Page 1

sulabhswachhbharat.com FIND US ONLINE

Scan this with your smartphone

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561

06

students-speak

what they saw in sulabh Four Shiv Nadar School students who interned with SSB narrate their experiences from Sulabh Complex

Vol-1 | Issue-30 | July 10 - 16, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

Good News Weekly for Rising India

24

digital village

Unique in up

One man’s love for his village has turned it into not just digital but most advanced

28

idol makers

beloveds of goddess

Three ladies have broken the norm of idol making by males only in Kolkata’s iconic Kumartuli area

Narendra Singh Tomar visiting sulabh

“Sulabh Personifies PM’s Cleanliness Mission” Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar hails Sulabh for coordinating employment with education and cleanliness


02 NS Tomar in Sulabh

July 10 - 16, 2017

Dr Pathak welcomes the minister at the Sulabh Complex on his arrival

Dr Pathak and a beaming Narendra Singh Tomar

Quick Glance Narendra Singh Tomar visits Sulabh village, inspects facilities The Union Minister hails Dr. Pathak for the exemplary work PM’s cleanliness mission has now become a crusade

the day this happens, India will be transformed into a clean and healthy India.

Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Dr Pathak lead the prayers at the Sulabh Public School

Saurabh Singh

C

leanliness and proper education are necessary to make improvements in any society, but if employment opportunities too are added to them, no one can prevent the country and the society from moving ahead. These views were expressed by the Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at a programme organised in Sulabh Village. He said that it is encouraging to see that all the three qualities are available in the Sulabh village. He congratulated Founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, Dr Bindeswar Pathak, for making it possible. Tomar visited various departments in the Sulabh village. He spoke to the staff and students of Sulabh School

and Skill Training Center. He also met the widows from Mathura and the former manual scavengers from Rajasthan. The children of Sulabh School offered prayers in English and Sanskrit before the guest. Minister Tomar seemed very impressed with the passion and the talent of the children. He encouraged the children to go ahead in life and build India’s future. Sulabh has energised us Tomar said that cleanliness is his responsibility if seen from the point of view of the government, but the work of the Sulabh family has made him feel more energised and motivated. Now, the government and officials need to work ever harder. He said that ‘Sanitation’ is not a new topic for any Indian. Cleanliness is inbuilt in our culture. He said that if we ask anyone in this country if they

want to live in a filthy environmeynt, hardly anybody will say ‘yes’. The biggest question facing the country is that nobody in India wants to live in dirty surroundings, yet our country is full of filth. He continued to point out that Gandhi spent his entire life seeking the answer to this question. It was good that Dr Pathak too made a thorough study on this subject. He felt happy that Prime Minister Modi is inviting the people of the country to look for an answer to the same question so that when the country completes 75 years of independence, we present Bapu a clean and healthy India. Tomar said that the concrete resolve of Modiji behind this campaign has definitely taken the shape of a crusade today. The movement started by the government has now become a mission. Now it is our duty to turn it into a mass movement and on

Rs 5 to build toilets Tomar said that he did not know Dr. Pathak earlier but he had heard about him, that he is from Bihar and is working on the construction of toilets. When he first contested the municipal council from Gwalior in 1983, Sulabh was already building toilets in Gwalior. Then as a government representative, he too thought about building toilets. For this, he used to accept Rs 5 contribution from people. That was the time he came in contact with Sulabh International. It is true that cleanliness is indubitable essential for all of us, Tomar remarked adding, without that we cannot remain healthy and will not be able to do any work. It is important therefore that we all keep our own neighbourhood as well as keep our surroundings clean. 5 States have become ODF The subject of hygiene is vast and is related to behaviour change. It is difficult to achieve, but this goal must be achieved by all of us because it is very necessary for the creation of a better India in our future, in the coming tomorrow. Clean and healthy India will be built from this resolve.


July 10 - 16, 2017 When Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014, had asked the people of the country to build toilets in their homes, nobody had imagined that it would take the form of a movement. But today this campaign of the Government has taken the form of a movement across the country. Now people have become aware of the need for toilets and for cleanliness in every village and school. Today

there is a mission and zeal about cleanliness. Speaking at the Sulabh village on this occasion, Tomar said that he was not the only one talking about cleanliness. In our country, thousands of people are working for cleanliness in some form or the other. Since Gandhi Jayanti in 2014, five state governments have become completely free from defecation in the open (ODF). These include Kerala, Sikkim, Himachal,

The minister visiting the Water ATM at the Sulabh Campus during his visit

NS Tomar in Sulabh

Uttaranchal, and Haryana. Besides that, more than 2.04 lakh villages of the country have freed themselves from the open defecation. There are about 149 districts, which are completely free of open defecation. There are 1651 gram panchayats on the banks of river Ganga from 5 states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. There are around 4.5 thousand villages in 1651 panchayats in these

Pollution free water retrieved from the biogas digestor at the Campus

The minister is trying to grasp the unique two-pit system of the unique technology developed at Sulabh

Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at the biogas digestor, with Dr Pathak explaining how it helps generate power

Sanitation Centre: The Minister is impressed by the way inexpensive sanitary napkins are made at Sulabh

Dr Pathak presents the minister with a copy of the now famous book on Mahatma Gandhi’s Life in colour prints

03

The work of the Sulabh

family has made me feel more energized and motivated states. From these, 93 percent of villages have been declared free from defecation in the open. Training for Waste Recycling Tomar reminded his audience that our work does not end with freedom from open defecation in the country. Along with this, it is also necessary to re-use waste. For this, the open areas which are free from filth are being used for starting the recycling process of solid and liquid waste. As long as the management of solid and liquid waste is not done, our villages will not be completely clean. That’s why the government, following Sulabh’s example, has started training programs in the villages where the open defecation has stopped. Simultaneously, the government, with inspiration from Sulabh, is also pursuing solid-liquid management work by using self -help groups. Sulabh has shown the path Tomar expressed happiness that Sulabh has shown the way. People generally did not know that there was a need for serious technology in toilets, but Sulabh has proved that technology can be used to sort out the problem. A lot of techniques have emerged from studying the path taken by Sulabh and all these techniques are being used for cleanliness. Dr Pathak has been engaged in this work since the 70’s. For this Dr Pathak deserves congratulations. But now, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, and with the help of Dr Pathak, the country’s leaders, actors, big industrialists, and all the people, are working together to ensure that the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission is fulfilled. Cleanliness alone can create a healthy India. Through it, we can realise the dream of our ancestors, which is a clean and healthy India. The Sulabh family is doing commendable work not only in cleanliness but also in other areas. For this, the minister congratulated all the Sulabh family members. Under the leadership of Dr Pathak, he said that he hoped that everyone at the Sulabh centre makes all the progress in the best possible manner. He added that his wishes were with them and he wanted everyone in the Sulabh family to move forward, closer towards their goals and achieve well- deserved success.


04 NS Tomar in Sulabh

July 10 - 16, 2017

Narendra Singh Tomar a profile

Organisation Man to Astute Administrator

Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had demonstrated sterling governance qualities SSB Bureau

F

rom a municipal councillor to a Cabinet Minister in the Narendra Modi government, Narendra Singh Tomar’s rise in his political career has been quite significant. Sixty-year-old Tomar has held several important positions in the BJP organisation, including president of the Madhya Pradesh unit of the party, and was instrumental in ensuring a third term for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan besides a thumping victory for the party in the Lok Sabha polls. Apart from being a prominent politician, Tomar is actively involved in social welfare programmes like blood donation camps, plantation programmes and helping the needy. The Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar feels that the real development of India is closely linked to the development of rural India. Under his able stewardship key programmes of the rural development ministry like the housing programme or the roads scheme besides the flagship rural jobs programme have generated more than 700 crores of person days of jobs in the country in the past three years. Tomar said recently, he will make all efforts to give shape to the Prime Minister’s dream of inclusive development. He said, even the last general budget embodied the philosophy of rural regeneration and the budget allocation for rural schemes were a testimony for the same. He was the Minister of Steel and Mines before moving to his new assignments. Born in Gwalior District of Madhya Pradesh on 12th June 1957, Shri Tomar was elected to the Lok Sabha for the second term from Gwalior in 2014. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from January 2009 to May 2009. Earlier, he also served as a Cabinet Minister in the Government of Madhya Pradesh from 2003 to 2007 and was a member of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly for two terms during 1998 to 2008. A graduate from Jiwaji University, Gwalior, Tomar is Agriculturist by profession. He has the special interest in helping poor, organising blood donation

Rising steadily and swiftly in his career, Tomar always shared a harmonious relationship with the RSS

camps and plantation. His favourite pastime and recreation are watching movies. Recently on the occasion of completion of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s three years tenure in office, Tomar said the rural housing programme had generated 98.97 crore man-days in the past three years (one person working for a day makes one person day). Similarly, the number of man-days generated by the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna was 78.01 crore while the rural employment guarantee scheme was the largest employment provider with 636.78 crore person days. Generating employment opportunities for people in rural areas is considered important for the Modi government, which was elected in 2014 on a development and employment generation platform. Being an able administrator a new facet of Tomar’s personality who has all his life been known for his connect with the rank and file of the party. He shares a good rapport with the RSS leadership. The second-time MP, who won Lok Sabha

poll from Gwalior, made his first foray into active politics in 1980 after he became the President of the Gwalior unit of BJP Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the party. The party loyalist gradually became a municipal councillor and the state President of BJPYM in 1991. Tomar was twice elected as a member of Madhya Pradesh Assembly between 1998 and 2008. He served as a Cabinet Minister in the state government between 2003-07 and was later tasked to head the state party unit in November 2006. His political career continued to rise continuously. In 2007, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha but resigned two years later as he had been elected to Lok Sabha from Morena and was also a member of the Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers. He won the 2014 General Elections from Gwalior and thus secured his position in the Modi cabinet. In May 2014 he took oath as the Minister of Steel, Mines, Labour and Employment. After taking oath as the Cabinet Minister, Tomar said he “will soon have

Quick Glance Tomar was elected a councillor in Gwalior Municipal Corporation Having headed MP BJP he is known for his organisational capabilities As Union Cabinet Minister, his performance has been impeccable

a meeting with senior officers in the ministry to chalk out the 100-day roadmap for action as stipulated by the Prime Minister”. He further added that “emphasis will be on imparting skill development with avenues of employment”. Belonging to a highly educated family, Tomar was born on June 12, 1957, in Morar village of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. He was born to Munshi Singh Tomar and Sharda Devi Tomar. Tomar graduated from Jiwaji University before marrying Kiran Tomar. He has a daughter and two sons. A strong follower of BJP, Tomar has a clean image. He has never been involved in any kinds of scandals and has no criminal records in his account. Rising steadily and swiftly in his career, Tomar always shared a harmonious relationship with the RSS. He was called ‘Munna Bhaiya’ by Babulal Gaur. Tomar’s interest in sports led him to become the President of Darpan Sports Sansthan. Apart from his fascination in sports, his literary interests are also quite evident. To encourage artists, Tomar organises many poetic symposiums. He is also involved in many social and cultural activities. But, for a first term Union Cabinet member, he has certainly had a sterling career. After joining the Rural Development Ministry, he has taken its annual budget to a record Rs1,05,448 crores. Earlier, expenditure on rural development was Rs 58,630 crores in 2013-14 and Rs 95,099 crores in 2016-17. In 2016-17, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme had provided employment to 5.04 crore households, creating more than 235 crore person days of employment. Out of the total employment generated, 56% had been generated for women which are the highest participation of women since the inception of the programme. In the case of the rural housing programme or the Pradhan Manti Awaas Yojna Grameen, the ministry aims to construct 51 lakh houses in 2017-18, up from the 32.1 lakh houses constructed in 2016-17, the statement said. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna or rural roads programme, the pace of construction had reached 130km a day, the highest in the past several years. Between 2014-15 and 2016-17, 120,233km of roads had been constructed, the statement added.


July 10 - 16, 2017

mumbai child malnutrition

battle against child malnutrition

Most mothers here work as domestic helps and the fathers are working as security men or drivers on a daily wage basis Swagata Yadavar

M

umbais Colaba is well known for its art deco buildings, the Gateway of India, swish pubs and restaurants, and the pleasant promenade of Marine Drive. It houses the state assembly, the Vidhan Bhavan, and the state secretariat, Mantralaya. However, this high-profile ward recorded the third-highest incidence of malnourishment (69 per cent) among government school children in Mumbai in 2015-16, according to a report by the non-profit Praja Foundation. How can such a dire situation exist in one of the poshest parts of a city that generates more money than any other in India, ranking 17th among the 20 richest cities of the world? Slums are not easy to spot in Colaba, where real estate prices go up to Rs 100,000 per square foot. However, towards the tapering edge of the island city, bordering the defence forces’ area of Navy Nagar, lies Geeta Nagar, with a population of 6,000. Between the ramshackle houses, one can glimpse the sea, and the high tide brings seawater into people’s homes. “Most of the community here is of migrants from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Most mothers work as domestic help in homes nearby and fathers work as security men or drivers,” Velankani Joseph, a social worker who lives here,

told IndiaSpend. “Since mothers can cook only one meal [at home] in a day, the kids here eat biscuits, chips and fried snacks between meals.” As many as 49 per cent boys and 59 per cent girls were malnourished in Colaba Ward, in which Geeta Nagar lies, in 2015-16, according the Praja Foundation report. The total number of malnourished children rose from 244 in 2014-15 to 2,768 in 2015-16, the report found. The Mumbai civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), conducts a yearly health assessment of all children studying in its schools. Praja accessed this data through Right to Information filings, and concluded from analysing this data that younger children were more likely to be malnourished - 73 per cent of malnourished children in 2015-16 studied between Grades I to V. Mumbai’s high malnutrition figures are despite the fact that 83 per cent of government and aided schools in Mumbai city and 95.1 per cent in its suburbs, respectively, have a midday meal programme. The BMC, the richest municipal corporation in the country, denies Praja’s contention that malnutrition has increased four-fold.

