- A deep depression that has formed over the Arabian Sea is expected to turn into a tropical cyclone Nilofar. Nilofar has the potential to strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane before its Arabian Peninsula landfall.
- In India, the North Gujarat coast is expected to bear the brunt of Nilofar. It is expected to land in Gujarat on October 31 with a wind speed of over 120 kmph
- District authorities in the coastal areas of Gujarat have been warned to be prepared for heavy rains and storm. The authorities are also monitoring the situation and the control rooms are operational. The authorities of the Kandla Port Trust, State Maritime Board and the Forest Department, besides local leaders in villages have been put on high alert.
- According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the coastal districts of Gujarat will isolated very heavy rainfall from October 30 which will intensify further into a severe cyclone storm within 24 hours
- Alerts will be issued to concerned local authorities on status of the storm every three hours
- Other than India, Nilofar is also expected to hit eastern Yemen or Oman with damaging winds, flooding rain and dangerously rough seas. It is also expected to bring potentially heavy rainfall to parts of Pakistan, especially Karachi.
- It is to be noted that tropical cyclones are unusual in this part of the world. Generally, only one or two tropical cyclones form every year in Arabian Sea.
About Naming of cyclones
In the West, hurricanes and tropical cyclones have been given their own names since 1953. This was done in accordance with a convention by Miami’s National Hurricane Centre and is maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO is an agenct of the UN and based out of Geneva.
However, South Asia and the Middle East did not adhere to this practice of naming storms till much later. In an effort to name the cyclones without offending any of the countries in the region, all the countries came together in 2004 to evolve a mechanism to name the tropical cyclones. According to the agreed upon system, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand meet every year and each country submits its list of names. Each country gets a turn to name the storm in alphabetical order. Till now, the countries have decided on 64 names. Hudhud was a suggestion of Oman, while Nilofar was Pakistan’s suggestion.
Future Earth Engagement Committee
The Committee is a global research platform panel on sustainable development. The strategic advisory group was instituted by an alliance of organisations including the UNEP (UN Environment Programme), UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). However, the Committee is the flagship initiative of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability.
The committee will provide knowledge and support to hasten the introduction of sustainable technologies. The committee will consist of leaders from stakeholder groups, including business, policy and civil society and will be representative of various societal partners, who can help bring about change.
The Committee will comprise of 18 members and will be fully constituted by the end of 2014.
Earlier roles in international fora
Jairam Ramesh was also a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Global Sustainability Panel between 2011 and 2012. He also played a key role in the UN Climate Change Conferences at Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010.
The Centre is planning to create a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) to implement the Ken-Betwa River Linking Project. Interlinking the rivers of India has been one of the major initiative of the NDA government at the Centre.
Ken-Betwa River Linking Project
The Ken-Betwa link is one of the 16 river linking proposals under the Peninsular Component of the National Perspective Plan (NPP) for water resources development. It envisages diversion of surplus water from the Ken basin to the water-deficit Betwa basin. The project will have a dam on Ken river along with a 221 km link canal. The project was conceived in two phases, with the first phase benefitting both states, and the second phase confined to Madhya Pradesh. There are plans to implement both phases at the same time.
The project is expected to facilitate annual irrigation for 6.35 lakh hectares and supply drinking water to 13.42 lakh people. Also, a 78MW hydropower plant is expected to become operational after the two rivers are linked.
The project will involve the two neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, both of which have in principle given their consent for creation of the SPV. Also the Ministry of Environment and Forests has given its approval for conducting the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Study for the project.