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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561


Good News Weekly for Rising India CONSERVATION


2,000 parrots in a flock, Chennai’s Sekar has made it possible



Vol-1 | Issue-25 | June 05 - 11, 2017 | Price ` 5/-


VOICE OF HIMALAYA Community radio is playing a big role in effective mass communication




The spirited lady has opened up 19 libraries in Ladakh for the economically challenged



India is the fifth largest producer of e-waste. Unlike in western countries, the idea of recycling and reusing is still an alien one



RIME Minister Narendra Modi has recently announced the launch of a ‘massive movement’ for waste collection across 4,000 cities of the country from June 5, World Environment Day. “We must not treat garbage as waste; it is wealth, a resource. Once we start looking it as wealth, we will come up with new means of waste management,” PM Modi said in his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Stressing on the importance of waste management, the government, in association with the state governments, will launch a massive movement of waste collection in 4,000 cities across the country. PM Modi said, “Under the movement, separate dustbins - green for liquid waste and blue for dry waste - will be installed in these cities to develop a

culture of segregating the two types of wastes. In the green basket put liquid waste like kitchen waste, things which decompose, and in the blue bin put waste like metals, broken boxes, plastic etc. The liquid waste can be used as manure for agricultural waste while the dry waste will be recycled.” He added, “I am confident that we can develop a culture of segregating waste and contributing towards cost effective waste management.” Ahead of the launch of waste management movement, different municipalities started a drive to educate people towards waste segregation. And now it becomes a need of the hour as India is witnessing a gargantuan problem of generating 188,500 tonnes per day of waste by urban Indians. The wastes generated basically fall into three main categories organic waste or biodegradable waste; inert or

hazardous waste and recyclable waste. With land getting scarce in the cities and towns by each passing day and generation of waste ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 kg per head, is definitely a warning. Generally, the garbage collectors dump all these solid wastes in the landfill. As per the study by The Energy Research Institute states that by 2047, 1,400 sq km of land would be needed to use for landfills. Landfills add the severe problem of adding a pollutant to soil and water both. Not long ago, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) announced Rs. one lakh fine on violators for dumping e-waste in Ganga and its tributaries. This dumping has been continued for a long time by several illegal industries mostly around Moradabad. With an aim to save river Ganga and its tributaries from e-waste dumping, the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said the

Quick Glance Initiative for waste management across 4,000 cities to kick-off soon Step report says e-waste now the world’s fastest growing menace By 2047, 1,400 sq Km of land would be needed to use for landfills in India

hazardous e-waste containing heavy metal was polluting the river Ramganga a tributary of the Ganga. “Huge quantity of hazardous e-waste generated from various industries is being disposed of in powder form at the banks of Ramganga in Moradabad,” the bench said. The tribunal also formed a committee comprising officials from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), district administration and the Moradabad Municipal Corporation to get the river bank cleaned of the e-waste.

02 Clean India

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

WASTE INDUSTRY Earlier in April, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had made surprise inspection in Moradabad and found several illegal e-waste industries operating and polluting river Ramganga. Numbers of e-waste industries are operating in densely populated residential areas of Uttar Pradesh. The rapid growth of technology, upgradations of technical innovations and a high rate of obsolescence in the electronics industry have led to one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world which consist of the end of life electrical and electronic equipment products. According to reports, India is the fifth-largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste annually. Among the 10 largest e-waste generating states, Maharashtra ranks first followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. And Mumbai ranks first followed by Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur in the top ten cities generating e-waste. What is e-waste? From old fridges to toys, motorised toothbrushes, Smartphones, cordless music system – E-waste or electronic waste describes loosely discarded, surplus, obsolete, broken, electrical or electronic devices. E-waste consists of all waste from electronic and electrical appliances which have reached their end-of-life period or are no longer fit for their original intended use and are destined for recovery, recycling or disposal. It includes mobiles, computer, laptops and its accessories, monitors, printers, keyboards, central processing units; typewriters, mobile phones and chargers, remotes, compact discs, headphones, batteries, LEDs, 3D, LCD/Plasma TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and other household appliances. It comprises a whole range of electrical and electronic items such as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, i-pods, etc., many of which contain toxic materials. Many of the trends in consumption and production processes are unsustainable and pose a serious challenge to the environment and human health. The composition of e-waste is diverse and falls under ‘hazardous’ and ‘non-hazardous’ categories. Broadly, it consists of ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood and plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete, ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and steel constitute about 50% of the waste. Like hazardous waste, the problem of e-waste has become an immediate and long-term concern as its unregulated accumulation and recycling can lead

to major environmental problems endangering human health. According to the Step report, it is now the world’s fastest growing waste stream. China generated 11.1m tonnes last year, followed by the US with 10m tonnes, though there was significant difference per capita. For example, on average each American generated 29.5kg, compared to less than 5kg per person in China. It’s not surprising that like Europe and the US, in India also urbanites change laptops, computers and mobiles frequently. They buy new devices in almost every two to three years and throw the older ones. And there are thousands of other electronic gadgets. 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually worldwide. A lot of these castoffs are now finding their way into small cities, towns and in rural India. Add another few million tonnes generated within the

ENVIRONMENT SPECIAL Union (EU) and other developed countries have addressed the issue of e-waste by taking policy initiatives and by adopting scientific methods of recycling and disposal of such waste. The EU defines this new waste stream as ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’ (WEEE). But mountains of hazardous e-waste started growing in the third world and poor countries like India, China and South Africa at a rampant degree. Exported e-waste has turned rivers in China black and towns in Ghana into some of the world’s largest dumps. The UN Environment Programme predicts that between 2007 and 2020, the amount of e-waste exported to India will have jumped by 500 per cent, and by 200 to 400 per cent in South Africa and China. But now we are not anymore ignorant towards this difficult situation and our

The US has developed biodegradable semiconductor to reduce a mounting pile of global electronic waste

country. Much of this junk is unusable and goes straight to the scrap heap. Our country is the fastest-growing market in the world for smartphones, with 27 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2016 alone, and though the lifespan of a mobile phone is higher in India than in the West, so with these smartphones we are contributing to electronic waste in a huge quantity. Such phones and other electronics contributed to 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste produced in India in 2015, 90% of which was managed by the informal sector using unscientific methods that cause harm to human health and the environment. According to reports, India is the fifthlargest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste annually. MOUNTAINS OF WASTE As per the report Management of Wastes in India, the countries of the European

government has too streamlined e-waste management. It notified Electronic Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2011 that became effective in May 2012. These rules are based on extended producer responsibility (EPR), a popular framework across the world for e-waste management. EPR makes manufacturers of electronic products responsible for the end-of-life management of their products. They have to set up collection centres and ensure that waste is recycled and disposed of in an environmentfriendly manner. To dispose and manage e-waste we have to look at the solutions taken by the United States. Racing to the goal of becoming ‘Zero Waste Cities’ by 2040, several major US cities have adopted innovative techniques to combat waste generated there with multiple community benefits. Speaking at the United States-India Conference on Waste Management Innovation, organised

jointly by Ohio State University and Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai, US Consul-General Thomas Vajda said, “the US currently generates about 260 million tonnes solid waste while India is producing around 960 million tonnes per year. Considering the waste output of the world’s 90-plus countries, it’s clear that waste management is a global challenge in which the cities and local governments are at the frontlines since increasing urbanisation needs creative and sustainable solutions.” He added, “Towards this end, major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and others have become innovators at reducing waste coupled with multiple benefits for their communities.” ALIEN IDEA Refurbishing of electronic devices is still an alien idea in India but it is working efficiently in some developed countries like the US. In California, the Smart Riverside Program collects electronic waste and reuses it for hands-on education, where low-income students learn how to refurbish the discarded computers. The members of the programme receive eight hours of instructions and take home a refurbished computer complete with software. Till date, this programme has provided 5,000 computers to poor families and prevented thousands of kilograms of electronic waste out of California landfills. In 2014, New Orleans bought 250 solar trash compactors and installed them in high-traffic public locations. It saved time and space as compacted trash required fewer trips to the dump and less space for disposal, besides reducing the city’s rodent problems. San Francisco has started recycling entire obsolete buildings to collect sand and limestone which is mined to make concrete, preventing huge amounts of building waste being dumped and reducing the need to mine for new construction materials. Some years ago, New York City carried out one of the largest composting experiments. Its North River Waste Water Treatment plant treated between 130-350 million gallons of waste water daily, which was being dumped untreated into the Hudson River. Presently, the city reuses these bio-solids to make hundreds of tonnes of fertilisers which is used in its farms daily. As a result, municipal waste was eliminated, the farming soil was rebuilt and crop yields increased by onethird. A research paper published in the National Academy of Sciences’ states that the US has developed biodegradable semiconductor to reduce a mounting pile of global electronic waste. Stanford engineer Zhenan Bao and her team created the flexible electronic circuit that could easily degrade just by adding a weak acid -vinegar.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


Spring Recharge



REVIVING SPRINGS OF LIFE As global warming grows and glaciers retreat, mountain streams dry up, so now HESCO and BARC have collaborated with a radio isotope technology to stem that



AGARASU is a tiny village in the lap of the Himalayas. Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, it depends on two sources of water – streams which originate from mountain glaciers and underground springs. Both sources of water are now declining, with streams dwindling as glaciers retreat and deforestation contributing to the drying of springs. But an innovative effort to help villages in the semi-arid region overcome growing water scarcity, by identifying the recharge area of springs and then replanting them and constructing water-harvesting facilities, is now paying off. Springs that had once dried out have reappeared and the flow in remaining springs has increased, leaving the 2,000-some villagers living in the area with gurgling water yearround. “Earlier it was difficult to carry out agriculture and a lot of our produce would be regularly spoiled due to uncertain supply of water. Now I regularly grow okra, bottle-gourd, cabbage, tomato and chili,” said Vikrum Singh, a resident of Nagarasu. For Shanti Devi, improvements to the area’s springs – including one very near her home - have spared her long walks every day to fetch water. She now uses the time saved, and the extra water available, to maintain a milk cow and sell some of the milk to supplement her income. The spring recharging technology, worked out by the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) along with the Mumbai-based Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), has so far been applied in only one catchment area. This has recharged 16

Quick Glance Extensive deforestation dries up mountain springs in the Himalayas These are main sources of drinking water, irrigation and rivers Scientists have developed a mountainspring recharging technique

Because the springs are located above homes and villages, no pumping is needed, so there are no additional costs and no maintenance is required

springs supplying water to five villages, all of them in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. But HESCO is now applying the technology in six more catchment areas— four of them in Uttarakhand and two in Himachal Pradesh. The programme is expected to recharge 68 springs, benefitting a population of about 50,000 in 100 villages. PROTECTING CATCHMENTS The effort to recharge springs relies on ‘environmental isotope technology’, in which water from drying springs is tested by the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre – which now has a local office - to determine its content of isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. This isotope content gives an indication of the geology and altitude at the source of this water, and thus

helps identify the catchment area. Once the catchment is identified, water conservation and recharge structures are constructed at key points. After the successful identification of recharge areas, we involved the local people to undertake social, engineering and vegetative measures for water conservation and recharging,” said Vinod Khati, an engineer with HESCO. Usually trenches about 15 to 30 cm deep and one to 20 metres long are dug alongside the mountain slopes to channel runoff into newly dug water retention ponds, where it can slowly percolate into the ground. Catchment areas also are replanted with trees or other vegetation, and the area is protected from grazing and tree harvesting. The vegetation helps hold

rainwater, allowing it slowly seep into the ground rather than running off. Because the springs are located above homes and villages, “no pumping is needed, so there are no additional costs and no maintenance is required. Consequently the technology when applied on a wider scale can go a long way to provide a sustainable and low-cost solution to water scarcity in these areas,” said Pankaj, a consultant who has worked with HESCO. The problem of drying springs is increasing. A survey by HESCO indicates, 30 per cent of the springs in the region had almost dried up and an additional 45 per cent were on the verge of drying. The problem has affected 60 per cent of the population of the region’s mountain villages. In Uttarakhand alone 10,000 out of 16,000 villages are burdened with water scarcity and only about 15 per cent can use water for irrigation. Deforestation of recharge areas has been a major reason that springs in the region are drying, experts said. Courtesy: Thomson Reuters Foundation

04 The Birdman

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017




Care to see about 2,000 parrots in a flock any time of the year excepting summers? Chennai’s Sekar, living in Royapettah, has made it possible

Quick Glance “Birdman of Chennai”, Sekar feeds 2,000 parrots every day He spends six hours. to prepare food and feeds them daily Son of a mill worker, Sekar repaires old cameras for a living

several rows of thick wooden planks with the help of a carpenter and started feeding birds,” Sekar said. After he created extra space, the number of parrots steadily grew and it crossed a thousand over a period. He had a hitch as his landlord was not happy with his activity. “It was very difficult to convince my house owner since he was not interested in my activities. He accepted half-heartedly when I literally pleaded with him,” Sekar said.



EEING a flock of parrots at a time these days in any Indian city is considered rare. But one will be surprised to see several hundred parrots taking food in the most-polluted area of Chennai. It has become possible thanks to the efforts of 63-year-old C Sekar. Nicknamed “Birdman of Chennai”, Sekar feeds about 2,000 parakeets every day on the terrace of his residence situated in Royapettah, the heart of Chennai. A camera mechanic, Sekar has converted his terrace into feeding area

for parrots by setting up several rows of wooden planks on which birds sit and consume food. The thought of feeding birds came to Sekar’s mind when he saw two parrots eating food on the terrace, which was kept for crows. “The day Tsunami struck Chennai in 2004, I saw a pair of

displaced parrots eating rice kept for crows and squirrels,” Sekar said. After this, Sekar started keeping more food and in a few weeks hundreds of parrots started coming regularly. “Since my terrace was not equipped to accommodate several hundred parrots at a time, I fixed

Sekar’s parrots did not miss their meal even during cyclone Vardah. “Most of them came and took the food,” he said

EARLY BIRD, SEKAR With more than 2,000 arriving daily, Sekar spends a minimum of six hours a day to prepare food and feed them. He gets up by 4.30 am to prepare the rice mixture, which he then places on wooden planks on the rooftop. “Preparing food for birds is not that difficult since it is just a mixture of rice and corn. However, keeping the food on the wooden planks takes about one hour,” Sekar said. By 6 am, it will be an amazing sight. Whether it is bad weather or clear sky, all parrots fly in and promptly have their food on Sekar’s terrace. Most visitors and passersby capture the event on their mobile phones. Sometimes even doves have food. “Interestingly, they will not fight each other,” Sekar said. The job is not over for Sekar. He again feeds the birds in the evening. “I repeat the exercise late in the afternoon to ensure night meal for birds. Many start arriving by 4 pm and leave around 6.30 pm after eating food,” Sekar said. According to him, cleaning the terrace and the wooden planks is the difficult part. “It takes at least a minimum of two hours,” Sekar said. Sekar makes sure that rice is cleaned thrice before mixing with corn. Every day Sekar uses about 50 kg rice to


ensure none of the parrots go hungry. “In these 12 years, I have skipped or missed eating a meal at times. But parrots have never missed a single meal,” he said proudly. “They are also my kids. I love them,” he says. People

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

He spends about 40 per cent of his daily earnings to

feed parrots. If Sekar earns more on a particular day, he provides special treat of rice and sweet corn donate rice and sometimes money. SUMMER ISSUE Sekar pointed out that during summer the parrot count comes down to between 700 and 1,000 since the birds migrate for nesting. “Here there is no place for nesting since trees are less. Besides, availability of water to birds in Chennai is also less,” he said. Sekar spends about four to five hours on camera repair, which is the main source of his earning. “I do not allow customers when I feed birds. Birds fly away if they see strangers,”

The Birdman


he said. “I have missed several marriages and important functions of my relatives over the years,” he said. He spends about 40 per cent of daily earnings to feed parrots. If Sekar earns more on a particular day, he provides special treat to the parrots by mixing American baby-corn in the rice. During 2015 December deluge, not a single customer came to Sekar. “The flood is only for us and not for birds. Therefore, I was badly in need of money, especially during the worst flood period. My wife offered her jewellery. I was able to feed the birds after pledging them,” Sekar said. ”Some of my friends also chipped in and helped me,” he said. Sekar’s parrots did not miss their meal even during cyclone Vardah, which ravaged Chennai. “Most of them came and took the food,” he said. Sekar said during rainy season he would set up a makeshift roof arrangement on the terrace to ensure that food was not washed away. Sekar has a worry as his landlord has put up the property for sale. “I cannot abandon my birds just like that. I have more than 5,000 vintage cameras worth several lakhs. I will sell them and try to purchase this house,” Sekar said. Son of a mill worker and a diploma holder in electronics, Sekar came to Chennai 35 years ago dreaming to become an electrical engineer. He started his career by repairing video cassette recorders in late eighties. As he was interested in cameras and photography, he started collecting vintage cameras. Now, he not only repairs all the latest cameras but also teaches aspiring students, who want to become photographers.

