Articles for April 2008

TATA port threatens sea turtles, charge conservationists

Construction must stop to save endangered sea turtles

April 05, 2008

Gahirmatha’s
seas are one of the world’s largest breeding areas for the Olive Ridley
Turtle. The Dhamra port could signal the end of this habitat forever.


Delhi, India — A coalition of Indian conservationists, comprising
Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), the Wildlife Society of
Orissa (WSO) and Greenpeace India, has called on TATAs to reconsider
their Dhamra Deepwater Port [1] in Orissa, citing the threat it poses
to endangered sea turtles and two important Protected Areas.
Construction on the Port is proceeding in the absence of a
comprehensive Environment Impact Analysis and with disregard to the
Precautionary Principle, which TATA Steel professes to adhere to as a
member of The Global Compact [2].

Speaking
to the media, Belinda Wright, Executive Director of WPSI, said “The
olive ridley turtle is a species that enjoys the same legal protection
as the tiger. Yet despite its ecological significance, the Dhamra area
was purposely excluded from Bhitarkanika and Gahirmatha Sanctuaries to
facilitate the Dhamra Port [3]. It is amazing that while trawling is
rightly banned to protect the turtles, the Orissa state government is
bending over backwards to assist a huge industrial project in the same
area, which will probably drive away the turtles for good.”

The
Dhamra Port is coming up less than 5 km from Bhitarkanika Sanctuary and
less than 15 km from Gahirmatha’s beaches, one of the largest mass
nesting sites for the olive ridley turtle in the world.
Conservationists highlighted the Port’s potential environmental impacts
when it was first proposed in the 1990s. In April 2004, the Supreme
Court appointed Central Empowered Committee had recommended that the
Dhamra Port be relocated.

Over 100 leading
scientists from India and across the world have also called on TATA
Steel, the joint promoters of the Dhamra Port, to halt the project in
light of potential impacts on sea turtles and the environment, through
a petition campaign [4] hosted by a coalition of conservation groups
[5]. The list includes over 20 scientists from the Marine Turtle
Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN,
besides other renowned conservationists and researchers. The petition
also urges the Orissa state government to protect the Dhamra area.

Conservationists
charge that in the absence of a credible Environment Impact Analysis
and baseline ecological data, no mitigation plan, even if prepared by
the best experts, will be an adequate safeguard. Significantly, there
has been no mass nesting at Gahirmatha this season. In the past, even
minor disturbances have been enough to prevent turtles nesting, so the
influence of ongoing dredging for port construction cannot be ruled
out.

“There are alternatives to Dhamra that
TATAs must explore. A study commissioned by the Government of Orissa
and conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, has
identified several potential port sites [6]” said Biswajit Mohanty,
Secretary of WSO “The ongoing expansion of Paradip Port will also
provides the state with sufficient cargo capacity. If TATAs are as
environment friendly as they claim, they must make the effort to shift
to another location further away from the turtle nesting grounds,
rather than seeking to hide behind mitigation plans that can never be a
proper safeguard against the impacts”, he added.

In
2007, a survey commissioned by Greenpeace and conducted by Dr. S.K.
Dutta of the North Orissa University established the presence of rare
species of amphibians and reptiles at the port site [7]. The study also
revealed the presence of over 2,000 turtle carcasses on and near the
area. TATA is yet to respond to these findings, despite earlier
committing to reconsider their role in the project if evidence of
ecological significance was presented.

The pressure on TATA is mounting, with Greenpeace’s cyber campaign (www.greenpeace.org/india/turtles)
providing a platform for the public to voice their concerns on this
issue. Over 9,000 people have already written to Ratan Tata within
three days of its launch.

“The scientific
community is advising against this port, fishermen have opposed it [8],
science has shown the presence of rare species in the area, and now the
public is adding its voice to the conservation community. What more
does Mr. Ratan Tata need? As a global corporation with a growing
presence overseas, TATA needs to show that its commitment to the
environment goes beyond mere lip service, by halting work on the port
immediately”, said Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace
India.

