More Amazon extinctions looming unless action is taken study

first_img Citation: More Amazon extinctions looming unless action is taken: study (2012, July 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-amazon-extinctions-looming-action.html More information: Extinction Debt and Windows of Conservation Opportunity in the Brazilian Amazon, Science 13 July 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6091 pp. 228-232. DOI: 10.1126/science.1219013ABSTRACTPredicting when future species extinctions will occur is necessary for directing conservation investments but has proved difficult. We developed a new method for predicting extinctions over time, accounting for the timing and magnitude of habitat loss. We applied this to the Brazilian Amazon, predicting that local extinctions of forest-dependent vertebrate species have thus far been minimal (1% of species by 2008), with more than 80% of extinctions expected to be incurred from historical habitat loss still to come. Realistic deforestation scenarios suggest that local regions will lose an average of nine vertebrate species and have a further 16 committed to extinction by 2050. There is a window of opportunity to dilute the legacy of historical deforestation by concentrating conservation efforts in areas with greatest debt. Explore further Solimões, the section of the upper Amazon River. Image: Wikipedia. Study: Glum assessment of Amazonian forest The rainforests have been subjected to widespread deforestation over recent decades as trees have been chopped down to allow areas of farmland to expand, and to make way for roads. Among the many species threatened with extinction are the Brazilian bare-faced tamarins and white-cheeked spider monkeys.Previous mathematical models of the effects of deforestation on biodiversity have assumed the deforestation occurs as a single event. The new research extended the model to see what happens when deforestation occurs in a number of events rather than just one, which more closely models the real situation.Leader of the research team, Dr Robert M. Ewers from Imperial College London, said there is a time lapse between deforestation and extinctions because animals do not usually die directly, but are forced to live more densely in smaller areas. This leads to increased mortality through reduced breeding rates and more intense competition for food. Mathematician Daniel Reuman, also from Imperial College, explained that if deforestation occurs in one area and then in another area before the effects of chopping down trees in the first area are felt, there is an “outstanding debt.”The team used their new model to examine data on deforestation and data on individual vertebrate species affected by loss of habitat over the period 1970-2008, and they found that 80 to 90 percent of extinctions caused by existing deforestation are yet to occur, giving the rainforest a massive “extinction debt.”The team also used the model to examine a range of scenarios for the future of the rainforest over the next 40 years. These included scenarios with no change from current policies to the more optimistic scenario of a halt to deforestation by 2020. They found that for the most optimistic scenario 38 species would still be lost, but in the worst case scenario 40-50 species would become extinct in the period with an extinction debt of 100 more that would be lost later. More than 50 percent of the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil is now protected, and the rate of deforestation is declining, and rapid and widespread extinctions predicted by earlier models have proved incorrect, with species loss occurring much more slowly than predicted. The new model now shows that the effects of the deforestation that has already occurred are yet to be fully realized. Dr Ewers said the findings could be used to target conservation efforts on areas identified by the model as being regions where the extinction debt is greatest. Efforts on these areas could prevent the extinction debt from being paid.The paper was published in Science and shows how crucial the decisions made by the Brazilian government on deforestation and development will be. Pressure from agribusiness interests and others to relax protection and rapidly develop the region in order to ease the economic crisis are likely to be devastating. Around 40 percent of tropical rainforests are located in Brazil, and they are among the world’s most biodiverse regions.center_img (Phys.org) — Scientists in London are predicting that for many species it may take several generations after deforestation of the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil before they become extinct. © 2012 Phys.org Journal information: Science This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Testing shows billfish demonstrate bone remodeling without osteocytes