“There has been a misunderstanding by Praja Foundation. Before 2014, we only measured weight for age. Since 2014, we also measure height, weight for age and also waist circumference,” Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC, told IndiaSpend. “Also, underweight does not mean malnourished.” Praja Foundation terms these “excuses,” emphasising that the BMC should be trying to find solutions instead. “If the BMC had not been measuring height along with weight of the child before 2014, it is a gross negligence on their part because even a basic body mass index, requires height measurement,” said Milind Mhaske, Project Coordinator, Praja Foundation. Even accounting for the BMC’s argument about change of methodology of assessment after 2014, the data shows that 36 per cent of children studying in BMC schools are malnourished. Mhaske says this points to failure of the Integrated Child Development Scheme, which seeks to provide nutrition and pre-school education to children under six; the public distribution system of the central government which aims to make available food and non-food items to the

Mumbai’s glittering skyline hides inequities that impact proples’ access to healthcare systems

Malnutrition

05

Quick Glance 49 per cent boys and 59 per cent girls were malnourished in Colaba 73 per cent of malnourished children studied between Grades I to V Mumbai’s high malnutrition figures are despite mid-day meals being served

poor; and the mid-day meal programme run by respective state governments to provide free meals to primary and upper primary school children. The WHO considers malnourishment to cover two kinds of conditions: Undernutrition which leads to stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), low weight (for age), and micronutrient deficiencies on the one hand, and obesity and related problems on the other. Government data has also shown up worrying statistics pertaining to childhood malnutrition. Among children under the age of five, 21.3 per cent are stunted, 20.3 per cent wasted, and a total of 28.9 per cent children are underweight, according to the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) for Mumbai Suburban, which has thrice the size and population of Mumbai city and extends up to Dahisar in the north and Mulund in the east. Mumbai’s glittering skyline hides inequities that impact people’s access to healthcare, sanitation and government services. Nowhere is this more visible in Mumbai’s slums, where 41.3 per cent of its population lives. Nearly 60 per cent of Mumbai’s slum population lives on eight per cent of land in the city, jostling not just for space but also basic facilities -- fewer slum households have access to a drinking water source within the premises than other urban areas, a bathroom, covered drainage, clean cooking fuel such as LPG or a latrine, according to the 2015 Save the Children report “Forgotten Voices: The World of Urban Children in India.” Mumbai’s problem is emblematic of the challenge facing the entire country in the years to come. Yet, the Indian government allocates to its urban citizens only one-sixth the per capita spending allocated for rural citizens and one-tenth of what is allocated for the rural poor. “The urban health system is still evolving, there is an urgent need for decentralisation of health services and in its current state perhaps it [urban health system] is not at par with this increasing demand of health care among the urban poor,” said Suvarna Ghosh Jerath, Additional Professor, Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi. “Perhaps due to their low visibility among general urban population, the magnitude of the problems of the urban poor isn’t well known.”


06 Student Speak

July 10 - 16, 2017

shiv nadar school students

visiting sulabh

What they saw in Sulabh...

Four students from the highly progressive Shiv Nadar School who came for internship at SSB write about their experiences at the Sulabh Campus

Sulabh Complex: an inspiration

Dr. Pathak: A hero of the highest order

Our’s is a society in which defecation talk is a taboo, Dr. Pathak took it up and changed the face of it completely

The Sulabh system is extremely useful in ending manual scavenging even in remote areas

S

O

ulabh Gram, is has a vocational training a humble dwelling in programme for students Palam area in Delhi who have passed 10th with a big story behind it. Grade. This programme This facility stands as an encompasses the idea of evidence and milestone providing a basic skill set of the great doings of Dr. to students so that they can Bindeshwar Pathak. take up jobs and provide The idea of Sulabh evolved financial support to their in 1968 with a motive to families. Ananya Arora liberate and rehabilitate the We have a workforce scavengers. The practice of 18 million youth. It of people discriminating is essential that they against individuals who have to carry contribute significantly to the economy, others waste on their heads disturbed Dr. with skills in areas such as Beauty, Fashion Pathak. Thus, he devised a strategy for Designing, Tailoring, and Electronic liberation of Balmikis through the Sulabh Repair. In the Vocational Training Centre, movement which included various ideas one very interesting facet was sanitation related to technology, rehabilitation, where students as young as fifteen years, with alternative employment and social prepare sanitary napkins and educate reform. women around them about it. They also The Sulabh Gram is a model village developed a pad dispenser technology where a non- discriminatory rural and pad disposing technology, which is society exists along with quite essential for feminine optimum utilization of hygiene. resources. The twin-pit A society where talking technology was developed about defecation and toilets with a motive to have is a taboo, there is a person toilets everywhere. Here who decided to bring it up human excreta are put and change the face of it to numerous uses such completely. Every single as to fertilize the soil, part of the Sulabh Complex produce electricity and stands as an example, a cooking food. Along with learning and an inspiration utilization of waste, it also for all of us.

One very interesting facet was sanitation, where students prepare sanitary napkins

pen defecation is a decide which pit the waste huge problem that goes into. Ideally the waste plagues our nation, gets collected in first pit, anyone who says otherwise is you close the first pit after either lying or ignorant. it gets full and use the There are two kinds of second pit, by the time the heroes, those who wear capes second pit gets filled up and save women from goons, the waste in the first pit and those who carry a shovel turns into manure which and dig toilets for the needy. can be used in agriculture. W. S Adwaith Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is a As simple as that, pithero of the highest order, a poop-manure. The true hero of the latter kind. genius in this system lies In 1970, conscious stricken Dr. Pathak in the construction of the toilet system. founded Sulabh, an organization which The sub structure is made out of the would work towards liberating manual materials available in the area, be it wood scavengers of their miserable work. in the North-East or rocks in the Deccan Over time his organization adopted a plateau. The superstructure is made to wider aim of providing toilets to all and the liking of the users, it can be roofless ending the practice of open defecation. for those who like to see the open skies or 47 years later, his brainchild has built it can be covered with bamboo for those 1.4 million toilets across India, I recently who may prefer privacy. The toilets are had the honor of visiting the Sulabh constructed according to the requirement headquarters in Dwarka of the users, the Sulabh only to be mesmerized by toilet can be constructed the innovative practicality with a capacity for 3, 5 and of the Sulabh Model. 10 people with pit longevity The Sulabh toilet is of 2, 3 or 5 years. broken down into two It also has a child parts, the substructure and friendly miniature version the superstructure. The of the toilet and an add-on substructure is made of two western seat for the elderly. pits which are connected The combinations and to the toilet with pipes, permutations for Sulabh a switch in between can toilets are countless.

The basic idea behind the Sulabh toilet model is the twin-pit system


July 10 - 16, 2017

Student Speak

Sulabh: Modern Gandhi Ashram

Sulabh: Promise for a better tomorrow

Sulabh stands for cost-effective sanitation, liberation of scavengers and development of non-conventional energy

You do not need manual scavengers to clean the pits, thus ending the shameful practice forever

S

ulabh International etc. and in the slums. Social Service For the construction, Organization, a nonoperation and maintenance profit voluntary social of these complexes, the organization founded in 1970 organization plays the role by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, of a catalyst and a partner is dedicated to Gandhian between the official ideology of emancipation of agencies and the users of scavengers. Sulabh has been the toilet complexes. working for the removal of When facility for Shravya Agarwal untouchability and social bathing is also provided discrimination against with the community human scavengers, a section toilets, and above all if they of Indian society condemned to clean and are kept clean, people have no hesitation carry human excreta manually. in paying a nominal charge for the use. Sulabh is known for achieving The system of operation and maintenance success in the field of cost-effective of community toilets evolved by Sulabh sanitation, liberation of scavengers, has proved a boon for the local bodies social transformation of society, in their endeavor to keep the towns prevention of environmental pollution clean and improve the environment. and development of non-conventional This is a unique example of partnership sources of energy. of local authorities, non-governmental Scavengers, a class of people united organization, and the community. in their suffocating misery, were The biogas from public toilets traditionally ordained in has multiple benefits – Indian society to clean and improving sanitation, carry human waste, even community health and those whose excreta they hygiene, environment carry on their heads hate and providing dignity scavengers! Reduced to to women and girls. In the depths of degradation, addition to using biogas as untouchables, and for different purposes. To forced to lead a sub-human overcome the problems, existence, they were the Dr. Pathak invented an worst victims of a cruel efficient design of biogas social order. plant linked with public The Sulabh approach toilets. to restore human dignity to Balmikis has Under the system only human excreta five distinct stages: with flush water is allowed to flow into Liberation, Rehabilitation, Vocational biogas plant for anaerobic digestion. For training, Proper education of next biogas generation no manual handling of generation and excreta at any stage is required. Sulabh Social elevation. installed 200 biogas plants in the public Environmental friendly two-pit, toilets all over the country. pour-flush compost toilet known as The biogas produced is used for Sulabh Shauchalaya that is socially cooking, lighting mantle lamps, and acceptable, economically affordable, electricity generation. Cooking is the technologically appropriate and does not most convenient use of biogas. Recently require scavengers to clean the pits and Sulabh has modified the genset which implemented in more than 1.2 million earlier required 20% diesel and 80% houses all over India that has helped biogas. It does not require diesel and runs liberate over a million scavengers. on 100% biogas. This has made electricity Construction and maintenance of generation from biogas more sustainable. public toilets at public places and in The technology is based on slums on ‘pay & use basis’ is a landmark sedimentation and filtration of effluent of Sulabh in the field of sanitation. So far through sand, aeration tank and activated it has constructed and is or maintaining charcoal followed by exposure to over 8000 such public toilets in India. ultraviolet rays. The treated effluent is These complexes are located at public colourless, odourless and pathogen free places like bus stands, hospitals, markets having BOD less than 10 mg per litre.

The maintenance of community toilets evolved by Sulabh has proved a boon for local bodies

D

07

r. Bindeshwar the pits. There are two pits Pathak joined of varying size and capacity the Liberation depending on the number of Scavenger’s cell, a of users. The capacity organisation which is meant of each pit is normally to rehabilitate men and designed for 3 years’ women who have been a usage. Both pits are used victim of severe caste-based alternately. When one pit discrimination. He worked is full, the incoming excreta with them via the Gandhi is diverted into the second Siddhant Barua Centenary Celebration pit. Committee in 1968 where he In about two years, the was tasked with an alternative sludge gets digested and is to Scavenging. almost dry and pathogen free, thus safe Dr Pathak modified and also for handling as manure. Digested sludge is developed the technology of two-pit pour odourless and is a good manure and soilflush toilet system (commonly known as conditioner. It can be dug out easily and Sulabh Shauchalaya). He was successful used for agricultural purposes. The cost in demonstrating his technology to the of emptying the pit can be met partially World Bank, which has accepted this from the cost of manure made available. toilet as an alternative to counter openSulabh toilet can also be constructed defecation and unhygienic and unsafe on the upper floors of buildings. It has systems for human waste disposlal like a high potential for upgradation, and trench and borehole latrines. This model can later be easily connected to sewers has not only been used when introduced in the in India but also in other area. Sulabh has by far developing countries all constructed more than a around the globe. million of such toilets in By the time Dr. Pathak many households all over could have implemented the country. this model, the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Sulabh Schools Celebration Committee Sulabh also provides was dissolved by the education till grade 10. government. That same They offer free education year he founded his own to Balmiki students who NGO Sulabh International come from families who Social Service Organisation, to carry are not able to afford it. It also provides out the libration of scavengers, laying mid-day meal and they offer all classes in founding stones of Sulabh Sanitation English so that the students can be socially Movement in 1970. accepted and can find employment in Dr. Pathak soon started a country wide good places. Their school library also movement with around 50,000 Sulabh offers books in English as well as hindi volunteers. They work from the mountain and as more than 4,000 books in their tops of Vaishno Devi to deep down South collection. and from the farthest corners of Gujarat They also offer vocational courses in in West to the farthest corners of the East Sewing, typing, stenography, beautician and North East. training, fashion designing, emboidary The Sulabh toilet is eco-friendly, courses and electrician courses. Many technically appropriate and socio- students have been benifited and many of culturally acceptable and is affordable in them have opened their own shops, parlors rural areas as these toilets can be made and they have also won a international by using affordable materials .It provides awards for their dresses which were made health benefits by safe disposal of human by one of their students. excreta on-site . It consists of a pan with They also have a Sanitation Club a steep slope of 25°-28° and an especially which is managed by both school designed trap with 20 mm waterseal students and college students. There they requiring only 1 to 1.5 litres of water for make sanitary napkins and menstruation flushing, thus helping conserve water. napkins. They also offer classes for It does not need scavengers to clean multimedia and graphic design.

In about two years, the sludge gets digested and is almost dry and pathogen free


08 Ecosystem

July 10 - 16, 2017

conservation amur falcons

Amur: Saving The Emirs of Falcons Will Amur Falcons be left to perish in their remarkable 22,000 kilometre flight across the globe to find food and survival? Quick Glance

raj kashyap

T

he Wokha district of Nagaland is known for Amur falcons (Falco amurensis) in India. It is in these hidden hills of the Northeast that these migratory birds fly to on their 15,000-mile route from the Amur region of Russia, China and Mongolia all the way to southern Africa. They descend in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, to roost by the vast Doyang Hydroelectric Reservoir and its surrounding jhummed lands. It is supposed that the falcons cross the Arabian Sea during their migration, but much is still unknown about the patterns of their estimated 22,000 km migration. Because of the long journey, stopover sites are important for Amur Falcons to maintain stamina. In 2012 an estimated 120,000 to 140,000 birds were trapped in nets and killed while passing through a remote part of the Nagaland region. This prompted a swift response for conservation which used patrols and education initiatives for villagers as a means to halt trapping. In 2012, over a hundred thousand falcons were reportedly trapped and killed in the district, mainly by locals residing in the villages of Pangti, Asha and Sungro located on the fringes of the Doyang Reservoir. Subsequently, a conservation partnership between Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), local Village Council Members (VCMs), the Amur Falcon Roosting Area Union (AFRAU), the Nagaland Forest Department and the Stop Poaching Fund engineered a remarkable change. A number of Rapid Action Projects (RAPs) were initiated by WTI’s Wild Aid division which was focused on improving the livelihoods of local communities and sensitising them towards the ecological and economic benefits of protecting Amur falcons. As a result, stringent penalties were imposed against falcon hunting in the area and the local communitie. Now, as the Amur falcons swoop down to roost in Wokha every October, they find a far more hospitable environment. The Doyang Reservoir is one of the safest places in India for the raptors and has recently been

They descend in the hundreds of thousands to roost by the vast Doyang Hydroelectric Reservoir In 2012, over a hundred thousand falcons were reportedly trapped and killed in Nagaland The Doyang Reservoir is one of the safest places in India for the raptors

In order to ensure the long-term conservation of

Amur falcons, it was essential that the momentum established should not be allowed to flag nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With zero mortality due to hunting in the last three years, the Amur falcons, once destined for local cooking pots, are proclaimed the ‘Pride of Nagaland’. Pangti village, indeed, proudly declares itself the ‘Amur Falcon Capital’ of India! Use of satellite technology for tracking Amur falcon from Nagaland was initiated during 2013. At Doyang , 30 Amurs were finally trapped using mist nets on the night of November 6,

2013. Three of them in good feather condition were selected for the satellite tagging. One male was named Naga in short for Nagaland; one female was named Wokha after the name of the district and a second female was named Pangti after the village located in Wokha district and in recognition of the efforts made by its people to protect these falcons. The birds were fitted with the state-of-the-art 5 gram SolarPowered PTT (Microwave Telemetry Inc.), like a backpack using a specially

made teflon harness, and released in the morning of November 7. All the birds were ringed with a metal ring on the left leg and a colour-coded plastic ring on the right. The movements of all the three were tracked for a long time revealing interesting facts about their migratory behaviour. In order to ensure the long-term conservation of Amur falcons, it was essential that the momentum established should not be allowed to flag. A series of consultative meetings were organized and based on these discussions it was found that the Doyang reservoir and its fringe villages had begun to attract nature lovers from across the world during the Amur falcon migration season from October to November, and for the Hornbill Festival held in December. However, though the potential for eco-tourism as an annual source of revenue for local communities was huge, the Amur falcon roosting sites were all found lacking in basic tourist infrastructure. To address this lacuna, WTI took up the mantle of constructing a guest house that could be used as an ecotourism resource in the area nodal villages. The building’s blueprint was finalised in consultation with the VCMs and an attempt was made to incorporate elements of the local Lotha architecture in the design. On June 25, the guest house was formally handed over to the Pangti VCM Chairman Jenithung N Shitiri in the presence of gaon buras (village elders) from all three villages. In addition to housing visitors, the guest house will have prominently displayed collaterals providing vital information about the history of Doyang, Amur


July 10 - 16, 2017

music motor skills

U

sing musical cues to learn a physical task positively impacts parts of the brain that process sound and control movement, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Brain & Cognition, may have implications for future research into rehabilitation for patients who have lost some degree of movement control. “The study suggests that music makes a key difference. We have long known that music encourages people to move. This study provides

the first experimental evidence that adding musical cues to learning new motor task can lead to changes in white matter structure in the brain,” said lead researcher Katie Overy from University of Edinburgh in Britain. For the study, a small group of volunteers were divided into two groups and charged with learning a new task involving sequences of finger movements with the nondominant, left hand. Researchers hope that future study with larger numbers of participants will examine whether music can help with special kinds of motor rehabilitation programmes, such as after a stroke.

bulgaria asian festival

W

ith the aim of showing culture and history unknown to many Bulgarian citizens, the first Asian festival was organised in Bulgaria last week. The festival was organised jointly by the embassies of China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan with the support of Bulgarian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Sofia Municipality, Xinhua reported.

