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RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561

06

Good News Weekly for Rising India INDIAN RAILWAYS

MISSION RETROFITMENT

Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, tries to enhance passenger experience

21

Vol-1 | Issue-28 | June 26 - July 02, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

28

GENDER

PAVILION SUSHMA

A pavilion in Himchal Predesh’s Gumma Stadium has been named after her

GOOGLE

VIRTUAL TOUR

The rich treasures of Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial are now open globally

DR. JITENDRA SINGH

“DR. PATHAK IS ONE OF THE BEST PIONEERS IN THE WORLD” Union Minister of State in the PMO DR. JITENDRA SINGH proposed setting up of a Technical Education Centre for higher education in Sulabh Complex


02 Dr. Jitendra Singh ...Continued from Page 1

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

“DR. PATHAK IS ONE OF THE BEST PIONEERS IN THE WORLD”

Dr. Jitendra Singh visiting at Sulabh Gram along with Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak

Dr. Jitendra Singh interacting and accepting the greetings from widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi

SAURABH SINGH

Quick Glance

U

NION Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh on a visit to Sulabh International campus in Delhi, proposed setting up of a technical education center for children. After going through the school run by Sulabh, the Minister said that the technical education centre would facilitate higher and technical education to the children studying in Sulabh school and would enhance their career prospects. The Minister hoped that the Sulabh founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak would take appropriate steps on this proposal. Before addressing the programme, Dr. Jitendra Singh visited various departments of Sulabh complex and also met the workers and trainers of Sulabh school and skill training centers. WARM WELCOME On his arrival at Sulabh International on 19th June 2017, Dr. Pathak welcomed Dr. Singh and escorted him into the campus where a spiritual atmosphere awaited him. The chanting of Sanskrit shlokas from the scriptures filled the air. The stirring sound of conch shells and mantras pervaded the entire space, creating a pristine and elevating effect. But the traditional aura of shlokas, conch shells and mantras was accompanied by an immense and novel difference. The prayers were being conducted not by those who were merely ‘born’ as Brahmins and therefore entitled to hold such prayer meetings, but by a group people who had ‘acquired’ the knowledge and learning to lead the prayers. This was the Sulabh’s and Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak’s way of bringing the people - manual scavengers, who had suffered social isolation and injustice for centuries on centre stage in an important event like this. Another special feature of this puja ceremony was that it was conducted by

Dr Jitendra Singh was impressed with innovations in Sulabh complex He participated in puja accompanied by chanting of shlokas Met children of Sulabh school, former women scavengers and Vrindavan widows

Dr. Pathak showing to Dr. Jitendra Singh the squatting pan, the water seal and other parts of the two-pit toilet which requires only one litre of water to flush out the excreta

women who, whatever caste they belonged to, have often faced discrimination in religious matters. Another unique feature was the fact that widows, who were kept away from most religious programs, were a part of the puja proceedings. RURAL WOMEN After attending the opening ceremony beginning with the chanting of mantras, Dr. Jitendra Singh met women from rural areas who informed him that with the help of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak they have been able to build toilets in their villages at a reasonable cost and the construction of toilets had transformed their lives. The women described how the lack of toilets had hampered their day to day work and activities. Besides the social and hygiene- related humiliation faced by women from the manual scavenger families, other women too had to put up with the difficulty of having no toilets in their houses. They

informed Dr. Singh that in the recent past, nearly all houses in their own village had constructed a toilet of their own. PM Modi’s call to build toilets before temples is a drive that is a part of Swachh Bharat campaign. It has become the inspiration behind a great deal of activity in this direction. Many organisations and groups are working to achieve this goal. But Sulabh had started this mission decades ago. DRINKING WATER During his visit to Sulabh International Dr. Singh was introduced to water conservation and availability. It is commonly said that if there is a major war among countries now, it will be because of rights over drinking water. Sulabh is doing very serious work in preserving and recycling used water. Founder of Sulabh Sanitation Mission and Social Reforms, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak explained him that in West Bengal groundwater was becoming

PM’s Skill Development and Start-up programmes are all being followed in Sulabh at the school level

poisonous due to the presence of a great deal of arsenic in it. ‘Purified drinking water’ technology developed by Sulabh could treat this water from polluted rivers, ponds, wells and other water bodies and make it safe for drinking. Earlier, Sulabh’s Effluent Treatment Technology (SET) was a great process developed by Dr Pathak which reduced Biochemical Oxygen Demand( BOD) of waste water. Thereby a lot of waste water could be recycled and made useable. Sulabh has installed water treatment plants at many sites in West Bengal and also sells bottled water called ‘Sulabh Safe Drinking Water’ at only 50p per bottle. Dr Pathak does not claim to be an inventor or a scientist, but his concern for the country, the environment and his less-privileged fellow men, made him think up solutions. In 1970 he came up with the two-pit flush idea. Dr. Jitendra Singh was impressed to learn that this idea sorted out a three point problem- the shameful work of manual scavengers, the danger of water wastage and the threat of environmental pollution. TWO-PIT TOILETS In the two-pit toilet, no human role in cleaning is required. Also, it is almost maintenance–free. The invention is ingenious and path-breaking for a country in which the centuries-old practice of manual scavenging had become a shame. In the two-pit toilet, one pit is used while the other is a stand by and it is covered. It takes 2-3 years for the used/ covered pit to dry up. The human waste is later used as fertiliser or as cooking gas.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Dr. Jitendra Singh watching the various artefacts at the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

Dr. Jitendra Singh with the students of Sulabh Public School along with Dr. Pathak

