Page 1

1-7 March 2013

Vol. 2 No. 28  Pages 24  ` 7

Global Indians Connect Global India Connection (GIC), an exclusive Club for NRIs and expats, helps the ‘new arrivals’ settle in well in the City. Besides networking opportunities, this social club also provides a chance to mingle with the local community.

...Pg 7

'Fake' Maids?

Getting good domestic help has always been a daunting task. As the City struggles to keep up with a rising demand, a number of ‘fake’ agencies have sprouted – taking advantage of the shortage.

...Pg 8

Global Photo Features

FG introduces a special series on Global Photo Features. This week we bring you two unusual Museums – Art In Paradise, and the Ringling Museum Of Art. Art in Paradise is an interactive Art Museum in Pattaya, Thailand, that encourages visitors to “interact” with the artwork, take photographs, and ham it up for the camera. The Ringling Museum of Art houses the Art collection of John Ringling, founder of the Ringling Brothers Circus.

...Pg 23

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FG had carried a story on the proposed new Societies Act in Vol 1, Issue 51 (August 10 to 16, 2012). Most of the apprehensions remain. The State seems to not care for residents’, and even experts’, opinions – whether for this Act, or for the Master Plan.  The cases in the courts are piling up. Meanwhile, the scam continues, in many forms.  Gurgaon may turn out to be the biggest G scam - bigger than any 2G or 3G.

The Haryana Apartment Ownership Act (HAOA), 1983 comprehensively covers all issues of ownership, management and maintenance of Apartments, in condominiums. But now, with no need for a change – only effective implementation w a s needed - a completely new Act has been brought in. All apartment societies now need to be registered under the new Haryana Registration and Regulation of Societies Act, 2012 – by March 29, 2013. Of real concern is that many points that were comprehensively covered under HAOA are not even mentioned in the new Societies Act. So will we have the registration and regulation of the property under one Act, while issues of ownership of Common Areas & Facilities, and management and maintenance of condominiums, will be under reference of the HAOA Act? Is this an act of deliberate confusion? There seem to be ‘motivations’ here – of not wishing to have apartments operate under the HAOA. The rights of builders are seemingly more important than those of the apartment owners and residents. Could the issue of the clear title of the Common Areas and Facilities conferred on apartment owners under the HAOA be the reason for this change? The old Societies Act provided no such clarification, leave alone benefit, for apartment owners. Could the 300-member maximum limit for a Society have been put there to take care of a specific case(s)? Further, by introducing a seemingly innocent clause of maximum 300 members in any RWA, and the concept of Collegiums, is the Act making a base for an alternate RWA from the builder's side, in all large condominiums. And with the Registrar being the sole adjudicator – with no legal recourse! – there is ample scope for foul play.

ASHA PANDEY

{Inside}

A Sinister Act

Could the new Act itself have been made to take care of some ongoing investigations or proceedings? Because these would now be continued in accordance with the provisions of the new Act - and under the same all-powerful Registrar system. Contd on p 5 

Commissioner In Charge { Maninder Dabas / Atul Sobti / FG }

O

ur new Police Commissioner Alok Mittal is no stranger to the City. He was earlier the Joint Commissioner, Police in Gurgaon, before taking charge as IGP Rohtak Range. Commissioner, Police Mittal talked to Friday Gurgaon on a wide range of topics and issues. It was heartening to see the ‘top cop’ take up all questions, and reply in a transparent and positive manner. On certain matters, where he has not yet applied himself, he regretted that he had not much to say – yet (eg. MG Road traffic plan). CP Mittal: I am happy to be back here. Gurgaon is a rapidly growing, cosmopolitan city, which also has its challenges. The role of the police is fairly clear-cut – to control crime (especially against women), and traffic. FG: With regular brazen crime taking place on the

roads (snatchings, eve-teasing, car-jacking), what specific strategy have you planned? CP: With far better and more mobility today, and with women fairly equally joining

the workforce, crimes on the road have increased across the country. The proliferation of Mobiles, Vehicles and Weapons has also made crime ‘easier’, and made criminals more ‘potent’. Our strategy is to

reduce their mobility, track the mobiles and make it difficult for them to obtain weapons. We would have to accept a little traffic pile up at times, when we undertake random checking of vehicles. PRAKHAR PANDEY

P3

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

FG: The residents still do not feel comfortable in visiting a police station, probably feeling that little action will be taken. CP: I am very clear that every case brought to any member of the Gurgaon Police needs to be recorded. Yes, policemen all over the country (and even the world) are reluctant to do this, but it is a must – for us to recognize the extent and level of actual crime. Not only this, the FIR should clearly mention the correct section of the law, and (where relevant) the correct value of property stolen. I personally am drilling this in, to every policeman, at every meeting. Contd on p 6 


02

Coming Up

1-7 March 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–28  1-7 March 2013

Editor:

WORKSHOP  THEATRE NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Theatre

Fly High, Firefly! @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: March 8 & 9 Time: 7:30 pm Tickets: Rs. 300

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Correspondent:

Maninder Dabas

Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Jit Kumar Sr. Sub Editor:

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Designer:

Virender Kumar

Sr. Circulation Execs.: Himanshu Vats Syed Mohd Komail Circulation Execs.:

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Accts. & Admin Mgr: Deba Datta Pati Asst. Manager Media Marketing: Bhagwat Kaushik Sr. Exec Media Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Ad Sales Exec :

Amit Agarwal

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

Run

The Duet’s 5 km Run @ Leisure Valley HUDA Ground, Sector 29 Date: March 3 Time: 6:30 am

O

rganised by Run With Me Foundation, this unique 5 km run is for partners only – the partnership could be of male & female, husband & wife, expert & rookie, youngest & oldest runners. If you can’t find a running partner, you can volunteer...or cheer for the participants! Registration Fee: Rs. 200/- per couple

Food

Lantern Food Festival @ Cafe Bali Hai, 130, 1st Floor, Cross Point, DLF Phase 4 Date: Up to March 21 Time: Noon to Midnight

Burn The Dance Floor @ Rhino, South Point Mall, DLF Golf Course Road, Sector 53 Date: March 2 Time: 10:00 pm

Music

An Evening of Light Music & Ghazals @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: March 6 Time: 7:30 pm

A

theatrical celebration of womanhood, comprising 5 playlets. Directed by Vanessa Ohri and Farah Singh, this production is the modern woman’s mirror to herself and society (suitable for 15 years & above). Contact: 9810059550, 2715000

Nightlife

A

n evening of light music & ghazals by Pitamber Pandey, a disciple of Vinod Kumar & Madhup Mudgal. Contact: 9810059550, 2715000

The 60s Rock Revival @ Attitude Alive, Supermart, DLF Phase IV Date: March 1 Time: 9:00 pm

Stand-Up Comedy

N

oted DJ Barkha brings you the best of Bollywood and Electronic music. Get into the groove as she spins out popular numbers that will make you burn the dance floor. Contact: 9560700123

Lying But Honestly @ Epicentre, Apparel house, Sector 44 Date: March 2 Time: 7:30 pm Tickets: Rs. 350, 250 & 150

letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com

FORM IV

adsales@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

FG Invites Citizens n Are you interested and concerned

about civic and social happenings and issues around you? n Are you motivated to do something positive for society? n Are you interested to also write, and express what you see, hear, feel? If yes, write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com, with a brief background of yourself, with contact number(s). 2–8 March 2012

` Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24

7

19

RNI No. HARENG/2011/393

For The Other Half

P3

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

{Inside}

It lives in two urgaon is a paradox. the Naunequal halves, whereinthe Great as tional Highway-8 acts Wall. The core Divide – like the Berlin the new subbut of the City is rotting; – with malls, gated urbs shine like stars and clubs setting colonies, golf courses never before seen a standard of life

T

he third in our astrology series – featuring Libra, Scorpio and Saggitarius.

...Pg 16

Tantric Art

W

e feature Shobha Broota, a 68year old ‘young’ and energetic artist.

...Pg 17

Master Recipe

Prakhar PaNdey

G

Astrology

in India. forces that It is this flux of extreme balance – the is threatening to unraveland helpful for a balance that is natural and for civiliwith; great cities to evolve attain glory. sations to develop and urban core, the Gurgaon’s rotting within the City, concretised villages hinterland that and the vast rural is under once comprised Guru-gram, – under and 210 Panchayats threat of being submerged Nagar, Manesar); a Millennium of identity the new that cover 291 villages. a week with in ‘New GurgaFriday Gurgaon spent City, with its capital Meena, checkthe role of the State on’. It is here that Deputy Commissioner will is executed – ensure that the forces comes into play; to ing how the State’s that has known all the populace. of development touch in this historic area, since the Commissioner Gurgaon Deputy some form of governance of Being is the point man of Guru Dronacharya. power, P.C Meena, who in the Dis- time capital seat of the State Administration close to Delhi, the Gurgaon is much been influenced by trict, concurs that the District has also itself. The District and social developments political more than the City the viz. Gurgaon includes 3 sub-divisionsPataudi; 5 teh- taking place there. Contd on p 8  ,and (North and South) Pataudi, Farukh sils (Gurgaon, Sohna,

Please Visit Us At en Emergency Servicem www.fridaygurgaon.com P Ask Your Newspaper Vendor For Friday Gurgaon. M

asterchef Top 5 Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for FG readers.

...Pg 18

little, for so long, with so We have done so much,do anything with nothing. to we are now qualified

Let’s Be Civil

avan Choudhary, Managing Director of Vygon, speaks on the need for residents to become responsible citizens. ...Pg 21

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

Cinema Listings & Helplines ...Pg 7 The Week That Was

...Pg 7

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

service worth its lmost every significant call-in. Whether it salt has a telephone information is food (or liquor) delivery, civic and reservations, services, bookings on cells... there is a line facilities, grievance call in. But when there which people can or a fire – there is an accident, a robbery that people dial is only one type of service Services. in a hurry. Emergency themselves count people Most haven’t had a fortunate that they for they had to ask situation in which who work in these people the for but help; is distraught people services, helping it is Police yday affair. Whether

A

100 – Police Emergency main Police

Line

Control Location: The Mini-SecretarRoom (PCR) in Gurgaon’s lines chirping, phone iat. Wireless sets staff they’re set down, ringing as soon as papers – the very rushing about with air hums with activity. who is the Inspector Rishipal, the Operations, says senior in-charge of given day, we receive seriously, “On any a 3,000 calls.” In between 2,500 to from which he can closed glass cubicle he manages the day-tosurvey all activity, PCR. “We have stateday operations of the equipment, and I can of-the-art servers and has one of the safely say that Gurgaon the country.” in most advanced PCRs

6

pcoming band Avi & The Uprising presents the unforgettable rock era of the 60s. Along with their own music, the band will be belting out rave numbers of singers like – Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, The Doors, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, CCR, Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Janis Joplin.

Nightlife

editor@fridaygurgaon.com

events@fridaygurgaon.com

U

A

s part of the Lantern Festival (a festival that officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations), a special food menu has been whipped up—consisting of black moss sea weed, dried bean curd, bamboo shoots, whole fish, whole chicken. Each dish symbolises a part of the celebrations. Contact: 0124-4217154

A

comic one-man performance by Christopher Daruwala. A humorous evening on lies, and the role they play in our daily lives. Contact: 9810059550, 2715000

Aesthetics & Women All Are Invited for A Group Exhibition On The Occasion of Women's Day

at Epicentre Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon Near Huda Metro Station by Manjusha Ganguly Qazi M Raghib Mannju Karmakar 8th - 10th March 11am to 7pm 9818200470

Statement about ownership and other particulars about newspaper (Friday Gurgaon) to be published in the first issue every year after the last day of February 1. Place of publication: 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sohna Road, Gurgaon, Haryana 2.

Periodicity of its publication:

Weekly

3. Printer’s Name : Atul Sobti Nationality : Indian Address : H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana 4. Publisher’s Name : Atul Sobti Nationality : Indian Address : H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana 5. Editor’s Name : Atul Sobti Nationality : Indian Address : H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana 6.

Names and addresses of individuals who own the newspaper and partners or shareholders holding More than one percent of the total capital.

Sl. Shareholders Name Address I Atul Sobti H909,SouthCity,Vill Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana II Emerging Securities Pvt Ltd. 106, Oriental House, Gulmohar Park Commercial Complex, New Delhi-110049 III Meher Bajwa A 14 / 16 DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana I, Sh. Atul Sobti, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Date : 29/02/2013 Signature of Publisher Signed


1-7 March 2013

C eleb W atch

03

SURGEing Ahead

E

icher Motors Limited was pleased to present a tractor to SURGE (Society for Urban Regeneration of Gurgaon) at the the Bio-diversity Park. IamGurgaon, an NGO working with SURGE, will use the tractor for the maintenance of the Park.

Musical Tribute

T

o commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, an audio-video programme was presented at the Epicentre. Participants included Minoti Chatterjee, Averee Chourey, Jayati Ghosh, among others. The Programme was scripted by Aruna Chakravarti.

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Poonam For Kushti

C

ontroversy's child Poonam Pandey visited the City to lend her support to the sport 'Kushti' – that might get eliminated from the Olympics 2020. Poonam, along with Indian wrestler Rajiv Tomar, was spotted at a local Mall supporting the sport.

Send an email to subscription@fridaygurgaon.com Pay Online at www.fridaygurgaon.com Circulated only in Gurgaon. Special offer for rest of NCR: ` 300 for 6 months (delivery through courier)


04

1-7 March 2013

WORKSHOP MUSIC NIGHTLIFE ART

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ CM Hooda, at a Vikas Rally at Bawal, makes several announcements: Bawal will be a Sub- Division; the local Regional College of Hisar Agriculture University will re-open from July this year; there will be a Woman’s College at Pali, a PHC Hospital at Khori, and a Polytechnic at Dhamlawas. CM gives Rs. 10 crores for the development of Bawal constituency, and dedicates 6 projects of over Rs. 43 crores – including a local Stadium, an Anaj Mandi, a new Bus Stand, a Veterinary Hospital and the expansion of the ITI. ♦ A 51-year-old security guard rapes an 8 year old. ♦ School Bus driver held for drunk driving – 55 children could have been in peril. ♦ 2 minor girls still missing, from Arushi Home, Sec 21. ♦ Minor girls need not visit a police station to report an offence – the police will go to their house. ♦ A Delhi property dealer is allegedly pushed from the 22nd floor of an under-construction building in Sector 58. ♦ A 24-year-old man kills self with a country pistol. ♦ A man is run over and killed by a train, as he crosses the tracks wearing headphones. ♦ 2 youth are stabbed to death near old Railway Road. ♦ 4 wanted criminals are held after an encounter; they were planning to free a prisoner from Tihar Jail. ♦ About 20 people are held for drinking in public, outside liquor vends. ♦ A realtor goes missing, allegedly kidnapped for ransom – but shows up 2 days later. ♦ A Delhi man is arrested for violent behaviour at Sahara Mall. ♦ Haryana Victim Compensation Scheme 2013 announced – with amounts varying from Rs 25,000 to Rs 3 lakhs.

EXHIBITION

DANCE

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♦ An inter-state gang of wheel thieves is busted, near Sohna; it is found that they are involved in over 100 theft cases, as well as murder. ♦ A job aspirant youth is duped of Rs 50,000. ♦ A youth is robbed of a laptop and a mobile. ♦ A new police post is set up at MG Road. ♦ 3rd swine flu death in Gurgaon – now 2 women, 1 man. Total cases – 65. ♦ City Bus now will run a Maruti Kunj line, from HUDA City Centre – 14th route. ♦ Kingdom of Dreams gets a Rs 13 crores notice from HUDA. ♦ EWS construction is stayed by the Court, at Close South premises. The residents had petitioned the Court. ♦ There is now an e-payment facility for Road Tax. ♦ Residents write to Supreme Court, against the new HUDA-DLF Road. ♦ DC Meena, on a surprise visit, gets illegal colonies near IMT Manesar demolished.

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T PIC OF THE WEEK

'Can Gurgaonites help in the security of women in the City? How?'