06 Community Radio

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


“There is a growing demand for such programmes. Listeners insist that climate change knowledge must be disseminated” – Ravi Gosain



The Kedarnath disaster showed the need for more effective mass communication. For communication between the masses, not national news dictators, community radio is playing a big role SUJIT CHAKRABORTY


OU know, humans do not understand that unless I am there to hold on to the soil, you will not be there either,” the tree tells the mountain. “Yes, but ... villagers demand a road, the politician pushes for it and they cut parts of me and cut you and your folks too, and then there is a landslide!” replies the mountain. This unusual dialogue is heard by several thousand people tuned to Venval Vani, a community radio station based in Chamba, Uttarakhand, the north Indian state devastated by severe flooding in 2013. Venval Vani began broadcasting programmes on the environment and

climate change in June this year, the first anniversary of the torrential rains that caused landslides and flash floods in and around the Himalayan town of Kedarnath. The disaster swept away entire villages, killed more than 5,000 people and forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 others. The radio programme “Nau Par Vikaas Ka” (“In the Name of Development”) is one of several that now aim to raise awareness of ways to minimise the risks associated with the most severe impacts of climate change. Elsewhere in Uttarakhand, on Kumaon Vani Community Radio, a talk show called “Bajauni Dhura Thandho Paani” (“Large-leaf Trees and Cold Water”) addresses deforestation and its effect on

Nau par vikas’ (In the name of Development”) aims to raise awareness of ways to minimise the risks associated with impacts of climate change

Quick Glance Community radios have become a vital tool of information in hills These are run on a non-profit basis and deal with environment issues Administration is wary of the mass power of these radio stations

water supplies. The programme’s title refers to the local belief that the best source of sweet cold water is near the base of certain trees. “These trees, such as oak, rhododendron and the kharsu (an endemic species), are primarily responsible for groundwater recharging, but they are fast vanishing, being cut, whether for timber or for so-called ‘developmental works’ such as roads or tourist resorts,” said Harish Bisht, programme head at Kumaon Vani. TO END DAMAGING CUSTOMS Venu Arora of Ideosync Media, which provided environmental training for programme makers at six community

radio stations in Uttarakhand, supported by funding from the U.S.based Ford Foundation, said rising population means old ways of doing things are having an ever higher environmental cost in the region. “There are damaging customs in the hills, which perhaps was sustainable when the population was much less, but (is) no longer so,” Arora said. “For instance, whenever there is a wedding in a family, relatives coming from far and near would bring with them logs as part of their custom. Now people listening to the various community radios across the state are trying to do away with this,” Arora said. The programmes generally start with a general overview of the topic, followed by experts discussing specific issues and then a segment in which listeners can phone in, Bisht said. Heads of the radio stations trained by Ideosync Media say the Kedarnath catastrophe has given them a reason to devote programmes exclusively to climate change, forest degradation and disasters.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

ENVIRONMENT SPECIAL LISTENER DEMAND “There is a growing demand for such programmes,” said Ravi Gossain, the head of Venval Vani. “Our listeners have been insisting that knowledge regarding climate change and environment must be disseminated.” “We see the disasters around us, we suffer big and small landslides daily,” said Gauri Negi, a listener, during a discussion with other callers to the programme. “We know why these happen, but there was no platform for such an open discussion. Now... we feel empowered.” “Ideosync’s training of broadcasters included education on everything from forest rules and regulations to mining laws, disaster preparedness and water conservation”, said Leonea Fernandez, a programme officer at the media group. Listeners have not taken the new programming’s messages without some pushback, however, Gossain said.

People demand that they should be told about climate change and environmental science and good practices

“People demand that we should tell them about climate change and environmental science and good practices. But they also need roads. Every village demands roads right where they are. This means felling trees, and that is creating (the conditions for) disaster,” he said. But the programming is generating enthusiasm among its audience. Gossain remembers one listener, Harish Kothari, who afterward offered to write scripts for the programmes and has now completed half a dozen which are being reviewed by the station. Govind Bisht, a regular listener of “Nau Par Vikas”, says the message of the programming is clear. “The Kedarnath disaster taught us a lesson with a tight slap to our faces: ‘Listen when nature talks!’”




MELLOW FEST OF MUSK MELONS Famous for its musk melons the world over, farmers give away the fruits for free to any visitor and people throng Shivrajpur Block in Kanpur, UP SRAWAN SHUKLA


T may sound bizarre but true. Come June and none of the households in Shivrajpur block of Kanpur district in Uttar Pradesh cook breakfast. For, they relish musk melon and offer the healthy summer fruit free of cost to all visitors for entire month of June. Situated about 40 kms from Kanpur city, Shivrajpur block is world famous for its sumptuous and sugary musk melon. After harvesting potato crop, farmers in Kashiram Nivada, Devkali, Phatta Nivada, Bachipur, Kashipur, Daleeppur and Kanjadi villages in the block sow a special pink variety of musk melon in about 400 acres of land by March. It cost them only Rs 2,000 to 3,000 per acre. The musk melon crop is ready by May end. Every year, the yield used to be bumper so to avoid glut, their forefathers started a unique tradition in these villages. They decided not to sell their musk melon crop but to gift them to all their friends, relatives or anyone visiting their village. The only rider is that you have to make a visit to one of these villages in the morning to have water melon in breakfast. SEED MONEY People are allowed to eat any amount of musk melon and take away home also. The only condition is to leave seeds in the fields. Nothing comes free of cost. Farmers in these villages are smart. They make more money by selling the good quality seeds than the musk melon crop. “We generate a quintal of seeds per acre of crop. Good quality musk melon seeds fetch Rs 12,000 to 15,000 per quintal,” claims Ramesh Yadav of Daleeppur village in the block. He sowed musk melon in about 125 acres this year.

Quick Glance Farmers here sow the seeds of the special pink variety of musk melons Visitors eat free fruit but they have to leave the seeds in the fields Musk melon seeds fetch Rs. 12,000 to 15,000 a quintal

The festival has created such social bonding that even children don’t want to go out during their vacations

Yadav admits that seeds are sold on higher prices than the musk melon. “More than making the money, we are happy that farmers in the block have kept the tradition alive. People from far off places come to enjoy musk melon feast on our invitation. The musk melon festival starts from first day of the month of June and ends when not a single fruit is left in the field. Each day is different from the last. We meet and interact with different people and feel elated offering them best musk melons,” points his brother C.K. Yadav. From June 1, people from all over Kanpur and adjoining districts would throng these villages to splurge on mouth-watering musk melons without paying a penny. It’s a unique site every morning in these villages. The musky smell of melons pervades in the air. Thousands of people would sit in line on the corners of fields and relish musk melons every day without fail. “Nowhere in India I have come across such a unique festival where you are welcomed with the best summer fruit, that too free of cost. I come along with my entire family and friends to enjoy the unique hospitality farmers of this block offer,” claims Santosh Srivastava, a regular visitor to these villages every

year. “We are full of visitors, relatives and friends every June. Entire month, none of the household in our villages would cook breakfast. Everyone will just rush to fields in the morning to have musk melon in breakfast. Animals and pets are served the same as fodder,” claims Ruchi of Daleeppur village. COMMUNITY CULTURE The musk melon festival in Shivrajpur block provides a unique opportunity to villagers to keep their rural culture intact. Every morning people will meet, greet and discuss all sorts of issues ranging from local to national politics and problems being faced by them. “We discuss and then raise our problems in panchayat for redress. The festival has created such bonhomie and social bonding that even children don’t show any interest in going out during their summer vacation,” points Indra Kumar of Kajadi village. “We play games every morning. All girls are asked to search for the most sugary musk melon. Those who failed are punished with collecting and washing seeds, a work we often resist when asked by parents and elders,” chuckles Gudiya of Devkali village.

08 Turning Green

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017




Known as the most polluted city in the country in terms of both air pollution and garbage proliferation, the city’s three corporations are now turning green Quick Glance SDMC is producing 31 MW electricity by recycling waste The North Delhi Municipal corporation 24 MW per day EDMC is producing 10-12 MW per day from garbage



HE Delhi Municipal Corporation has taken an important initiative in the prevention of pollution by generating power from waste from the Automatic Waste Resource Plant, which collects thousands of metric tonnes of waste per day in Delhi. Of the three corporations of Delhi, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation claims to produce 24 MW electricity per day from 2,000 metric tonnes in NarelaBawana. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Okhla and Tehkhand is dealing with the production of 16 and 15 MW electricity by recycling the waste. East Delhi Municipal Corporation is producing a little less in this matter and it is playing its role in

pollution control campaign by producing about 10 to 12 MW power at Ghazipur-Kachra plant. Apart from this, the most important South Delhi Municipal Corporation, while claiming to prevent 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every day, is being able to generate solar power from plants by generating 2.5 MW electricity per day by linking up with the Power Trading Corporation and installing solar power plants on the roofs of the corporation. This is an important step in the prevention of pollution of environment caused by piles of waste in the capital. This needs to be carried forward as much as possible. SOUTH STEALS A MARCH On February 24 this year, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation started a

Prevention of carbon dioxide production was made by the installation of a solar power plant on the roofs of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation buildings

power plant from garbage in Tehkhand at a cost of Rs 351 crore. It has been said to create 15 MW of electricity from 1,200 metric tonnes of waste per day. Corporation Commissioner Dr Punit Kumar Goyal said that the corporation is expected to get 14.10 acres of land which is currently in the possession of Cement Corporation, and nearly 35.33 acres of land from the landfill site in Tehakhand, because the Government of India has resolved these issues soon to benefit the municipal corporation. Everyday 1,600 metric tonnes of garbage remain with the corporation without any usage, but the quantity will be reduced due to collection and separation of garbage from houses and due to better transport and FCTS. In view of this, 1,200 metric tonnes of garbage per day will be used in this plant and this will provide relief to the existing landfill site. This plant is producing 15 MW of electricity, which will be sold at Rs 5.50 per unit and will earn Rs 57.81 crore per year. The biggest benefit of this plant is that people are getting relief from the pollution caused by garbage.

THE BIG NORTH The power plant of the country’s most modern garbage disposal system was inaugurated on March 10, by the Central Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Naidu in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s NarelaBawana. It is said to be the largest plant in the country, which is developed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Corporation Commissioner Praveen Kumar Gupta said that the disposal and management of solid waste is the biggest challenge for our country. Clean India Mission cannot be successful till we manage solid waste. This plant, manufactured under public private partnership, also caters to all the norms set by the National Green Tribunal. This plant will not only manage 2,000 metric tonnes of garbage but will also produce electricity as well as fertilizers. This is the best example of working for private and government enterprises. Commissioner Gupta considers the launch of the plant to generate power from this huge garbage, as the biggest step by the corporation towards clean India mission and pollution reduction. In this, solid waste is disposed as per environmental requirement. There is adequate land available in NarelaBawana, which will be helpful in furthering the 24 MW electricity generation in the plant in the coming time. Complete precautions have been taken to keep the environment safe from any type of damage. As a partner in this project, Ramky Solid Waste Management Solution will be a milestone in the field of joint venture. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has also set up a plant for garbage disposal at the Ghazipur Landfill site. Special arrangements have been made to ensure the cleaning of all the roads, streets and to bring the garbage to the sanitary landfill site.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


The South Corporation

will set up a solar power plant project in Firozpur along with Power Trading Corporation to produce energy and to prevent carbon dioxide production Municipal Corporation commissioner Dr. Punit Kumar Goyal said that after considering the various options, the corporation reached the conclusion that it could plant a solar power plant on its vacant land. This will bring the annual rent from the lease of the corporation and earn income from the capital. Therefore, the corporation has decided to set up a solar power plant project in Firozpur near Delhi along with Power Trading Corporation. This will give the corporation an amount of approximately Rs 24 lakh annually, at the rate of 16 per cent interest on its capital of Rs 148 lakh. Apart from this, the Corporation will also get a rent of about 7.26 lakh rupees per year on its land lease. The plant will work for 25 years and its capacity will be 2.75 MW. The cost of the project will be Rs. 1187 lakhs and includes 70 per cent loan and 30 per cent capital investment.



The amount of disposal of the waste has increased from 1,400 metric tonnes to more than 2,000 metric tonnes. An automated waste processing plant was speeded up in Ghazipur. In the first phase of the project, the task of preparing energy from waste was very quick. 10-12 MW green energy is being produced from here, which is being transmitted to the power grid. The level of pollution is decreasing in Ghazipur area and power generation is an extra. SOLAR SOUTH In February this year a special beginning was made when the initiative to produce energy and to prevent carbon dioxide production was made by the installation of solar power plant on the roofs of South Delhi Corporation buildings. An MoU with Power Trading Corporation was signed to set up 2.5 MW capacity solar power plant. The corporation will earn a 16 per cent income on its capital investment and will get Rs 7.26 lakh rupees from its land lease every year. It has claimed to check approximately 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. South Delhi

The Science of Tsunami

SUMATRA TSUNAMI AND HIMALAYA In a rare study, scientists have just unravelled that what people call ‘distance’ does not really exist in nature

Quick Glance



CIENTISTS have found that the Himalayas played a role in the generation of magnitude-9.2 Sumatran earthquake on December 26, 2004, which, together with the massive tsunami that followed, killed more than 250,000 people making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. An international team of scientists, including from the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research in Goa, who wanted to find out what caused such a large earthquake and tsunami have found that the Himalayas, several hundreds of kilometres away from Sumatra, was an accomplice. Results of their research, conducted as part of the International Ocean Discovery Programme, have been published in the May 26 issue of the journal Science. The Sumatran quake originated 30 km below the Indian Ocean floor, along the boundary where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate dives eastward under the Sunda Plate.Sediment that eroded from the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau over millions of years and transported thousands of kilometres by the River Ganga and other rivers had been piling up on the Indian Ocean floor. HIMALAYAN MISCALCULATION Scientists had thought that sediments piling up at plate boundaries, also known as subduction zones, would put the brakes on a rupture, making it less likely to start a huge tsunami. But an examination of core samples drilled from the sediments feeding into the plate boundary between Indonesia and the Indian Ocean showed something different.

