Price of Diesel Around the World!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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On  February 13, 2014, I posted  an article titled “Price of Petrol Around the World!” Some of my readers wanted to know about the price of diesel in India and in other countries around the world.

Diesel prices in India in Indian Rupees (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Diesel prices in India in Indian Rupees (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

The above graph shows the price of diesel in India from September, 2012 to February, 2014 with the average value during this period was र57.89 with a minimum of र53.46 in September, 2012 and a maximum of र64.49 in June, 2013.

Diesel prices in India and other countries  (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Diesel prices in India and other countries (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Compared to the average price of diesel in the world, India is relatively cheaper. Diesel in India is 32% cheaper than the world average of र85.63. The average price of diesel around the world in February, 2014 is र82.41 per liter. Though all countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets, they impose various taxes on petroleum products and offer subsidies. Hence, the retail price of diesel differs substantially among countries.

As a general rule, countries that produce and export oil sell diesel to their nationals at much lower prices while rich countries charge higher prices. However, the economically advanced United States have a comparatively low price of diesel – $1.03 (र64.49) per liter.

In Venezuela, the government subsidizes gasoline and the Venezuelans pay almost nothing to drive their vehicles at $0.01 (र0.85) per liter.

Diesel prices around the world in February 2014
(Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Country USDollars IndianRupees
     
Venezuela 0.01   0.85
Iran 0.03   1.70
Saudi Arabia 0.08   5.09
Egypt 0.16 10.18
Bahrain 0.16 10.18
Kuwait 0.19 11.88
Qatar 0.24 15.27
Yemen 0.30 18.67
Brunei 0.31 19.52
Ecuador 0.35 22.06
Oman 0.49 30.55
Bolivia 0.53 33.09
Sudan 0.54 33.94
Angola 0.54 33.94
Syria 0.57 35.64
Kazakhstan 0.65 40.73
Iraq 0.72 44.97
Malaysia 0.72 44.97
Argentina 0.86 53.46
Bangladesh 0.88 55.15
Thailand 0.91 56.85
Sri Lanka 0.91 56.85
India 0.95 59.40
Mexico 0.97 60.25
Jordan 0.97 60.25
Zimbabwe 0.98 61.09
Philippines 0.98 61.09
Nigeria 0.98 61.09
Lebanaon 0.98 61.09
Ethopia 0.99 61.94
Belarus 0.99 61.94
Kyrgyzstan 1.01 62.79
Ghana 1.01 62.79
Nepal 1.02 63.64
USA 1.03 64.49
Brazil 1.03 64.49
Vietnam 1.05 65.34
Tunisia 1.05 65.34
Guatemala 1.05 65.34
Bhutan 1.05 65.34
Indonesia 1.06 66.19
Maldives 1.06 661.9
DR Congo 1.07 67.03
Taiwan 1.09 67.88
Mozamique 1.10 68.73
Namibia 1.10 68.73
Pakistan 1.10 68.73
Morocco 1.13 70.43
South Africa 1.14 71.28
Ukraine 1.14 71.28
Russia 1.16 72.13
Jamaica 1.16 72.13
Tajikistan 1.17 72.97
Sierra Leone 1.20 74.67
Costa Rica 1.20 74.67
Colombia 1.21 75.52
Guinea 1.21 75.52
Peru 1.21 75.52
Liberia 1.22 76.37
Kenya 1.22 76.37
Gorgia 1.22 76.37
Chile 1.22 76.37
New Zealand 1.22 76.37
Botswana 1.24 77.22
Laos 1.24 77.22
Uganda 1.24 77.22
Cambodia 1.25 78.07
Armenia 1.27 78.91
Tanzania 1.27 78.91
Burkina Faso 1.27 78.91
Mauritania 1.27 78.91
Moldova 1.28 79.76
Ivory Coast 1.28 79.76
China 1.28 79.76
Canada 1.28 79.76
Paraguay 1.29 80.61
Domi. Rep. 1.32 82.31
Japan 1.33 83.16
Fiji 1.33 83.16
Mongolia 1.33 83.16
Singapore 1.35 84.00
Djibouti 1.37 85.70
Lesotho 1.37 85.70
Swaziland 1.40 87.40
Cameroon 1.40 87.40
Mauritius 1.41 88.25
Australia 1.43 89.10
Cape Verde 1.47 91.64
Niger 1.48 92.49
Togo 1.50 93.34
Rwanda 1.52 95.04
Macedonia 1.52 95.04
Benin 1.55 96.73
An dorra 1.56 97.58
South Korea 1.58 98.43
Mali 1.61 100.13
Madagascar 1.62 100.98
Hong Kong 1.62 100.98
R. of Congo 1.62 100.98
Luxembourg 1.63 101.82
Zambia 1.65 102.67
Senegal 1.65 102.67
Chad 1.67 104.37
Bosnia and Herz 1.70 106.07
Croatia 1.71 106.92
Poland 1.73 107.76
Larvia 1.73 107.76
Lithuania 1.73 107.76
Montenegro 1.75 109.46
Albania 1.77 110.31
Romania 1.80 112.01
France 1.80 112.01
Estonia 1.80 112.01
Austria 1.80 112.01
Czech Rep. 1.81 112.86
Hungary 1.82 113.70
Uruguay 1.82 113.70
Malawi 1.82 113.70
Burundi 1.82 113.70
Serbia 1.84 114.55
Spain 1.85 115.40
Bulgaria 1.85 115.40
Malta 1.85 115.40
Slovenia 1.85 115.40
Greece 1.86 116.25
Slovakia 1.86 116.25
Portugal 1.92 119.64
Germany 1.95 121.34
Cyprus 1.97 123.04
Belgium 1.97 123.04
Irelan 2.01 125.58
Switzerland 2.04 127.28
Netherlands 2.04 127.28
Turkey 2.07 128.98
Finland 2.08 129.83
Sweden 2.09 130.67
Denmark 2.11 131.53
Iceland 2.12 132.37
Israel 2.16 134.92
C.A. Republic 2.16 134.92
UK 2.26 140.86
Italy 2.29 142.55
Norway 2.67 166.31

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Price of Petrol Around the World!


. Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Price of Petrol around the world (Posted in Facebook)

Price of Petrol around the world (Posted in Facebook)

I came across the above picture posted on Facebook. Any rational thinker would surely realize that the aim of the person who originally posted this rubbish was to mislead gullible Indians and malign the powers that currently rule the country. A few Indians have the false notion that whatever appears in the social media or get printed in the traditional media such as newspapers and magazines is the gospel truth, and to keep up with the Joneses they just copy it on their social media pages without delving into the truth. Do you think these prices are correct? The person who prepared  this falsehood needs some coaching in basic arithmetic. Just look at this: Petrol Price around the world - Arithmetiic

11.80 + 9.75 + 4 + 8 = 33.55%

and

33.55% of र16.5 is र5.5275

so,,

र16.5 + र5.5275 = र22.0275

How did this person arrive at the figure of र50.05? Did he leave out any tax or other levies?

Petrol prices in India (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Petrol prices in India in Indian Rupees (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

The above graph shows the price of petrol in India from September, 2012 to February, 2014 with the average value during this period was र80.75 with a minimum of र73.82 in November, 2013 and a maximum of र89.94 in September, 2012.

Petrol prices in India and other countries  (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Petrol prices in India and other countries (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Compared to the average price of petrol in the world, India is relatively cheaper. Petrol in India is 15% cheaper than the world average of र95.18. The average price of petrol around the world in February, 2014 is र90. 67 per liter. Though all countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets, they impose various taxes on petroleum products and offer subsidies. Hence, the retail price of petrol differs substantially among countries.

As a general rule, countries that produce and export oil sell petrol to their nationals at much lower prices while rich countries charge higher prices. However, the economically advanced United States have a comparatively low price of gasoline – $0.88 (र55. 15) per liter.

In Venezuela, the government subsidizes gasoline and the Venezuelans pay almost nothing to drive their cars at $0.03 (र1.70) per liter.

Gasoline Prices around the world in February 2014 (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)

Country

US

Dollars

Indian Rupees

 

 

 

Venezuela

0.03

   1.70

Iran

0.12

  7.64

Saudi Arabia

0.20

12.73

Kuwait

0.23

14.43

Qatar

0.24

15.27

Bahrain

0.27

16.97

Oman

0.39

24.61

Egypt

0.39

24.61

Yemen

0.45

28.00

Brunei

0.50

31.40

Bolivia

0.53

33.09

Ecuador

0.68

42.43

Kazakhstan

0.72

44.97

Sudan

0.79

49.21

Angola

0.83

51.76

Malaysia

0.87

54.31

USA

0.88

55.15

Indonesia

0.92

57.70

Mexico

0.94

58.55

Belarus

0.98

61.09

Ghana

0.98

61.09

Iraq

0.99

61.94

Argentina

0.99

61.94

Pakistan

1.06

66.19

Zimbabwe

1.07

67.03

Maldives

1.07

67.03

Jamaica

1.07

67.03

Namibia

1.07

67.03

Kyrgyzstan

1.09

67.88

Georgia

1.13

70.43

Guatemala

1.14

71.28

Canada

1.14

71.28

Russia

1.14

71.28

Taiwan

1.17

72.97

Ethiopia

1.17

72.97

Botswana

1.18

73.82

Sierra Leone

1.20

74.67

Tunisia

1.20

74.67

Guinea

1.21

75.52

South Africa

1.21

75.52

Vietnam

1.21

75.52

Brazil

1.22

76.37

Syria

1.22

76.37

Philippines

1.22

76.37

Lesotho

1.24

77.22

Bhutan

1.24

77.22

India

1.25

78.07

Liberia

1.25

78.07

Bangladesh

1.25

78.07

Ukraine

1.27

78.91

Sri Lanka

1,28

79.76

Tanzania

1.28

79.76

Kenya

1.29

80.61

Costa Rica

1.29

80.61

Nepal

1.29

80.61

Tajikistan

1.31

81.46

Moldova

1.32

82.31

Benin

1.33

83.16

Australia

1.36

84.85

China

1.37

85.70

Swaziland

1.37

85.70

Uganda

1.37

85.70

Nigeria

1.37

85.70

Niger

1.37

85.70

Armenia

1.39

86.55

Mozambique

1.41

88.25

Jordan

1.41

88.25

Mongolia

1.41

88.25

Domin. Rep.

1.44

89.94

Lebanon

1.44

89.94

Fiji

1.47

91.64

Thailand

1.47

91.64

Cambodia

1.47

91.64

Mauritania

1.48

92.49

Peru

1.51

94.19

Togo

1.51

94.19

Burkina Faso

1.52

95.04

Rwanda

1.52

95.04

Japan

1.52

95.04

Cameroon

1.54

95.88

Chile

1.55

96.73

Morocco

1.58

98.43

Ivory Coast

1.59

99.28

DR Congo

1.62

100.98

Laos

1.62

100.98

R. of Congo

1.63

101.82

Paraguay

1.63

101.82

Bosnia and Herz.

1.66

103.52

Cape Verde

1.67

104.37

Mauritius

1.67

104.37

Chad

1.69

105.22

Poland

1.70

106.07

Andorra

1.70

106.07

Romania

1.73

107.76

Macedonia

1.73

107.76

Singapore

1.74

108.61

Hungary

1.74

108.61

Latvia

1.74

108.61

Estonia

1.74

108.61

Luxembourg

1.75

109.46

South Korea

1.75

109.46

Lithuania

1.77

110.31

Zambia

1.77

110.31

Bulgaria

1.77

110.31

Albania

1.78

111.16

Czech Rep.