Gene that causes depression identified IANS

U

S researchers have identified a gene that plays a key role in depression by either amplifying or reducing stress, depending on its level of activity – an advance that may pave the way for treating mental health disorder. Globally, depression affects over 300 million people annually. Nearly 800,000 die in suicides every year – it is the secondleading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 to 29, the study said. The findings revealed that the gene, known as Slc6a15, is found in both animals and humans. By simply altering the levels of this gene in the brain, depression could be triggered in mice, or can make the mice more resilient. “The study highlights how levels of this gene in these neurons affects mood,” said Mary Kay Lobo, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, US. “It suggests that people with altered levels of this gene in certain brain regions may have a much higher risk for depression and other emotional disorders related to stress,” Lobo

added. In the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers focused on a subset of neurons in the nucleus accumbens called D2 neurons, which plays a central role in the reward circuit. Conversely, when Slc6a15 levels in D2 neurons was enhanced, the mice showed a resilient response to stress. In humans, with a history of major depression and people with depression who committed suicide, the gene was found reduced in the nucleus accumbens of these brains, indicating that the link between gene and behaviour extends from mice to humans. Thus, the research could eventually lead to targeted therapies focused on Slc6a15 as a new way to treat depression, Lobo added.

pollution palghar

First Asian festival held in Bulgaria IANS

09

gene depression

music can change brain structure IANS

Broadcast

During the 10-hour event, held under the slogan “Asia Close-up,” the audience enjoyed culinary, as well as musical and dance performances. The host embassies provided calligraphy and arts workshops as well as children’s games. Calling it a great feast that shows the magic of Asia, Bulgaria’s Vice President Iliyana Yotova opened the event. She said the festival demonstrated the diversity and uniqueness of each of the 12 countries and regions and also the spirit of each of them. On behalf of the participating countries and regions, Sri Astari Rasjid, the Indonesian Ambassador to Bulgaria, said the Asian festival was to introduce the rich Asian culture to Bulgaria, and hopefully open new trade opportunities.

Reinforcing polluting factories anand bharti

P

alghar District Administration has started reining polluting factories. Neighbouring suburbs Vasai, Virar, Nalasopara of Mumbai have also been included. Palghar is tribal dominated area, where amenities are scarce. But after the formation of the new district, there has been a speed up in development work. In the matters of industry, it has become the fastest developing district. It is next to Gujarat and Daman. But because of factories and the environmental crisis, it has also created problems for the common people. The National Green Tribunal has suggested that the district administration should take action on chemical factories and polluting factories. District Officer Prashant Naranwar has formed a committee to conduct an inquiry and

asked it to assess the actual situation and speak to the factory workers. This committee included the chief of Vasai Industrial Security and Health Director, Labor Deputy Commissioner, Pollution Control Board and the Principals of two colleges. The committee is negotiating with Boisar MIDC, Wada Industrial, Palghar Pidco, Thalassi Industrial Area, Vasai Industrial Area, and other workers, engineers and technical staff. Action will be taken against those factories which have not followed the given orders. Meanwhile, action against two companies of Palghar has also given a strong signal. A few days ago, the pollution regulatory body had ordered the closure of some factories present in Boisar MIDC premises as responsible for pollution. It is expected that the owners of the factories will be bound to immediately install a pollution control plant. This will curb the diseases caused by pollution.


10 Good News

July 10 - 16, 2017

good news in brief

cellphone innovation

cellphone without batteries The phone draws it energy from ambient radio signals or light IANS

van mahotsav

The MoEF&CC is drawing up a comprehensive plan of doables PTI

U

nion Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that the Ministry has taken a decision that all the work related to environment protection must be taken up as a movement all over the country. Leading a plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav celebrations here last week, the Environment Minister told the gathering that the Ministry is preparing a databank of doables - that all the people, from children to senior citizens can take up on their own. He also said that the databank will be presented before the people to enhance awareness and also to educate people on environment-related issues and create an environmentally sensitive society. “Unfortunately, we did not pay much attention to whatever our ancestors had told us. That is why today the threats of climate change and global warming have arisen”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out. Reiterating that environment protection is in our DNA, the Minister said that there is a tradition of feeding the ants and birds in our country and thus, protection of flora and fauna is inherent in our culture. The Environment Minister pointed out that our ancestors had handed over a pure environment as a heritage and had given some principles of living, with the help of which environment can be protected properly. 0Addressing the gathering, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I am glad that different organisations have participated in the plantation drive today and these organisations will develop environment protection as a new movement in their respective areas. The plantation drive is a token programme. In the days to come, we are drawing up several programmes that will make our environment pollution-free”.

I

n a major leap ahead to life beyond chargers, cords and dying phones, researchers, including one of Indianorigin, have invented a cellphone that works without batteries. Instead, the phone harvests the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light. The team also made Skype calls using its battery-free phone, demonstrating that the prototype made of commercial, off-the-shelf components can receive and transmit speech and communicate with a base station, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies. “We’ve built what we believe is the first functioning cellphone that consumes almost zero power,” said study co-author Shyam Gollakota, Associate Professor at the University of Washington. “To achieve the really, really low power consumption that you need to run a phone by harvesting energy from the environment, we had to fundamentally rethink how these devices are designed,” Gollakota added. The researchers explained that the

welfare

battery-free cellphone takes advantage of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker that occur when a person is talking into a phone or listening to a call. An antenna connected to those components converts that motion into changes in standard analog radio signal emitted by a cellular base station. This process essentially encodes speech patterns in reflected radio signals in a way that uses almost no power.

anganwadi

Delhi workers to get salary hike soon

The government has assured the anganwadi workers of a salary hike and the latter have decided to call off their the week-long strike

D

elhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed officials to increase anganwadi workers’ honorarium, after meeting their representatives here last week. After the meeting, the Dilli Anganwadi Workers-Helpers Association assured him that they will call off the ongoing agitation. The workers’ demands also included clubbing of Anganwadis so that they can be housed in more spacious locations, involving socially active citizens with Anganwadis, and improving menu and

Quick Glance Researchers believe that they have developed a ‘zero’ power phone That means that the phone needs to harvest ambient energy It takes advantage of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker

To transmit speech, the phone uses vibrations from the device’s microphone to encode speech patterns in the reflected signals. To receive speech, it converts encoded radio signals into sound vibrations that that are picked up by the phone’s speaker. The team designed a custom base station to transmit and receive the radio signals. In the prototype device, the user presses a button to switch between these two “transmitting” and “listening” modes. Using off-the-shelf components on a printed circuit board, the team demonstrated that the prototype can perform basic phone functions -transmitting speech and data and receiving user input via buttons. Using Skype, researchers were able to receive incoming calls, dial out and place callers on hold with the battery-free phone, the study said. “The cellphone is the device we depend on most today. So if there were one device you’d want to be able to use without batteries, it is the cellphone,” said Joshua Smith, Professor at University of Washington. “The proof of concept we’ve developed is exciting today, and we think it could impact everyday devices in the future,” Smith added.

Quick Glance The government has increased the salaries of anganwadi workers The workers have demanded relocation to find more space Decision on their demands will soon be taken, assures government

quality of food at Anganwadis. They also requested the Deputy Chief Minister to allot additional work to them, like polio drops campaign, in a manner that does not create inconvenience to the workers. “All demands have been considered and the Deputy Chief Minister has asked officials to prepare a plan to meet the demands,” a Delhi government official told IANS. The official added that the decision on the demands will soon be passed by the Cabinet.


Good News

July 10 - 16, 2017

indian railways new technology

10 stations for smart redevelopment Redevelopment of railways stations enhances the smartness of the cities by addressing congestion and sanitation

Quick Glance

good news in brief

The stations will be redeveloped on the self-financing basis Redevelopment of stations enhances smartness of cities, says Prabhu Project completion date will be three years from getting possession

surgery

IANS

First robotic kidney transplant

T

en railway stations have been identified to roll out redevelopment of stations on self-financing basis through land monetisation in synergy with the Smart City Mission of the Ministry of Urban Development. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was today signed for smart redevelopment of Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Tirupati, Nellore, Ernakulam, Puducherry, Madgaon and Thane New Station. Rail Land Development Authority(RLDA) and NBCC singed the MoU in the presence of Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu. Speaking on the occasion, Naidu said redevelopment of railway stations further enhances the smartness of cities by addressing congestion and sanitation at stations which are visited by a large number of people. He said the Prime Minister desired both the ministries to work in tandem to enhance the smartness of cities. Prabhu noted that smart redevelopment of stations would substantially enhance the passenger experience. He asked Railway Board and

education

The marvel of the surgery is that it allows greater precision over vascular anastomosis IANS

S

NBCC to start working on identifying further 25 stations for redevelopment. MD of NBCC AK Mittal assured the two ministers that at least five stations would be redeveloped by 2019. As per the MoU, a Special Purpose Vehicle will be formed at the national level as a Joint Venture between RLDA and NBCC on 50:50 share holding basis. The SPV in turn will enter into City Support Agreements with respective cities. The redevelopment of stations and commercial development on Railway land will be done in alignment with the Smart City Plans of respective cities. RLDA will lease out the land to the SPV at a nominal token cost for

development for a fixed lease period of up to 45 years and NBCC will execute the project work on behalf of the SPV as Project Management Consultant. Earnings from the commercial development of land parcels at stations will be utilized to redevelop the stations for creating better passenger amenities and necessary infrastructure and the surplus earnings will go to RLDA which would in turn would be remitted to Zonal railways. Project completion period will be three years from the date of availability of encumbrances free site or award of works to construction agency, whichever is later.

saudi aid

Saudi-based NRI to help talented students The main objective is to give the students employable education through rigorous training in valuable skills IANS

A

Saudi Arabia-based NRI has joined hands with Super 30, a free coaching centre which helps children from poor families reach the prestigious IIT engineering institutes, to help talented youth from the minority community prepare for the IIT and other technical education courses. Obaidur Rahman, a businessman who is also chairman of the Bihar

11

Foundation in Saudi Arabia, has formed an organisation called Rahman 30, which will select 30 talented students from the minority community through screening tests. These students will be provided free coaching by Super 30 founder director Anand Kumar. “The main objective is to give the students employable education through rigorous training. This is what is lacking for the minorities. They don’t get quality technical and job-oriented education, as they find it hard to reach

that level due to their poor financial condition,” said Rahman, citing various studies. The initiative of Rahman and Super 30 will help provide opportunity to talented students from the minority community to move ahead in life, say experts. According to a 2014-15 survey by the Human Resource Development Ministry, minorities continue to be at the bottom among all social groups when it comes to higher education, with just 4.4 per cent enrolment. The dropout rate among Muslims is also very high at 17.6 per cent.

ir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre performed the first robotic kidney transplant surgery on a man suffering from renal failure. Leena, 55, the wife of patient CN Murlidharan, donated one of her kidneys to enable him to live a normal life. The 59-year-old, who was on dialysis for the past 18 months, is now on the path of recovery after the surgery last weekend. Murlidharan was initially reluctant but agreed after the medicos persuaded him. The team of medicos was led by Head of Urology and Robotics Inderbir Gill, who is also Professor and Chair, USC Institute of Urology at the University of Southern California. “The family was apprised about the latest robotic technology, its benefits, lesser risk of post-operative infections, lesser pain, minimal blood loss and a faster return to normalcy,” said Gill. “Moreover, it enables greater precision over vascular anastomosis owing to higher magnification and finer scaled movements of the robotic instruments,” he added. After the first such successful surgery in Maharashtra, both the patient and the donor are doing well, said Gill, adding Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre now aims to become the primary destination for robotic kidney transplants not only in Mumbai but the entire country. The surgery team included consultant urologist PP Rao, consultant nephrologists Bharat Shah and Shruti Tapiawala. The da Vinci robot was used through keyhole incisions to anastomose the graft kidney vessels to the patient’s blood vessels using microvascular instruments and sutures.


12 Sanitation

July 10 - 16, 2017

news in brief

mcd ODF

ODF Just A Month Away: MCD

South & East Delhi Municipal Corporations are in the final phase of making their wards open defecation free Quick Glance Toilets to be accessible by 75% of residential areas for ODF

data driven

QUANTIFY ODF DEVELOPMENT: CENTRE

92 of 104 wards in South Delhi open defecation free, claims SDMC 40 out of 64 wards ODF, awaiting sanctions from state government

Government’s data ware houses say coverage missing on 25% villages that are declared odf SSB Bureau

I

n one-fourth of nearly two lakh villages, which have been declared open defecation free (ODF), all houses don’t have toilets, according to the integrated data that Centre maintains. Finding this difference, the drinking water and sanitation ministry has asked states to update the data in the system so that there is no mismatch. Villages can become open defecation free only when each household has individual latrine. In a recent communication to states, the sanitation ministry has said that 33% of the total 6,05,828 villages have been declared as ODF. “Out of the 2,00,959 villages, 52,593 villages do not have 100% coverage reflecting on the IMIS (Integrated Management Information System)...you are requested to instruct district officials to ensure entries of 100% coverage in ODF villages in IMIS,” the ministry’s letter said. The states have been asked to complete this work before this month end. IMIS allows any management team undertaking a particular task to create one system for effective and efficient delivery of the objective. The detailed statement, which the ministry has shared with the state governments based on the IMIS data, mentions that nearly 41 lakh households in the 52,593 identified villages don’t have individual latrines.