FROM RENOWNED DOCTOR TO A DISCIPLINED POLITICIAN

D

R. JITENDRA SINGh is a world-class doctor renowned for his expertise in diabetes, a prominent nationalist intellectual and author whose passion for social service compelled him to leave his prestigious professorship of Medicine and Endocrinology. A Member of Parliament in the 16th Lok Sabha, representing Udhampur constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Singh is an impassioned nationalist leader renowned for his personal integrity and his zeal for public service Born in 1956 in a remote village in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Singh showed promise as a student

and excelled in his medical education, acquiring MBBS from Stanley, Chennai, and MD (Medicine) as well as Fellowship from AIIMS, New Delhi. He rose in his profession through his diligence and brilliance, becoming Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology. He has made important contribution in his specialized field through his research and writing and has been a distinguished participant in several national and international conferences on diabetes. He has contributed as a member in various medical committees and has the distinction to serve as Chairman of National Scientific Committee Diabetes, Research Society

Dr. Jitendra Singh

03

A member of the Sulabh School Sanitation Club explaining to Dr. Jitendra Singh the processes of making sanitary napkins and the operation of the incinerator machine, in which the used sanitary napkins are incinerated

ABOUT DR. JITENDRA SINGH Parliamentary Constituency Date of Birth Place of Birth Father Mother Wife

Education

Udhampur November 6, 1956 Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir) Late Rajinder Singh Mrs Shanti Devi Mrs Manju Singh MBBS, MD (Medicine), Fellowship (Diabetes), MNAMS (Diabetes and Endocrinology), from Stanley Medical College, Chennai and AIIMS, New Delhi

for Study of Diabetes in India (2013). He has authored books and monograms, publishing several original articles in leading medical journals as well as popular books on diabetes awareness such as “Diabetes Made Easy”. Above all, Dr. Jitendra Singh has been dedicated to social and public service from his student age. He was a member of the core committee of Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti, playing a pivotal role in the 2008 Amarnath Land Row

Agitation. He has the distinction of bringing the issue of Jammu and Kashmir to the national prominence through his effective performance as BJP’s Chief Spokesperson for the state. Dr. Singh is also an impassioned author and journalist. He has written prolifically for the media and he has been conferred the coveted “Jamna Devi Gian Devi” award for journalism. This is a brief account of Dr. Jitendra Singh’s illustrious life and career.

Dr. Jitendra Singh’s then stopped at the point where the teachers and students of Sulabh International school met him. One of the teachers informed him that the even at the early stage of school education, the importance of PM Modi’s Skill Development program is being underlined here. Along with regular studies, special courses are being taught to children so that they can develop an interest in skillbased professions. The programs launched by the Prime Minister to address the India of tomorrow, whether it is Start-ups or new areas of entrepreneurship, were all being followed at the school level itself. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak told the guest that a great deal of emphasis was also given to the telegram and smart class idea so that a

lot more learners could be reached at a quicker pace. SULABH STUDENTS The students of Sulabh Public School impressed Dr. Singh with their smartness and sincerity. A school girl explained to the guest how the school students are given information about menstrual cycle so that they become aware of the medical and sanitation issues. The girls are trained to make their own sanitary napkins which make the process inexpensive and convenient. They are given easily operated machines for this purpose, Always cautious about waste disposal, Sulabh International has also installed incinerators in the school through which sanitary napkins can be easily disposed of. ...Continued on Page 4


04 Dr. Jitendra Singh ...Continued from Page 3

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

“DR. PATHAK IS ONE OF THE BEST PIONEERS IN THE WORLD”

The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is a very different kind of museum for first-time visitors. It has a collection of objects, pictures and artefacts related to toilets since 2500 BC. This different kind of museum was the next on Dr. Singh’s tour list and it did not fail to amaze the honoured guest. THE CHIEF GUEST’S SPEECH The highlight of the day was the short but heart-warming speech by Dr. Jitendra Singh who expressed his happiness on being present at the Sulabh International centre where he had the opportunity to meet the committed and dedicated members of the great Sulabh family. He was impressed by the innovative methods and technology used to sort out the very difficult problems our country faces today. Dr. Singh praised Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak’s unceasing efforts in solving social, environmental and even emotional hurdles that the less privileged citizens face every day in their lives. He said that Dr. Pathak is a very special person because of the many changes he has brought in society. Dr. Pathak thanked Dr. Singh for his visit and for his kind words. He took this opportunity to present the suggestion that like Sulabh International School, all other schools should make the maximum use possible of their facilities. The school building, the grounds, and the premises could be used to advantage even after the school time is over to serve people. The idea was applauded by all present at the program. Dr. Pathak, even after doing so much for the people has not stopped thinking of newer ways to make life more rewarding for those who are not so fortunate. It is no wonder that he is looked upon as a messiah and a saviour by all those whose lives he has transformed by opening new vistas of hope and courage. VRINDAVAN WIDOWS Along with this, the Minister met the widows of Mathura and the women who came from Rajasthan. The children of Sulabh school welcomed Jitendra Singh and recited Gayatri Mantra and introduced themselves to him. The minister was impressed by the student’s passion and talent. ‘I am very grateful to Dr. Pathak and the Sulabh family for accepting me as a member of the Sulabh family. I learned a lot on coming here.’ Dr. Jitendra Singh said adding that he had benefited the most because he came there and learned a lot. ‘Actually I should have come here earlier, but due to the busy schedule, I could not come,’ he said. ‘This is an amazing thing in itself, which is not noticed by many people. For this, we also got many opportunities to honor Dr. Pathak from time to time. Dr.

Pathak has been honored by the honorable Prime Minister too’, Dr. Jitendra Singh said.

that the PM would announce big policy, policial and economic plans for the country.

