Page 1

12-18 April 2013

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

Vol. 2 No. 34  Pages 24  ` 7

{Inside} A Convenient Track?

Fast-track Courts are the convenient current flavour of justice, especially post the December rape in the Capital. However, it is a matter of concern that even that case has now dragged on for over a 100 days. Ironically, many Fast-track Courts, including in our City, had been shut down in 2011, for cost and other reasons. They should now come back strong…and stay. ...Pg 8

The Genuine Public Schools

While the Capital has had some Govt. School ‘ratnas’ for a time now, our City too can boast of a few. With the right leadership,andteacher-parentsibling support, State schools can genuinely become good educators of the public at large. ...Pg 10

The New Sectors' (68 to 80) Pathways

...Pg 23

A Capital Plan

Will Delhi High-Rises Dwarf Suburbs? { Abhishek Behl / FG }


he real estate growth in the National Capital Region (NCR) has primarily been driven by Gurgaon and Noida – with Delhi not contributing much, owing to the monopoly of the government in land acquisition and development. But all this is going to change in the next couple of years, with the current UPA government pushing for the Delhi Master Plan (DMP) 2021, which embraces the private sector with gusto. DMP 2021 calls for unlocking almost 60,000 hectares of land in rural, urban and unauthorised areas of the National Capital for development, to meet the rising demand for housing and infrastructure. Will this Plan and expansion in Delhi now have a major influence on the Gurgaon-Noida story? Experts are divided on the impact of the Delhi Master Plan – both on the urban growth of Delhi, as well as its fallout on Gurgaon in particular. While they give full credit to the Delhi government for planning a comprehensive development of the City, they are not yet sold on the implementation and execution part of this massive project. A.K Jain, former Planning Commissioner DDA, says that the future of the City depends on the timely execution

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{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


of this Plan – and this is where the State has been largely found wanting. Real Estate developers and analysts, who are tracking the Delhi Master Plan, say that it offers a great opportunity for the housing sector in the entire NCR, as large chunks of land will be available for development. Such a large scale development, and further urbanistaion of Delhi is definitely going to influence the real estate sector in the Millennium City, believes Ramesh Menon, CEO of Certes Realty, a firm that has been tracking the MDP 2021 for a couple of

years. According to him, the real estate prices in Gurgaon will rationalise and see correction, once the DMP projects become operational. The land prices in the proposed development areas in Delhi are less as compared to Gurgaon. “Once the projects are launched, Delhi will have houses available at all price points, which will attract buyers from across the NCR,” he says. A large number of buyers in Gurgaon being investors, will also flock to Delhi, as they look to earn more profits, predicts Menon. Real estate observers say that the market in Gurgaon has already slowed down in the last six months. Sam Chopra, CEO of Remax, also believes that the Delhi Master Plan will definitely effect the market in the Millennium City, as Delhi has a better brand value, infrastructure and amenities. “Land consolidation is happening in Delhi, FSI norms have been liberalised, and land pooling has been allowed. The new farm house policy, that allows for smaller farm houses, will definitely impact the sale of luxury apartments in Gurgaon,” believes Chopra. The greater availability of land for affordable housing, and the single window clearance system being Contd on p 6 

Aravallis Mined

ave the Aravallis: a slogan, that like so many others, stirs little response until the cost of ignoring it hits home. The Aravallis are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, and they are all that stand between Delhi and the desert – buffering the National Capital Region (NCR) against the advance of the Thar (Desert), and holding down the monsoon as it sweeps over the northern plains. However, indiscriminate stone-quarrying and illegal construction in the forest

area is ravaging the range every day. If matters proceed on their present course, Delhi will be a desert in the coming four-five decades; the Aravallis would have been destroyed, by the greed of a handful. Illegal mining is not the only menace the Aravallis have been living with; the construction of many residential buildings, along with a large number of farmhouses, in the restricted area (aka forest area), has done great damage to the eco-system here. Recently, the Gurgaon Administration has shut down a handful of farm houses that were operating commercial

activities in Roz Ka Gurjar – but this is a typical token State action. As per estimates, there are almost 2,000 farm houses in Gurgaon District, and a majority of them fall

in the Aravalli forest area. Although there are many Acts that are supposed to protect the Aravallis from the menace of Contd on p 9 

02 RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–34  12-18 April 2013




part of the on-going Ishara International Puppet Festival, this act (based on Kitab-e-Ishq by Waris Shah), is interwoven with puppets, actors, dance, visual images and music. It brings to life the classic story of the starcrossed lovers, Heer and Ranjha. Suitable for 15 yrs and above.

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


Virender Kumar

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

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:


Tranquility @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 12-13


Khusar Phusar @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 14 Time: 7:30 pm Tickets: Rs.350, 250 & 150 available at the venue

Rang Rasiya @ Beanstalk, Galaxy Hotel, NH8, Part-2, Sector 15 Date: Up to April 15 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Fun Cocktail Workshop @ Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy, SEC 23, Sector 15 Part 2 Date: April 14 Time: 5:00 pm


n Exhibition of contemporary mural paintings, titled Rang Rasiya, by artist Manikandan Punnakkal.


Learning From Experience @ Plot No. 27 B, Sector Road, B Block, Sushant Lok I Date: April 17 to 18 Time: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

To Advertise A

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new harvest season for the agrarian community. There will be a performance by renowned singer duo Mayukh and Laili Hazarika. Authentic Assamese dinner will also be served on the occasion. Assam Association Gurgaon, 
Contact No.09910378040

Open Mic


fun cocktail Workshop that will teach you how to shake, stir and muddle a wonderful cocktail. Only 25 seats available. For confirmation of seats, call Minakshi at 9810999086 or Yangdup at 9810104439.

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.

Please Contact

Dial 9540386977


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.



Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

and application of the supply chain, public speaking and writing books on the front knowledge in management thinking.

Group Art Show that will showcase works of various artists – Dr. R.C Bhawsar, Dr. Shrotriya, Prithvi Soni, Harish Kumar, Nand Thakur, Madan Lal, Mamta Singh & Manjit Singh. The Show is curated by Savita Agrawal.

Maths Coaching for excellent and result oriented Mathematics Coaching upto class XII by a teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience in various prestigious School. A. Jain

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

C oming U p

12-18 April 2013

two-day Workshop for senior executives, entrepreneurs and academicians, led by Eli Schragenheim, a well-known international educator and management consultant. The Workshop is about learning from experiences, based on the thinking process tools of the Theory of Constraints (TOC). Schragenheim`s teachings combine education, mentoring TOC consultants, consulting, software development for education


Hindi adaptation of Neil Simon’s farcical play Rumors, it is an Atelier Theatre Repertory Production, directed by Kuljeet Singh. Several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence of a couple for a dinner, to celebrate their hosts’ first anniversary. On arrival, they discover that the hostess is missing, and the host has shot himself. Comic complications arise, when the guests decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening’s events from the local police and the media. Suitable for 15 years & above.



Ishara – Heer Ke Waris @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 13 Time: 7:30 pm

Rongali Bihu 2013 @ Community Centre, DLF Phase I Date: April 13 Time: 6:30 pm


n event organised by the Assam Association, Gurgaon, to celebrate the onset of the Assamese New Year, the spring season and the

Caferati @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 13 Time: 6:30 pm


t’s time to perform! You get 2 minutes and an open microphone – to do your bit. The performance could be poetry, fiction, diatribes, songs – anything that you are good at. To get a slot, simply sign up with the moderator before the start; then it's first come, first served.

C oming U p

12-18 April 2013




Bharatanatyam recital by Santanu Chakraborty & his disciples, on the occasion of Chaitra Navaratri & Ram Navatri.

Cyclists, comprising of students and teachers of The Heritage School, and members of Pedal Yatri and Embarq, will cycle to Civil Lines. They will present a report, ‘Making Gurgaon a Bike Friendly City – 2013’, with their recommendations and findings, to senior Government officials – including the Police Commissioner, the MCG Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner. Route: Leisure Valley Parking-NH 8-Rajiv Chowk-Civil Lines, and back.

Book Reading


W&W Live @ Lemp Brew Pub & Kitchen, DLF Star Mall, NH8, Sector 30 Date: April 19 Time: 9:00 pm onwards

Arranged Love @ Rendezvous, J Block, Near Shikshantar School, Southcity Date: April 15 Time: 10:30 am


Baisakhi Special Night, with Manish Bhatt, along with resident DJ Vikram Seam. Get grooving as they belt out hit numbers together – from the best in Bollywood, UK Bhangra, Club House, R & B, Retro and more.


et ready for a flow of vibrant trance energy, as popular Dutch duo W&W—Willem van Hanegem and Wardt van der Harst—a successful name in Electronic Dance Music (EDM), perform live. Watch them go into overdrive, as they deliver their popular trance numbers.

dular system and chakras. The Yoga session will be taught by Amrit Nam Kaur. Tarika Ahuja, who has 8yrs of study and work experience in Natural Wellness Medicine and Macrobiotics, will be speaking on macrobiotics and its importance in achieving a balance – by understanding different foods.


The Royal Art @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Up to April 14 Time: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm


Yatra Kathak Recital @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 19 Time: 7:30 pm


recital by Anita Agarwal, along with her troupe. Anita is a disciple of Ghansyam Gangani.



Deep Purple Tribute @ Attitude Alive, C-002, Super Mart-I, DLF Phase IV Date: April 12 Time: 8:00 pm


book-reading session by Parul Mittal, author of the book, Arranged Love. The session will be followed by an open discussion, along with Kavita Ramakanth.



Club Nights @ Club Rhino, Sector 53 Date: April 13 Time: 10:00 pm onwards

hobana Udayasankar, a Lalit Kala Akademy Millennium award winner, will be showcasing The Royal Art: A Showcase of Mysore Paintings. She specialises in the Mysore traditional school of Art. Her works display an intelligent mix of innovation and tradition.

Bicycle Rally

The Heritage School Cycle For Change @ Leisure Valley Parking, Opp. Kingdom of Dream, Sector 29 Date: April 14 Registration Time: 6.00 am Bicycle Rally Time: 6:45 am 8:30 am

Kundalini Yoga & Meditation @ Hilton Garden Inn, Baani Square, Sector 50 Date: April 18 Time: 9:00 am Price: Rs. 2,800 until 14th April; Rs. 3,200 until 17th April; Rs. 3,600 on the day of the event


elebrate rock legend Ritchie Blackmore’s birthday with the Band Punkh, along with a formidable line-up of guest musicians: Rahul Ram - Indian Ocean, Ashwini Verma – Euphoria, Desmond & Christopher Powell – Bandish, Chintan Kalra – Contraband, Indraneel Hariharan – Mrigya, Prateek Sen – Karma, to name a few.


Baisakhi Special @ Vapour, MG Road Date: April 13 Time: 9:00 pm onwards



ock the evening with DJ Mudit, as he spins the best of hits from Hip House, Techno and Bollywood beats.


Ananda-The Dance of Joy @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 16 Time: 7:30 pm


he Heritage School, along with Pedal Yatri and Embarq India, is organising a Bicycle Rally to make ‘Gurgaon a Bike Friendly City’.

are Foot Yogi launches a spiritual haven for those looking to nourish their bodies— physically and spiritually—through yoga, meditation and diet. The Workshop includes a Kundalini Yoga and a meditation session, followed by an introduction to a Macrobiotic diet and a cooking demo. Kundalini yoga is an eclectic form of yoga, that combines meditation, breath and movement – to balance one’s nervous system, glan-




12-18 April 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ A person driving a Jaguar, at an alleged speed of 150kmph, kills a person on the highway. The driver of the car, as per witnesses, was Amit Bansal, son of a builder. Yet no arrest has been made. ♦ There has also been no conviction, even after a year and a half, in the Kherki Daula Toll Plaza murder case – when a toll attendant was shot by a vehicle driver. ♦ Child Care Institutions in Haryana are inspected, to check status, and ensure their registration. Gurgaon has 17, of which 16 are registered. ♦ HUDA holds a draw for EWS houses in Sector 10A, to select 17 ‘winners’, out of 6,214 applicants; however, none of the ‘winners’ is present at the draw. ♦ The Consumer Grievance Redressal System (CGRS) of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) - http:/ - received 697 complaints during the month of March; 640 were redressed during the same month. ♦ A businessman is held for raping his daughter (a Class 12 student). ♦ A professor is arrested for molesting a student; the college has also suspended him. ♦ 3 are held for molesting their colleague. ♦ A married woman attempts suicide. ♦ All Gurgaon bars (almost 200) will now close by midnight – 2am approvals for select bars have been revoked, due to security issues. ♦ 3 die, and 20 are injured, as a bus hits a stationary truck. ♦ A blood-soaked body is found near the railway station. ♦ An uncle is killed by his nephew, over illicit relations with the aunt. ♦ A warehouse security guard is stabbed to death.

What’s in an Announcement?

TC Gupta, Secretary of the Cell for Proper Utilization/Disposal of government property, and Nodal Officer for monitoring and co-ordinating the CM’s Announcements, reviews progress of the announcements with the 6 Deputy Commissioners of Gurgaon Division, and the Divisional Commissioner, Chander Prakash. The latest status would be updated on the website. Gupta says that as per reports from Headquarters, 75 percent of the CM’s Announcements have been completed, 15 percent are in progress and 10 percent are pending – for the districts of Gurgaon division. However, the math seems to be interesting, as the break up by project numbers shows that 6 works are in progress, and 27 works are pending. So either only 7 works have been completed, or 237 !

♦ The body of a youth is found in the old jail complex. ♦ INLD Rural District President is attacked near his house. ♦ A 6-month old infant goes missing at a local temple. ♦ 2 brothers, minors, are kidnapped. ♦ 3 are held with over 30kg of hashish on them. ♦ 2 teachers are among 5 held for committed fraud over BPL status. ♦ HUDA issues notices to petrol pump owners for rent dues, after being hauled up by CAG – total dues are Rs 5.25 crores. ♦ A gang of student criminals is held, for the loot of lakhs, on the pretext of providing money exchange, ♦ A Security Audit of commercial establishments by the police shows poor security set up, across malls and offices. ♦ Police will now put wheel clamps on vehicles found parked in No Parking zones. ♦ Gurgaon Police takes Cyber-crime lessons. ♦ Essar Group has made a proposal for providing the power distribution in the Municipal Area of the City. ♦ Vatika City developer is imposed a Rs 5.5 crores penalty, for unauthorized use/misuse of electricity. ♦ Hundreds of residents of Sector 14 protest against the setting up of a CNG Station in a local park. ♦ Suncity (Sector 54) residents are very unhappy with their builder, for snapping their water supply over a dispute. ♦ A high-tension wire short circuit damages the crops in a nearby field; farmers attack the sub-station. ♦ MCG moots cycle tracks along parts of Old Delhi Road and MG Road. ♦ Volvo buses to have Wi-Fi facility soon. ♦ MCG plans a sterilization drive for stray animals. ♦ Suman Yadav is elected the President of the District Bar Association.

TO SUBSCRIBE You would have sampled Friday Gurgaon during the year. Here is your chance to get FG at your doorstep every Friday, at a very attractive rate. 52 issues (1 Year), for Rs 200 (Two Hundred) Only – a Saving of Rs 164 on cover price.