first_imgGross morphology and ultrastructure of billfish bone. Credit: PNAS, Ayelet Atkins, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412372111 More information: Remodeling in bone without osteocytes: Billfish challenge bone structure–function paradigms, PNAS, Ayelet Atkins, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412372111AbstractA remarkable property of tetrapod bone is its ability to detect and remodel areas where damage has accumulated through prolonged use. This process, believed vital to the long-term health of bone, is considered to be initiated and orchestrated by osteocytes, cells within the bone matrix. It is therefore surprising that most extant fishes (neoteleosts) lack osteocytes, suggesting their bones are not constantly repaired, although many species exhibit long lives and high activity levels, factors that should induce considerable fatigue damage with time. Here, we show evidence for active and intense remodeling occurring in the anosteocytic, elongated rostral bones of billfishes (e.g., swordfish, marlins). Despite lacking osteocytes, this tissue exhibits a striking resemblance to the mature bone of large mammals, bearing structural features (overlapping secondary osteons) indicating intensive tissue repair, particularly in areas where high loads are expected. Billfish osteons are an order of magnitude smaller in diameter than mammalian osteons, however, implying that the nature of damage in this bone may be different. Whereas billfish bone material is as stiff as mammalian bone (unlike the bone of other fishes), it is able to withstand much greater strains (relative deformations) before failing. Our data show that fish bone can exhibit far more complex structure and physiology than previously known, and is apparently capable of localized repair even without the osteocytes believed essential for this process. These findings challenge the unique and primary role of osteocytes in bone remodeling, a basic tenet of bone biology, raising the possibility of an alternative mechanism driving this process. In humans, in order for bones to maintain their strength, they undergo a two-step process called remodeling. The first step involves tearing down damaged bone while the second involves adding new growth to replace material that is lost. Both parts of the process rely on cells known as osteocytes and together they leave behind telltale signs of re-growth known as osteons. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn whether the bones in billfish, such as marlin and swordfish, undergo the same process to maintain bone strength.Billfish, with their long pointy bills, are very well known and prized by deep sea fishermen. But, those long bills are actually extensions of their lower jaw, which means they are bones—rostral bones, actually. Also, because the fish use the long, sword-like rostral bones for killing prey, often after high speed pursuit, the bones undergo very high stresses, which logic would suggest, means they must have some means of maintaining that strength—in its absence the bones would break and the fish would starve to death. To find out what mechanisms are at play, the researches obtained several samples from five different species of billfish, analyzed them under a microscope and then subjected them to stress tests.The researchers found telltale signs of remodeling, i.e. the existence of osteons in the long rostral bones but no sign of osteocytes—this suggests of course that some other unknown cells are involved in the process. They note that the osteons exhibited very high density but were an order of magnitude smaller than for similar sized mammals. The rostral bones were also particularly stiff, equal to that of bones in horses, and could take a huge amount of stress before breaking. The team’s findings upend conventional thinking which has held that virtually all bone remodeling in animals involves some type of osteocytes. Researchers find physical activity in youth leads to stronger bones in old age Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencescenter_img © 2014 Phys.org (Phys.org) —A large team of biologists with members from Israel, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. has found that billfish are able to remodel their large protruding jawbones in the absence of osteocytes. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their research and results and the implications of what they found. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Testing shows billfish demonstrate bone remodeling without osteocytes (2014, October 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-10-billfish-bone-remodeling-osteocytes.htmllast_img read more

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Model offers insight into how life continues to evolve

first_img More information: Emanuel Gregor Worst et al. “Unbounded growth patterns of reproducing, competing polymers—similarities to biological evolution.” New Journal of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/10/103003 In these reproduction-dominant situations, the evolution of polymers of different lengths bears similarities to Darwinian evolution. As the researchers explain, it is the dynamics of the entire system that selects a particular, new species (length of polymer) in such a way that it can use the existing situation most efficiently to multiply. Each time, the system escapes from this dominance by creating a new species that uses the new situation to its benefit. “We believe that we have created a model system that exposes a dynamic mechanism reflecting essential traits of Darwinian evolution,” said coauthor Karsten Kruse at Saarland University. “In a reproduction-dominated situation, in our system, only certain types of molecular reproducers occur: those that benefit most from a given situation. However, these ‘species’ fail to dominate the situation because of the emergence of ever new other species.”In the future, the researchers plan to modify the model so that the molecules acquire functionality, making them more similar to biological species.”Although the simplicity of our system is what constitutes its quality and makes the message so clear, it is unclear how to devise a more complex system that enables new functionalities in a Darwinian setting,” Ott said. “This is something we plan to address in the future.” Explore further Citation: Model offers insight into how life continues to evolve (2016, November 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-insight-life-evolve.html (Phys.org)—One of the most puzzling things about evolution is that, even after 4 billion years, it hasn’t stopped. Instead of culminating in a single best adapted species, today the Earth contains an estimated 8.7 million different species, all of which will one day die out as a variety of new species takes their places. In the new model, different species (lengths of polymer) emerge for a time, and then “die out” as new species take their place; there is no permanent dominant species. Credit: Worst et al. ©2016 IOP Publishing The results revealed that species evolution depends on which growth mechanism dominates. In situations in which the ligation mechanism dominates, all possible polymer lengths are generated (all multiples of 20 starting with a length of 20, such as 40, 60, 80, and 100 base pairs and above). But when reproduction dominates, only certain lengths appear (specifically, lengths of 10, 20, 40, 80, or 160 base pairs), and only for limited periods of time. Each polymer length follows a pattern in which its numbers exponentially increase, then plateau, and finally decrease, allowing new lengths of polymers to emerge. Although scientists have tried to model these evolutionary dynamics in the lab, such as by using systems of molecules that change over time in some way, most of these models eventually generate a single dominant species and then come to a standstill. Scientists still don’t completely understand how evolution continues to generate new species, which is known to occur even in the absence of changing external pressures. Now in a new study, a team of physicists has developed a theoretical and experimental model of evolution that continues without end, even under constant external conditions. The model may help scientists better understand how the biosphere continues to evolve over billions of years.”We hope to understand the necessary conditions of Darwinian statistics—notably, the coexistence of species that each have a finite lifetime—that emerge with Darwinian evolution,” coauthor Albrecht Ott at Saarland University in Saarbruecken, Germany, told Phys.org. “This seems a major problem that research on the origin of life needs to deal with. Furthermore, molecular systems can help to elucidate mechanisms of speciation, notably the emergence and disappearance of niches.”The new model system consists of linear DNA polymers of different lengths, where the length of a polymer determines its “species.” The polymers can reproduce (creating polymers of the same length) or join together via the polymer-binding enzyme DNA ligase (creating longer polymers, which are new species). In their experiments, the researchers started with polymers that were 10 or 20 base pairs long. After exposing them to temperature variations that promoted reproduction and binding to various degrees, the researchers found that polymers of different lengths began to emerge. When it comes to polymer fragility, size does matter This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2016 Phys.org Journal information: New Journal of Physics In the new model of evolution, polymers can form new polymers of different lengths via an enzymatic ligation process, as shown here. Credit: Worst et al. ©2016 IOP Publishinglast_img read more