DR PATHAK IS THE BEST PIONEER Dr. Pathak is one of the best Pioneers in the world, Dr. Singh said adding, I am not saying this just to say this. There is a proof that at the time when very few people were worried about the issue of toilet hygiene in the country, Dr. Pathak had worked to make a respectable toilet system. It is a very commendable job. Dr. Pathak has worked in this area since early 1970s that too at a time when one war had just ended, the clouds of the second war were hovering over the country. The country was facing millions of problems.It was in such situation that Dr. Pathak got concerned about a topic,

TOILETS FOR WOMEN But he had talked of women’s toilets as a priority. His speech inspired millions people and institutions of the country to the extent that at least 40 lakh women toilets have already been constructed in the country. There is no school now without a toilet for girls. Inspired by that, Dr. Singh said he approached Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari who at the time was looking after this ministry. Dr. Singh told him that toilets for women should be constructed in the border areas too as women residents had been facing grave problems in open defecation, because of the constant

Dr. Pathak presenting a two-pit toilet model to Dr. Jitendra Singh

which you can call, is a fundamental issue. Sometimes the focus is shifted from the basic issues and they are not given priority. After D.r Pathak triggered off a cleanliness campaign, people started to realize importance of this issue and the cause that Dr. Pathak has been working for. Apart from this, it is satisfying for me to be here because Dr. Pathak has taken forward the work which the government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has advocated in the last three years. It is rarely that a country’s head talks about toilets on the occasion of the Independence Day. After becoming the Prime Minister, in his speech from the Red Fort on Independence Day in 2014, Modiji talked about cleanliness and toilets in the country. Many people were amazed at this speech as they had been thinking

patrolling by army jawans. Dr. Singh said, “After that the government’s cooperation with Sulabh went up in the area of toilet construction. So from 2014-15 the government is having a working relationship with Sulabh and I am proud to share this with you. I have tried to get similar toilets made in my parliamentary constituency with help of Dr. Pathak and this institution”. There are very few occasions when a government campaign, becomes a mass campaign. This was the first time in the history of the past 70 years that any campaign started by the government has become a mass campaign. Through this, the chapter of a new work culture has been created in the country. The present government has recognised the importance of Dr. Pathak’s

There are very few occasions when a campaign

started by the government becomes a mass campaign

work and has tried to push it forward on a priority basis. THE LEARNING If you look around in this campus, there is so much to learn about education and learning. Dr. Pathak is one of the pioneers of Sulabh toilets in the world. The recognition of Pathak’s personality is based on the achievements of this whole complex. For the first time since independence, the Skill Ministry has been created separately by this government. This concept is also present here. In addition to understanding the talent of the children and giving them vocational training and pushing them forward, is the great work being done here that too without any charges, which is a very commendable work. TECHNICAL EDUCATION CENTRE Today, the work of Sulabh toilets has been recognised around whole world. In the same way, it will become a model in itself and will soon prove itself to the world. I have presented a proposal in front of Dr. Pathak that in this premises, we will run the program of Technical Education Center from 5 am to 7 pm. Since ISRO and SPACE are in direct contact with us, we will make such arrangements that these children, whom you are teaching till 12th without charge, they will be given training for free higher education, so that they will not have to go wandering for careers anymore. Now we are trying it out, and if this experiment is successful then poor as well as rich children will come to get education here. In the market coaching centers have opened classes and parents’ money is being wasted. This will also get rid of them as parents too need guidance against expensive coaching. Because the parents are also misguided and the amount earned through their hard work gets spent in coaching. At the same time, we will support you in the start-up programs, so that these children do not have to wander around in the future for careers. There is also this facility in the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Plan that if someone wants to open their business, then the initial amount will be given from the government side. To ensure that these children are not misled after 12th, this is a small effort from us for their better future. I had no deep understanding about this complex, but after coming here I have come to know the importance of it. On the other hand, an assurance was given to the proposal of the PMO minister on behalf of the Sulabh family, about our resolve to implement it soon. It was also said that the Sulabh family will continue to work for people welfare every day. With this, we also beg to seek your cooperation.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

DIGITALISING EDUCATION

GOVT SCHOOL WITH A DIFFERENCE A Principal transforms it into a digital one though his own funds

SRAWAN SHUKLA

E

VEN as majority of 1.68 lakh government primary schools in Uttar Pradesh remain without basic infrastructural facilities, teachers and are struggling with high drop-out rate, here is a government school in Sambhal district which boasts itself of being the first ‘Digital School’ in the state. The Government Primary School in Itayala Maafi in Asmoli block of Sambhal district does not have ubiquitous black boards or attendance registers. Parents don’t cajole their tiny-tots to get ready for the school, here students run from their homes to reach school and queue up to give bio-metric attendance. Each class-room is equipped with LED screens and students take their lessons online. The entire school is a wi-fi zone and it is mandatory for every student to take computer classes thrice a week. The school has a lush green lawn and about 400 flower pots and trees to make it environmentfriendly. The furniture matches with any convent school and walls of each class room is painted with colours chosen by school kids to match their imagination. School has separate toilets for boys and girls. To maintain hygienic conditions, toilets are cleaned twice school time. The school has installed a water purifier to supply safe drinking water to students.