To Subscribe SMS FGYES to 08447355801 Send an email to Pay Online at Delivery will be through your newspaper vendor. Circulated only in Gurgaon.


Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. I want to start a new business. Main naya kaam chalu karna chahun su. 2. I am thinking of supplying pure cow's milk to homes. Main nu sochu su ke gawdi ka taaji

doodh ghara main de ke aaya karunga.

3. My friend in the City said they don't get cow's milk there. Shaher main mera dost nu keh tha ki

uth gawdi ka doodh na milta.

4. I can deliver it to many homes early in the morning. Main tadki tadak kimme ghara main

de ke aa saku su.

5.My brother will take me on his motorcycle. Mera bhai manne apni motorcycle pe

baithake le challa karega.

6. First I need to check on my cows. Pahla main apni gawdi ne te dekh liyun.


Are exclusive measures for women (women's only coaches, autos,institutes, etc.) the answer for women's security? Where as all kinds of provisions such as exclusive Autos,Coaches,Institutes are one step towards safety of women, these measures only separate Women from Men.The important issue is Moral of the public at large. Action should be taken to teach Moral values at the childhood stage as well as at adult stage, so that the society learns to respect and judge women as humans. For those who fail to understand this, there should be active vigilance through CCTV and mobile policing, and harsher punishments for anti social actions. Ramakant Gupta

C eleb W atch

12-18 April 2013


Jhumroo Anniversary


ingdom of Dreams marked the first anniversary of its popular Bollywood musical, Jhumroo. The celebrations started with a fun-filled retro Karaoke Night. The stars of the show, Gaurav Gera and Shweta Gulati, interacted with their fans. DJ Sumit Sethi had everyone dancing to the beats of the 70s. Several members of the audience participated, and sang along to some of their favourite Kishore Kumar songs.

Commando Action


ction hero Vidyut Jamwal was spotted at iSkate Lounge. He was there for the promotion of his upcoming film, Commando . Vidyut talked about his film, and was also spotted giving quick self-defence lessons to some of the girls present at the Event. Though he didn't perform any action stunts, he did give ice skating a shot.

Nautanki Saalas




ead actors―Ayushmann Khurrana and Kunal Roy Kapoor―of the upcoming film, Nautanki Saala, were in the City for the film's promotion. Both were in complete 'nautanki' mode, and pulled each other's legs, much to the delight of the fans present. Ayushmann also sang a couple of songs from the movie.


he star cast, along with the Director of the film, Rohan Sippy, also visited Striker Pub and Bar for the promotion of Pepsi Flash cricket. This format of the game presents an opportunity for everyone to represent their gullys, societies or community, and play the game. The actors expressed their excitement for this new style of cricket, and shared their enthusiasm for the sport.



To Advertise

7838003874 | 7827233023 | 9999444818


12-18 April 2013

A Capital Plan

 Contd from p 1

mulled in the Delhi Master Plan, would also be great enablers for the builders. Presently, a builder has to get 19 clearances from different departments in Gurgaon, before launching a project; this not only increases costs, but delays construction as well. However, Menon and Chopra also believe that the success of the Master Plan will depend on its timely execution. Many believe that the Union government and the Delhi government have upped the ante for implementing the Master Plan as elections are on the anvil. Dr. P.S.N Rao, President of NAR, questions the sudden push being given to DMP 2021. “The finalisation of the Plan, and the regularisation of unauthorised colonies, is being done to please the builders, as well as a huge populace living in these areas. Why was no action taken in the last four years? These are only ploys to impress the respective lobbies, and not a genuine push towards planned urbanisation,” he believes. The builders, of course, have welcomed the Plan. S.K Sayal, Director & CEO of Alpha G Corp, a real estate company in Gurgaon having a pan-Indian presence, says that DMP 2021 marks a radical departure from the existing system of government monopoly over land and housing, as it proposes private participation in development of housing in the capital. He believes the old system was suffering from inefficiency and corruption, leading to the growth of unauthorised colonies and illegal floors in planned colonies. In his opinion the new policy will pave the way for a real estate boom in Delhi. “Involvement of private builders will ensure quality flats; but whether the prices of such flats will be within the reach of even the middle class will largely depend on how the government goes about implementing and monitoring the new Public-Private Partnership policy. The government will have to ensure a corruption-free public housing system, to counter any opportunistic pricing. The initiative to bring in private players is a good one, but the government has to now put in place a process that is clean and transparent. On the bright side, housing prices can come down in the long run if the government is able to ensure adequate supply, as this would help largely in bridging the current huge gap between demand and supply,” says Sayal.  Real Estate analysts believe that, unlike the Gurgaon model, where first the real estate development takes place and thereafter infrastructure is developed. Delhi has plans to first develop the infrastructure. Some of the projects related to roads, power and water have already been initiated by the State government. Menon is of the opinion that Gurgaon will have to relook its infrastructure, develop an effective transportation system, and become self-reliant on power, to take on the challenge being presented by Delhi. “I think the problem of potable water is also acute in Gurgaon, and unless things improve it will be a serious problem for the City,” he adds. Another major issue for Gurgaon could be the fact that a large section of workers come to the City from Delhi; and if a number of large companies decide to migrate to Delhi, in view of better facilities—for them and their employees—then it could prove to be a dampener for Gurgaon. Delhi has always been a preferred choice, other things being equal. Also, presently corporations in Gurgaon spend a large amount of money on generating their own power and providing transport facilities, apart from paying premium rents. Gurgaon has become an expensive City. With Delhi planning to create large commercial and industrial estates also, as per the DMP, major employers in Gurgaon could relocate. The silver lining for Gurgaon may be that, with both cities having a similar set of major builders, not many of them would like to destabilise a performing market. Vineet Singh, Business Head, 99 acres dotcom, is also of the view that the overall impact of DMP on the real estate market will be gradual, as the implementation is a long way off. The Gurgaon Master Plan also has ambitious development plans, he says. Gurgaon should learn how to ensure effective Metro connectivity, from Delhi, he feels. He admits that the Delhi Master Plan will vastly improve the availability of houses; these are new proposals, like the commercialisation of roads leading to the Metros, and fresh stock of land in emerging colonies. This is bound to push up values. Yes, it is possible that investors in Gurgaon will shift their focus to Delhi, he agrees. “Delhi currently lacks availability; however, if land becomes available at reasonable prices, then it is possible that the limited investors—who are Contd on p 7 

C over S tory

Unlocking Delhi Master Plan


he Delhi Master Plan aims to urbanise almost 60,000 hectares of land in the 15 Zones created. These Zones will provide 15 lakh dwelling units, that will house a further 1 crore population in the Metropolis; the current population is 1.36 crores. Zones A,B, C,D, E, F, G, H, P,M,K1 fall in the Urban phase, while Zones J,K2, L, N, P2 are part of the Urban Extension. A major boost to the new real estate development will be given by the planned urban infrastructure – such as the two Urban Express Roads (UER1 and UER2), that will give these areas quality connectivity. A.K Jain says that the Metro rail, and new roads, will play a crucial role in assimilation of such a large populace in the City. UER1 will connect NH1 and NH8, whereas UER2 will connect NH1 and NH2 – passing through the other national highways; the work on them has already been initiated.

The 5 New Sub-cities:

Zone L: Zone L is located in South-West Delhi, between Gurgaon and Najafgarh, including surrounding villages. It is proposed that almost 20 lakhs people will be housed in this Zone. This Zone is likely to contribute around 5 lakhs houses, and the major attraction will be the country homes on 1 acre plots – as per the new farm policy. The price of land has increased in the last one year. The current rates are between Rs. 3 to 6 crores per acre. Dwarka sub-city is close to Zone L, and so is the international airport, along with a proposed Diplomatic Enclave. Two urban relief roads, a 4-lane road from Dwarka to Jhajjar, and the Gurgaon Expressway will provide great connectivity. Zone N: It is located close to Rohini sub-city, and this Zone is projected to provide 5 to 6 lakhs houses. There is no restriction on height in this Zone, as it does not fall in the air corridor – thus allowing for higher FAR. This Zone will see maximum housing for the Low Income Group and EWS. Well known NCR developers have bought land in Madanpur, Bawana, Kanjhawala and nearby villages. A knowledge based Industrial Park is proposed to be built in Bawana. It is well connected by the Metro at Rithala and Mundka; and the Metro will further be taken to industrial areas. A large bus stand is also being developed in Kanjhawalla. This Zone is expected to accommodate 15 lakhs people, and provide jobs to almost one lakh. Zone J: This Zone is in South Delhi, and includes Chattarpur, Mehrauli and Satbari. The lack of land, and the Supreme Court order on land acquisition in some villages in this area, has put a question mark on the process of urbanisation. A large plot owned by a government PSU is likely to witness group housing near Ghitorni. There are also plans to develop the 7 kilometre long Metro corridor, for redensification and commercial activity, so that people need not travel long distances. Around 1,500 metres area, around the Metro station, will be commercialised, and more residential complexes will be allowed. The cost of land in this area is very high, and the presence of several monuments also restricts development. Zones K: Dwarka sub-city is situated in the South-West of Delhi, and forms part of Zone K, having an area of 12,056 hectares. There are around 350 unauthorised colonies, and DMP proposes Special Economic Zones in these areas. The current population is 20 lakhs, and the area is projected to hold double the number. The government is planning to set up a Gem and Jewellery SEZ at Baprola, whereas an IT SEZ is expected to come up at Kanhjawalla; a Manufacturing SEZ is to come up in Mundka and Ranikhera. Zones P1 and P2: P1 comprises the Narela subcity, and covers 7,365 hectares of land that can be urbanised. It is expected that 20,000 housing units can be created by the government here. It is a hub of unauthorised colonies, with almost 500 such colonies.

It has a large number of industrial units, and an area of 477 hectares will be developed here. An Integrated Freight Complex is being developed here. The Plan also projects a work force of 6 lakhs for Narela subcity, whereas 7 lakhs workers are projected for P2 Zone. The projected population is almost 20 lakhs. Change in Land Use (CLU) Norms: The Delhi Master Plan allows mixed land use in many areas of Delhi, to ensure that people can engage in commercial activities near their residences, to reduce the need for commuting. But this can happen only if the authorities manage the excess pressure on civic facilities, as well as the increased traffic in residential areas. DMP allows commercial activity in urban areas on notified streets, in residential areas declared commercial in the 1962 Master Plan, and in areas where commercial activity took place prior to 1962. However, mixed use of land in new residential areas will be allowed only on plots that are on an 18 metre wide road. The Plan also allows for the concept of Small Office Home Office (SOHO), to help professionals working from their homes. It also allows IT parks in industrial areas, and has increased the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 120 to 150. Not many in Delhi are happy with the decision to allow mixed use of land on certain streets, as the infrastructure is very poor. The Housing Sector: Under the proposed redevelopment and land pooling scheme, house owners and private builders will be given additional FAR, to ensure more people can be accommodated in a smaller area. Jain says that private developers will be given 15 per cent additional FAR, to incentivise them to develop EWS housing. The EWS/LIG/BPL housing will be 55 per cent of the total housing, and comprise 40 sq m houses, which will be allotted by the government. All the shopping centres will have 10 per cent land earmarked for vendors. There is also a provision for group housing for the JJ clusters, that have been identified in 1,000 pockets of the City. For individual house owners, the DMP gives an option to add one more floor, for those houses which were restricted to ground plus two floors earlier. The height norms have been relaxed to 15 metres. Owners can also come together and pool land, which should not be less than 3,000 sq metres in an urban area, and 2,000 sq metres in rural areas – and convert the same into apartments, with additional FAR. Space for Green Belt and Parking will have to be made available, as per norms. For such land pooling schemes, the FAR would be 1.5 times the existing limit. Government colonies will also be brought under the ambit of redevelopment, says the Plan. Greenfield Projects: The Master Plan will bring in almost 20,000 hectares under fresh urbanisation, but allows only group housing in these areas. The plan is to go for high-rise development. In areas close to the Metro hubs, almost 40 per cent of housing will have to be developed for the EWS category. Internal development in these areas will be done by the developers, while the master network is the responsibility of government agencies, says Jain. DMP and Unauthorised areas: The Delhi Master Plan will bring the unauthorized colonies in Delhi under its fold, by allowing almost 1639 such colonies to make layout plans, pay fees, and get regularised. This will allow a large population to get municipal services in a legal manner, and they would be able to now take advantage of planned development. Farm Houses: Delhi has a large number of farmhouses, particularly in South and West Delhi, which are likely to benefit from the new farm policy – which plans to allow group housing and smaller ticket sizes for such farms. As per the Plan, farm houses which have been existing since 1990, and have minimum area of 1 acre, will be recognised. No new farm houses will be allowed in these areas; but on the outskirts of the City, new farm houses, with a minimum area of 2.5 acres, will be allowed.  

12-18 April 2013

either investing in Gurgaon or Noida—will realign their investments. If the same ticket size is available at similar rates in Delhi, they would prefer that,” he says. As far as pricing is concerned, he is of the opinion that rates in the existing sectors in Gurgaon have reached a saturation point, and any changes will now be witnessed in the new sectors – that will see competition from Delhi. Ashutosh Limaye, Research Head, JLL, is of the opinion that a large number of new housing units in Delhi will go a long way in catering to the demand for housing, while pricing will also be a factor. Gurgaon has already unlocked newer areas for development, under its Master Plan 2031; it would be wise to now focus on infrastructure capacity building. As far as prices are concerned, he says there would be some pressure in Gurgaon. Implementation and execution of the Plan, and the development of infrastructure as per DMP 2021, is thus being considered as the key to the transformation of Delhi. Similarly, Gurgaon would be wise to relook its infrastructure, develop transportation on the lines of Delhi, bring unauthorised colonies into the fold of development, and ensure that villages do not end up as urban nightmares. Gurgaon still has time to rediscover itself, believe experts like Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex. He opines that realty in Delhi will be controlled, and only allowed to grow in such a manner that it does not upset the real estate applecart in the National Capital Region. “No doubt a Delhi address is prestigious, and people will be ready to pay a premium for it. The real estate in Gurgaon will be discounted, due to excess supply – but it all depends on the time frame. We have to see how quickly the land is released to developers, and the quality of the implementation,” he says. The Master Plan also clears the role of private developers in Delhi, and this will definitely accelerate the real estate development – as DDA does not have the necessary resources and expertise today, he opines. The majority of the realtors and analysts believe that the success of DMP hinges on government action, and its readiness to timely implement the projects as planned. Prodipta Sen, Executive Director, Alpha G Corp, opines that the government so far has not even been able to enforce a basic measurement and price criteria for flats in Delhi. To make this real estate story a success, the Delhi government recently approved a Land Pooling Policy, whereby private