1.78

112.01

Malawi

1.80

112.01

Croatia

1.80

112.01

Colombia

1.81

112.86

Serbia

1.81

112.86

Mali

1.82

113.70

Burundi

1.82

113.70

New Zealand

1.82

113.70

Austria

1.84

114.55

Senegal

1.85

115.40

Montenegro

1.86

116.25

Switzerland

1.89

117.95

Spain

1.90

118.79

Cyprus

1.90

118.79

Uruguay

1.92

119.64

Madagascar

1.95

121.34

Slovenia

1.95

121.34

Slovakia

1.96

122.19

Malta

1.96

122.19

France

2.04

127.28

Djibouti

2.08

129.83

Sweden

2.08

129.83

Ireland

2.08

129.83

Iceland

2.12

132.37

UK

2.14

133.22

Hong Kong

2.16

134.92

Germany

2.16

134.92

Israel

2.16

134.92

Belgium

2.18

135.77

Portugal

2.18

135.77

C.A. Republic

2.19

136.61

Finland

2.20

137.46

Greece

2.26

140.86

Turkey

2.26

140.86

Denmark

2.30

143.40

Netherlands

2.39

149.34

Italy

2.41

150.19

Norway

2.86

178.19

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The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 2 – The Once Pristine Idyllic Wetland Is Now a Wasteland cum Concrete Jungle!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Why am I interested in wetlands? Because I am concerned. My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai wetland in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

 My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai marsh.

My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai marsh.

Pallikaranai marshland (Photo : T.V. Antony Raj)

Pallikaranai marshland (Photo : T.V. Antony Raj)

Four decades ago, this pristine idyllic wetland had a water spread of approximately 5,500 hectares estimated on the basis of the Survey of India toposheets (1972) and CORONA aerial photographs (1965). It serves as nature’s primary aquifer recharge system for Chennai city. It harvests rain water and the flood water during monsoons and thereby mitigates the desolation and suffering that floods could cause in low-lying areas in Chennai.

A large area of the Pallikaranai marshland is now a dump yard (Photo:  anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

A large area of the Pallikaranai marshland is now a dump yard (Photo: anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

Lamentably, over the years, the Chennai Metropolitan authorities without giving any thought to the future recklessly chose to dump over one-third of the garbage, almost 2,600 tonnes per day, of the ever-growing metropolis here in this climactic wetland.

Pallikaranai marsh (Photo: Simply CVR)

Pallikaranai marsh (Photo: Simply CVR)

At present the water spread has shrunk to one-tenth its size due to indiscriminate dumping of city refuse; discharging of sewage; disgorging toxic waste products, etc.

Many nature lovers have photographed the current palpable and saddening state of the Pallikaranai wetland. On June 8, 2013, The Hindu published the article The mired marshby Shaju John. This article was augmented by photographs  captured by him in the post Photo file: The mired marsh.

A significant chunk of non-biodegradable waste is lost in the heaps.( (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

A significant chunk of non-biodegradable waste is lost in the heaps.( (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Thousands of tonnes of trash of all sorts containing non-biodegradable waste find their way to the wetland amidst the dumped refuse.

Fires, lit to dispose off the garbage, are a regular and major health hazard.  (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Fires, lit to dispose off the garbage, are a regular and major health hazard. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

While traveling along the roads around the Velachery wetland one encounters the unbearable stench emanating from the decaying garbage hillock. Despite the widespread clamour to stop burning rubbish in the dump yard that stifles the air and impairs visibility of commuters, the incessant burning goes on.

The smoke from the garbage heaps chokes the air for miles around.  (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

The smoke from the garbage heaps chokes the air for miles around. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Despite the toxic smoke rag-pickers, mostly children living in inhospitable slums frequent the garbage dump.

The burning continues despite widespread clamour for alternatives. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

The burning continues despite widespread clamour for alternatives. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Continual inhaling of the ever-present malodorous germ and virus bound air, the stifling smoke, polluted and poisoned ground water subject the people living miles around the Pallikaranai wetland to major wheezing and carcinogenic health hazards.

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The incredible rate of development, such as the rampant construction of sanctioned IT parks, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) campus, Hospitals, Colleges, high-rise office and residential buildings, the Velachery MRTS railway station, the flyovers, the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram, etc., in the midst of the marshland also have immensely contributed to the shrinking of the water spread.

A high rise building (Cognizant Technology) on Velachery Tambaram Road.  (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

A high rise building (Cognizant Technology) on Velachery Tambaram Road. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

One of the flyovers constructed  in the midst of the marshland (Photo credit: N. Lalitha and C.R .Sivapradha)

One of the flyovers constructed in the midst of the marshland (Photo credit: N. Lalitha and C.R .Sivapradha)

Velachery MRTS Railway station (Photo - Simply CVR)

Velachery MRTS Railway station (Photo – Simply CVR)

With policies in place to crackdown on poaching, encroachment and illegal waste disposal, there is yet hope for the Pallikaranai wetland.

Pallikaranai marsh, which was once a scenic wetland has lost its charm, mainly on account of rapid urbanisation. (Photo:  M. Karunakaran)

Pallikaranai marsh, which was once a scenic wetland has lost its charm, mainly on account of rapid urbanisation. (Photo: M. Karunakaran)

In 2007, to protect the remaining wetland from shrinking further, 317 hectares of the marsh were declared by notification as a reserve forest by the State of Tamilnadu.

Road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram over Pallikaranai Marshland, Chennai, (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram over Pallikaranai Marshland, Chennai, (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve  showing the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh

Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve showing the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh

Nevertheless, it is the opinion of the scientists and researchers involved in the study of the wetland that an additional 150 hectares of undeveloped region located on both sides of the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh should also be declared a forest reserve.

However, even now, dumping of garbage by the Chennai metropolitan authorities goes on unabated.

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The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 1 – Flora and Fauna


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
.

Last Sunday I posted an article titled “February 2, 2014 is World Wetlands Day.”

Why am I interested in wetlands? Because I am concerned. My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai wetland in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

A wetland is technically defined as:

“An ecosystem that arises when inundation by water produces soils dominated by anaerobic processes, which, in turn, forces the biota, particularly rooted plants, to adapt to flooding.”

The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that adapts to its unique soil conditions. Primarily, wetlands consist of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants

There are four main kinds of wetlands: marsh, swamp, bog and fen. Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea. Some experts also include wet meadows and aquatic ecosystems as additional wetland types.