The school kitchen is tiled and marblefloored to cook fresh mid-day meal every day. Utensils are cleaned twice before and after serving the meal. Tiny-tots get their first lesson in cleanliness here. They are taught how to wash their hands before eating mid-day meal and their lunch boxes. The teacher managing the kitchen services checks hands of each student before allowing cooks to serve mid-day meal. It is also her job to create awareness among students about cleanliness not only in school premises but also back home. She keeps a nail-cuter and a comb to ensure that students’ nails are properly cut and hairs smartly groomed.The school has a computer lab, music system, a projector. This school is not dependent on government power supply but has created its own Solar system generate enough electricity to run fans, lights and even a few computers. Before the start of every academic session, new students are given dress, school bags and text books free of cost from the school management. It is perhaps the only government school in Uttar Pradesh where attendance of teachers is better than students. CCTVs are installed at all classes, corridors, kitchen and lobby to keep an eye of every activity of teachers, students and staff members. The school also has a library where students can read books other than their syllabus. Students who top in class get a bicycle from the school

management as a reward. Though the Uttar Pradesh government has recognized the Primary School at Itayala Maafi as the first ‘Digital and Model School’ in the state but the school does not get any special grant to stand to its reputation. Then how and who has created the entire digital paraphernalia that too in a government primary school which is giving run for money to convent schools in the district? It all started when a man named Kapil Malik became principal of the school four years ago. He spent all his life savings and salary to give school building and old furniture a modern look. “There were only 12 students in this school when I had joined. But soon we created facilities and trained our teachers that within a year the number swelled to 309,” claims Kapil. On the recommendation of district primary education department, the state

The Principal was given

an award of Rs 1.20 lakh but he bought a laptop, biometric machine, softwares, LEDs and CCTVs

Education

05

Quick Glance The school had 12 students when Kapil Malik became Principal In four years he has completely changed the school It has laptops, LED boards and biometric attendance systems

government awarded the status of first Model School in the state. The school principal was given a check of Rs 1.20 lakhs as a reward. “I used the money to buy a laptop, bio-metric machine, soft-wares, LEDs, new furniture, CCTVs etc to create facilities better than any convent school in the district,” says Malik. Finger prints of each student, teachers and staff members were taken and then fed into the soft-ware of the machine. “Principal saheb used technology to introduce discipline, punctuality and accountability in the school,” says Pushpa, a computer teacher in the school. A dos and donts were circulated to students and parents to ensure that each student comes to school properly dressed in school uniform. Tie is a must and parents are called to explain if anyone forgets to wear it. The School Principal Kapil Malik has so far spent Rs 15 lakhs from his own pocket and salary savings on creating additional facilities, maintenance and upkeep of the school. He distributes bicycles to toppers from his own salary and spent most of it on students and staff. “My only aim is to give a solid foundation to each and every child who comes for primary education up to class V in this school. It not only reduces drop-out rate but help students to shape up their future in secondary and higher classes,” claims Malik. “Students in our government school are exposed to computers and modern day education techniques which otherwise are not available in any other schools in the district,” points Gaurav, a teacher in the school.There are many parents in Sambhal who had withdrawn their wards from English-medium school to put them in this government primary school in Itayala Maafi. Admissions are tough now. Each year, the school has to turn down admission requests. Last year, it had enrolled a record 140 students in Class I alone. “This government school is different. It not only imparts the best education but inculcate values among students. My son who would earlier make excuses in going to a private school now gets up in time, takes a bath and goes to his new school in uniform,” says Mohammed Sohaib, a parent. “Efforts of the Principal and teachers have put this school ahead of even most modern convent schools. The school staff is imparting education to students which are rare to find in any private schools,” lauds Dr Satya Narain, the Basic Shiksha Adkhikari of Sambhal.


06 Indian Railways

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

INDIAN RAILWAYS RETROFITMENT

ENHANCING PASSENGER EXPERIENCE Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, launches Mission Retrofitment

UPGRADATION OF COACHES It has been planned to induct

40,000

about coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23.

Quick Glance Indian Railways will offer a new travel experience by 2020 Mission retrofitment aims at adding security and enhancements The mission will be implemented without affecting traffic operation

RSP sanction for refurbishing

6,700

of coaches are already available. Approximate Cost :

lacs per coach. MRIGANK DEVAM

T

O enhance the passenger experience by upgrading existing fleet of coaches with better furnishing, aesthetics & amenities; and better safety features with a view to provide a safe and comfortable travel,

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched Mission retro-fitment in Rail Bhavan recently. Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mohd Jamshed, Member Rolling Stock, Railway Board, Ravindra Gupta, Member Staff, Railway Board, Pradeep Kumar were among those present on the occasion.

Rs.30

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said, “ Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious program to upgrade the level of furnishing & amenities in railway coaches. This is one of the largest retro fitment project in the world as Indian Railways’ 40,000 coaches will be

refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years. This Mission Retrofitment is an endeavour to provide better travel experience by enhancing the coach interiors & the retrofitment of Center Buffer Coupler with balanced draft gear that would add more to safety of the passengers. This mission is challenging as it will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation. On the occasion, MR Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu also released a booklet giving parameters & guidelines on this mega exercise of retrofitment and refurbishment.

SANITATION ODF

THE LEAGUE OF EARLY ADOPTERS Uttarakhand and Haryana declared 4th and 5th ODF States in the country SSB BUREAU

U

NDER the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana have declared themselves as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India. The two joined the league of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala on June 24, which were the

Quick Glance Sikkim, Himachal & Kerala are the first three ODF states Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat lauded the efforts of community Next Step for ODF states is to implemement waste management

first three states to be declared ODF. Nationally, the sanitation coverage has increased from 42% to over 64% in just two and a half years since the launch of SBM. Uttarakhand has 13 districts, 95 blocks, 7256 gram panchayats and 15751 villages while Haryana has 21 districts, 124 blocks, and 6083 gram panchayats all of which have declared themselves as ODF in formal declarations in Dehradun and Chandigarh, respectively. Speaking at the event in Dehradun, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said, “On October 2, 2014, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, started the Swachh Bharat Mission. Today, it has become a true people’s movement. People of Uttarakhand and Haryana, the government officials and representatives

The Ambassadors of Swachh Bharat - Trivendra S Rawat & Manohar L Khattar

of other institutions have contributed towards this milestone.” Commenting on Uttarakhand achieving this milestone, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, said “Collaborative community participation has led Uttarakhand to achieve this ODF status. The Prime Minister’s call for a Swachh Bharat has resulted in this special achievement. I would like to laud the role of the gram pradhans in making Uttarakhand ODF.” Congratulating the newly declared

