A Collaborative Research work of National Cave Research and Protection Organization published in Nature (communication): Nature and Science are the two worldwide recognized journals that publish the top level of science articles. Recently a collaborative work done by Dr. Jayant Biswas of the National Cave Research and Protection Organization with Prof. Ashish Sinha of California university, US and Prof. Hi Cheng of Xi'an Jiotang University, China published in Nature. It is the first publication in NATURE from Central India.
The work was on Paleoclimatology based on the caves of Uttarakhand. The work stated about the 20-20 years of high rain and low rain cycles in India.
Dr. Jayant Biswas, director of National Cave Research and Protection Organization was invited as a resource person on a workshop on wildlife at Rangers' college, raj Pipla, Gujrat. It was the first time when any government organization took the subject of cave protection seriously. India has a wide array of caves scattered across the country, some of which are renowned worldwide. Dr. Biswas shed light on the types of animal species that abide inside the cave and how to protect them from anthropogenic pressures.
The workshop was attended by officials of the Forest department of Gujrat and upcoming research scholars engaged in wildlife research. The workshop was conducted by Dr. Nishith Dharaiya of Patan University, Gujrat and Vice president of National Cave Research and Protection Organization).
One day workshop is cave conservational issues with special emphasis on microchiropteran bat issue was organized by the National Cave Research and Protection Organization with the collaboration of Bombay Natural History Society in Bastar University, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. The workshop was attended by the post graduation students of the University and PG students of science College, Jagdalpur. As a resource person, Dr. Jayant Biswas of Cave Org. and Dr. Rahul Khot and Dr. Bandana Aul of BNHS delivered their views. The workshop was also attended by Dr. Sushil Dutta of Science College Jagdalpur, Dr. Sharad Nema and Dr. S. Kole of Bastar University alongwith the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Chandra of the University. Dr. PRS Nagi (Veterinary Surgeon), Rajendra Gupta (Entomologist) and some research scholars from Hissar University specially attended the workshop.
Speleology is the scientific study of caves and other karst features, their make-up, structure, physical properties, history, life forms, and the processes by which they are form ed (speleogenesis) and change over time (speleomorphology). Originally a part of the wider field of geology, speleology is coming of age now. The term is also sometimes applied to the recreational activity of exploring caves, but this is more properly known as caving, spelunking or potholing. Speleology and caving are often connected, as the physical skills required for in situ study are the same.
Where to study
The study of caves or speleology is in its infancy in India. There is no university department or chair dedicated to the topic including at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU). In the absence of a separate department this subject remains associated with geology and some of the universities offering a degree in geology have this subject as a constituent of the curriculum. However, a few dedicated and seemingly networked scientists scattered nationwide maintain an interest. The only institutional names in the field are the Raipur based-NGO, National Cave Research and Protection Organisation headed by Dr Jayant Biswas and the Shillong based-MAA. Every year during Meghalaya’s dry months, expert cavers from overseas reach the state to explore its caves in league with the MAA. That’s how the underground map of the region evolved. Both the Indian Army and the Indian Navy had links with the MAA to partake in the adventure.
Geology can be taken up after Class XII (PCM). Admission to university courses is merit based.
Opportunities in cave research may be few at present, but with the development of new techniques, a whole new world is opening for future exploration.
Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr. Raman Singh inaugurated science journal Ambient Science in his office. The Journal is published by the National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India. CM congratulated the Office bearers to bring forth a journal on a lesser-known but interesting subject. Dr. Jayant Biswas is the chief editor of the journal. CM appreciated the work done by the organization ensured full support from the government. Ambient science is the only sole journal working towards the protection and conservation of the caves. It is also a house of publication for national and international research work conducted on various aspects of the environment too. On this occasion secretary Dr. KK Harris, treasurer Dr. Ramesh Rahangdale, Social activist Mr. Vishwajeet Mitra, Dr. Shobha Gawri, Dr. Deepa Biswas, Dr. Rakesh Soni and Mr. Siddharth Biswas also present during the occasion.
Caves are like time machines, they enclose within the natural and cultural history of a particular region. The caves of Chhattisgarh also abound in peculiar life forms and mystifying pillars of stalactites and stalagmites formed by limestone dripping down with the water, said Dr Jayant Biswas, Director of National Cave Research and Protection Organisation, India. Talking to ‘The Hitavada,’ Dr Jayant Biswas said perpetual darkness, high humidity with almost constant geophysical factors are some of the abiotic factors, which make the cave ecosystem unique. The evolutionary adaptations of the organisms, which inhabit the usual and fragile ecosystems within caves, are of inherent interest to biologists and laymen. Cave organisms generally develop a high degree of physiological and behavioural adaptation for survival in the subterranean environment. Giving elaborated account of his research conducted in the caves of Chhattisgarh, Dr Jayant Biswas said the Kotumsar Cave is biologically the best known cave in India and has attracted interest from researchers from all over the world. His research paper assesses the ecological community and overall habitat of the cave. This is based on long-term field observation and the review of the extensive literature on Kotumsar. ........................................
Scientist from Raipur Dr. Jayant Biswas, Director, National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India a part of international researcher group conducting research on Monsoon activities in Asian countries. The field of their study is referred to as Paleoclimatology. The other members of the group are Prof. Hi Cheng of Minnesota University, US, Prof. Ashish Sinha of California University, US. Recently they visited Rodrigues, an island of Mascarene island groups from where the monsoon pressure develops every year. Besides the other parts of the world, this group is actively working on the caves of Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand of India.
Dr. Jayant Biswas of National Cave Research and Protection Organisation requested the government not to promote publicly such few portraits which show the hunting of wild animals. In nowadays in the name of folk arts, painting in the wall of government monuments in Chhatisgarh is going on. In this regard hunting of deer by tribals has also been focused and it is against the law now.
We must protect our wildlife not to kill. Instead of such art, we must highlight our heritage sites like Kotumsar, Dandak, Kailash caves, Tirathgarh, Chitrakot waterfalls etc.
An interview with International Scientists of Paleoclimatology :
Scientists are trying to know the reasons behind the megadroughts which took place 1000 years ago s that we can prepare ourselves for the future to meet such challenges. After suffering from mega-drought of 1876, the British government in the year of 1877 established The Indian Meteorological center in India.
In Nainital the International Scientists, Dr. Ashish Sinha from California university, US, Dr. Jayant Biswas from National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India & Prof. Hi Cheng from Xian Xingtom University, China reached and along with research scholar of Nainital Ms. Gayatri Kathyat met the Press.
They told that from Uranium & thorium they verifying the age of the caves, but it is too expensive.
Dr. Biswas said that due to lack of proper facilities, expertise and even funding we are doing research jointly with the eminent scientists of other countries.
A cave research body recently urged the Indian Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh not to give environmental clearance to French company Lafarge's proposed mega cement plant in Meghalaya. National Cave Research and Protection Organisation in its petition to Jairam said the proposed cement plant poses a threat to numerous cave systems and wildlife in northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya.
”The Jaintia Hills district (where the plant is proposed) is internationally referred to as the Mecca for the cavers of the world. Several caving systems existing in this particular location have been listed in the world map of the longest and deepest caves. Proper protection of these subterranean caves must be one of our national regard,” the cave research body said in the petition.
Urging the Indian government to consider the facts before taking any decision on environmental clearance to the plant, it said, “We are not even aware of two percent subterranean biodiversity abiding in these caves but we are leaving them to get extinct”.
The proposed plant site is very close to Narpuh and Saipung reserve forests and the noise and dust pollution from the proposed plant would be a threat to the wildlife there, the petition signed by the organisation's president Jayant Biswas said.
Besides, the contaminated water to be discharged by the plant would lead to degradation of the land known for good rice productivity, it said.
There were already a number of cement plants in the district which flout norms, it added.
Earlier, Lafarge had said the apprehensions raised about the environmental impact of the project are 'premature' and 'unfounded'.
The project would maintain the highest standards of environmental protection and use scientific mining techniques as per the best international practices.
Besides, the project would not progress without conducting a proper environmental impact assessment and obtaining all statutory clearances, the French company had said in a statement.
Lafarge India Eastern Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lafarge India Pvt Ltd, had got a single window clearance from Meghalaya government for it's proposed 1.1mt integrated cement plant at Nongkhlei in the limestone rich Jaintia Hills district.
The French company's limestone mining project in the state is shut since February following an apex court order on a petition filed by an NGO alleging that Lafarge's mining activities violated the constitutional provision against handing over tribal land in the northeast to non-tribals.
It had also alleged that the company had obtained environmental clearance by falsely showing thickly-forested land as wasteland.
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