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I wish to share few thoughts on this, but before this let me tell you I am a retired professor and principal from university of Delhi and have been associated with several organisations. As my specialisation is "Development", I have worked on Rural, Urban & Gender developmental issues. Now, my views on providing Security to women. 1) We as civil society should form group from every colony of men and women in which personnel of the administration especially like from police, officers of women and child development department, NGO's, our municipal counsellors, members of Mahila mandals / local bodies, should fix timings of rounds to be taken of vulnerable public places at such timings when women have to commute or come out of their houses. Any person whose activities are beyond parameters of civilised behaviour and who is causing any type of harassment to any girl or woman should be stopped by such a collective group. 2) All over the city campaign should be launched to sensitise the masses at public places through street plays, through street singers, educating people about various laws that exist for safety of women and punishment for the offenders. 3) Gender sensitisation meetings should take place in schools, colleges, offices and those willing to impart training should be involved. 4) Open house meetings with officers responsible for law keeping, to be organised on fixed days and timings, without cancelling them due to preoccupation of the officers. 5) Provide street lights, repair roads, provide safe public transport like  special buses  for women only with GPS and CCTV's. Let public private partnership on no profit no loss to be introduced for this. 6) There are several liquor shops, though rich source of revenue for the treasury, their timings should be regulated. Sale of alcohol to minors strictly to be banned. 7) Publish success stories of members of civil society who help in prevention of violence/ crime against women to motivate others to come forward and lend helping hand. 8)  Involve Retired Gov't / private officers persons who are willing to help in community activities. There  are several other views and methods which can be under taken if collective brain storming takes place but for all this first and foremost thing is, to love our city, be proud to be its residents and lend helping hand with pleasure for providing safety  and respect to our sisters, daughters and all women in our city. Dr. Rama Patnayak Resident of DLF - 1, Gurgaon


1-7 March 2013

 Contd from p 1

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

A

part from using the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’, the British created a web of laws and Acts that were used to handle the tension among the Indian subjects, and strengthen the roots of the ‘Raj’ in this country. The present Haryana government seems to have taken a leaf out of the book, and decided to introduce new rules and acts (without implementing the existing ones), that aim to perpetuate its dominance, as well as that of its allies – many of the builders and real estate developers, who appear to be even more powerful than the imperialists of yore. A quiet change of one of the oldest Acts in the country is all set to bring turbulence to the city of Gurgaon and the State itself. The new Haryana Registration And Regulation of Societies Act (2012) has some significant changes with regards to the functioning of the State’s Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) of condominiums, builder colonies and plotted houses. The biggest change is for the condominiums, which were earlier regulated by the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act (1983). They have also been brought under the purview of the new Societies Act {under Chapter III, Section 6 (x)}, which means the functioning of most condominium RWAs are set for a shake-up, to say the least. First off, the earlier Societies Act (1860) has been repealed. Although not repealing the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act in toto, the new Act calls for changes in the apartment societies. Now, regardless of current validity of apartment RWAs, they will have to be re-registered under the new Societies Act (2012). In fact, all societies that have not been registered under the old Societies Act have to also follow suit. Why the existing registration cannot be recognised under the new Act has not been explained. Also, some of the RWAs in Gurgaon have not yet been registered at all, prominent being some of the ‘builderappointed’ cases. The decision is being described as another attempt to rein in the Apartments' RWAs, which of late have become a major headache for the builders. Civil society activists suspect that, hit by a series of legal cases, wherein the courts have favoured the residents, the government, in truck with developers, has brought the ‘New’ Societies Act into play, so that more confusion could be created, and apartment owners are denied their (rightful) share in ownership and profit – as defined under HAOA. The New Societies Act 2012, while including some bye-laws of the HAOA Act 1983, does not mention the registration and regulation of property, ownership of common areas, and who will be the principal authority – viz. the Registrar General, or DG, DTCP. Apartment owners allege that since HAOA is clear about

C over S tory

A Sinister Act the ownership of common areas, which are coveted by the builders, it is being diluted as part of a conspiracy. They fear that the new Act will also lead to the creation of bogus RWAs; and by providing no legal recourse, it leaves ample scope for manipulation. As per the new Societies Act, all RWAs will be treated as NGOs, and these will need to be registered with the Registrar of Societies, as with any other welfare organisation. The RWAs registered under the HAOA will have to be freshly registered with the District Registrar. Critics argue that RWAs under HAOA are ‘For Profit’ organisations – which maintain the condominiums, control the common areas, and work towards generating a profit that has to be shared among the owners of the apartments. Neither the new Societies Act 2012 nor the District Registrar makes it clear as to how the different definitions and rules of these two separate regulations will be reconciled. The new Societies Act, unable to ignore HAOA, considers the same as only guidelines, which are inserted in isolation and unrelated to rest of the Societies Act. This duality of laws, authorities and bye-laws is

a perfect recipe for disaster, warn experts. Asserting that the current move of the State government was against the law, and would be challenged in the court, Colonel Sarvdaman Oberoi of Mission Gurgaon Development says that the decision to mix the Apartment’s Act with the Societies Act was conflicting, and meant to create confusion. “The Societies Act takes away the voting rights of the apartment owners, and this is patently unjust,” he asserts. It has been made clear that the new Act will prevail over the HAOA Act 1983 in case of conflict between the two – which has significant implications. Throwing a complicated challenge to the residents, the New Societies Act fixes the maximum number of members at 300; if there are more members than this, the RWA will have to find a method to form a collegium. These collegiums will then re-

Although March 29, 2013 is the deadline for registration of all the societies, this period can be further extended for six months on the payment of a fee.

Expert-Speak “The Societies Act (2012) is very complicated, to say the least,” says B.K. Dhawan. Let alone the ordinary people and residents, even officials will be hard-pressed to understand the rules, he says. The resultant confusion and chaos will further muddle the already entangled builderresident-DTCP mess. The Apartments Act (1983) of Haryana is a piece of legislation specifically designed for the needs of apartment societies, and it cannot be absorbed into another Act that encompasses every other society in the State. The aims, target audiences, and intent of the Apartments Act and the Societies Act are vastly different. “The Apartment Act is about giving civic powers to the residents of condominium societies. The Societies Act is not applicable for condominiums at all. It does not allow societies to earn and make profits; but condominium RWAs would be able to exist only when they earn from common areas and facilities,” he reiterates. Secondly, the Act contemplates centralisation of authority and power (in the Registrar, the District Registrar and the Registrar General), but it should instead be about decentralisation of power (as described in the Apartments Act). If the Societies Act is truly implemented, the Registrar’s office would be engulfed in notices, letters and complaints from the hundreds of societies in Gurgaon City itself, Dhawan says. “Even definitions are not given in the Act. There is nothing mentioned about the responsibilities of the Registrar, District Registrar and the Registrar General. “What is their role, and responsibilities, towards the apartment societies?” Or, for that matter, any housing society? The new Societies Act does not say how the builder is responsible for not completing the project as promised, or what rights does the RWA have, if it has to bring these issues to official notice. Or whether the Registrar of Societies is a competent authority to listen to these cases. The premise is that the society RWA has received everything that the builder has promised, opines an RWA office-bearer sarcastically. Importantly, in existing court cases, will the Apartment Act be set aside, to make way for the new Societies Act as the new ‘rule book’?” The surprise factor is the breadth of authority of the Registrar’s office in the affairs of an RWA. The new Act says that the Registrar has to be informed of almost every activity – right from announcing elections, to notification of winners, to holding mundane general meetings. The Registrar ‘has the power to hear and resolve any dispute in respect of elections,

place the general body, and elect the governing council, or an executive committee. In addition, the collegium has been given a tenure of 3 years, during which the general body will have no role to play. When asked why such a complicated method has been incorporated in the Act, District Registrar Gurgaon Hardayal Sehrawat says that the move to fix the maximum membership to 300 will make it easy for societies to function. “The only reason RWAs have been asked to register under the New Societies Act, is that earlier the Act was silent on the registration of these societies. Neither the 1860 Act nor the Apartments Act spoke about the registering authority. But this anomaly has been corrected now,” he adds. But Sehrawat is also not clear as to what will happen if a single condominium registers multiple RWAs. The Societies Act allows any seven members to come together and get a society registered – whether it is an RWA or a social NGO does not matter to the Registrar. Bhawani Shankar Tripathy of Mission Gurgaon Development says that objections being raised by the RWAs are valid, and the government should take these seriously. “Multiple RWAs

and continuance of office by any elected member or office bearer’. If any dispute with the Registrar’s decisions arises, the matter can be raised to the Registrar General of Haryana, whose decision will be final and binding on all parties. The Registrar even has the power to call for a general meeting of the society’s RWA. If there is strife between the members of the governing body of the RWA, the Registrar can also supersede and appoint an Administrator to carry out a fresh election. This means that the Registrar can be the de facto authority in almost all matters. If the Registrar, on a report from the District Registrar, considers that an amendment of the (society’s) Memorandum or Bye-laws is necessary, he can direct the society to make an amendment. Changes made, again, will be ‘final and binding’. There are also some contradictions. Point (iv) in Section 37 of Chapter VII says: ‘Any resolution passed by the governing body/general body/Collegium, which is not consistent with the Act, shall be (considered) invalid’ – the Act does not state who is the competent authority to decide that a resolution is against the spirit of the Act, and therefore invalid. The answer would again be the Registrar, who has been given most of the authority to pass judgement on almost every facet. “Were some ‘motivated’ people to take charge, every decision would be taken out of the RWA’s hands, and rendered appeal-less. Simultaneously, a point states that no action or resolution of the RWA can be considered invalid, just because the RWA does not have the capability to carry it out. The clarification, on how a resolution can be considered both void and accepted, is not answered in the Act. No suit, prosecution, or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Registrar General or any other official, for anything done or purporting to have been done in good faith, under the Societies Act. Were an unscrupulous official, in connivance with builders, to take decisions against the interests of the society and the people in it, there can be no legal recourse. Also, there is no way to appeal against an official’s decision. Going up the ladder would mean that a case has to be lodged against the Government of Haryana. The immunity of almost every official is ensured. Now, the condominium RWAs will have two ‘masters’—the DTCP and the Registrar—“where as the only competent authority is the DTCP, which authorises the builder to construct, and holds them responsible,” he says. The entire Societies Act does not have a single word to say about the RWA-builder relationship, which is fraught with tension and squabbles in Gurgaon. In such a scenario, with no system of checks and balances, RWAs (be they of condominiums, plotted areas or builder colonies) must unify to protest against the Societies Act (2012).

05

in a single colony or a condominium are a perfect recipe for disaster, and these should be avoided at the onset,” he asserts. While Sehrawat claims that this Act has been praised across the country, Gurgaon residents allege that people outside the State do not know the ground realities here, and how builders have regularly subverted the rule of law. Another difficulty that will be faced by the RWAs, under the new Act, is that they will need to have at least 40 per cent members present, to meet the quorum requirement – which is likely to be quite difficult for housing societies. Sehrawat says that it is for this reason that a collegium has been proposed under the Act – although the Harayana Apartment Owners Act does not mention it, nor do the bye-laws included in the New Societies Act. The New Societies Act also does not define a Collegium, Governing Body and other powers of the officials. The role of the Registrars and senior hierarchy are also not defined in the context of the Apartments Act. The complaint against their decisions can be made only to the government, which is the body that appoints these officials, aver critics. They further argue that the only purpose of this Act is help the builders who have never followed the Haryana Apartment Owners Act 1983 in letter and spirit. With the Courts and the Competition Commission of India increasingly siding with the residents, as the law is very clear about what the builder has to do, and when he has to exit, the State’s goal seems now to further confuse the matter by creating a new set of laws and authorities. Colonel B.K Dhawan says that the prevailing laws for the administration and management of apartment complexes are already sufficient to protect the rights and interests of owners. “The Societies Act and Apartments Act 1983 are two distinct Acts, dealing in separate fields, with different aims and objectives, enacted for different reasons, and with separate and distinct statutory operating procedures. Therefore the Registrar has no jurisdiction to approve an association under the Societies Act 2012, to operate under the provisions of the Apartments Act 1983.” The decision to disfranchise a section of members for a period of 3 years is also not going down well with the RWAs, as every apartment owner pays the maintenance fee. “It will be difficult to take maintenance money, but refuse to give any say to the owner of an apartment,” says Dhawan, while questioning what will happen in case the Group Housing Society opposes the sale of an apartment under the rights given to it under HAOA Act, if and when the New Societies Act comes into play. Sehrawat says that the shares of an apartment owner, Contd on p 6 


06  Contd from p 1 FG: Is there any difference in the profile of criminals in Gurgaon? CP: Of course there will always be the local criminals. However, with our fast growth and construction, there are workers coming from nearby cities, and even far-off states. They have no need for a permanent address, or any real interest, in Gurgaon. They come by public transport, and are fairly anonymous. Some turn criminals, seeing the open wealth here. We have just cracked a murder case, where some painters from a neighbouring state killed their employer for cash, because they were unable to repay a loan that they had taken from elsewhere. Many burglars are repeat offenders, as they are let off after 3 to 4 months; and they remain in, or return to, Gurgaon, as they feel it provides them the best opportunities to steal. We will be very tough with them. FG: There seems to be little accountability for the traffic snarls across many areas in the City. CP: We have reorganized ourselves extensively in the Traffic department, with a clear division of responsibilities.

 Contd from p 5 who is a member of the Group Housing Society, will be allotted in the ratio of the value of the dwelling units, which is also the proportion in which the charges are paid. Under the new Act, only individuals can become the members of group housing societies, and there is no mention of ownership by companies or institutions. Amit Jain, Director General of the Federation of Apartment Owners’ Association says that this move will dilute the powers of the RWAs to manage and maintain their complexes. “It will lead to the creation of fake RWAs by the builders, who will then hand over the complexes to these organisations, which will be manned by their own employees. This is another formula which has been devised to retain control of the lucrative common areas, clubs, community centres, schools and shopping complexes by the builders,” he alleges. It is being alleged that the proposal to introduce the Societies Act was made by one of the leading builders of Gurgaon to the Department of Town and Country Planning a few years back – but it was rejected at that time. “How this whole idea has been brought back to life is puzzling. Some very powerful people are behind this move, as it will crush the entire residents movement, which is demanding transparency and accountability in the functioning of the developers – particularly in Gurgaon,” asserts Jain. In fact it is felt that if the Registrar of Societies is brought into the picture, along with the DTCP, which is at present the Competent Authority, it will further lead to confusion, mismanagement and bad governance. The RWA representatives also demand that the government should have consulted them while bringing in this Act. “This is a completely bureaucratic exercise, which has been designed to further complicate matters,” says Dhawan. Critics also want to know why the all-powerful Department of Town and Country Planning has been silent on this issue. Was it consulted when this proposal was formulated, and has it studied the implications of this decision? They also want to know why hundreds of RWAs in the City, which have fought tooth and nail for their rights, were ignored in this process. District Registrar Gurgaon Har-

1-7 March 2013

C over S tory

Commissioner In Charge Traffic Inspectors have been appointed for various areas/regions/zones in the City (eg there is one for Sohna Road), and they will be accountable for whatever happens in their jurisdiction. They will be assisted by 50 Zonal Officers (ZOs), who would each have accountability for a specific site (eg Toll Plazas, IFFCO Chowk, Rajiv Chowk…). Our various drives have borne fruit over the year – like for drunk driving and over-speeding. We are now very focused on people jumping red lights. We will come down very hard on them. Already a few hundred challans have been issued. We will also continue to take the help of Road Safety Officers (RSOs) from the local public. They are very dedicated, and have been of immense help to us although there are only about 30 active today. I would like to see a hundred very soon – and hope to take the number to even 500. We will also revive the e-challan and Third Eye projects.

FG: Various measures have been taken for the safety of women – like Helplines, Women PCRs, Helpdesks in Metro stations. However, there is still regular and vulgar eve-teasing and misbehaviour on the roads. CP: We want that women, or any one, should feel comfortable to let us know of any incident, any time. They can remain anonymous if they wish. The Gurgaon Police can be contacted in many ways – through Helplines (including at my office), via Facebook, on email. All the numbers of our key personnel are available on our website. On receipt of complaints we track the offender (say by a car registration number) and warn them through an SMS, as well as call them over. We have recently also booked and arrested over 20 people for drinking in public – on the road, in cars, outside liquor vends. This drive will continue. We have also appointed a nodal officer for crimes against women, and for wom-

dyal Sehrawat says that it is wrong to paint this move as non-democratic, and expresses optimism. He says that people who feel that this Act will lead to complications do not understand its import, and are just looking at it negatively. “This Act will ensure that there is more transparency in the functioning of the NGOs, including the RWAs, as they will be required to maintain and submit accounts. The membership records also have to be maintained,” he asserts, adding that a detailed process has been added to ensure free and fair elections. But when asked why the process of Judicial Review has not been allowed under the Act, Sehrawat says that this has been done to reduce frivolous litigation. “Our courts already have huge pendency,” he says. Chapter XIV: Special Provisions – Point 89 (1&2) of the Societies Act disallows any Civil Court to entertain, settle, decide or deal with any matter which the Act has mandated under the jurisdiction of another authority of the Act (namely the Registrar or the District Registrar). However, taking into account the past record of the Haryana government, as well as the DTCP, it is clear that the decision of the government to keep the Registrar General outside the purview of legal scru-

tiny will raise more questions regarding its intentions. With hundreds of cases filed by RWAs in Courts, it will also be interesting to see what happens once they get registered under the Societies Act. It is being felt the promulgation of the new Act will weaken the cases of many RWAs who have filed cases on the basis of the HAOA Act 1983. With the Registrar General becoming all powerful, the apartment owners will be left to the mercy of a few state officials, with no recourse to judicial review. Sehrawat says that the existing laws governing the apartments will fill in the gaps related to the condominiums. Critics allege that this is a subterfuge to ensure that HAOA 1983 is diluted in its entirety, and replaced by a toothless Societies Act, which offers no separate rights to apartment owners, while freeing the builders from their obligations. RWA associations also question as to why the existing registrations are not being recognised by the new Act, and why everyone has to get a new registration number. Sehrawat says that the entire purpose is to streamline the system, and create a database of these NGOs. A City resident says that if the Indian

Points to Ponder

1. This Act covers every society, from book clubs to condominium societies. 2. All societies registered under the earlier Societies Act of 1860 will continue to be recognised, but those registered under the Apartments Act (only) will have to be registered afresh. 3. Every existing society shall apply to the District Registrar for obtaining a new registration number within one year. 4. Every society with more than 300 members has to make a Collegium(s), six months before its governing body elections – or reduce its members accordingly. Collegiums would become mini-general bodies? What’s the need? 5. The Registrar has the power to hear and resolve any dispute, in respect of elections and continuance of office, by any elected member or office bearer. The Registrar has the power to call a meeting of the General Body or Collegium of a Society. If the Registrar, on a report from the District Registrar, considers that an amendment of the (society’s) Memorandum or Bye-laws is necessary or desirable, he may, by an order in writing, direct the Society to make such an amendment within a stipulated time. Changes made will be ‘final and binding’. (No appeal?)