The Pallikaranai Wetland 

City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo:  anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo: anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

Historically, a large part of South Chennai was a flood plain composed of the large Pallikaranai wetland, smaller satellite wetlands, large tracts of pasture land and patches of dry forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is a freshwater marshland spanning 31 square miles (80 sq Km). It is the Chennai city’s natural primary aquifer recharge system.

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

The original expanse of the marsh, estimated on the basis of the Survey of India toposheets (1972) and CORONA aerial photographs (1965) was about 5,500 hectares, which has now been reduced to about 600 hectares. Situated next to the Bay of Bengal, about 12.5 miles (20 Km) south of the city centre, it is bounded by Velachery (north), Kovilambakkam (west), Okkiyam Thuraipakkam (east), and Medavakkam (south). It is the only surviving wetland ecosystem of the city and is among the few and last remaining natural wetlands of South India. It is one of the three in the state of Tamilnadu, the other two being Point Calimere and Kazhuveli.

Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.

Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is one of the 94 identified wetlands in India under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme (NWCMP) of the Government of India that came into operation in 1985–86.

The terrain consists of fresh/saline water bodies, reed beds, mud flats and floating vegetation.

Flora and Fauna

This wetland is literally a treasury of bio-diversity that is almost four times that of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary in the Kancheepuram District of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, 47 miles (75 km) from Chennai where more than 40,000 birds (including 26 rare species), from various parts of the world visit during the migratory season every year.

The Pallikaranai wetland contains several rare and endangered species of plants and animals. It acts as a forage and breeding ground for thousands of migratory birds from various places within and outside the country. Bird watchers opine that the number of bird species sighted in the wetland is definitely more than in the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary.

Figures of the number of fauna and flora found in the Pallikaranai wetland differ among scholars conducting research here.

Among the many quiet contributors to the mapping of India’s natural treasures is Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan, Smithsonian Fellow and researcher, and managing trustee of Care Earth Trust. She obtained a Ph.D. in Biodiversity and Biotechnology from the University of Madras. She is best-known for her research work on biodiversity, and studies wetland ecology.

Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan

Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan

In 2003, the Tamilnadu State Pollution Control Board assigned her the task of conducting a detailed study of Chennai’s last remaining wetland – the Pallikaranai marsh, which is suffering from degradation caused by human impact. The study had two components — to document the biodiversity and to map the extent of the marsh to define or identify a viable unit of management.

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In her work “Protecting wetlands” published on August 10, 2007, Current Science 93 (3): 288–290, she states that the heterogeneous ecosystem of the Pallikaranai marshland supports about 337 species of floras and faunas:

GROUP NUMBER OF SPECIES
Birds 115
Plants 114
Fishes 46
Reptiles 21
Mammals 10
Amphibians 10
Molluscs 9
Butterflies 7
Crustaceans 5
Total 337

Birds, fishes and reptiles are the most prominent of the faunal groups.

Dr. K .Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

Dr. K. Venkataraman

However, on August 9, 2013, P. Oppili reported in The Hindu that Dr. K. Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) while discussing the diversity of species in the marshland, as nine species of amphibians, 21 species of reptiles, 72 species of birds, five species of mammals, 38 species of fish, nine species of shells and 59 species of aquatic and terrestrial insects had been recorded, besides a good number of plankton.

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The Pallikaranai wetland is the home to some of the most endangered birds such as the glossy ibis, gray-headed Lapwings and pheasant-tailed Jacana.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)

Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)

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Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo - Sudharsun Jayaraj)

Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo – Sudharsun Jayaraj)

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FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)

FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)

Cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, open-billed storks, spoonbills, white ibis, little grebe, Indian moorhen, Black-winged Stilts, purple moorhens, warblers, coots and dabchicks have been spotted in large numbers in the marshland.

Russel's Viper (Source:  umich.edu)

Russel’s Viper (Source: umich.edu)

The Pallikaranai wetland is also home to some of the most endangered reptiles such as the Russell’s viper.

About 114 species of plants are found in the wetland, including 29 species of grass. These plant species include some exotic floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce.

Since 2002,  presence of new plants and  reptiles have been recorded.

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Next → The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 2 – The Once Pristine Idyllic Wetland Is Now a Wasteland cum Concrete Jungle!

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Thai Pongal: The Harvest Festival of South India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Happy Pongal

The Tamils in Tamilnadu, Puduchery, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, celebrate the festival called Pongal (பொங்கல்) or Thai Pongal (தைப்பொங்கல்). This festival marks the end of the harvest season. The farmers thank the Sun, the principal energizer that helps to reap a bountiful harvest.

In Tamilnadu and Puduchery, Pongal is a four-day festival. It begins on the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi and culminates on the third day of the Tamil month Thai (January 13 to January 16 in the Gregorian calendar).

The Tamil word Pongal means “overflowing” signifying abundance and prosperity. “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” meaning “the birth of Thai heralds new prospects” is an oft quoted popular saying among the Tamils.

The four days of Pongal are: Bhogi Pandigai, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal, and Kaanum Pongal.

First day: Bhogi Pandigai

In Tamil the first day of the festival, namely the day preceding Pongal, is known as Bhogi Pandigai. Telugu people in Andhra Pradesh too observe this day and call it “Bhogi“.

Bhogi Pandigai (Source - mylaporetimes.com)

Bhogi Pandigai (Source – mylaporetimes.com)

In Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh people light bonfires at dawn and burn the derelict items found in their household. This practice is similar to Holika in North India.

Pongal Kolam (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

My neighbours creating the Pongal Kolam (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

Next, they clean their house, whitewash and paint it if necessary, and decorate the house with banana and mango leaves and embellish the floor with kolams or rangoli (decorative patterns) drawn using brightly coloured rice powder/chalk/chalk powder/white rock powder.

In villages, owners of cattle paint the horns of oxen and buffaloes in bright colours.

Elders showering ‘bhogi pallu’ on children at a programme organised by Sri Gayatri Welfare Assocation and Cultural Youth Academy in Visakhapatnam. (Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam / thehindu.com)

Elders showering ‘bhogi pallu’ on children at a programme organised by Sri Gayatri Welfare Assocation and Cultural Youth Academy in Visakhapatnam. (Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam / thehindu.com)

In Andhra Pradesh, in a ceremony called Bhogi-pallu, elders shower a mix of ‘regi-pallu’, flower petals, pieces of sugarcane, coins and jaggery on children attired in colourful ‘langa-voni’ and other traditional wear. This ceremony is conducted to ward off evil eye and bless the children with abundance and long life.