Scientists find a role of the Himalaya in the Sumatra tsunami Many geologic zones are delicately interlinked, shows the study India is too close for comfort with other susceptible subduction zones

From an oceanographic ship, the research team drilled down 1.5 km below the seabed and sampled the sediment and rocks from the tectonic plate that feeds the Sumatra subduction zone. They measured different properties of the sediments, and ran simulations to calculate how the sediment and rock behaves as it piles up and travels eastward 250 kilometres toward the subduction zone. The researchers found that, over time, the sheer volume of Himalayan grist was compressing the sediments sufficiently thick to generate temperatures warm enough to strengthen the sediment prior to subduction. ENLARGED FAULT This resulted in a very large fault area and increase in the severity of the earthquake “and helped ensure that the full force of the rupturing fault reached the sea floor, amplifying the tsunami”. According to the report, the finding has relevance for other subduction zone sites that also have thick, hot sediment and rock such as Cascadia, off the Pacific Northwest coast of North America and Makran, which sits in the Arabian Sea off the coast between Iran and Pakistan. “The authors’ suggestion that the

Rajendran said that the insight from this study will

indeed help in reevaluating the tsunami hazards off the Makran Coast

strengthened sediments within the subduction zone off Sumatra may have played a role in facilitating the deadly tsunami “is very interesting,” says CP Rajendran, India’s foremost expert in tsunami geology at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru. “But this could be only one of the factors,” he told this correspondent in an email. “There are geometrical considerations. Proximity to the trench and therefore the depth of water are other factors that decide if the earthquake would actually lead to a tsunami.” INSIGHT VALUE Rajendran said the insight from this study will indeed help in reevaluating the tsunami hazards off the Makran Coast and Cascadia off the northwestern coast of the US which are repositories of huge accumulation of sediments like off Sumatra. “But it has to be seen how different they are in composition from the sediment derived from Himalayas and thus how they are comparable.” Experts from outside this study quoted above say that the ramifications of the research are two-fold. First is the clear signalling that many geologic zones are so delicately interlinked that they can impact each other in unknown, rather, unforeseeable ways. To put it in perspective, the Sumatra Tsunami occurred in 2004, and the impact of the Himalayas on it has been revealed only after 13 years. The second lesson is that this study should trigger similar studies of suspected but till now unverified geologic linkages, as in the case of Cascadia off the coast between Iran and Pakistan, which for India is too close for comfort.

10 Responsible Trekking

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017




Trekking is the latest trend among Indian youth. But very few realise the essence of responsible trekking and leave their litters up in the mountains. However, some young ones have picked up the challenge and are fighting the battle against garbage

Quick Glance Increased footfall means piling up of garbage in the trek route Jodie Underhill, worried about Mcleodganj, called for volunteers Hundreds of such volunteers are cleaning up the hill tracts now



S Arjun Khandelwal gathers his breath to take another step on the steep slope of Dhauladhar range, his eyes lit up, as he sees a pile of garbage at some distance. He signals to Nishtha, who was carrying a sack, which was filled with wrappers and plastic bottles. Both Arjun and Nishtha rush to the pile and start filling up their sacks. Arjun and Nishtha were on their way to Triund, one of the most famous and crowded weekend treks. This relatively easy trek near Mcleodganj has received the attention of trekkers and ‘not-so-trekkers’ in last 2-3 years, due to its proximity to national capital and also due to numerous groups providing for an overnight accommodation at the Triund top.

Due to the increasing footfall, the whole trail towards Triund has been littered with garbage of all kind, including beer and whiskey bottles. When Nishtha trekked to Triund last November, she was disappointed to see the poor condition of the pristine mountains. Back at her home in Gurgaon, she saw some online posts about a voluntary group, Waste Warriors, who would collect the garbage from the mountains, segregate it and ensure its proper disposal. She convinced Arjun to accompany her on the trek. By the time, they reached back to Mcleodganj, they had 3 sacks full of plastic waste. “A lot of people appreciated us and helped us on our way back. We didn’t feel as if we were carrying sacks full of garbage, they seemed to be our trophies,

Triund as a trek route has become popular because it

is not very tough and it is close to the national capital, but that also means more garbage there

result of our hard work”, says Nishtha with a gleam in her eyes. Triund is just one example. Most of the places in Himalayas have seen a sudden influx of garbage due to rising numbers of ‘mountain lovers’. WASTE WASTE EVERYWHERE Littering has been a common problem in India since time immemorial. The fragility and eco-sensitivity of mountains make them the worst victims of the human activities. The pilgrimages in the mountains had always been the eye-sore, as people throng to such places in large number. Gangotri, the source of holy river Ganga, had to bear the brunt of her own divinity, as the thousands of pilgrims visiting the glacier kept littering the place. It was only due to efforts of a group of Hindu monks led by Swami Sivananda and an extensive clean-up and awareness campaign run by administration that Gangotri’s condition has ameliorated over the years. The littering phenomenon is no more restricted to the pilgrimages and famous tourist places only. Trek circuits

have been the more recent victims. Jaidev Panwar has been guiding trekkers in Kangra and Chamba valley since he was 18 years old. Only in the last 3-4 years he has seen the surge in footfalls and commensurate increase in rubbish. “Many youngsters just come here to take selfies and drink alcohol. They can do the same in their own cities. Why do they take all the effort to come here and spoil the serenity of mountains?”, he rues. Kheerganga trek, another popular weekend trek near Kasol in Himachal Pradesh has seen the amount of litter growing exponentially in last couple of years. Similar littering stories are part of the trekking circuit in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand as well. Late Anil Madhav Dave, former Environment Minister had expressed his concern in one of his answers in Lok Sabha. “People go there and dump garbage, make the environment polluted. The government is seriously thinking of doing something beyond politics. We want the Himalayan region — from Jammu and Kashmir to the Northeast – clean,” he had said during Question Hour. REVERSING THE GEAR Governments of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim have banned the use of hazardous, non-environment friendly plastic bags. However, the enforcement has been shoddy. It becomes difficult for the administration to regulate the usage for tourists coming from outside the states. The garbage situation in Mcleodganj, the seat of His Holiness Dalai Lama, used to worry Jodie Underhill who was volunteering at Tibetan’s Children Village in Dharmshala. She called for volunteers, over hundred of them gathered and cleaned up the Triund trek. Next on list was the sacred Gaddi temple Guna Mata and Bhagsunag waterfall, a tourist destination in Mcleodganj.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


Water Pollution



NEW-TECH BOAT TO CLEAN LAKES The National Aeronautics Limited has decided to try to clean up the massively polluted Bellandur lake

Last year, Waste Warrior volunteers cleaned up the

Triund trail and carried away thirty sacks of garbage from there every week Soon, the voluntary activities took a concrete shape and Waste Warriors group was formed, which continued its waste collection and segregation activity in Dharmshala and Dehradun. Last year, Waste Warriors volunteers cleaned up the Triund trail, collecting more than 30 sacks of garbage every week. After the collection, the volunteers also segregate the waste in biodegradable and non-biodegradable and send them for recycling to Punjab. It was their social media presence which had motivated Nishtha to take up the waste collection at Triund this year. There are many like Nishtha who have taken individual efforts to clean the mountains. Sandeep Patil, a resident of Bhopal is one of them. He is an avid trekker and considers mountains his real home. Despite his busy work schedule at a Noida based MNC, he ensures a trek to mountains at least twice a month. He always carries a sack along with his backpack and carries the garbage back to the plains. “My efforts are quite miniscule considering the mammoth cleaning task which lies ahead of us. But, if I can motivate even couple of people to do what I am doing, think of the positive cascading effect”, Patil says. Kiki Mathawan from Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking Club is another such trekking enthusiast. He along with tens of JKHMC volunteers conducted a two day sanitation drive at Pahalgam and Lidderwat. The team removed more than 300 kgs of polythene and plastic materials. He says, “This is just a small initiative. Polythene and plastic are eating up our mountains rapidly. We

need everyone’s support in this. If nothing else, people can at least appreciate the work of these volunteers who come out of their comfort zone and clean the garbage others create”. Indiahikes, one of the largest trekking organisations in India has a unique project named Green Trails. Under this project, the trekkers carry an eco-bag with them and collect the garbage along the trekking rails and campsites. These are then dumped into larger bags at the campsite, which are carried by the trek leaders back to the base camp and then properly dumped. In one of Indiahikes flagship Kashmir Great Lakes trek, trekkers picked and collected around 10 quintals of plastic and non-biodegradable waste. Izzat Ansari is the Green Trails co-ordinator at Indiahikes. She is extremely sad with the state of affairs and laments, “Why can’t people just take back what they bring? Why do people think they can just litter and leave?! Aren’t empty bottles and packets lighter when empty?” Ansari’s anger is justified. It doesn’t take much of common sense to understand what Ansari is saying. The very idea of leaving a place as beautiful and clean as one has found it, isn’t too difficult to process. As Swachh Bharat Abhiyan gears up across India, there is a hope that ‘Swachh Himalaya Abhiyan’ also gathers pace. More action and education is required to get back the pristine beauty of these mountains. As one imagines the cleaner Himalayas, the Kashmiri song, “Rind posh maal gindane draaye lo lo”(A call to welcome the spring), reverberates in the background.

Quick Glance SSB BUREAU


he photograph last week in most newspapers shows ‘snowfall’ in Bengaluru, which by itself would have been wonderful. Had it happened. But what really happened is that the white puffs blowing around and landing on everything was chemical pollutant from the famous Bellandur Lake. But now the pollution levels of the water bodies is being taken up by environmentalists and conscious residents alike as a matter of concern that deserves serious intervention. It is perhaps not surprising that an initiative to clean lakes more efficiently has emerged from the city. The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a city-based aerospace firm, has come up with an innovative solution to deal with the cleaning of mushy and dirty lakes. NAL has developed an airboat which can push weeds and other contaminants towards the borders of the lake, from where it is easier to take them out. According to a report in the media the airboat will be tested at Ulsoor Lake in a few weeks along with the army’s Madras Engineers Group

NAL is located close to

Bellandur Lake, whose dire condition has grabbed headlines in recent months. The boat can also be tested there

The NAL is located close to Bengaluru’s most polluted lake An airboat that will skim the water and push the pollutants to the borders The trials will be soon in the presence of army’s Madras Engineers Group

personnel. EASING CLEANING It is comparatively easier to clean the borders of a lake, however it takes lot of time, energy and manpower to clean weeds in the middle of any lake. NAL chief scientist S Selvarajan said, “The airboat will have an air propulsion system which will push it forward. The boat will also have a flat bottom. This kind of boat is ideal for cleaning water bodies. The boat can be pushed into the water and can be scooped out easily. Besides, they have good buoyancy.” The air propulsion system is different in air boats from conventional motor boats, and enabled weeds to be cleared from marshy lakes. While the powerful propellers are useful to push forward the weeds, the power generated by the air prevents the engine from getting jammed. As NAL is located close to Bellandur Lake, whose dire condition has grabbed headlines in recent months, the boat can also be tested there. According to Selvarajan, if the trials go well these air boats can be taken up for production by the industry. However, though this new-tech boat will help handle weeds and other floating or near-surface pollutants, the chemical pollutants, from which the ‘snow’ appeared will have to be dealt with in an altogether different manner, experts say.

12 Good News

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


COMMUNICATORS FOR PARSIK HILL A unique communication campaign


UBLIC Relations Council of India (PRCI) the premier national body of PR, media, advertising, HR professionals, academicians and students has embarked on this unique communication campaign Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modis call during his latest Mann Ki Baat broadcast to ‘Connect People To Nature for World Environment Day on June 5, a communication professionals body has launched a campaign to focus on reckless quarrying that is destroying the once picturesque Parsik Hill in Maharashtra. The relentless blasting of Parsik Hill has led to not only widespread destruction of nature, but created massive air pollution adversely impacting the health of the people living in the vicinity. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) itself has said that the air pollution levels in the areas around stone crushers of quarries are 100 times the acceptable levels.

Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) the premier national body of PR, media, advertising, HR professionals and mass communication academicians and students has embarked on this unique communication campaign to draw the attention of all stakeholders to the hazards of Parsik Hill quarrying. “The title of the campaign across social media – on twitter, Facebook and Youtube – is #IamParsikHill and IamDying. We will soon work ground events with mass communication students once the colleges reopen,” said PRCI National President B.N. Kumar. PRCI chief mentor and chairman emeritus M.B. Jayaram said: “This campaign is part of our series of social communication endeavours. Since our motto is Communication for Better World, we continue to engage ourselves in such campaigns.” A PRCI campaign – Mission Mumbai Local, focusing on improving the suburban train infrastructure – has won PR Milestone of the Year award from America’s PR World. Meanwhile, Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), has raised concern over the quarrying.