T

ssb bureau

he National Capital has to wait for yet another month as civic bodies are likely to declare that Open Defecation Free project is in a slow lane. As per norms set by Swachh Bharat Mission, any urban local body can declare it’s wards open defecation free (ODF) only if it succeeds in providing public conveniences to 75 per cent of its residential areas and Toilets should be provisioned within 500 metres of slum settlements. Slow work in slums of South and East Delhi has caused this delay. Assuming that these norms would be fulfilled, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation in May made its preliminary resolution public and declared 92 of 104 wards open defecation-free. The agency had invited feedback and objections from residents but none have responded so far. To ensure that

there is a holistic implementation of ODF project, areas that belong to other agencies such as Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and Railways will also be covered since these areas also come under MCD’s administration. A senior official, EDMC said “We asked the agencies to either construct the toilet complexes in slums and jhuggi clusters or provide us land to construct them,”

SDMC & EDMC are a month away from the finish line for implementing Open Defecation Free

Independent agencies of South MCD administered wards, during their meetings have pointed out that people living in slums, especially ones living near the railway line, are still defecating in the open. MCD will have to address this red flag in its efforts to provide defecation for all. South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) officials said that they were confident of filling the loopholes in project in a month post which they will share their resolution of “Open Defecation Free” with the state government. As a part of declaration procedure, third party verification is conducted to measure the project implementation on the basis of relevant parameters. East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) too, is trying to compensate the slack by setting up a process for ODF implementation for its 64 wards. This is an administrative delay as there seems to be some vacuum of documents that are required to initiate the work “We submitted details to the Delhi Government for 40 wards but due to shortage of documents, the sanctioning of ‘ODF’ status was put on hold. We need NOC from school students, RWAs, councillors and residents to confirm there are enough community toilets complexes,” said a senior official, EDMC.


July 10 - 16, 2017

tamil nadu toilets

Toilets for 24.69 lakh TN houses More than Rs 10,000 crore sanctioned towards constructing 24.69 lakh toilets in TN Houses SSB Bureau

C

hief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami made a slew of announcements under Rule 110 of the Assembly for the rural development and municipal administration departments last week, including construction of 24.69 lakh individual household toilets at an estimated cost of Rs 3,178 crore and provision of Rs 7,000 crore as loans to women self-help groups (SHG). Stating that 3,500 km stretch of rural roads in Tamil Nadu would be upgraded at an expenditure of Rs 800 crore during the current financial year, the chief minister added that under the second phase of Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Scheme, 25 overbridges and 2,659 km length of rural roads would be upgraded at a cost of Rs 1,254 crore.As many as 1,000 buildings would be constructed for self-help federations in rural areas at a total cost of Rs 600 crore. Under the Total Sanitation Project and Swachh Bharat Mission, 26.49 lakh individual household toilets would be constructed during the current year at a cost of Rs 3,178 crore. With a view to improve the implementation of the solid waste management scheme in all village panchayats and to modernise the removal of waste, Rs 500 crore would be allotted to buy dustbins

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami

CM Palaniswami has

announced Rs 3,178 crore for constructing 24.69 lakh individual household toilets (Rs 200 crore), battery operated handcarts (Rs 200 crore) and tricycles/handcarts (Rs 100 crore) for corporations, municipalities and town panchayats, village panchayats and

Quick Glance

A

round 1,100 towns and cities in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala and Telangana are set to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, the day the Centre launched the ambitious ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’

in 2014. With Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Chandigarh having declared their 281 cities and towns as ODF, a total of 1,418 towns and cities would become open defecation free by this October. Chandigarh is the only Union territory to have become ODF. These nine states and the UT account for 39 per cent of the total 4,041 cities

sanitation success

Allied projects such as waste management also sanctioned along with Total Sanitation Project Rs 343.69 crore to be sanctioned for underground sewerage that would benefit 2.62 lakh people in the area

village panchayats located near hilly areas. Recalling that during the past six years, Rs 32,848 crore had been sanctioned as loans to the members of women SHGs in the State, the chief minister said Rs 7,000 crore would be provided as loan to these groups during the current year. A new underground sewerage project would be implemented in Sathuvachari, Alamelmangapuram and Gunavattam that had been merged with Vellore Corporation at an expenditure of Rs 343.69 crore under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. This would benefit 2.62 lakh people in the area. Similarly, an underground sewerage project would be implemented in Kurichi and Kuniyamuthur areas merged with Coimbatore municipality at a cost of Rs 442 crore. This would benefit 2.58 lakh persons. Similar projects would be implemented in Ponmalai and Abhisekhapuram in Tiruchy (Rs 325 crore), and in areas merged with Tirunelveli Corporation (Rs 326 crore). Palaniswami also said following the successful renovation of Adyar estuary and nearby areas at a cost of Rs 358 crore, the 42 km stretch between the beginning of Adyar river and estuary would be renovated at an expenditure of Rs 555.46 crore.

1,100 towns to go ODF by October 2nd SSB Bureau

13

The announcements are targeted to improvise rural development and municipal administration

Swachh Bharat Mission ODF

The drive to become ODF picks up speed in nine states that constitute 39% of total cities under the Swachh Bharat Mission

Sanitation

under the campaign. The information was provided during the review meeting of the progress of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) by Urban Development Secretary D S Mishra yesterday. Mishra asked the officials concerned to pursue with the states/ UTs lagging behind like Goa, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states for speeding up construction of toilets which is necessary for the ODF status, an official release said.

odf glory

Six states looking for ODF glory

Statistics show the overall mission target is to build 65 lakh individual household toilets for India’s urban areas SSB Bureau

T

he Swachh Bharat Mission has truly caught the people’s imagination and there seems to be a rush among the states to get themselves declared Open Defecation Free before October 2 this year. Among the six states fully poised to capture the podium are Kerala, Telangana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, four of them under the Bharatiya Janata Party. A review undertaken by secretary, urban development, DS Mishra, on Monday revealed that by Gandhi Jayanti, 1,559 cities and towns — about 40% — would be ODF. In terms of achievement of actual targets, India would achieve the halfway mark with just the eight states and one union territory going ODF. Urban development ministry statistics show the overall mission target is to build 65 lakh individual household toilets for India’s urban areas to be completely ODF. With the six states, besides Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh, going ODF, the target of 32 lakh toilets would be achieved – which is 50 per cent of the target. Even as the six states have delivered good news, the mission has remained a non-starter in 10 states, including six north-eastern states.


14 Gender

July 10 - 16, 2017

Sports Prize Money

Sania fights valiantly for parity A recent tirade from one of tennis’ best players in recent times saying men deserve higher money is being challenged by the Indian icon

IANS

D

ecades after Martina Navratilova fought, and won, the right for women to prize money equal to men’s in the Winbledons, India’s Sania Mirza is fighting a valiant battle against fabulous male players like Novack Djokovic, who, along with some other misogynist temmis bosses, have recently again raised the demand that men should be getting more prize money than women. In fact, he has been supported by one of the sport’s top administrators, Raymond Moore, CEO of Indian Wells, who has said women tennis players should go down on their kneews that the men players kept the game alive. And though Moore later apologized, Djokovic has continued his tirade. Decrying the widespread gender discrimination in society at large, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza rued the fact that the world of sports is also not immune from the malaise and she has to fight for equal prize money despite being a former World No. 1 in women’s doubles. “Gender violence doesn’t lie in extremities. Rather it happens everywhere in the world. At the World Tennis Association (WTA), we have to fight for equal prize money even today. When I won Wimbledon in 2015 and came back to India, I was asked when I was planning to have kids and settle down since I had been married for five years,” Sania said in a statement last week. “I wasn’t considered settled or complete in my life after being a World

greater noida policing

Woman helpline, rescue vehicle start New study conducted by UN suggests that if all adults finished secondary education,

Champion. That was the most extreme form of discrimination for me,” she added.Sharing her journey and her parents support, Sania said, “I was never told by my parents that I might not be able to do something because I’m a girl and that I won’t be able to follow my dreams.” Sania and her father Imran Mirza have released a video in a bid to increase public awareness about the subject. The video is a joint initiative by Population Foundation Of India (PFI)

and noted director Farhan Akhtar’s initiative MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination), as part of their campaign to end violence against women and girls titled ‘Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya Enough is Enough!’. “My wife and I have never felt the pressure or need to have a son in the 30 years of our marriage. The thought that our daughters were anything less or we should have had a son instead never crossed our minds,” Sania’s father said

“Gender-based violence is an evil rooted at a much

deeper level in our psyche than we think. It is beyond us being men and women” IANS

A

helpline was inaugurated and a rescue vehicle meant for victims of crimes against women was flagged off by the district magistrate here today. Women in distress can get medical facilities, legal, and police help by dialling the number 181 and the rescue van willreach to their assistance.Last month, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had launched the Women Helpline and flagged off 64 rescue vansof which one vehicle was for Gautam Buddha Nagar district. Addressing the gathering at the event, district magistrate BN Singh asked women to dial the number 181 in case of any problem and the rescue van would arrive to their assistance.

Diet Pregnancy

Avoid highfat diet

This is best avoided to stop the risk of breast cancer IANS

H

igh-fat diet in pregnancy may increase the risk of breast cancer over generations, a new study has revealed. Feeding pregnant female mice

Quick Glance Decades ago, Martina Navratilova fought against prize money discrimination against women Now stars like Novack Djokovic are starting the entire debate again by saying men deserve higher prizes Sania Mirza is now at the forefront of this discrimination against women and says it is visceral

in the video which has been directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. Farhan said the lack of understanding of the concept of equality in society leads to gender discrimination. “Gender-based violence is an evil rooted at a much deeper level in our psyche than we think. It is beyond us being men and women. Our inability to understand the concept of equality irrespective of one’s gender leads to such kind of discriminations,” he said. “It’s high time that we take up the responsibility to bring about a change so that our daughters get to live in a better society tomorrow.” Many celebrities have joined this campaign to relay messages that motivate young girls to stand up against violence, and show boys that masculinity is not connected with violence. Apart from the films, there will be several activities including panel discussions, a film-making contest, and a series of films about violence against women. The campaign will culminate in a concert in Mumbai.Gender. a diet high in fat derived from common corn oil resulted in genetic changes that substantially increased the susceptibility of breast cancer in three generations of female offspring, according to the study in the journal Breast Cancer Research. “It is believed that environmental and life-style factors play a critical role in increasing human breast cancer risk, and so we use animal models to reveal the biological mechanisms responsible for the increase in risk in women and their female progeny,” senior author Leena Hilakivi-Clarkesaid. The new study revealed a number of genetic changes in the first and third female generations of mice that were fed high-fat diets during pregnancy.


July 10 - 16, 2017

Gender

15

Motherhood Artificial Conceptions

IVF babies have same cognitive skills: Study The latest study debunks earlier held ideas that children born out of artificial means may be cognitive deficient. In fact, often it could be the other way round

Quick Glance

IANS

T

his is going to be of some comfort to women whose husbands have not been able to give them children and want them to go for artificial methods. So long, the held concept, unconfirmed by scientific studies, was that babies coming through the IVF or ART routes may be dumbos compared to naturally conceived children. The latest study thus comes as a serious relief to them. Babies conceived from artificial methods such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) have the same cognitive skills as the babies conceived naturally, revealed a study on Tuesday, contradicting earlier theories that babies born from artificial methods have intellectual impairment. The new study conducted by city-based Indira IVF also states that in many cases babies born through IVF are more brainy and smart. The study states that according to the earlier theories, due to the variations in Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and IVF, the procedures were

Babies conceived from artificial methods have the same cognitive skills as ‘normal’ babies The new study also states that in many cases babies born through IVF are more brainy and smart Due to the advancement of IVF a wider range of infertility problems have been resolved

According to the study, IVF is also more advisable for young women who have fertility issues as the quality of eggs is better

linked to increased risk of prematurity and higher twin rates.”However, due to the advancement in technology such defects have reduced to a great extent,” said the study. “Over time, the technology has improved significantly and even multiple pregnancies have reduced drastically. Multiple pregnancies can at times carry

associated risks like premature delivery and thus low birth weight leading to further developmental problems. But, with advanced techniques, now chances of singletons are more thus, a child gets better nutrition and is born with healthier birth weight,” said Sagarika Aggarwal, an IVF expert with Indira IVF Hospital, and part of the study

Quick Glance

Cancer Pregnancy

Survivors 38% less likely to conceive

The findings speak on the need for better access to fertility preservation in girls and young women This analysis provides evidence of the effect of cancer and its treatment on subsequent pregnancy

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments for cancers are known to affect fertility as some can cause damage to the ovary, uterus and potentially affect brain centres IANS

W

omen who survived cancer were 38 per cent less likely to become pregnant as compared to their healthy counterparts, says a new study. The research findings also emphasised on the need for better access to fertility preservation in girls and young women.The detrimental effect on fertility was evident in almost all types of cancer diagnosed, the

conducting team. The study also stated that due to the advancement of IVF a wider range of infertility problems have been resolved. “In the study it has been clearly found that in early years the IVF-conceived children actually scored higher on the tests.”According to the study, IVF is also more advisable for young women who have fertility issues as the quality of eggs is better which ensures a healthy child than a procedure done on an older woman.Ever since the birth of the first IVF child Louise Brown in England approximately 40 years ago, an estimated 5 million children have been born worldwide through IVF and other related ART procedures.

study showed.The findings showed that for women who had not been pregnant before their cancer diagnosis, 20.6 per cent of the cancer survivors achieved a first pregnancy after diagnosis, compared with 38.7 per cent in the control group. Thus, women with cancer were about half as likely to achieve a first pregnancy. “This analysis provides evidence of the effect of cancer and its treatment on subsequent pregnancy across the full reproductive age range,”

Fertility preservation ahead of treatment has an increasing role to play in fertility clinics

said Richard Anderson, Professor at the University of Edinburgh. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments for cancers – are known to affect fertility as some can cause damage to the ovary, uterus and potentially affect those brain centres which control the reproductive axis. The results were presented at the Annual Meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Geneva. For the study, the team included 23,201 female

cancer survivors in girls and women aged 39 or under. With rates of cancer survival increasing in both young male and females, fertility preservation ahead of treatment has an increasing role to play in fertility clinics, the researchers suggested. “The major impact on pregnancy after some common cancers highlights the need for enhanced strategies to preserve fertility in girls and young women,” Anderson noted.


16

July 10 - 16, 2017

Many of life’s “ failures are people who

did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” Thomas Edison

sharad gupta A journalist with 30 years experience of working with various publications

VIEWPOINT

Be Safe On Roads, Make Others Feel Safer As the UN launched its Road Safety Decade, let’s learn lessons from the countries having the safest roads

sports women

Our Gender Benders

Women in India are going great guns, unlike in the past

T

here is great news on the gender front from our sports persons. And if the country is genuinely sports loving, instead of cricket-obsessed, male-icon fanatics, we should feel elated. In a way, though, we somewhat stay with cricket, as the Indian women’s cricket team smashed the rival Pakistan team in what seemed like a cakewalk. Now, there is a danger of the old jingoism creeping in about beating Pakistan. We are not interested, as it is not the question about beating Pakistan or any other country. It is just that the Indian Ladies in Blue have clearly announced to the world that India’s women’s cricket has arrived, no matter whether they lift the trophy or not. They surely will, some day. Then we have former power lifter Kavita Devi, the Indian “Lady Khali”, all set to rough it out in one of the most daunting of sport of recent times: she will be the first Indian woman to appear in the World Wrestling Entertainment. Like Aamir Khan’s film Dangal wrestlers, Kavita also hails from a hugely gender tilted state, Haryana, hence this is all the more reason to celebrate. And now there is also our world bodybuilding champ Bhumika Sharma from small-town Dehradun, who has left behind 50 other tough ladies at the world championships. This not just calls for celebrations for sports and for sports lovers, but also for the true gender warriors in the country.