ODF States, Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said, “Following the tremendous progress being made in ODF declaration across the country, the next step for Swachh Bharat Gramin will be to focus on sustaining this ODF status and systematic solid and liquid waste management in rural India.” With the total number of ODF States now rising to 5, more than 2 Lakh villages and 147 districts have also been declared ODF across the country.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

RURAL INDIA SOLAR POWER

60-year-old Noorjaha lighted five villages with solar power

S

OLAR energy is an answer to power blues in rural India, says 60-year-old Noorjaha, popularly known as ‘Solar didi’. In the last five years, she not only lighted her own house but adjoining five villages in Kanpur rural. Her missionary zeal to remove darkness from rural areas was even appreciated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his ‘Man Ki Baat’ program about a year ago, Modi made a special mention of Noorjaha’s efforts to light up rural areas. “A small effort by Noorjaha in Kanpur will go a long way in removing darkness from rural areas,” PM had stated in his programme. Since appreciation from the PM, Noorjaha earned a new name ‘Solar didi’ in Bairisawai village under Maitha block in Kanpur Dehat. Her efforts soon earned her a reward from erstwhile Akhilesh government. She was awarded Rani Laxmi Bari award and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to carry forward her mission last year. “My mission is to light up all villages where electricity is yet to reach and help those who want to rise against darkness to shine in life” says Noorjaha. But life was not easy for Noorjaha. After her husband’s death, raising five sons and a daughter was a big challenge. She started working as a daily wager to earn

Villagers were astonished to see the white

light illuminating my hut. We celebrated the night with lights on livelihood for the family. But that was not sufficient. “I faced a lot of hardship after my husband’s death. Being a Muslim, it was difficult to go out for work or start up something on our own with no money,” she claims. While working as a daily-wager, she came in contact with an NGO Shramik Bharati. The NGO was involved in women empowerment through education. Noorjaha found a daily-wage job at the NGO. She got in touch with Radha, a staffer at the NGO, who identified her potential. The NGO was running a community radio station which was shut down due to lack of funds. Since there was no electricity in the village, the station was being run on solar energy. One day Radha suggested Noorjaha to start up her own solar energy plant and rent solar lanterns. “I had no money to invest. The NGO offered to give five solar panels and solar lanterns lying unused at the radio station. I happily agreed. The man who was running the solar plant installed the panels at my house and taught me

07

Quick Glance

SOLAR DIDI OF KANPUR

SRAWAN SHUKLA

Solar Power

how to generate solar power and charge solar lanterns with no cost,” says Noorjaha. Noorjaha still remembers the day when she charged solar lamps and lighted up her hut. “Villagers, who were still using kerosene oil to keep the darkness away, were astonished to see the white rays throwing light all over my hut. We celebrated the night with lights on,” claims she. That night Noorjaha decided to light up the lives of others too in her village. “Next morning I was surprised to see many villagers thronging my hut inquiring about solar lanterns. They offered to pay also,” she claims. She charged about 30 solar lamps and offered to those who needed it. “Life would come to a halt after sunset in Bairiswasi village. An eerie silence would prevail in entire villager under the darkness. For the first time, villagers enjoyed light, children studied late in night,” recalls Ishrar. Soon people from adjoining villages, which had no electricity, approached

Noorjaha saw solar lanterns at a community radio station She took five unused lanterns from there to rent out to villagers Now she is earning Rs 6,000 per month @Rs 10 per lantern

Noorjaha for solar lamps. The demand came from adjoining Dariyaon, Anoopupur, Sumitpur villages etc. Noorjaha charged Rs 10 for renting her solar power. Initially, her sons Ishaq, Nisar, Shamshad, Ishtiaq and Nibhan acted as delivery boys. Later, villagers would come themselves by evening to collect the solar lamps and return in the morning for recharging the same. Noorjaha would plug in these lamps to recharge and make them ready for the delievery. She used to earn Rs 4,000 to 5,000 a month from renting solar lamps. She bought a few more with savings she made. Today, she has about 50 solar lamps which villagers would take it on rent. The demand would increase if there is a marriage or ceremony in the village. She used the Rs 1 lakh award money for replacing the batteries and buying more sola r lamps. Though she managed to get married her only daughter Nafeesa with the little savings she made through her success story but Noorjaha wants to take her mission to the next level. She has approached the Prime Minister Naendra Modi through a journalist from Varanasi. “I have requested the prime minister not only to help me but also make solar energy available in each Uttar Pradesh villages. It is cost effective and a solution to shortage of electricity in rural areas,” she claims.


08 Good News

26 JUNE-02 JULY, 2017

GOOD NEWS IN BRIEF

KOLKATA HAPPINESS

‘DANCING COP’ IN CITY OF JOY SOLAR POWER

SOLAR TV USHERS IN RURAL JOY

The unofficial traffic manager at the hectic Rajarhat highway in Kolkata dances all the time even as he manages rush hour vehicles

With the majority of those without power from poor communities in countryside, the company focuses on selling

