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4 June, 2020 09:34:17 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 June, 2020 09:36:38 PM
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DATELINE INDIA: More to come?

The Indian government’s hands are more than full. Nature’s fury is of course one part. There is another, which is political and economic. While India is struggling to get its economy back on track by easing curbs following the nationwide lockdown in March this year, it has its borders to take care of: this time around from China rather than Pakistan.
Kumkum Chadha
DATELINE INDIA: More to come?

If astrological predictions are anything to go by, the corona virus is not the only disaster that we have to brace for this year. There is more to come. Taking at face value, the virus is only the beginning of the series of unfortunate and unexpected events likely to unfold as months in 2020 roll by.
Since the corona virus gripped the world and hit India, astrologers here  have been working overtime to hand out different versions of the planetary positions and what the stars foretell vis-a- vis the spread of the deadly virus. 
It began with a set of dates beginning with March 31, April 14 and May 5 to name a few when the curve would begin to flatten and the virus takes an exit flight at least from India by May 5. 
Quite the contrary though because far from the number of cases dipping they are steadily rising by the hour. From a few hundred per day, the cases have now spiked to over 8000 in a single day which indeed is very worrying. From the praise the Indian government initially got for handling the crisis well, India now ranks eighth among the worst affected countries in the world. None of this was read by astrologers in the charts with the exception of a handful who predicted that the corona virus is here to stay till end of the year with a slight chance of ebb in the month of September. 
Close on the heels of this completely off the mark set of predictions, now comes another where natural disasters, earthquakes, calamities, mass scale damages due to accidents, flood, diseases etc are on the anvil in the months that follow.

The three summer eclipses may portend natural disasters around the world particularly the Solar eclipse of 21st June 2020, which indicates floods, earthquakes and other natural calamities.

On this score astrologers seem to have hit the bullseye given that cyclones and earthquakes have hit India in recent weeks. There were three earthquakes in five days in Delhi and NCR regions with geologists warning a powerful earthquake striking the national capital in coming weeks.

Delhi it may be pointed out is under high-risk seismic zones. Its border towns have seen a huge growth of high rise buildings which are not earthquake resistant and thus pose a grave danger. 
Since April 12 to May 29 this year, ten earthquakes have been recorded in Delhi-NCR and four tremors in Uttarakhand and six in Himachal Pradesh.

To make matters worse, cyclones have also ravaged a few states including West Bengal. 
If Amphan battered West Bengal and Odisha last month, Nisarga lashed India’s west coast namely the state of Maharashtra. Nisarga dropped heavy rains and winds gusting up to 120km  per hour  near the coastal city of Alibagh, some 100 km  south of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra.

At least 100,000 people, including coronavirus patients, were moved to safer locations. The storm surge threatened to flood beaches and low-lying slums. Thankfully the financial capital Mumbai escaped the onslaught even as in Gujarat the cyclonic storm passed without causing major damage. Gujarat had shifted over 63,700 people living close to the coast in eight districts to safer places as a precautionary measure.
The region rarely experiences cyclones, and the last storm to threaten Mumbai with such intensity was more than 70 years ago.

Nisarga is the second cyclone to strike India in a little less than two weeks. On May 21, Cyclone Amphan battered the country's eastern coast including Kolkata, and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 100 people and leaving a trail of destruction.
That apart India has been gripped with the locust menace when swarms have invaded vast land areas entering several districts in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The worst attack in 26 years, as the swarms, coming from Pakistan, have moved deeper, the states of   Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh sent out drones, tractors and cars to kill them with pesticides.

Threatening an agrarian crisis, a square kilometre swarm contains about 40 million locusts and have the capacity of consuming food which is good for over 35,000 people.

The bad news is that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned of more such attacks along both sides of the India-Pakistan border the clear indication being: there is more to come.

Under the circumstances, the Indian government’s hands are more than full. Nature’s fury is of course one part. There is another which is political and economic. While India is struggling to get its economy back on track by  easing curbs following the nationwide lockdown in March this year, it has its borders to take care of: this time around from China rather than Pakistan. 

Tension at the borders is high with troops on high alert in a face off which can escalate. According to reports, soldiers from the two sides clashed on at least two occasions in Ladakh.

India and China share a border more than 3,440km long and while the Line of Actual Control separates the two sides, it is poorly demarcated with soldiers from both sides being in close proximity in the border between China and the Indian state of Sikkim. There is military tension along Ladakh too.

The current tensions have erupted in an area in Ladakh in Kashmir with Indian and Chinese armies bringing in reinforcements.
A statement from the Indian side confirmed a confrontation between Indian and Chinese soldiers and in north Sikkim terming it as   “aggressive behaviour” resulting in minor injuries to troops.

But it is not only about China. Pakistan is a constant while Nepal also seems to be turning around. In a new map that Nepal has brought out it shows a new area, Limpiyadhura, within its boundaries.
The trigger was India inaugurating a road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand with Nepal staking a claim on it along with Kalapani and Limpiyadhura and vowing to “reclaim" them through political and diplomatic efforts.

As of now India’s hands are full and with challenges mounting by the minute both within and outside it is nothing short of a Herculean task to resolve them. This time around even a Prime Minister like Narendra Modi may need nerves of steel to combat the challenges.

With the year 2020 being one of unpleasant surprises unfolding one disaster after another the one question that everyone seems to be asking is: “Is there more to come?”

The writer is a Delhi-based senior journalist and a columnist of The Independent.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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