Editor-in-Chief

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: editor@sulabhswachhbharat.com, ssbweekly@gmail.com

T

he United Nations on July 5, launched its “decade for action” on road safety as the menace has been consuming 13 lakh lives across the world each year. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road traffic accidents kill more people around the world than malaria, and are the leading cause of death for young people aged five to 29 – especially in developing countries. Each year up to 50 million people are injured in traffic accidents, globally. Road traffic crashes are a public health and development crisis. Every day, road traffic crashes claim nearly 3,500 lives and injure thousands more. What is more worrying is the fact that Indian roads accounts for maximum deaths in the world. India lost 1.46 lakh people in 2016 alone. China with a competing population and vehicular density was slightly behind at 96,611 deaths in 2016. While the figures for the United Kingdom was 3296 and for United States of America it was 42,642. Road accidents are the ninth leading cause of death globally. However, this does not have to be an inevitable reality, with many countries proving that even with surging levels of motorisation, roads can be made safer. From completely redesigning roads to introducing zones for pedestrians, here are a few of these countries that have, through government-lead policy and research intervention, successfully managed to significantly reduce their road accident-related death and injury figures.

Sweden adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ policy based on the idea that no loss of life was acceptable

life loss unacceptable With the safest roads in the world, Sweden is the perfect example of a holistic approach to road safety done right. In 1997, Sweden adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ policy based on the idea that “no loss of life was acceptable” and that rather than trying to alter human behavior, the focus should be on designing a better system of roads and other

inf rastr ucture, v e h i c l e technology and enforcement. Today, the country has lowspeed limits, pedestrian zones, and segregated vehicular traffic. One of the most successful safety measures, according to authorities, is the ‘2+1’ roads. These are 3-lane roads that have two lanes dedicated to vehicles moving in one direction and one for those heading in the other and these are altered every few kilometers. This prevents overspeeding and

overtaking. The authorities are also betting big on selfdriving cars to bring down accident rates. In 2017, the Swedish Transport Ministry will be running a pilot program of autonomous cars in partnership with Volvo. In 2015, Sweden had a reported road accident death rate of 2.8 per 1,00,000. When the Vision Zero was launched, this figure was 7 per 1,00,000. Use Technology Apart from strictly enforcing speed limits and other road regulations (coupled with steep fines and punishments for offenders), Singapore deploys a lot of technology to keep drivers safe including ‘advanced warning lights’ that inform drivers about upcoming traffic lights and ‘Your Speed Signs’ that are live electronic signs which calculate and display the real-time speeds of vehicles. Recently, Singapore has been making a push to improve pedestrian safety, particularly for children and the elderly. ‘Silver zones’ with lower speed limits, narrower lanes, and dividers between lanes to decrease the length to be walked at one stretch and allow senior citizens to rest in the middle of the crossing are being introduced in residential areas. According to the government’s Annual Road Traffic Situation 2015 report, the number of


July 10 - 16, 2017

Singapore has Silver

Zones with lower speed limits, and dividers between lanes to decrease the length to be walked casualties has been on a gradual, but steady, decline. In 2015, Singapore had 149 fatal accidents, significantly down from 1998’s 975. Safest Roads In spite of being a country with predominantly mountainous terrain and a severe winter that can often hinder driving, Switzerland is consistently ranked among countries with the safest roads. Switzerland has lower speed limits than most of its European counterparts. In built up areas, the limit is set at 50 km/hour. Compared to this, Sweden has a maximum limit of 70 km/hour while Norway has one of 80 km/hour. Besides this, Swiss authorities are also quite strict about drink driving. In fact, passengers travelling in the same car as a drunk driver are also considered liable and can lose their own licenses. Tightening Laws Until 1991, Japan’s road fatalities were on an upward trend, but a tightening of laws and government-led awareness programmes have managed to make its roads among the safest in the world. One of the biggest factors contributing to this has been the government’s focus on research to create and introduce safer infrastructure and traffic management systems. Japan has a zero per cent blood-alcohol level standard for drivers and individuals caught driving under the influence can face imprisonment for up to 15 years. The country’s road safety policy focuses on reducing the number of on-road collisions and has earmarked areas that are safe for pedestrians. Keep Headlights On, Even on a Sunny Day With some of the safest roads in the world, one of the interesting things about Norway’s road safety norms is that, regardless of the time or the visibility, having your headlights on while driving is mandatory. This, supposedly, decreases the risk of collision, as even on a bright sunny day, spotting a car with headlights on is easier. According to its National Plan of Action for Road Traffic Safety 2014–2017, Norway aims to bring down its figure of fatalities and severe injuries by half by 2024. In 2015, 117 were killed and 693 people were severely injured in road accidents. These figures have gone down by roughly more than 40 per cent in the last decade, being 224 deaths in 2005. In general, rules are strict and all kinds of aggressive driving (such as risky overtaking) is regarded as an offense in the country.

Oped

17

Letting Go of Attachments

mihir paul

Mihir Paul is a graduate of Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

upfront

Attachment to anything blinds us to the inevitability of time

A

ttachment is the cause of suffering in the human experience. And this seemingly unimportant habit of constantly being attached to things in life becomes the source of our suffering. We get attached to materialistic objects, our homes, our bank accounts, our partners, our environment etc. Because of this attachment we have a hard time coping when we suffer a loss of something we are deeply attached to. We simply become so conditioned to hold onto things we love that we forget about the inevitability of life that all things must go once they come into existence. Nothing is permanent. Not even our own lives. We shouldn’t strive to hold onto permanence in terms of our physical reality but instead we should use the inevitability of our existence as a focus as to not waste a single moment in life where we are not being true to our core selves. Life is limited and that’s what makes it so much more valuable and precious. We must learn to balance nurturing the sacredness of life whilst remembering that life is not permanent. Non

attachment to everything in life creates a certain distance between the true self and the ego self that filters our experiences. We all know that positive and negative experiences are part of the dual nature of life. Having a certain level of detachment to one’s life allows one to fully live the entire spectrum of experiences yet not carry any of the acquired positivity or negativity. It’s a place of neutrality where the being of the person becomes as clear as the sky that contains many things in it but is unstained by its contents. We must make peace with the fact that life is a dynamic arrangement of reality and everything is changing and nothing is

permanent. Once we have accepted this truth we can start living from a place of non attachment. Non attachment lends an insightful perspective to life which we usually miss otherwise. One gets to see things and experience things as their core self and not through the bias of the ego. By distancing ourselves and not being overly attached to the material world, we get closer to the spiritual world. Our life experiences then start reflecting the true expression of who we are and this is also known as being free of suffering. Negative experiences don’t phase a detached person and being detached here doesn’t mean being disconnected, cold, uncompassionate and lacking empathy. One needs to learn to be fully engaged in the world and carry out their activities as usual, it’s just that one learns not to get attached to any of it. That’s why the quote -” Be from the world but not of it” is repeated often.

letters to the editor opened his speech at the Parliament of religions at Chicago. He started with “Sisters and brothers of America,” something so unusual that the hall broke into a standing applause. That is the spirit we need in an age that is increasingly vitiated against our womenfolk. Ramu Dalal, Patna

soul’s joy: vivekananda The article on Swami Vivekananda was true to its time. He was a Karma Yogi, but had mastered all the Yogas. But I did miss the fabled quote when he

HP HC thanks! Through your much valued newspaper, I wish to convey theheartfelt gratitude to the Himachal Pradesh High Court for pronouncing right to sanitation a Fundamental Right. Women like me are quite happy and safe, with our homes having proper toilets and our families understanding the needs of women. But the moment we step out for travel, the problem hits us. Over hundreds of kilometres, there are no toilets. What do we women

do in such a situation? By making sanitation a fundemental right, the court has given us a huge relief. Kankana Sen, Kolkata wall of goodness The Neki ki Deewar is perhaps the most vibrant and envigorating movement of our times. I can see in this something that Swami Vivekaknda said about nation building through characterbuilding. This movement hits right where it hurts for western materialism, where one lives and dies for one’s own self. Gross consumerism is one thing, but to simply chuck aside what one does not need shows that we simply live for ourselves. Hence, I have a very strong feeling that this is not really a philanthropic but a truly spiritual movement that has come at humanty’s worst crisis time. I must thank SSB for this reportage. Vikram Arora, Mumbai

Please mail your opinion to - ssbweekly@gmail.com or Whatsapp at 9868807712


18 Photo Feature

July 10 - 16, 2017

Downpours Beat the Sun

Delhi recently received its long-awaited relief from the scorching summer sun with heavy rainfall occurring in all parts of the city and NCR. Delhi’s monsoon kicked off with the recent rains that cooled down the city all over.

Photos: prabhat pandey

Flooded streets, cool breezes, and long walks seemed to be the norm all around. Whether it was children enjoying a dip in the waterlogged streets or daily travellers enjoying the lack of air conditioning required, the rains definitely brought smiles to the faces of Delhiites.


July 10 - 16, 2017

Photo Feature

19

With the city’s inhabitants getting much-needed relief from the heat, we can only hope this monsoon continues with the same intensity and duration all season. Compared to Delhi’s unbearable summer weather, things definitely shifted gears with the recent showers. From the parliament to India gate, monsoon clearly made its presence felt all over.


20 Science & Technology

July 10 - 16, 2017

cognition animals

Why aren’t elephants scientists?

Going by absolute brain volume and number of neurons, one elephant brain could have produced several Einsteins, but that does not happen. Here’s why: Quick Glance Differences in the cognition of humans and animals is believed to be qualitative The quantity of neurons present revealed to be the deciding factor in regards to cognition Humans shown to have the highest concentration of neurons in the prefrontal cortex

Suzana Herculano-Housel, associate professor and the head of the Laboratory of Comparative Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

ssb bureau

W

ith an increasing advancements in science and technology, scientists are now better able to study the human brain in comparison to other animals’ to see what makes the human brain unique when it comes to cognitive abilities. The common narrative dictates that the human brain is the apex of biological evolution when it comes to cognition. Merely looking around and realising that the human brain has developed to the point of contemplating the reason for its own existence and function is enough to make us realise that there is something about the human brain that no other brain on the planet has. Common sense would dictate that if the brain is the source of our cognition, having more of it would mean more cognition. But then why don’t we see elephants becoming scientists? They clearly have larger brains than we do. To be able to compare cognition in terms

of brain size alone would presuppose that all brains are built the same and that the biggest brain should be the highest cognizant. Since this is not the case, neuroscientists looked elsewhere to establish a reason as to why humans are more cognizant than other animals. Suzana Herculano-Housel, associate professor and the head of the Laboratory of Comparative Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, argued that if the number of neurons dictated cognition, then the brains with the most number of neurons would be the most cognizant. She believed that contrary to past speculations by neuroscientists, the differences in cognition observed in humans and animals are a quantitative difference rather than a qualitative one. Housel argued that considering biological restrictions, animals like chimpanzees and elephants are

in fact able to perform cognitive activities similar to humans but, single observations like these are not sufficient for cross-species comparisons of cognition. She explained that perhaps another way to understand the

Humans outshine

larger animals in regards to sheer number of neurons present in the prefrontal cortex

differences in cognitive capacities of different animals would be by testing self-control in animals. Since selfcontrol involves the prefrontal part of the cortex in the brain, a measure of varying pre-frontal structures would provide an explanation for differences in cognitive capacities. She cited an example of a 2014 study that measured self-control exhibited by animals in a laboratory setting. It was observed that absolute brain volume turned out to be the best correlation in regards to the ability to exert self-control. The one and only outlier of this study were the Asian elephants who, despite having the largest absolute brain volume, failed at the self-control test. She said “The most interesting possibility to me, however, is that the African elephant might not have all the prefrontal neurons in the cerebral cortex that it takes to solve self-control decision tasks like the ones in the study. Once we had recognized that primate and rodent brains are made differently, with different numbers of neurons for their size, we had predicted that the African elephant brain might have as few as 3 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex and 21 billion neurons in the cerebellum, compared to our 16 billion and 69 billion, despite its much larger size—if it was built like a rodent brain.” She further added “On the other hand, if it was built like a primate brain, then the African elephant brain might have a whopping 62 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex and 159 billion neurons in the cerebellum. But elephants are neither


July 10 - 16, 2017

brain size comparison

rodents nor primates, of course; they belong to the superorder Afrotheria, as do a number of small animals like the elephant shrew and the golden mole we had already studied—and determined that their brains did, in fact, scale very much like rodent brains.” Her hypothesis that cognitive abilities are directly related to the number of neurons present would be disproven if elephants possess more neurons than humans. This is why she wanted to measure the number of neurons present in an elephant brain. She said “The logic behind my expectation was the cognitive literature that had long hailed the cerebral cortex (or, more precisely, the prefrontal part of the cerebral cortex) as the sole seat of higher cognition—abstract reasoning, complex decision making, and planning for the future. However, nearly all of the cerebral cortex is connected to the cerebellum through loops that tie cortical and cerebellar information processing to each other, and more and more studies have been implicating the cerebellum in the cognitive functions of the cerebral cortex, with the two structures working in tandem. And, because these two structures together accounted for the vast majority of all neurons in the brain, cognitive capabilities should correlate equally well with the number of neurons in the whole brain, in the cerebral cortex, and in the cerebellum.” NEURON COUNT Suzana Herculano-Houzel and her students cross-sectioned an elephant brain to determine the number of neurons it has and compare that with what’s found in the human brain. She said “Next, we had to separate the internal structures—striatum, thalamus, hippocampus—from the cortex, then cut the cortex into smaller pieces for processing, then separate each of these pieces into gray and white matter. In all, we had 381 pieces of tissue, most of which were still several

times larger than the 5 grams we could process at one time. It was by far the most tissue we had processed. One person working alone and processing one piece of tissue per day would need well over one year—nonstop— to finish the job.” With the help and support of her team, she was able to finish the counting in over six months.