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Crops in France found to thrive despite reduced use of pesticides

first_img There is no doubt that the use of pesticides to prevent insects from eating or otherwise destroying crop plants has led to huge yield gains in many places around the globe—but its heavy use has also caused negative side effects, such as runoff into the oceans causing dead spots. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn whether the large amounts of pesticides used on farms are actually necessary to sustain yields. To find out, they accessed a database that held information on 946 non-organic arable commercial farms across France. The farms were part of the Dephy network, which was created as part of the government’s Ecophyto initiative to reduce pesticide use—the farms represented a wide range of farming techniques, which included using nonstandard amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides—each of the farms submitted reports to the database administrators detailing chemical use on their farms, crop yields and other details of their operations.In studying reports generated by their analysis of the farms, the researchers found that 77 percent of the farms under study showed no conflict between using smaller amounts of pesticide and yield rates. They also found that the other 23 percent of the farms were generally associated with industrial farming, which is particularly dependent on high concentrations of pesticides to sustain yields. The researchers contend that their analysis also showed that approximately 59 percent of all farms in France could reduce their use of pesticides by approximately 42 percent without harming yields. Citation: Crops in France found to thrive despite reduced use of pesticides (2017, February 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-crops-france-pesticides.html © 2017 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members affiliated with several institutions in France has found that lowering the amount of pesticides applied to crops does not have to mean lessening expected yields. In their paper published in the journal Nature Plants, the team describes their study of hundreds of French farms where pesticide use was varied to find out how much was actually needed. Vasileios Vasileiadis with Italy’s Institute of Agro-Environmental and Forest Biology, National Research Council offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. Explore further More information: Reducing pesticide use while preserving crop productivity and profitability on arable farms, Nature Plants, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nplants.2017.8AbstractAchieving sustainable crop production while feeding an increasing world population is one of the most ambitious challenges of this century. Meeting this challenge will necessarily imply a drastic reduction of adverse environmental effects arising from agricultural activities. The reduction of pesticide use is one of the critical drivers to preserve the environment and human health. Pesticide use could be reduced through the adoption of new production strategies; however, whether substantial reductions of pesticide use are possible without impacting crop productivity and profitability is debatable. Here, we demonstrated that low pesticide use rarely decreases productivity and profitability in arable farms. We analysed the potential conflicts between pesticide use and productivity or profitability with data from 946 non-organic arable commercial farms showing contrasting levels of pesticide use and covering a wide range of production situations in France. We failed to detect any conflict between low pesticide use and both high productivity and high profitability in 77% of the farms. We estimated that total pesticide use could be reduced by 42% without any negative effects on both productivity and profitability in 59% of farms from our national network. This corresponded to an average reduction of 37, 47 and 60% of herbicide, fungicide and insecticide use, respectively. The potential for reducing pesticide use appeared higher in farms with currently high pesticide use than in farms with low pesticide use. Our results demonstrate that pesticide reduction is already accessible to farmers in most production situations. This would imply profound changes in market organization and trade balance. Mechanical weeding, an alternative curative strategy to control weeds. Credit: Pascal Farcycenter_img Journal information: Nature Plants Vasileiadis notes that the study results are important, because they show that it is possible for farmers to reduce their use of pesticides right now, without any real risk of financial loss. Increasing pollinator numbers and diversity a possible way to increase crop yields Crop diversity, a strong lever to reduce the reliance on pesticides. Credit: Gilles Louviot This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Punjabi by Nature

