Salinity ingress has a benign ring to it but don’t be fooled by that. What it means is the seeping in of seawater into soil and groundwater. Such contamination can wreak havoc in coastal regions, as it is doing along a vast stretch of the Gujarat shoreline. More than 2,500 villages, the majority of them on the Saurashtra coast, have been affected as salinity ingress takes a toll on lives and livelihoods.
Our cover story details the efforts of the Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell (CSPC), jointly formed by the Tata Trusts, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and Ambuja Cement Foundation, in helping mitigate the damage being caused. CSPC’s multifaceted range of initiatives — in farming, education, dairy development, water conservation and sanitation — have enabled some 126,000 households to find means and methods to counter the salinity tide.
The India Climate Collaborative and its work in bringing together a spectrum of stakeholders to address the ever-rising dangers of climate change is the focus of our special report. In the features section, we look at how technology is being used to improve the country’s public health system; we track a first-of-its-kind fellowship programme in Assam that is building a cadre of high-quality nurses for cancer care and treatment; and we report on a rural community in Nagaland that is getting its ecotourism venture back in business.
A highlight of this Horizons edition is an uncommon profile of the exceptional Meherbai Tata — whose wealth was employed to set up the trust that bears her name — explained through an image that offers a host of clues about the person and the personality. An accompanying photo essay captures different facets of a remarkable woman who excelled in a variety of pursuits.
The photographic is also the way we have chosen to frame a programme that is assisting traditional weavers in four states to connect with customers through the internet, especially social media, and another that provided a platform for 450 students to showcase their artistic talents at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
To round off, we have an excerpt from an out-of-the-ordinary book by dog lover Shantanu Naidu, who counts Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata among his friends, and a perspective piece by Dr Rajan Sankar on how India can better tackle the malnutrition scourge that is ravaging so many of our people, particularly children.
Happy reading, and please keep sending in your views about the magazine and its spread of stories.Christabelle Noronha
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