WINNER-WINNER CHICKEN DINNER It was discovered that the African elephant brain had three times the number of neurons present than those in human brains. However, another discovery was made that the majority (up to 98 percent) of neurons were present in the back of the cerebellum. This unusual distribution of neurons gave way to the understanding that there was a clear difference in the number of neurons present in the prefrontal cortex. Elephants, with a mere 5.6 billion neurons in the prefrontal cortex paled in comparison to a whopping 16 billion neurons present in humans. This gave her the answer that even though human brains do not have more neurons in total when compared with that of elephants, it was evident that the concentration of neurons in prefrontal regions of the brain was the deciding factor when it came to cognitive abilities. She explained “As it turns out, there is a simple explanation for how the human brain, and it alone, can be at the same time similar to others in its evolutionary constraints, and yet so different to the point of endowing us with the ability to ponder our own material and metaphysical origins. First, we are primates, and this bestows upon humans the advantage of a large number of neurons packed into a small cerebral cortex. And second, thanks to a technological innovation introduced by our ancestors, we escaped the energetic constraint that limits all other animals to the smaller number of cortical neurons that can be afforded by a raw diet in the wild” “So what do we have that no other animal has? A remarkable number of neurons in the cerebral cortex, the largest around, attainable by no other species, I say. And what do we do that absolutely no other animal does, and which I believe allowed us to amass that remarkable number of neurons in the first place? We cook our food. The rest—all the technological innovations made possible by that outstanding number of neurons in our cerebral cortex, and the ensuing cultural transmission of those innovations that have kept the spiral that turns capacities into abilities moving upward—is history.” She added.

owls

Science & Technology

21

aviation

wings for softer aircraft purrs

Scientists are looking into emulating owl-like noise reduction mechanisms in wind turbines, aircrafts, and drones Quick Glance Serrations in the leading edge of wings discovered as the noise reduction mechanism Similar aerodynamics principles to be used in redesigning wings of aircraft and drones Leading-edge serrations shown to passively control transition between laminar air flow, and turbulent air

ians

T

he unique wing features of owls that make their flight silent could hold the key to making aircraft and wind turbines quieter, suggests new research. A team of researchers from Japan and China studied the serrations in the leading edge of owls’ wings, gaining new insight into how they work to make the birds’ flight silent. The results, published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, pointed towards potential mechanisms for noise suppression in wind turbines, aircraft, multi-rotor drones and other machines. “Owls are known for silent flight, owing to their unique wing features, which are

comps keyboards

Keyboard with sensors Microsoft keyboards will now come retrofitted with fingerprint sensors ians

T

ech giant Microsoft has made its “Modern Keyboard” available that features a hidden fingerprint sensor located between the Alt and Ctrl keys to make typing hasslefree. The keyboard is rechargeable and can last up to four months on a single

normally characterised by leading-edge serrations, trailing-edge fringes and velvet-like surfaces,” said lead author Hao Liu, Professor at Chiba University in Japan. “We wanted to understand how these features affect aerodynamic force production and noise reduction, and whether they could be applied elsewhere,” Liu added. The researchers analysed owlinspired feather wing models with and without leading edge serrations, by combining large-eddy simulations -- a mathematical model for turbulence used in computational fluid dynamics to simulate air flows -- and Particle-Image Velocimetry, or PIV (an optical method of flow visualisation used in education and research), and force measurements in a low-speed wind tunnel. They discovered leading-edge serrations can passively control the transition between laminar, or streamline air flow, and turbulent air flow over the upper wing surface, at angles of attack (AoA) between zero and 20 degrees. charge. “The M o d e r n Keyboard’ is now available via Microsoft Store in the US, Canada and China,” Windows Central reported. The ‘Modern Keyboard’ is in line with Microsoft’s next generation of Windows 10 input devices that match the latest Surface models in design and finish. According to Microsoft, the new model of keyboard has “Chiclet”-style keys and aluminum frame that’s heavy and “virtually indestructible”. The keyboard works either wired or through Bluetooth with and uses a rechargeable battery.


22 Great Discovery

July 10 - 16, 2017

space galaxy

Indian scientists discover rare galaxies A team of scientists has discovered radio galaxies so huge that there are no explanations for their size IANS

A

team of astronomers from India has reported the discovery of a large number of extremely rare kinds of galaxies called ‘giant radio galaxies’ (GRGs), the largest galaxies known in the universe. The last six decades of radio astronomy research has led to the detection of thousands of radio galaxies. However, only about 300 of them can be classified as GRGs. The reasons behind their large size and

Quick Glance Of the thousands of radio galaxies, only 300 can be termed giant radio galaxies The ones seen now by Indian scientists are so huge that they can fit in 33 Milky Ways in a line These behemoths soan three million light years across, often more

rarity are unknown. “The huge size of GRGs has defied any theoretical explanation so far. Our work will help in understanding how these galaxies grow to be so large,” said lead researcher Pratik Dabhade, at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA, Pune) and also at the Netherlands’ Leiden Observatory. Dabhade worked with Joydeep Bagchi (IUCAA), Mamta Pommier (CNRS Observatoire de Lyon), Madhuri Gaikwad (NCRA-TIFR Pune and Max-Planck Institute Bonn), Shishir Sankhyayan (IISER Pune) and Somak Raychaudhury (IUCAA). “We are studying whether they are born in regions of very sparse galaxy density, or they have extremely powerful, well-collimated, long-lasting radio jets which allow them to expand to very huge distances,” he said in a statement. The team carried out a systematic search for these radio giants and found a large sample of GRGs, using a nearly 20-year-old radio survey.

ageing time limit

No evidence for limit on human lifespan: Study New study suggests a lack of upper limit on human lifespans

Since the GRGs are known to expand to such large sizes, they are believed to be the last stop of radio galaxy evolution

In the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the scientists report the discovery of 25 GRGs from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array Sky Survey. These extremely active galaxies harbour a super massive black hole ‘central-engine’ at the nucleus, which ejects a pair of high-energy particle jets nearly at the speed of light, which terminate into two giant radio lobes. According to Joydeep Bagchi, “understanding the life-cycle of the black hole’s energetic activity, properties of the matter which falls into it, and the influence of the surrounding medium which acts on the lobes far away from the host galaxy, and provides a ‘working-surface’ for the radio jets

to act, are among the most important problems in this field”. GRGs are visible only to radio telescopes. These behemoths span nearly three million light years across, or even more sometimes. This size corresponds to stacking nearly 33 Milky Way like galaxies in a line. Since the GRGs are known to expand to such large sizes, they are believed to be the last stop of radio galaxy evolution. The first GRG was discovered in the 1970s using the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands in 1974. Since then, all major radio telescopes and powerful computer simulations have been used in an effort to unravel their mysterious nature.

“If such a maximum exists, it has yet to be reached or identified,” said Siegfried Hekimi biologists at the McGill University in Canada. “We just don’t know what the age limit might be. In fact, by extending

trend lines, we can show that maximum and average lifespans could continue to increase far into the foreseeable future,” Hekimi added. Although some scientists argue that technology, medical interventions, and improvements in living conditions could all push back the upper limit. It’s impossible to predict what future lifespans in humans might look like, Hekimi noted. “It’s hard to guess. Three hundred years ago, many people lived only short lives. If we would have told them that one day most humans might live up to 100, they would have said we were crazy,” Hekimi said.

ians

C

hallenging theories that say human lifespan is approaching a limit, researchers have found that there is no evidence that maximum human lifespan has stopped increasing and could instead far exceed previous predictions. In a previous study researchers concluded that the upper limit of human age is peaking at around 115 years. However, the new study, published in the journal Nature, finds no evidence for such a limit.


July 10 - 16, 2017

States Tripura

23

tripura economy

The Latex Solution

Tripura now has the largest area under rubber cultivation after Kerala and the industry is helping the Jhumia tribal families Raj Kashyap

Quick Glance

A

success story of India’s Northeast is the growth of natural rubber plantation in Tripura. In terms of area under rubber cultivation, estimated to be about 62,000 hectares, the border state now ranks second in the country after Kerala. Rubber plantation in Tripura is generally taken up on uplands (locally called tilla) which are ideally suitable for rubber cultivation as unutilised and follow in nature. Rubber plantation was initiated by the forest department in 1963. In 1976, the Tripura Forest Development Plantation Corporation (TFDPC) raised rubber in leased forest land of about 10,000 ha. The tribal welfare department had also begun an ambitious programme to increase area under rubber plantations which was implemented with assistance from the Rubber Board and the World Bank. In 2013-14, rubber production in Tripura was around 37,277 MT, contributing an annual income of Rs.600 crore to the state’s economy. Individuals, groups and institutions have been engaged in the exercise and the block plantation approach (BPA) has emerged as a good example of an initiative where the cohesive development of the rubber sector has resulted in the empowerment of tribal communities to raise, manage and sustain cultivation of the crop. The availability of large quantities of high quality rubber helped in setting up rubber based industries in the state. Tribal Uplift The principal goal of the block plantation project is the economic upliftment of tribal Jhumia families. The participation in rubber plantation has enabled the farmers to shift to a more settled form of livelihood income. The block plantation officer (BPO), appointed by the Rubber Board, ensures that all inputs required for plantation of rubber are readily available, and facilitates coordination with local authorities of the state government. The BPO is also the focal point for other services at the block plantation level. Several ongoing state government programmes like immunisation drives, health camps, sanitation campaign and animal

Rubber plantation is taken up in the state in uplands, or tillas which have a certain gradient In 2013-14, rubber production was around 37,277 MT, contributing an annual income of Rs.600 crore Participation in rubber plantation has enabled farmers to shift to a more settled form of livelihood

Non-tribals are not allowed as workers, creating a sense of ownership and attachment to the plantation among the beneficiaries

husbandry camps are organized for the families in the block plantation. The Rubber Board and the state government share 80 per cent of the cost of raising rubber plantation and the beneficiaries contribute 20 per cent through their own labour. The project involves taking up of block plantation of rubber in a specific area with about 40-50 hectares. The implementation includes simultaneous development of the plantation areas as well as providing various services including village roads, Anganwadi centres, health sub centres, drinking water facilities, primary schools, power connectivity schemes. Community participation is ensured through empowerment groups comprising rubber producers’ societies (RPSs) and women thrift groups (WTGs). Plantation Pattern Plantation is taken up on individual

lands that are owned by the beneficiaries who work on their lands. Each beneficiary is paid wages. Nontribal workers are not allowed as workers. Such a method has created a sense of ownership and attachment to the plantation among the beneficiaries. One of the main objectives is to provide wage employment opportunities to the tribal communities. The BPA has involved community level institutions as important participants in rubber related aspects and socioeconomic development of the region. The block plantation method has paved the way for numerous tangible benefits, including wage employment opportunities to the tribal communities and sustainable means of livelihood. The BPA project provides farm as well as non-farm wage employment opportunities until the rubber plantation is matured. From the first to

sixth year, the employment generated per hectare is 1068 person days. Rubber processing has contributed significantly to the success of block plantations. Income generated from latex has increased by 40 per cent over a period. Each BPA unit has been provided with a processing facility at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. This has also augmented their income and reduced dependency on dealers. A subsidiary of Rubber Board, M/S Manimaliyar Rubber Private Ltd., is in charge of marketing of rubber. By adopting an integrated approach, the block plantation project has succeeded in converging various services at village level; created community – level institutions; empowered women; utilised fallow tilla lands productively and established the community processing facility at the village level. Success of block plantation has acted as stimulus to other tribal families, and non-tribal families to take up rubber cultivation in their own lands with their own funds and through bank loans. It is estimated that about 35,000 ST persons are owners of rubber gardens today whereas there were none in 1992 when the BPA was initiated. The government has established a Rubber Park and 10 per cent of the rubber produced in Tripura is being used in the units located in the Rubber Park. The government has also established a Rubber Wood Factory under Tripura Forest Development Plantation corporation (TFDPC) for utilisation of rubber wood of old plantations. This will ensure addition to the incomes of those involved and yet, not see any environmental degradation, as rubber wood is wood for making furniture from rubber trees that have already served their lifetime as a source of rubber.


24 Digital Village

July 10 - 16, 2017

Hasuri Ausanpur digital village

Hasuri Hamlet’s High Jump A businessman into solar power, the young man dreamt of giving back something to his village, and has digitised it with his own money within a few months

Quick Glance Hasuri, a new village, now has 23 Wifi hotspots, 23 CCTVs remote controlled public address system A youth took up the task of making it Uttar Pradesh’s first Smart and Digital Village with his own money It now also has school, proper banking, common service centre and has been declared ODF

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath (left) along with the young man Dileep Kumar Tripathi (right) during the presentation in Lucknow recently

Srawan Shukla / Lucknow

T

he pradhan of a village in Uttar Pradesh has done something so spectacular that he could be the envy of even wellmeaning officials. Hasuri Ausanpur village in Bhanwapur bloc of Dumariyaganj Tehsil in Sidharthnagar district in Uttar Pradesh has become the first ‘Digital Model Village’ in Uttar Pradesh with 23 Wi-Fi hotspots, 23 CCTVs, remote and mobilecontrolled public address system, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, cemented roads, new primary school, banking facility, common service centre and has been declared open defecation free (OFD). And all this has been done without asking for a penny from the government. At 6.30 every morning, people of Hasuri Ausanpur wake up to speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan and open defecation on the public

CM Yogi Adityanath sat through a presentation

from Dileep and has promised to take forward his model to develop other villages in the state address system, which covers every household in the village. Information about various schemes of central and state governments is announced in the village during the day. The non-descript, tiny hamlet with a population of 1,024 shot into limelight last month when it bagged four awards from the Madhya Pradesh for being the second Digital Model Village in the country after Gujarat’s Pansuri village in Sabarkantha district. The village, which came into existence only one and half years ago when it was made a separate Gram Panchayat, got a facelift when a youth took up the task of making it Uttar Pradesh’s first Smart and Digital Village with his own money. Though Dileep Kumar Tripathi,

a native of Hasuri Ausanpur, had shifted to Sidharthnagar in 2003 to join the family business but he always thought of doing something for the place of his birth to showcase it on the country’s map. “Hasuri is my birthplace where I spent my early days of life. It was my dream to turn my village into a place which people remember all over the country,” said tech-geek Dileep. A post-graduate in Social Science, Dileep is into solar panel business. When he first envisaged a digital plan for the village in mid 2016, he faced resistance from the village elders. “When I talked about creating WiFi spots and installing CCTVs in the village, elders resisted the move saying that it will spoil their children

and intrude into privacy,” recalled Dileep. Village elders were of the opinion that development in the village would come from uninterrupted power supply, construction of roads and toilets and opening of schools and banks, etc., not by digital means, which would expose boys and girls to various ills related to mobile and internet content. But women, girls and boys of the village always supported him. “We asked him to ignore the generation gap and go ahead with his digitisation plan, as it will help us connect with the rest of the world and open avenues for village youth,” said Pawan of the village. To overcome the resistance and win over hearts of village elders, Dileep first got a 300 metre cemented roads sanctioned for the village with the help of his connections in the government. “This gave a little confidence to villagers who asked me to contest polls for the Pradhan,” claimed he. Dileep fought the polls and was elected Hasuri Ausanpur village Pradhan in late 2016, after the village was separated and declared a separate Gram Panchayat. Since it Hasuri was a tiny hamlet and less populated, the budget was restricted to only Rs 6 lakhs. Dileep had conceptualised the idea after seeing a ten-minute film on Gujarat’s Pansuri village. Incidentally, he met the Pansuri village Pradhan at a programme in New Delhi. He offered him to visit Gujarat. On his return to


July 10 - 16, 2017

Digital Village

25

The CCTV centre monitors the 23 cameras, seen above on top and left. This helps not only in providing security but also preventing open defecation, and also ensuring that no space in the village is dirty or has piled up garbage