A

N Indian social business has launched the country’s first solar satellite television service, bringing clean energy powered entertainment to households and businesses through a pay-as-you-go payment scheme.Simpa Networks, which began operations in 2011, is one of thousands of social enterprises in India tapping into the renewable energy market in a country where one-fifth of the 1.3 billion population has no access to electricity. With the majority of those without power from poor communities in countryside, the company focuses on selling solar powered products such as LED lights, phone charging points and fans on financing to rural homes and shops in northern India. “We see a tremendous opportunity in rural areas where demand for energy is growing even faster than supply,” said Simpa Network CEO Piyush Mathur in a statement. “Rooftop solar has a role to play in both off-grid and on-grid areas. In many cases it’s the fastest and least expensive way to get power into the homes and businesses in rural areas.” “Simpa Magic TV” provides over 100 satellite channels with content ranging from comedy and entertainment to news, movies and music, and costs Rs 25,000. The system, which includes an 80 W solar panel, 20” energy efficient LED television, battery, solar charge controller, is available on a repayment plan of up to 36 months. Interest applies but the company declined to provide approximate rates. Customers make an initial payment to have the system installed then use a pay-as-you-go model for the electricity. The payments contribute to total cost and, once fully paid, the customer owns the system and the electricity is free. Courtesy: Thomson Reuters Foundation

MILINDA GHOSH ROY

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OMMUTERS look out in surprise from windows of cars and buses. Some passersby occasionally stop to click pictures. The subject of their interest is a man who literally makes managing busy traffic on a bustling east Kolkata road a song and a dance. Braving the heat, Ashok Gupta, 59, in a fluorescent orange jacket and helmet, shows off his innovative dance steps while directing vehicles near Gate No. 4 at Rajarhat’s Eco Tourism Park for 12 hours a day, six days a week managing to draw a smile or two from passing commuters. A resident of Hooghly district’s Dankuni, Gupta is not a traffic cop. He has been appointed by a private security company that has been outsourced the job of flagging through heavy vehicles supplying material for the ongoing GariaAirport Metro railway project. According to Gupta, people’s smiles keep him going, notwithstanding the hectic nature of his job against a meagre pay cheque. “Some people ask me why I do it. In today’s busy life, people often don’t get enough time or reason to smile. So I’m trying to make people

“I want to tell

today’s generation that whatever they do in life, they should do it from the heart and enjoy it” smile through my dance steps,” Gupta told IANS. “The more I see people smiling and appreciating (what I do), the more I feel encouraged. While managing traffic under the scorching sun for so long, this music and dance steps leave me energised,” he said. Gupta, an avid fan of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, constantly plays old Hindi numbers like “Chala jata hun... Kisi ke dhunpe” and “Ek larki pehelibaar” on his cell phone. “I face no issues in managing the traffic while dancing. I just connect the head phones of my mobile to my ears and get lost in the music,” he

Quick Glance Ashok Gupta delivers dance steps while directing vehicles Gupta is not a traffic cop but appointed by a private agency He wants people to find a bit of happiness in their hectic lives

said. He has been doing the task for seven years now. But such is Gupta’s passion for the work that he goes beyond his assigned responsibility. While he is supposed to pass the heavy vehicles ferrying materials for the metro project, Gupta has proactively taken up the responsibility of managing the general traffic as well. “All traffic sergeants in this area are happy with me. They’ve asked me to keep doing what I’m doing. They say I am doing a good job of managing traffic,” Gupta said, a sense of satisfaction and excitement manifest in his voice. The traffic marshal claimed he has danced on the road before but never got any recognition. “It is the love of the people of Rajarhat that has really encouraged me in my dance,” he said. “Some people, who frequently travel through this place, tell me they feel something is missing when I’m not there,” he continued. Sharing Gupta’s enthusiasm, his young helper BiswajitSaha claimed that the amount of effort he puts into his work inspires others in the locality. “We are proud of him. The way he works for 12 hours daily with a smile on his face motivates youngsters like us,” Saha said. But the road has been far from smooth for Gupta. “My sons initially objected to my dancing and said I am ruining the family prestige. But after seeing the people’s response, they are happy now. They say ‘you are a great man’,” they said with a chuckle. Locals simply adore Gupta. “I’ve seen him before. It is wonderful how he is spreading love and happiness with his dance. Whenever I pass through this point, my eyes automatically turn to him,” said IT employee Santanu Paul. Posing with a bunch of school kids for a selfie, Gupta said a positive attitude to life and enjoying his work are his twin secrets. “I want to tell today’s generation that whatever they do in life they should do it from the heart and enjoy it. There is nothing like getting pleasure and satisfaction out of your livelihood,” the dancing marshal added.


Good News

26 JUNE-02 JULY, 2017

RURAL DEVELOPMENT NITI AAYOG

NITI AAYOG FOR ‘TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE’ The think-tank would provide strategic, technical and implementation support to three states in education and health IANS

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O stimulate “transformational change” in key social sectors, the NITI Aayog would provide strategic, technical and implementation support to three states in education and health. The three states to be offered institutional support would be shortlisted by July, the NITI Aayog said last week. The initiative defines a new dimension for cooperative federalism as the government’s premier thinktank would not only offer policy inputs to the states but would actively aid implementation of its recommendations. “Five states have been short-listed in each sector which would further go through the screening process and three states would be finally selected for both education and health sectors,”

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant told reporters here. A statement issued by the NITI Aayog said that under the SATH (Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital) initiative, it will collaborate with its knowledge partners to hand-hold the selected

NAGALAND ENVIRONMENT

VILLAGERS UNITE TO SAVE FORESTS The villagers have been requested to join the forum as environment degradation will directly or indirectly affect these villages

Quick Glance The three states have been offered institutional support The Ayog will collaborate with its knowledge partners

states through a time-bound and outcome-oriented process. “Transformative change in social sector is challenging as the pace is slow, as compared to the infrastructure sector. “The issues are multi-layered and complex, involving both governance and building capacity of human capital,” the policy think-tank said. During the initial screening process, a committee comprising of Kant, NITI Member BibekDebroy, NITI advisers and representatives of the respective ministries vetted presentations by 14 states for each of the two social sectors. During the presentations, the states tried to justify why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by the NITI Aayog by showcasing the initiatives undertaken by them so far and their willingness to accelerate improvement.