Second day: Thai Pongal

The second day of the four days of Pongal is the principal day of the festival. This day is known as Thai Pongal by the Tamils. Pongal festival per se is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai (January 14). This day is celebrated in all the states in India. This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi, a winter harvest festival, celebrated throughout India. On this day the Sun begins its six-month long journey northwards or the Uttarayanam. This also represents the Indic solstice when the sun enters Makara (Capricorn), the 10th house of the Indian zodiac.

In Tamil Nadu, Puduchery, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia it is celebrated as Thai Pongal.

In Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh it is celebrated as Makara Sankranthi.

Gujarathis and Rajasthanis celebrate it as Uttarayana.

In Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab it is celebrated as Lohri.

Assamese celebrated it as Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu.

Nepaesel celebrate it as Maghe Sankranti or Makar Sankranti.

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Thai Pongal - Boiling milk

In Tamilnadu, it is a tradition for the housewives to boil milk in a new clay pot at dawn. When the milk boils and spills over the vessel, the folk blow the sanggu (a conch) shout “Pongalo Pongal!” Tamils consider it an auspicious to watch the milk boil over as it connotes good luck and prosperity.

Chakkarai Pongal

Later, the women prepare Pongal by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new clay pots. When the rice is half-cooked, sugar, ghee, cashew nuts and raisins are added to the pot. This traditional preparation of sweet rice or Chakkarai Pongal derives its name from the festival.

Newly cooked rice is first offered to the Sun at sunrise as gratitude for a bountiful harvest. Women prepare savouries and sweets such as vadai, murukku, paayasam which they share with their neighbours.

Third day: Maattu Pongal

Maattu Pongal (Source: happy-2013.blogspot.com)

Maattu Pongal (Source: happy-2013.blogspot.com)

Cattle are important to life in rural India. They are a form of wealth to the rural folks.

The Tamils of Tamil Nadu celebrate Maattu Pongal (மாட்டுப் பொங்கல்) on the day following the Thai Pongal day. This day is also celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Maattu Pongal (Source - tamilrasigan.wordpress.com)

The rural folk show their affection to their cattle by applying kungumam (kumkum) on their cattle’s foreheads and garlanding them. A mixture of venn pongal (sweetened rice), jaggery, banana, sugar cane and other fruits.

Youths trying to tame a bull at a jallikattu held at Idaiyathur, near Ponnamaravathy, in Pudukottai district, Tamilnadu, India (Source - thehindu.com)

Youths trying to tame a bull at a jallikattu held at Idaiyathur, near Ponnamaravathy, in Pudukottai district, Tamilnadu, India (Source – thehindu.com)

In many parts of Tamilnadu, youth participate in adventurous game of Jallikkattu also known as Manju Virattu, or taming the ferocious bulls to test their valour.

Fourth day: Kaanum Pongal

People throng the Marina beach to celebrate Kaanum Pongal in Chennai (Phot: R. Ravindran/thehindu.com)

People throng the Marina beach to celebrate Kaanum Pongal in Chennai (Phot: R. Ravindran/thehindu.com)

Kaanum Pongal is an auspicious day for family reunions for Tamils in Tamilnadu.

The Tamil word “kaanum” means “to view”. Siblings pay special tribute to their married brothers and sisters by giving gifts as a token of their filial love. People visit relatives and friends to rejoice the festive season. People have a day out with their families on river banks, beaches and theme parks.

Kaanum Pongal culminates the end of the Pongal festivities for the year.

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Modern Day Slavery in Brick Kilns in India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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A Child Brick worker in India (Source: BBC)

A Child Brick worker in India (Source: bbc.co.uk)

A century ago only 10% of India’s population lived in urban areas and now expected to increase to 40% by 2030.

The outcome of India’s economic growth has transformed small trading towns into bustling business centres with multinational enterprises, setting up factories, call centres, software development units, etc., eager to capitalize on high skill labour at low pay.

This stupendous metropolitan and rural boom need factories, offices, apartments, shopping malls, etc., constructed with bricks made of clay burnt in a kiln, as one of the needed primary building material. Bricks are used as filler materials for framework structures as well as to build load bearing structures.

Making the Brick

The process of making a brick has not changed over the centuries or across geographies. Traditionally the main steps followed to make a brick are:

1. Procuring the materials: Clay, the main raw material after mining is stored in the open to make the clay soft and remove unwanted embedded oxides.

Brick field labourer in India.

Brick field labourer in India.

2. Tempering: Clay is mixed with water to the right consistency for moulding. It is then kneaded manually with hands and feet. In certain regions, animal driven pug mills are used.

Brick Making - Tempering (Source: ecobrick.in)

Brick Making – Tempering (Source: ecobrick.in)

3. Moulding: The kneaded clay after rolling in sand is filled into wooden or metal moulds. Sand is used to prevent the brick from sticking to the mould.

Brick Making - Moulding (Sourc: ecobrick.in)

Brick Making – Moulding (Sourc: ecobrick.in)

4. Drying: The moulded clay arranged in a herring bone pattern are placed in the drying area to dry in the sun. To speed up uniform drying and to prevent warping the green bricks are turned over every two days. After two weeks, the green bricks will dry enough ready for firing.

Brick Making - Drying (Source: ecobrick.in)

Brick Making – Drying (Source: ecobrick.in)

5. Firing: The green bricks are arranged in a kiln. Insulation is provided by packing with mud. Fire holes used to ignite the kiln are sealed to prevent heat from escaping. The heat is maintained for a week.

Brick Making -Firing (Source: indianjourneys.wordpress.com)

Brick Making -Firing (Source: indianjourneys.wordpress.com)

6. Sorting: On disassembling, the bricks are sorted according to colour. Colour indicates the level of burning. Over-burnt bricks are used for paving or covering the kiln. The under-burnt bricks are burned once again, or used for building the inner walls of the next  kiln.