Hasuri, Dileep with a team of his IT friends made a trip to Pansuri village and spent three-four days talking to Pradhan and villagers to understand their model. After visiting three or four more developed villages in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, he hired an Ahmedabad-based startup Rurban Technology Solutions to execute his digital smart village plans. Pansuri Village was transformed into India’s first digital and smart village by Rurban Tech. The company is also the implementing agency for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana which was launched in 2014. The company did a survey of Hasuri in March 2017 and completed the entire digitisation plan in less than two months. Today, Hasuri boasts of having socio-economic details of each member of the family in the village. Apart from basic details, it provides micro information about every villager such as their land-holdings,

their habits, sanitation, insurance cover, bank accounts, ATM cards, mobile phones, internet use etc. “The entire digitisation project cost me a little over Rs 16 lakhs. Within two months, Hasuri Ausanpur suddenly shot into limelight. My critics were now patting me on my back. The same village elders now can be seen using whatsapp and Facebook with free Wi-Fi hotspots to stay connected with their sons working in other states,” he claimed. Even if the Village Pradhan is out of Hasuri Ausanpur, he is connected through the mobile to public address system. “If I am in Lucknow and have to pass on some important information to my people in t he village I use my mobile which is

connected to the public address system,” claimed Dileep. The digitiasation transformed lives of women and youth. “Our village is no less than a city which has all modern day facilities,” said Brijesh. After the dilapidated primary school building was renovated and mid-day meal was restarted, the dropout rate has come to zero. Impressed by Village Pradhan Dileep’s efforts, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called him for a presentation on June 2, 2017. “After seeing the 35-minute presentation on transformation of Hasuri Ausanpur, the Chief Minister has promised to take forward his model to develop other villages in the state and also assured to make a visit to my village,”

Dileep’s next plan is to engage the village women who sit idle, and 57 women have already enrolled in the skill development programme

claimed Dileep. Dileep has a long to-do list for further development of his village. Installation of solar panels to generate power, common service centre and a bank has started operating recently. “My next plan is to engage village women who sit idle. A Skill Development Centre is being opened and about 57 village women have already enrolled themselves to learn stitching, embroidery, baking classes, pickle and pappad making,” said he. “I am looking forward to open a bakery shop in the village after taking classes,” said Reena (26). The Director Panchayati Raj, Uttar Pradesh, has also appreciated Dileep’s solo efforts and initiatives in putting his little, unknown village into the country’s digital map. But Dileep is unhappy with the state bureaucracy.”Even after acknowledging my initiatives, nothing concrete has so far been done by District Magistrate. Many of my future plans are gathering dust in government’s files,” he rued.


26 North East

July 10 - 16, 2017

Guwahati

fresh octopus in guwahati! Fishfed has launched an online purchase platform (www. fishfedassam.org) through which consumers in Guwahati can place their fish orders online

assam solar energy

Assam to have clear power policy Power Department of Assam will formulate its own policy for the development of solar projects in the state

SSB Bureau

I

F you want you fresh octopus, sardine, tuna, mackarel or any of the local variaties in Guwahati, just click on www.fishfedassam.org. That is the Assam Apex Cooperative Fish Marketing and Processing Federation Limited (Fishfed) online purchase platform through which consumers in Guwahati can place their fish orders online. There will be no delivery charges. Fishfed procures around 50,000 kg of fish from its societies in the State for marketing every year. There are 256 registered societies under Fishfed, with a farmer base of around 24,000 spread across the

State. As part of a pilot project, the online purchase facility is being made available for customers of areas under five pin codes in the capital city. “If successful, we will expand the area of operation to greater Guwahati,” Fishfed managing director Ghana Pegu said. Besides all kinds of local fish, customers can also place orders for sea fish, octopus, tuna, sardine, mackerel, baby shark, frozen fish and other rare fish. There will be various modes of payments, including through cards, online banking, cash on delivery or through PoS machines which the delivery boys will carry. For bulk orders, like those for marriages and other events, the orders will have to be placed in advance. The MD said the fish will be delivered to customers in properly packed ice boxes. “We will also slice the fish according to requirement of the customer,” Pegu said. The details of stock and their rates will be put up in the portal. A customer will have to order a minimum of 1 kg of local fish or two kg of imported fish or half a kg of sea fish.

SSB Bureau

A

ssam Chief Minister,SarbanandaSonowal asked the State’s Power Department to formulate a comprehensive policy for harnessing solar power in the state to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all villages and towns in the State. He also asked the department to put in place a complaint box to address the grievances of the consumers on a priority basis. Chairing a meeting of the Power Department at his office, Chief Minister Sonowal asked the Department to look for ways and means to address the shortage of electricity requirement

Assam’s CM Sarbananda

Sonowal has tasked the Power Department to formulate solar power policies and fix loopholes regarding the same through generation of solar power. Informing that the State has been receiving proposals from the prospective investors for setting up solar power projects in the State, absence of a well laid out policy for solar power, the

northeast railways

powering the greens

North Eastern Frontier Railway to plant 10 lakh trees this year SSB Bureau

N

orth Eastern Frontier Railway will plant over 10 lakh trees in its area of jurisdiction this financial year.Officials said during the last financial year, 6.94 lakh trees were planted by the NFR, while in 2015-16, it was 5.22 lakh. “Special drives will be conducted this year to achieve the target of 10 lakh trees this year” the officials said.The NFR has tied up with the Assam Forest department to take the initiative forward. All divisions of NFR will take part in the plantation drives to be carried out in railway land. Besides block plantations, the project

envisages the plantation of trees on both sides of the railway tracks.Similar agreements for joint plantation drives will also be signed with the Forest departments of Bihar and West Bengal. Areas of West Bengal and Bihar fall under NFR. The Railways has decided

Quick Glance Power Department of Assam will develop solar energy projects. Surveys to be carried out to prevent occurrence of future electrocution All project loopholes to be addressed & work to be carried out on war footing

process has hit the roadblock, Sonowal added. Chief Minister also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising on alternative sources of energy and to become successful in harnessing the non-conventional sources of energy, solar power has to be tapped to its fullest potential. Expressing concern over the reported deaths in the city flash floods due to electrocution, Sonowal also asked the Department to carry out a survey to inspect the status of transformers, wiringetc in Guwahati as well other areas to avert the recurrence of such incidents. He also asked the concerned authorities to initiate the process for filling up the vacancies to boost the momentum of the Department. Reviewing the different projects of the Department which have hit roadblocks or could not be started yet, Sonowal asked the Additional Chief Secretary Power to put responsible officers in charge of those projects to ensure their early commissioning. Sonowal also took note of the progress of the work related to theDeendayalUpadhaya Gram Jyoti Scheme and asked the Additional Chief Secretary along with other higher officials to plug all loopholes including the slackness of the contractors to illuminate all the un-electrified villages on a war footing. to incorporate specific provisions towards environmental costs in the estimates for various project works. Besides, awareness programs among the public and staff on cleanliness on trains, stations, railway colonies and offices will also be carried out under the green initiatives. The programs include street plays, putting up posters, and public address systems at stations etc. The Railwayshas also roped in NGOs to join hands in the effort to achieve a cleaner and green environment.This year, among the ‘A’ category stations, Rangiya Railway Station in Assam has secured the seventh position in terms of cleanliness. Guwahati station has secured the 18th position among ‘A1’ category stations, up by 55 places as compared to last year’s rankings. Other stations in NFR like Lumding, New Coochbehar and Alipurduar Junction have also improved their positions in comparison to last year.


July 10 - 16, 2017

Meghalaya Education

E-learning centres to help JEE candidates

Quick Glance

To start with, the project on e-learning will have a batch of 25 candidates and the process of selection has been initiated

The project will be under the state’s IT and Communications Department The government is also coming up with a two digital planetariums

North East

27

Energy

Manipur to be electrified within 2018 All villages in Manipur will receive electricity before August 15 and solar panelled roofs before 2018

S&T Dept is initiating the process of mapping of historical monuments

ssb bureau

M

eghalaya government has decided to set up e-learning centres in the state for the benefit of those taking the Joint Entrance Examination ( JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)

as candidates. The project will be implemented by the state’s Information Technology and Communication Department. To start with, it will induct a batch of 25 candidates and the process of selection has been already initiated. Co-chairman of the State Planning

Board John Kharshiing said more that 1,000 schools in the state had benefitted from the IT education schemes for schools, which was partly funded by North Eastern Council (NEC). The state government is also coming up with a two digital planetariums in the state. Kharshiing said that the construction of a digital planetarium in Tura had begun while the another digital planetarium is likely to be constructed in the campus of North East Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. The Science and Technology Department informed Kharshiing that it was initiating the process of mapping of historical monuments of Jaintia Hills for preservation and promotion of eco-tourism. The department as conducted surveys of such monuments at Muktapur and Nartiang.

Arunachal Economy

State conceives its bio-resource mission The state government will press the Centre to set up the proposed North East Bio-Resource Centre in Arunachal Pradesh ssb bureau

A

runachal Pradesh government is contemplating creating a bio resource development mission. The move, according to State Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, would help develop the state’s bio resources in a mission mode. He said the state government would press the Centre to set up the proposed

Quick Glance The move, says Chowna Mein, would help develop the state’s bio resources The institute will select technology suiting its agro-ecological onditions Arunachal is one of the world bio-diversity hotspots

North East Bio-Resource Centre in Arunachal Pradesh as the state is very rich in bio-resource. Chairing a meeting of the officials of state Horticulture Research & Development Institute, North East Foundation, an NGO and Yes Bank, the minister said that the people of the state should take up livelihood activities under agriculture and allied sectors for long term and viable economic benefits. He sought consultancy support from North East Foundation and Yes Bank in the field of Geographical Indication Registration, marketing, branding and promotion of the indigenous crops of the state, which would largely benefit the farming community. Head of the Horticulture Research & Development Institute EgamBasar said the research institute is engaged in development of location-specific

technology suiting to the state agro-ecological conditions, and on conservation and development of cultivation technology for local and indigenous vegetables and medicinal plants. He highlighted the action plan of the HRDI as per the budget allocation in this year and informed that the institute will concentrate its activities in developing quality planting materials for the farmers of the state. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the world bio-diversity hotspots with many rare and valuable medicinal plants native to it, he said, highlighting the activities that can be taken up by the state Bio-Resource Centre in the fields of bio-resource protection, exploration, propagation and its production for economic benefits of farmer.

ssb bureau

A

dmitting the high transmission and distribution losses of electricity in the state, Manipur’s Power minister Th Biswajit Singh said the naked wires will be replaced with AV cable wires to control wastage of power.“We hope to complete the replacement within 2018. Once it is done, the whole of Manipur will be electrified,” he said. The current transmission and distribution losses are as high as 37 percent.The minister said this after inaugurating a power house of 132/33 KV Sub-station at Chandel district. Singh urged the locals to make the best use of the power station in their district unlike the previous situation when they had to rely for power from substation 25 kilometres away. “This is a part of 100-day programme of the state BJP government to electrify most regions in the state”, he said.“Electrification of all villages in the state is one of the targets to be achieved before August 15. We had also coordinated with Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency (MANIREDA) to provide off-grid solar energy panels to village houses which is to be completed before December 2018.” Earlier, the launching ceremony of “Ujala (Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances) Yojana” was also held. The launching ceremony was jointly organised by Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited and Energy Efficiency Service Limited. Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, the minister said that ‘Ujala Yojana’ is an innovative scheme initiated by the Central government 2015. He also said that the scheme will help the state‘s consumers to save energy, while also benefiting the environment.


28 Idol Makers

July 10 - 16, 2017

kumartuli

lady idol makers

Beloveds of the Goddess!

Photos: Debashish Nandi

While breaking the glass ceiling in sport for women brings instant glory, Mala, Kakoli and China Pal have also quietly broken into a male bastion, that of Calcutta’s legendary Kumartuli idol making

Prasanta Paul

T

he Rath Yatra is just over. Kumartuli, the famous colony of clay image makers of Calcutta, sports an image of the humdrum and the mundane from a distance. A peep inside the dingy lanes, however, would immediately correct one’s erroneous assumption. The celestial colony is far from quiet; the buzz of activities could be heard from almost all the makeshift chalas (structures that are the backdrops of the idols). The master iconographers alias clay modellers are back in action.

Quick Glance Kumartuli is the hub of idol making in Calcutta through the year There are more than 300 clay idol makers, all of them men Just these three Pals have broken into the arena

China Pal’s father would chide her for trying to peep

into what he was doing, but after his demise, his studio alone is her life, she says with tears in her eyes For, the Durga Pujas, the four days of unrivaled revelry, are barely two and a half months away; the images that are likely to be on the pedestal, have already come alive in skeletal structures. The exquisite artistry of the modellers here has perhaps no parallel in the country. However, in this predominantly male bastion, three female artists have made quite a name for themselves. Among close to three hundred potters, the three women have successfully eked out a different existence for themselves by virtue their signature works. Meet Mala Pal, Kakoli Pal and China Pal. The traditional iconography of Durga which is both majestic and artistic, projects the goddess having ten hands, riding a lion and spearing

the half buffalo-half demon Mahishasura. Secondary images – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartick – are arranged around her in a compact and intimate display. Mala, in sharp contrast to her male counterparts, is very shy and would hardly speak without prodding. Even though her Durga image would shortly be bound for the United States this year, she feels her job is to keep alive the tradition. “For me, it’s neither a male or female bastion; it’s a tradition that we’ve to keep alive for generations,” she told this correspondent. Shy Determination “I’ve asked my daughter to listen to her heart first; if the call of a clay modeller is more important than any

other, then she ought to reckon that first. There is no compulsion on my part that she would have to join the trade leaving other professions of her choice,” explained Mala as she took a tiny paint brush off from the head of Lord Ganesh. (The clay artists use the hands, fingers and other parts of the unfinished idols to rest their tools while working.) However, Mala refused to enter into any controversy on whether the appeal of the clay goddess is superior in Shola or clay images. “At the end of the day, it’s the visual appeal and craftsmanship that matters. The more the appeal, the more the acceptance and recognition.” Last year, Mala’s images of Durga travelled to Germany and Dubai, not to speak of Indian cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. One can order idols for upwards of Rs 15,000 each which is the starting price for Mala; it may touch 35,000 and beyond for larger ones. For the image destined to travel to America this year, Mala has quoted Rs 70,000 towards the cost of the image. Hardly one and a half feet high, the idol on which the paint has just been done, is perfect in features and proportions right down to the toe nails. Her Durga images have won her many awards over the 14 years she’s been in the trade. For Kakoli, it was no smooth entry; she had to struggle to enter into this all-male bastion as her own family, besides her husband’s were opposed to step into this territory where artistry and hard labour combine to fetch one success and money. The sudden death of her husband Shyamal Pal, also a potter, paved her permanent entry into Kumartuli. “My passion, my penchant, my love for fashioning the idols remained subdued in me; after his death, I’ve completely devoted myself in this trade and now, there’s no going back. It has given me so much,” Kakoli turned emotional as she struggled to balance the earthen bowl of colour in her left hand. Kakoli gets various sorts of orders; for instance, this year, she has been approached by four clubs to supply as many varieties of idols with modern themes. “I also fashion images for some private


July 10 - 16, 2017

Idol Makers

29

The Durga images are

awaiting the day of Mahasashthi when the breath of life will be infused into the idols of the Mother with priestly rituals households where Durga pujas are being held for many generations,” she said. According to her, the main reason behind people placing orders with her is that she has not deviated from the ek chala (single-structure) style, the tradition of old families. “Hnce, these

Mala Pal: Just a case of a Durga creating a Durga

families continue to rely on me,” she pointed out. Asked to comment on the varying beauty of shola and clay models, she differed with Mala. “Without undermining the shola art, I would say idols made of clay alone can capture the real grandeur of gods and

goddesses. If there is no religious fervour, mere craftsmanship won’t carry the day for you always,” Kakoli opined. In fact, images made in Kumartuli are most sought after because of a rare combination of exquisite craftsmanship and religious appeal.

