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The blackout imposed by the EPDCL following flash strike by the electricity employees caused utter chaos leading to traffic jam and a mad rush at petrol bunks and ATMs.

Panic buying of petrol and diesel caused traffic jam near the bunks. Some of the outlets of HPCL, IOC and BPCL put up no-stock boards. Hundreds of ATMs went dry after they were filled with cash by banks on Sunday.

“I had to go the counter to draw cash by a cheque as a ‘no cash’ placard greeted me at the ATM at ICICI branch, MVP Colony on Monday,” Murali Choudhary, a government employee from Odisha, who came on medical work to the city, said.

Fuel filling at oil outlets was affected as the workers of 1800 oil tankers went on 72-hour strike from Friday in support of Samaikyandhra. There is speculation among various quarters that due to the agitation by various Joint Action Committees, the fuel supply not only to the bunks in the city but also those located in Odisha, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, which depend on refinery in the city for supply, would be severely affected. However, the HPCL refinery officials maintained that their production was not affected.

With streets lights not getting power traffic chaos were witnessed at main thoroughfares. Traffic cops found it difficult to regulate the traffic at Jagadamba, Asilametta, Satyam Centre and other busy junctions.

The blackout had paralysed the operations in the IT Park at Rushikonda and Special Economic Zone, Duvvada.

Symbiosys Technologies CEO Naresh Kumar said some of them had to operate with diesel generators. NASSCOM regional director Bidhan Kankate asked Mr. Naresh Kumar, vice-president of Rushikonda IT Park Association, to keep him in loop about the situation as ATMs and fuel bunks were going out of stocks.

Lakhs of households in the five districts--Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, East and West Godavari--coming under EPDCL plunged into darkness with the Joint Action Committee going on strike in support of their demand for keeping the State united and opposing the Union Cabinet clearing the note for formation of Telangana. EPDCL Director (Operations) E. Krishna said over 50 lakh consumers in the five districts went without power owing to the strike.

Around 8,000 employees were on strike resulting in the five districts going without power right from 9 a.m.

According to EPDCL JAC chairman V.S.R.K. Ganapathi, the absence of staff, from engineers to workers, resulted in technical problems not being taken care of resulting in tripping. All the 133 Kv and 220 Kv substations in the five districts were affected. Besides with the Genco staff also on strike at the 240 Mw and 25 Mw at Sileru and Donkarayi also came to a halt, it was learnt. With generation at the RTPS and VTPS also plummeting, it was not known whether the demand would be fully met.

EPDCL CMD M. Seshagiribabu held discussions with the striking staff here in the morning. However, the JAC leaders made it clear the strike decision was taken by the State JAC And unless a direction came from it they could not join duty. The State JAC was holding talks with the Chief Minister, it was learnt.

Mr. Ganapathi said even if the go ahead to resume duties came from the State leadership it would be difficult to say when the power supply would be resumed.

AP News

In the last column, we saw how a weakening Rupee affects us. We saw that the imports become expensive because of the weaker currency and creates price inflation. But that is not all. As we will see, even domestically produced goods become more expensive. How?

Selling right

Let us say, there is an Indian manufacturer selling light bulbs at Rs. 50 per bulb. Let us also assume that one US Dollar equals Rs. 50. So, this manufacturer can sell the light bulb at $1 and get the same price as selling locally. Now let us see what happens when the Rupee weakens to Rs. 70 per USD. Now our manufacturer can get Rs. 70 for the same light bulb, when he sells it overseas for an unchanged price of $1. At this new exchange rate, he is clearly better off exporting than selling it within India. Why? Because he can make more profit and businesses are run to make profits. Alternatively, our ambitious manufacturer can sell his bulbs in the international market for $0.90 (90 cents). He can bring down his price and thus become more attractive to overseas customers, and still get more than the local price. Whatever he sells overseas, he cannot sell in India as his factory capacity is limited. So, all of a sudden light bulbs start getting dearer when you go to the shops and you are forced to shell out more for even a domestically produced good!

Let us now try and see what causes the Rupee to weaken against major currencies like the American Dollar. Let us begin by looking at some of our objects of desire. What is common to Mac book Air, Samsung Galaxy, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PSP, apart from the fact that these are super cool products that everyone would love to get their hands on? You guessed right! None of these are manufactured in India. Of late, we have become great consumers of foreign made products. Even our Diwali crackers and Ganesha dolls are made in China these days. This in itself is not a bad thing, provided we also produce and export cool products that the world wants. Alas, we do not do that. We are exporters of things like iron ore, which are nature’s gifts, but we are not an export powerhouse by any stretch of imagination.

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October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child. This year the theme is Innovating for Girls’ Education. All over the world girls face unique challenges not only at home but also at schools and in society. This day is set aside to recognise the rights of the girl child.

One of the most imperative and important obligations society has towards the girl child is education. This is a powerful tool in transforming not only her life but also that of her whole family. It determines development, health, poverty reduction and a tendency to social change.

For many girls, especially those from marginalised communities, education continues to remain a distant dream. They are not able to attend school for many reasons — distance from home to school, finance, institutional and cultural barriers and so on.

School or work?

For many of them, the family thinks that sending the girl to school deprives the home of an additional income and an opportunity to escape from household chores. The aspirations of how they would perform in school are also rather low. Hence it is of great importance to bring home the fact that an educated girl could transform the society.

Recognising the need for this, this year International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, the use of resources and the help of the community and most importantly the engagement of young people. There is also a need for improved public and private transportation for girls to get to and from school, providing science and technology courses that would be targeted at girls in schools and mentor programmes to help girls acquire skills that would make their transition from school to work smooth and easy.

Do you take time off school work and watching television to think about the future of India’s wildlife? Living and growing up in cities can really alienate one from the problems of the forest. Most of us haven’t even noticed that the sparrow that used to perch on our balconies does not come anymore. Or that butterflies no longer visit our gardens. So, how can one possibly know that the population of snow leopards in India is less than 600, making it a critically endangered species whose future is threatened?

Bridge the gap

Or is it easy for us to keep a tab on the number of one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, where 20 were killed for their horns this year alone?

The country’s diverse landscapes are home to numerous threatened and critically endangered species, including the Asiatic lion, Asian elephant, tiger, white-rumped vulture, Asian one-horned rhinoceros, and water buffalo. There are many species of deer, antelopes, wild dogs, cats, monkeys and bears in India whose habitats are constantly shrinking. Besides mammals, there is a vast array of reptiles, birds and amphibians that are slowly disappearing too.

But you can make a difference this Wildlife Week by taking some time out to actively engage in conservation and awareness projects that give several animals a chance at survival.

Celebrated in the first week of October, typically from October 2 to 8, Wildlife Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the conservation of wildlife. “Wildlife Week aims to bridge the gap between wildlife and wildlife conservation in a bid to encourage more citizens to take up the cause,” says Gerry Martin, popular herpetologist.

Becoming a part of this great legacy of wildlife protection is easy and can start at home.

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