‘DARWAZA BAND’ ON OPEN DEFECATION To be rolled out across the country, ‘Darwaza Band’ is expected to inculcate behaviour changes in men who have toilets but don’t use them



HE Central government on May 30 launched a new World Bank supported campaign “Darwaza Band” (Door Shut) to check open defecation across Indian villages, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, an official said. The campaign was rolled out in the presence of Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and officials. To be rolled out across the country, ‘Darwaza Band’ is expected to inculcate

behaviour changes in men who have toilets but don’t use them. A part of the campaign will see Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma exhorting women to stand up for this issue in their villages and assume a leadership role. Speaking about the campaign, Amitabh, a brand ambassador for Swachh Bharat, provided an insight into its development of the campaign and how it stresses a safe space for people to defecate. Swachh Bharat’s focus has been on behaviour change which is being pursued through a comprehensive InformationEducation-Communication programme both at the central and state level to promote sustained use of toilets and


SMART MILK FOR ASSAM The move is in line with the nationwide food fortification initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India


EST Assam Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Limited (WAMUL), which markets its milk products under the brand name ‘Purabi’, will launch ‘Smart Milk’ packets fortified with vitamins A and D. The move is in line with the nationwide food fortification initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Tata Trusts which aims at addressing issues of micronutrient malnutrition, WAMUL’s senior manager (marketing) RN Bhattacharyya said. Fortification means deliberately increasing the content of essential

micronutrients in the food to improve its quality. Purabi’s fortified toned milk will be launched later this week and the packets will bear a special logo. Milk is an essential source of high quality protein, calcium and of fat soluble

Quick Glance World Bank supported campaign launched to check open defecation India is 64% (ODF) Open Defecation Free Celebrity endorsed ads will lead behaviour change in men & women

sustaining the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status already achieved. Tomar said that 64 per cent ODF status achieved is a tribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment and the goal for India should be to become a showcase country for cleanliness by 2019. He lauded the Maharashtra government for its significant 80 per cent ODF status achievement and said all attempts are being made to convert this into a true ‘Jan Andolan’. Committing that Maharashtra will become totally ODF by 2018, Fadnavis thanked the centre for selecting Maharashtra to launch ‘Darwaza Band’ campaign. Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer said that the number of people defecating in the open has come down in the past three years from 55 crore in May 2014 to 35 crore in May 2017. He noted that the programme is not just related to constructing toilets but focusing on behaviour changes both at community and village levels, and the need to shift peoples’ paradigm from ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’, especially for men. Created by Low Lintas, the Amitabh series of ads will encourages behaviour change in men while the Anushka series is a clarion call to women who are more affected by the problem to stand up for the issue. vitamins A and D. Many countries have mandatory provisions to add back the vitamins lost during various stages of processing the packaged milk. Fortification of milk with vitamins A and D is essential in India because of the widespread deficiencies present in the population. According to the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, India has a very high burden of vitamin A and D deficiencies, particularly among young children and adults in urban areas as they are not much exposed to sunlight. Purabi dairy procures its milk from 200 village based cooperatives comprising around 5,000 farmers in the districts of Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Barpeta and Nalbari. With a processing plant at Guwahati, the cooperative set up on the Amul model sells around 55,000 litres of milk daily in various districts of Assam, besides another 10,000 litre worth milk products.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017



THE BICYCLE MAYOR An instrumentation engineer goes to Germany and, well, comes back with a mission to cycle and spread the message of urban cycling as an eco-friendly transportation mode



HIS one reminds us about the old Abba song… “not the girl you’d remember, but she’s still something special…” Well, the girl in question is not the ‘Nina, pretty ballerina… But she is, well, India’s first Bicycle Mayor. Nikita Lalwani is from Bangalore and she woes… with her mission. An instrumentation engineer by profession, Nikita decided to start cycling to work three years ago, when a flyover construction ended up doubling her commute time for a mere distance of four kilometres. “A month into the construction period and there was no commute that could take me to work without being so much time consuming and that too for such a short distance. I’d tried auto rickshaws, Scooty and even a car. As the last straw, I’d decided to borrow a friend’s cycle,” Nikita says. Things have never been the same since. Inspiring more than a dozen of her colleagues that included

Nikita organised

surveys, launched self funded cycling initiatives, led a team of 20 interns & piloted TRING. She is the first Indian to become a Bicycle Mayor many senior employees, to opt for cycling as a means of transport, Nikita found her inspiration during a visit to Germany in 2014 where she observed that a major chunk of the population used cycles for transportation late in 2014. SURVEYING TRENDS She followed it with conducting surveys to understand cycling trends and the varying psychological attitudes that might deter people

Quick Glance

Good News



An instrumentation engineer, Nikita started cycling to work 3 years ago She has inspired more than a dozen of her colleagues to opt for cycling The Bicycle Mayor is run by CycleSpace, a global network

from being not too confident to take up cycling. The Cycling Cities initiative was launched in 2015 with the vision of motivating at least onethird of the city’s population to use cycles as the main mode of transport by 2030. Supported by more than 20 interns from cities across India, the project and much of its operations have been entirely funded by the Nikita. Forming a pan-India team, we organised our first event at the opening of Decathlon Baroda followed by another event in Rohini, Delhi. These events included games like pedal power, smart commute and cycling myth busters”, Nikita recollects. TRING, a pilot project by Cycling Cities, was launched in 2016 at Nikita’s own office. In a bid to get professionals interested in cycling, the initiative rented them cycles with helmets, guidance and initial support rides. An acronym for ‘Try Cycling’, Nikita plans on collaborating with more corporate organisations in the city to evolve the cycling culture at an institutional level. Another of her initiatives, Baroda by Cycle, a series of guided tours around the city curated by heritage experts was launched on April 18 this year, commemorating World Heritage Day. “More than 30 people turned up for cycling tour around the historical Kila-e- Daulatabad. We plan on adding up more tour circuits soon”, she said. Her efforts have led to Nikita being appointed the Bicycle Mayor of Baroda this year, making her the first Indian to hold such a title. The Bicycle Mayor programme is part of a global network by CycleSpace, an initiative that aims to accelerate the trend of cycling in cities. But this is not the only platform that has applauded Nikita’s initiatives. Last year, Cycling Cities was recognised as a mobility startup by World Resource Institute and was also selected by TiE Global for six months of mentoring following a three-day conference at Jaipur. Nikita was also invited to IIM Udaipur for a month-long entrepreneurship programme for women.

5,000 PEOPLE CLEAN VADODARA ROAD The certificate of the world record was awarded by adjudicator of the Guinness World Records SSB BUREAU


ESIDENTS of Vadodara, the tenth cleanest city in the country, last week created a new Guinness world record with maximum number of people sweeping the ‘floor’ (single venue), an official said. Vadodara Municipal Corporation Commissioner Vinod Rao said around 5,058 people came together to sweep the venue a bridge connecting Akota with Dandia bazaar in the city, spread over one kilometre. The record was achieved by participants who swept the place in groups of 50. “This unique programme was organised for celebrating the city’s inclusion in ten cleanest cities and as part of the commitment to become the cleanest city next year,” Rao said, adding that cleaning exercise was witnessed by 50,000 people. The certificate of the world record was awarded by adjudicator of the Guinness World Records soon after the event. “Most people sweeping the floor (single venue) was achieved by Vadodara municipal corporation in Vadodara, Gujarat, and the attempt was witnessed by 50,000 people on May 28, 2017,” stated the certificate. Rao said that the programme was a tribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.

14 Health

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017



DEFEAT DEVICES: EMISSION CHEATS Defeat Devices are used in diesel vehicles to counter government examination of emissions


STOP. LOOK.. GO... Like traffic signals, the human brain is attuned to identifying threats from sick people and making the choice in being or not being with them


Quick Glance


STUDY, published in Nature, shows that excess emissions alone lead to 38,000 premature deaths annually worldwide, including 1,100 deaths in the United States. The findings reveal major inconsistencies between what vehicles emit during testing and what they emit in the real world. The devices sense when a vehicle is undergoing testing and reduce emissions to comply with government standards. Excess emissions from defeat devices have been linked to about 50 to 100 U.S. deaths per

The human brain is much better than previously thought at discovering and avoiding diseases Since avoidance entails a great deal of energy expenditure, it should enhance our survival instinct This could be a factor in our behavioural decision-making about who to socialise with

IANS year, studies show. “A lot of attention has been paid to defeat devices, but our work emphasizes the existence of a much larger problem,” said DavenHenze, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder who, along with postdoctoral researcher Forrest Lacey, contributed to the study. “It shows that in addition to tightening emissions standards, we need to be attaining the standards that already exist in real-world driving conditions.” The researchers assessed 30 studies of vehicle emissions under real-world driving conditions in 11 major vehicle markets representing 80 per cent of new diesel vehicle sales in 2015. Emission certification tests, both prior to sale and by vehicle owners, could be more accurate if they were to simulate a broader variety of speeds, driving styles and ambient temperatures.


HE human brain is much better than previously thought at discovering and avoiding disease, a new study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reports. Our sense of vision and smell alone are enough to make us aware that someone has a disease even before it breaks out. And not only aware we also act upon the information and avoid sick people. The study is published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The human immune system is effective at combating disease, but since it entails a great deal of energy expenditure, disease avoidance should be part of our survival instinct. A new study now shows that this is indeed the case: the human brain is better than previously thought at discovering early-stage disease in others. Moreover, we also have a tendency to act upon the signals by liking infected people less than healthy ones. “The study shows us that the

human brain is actually very good at discovering this and that this discovery motivates avoidance behaviour,” says principal investigator Professor Mats Olsson at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience. By injecting harmless sections of bacteria, the researchers activated the immune response in participants, who developed the classic symptoms of disease tiredness, pain and fever for a few hours, during which time smell samples were taken from them and they were photographed and filmed. The injected substance then

A disease signal can enhance caring behaviour in close relationships, like kissing your child despite a runny nose

disappeared from their bodies and with it the symptoms. Another group of participants were then exposed to these smells and images as well as those of healthy controls, and asked to rate how much they liked the people, while their brain activities were measured in an MR scanner. They were then asked to state, just by looking at the photographs, which of the participants looked sick, which they considered attractive and which they might consider socialising with. “Our study shows a significant difference in how people tend to prefer and be more willing to socialise with healthy people than those who are sick and whose immune system we artificially activated,” says Professor Olsson. “We can also see that the brain is good at adding weak signals from multiple senses relating to a person’s state of health.” This he sees as biological confirmation of the argument that survival naturally entails avoiding infection. “Common sense tells us that there should be a basic behavioural repertoire that assists the immune system. Avoidance, however, does not necessarily apply if you have a close relationship with the person who is ill,” says Professor Olsson. “For instance, there are few people other than your children who you’d kiss when they have a runny nose. In other words, a disease signal can enhance caring behaviour in close relationships. With this study, we demonstrate that the brain is more sensitive to those signals than we once thought.”

JUNE 05-11, 2017




Junk food is causing an obesity epidemic and is associated with increased risk of migraine is a harsh reality



It is not for nothing that our kids are graying faster and aging beyond expectations. A recent study pinpoints the causal factor to severe air pollution impacting their DNA



REATER knowledge of the impact of air pollution at the molecular level is necessary to design effective interventions and policies,” says Dr Balmes and coauthors at University of California, Berkley. Young people with asthma also have evidence of shortening of Telomere, one of the building blocks of human DNA.


Quick Glance

IANS RECENT research shows that body mass index has a role to play in migraine attacks. The researchers looked at all available studies on body mass index (BMI) and migraine. “As obesity and being underweight are potentially modifiable risk factors for migraine, awareness of these risk factors is vital for both people with migraine and doctors,” said study author B. Lee Peterlin, DO, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.


They write. “Our results suggest that telomere length may have potential for use as a biomarker of DNA damage due to environmental exposures and/ or chronic inflammation.” The study involved observation of 14 children and adolescents living in Fresno, California the second-most polluted city in the United States. The researchers assessed the relationship between polycyclic

More knowledge of the impact of air pollution at the molecular level is needed to design effective interventions The study involved observation of 14 children and adolescents living in Fresno, California Telomeres could provide a new biomarker to reflect the cellular-level effects of exposure to air pollution

aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a “ubiquitous” air pollutant caused by motor vehicle exhaust; and shortening of telomeres, a type of DNA damage typically associated with aging. As the exposure to PAHs increased, telomere length decreased in a linear fashion. Children and teens with asthma were exposed to higher PAH levels than those without asthma. The relationship between PAH level and telomere shortening remained significant after adjustment for asthma and other factors (age, sex, and race/ethnicity) related to telomere length With further research, telomeres could provide a new biomarker to reflect the cellular-level effects of exposure to air pollution. Telomeres might also provide new insights into the understanding how pollution exposure leads to adverse health outcomes.



“More research is needed to determine whether efforts to help people lose or gain weight could lower their risk for migraine.” A total of 12 studies with 288,981 participants were included in the meta-analysis. When the researchers compiled all of the results and adjusted for age and sex, they found that obese people were 27 per cent more likely to have migraine than people of normal weight. People who were underweight were 13 per cent more likely to have migraine than people of normal weight. Peterlin said the risk between obesity and migraine was moderate and similar in size to the link between migraine and bipolar disorders and ischemic heart disease. According to Peterlin, age and sex were important variables in the relationship between body mass index and migraine. “This makes sense, as the risk entailed by obesity and the risk of migraine is different in women and men and in younger and older people,” she said.

Spicy and oily food consumption in excess during summers is the main reason for gastrointestinal infections IANS


TREET food options are always tempting, but be cautious about indulging in it as you may contract gastrointestinal infections. It’s best to consume spicy and oily food in moderation during the summer and monsoon season, suggest experts. Saurabh Arora, Founder at Food Safety and Vishal Gupta, Managing Director at Blue Mount RO, have some points to make. Food can cause gastric problems. Various types of snacks made of mashed potatoes, which might be kept in the open for long should be avoided. One of the most common snacks in this category are samosas. Other oily snacks include

Quick Glance Oily snacks might cause gastric problems due to digestional issues Chole Bhature can be spoiled by fungi flourishing in humid conditions Eating at stalls near open drains can cause diarrhoeal diseases

paneerpakoras which might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. Fermented food items like chole bhature can be spoiled by fungi that flourish in the humid conditions prevailing during the rainy season. As a general rule of thumb, all types of spicy and oily food should be consumed in moderation. Most types of street foods are generally prepared in the open. There is a chance of contamination of the food with rain water. The stalls are sometimes located near open drains, where there is a chance of contamination with coliform bacteria

that can cause serious diarrhea disease. The water used for preparing street food favourites like golgappas is likely to be contaminated, and there is a chance of contracting water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid in this way. Also, fruit juices from street vendors might be kept in the open and served later, increasing chances of contamination. There are chances that the glasses and other items will not be clean. Consumption of ice lollies, kulfi during the monsoon season can also lead to stomach problems arising from unhygienic conditions.


JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children”

John James Audubon


SHARAD GUPTA A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications


ALARMING FOREST DEPLETION Reduced tree cover is contributing to rising temperatures


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT NEEDED This is true for all ecosystems but especially for the hills


EVELOPMENT is more important or the environment? The debate seems endless as both seem to be inversely proportionate to each other. Development does take a toll on environment. Especially in the fragile ecology of the hills. Life in the hills is extremely difficult. People have to trudge miles on foot for even routine things. These include pregnant women and young children as well as well. That’s why there is need for better connectivity. In the hills, roads can be constructed only by cutting the mountains. Though they don’t use explosives anymore, mechanical cutting of hills itself takes a toll, engendering landslides. Whether it’s road connecting Chandigarh and Shimla or Haldwani and Nainital, they all are being widened into fourlane highways in view of increased traffic. Government is contemplating building a rail track to major pilgrim centres in the hills like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Obviously lakh of trees need to be cut. Hundreds of square kms of hills are being pruned. The debris is falling into adjoining rivers and valleys. The green cover is giving way to browning hills. Boulders are falling. Last week itself, five persons were killed when a huge boulder fell on a bus at Kasara Ghat near Almora. The need therefore, is for sustainable development.