Quick Glance People from 10 villages have united to save the fragile environment They will collectively preserve the ecosystem of Mount Pauna A resolution has extended the forum to include three more villages

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by the villagers at a meeting last year at Dungki village.The meeting was held under the initiative of the secretary to the Government of Nagaland KeleiZeliang and attended by leaders of the villages concerned. Reaffirming the resolutions adopted last year, the meeting also adopted several new resolutions, including one to extend the forum to include three more adjacent villages of Pedi, Benreu and Heunambe.

GOOD NEWS IN BRIEF

Five states have been short-listed which would face a screening

RAJ KASHYAP N a trend-setting development, inhabitants of as many as ten villages in Nagaland’s Peren district have come together to protect the forests and wildlife in and around their locale. They have formed a forum -‘Northern Zeme Forest Conservation Forum’ - to collectively preserve the flora and fauna of the foothill of Mount Pauna in the district. The forum’s working committee convener Haibamko and secretary Ipeihangbe said that a meeting of the forum was held recently at Ngwalwa village in Peren district to review the progress of the implementation of total prohibition of hunting and fishing, a resolution that was adopted

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“The villagers have been requested to join the forum as environment degradation will directly or indirectly affect these villages,” the forum members said. The meeting also deliberated on the adverse effects of tree felling in the reserve forest areas and recommended a total ban on the activity. The respective village councils will adopt resolutions to implement the ban.

TRIPURA

WATER… LIGHTS… CHEERS! The tribal villagers were initially sceptical about solar energy but are now happy SSB BUREAU

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OLAR energy has transformed a nondescript hamlet in Tripura into a modern village, thanks to efforts of an NGO which developed modern facilities at the doorstep of the residents using solar technology. Herma village is in the Charilam block of Sipahijala district of the state. The tribal inhabitants of the village were initially suspicious about the modern technology and averse to accept it. But backed by financial support from the government, NGO Arkaneer headed by Dr Shantipada Gan Choudhury implemented various technology driven modern facilities to empower the villagers. The plan to develop the village was envisioned years ago. Today, all the 24 families of the village have sanitary toilets with 24 hour water supply, pure drinking water facilities and lights in their home – all with the help of solar power. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar last week visited the village and observed how the modern facilities were installed in the village with very minimum cost. The Chief Minister was so elated with the success of the project that he instantly instructed the principal secretary for Rural Development Lok Ranjan to prepare a project so that one such village can be set up in each of the state’s 52 blocks irrespective of their remoteness and other difficulties. The Chief Minister of the state has instructed his officials to make documentaries in Bengali and Koborok, the languages spoken by the local people, and show them in the villages to convince the people about the benefits of modern technology.


10 Sanitation

26 JUNE - 02 JULY, 2017

EAST DELHI TOILETS

RESTAURANTS TO ALLOW WOMEN TO USE TOILETS After South Delhi’s restaurants, now those in East Delhi will also allow women and children free access to their toilets

EDMC has passed an order, allowing women and children access to toilets in restaurants and eateries All the 2,500 restaurants and hotels with health trade licenses will have to follow the order

women and children should be allowed to use toilets in hotels and restaurants

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East Delhi Mayor NeemaBhagat said: “The Corporation has taken a decision to allow women and children to use toilets in hotels and restaurants falling under its jurisdiction. After a consultation

MUMBAI SLUM SANITATION

FILMMAKER’S 800 TOILETS Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has constructed 800 toilets in the slum he has been shooting in for the past four years

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OLLOWING the footsteps of Hollywood stars, and responding to their own hearts’ calls, Bollywood celebrities are making their own special efforts for the earth and humans. Sanitation and hygiene in the poorest slums have been a distant dream for far too long. But what happens when one individual takes it upon himself to change the course of life in areas like these? Indian Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is a perfect example of how one can make every individual effort count. Mehra’s film – Mere Pyare Prime Minister – revolves around four kids living in a Mumbai slum, one of whom wants to build a toilet for his single mother and makes an appeal to the Prime Minister. But while making films about

The area is not proud of its public toilets, and women and children avoid anything like that

The Corporation says

PTI FTER the posh South Delhi restaurateurs agreed to join hands with the city segment’s municipal corporation a few months ago to open their loos to women and children free of cost, it is now the turn of East Delhi. The area is not proud of – to say the least – its public toilets and women and children avoid anything like that. But the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) last week passed an order, allowing women and children access to toilets in restaurants and eateries. Not only that but there will be no charge on using these toilets. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) had passed the order on May 1 this year. There, however, men are also allowed in these toilets. This is yet another step in the direction of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), officials said.

Quick Glance

social issues spreading awareness, much remains to be done. Mehra believes in putting his ideas into action. So he took it upon himself to build over 800 toilets in the slum that he’s been shooting the film at for the past four years. Not only is he revamping the slums by building toilets, he’s also making sure they are maintained well.

with the owners and associations of hotels and restaurants, we arrived at a consensus. An order to this effect has been issued by the Additional Commissioner (Health).” Women and kids will be able “We’ve been having meetings with slum-dwellers and corporators of the area, urging them to put Rs. 1 in the donation box so that the community workers can be given their dues,” he told the media. He states that Gandhi’s model toilets at the Sabarmati Ashram inspired him. The biggest hurdle in his way was the authorisation of Mumbai slums, as they are built on unauthorised plots of land owned by BMC and don’t have pipelines or water connections. He began filming in a slum in Ghatkopar after which the BMC gave him an NOC to build 20 toilets there, including five separate toilets for men and women, and also teachers in two municipal schools in the Khandooba area. The project worked in collaboration with NGO, Yuva Unstoppable. “The slum dwellers have TV sets and mobile phones but no toilets and during the monsoons are forced to defecate on the railway tracks. I remember reading a Mirror story about a woman who got run over while defecating on the tracks and wondered, `Is a toilet worth losing your life over?” Mehra asked in an interview.

to access restrooms in over 2,500 restaurants and hotels, which have been issued health trade licenses by the civic body, in the area. “Awareness is being raised about the policy. Our teams are putting up posters, stickers, and banners at restaurants and hotels, so that there is no confusion and full compliance with the decision,” Municipal Commissioner Mohanjeet Singh said. The civic body is at present finalising the modalities of the amount that can be imposed as penalty on defaulters. Meanwhile, the north Corporation, too, is working on the proposal.