Even though, the modern clay modellers are increasingly succumbing to the pressure of modelling images after popular hero or heroines or the Ajanta-Ellora type, there has been a late resurgence of demand for themes to pull the crowd. Enter China The story of China Pal is little different; his father Hemanta Pal, didn’t quite like her to step into this world even though out of his six children, the youngest daughter often dared to peer through the door at his workshop. He would often chide for wasting time there; but an alert and ingenuous China did not waste time there. Her eyes kept hovering on the grace of the art and it posed no problem for her to take the baton from her father who suddenly passed away in 1994 and carry on the family business. “ For me, it’s neither fibre nor shola; I’d only work with clay as I believe it’s in clay that I could see my father come alive before I try to inject life into the goddess,” said a sobbing China. “Without his studio, I have no existence. I believe it’s a devotion and I work devotedly.” China presently employs more than 16 workers who hail from Nadia district. Her studio is presently a beehive of activity as more than 16 images of various sizes are on the pedestal and the workers are busy with pastes of earth to properly frame the images.


30 Environment

July 10 - 16, 2017

Climate Change Antarctica

Fly Ash ganga

NGT demands to know of steps against Ganga pollution The green tribunal is hearing a 32-year-old case of pollution in the river considered holy

Ice-free areas to increase by 2100 While this might provide new areas for native species to colonise, it could also result in the spread of invasive species SSB Bureau

A

reas of Antarctica devoid of ice could increase by up to 25 per cent by the end of the century because of climate change, leading to drastic changes in the continent’s biodiversity, according to a new Australian research. Ice-free zones currently represent less than one per cent of the surface of the white continent and are home to almost

all of its fauna and flora, reports Efe news. The study by Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) the first to investigate the impact of climate change on ice-free areas in Antarctica predicts that these areas will expand and unite. AAD researcher Aleks Terauds said last week that the prediction indicates that by 2100, ice could disappear in a further 17,267 sq km, representing an increase of around 25 per cent on current

SSB Bureau

T

he National Green Tribunal (NGT) last week asked the ministries of environment and power to apprise it about the steps taken by thermal power plants to avoid discharge of effluents and fly ash around the Ganga river. A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, while hearing a plea of non-governmental organisation Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action, asked these central ministries to hold a meeting and submit an affidavit on the steps taken by the power plants against river pollution. The tribunal earlier this year decided on an inspection of the most polluted stretch of the Ganga between Haridwar in Uttarakhand and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to get a clear picture on the situation. The green tribunal is hearing since February 6 a 32-year-old case of pollution in the river, after the Supreme Court forwarded the matter to it. In April, the NGT ordered the shutting down of 13 polluting industries along the river and imposed penalty on several others. The efforts to clean the Ganga first began under the then Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi, and a Ganga Action Plan has been drawn up. But while the NGT is looking to shut down factories and get sewarage treatment plants ensured, experts like Himanshu Thakkar hold that there is simply not enough forceful flushing from the highly damed upstreame tributaries.

Quick Glance Ice-free zones currently represent less than one per cent of the surface of the white continent The study by Australian Antarctic Division predicts that these areas will expand and unite The thaw would mainly affect the Antarctic peninsula and the east coast of the continent

levels. “While this might provide new areas for native species to colonise, it could also result in the spread of invasive species and, in the long term, the extinction of less competitive native species,” Terauds said. He added that the thaw would mainly affect the Antarctic peninsula and the east coast of the continent. Another researcher, Jasmine Lee, noted that unlike earlier studies focusing on the reduction of the ice layer and its potential impact on rising sea levels, the new work focuses on the effects on the continent’s biodiversity. Lee said ice-free regions currently range from 1 sq km to several thousand km, which are all important breeding areas for seals and seabirds as well as homes of invertebrates, fungi and endemic lichens. The research, published by the journal Nature, was presented to the Committee for Environmental Protection during the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting held in May in China.

Wildlife odisha

Pachyderm population picks up The 2017 Elephant Census released recently revealed that the number of elephants rose by 22 in the state ians

N

otwithstanding the death of 156 elephants in the past two years due to different reasons, the elephant population in Odisha has

Quick Glance Odisha has been reporting steady loss of elephants due to electrocution and migration Despite these problems, the elephant population in the state has risen Compared to 2015, the male population is up by three. However, the number of females decreased.

increased marginally to 1,976 this year from 1,954 recorded in 2015. The 2017 Elephant Census report released by Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray revealed that the number of elephants rose by 22 in the state as against the 2015 census. The elephant population was 1,930 in 2012. As per the census, 344 elephants were identified as tuskers and 1,092 as cow elephants. There are 502 young elephants in the state. The Forest Department could not identify the sex of 38 elephants. In three elephant reserves (Mayurbhanj, Mahanadi and Sambalpur), 1,536 elephants were enumerated, which account for 77.73

per cent of the total elephant population in the state. These areas have seven sanctuaries.Five other sanctuaries have an elephant population of 79. The Forest Department officials have counted 361 elephants outside the elephant reserves and sanctuaries. Compared to 2015, the male population is up by three. However, the number of female elephants has decreased by four. The number of young elephants has gone up by 12, said the census report. The highest number of 330 elephants was found in the Similipal reserve (core areas) while 169 were counted in Dhenkanal division. The Forest Department engaged 5,847 persons for the census work.


July 10 - 16, 2017

Environment

31

Quick Glance In KwaZulu-Natal province, men own the cattle and women the goats and chickens But men in the KwaZulu-Natal province, also control use of the water in the local dams So during the time of summer when drought hits the country it is the cattle that get the water

South Africa Drought

Water for goats or for cows? A strange system of livestock ownership in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal raises some peculiar questions Laurie Goering

I

n northern rural areas of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, men own the cattle and women the goats and chickens. But men also control use of the water in local dams, so when drought hits it is the cattle that get the water – and the goats and chickens that die. “The men block access to the dam for the women, saying there’s not enough water to ensure the survival of goats and cattle, so that means goats have to stay away,” said Ronald Wesso, who leads research and policy for Oxfam South Africa. But goats are hardier animals in times of drought, so protecting them makes more efficient use of limited resources, Wesso said. And because a greater number of people own them – particularly women, who are often more financially vulnerable – giving goats priority in access to water and emergency fodder programmes during drought spreads the benefits more widely. So a push by Oxfam to have more government and other drought relief directed to goat owners makes sense – except that, as it turns out, it could undermine a traditional system of cattle owners helping their neighbours and relatives in times of drought. “In times of stress, neighbours

turn to (cattle owners) as a source of support. These male cattle owners are key to the resilience of the community in responding to drought,” Wesso said. “So what you’re trying to do in essence is put in place a new system of resilience counter to an existing one that you might have problems with but that is there and that people depend on,” he said. Building better resilience to the greater shocks and stresses that climate change is bringing can be a complicated and confusing task, researchers said this week at an Oxford conference aimed at exploring resilient solutions to growing problems. WINNERS AND LOSERS Often efforts to build resilience can produce losers as well as winners, or are built assuming government will make choices for the good of greater numbers of people, when in fact political alliances, corruption, nepotism and other problems mean that is often not the case, they said. “Issues like corruption stand in the way of planning working as it should,

and we have to acknowledge that,” said Richard Friend, a human geographer who has worked extensively in Asia and now lectures at the University of York. “Everybody knows it doesn’t work the way it should on paper,” he said. In other cases, time frames are the problem: If sea level rise is slowly flooding fields, when is it right to switch to salt-resistant crops and when is it time to encourage farmers to move on to other jobs? Some efforts to build resilience – the “no regrets” options, such as giving people better education – work regardless of what is coming. In other cases delaying decisions or hedging them can be effective, said Lisa Horrocks, a climate change consultant with Mott MacDonald, a management consultancy group. But when it comes to deciding where to put a new city, whether to build a large dam or what kind of energy system to invest in, decisions “need to last well into the future and we don’t know what the future will be”, she said. “For shorter-term decisions, incremental adaptation may be appropriate,” she said. But for longerterm issues, really different ways of doing things may be needed, she said.

If sea level rise is flooding fields, when is it right to switch to salt-resistant crops and when is it time to encourage farmers to move on to other jobs?

BOUNCE BACK BETTER? Nick Brooks, the director of Garama 3C, a climate change and development consultancy, said that working to understand where thresholds lie – the point at which an existing way of doing things ceases to work, for instance – is crucial to building resilience that lasts. “Normally we talk about building resilience for existing systems, to allow them to be sustained in the face of shocks. That’s appropriate in some cases,” he said. “But there may be cases where trying to build the resilience of existing systems doesn’t work,” he said. He also questioned the frequent aim of helping people “bounce back” after shocks, such as a drought or flooding. That may not always be the right approach for really poor people, who were struggling to survive even before the crisis hit and who need to become “more resilient than they were before the shock”, he said. Eva Ludi, a senior researcher at the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think-tank, warned that projects to improve resilience often start with basic assumptions that can be wrong. One such assumption is that herders who see their animals die during droughts should diversify their sources of income into things like growing a few crops – something most don’t want to do. Instead it’s best to look at what’s already starting to happen on the ground – such as new ways of trading livestock or processing livestock products – for ideas, she said, and to remember that informal networks may have ideas as good or better than governments and more formal organisations. Arabella Fraser, a specialist in urban climate adaptation and resilience at the Overseas Development Institute, said one way to try to make resilience building efforts work more effectively is to keep a few principles in mind. They include working hard to really understand who has power and how the economy works, taking the time to build long-term trust with partners, and acknowledging that there will be trade-offs and not everything will succeed as planned, she said. Courtesy: Thomson Reuters Foundation


July 10 - 16, 2017

U

anti-flesh trade cursader honoured

NSUN

G

32 Unsung Hero

Telangana state. He is Mahesh Bhagwat the third IPS officer to pioneered the use of get the honour. legal provisions to close The report hailed his sites where human HERO participation in antitrafficking is known to trafficking operations that occur across the state. Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, IPS, is only the third Indian to have not only removed Under his expertise, be thus honoured by the US state department hundreds of victims from Rachakonda police closed 25 situations of trafficking, but also brothels—five hotels and 20 elangana IPS Officer IPS Officer Mahesh Muralidhar ensured their placement in support residential apartments—in less than Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, Bhagwat has demonstrated remarkable programs with the help of other a year. They also participated in one who currently serves as the commitment to the fight against human government departments and civil of the largest crackdowns on labour first Commissioner of Police of trafficking for the last 13 years in society organizations. trafficking in the country, which led Rachakonda, has been conferred the “Mr. Bhagwat’s to the identification and removal of 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) dedication to the more than 350 children forced to Report Heroes Award by the US fight against work in brick kilns. Reacting to the state department. human trafficking conferment of the award, Bhagwat, in Every year, the US Department of is exemplified by an interview with PTI, said, “I am State under the Office to Monitor his innovative and delighted to hear the announcement and Combat Trafficking in Persons highly effective and would like to view it as honours individuals around the approach to recognition of the work the Telangana world who dedicate their lives to investigating cases government and the police are doing fight human trafficking. and his success in to combat trafficking in persons for These heroes include individuals dismantling the sex and labour.” In addition to being working for NGOs, lawmakers, massive trafficking a central figure in trafficking police officers, and concerned operations within deterrence efforts, Mr. Bhagwat also citizens who are fighting tirelessly to his command constantly pushes for human end this form of cruel modern areas,” the report trafficking to be a top priority for the mahesh muralidhar bhagwat said. slavery. Telangana state of India.

T

er N eNw ma ssm ew akk esr s

JJ Kapur

talk tank kapur

He won one of the most prestigious students’ awards with his gift of the gab

A

n Indian-American student in the US has won this year’s National Speech and Debate Tournament, considered to be the most prestigious high school competition in the country. JJ Kapur composed his own persuasive speech titled ‘Let’s Dance’, addressing a social issue. His speech, which won the competition in the category of original oratory, started out with a lively Bollywood dance and focused on his experiences as a Sikh-American youth.

“I found that the story of Bollywood was just that, a story....And this disconnect between story and reality extends far beyond India’s borders. We are a storytelling society. We each seek to provide our scattered and confusing experiences with a sense of coherence, by arranging the episodes of our lives into stories. The problem arises when our complex realities does not match the narrative,” Kapur said in his speech. He said he was two years old when the September 11, 2001, attacks happened. “My father was afraid that Americans would see his beard and turban and think ‘terrorist,’” he said. The teen does not remember this incident, but it was a turning point for his father, who realised how he and his family might be perceived. His interest in the topic was fuelled by an experience when a group of strangers mocked him at a restaurant, telling him to “Go home, Osama.” “I remember thinking, ‘I’m an American. I’ve lived here my whole life. This is my home,” he said. “As a Sikh minority, I want to use speech and debate to amplify the voice of Sikhs in my community. I want to use the platform I have for advocacy,” Kapur had said. Kapur’s victory caps off a string of high profile awards, including first-place finishes at the Emory University, Minneapple and Harvard University tournaments.

Sonal ‘kalpana’ Ireland handed her the first ever prizeof the Kalpana Chawla scholarship

A

21-year-old girl from Amaravati in Maharashtra, Sonal Baberwal, is the first winner of the Kalpana Chawla scholarship of the International Space University (ISU) at the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland. The Kalpana Chawla scholarship project at the ISU has been established to honour Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died in the space shuttle Columbia accident, on February 1, 2003. The scholarship is a commitment for creating building blocks that are necessary for India to maintain its leadership in the global space community and market place”. Michael Potter, one of the scholarship founders, called it a historic moment, saying, “India will continue to be an important player on the international front as it moves forward leading the

Sonal Baberwal development of space technologies and activities.” Kalpana Chawla can never die, she has etched in our hearts and minds that dreams can come true with hard work. but we will miss her. Sonal has studied at the Shri RLT College of Science and the Sipna College of Engineering and Technology in Amaravati, Maharashtra. Sonal was guided by Apurva Jakhadi and her sister Leena Bokil. What qualified Sonal to be accepted by ISU was her excellent academic record while she was studying at Amaravati. Bersides, the clinching deal was her impressive performance during the ISU interview.

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 30 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

SULABH SWACHH BHARAT - (Issue - 30)  
SULABH SWACHH BHARAT - (Issue - 30)  
Advertisement