KUMAR DILIP Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email:,


NCE we step out of our urban cubbyholes and spend a few days in the forest or look at rural folk we notice that a lot of changes have taken place here during the past couple of decades. Metalled roads have replaced the kuchha roads, for example. Children don’t study in kerosene lantern’s light anymore. There is electricity in most of the villages now. They have schools in neighbourhoods and colleges in every tehsil. Markets are flooded with products from multinational companies. On an average, every household has at least one mobile phone. Most households have a LPG connection instead of log-fired earthen stove chulha. Yet, a few things have changed for the worse. Foremost being the cool breeze we used to have under a dense tree cover. There were no coolers or air conditioners. For that matter electricity was a privilege that only few had. But that was compensated by the cool air one experienced under dense foliage. Now, with a lot of green cover gone, the breeze still survives but fails to cool it as it used to do 35-40 years earlier. And that is an area of concern. Let’s look at the larger picture.Earth’s temperature is steadily rising, primarily because of the pollution created by us, the humans. Rising temperatures are causing melting of glaciers and rising sea level thereby submerging huge tracts of land masses including many inhabited islands. The question of the hour is - what is causing this, can we stop it and how? The temperature is rising because of factors like depletion of ozone layer and reduction in green cover. Ozone layer checks ultraviolet rays from falling directly on earth and reduces their intensity. Similarly, depletion of forests in turn, has depleted rain fall and an overall rise in atmospheric temperatures, Take a look at the forest cover data. Two biggest states Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have only 5.9 and 7.7 per cent of their land mass under forest

cover. Haryana and Punjab both have have just 3.5, Rajasthan 4.7 and even Gujarat, the only home to Asiatic lions, has only 7.4 per cent of its area under forest, in fact, the urban jungle that Delhi is come to be known as, at 12.12 per cent, has much better green cover than these states which constitute almost half of India. Yes, there are some states which still can boast of lush green forest - from 75 per cent to almost 90 per cent. But, most of these are in North-East India and too small to make much difference to the rest of India. According to figures made available by Forest Survey of India, India’s 2.61 per cent area is covered by very dense forest, 9.59 per cent is covered by moderate forest and. 9.16 per cent area is under open forest. The figures say it all. The dense forest actually provides habitation to most wild animals and is key to weather balance. If man-animal conflict is rising today, it’s mainly due to depleting forest cover. In pursuit of finding enough food and shelter, animals are coming out to areas inhabited by human beings. Innumerable incidents are being reported every year when leopards and tigers wander into villages or even in outskirts of cities as well like film city adjoining Sanjay Gandhi national park in Mumbai. Leopards have become a menace in Uttarakhand. They start moving towards human habitats after dusk

A few things have

changed for the worse, foremost being the cool breeze we used to have under a dense tree cover in the hills

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


IFS topper Punit Goel opted for the Madhya Pradesh cadre because of its rich flora and fauna

and prey on young cattle, goats, dogs, children and even old women. What is alarming about this is, it is not happening in remote villages in forests. At least a couple of such incidents are being reported every week. Closed circuit cameras have shown that leopards enter habitations and keep roaming on the streets looking for easy prey. This is the reason why Uttarakhand villages become deserted after dusk and little night activity is reported even from cities like Almora, Ranikhet etc. The beasts are leaving forest because their habitation is being invaded by human activities and also because the dense forest which was their natural home is shrinking fast. Now, developmental activities like road, rail or bridge construction are being carried out at a frenetic pace in the hills. Mining has been allowed even in the core forests. And shrinking forest cover has given rise to territorial fights among big cats. Another area of concern is the fast rate of forest depletion. A simulation study by ISRO scientists has predicted that over 2300 square kilometres of forest cover in North East India and Andaman and Nicobar Islands could disappear in next seven years. It is more than the total size of Mauritius. ISRO scientists claim that the simulation reports using Land Change Moderate software, were based on present rate of deforestation in these areas which is 0.3 per cent per year. The study, published in the Journal of Earth System Science in February, investigated forest cover of India and predicted deforestation based on present rate of deforestation. It claimed that 31.7 per cent of India was under forest cover in 1880 but during past 133 years, we lost 40 per cent of the forests. But, there still is some time for us to wake up and make up for the damage. This environment day ( June 5), let’s pledge to plant a tree every year during our lifetime. There are positive steps being undertaken. By forest departments of some states like plantation of trees in moderate forests to convert them into dense ones. Then there are beacons of hope like Punit Goel, who topped the Indian Forest Service officers’ training programme this year. Punit opted for the Madhya Pradesh cadre because it has rich ‘flora and fauna’. He says, ”My priority would be to protect natural resources for the generations to come. India has set the target of increasing forest cover from 24 to 35% as we don’t have much land left. So I will seek ways to augment forest cover”. Let’s pray for the plan to succeed.





The author is a graduate in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani. He is presently helping to settle a migrant community, focusing on their education needs

We should be proactively looking at making the best use of oceanic resources in sustainable ways



OR the fishermen in Thoothukkudi taluk in Tuticorin district, the ocean is their life, their source of livelihood and also an innate part of their culture. However, as the marine population goes down in Indian Ocean, lot of the natives have been forced to migrate to cities and seek other jobs. As we celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8th, it becomes imperative for the citizens and the government to take a look at the importance of Indian Ocean in nation’s progress. Today, 95% of Indian trade by volume and 68% of trade by value come via Indian Ocean. India contributes to 6.4% of global fish production, second only to China. Forty per cent of world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin. The strategic importance of Indian Ocean prompted PM Modi to announce in a speech in Mauritius, “The Indian Ocean Region is at the top of our policy priorities.” The focus on Indian Ocean Rim Association, a group of 21 countries situated

in Indian Ocean region, outlines the strategic priority of the government. However, government should be focusing more on nongeopolitical factors, such as the environmental concerns, oil spills, coral bleaching, etc. Last

year, Indo-US joint statement referred to the need of working together to combat marine pollution. Plastic proliferation in the oceans has become a major concern. Government should be actively looking for the idea of

banning plastics in the coastal towns and villages. The coastal marine environment is being subjected to increasing pressures from residential, recreational, and commercial development. Due to oil spills, the marine ecosystem is disturbed on a very large scale. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, National Institute of Ocean Technology are amongst handful of marine research institutes in India. As India looks to expand its presence in the oceanic region, there should be increased thrust on R&D programmes. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said, “Urgent action on a global scale is needed to alleviate the world’s oceans from the many pressures they face, and to protect them from future dangers that may tip them beyond the limits of their carrying capacity.” Instead of reacting after it’s too late, we should be proactively looking for making the best use of oceanic resources in sustainable ways.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Kumar is teaching underprivileged children on the railway platform is an extraordinary work. The reporter awe when he saw the huge crowd of children studying at the platform was natural. The hard work and dedication Ajit Kumar has put into teaching these kids and his desire to change their lives is a dream of an idealist. Preeti Chauhan, Sonipat, Haryana

TRAIN STATION SCHOOL Reading the article ‘A School Being Run On Railway Station’ was a really inspiring experience. The way Ajit

GITA’S GIFT The cover story ’Gita’s gift to PM ‘is a reminder that the culture of use and throw does not benefit anyone. In the modern world people who have money think that they are saving their time by using and discarding through many things like cloths, furniture, book and so on, is a normal activity they do not realize that they are making the world and environment a bad place to live for

their own future generations to live. Manisha Kaur, Patiala, Punjab POWER-FUL GOYAL The power minister Piyush Goyal is a man who means business, he seems to have decided to take India forward. While enabling a great rise in the production of nonconventional energy Piyush Goyal has laid a finger on one of the most important goals in the current times. Solar and wind energy will help in providing energy to rural areas. Non conventional energy is an excellent option. It is also heartening to know that the power ministry is using the website and mobile to ensure transparency and accountability in the working and the performance of the department. Kapil Nair, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Please mail your opinion to - or Whatsapp at 9868807712

18 Photo Feature

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


River Reverie

When Alexander Cunningham, the founder-director of Archeological Survey of India led excavations, his direction was to search for human habitation relics on the banks of River Saraswati. That is what has given India her culture and civilisation. But now?


The call of the river has always been magnetic. It has got many tales to tell... tales of people it has nourished with water and food and fish... tales of how it has given homes to the people like a mother, and how she has been treated as a step-mother.


JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

Photo Feature

From over-fishing to sand mining, dupming of waste and over-drawing of water for irrigation, we have robbed her. But even a mother’s love has limits, so no wonder then that her bosom is drying up. And retreating far from humanity, it is possibly crying for the last time in history


20 Sanitation

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


KAVITA’S POETIC EFFORT Kavita unified the girls and they all met the Gram Pradhan and urged for the construction of toilets in the village

Quick Glance



AVITA GAUTAM, a quiet 19year old is a focused student. Her college is 25 kilometres away from her village (Purelalla village, block Rampur, district Jaunpur) and she travels by a bus every day to attend college. But this strenuous routine of going to college does not deter her from taking on the responsibilities of a peer educator. She became a peer educator in mid-2014, encouraged by the field facilitator and at the behest of her Adolescent Girls’ Group members. GARIMA meetings brought a sea change in her and in the girls of her group. In Kavita’s village most of the households still do not have toilets. Thus, in their group discussions the girls would always discuss the issue of toilets and how they could address the problem of open defecation in the village. When Kavita brought this up with the field facilitator, she encouraged the girls to get together and meet the Gram Pradhan to present their proposition for the construction of toilets. Kavita unified the girls and they all met the Gram Pradhan and urged for the construction of toilets in the village. Though toilets had been a part of the agenda for the Gram Pradhan, other priorities took centrestage relegating toilets to a secondary place. Armed with the knowledge and

A 19-year-old college student decided to become a peer educator She was helped by the field facilitator at the behest of her group The group convinced Gram Pradhan to construct a public toilet

With the group sessions, the girls also know the

importance of IFA supplementation for adolescents information provided to her in the GARIMA trainings, and having honed her skills through various sessions of the Adolescent Girls’ Group, Kavita confidently and patiently reasoned with the Gram Pradhan about the


Quick Glance


NGT asks for list of all toilets in unauthorised colonies It asked for places near railway tracks and Yamuna floodplains

The green court has asked for a list of all unauthorised colonies that need toilets to stop OD IANS


importance of toilets for the villagers, especially girls and women, for their dignity and their health. The Gram Pradhan, being a perceptive person, could see the point being made by Kavita and the other

HE National Green Tribunal has directed Delhi’s municipal corporations to submit a list of all unauthorised colonies in the city where there is a shortage of toilets and people as a result indulge in open

CPCB, industries, will pay compensation for damaging the environment

defecation. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the corporations to identify places near railway tracks and floodplains of the Yamuna where such toilets could be provided to prevent open defecation in these areas. “We also direct the South Delhi Municipal Corporation,

East Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation to submit list of the unauthorised colonies where there is shortage of toilets,” the bench said. The green panel asked the Central Pollution Control Board, the local authorities and industries, who are liable to pay compensation for damaging

adolescent girls. It took a couple of months before a community toilet was made in the village, which could be used by families who do not have toilets. The Gram Pradhan has also promised the girls that he would get more community toilets made, till the time every family has a toilet of its own. This has to a very large extent solved the problem of privacy for the girls. “I have been in touch with the Anganwadi Worker and the ASHA in the village to ensure proper distribution of IFA tablets to the adolescent girls in the village. With the group sessions, the girls also know the importance of IFA supplementation for adolescents. They now reach out to the frontline workers for IFA and the frontline workers, too, ensure a constant supply of IFA supplementation.” Slowly but surely, Kavita is effecting change in the village with her dedication, taking one step at a time. Her resolve is to continue to bring positive changes in future too. the environment, to construct toilets in the specified colonies which will be maintained by the respective local corporations. During the hearing, CPCB informed the NGT that it has received nearly Rs. 35 crore till April in pursuance to various orders passed by the tribunal. On May 19, the NGT had banned open defecation and dumping of waste on the floodplains of the Yamuna and announced an environment compensation of Rs. 5,000 for those who violated the order. The top environment watchdog also directed the Delhi government and other authorities to restore and revive the water bodies in different parts of the national capital and turn them into places of tourist attraction.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


Quick Glance




HE Capital City of Odisha is moving fast towards achieving an Open Defecation Free City as the social partners of its civic body toiling hard in reaching this goal. Bhubaneswar is burdened with 436 slums where open defecation practice has become a common practice. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission financial help is given for construction of Individual household latrines to end the practice of open defecation. The communities which are indifferent to leave their traditional practice are being triggered with awareness messages on using of individual toilets by social organizations like Humara Buchpan Campaigning (HBC). The HBC has organised various community level awareness in 9 wards of BMC. It has conducted a number of cleanliness drives through its Swachhata Doots, volunteers for cleanliness. In fact, the government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission insists upon engaging of Swachagrahi or Swachhata doot to stop open defecation practice


In all, 6,132 Gram Panchayats have become ODF in the state


Scheme’ of the state government, as many as 10,700 applications had been received


All the districts will be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by September

The chief minister has said that all districts will be declared ODF by September, says a report

Under the ‘Saksham Yuva


ARYANA Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar last week said all the districts in the state will be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by September this year. “While the rural areas will be made ODF by June 23, the urban areas will get this status by September 25,” Khattar said at a programme in Chandigarh. In all, 6,132 gram panchayats have become ODF in the state while the remaining 200 to 300 panchayats would be made ODF by next month. Khattar said a team of World Bank experts met him on Friday and offered to work towards ODF plus status for Haryana. ODF plus refers to total sanitation in terms of solid waste management, improved sewerage lines, storm water drains and pucca cement roads, in addition to open defecation free status.

As many as 44 villages would be taken up under a pilot project

“As many as 44 villages – two villages each from a district— would be taken up under a pilot project where cleanliness would be ensured by November 1,” he said. Khattar said that his government had taken various steps to ensure women empowerment. “Women police stations have been set up at district as well as sub-divisional level,” he said. “The strength of women in the state police force has been increased from six per cent to eight per cent and the target of ten per cent would be achieved soon,” he added. The chief minister said that under the ‘Saksham Yuva Scheme’ of the state government, as many as 10,700 applications had been received from post-graduate youths out of which 8,000 were presently working. “Now the scope of this scheme has been widened April onwards by including the graduate youths,” he said.



Seven more wards declared ODF, says government SSB BUREAU


HE state government has declared seven more wards of Oulgaret Municipality as open defecation free. Minister for Public Works A Namassivayam informed the House that Kamaraj Nagar, Thilaspet, Thattanchavady, Indira Nagar, Meenachipet, Ellaipillaichavady, and Jawahar Nagar were open defecation free. Seven wards were declared as open defecation-free a few months ago.


BMC IN FULL ‘SOCIALISING’ SPREE The community which is indifferent to leave its traditional practice is being triggered with awareness messages in urban slum areas. The Humara Buchpan has appointed as many as 35 swachhata doots for making the slum areas open defecation free. Humara Bachpan took the lead to make nine slums in four wards of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation become open defecation free slum in the city. In collaboration with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Humara Bachpan Campaign has started its Open defecation free campaign in November 2015. The campaign has conducted 30 community meetings, community mapping, four awareness drive through stage shows, 15 cleanliness drives, selected 35 Swachhata Doots for regular monitoring of regular toilet usage by

Quick Glance Financial help is given for construction of Individual household latrines Humara Bachpan took the lead to make nine slums ODF 598 households have been constructed with individual toilets

the community members and also triggering by the Swatch Bharat Central Team in nine slums to make open defecation free. The ODF campaign has been intensified at all levels with sector coordination, capacity building and community mobilization approach. There is 1648 household in nine

slums among which 598 households have been constructed individual toilets with support from BMC and rest 1050 households have their own toilet. All the households are using toilet to make Bhubaneswar a clean city. “It’s a very proud moment for all of our community people that no one is going out for defecation” said Ms. Nayani Moharana from Sankeraswar basti,ward no 23. HBC aims at inclusion of child friendly components in the urban renewal policies of the Government of India such as Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) – Housing for All, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and The Smart Cities Mission.

