West Bengal [WBPSC] Current Affairs - 2020

Arsenic contamination in paddy is rising in Bengal: Study

According to recent study, arsenic contamination in paddy is rising from ground water in West Bengal. It reveals that rise in arsenic contamination of paddy plants due to concentration of arsenic accumulation depends on variety of paddy and its stage in crop cycle. Its concentration varies with rice variety and stage in crop cycle.

Study highlights

The study was carried out on two commonly consumed rice varieties — Minikit and Jaya — and it was found that latter to be more resistant to arsenic. It shows processes and dependencies of arsenic trans-location in rice from contaminated irrigation water.

It has found that arsenic contamination in paddy was higher than in previous studies. It shows that arsenic uptake in paddy plant reduces from root to grain and that its concentration is related to variety of rice cultivated. It was observed that highest concentration of arsenic was observed in initial or vegetative state in first 28 days. It reduced during reproductive stage (29-56 days) and again increased in ripening stage.

The uptake of arsenic is faster in young roots in vegetative state than in older tissues with higher concentrations of iron in root soil in reproductive phase. It also raised concerns over disposal of contaminated rice straw which is used as animal fodder or burnt or sometimes left in field itself to serve as fertiliser.

Arsenic Poisoning

Arsenic is a natural component in Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed throughout environment in air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Intake of soluble inorganic arsenic over long period can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning (arsenicosis), diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.  In India, Arsenic pollution big problem in West Bengal and neighbouring states. In West Bengal, there are 83 blocks in eight districts where groundwater is arsenic contaminated. Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia districts have higher levels of arsenic concentration.

West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to rename state as Bangla

West Bengal state assembly dominated by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress Government has unanimously passed resolution to change state’s name to ‘Bangla’ in all three languages – Bengali, Hindi and English. The name change will only become official when resolution gets approval from Union Home Ministry and Parliament passes Bill.

Key Facts

The main reason cited by State Government for changing name of West Bengal to Bangla is that whenever there is meeting of all states, West Bengal figures at bottom of the list, as it is prepared according to alphabetical order. With change in its Bangla, it will appear (or leapfrog) to fourth place after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in list of states in alphabetical order.

Background

The move of comes West Bengal state assembly to change name of state comes almost two years after it first passed a resolution to change the name of the State in August 2016. The state government had earlier submitted a proposal to the Centre to change the name of West Bengal to to Bengal in English, Bangla in Bengali and Bangal in Hindi. The proposal was turned down by Union Home Ministry.

Procedure of changing name of state

Process for changing the name of a state can be initiated by state itself. However, by virtue of article 3 of Constitution, Parliament has power to change name of state even if such proposal does not come from the concerned state. If initiated by state assembly, it will first pass a resolution for such change and this passed resolution will be sent to Central government (Union Home Ministry). Then Union Home Ministry prepares note for Union Cabinet for amendment to Schedule 1 of Constitution. Thereafter, Constitution Amendment Bill is introduced in Parliament under Article 3 of Constitution, which has to be approved with simple majority, before President gives his assent to it. Thereafter name of state will be changed. The example of such change is change in name of Orissa to Odisha. The Government of Orissa initiated this change in 2008 when it forwarded resolution passed by State Legislative Assembly to Union Government to change name of state from Orissa to Odisha. This bill was passed by Parliament as Orissa (Alteration of Name) Act, 2010 to rename state.