C over S tory




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In Solid, Treated & Seasoned Sheesham Wood Real Wood... Real Value For Money Big Parking Space Available 405, Near Hanuman Temple, Ghitorni Market (Mehrauli -Gurgaon) MG Road, New Delhi, Cell: 9810911200 owners can come together and pool their land, to develop housing projects. Former Planning Commissioner Jain says that the government has also introduced liberalised FAR norms, which will enable redensification, and boost the vertical development of the City – thus housing more people in a lesser area. The new farm house policy, and re-development of unauthorised areas, has also been designed to ensure that urban regeneration takes place at a fast pace, he adds. In comparison, the Millennium City does not have a proper policy on farm houses, and all forms of illegal means are being used to convert the Aravalli forest land into farm houses. The actions against encroachments are also token activities – and encroachments are often regularised in the long run, avers an insider. When asked how Gurgaon could be effected by the proposed massive urbanisation in Delhi, Jain opines that the results of master planning are normally visible over a time frame of 15 to 20 years. “I planned the Dwarka sub-city, and it has taken almost 20 years to come of age; as such, the new phase of development in Delhi is unlikely to affect Gurgaon in the near term,” he says. His contention is strongly supported by Harsh Dutt, Director, Madhyam, a real estate firm that deals in both Gurgaon and Delhi properties. “I don’t believe that any bubble is going to burst in the short or long term, as investors today have realised that they have to stay in the market for at least an year and a half to make money. This has also stabilised the market. Gurgaon real estate has matured, and buyers are very


aware of what they want, which address they prefer, and the kind of lifestyle they wish to adopt,” he says. Dutt MULTI BRAND NEIGHBOURLY CAR WORKSHOP firmly says that Gurgaon buyers will never go to live in propOverall management of erties developed in areas like Mr. PRAKASH (IIT-DELHI ENGINEER) Najafgarh and beyond, as the population density will be too high – also putting pressure on water, power and roads. “I don’t We are the RARE multi Brand see any pressure on price points. having High Quality Car Painting Though there may be pressure Booth, giving 5 years warranty due to global cues, the domestic demand is very high, and it Car Repair, Dent-Paint, will keep the market strong,” he Car AC, Dry Clean etc says. But Menon, who is a votary of the DMP, says that Delhi will In Islampur, Gurgaon, be a power surplus state by next Sohna Road, Near Subhash Chowk, year, and the supply of potable OMAX Celeberation Mall, Next to water is also being assured. He (Honda Motor Cycle Showroom & adds that there is no match D c k - r op Bikaner Mishthan Bhandar) Pi between the big brother, and the pretender to the throne. We have 3 other associate Workshops: Free S.K Sayal of Alpha G Corp is n Near ARDEEE CITY in Wazirabad Extn. (Sect. 52) of the opinion that any correcn In Crossing of Sect 56-57, Lok2-3, Near Wine shop, opposite Devinder Vihar tion in Gurgaon would be only n ACE MOTORS, SAMASPUR (Sect. 51), Opposite Amity international School on a short-term basis. One of the aims of DMP 2021 is to stabilise the prices of real estate for the middle classes and the urban poor – but the increasing population creates a situation that supply never meets the demand, and such thus targets are difficult to meet, he adds. Experts further opine that before making any prediction on the impact of DMP, one needs to see sufficient marketing and launch activity in the newer regions under the Plan. Ashutosh Limaye of JLL says that pricing and developmental activity, as well as the participation of private developers, will be crucial with respect to the timing and effect on the suburban residential and commercial markets. He however feels that commercial space is more established in the suburbs of Delhi, and as such there is likely to be little impact on the commercial real estate in Gurgaon due to the developments under DMP. Developers like Sayal believe that affordable housing is the key to real estate growth in the near future; it does not require a major push, but only certain key policy measures from the government. Both developers and analysts agree that ultimately it is the end users in both Delhi and Gurgaon who will benefit, if large scale urbanisation takes place, with an effective regulatory mechanism in place. u


08 { Shilpy Arora/ FG }


ustice delayed is justice denied', said the recent suicide note of a rape victim. She killed herself after a Delhi Court granted another postponement of her case, which had been running for over seven years. Yes, the consequences of judicial delays are sometimes tragic. That is why a dire need was felt for Fasttrack Courts. While they are not the 'ideal' solution, they can clearly make a huge difference. Since their establishment in 2001, over 1,000 Fast-track Courts across the country have disposed of more than 3 million cases. Today, there are 450 operating nationally. Experts believe that this is a considerable achievement, given that there are 4.32 million cases pending in the High Courts, and 26.9 million cases pending in the District Courts. Fast-track Courts have many successful (speedy) convictions to their credit. For instance, in 2010, one such court in Tis Hazari awarded death sentences to 3 men, for raping and murdering many minors. Amazingly, the trial lasted for just two months. Recently, the Rohini Fast-track Court announced the death sentence to a 23-year-old man, within a six-day trial. The accused was charged with raping his 3-yearold niece. 6 Fast-track Courts in the Capital are handling about 500 cases, including 60 cases of gang-rape. “It took me two days to muster the courage to go the police station, as we were scared of getting into long court proceedings. But when my brother made another attempt to rape my daughter, we had no option. The case first went to the District Court. After about 6 months, it was handed over to the Fast-track Court, where Justice Ramakant announced the conviction in just 6 days,” says the father of the victim. The Court created a historic precedent by disposing of a case within such a short time. A senior lawyer at the Fasttrack Court in Tis Hazari says, “Proceedings in the High Courts and District Courts move at a snail’s speed, due to the reluctance of witnesses to come forward – for obvious reasons, and due to the police and law-enforcement agencies not finding enough evidence against the culprits. Slowly, most of these cases go cold. If the 'special' cases–like those involving assaults on women– are moved on a fast track and disposed of early, there would be less chances for the accused to tamper with evidence, or buy out/coerce witnesses.” 


C ivic

12-18 April 2013

A Convenient Track ?

Talking about the functioning of Fast-track Courts, he informs, “When a case is allocated to the Fast-track Court, it first gives directions for the management of the case, and sets a timetable for the steps to be taken. The Court fixes the initial trial date, and a period–not exceeding 3 weeks–within which the trial has to take place.”

Fast-track Court in the City

Despite the local Fasttrack Court being successful in providing speedy justice in cases such as rape and sexual assault in the City, it was closed in 2011 – after the Central Government expressed its inability to provide adequate funds. The State's attempt to set up evening courts also received a lukewarm response. A resident of Sector 15, Advocate Kavita Anand, who has been working on the prosecution of cases dealing with violence against women, recalls the successful trial of a rape case in the City. The Fasttrack Court set an example by announcing the conviction within just one month of the registration of a rape case. The mother of the rape victim says, “My daughter was sexually assaulted by a few boys while coming back from school. Despite societal pressure, I decided to file a complaint. I am an illiterate woman, and I don’t know the complexities of the law and courts. But with the help of a local activist, my case reached the Fast-track Court within two months. I

The supreme irony is that Fast-track Courts were virtually closed in 2011, with the Central government refusing to fund them further. The States, too, were more than happy to close them. What if the rape of 'Nirbhaya' had not taken place? Surely there is need for serious introspection on how to deliver speedy justice to the vulnerable... and then never allow the momentum to flag. We especially owe our women unflinching support on this initiative. am glad that Justice Kaveuri convicted the culprits within just one month. Today my daughter has recovered completely from the incident, and is living a normal life, thanks to my lawyer Kavita Anand, and Justice Kaveuri.” Advocate Kavita Anand informs that now the State has decided to re-establish a Fast-track Court in the City (post the 'Nirbhaya' case) – where the cases of violence against women will be heard. However, not everything is rosy in these Courts. Advocate Kavita Anand says, “A case (unfortunately) needs a lot of media attention, to be sent to a Fast-track Court. Many times it seems that sending a case to a Fast-track Court is a way of evading pressure.” Putting forth an example of a minor girl who was brutally raped by 6 men in the Capital, and held hostage for four months, she says that the

case was not highlighted by the media, since big names from the business world were allegedly involved. “We can definitely look at the severity of the case, but we can’t simply go by media emphasis on a few cases. So there is a need to set firm guidelines for sending cases to the Fast-track Courts,” she says. The lack of funds has also been an issue. In 2011, when the Central Government declared that it could no longer fund new courts (leaving the future funding to individual states), many states–including Haryana and the Capital–closed down. It is only after the Delhi rape case, in December 2012, that the Fast-track Courts are being re-established. Some people also argue that fast trials sometimes compromise justice, as defence lawyers don’t get enough time to prepare."Fasttrack Courts are given unrealistic time targets. They have been told not to get involved in too much 'technicality'. The criminal justice system shouldn’t work like this in a democratic nation. It requires care and attention. Decisions should not be made on the basis of hunches and guess work, which is what happens at some Fast-track Courts. Some judges are alleged to have cut down the evidence, have not allowed full crossexamination, and proceeded even in the absence of lawyers," says a senior

advocate. “True, justice delayed is justice denied... but justice hurried is justice buried,” she sums up. Dr. Tendulkar, an expert on the legal system in India, says, “There is some scepticism about how these Courts work. The thing that worries me is that many of the judges are retirees, who are hired on a contractual basis, and are not accountable to the High Court for any miscarriage of justice. That is why many times the Fast-track Courts are used by politicians, as an easy escape from the long judicial proceedings of normal courts". He gives an example of Bihar, which has the highest number of Fasttrack Courts in the country. He informs that the High Court in Bihar had demanded a clarification from a Fast-track Court, on the acquittal of an MP and his son, in a case of kidnapping and murder. In 2004, the High Court had criticised another Fast-track Court in Bihar, for allowing the local RJD MP to attend Parliament, even when his bail petition was pending in the High Court. Interestingly, a Fast-track Court has been set up inside the prison for Shahabuddin, as he is facing trial in more than three dozen criminal cases. A senior advocate in the Delhi High Court believes that Fast-track Courts reflect the failure of the Indian Judiciary System.

A Way Ahead

There is a need to get to the root of the delays in the judicial system. “On an average, each judge disposes almost 1,300 cases per year, in a normal court. It is therefore better to add more judges to the system, so that all cases will speed up – instead of favouring some cases over others, on the basis of media attention,” suggests Dr. Tendulkar. He also says that the backlog of cases can be reduced by simply engaging in plea-bargaining. A common practice in the US, plea-bargaining helps to settle cases before they get to trial. It is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant, wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge, in return for some concession from the prosecutor. Dr. Tendulkar however cautions that there is a risk involved in this process. The prosecutor can take advantage of defendants who don't want to suffer through long court trials. However, a number of relatively minor cases, such as cheque-bouncing, can easily be sorted out through plea-bargaining.u

12-18 April 2013

 Contd from p 1 mining and illegal construction, Laws or Acts are seldom effective in the absence of a will to act. “I think the exploitation of the Aravallis is the greatest scam that has been perpetrated on the people of this country. Forest land, that is meant for flora and fauna to flourish, and which has been secured by different government Acts and the judgements of the Supreme Court, is being pillaged for mining, and for building farm houses and colonies, that will destroy this natural ecosystem. The Punjab Land Preservation Act 1900 (PLPA), the Forestation Preservation Act 1980, and 7th May 1992 Declaration (on Aravallis) by the Ministry of Environment and

Forests (MoEF) have clearly defined the Aravallis as a restricted forest, where no construction and mining should be carried out. I would go to the extent of saying that the State government doesn't want to stop this, because this sordid business is not only filling their coffers, but some ministers and bureaucrats have a substantial share in the construction that has taken place till now,” rued R.P Balwan, the former Forest Conservator of Gurgaon District. Almost one-third of the forest area in Gurgaon District is protected under Sections 4 and 5 of PLPA, an Act that was formed in 1900 to protect the forest lands from agricultural and urban exploitation. Prior to 1994, near about 38 villages in Gurgaon District came under this Act; presently only 2—Kasan and Sampa ki nangli—come under these two sections. Khedla, another village that used to come under PLPA, was taken out in 2012. “An area of 6824.85 hectares comes under Sections 4 and 5, and we are trying to still protect all these 38 villages from mining and illegal construction – irrespective of their 'expiry' from the PLPA. Till now there have been a total of 38 notifications, under different Acts, where Aravallis have been declared a forest – to be protected from mining and illegal

Aravallis Mined construction. The Forest department till date has registered 16 violations, where construction has taken place,” informed a highly placed source in the Forest department. Further, large clusters of farm houses, which function as tourism retreats, have come up in the last two decades. “We are committed to taking stern action against all the violators of any of the Acts. For this purpose a team has been formed, comprising the Deputy Conservator of Forests; SDM, Gurgaon South; DTP, Enforcement; Regional Officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB); Tehsildar Sohna; Forest Officer Sohna; ATP, SDO, PHED, Sohna; and SDO, DHBVN Sohna,” said Vivek Kalia, SDM, South, Gurgaon. However, repeated violations, facilitated by the State, have ensured that a jungle of concrete is about to replace the real one. “The builder-bureaucrat-State nexus has done great harm to the Aravallis in the last two decades; and even now, despite the Supreme Court's ban, many illegal activities are still operational. This area, once a forest, has now been turned into barren rocks – and is destined to turn into a desert in the future,” rued Balwan. The Controlled Area Act, made by the DTCP in 1963, states that the whole of Gurgaon is a controlled area, and no construction is allowed without the permission of DTCP. Unfortunately, this very body has given licences to the builders to deforest the Aravallis. An extremely vital forest area has been sacrificed at the altar of greed. Balwan has needed all his strength to face attacks, both from the State as well as the builders.

The Fake Greenbelt

Although mines, at this point of time, are not operational in the areas under Sections 4 and 5 of PLPA, other violations have continued. In the 38 villages under Sections 4 and 5 of PLPA, even agricultural activity was not allowed. This was done to ensure that there was no erosion of soil. However, the gram panchayats, with the help of the local administration, managed the Change of Land Use (CLU) – and later sold this land to builders at high rates. The majority of construction that has taken place in the Aravallis, is on the land taken by the builders from these so-called

Farmhouse Townships in place of SEZs

Special Economic Zones planned by the government of Haryana have not really succeeded. Now, the State government has decided to introduce Farm-house Townships on the lands acquired for the purpose of SEZs in 2005. The government had formulated the Haryana Special Economic Zone Act 2005, to encourage developers to set up SEZs, Industrial Model Townships and Technology Parks. Out of the 52 proposed SEZs, five were in the category of multi-products/services, and 36 were meant for the Information Technology sector. 
The developers, who had acquired hundreds of acres to set up their SEZs, have approached the State government, seeking permission to develop farmhouse townships or mega tourism projects, on the acquired lands. They have asked the government to reduce the minimum size criteria for mega tourism projects, from 300 acres to 100 acres. The new policy will have provisions for a single farmhouse of just 4,800 sq yards (1 acre).

farmers; and most of the farm houses too have come up on this basis. “This has not only reduced the forest land, but also exposed the remaining forest to mining, erosion and illegal construction,” informed Balwan. Actually, the PLPA, 1900, which used to cover 38 villages in Gurgaon District, expired by 1994; it left only 3 villages under Sections 4 and 5. In the rest of the villages, mining and illegal construction therefore started on a war-footing. It was only in 2002 that the Supreme Court again banned the mining and illegal construction – by saying that all the areas that used to come under PLPA Sections 4 and 5 would still be deemed as forest areas, and no

Lakes like Surajkund and Badkhal have virtually disappeared, and the rampant construction has resulted in a serious depletion of the water table. The Aravallis are composed of nonporous rocks; since that cannot hold water, the ground water gets collected in the cracks and joints. Keeping this in mind, the apex court had ordered that the depth of mining be restricted to three metres above the water table. Silica, or bajri, which is in great demand for construction, is found under the water table. To extract it, miners first pump out the ground water. That water, however, is left abandoned, leading to the evaporation of 8,86,891 cubic metres of ground water every year. Even now the small water bodies have been left unattended by the State, resulting in the evaporation of thousands of litres of water every year. According to an NGO, Shakti Vahini, there are 68 exposed water bodies in the Range. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) says that the ground water is already at a critical stage in Faridabad – where its over-exploitation rate is at 89.02 per cent. The figure for Gurgaon is even more astonishing – with an over-exploitation of 124 per cent! According to a Supreme Court order of May 10, 1995, each mining leaseholder should follow an Environment Management Plan, that includes afforestation, reduction of noise and pollution, and the rehabilitation of the mines after they are exhausted. But HSPCB has allowed first the mines, and now the farm houses and tourism units, to extract ground water without any prior permission. HSPCB says it has recently started a survey, to monitor the forest area. “We have sealed some farm houses, as they were violating the 7-5-92 notification of MoEF. We are also checking for the extraction of ground water,” said Balraj Ahlawat, Regional Officer, HSPCB, Gurgaon.

