The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 23-09-2022 | 05:45 pm
The Mangrove Protection Cell of the state forest department has identified eight locations along coastal Maharashtra — three in Sindhudurg district and five in Ratnagiri district — which have the potential for coastal tide pool tourism as a livelihood option for the local communities.The places the department identified in Sindhudurg are Tambeldeg, Kunkeshwar and Bhogwe while in Ratnagiri it has identified Katghar, Hedvi, Kharviwada, Velas and Velneshwar as probable locations.The intertidal zone of rocky coasts is home to some amazing formations, including intertidal rock pools (also known as tide pools), which serve as microhabitats for numerous coastal creatures. The rocky coast has the highest density of macroorganisms compared to other intertidal shores, as well as the greatest diversity of animal and plant species. Numerous marine creatures use the tide pools as refuge, food sources and nursery grounds, a press note of the state mangrove protection cell said.The locations were identified after the Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation of Maharashtra funded a study by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) under its Small Grants Programme.The study — Documentation of fauna from tide pool ecosystems along the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg Coast, Maharashtra — was led by Goldin Quadros, Shirish Manchi and Siddhesh Bhave. “The study found a wide range of sea creatures with 303 coastal species across these rocky tide pools. This included 30 seaweed and algae species, 80 phytoplankton species, 73 zooplankton species, 90 species of megafauna, both vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes) and invertebrates (crustaceans, echinoderms, annelids, amphipods among others), as well as 30 bird species, across the two coastal Konkan districts covering 288 km,” a statement from the department read.“The ecosystems in the rocky tide pools are significant because they support a wide range of biodiversity. These pools can soon provide food security, in addition to serving as nursery for a range of species. The coastal youths can have a means of subsistence if they have a grasp of ecosystem diversity, functions, and values,” said Goldin Quadros, Principal Scientist at SACON and the author of the study.Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Mangrove Cell and Executive Director, Mangrove Foundation shared that the goal was to systematically catalogue the rocky tide pools and pinpoint the region, rich biodiversity, which has shown this areas potential for extensive tourism.He added, “While this study was thought of from the point of view to assess biodiversity, the results of this study went a step ahead to show the emergence of ecotourism opportunities. With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, all of this also has the potential to reduce the loss of ocean biodiversity, provide bio remedial treatments to clean up some areas of the ocean, and provide local fishing communities with a new source of income.”Tiwari added that there has been relatively little tide pool research in India compared to other countries. As a part of the ecotourism plan for these areas, the Mangrove Cell and Foundation is now planning to introduce tidepooling — an outdoor activity along the shoreline during low tide to view this previously hidden biodiversity and ecosystem at such rocky intertidal zones.“We are assessing the feasibility of introducing this activity across these eight locations by involving the local community, and further plans are being developed for this based on the study,” Tiwari said.Researchers surveyed 45 rocky coastal areas and selected 25 locations with a continuous 500-metre-long rocky coastline for the study. More rocky intertidal areas were documented in Ratnagiri than in the Sindhudurg district. The survey was done during three seasons — pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon. All the rocky tide pools in Sindhudurg district had good species diversity, with maximum species recorded at Kunkeshwar and minimum at Girye Ghari pools, the study found. In Ratnagiri district, maximum species diversity was recorded at Velas (also famous for the Turtle festival) and minimum observed at Gaokhadi rocky tide pools.