Chapter 7, Section 37: Point 4 – Any resolution passed by the governing body/ general body/ Collegium, which is not consistent with the Act, shall be invalid. Who decides? In case of supersession of the Governing Body, the decisions of the Registrar General are to be considered final and absolute. (No legal recourse?) No suit, prosecution, or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Registrar General or any other official; of anything done or purporting to have done ‘in good faith’ under the Societies Act. Who decides what is ‘good faith’? 6. The government can, by special order, exempt any society from any provision of the Act (but not the whole Act) - for the period of one year 7. The Act does not address the rights of RWAs visa-vis the builders. 8. In current court cases, which law will be adhered to – Apartment Act or the (old/new) Societies Act? 9. Chapter XIV: Special Provisions – Point 89 (1&2) disallows any Civil Court to entertain, settle, decide or deal with any matter that the Act has mandated under the jurisdiction of another authority of the Act (namely the Registrar or the District Registrar). And also, no order of the Government, Registrar, District Registrar or the Registrar General shall be called to question.

en’s safety. ACP (HQ) Poonam Dalal will be the bridge between the victims and the local police. She has already met with various women at educational institutions and offices (IT/BPO in particular). Many women have volunteered to be part of a Women’s Safety Group. FG: The limitation finally comes down to the manpower available, both in traffic and crime. Gurgaon’s request for an increase has been pending for years. CP: We have received some policemen, but they were not enough. We do hope that we receive in the hundreds from the next batch (of 600) at Rohtak. FG: Do Gurgaonites suffer crime more because many the residents are identified as ‘outsiders’? CP: Of course Gurgaon is a cosmopolitan city, a new city, unlike say Faridabad. The sense of belonging, and pride, of being a resident/citizen, is today probably less than say a Faridabadi, for his city. But criminals rarely differentiate their victims on this basis. I would like to close by assuring Gurgaonites - and women in particular - that they will see a more transparent and positive police force – and a safe Gurgaon. u government can be elected directly by half a billion people voting, why does the Societies Act want to divide a few hundred residents. “How can an Act, which governs the functioning of an NGO helping kids, help manage the working of a condominium association?” asks Dhawan. He further says that the Association of Apartment Owners is managed by the Board of Managers (BOM), while the Societies Act has a Governing Body to manage the society. The BOM has complete responsibility for management and maintenance of an apartment complex, while the latter has no such obligation. The duties and responsibilities under the two Acts are vastly different, he argues. Future Course of Action: Livid over the manner in which they have been ignored by the government while framing the New Societies Act, a number of RWAs in the City have decided to challenge this Act in the court of law. The decision of the government to keep the Registrar General out of legal purview has also surprised the residents, as the Constitution of India maintains the Right of Judicial Review as a fundamental right. Experts opine that the new piece of legislation will further complicate matters, given the intransigence of the builders, and the non-performance of DTCP. Commander Dharamvir Yadav, who lives in Mayfield Gardens, says that the centralisation of power in the hands of the Registrar General, with no courts overlooking his authority, will skew the entire system in favour of a few. Most of these appointments are decided by the government. The State government is bent upon imposing the new Societies Act upon the hapless populace, which is already under pressure from builders. The Courts, which have in the recent past come to the rescue of Gurgaon citizens, are where the hope lies. Residents of the City will have to ready themselves to fight against a government that runs on their taxes but makes them vulnerable – in connivance with vested interests. Gurgaon continues to be treated as a pariah, even as its cash counters keep on ringing at State HQ. The real (estate) war between the people and builders (and the Administration) has just entered a new arena. It's time we made the State and its cronies care – and to not ever take us for granted. u


1-7 March 2013

C ivic/S ocial

07

Global Indians Connect

Neil (C) and Punita (2nd from L)

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

T

he City has seen a great influx of Non Residential Indians (NRIs) over the last decade. The City offers them and their families better education facilities and great career opportunities, and also a chance to mingle with like-minded people. This socialisation is further encouraged through exclusive Clubs for NRIs and expats. Global India Connection (GIC) is one of these 'clubs'. It has helped many NRIs and expats in deciding to make the Millennium City their home. Sonika, who moved to the City some three years ago from Boston, US, had struggled to get some basic information. Being new to the City, it was also difficult for her to trust anybody. However, her stay was made easier when she joined a social club that was exclusively for NRIs – called Global India Connection (GIC). Not only did GIC help her meet like-minded people, but also helped her in get-

the Group has made the stay of many people easier in the City, despite all the chaos and infrastructural problems here. “I am married to an Indian. We moved to the City because my husband wanted to stay close to his family. With the help of like-minded friends at GIC, it was easier for me to adjust to a new culture,” she says. The members regularly meet on the first and third Monday of every month, at a hotel. Although the membership to the Group is free, it is open only to expats, NRIs and their spouses. The main purpose of the Group is social networking, and connecting with likeminded people, to get tips on living in the City. Currently the Club co-ordinates its activities through Facebook, and its website.

Besides Coffee-meets

GIC is not only about socialising. It provides an opportunity for its members to mingle with the local community. Apart from coffee-meets and Christmas parties, GIC arranges trips for its members to explore local markets. Sonika, one of the oldest members of the Club says, “I have organised a walk, to explore the Chandni Chowk market. It is very difficult for an outsider, esSonika and Punita pecially a woman, to visit old Delhi alone. If ting information about what a group of like-minded people join schools were good for her you, it becomes interesting as well children, from where to get as safe.” a gas connection, and how to “Although we love being in file a tax application. the City, it is not an easy soci“When I came to the City, ety for people who have lived there were few networking pos- abroad. There are ‘correct’ sibilities for NRIs, despite there modes of behaviour, dress being quite a number of them codes, and a myriad other living here. That is why I de- similar things. Not only does cided to form a social club for the GIC provide a network of NRIs, in 2010,” explains Pu- support, it also allows us an nita Chadha, Founder of the ‘escape’ back into our earlier Group. Even she was surprised, culture – for a little while at as the Club quickly caught on least,” feels Punita. among the NRIs and expatriates. The Club also offers meetings Punita was helped by a Ger- with health experts, and profesman lady, Lara. The Group sionals. Recently, a Meet was ornow has around 200 mem- ganised at Artemis, to help members, from about 20 nation- bers know the various medical alities. There are retired people, facilities available in the City. young professionals working The Group is also working in the City, and even some stu- closely with an NGO, Khushi, dents. Lara strongly feels that that works for the upliftment of

Lara, Punita and Neil

the destitute. Besides, the Club’s website is invaluable for new arrivals. It gives them basic information, and assists them in getting in touch with the ‘right’ real estate agents, lawyers, schools, travel agents, shops...

Global Gurgaon

The members of GIC seem to have a mixed verdict on Gurgaon as a global city. A member, who moved to the City a year ago, says “I have lived in London all through my life. So settling down here was a shock. I think the City is a little conservative by global standards, on acceptable dress code and behaviour.” A female member also recalls her unpleasant experience with a local. “I went to a nearby saloon for a pedicure. One of their staff members suggestively asked me if I would like to have a body massage at his place. The guy was just 18 or 19 years old. I was shocked that such ‘sick’ mentality prevails in the City,” she says. There are others who believe that the City is well on course to become a global city. Lara, who spent a considerable time in NOIDA before moving to Gurgaon, feels that the City truly adheres to global standards. “Flooded with malls and corporates, the City comes across as a cosmopolitan business hub. It has maintained a certain standard of life, and is more organised. In terms of education and lifestyle, the City provides endless opportunities. My children love being here!” says Lara. She feels that every city has its pros and cons, and Gurgaon is no different. Sonika, who was brought up in the Capital, says that the City is very unique. “Not just NRIs, the City attracts a lot of young people from the Capital too. So you will easily find like-

minded people here. Even my maids and drivers are migrants. I have a strong connection with most of the local people. The best thing about living in the Millennium City is that while it provides worldclass facilities, it also gives an exposure to the Indian culture. I always wanted my children to learn about their land and their culture. I am sure that the City will help them understand their roots,” says Sonika. Another member, Shanta, who has lived in the US for over 23 years, also believes that the City is a happening place. She says, “Unlike in the US, where career opportunities are

diminishing, in this City you can make a mark in whatever you want to do. You can take up a business venture, even though you don’t have experience in it. You can learn a lot, and make a lot out of your experience in India.” Tyron, a Briton, who has recently shifted to the City, says that the City is no different from London. “Me and my family would love to be in the City, as it is so colourful and global in nature,” he says. Punita adds that, 'Gurgaon, once considered a small village' situated in a corner of the Capital, is today evolving as a ‘Global City’. Maybe even a Guru City one day... u

Haryanvi Made Easy

wGet a taste of the local lingo 1. My house has been robbed!

Mhaare ghar ne chori ho gayi se. 2. They have taken all my money. Mera saare rupye le ke bhaajge. 3. They even took away my clothes. Mere latya ne bhi le gaye. 4. I need to file a complaint at the police station. Main rapat karana chahun sun

thaane mein.

5. I hope they act fast. Bhagwan kare we jaldi si kuch karen. 6. Where is the nearest police station. Sabte dhorre kaun sa thana se? 6. Take me there now. Manne vaade le chal. 6. I want all my things back. Manne apna saara samaan ulta chaiye. 6. Beat the thieves when you catch them. Choran ne pakadte peetiye.


08 S

hekhar Gupta, an IT professional, his equally busy wife, and a 10-yearold son, refer to one of their former maids as “a nightmare”. When the Gupta family hired her through a maid agency, they were told a few things – she should not be 'supervised' much, she would be entitled to 16 paid leaves in a year, and she should be allowed to talk to her family members for at least 30 minutes a day – at the expense of the employer. However, after agreeing to all the 'terms and conditions', when the couple finally hired a maid, she flew away with their costly phones and jewellery within a week. “We were fooled by the maid agency, that even promised to provide a replacement if the maid left the job. In fact the maid agency also vanished with the maid! Even the addresses and phone numbers given by the maid agency were 'fake'," says Gupta. Narrating a similar incident, Khanna, a resident of Sector 49, says, “I have been struggling to get my money back from a maid agency for the last six months. The Agency had signed an agreement, but it was all fake. I had given an advance of Rs. 50,000 for one year, but the maid left in a few days. Neither did the Agency send another maid, nor did they return my money.”  Along with the rise in the number of working couples, the demand for domestic helps is on a rise in the City. Taking advantage of this huge demand, a number of unregistered and unscruplous agencies have cropped up. They provide unverified people, and make easy money from the racket. Many times these agencies hire people with criminal backgrounds, and even mental illnesses. The owners of these agencies keep changing their phone numbers. They get mobile phone connections on the basis of forged documents. They do not have permanent offices. It is therefore extremely difficult to keep track of them. Moreover, these agencies are alleged to have tie-ups in Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal, from where they source 'employees'. Shockingly, there have also been cases when the domestic help levelled dubious allegations on the employer to make some quick money. Shikha (name changed) recounts a horrible incident, wherein her maid accused her husband of raping her. “As we both are working, we can’t do without a full-time maid. She took advantage of it. When we refused to increase her salary, which was already in five figures, she went to the police station and filed a rape case against my husband. The maid agency also supported her ulterior motives. Later, they asked for a huge amount of compensation – but we refused to give money. The case is still pending in the court,” she says. People also complain that the maids are not trained properly, as promised by the agencies. Kiran, a resident of DLF

C ivic/S ocial

'Fake' Maids?

agency to provide a replacement instantly, if an employer is not satisfied with the services of the domestic help. However, many agencies assert that given the huge pending demand, a replacement takes time.

What needs to be done?

Asha Pandey

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

1-7 March 2013

Phase III, says that her domestic help lost her forefinger while working with a kitchen gadget. “Some maid agencies refuse to provide domestic help if you don’t have a washing machine or a food processor. But they don’t train maids to work with kitchen gadgets,” she says. For singles, the situation is even worse. Vivant, a software professional, says that the maid never follows the agreed schedule. Instead, most of his work is scheduled according to the timing and preferences of his maid. “When we hired her, she told us that she is allergic to the smell of alcohol, so my roommate and I stopped having booze parties in the apartment. A few days later she asked for an expensive kitchen chimney. When we approached the maid agency, she just left the job – and now finding a replacement seems really hard. I think it is easier to find a date in the City, than finding a maid,” laughs Vivant.

Finding the right Maid Agency

Selection of the right maid agency, and thus the right maid, is important, because a good/ bad domestic help has a direct impact on the family – especially children. Since there is a huge demand-supply gap, there are a few agencies that are trying to turn this largely unorganised home staff industry into a professional workforce. Tomar, from Raksha Placement Agency, in Sector 14, informs that one should contact a maid agency that is

registered with the Government of India. However, the list of registered agencies is not easily available – neither in any public office, nor on the Internet. It is also important to know the hiring process followed by an agency. A representative from getdomestichelp.com says, “We put a lot of emphasis on verifications, past employment, criminal records (if any), and a complete health check. We are absolutely labour law compliant.” A famous domestic service agency in Delhi, Domesteq Services Solutions, provides soft-skills, personal hygiene, etiquette, communication skills and personal security, to ensure that maids are wellprepared to work professionally. The Company also tests the maids' aptitudes, and documents their specific skill sets. It offers courses for housekeeping, childcare, cleaning, health and hygiene, etiquette, cooking, kitchen hygiene, safe food storage and events training.  Domesteq has over 4,000 registered workers in Delhi and NCR. Not only households, Domesteq also provides domestic help for corporates and embassies. The Maids Company follows a different model. It places maids mostly for parttime jobs, and provides a pick-up and drop facility for them. “We offer free training to ladies from an under-privileged background, and the minimal charge is transferred to our clients, as we encourage a parttime model for domestic help,” says a representative. 

Hari, who owns a small placement agency on MG Road, believes that people generally have bad experiences with unregistered companies. “Firstly, people should go for agencies that are registered with the Government of India. Secondly, it is important to get the police verification done, even when an agency is involved in providing the maid. It is important to do a background check of the agency, and personally visit the agency. Moreover, it is better to go with references, rather than just calling up agencies through newspaper ads or directories,” suggests Harish. He puts forth an example of Chandra, who moved to the City from Singapore in 2009. She hired domestic help on the recommendation of her neighbour. “As it is so hard to find a maid in the City, I asked one of my neighbours to recommend a female help. She sent her maid’s sister to my place. Thankfully, the maid has been with us for the past four years. So far, she has been very supportive and trustworthy,” says Chandra, a resident of DLF Phase IV. Given the shortage, sometimes agencies ask for exorbitant fees, and high compensation, for maids. Most of the times the compensation of the maid depends on the background of the family – such as the number of family members, the age of the children, the size of the house, and the lifestyle of family members. Normally, a maid should be paid depending on the kind of work, and time spent. It is also the responsibility of the maid

With an increase in the number of nuclear families, there is a need for someone who can be trusted. It is necessary to have a healthy relationship with one's domestic help. Dinesh Ghosh, a senior citizen, who lives in Laburnum, feels that there is a need to bring back the traditional system, wherein people had full trust in 'servants'. “We used to call our servant ‘Kaka’. We always treated him like a family member. Sometimes he used to scold me and my siblings, if we reached home late. He spent more than 40 years with our family. There is a need to have such a relationship even today with our domestic help,” says Ghosh. A representative from The Maid Company feels, “One major challenge today is the living space – which has reduced from independent houses to apartments. Families want their domestic help to fit into their lifestyle. Earlier, the 'servants' used to get separate rooms and beds; even their families would live with them. But today the help are sometimes forced to sleep in kitchens or verandas. Moreover, they live away from their families, and so feel the need to go back to the hometown often – which sometimes becomes a reason for dispute between the employers and the maid.” Besides, domestic help face a host of problems because there are no regularised wages, and no social security, maternity leave, job security – in fact even no formal leave. Apart from this, the stress among the domestic help is also a matter of concern. Last year a 19-year-old maid committed suicide, by jumping off the top floor of an apartment block in Sushant Lok. She was undergoing some mental trauma. "Initially she was fine. Then my mother-in-law noticed her staying alone, and mumbling all the time in the kitchen. When asked about her strange behaviour, she would start crying," says the lady who employed her. Niti, a resident of Sector 22, also found out that her maid used to cry while talking on the phone at night. When she tried to find out the reason, the maid told her that she wants to end her life as she cannot marry the person she loves. Niti immediately called the agency, and told them about it – and replaced the maid. There is clearly a need to keep a check over the fake maid agencies operating in the City. In fact, the home-staff industry needs to be regularised and professionalised. People should also introspect, and help provide dignity and self-worth to maids and drivers, who are an important part of their daily lives. It is not difficult: smile, be courteous, and treat them well. We clearly cannot take them for granted – especially when our world seems to revolve around them. u