For more information, contact:

Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace, 99801 99380 ashish.fernandes@greenpeace.org
Belinda Wright, Wildlife Protection Society of India, 98111 90690 belinda@wpsi-india.org
Biswajit Mohanty, Wildlife Society of Orissa, 94370 24265 kachhapa@gmail.com
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications, 93438 62212 stripath@in.greenpeace.org

HDFC Netbanking

Recently, I created a current account with HDFC bank for my business – Wide Aware. Its convenient. Yes, but there are some problems people might want to watch out for when it comes to HDFCNetbanking.

Using the Netsafe account for online purchases is a prime example. What basically happens with this is that you purchase a Netsafe card which is a one time thing and use the data from that card to do your shopping, so that you don’t end up sharing your real card details.

Great! Now comes the glitch. You need to put a maximum limit on your card. The maximum limit is debited from your account!!! Not your purchase amount. Your balance statement shows the purchase of a Netsafe card rather than your actual purchase. So, if like me you use it to activate your Paypal account and put a generous limit on your card in your ignorance, what you get is a loss of Rs.1000/- (for example) with the added pain that you can’t activate your account, because the 4 digit code that you should get will not come into your bank statement at all.

I see this as a horrible service, since no one tells you that the maximum limit you put on your card is going to get indefinitely debited from your account. Its 44 days since I made the payment, and I have yet to see any kind of refund of the balance. How’s that for a reliable banking experience?

I have phones the bank 4 times about this. The first time, I was told that it takes a month from the purchase for the Netsafe balance to return to the account. Then I called after the month was over. Their computers were down. Then I called again. They said they would look into it. Then I called again and was told that the baking executive would get back to me within a day or two. It has been a week since that. I have also used their contact form to email them about this, and have received a nice email of thank you for contacting them and their representative will get back to me.

I am now in the process of wondering if its worthwhile to bother with this any more or should I simply shut down my account and approach consumer courts? Wouldn’t this be fraud?

So folks, big banking names are not necessarily more reliable with your money. Be careful with your hard earned money even when it is in the bank.

Update:

It tool almost a month, but my balance WAS refunded.

Wisetechie has shared this link and information:

When does the source account get debited – at the time of creation of NetSafe Card or at the time of purchase payment ?

The amount gets debited at the time of creation of the NetSafe Card.

What happens if I do not use the NetSafe Card at all or if I use only part of the NetSafe Card amount?

For a completely unused NetSafe card created from your Credit Card, the amount is credited back at end of validity period. For Netsafe cards created from your Debit Card, the amount will be credited back in 3 working days to the source account.

In case the NetSafe Card was partially utilized, the balance amount gets credited to the source account within 7 days (for Netsafe Card created from Credit card) or at the end of 35 days (for Netsafe card created from Debit Card) from the date of transaction.

Thank you!

Online payment of MTNL Bills

I have discovered something extremely alarming about the online MTNL bill Payment by Debit Card (or Credit Card). If you use a credit card to pay your MTNL bills online, please note that it is not a fast and convenient way as one would assume. Apparently, clearing up your bill will debit your card immediately, but takes 7 days to reflect in your MTNL account, so in the meanwhile, if some smart guy there decides to disconnect your phone, its a communication exercise for a week to get it started again.

From the conversations we are having with their help desk, regardless of the reason for disconnecting your phone, to restart it with negotiations and you begging every step of the way, it will take a week, and otherwise, it will take seven days.

It happens only in these government institutions where an online payment is slower than a cheque being deposited. Talk about sarkari inefficiency!!! Their whole attitude with this tone of inevitability reminds me of my nephews bedwetting problems as a child, where he was very sorry for peeing in the night, but he couldn’t help it. Luckily, with age, he grew out of it, while these institutions are only developing more and more excuses to be able to use the word “sorry”. “Sorry for disconnecting the phone, sorry for your discomfort and it will be started within a week!”

So folks, before any of you go through this pain, please remember that if you need to pay an MTNL bill in a hurry, DON’T use the online payment. It may sound instant, but it is not – the ancient organization hasn’t yet figured out about life in the 21st century and credit cards and stuff. They probably think that it is a magic trick or something and you are fooling them when you say you have paid instantly. How could such a thing be possible?

To make things work fast, you have to pay like you would 40 years ago – go to an ATM, withdraw cash, drop everything you are doing to be able to land in their payment centre in office timings, hand over cash and stand there while they immediately get your phone started again.

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