environmental Development) Staff, technical consultants of the study, were also participated.

Agenda for the meeting
1. Orienting the project
2.Discussion & finalization of project implementation
3.Resource allocation & Management
4.Formation of management committees
5.Finalization of district level coordination system
6.Evolving a reporting system
7. Other items
Social Action Movement (SAM) Tamilnadu Conference 17-19.2.2009 at Dindugal-Membership & Participation

Before going into the logistics of project implementation, ORSED (Organization for Social and Environmental Development) Director. Mr. V. Pugazhendhi explained about Global Warming and its consequences. He touched several issues related to the climate change especially the south west and north east monsoons and its consequences for agriculture and fisheries in Tamilnadu.

In the afternoon PIP was discussed. A core committee consisting of 5 members to manage the finances and activities related to the study and 9 district level convenors were selected to carryout the study at each district. If a district represents more than one partner, one partner was identified to take up the overall responsibility.

A four days training was finalized during 20-24 Feb.2009 and the partners were requested to depute more than one staff to attend the training in order to build grass root capacity to handle global warming & environmental related issues in future. It was decided to organize core committee meetings once in every month or as when needed. Prof. S.Rengasamy, (Hon. Chairman, PAD) was asked to coordinate the study.

Core Committee for the study
1.Prof. S.Rengasamy (Hon. Chairman, PAD Coordinator for the Study)
2.Mr. Gnanasurabimanai, RCPED, Madurai
3.Ms. K.Vijaya, VMMK, Virudunagar
4.Mr. J.Elangao, ODAM,Tiruchuli
5.Mr. K.Joseph Xavier Raj, PAGE, Sivagangai
District Conveners for the study
1.Madurai District - Mr. R.M. Sundarasekar, RDS
2.Dindigul District - Mr. A. Rajasamsaon, SPRIT
3.Theni District - Mr. Gurunathan, SARVOTHAYA
4.Sivagangai District - Mr. K. Joseph Xavier Raj, PAGE
5.Ramanathapuram District - Mr. D.R. Chandran, IRWO
6.Virudhunagar District - Mr. P. Rajagopal, NEEDS
7.Thoothukudi District - Mr. F.X.R. George, SEDCO
8.Thirunelveli District - Mr.S. Nadesan, CPE
9.Kanyakumari District - Mrs. S. Jansi, PURA

Thursday, January 29, 2009

SINFPAD - (Southern Initiative NGO Forum for People’s Action & Development)

clip_image005Whatever may be the meaning of net work, for Rajendra Prasad who initiated SINFPAD (Southern Initiative NGO Forum for People’s Action and Development), net working means, “a companion of persons from different NGOs on equal and friendly terms, frequent and familiar intercourse- it means winning together”. Prof. S. Rengasamy, a well wisher and long time associate of Mr. Rajendra Prasad recalls, “even when Rajan and PAD had little resources to spare for activities other than budgeted, Rajan was interested in networking and supporting other NGOs. It was this positive attitude that made him to think of taking a largest delegation to World Social Forum (WSF) 2004 Mumbai. There were 64 delegates. Only big NGOs can manage this type of responsibility. Rajan has mobilized resources based on a theme i.e. “commercialization of water clip_image003resources”. Together with the partner NGOs, we made a serious study on Tamiraparani River and prepared a concept paper to be presented at WSF Mumbai. Thanks to Hivos and Siemenpuu, with their financial support, WSF-2004, Mumbai has become a possibility for several field workers who even had not crossed their district border. The SINFPAD delegation had made their presence to be felt in the Mumbai WSF. Thanks to all the partners, especially Jeevan Kumar & Venkatachalapathy,ATWT, Tuticorin, whose enthusiasm was limitless”.

The clip_image007solidarity has grown and SINFPAD has sustained. For reasons beyond the control of Rajan and SINFPAD partners, the net work was unable to mobilize resources for its activities as a separate entity. But Rajan and the partners never lost hope. SINFPAD partners were regularly meeting and sharing their experiences constructively.

It was always Rajan's wish to expose the smaller grass root level NGOs to international development experience, again made him to plan for WSF 2007 Nairobi. Kenya. There were 13 delegates, majority of them were first time boarding on a flight flying to other country. I have to tell all these things because, I myself experienced the positive psychological impact of such visits. Though it is a small delegation they made their presence felt by others- organizing cultural programs and seminars. It is usual in WSF that many of the scheduled programs cancelled due to lack of participation. But SINFPAD seminar was attended by more than 50 international participants- a success by any standard. SINFPAD thankfully acknowledges the support given by Siemenpuu to make WSF 2007 possible to smaller grass root NGOs.

clip_image009Again thanks to Siemenpuu, SINFPAD has some concrete Plan of Action - to study the impact of Global Warming in the southern districts of Tamilnadu, which comprises 25% of the Tamilnadu population (roughly about 17 millions). This two years study will definitely channelize the energies of the network and it is hoped that at the end of the study SINFPAD will come out with insights that will be appreciated not only by Siemenppu but also by others. SINFPAD is confident of the outcome of this study, because SINFPAD represent the wisdom of the ordinary people who always do extraordinary things.


For more about SINFPAD and its partners >>>>>>>

Monday, January 5, 2009

Thank You Siemenpuu

Siemenpuu Foundation has sanctioned a research study for SINFPAD, an NGO network,initiated by PAD (People's Action for Development, Vembar) to monitor and to suggest measures to mitigate the impacts of the Global Warming in Agriculture and Fisheries in the Southern Districts of Tamilnadu, India.The study will be undertaken during 01/2009 - 12/2010. The support is timely and will enable grass root NGOs to think and work to evolve sustainable strategies to mitigate the impact of global warming.The core strength of this network is its participatory approach and the study design incorporates people's participatory geo information system (PPGIS) to understand the problem as well as to suggest measures to address it. The study will be conducted in collaboration with several grass roots NGOs working in areas ranging from child centered community development to sustainable livelihood promotion. It is expected that the study will generate insights which will be worth considering in evolving practical policy solutions. This blog will be used to share the research experiences of the team involved in this study.

The study will be carried out in the following southern districts (with a population of 15 millions which is higher than several countries in the world) of Tamilnadu

1.Dindigul [A] [B] 2.Kanyakumari [A] [B] 3.Madurai [A] [B]

4.Ramanathapuram [A] [B] 5.Sivaganga [A] [B] 6.Theni [A] [B]

7.Thoothukudi [B] 8.Tirunelveli [A] [B] 9.Virudhunagar [A] [B]

*Click on the district name to know more about the district from Wikipedia. [A] will take you to the official website [B] will take you to the Tamil website

The study will focus on the following areas

1. Collection of Data on the Climatic Conditions of the Project Area.
2. Collection of Data on the Weather events for the required periods.
3. Collection of the Hydrological Data including the Data on the Water Resources.
4. Collection of the Social Data of the project Area.
5. Collection of data on the Impacts of the natural disasters in the project area.
6. Collection of the Agricultural Data of the project area with high significance to the Agricultural Economics.
7. Collection of Data on the Fishing aspects and their related economics.
8. Data Processing.
9. Report writing

Useful links
Global Warming in India