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he government of India’s decision to increase the cap on subsidised cylinders from six to nine was indeed a breather, and it has given the poor some respite. Gurgaon has a population of about 20 lakhs, and almost all of them, even those living in ghettos, use LPG to cook their meals. However, Gurgaon has only around 3.2 lakhs LPG connections, supplied by 25 gas agencies. Quite a few buy their fuel from the ‘open market’, or to be precise ‘the black market’. Black marketing of fuel is not an alien phenomenon, as it has existed in our culture for decades. “The population is increasing at a rapid pace and we have limited resources, so it’s obvious that people will have to pay more, even to maintain their current levels. LPG is a part of our life. In a city like Gurgaon, which has a large floating population, black marketing will obviously see a rise, as people don’t want to take permanent connections. Since most of them earn well, people like us are making good money. Those who have connections get an LPG cylinder at the subsidised rate of Rs. 416, and this amount reaches to around Rs. 750 once a customer crosses the limit of the entitlement of nine subsidised cylinders,” said a gas agency owner. In Gurgaon, the illegal sale of cylinders is fast turning into an organised crime. Many residents who don’t have an LPG connection, or are in an urgent need of a cylinder, are availing of the facility, by just making a call to the local delivery agent. Within hours the cylinder is delivered at their doorstep, at three times the market price. A delivery agent of a prominent gas agency in ‘Old’ Gurgaon narrated the modus operandi of the LPG black marketeers. The LPG black market thrives on the smaller capacity cylinders (4 kg). The LPG in the cylinders is sold for Rs.100 to Rs.110 per kg. Those rerouting the cylinders make a profit of Rs.4 per kg. “Big risk is involved in selling the cylinders directly to the customer at thrice the market price, and that’s why we sell it to known sub-brokers who have hidden godowns to stock the cylinders. The cylinders are then sold to known black market retailers, from where customers get their stock,” he informed. According to him, the subbrokers pay anywhere between  Rs.800 to Rs.900 per cylinder. The rate also depends on the size and availability of the stock. “If the company is not supplying cylinders to us on a regular basis, the rate will increase; and if we have sufficient stock in our godown, the rate falls slightly,” he said. The sub-brokers make a profit of Rs.100 to Rs.150 per unit, while selling to the retailers. The sub-broker has a choice of selling the cylinders directly to the customer, and make another Rs.100, or pass it on to the black market retailers at half the profit. Some of the biggest sub-brokers in the LPG black market are based in Arjun Nagar, Bhim Nagar, Sikanderpur and Nathupur. Sources said they have made godowns in residential areas for easy delivery. There are many pockets in Gurgaon where this illegal business is mushrooming now. Sub-brokers generally target industrial places, where migrant labourers live in large numbers. Areas such as Khandsa, Badshahpur, Begampur Khatola, Naurangpur and Kadipur have a large number of industrial plants and a sizeable population of labourers. “Black marketing can be divided into three parts, and almost in all cities, these statistics remain the same. 70 per cent of the black marketing happens in the filling of small cylinders. The cylinders of 2 kg, 4 kg, and even 10 kg come

'Black' Gas

ASHA PANDEY

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

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The Route of Corruption Step 1: Pilferage of LPG cylinders begins at the level of delivery agents Step 2: Vendors sell them to subbrokers for Rs. 800 to Rs. 900. Step 3: Sub-brokers sell them to black market retailers at a profit of Rs. 100 to 150.
 Step 4: Customers buy the cylinders from the black market for Rs. 1,200 to 1500 each – three times the normal price. under this category, and mostly the labourers, who are in large numbers in any city, are the prime customers for this kind of arrangement. 20 per cent of the cylinders sold in the black market are consumed in hotels or the dhaba industry, as these people need cylinders on a daily basis – their consumption is very high. And the remaining ten per cent of the black marketing happens at the level of the general customer, who buys gas for his household,” added the owner.

Modus Operandi

Black marketing, or corruption, in the field of LPG begins the moment an agency gets cylinders from the main plant of any big company. As per the law, an agency should only get the cylinders according to the number the connections it has; but like the PDS depot, here too the agency owners get triple or even four times the numbers of cylinders that they are entitled to. This is the first step in this sordid business of black marketing. “Black marketing can be divided into four parts: at the plant, at the agency, at the vendor and at the sub-vendor. The general public pays for all this expenditure. When an agency goes to the plant to buy cylinders, it will get a legal cylinder (for which the

agency has a connection), at the rate of around Rs. 400. This would be given to a customer (under subsidy) at the rate of Rs. 416. But the cylinder which is bought ‘extra’ by the agency would cost a buyer around Rs. 700 to 900. The agency sells cylinders in bulk to the vendor, who usually is an influential person having a hidden godown, at the rate of around Rs. 700. And then sub-vendors, such as small shop owners, buy the cylinder from this vendor at an inflated rate of Rs. 900 or Rs. 1,000; and by the time it reaches the customer, it usually touches a price of Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,500. It depends on the demand and supply. In Gurgaon, the agencies are not in great numbers, and the real corruption happens at the levels of vendors and sub-vendors. Subvendors in particular do the lion’s share of black marketing, because they usually sell gas in kilos to the labourers who have small cylinders of 2, 3 or five kilograms” he added.

The Masses Pay the Price

We hear every now and then that customers don’t get their cylinders because the dealer, instead of delivering their cylinder, sells it in the black market. It happens frequently. Earlier, when people had multiple connections, it did not bother them much. But now, since the government has allowed a family to have only one connection, the customers are very aware and agitated. Sucheta Singh, resident of Sector 56, says there is a huge backlog in supply, which is a sign of blackmarketing by the agencies. “Now the government has decided to cancel the extra connections, and consumers can have only one connection. Therefore, customers are left at the mercy of a single dealer; and in one out of three or four times, the dealer indulges in black marketing. This leaves customers

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with no fuel. The only option is to buy a cylinder from the black market,” she added. Another consumer said, “The consumption goes up during the festive season every year, and the consumers are used to it. But every family is not capable of buying the cylinders in black. Hence they have to cut their budget for other things, to buy fuel for the celebrations. Black market is such a sordid business here that one can get a cylinder in half an hour anywhere in Gurgaon, whereas it takes days for a cylinder to come when we buy as per our connection.” The agency dealer, however, believes that it’s not possible for any dealer to sell anybody’s cylinder in the black market. “It’s not possible that we can sell cylinders bought by a customer on his connection to somebody else in the black market, because if the same customer registers a complaint with the company, we would be in a soup. Actually, earlier people used to have multiple connections and that’s why there used to an opportunity for the dealers to sell a customer’s cylinder in the black market; but things have changed, and one customer can only have one connection, and this leaves us with no opportunity for any foul play. Actually now it happens at a different level. Every customer is entitled to a cylinder after 21 days, but most of the customers don’t buy it in that frequency because their cylinder takes more than a month to empty; and in a city like Gurgaon, where people often eat outside, this time span increases. Therefore the dealer, who gets a certain amount of cylinders for the number of connections from the company, sells off many cylinders in the black market. When some customer asks for his cylinder ‘earlier’ than anticipated, the dealer is unable to supply. It gets delivered after a short delay of two-three days,” explained the owner.

Is the Increased Cap Enough?

The Government might claim that it has given a great respite to the masses by increasing the cap of subsidised cylinders from six to nine, but are nine cylinders enough for the whole year? Do people have the extra money to buy the tenth cylinder? “Actually it depends on the size of the family and their culinary habits. If the family is small, and they just eat two time meals, with a limited extra cooking for tea and snacks, I think nine cylinders would be fine,” said Jaswant Singh Thakran, a Sector-39 resident. “In a year we have many family gatherings, along with other big and small celebrations such as birthdays etc. So nine cylinders are not sufficient. If the government wanted to reduce the subsidy on LPG, it could have managed by only reducing the connections to one for each family. Today 21 days are given by the government for one cylinder, and only after this time span can a family be entitled to get another cylinder. If this formula is taken into consideration, the government only gives us the subsidised LPG for 189 days – and for the rest 176 days we will have to pay thrice the money we were earlier paying. This is complete injustice,” said Ashok Kajla, a PG and guest house owner who spends a great amount of money on this fuel alone. Dealers, however, believe that the cap of nine is more than sufficient if a family runs the household carefully. “Usually a family of four or five people can manage with a cylinder for 40, or at least 35 days; which means that they will have to buy one, or at most two, cylinders at the inflated rate. As far as the poor and not so well off are concerned, they manage with one cylinder for two months, and nine cylinders are more than sufficient for them,” said a dealer. u


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1-7 March 2013

K id C orner

Solutions

Kids Brainticklers

Fill in the grid so that every row, column and coloured box contains ALL the numbers from 1 to 6. Bonus clue: which number should go in the circle: 1 or 4?

Artistic Strokes

Neil Motiani, Grade I, Presidium Gurgaon

Archit Tiwari, Grade VIII, MRIS

Neetu Mishra, Royal Oak International School


1-7 March 2013

Fun Races @ APS

Kid Corner

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Little Ryanites Graduate

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merican Public School (APS) organised an ‘Inter School Fun Races’ day, to encourage all round sportsmanship amongst the children. 11 schools participated in the Meet, that was inaugurated by the Principal of American Public School, Indu Shastri. The students ran with enthusiasm for the coveted winner’s trophy, that was won by the hosts, American Public School. The first runners up trophy was awarded to Blue Bells Prep Sector 4, and the second runners up was Summer Fields School.

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It’s Skating Gold!

yan International School, Sohna Road, celebrated the graduation of its Montessori students at Epicentre. The theme of the Programme was ‘Mom-My Magic Bond’, and the little ones presented an entertaining and heart-warming show. They performed a dance drama titled, ‘Guardian Angel – My Mother’. Principal Mouna Gupta congratulated the young Ryanites on their achievements through the year.

Artistic Strokes

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uskaan Chauhan, a student of Amity International School, created history by winning 5 Gold medals in the recently concluded 50th National Roller Skating Championship, held in Mumbai. This is the first time in India that a skater (in a national tournament) has won 5 gold medals in a single championship. The other winners were Simran Josan 1 Gold & 1 silver, Mohit Yadav 1gold, Aakash Kathuria 1 silver, Bhavana Sunkara 2 Bronze. All these skaters are training under Coach Rajesh Sharma at the Ryder’s Sports Academy, Gurgaon.

Riya, Grade VII A, Kendriya Vidyala

Skating at MRIS

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anav Rachna International School, Sector 51, organised its second ‘Inter-School Roller Skating Beginners’ Championship’, at the School premises. The Event provided a platform for the participants―over 190 students across Gurgaon and Faridabad―to show their skating skills. MRIS-51 and Greenwood School jointly lifted the Championship Trophy. The Event was graced by Chief Guest Amit Ahuja, Gold MedalistNational Roller Hockey Championship, along with Rajesh Kalra and Seema Malhotra, Chairman and Headmistress respectively, of MRIS-51.

Aashima Dhingra, Grade VIII A, K R Mangalam World School


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ewly-appointed Public Grievance Manager of Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), Rita Dalal, speaks to Friday Gurgaon about her plans to improve the system. How prepared are you to take charge of such a sensitive position? I have been with MCG for the last three years. I was taking care of the Information Technology (IT) department. Since MCG receives most of the complaints online, it is easier for me to resolve them, as I am wellversed with the technical part. Moreover, I have an educational background in Psychology, which helps me understand people better and communicate well with them. Could you elaborate on ‘Harsamadhan’? How can a resident lodge a complaint? Harsamadhan is an online portal for public grievance, introduced by the Government of Haryana. People living in any part of the State can register complaints about any issue with any department, on this portal. It has been launched with a vision to pursue excellence in e-governance. To lodge a complaint, one has to log on to the portal (www.harsamadhan.gov.in) and fill a form. One can also attach a picture or related documents, and then submit the complaint on the website. Every complainant is given a complaint number to track his/her complaint. How many complaints does Harsamadhan receive in a day? How soon are they addressed? We receive two to three complaints a day. In the past one month we have received over 44 complaints – of which 25

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The Public (Inter)Face have been resolved. The rest will be resolved at the earliest. MCG has its own online portal and a call centre. How does this integrate with Harsamadhan? Harsamadhan is a centralised portal, launched by the State of Haryana. MCG portal is just for the City. Gurgaonites who live in areas that don’t come under the jurisdiction of MCG can file complaints on Harsamadhan. If we receive any grievance related to HUDA’s or the DC’s area, we forward it to the concerned body. Moreover, people can even lodge complaints about departments such as Traffic and Forests, that don’t come under the jurisdiction of MCG.

wherein we can get back to the complainant in just an hour, so that citizens are satisfied that their voice has been heard almost instantly.

Jit kumar

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

1-7 March 2013

What are you doing to spread the awareness of the Harsamadhan portal? As of now we have posted it on Facebook, and received a good response. There have been reports in the media regarding the launch and benefits of the portal. I would also want the Corporation to put it on all its hoardings and posters.

What types of grievances are commonly received on the portal? Most of the complaints are related to house tax, sanitation, encroachment, illegal placement of mobile towers and inefficient fire-fighting systems in various parts of the City.

There are a lot of loopholes in the Public Grievance system of MCG. What will you do differently to address this issue? Firstly, my focus is on the filtration of complaints. MCG receives all types of complaints – relating to the Forests department, malaria patients, sanitation, electricity connection and excise, to name a few. It is very important to send it urgently to the concerned department. Let us take the complaints on road infrastructure. All complaints can’t simply go to the maintenance department. Some complaints are related to the repair of roads, while many people

Over 14,000 complaints are pending on the portal of MCG. How are you addressing this issue? Well, most of the pending grievances are related to house tax. These are not complaints, but objections related to mistakes made by the Corporation in mentioning the name of the house owner, his/her father’s name; or some people have raised objections as they think that the area of their houses is not mentioned correctly in the application. We have sent mailers to all the complainants, to fill a form for their objections.

request for the construction of new roads. So the complaints related to road repair will go to the maintenance department, and can be addressed in short span of time; however, requests for the construction of new roads will be sent to the engineering department, and it may take quite a long time to fulfill such a request. Filtration of complaints is therefore very important. Fortunately I have been able to initiate this filtration in the first month itself. Secondly, it is important to talk to people as soon as they lodge a complaint. Even if we are not able to address the issue instantly, we call the complainant and tell him/her about the expected time-frame that would be required to fix the issue. It not only helps in comforting people, but also builds confidence in the system. I have also decided not to close any complaint until the complainant confirms that the problem has been resolved and s/ he is satisfied with the work. I am planning to have a system

How has the first month been? Well, I am glad that I have been able to resolve some complaints that were pending since 2010. A resident of Sector 22B, Manish Agarwal, lodged a house-tax related complaint in 2010. He also called our Call Centre but couldn’t get a satisfactory response at that time. When I called him now, he was very annoyed, as he had received a call after two years of lodging a complaint. I somehow managed to calm him down. And when he came to know that his query has been answered, he was quite satisfied. What are the main challenges? I think the biggest issue is that we receive complaints about areas and departments that don’t come under the jurisdiction of MCG. We always make it a point to forward those requests to the concerned body. But, we can’t direct those bodies to resolve the issue. Sometimes people don’t understand this and get restless. For example, people think that the maintenance of street lights all across the City is the responsibility of MCG. It is not true. In many areas, it comes under the control of HUDA, and even DHBVN. I think other departments and authorities should also have online public grievance systems. Another challenge is to have the knowledge about all the departments, help centres, important numbers – and even legal matters. That is why I interact with all the departments and concerned officials, to know about their scope of work and responsibilities. u

Rail Budget For Haryana A Welding plant at Sampla (District Rohtak) A Rail Coach manufacturing and maintenance unit at Sonepat

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New Rail lines n To Mewat area - Delhi-Sohna-Nuh-Firozepur JhirkaAlwar n Yamunanagar to Chandigarh, via Sadhaur, Naraingarh n Hisar to Sirsa, via Agroha and Fatehabad Survey of new lines n Hisar-Fatehabad n Dadri-Jharli, via Jhajjar n Narwana-Uklana n Rewari-Rohtak (with extension up to Makrauli) Electrification n Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Rewari-Palanpur-Ahmedabad n Jakhal-Hisar n Jakhal-Dhuri-Ludhiana Express trains through Haryana n Bandra Terminus-Hisar Express (weekly), via Ahmedabad n Delhi-Ferozepur intercity express, via Bhatinda n Delhi-Hoshiarpur Express n Kalka-Sai Nagar Shirdi Express (bi-weekly), via Hazrat Nizamuddin n Bhopal-Itarsi

Katra-Kalka Express (bi weekly), via Morinda

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MEMU Services n Delhi-Rohtak (as replacement of conventional service) DEMU services n Delhi-Kurukshetra via Kaithal n Rohtak-Rewari Extension of Trains Chandigarh-Lucknow Express, to Patna n Delhi-Bhatinda Express, to Fazilka n Dhuri-Hisar/Hisar-Ludhiana Passenger, to Sirsa n Una/Nangaldam-Hazoor Saheb Nanded Express (weekly), via Anandpur Saheb, Morinda, Chandigarh, Ambala n Loharu-Sikar passenger (daily), after gauge conversion.

IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING FG COPIES REGULARLY Call

9910518785

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If you are not getting FG copies regularly

Call - 9910518785


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1-7 March 2013

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{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

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master class in town planning and development is perhaps required for the City managers, if they want Gurgaon, and particularly Gurgaon II (new sectors) to develop in a balanced and cohesive manner. Perhaps the development agencies in the State need to visit Greater Noida, to understand that infrastructure development should happen before a new township is allowed to be developed and inhabited. Even the Harappans understood the nuances of urban planning, and built their lanes and drains accordingly, to ensure that the city residents were able to live in clean and hygienic conditions. That all this perhaps is not meant for Gurgaon is clearly visible from the fact that Sectors 76 to 80 of Gurgaon II, which have been carved out of Shikohpur, Naurangpur and Kherki Daula villages, have seen no development in infrastructure, while a slew of real estate projects have already been launched in the area. In fact one of the projects on Naurangpur Road, called

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

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midst the rising number of Swine Flu cases, and with three people already having lost their lives, the Health department in Gurgaon believes that the expected rise in temperature in the days to come would be immensely helpful in curbing the spread of this disease. Till now the Health department in the City has declared 63 people infested with Swine Flu, aka H1N1 virus; but if the opinions of the doctors working in private hospitals are to be believed, the number is much more. Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Gurgaon, Praveen Kumar Garg, believes that Swine Flu is nothing to worry about, and Gurgaon has enough

Taking Shape Umang Canary, has almost reached completion, and the day is not far when Gurgaonites will start zipping on this one-of-a-kind road, which has been made of cemented tiles. The Karma Lake-Land project, which is a high-end luxury project, is also on this road, though a massive gate outside ensures that visitors can not check on the development taking place here. Close to Naurangpur village, Mapsko has launched a major residential project amidst the

says that despite there being no infrastructure, real estate is selling like hot cakes here, as the rates of flats and commercial properties are less than other parts of Gurgaon. Large tracts of land have also been purchased by DLF. Local residents say that the government should not allow projects to come up, till the sector infrastructure is developed by either HUDA or the builder. As compared to the real estate projects on the Northern Peripheral Road and Southern

green fields. Local residents says that the rate of an acre of land here is around Rs. 5 crores, and a large number of people have sold their land in the village. While money indeed has come their way, Ajeet, a resident of Shikohpur, says that no infrastructure development has taken place in the villages. No water pipeline, power infrastructure or master sewage drains have yet been laid in the area. Vijay Singh, a local,

Peripheral road, this area has comparatively less high-end projects, though Raheja Revanta on Shikohpur Road promises to change the skyline here. A local real estate dealer, Virender, says that work on Revanta and other real estate projects in Sectors 77, 78, and 79 is going on slowly. Real estate experts say that the timeline for development in this area is around 10 years. “We expect the Metro to come in the next five years, and it will also go

PRAKHAR PANDEY

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Swine Flu Upda te

infrastructure and medicine available if the situation gets worse. “I believe a rise in the temperature would see Swine Flu virus vanish. We already have received a less number of cases in the last three-four days. However we are ready for any situation, as we have kept a keen eye on the situation, including

at all private and government hospitals. As far as deaths are concerned, we believe only one person has lost his life because of the virus,” said the CMO. Are you Forty? Be aware It has been learnt that middleaged people, especially between age 35-45, are also susceptible to Swine Flu. “Usually senior citizens and children are more prone to be affected by the Swine Flu virus, but this year we have been seeing cases of a large number of the middle-aged, especially the working class people. This trend doesn’t surprise me at all, because people near their 40s give priority

through this area,” he adds. No government bus today connects Shikohpur and adjoining villages to the main City; residents depend on their own vehicles to commute. A couple of weeks ago the Chief Minister had visited Shikohpur, and promised major upgradation in infrastructure – but the promises were vague, and residents do not expect that these will see fruition. “We are not going to vote for the Congress, as no development has taken place in our village. There is no bus service, medical facilities are negligible and power comes sparingly,” says a resident. The road from National Highway 8 to Shikohpur village is narrow, and broken at many places, with numerous potholes. Similarly, in Naurangpur Road it is difficult to manage the existing traffic, with industrial units on both sides, as well as a large number of car trailers parked in agriculture fields. Naurangpur can be said to be an industrial area which is close to Manesar, but real estate watchers says that availability of mid-budget residential options make it an ideal location for city residents. Dr. Sanjay Sharma, MD

Qubrex, opines that this area has good potential, because connectivity is good, and accessibility is easy from the National Highway 8. It is hardly 10 minutes from Rajiv Chowk, and most probably people working in Gurgaon will settle here first, although it was expected that people working in Manesar were going to be based here. Sharma says Gurgaonites, particularly those who are on a tight budget, are the ones who will live here. Some of the leading builders, including Vatika, DLF and Orris have huge land banks in excess of 200 and more acres in the nearby areas. This will help in building townships, and the creation of a large social ecosystem, he says. Sectors 76 to 80, will definitely see residents soon. Projects like Ninex City, Umang Winterhills and Umang Monsoon Breeze are among the affordable housing options,” he says. Other projects in the area include Palm Hills by Emmar MGF, Godrej Frontier, Acme Raaga and Supertech Araville. Just adjacent to the Emmar MGF project is another major development being carried out in the name of Winter Hills – being sold by a joint venture led by Uppals. It is expected that by the time the infrastructure comes up in this part of the City, the population growth would have overtaken the estimates made by different government agencies, as has happened in existing Gurgaon. It is time that the authorities wake up from their deep slumber, make a reassessment, and start work on the execution of the Gurgaon Manesar Urban Complex Plan urgently so that mistakes of the past do make life miserable for the future residents of the Millennium City. u

to money and career over their health, which leads to a weaker immune system. People working in MNCs and other corporate firms interact with a lot of people, and this increases their susceptibility to the disease as the transfer of the pathogen is much easier. The air conditioned environment of the building further becomes helpful for the virus to grow,” said Vinod Kumar, a senior doctor at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Delhi. “The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal Influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who

show influenza-like symptoms, and taking the following measures: 1. Avoid touching your mouth and nose; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze 2. Clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis 3. Avoid close contact with people who might be ill; avoid shaking hands or hugs, in greeting 4. Reduce the time spent in crowded settings 5. Do not spit in public 6. Improve airflow in your living space by opening the windows 7. Practice good health habits – including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food and being active. u


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n a city where the municipal and development agencies, along with private builders, have failed to provide adequate sanitation services, some concerned citizens have decided to step in. Fed up with the poor standards and shabby conditions in his locality, which happens to be one of the posh areas (DLF Phase-1), senior citizen Harish Capoor decided to take control of the situation himself. Much to the surprise of DLF, which oversees the maintenance in the area, Capoor offered to streamline the sanitation system without asking for additional help and resources from the company, in 2007. “Apart from being a CA, I have an Industrial Engineering background, and after doing my calculations I was convinced that the staff and resources were not being utilised in an optimal manner,” says Capoor, whose offer to help was accepted – albeit reluctantly. Making a fresh beginning, Capoor decided to reorganise the work schedule, redesign the dustbins, and place them at strategic locations in all the streets in G-Block. The residents were asked to deposit their garbage in the bins. The three member team of sanitation workers, which was asked to report to him, also increased their frequency of cleaning the lanes – thrice, instead of two times a week. “I invested my own money in installing the dustbins, while the DLF RWA also contributed to the effort,” says Capoor. He made sure that the area around the dustbins was also kept clean, and no waste matter lay scattered around. To make the working easy for the sanitation workers, he designed a litter picker, made of a metal rod, which can be used to pick plastic bags, paper, twigs, cans and plastic glasses. “This Litter Picker has found much favour with sanitation workers, and many government agencies have asked me to get these fabricated,” he informs. His intervention in DLF Phase 1

F

aced with poor public transport facilities, and over-dependence on cars, a movement to empower the pedestrians and those using non-motorised modes of transport has begun in right earnest in the Millennium City. In a recent Workshop on planning for Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) in Gurgaon, it was emphasised that the design and form of a city decides how the people move. It was also reiterated that our old cities were more comfortable for living, as they were not planned with a western perspective – particularly the American model. “The way we design the city roads makes it clear that these are meant for cars, and not for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Anvita Arora of I-Trans, an expert on Transport Management. She said that that there was a complete lack of capacity planning and designing of urban streets, and engineers design the roads keeping their focus on the carriageway – pedestrian paths are ignored. She also said that the lack of guiding documents, and improper training of engineers, is the root cause for bad walkways or cycle track designs in Indian cities. Participants at the Workshop also said that creating footpaths and cycle ways will give greener options to the residents, to commute from one place to another. It will reduce the pressure on roads, cause less traffic jams, and ensure lesser pollution. It will also lead to a lot less stress for the office goers, they averred. Speaking on the occasion, Nisha Singh, Councillor Ward no 30, said

Civic/Social

Sanitation Crusader has ensured a facelift of the area. Capoor is now working closely with MCG and HUDA in the area of sanitation . “I have high regard for the HUDA Administrator, who has shown strong resolve for improving the City – but the rest of the organisation is still steeped in inertia,” he says. Many a times he has submitted proposals that could galvanise the City, and bring it at par with the best cities in the world, but the response has been lukewarm. “I think we need to think innovatively. Another important issue which is proving to be a bane, is that due to the lower minimum wages in Gurgaon as compared to Delhi, it is difficult to recruit sanitation staff here. To correct this anomaly, he says that a proportionate bonus could be paid along with the monthly wage, which would increase the take home pay of the worker. Incidentally, there is another ‘salary/wage rate’ chart prevalent in the government sector in Gurgaon, called ‘DC Rate’, which prescribes significantly higher salary/wage rate (Rs.6,629 pm) for sweeper/safai karmacharis. This can be adopted by HUDA/MCG, who are paying  the DC Wage rates to all other out-sourced personnel. There is no reason to  discriminate against the sanitation workers outsourced by HUDA and MCG, who are  the  poorest paid and engaged in the dirtiest job, he says.

PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

1-7 March 2013

There are a number of things which are actionable, and do not cost much; they just require the will of the government and the politicians,” he asserts. With the problem of garbage disposal not finding a solution, Capoor suggested that the authorities should create proper Transit Garbage Disposal sites within the City, as an integral part of the town planning. “There is also need to remove dust that accumulates on central verges and kerbs; but even to do that there is a need to identify sites where this dust can be deposited safely,” says Capoor. He opines that regular sweeping of an area is no permanent solution for cleanliness, as the dust on the roads just gets removed from one place to the other.

NMT Workshop that there is a major disconnect of the elected representatives with regard to the demands of NMT, as they want only big projects for showcasing, and do not address the actual needs of the people. A skewed perception of the aspirations of people is also a major reason behind the uneven distribution of road space use. People's activism will be a major factor to help establish a good pedestrian network, but they first have to be made aware. She also said that stakeholder consultation must be made mandatory for all infra projects, by the funding agencies. Singh and her group has been in the forefront demanding changes in the proposed HUDA-DLF Freeway, which has no space for footpaths and cyclists. Navdeep Asija of Ecocab Fazilka presented the details of the award winning Fazilka Ecocab Service, whereby the city has transformed the cycle rickshaws service by branding Sarika Panda Bhatt, in her presentation, highlighted the following key statistics of Gurgaon, from the Comprehensive Mobility Plan: • Average Trip Length – 7 kms • Average Speed – 23 kms / hr • Share of Walking and Cycling (NMT) – 33% • Roads with usable footpath – less than 23% • Public Transport Share – 10% • Cycle tracks – 0%

them (Ecocab), and initiating a Dial a Rickshaw service. The success of the service in Fazilka has led to replication of this model in many towns and cities in Punjab. He said this type of service may be more suitable in the large gated communities in Gurgaon, and can be also used for providing feeder service to Metro Stations. The service also got the award for the best innovative transport project from the Ministry of Urban Development at the Urban Mobility India Conference in 2011. When asked why funds under the JNNURM were not being made available to Gurgaon for augmenting the transport fleet, like for other cities, Raj Kumar Singh, Director (Urban Transport), Ministry of Urban Development said that the demands put forth by cities like Gurgaon are being examined. Singh also said that the main objective of the National Urban Transport Policy is to move people, and not vehicles. He said that the Central Government encourages measures that allocate road space on a more equitable basis, with people as its focus; and this can be achieved by reserving lanes and corridors exclusively for public transport and non-motorised modes of travel. Amit Bhatt, Strategy Head - Urban Transport at EMBARQ India, made a background presentation and highlighted the need for non motorised transport in cities. He said that the World Health Organization has predicted that the Road Traffic Fatalities will be the 5th most

Sometime back, Capoor had proposed that a piece of land along the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road be earmarked as a Malba dump, so that the City’s construction waste could be consigned there. “The proposal was accepted by the authorities in principle, but no action has been taken yet,” he says. Due to the lack of such a place, even the garbage in the City cannot be picked up properly, as it is mixed with Malba. Realising the important role played by roadside vendors, he is of the opinion that they need not be curbed. “We recently conducted an experiment, whereby roadside vendors were asked to keep their 'rehris'—and the area around these—clean. The vendors readily complied, and the result was very good,” informs Capoor. The government agencies should also set up public toilets in key places in Gurgaon, as there is a large congregation of the public in areas such as Old Gurgaon, Iffco Chowk and Rajeev Chowk. “We could emulate the convenience services managed by the Delhi Metro, which are working reasonably well,” he asserts. This will also instill a civic sense among the citizens, and get rid of the sore sight of numerous people relieving themselves in public, he says. He also wants the authorities to ban the sticking of posters and advertisements indiscriminately, as this mars the looks of the City. Capoor wants the City Administration to take the concept of Sanitation holistically, and stop following the process of awarding the tenders to the lowest bidders, without proper appraisal of the bidders’ competence and performance record. He says that a draft of ‘Qualifying Terms and Conditions’ has been submitted to HUDA, to be incorporated in the Tender Documents – which all intending Bidders need to meet, before their Bids can be considered. He strongly believes that value, not price, should be the final criteria for selection, if Gurgaon has to become a world class city. u

important causes of deaths worldwide by 2030. He also said the India currently witnesses 150,000 road traffic fatalities, out of which about 1/5th occur in urban areas. He cited the example of Bangalore, where over 75% of such victims were pedestrians or cyclists. Sudeept Maiti, Associate at EMBARQ India, presented some of the work they have done with private developers, on promoting non-motorised transport and accessibility, and showcased EMBARQ’s work with ADARSH Palm Retreat,Bangalore and Godrej Garden City, Ahmedabad. He showed that private developers are willing to incorporate NMT principles into their design, provided the same is communicated effectively to them. Latika Thukral (I am Gurgaon) said that there were a sizeable number of NMT users in the City. She said that private developers are building large parts of the City, but somehow the citizens are not getting involved in this development. She also stressed upon the need for a formal focused body to make NMT infrastructure a reality. Prabhat Agarwal (Aravali Scholars) also said that projects approved by PWD must have an NMT network. Policy decisions  and guidelines for NMT infrastructure are in place at the central government level, but the implementation at the State level is an issue. The Workshop on planning for NonMotorised Transport (NMT) in Gurgaon was organised by EMBARQ India. 40 participants from various stakeholder groups participated. u


1-7 March 2013

Civic/Social

{ O.P. Ratra }

T

he clamour for the ban on plastic bags (including carry bags) has grown during the past two decades – not only in India, but in several countries. Less vociferous are those who insist on their usage.

Why plastic bags?

