Assam Current Affairs - 2020

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Dracaena cambodiana: India’s first dragon blood-oozing tree

Researchers have discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong District in Assam. This is for 1st time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India. This research which added to India’s botanical wealth has been published in Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

About Dracaena cambodiana

This plant yields dragon’s blood- a bright red resin. Sap of the plant species turns bright red after coming in contact with air. It is an important medicinal plant as well as an ornamental tree. The plant resin is used since ancient times as medicine, varnish, body oil, incense and dye.

Other than dragon’s blood several antifungal and antibacterial compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc., have been extracted from various parts of plant.

Key Highlights of Research

As per the study in India, Dracaena genus belonging to family Asparagaceae is represented by 9 species and 2 varieties in Himalayan region, northeast and Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But Dracaena cambodiana is only true dragon tree species.

Seed Dispersal: Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow fruits, thereby limiting scope of its natural conservation.

Quarry Threat: Population size of dragon tree species in Assam is estimated to be less than 50 mature individuals and there is continuing decrease in its area of occupancy and number of mature individuals. This is because habitat of plant is severely fragmented due to open excavation of a stone quarry.

Demand Threat: The dragon’s blood is a precious traditional medicine in China. To meet increasing demand for dragon’s blood the recent overexploitation has resulted in rapid depletion of plant. Therefore, this plant species is already listed in inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of China.

Need: In view of its medicinal, ornamental and ecological values there is an urgent need for a Conservation programme for Dracaena cambodiana.

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IAF AN-32 Aircraft Missing

Indian Air Force’s AN-32 transport aircraft goes missing after taking off from Jorhat in Assam. The airborne aircraft had total 13 people on board including eight aircrew and five passengers.

Key Highlights

  • AN-32 aircraft got airborne on 3 June from Jorhat at 12:27 p.m. for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (only 29 kms from the China border), in Mechuka Valley in West Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. It last contacted ground agencies at around 1:00 p.m. after that there has been was no contact with the aircraft.
  • Since the aircraft lost the contact and did not reach the destination also Indian Air Force initiated overdue actions.

Search Operation:

  • C 130J Super Hercules aircraft, AN-32 military transport aircraft, two Mi-17 (medium twin-turbine transport helicopter)of Indian Air Force (IAF) and ALH (Advanced Light Helicopters) helicopter of Indian Army were launched to locate the missing aircraft.
  • Helicopters were routed to the location after some ground reports were received about possible location of a crash site however no wreckage has been sighted so far.
  • IAF is in continuous coordination with Indian Army and with various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft.
  • The Search operation to locate the missing IAF AN-32 aircraft is underway with operation from air by IAF and by ground parties of Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

About Anton AN-32

  • It is a tactical transport aircraft and is an extensive used by Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • It has been in service since 1984 and has been a trustworthy workhorse for the IAF for many years.
  • Specification: As the service ceiling of Antonov An-32 turboprop aircraft is 31,000ft so it flies lower and slower (with a cruising speed of 470 kmph) than most commercial jetliners (which have a service ceiling of 40,000ft), thus this gives lesser room for the An-32 to outrun bad weather or climb over it.

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