first_imgPhulkari is  the popular embroidery technique of Punjab and  also a happy blend of colours and culture. Mela Phulkari aims at reviving this art and will bring in a fresh whiff of all pretty and popular things from Punjab. Like colourful pakhis (hand fans), madanis (butter churner) tilla jutis (footwear), Manja (village cots), parandis (the festive hair accessory) and textiles and embroideries.The mela will also feature the sounds of  traditional musical instruments like sarangi, nagada, dilruba and dhad as well. The show will exhibit over 150-year-old phulkaris, some of which belongs to the brand, while a few that have been borrowed from the personal collections of royal families for public viewing. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Harinder Singh, the Creative Head of 1469 said,  ‘From agriculture to the handmade, from the interiors of a Punjabi household to the bylanes of the glorious city, and from the literary to the musical traditions, all objects on display will give an insight into the rich Punjabi heritage’.‘Phulkari Mela is not a profit-making extravaganza. It’s a cause that will touch the chords of people in the city. Phulkari is a metaphor not just as a textile on which the women of Punjab embroider their dreams and their lives but a leitmotif that represents the complex web with which the crafts and culture of the land are enmeshed. The fest is free for all, after all Punjabis are known for their largesse,’ Pande shared.When: 11-24 AprilWhere: Open Pal Court, India Habitat Centrelast_img read more

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After 3 days of search Forest dept fails to trace adult leopard

first_imgDarjeeling: Drones, trap cameras, cages and three days of search operations have failed to spot Sachin, the leopard. This has given rise to doubts whether Sachin is still at the premise of Bengal Safari Park.Sachin, an adult leopard had escaped from the leopard enclosure at Bengal Safari near Siliguri on Tuesday morning. The Safari authorities said clues suggested Sachin was hiding in the adjacent herbivore enclosure since his escape. More than a 100 forest personnel along with wildlife squads; four trained elephants and vehicles have been pressed into the search operations. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAround 15 cages have been set up inside the 91-hectare herbivore enclosure and seven trap cameras have also been set up and drones flown on Thursday in search of Sachin. Vinod Kumar Yadav, Member Secretary of the West Bengal Zoo Authority on Thursday stated: “We have left no stone unturned. All resources are being utilised to the full capacity. Let us see what is the result.” However, most of the personnel of the wildlife squad are of the opinion that Sachin has gone out of the Safari Park. The minute search operation, drones and bursting of fire crackers throughout the day would definitely spotted the adult leopard, they feel. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHowever, the Park authorities are of the opinion that Sanchin is hiding in the Park. “Leopards can camouflage themselves well. They can even hide for hours in bushes,” argued Ashim Chaki, Assistant Director. Meanwhile, pug marks were seen on Thursday in the 7th Mile area adjacent to the Park. Though the marks are that of a leopard, it cannot be said for sure that it belongs to Sachin. Wildlife authorities feel that Sachin has lost the ability to hunt owing to his long tenure at Leopard Rescue Centre in South Khayerbari in Jalpaiguri. He used to be fed in the Park. Forest personnel also feel that owing to lack of food since escape, Sachin could have gone weak. On top of that not a single herbivore including deer have been attacked by Sachin. Sachin’s escape has taken a toll on the visitor footfall. Thursday saw diminishing numbers. As visitors have been prohibited to roam the park on foot, business in canteens and restaurants has been considerably affected. Meanwhile Sourav, the other male leopard is being closely watched. He has been shifted from the open space of the enclosure to the night shelter. In June 2018, two male leopards were brought to the Safari. The duo had been caught from Satali Tea Estate in Alipurduar and were kept at Leopard rescue Centre in South Khayerbari in Jalpaiguri.last_img read more