The October heat is known to be a common phenomenon in Maharashtra’s Mumbai city. From the first week of October every year, several areas in the city become uncomfortably hot with the daily temperature rising and ranging between mid 30 to 35 degrees Celsius.However, the scenario is slightly different this year. With sporadic spells of rain still lashing in several parts of the suburban belt and the island city, there does not seem to be a significant rise in temperature even though the first week of October is nearing its end.Mumbai’s maximum temperature is 30 degrees Celsius on Friday morning, while the average maximum temperature during the day last year varied between 33 degrees and 34 degrees Celsius, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).Meanwhile, the scientists and weather experts have attributed the current weather condition to the late withdrawal of monsoon from Mumbai and a low pressure developed in the Bay of Bengal.“Monsoon is still there in Mumbai and there is high rate of moisture presence in the air as well. Therefore, light to moderate rainfall will continue in the island city and suburban belt for the next few days since there is no clear forecast of monsoon retreat anytime now. This is directly affecting the daily temperature and as long as the rains are there an increase in temperature is unlikely,” IMD scientist Sushma Nair told The Indian Express.Nair also maintained that a rise in temperature may take place after the monsoon retreats from Mumbai.“After the monsoon withdrawal happens, the temperature may go up till 33 to 34 degrees Celsius, but this will be short-lived since the north-western part of India will start experiencing drop in daily temperature due to the arrival of winter and this will also affect Mumbai as well,” she said.Mahesh Palawat, the chief meteorologist at Skymet Weather, said the entire western and north-western part of India is experiencing an unusual weather pattern this year, which is not letting the temperature rise during October.“Parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Gujarat are experiencing light to moderate rainfall because of two successive low pressure that have been developed in the Bay of Bengal. There is also a trough seen in the coastal region of Maharashtra. These factors are creating an unusual pattern of rains which is not letting the temperature to rise in Mumbai,” he said.Palawat further said there is a chance of monsoon retreat post October 13.“Light to moderate rainfall will continue in Mumbai till October 12 and Mumbai may experience a slight rise in temperature after October 13,” he added.Meanwhile, the IMD bulletin Friday morning stated the sky will remain cloudy and light to moderate rainfall will continue to lash Mumbai for the next 48 hours. In the past 24 hours, the city has recorded 8.9 mm of rainfall, of which the Santacruz observatory has recorded 1.1 mm of rainfall and the Colaba observatory has recorded 7.8 mm of rainfall.The bulletin stated Mumbai’s relative humidity is 95 per cent.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with a project to build a cable-stayed flyover in a bid to improve the road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve regions in the western suburbs of Maharashtra’s Mumbai city.A look at the project: The cable-stayed flyover will connect Versova jetty with Madh island.Location: The bridge will originate from near the Versova jetty and end near the wharf adjoining the Madh island jetty, passing over the Versova Creek.Specifications: The bridge will be 1.5 kilometers long and 27.50 meters wide.Objective: The primary objective of this project is to improve road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve region in the western suburbs, which currently has patches of mangroves, mudflats and creeks between the locations. This bridge is expected to bring down the travel time between Versova and Madh island to 10 minutes. It currently takes at least one hour through SV Road and Link Road. The travel time during peak hours can go as high as two hours.Significance:– This project will improve the road connectivity till the extreme end of the western suburbs. Since there is no direct road network right now, the people are mostly dependent on a ferry service that runs between Versova and Madh.– The bridge will lead to uninterrupted transport system for 365 days. Since the ferry services often become non-operational during monsoon, the people are compelled to take the longer route of travel though bus, taxi or local train via Malad, which increases the travel time by several fold.– The bridge will also play a key role in uplifting the economy of the Madh and Marve area, which mainly houses the fishing community that travels to the fish markets in Andheri and Dadar areas and are mainly dependent on ferries. This bridge will open more travelling options for them, thus creating better connectivity.– With the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) coming up and also with the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) project being on pipeline, this flyover will create a smooth corridor for the north-south bound traffic that will be travelling from the extreme end of western suburbs to the island city or vice-versa.Present status:– The BMC had finalised a consultant for this project back in 2020 and recently an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and a survey on the mangroves have been completed.– The BMC had submitted the reports and a proposal for the final alignment of this bridge to the Maharashtra Coastal Zonal Management Authority (MCZMA) for final clearance of this project and is awaiting the clearance.– The civic officials are hopeful that the clearance certificate would come in next two months following which a tender will be floated.Cost: Approximately Rs 400 croreConstruction time: 12 months (excluding the monsoon) after the day of issuing work order.Authority speak: “The project has been in the pipeline for more than a decade and has been deferred for multiple reasons. The flyover will pass through a mangrove zone and coastal area, therefore we have already submitted our proposal to the MCZMA for clearance. They had provided some inputs in the previous application that we had made and have submitted a fresh proposal on the same. After the project gets cleared, tenders will be floated and contractor will be appointed for the project,” said an official from civic bridges department.Citizen speak: “The proposed Versova-Madh bridge is supposed to be a pivotal linkage between Versova and Madh island and with the coastal road nearing its deadline, this bridge is need of the hour. Since, not only it will declutter the traffic movement but also will save time, fuel and money for thousands of Mumbaikars every day,” said Dhaval Shah, a local resident and co-founder of the Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association (LOCA).