C over S tory


The Rocky Journey

In 1992, a Central government notification said that no mining and other industrial or residential construction would be allowed in the Aravalli region, without prior permission from the Central government. In October 2002, the Supreme Court banned mining in the Aravallis, citing environmental concerns, and the large scale destruction of habitat. 
In December 2002, the ban remained in Haryana, but was eased in Rajathan. A large chunk of sand-mining business moved to Rajasthan. 
In 2009, the Supreme Court suspended mining in Haryana, till a Rehabilitation Plan was prepared by the State government. illegal mining and construction should be allowed in these areas. In this window of almost a decade (1994 to 2002) the majority of construction took place, or the builders bought the land and got the CLU from the government,” informed a highly placed official in the Forest department. “In 2007 I wrote a letter to the Deputy Forest Conservator, to inform him about the gross violation of the Forest Conservation Act and the PLPA in the Aravallis. It also listed various groups that had razed the forest cover for construction purposes. The letter also said that since the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to return the money to all plot owners in Sectors 44 and 47 in Faridabad, the area was to be treated as forest land, and construction there was therefore illegal. No action was taken on the complaint,” said Balwan, while talking about his efforts to save the Aravallis. 
In 1996, and then again in July 2011, the Supreme Court directed all States to identify areas that are forests, irrespective of whether they are so notified, recognised or classified under any law, and irrespective of whether they were once forests and now stand denuded, degraded or cleared for other use. Haryana’s Town & Country Planning department instead declared these 'gair mumkin pahars', an agricultural zone that was once recorded as forests, to be protected under the Forest Conservation Act 1980, or any other protective mechanism. This step put these areas at the disposal of realtors, politicians and bureaucrats; they brought these places from so-called farmers, in the anticipation of urbanisation as envisaged in the new Master Plans. Most of these lands have now changed hands several times over. Field Forest Officers admit that once a land is designated as an agricultural zone, changing its land use to commercial or residential is easily justified, and it is then easy to colonise. In the Mangar Bani plan in Faridabad, for instance, the Aravalli Hills have been included as an ‘agricultural zone,’ which permits 22 kinds of real estate activities – including setting up of mega recreational zones. Mangar village alone has 3,595 acres of 'gair mumkin pahar', and 9 Aravalli villages form part of the Plan..u

10 { Shilpy Arora/ FG }


s you stand outside a small building in the crammed locality of Gandhi Nagar (Delhi), it is hard to imagine that there is a school of over 1,500 students inside. And not just that, this School is one of the many success stories of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas (RPVVs) – numbering 15 in the Capital. Some 15 years ago, the pass percentage in the School was as low as 40 per cent; today, the School records a 100 per cent pass percentage. Besides, it is equipped with the latest facilities and technology. RPVV is a system of government schools in the Capital. These schools have been known to outperform many convent schools. The Capital’s model for MCD schools and Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalayas is also doing well. A few schools have grabbed special attention. These schools, almost of the same size, serve the same community, and have a similar profile of students as the other schools; but they have a very low dropout rate, a good academic record, and their students are making waves in extra-curricular activities also. How have these schools managed to do so well within a similar set up, and what can other schools learn from them?

Strong Leadership

When Dr. Maithani joined RPVV, Gandhi Nagar as a Principal, the building had not been completed. Walls were being built around her, as she worked in an unfurnished office. “Her leadership style has always been collaborative, actively seeking faculty participation. Not only does she want her staff to participate in the decision making, but she also gives them the opportunity to try new things – and even the ‘right to fail’,” says a teacher. “We should see failure as an opportunity for change. I think the lack of training programmes is the reason for the under-performance of teachers in schools. Also, teachers should enjoy their work. People complain that teachers in government schools don’t attend school regularly. The reason is not just the lack of accountability, but the lack of interest at the workplace, and the lack of supervision from the management,” believes Dr. Maithani. Talking about the challenges, she informs, “Most students here are first-generation learners from their families. Since they come from extremely poor

12-18 April 2013

The Genuine Public Schools City Matches Capital

families, they don’t find much time to study; they take care of their siblings most of the time. We therefore have allowed students to come to the School along with their siblings. As we don’t have any infrastructure to take care of toddlers, I decided to hire some semi-literate women to take on this job. They were first given a month-long training in childcare, and then asked to take care of these little children.” Dr. Maithani also holds a series of meetings with parents and trained teachers, on how to enhance performance.

ment School, as I have heard a lot about its teachers, and the way the School is managed. I heard that it has well-equipped laboratories for science students. Since I want to take up the science stream, the School seems perfect for me.”

Some old, some new

MCD School, West Delhi

Government School, Sarhaul

Moreover, students are counselled on the need to do well in studies. Over time, the teachers notice that students themselves find ample time for their studies. A student of Class VII, Anju, who wants to become an engineer, says, “Principal Ma’am has introduced special classes for engineering even for the students of Class VII. The classes help us in getting a practical exposure to the theories of physics and mathematics.”    Kapila Bhatia, Principal of Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya, No. 2, Janakpuri (Delhi), is another shining example She is credited with the School’s transformation, after she took over as Principal in the year 2000. “Unlike many principals, she has never said that ours is a good school and a good faculty, and we want to keep it this way only. She believes in revealing the actual picture,” says Mrs. Bhatnagar, a Senior Secondary teacher in the School. “Also, all teachers, including the staff hired on a contractual basis, are told about the mission/vision of the School. We function as a team to achieve that. This is shared with parents as well. When teachers work co-operatively,

S ocial

and parents are connected, the children are more likely to achieve academic success, she adds.” Kapila believes that “our goal is not just to make children perform well in academics,but to develop educated, healthy and happy children. To achieve that, we need the support from their parents as well as their siblings.” The School made it big in 2008, when it achieved a 100 per cent pass record. In 2010, it topped among the non- RPVV schools, and stood 5th among all government schools. Its students have also bagged many awards and prizes in extra-curricular activities – such as swimming, chess, long jump and athletics.

Early Start

The earlier a school starts ‘educating’ children, the better the children will do,” feels Mrs. Prakash, Principal of Nursery Wing, Government School, New Colony (Gurgaon). The ‘programme’ during the first five years of a child should include: parent training, a safe and clean environment to have fun, and appropriate learning opportunities for the child. This is rare in most of the government

schools. Surprisingly, the City was the first in North India to introduce such a model programme. “I moved from Bangalore to Gurgaon in 2007. I was surprised to know that all government schools started from Class 1 only. I filed an application with the Ministry of Education. After three years, we received the approval to operate classes for toddlers in the Government School, New Colony,” says Mrs. Prakash, who plans to set up 5 such schools in the City by the end of 2015. A parent at the School recounts the benefits of early education. A mother of two daughters, Sheela Devi says, “My elder daughter was admitted to Class 1 directly. However, my younger daughter was first put into a nursery school. I can see that the younger one is performing better. She also has a better command over the English language.”

Monitoring Student Progress

“The best way to assess the progress of students is by looking at the students’ works that are displayed on the bulletin boards and walls of a school. Another way is to ask the school faculty about the strengths and weaknesses of each student,” says Usha Rani, Principal of Government School, Sarhaul, Sector 18 (Gurgaon). One of the successful government schools in the City, it is adorned with beautiful wall paintings and attractive paperwork. Also, the staff is well-versed with the performance of each child. The School has become so famous in the City that it has received over 1,000 applications in this admission session. Rashmi, a student of Class X, says, “My priority is to join Sarhual Govern-

Some schools, like RPVV Rohini and RPVV Paschim Vihar, focus on reading and maths. “Children who don’t read generally face issues like a lack of concentration later. And students who don’t have a hold over the basic concepts of Maths find the subject difficult throughout their school years. The role of an effective school is to identify this, and inculcate the habit of reading at an early age. There is also a need to introduce fun ways to learn Maths,” says the Principal of RPVV Rohini, Kamlesh Chauhan. RPVV Paschim Vihar has introduced an innovative method to encourage reading among the students. “The best way is to read out popular stories to children in a classroom. We started with Amar Chitra Katha. After reading out a story, we would distribute the book among the children. I was so surprised when a girl offered me her pocket money, because she didn’t want to return the book, as she used to read it every night,’ smiles a teacher. Many government schools in the Capital have adopted ‘Smart Classes’. A computer teacher at RPVV Shalimar Bagh, Mrs. Sen, believes that Smart Class is the best means for students to interact with mentors as and when required. “The Smart Class is based on e-text books, a digital library, virtual labs for science subjects, and standardised classroom learning. It allows students to explore the world of the internet, so that they can find answers to various questions themselves,” says Mrs. Sen. The Capital’s RPVV model clearly reflects that government schools can be as good as any private school. Unfortunately, there is still a bias attached to government schools. Giving out a message to the students of government schools, Dr. Maithani says, “Don’t entertain any inferiority complex from being a Government school student. You just need to be more aware of current affairs, and improve your knowledge of the English language.” Principals and teachers should focus on building self-confidence and esteem among the students of government schools, she adds. u

12-18 April 2013

K id C orner



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

Tamanna Bhasin, Grade VIII, Excelsior American School

Varun Singla, D.A.V. Public School

Sumit Singh, Grade IV B, Royal Oak Internationl School


12-18 April 2013

K id C orner

My Piano, My Passion


tudents of the Music School―Music My Passion (MMP)―performed on the piano to an encouraging audience, at the Yamaha showroom in a Mall. MMP, a Music Institute, is run by Minu Puri – a Pianist and Music teacher – who has been lauded recently by the Trinity College London, for Excellence in Music Teaching. The confident students―from ages 6 to 27― played different compositions, and some little ones even accompanied the recital with vocals.

Ryan Wishing Tree


yan International School, Sector 40, conducted a ‘Wishing Tree Activity’, to uphold the Chairman Dr. A.F. Pinto’s vision of ‘Excellence in Academics’. Students of Classes III to VI wrote their resolutions for the new academic session 2013-14, on a colourful cut-out of their choice. This was displayed on the ‘Wishing Tree’ in their respective class rooms. This activity motivated the students to overcome their weaknesses, and strengthen their existing skills – to reach greater heights.

Friendship Beyond Boundaries


he students of TR Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge (TPAAK) Fort Collins, Colorado, US, accompanied by their Principal Karen Griffin, visited Manav Rachna International School, Sector- 46, as a part of a student exchange programme. They were given a warm welcome by the School Principal and the host families. The guests and the hosts, along with the School teachers, visited various monuments in and around Delhi. The TPAAK students gave a presentation of their State and School. All the students bonded well, and the hosts bid a sad farewell to the guests, as they left the City.

Grand Ryan Master


aibhav Aggarwal, from Ryan International School, Sohna Road, bagged the 1st position in the Dwarkadas Parnam Memorial District Chess Championship, held at Salwan Public School, Gurgaon. Vaibhav surpassed all the fourteen competitors in the Under-17 category, giving an excellent performance in all the four rounds. He will now be preparing to participate in the State Tournament to be held in Rewari. Vaibhav was honoured in the Assembly by School Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, who congratulated him and motivated him to keep the Ryan banner flying high.

It's Robot Time


hiranjiv Bharati School, Palam Vihar has set up a Robotics Centre of Excellence in the School. Students will learn to make Robots using ICT, which will help ignite their passion towards computers, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hands-on learning would be imparted to the students, by using LEGO education.

K id C orner

12-18 April 2013

The Red Box D

uring my childhood, I was fascinated by the Red Box, which was placed at a convenient location round the corner, very near to our house in Agra. I used to see people coming and dropping letters in that box through an opening in the front. I would wonder why people did so...what happened to those letters? Then one day a man came and opened the Red Box, and took out all the contents. I asked him what he would do with those letters. He first hesitated and tried to ward me off... but good sense prevailed, and he decided to reply to my ‘foolish’ question. He said, “I am the postman (‘dakiya’), and the letters that you see in my hand now were put by people, to be taken to various destinations – to their acquaintances or loved ones. These are very important for communication between people. The Red Box which you see here is called the

Post Box. The colour has become so common that it is called Post Office Red”. I asked him how he could carry all those letters to various places. He laughed, and said, “No, not me. I will just take these to the Post Office. From there these will be sorted as per the destinations, and then

Smart Treasure


had visited my grandparents in Pune. Pune is a city located in Maharashtra. I love going there! The weather is really pleasant. So where was I? Oh yes, I had visited my grandparents. I was playing cricket in a park which is not far from my house. My friend Arjun was batting. He hit a six which went flying over my head. Arjun asked me to get the ball. Did I mention I was tired? But it’s better to stay quiet instead of getting into fights. I searched for the ball in the bushes. But then I didn’t realize that I was stepping on soft ground, and slipped! I went down tumbling. I was really scared and was

screaming for help. Suddenly I stopped tumbling. I opened my eyes and got up. I dusted my pants and looked up, I still could see the sky. I couldn’t believe it! I had landed in a small cave. I decided to explore the place, as I love mysteries. I noticed one scroll lying on the floor and picked it up. It said - “AGEO JFTISVRE RSDTUEOPWS DATHWEDADD KFTRUONM QWGHIEARNE UTGHRE HSRCTRLOBLOL DWOAXS” Oh, it was a map! I quickly understood the code. See, if you skip the first

taken by different Postmen/ Railways/Vans—or even Airplanes—to various destinations.” I got more curious, and asked him who would then finally deliver these to different people? The postman said, “Look child , just as I am here, similarly other postmen are posted at various places; and they do the task of distribution, once the letters reach them”. I wondered if that was how I got the letter from my grandpa last month?! As I grew up, the Red Boxes were no longer placed in new parts of the City. Now I have to go all the way to the post office to post any letter. It is cumbersome. Sometimes I decide to send my letters through private courier services, even though they are expensive. I do miss the Red Box in my neighbourhood and wish that one day it will be installed there. u Ramakant Gupta

letter of every word and then collect every alternate letter, then you will get the message. It read, ‘GO FIVE STEPS AHEAD FROM WHERE THE SCROLL WAS’. I followed whatever was written on that paper. Luckily I saw a shovel lying in the corner. I started to dig hoping that I would find some treasure. To my surprise I only found one piece of paper! It read – “We wanted to test you, whether you were smart or not. “We discovered that you are actually very smart!” I laughed and laughed until my tummy ached! u Eshaan Soni , Class IV , Shikshantar School.