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Bosses blamed more for their actions

first_imgBosses, take note. You may receive considerably more blame for the negative consequences of your actions than an employee, according to a new study. Theories to date had assumed that praise and blame were determined by the extent to which an individual is able to exercise causal influence over something. “That means the reason why the boss is criticised more severely than the employee is because it was he who made the decision and, therefore, his causal influence over the situation was more significant,” said Kai Kaspar from the University of Cologne in Germany. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHowever, the study, published in the journal Philosophical Psychology, demonstrated that, unlike previously assumed, the acting person’s social status plays an important role when it comes to the distribution of praise and blame, rather than the extent to which an individual has influenced a given situation.”In real life, a boss receives considerably more blame for the negative consequences of his actions than an employee,” added Pascale Willemsen, researcher at the Ruhr-Universitatt Bochum in Germany. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOn the other hand, an employee receives significantly more praise if his actions result in positive consequences than his superior, the findings showed.According to this theory, his social role as the boss is irrelevant.To test this assumption, the team conducted an online study with 209 test participants.The participants were asked to state their position on the following situation: rather than the boss, an employee makes an important decision in the company. Both employee and boss are aware that, while the decision is in the best interest of the enterprise, it will have a negative impact on the environment as a side-effect. Both explicitly state that they do not care about this side-effect.In the experiment, the boss received more criticism than the employee, even though he did not personally make the decision. “We now have ample reason to assume that the social function plays a significant role in determining how much praise or criticism we allocate to a person for any negative consequences of their actions,” the researchers explained.last_img read more

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Exergaming may slow down risk of Alzheimers

first_imgOlder adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who indulge in exergames – video games that are also a form of exercise – may experience significant improvement in complex thinking and memory skills, according to a study. Exergaming relies on technology that tracks body movement or reaction. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, showed that exergames may slow the debilitating effects of those with MCI, that is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Exergaming is one more thing that could be added to the arsenal of tools to fight back against this cruel disease,” said lead author Cay Anderson-Hanley from Union College in New York, US. “The results suggest that the best outcome for brain health may result when we do both: move it and use it,” Hanley added.The study included more than 100 seniors, with an average age of 78, who were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to pedal along a scenic virtual reality bike path several times a week where another group had to pedal while playing a video game. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe data were then compared against data collected from a separate group who played video games on a laptop but did not pedal, and also a group from the previous research who only rode a traditional stationary bike with no gaming component.The results showed that participants in both the group experienced significantly better executive function, which controls, in part, multi-tasking and decision making. Benefits were also observed for verbal memory and physical function.last_img read more

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VIT donates Rs 125 crore to TN CMs relief fund

first_imgVellore Institute of Technology, one of India’s premier private higher educational institutions has been in the forefront for extending help to all those sections who belong to the downtrodden and underprivileged sections. It has also mobilised resources and financial assistance to people who have been severely affected by natural calamities.Towards rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the Tamil Nadu government, and to help victims affected by Gaja Cyclone, especially in the coastal and central districts of the State, the VIT has extended a financial assistance of Rs 1.25 crore to the Chief Minister’s relief Fund. A cheque was personally handed over to the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami by Dr G Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor of VIT, recently. The amount has been mobilised from students, parents, staff and non-teaching staff who have given a portion of their salary as a contribution from the management of VIT. Dr Sekar Viswanathan, Sankar Viswanathan and G V Selvam, Vice Presidents of VIT were also present on the occasion. It may be recalled that during the massive damage caused by the floods in Kerala a few months ago, VIT mobilised relief materials worth Rs 24 lakh. VIT also gave Rs 1 crore as relief amount with Dr Viswanathan handing over a cheque personally to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.last_img read more

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South Dinajpur district administration hands over health cards

first_imgBALURGHAT: South Dinajpur district administration started distributing health cards to the beneficiaries who are under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme on Friday.District magistrate Nikhil Nirmal said: “We have started distributing the health cards to the beneficiaries under RSBY project undertaken by the state government. Any individual under the particular scheme will get cashless benefit up to Rs 5,00,000 through the health card.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAccording to an official source, five beneficiaries received health cards on Friday from the concerned DM in a programme at district administrative building. Around 100 cards have been prepared for beneficiaries. The department has targeted to handover approximately 1,00,000 cards within next 100 days. “The cardholders will immensely be benefitted under the health scheme. The poor and backward people who have financial compulsions and do not have the capacity to bear the costly medical expenses can take advantage through it. Soon, we will start distributing the cards at the block level. The entire process will be completed within upcoming 150 days positively,” Nirmal said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateApart from DM, additional district magistrate, Pranab Kumar Ghosh, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Dr Sukumar Dey and many dignitaries and officials attended the programme. Notably, the cardholders will receive pamphlet with the details of the scheme and the list of hospitals. The health scheme is for the poor. It aims to provide insurance coverage to the unorganised sector workers under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and their family members.last_img read more

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