R HEART U O Y S E H C T H AT T O U Y L I A D G IN AN INSPIR Vol. 1 No. 35 Pages 16 PUNE,TUESDAY MAY 29, 2012 Rs.4 WEATHER Sunrise .....................05:58 Sunset ......................19:07 Moonrise .................12:58 Moonset ..................01:21 Temperature Min ...........................23 0c Max ...........................36 0c
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Pic: Rahul Deshmukh
It is the problem of plenty! The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is expecting a record production of 252 lakh tonnes of foodgrains but lacks storage space. It can learn from Shekhar Gaikwad, joint secy in Mantralaya, who innovated a novel method of foodgrain distribution as addl collector, Nashik - 4,000 villages are under this scheme. Why store in warehouses, he says SAMARTH GOYAL
o go by the statistics regularly dished out by the government, there’s food aplenty in India. But,here lies the irony. A huge percentage of the Indian population has to live with pangs of hunger. That’s primarily because of the inefficient management of the public food distribution system wherein those in charge of ensuring that the food supplies reach the needy are often the ones who create the stumbling blocks, mostly out of personal greed. Recent data states that more than 12 crore families live below the poverty line in India – living their lives in a state of perpetual hunger. This is not to say, however, there is no silver lining. Things may gradually change if crusaders like Shekhar Gaikwad, for example, can achieve what they have set out to. A man with vast
Yet another horrendous mishap on the eway, late Sunday night, snuffed out 29 innocent lives. Chandmal Parmar, road accident prevention activist, speaks about why commuting here is a nightmare VINITA DESHMUKH
experience of having worked in government circles, Gaikwad knows the public distribution system (PDS) inside out. Therefore, he is one of the best persons to plug the loopholes that plague the system.
Gradual change Presently employed as joint secretary in Maharashtra’s chief minister’s office at the Mantralaya in Mumbai, Gaikwad has created a blog that explains and provides information about almost everything he has been working on as also his future plans. Above all, Gaikwad is the man who has brought about a huge change in the food distribution pattern, changing the channel from fair price shops to distributing it in bulk through the Gram Samitis of the villages. “This ensures transparency in the system,” he states. Planting The Seeds But how did it all begin? As Additional Collector, Nashik, Gaikwad visited a
number of villages in his district and met those who had grievances about the PDS. This included far-flung tribal hamlets where the reach of the foodgrains was dismal, to say the least. During the course of these personal interactions, he realised that there was an urgent need to set up a system that would guarantee 100 per cent timely distribution. However, there were problems. Though on one hand people were fed up with the fair price shops they did not wish to cancel their ration cards owing to age-old ties with the operators. On the other hand, they were ready to pay for the foodgrain supply in advance if the delivery could be ensured. This led Gaikwad to create a new system of ‘open’ distribution of foodgrains in the presence of the village community periodically, at say, every three to six months. The initiative was wellreceived by many in Nashik district and gradually spread
outwards to cover other districts too.
Due recognition given In fact, such was the success of the scheme that it gained Gaikwad recognition at the state level and he was chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Administrative Award 2008 of Maharashtra. As of now the scheme is being implemented in more than 4,000 villages across 10 districts and is gaining momentum in other districts too. Speaking about the experience, Gaikwad says, “What has given me immense satisfaction is the look of happiness on the faces of the villagers who can now be assured of their supply of foodgrains. One of the families that have begun to get a regular supply told me that they had never seen so much of foodgrains in their whole life. And some were so unsure that they thought they would have to pay extra while collecting their supply.” >> Continued on page 5
Store foodgrains with people. How Shekhar Gaikwad did it in 4,000 villages of Maharashtra z Foodgrains under Public Distribution System (PDS) do not go to ration shops but at the village panchayat community centre z The foodgrains are distributed in standardised sacks of 50kg each family z On the day decided by the oﬃcer, one villager takes the responsibility of collecting money from all ration card holders of the village z Once the money is deposited in the state government treasury, the entire supply of foodgrain is brought to the community centre z Villagers line up and take their 50kg sack of foodgrains z This helps in saving 10-15 per cent of foodgrains as there is no scope
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Dangerous Pune-Mumbai Expressway
Life 365 is more than just a daily that packages `life’ in its 16 pages. It is a platform to understand your city better in terms of the good work silently being done by hundreds of good samaritans. Their stories of
for furnishing bogus ration cards z Shekhar Gaikwad says that people store their foodgrains with more responsibility than government warehouses z In case of excess foodgrains, Gaikwad recommends distributing the yearly quota to each ration card holder, to reduce strain on FCI’s warehouses
how they lend an extending hand could propel you to contribute your bit to the society. In this progressive city of Pune, the desire to the serve the society is very strong, as we learnt from interaction with citizens.
z What is your observation regarding this superway, on the backdrop of Sunday’s terrible mishap which occured in the Khalapur stretch? Sunday’s horrendous mishap was a collision from the rear end. Although it is true that the truck mowed down people who had alighted from the bus, probably the bus did not have the necessary reflectors at the rear end, which would have warned the truck that it had halted because of a technical snag. In 2006, I had approached the ministry of road, surface transport and highways to
make retro-reflector tapes compulsory for all large-sized commercial vehicles. In 2008, the ministry issued a circular with these specifications for retro-reflector tapes: white for the front of the vehicle; yellow for the side and; red for the rear side of the vehicle. Despite this, there was no implementation. In 2008, the ministry issued a notification, thus formalising it. Yet the highway authorities showed no concern. Thereafter, I again approached the ministry after which another notification was issued by it in 2011. Even after this, the implemention is barely 10-15 per cent. Sunday’s accident is very unfortunate. Perhaps it could have been avoided. The authorities must now be very strict about this notification. z In the last 10 years, over 2,000 mishaps have taken place. Please comment. Generally drivers are often
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ignorant of the manner of driving on the expressway. They do not care about speed limits which are 80kmph; they do not know how to overtake and change lanes; and they drive for long hours, leading to fatigue and fall asleep for that split second when the vehicle goes out of control and often leads to crashes. Other reasons include absence of service roads at Malavali and Kamshet near Lonavala, which connect to the expressway, lack of enforcement by the police to control speed and tyre bursts due to high speeding. A study conducted by me and my team of the road and transport committee of the
MCCIA (Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture) found 20 accident spots between Pune and Lonavala. These are mostly on the sharp turns and at the starting point of tunnels. Selfdiscipline during driving is the only solution to avoid such accidents. z Tell us more about the tyre burst-related accidents. Complaints about accidents due to tyre bursts began in 2001 and they were valid as the capacity of Indian tyres was 10 minutes for a continuous ride at the speed of 80kmph. I began correspondence with leading tyre manufacturers requesting them to design tyres for the expressway as they required a different kind of frictionresistant strength. Initially they resisted but subsequently they increased the tyre capacity to run continuously for one hour at 100kmph. >> Continued on page 5
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