20 May 2021  |   05:01am IST

Letters to the editor (20 May 2021)

Letters to the editor (20 May 2021)

Necessity of underground cabling         

The havoc created by the Cyclone Tauktae in Goa has left its imprints in the way of uprooted trees, beach erosion, washing away of roads, broken fishing boats, and other forms of destructions. Luckily there was not much loss of lives. But more importantly snapping of electrical cables, fallen electrical poles and transformers brought Goa to a near halt for more than a day. 

The repercussions are still felt with some areas yet to get regular and /or proper supply, immense wastage of frozen foods, milk and milk products at homes, restaurants and hotels. Fatorda seems to have escaped with minimal damage and the reason given is that some years back the electrical cables were laid underground. Laying of underground cables has several advantages such as ease of maintenance, avoidance of falling live wires on people and animals, no need for the linesmen to risk their life by climbing poles without wearing safety gears etc. Although governments in the past and present had assured underground cabling throughout Goa but it is yet to see the light of the day. 

This progressive step is the need of the hour and needs to be implemented soon. Just a thought. How is that underground cables were laid at Fatorda? Are some areas in Goa given a preferential treatment than others?      

Sridhar D’Iyer, Caranzalem    

PM cares for Goa!

The CM took great pains to inform us that the PM ‘cares for Goa’ sharing crucial time from combating the oxygen shortage deaths! Apparently, he called up the CM to enquire about the effects of Cyclone Taukate on Goa. Don’t miss the choice of words. Under the 'PM cares fund' Goa is yet to receive one of the 162 Oxygen generating plants sanctioned 9 months back! The compressor, due on 15/5, is nowhere to be seen. We can calculate the number of covid deaths in Goa that might have been saved if this unit was in operation at least 1 month back.  9 hours after the Bombay HC bench in Goa directed the Centre to release oxygen tankers to Goa, his MoHR Gadkari said: Looking at the oxygen crisis in Goa, the Centre is sending a tanker to Goa!

Taukate claimed 2 lives in Goa while oxygen shortage claimed scores!

Stranger is the fact that all high level meetings both at the Centre and Goa took place ‘after’ the cyclone to ‘assess damages’. Goa’s Collector in charge of Disaster Management did not have any meeting before the cyclone struck. Had this been done then: the 3 employees stuck for 3 days without food and water at a lighthouse and high risk to their lives, would have been avoided. People in coastal areas would have been warned to not venture outside as trees may be uprooted: another life could have been saved. Electricity Dept. could have inspected all equipment and poles and taken measures to secure the same. Incidentally, Goa being on the coast, all such equipment must be installed to withstand high winds: is this criterion enforced? Then why damages to transformers and poles? Has the Govt. ensured that all high masts including mobile towers, comply with high cyclonic wind forces? Caring for the public seems alien to caring for business ‘partners’. 

R Fernandes, Margao

The Frankenstein spectre 

With climate change triggering extreme weather conditions in rapid succession, the scientific community is veering around to the opinion that the hellish fury of Cyclone Tauktae which we recently experienced is only a precursor of things to come. ' Yeh sirf trailer hai, picture abhi baki hai'.

In 2019 we are battered by eight cyclones, five originating in the Arabian sea off our west coast and three in the Bay of Bengal.2020 followed the same trend with five freak storms ripping through sea, air and land driving home the grim fact that climatically this is the 'new normal'. 

Consider this dystopian fact; we have had a total of 91 cyclones in the past 130 years but the last two years themselves accounted for 14 of them. Several ocean atmospheric models advanced by meteorological agencies across the globe (including our National Institute of Oceanography) have concluded that more cyclones shall be birthed off the Indian peninsula due to rapid rise in sea temperatures of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.This warming is not an 'Act of God' but due to the environmental pollution driven by human activity , or what we euphemistically term  'progress'. 

Worryingly the warming of the Arabian Sea is predicted to increase exponentially over the next two years and pour chaos on our Western coast, especially Mumbai which generates 40% of India's total economic wealth. Extensive use of fossil fuel for industrial activity by countries abutting the Arabian Sea rim has resulted in an @ 4X rise in water temperature over the past century. 

Now this begs the question; whether this mad race to be counted as an economic powerhouse is worth it. We need to pause, introspect, and examine where these assembly line disasters  (which ironically obliterate all that we perceive as progress) we are inviting upon ourselves by unbridled environmental annihilation is taking us...perhaps to our inglorious end ? Climate change is the Frankensteinish elephant in the room and we would be ignoring it at our own peril.

Vinay Dwivedi, Benaulim 

Widened gap on Covishield dose 

Apropos "Covishield dose gap widened" dated May 19, 2021, narrates apprehensions to the vaccine dosage gap. The writer has neglected the dynamic scientific approach towards vaccine research. As the shots were first administered to people from United Kingdom, where the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed, logistical and other delays led to different time intervals between two doses as opposed to the recommended one. This allowed scientists to study various scenarios in vaccine efficacy with differing intervals. 

There are a number of scientic articles published worldwide about the vaccine efficacy and safety in contrary to what the writer claims in his opinion. These research articles have helped the Covid task force of the government to tweak the decisions on regular basis instead of sticking to a rigid set of rules. This dynamic nature of research is for the betterment of people of India and world as a whole and must not be viewed caution. However, the officials must refrain themselves from making unscientific claims pertaining to alternative medicine.

Raghav Gadgil, Khandola

Impact of Cyclone Tauktae

The cyclones are fueled by available heat in the water bodies and the conducive temperature for the intensification of the cyclone is 28°C and above. Scientists and Meteorologists have attributed the growing number of cyclones including Tauktae, to climate change because of its intensity with which they have started hitting the Arabian Sea.  

Recent cyclones like Ockhi, Fani, and Amphan have confirmed the trend as they have intensified from a weak cyclonic storm to an extremely severe cyclone in less than 24 hours due to exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures. As a result the sea surface temperature in the Arabian sea are over the threshold values which leads to active convection, torrential rainfall, and intense cyclones. 

Scientists have said that climate projections indicate that the Arabian Sea will continue warming due to increasing carbon emissions, resulting in more intense cyclones in the future. Considering that both cyclones and floods due to heavy rains are increasing across the west coast along with a gradual rise in sea level. But we need to be prepared.  

Cyclone Tauktae left behind trail of devastation in Kerala, Goa and in Maharashtra, Gujarat, the states which are already grappling with the devastating second wave of COVID.  

K.G.Vilop, Chodan