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3 West Bengal MLAs, 50 councillors join BJP

Kailash Vijaywargiya says more are likely to switch loyalties

Blow to Mamata: Two Trinamool MLAs and one from CPI(M) and 50 councillors joined the BJP. Sandeep Saxena The Hindu

The BJP’s ‘Mission Bengal’ gathered pace on Tuesday, with three MLAs joining the party at its headquarters in New Delhi, along with 50 municipal councillors from Kanchrapara, Halishahar and Naihati.

Of the three legislators, Shubhrangshu Roy of the Trinamool is former Union Minister Mukul Roy’s son. The other two are Tusharkanti Bhattacharya and Debendra Nath Roy.

Mr. Roy crossed over from the CPI(M) and Mr. Bhattacharya from Trinamool. The latter, elected on Congress ticket from Bishnupur, had crossed over to Trinamool two years ago, but did not resign his seat after doing so.

Boost in local bodies

With over 50 councillors joining the BJP, the party now has a majority in at least three municipal councils.

Speaking at the event, BJP general secretary in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijaywargiya said more crossovers were on the anvil.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared at an election rally in the State that 40 disgruntled Trinamool MLAs were in touch with the BJP and could shift loyalties.

Mr. Vijaywargiya announced that the crossovers would happen “in seven phases”.

Sources in the party said the BJP was in touch with MLAs in those Assembly segments where the BJP had posted a lead in the recent Lok Sabha election. “The BJP led in 128 Assembly segments out of a total of 295 [294 for which elections take place, with one nominated seat set aside for the Anglo Indian community], and we are in touch with many of them,” said a senior leader.

Karnataka ordered to release 9.19 tmcft

Cauvery Water Management Authority ruling on water for T.N. for June

The quantum is in line with the Supreme Court’s order on February 16 last year.

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Tuesday ordered Karnataka to release 9.19 tmcft of water for the month of June from the Biligundlu reservoir to the Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu.

“It was a unanimous decision. The forecast, so far, is a normal monsoon and keeping in view the water level in the dams and reservoirs, we have directed 9.19 tmcft of water to be released for the month of June,” CWMA Chairman Masood Hussain told The Hindu.

The monsoon is forecast to make landfall in Kerala on June 6, and the Central Water Commission’s records show that key reservoirs in southern India are at levels below their five-year average. The total live storage is 6.38 bcm (billion cubic metre), which is 12% of the total live storage capacity.

The storage during the corresponding period last year was also 12% and the average storage of the last 10 years during the corresponding period was 15% of the live storage capacity of these reservoirs, according to the CWC’s May 23 bulletin.

Meeting postponed

The CWMA meeting was to have been held a fortnight ago, but had to be postponed until Tuesday following a request by Karnataka, Mr. Hussain said.

Representatives from all riparian States attended the meeting.

The quantum of water to be released is in line with the Supreme Court’s order on February 16 last year. While conferring authority on the CWMA to decide on releasing water, the court said Karnataka’s share was 284 tmcft, Tamil Nadu’s 404 tmcft, Kerala’s 30 tmcft and Puducherry’s 7 tmcft.

Besides this, the court reserved 10 tmcft for environmental purposes and four tmcft for natural flow into the sea.

This is the third meeting of the CWMA since June 2018, when it was constituted. It is expected to meet once in 10 days from June to October.

SC to hear Bedi’s plea tomorrow

Puducherry LG sought clarity on control over officials

Kiran Bedi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to urgently hear a petition by Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi for clarity on the issue of control over bureaucrats following a turf war between her office and the Chief Minister.

A Vacation Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, agreed to hear the petition on Thursday.

On May 10, the court issued notice on a plea by the Administrator, Union Territory of Puducherry, to stay a Madras High Court decision which curbed the Lieutenant Governor’s powers to interfere in the day-to-day administration, especially when an elected government was in place. However, in a fresh application, Ms. Bedi said the ruling brought the “administrative machinery to an impasse”.

The plea said the Puducherry Lieutenant Governor enjoys “greater discretionary power” than the Delhi Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor has a “special responsibility towards the Union Territory of Puducherry and is under the overarching control of the President”.

Scientists give the thumbs-up for Anthropocene epoch

The radionuclides are present almost everywhere.THE HINDU ARCHIVESTHE HINDU ARCHIVES

On May 21, a 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) voted 29-4 in favour of designating a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.

The vote signals the end of the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago.

According to Nature, the panel plans to submit a formal proposal for the new epoch by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which oversees the official geologic time chart.

That nearly 90% voted in favour of a naming the new epoch to reflect how the Earth has been shaped by human activity, is not surprising, as an informal vote had already conducted three years ago in Cape Town at the 2016 International Geological Congress.

The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to denote the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth.

According to the AWG, the phenomena associated with the Anthropocene include an order-of-magnitude increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture, marked and abrupt anthropogenic perturbations of the cycles of elements such as carbon, environmental changes generated by these perturbations, including global warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification, rapid changes in the biosphere and finally proliferation and global dispersion of many new ‘minerals’ and ‘rocks’ including concrete, fly ash and plastics, and the myriad ‘technofossils’ produced from these and other materials.

A golden spike

The focus is now on identifying a definitive geologic marker or golden spike (technically called Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point) to signal the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. The golden spike must be present globally and should be a part of deposits for geological record.

Many in the AWG believe that artificial radionuclides spread across the world by atomic bomb tests from the early 1950s would serve as the golden spike. The radionuclides are present almost everywhere — from marine sediments to ice layers and even stalagmites and stalactites.

Once a formal proposal is made by the AWG, it will be considered by several more groups of the International Commission on Stratigraphy.

The final ratification will be made by the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences.

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