Coming Up

Aaroh-2013, a Festival of Music and Dance @ Epicenter Apparel House Date: April 14 Time: 11:00 am onwards


he talented students of Tansen Sangeet Mahavidhyalya Sector 14, present Aaroh-2013, an afternoon of dance & music, prepared under the guidance of the best talent in the field.


Alliteration ( fruits and vegetables)


Astronauts and Athletes eat Apples and Almonds. Blackberries in Bluebirds’ Beaks. Charming Cat caught Coconut and Carrot. Demy Deserves Durian for Dinner. Everyone Enjoys Eating Eggplant. One Farmer Found Fish in a Fair. Gardner Grows Green Grapes and Guavas. Hungry Honeybees Humming around Honeydew melon. Innocent Infant likes Iceberg lettuce. Jittery Jack Jumps on Juicy Jackfruit. Kid and Koala Kick Kiwi. Limping Leopard Licking Lemon. Ma’m and Mom Mix Muskmelon in Muffin. Naughty Nephew puts Nuts in the Net. Overjoyed Ostrich Opens Onion. Perturbed Python Pleads for Peas. Queen standing in Queue for Quince. Ruthless Rabbit Runs after Red Radish. Strong Sailor Steamed the Strawberries for Sandwich and Salad. Tangy Tomato Tastes Tangy. Untidy Uncle kept Ugli fruit in Utensil. Vegetables in Various Vessels. Witch Wants Wonder Watermelon. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Youthful Yak Yamming for Yam. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz OJAS JHUNTHRA Class-2F School-The Shri Ram School Aravali

Hey kids, do you have a painting or a poem/short story that you want to see published on this page? Send in your contributions to

K id C orner

12-18 April 2013

Two... & Off To School “She started school this morning, and she seemed so very small. As I walked there beside her, in the Kindergarten Hall. And I must share my two year old girl with friends and work and play; She’s not a baby anymore --she’s in Kindergarten today!”

{ Anita Jaswal }


here was a time when it was considered that formal schooling should not begin until the age of six. Today, the new-style ‘nappy curriculum’ recommends that every child should start going to school starting at age two! In the last few years, parents have increasingly been sending their children to pre-schools – many of which double as day cares. Are these kids getting an advantage by attending school so early?

her name, but this later literacy has its roots in toddlerhood. Colouring and painting strengthen the muscles that she’ll later use to write.”

Neha Arora felt that at 2 years plus, Ayan was ready – emotionally and socially to attend school.” I needed to share the time caring for him with someone. I needed some time on my own, and I wanted him to be around other kids. He is my only child. Leen’s Nestling, in SunCity, was the choice. I wouldn’t have put him in Ayan Arora just any day care. I really trust those caregivers, and it’s a nice environment. They role play, paint, talk, sing, dance and learn to socialize. He is there from 8-12, and after that he is all mine! Can life be more beautiful?”

Au contraire, Radha Virmani did not have that easy a time with her daughter, Jahnvi. “Where we live, in the apartments in Sushant Lok, there is social pressure to put one’s child in preschool at the age of 2. The school we selected is considered one of the best, so I knew she would be in good hands. And though Jahnvi Virmani she has never exactly clung to my legs and screamed, it is always more of a sort of sad resignation when we reach the school gates. My husband thinks I am letting it worry me too much; but then it’s me who’s at the school gates. I feel torn up inside, because I work two to three days a week, and she’s in childcare after school - and she sometimes gets upset that it’s not me picking her up. And yet....I do feel the need to stand firm. Am I being neurotic? My nephew, who goes with her, is always very happy. So I guess that, just as personalities differ, kids vary tremendously in how they relate in school. It’s a process that will take time.”

Neelam Joshi says, “My Alina started school at 2 plus. I was really hesitant at the beginning. Of course I don’t think any stay-athome mom plans to send her child off to preschool at this early age. In fact I had more issues than she did. How would she adjust to a daily classroom routine; to a new school, teacher, a classroom of kids? Would she be the eager beaver, or the quiet mouse? But all my worries were unfounded. The cosy, family atmosphere at Lotus Valley International School , Nirvana, made us Alina feel instantly comfortable. The clean-bright-colourful classrooms, full of happy children, allayed all my fears; and Alina loves her time there.”

“I put my (now 4 year old) daughter Sanvi in preschool when she was 2. While she cried the first week or so, she soon quietened down and was happy. It was a relatively easy transition for us. She was one of the many kids her age who were going to school full-time. Also, the school we chose has a very good teacher/student ratio, and is both academic and play based. I see a lot of benefits of preschool. It is a Sanvi fun, educational and social outlet for any child. It provides an opportunity for them to learn from other people, without wondering if they’re doing the right thing. And, of course, it has helped my daughter become independent, and confident to take care of herself and her belongings – and express herself as needed!” says Anamika Sharma, a working mom.

Vidhi Kanotra feels,” When most of today’s parents were tots, school for the under-5 set was fairly rare; but now you can tote your 2 plus to day-cares - many of which have preschoolappropriate curricula. I am glad I put Shreyansh in ibambini, Sector 56. School at this age is less about worksheets and lessons; it’s about becoming part of a group. The School introduces them to sharing and taking turns, making friends, and developing their language. No, your child won’t be reading or penning

The big wheel turns, whether we like it or not, rolling us from one stage of life to another. For the children, it’s the transition from the private to the public world. Preschool is their first step into the public world. They are no longer considered so little that they require constant shelter and handling. The advantage of putting preschoolers in centre based care is that it gives them an opportunity to practice their language, and learn social skills. Children are keen to build peer relationships, and play with their friends. So whether you are working, or you are a stay-at-home parent, it can be helpful for children to gain experience in a group care environment, before they start formal school. They also become comfortable being looked after by adults other than their parents.u

Shreyansh Kanotra

Her Life Not long ago she was a girl but the next day a woman not equal.... was this the real world or a scene from a dream sequel? She did everything from dawn to dusk no male could do but she surpassed all, then why was she still unequal called?  Every turn she battled biases indiscriminate, but all she did her desires cremate she wanted a place she could proclaim, but she found the treatment never the same....... lofty laws to protect her, in treacherous hands a political game....... Equality of what? Of her chained mind or her threatened body? Of her spiritless soul or her wary life that can never be made whole? Equality for what? Her whisper to become loud and bold? Or those dreamless eyes to look beyond in a fearless stare? Or the man besides promising to care?   Not long ago she was a girl as pure untouched an oyster pearl, but soon was tarnished... with atrocities she was garnished... Equality from whom? From those men who have sold their souls to doom? Equality merely a word not to be understood, the meaning lost in those haunted woods, ghosts lurking in the dark  voiceless voices often bark, swallowing innocence she had as her mark..... Equality is equal in the eyes of all, equal comes from within,  respect in your heart need not be hidden every living blood should know.  Equality is to breathe in the same air she lives to value her who so forgivingly gives... Let us pledge and vow,  only to this truth we should humbly bow... we should salute that Equality  only the Day this is a  living reality...................... Monica Soni

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A Model School

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12-18 April 2013


nna Hazare, the man who is promising deliverance from corruption and political sloth to a billion Indians, was received with thunderous applause from at least 3,000 men and women, who waited for him for close to 4 hours on Tuesday evening. The Jantantra rally may have commenced late, but the enthusiasm of the supporters and well wishers of Anna was not dampened. On the way to Gurgaon, Anna and his team held rallies at Badshahpur, Bhondsi and Sohna – where they were received with love and affection by many 'aam aadmis'. Unfortunately, a large part of the ‘New’ Gurgaon populace, the social media brigade that tweets about ‘crusades’, was conspicuous by its absence. The faces were from the working class and the low income group. They cheered Anna Hazare and his team – comprising former Army Chief V.K Singh, Sufi Jilani and Dharamvir Bharati. The pulse of the Anna supporters was perhaps best represented by Satyadev Paswan, who runs a tea stall at the Sector 4 crossing. Paswan said that he believes totally in the cause of Anna, and wants to help end corruption in the country – which has kept him and several others without basic jobs and facilities. “I also participated in the indefinite fast in support of the Lokpak Bill, along with Anna Hazare, and remained without food for 9 days,” said Paswan, while waiting for his leader. As soon as the sirens blared the arrival of Anna, Paswan rushed to the gates, along with several others, to get the first glimpse of the man who they think will erase corruption and change the system – which they believe has become obfuscated, and serves only a coterie of powerful people. Giving a clarion call to the residents of Gurgaon while addressing the Jantantra rally, Anna said that they had started this Yatra from Jallianwalla Bagh, and had pledged there that this will be a fight to the

Rally Around Anna


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

finish. “We want to change the system in the country, because changing governments will not resolve the problems faced by the people. The politicians have become kings, and instead of being public servants they treat people as their slaves,” asserted Anna, to the loud applause of his supporters. Asserting that this was not an impossible task, he mentioned that it was because of their sustained efforts that 6 ministers had been forced to resign, and hundreds of officials have been transferred. To broaden the action, he decided to raise the issue of the Jan Lokpal Bill, which has been subverted by the UPA government in connivance with all the political parties, he said. He also said that a Jan Sansad will be called in Delhi in September this year, to decide on the future of the politics in the country.

“This yatra will continue for one and half years, and the objective is to unite 5 crores Indians, who will spearhead the fight against corruption. We must unite, if we want to change the system,” he asserted. Cheering his every word, the supporters at the rally reiterated their resolve to take this fight to its logical conclusion. Former Army Chief V.K Singh, who is a close associate of Anna, also said that the time had come for people to demand more accountability and responsibility from the ‘rulers’. He asked the cadres to unite, and get ready for the Jan Sansad, where the future course of this nation will be decided by the common man. He also said that this yatra had taken no help from corporates, but only depended on donations from individuals. “Democracy, which was meant to serve the people, has

Choose Your Power Plan { Maninder Dabas / FG }


s the days have started getting warmer, the electricity too has started playing hide and seek with the residents of Gurgaon. And as per the past record of DHBVN, the conventional scenario is most likely to continue – where Gurgaon would reel under power cuts in the months to come. The only silver lining is that there is perhaps a solution for those who can, and want to, pay some extra bucks to get uninterrupted power supply. The Bulk Supply mechanism is one such solution that DHBVN has come up with. DHBVN would provide one big connection for a locality, outside its gates,

C ivic/S ocial

and the RWA of that locality would have to supply the power in the colony, by placing small meters within. The distribution of power, and the collection of bills, shall be carried out by the RWA. “This mechanism is a good solution for a better supply of power, as it would not only reduce the cost of maintenance for DHBVN, but also its efforts in issuing and collecting bills for each individual connection. We have sent a two-month notification of this plan to more than a hundred localities. The two months are ending by end April, and we are quite optimistic that most of the colonies would give their nod to this new solution,” said K.C Aggarwal, Executive Engineer,

DHBVN. If there is a difference of more than four per cent in the consumption of units, between DHBVN supply and RWA supply, the RWA will have to bear the extra amount. Many big condominiums of DLF, Unitech, Bestech and other big builders are already using this facility. Despite some issues, this mechanism might help end the power woes of the City,” added Aggarwal. Residents, however, are quite sceptical about this new phenomenon, as according to them it’s not practical. “This solution is viable for the societies having condominiums, because it’s quite easy to lay and maintain the infrastructure, and the chances of power thefts are also very less.


been distorted, and the system needs a major overhaul,” he claimed. Moulana Soufi Jilani, another leader of the Morcha, exhorted all the sections of the society to come together and fight against corruption, nepotism, communalism and a sham democracy being run by the Congress and BJP combine. His views were further supported by a cross section of local leadership of the Aam Aadmi party, including journalist Dharamvir Bharti, who vowed to change the system. Later, speaking to Friday Gurgaon, Ramesh, who heads the Aam Aadmi Gurgaon unit, said that the rally was quite successful as a large number of people had come to listen to the views of Anna, and support him. Colonel Pratap Singh, Chairman of CCA School, opined that the present political dispensation was not only corrupt, but also prone to strangulate any voice that was sane and spoke of reason. He said that today corrupt leaders and politicians remained free, whereas honest men were hounded out of office. “There is no governance in the country, as those meant to serve are oiling the corrupt system,” he asserted. While a large number of people were satisfied by the proceedings, a few were critical of the Jantantra Morcha. They said it had no visible second line of leadership and orators, needed to mobilise the masses. A senior citizen, on the condition of anonymity, said that Anna Hazare will need to groom young leaders, who believe not only in his message, but are also ready to make sacrifices for the cause. “This time we are not fighting the British, but our own – and this is a more difficult fight,” he asserted. Recalling the political acumen of Mahatma Gandhi, he said that India’s struggle was successful because he was not only a great leader, but an astute politician and people manager. “The times have changed, but the problems are the same, and we need to rise above our petty issues,” he pointed out. A number of Gurgaon-based social activists, including R.S Rathee, S.C Talwar, Col. Sarvdaman Oberoi and representatives of social organisations were present at the rally. u

Maintenance and billing is not at all an easy task, and if the State body has failed in maintaining its infrastructure and collection of bills, I don’t think the plotted colony RWAs—no matter how big—should take such a huge responsibility,” said Sudhir Kapoor, Secretary General, DLF City RWA.

Pune Model: a solution more viable

The Pune Model is another solution proposed by DHBVN, and it looks more viable and practical. “Yes, this is another option that we are open to provide to the consumers; and under this, people will have to pay an extra amount on each unit consumed. But it is difficult for all localities to have this facility. DHBVN will not provide this service to any single locality.

We can only provide this service to a feeder, and it’s up to the various localities to take power from that feeder. One feeder can give power to five- six colonies. The maintenance and bill collection would remain with DHBVN, and consumers will just have to pay extra money per unit,” informed K.C Aggarwal. Residents too believe that this alternative is more practical. “I don’t think many would say no to paying extra money if they can get uninterrupted power supply. In fact, people living in gated complexes are paying far higher to their builders, for the back-up power (on gensets). DHBVN should work to implement this model, as it’s viable and more user-friendly,” added Kapoor.u

16 EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

C omment

12-18 April 2013

Anna and his team were in the City this week. Somehow, the energy to participate in the rally, among the ‘New Gurgaonites’, was missing this time - maybe because it was a working day. Maybe it is for the good that the ‘aam aadmi’ is beginning to warm up more to the Anna team. Somewhere over the next year we do hope that Arvind Kejriwal and Party team up again with Anna, to again jointly fight the venal entrenched system. FG has commented on the Anna phenomenon more than once, over the last year and a half. It is a good time to recap...and hopefully rekindle interest and hope and support... in a person and a cause that cannot but be dear to our hearts, and of immense importance for the future of our country.