Brick Making - Sorting (Source: ecobrick.in)

Brick Making – Sorting (Source: ecobrick.in)

India’s Brick Industry

India’s brick industry – the second largest in the world after China, has more than 150,000 brick production units employing an estimated 10 million workers. The brick kilns that feed the booming construction sector of India are a crucial part of India’s growing economy that contributes around र300 billion to the country’s economy every year. However, the brick workers do not get to benefit much from that amount since brick kilns use forced labour.

Millions of men, women, young boys, young girls, and children get paid meagre amounts that allow them to merely subsist. In many brick kilns in India, bonded labourers working in near-slavery conditions, are on average paid around र150 to produce over 1,500 bricks during a 12-hour-workday. They are paid in advance and are allowed to leave, along with their children suffering from severe respiratory problems, only after six months.

The trade unions, NGOs, and local people do organize and mobilize thousands of workers to fight for increased wages, combat child labour and sexual exploitation. However, these efforts have not achieved much for the welfare of the workers.

Union_Solidarity_International_logo

Over the last two years, Union Solidarity International (USI), a UK-based NGO has been campaigning to improve the conditions of the brick labourers. Andrew Brady of the USI says:

“It’s modern-day slavery. Entire families of men, women and children are working for a pittance, up to 16 hours a day, in terrible conditions. There are horrific abuses of minimum wage rates and health and safety regulations, and it’s often bonded labour, so they can’t escape.”

Prayas logo

To capture international attention on this issue the USI in partnership with the Indian human rights group, Prayas, will launch the Blood Bricks campaign next week. USI and Prayas have been working to organize brick kiln workers into unions. This initiative has already seen 70% wage increase in some areas.

The campaign comes after the Observer’s recent revelations of horrific labour abuses on Abu Dhabi’s new pleasure island of Saadiyat, where new outposts of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums are under construction. The investigation discovered thousands of foreign workers living in squalid conditions, their passports confiscated and trapped until they paid back hefty recruitment fees. Brady says:

“It’s a worldwide issue. We’re merely using India as the example, but we’ve seen the same abuses with projects in Qatar and Brazil for the World Cup and Olympics – iconic projects built on the back of the blood and sweat of bonded labour. It’s time to put an end to this trade in blood bricks.”

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Assamese Gang Apprehended in Chennai for Circulating Fake Indian Currency Notes


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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“City residents should be cautious about transactions involving currency and must alert the police if they find anything suspicious.” – S. George, Chennai Police Commissioner.

A file photo of fake Indian currency र1000 and र500 displayed at Chennai Police Commissioner Office (Photo : S.Thanthoni / thehindu.com)

A file photo of fake Indian currency र1000 and र500 displayed at Chennai Police Commissioner Office (Photo : S. Thanthoni / thehindu.com)

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Chennaites are now apprehensive and cautious when accepting र1,000 currency notes.

On New Year’s Day, the Fishing Harbour police in Chennai arrested three men from Assam when they attempted to purchase a wristwatch at a showroom on Adam Sahib Street in Royapuram using fake Indian currency notes.

According to C. Sridhar, joint commissioner of police, North, the shop owner suspected the trio when they gave a thousand rupee counterfeit note as payment for the wristwatch, and he alerted the police.

The police arrested the suspects and then raided the house in Manali New Town where they were staying. There the police found four more fake notes along with र30,000 genuine currency and various items purchased by the gang using fake notes. The three identified as Hameed Rehman (19), Rafiqul Islam (22) and Fasil Islam (28) were arrested for circulating fake Indian currency notes of र1,000 denomination.

The three arrested men from Assam had come to Chennai six months ago and were working as security guards at a private firm in Manali. Three more Assamese frequently visited the city and replenished them with almost-genuine fake Indian currency notes originating from Maldah district in West Bengal. The three Assamese security guards had exploited the counterfeit currency in shopping hubs Purasawalkam, Washermenpet, T. Nagar, and in various other areas in the city. They even maintained bank accounts to deposit their harvest from the exchanges.

On Saturday, January 4, 2013, another private security guard, identified as Jelbar Hosfin (21) from Assam, tendered a fake र1,000 note at a photocopying shop in New Colony, Adambakkam, for taking a few photo copies. The shop owner, suspecting the note to be a fake, alerted the police.

Police took Hosfin into custody. When RBI officials confirmed the note was a fake, Hosfin told the police that his friend Mohammad Quaid Ali, employed with a private security agency in Koyambedu had given the note to him and asked him to spend र500 and return the balance.

The police team picked up Quaid Ali from his office and recovered र2.74 lakh fake Indian currency notes he had hidden in a pile of sand dumped at a construction site near his office in Brindavan Nagar, Adambakkam. Quaid Ali also revealed that he got the counterfeit currencies from Saddam Hussain, believed to be the brain behind the network circulating fake notes in Chennai, the police said.

The special police team traced Saddam Hussain to a hideout in the city and arrested him.

The police seized some debit cards from the arrested duo and also recovered Rs. 19,900, which they had obtained in exchange of purchases made with the counterfeit notes. (Photo - B. Jothi Ramalingam - one.in)

The police seized some debit cards from the arrested duo and recovered Rs. 19,900, which they had obtained in exchange of purchases made with the counterfeit notes. (Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / one.in)

 

The three men – Jelbar Hosfin, Mohammad Quaid Ali, and Sdadam Hussain – revealed that they had so far harvested र19,000 in genuine money by circulating र1,000 counterfeit currency notes totalling र26,000. Three remit cards used by the accused to deposit money in bank accounts after the counterfeit harvest were also seized from Saddam Hussain.

These three culprits seem to have a connection with the three arrested at the beginning of the year for trying to circulate fake notes, police said. Saddam Hussain is the brother of one of the three arrested earlier.

S. Thirugnanam, South Chennai joint commissioner of police said that Saddam Hussain had stayed in the Chennai for some time in 2011. He then returned  to Chennai in 2012 and brought several people from Assam and got them jobs as security guards and construction workers.

Chennai Police Commissioner S. George said the case would be transferred to CB-CID, the main agency that deals with such cases.

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Bribing Voters Worldwide and in India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Bribing voters in India

Every one of us yearns to raise our status in society, but politicians entertain hopes of great magnitude. There are many men and women of principle in the world, but once they enter politics they just forget those principles they strived for, and constantly seek money, property, and power. Except a few politicians many do not care about their deteriorating reputation.

It is now an apothegm that any candidate standing for any elections in any part of the world would use all available ploys to influence voters. Invariably, many potential voters expect the handouts from the contesting candidates.

Black’s Law Dictionary, the most widely used law dictionary in the United States, defines bribery as an act of offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

Smoking Marijuana

On December 30, 2013, The Monitor carried news that US Federal authorities arrested a local politiquera Diana Castañeda in McAllen, Texas, United States, for paying voters in cash, beer and cigarettes during the 2012 primary and general elections as well as taking voters to buy drugs after they had cast their ballot. According to court records, Castañeda confessed that she was a politiquera for various candidates and that during the 2012 elections she was paid $125 by one candidate to get food for voters and to pay them $10 to $20 per vote. However, the name of the candidate that gave her the money was not listed in court records.

Drinker

On November 13, 2013, Mail Online India reported:

City agencies have seized over 2,064 litres of liquor in the past few days and recovered more than 63,000 bottles during the last one month – 61,500 were ‘quarter’ bottles, which are mainly meant for distribution.

Around 7,000 bottles seized on Tuesday were all of the quarter bottle size (180 ml).

… a few MLAs revealed that liquor bottles are generally distributed a day before the polls. The police and excise department have seized over 63,000 bottles of alcohol in Delhi over the past month after seeing a record-breaking amount of illegally supplied liquor.

The illegal supply of liquor has crossed all records in the run-up to the Delhi assembly elections. …

“Quarter bottles are distributed among slum dwellers and in resettlement colonies. Politicians ask their workers to keep a stock of bottles at secret locations,” a sitting MLA said.

Delhi chief electoral officer Vijay Dev said the Election Commission has asked all the agencies to crack down heavily on the illegal supply of liquor in Delhi.

Politicians use subtle methods to distribute alcohol to avoid run-ins with the police.

“The voter is given a chit to be deposited with a selected liquor vendor to get alcohol. Many candidates also finance parties hosted by other people and distribute liquor in such parties,” said an excise official.

India is a nation where over 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and illiteracy is around 35 percent.

Promise of Freebies to win votes

All political parties in India indulge in competitive politics. Their mission does not to make life better for the average person or banish unemployment. In certain states instead of promising to provide schools and households with basic amenities such as potable water and hygienic toilets, freedom from corruption, mitigate poverty, and improve the purchasing power of the people, the political leaders promise to provide colour TVs, electronic gadgets such as mixer-grinders, fans, and laptops, to voters who scarcely get electricity for more than four hours a day. Once these parties come into power they first inflate government expenditures, impose taxes, and then hand out enticing goodies instead of worthwhile goods; and that too only to the members of their party.

On March 28, 2013, as his indefinite fast against “inflated” power bills entered the sixth day, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal alleged both Congress and BJP were winning elections through bribing voters and using muscle power. He told his supporters:

“This is because BJP and Congress are both worried as a different kind of politics is slowly emerging in India. So far they are used to winning on the basis of bribing voters, money power and muscle power but now the voters have awakened. The elections will not be elections but revolution.”

Wikileaks

The Telegraph carried an article by Dean Nelson titled “WikiLeaks: Indian politicians ‘bought votes with cash tucked inside newspapers” that said:

In conversations with US diplomats, the son of India’s powerful home minister P. Chidambaram and an aide to a senior leader of one of the main coalition partners allegedly explained how the main parties in Tamil Nadu state routinely bribe voters to clinch close elections.

One allegedly said they had widely distributed envelopes containing 5000 Rupees in cash (£70) hidden inside voters’ morning newspapers.

The disclosures highlight the nature of electoral fraud in the world’s largest democracy, and its widespread acceptance. Indian political parties, in particular in the south, often offer televisions, refrigerators, and computers to voters to win elections.

American diplomat Frederick Kaplan, a principal officer in its Madras consulate, was surprised at how freely senior politicians apparently admitted paying bribes for votes.

In a cable dispatched on May 13, 2009, the last day of India’s general election, he explained the system to his colleagues in Washington: “Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of cash, goods, or services, are a regular feature of elections in South India. Poor voters expect bribes from political candidates, and candidates find various ways to satisfy voter expectations. From paying to dig a community well to slipping cash into an envelope delivered inside the morning newspaper, politicians and their operatives admitted to violating election rules to influence voters. The money to pay the bribes comes from the proceeds of fund-raising, which often crosses into political corruption. Although the precise impact of bribery on voter behaviour is hard to measure, it no doubt swings at least some elections, especially the close races,” he wrote.

… “Weeks before the elections agents of the parties come to the neighbourhood with cash carried in rice sacks. They have copies of the voter lists and they distribute the money based on who is on the list.” The deliveries are made between “two and four in the morning, when the Election Commission is asleep,” he added.

One aide is quoted as revealing details of bribes paid by his boss. “It is no secret at all [he] paid 5,000 rupees per voter in Thirumangalam,” he said.

Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer who has led a crusade against corruption, said the cables revealed the “corruption of democracy” in India.

“These facts show the corruption and monetisation of the electoral process in India and therefore the corruption of the democracy in this country, where democracy essentially exists in a formal sense on paper, [but] effectively it is owned by those people who have money,” he said. “The money comes from all kinds of corruption which is rampant in India,” he added.

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Even an Elephant Can Slip!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Like most people, each morning I read my favourite newspaper while sipping hot coffee. My favourite newspaper? It is the Deccan Chronicle (Chennai edition).

Yesterday (Sunday, December 29, 2013), I was intrigued by a news captioned “Hindu married to non-Hindu can’t get divorce: HC” on page 7.

An elephant too can slip - Full page

Page 7, Deccan Chronicle (Chennai edition) Sunday, December 29, 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

I was in for a shock. The news that followed had nothing, even an iota, to reflect the caption.