PUNE AND its neighbouring areas will receive moderate rainfall during the next two days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday. Since October 1, the city has received 58.5mm of rainfall.Maharashtra is currently experiencing the influence of cyclonic circulation, which lay over coastal Andhra Pradesh. A trough from this system is running through Telangana, Vidarbha and west Madhya Pradesh extending till Uttar Pradesh.“Due to this cyclonic circulation, moisture-laden winds are being pulled from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal over Maharashtra. Rainfall activity over Maharashtra will increase during the next two days,” said Anupam Kashyapi, head of the weather forecasting division at IMD, Pune.Rainfall will mostly be seen during the afternoon or evening with one or two intense spells with the potential to cause flash flooding, inundation of roads and windy conditions resulting in the uprooting of trees, the IMD said.Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Dhule, Pune, Nandurbar, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Sangli, Satara, Solapur, Beed and Osmanabad districts will also witness thunderstorms, lightning and rainfall till October 8, the forecast said.Another fresh cyclonic circulation is expected to develop off the Gujarat coast further strengthening the westerly winds blowing in from the Arabian Sea over Maharashtra, Kashyapi added.Meanwhile, the withdrawal of the Southwest monsoon continues to remain slow. As of Thursday, the withdrawal line passed through Uttarkashi, Nazibabad, Agra, Gwalior, Ratlam and Bharuch.Due to the presence of the cyclonic circulation over UP, which remains on ‘red’ alert till Friday any further withdrawal of monsoon is not expected till the weekend. Uttarakhand will receive heavy rainfall during the next four days, according to the forecast.
Uttarakhand, central, and northeast regions are bracing for heavy rainfall starting Tuesday.India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said on Sunday that in view of an approaching synoptic (rain bearing) system formed in the Bay of Bengal rainfall will continue over Odisha, Jharkhand, and Gangetic West Bengal till October 4.On Sunday, a cyclonic circulation formed in the northeast Bay of Bengal and this system is expected to merge with the existing cyclonic circulation located close to Andhra Pradesh coast.“As this merged system is likely to move westwards and recurve over to northeast Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, isolated moderate to heavy rainfall is likely over these states till October 7,” officials from IMD, Delhi, said.An enhanced rainfall is also likely to occur over northeast India regions till Tuesday.The withdrawal of the Southwest monsoon will be delayed in view of this cyclonic circulation reaching central India. As on Sunday, the monsoon withdrawal line passed through Jammu, Una, Chandigarh, Karnal, Baghpat, Delhi, Alwar, Jodhpur, and Nalia.‘Above normal rainfall over Maha in October’The IMD has forecast normal or above rainfall over most parts of Maharashtra in October. Thunder, lightning, and intense rainfall will be associated with the withdrawal of the Southwest monsoon.The increased rainfall in this month will primarily be realised over Vidarbha, southern Goa and Marathwada regions. Between June and September, Maharashtra received 1219 mm rainfall which was quantitatively 23 per cent above the seasonal normal. During this month, the maximum temperatures are likely to remain below normal.
PUNE: Kharif and fruit/vegetable crops over 23.19 lakh hectares were damaged due to intense and sharp rainfall spells in the June-September monsoon period across Maharashtra this year, data from the state agriculture department revealed on Saturday. At over 18.21 lakh hectares, the maximum destruction occurred during the month of July, which recorded several heavy rain events, the data showed. Convective showers are unlike monsoon rain, though they can occur during the monsoon season. Convective rain is usually accompanied with thunder/lightning, and the resulting spells are short and intense, the reason why they can do maximum damage. "Crops, such as maize, cotton, mung, soybean, bajra, sugar cane, paddy, veggies and fruits, have suffered damage due to such rain, but the maximum impact has been on soybean and cotton crop, which is likely to bring down their yield this season," a state agriculture department official told TOI. "Total sown area for kharif is 1.41 crore hectares in Maharashtra. Districts of Vidarbha, such as Amravati, Nagpur, Wardha and Nanded, have been worst affected. Reason for the extensive damage is intense and high quantum rainfall in a very short span of time. As per preliminary estimates, cotton and soybean crops have been destroyed in almost 18-19 lakh hectares, thus, suffering the maximum damage. This may ultimately affect the yield of these crops by about 10-15%," another official from the state agriculture department said. Sangeeta Shroff, agriculture expert from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, and in charge of the Agro-Economic Research Centre of the institute, told TOI, "The intense rainfall spells are not only causing damage to crops in the monsoon, but also in the month of November. With monsoon rainfall being optimum in Maharashtra over the last 3-4 years, it has been noticed that many farmer suicides in Marathwada in the recent years are being attributed to intense rainfall events that can damage many hectares of harvestable crops. Ironically, this happened more often in drought years in the past."