The Anna effect is upon us.


hy are we at this crossroads? Because the Executive has failed, over decades, to control a disease called bribery—a disease that impacts every citizen of India, everyday. Food, healthcare, prices—any of these could have finally sparked a movement. All these frustrations, and more, have just cascaded into the Anna movement—it is not just about bribery alone. Anna has succeeded because he is endowed with solid moral authority. The movement is unique, focused and non-violent. This is not blackmail—it is moral authority—something we seem to have forgotten. It would be some time before anyone else tries something similar, let alone finding acceptance with the ordinary citizen. Talk of precedent is just that. What is the alternative? Do we just let things be? Let the people wait forever for deliverance? Because only Parliament will decide when, how, where deliverance will occur? Parliament has already thrown its hands up. It is not able to arrest the severe leakages for decades. It is not able to tackle corruption—in fact, there seems to be a surge, of late. Or maybe we should


n general, we want to be left alone. Times are good. Yes, the country is faced with enormous challenges—lack of food, health facilities, housing, civic infrastructure, civic sense, governance, honesty, community... But someone else needs to take charge. After all, we are not running the country. Anna did try and take charge—of a core issue. An issue that has an all round impact. We happily lent our voices, and a precious day (or two). The media were on our side (or was it the other way round?) Now, suddenly, we are very confused. We also do not have THAT much time. Too bad that our messiah’s disciples were found to be ordinary folk. And even the media agrees (or is it again the other way round?) We thought they were divine, like Anna. They turned out just like us—ok, not so bad, but still… After all, an inch is as good as a mile.


n the space of an year we have gone from frenzied involvement to cynicism. Actually, we do this every time, don’t we? Only increasingly so, since the attention spans are now in seconds – that too virtual. It’s a wonder that our involvement lasted months. It is no wonder that we love to talk more and do less; and also no wonder that we today believe we can advise Anna and Kejriwal (and Bhushan) what they should have done/ should do. Never mind about corruption. Some have even gone full circle, and questioned why a Lokpal is even required. They feel we just need to implement and oversee better (clearly they do not live here). The media too has changed colour faster than a chameleon. It sure makes you believe that some are not out of bed with politicians.

The Anna Effect Editorial - 2-8 September 2011

just be happy with some symbolic visits to underprivileged homes; or symbolically take some pledges; or conduct a yajna. And the genie will return to its bottle. There is always a tipping point. In this case, Anna sensed that the tipping point was nigh; he sensed the mood of the people, and the frustration. At such moments, rationality is tipped. Emotions take charge. Unfortunately, the only mood that seems relevant to the government is that of the vote banks. And of course, vote banks can always stage just a local loud protest, and action would be taken within a few days—however unreasonable the demand. We all have safely railed against the Government, taken swipes at politicians and parliament, on less substantive issues, on prime time and prime space. The Supreme Court has not been found wanting on this either. And why would we expect anything different, if Parliament itself finds it difficult to ensure parliamentary behavior. What you get is what you see.

Anno Anna

Editorial - 4 -10 November 2011 (“Tell that to the child who was hit violently —not playfully; or the girl who was raped—not teased; or the family of a person who was killed—not beaten up.”) Maybe the government can now cite Jesus. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. What if Anna has done something? Told a lie? Was not politically correct? Did he say—Proud to be a Hindu? The media has perhaps to take the hardest rap. What, where, how, and in what context we write or speak, is a big responsibility. We carry it too lightly. Moving from drama to drama (more made, than happening), we attempt to make heroes of mere mortals, gods of heroes; and then gleefully reverse the process. What power! We justify our megalomania in the name of the people, the society. A society that is defined by me, myself, my family, and friends; four guests in the studio,

Yet, of all people and events, we (so called intellectuals, alongside parliamentarians this time) chose Anna and his movement to suddenly remember parliamentary behavior; and as suddenly ask for a panacea instead. The message from the intelligentsia seemed to be petulant; since we were not there on the scene with Anna, we somehow must decry it as a tamasha—or hide behind the discovery of the supremacy of parliament. Guilt, perhaps? Anna rightly called it a half victory. He knew the moment of deliverance had passed. The sudden burst of “rationality” has robbed Anna, and more importantly us, of a decision on Lokpal within this session of parliament. Yes, for a bill that has been 40+ years in the making, it surely was possible to have passed it expeditiously. The answer to this Bill cannot be normal; cannot just be rational. So yes, even in Parliament, in rare moments, the heart must rule. The mind games can always come later. We can only hope that the Bill is passed within a few months, and honestly. If not, we truly will have missed a moment. Cannot help fight a premonition that hum Anna ki jaan lekar rahengay. We would have killed the messenger; and lost the message. u and two on the phone. We love drama. We love TRPs and circulation even more. We love ourselves most. Yes, unfortunately, the media focus was, and is, on individuals—not the cause. We continue to miss the forest, in our love for those trees. And unfortunately, the government has its own twisted maxims. Those who can, don’t; or won’t. Those who can’t, talk; and justify why others don’t. For once, can we have the doers do? (For talking, we anyway have the perfect recipe—exlawyers; ex-communicated once in a while. And ever ready for a bite of the media apple). There is seldom a perfect time, or a perfect answer. There must now be only one agenda—the passing of the over 40-year-old Lokpal Bill, in the winter session of Parliament, Anno Anna—in the year of Anna. No ifs, buts, bigger picture, constitutional remedy. Failure to do so should be treated as treason unto the Constitution—and, ergo, the People. u

Time To Take A Stand Editorial - 12-18 October 2012

‘Anna should not have got into a political mode. Kejriwal will not be able to handle the ‘experienced’ politicians and parties.’ So they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Why should we play the same game, with the same rules (freebies, caste/ religion, give and take) – leading to the same results? Why should we accept whatever happens? Why should we do nothing, and just await another round of ‘media entertainment’? Unless, of course, we really do not dislike corruption; and actually are quite comfortable with it. Rather than acknowledge and support

a person and/or a group determined to do something about corruption, we can only keep finding fault. We want it all ‘perfect’, the way we believe we can do it – if (not when) required, that is. We may be dissatisfied, even frustrated, but will not lift our fingers. We just want deliverance at our doorstep. It says so much, of us. We have lost our own power to think, to judge. We let media dramas do it for us. So a few seconds or headlines can make us love Anna….or dismiss him. The cause, the reason, never matters. Having found ‘fault’ with Anna and Kejriwal, we forgot about corruption. It sure questions what we really stand for – since this seems to apply to civic

sense, and many other issues. We should have the guts to stay the course. We should demand a Lokpal Bill asap; and also support those few good, valiant and determined men and women who are trying their best, in the murky scenario, to bring about a change. They seem the more honest, the more caring for the country, and for its future. They will never always be right, they may not be paragons of virtue, but they are a hell of a lot better than many in the political world today (with many bureaucrats too having joined the Party). We owe it to the good folk, and our souls, to stand solidly in their support – rather than find excuses to back away. We can ill-afford a few more lost decades. Or are we, nudge nudge wink wink, okay with status quo – with this unique Indian system called ‘lena dena’ (coalition in English). u

S piritual

12-18 April 2013


Karmas To Moksha

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


iving on this planet as a human being is a very diverse and intense experience. When we live a human life, we experience many sensations, thoughts and feelings. As per Hindu philosophy, this experience is in great contrast to what we experience at the astral plane – where we enter after we die, and where we remain in between our various lives. Souls love to be incarnated in the human form, to gain this special and rare experience of realness on Earth. There is a deeper meaning behind our travels. At the astral plane there is no lag between the thinking of something and the realization of it. But on planet Earth, dreams do not always come true. There is sometimes a huge gap, an unbridgeable distance, between what we imagine and what we achieve. It is a great struggle to make our ideas take shape into realities. We face challenges, obstructions and contradictory impulses and emotions, which blur our view on what is right and wrong. We often get desperate by the non-compliant nature of our reality; reality does not always answer our wishes and hopes. Our creative intentions seem to end up in pain and disillusion. Still, we find that the experience on Earth cannot be matched by anything at the astral level. It is a most creative experience, to be able to monitor and navigate our 'karmas'. We can heal ourselves of a number of wounds that have been suffered by us in many of our past incarnations. We can also feel blessed by feeling the pain of others; and by helping cure those who have been through the same afflictions. Each birth is yet another chance to perform better, and to hope to attain salvation. In this process, the challenges we meet are our greatest teachers. Despite a life full of struggle, the experiences are valuable; they help us in evolving to the next stage. The life at the astral plane, in comparison, leads to stagnation, and withholding of further evolution – until the soul again comes for an earthly experience. Our souls can attain 'perfection' or salvation–from the cycles of birth and death–only by evolving to the level of ‘ego-less-ness’ or the ‘witnessing of awareness’; we have to learn to become detached witnesses to the happenings in our lives. Many 'karmic' seeds are needed to be sown, to reap the harvest of cyclic salvation. Good 'karmas' start purging the effects of bad 'karmas', and lead finally to purification – of freeing the 'being' from the cycles of 'karma'. The term 'karma' embraces both our past and present deeds. 'Karma' is a law in itself, and operates in its own field. Every time we think or do something, we create a cause – which in time will bear its corresponding effect. This cyclical cause-and-effect generates the concepts of the world, of birth and

{ Archana Kapoor Nagpal }


ife in itself is an empty canvas; it becomes whatsoever you paint on it. You can paint misery, you can paint bliss. This freedom is your glory. ~Osho, Indian Spiritual Teacher Life is like a canvas, and it can be made beautiful and colourful, by the way we paint it. I met a cabbie who made me want to paint my canvas of life with all the colours in the world. In India, it would be strange if a cabbie asked you about the book in your hand – but it happened with me. At the Delhi Airport, I had one of my favourite books, ‘The Alchemist’, in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading this book, because it has taught me the simplest yet biggest thing about life – to realise your dreams.

reincarnation. The soul is constrained to a cycle of rebirth, trapped within the temporal world, until it finally achieves liberation – by following a path of purification. God is entirely good. There is goodness all around Him. There is only light. Human beings were sent by God, with complete ignorance of their past life and past deeds. The true purpose of their journey is to allow light to conquer the dark, and create a new type of consciousness. Our earthly cycle of lives draws to a close when our consciousness is able to hold all the experiences of duality with equipoise, remaining centred and fully in the present – moment to moment. Our consciousness swings when we identify ourselves with only one aspect of duality – light, opposed to dark; good, opposed to bad; or rich, opposed to poor. 'Karma' is a natural leveller for the swings that we are engaged in, from time to time. We release our ties to the 'karmic' cycle, when we arrive at the central point of motionlessness, on this seesaw. There is a feeling of stillness, compassion, joy and tranquility at this central point. It was termed as ‘ataraxia’ by the Greek philosophers; in many oriental religions it is termed as ‘moksha’. It is a form of perfect tranquility and imperturbability, which takes us to another level of consciousness. We get rid of the energies of anxiety and fear; we become more quiet and open inside – we truly enter another world. It is the turning point. We start enjoying being with our self. We will start experiencing the world, and all its beauty, from this state of bliss. There is emancipation, liberation and freedom from the continuity of afflictions. The end of craving leads to the end of the circle of rebirths. Bliss resides where there is peace and joy in our heart. The choice of a life of love, compassion and hardships is, therefore, a way to rid oneself of the pain caused by moral guilt; and to perfect qualities that are necessary for the spirit to progress to a higher form. To get freedom from the constant recurrence of karmic cycles, it is necessary to be absolved of the past, present and future grievances. It is an individual's effort to reach the other shore. But it will be great if we are able to help others also land on the other side. For this, it is necessary to share unconditional love and forgiveness with everybody. Let us put our ego and pride aside, and feel relieved of our 'karmic' obligations – by not feeling angry, by not hurting anybody, and by forgiving all. All spiritually enlightened people took this path, for their salvation and emancipation from the 'karmic chakra'. u

A Chicago Spring A Chicago Spring Silent as the silent night Upon a silent street, Where barren trees spike up To the glued up clouds in plea, The snowflakes fall like molten stars And drape upon the trees; Sparkling bright on a dark black night Quite and so still, I sit all night in chilled delight To see the morning light; And as the golden orb awakes In yonder eastern skies, The robins chirp and the squirrels dance And the snowflakes want to stay & play; But the spring sun smiles it’s heartening smile And thaws the flakes away... Ah!!! the spring has come to stay. Sun beams knock at every heart And open all the doors, Boys run shouting down the street And pretty girls look so smart, The old and young and the meek and bold Are basking in the molten gold of spring sunshine; Feeling fine like sparkling wine This Easter Morn, I see the Change of Guards As seasons switch their roles In regal robes and depart, Happy Spring from Chicago, with Love

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.

Paint Up Your Canvas Before I could utter something, the cabbie said, “Wow, you are reading ‘The Alchemist’. It is a nice book by Paulo Coelho.” My eyeballs were oscillating like a pendulum gone crazy, while my ears were listening to his Americanized accent. He was wearing a well-ironed, linen shirt and a black trouser. I actually noticed him. I realised that he had asked me a question, the same question, perhaps for the third time, “Where is your hotel, ma’am?” I answered him politely. While in the cab, out of curiosity I asked him, “Why do you drive a cab, when you can do something better. I appreciate your communication skills, client han-

dling and your presentation of yourself. I respect your job, but I feel you can do better than this.” He looked at me and gave a big smile. He then shrugged, and said, “I am like you. I work for a call centre at night, catering to US outbound calls, and drive a cab in the day. At the age of 12 I lost my father. Life is a tough journey for me, as I have 3 younger sisters. I have to fund my education as well. I therefore decided to do two jobs. I hardly get time to sleep – maybe just 4 hours a day. But life demands, and I have to serve. The book in your hand is about realising your dreams. If you take the challenges of life as dreams, your

Shobha Lidder, Writer journalist, Teacher Trainer, social activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

tough journey will become a smooth road to your goals.” I was speechless. I was trying to figure out...was he happy, or was trying to make me feel better? It was a pleasure meeting an industrious, young gentleman – handling challenges as his dreams! He gave me infinite reasons to live life to the fullest. He also left me with a question: “Have I painted the canvas of my life with all the possible colours – a colour of happiness, a colour of sharing, a colour of caring, a colour of confidence, a colour of contentment...?” And deep within me, I answered, “I will paint the canvas of my life with all the possible colours, within this lifetime.” u Internationally published author of ‘14 Pearls of Inspiration’ and the ‘12 Facets of a Crystal’

18 { Jaspal Bajwa }


love for sweet-tasting foods is universal; very few people, if any, need to ‘cultivate’ this taste. Invariably, some form of sweet preparation plays an integral role in religious and social festivities in most cultures. Yet, sugar is emerging as the root cause of obesity, and its attendant retinue of chronic lifestyle diseases. So, what is the truth about sugarcane? A clue to the answer lies in the phrase … “nothing by itself is good or bad”. It is very often our attitude, and subsequent use (or mis-use), which makes the difference. Ever since sugarcane was domesticated in South Asia and New Guinea 10,000 years ago, the history of this “wonderful grass which produces honey without bees” has been very colourful. Over the centuries, avid travellers carried the plant to various parts of the world. It has been inextricably linked with the global influence the colonial powers wielded. In the 19th and 20th century, sugarcane cultivation and trade mobilised large scale migrations, as also certain infamous practices such as slavery. Today sugarcane has become the world’s largest crop. It occupies centrestage in large industrial enterprises, which produce table sugar, processed foods, ethanol (an additive to automobile fuel) and various alcoholic beverages.