The history of the development and use of plastic bags—for carrying, storing and packaging of commodities, both wet and dry— goes back to 1957, when they were introduced in the US, to compete with brown paper bags. In 1969, the New York City   Sanitation Department demonstrated that a plastic refuse bag kerb-side pickup   was cleaner, safer and quieter than a metal trash can pickup. Thus began a shift   to  plastic trash can liners, that were preferred by the consumers/users. During 1973, the first commercial  manufacture  of  plastic grocery bags became operational; and in 1990, the consumer plastic bag recycling began, through a supermarket collection-site network. By 1996, four out of five grocery bags used were plastic. In India, plastic bags/ carry bags were introduced during the mid-seventies, with the   expansion   of the petrochemical/plastics industry, as an alternative to conventional  paper  (both  brown and  used newspaper/magazine) bags. It was felt, rightly, that plastic bags have a better carrying capacity, are hygienic, clean and easy to handle,   and can be used for both dry and wet commodities. Since then, there has been good consumer acceptance/preference for plastic bags. It has been justified on technical, environmental, social, and socio-economic grounds. The plastics materials used are   “polyethylene”, and/

or “polypropylene”. These are scientifically formulated and manufactured, are nondegradable, inert, and “recyclable”. As per IS: 14534-1998, these materials are neither health nor environment hazards. Life-style compulsions and the concern of indiscriminate” littering” ..a social habit/attitude Life-style compulsions and societal requirements, coupled with population growth and urbanisation, and the concept of a throw-away culture, necessitate the generation of urban waste/garbage (municipal solid waste) – in which plastics waste is one visible component. At the rate of half-a-kg per capita generation of urban waste (household), the total volume is about 60 million tonnes annually, in India. Legally and socially, the local and city municipal authorities have the responsibility to collect, manage and treat/dispose urban waste. Because of the volume and diversified nature of the door-todoor collection of city garbage, private operators and rag pickers/waste collectors have joined the field of city garbage management and disposal. Waste is a business, and a resource. The constituents, after segregation into recyclables (like, plastics, paper, card board, glass and metal), are traded by the informal and formal  sectors, for   material recovery through recycling.   Save the Environment, and Recycle, is the   slogan   commonly promoted. Concerned with the increased consumption of plastics for various consumer products’ applications, and the simultaneous generation of plastics waste, alongside  throw-away culture of disposables or items of short life in daily usage, the Municipalities/ Local Authorities, State Governments/the Ministry of En-

O P Ratra

Don’t Ban, Segregate

Plastic bags are not edibles. They are nondegradable and inert – but are recyclable. Why should stray cattle/cows eat plastic bags? If they do, it is certainly not as fodder. Stray cows visit city garbage dumps to search for left-over food articles – not to eat plastic bags.

vironment & Forests, and State Pollution Control Committees/ Boards engaged themselves, way back in the early nineties, in discussions/debates/seminars/meetings/Expert Groups/ Task Forces, on how to manage plastics waste. Allegations against plastic bags...... it is a free for all, to label plastic bags as “ harmful”....   The case against plastic carry bags/bags has been blown out of proportion, and   viewed in isolation. It should be seen in a wider context of our “indiscriminate littering” of public places/ parks/open fields/drains. It is the social habit/attitude of the population at large, which needs “reform”. The collection, segregation and disposal, in “identified  litter bins placed in public places/ parks/institutions, and the adoption of technological options for their treatment/ recycling,   would   heal the

“ills” of plastic bags. “ Plastic kills.. avoid it; “ Plastics-An environment hazard..; “ Plastic bags cause grave injury, are detrimental to the environment, and affect the health of human beings as well as animals” – are common and fashionable   allegations   against   plastic bags, coined and publicised  by environment activists/groups. They have no scientific or legal evidence. Plastic bags are a bigger threat than atom bombs, said India’s top leading daily last May.   Strange notifications are formulated against plastic bags. One example is, “...plastic bags are health and environment hazards, and are nondegradable, harmful for human beings and animals....” Here, the notification safely omits a technical touch – that...”plastic bags are recyclable, as per IS: 14534-1998”. It has become fashionable for the environment groups and ac-

Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags are an integral and essential part of our daily life. These bags (mostly recycled) are preferred for the carrying and disposal of our daily household, institution and hotel/restaurant garbage. They are technically required for the carrying and disposal of bio-medical waste. Plastic Bags are non-biodegradable, but recyclable. They are neither environment nor health hazards. In fact they are eco-friendly – they can be reused after their useful service life, through recycling/resource recovery. In India, plastics waste constitutes only 6% of the urban solid waste generated every year. Yes, Plastics Bags’ waste does block the drains, and kills cattle that eat it from the garbage heaps. However, that is not a problem of plastics, but of our attitudes and behaviours – of littering public spaces. We need to segregate garbage into biodegradable and recyclable, by adopting a 2-bin system, and appropriately placing litterbins in public places/parks.

Plastic versus Paper Bags

Plastic Bags :  consume 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than un-composted Paper Bags, and 79% less than composted Paper Bags. They generate far less Carbon Dioxide equivalents.  consume less than 4% of the water needed to make Paper Bags  consume 40% less energy during production, and generate 80% less solid waste than Paper Bags. It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastics, than a pound of paper. Some Actions: Plastics Manufacturers should set up Plastics Recycling units. We should make plastic bags costlier, to stop their indiscriminate use, and make it more lucrative for rag-pickers. Rag-pickers, waste dealers and recyclers provide livelihood to around 2 million people.

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tivists to rush to the courts all over India, and file PILs against plastic bags, with a single point agenda. They seek directions for the banning of plastic bags, even advising   and misguiding the State/Central Pollution Control Committee/Departments – with no scientific data/evidence. Unfortunately, the Courts have seemingly not been able to assess their credentials, nor their technical competence. PILs provide a free hand to promote “the hate campaign against plastic bags”, with vague quotations from EPA 1986, and certain Articles from the Constitution. Consumers of plastic bags end up being victimised, when they visit a shop/store to buy commodities, and ask for a polythene bag to carry   vegetables, processed food, samosa/tikki, which the paper bags cannot  hold safely. Recommendations by the Justice Chopra Committee (2007-08),  and Plastics Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 Justice Chopra Committee, (with which the author was associated), constituted by the Delhi High Court, in its  Report had clarified that “plastics are neither health nor environment hazards, and are inert”; it further concluded that “plastic bags were an economical and efficient mode, used by the citizens of Delhi, and cannot be  withdrawn or banned completely”. The basic issue is that of plastics’ waste, which should be managed by the local authorities in   cooperation with the Plastics Manufacturers’ Associations. The 2011 Rules, issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, do not recommend a ban of the use of plastic bags either. The ban is unconstitutional...it is a plastics’ waste issue.   It would be apparent that the ‘anti-plastic bags’ clamour is non-technical, and unconstitutional.  The ban on the use of plastic bags, notified and promoted by various State Pollution Committees/Departments, infringes upon the Fundamental Right, guaranteed by Clause “g” of article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution – namely Freedom   of Profession, Trade or Business. There is no danger, or also any risk, peril, or exposure to pain or injury, from the application of plastics for packaging (including plastic bags)  of food, water, milk etc.  Bags/Carry bags  can be  designed  and manufactured in different materials – paper, cloth, jute and plastics. Each one has its advantages and limitations. When they form part of the waste stream, they need to be managed and handled for collection, and treated for disposal, as per the existing Rules. This is being done by the local authorities, in co-operation with private operators, rag pickers/waste collectors, through door-to-door collection of household garbage and its segregation at a centralised location. The informal sector earns its livelihood from the sale of recyclables. Gurgaon already has such a practice in place. u


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1-7 March 2013

Comment

Open Your Windows

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hy is there so much negativity, especially when it comes to politics? And unfortunately politics is our favourite pastime – well ok, after cricket and Bollywood. If there is so much that we feel against someone or some organization or some idea, surely there should be at least as much pride for something we stand for, or believe in. It doesn’t seem so. It is easy and fashionable to just find fault; it seems far more difficult to find approval. It should be the other way round.

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

Why should there be only a one-way track? Surely there must be learnings from the outside? And from Gandhi/Tagore – ‘I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible...though I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. How do we grow, without opening our minds and hearts? There must be change even within the organisations that we believe are the best. After all, best implies a comparison – which is also dynamic.

Letter To The Editor

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e are regular readers of your weekly newspaper FRIDAY GURGAON and enjoy reading its contents. Deepa Srivastava

FAMOUS QUOTES

Why does the Congress have to define its role as ‘keeping the communal BJP out’? Should the BJP talk of ‘keeping the Family, or the Parochial Party out’? After all, the Congress also panders to castes and religions. Would the Congress not be better off sticking to a broader economic-cum-social agenda - of why it should be ‘in’ (power)? Why does the BJP try to pander to an antiMuslim agenda? Living in an almost 80% Hindu country, can it not showcase Hinduism to the world – and always endeavour to act with good faith towards the minorities? Why must Communists always protest – against the business class, and the rich? Why is profit such a bad word for them? Why cannot they focus on just ensuring that the national agenda remains the removal of poverty; and that public investment in education and health and other social requirements never comes down? Why keep quibbling with the means, that too mainly on sentiment?

The debates need to be on and about issues, and not on the people and parties that are debating. Why must each answer in a debate be - ‘I don’t agree with…’, or ‘What did they do while in power?’ If only disagreeing or being negative is the requirement, any party worker can do that. Why are stalwarts needed? Where does their maturity and intelligence go? It is moronic to assume that the viewers have no intelligence or maturity either. The heads of the Parties need to step up and allow their senior party men some independence. Anyway, TV debates have little bearing on election results in India – unlike in the US, where TV debates have been known to make or break candidates. It’s not so different outside, and for some other favourite topics. Pakistan, a country founded on religion, seems to have forgotten the good in Islam. The agenda is ‘hate-India’, not ‘lovePakistan’ – or even, ‘love Islam’. It was earlier ‘hate-East Pakistan’, and led to the formation of Bangladesh. In a final irony, the discriminated against minorities in Pakistan are now Islamic minorities – the Hindus having been driven away or converted. MJ Akbar most tellingly states, ‘Those who equate religion with nation, distort the first and destroy the second’. Globally, the spate of terror attacks, including the most audacious 9/11, led to terrorism being equated with Islam. The opportunity for the world to get together to fight all forms of terrorism has been stalled. You are either with the US, or against it. Countries like India have suffered due to this. Groups like the Sikhs, who also grow beards, have suffered – though surprisingly not the Jews… There is enough of a positive in most people or organisations or ideas, in the political arena as also the religious. We should not need ‘Hot Wars’ to settle our differences – just as a ‘Cold War’ in the last century did not resolve much. And let us leave ‘Star Wars’ for a fantasy future; Hollywood/ Bollywood would also be so much the better (though boring) for it too. u

Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.” – Denis Waitley In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget


Wellness 17

1-7 March 2013

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

'Full' Stop To Obesity { Jaspal Bajwa }

I

t is indeed an irony of fate that increasing urbanization is associated with growth of obesity – the root cause of most chronic lifestyle diseases and premature death. In the developed world, every third person is over-weight. The obesity factor has more than doubled in the last two decades. The mega-cities of the developing world are not far behind. The age-old desire to look young and desirable has been kicked up a notch or two, by the high-profile and pervasive influence of pop stars. The couch-potato, on the other hand, finds an increasing gap between the aspired image and the ground reality. It is this dissonance—more than the fear of chronic disease— which is fuelling the new wave towards looking trim. As can be expected, this has resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry. The lure of ‘Get Slim Quick’ products is too powerful to resist. If only there was a magic wand that could simply wave away obesity... When we lack a stresscoping mechanism, the demands of everyday life inevitably lead to mindless eating or ‘emotional eating’. Sheer indulgence in addictive junk foods comes easy. The consequences are not difficult to imagine. The equation is simple - much like the Information Technology maxim – ‘GarbageIn-Garbage-Out’ (GIGO).

Mindful eating, on the other hand, nourishes us from the very core. Eating should provide satiety - a pleasant feeling of fullness, and the corresponding reduction of hunger. But when does too much of a good thing become a negative? Keeping the balance can be a challenge. Especially since each individual has a unique metabolic rhythm. Governed by our genetics, and even more so by our lifestyle choices, our body responds to various signals which can keep us from overeating. In this context, it is important to know how the brain signals ‘fullness’ in a timely manner, for us to stop eating – before it is too late. It is now known that the ‘thermostat’ like role of the brain—in controlling how much we need to eat—is influenced by Leptin – the ‘Satiety-hormone’ secreted by the fat cells. In addition to warding off starvation, Leptin is key to regulating appetite – by making food either more or less rewarding. This in turn impacts our ability to regulate energy intake vs. expenditure (metabolism). If our energy thermostat is not set

right, elevated levels of Leptin do not trigger the ‘feeling full’ sensation on time. Over-eating automatically follows. However, Leptin cannot be injected as a drug or as a food … there are no such ‘silverbullets’. The key lies in our body’s ability to be sensitive to Leptin. Much like insulinresistance, which leads to Type 2 Diabetes, it is Leptin- resistance which leads to obesity. Leptin resistance can be induced by obesity (in a vicious cycle) or a high-fat diet, as also after the onset of middle age. However, moderate exercise and appropriate food choices can help regain Leptin activity. It is finally all about being savvy about our food choices, so that we can regulate the interaction between emotional triggers, social triggers – and the kinds of foods we choose. Some foods are better for satisfying the pangs of hunger, as well as giving us the satisfaction of balanced nourishment. An eyeopening study by Suzanna Holt, and her fellow researchers, at the University of Sydney has been instrumental in helping classify foods on the basis of their Satiety potential. In addition to the sheer weight of the food, what seems to matter is the relative levels of water, protein and dietary fibre. Foods that contain large amounts of fat, sugar, and starch have a low ‘Fullness-index’ – hence, are much easier to lead to overeating.

Tip of the week

started to discolour suddenly. What can I do to resolve this?

SH Teeth can get discoloured due to tobacco, pan masala, nicotine etc.,

which should be avoided. They can also get discoloured due to loss of tooth enamel, for which you should consult a dentist. For stains on the teeth, you can try a natural remedy. Take some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) rub it on the teeth daily, like tooth powder.

WINNER Usha Sharma

Ask the beauty expert questions on skin, hair and beauty. The best question (picked by Shahnaz Husain) will receive a gift hamper from the Shahnaz Husain Group. Write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

whether a food is desirable or not is to compare the calories to the portion size. If a 120 gm portion has over 250 calories, it is too energy-dense (has a low ‘Satiety Index), and it is best to avoid it.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the week:

the premise that we all carry programmed behaviour in our genes and DNA. This translates into our beliefs about ourselves and our environment – and creates our reality.During the Theta Healings, a person’s belief system is reprogrammed at the subconscious level.

What It Can do For You

Theta Healing works on changing our lives at various levels – spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. It works on

Q. I am a 35 year old woman. My problem is that my teeth have

At the scientific level, our brain waves work at four levels – namely alpha, beta, theta and delta. Beta waves (13+ Hz) travel the fastest, and represent a state of activity and awareness. Alpha waves (7-12 Hz) are a bit slower, and our brains are frequently in this state during meditation and relaxation. Theta waves (4-7 Hz) represent a very deep state of relaxation – for example, a hypnotic trance. Delta waves (below 4 Hz) are the slowest, and operate while we are in deep sleep. Theta Healings work at the theta levels, and bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is here that we hold memories, beliefs, behaviours and sensations. Healing is performed when both the client and practitioner/healer, are in the Theta state. They connect with the Creator (or universe, or God) to experience the healings. Using God’s vibration, healthgiving and empowering programs are activated in our DNA.

T

How does Theta Healing work

Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

The Top 5 High Satiety High Nourishment Foods are: Baked Potatoes, Fish, Oatmeal, Oranges/Apples and Beans/ Pulses. However, within food categories, there can be a large variation on the Satiety (fullness) scale. As an example: Fruits & Vegetables: Oranges & apples are roughly

heta Healing is an ancient practice, that draws its user into a spiritual state by working on the conscious and subconscious levels of the mind. This technique of healing was discovered by Vianna Stibal, a medical intuitive reader and naturopathic healer. She termed it as the quantum medicine, and described it as a holistic way of connecting to the power within ourselves – our inner self or the soul.

It is a very safe, effective gentle therapy.

by ShahnaZ

About 70 per cent of the people eat everything set in front of them – whether they want it or not. About half do not seem to notice differences in ‘portion size’. Yet, reducing the portion-size and energy-density of the foods we choose, by 25 per cent, is key. A quick way to discover

{ Bhavana Sharma }

As a healing modality, Theta can make most of your dreams come true, and shape your future. At the spiritual level, it can make you feel abundant, and even help you get a suitable soul mate. It can heal phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, Vaastu defects of homes and land, and mental and emotional traumas. It produces fast healing results–and even permanent healings–at every level.

4U 4

Tips

twice as high as bananas. Carbohydrate Rich Foods: Baked potatoes are roughly thrice as high as white bread or pasta. Protein Rich Foods: Fish is nearly twice as high as lentils. Breakfast Cereals: Porridge/oatmeal is roughly twice as high as any other cereal (including muesli). Bakery Products: Crackers are roughly thrice as high as croissants, and twice as high as doughnuts or cake. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

While Theta healing seems no different in principle from other forms of energy healing, the results are profound, and can be felt almost immediately. The energy during the healings is channelled through the source or Divine, which means that any biases, prejudices and beliefs held by the healer do not impact the healing process.

Benefits Of Theta Activation

  Intuitive levels are strengthened n Physical energy is renewed n  Improvement in vision n  Feeling of freshness and vigour n Improvement in personal relationships n  Enhancing spiritual growth n  Gaining confidence n  Losing weight and acquiring a well-toned body n  Building self-esteem and removing fears n  Experiencing better personal and working relationships n  Releasing phobias, reducing stress levels and anxiety u Author, Tarot Reader n


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1-7 March 2013

Spiritual Diet

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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e depend on food. Every day nature prompts us to eat. We can do without food for a few hours–or maybe a few days–but we can never become independent of it. It is not possible to live as a human being without experiencing the discomforts associated with eating and digesting. But over-eating also creates problems. Over-eating festers diseases and shortens our life; it does not yield happiness. On the other hand, while we may learn some very important things through such practices as fasting, carrying it to an extreme leads to exhaustion rather than release. We can live vibrantly by eating light and simple food. More importantly, we must focus completely on the present moment while eating food. One of my father’s close childhood buddies visits us often, and I compare experiences with him on many subjects – food being one of those. He eats strictly what his body permits him to, and has been on this ‘controlled fasting’ for more than two decades now. He says that his daily diet includes a counted number of chapattis, four seasonal vegetables and four types of legumes, put together with contents not exceeding 200 grams cooked in solar energy; 200 grams of fresh cut fruits and salads, and 200 grams of skimmed milk. “You should chew your food for a long time, until it becomes completely liquid in your mouth. It tastes delicious,” he says. He lives on a diet of Rupees Twenty per day. Touch wood, he has never fallen sick in these years, and is vibrant with youthful energy. Not only that, he takes on his ‘young’ shoulders the responsibility of The Joint Forum of Residents Welfare Associations.