22 Gender

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


LEH-LADAKH’S OWN ‘MALALA’ Ananya Saluja started participating in community service when she was just 15 and has been setting up libraries, spreading education in the remote areas Quick Glance Ananya Saluja is student of Shri Ram School in Gurugram She has been raising funds to set up libraries for under priviledged She has raised enough funds for setting up 19 libraries in Ladakh



OTHING brings more joy to seventeen year old Ananya Saluja than cajoling a smile on someone’s face. This motivates her to work all 365 days for well being of those in need. During her summer breaks, she actively volunteers to set up libraries in the remote villages of Leh, Ladakh. During her school session, she spearheads the fund raising initiatives to build libraries for underprivileged children. Her dedication and passion for the cause has helped her raise more than 10 Lacs till now. Like every other student, Ananya’s



The actor called upon the people to participate in the campaign on gender violence IANS

Akhtar has always been F vocal about his MARD initiative. And last week, he launched a new ARHAN

worries were limited to exams and grades couple of years ago. A student of Shri Ram School in Moulsari, Gurugram, she was only 15 when she joined the community service program of her school and got a chance to teach underprivileged children in 2015. Her interaction with the kids and her experience left a deep impact on her conscience and she decided to continue with the cause on her own. Ananya said “During the programme, I got really close to my girls. The happiness on their faces after having understood a concept was worth anything in the world. I just knew that I didn’t want to stop at that” 17,000 Ft Foundation, an NGO

that is run by Ananya’s former teacher Sujata Sahu helped her with further opportunities to become an agent of positive change through volunteering. Ananya was firm on pursuing this and decided to go to Ladakh. Her endeavor of teaching underprivileged kids has made her visit villages such as Liktsey, Turtuk and Tialing in 2015. In 2016, she visited Matho in Leh District where she helped set up a playground for children. She says,“I had seen the incredible work the NGO was doing and since I couldn’t give more than a few weeks of my time every year, I decided to help in other ways. I decided to help them raise money to expand their reach beyond Leh district and set up libraries in the Kargil district of Ladakh.” Ananya has raised funds, enough to set-up 19 libraries and according to her, this is just the beginning. She plans to expand this positive impact for the kids in Kashmir.

campaign under its aegis. He wishes to combat the problem of gender-based violence. The full form of MARD is Men Against Rape and Discrimination. Farhan took to Facebook and launched a competition across colleges in the country. The campaign will be led by the Population Foundation of India. The campaign has been titled ‘Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya – Enough is Enough’. It will be a filmmaking competition. “Violence Against Women and Girls is a shameful

violation of human rights that our nation should not and must not condone. I call upon our youth to participate in ‘Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya’ campaign and create a new age of dialogue on the subject of gender violence,” Farhan said in a statement. “I hope such student solidarity will grasp the attention of our nation and its leaders. I am very keen to understand how our youth are going to interpret the subject in the films they make.”


ILEANA’S MISSION EARTH Actress Ileana D’Cruz will play a key role in the Indian chapter of a UNEP project IANS


HERE there is a will, there is a way,” goes the popular adage. But like most popular adages, it’s easier said than done. When fate hands us a rough deal, very few have the courage and willpower to overcome the challenge and set an example for the less fortunate ones. After performing in Tamil and Telugu films, actress Ileana D’Cruz, who came to work in Bollywood films, has decided to come forward in support of a project related to the world’s development by the name ‘Protect the Planet’. This is a programme of the United Nations. Ileana is anxious about the issues related to earth, water, environment and planets, and wants them to be protected. If caution is not taken, the world could be seriously threatened. Ileana has made some simple suggestions for creating

awareness among the people, which can later be used at various levels. The first is to stop getting bank statements on paper and to make all payments online or through mobile payments. This will prevent the use of paper which is linked to the problem of deforestation. Secondly, instead of the washing machine dryer, wet clothes should be dried in sunlight. This will save energy and lower the temperature on earth. Thirdly, we should be good neighbours and maintain a feeling of love for one another. This will create a positive environment. Ileana says, “I believe that the future of the Earth is in our hands. We should respect the ecosystems and understand the potential danger to human health. I do not think we are doing enough to protect our planet. If everyone becomes aware and starts thinking about the environment, we will surely be happy. We should be more responsible. Ileana will be seen next in Anis Bazmi’s forthcoming film ‘Mubarakan’.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


A GALACTIC CHANGE In a rare instance, girls and boys of Rajkot’s Galaxy School started discussing menstruation hygiene and came out with a sterling solution



Quick Glance A report showed that only 12 per cent Indian women use pads 88 per cent use unhygienic materials like ash, sand, and husk The students have now come up with a reusable pad for the poor

and parents about menstruation. The students reached out further to more people in the nearby rural communities. In the process, the students say they learned that change does not happen overnight. To get people to listen to their idea, they had to first build strong connections and garner their trust. The team comprised two girls and two boys – Shayna Shah, Shriya Mehta, Hitarth Raja, and Aashay Rughani. Thus, they had to also overcome their own personal inhibitions in talking about this subject with each other. Initially, the boys were reticent in the workshops as they had inhibitions about speaking about menstruation with the women. But over time, the women eased their inhibitions and made efforts to listen to them as well. SSB BUREAU


group of boys and girls at the Galaxy School in Rajkot, Gujarat realised that, even within their close circle, they were uncomfortable discussing the topic of periods openly. On probing this deep-seated issue, they stumbled across a report by AC Nielsen stating that a mere 12 % of Indian women use pads, while an overwhelming 88 % use unhygienic materials like ash, sand, and husk during their menstruation. Poor menstrual hygiene leads to the spread of infections and risk of cervical cancer, with 70 % of reproductive diseases in India originating from this. This worrying situation bothered the students. Digging deeper to understand why this is such an issue, the students spoke to 70 women in their community and discovered that many cannot afford to buy pads at all. Most use rags and are ashamed to dry the stained cloth out in the sun, so they end up reusing dirty rags. CULTURAL HANDICAP Some women who can afford to buy pads are ashamed to buy these

The students want to empower the women from rural areas by training them to make and sell these home-made sanitary pads

from shopkeepers. Most of the women were unaware about the possibilities of infection. The word ‘menstruation’ itself was so taboo that they could never speak about it. Unnerved that a subject that affects nearly half the world’s population is little discussed, the students wanted to help erase this taboo. Knowing that belief systems won’t change overnight – especially those stemming from religious beliefs – they decided to spread awareness through campaigns and workshops, as discussing the topic of personal health would resonate with everybody closely. Under the mentorship of Sakina Bharmal, the students designed a reusable cloth pad that can easily be made by women at home to target the prevalent issue of affordability. Through a donation rally at school, they were able to collect waste cloth and towels for the project. With the help of their art teacher, they made templates for the pads in three different sizes.

Unlike normal rags, these have a towel layer between the cotton cloths to soak better and be softer, preventing rashes. W hile prototyping, the students found that one towel layer between two cotton layers doesn’t absorb well enough, so they tried prototyping again using three layers and tested the product successfully. FIVE-STEP MANUAL The students made a 5-step manual, in Gujarati and English, to teach women how to make these at home and sterilise them. They first taught the support staff in their school how to make these pads, and then accompanied them to the Bhaktinagar slum in the city – a community that they were brought into contact with via the social activist Taksh Mishra. After a few such campaigns, the students realised that even the men needed information about the issue. So they encouraged the women to talk to their husbands

“YES, I MENSTRUATE” The students also held an awareness campaign to encourage women to openly say, “Yes, I menstruate”. You can watch the full story here: More students are now conversing with a few manufacturers who can produce low-cost pads, says their mentor Sakina Bharmal. They have two objectives in mind. First, they want to empower the women from rural areas by training them to make and sell these pads. This will help these women become financially independent. Second, the students want to continue to break the social taboo and make these pads affordable. The project followed the simple 4-step framework of ‘Feel-ImagineDo-Share’ that has been developed by Design for Change – a not-forprofit organisation that challenges children to solve problems in their community by first ‘feeling’ for an issue, ‘imagining’ a way out of it, ‘doing’ something about it, and then ‘sharing’ their idea with more people. It won the Disney Innovation Award for ‘Large Impact’ at the ‘I CAN Awards 2014’ by Design for Change. It was a nominee amongst the top 25 stories from amongst 1,992 Stories of Change.

24 State News

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


PRESERVING DARJEELING’S HERITAGE RAILWAY HECL will supply all items, including spares of Narrow Gauge Steam locomotives


ASSAM AIIMS FOUNDATION STONE LAID The project, estimated to cost Rs 1,123 crore will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana

PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of another AIIMS in Assam The hospital will provide super specialty services and healthcare Some people want the hospital to be located at Raha

unit be set up at Raha.


N a move to preserve the heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR), Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has inked an agreement with Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd (HECL) under which the Government of India enterprise under the Department of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises will manufacture and develop items and equipment for the world heritage railways. As per the agreement, HECL will supply all items including spares of Narrow Gauge Steam locomotives and steam boiler for Narrow Gauge Steam locomotives to NFR for a period of five years.



UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee had declared DHR as a World Heritage Site in 1999. Minister of State for Railways RajenGohain said that the MoU will help in keeping alive the heritage railway as a “functioning heritage site”. He said that spare parts for steam locomotives are very rare and the MoU will ensure that such equipments are made available to NFR by a public sector firm. The last steam locomotives were made in 1925 and the challenge is to keep them operating, railway officials said. Earnings from DHR touched Rs 7.6 crore in the 2016-17 fiscal as against Rs 5 crore in 2015-16 and the target for the current financial year in Rs 10 crore. “Our aim is to make DHR financially viable by March 2020,” officials said.

Quick Glance

HE foundation stone of a unit of the Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has been laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid at Changsari, near Guwahati in Assam. The Prime Minister, who was on a whistle-stop tour of the state, did it by pressing a remote from the Sarusajai stadium in the state’s capital on 26 May after inaugurating the Dhola Sadiya bridge in eastern Assam. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister had given its approval for establishment of the new AIIMS near Guwahati. The project, estimated to cost Rs 1,123 crore will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). The new AIIMS will be completed within 48 months from the date of project approval, which will include a pre-construction phase of 15 months, a construction phase of 30 months and commissioning phase of three months. The Institution will consist of a hospital with a capacity of 750 beds, trauma centre facilities, medical college with an intake of 100 MBBS students per year, nursing college with an intake of 60 students per year, residential complexes and allied facilities on the pattern of AIIMS in New Delhi.

SUPERB SPECIALTY The hospital will have 22 Speciality and super-Speciality departments including 16 Operation Theatres. It will also have an AYUSH department with 30 beds for providing treatment facilities in the traditional system of medicine. The establishment of new AIIMS will serve the dual purpose of providing super specialty health services to the population while it will also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in the northeastern region. Under this scheme, AIIMS has been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while the work at Rae Bareli is in progress. In the last two years, five AIIMS were sanctioned in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal), Mangalagiri (Andhra Pradesh) Bathinda (Punjab) and Gorakhpur ( Uttar Pradesh). However, the setting up of the unit at Changsari near Guwahati has fuelled a controversy, with people from Raha, located 70 km east from the state capital, demanding that the institute be constructed there. A day ahead of the Prime Minister’s arrival in the city, hundreds of protestors under the banner of Middle Assam AIIMS Demand Committee blocked the national highway for two hours demanding that the

Several BJP MPs from Assam, including RP Sharma

and MoS Railways Rajen Gohain, had favoured Raha as an ideal site

RAHA DEMAND The committee had also approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking a ban on setting up of the unit at Changsari on the ground that the area falls in an eco-sensitive zone. Last year, a youth was killed in police firing in a demonstration at Raha. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he would write a letter to the Centre highlighting the concerns. Raha is also an assembly constituency that had recently elected a BJP MLA. Following the government’s decision, the protesting groups have put their agitation on hold. A press release issued by the government said “The state government is fully sensitive to the concerns of the people of central Assam and will take care of their interests. The government will prepare a draft with full participation of the leaders of the AIIMS Demand Committee highlighting their concerns and proposals and send a letter to the Central government to do the needful.” The decision to write to the Union health and family welfare ministry was taken considering the “sentiments” of the people of central Assam, though it was the Centre’s “prerogative” to take the final decision, the press release added. The BJP led government explained that the decision to set up an AIIMS at Changsari near Guwahati was taken by the previous Congress government in the state. The Assam government in fact had formally handed over land at Changsari on June 28 last year, with chief minister Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma attending the function. The state government had in that meeting announced that an All India Institute of Ayurveda would be set up at Raha. The government has also sanctioned about Rs 50 crore to set up power supply, water supply and road connectivity for the AIIMS at Changsari. Several BJP MPs from Assam, including RP Sharma and minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain, MoS Railways had favoured Raha as an ideal site for the proposed AIIMS. Though it was during the erstwhile Congress regime that the Changsari site was finalized, former chief minister Tarun Gogoi has also now supported the cause of Raha.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017



The assistive devices distributed to 3,368 persons, come for a total cost of Rs 2.49 crore



SSAM Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar distributed 6,232 aids and assistive devices to 3,368 specially abled beneficiaries of Jorhat and Sivasagar districts at Amguri in Sivasagar. The aids, which were distributed under the Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/ Fittings of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) Scheme for a total amount of Rs 2.49 crore, were aimed at enabling the specially abled or the Divyangajans to lead a dignified life and provide them an equal opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the society.

Saying that the government is fully committed to the betterment of living quality of the specially-abled members of the society, Chief Minister Sonowal stated that differently-abled citizens have the ability in helping the state become one of the developed states in the country provided they are given all facilities and a conducive environment to achieve their optimum potential. Unless and until every section of the society is developed equally ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’ cannot be a reality, he added. Saying that monthly financial assistance to the specially abled is part of government’s endeavour to make them the core of the society around which positive transformation can be achieved at all levels and translate their


PREMIER INSTITUTES FOR ASSAM The state, in which a new branch of AIIMS is coming up, will also see the construction of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology


HE Bhumi Pujan for a multispeciality hospital to be built at Rojabari in Sivasagar district was organised recently. Alongside, the construction work of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology

Quick Glance

State News



The state government distributed thousands of assistive aids CM says the differently abled can make a difference for the state An MOU is in place with a German company for manufacturing aids

untapped potential into the resource pool of societal growth and prosperity , Sonowal stated there are many role models for the specially-abled who have shown that success can be achieved overcoming challenges. The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, while speaking on the occasion, reiterated the Center’s commitment to the welfare of the differently-abled persons. He also said that his ministry has been taking steps to issue Universal Identity Cards to specially-abled citizens which will be valid all across the nation that would enable them to get various services. Urging the Chief Minister to conduct survey of the divyangjans in every part of the state for the Ministry and Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) to help them in their needs, Gurjar said that projects like Sugamya Bharat envisages easy access to all places for the specially abled. He also said that agreement has been signed with a German company to manufacture modern equipments at ALIMCO for the specially abled of the country which would be provided by the government. General Manager of ALIMCO Lt. Col. P.K.Dubey informed about the toll free phone number 18001805129 where people can call and inform about the 5-6 years aged children with hearing impairments and other difficulties. All help would be provided for treatment of these children, he said. Among the modern contemporary aids and assistive devices that were distributed in the camp were tricycles, wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks, rolllators, Braille kit, digital hearing aids, MSIED Kits, artificial limbs, calipers etc.

