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Diamonds in Nagaland? Very likely, say scientists

Historically, diamonds in India were found only in alluvial deposits in Guntur and Krishna district of the Krishna River delta in Southern India. Currently, one of the most prominent Indian mines is located at Panna in Madya Pradesh state.

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Diamonds

Bengaluru, Jan 18 : The northeastern border state of Nagaland, recently projected by a geologist as a promising place to prospect for gold, may be springing another glittering surprise.

The “ophiolite” rocks of the state, that is a part of the Indo-Myanmar ranges, may potentially hold “microdiamonds” — diamonds of small size, less than one millimetre — according to an Indo-German study published in a recent issue of the journal Current Science.

The authors — Bibhuranjan Nayak of the CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology in Bhubaneswar, and Franz Michael Meyer of Aachen University in Germany — say that indications for occurrence of “microdiamonds” has come from their discovery of the presence of a manganese-bearing mineral called “manganilmenite” in the ophiolite rocks they studied in the Pokphur area of Nagaland.

“Ophiolites” are slices of what were once the ocean floor but were thrust on to the continental crust more than 65 million years ago by the action of what geologists call plate tectonics, a mechanism that gave rise to the Himalayas.

“Manganilmenite is a rare mineral and it is considered as a diamond indicator,” Nayak told this correspondent, adding that presence of this mineral has proved the occurrence of diamonds in the host rocks in many localities in the world.

“We are perhaps the first to report its presence in the Indian subcontinent,” Nayak said. “Hence we expect that the ophiolite rocks of northeast India could host diamonds, especially microdiamonds.”

“In the Pokphur study area, the host rock of ‘manganilmenite’ is a magnetite body that is a part of the ophiolite and occurs as discontinuous thin sheets extending about a kilometre with thickness varying from 5 to 12 metres with an average outcrop width of about 300 metres,” Nayak said. “However, ophiolitic rocks are widespread in the Indo-Myanmar ranges.”

Historically, diamonds in India were found only in alluvial deposits in Guntur and Krishna district of the Krishna River delta in Southern India. Currently, one of the most prominent Indian mines is located at Panna in Madya Pradesh state.

According to Nayak, “ophiolites” are a newly documented host of diamonds on the Earth, and abundant diamonds have been separated from these rocks in China and Russia, and diamond grains have been recently discovered in ophiolites of Luobusa in Tibet and Myitkyina in Myanmar.

“Since the Nagaland-Manipur ophiolite rocks are a part of the Indo-Myanmar ranges and the geologic conditions of their formation are similar to those of the ophiolites of Tibet and Myanmar, the possibility of occurrence of microdiamonds in these rocks cannot be ruled out,” Nayak said.

How about finding bigger diamond crystals? According to Nayak, large-size diamonds have not been reported from ophiolites so far, “but one cannot deny the possibility because all mysteries of the Earth have not yet been unravelled”.

Naresh Ghose, a retired geologist of Patna University who two years ago had predicted the possible occurrence of gold in Nagaland, is optimistic. Asked to comment on the study, Ghose told this correspondent: “I confirm the findings about (microdiamonds) and congratulate the authors.”

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Business

India’s April industrial production output up 5%

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industrial production output

New Delhi, June 12: India’s industrial output rose by 4.9 per cent in April 2018 from a rise of 4.57 per cent in March, official data showed on Tuesday.

According to the data furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the corresponding growth during April 2017 stood at 3.2 per cent.

“The General Index for the month of April 2018 stands at 123, which is 4.9 percent higher as compared to the level in the month of April 2017,” CSO said in the “Quick estimates of index of Industrial Production”.

“The cumulative growth for the period April-March 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 4.3 per cent.”

IANS

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Business

McLeod Russel sign MoU to dispose of some Assam tea gardens

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

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McLeod Russel

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) World’s largest tea producer McLeod Russel India on Tuesday signed an MoU with city-based M.K Shah Exports Ltd to dispose of eight tea gardens in Assam for a consideration of Rs 331 crore.

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

“…the company has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with M. K. Shah Exports Limited, having registered at Kolkata on June 5, 2018,” the tea producer said in a regulatory filing.

These gardens contributed Rs 192.76 crore to its turnover in the last fiscal, which was over 12 per cent of its last year’s revenue.

“The company proposes to utilise the sale proceeds in repayment of certain high interest bearing debts, for buying back company’s own shares from the shareholders of the company to the tune of Rs.100 crore…and making investment for diversification into packet tea business,” the company had said earlier.

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Analysis

Is your building earthquake safe? Probably not

Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category.

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Under construction buildings

Though earthquakes have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country, Indian real estate and infrastructure sector still has lots more to learn — and implement — to ensure the safety of life and property.

Although structural requirements and concerned technologies are incorporated in the building process, sector players say many modern technologies used worldwide are yet to be widely used in the country.

According to V.K. Gehlot, Director, National Centre for Seismology, “base isolation” and “dampers” are the major technologies to make buildings strong enough to resist seismic vibrations. But they are not widely used in India because of the cost involved and requirement of frequent maintenance.

Through base isolation, engineers decouple the building or the superstructure from its substructure which rests on ground, thus protecting the building during an earthquake.

Dampers on the other hand work as shock absorbers and minimise the magnitude of vibrations transmitted to the building from the ground.

The cost difference between a building with and without dampers is approximately Rs 350 per square feet, according to Major Sandeep Shah, Managing Director of Taylor Devices India.

The company is a manufacturer of earthquake-resistant equipment and he says “all developers” in the country are aware of the technology.

Shah said the company’s devices have been used in Terminal-2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, lobby block building of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, and New Udaan Bhavan at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.

He pointed out that “at present none of the buyers are aware that by using dampers buildings can be protected and would remain habitable even after a major earthquake. That may be the reason why no one (buyer) is asking for such buildings.” But once they are made aware, Shah was sure they would want the technology in the building they are going to live in.

According to Aunirban Saha, Director (Marketing, Construction and Sustainability) of the Saha Groupe of Companies, “most of real estate projects are designed to the grade of ‘Earthquake Resistant — Collapse Prevention’ “. That means that in the event of a major earthquake, the building would not collapse and there won’t be any loss of life. However, the building itself would not be in a habitable condition and would need to be demolished and reconstructed, he explained.

The next higher standard is “Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category,” Saha added.

The highest category of structural safety is that of “Earthquake Resistant — Operational”. Under this, there would be no damage to the property or any injury caused to its occupants irrespective of the magnitude of the earthquake.

Saha said most developers go for the first category of “Collapse Prevention” as they find it more cost-effective. Most home buyers are not aware of earthquake-related safety grades, he added.

The higher structural grades, Saha said, made more sense in today’s market scenario for commercial real estate because such properties are preferred by big multinational companies.

According to Dikshu C. Kukreja, Principal Architect at C.P. Kukreja Associates, “all leading architects of India have the knowledge and skill about the technologies available to incorporate them in our designs and construction.”

Other than dampers, structural concepts such as bracing — where X-shaped braces strengthen the columns of the buildings — and couplers — where bars are joined together — help in absorbing movement during an earthquake.

Siesmologist Gehlot says that earthquake resistance should be enforced as a default, even for small structures. Today, when building a house, 95 per cent people do not bother about earthquakes. “Our usual way of construction is that we will give it to a mason and they will start constructing,” he adds.

All that needs to change, he emphasises.

By Rituraj Baruah

(Rituraj Baruah can be contacted at [email protected])

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