Skip to main content

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav* 
While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.
Here an attempt is being made to examine the impact of the recent prolonged heat wave on all forms of life in the context of Bundelkhand region. Bundelkhand is one of the heat wave hot spots in India. It is spread over about 14 districts of Central India (7 in Uttar Pradesh and 7 in Madhya Pradesh).
Recently two worrying cases of large-scale bird deaths have been reported from Bundelkhand. In the first such case a large number of parrots and bats as well as some other birds were found dead in a park in Atarra town, in Banda district. In another case, in a park that is ironically called Oxygen Park, a large number of bats were found dead in Banda city.
Visibility of several birds has decreased significantly, raising concerns regarding them. Rampyari Yadav who lives in Atarra says, “Earlier I used to feed sparrows almost daily near my kitchen. But now for almost a month I have not seen any sparrow.”
On the basis of general observation many people say that birds appear to be very vulnerable and weak.
A special feature of Bundelkhand region is the large number of cattle who are left free to roam. With no one to provide for them, they keep moving from one place to another in search of water and pastures. As the heat intensifies, water sources dry up and there is less and less to eat in the grasslands. From some places it has been reported that the extremely dry grasses even became harmful and as a result several of these cattle perished.
Bundelkhand’s forests have been badly depleted in recent decades and as a result wild life has already suffered badly, but during heat wave conditions their problems increase further as they cannot find water when they need this the most, for drinking as well as for cooling themselves.
As far as farm and dairy animals are concerned, although rural households try their best to protect them, but in the case of poorer households with very limited housing place there is a limit regarding the extent to which they can protect dairy and farm animals from heat wave conditions and arrange adequate water and fodder for them. 
 Large number of parrots and bats as well as some other birds were found dead in a park in Atarra town, in Banda district
Hence the distress of farm and dairy animals kept by poorer households and very small farmers or landless persons is likely to increase.
These dairy and farm animals like to take dips in village ponds and in particular the more heavily built buffaloes are happy with prolonged bath or just sitting and wallowing in water ponds. While the desire for this increases, opportunities may diminish with increasing heat and shrinking ponds.
Similarly other water sources may shrink leading to serious threats for fish and other water life as well. Recently death of several thousand fish was reported in Mandakini river in Chitrakut district. According to news reports, faulty operation of gates leading to sudden decline of water in a stretch of the river was responsible for this. 
This proved tragic, and should have been particularly avoided in heat wave conditions. Even otherwise, this river as well as several other rivers of this region have been shrinking due to faulty policies, including large-scale, indiscriminate sand mining.
Clearly there is need for much more awareness regarding taking care of various forms of life in heat wave conditions in times of global warming. In the case of roaming or chutta cattle, care should be taken to create some water storages, supported by some fodder storage as well wherever possible, in areas frequented by these cattle. 
In forests water and rain conservation work should be taken up so that wild life is not deprived of its most important need of water. Traditional practices of providing cool water points for birds and for feeding them should be stepped up in heat wave conditions.
*Bharat Dogra is a journalist. Reena Yadav is a student



Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.