(RGIPT) to come up in the district was also launched. It may be noted that the multi-speciality hospital will be built at sprawling land of 50 acre and the proposed 362 bedded hospital will be built at a cost of Rs. 312 crore. Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that during the last eleven months, the present state government has been resolutely working to uplift the poor section of the society. He also said that in order to materialise the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the State Government has been relentlessly striving to achieve ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikash’.


PANCHAKARMA FOR MEDICAL TOURISM The ancient medicare system draws foreign as well as Indian tourists to the state SSB BUREAU


RIPURA government is planning to link Panchakarma therapy to medical tourism. Noting the growing popularity of the Ayurveda treatment, the state’s forest department is contemplating to expand the Panchakarma therapy centres. Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment. Panchakarma means “five therapies”. The Panchakarma Training and Research Institute near Hatipara in the State has been witnessing increasing number of footfalls of people desiring to undergo traditional therapy. Forest officials said the department is planning to give a new look to Panchakarma therapy by expanding its facility to other areas. “In today’s stressful life, Panchakarma therapy is very essential and people are coming up to take the traditional method of treatment,” they said. The officials said a medical tourism center will come up near the Panchakarma Training and Research Institute. “This will attract more people to visit the state to see its natural beauty as well Panchakarma therapy,” they felt.

26 Childcare

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


MOTHERS’ BEST FRIEND Crèches are the next best place after the mothers’ bosoms and provide safe and healthy living conditions for the children of migrant workers



HE gleaming edifices of Gurgaon, Goregoan, New Town Kolkata or downtown Bengaluru has every Indian brimming with pride, and had Jawaharlal Nehru been alive, he would have certainly described them as “Temples of Modern India in the 21st century”. They certainly are, as they provide millions of Indians a chance to live life the same way had they been anywhere else in the world. However, as they say, the darkest place is under the lamp. It was a lazy afternoon in Mumbai, and I happened to walk into what appeared to be just another construction site, promising many amenities for the well heeled. In its parking lot were people we tend to ignore, or have taken for granted: the migrant labourers and their children who build these edifices for you and me. SURPRISE, SURPRISE! But it took me a while to realise that I had chanced upon the work of the Mumbai Mobile Crèches (MMC), which provides safe and healthy living conditions for the children within the construction sites while their mothers toil all day to earn a living.

The children of these workers — estimated to be

more than 50 million — are very highly vulnerable “Mobile Crèches was started way back in 1969 in Delhi and later in Mumbai in 1972 by our founder-chairman Meera Mahadevan,” says Devika Mahadevan, chief executive of MMC. “Our vision is for all children to have a happy childhood and our mission is to promote ‘child-friendly sites’, where every child living on a construction site is safe, healthy and educated, and able to enjoy their childhood. For us, ensuring that the first few years of a child’s life are wellnourished and stimulating is essential for a happy childhood, and we have a special focus on children below 6,” Mahadevan says.As the story goes, Meera saw an orphaned child, lying unattended and exposed to the harsh heat playing with rubble, under a statue of Mahatma Gandhi — the father of independent India — and soon MMC was born. In its three decades of operations, it has run 500 mobile crèches, in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and has reached out to more than 650,000 children so far.

“Since then, MMC has developed a comprehensive day-care service programme that meets children’s emotional, physical, cognitive and social development needs, and has pioneered the first Early Child Care Education (ECCE) programme for migrant workers’ children. In April 2007, Mobile Crèches split into three separate entities — Mobile Crèches (Delhi), Mumbai Mobile Crèches and Tara Mobile Crèches (Pune). This move has been to ensure administrative simplicity, and the commitment and focus continues unchanged,” Mahadevan adds. CONSTRUCTIVE APPROACH The construction industry is the single largest employer of migrant labourers in Indian cities. Approximately 35 million men and women work in this sector and they are largely unorganised. Moving to wherever they can earn an income, their lives are characterised by insecurity of wages, dangerous working conditions, and a lack of access to any kind of welfare. The

Quick Glance Meera Mahadevan started mobile creches in 1969 in Delhi and in 1972 in Mumbai Located within the construction sites and tend to children of labourer mothers It runs 500 crèches in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, caring for 65,000 children

children of these workers — estimated to be more than 50 million — are even more vulnerable. “Because their families are extremely poor and also since their parents are constantly working, mothers sometimes go back to work within days after delivery, leaving the newborn at the care of slightly older siblings,” says a concerned Anita Veeramani, research and communications officer, MMC. “They suffer from malnutrition, undernourishment, accidents and innumerable health problems. They have limited access to formal schooling, daycare centres or any sort of support system. The dangerous construction site is their only playground.”

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017




CROWDFUNDING DIGITAL CLASSROOMS Maharashtra may be short of water, but not of funds when it comes to digitising schools, and 46,000 of the 65,000 schools have gone digital SSB BUREAU

Saving one child from abject poverty actually means

saving at least five people from sub-human conditions The crèches that MMC operate are within the construction sites, generally in the parking lots, or a partially completed section of the building. Here, children up to 6 years are left by their labourer mothers in the morning. THE SYSTEM The centre is generally divided into three sections: the crèche, the balwadi and the NFE. At the crèche you will see a few swings for the children and they are provided with cereal and milk mixture; at the balwadi, children learn basic skills. These children are provided meals six days a week, twice a day. At the NFE, the older students are introduced to elementary education so that they can be admitted to a corporation school nearby. MMC also has volunteers from different centres to take care of the medical, entertainment and educational needs of the children. For their entertainment, they organise street theatre, puppet shows and even take them to picnics in and around the city. Though every centre is different mostly due to the number of children they cater to, all have a kitchen, bathroom, electricity and clean water, Mahadevan says. “If a child is the father of a man, then MMC is certainly building the future of millions of children for decades to come,” said Satish Rai, a sociologist. Saving one child from abject poverty actually means saving at least five people from sub-human conditions, he added. MMC has many success stories, and one of their students is now a merchant navy officer, crisscrossing the globe. Others may not be as lucky but certainly don’t follow the path of their parents. “Many of them are electricians and carpenters, and some now work for us as teachers or co-coordinators in our crèches,” Veeramani says. MMC today has branches in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune known as Tara Mobile Crèches, but they

share the same focus and are controlled by the same board. FORUM FOUNDER MMC is a founding partner in the Forum for Crèches and Childcare Services (FORCES), a national network, and participates in its Maharashtra chapter. Its seeks to champion the cause of vulnerable children in the construction sites, and work towards a situation where early childhood education and care is included in the education policy and recognised not just as the mother’s duty but the entire family’s and state’s. MMC is also a member of the Coordination Committee for Vulnerable Children, which networks with 40 Mumbai-based NGOs working on child rights. The organisation is also involved in city-wide campaigns and coalitions with NGO partners on issues of child labour, education and health to especially ensure that construction workers’ children’s issues are heard. Finally, the organisation links up with the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industries and the Builders’ Association to advocate for children’s rights on construction sites. “We do get some grants from the Maharashtra state government for our work. Other than that, we are entirely dependent on the grants from wellwishers,” Mahadevan says. “But we appreciate the gesture of the builders, who have always supported us in our work, not only by providing space, but also some additional help. One of the primary concerns of MMC is to reach out to as many as children as possible as and for that it certainly seeks your support. I may sound more like a financial planner selling products, but if you reach out, you will certainly invest in the human infrastructure of India, the soft power that we boast of, the scripts of which are not available with your agent, but certainly with this organisation.”


DUCATION minister Prakash Javadekar, at the Youth Conclave organised by Parliamentarian, rued that in Singapore, people go to private schools only if they do not get a chance in government schools, but not in India. Javadekar said that in his childhood, that was the model for India too. But is the Marxian saying of ‘history repeats itself but at higher levels’ coming true? Maharashtra could well be a case in point. Many government schools across the state are being equipped with digital amenities that enable better learning experiences for children, purely through funding by the people. According to NDTV, close to 47,000 out of 65,000 government primary schools in the state have been digitally equipped through crowdfunding. A government primary school in Vadgaon Gund, about 200 km from Mumbai, has been transformed over the last one year — tablets and interactive projectors have replaced notebooks and blackboards. All this through funds accumulated by the people themselves. “For over a year now, we have been using tablets. Besides studying, we also like to play games related to math, English, sciences. Technology has definitely made classes more interesting,” Diksha Balulanke, a class 4 student, told NDTV. The school was able to collect about Rs 3 lakh, out of which they were able to buy solar-charged tablets for all the students and an Xbox containing an interactive syllabus. PEOPLE’S MONEY And this is not an isolated initiative. In the village of Dhekusim, falling under Jalgaon district, a Marathi-medium school now has an LCD projector, a laptop and Wi-Fienabled classrooms. “The changes, including a 2,000-square-foot compound wall and

revamped classrooms, came not through government intervention but from funds raised from villagers,” Suresh Patil, the headmaster of the school says.“When we reached out to people and sought help to improve the school, the villagers donated about Rs 5.5 lakh. As of today, at least 10 students have left private schools to join our school. Our total number of students has gone up from 42 to 78,” Patil added. While this is definitely inspiring, here is another instance where an investment banker helped transform the entire district of Dhule, making it the first in the state to have government schools with completely digital classrooms, last year. Harshal Vibhandik, who lives in New York, had come down to his hometown in Dhule. “I had Rs 9 lakh with me and after visiting a few schools, I decided to digitise nine of them. But then, villagers wanted to pitch in too and that is when the 70:30 funding idea came to me, with villagers raising the majority of the money,” Harshal says. Soon enough, a collective effort of Harshal, his friends abroad, donors, villagers, and even local NGOs pitched in and covered all of 1,103 Zila Parishad schools in Dhule. NAME GAME Also, many teachers have been trying innovative methods to reach out for funds. Putting up the name of the sponsor on every donated article, the teachers of a government school in Kardelwadi under Pune district, came up with the idea thinking that this will encourage more people to donate. “It gives them a sense of fulfilment and it doesn’t really take anything from us. So we started writing the names of the donors. Now, for almost anything we need, we turn to the villagers and they get it for us instantly. So from computers to science labs, our small village school with less than 100 students has almost everything that a big city school would. This truly is a people’s movement for education,” Bebinanda Sakat, a teacher in the school.

28 Science & Technology SCIENCE NEWS IN BRIEF

SAFE LANDING FOR DRONES A crash-landing software for drones has been developed by NASA

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017



The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle - Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) is scheduled to be launched on June 5 at 5.28 p.m


ASA scientists are building technology to help drones land safely in case these unmanned aircraft systems suddenly develop mechanical problems. A crash-landing software for drones developed by Patricia Glaab, an aerospace technologist at NASA Langley Research Center, and her fellow NASA colleague and husband, Lou Glaab, could help drones automatically spot the best places to crash-land without hurting anyone on the ground, reported on Sunday. In test flights, the technology has successfully spotted safer landing zones like swamps or drainage ditches to crash instead of on top of people’s cars.




NDIA will be launching, on June 5, communication satellite GSAT-19 using its heaviest rocket which has a capacity to lift four tonne satellites to geosynchronous transfer



VR Applications can surpass traditional methods in treatments

R Jessica L Maples – Keller University of Georgia comments Virtual Reality is potentially a powerful tool for the psychiatric community. VR applications can simulate exposures that would be impractical to create in real life. Most importantly, it also enables the therapist to control the dose and specific aspects of the exposure environment. Patients report satisfaction with VR based therapy and in some cases find it more acceptable than traditional therapy. The effects have been studied in a wide range of conditions: panic disorder, schizophrenia, acute & chronic pain. Researchers stated that health care providers will need specific training before integrating VR approaches in clinical.

orbit (GTO), the Indian space agency said on Tuesday. According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle - Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) is scheduled to be launched on June 5

Quick Glance GSAT-19 will be launched using the heaviest rocket that can lift four-tonne satellites to the orbit Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle - Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) is scheduled to be launched on June 5 GSAT-19 also features certain advanced spacecraft technologies including miniaturised heat pipe

at 5.28 p.m. The rocket in its first developmental flight, will carry communication satellite GSAT-19 weighing 3,136 kg as it blasts off from the second launch pad at the rocket port in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The GSLV-MK III-D1 is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage (C25). GSAT-19 carries Ka/ Ku-band high throughput communication transponders. Besides, it carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components. GSAT-19 also features certain advanced spacecraft technologies including miniaturised heat pipe, fibre optic gyro, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer, Ku-band TTC transponder, as well an indigenous Lithium-ion Battery.

DELL: NEW AIOs LAUNCHED The new line-up includes Inspiron 27 7000 all-in-one, Inspiron 24 5000 all-in-one (AIO) and the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop



ECH giant Dell recently launched two new all-in-ones (AIO) desktop PCs and a virtual reality (VR) ready gaming desktop at the information

Quick Glance Tech giant Dell recently launched two new all-in-ones (AIO) The lineup includes Inspiron 27 7000 AIO and Gaming Desktop It features borderless InfinityEdge, 27-inch display and other systems

and communication technology (ICT) show ‘Computex 2017’ here. The new lineup includes Inspiron 27 7000 all-in-one (AIO), Inspiron 24 5000 all-in-one (AIO) and the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop. “With more people than ever streaming movies, gaming and consuming VR content on PCs, the new Inspiron all-in-ones and gaming desktop will bring innovation mainstream,” said Ray Wah, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Dell Consumer and Small Business Product Group. The Inspiron gaming desktop sports the latest AMD multicore Ryzen processors, featuring SenseMI to optimise power consumption.

Inspiron 27 7000 AIO features borderless Infinity Edge, 27-inch display, with resolutions up to 4K UHD and runs on the latest multi-core Ryzen AMD processors and AMD Polaris RX500 series graphics. The new Inspiron 24 5000 AIO comes with the new SmartByte technology that helps prevent buffering when streaming content. The software detects critical network streams and prioritises video ahead of less urgent network traffic so that videos and movies can run without interruption.