I know a very senior executive in a company, who visited me the other day. She has had a very good education, and is now pursuing a very good career – and is very well off. She is divorced – which is not unusual or uncommon nowadays. To a casual observer, she would look quite happy and successful. However, the anxieties in her life, and the stressful job, have impacted her food habits. When she feels anxious she eats excessively – cramming food into her body, and eating everything wildly. The food she chooses for this purpose is not nutritious; it is very heterogeneous, containing mostly things that she knows to be bad for her. When she fills herself up with lots of fast food, she feels so dirty that she goes to the bathroom and throws up. She does this most days at least once. She embarks to the food table with the desire that it should bring her satisfaction; but before it has a chance to demonstrate that it will fail to do so, she aborts the experiment and vomits everything out. Her habit of grasping and rejecting fills up all her time, takes up all her energy, and ensures that the intuition that she has about the emptiness of mundane life can never really be tested. She can continue to believe that all will be well when she overcomes her problem, so long as she does not overcome it. Deep down, she knows that eating excessively will not make her happy. When she sits for eating, she hardly tastes the food at all. For her, the happiness she thinks is her due, lies beyond these things. She is in flight from the suffering in her life, rather than enjoying the pleasures that are available to her. She can enjoy and savour each bite of food if she focuses on the present moment. Of course, food can give pleasure. If we eat a modest amount of food slowly, savouring each bite, enjoying it in the present moment, it tastes

Say No To Meat’’ ‘The lambs, sheep, cows and buffaloes lay their blood down while they cry on their fate I lost my life; they are still discussing which could have been a better mode of my slaughter I saw them coming, nobody came to help; my throat was cut open – soon it was too late I am away from the land of terror; away from hell, and safer here with my Master.’ The distress that animals have to endure before they end up as anonymous, unrecognisable bricks in the supermarket freezer made me realise that my food and my spiritual values were intimately linked. And since consciousness is everywhere, even in so-called inanimate objects as rocks, sand or mud, we can perceive oneness in all creation. In principle, all expressions of nature have an equal right to exist, and to express themselves; everything created is ultimately cosmic consciousness. On this evolutionary ladder, animals follow their instinctual dharma–or inner nature–while humans can rise above their basic instincts, and choose to follow a higher, spiritual dharma. By adhering to this simple, ethical principle, we can better live in harmony with ourselves, and with other beings in the natural world. We need to have concern for the welfare of animals, as part of our genuine environ­ment­al ethics that are based on spiritual­ity. The great G.B Shaw rightly said: “Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends.” Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 20 years.

If you are not getting FG copies regularly

Play On...Krishna Krishna, Come with the setting sun To woo the doleful hearts, You have such an art. The Jamuna is beautific, And murmuring Some love lorn rhymes – The waves roll in soulful chimes. You Krishna are mine, Divine. You love all, and all love you – Me too. You are so like the moon and the sun, You love everyone – Such fun. And I think it is only Me For whom you shine & smile – That guileful smile. You win my heart, I feel like the distant lark Whose heart flutters At the thought of Spring hues. Tender potent dews, On green leaves of greener trees, where lovers sit

very good. The same is true of eating select nutritious food required by the body. u

Call - 9910518785

in hours of timeless nothings. And say pretty things To one another. For love is such a potion, When you love One You love all others. Krishna, I hear your call, My soul awaits to be enthralled By your mesmerizing song. Play on... And set me Free Shobha Lidder Writer journalist, Teacher Trainer, social activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

Spiritual I Will Not Give Up { Archana Kapoor Nagpal } I tell myself, I will not give up. When there is no hope of victory, When my life feels meaningless Amid my own people, When I feel worthless I tell myself, I will not give up. When it pains beyond my tolerance I have no motivation, no reason to live, When I regret my act of patience, When I realised – I was born to give I tell myself, I will not give up. When there is no light of hope, When there is complete darkness in my life, With my hands shaking And my heart palpitating I tell myself, I will not give up. When I have no answers to my own questions, When I am drowning in deep silence, When I fail to cherish the present And I brood over my past I tell myself, I will not give up. When I have no money to celebrate, When I cannot understand Why do people discriminate? Then I feel stronger, and not tame I tell myself, I will not give up. When I fail every time I try And it is really hard to clarify, I look up to God And I loudly cry... I tell myself, I will not give up! Internationally published author of ‘14 Pearls of Inspiration’ and the ‘12 Facets of a Crystal’


1-7 March 2013

Art 19

Vestures Of Being { Srimati Lal }

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aturity of concept and expression in Fine Art is not an easily-achievable construct. Quite the opposite --- it is an infinitely difficult Sadhana, one that involves a lifetime of introspection, and a deliberate shedding-away of outworn beliefs. To demonstrate this, the current art season is blessed with a major Retrospective of one of India's leading painters, who works in her Gurgaon studio as well as in Delhi -- Shobha Broota, who completed her 70th year in January 2013.  Celebrating five decades of this Abstractionist's contemplative and mystical visions on canvas and paper, a large collection of her artworks, covering every phase of her development, has been arranged at the India International Centre until 17 March. This is the largest body of artworks ever put together by Shobha Broota in a single space. In a current art-scenario that is too often ruled by facile fads and gimmicks, such a significant painterly Retrospective, so carefully put-together, provides viewers an authentic and rare opportunity to study the evolution of a major idiom.  This major artist has always been a reticent and gentle presence, never wasting too much time and energy in self-promotion or 'imagebuilding'. It is within such reticence and discretion that we observe authenticity and genuine artistry. The presence of two senior thespians at the book-release on Shobha Broota—the art-theoretician Dr.

Kapila Vatsyayan, and her brother the noted poet Keshav Malik — underlined the impact of the soft-spoken, benign Shobha ji's lifetime of artistry. This book on the artist— poetically titled  Vesture Of Being, by Keshav Malik— contains works selected by Malik, with colour plates and finely-honed commentaries by the senior poet and Shobha Broota. The term  Vestures refers to  'outer garb or clothing' --- in this case, perhaps the 'Cosmic garb of Being Itself '. The subtlydesigned 124-page Art Book, released on the occasion by noted Indian art-scholar Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan,  reveals an aesthetic temperament that is drawn to 'editing' rather than 'elaboration', retaining only those essential images and thoughts that are vital. The Exhibition, well-documented in this discreet volume, presents 51 artworks by Shobha Broota, beginning with her early Figurative and experimental works from the artist's years at the Delhi College of Art; proceeding to nascent works of the 1970s to 1990s; and culminating in the largest body of her most evolved recent Tantric visualisations, painted over the Millennium.  The entire  oeuvre is marked by elegance, dignity and an intense understanding of the ancient Indian Abstract idiom. Looming colour-fields concentrate intensely on specific tones of the mystic spectrum: from luminous grass-green to contemplative lapis-lazuli

and transcendent saffron. Life's subtler undercurrents of grey, sepia and white are not left out. All these silent fields are held-together by the ripples of a centrifugal focalpoint – a cosmic force. The overwhelming feeling is of Silence and Minimalism. The artist weaves her Minimalist spell in various mediums, including thread, pencil, as well as paint – often literally 'weaving' her forms by hand, with actual skeins, and stretching them painstakingly onto the canvas-format. Shobhaji began as an accomplished Realist artist, as her wonderful 'SelfPortrait' of 1968 reveals, painted in a classical oil on canvas-mode when she was 25. Smilingly, she describes this classical painting to me—that is skillfully wrought in sepia and green impasto—as "My own Mona Lisa". It unflinchingly portrays her brooding inner self, sans all sentimentalism, even at a very early stage in her development. From such extreme Realism, the artist has moved towards heightened Abstraction, via a laboriously-disciplined route. Some excerpts from the Book:   There is dignity in her compositions, for she is by nature considerate and courteous. There is speech, but it is to the point.

Indu tripathy

Her work is primarily a communion of self with soul. ~ Keshav Malik I try my best to shed all that is unnecessary and come to the minimum in expression. ~ Shobha Broota Her rapport is with the tens and millions of galaxies that inhabit space-time.     ~  Keshav Malik Just a flicker can reveal mysteries. ~ Shobha Broota I asked the artist a few questions in a personal interview: SL: What is your feeling on having arrived at this point: on having achieved your own idiom ? SB: It is the result of complete devotion and passion; one must devote all that one IS to one's work. There is no satisfaction in comparing oneself to others --- the only satisfaction in life lies in the awareness that one has given one's best efforts.  And, looking at all my work, I only know that my journey continues. Silence speaks much more than sound. SL: Do you have any favourite 'emblematic' works that best sum-up your Cumulative vision ?

SB: I do not either 'prefer' or 'favour' any individual works: they are all equal in my eyes. From 1965 to 1980 to 1995, every moment bears its own revelation. The basis for all my work is Love. One must love deeply whatever one is doing. SL: The format and size of your book is startlingly discreet; at 9" x 6", it is easily held in one's hand, as opposed to typically heavy, showy 'coffee-table' books. Also, its text is cryptic and concentrated, not verbose --exactly like your Art. Is that why you chose this format ? SB: Yes. That is exactly the reason. I wanted the reader's experience to be intimate. One must connect closely to the Art. Also, I am a petite person, not a looming figure; and I wanted my book to be likewise – reflecting the real me, in a sense.u Artist, Writer, & Curator


20 A

rt is a holistic experience, intended to be evocative; each artist attempts to bring credibility to his/ her art through beauty and simplicity. Sometimes we come across a beautiful work that makes us pause for a while. Karuna Chauhan shows us how a simple art form, like Paper Quilling, can be turned into a rewarding profession. Quilling is the art of creating little rolls from delicate strips of paper, and shaping them into intricate designs. The art of Quilling dates back some 500 years. Modern day Quilling is gaining popularity as a challenging craft and art form. Paper Quilling has been virtually unaffected by industrialization and technology. It requires patience, dexterity and good eyesight. Tremendous new life has been breathed into Quilling in recent years by Karuna. She creates visually appealing art pieces, that are handcrafted from environmentally responsible and sustainable materials, for a global audience. “Paper Quilling is a type of art that was popular in Colonial times, and is a fun project that can be done with students of

{ Krishan Kalra }

S

he was always an enigma – so aloof, and yet so close at times. With her you never knew where you stood. Perhaps this was a carefully cultivated image to keep everyone guessing. I first met her almost twenty years ago. We were collecting money for a children’s park in the Colony, and I started telephoning all the neighbours. With so many ostentatious rich around, I thought it would be easy. I couldn’t have made a worse judgement. With many of them I couldn’t even get past their secretaries and housekeepers. Some named their favourite charities; others openly scoffed at the very idea. In one case the response was queer. It was the governess who took the call. Very proper, very cool—almost British—and interested in donating generously, but subject to Madam’s approval. I left my number and forgot about it. Several weeks later a meek male voice identified himself as Madam’s husband, and asked if I could drop in to meet his wife. The intriguing set-up prompted me to accept, even though I didn’t expect to get anything. I was received at the imposing gate of the mansion by a smart uniformed chap, and escorted in. We walked on the stonepaved drive way, past manicured lawns, lovely trees, rose beds and a brightly lit portico—as if in a palace—into an ornate lobby. Now a butler took over, and ushered me in, somewhat in the fashion of announcing guests at royal banquets. She sat there on a high stool. A beautiful apparition, in a white diaphanous dress, long

B on V ivant

Paper Quiller various ages. As a Quilling artist, I can't tell you how happy I am teaching children how to quill. We are anxious to keep this little known art form alive. I've been quilling for a few years now; I enjoy working with specialty papers and various mediums – to spark my creativity in designing cards. I am continuously building my collection of greeting cards and art frames, and hope to have a big collection soon. I love making  a variety of scrapbooks, especially baby books and home decor items. I also get requests to decorate wedding books, make themed birthday invites, or hold a craft activity at a birthday party. To take it to a new level, in 2009  I began a blog, and kept updating it with my latest work. This gave me an opportunity to interact with other paper crafters – not just in India, but across the globe. While the basic material was available in India, for moving to the next level, most of the tools and material had to be sourced from abroad. It took me a lot of patience to source products through this channel. That is when I decided

to create an online store, which would give crafters across India an opportunity to purchase these products locally. Thus began Lulupu – The Craft Lounge, on 1st  March 2012. This online crafts superstore has a huge selection of craft products to suit your needs, and it also aims to increase awareness of paper craft (through the Lounge and Gallery section on the website), where artists can upload their work.

Deadly Dalliance

black hair loosely held in a bun on her nape, and an ageless face – could be anywhere between late twenties to early forties. The room was a contrast to the outdoors; the furniture was perhaps hired from a tent-house. A dirty carpet, shabby curtains and badly-lit narrow wooden stairs led to a basement. There were cob-webs that accentuated the signs of a neglected house. Next to her sat her husband (so I was told), a diminutive little man, almost mousy, in nondescript clothes – with thick lenses and shifty nervous feet. The woman had at once the come-hither look, and a regal aloof bearing. I was quite dumb-founded. She treated the man scornfully, and didn’t let him get in a single word during the 15 minutes that I stayed. I was ‘interviewed’ as if I was a novice seeking a job; and yet, when I was leaving, she got up and warmly shook my hands. Actually I thought she even offered her cheek for a kiss, but I was too confused to react. I didn’t see her again for the next six months. One day I suddenly found her jogging on the

We have selected a few talented paper crafters from across the country, to be a part of our specialised Design team. They create innovative projects, using our products. Our Design team helps amateurs learn about various techniques, by uploading images/videos of the projects, cards, gift tags and scrapbooks that they make on our blog and website. It gives them a platform to showcase their creativity. We also have a dedicated YouTube

Channel – Lulupu TV, where we upload video tutorials of such projects,” says Karuna proudly. Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, and now settled at Orchid Petals, Karuna is a self-taught designer and an entrepreneur. She also manages her full time job at Wipro seamlessly. She believes in “What the mind can conceive and believe….it can achieve.” She started with very little investment, and has taken it forward with hard work, belief, faith – and tremendous passion. Her pieces of art are unique. The detailing that goes into each of her products is un-paralleled; her quality is impeccable, and her innovativeness has brought her laurels. The trademark of her work is simplicity. There is imaginative use of not only everyday materials, but also of imported craft supplies – offering a durable and long life. “I consider my artwork as a series of works, which I feel is a declaration of love for the material and the technique. It is also an attempt to raise the profile of this paper craft, which has been previously regarded with some disdain; and to bring this type of artwork to a new level, in terms of its ability to convey meaning and emotions," says Karuna.u

altogether – no hangover at all of her aloofness, her indifference. Now she was a giggling teenager, running a longer stretch every day and daring me to keep up. I started ‘walking’ seven days a week, out punctually at 6 am, and in the forest at 6.10. There she would be, every morning on the dot, coming from the opposite side. We ran together every day, and on return talked of everything under the sun. I was infatuated. Even my son grunted appreciation when I brought a whole wardrobe of sports clothes from the US. I wanted to impress her, and talked a lot. She told me precious little about herself, except some fascinating stories about her schooling in Switzerland and France. This went on for nearly

three months. By now she knew all about me, my family, my work, office, organisation, plans – everything. She was like two different persons in one. Mornings she was the fun loving, singing, laughing youngster. Other times, on the few occasions I saw her in her black Mercedes, she was so cool and detached – to the point of being boring. It was puzzling. Then she suddenly disappeared – went away without leaving a trace. Everything was gone – the husband, the servants, cars. Typical of her I thought, and tried to forget the pleasant interlude – till I was called for questioning... about the beautiful Pakistani spy who had been very friendly with a stupid romantic Colonel.u

JIT KUMAR

{ Anita Jaswal }

1-7 March 2013

forest track, where I used to walk thrice a week. She was too conspicuous in her white shorts and tank-top, Adidas socks and keds – very athletic attire complete with the white headband. She was a sleek figure, running powerfully on long graceful legs. She greeted me like an old friend. I couldn’t resist the temptation of breaking from my group and panting after her. She was a different person

{ Sujata Goenka }

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n the last four years that I have lived in Gurgaon, I have seen many tall sky rises and malls. I have often heard some of my friends residing near me comment that they are going to Gurgaon for some work. I felt I had misunderstood them. I realised two weeks back that the error was mine. Indeed those that have lived here for more than a decade do refer to the old part of the city as the Gurgaon (the Village). That Gurgaon is very different from the Gurgaon the world has come to know. I drove down to my friends' home in Sector 4. It is across the highway. It is a different world. The only thing common is the condition of the roads – they are dotted with pot holes. The drive there is dangerous in the