Tip of the Week

To get the maximum goodness of sugarcane, opt

W ellness

12-18 April 2013

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Unrefined...Yet Sweet and as high as 28 per cent, of iron. It is also a very important source for potassium, Vitamin B6, Thiamine (B1), and Selenium. Lighter molasses have about one-third of the same nutrients. To prepare an energy boosting hot beverage, which also acts a mild laxative, stir one table spoon of Blackstrap molasses into a cup of boiling water or milk.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Sugarcane or S. barberi or S. officinarum

This “wonderful grass which produces honey without bees” for the unrefined, natural and minimally processed variants. As far as possible, products containing sulphites and other additives should be avoided. Fresh Sugarcane Juice: In most countries where sugarcane is grown, roadside vendors selling its freshly squeezed juice are a common sight. It is a welcome cooling beverage during the summer. Very often a hint of ginger, mint or lemon is added, with a dash of salt

Today sugarcane has become the world’s largest crop

The natural sugar cane is brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibres and phytonutrients, that help the body digest the naturally occurring sugars. In addition to calcium, phosphorous,

chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese, sugarcane also has synergising vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Fresh sugarcane contains a unique mix of polyphenols - a large class of phytonutrients  with powerful antioxidant properties, and numerous potential health benefits. Recent studies have shown important cytoprotective benefits of jaggery – a concentrated product. Its colour can vary from golden brown to dark brown; and it contains about a 100 -fold higher phenolic content than refined sugar (and 10 fold higher than brown sugar). These studies have validated the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, which recommended jaggery for the treatment of throat and lung infections. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

4U 4

and pepper. Sugarcane juice is considered beneficial for fevers, genito-urinary disorders, stomach, kidneys, eyes – and overall health. Blackstrap molasses: is a thick, dark syrup, made as a by-product of table sugar production. The benefits of blackstrap molasses are legion. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains between 1318 per cent of the recommended daily doses of magnesium, copper, calcium and manganese;


by ShahnaZ 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. Q. I have puffy eyes though I don't have late nights and sleep well.

Please tell me some cure. I am in my 50s.

SH First consult a doctor to ensure that your kidneys and sinuses are

functioning well. Ask for dietary advice too. Do not leave make-up or cream on around eyes at night when you sleep. It can lead to puffiness around eyes. Try some simple home remedies. Apply a compress of iced water or cold milk directly over closed lids and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Or you can soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water and let it rest on your under-eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s a good idea to lie down and rest while you do this. Grated potatoes or potato juice, applied around the eyes also helps to reduce puffiness. So do tea bags. Steep them in hot water, allow to cool and use them as eye pads.

WINNER Kiron Seth

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

12-18 April 2013

Doctors 'On Call'

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }


fter her joint replacement surgery, Neela found it quite hard to visit the hospital regularly. “The post-surgery treatment in such cases generally takes over three months, and the patient has to regularly visit the hospital. But due to the pain in my knee, it was not easy for me to do so on a daily basis. I thus found an easy alternative - Online OPD,” says Neela. Like Neela, many patients are being benefitted through Online OPDs, where doctors are just a click away. It is a revolutionary portal, which allows patients to connect with the doctor through a computer, or even a smart phone. The facility has been started by Paras Hospital. Not only can patients send an online query along with the medical documents, after registering with the portal, they can also schedule an online appointment, which takes place through video conferencing. The video conference is recorded, for the future reference of the patient. Besides, the profiles of all the doctors in the hospital are available on the portal. “The City is a hub of multi-specialty hospitals, where treatment facilities for almost all the diseases are available. However, travelling to a hospital is still mandatory, to access these facilities. We are living in an era where one can shop any kind of product and service on the Internet – so why not doctor

{ Alka Gurha }


e use our Immune System every second of the day, to fight infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and virus that are present all around us. The Immune System becomes active the moment it senses trouble in any part of our body. The fact that there are nearly 200 million germs on our hands alone, should tell us how vital (and complex) is our Immune System.

How to Strengthen the Immune System Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, that supports normal growth and development. It is a good nutritional ally to boost our Immune System. Because our body does not produce or store Vitamin C, it’s important to include it in our diet. For most people, a small glass of orange juice, or a serving of strawberries/guavas/broccoli should provide enough Vi-

consultations? Online OPD has been launched keeping in mind the busy schedule of patients. Now they can consult a doctor while sitting in their offices,” says Dr. Sudhanshu Garg, Opthalmologist.

How it Works

A patient can schedule an online appointment by simply registering on the page, and then selecting the doctor/medical practitioner. They can make the payment, and schedule a video conferencing, as per their need; and then chat live with doctors, and get their prescriptions online itself. Raghav Dutta used Online OPD to take a second opinion. He was undergoing treatment with an ENT specialist, for his cough problem. After going through the profile of various doctors, and their opinions, on his cough problem, he consulted an allergy specialist in the same hospital. The specialist found out that he was allergic to a particular smell, which was the prime cause of the cough. “Even if you are already undergoing treatment for an ailment, and are not satisfied with the doctor, or the

Like everything, my doctor is now available on my cell phone

rate of recovery, you can consult another doctor. I am glad that I have done that,” smiles Raghav. Raghav’s wife, Sujata, makes use of Online OPD when she is travelling. “I am working as a Marketing Head in an MNC. My job demands a lot of travel, due to which I find it difficult to go to a hospital for regular check-ups. Last month, when I was travelling to Pune, I used Online OPD to consult a doctor for a minor pain in my knee. The doctor asked me to immediately undertake a certain check-up. After evaluating the report, he found that I am going through an early stage of arthritis. I am so happy that I consulted the doctor at the right time – all thanks to Online OPD,” says Sujata. Many people are using Online OPD to take premedical assistance, to know

a treatment procedure, the expected time for healing, and approximate costs. Since the assistance is available 24X7, patients can comfortably update the doctor about their health. Online OPD has also been used to by patients to give reviews about doctors, and the medical facilities offered by hospitals. Neela says, “I consulted different doctors for my surgery, and for my postsurgery treatment. I now ensure that I go to the ‘right’ doctor and ‘right’ hospital.”

Boon for pregnant women

Keeping a track of one’s health during pregnancy is extremely important. However, Prabha Dayal, a volunteer at Jagori, an NGO that works towards the upliftment of women,

Boost Your Immunity enhancing immunity.

tamin C for the day. Any extra Vitamin C will simply be flushed out of our body ( through our urine).


Vitamin E

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells – those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of immune cells, which produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E supplementation may also reverse some of the decline in immune response, commonly seen in aging.

Pranayam or Deep Breathing

Deep breathing enhances immunity by eliminating toxins; more oxygen makes its way to the cells in the body, with slow, deep breathing. Conversely, rapid, shallow breathing usually indicates levels of stress – often resulting from emotional turmoil. When we breathe in and out,

the flow of lymph through the body is stimulated. It has long been known that exercise stimulates this movement of lymphatic fluid, but the role of breathing wasn’t entirely recognized until technology provided the means to photograph the lymph flow process. The key word here is ‘deep.’ Since our lymphatic system is a part of our immunity, deep breathing helps eliminate poisons from the cells, thereby

A group of phytonutrients called flavonoids aids the Immune System, by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants. Flavonoids also reduce cholesterol’s ability to form plaques in arteries, and lessen the formation of microscopic clots inside arteries. A diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help us get the required bioflavonoids. Foods containing flavonoids are: apples, tomatoes, berries, grapes, broccoli and red wine.


Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, that clear the excess free radicals that accelerate aging. Like the other antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, by interfering with how the fats and cholesterol in the

W ellness


continued to work in rural areas during her pregnancy. She was not worried, as her condition was continuously tracked by her doctor through Online OPD. “Like everything, my doctor is now available on my cell phone. She not only provided me the right advice during my pregnancy, but also reminded me about the immunizations for my child,” says Prabha. At Online OPD, every pregnant woman is given a unique number, through which she is tracked for haemoglobin, ultrasound, HIV and foetal movements. When the expected date of delivery comes close, the hospital staff makes necessary arrangements. Besides, gynaecologists provide counselling, for taking proper antenatal checkups, and nutritious food.

Online Medical Tourism

Online OPD seems to have even given rise to ‘online medical tourism’ in the City. Online OPD offers video chat in more than 200 languages. Dr. D’Souza from Paras Hospital gives an example of a Nigerian woman, who has never visited the hospital, but has been benefited via the Online OPD service. He says, “This Nigerian lady contacted us for cosmetic surgery. But after we told her the expenses involved, she was quite reluctant to come to the City. We therefore provided counselling to her dermatologist via video conferencing – including the pre-surgery and post-surgery treatment. She is now planning to visit the City, as she is so happy with the results.” u bloodstream oxidize, to form arterial plaques.

Omega-3 fatty acids

The Omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters, by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. Essential fatty acids also protect the body from damage due to over-reactions to infection. The easy way to get more Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yoghurt smoothie.

Reducing Stress

Stress can affect us in many ways. People often notice the emotional effects of stress, but aren’t always aware of the physical impact that stress can have. The effects of stress on the functioning of our Immune System, and our overall level of wellness, have been studied and well-documented by researchers. The more we are stressed, the greater our risk of infections and arterial aging. u


B on V ivant

12-18 April 2013

{ Bhavana Sharma }


ith the onset of summer, a swim and a session of ‘Aqua-Yoga’ (or aquatic therapy) can be quite exhilarating, liberating and adventurous. Aqua –Yoga is a low-impact ‘body work’ in water; these yoga asanas give us strength, static balance and an inner sense of relaxation.

Benefits of Aqua-Yoga

When yoga asanas are practiced in water, we are rather safe against injuries that may otherwise occur when practised on a mat or any hard surface . During our usual yoga practice, the knees and muscles might get stiff, and lead to pain and injury. But in aquatic activity yoga, the movements of our hands and legs become flexible (in water), and therefore our body does not experience the strain. The advantage of Aqua-Yoga is that it strengthens your arms and legs simultaneously. It also improves body balance and concentration, and makes the body

Aqua-Yoga feel light. Further, blood circulation is improved, and a number of trace elements are released through your sweat glands. Some of the asanas that can be easily practiced in water are: the eagle standing pose (Garudasana), the tree pose (Vriksasana)and the dancer pose (Natarajasana). The body is also easily able to balance when submerged in water. A warm-up is essential before we start our aquatic practice. The warm-up must be yoga based – such as SuryaNamaskar.

Types of Aquatic Yoga

Mountain Yoga (also known as Tadasana) Begin by bringing your feet together, hands hanging at your sides, your eyes focused forward – and take a

dip into the water. Become aware of your outer heel, the ball of your foot and your toes – as they rest against the pool floor. Then gradually tilt your pubic bones forward slightly, before raising your chest up, and then outward. As you maintain this pose, raise your arms upwards. Next, lift your head base toward the roof or sky, and stretch your neck slowly. Now move to the leg positions. First, press your feet downward into the pool floor, before raising the leg calves and then the thighs – one at a time. Try to hold your breath for a minute; then relax, and repeat with the other leg. While doing so, raise your arms above your head, and lower them after the last breath of each exercise. Warrior II (also known as Virabhadrasana II) Start by placing your feet about 4 to 5 feet apart, and move your right foot 45 degrees to your left, as you also move your left foot 90 degrees to the left. The left foot should be pointed straight out to your side. Next, bend your left leg slightly, making sure that your knee is kept parallel with the floor, and right above your ankle . Just make sure that you take a small stretch, and don’t get uncomfortable. Raise your hands and arms above your head, lower them slowly, with the left one going straight out in front of you, and the right arm pointing back. Now, breathe deeply four to five times, and bring your feet together – before reversing the position. Tree Pose (also known as Vriksasana) Keep your feet together, and clasp your hands in a prayer pose in front of the chest. Then, shift your body’s weight to your left leg. Next, lift your right leg, and place the sole of your right foot against the inner thigh area of your left leg, making sure it’s slightly above the knee area. Raise both arms above your head. Repeat this exercise for your right leg. u Author, Tarot Reader

All For Business... { Krishan Kalra }


t was my first visit to Khartoum. The change from the cool climate of Zurich to this blistering desert town was quite a shock – albeit a mild one, compared to what awaited me later in the evening. After checking in at the hotel, I called my agent and we went through the usual business of visiting government offices, aid agencies and some local industrialists. One of the local bigwigs graciously invited us to his house for dinner. We sat in the courtyard of a ‘haveli’, and drank good Scotch. It was an open house – several people ambled in, had a drink or two and left, after paying their obeisance to the feudal lord. We had started at seven, but there was no sign of food even three hours later. Considering that I had to start work early the next morning, I begged forgiveness for my bad manners and enquired about dinner. Of course, said my kind host patronisingly, and clapped twice. In due course, a huge round platter was brought in and placed on the centre table. It

was full of several bowls – most of them meat dishes; and in the triangular spaces near the edge were kept chunks of hard French bread. There were no plates, no spoons, no forks, no napkins. “Bon-Appetit” said the Sheikh, and promptly tucked into the bowls nearest to him. Somewhat sozzled, I followed suit. As we ate, my host kept on telling me about each dish – goat meat, chicken, venison, beef… I kept nodding. Suddenly he dipped a piece of bread into one of the gravy-filled bowls, and proffered a luscious juicy morsel to me. “Here, take it, this is the best venison you will get anywhere in the world”, said my benefactor. I hesitated; my agent nudged me with his elbow, and quietly insisted that I accept the offering. Left with no choice, I gulped down the morsel, and tried to drown it with a big swig of whisky. The evening ended at midnight, and we left after much good-byes and promises to meet again. My agent told me that refusing the ‘delicacy’ would have meant an instant stoppage of any business transaction. I was told about the Gujju Bhai who had visited a few

months earlier, with a big proposal for a much bigger Sheikh. Naturally the party for him was in greater style. They all drove several miles into the desert and there, in an oasis, beautiful tents were pitched – complete with carpets, airconditioners, fine furniture and chandeliers. There was good music, beautiful belly dancers and all the other trappings of a truly Arabian night. As the main meal began – after hours of drinking – a fullroasted goat was brought on a massive platter, and placed in front of the host – who proceeded to carve out the eyes. Each eye was placed on a thin slice of bread; and the host then ceremonially held them in each hand, offered one to his chief guest, and raised a toast. Our pure vegetarian Gujju didn’t know what to do. Like me, he had also been told by his agent of the consequences of not going through with a ritual. I believe our friend snatched the eye, threw it into his mouth, and washed it down with several glasses of whisky. Back at his hotel, he threw up... and didn’t stop for three days! u

What’s The Point? { Sujata Goenka }


his week I went for lunch at Cross Point Mall (opposite Galleria Market). I had heard that the restaurants in that Mall were good; in fact, it has only eateries and beauty parlours. There are cafes of all kinds, to suit all pockets – Mind Café being the most popular. What surprised me is the design of the building. It is in a straight line. One needs to walk around the building to get to different points. The staircase is at the centre – while the elevator is on the side! What were they thinking when they designed this Mall? In summer, this Mall is going to receive the least footfalls; who would walk, in the blazing sun, across the open verandah, to the elevator or staircase? I certainly found it difficult to locate the restaurant of my choice. Nothing can now be done about the poor lay out of the building; but the least they can do is provide directions. On the bright side, the walk will help you better digest the meal... u