JUNE 05 - 11, 2017

Science & Technology



Human-caused climate change has led to steady plant growth in Antarctica proving that even the remotest corners of earth are not untouched by global warming



new study has found a steady growth of moss in Antarctica over the last 50 years. Plant life on both poles is growing rapidly as the planet warms. A new study has found a steady growth of moss in Antarctica over the last 50 years as temperatures increased as a result of climate change. The study, published yesterday in the journal Current Biology, shows that Antarctica will be much greener in the future, said lead author Matt Amesbury, a researcher at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. The continued retreat of glaciers will make the Antarctic Peninsula, which has been warming at a faster rate than the rest of the continent, a much greener place in the future, Amesbury said. “It’s a clear sign that the biological response to climate warming is pervasive around the globe,” he said. “The Antarctic Peninsula is often thought of as a very remote and possibly even untouched region, but this clearly shows that the effects of climate change are felt here.” Amesbury and his fellow researchers used cores of the moss bank to arrive at their conclusion. They looked at 150 years’ worth of data and found clear “changepoints” in the last 50 years that showed the increase of moss cover. Amesbury described the moss growth as a powerful signifier that the region is already undergoing change. And even though plant life only exists on a tiny fraction of Antarctica, about 0.3 per cent, researchers found it is likely to increase significantly as the region warms. As land cover increases and the snow and ice cover decreases, the area also absorbs more heat. That could bring an ecosystem shift to Antarctica that is more in line with what researchers have found in the Arctic. “The sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises suggests that ecosystems will alter rapidly under future warming, leading to major changes in the biology and landscape of this iconic region,” Dan Charman, who led the project at Exeter, said in a statement. “In short, we could see Antarctic greening to parallel wellestablished observations in the Arctic.”

That echoes research published earlier this year that also shows an increase of plant growth in the Arctic. Scientists once thought tiny marine plants known as phytoplankton could not thrive under sea ice in the frigid Arctic ocean. But thinning ice has allowed them to thrive to such an extent that green patches of ice have been observed. The thinner ice lets sunshine in to previously dark areas, which allows the plankton to grow, and has the potential to dramatically change the ecosystem as animals migrate to the

an exception to the understanding of global climate change, but that may be because scientists haven’t understood enough about why it is not warming at the same rate as the Arctic. Researchers say global warming has already transformed the Arctic into a “new state” and that further change is inevitable in the near future. In Antarctica, the observed change has been less dramatic. But that doesn’t disprove the growing understanding of human-caused climate change, said Marc Salzmann, a researcher at the

area earlier in pursuit of food. Those who reject basic climate science have pointed to Antarctica as evidence for their skepticism, claiming that concerns over the transformation of the Arctic because ice cover in Antarctica was growing. The Arctic has shown undeniable signs of climate change by breaking records that show a significant pattern of warming. In recent years, the region has seen new lows for sea ice cover and set stunning temperature records. Antarctica has been held up as

University of Leipzig in Germany. For one, Antarctica is colder than the Arctic. But it also has a much thicker ice cover, thousands of feet thick in some areas, compared to Arctic sea ice that is just dozens of feet thick. The average elevation in Antarctica is more than a mile above sea level. That high land surface area could be why the melting in Antarctica is less dramatic, a separate study published yesterday in the journal Earth System Dynamics found. One reason is that the transfer of warmer winds blowing into the region from

Study shows that plant growth in Antarctica points to tectonic shifts in the biological landscape of this iconic region


Quick Glance Study finds a steady growth of moss in Antarctica over the last 50 years Green patches of ice have been observed in the Antarctic region The Arctic has set stunning temperature records in recent times

lower latitudes is partially obscured by the mountains and ice sheets. The higher elevation of Antarctica also allows less room for carbon dioxide and water vapor.That difference in land height accounts for about 56 per cent of the difference in the rates of warming in Antarctica compared to the Arctic. “The general public has generally heard about the Arctic warming rapidly, and so if somebody asks themselves why Antarctic has not yet warmed so much, this actually gives the explanation,” Salzmann said. “For a while, Antarctica has been cited as an example of a place which may contradict total warming theory; in this context we understand

better, it’s a piece of the puzzle to understanding why Antarctica hasn’t warmed so much.” High temperatures continue to shape life on both poles. The globe experienced its second warmest April in recorded history, second only to last year, and sea ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic is near record lows, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday. Antarctic sea ice cover was 18.2 per cent, or 520,000 square miles, below the 1981-2010 average, NOAA also said yesterday. That is the second lowest April sea ice extent since recordkeeping began in 1979. In the Arctic, sea ice cover was down 6.9 per cent, or 394,000 square miles. That’s tied for the lowest ever recorded, with April 2016.

30 Great Inventions

6 BEST ofINVENTIONS our century... JUNE 05 - 11, 2017


The First World War was something that no one had expected, not even the big political leaders. But wars always produce exigencies and tend to become the mother of inventions. Here are six of the most important inventions triggered off by the First Great War



Shortly before the war, German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch developed a process to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a biologically available form—ammonia—using high pressure and temperatures. During the war, this allowed Germany to produce artificial nitrates used to create explosives, like TNT. Prior to this, their nitrates came from Chilean guano deposits, which produced a limited supply.



UST over 100 years ago, on the 28th of June, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo. That set into motion a chain of events that, within several weeks, culminated in the European great powers declaring war on each other. The resulting conflict killed 37 million people. Once the fighting started, a stalemate emerged on the Western Front, between Germany on the east and the Allies on the west. Both sides hunkered down in trenches, and it was nearly impossible for either side to make any significant progress against the other. With machine guns and artillery on both sides defending the trenches, attackers were

Once the war broke out, says Schramm, Germany had only enough natural nitrates to last about six months. “Because of this new process, they could create explosives essentially out of the air, and the war was prolonged for years,” he adds. As deadly as his invention proved to be during the war, Haber’s process today actually sustains one third of the population on Earth, as it allows the production of ammonia nitrate fertilizer from nitrogen gas. Nitrogen is a critical component of both our DNA and proteins, and it is by far the most abundant atmospheric gas, but it first has to be “fixed” into a different form before it can be used by living organisms. (Specifically, the nitrogen must be changed from oxidation state 0 to –3.) In nature, microorganisms possessing nitrogenase enzymes perform the nitrogen fixing. The HaberBosch process permitted the mass production of nitrate fertilizers, which sustain mass-scale industrial agriculture today.

quickly mowed down before they could cross “no-man’s-land,” the short distance between the opposing lines. “The deadlock on the Western Front forced armies to develop new technologies to overcome it,” says Paul Cornish, a historian at the Imperial War Museums in London. Many well-known innovations that we associate with the war today were invented to try to gain an advantage over an entrenched enemy. “The development of the tank, of poison gas, aerial photography, and sound ranging (a method to determine the coordinates of the enemy from the sound of its guns) can all be seen as efforts to break the trench stalemate,” says David Stevenson, professor of international history at the London School of



The two-way radio systems developed for airplanes and operators on the ground were not only invaluable to fighting of the war, but also became the basis for the technology that would develop into the air-traffic-control system of today.Battle casualties overwhelmed the medical services in 1914, but armies quickly developed sophisticated systems for addressing the problems with new innovations made during the war. For example, the Thomas splint for a broken leg had a massive impact

Economics. Each new innovation that gave a slight edge over the other side would then be promptly copied and improved to make it even more deadly. The use of Chlorine gas led chemists to later develop phosgene and mustard gas, for example. “Arguably, [WWI] was the first war where science and technology were mobilised as part of the war effort,” says Jeff Schramm, a Missouri University of Science and Technology historian of technology. “Labs and people all over, at universities and in the industries, were working on stuff for the war. That was unprecedented.” Here are six of the more surprising examples of the technical innovations that came from World War I:

on survival rates in an era before antibiotics. Before the Thomas splint was invented, 80 per cent of all soldiers died from a broken femur, but by the time of a battle in 1917, over 80 per cent survived, reportedly. Blood banks were developed, thanks to the use of sodium citrate to keep blood from coagulating and becoming unusable, allowing battlefield transfusions. One of the most important medical innovations of the time was the ability to get the diagnostic tools to the front line. When the war broke out, X-ray machines were too bulky and delicate to move. Using funds she raised in Paris, Marie Curie developed small, mobile X-ray machines and installed them in cars and trucks for the French army. She drove some of these portable X-rays to the front herself, and worked with her 17-year-old daughter, Irene, at casualty-clearing stations, using the X-rays to locate fractures, bullets, and shrapnel.

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Radio had already made its debut before the war, but great strides were made during the war because of how valuable it could be for military communications. Nowhere was this more apparent than in aviation. In the early days of flight, once pilots left the ground, they had no good way of communicating with each other or the people on the ground. The US Army installed the first two-way radios in planes before the nation’s involvement in the war. By 1916 technicians could send a radio signal over a distance of 140 miles, and radio telegraph messages could be exchanged between planes in flight. By the end of 1916, a helmet was designed with a built-in microphone and earphones to block out noise from the aircraft’s engine; in the following year, the first human voice was transmitted by radio from a flying plane to an controller on the ground. The two-

way radio systems developed for airplanes and operators on the ground were not only invaluable to fighting of the war, but also became the basis for the technology that would develop into the air-traffic-control system of today. Battle casualties overwhelmed the medical services in 1914, but armies quickly developed sophisticated systems for addressing the problems with new innovations made during the war. For example, the Thomas splint for a broken leg had a massive impact on survival rates in an era before antibiotics. Before the Thomas splint was invented, 80 per cent of all soldiers died from a broken femur, but by the time of a battle in 1917, over 80 per



Battle casualties overwhelmed the medical services in 1914, but armies quickly developed sophisticated systems for addressing the problems with new innovations made during the war. For example, the Thomas splint for a broken leg had a massive impact on survival rates in an era before antibiotics. Before the Thomas splint was invented, 80 per cent of all soldiers died from a broken femur, but by the time of a battle in 1917, over 80 per cent survived, reportedly. Blood banks were developed, thanks to the use of sodium citrate to


cent survived, reportedly. Blood banks were developed, thanks to the use of sodium citrate to keep blood from coagulating and becoming unusable, allowing battlefield transfusions. One of the most important medical innovations of the time was the ability to get the diagnostic tools to the front line. When the war broke out, X-ray machines were too bulky and delicate to move. Using funds keep blood from coagulating and becoming unusable, allowing battlefield transfusions. One of the most important medical innovations of the time was the ability to get the diagnostic tools to the front line. When the war broke out, X-ray machines were too bulky and delicate to move. Using funds she raised in Paris, Marie Curie developed small, mobile X-ray machines and installed them in cars and trucks for the French army. She drove some of these portable X-rays to the front herself, and worked with her 17-year-old daughter, Irene, at casualty-clearing stations, using the X-rays to locate fractures, bullets, and shrapnel.


In 1914, Ernst Mahler, the head of a small US company called Kimberly-Clark, toured pulp and paper plants in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia and spotted a new cellulose material called “Cellucotton.” It was five times more absorbent than cotton itself and, when mass-produced, half as expensive. Upon returning to the US, Mahler trademarked it; when the US entered the war in 1917, Kimberly-Clark started producing the wadding for surgical bandages. Meanwhile, enterprising Red Cross nurses started using it for their own personal hygienic use. Once the war ended, Kimberly-Clark re-purchased the surplus of bandages from the military and the Red Cross and created the first commercial sanitary napkins.The company also ironed out the cellulose material to make smooth tissues, which, in 1924, were released as the first facial tissues: Kleenex.

Great Inventions


she raised in Paris, Marie Curie developed small, mobile X-ray machines and installed them in cars and trucks for the French army. She drove some of these portable X-rays to the front herself, and worked with her 17-year-old daughter, Irene, at casualty-clearing stations, using the X-rays to locate fractures, bullets, and shrapnel.



The undernourishment of Germans because of the war led an increase of rickets, a disorder caused by a lack of Vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate that leads to the weakening of bones. By the winter of 1918, half of the children in Berlin were suffering from rickets. At the time, the cause of the ailment was not known, but a Berlin doctor named Kurt Huldschinsky noticed that the children were also very pale, so he conducted an experiment in which he put four children under mercury-quartz lamps that emitted ultraviolet light. The treatment worked: The children’s bones became stronger. Ultraviolet light causes the skin to produce Vitamin D, which is necessary for healthy bones. Thus, the sun lamp was born.


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Five Indian American teens are among the top 10 awardees of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search including Indrani Das, Prathik Naidu and Archana Verma (L to R)

TWINKLES’ MENSTRUATION CAMPAIGN The producer of ‘Padman’ wants people to talk about menstruation freely




32 Unsung Hero


NDRANI Das, a 17-year-old Indian Arjun Srinivasan HERO girl from New Ramani from Indiana, an Jersey, won the ‘Junior 18-year-old Indian Nobel’ award, which this American boy, bagged the science talent search third prize of $150,000. Arjun competition is also known as, and worked on a project about network bagged a whopping grant of $250,000 analysis among social media users. in addition. Indrani Das was He developed an algorithm to analyze felicitated along with other 39 different patterns of user behavior on finalists by the committee comprising Facebook and identify potential some of the best in the field of physical issues like neurological science and technology. disorders among the users. 17-yearIndrani Das (left), Prathik Naidu old Archana Verma from New York is (middle), Archana Verma (right) another Indian American finalist of New Jersey-based Indian American the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Indrani Das was awarded $250,000 Search Competition. She received a for her intensive study of a new grant of $90,000 for her project on approach to treating the death of chemistry behind energy efficiency. neurons in the brain, which results Archana where the energy that from brain injuries and which causes window panes absorb from sunlight neurodegenerative diseases like goes. Among the five Indian cerebral attack, and Alzheimer’s or American awardees of the Regeneron Parkinson’s diseases. The winner of Science Talent Search Competition the Junior Nobel Prize 2017, Indrani in 2017, Prathik Naidu from Virginia Das demonstrated how the cerebral developed a software application to neurons can be saved, using a identify new cancer therapeutics as laboratory model. alternatives to chemotherapy.



NTREPRENEUR, producer and author Twinkle Khanna, who is producing a film titled “Padman”, is campaigning to urge people to talk about menstruation. “No shame in menstruation. Join Water Aid India and Dasra to get talking menstruation,” Twinkle tweeted on Thursday. The page for the Water Aid India cause read: “There is no shame in menstruation. Join us on Menstrual Hygiene Day in ending stigma around periods. “The importance of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is mostly neglected. Menstrual hygiene is a taboo subject; a topic that many women are uncomfortable discussing in public. “Girls and women continue to face significant challenges in managing menstruation - in a safe and hygienic manner because of low levels of awareness about menstruation and menstrual hygiene, lack of access to safe products, and lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. “Underlying this are widely held beliefs that consider menstruation to be polluting and menstruating girls and women as impure.”


CTRESS Tanishaa Mukherji says that she plans to start an NGO dedicated to tree planting. She also urged people to feed people as she feels starvation is the biggest problem in the country. “We as a family are associated with an NGO that fights against cancer, I am planning to start my own NGO too which will be about tree planting initiative. Keeping the kids alive is very important as they are the future generation,” Tanishaa told IANS on phone from the city of joy. KFC India marked the one-year milestone of its anti-hunger campaign add HOPE and Tanishaa joined in the celebrations with children from Towards Future School, where the brand through Smile Foundation has been supporting a meal programme for 75 children. Tanishaa says that she felt “really blessed” to feed so many children. “I think it’s an important issue that they (brand) are dealing with. Starvation is a big problem in our country and lot of children are going undernourished,” she said. Tanishaa also recalled the time her mother, veteran actress Tanuja, made sure that none of her children wasted food at any point of time.

TANISHAA MOOTS A TREES NGO She feels strongly about the environment and planting trees to ensure that


RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 25 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain