Month: May 2002

Walking the wild side

Walking the wild side

Imagine walking through the wild terrain among thick tall trees with sunlight piercing the denseness of the jungle. Imagine camping near a beautiful alpine lake and swimming in its refreshingly cool waters. Imagine observing wildlife from close quarters during daytime and gazing at brilliant stars of the Milky Way during nighttime. If you are a keen naturalist or someone who likes adventure travel in wilderness areas, then this must sound really exciting.

A few days back, twenty two young boys and girls (fifth to ninth graders) set off for a nature trek similar to one described above. Organised by Thane’s Blue Whale Nature and Science Club, the trek lasted four days and made the young minds richer. Their journey began at Lonavala, from where the group walked fifteen long kilometres to reach Rajmachi, a hilltop village surrounded by forest. That night, Vikas Bhat held a star gazing session. Equipped with a telescope, he revealed facts about the various planets and stars. He also discussed the Big Bang theory and the current zodiac constellation.

The next day, Sriram Kohli and Chandrakant Bedekar taught the children the exciting technique of rappelling, which, for the uninitiated, is the art of descending from a fixed height (usually rocky mountains) using a rope. Later that day Ranganath Vare, conducted a session on snakes. He discussed the various types of snakes and revealed the method of identifying the poisonous from the non-poisonous ones. He even demonstrated the technique of catching snakes. The day ended with a fire camp.

The following day, it was time for some bird watching (the jungle variety!). The entire group was broken up into smaller sub groups and they dispersed in various directions. Silence is extremely important when observing wild birds so as not to scare them away. Once again, wild life expert Vare, identified the different species of birds, while the trekkers looked in awe. On the last day, before heading back to Thane, group leader Sriram Kohli demonstrated the purpose and usage of hiking equipment.

At the end of an adventure trek, one is physically tired, but is mentally and spiritually refreshed and ready to take on the world. That’s because nature has the power to recharge your emotions.

If you too are interested in unwinding, you may contact Sameer Sawant from Blue Whale Nature and Science Club on 5374953

Shock-O-Block
Each day, electricity lights offices, runs machines and equipment and operates plants. But, each year contact with electricity kills or injures hundreds of thousands of people. In recent years, electrocution has risen to be the third major cause of death due to industrial accidents. In Maharashtra alone, more than 1500 deaths occur due to electric shocks.

You can never tell when contact with electricity will be fatal, but you can be sure it will always hurt. Ignorance of basic electrical principles and misuse of electrical equipment often results in accidents such as electrical shocks, burns, fires, explosions and sometimes even death. What most people fail to realise is that its not just monstrous industrial equipment that can kill or injure. You can also be killed by a shock from an appliance or power cord in your home. Despite these obvious dangers, electrical energy is perhaps the most taken-for-granted form of energy.

Last week Thaneites witnessed an electrical safety awareness drive being carried out at Thane Railway Station. More than ten thousand "dos and don’ts" leaflets were distributed among the public. A motor-cycle rally was also taken out, educating residents, shop-owners and industrial workers in the city. Banners, posters and placards were put up at prominent locations. All this was a part of the state-wide "Electrical Safety Week" programme being observed by the Energy and Labour Department of Government of Maharashtra. Large and reputed organizations such as TATA Power, Hindustan Construction Company and Otis Elevators supported the campaign by sponsoring the various parts of it.

The safety week campaign aimed to propagate tips on safe and correct usage of electrical appliances and machinery. Qualified persons held demonstrations on how to put out electrical fire, how to treat an electrocuted person etc and also gave other useful guidelines.

The message of this campaign was clear: To protect yourself, your family and coworkers, always practice electrical safety.

For more information on electrical safety, you may contact:

Office of Electrical Inspector
Wagle Estate
11th Road,
Near Passport Office,
Thane (West)
Tel: 5821848

FACT FILE Some Dos & Don’ts of Electrical Safety (Issued by PWD, Govt. of Maharashtra)

  1. Use I.S.I marked or Quality Control certified materials and appliances.
  2. Get wiring and earthing (grounding) tested periodically by a licensed electrical contractor.
  3. Use fuse wire of proper capacity or use M.C.B. of proper capacity to avoid danger of overload or short circuit.
  4. Use E.L.C.B. to avoid accidents from earth leakage current.
  5. Use 3-pin plugs for all appliances
  6. Use only one plug in one socket.
  7. For fire due to short circuit, first switch off main-switch. Do not use water. Use dry chemical type fire extinguisher.
  8. Do not hang clothes on the electric wires.
  9. Do not allow children to fly kites in the vicinity of high tension overhead electrical transmission lines.
  10. Do not use pump-room, lift machine room and meter room as a storage room.
  11. Do not handle electrical appliances with wet hands.
  12. Do not put bare wires in the plug socket.