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{ Sara Barderas and Sinikka Tarvainen / Madrid / DPA } Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado


or centuries, art experts have tried to penetrate the mystery of La Gioconda, or Mona Lisa discussing endlessly whom the painting in the Louvre in Paris portrays and how it was created. A second “Gioconda”, discovered at Madrid’s Prado Art Museum, is now shedding new light on Leonardo da Vinci’s 16thcentury masterpiece. The Madrid painting, which is believed to have been made by one of da Vinci’s pupils, caused a sensation in the art world when its discovery was made public in February 2012. It was created simultaneously with da Vinci’s La Gioconda, with the pupil working alongside the master, Peio H. Riano says. The Spanish art historian and journalist has just published a book called ‘La Otra Gioconda; El Reflejo de un Mito’ (The Other Gioconda; Reflection of a Myth). “The work discovered at the Prado can solve part of the mystery” of La Gioconda, Riano told dpa in an interview. The model who posed for Leonardo and his pupil was Lisa Gherardini, wife of wealthy Florence textile merchant Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giacondo, according to Riano. Many experts see da Vinci’s La Gioconda as a portrait of Gherardini. Yet a comparison between the paintings created by Leonardo and his pupil reveals that the Gioconda at the Louvre is not the real Gherardini, but a personal artistic vision by Leonardo, Riano contends. The “other Gioconda” is believed to have been in Spain since the 17th century. The painting showing a figure of the Gioconda against a black backdrop was long thought to be

The Real Gioconda

Madrid’s copy of the Mona LIsa, (L) after restoration; (C) restoration process; (R) before restoration began

just another replica of da Vinci’s masterpiece, which he painted between 1503 and 1506. It had been hanging on the walls of the Prado, on and off, for years, without anyone paying special attention to it – until it began to be restored for an exhibition at the Louvre. A thorough investigation - together with the intuition of restorer Ana Gonzalez Mozo - led to a breathtaking discovery. The black background had been added in the 18th century, on top of a Tuscan landscape identical to that in da Vinci’s La Gioconda. It is not known why the landscape was covered over with black. Some experts believe it had to do with the aesthetic tendencies of the time. The wooden structure supporting the canvas turned out to be walnut - a Mediterranean wood - instead of black poplar, as had been believed. The classification of the structure as black poplar had misled experts, making them attribute the painting to a Dutch or Flemish artist. Most important of all, the painter who created the portrait repeated da Vinci’s

Women Tourists Shun India { Siddhartha Kumar / New Delhi / DPA }


he number of women tourists visiting India has dropped by 35 per cent over the past three months, after rape attacks on Indian and foreign women, industry chamber officials said. A survey of 1,200 tour operators, conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), also found that overall tourist arrivals had declined by 25 per cent year-on-year, with tourists opting for destinations such as the Philippines and Vietnam. “The sexual assaults have

been a major cause behind women tourists cancelling their travel plans,” ASSOCHAM Joint Director, Manju Negi said. “The steep fall is due to concerns over the falling standards of safety and security,” she said adding that the global economic slowdown was also a factor. The death of a 23-year-old woman, who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi in December, sparked widespread protests in India. The number of reported gang-rapes has increased since then, with assaults on foreign tourists also reported. A Swiss cyclist was gangraped in the central state of

corrections, indicating that he worked alongside the master himself. Experts have attributed the “other Gioconda” to Francesco Melzi or Andrea Salai. Some believe the painter was a Spaniard working with da Vinci. “The Mona Lisa at the Prado is a new chapter in a novel that has not yet been finished, and that is called Leonardo da Vinci. That novel has a very important chapter called Gioconda. And in this chapter, a secondary character suddenly appears, giving us a lot of information on the world’s most famous painting,” Riano says. The portrait at the Prado shows a woman at least 10 years younger than in da Vinci’s painting. Unlike her equivalent at the Louvre, she has eyebrows. The painting at the Prado also reveals other details, such as the ornamented neckline of her dress, and folds in her clothing. When taking the commission to paint the wife of a merchant, da Vinci accepted a job from a commoner, “whereas he usually only dedicated himself to the Madhya Pradesh last month, and a South Korean student was allegedly drugged and raped in the same region a month earlier. Nearly 72 per cent of the tour operators said there had been a number of cancellations since January—considered a busy tourist season—by female visitors, mainly from the European Union, United States, Canada and Australia. Several countries have issued travel advisories, advising their citizens to be cautious, or to avoid India. According to the Tourism Ministry, 6.5 million tourists visited India in 2012, earning the country 17.74 billion dollars in foreign exchange. u

courts or religious jobs,” Riano points out. “Leonardo decided to pass the task on to a pupil at the workshop, and to create another Gioconda himself at the same time,” the art historian says. While da Vinci may have tasked the pupil with executing a faithful portrait, he gave his own model a more mysterious appearance, endowing her with a disquieting smile. “The painting at the Prado proves that the portrait by


Leonardo is not Lisa Gherardini, but an idealized and imaginary creation,” Riano says. The differences between the two paintings are partly due to technique. The pupil painting alongside Leonardo did not use the master’s favoured technique of sfumato, which creates soft transitions between colours. The “other Gioconda” thus has clearer outlines. Its splendid colours also contrast batter than the painting at the Louvre, with its darkened and cracked surface. The comparison reveals that some of the details in the background have been hidden in the Louvre painting. “What we see at the Louvre is a being in ruins, covered by dirt, submerged in green grime, that contradicts Leonardo’s pictorial principles,” Riano complains. The art historian does not spare his words of praise for the restorers at the Prado, who carried out a “firstclass” investigation in difficult economic conditions. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s austerity policies have slashed spending on culture. However, Spain’s flagship museum also has other sources of income, such as ticket and souvenir sales. u

Poor Little Rich Kids { Sinikka Tarvainen / Madrid / DPA }


UN survey has highlighted a mood of gloom among Germany’s children, although they are among the world’s wealthiest. The study, released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), checked out the material well-being and self-image of children in 29 relatively affluent countries. Cheerful Greek and Spanish children rated themselves far more satisfied with life than their ranking in the wealth table implied. The Spanish children were third happiest, and Greeks fifth happiest. Not so the sour little Germans, who scored only 22nd on good cheer. However, despite their happy children, Spain and Greece did not score high in material terms, ranking only 19th and 25th. Hans Bertram, a member of Germany’s UNICEF Committee, blamed the cruel treatment of failures, in Germany’s successobsessed society. “It’s a grim assessment by German boys and girls, of themselves and their society,” said Bertram, who is a sociology professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University.

Dutch children have the highest levels of material well-being among the rich countries, with four Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - coming next in both main scores, UNICEF said. Germany scored sixth. The Netherlands was the only country that ranked among the top five countries in all dimensions of child well-being. Children’s material wellbeing was based on measures such as health and safety, education, behaviours and risks, and housing and environment. The lowest four places in material terms were occupied by three of the poorest countries in the survey: Latvia, Lithuania and Romania; and by one of the richest, the United States. The study interviewed a total of 176,509 children in the 29 countries. The study did not find a strong relationship between gross domestic product per capita and overall child well-being. The Czech Republic, for instance, ranked higher than Austria; Slovenia ranked higher than Canada, and Portugal higher than the United States. u

22 Chimps No Chumps { Christina Horsten / Boston, Massachusetts / DPA }


yumu the chimpanzee taps on a computer touch-screen with a long, hairy finger. He has no trouble matching the Japanese characters for “grey” and “yellow” with the respective colours. Nor is tapping the Arabic numerals 1 to 19, in ascending order, a problem for Ayumu. The animal was born in 2000, and lives in a Japanese primateresearch compound. The chimpanzee can even tap the numerals 1 through 9 in the correct order, when they are randomly placed on the screen (even after being shown for just a fraction of a second), and then masked with white squares. Ayumu taps 1, and away he goes. Even if he is distracted, or some numerals are missing, he mostly solves the task - in less than a second, a video shows. “Impressive, isn’t it?” says Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Director of the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI), located in the central Japanese city of Inuyama. He has just presented the short video of his latest research with Ayumu, to

an auditorium packed with scientists and journalists, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held recently in the US city of Boston. Looking out into the amazed audience, he says, “You can’t do that. I’ve given this task to many of my students, and none have been able to accomplish it.” Matsuzawa has been studying chimpanzees for about three decades, both in the forests of West Africa and at KUPRI. Fourteen chimpanzees live in the University research compound. Many of them are said to have come voluntarily to

the computer stations daily, and display abilities similar to Ayumu’s. “We must simply realize that chimpanzees are probably a lot smarter than we thought,” Matsuzawa remarks. “They can solve some tasks better than we humans.” He attributes this to an evolutionary “tradeoff.” “Humans can speak and make connections. On the other hand, they have lost the extraordinary working memory that chimpanzees still have,” he says. Working memory is the variety lasting just a split second, that is needed for mental processing. Neal Barnard, President of the advocacy group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and Associate Professor of medicine at George Washington University, says that scientists have had to reconsider their idea that the human brain was the most complex. The astounding skills displayed by chimpanzees and some other great apes are not confined to computer tasks. If necessary— for example, when foraging for food—they recruit other individuals to work together, reported Victoria Wobber, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology. In one of her research experiments, two great apes teamed up and

Large Undersea Pockmarks

{ Wellington / DPA }


cientists have found what may be the world’s largest undersea “pockmarks”, in the Chatham Rise, about 500 kilometres east of the South Island city of Christchurch, according to the New Zealand research institute GNS Science. The pockmarks are crater-like structures on the seabed, caused by fluids and gases erupting through sediments into the ocean. Three giant pockmarks have been identified, the largest of which, at 11 kilometres by 6 kilometres in diameter and 100 metres deep, could be twice the size of the largest such feature recorded in scientific literature. New Zealand, German and US scientists, investigating the pockmarks on board the German research ship, the Sonne, believe they are the ancient remnants of a vigorous “de-gassing” from under the seafloor into the ocean, caused either by volcanic activity or by the release of hydrocarbon gas from gas, hydrate deposits. The escape of such large volumes of gas could have significant implications for climate change and ocean acidification.

{ Lin Yang / Taipei / DPA }


G lobal

12-18 April 2013

Survey leader on the Sonne, Joerg Bialas, from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, said there were clear indications of gas pockets and fluid flow structures in the deeper sediments under the pockmarks. “Gas release from the larger pockmarks may have been sudden, and possibly even violent, with a massive volume being expelled into the ocean and atmosphere within hours or days.” Gas hydrate scientist Ingo Pecher, of the University of Auckland, said that while there was no sign of active gas systems in the larger pockmarks, the smaller ones in shallower water appeared to have been sporadically active. “Gas escape could be occurring from the smaller pockmarks during glacial intervals, every 20,000 or 100,000 years,” he said. “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and the escape of big volumes would have significant implications – for climate change and ocean acidification.” Pecher said the release of greenhouse gases into the ocean and atmosphere in the geological past would have contributed to episodes of global warming. The Sonne is to visit New Zealand again in 2015 to carry out further surveys of the area. u

Citizens’ Cloud Storage

aipei is to provide free data storage online to its residents and businesses, in co-operation with one of Taiwan’s top computer manufacturers, officials said. Residents of the City will be eligible for 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage, while small businesses will get 10 GB under the programme, to be launched by the end of June, said Chan Der-tsun, the Chief of the City’s Information Technology department. The technology will be provided by Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer Inc. Users will have web storage, automatic syncing with multiple devices, and mobile printing, at any 7-Eleven convenience store. The City plans to move more health care and education services online, saving costs. Some government data will also be made public, giving developers a chance to create apps for public transport and

services, as Taiwan seeks to expand its services sector, and reduce its reliance on computer hardware manufacturing. Global sales of personal computers fell 4.9 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter of 2012, according to Gartner Inc., and Taiwanese companies currently make 95 per cent of the world supply, according to the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association. Moving into software and services makes good business sense, according to observers. “Real brand value of Smartphones and tablets is less related to hardware and cost,” said Tracy Tsai, an analyst at Gartner, in an earlier interview. “It’s more about ecosystem, app store, and content.” AsusTek also stands to gain customers for its cloud storage service: while the first 5 GB will be free for the 400,000 people estimated to be eligible, more storage will be available for a fee. u

simultaneously pulled on two separate cords – to reach food placed on a board. When co-operation with a certain individual is unsuccessful, the apes recruit a different one the next time around. An individual found to be helpful is recruited again. Chimpanzees are quite clever. In experiments with peanuts placed at the bottom of a long, narrow glass vase, they repeatedly ran to their drinking trough, where they filled their mouths with water and then spat it out into the vase, until the peanuts rose to the top. “They make some decisions like we humans do,” Wobber says. “You really need a rather sophisticated cognitive structure for that.” Experiments have also shown that many great apes prefer cooked food to raw. And in contrast to some humans, they are willing to wait patiently, if it means getting a bigger portion of food. Scientists are far from a full understanding of the brain of great apes, notes Wobber, who studies the behaviour of bonobos in Africa. “But it’s becoming increasingly clear that they really show striking parallels with humans,” she says. “And this causes us to see humans in a completely new light.” u

An Ultra-thin Invisibility Cloak

{ Bristol, England / DPA }


cientists have constructed a new ultra-thin invisibility cloak, made from a mesh of fine copper, that is capable of making a hand-sized cylinder invisible to microwaves. While most people associate such cloaks with boy magician Harry Potter and his adventures, there would be real-life uses for them – such as securing your valuables with tiny security tags, that would make it impossible for a thief to see or even find. “In principle, this technique could also be used to cloak light,” explained Professor Andrea Alu, from the University of Texas at Austin, in a paper published in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics. Microwaves and light occupy different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, and are differentiated only by wavelength. Unlike previous cloaking studies, where meta-materials have been used to divert, or bend, the incoming waves around an object, researchers this time used a new, ultra-thin layer called a “meta-screen”, to cancel out the waves as they are scattered off the cloaked object. Electromagnetic fields—including light and microwaves—consist of waves, and the human eye sees objects because these waves rebound off their surface. “When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out, and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation,” said co-author of the study, Professor Alu. Researchers demonstrated the new cloaking device’s functionality, using an 18-centimetre cylindrical rod. They also predict that oddly shaped and asymmetrical objects can be cloaked using the same principles. The meta-screen cloak was made by attaching strips of 66-micrometre-thick copper tape to a flexible 100-micrometrethick polycarbonate film, in a fishnet design. “The advantages of the mantle cloaking, over existing techniques, are its conformability, ease of manufacturing and improved bandwidth,” explained Alu. In future the team hopes to test the technology with light. u

12-18 April 2013

S pecial

New Sectors’ (68-80) Pathways

23 PRAKHAR pandey


G -scape

12-18 April 2013



Asha pandey

Happy New Year

Gudi Padwa

Chithirai Thirunal

Friday Gurgaon 12-18 April, 2013  

Friday Gurgaon 12-18 April, 2013

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