Two (Not Twin) Cities monsoon. There are few who follow traffic rules. I did not spot a single policeman on duty. The roads are narrow and congested. The restaurant boards are less swanky. On my way I did find a road full of stores displaying the mundane household things. I am sure that the prices are far lower than in Sikanderpur or Chakarpur, which are on the Mall Road adjacent to the affluent areas. I made a mental note to check it out. There are no high rise buildings in the vicinity of my friend's house. Most buildings are upto four or five floors. The glamour and opulence of 'new' Gurgaon is certainly missing here. I passed by a few buses

chugging along the narrow road . There was a bullock cart parked, ready to be unloaded. A sense of urgency was missing. A man with milk cans on a cycle ran parallel to my car in the afternoon. Women were in traditional clothes. I did not see anyone in jeans. What was also missing were the many wine shops that we just can't miss on our side of the highway. I saw one hidden in a corner, as I turned into a broader street; but it did not have the flashy boards announcing its presence. The Metro lines run through 'new' Gurgaon, but the lines connecting to the rest of India run through 'old' Gurgaon. The courthouses and all the civic corporation buildings are located in this 'old' Gurgaon. Here time seems to stand still. u


G lobal 21

1-7 March 2013

Modern Marriage Failing Men { Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }

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ettina Arndt, Psychologist and best-selling author of ‘The Sex Diaries’, has enraged some fellow Australians with her view that marriages might have been stronger before women gained the same rights – not to have sex – that men always had. “Mismatched desire is the burning issue,” she said. “It’s what’s filling the waiting rooms of sex therapists all over the world. I’ve spent half my life hearing from sex-starved men and the women saying ‘Oh, do I have to?’” dpa: In the 1960s, you were in the forefront of the feminist movement, and marriage was seen as good for men but bad for women. Is the opposite true now? Arndt: Women often have a long shopping list of things they want from their husbands, and it isn’t easy for the men to meet those expectations. So most marital separations are now instigated by women—across the Western world—when men fail to come up to scratch. Men are very aware that they stand

to lose out if the marriage ends. They’re often hit hard financially, and lose their children. Many try hard to please their partners, even though they might not be getting much in return. A lot of men are in marriages where they get very little sex. dpa: Would lower expectations from marriage help? Arndt: I think it would help if women didn’t expect their men to tick so many boxes. They want a soul-mate, a man who’ll reveal all his feelings, but still be prepared to rush into burning buildings and squash spiders and cockroaches. It’s a big ask. Once wives were happy to interpret men’s behaviour from the way their husbands behaved. Now she wants to know what’s going on inside his head. But many men aren’t very good at regurgitating all their emotions. dpa: You say a big issue is lack of sex. Arndt: Back in the 1950s, sex was part of a wife’s sexual duty. She felt some ob-

ligation to make love with her husband. Now many women seem to believe that if they don’t feel like having sex, it needn’t happen. In my research, where couples kept diaries about how they deal with differences in desire, there were men who had gone for 10, 20 years with no sex in their marriages. The problem is that many women spend years with no spontaneous desire, so unless they’re willing to start making love without initial desire, their sex life grinds to a halt. dpa: You urge women to recognize that a “very fragile, easily distracted libido” isn’t a block to having sex, and to just to get on with it. Arndt: I’m talking here about new research by Canadian Rosemary Basson, who has been conducting research on women who have no libido. Basson found many of these women report that even if they have no initial desire, if they start making love and are with a man who knows how to please them, and

The Wizard of Oz is back: in 3D

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James Franco is magician Oscar Diggs (in bubble at left) and Michelle Williams is Glinda the Good Witch (right), in Oz The Great and Powerful. Disney Enterprises

ollywood has once again resuscitated one of its great film classics, at a time when novel scripts are hard to find. The wonderful Wizard of Oz, in modern form and using the latest 3D technological advances, is ready to hit the screens by early March. It is undoubtedly one of the bigger film events of the season. When watching ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’, it will be hard for viewers not to be reminded of the original Victor Fleming movie. The filmmakers have tried to be respectful of the original, while avoiding the identical recreation of the classic 1939 film. They have focused on the Wizard and his early years. James Franco embodies a young illusionist—Oscar Diggs—who is very different from the wizard played by an older Frank Morgan in the original film. The character is explored in great detail from his humble beginnings in Kansas. Director Sam Raimi, who made the “Spiderman” trilogy, starts the film also in black and white, and in the very spot where Judy Garland entered the story in 1939 – but focuses on a male character. This man, a murky fellow employed as a magician by a small provincial circus, is whisked off to the world of Oz by a tornado, and thinks he has solved all his problems. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a world in which the witches— whom he meets along the way— unmask him. Franco worked hard developing his Wizard character. “The character that we’ve set up, he’s not a bad guy. It’s just that, I guess, because of his life circumstances—he grew up on a farm in Kansas—it was very hard, so he does everything he

Rachel Weisz (left) and Mila Kunis (right) are the two wicked witches—Evanora and Theodora—in Oz The Great and Powerful.

can to succeed,” Franco told the Hollywood Reporter. “He depends too much on success for satisfaction. And so that has cut him off from having any kind of long-term relationships, because he always feels like he has to be devoted to his work for climbing to the top,” Franco added. Mila Kunis is Theodora, the Wicked Witch of the West; Evanora, who is also evil and Queen of the territories to the east of the kingdom, is played by Rachel Weisz. Michelle Williams is Glinda, the Good Witch of the South with platinum blond hair, and a guide for Diggs, the future Wizard of Oz. Once he has found his way around Oz, Diggs realizes he has let down those who had faith in him. With time, and a bit of his own special magic, he begins to change – as a professional and as a person.

The fantasy film has a colourful backdrop, and special effects that Fleming would have wished for. Raimi was able to use several shooting sets, so that actors had visual references, and not just a green background, as in the case of the filming of 3D movies like “Avatar”. Only chosen as Director after Disney baulked at Sam Mendes and Adam Shankman, Raimi said that Franco had been his third choice for male lead. Raimi would have liked to have Robert Downey Jr. on board, but he decided not to take the role. Johnny Depp, despite having strong professional ties to Disney, let the opportunity to play the Wizard of Oz go by as well – so Raimi turned to Franco. “It was a decision that was fairly easy to take,” the 34-year-old Franco told US media. Franco explained that he has been an avid reader of L. Frank Baum since he was a child, and has read all his books. For Franco, it has been a singular experience to follow the yellow brick road. “It is marvellous, because Oz is a place that is very fixed in people’s collective memory; and although there is always the risk of ruining people’s expectations about their idea of Oz, I think the spirit has been right – and the intentions too.” u

dpa: So both partners don’t need to feel desire? Arndt: I’m suggesting that the low desire partner—male or female— needs to think about the impact of constant rejection on their partner. So men who aren’t interested in sex need also to “just do it” - to make love to their partners to make them feel wanted and loved. And men don’t need desire, don’t even need erections, to give a woman sexual pleasure. dpa: There doesn’t seem to be a backlash from men unhappy with their marriages. Arndt: Unfortunately much of the public debate about social and sexual issues is conducted entirely by women - at least that’s true here in Australia. Men have dropped out of the cultural debate because they’re silenced whenever they speak openly about their needs, or how they’re being treated by women. I receive constant criticism for being an apologist for men. Even to defend men means you receive a lot of abuse. u

Wisdom In Deathbed Confessions { Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA}

and eventually landed a job to her liking. Jump, she said, and ustralian palliative care the safety mat will appear nurse Bronnie Ware’s before you. “The people on the book, ‘The Top Five campsite helped me out; there Regrets of the Dying’, is a was a phone call and life picked distillation of the wisdom up,” she recalled. that came to her by tending Inertia keeps people in jobs to those in the process of they don’t like, relationships giving up life. Its success— they hate, situations they the book has been translated hoped they would never find into 26 languages—has come themselves in. Ware, after her unexpectedly. “I think I just fill of last-gasp regrets, urges found a niche,” she said. “It her readers to rise up in revolt, surprised me as much as anyone. to listen to their hearts rather I don’t think I could do it again.” than their intellects, and to The book was make decisions and written while looking take action. after her baby “If a relationship daughter, recording can’t stand honesty, music and teaching you’re better off songwriting. without it. It’s The take-home healthier, and will message from so bring happiness to many deathbed say ‘I’m not OK’, or ‘I confessionals is that don’t like what you most of us will come Australian book author, are doing here.’” to regret not being Bronnie Ware. Ware is soft spoken, more courageous in and as calm and the choices we made. In fact, collected as you would want a the thrust of the book is palliative nurse to be. She is simpler than that: most of not pushing an alternative us will come to the dreadful lifestyle, only the notion that realization that we had there are always alternatives. choices, but instead muddled She makes a distinction between on as though there were actions that could be construed none. “They wished they’d been as selfish, and those in which more self-aware about their own we trust in their own judgement needs,” she said. “When you’re and intuition, and take our own at the very end, you realize that happiness and well-being into there were choices – and for account. whatever reason, perhaps just “You’ll regret living your life keeping the peace, you didn’t trying to keep other people happy take them.” – just trying to keep the peace,” Among the deepest regrets she said. “If you have a good is thinking there is still time heart and good intentions, to seek fulfillment, to realize you can’t be held responsible your dreams, to strike out on if other people don’t like the a new path. “It doesn’t matter choices you make.” Those if you’re 40, 60 or 80. The best hours spent with the dying time is now,” said Ware. impressed on Ware how fleeting Ware, 45, was brought up life is. “It gave me courage, and on a sheep farm, got a job in a has helped me make some much bank after leaving school, and clearer decisions. I think, ‘Well, pedalled along on the treadmill if I don’t do this I know what of everyday life – until an it’s like to be on your death epiphany in her 30s. She left bed – so I’m going to have town, lived in a tent for a while, regrets if I don’t.’” u

A

{ Liliana Martinez-Scarpellini / Los Angeles / DPA }

can get their head in the right place to anticipate pleasure; they do go on and enjoy lovemaking - desire kicks in, they become aroused and reach orgasm. This is the ‘just do it’ idea.


22 { Dirk Averesch / Berlin / DPA }

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ll it takes is a little googling here, a check in a network there, and before long a stranger could know all about your job, friends, hobbies and preferences. It’s bad enough when such information falls into the hands of a random stranger; it’s serious business if the data goes public – to thieves, swindlers or stalkers. Randi Zuckerberg is a reminder of how each person is responsible for what he/she posts online. The sister of the founder of Facebook recently posted a photo of family members cooking a meal together, figuring that her private photo would remain just so.     But it turned out that a friend of another Zuckerberg sibling identified in the picture could also see it, and posted it on Twitter – without first getting permission. It was an embarrassment for Randi. The problem is that, even if people use privacy settings online, and limit their circle of friends, they usually have nothing more than a false sense of security. The internet doesn’t forget anything, especially if a “friend” happens to make the information public. “Especially in the younger generation, you’ll see people with

1-7 March 2013

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The Dangers Of Online Carelessness

300 to 400 friends,” says Kathrin Koerber, a data security expert at the Consumer Centre of the German state of Lower Saxony. And, even if users are cautious about with whom they share information, with new social search functions on Facebook keep making it easier for information to become public. It doesn’t help that many people are all too willing to put all kinds of information—about their preferences, thoughts and comings and goings—online. Some younger people post their entire schedule “without any contemplation,” says Koerber. “I don’t call up my

neighbours and tell them everything I’ve done,” says Koerber, decrying the trend towards over-sharing. “Privacy is dissolving in the internet.” There are sites and blogs that delight in posting such over-shared information, sometimes in the hope of scaring people into behaving sensibly. Twitter account @NeedaDebitCard shares images people have shared of their credit or banking cards. At Weknowwhatyouredoing.com (see above), public posts and tweets are shared – from people telling the world how they just got fired, have a hangover, recently took drugs or got a new telephone number - all information best kept secret. Meanwhile, the Tumblr blog, Rich Kids of Instagram, specializes in shots of rich kids showing off their parents’ stuff. “Stalkers and thieves can easily google a lot of information, and identity theft is getting easier,” says Dennis Romberg of Digitalcourage. They are helped by special people-search machines, and people who make a habit of posting their current location on

sites like Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook Places. Here are a few simple rules. Most know not to post banking data online, but care also needs to be taken with telephone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth. It’s best not to share one’s address either. Koerber says identity theft usually results in purchases being made with the victim’s money. To make it more difficult, use a different name and password for each website, and make up answers to security questions: real details are usually too easy to fish out of the internet. It’s also not enough to make sure photos posted online aren’t embarrassing. Thanks to the satellite navigation function in most Smartphones, images usually contain metadata, that reveal the location where they were taken. “That’s useful for me, but third parties don’t need that information,” says Koerber. Delete such geodata before uploading or sharing, and turn off your Smartphone’s geotagging function. u

Google Launches High-End Touchscreen

{ Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA}

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oogle has launched a major upgrade to its line of Chromebook computers: a touchscreen device— called the Pixel—that starts at 1,300 dollars for the Wi-Fi only version. Prior to the launch, the Chromebook line was positioned as a low-cost netbook, priced as low as 200 dollars, with no hard drive – and running all functions through Google’s Chrome browser. The new device, by contrast, boasts the highest resolution screen available in a laptop, and represents Google’s first challenge to Apple’s dominance of high-end laptops. The inclusion of touchscreen capabilities also represents a response to Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8. Unlike traditional PCs and Macs, that use installed software—such as Microsoft Word—and require heavy-duty operating systems and storage, the new

Chromebooks run their applications via remote web-based servers. The Pixel features flash-based drives, of either 34GB or 64GB, and is designed to appeal to heavy users of cloud-based services. Google will provide Pixel owners with 1 terabyte of data storage in the cloud for three years. “It is clear that touch is here to stay, and it’s the future,” says Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President of Chrome at Google, at the launch event. “We think this is a real gamechanger, in terms of people living in the cloud.” The device runs on an Intel Core i5 chip, and has 4GB of RAM. The 13-inch screen has a 2560x1700 pixel display, and is covered with Gorilla Glass for protection. Google says the battery lasts up to five hours with typical usage. The 1,300 dollar version, with 32GB and Wi-Fi, goes on sale immediately in the US and UK, while the 64GB version— which includes 3G and 4G cellular connectivity—will be available in April. u

Google Seeks “Explorers” For Smart Glasses { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA}

The Fashions Of Jean Paul Gaultier { Annette Birschel / Rotterdam / DPA }

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ana’, a tattered teddy bear wearing a bra, is sitting inside a glass case. He was the first model for French Fashion Designer Jean Paul Gaultier; he created clothing for Nana when he was a child. A classic creation of his was the pointed brassiere of popstar Madonna – a symbol of the sometimes bizarre, at other times opulent, world of fashion of Gaultier. “My fashions are not art,” says the 60-year-old, with his bright blond crewcut. “My fashions are alive, and are part of society.” With his often provocative and taboobreaking work, Gaultier is regarded as the “enfant terrible” of the international fashion world. But he insists that he is not out to provoke. “I

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oogle has launched its smart glasses to the public. Would-be buyers of the 1,500-dollar device will be chosen via a competition, in which they will be asked to outline how they plan to use the nifty gadget. Google Glass is a small set of eyeglasses, with smartphone-like capabilities, that are controlled by voice commands and project information unobtrusively, in the corner of the wearer’s field of vision. According to a company blog posting, Google will choose the first recipients based on a 50-word application received via Google+ or Twitter, plus five pictures and a 15-second video. The competition is open to US residents age 18 or above. Google did not say how many of the devices would be sold to the competition’s winners. “We’re expanding the Glass Explorer programme, to find people who are really excited about experimenting with new technology – that’ll literally be changing before their eyes,” said Google representative Maggie Shiels. “Most of our initial Explorers are developers; so we’re looking for a really diverse group, with people from all sorts of backgrounds, hobbies, jobs and lifestyles.” u

want to reflect the yearnings and feelings of people,” he says. To him, this means all people. He has not limited himself to putting long-legged beauties on the catwalk. “I love the differences in people,” the Designer with the engaging smile says. A current Exhibition features the first skirt for men designed by Gaultier in 1985, as well as the elegant high-fashion robes worn by stars such as Catherine Deneuve, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga. The dolls wearing dresses look life-like models, thanks to video projections. The dolls’ eyes follow the visitor, and their mouths are in motion. His designs are surprisingly timeless – whether it be the glamorous mermaid dress reminiscent of the 1930s, or a loud shirt. “These are not museum objects,” he says. “I want to mirror life itself.” u

Apple Patent For Wrist Computer { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA}

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ays after reports that Apple is planning a watchcomputer hybrid, images emerged of a patent filing by the company, for a wrist bracelet with a flexible touchscreen. The patent application, discovered by Appleinsider.com, described a device that boasts a flexible display along the entire length of the bracelet, which conforms to the user’s wrist via a snap mechanism.

    Filed in August 2011, the patent application envisages the bracelet as an accessory to a Smartphone—to which it would be linked via Bluetooth or WiFi—to show relevant information, on what would appear as an uninterrupted screen around the users’ wrist. The device would also include sensors—such as a gyroscope and accelerometer—to aid in orienting the information to the user. The patent envisages that kinetic and solar power devices could be included on the bracelet, to help boost battery power. u


Global Photo Features 23 DPA

Unusual Art Museums

Ringling Museum of Art, Florida

Art in Paradise, Thailand


Friday Gurgaon March 1-7, 2013  

Friday Gurgaon March 1-7, 2013

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