An elephant too can slip - news clip

News on Page 7, Deccan Chronicle (Chennai edition) Sunday, December 29, 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

So, the adage: “Even an elephant can slip,” has once again come true!

If you are curious you can read the news in “The Times of India” under the title: “Hindu married to non-Hindu can’t get divorce under Hindu Marriage Act: Bombay high court” (PTI | Dec 28, 2013).

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Did You Receive Any Scam E-Mail Lately? Did You Respond to It?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On August 15, 2012, I posted an article titled “Ontario Lottery Corporation Scam” and to date 53,085 visitors to my site have viewed it.

This month alone I have received many scam email:

Jumb scam

 

Norvin Sepulveda scam

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Coca-Cola scam

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Here is another interesting mail I received at the beginning of this month. An appeal, almost a love letter, that addresses me as “dearest One!!!

As-Salam Alyikum dearest One!!!

sonia

To

2 Dec

As-Salam Alyikum dearest One!!!

Please I apologies to you to exercise a little patience and read through my letter I feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business having gone through your remarkable profile, I will really like to have a good relationship with you and I have a special reason why I decided to contact you, I decided to contact you due to the urgency of my situation,My name is Sonia Aisha Khorovani Ahmed,24yrs old female and I held from Somalia in Eastern Africa.

My father {Late Mr.Khorovani Ahmed} was the former Somalia road Minister. He and his assistant Minister of Home Affairs Mr.Lorna Laboso had been on board the Cessna 210,which was headed to Kericho and crashed in a remote area called Kajong’a, in western KENYA on one of his trip.I truly miss him,It’s painful to lose loved ones but life always has a meaning to be fulfilled according to God’s Plans.

After the burial of my late father,my stepmother and my uncle conspired and sold my father’s property which the shared the money among themselves and left nothing for me.On one faithful morning, I opened my father’s briefcase and found out the documents which he used to deposited huge amount of money in one of the leading with my name as the next of kin.

I traveled out side my country trying to contact the bank to withdraw the money for a better life so that I can take care of myself and start a new life, but it was my surprise that the Bank Director whom I have been contacting on this matter,told me that my father’s given instruction to the their bank that the money would only be release to me when I am married or if I could present a trusted foreigner partner who will help me and invest the money overseas.It was only on this vian I chose to search of an honest and reliable person who will help me and stand as my foreign trustee so that I will present him to the Bank for transfer of the money to his bank account overseas. I have chosen to contact you after my prayers and I believe that you will not betray my trust, God willing.

You may wonder why I am so soon revealing myself to you without knowing you,to me I will say that my spirit convinced me that you may be the true person to help me,  The amount is( $7,500,000.00 USD )Seven Million five hundred thousand United State Dollars, and I have confirmed from the bank that they will transfer the money as soon as I present a reliable foreign trustee.

If you can help me on this matter,you will also help me to place the money in a good profitable business venture in your Country or any place of your choice. you will help by recommending a nice University in your country where I can complete my studies. However,it is my intention to compensate you with 30% of the total money for your efforts and kindness of services and the balance shall be our capital in establishment of our investment.

Please understand that,I am giving you all this information due to the trust I deposed on you and I would never want you to reveal this matter to any other person for now even to your best friend, what I mean here is that you should, Please do keep this matter to your self for now until the bank will transfer the fund.I hope you will understand me?

I like honest and truthful person, Angry,and “LIES”I hate On our relationship, hence I am always very-extra-careful in my relationship with people as I always look forward to obtain good potential carrier as well if not death of my late father.

As soon as I receive your positive response showing your interest,I will inform the bank that am ready to present the foreign trustee who will receive the fund on my behalf and would also send you the bank details, Therefore, please do not fail to respond this message as soon as possible.

Yours

Miss.Sonia Aisha.Ahmed.

Did you notice the punctuation and absence of space before the beginning of news sentences in the above letter?

Have you received any similar email? Were you tempted to respond to them? Di you respond and burnt your fingers?

These emails are just preludes to one of the most common types of confidence trick known as the ’419 Scam’, ‘Advance Fee Scam’, ‘Black Money Scam’, ‘Fifo Fraud’, ‘Nigerian Scams’, ‘Spanish Prisoner Scam’, and by many other names.

Earlier, scammers used traditional mail and fax to perpetrate this form of scam. Now, after the advent of the internet and mobile phones, email and SMS are used blatantly.

The number “419″ refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud. In Chapter 35 - “Offences analogous to Stealing” under the laws of the Federation of Nigeria. Article 419 reads as follows:

419.   Any person who by any false pretence, and with intent to defraud, obtains from any other person anything capable of being stolen, or induces any other person to deliver to any person anything capable of being stolen, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

If the thing is of the value of one thousand naira or upwards, he is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

It is immaterial that the thing is obtained or its delivery is induced through the medium of a contract induced by the false pretence.

The offender cannot be arrested without warrant unless found committing the offence.

419A.
(1)  Any person who by any false pretence or by means of any other fraud obtains credit for himself or any other person-

(a)  in incurring any debt or liability; or
(b  by means of an entry in a debtor and creditor account between the person giving and the person receiving credit, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years

  (2)  The offender cannot be arrested without warrant unless found committing the offence.

419B.  Where in any proceedings for an -offence under section 419 or 419A it is proved that the accused-

(a)  obtained or induced the delivery of anything capable of being stolen; or
(b)  obtained credit for himself or any other person, by means of a cheque that, when presented for payment within a reasonable time, was dishonoured on the ground that no funds or insufficient funds were standing to the credit of the drawer of the cheque in the bank on which the cheque was drawn, the thing or its delivery shall be deemed to have been obtained or induced, or the credit shall he deemed to have been obtained, by a false pretence unless the court is satisfied by evidence that when the accused issued the cheque he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did in fact believe, that it would be honoured if presented for payment within a reasonable time after its issue by him.

While the scam is not limited to Nigeria, the nation has become associated with this fraud and it has earned a reputation for being a center of email scam crimes. Other nations known to have a high incidence of advance-fee fraud include Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, South Africa, Russia, Pakistan, India, the United States, the Netherlands, and Spain.

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