JAPANESE TOILETS

WHY JAP TOILETS TICK J

APANESE toilets have come a long way from the early 20th century, when many people in Japan still used “squatters,” which were built into the floor. Western toilets became popular after World War II. And today, signature Japanese toilets offer the world’s most futuristic and automated technology when nature calls. The units are not just toilets, but also bidets, offering a dizzying menu of options for washing and also for privacy — not to mention heated seats, automatic odor-neutralizers and lids that rise when you approach. A Japanese government survey last year found more than 80 per cent of Japanese homes have toiletbidet combos. Check out the Washlet made by Japanese company Toto — and its more advanced cousins in this showroom tour.


26 JUNE - 02 JULY, 2017

UTTAR PRADESH OPEN DEFECATION

HOLINESS TO ENSURE ODF

Gonda – the dirtiest city in the country is going green to stop open defecation by planting ‘holy’ trees like tulsi

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The areas which are frequented by the people for defecation purposes have been identified for planting the saplings, she said. Since the rural population is aware of the religious significance of these trees, they will naturally avoid these areas and opt for toilets. As a pilot project, nearly 600 saplings were planted in Gonda district on the first day of the campaign on June 5, the International Environment Day. There is also a move to protect the planted saplings to not just realise the aim of checking open defecation but also protect environment, Mittal said. Recently,

NEWS IN BRIEF

Indians still revere certain trees and plants such as the tulsi as holy Gonda was ranked as the dirtiest city in India in the last Survey

authorities in some districts had fitted tiles with pictures of Gods and Goddesses on walls of government offices, especially at the corners of buildings, to prevent people from spitting betel juice and pan masala. Under the “Swachch Bharat Mission’ of the Central government, villagers have been givenRs 12,000 per toilet. The administration has set the target of constructing 3.50 lakh toilets by October 18 to make the district opendefecation free against which one lakh toilets have already been constructed. Gonda was voted as one of the dirtiest cities in the country in the recent Swachch Bharat survey. Gonda ranked a dismal 434th and fared poorly on all parameters — waste collection, solid-waste management, construction of toilets, sanitation strategies and behaviour change communication — in the cleanliness survey which was carried out during January and February.

Quick Glance

RAJASTHAN HOME TOILET

A TOILET FOR LADY LOVE Swachh Bharat is spreading and there have been instances of women refusing to get married to men whose homes do not have toilets IANS

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HE Swachh Bharat Mission efforts are showing results now as awareness over health and sanitation is increasing even in rural areas. In a recent incident, a newly-wed wife refused to go to her husband’s house since there was no toilet there and women in the household had no choice other than open defecation. Sehjaj, a resident of Kesarpura under Lagetkheda gram panchayat in Rajsamand district, Rajasthan, had recently got married. As the family was making arrangements to take

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Now officials will plant holy trees all across to stop open defecation

PTI OWEVER callous an Indian is, he or she will never defecate over a tulsi tree. Because it is holy, right? The administration of Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district is playing just on that lasting sentiment of Indians. They will plant ‘holy’ trees all across to stop open defecation. The plan is already underway with plantation of saplings of Peepul, Mango, Neem, Banyan, Shami and Basil (tulsi). They are being planted in open areas where defecation is common so as to check the menace. The plantation drive is being carried out in 16 blocks covering 80 villages — five villages from each block, Chief Development Officer Divya Mittal said. Interestingly, the administration has tried to force the people having toilet facility to change their habits through this drive by choosing villages which already have the maximum number of toilets but people continue to defecate in the open, the official said.

Quick Glance

Sanitation

the bride to her new home, the girl refused for the ‘gauna’ claiming that she could not live with them unless they build a toilet. Sehjaj’s family members were surprised but they resigned to the bride’s demand and immediately

This incident shows the growing resolve amongst rural women insisting on proper sanitation

A newly-wed wife refused to go to her husband’s house She said it was not possible for her as the house had no toilet The family started constructing the toilet and this started a movement

got started the toilet construction task. As the news spread, people appreciated the girl’s persistence and awareness. The incident was also quoted at the recent meeting of the SBM where development officer Prakash Sirsat and Sarpanch Lakshman Singh too appreciated the girl’s move and said that every woman should take similar stand so that the ODF target may soon be achieved.Swachh Bharat is Modi’s biggest achievement so far and there have been instances of women refusing to get married to men whose homes do not have toilets. This latest incident shows the growing resolve amongst rural women insisting on proper sanitation as a woman’s basic right.

SANITATION: A FIRM SANKALP The Toilet Accelerator India Edition calls for applications from businesses that are addressing the challenge of sanitation IANS

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HE Toilet Board Coalition partners with Sankalp Forum, creating a call for business solutions challenge for its 2018 Toilet Accelerator India Edition. The partnership aims to identify and showcase high potential Indian enterprises working on innovative sanitation products & services; sanitation circular economy waste management models; digital and mobile applications for sanitation such as mobile money, e-health & smart city solutions. “We need innovation at all levels if we are to achieve universal access to sanitation in this decade to 2030. Business has a key role to play,” says Cheryl Hicks, Executive Director, Toilet Board Coalition. “With this partnership with Sankalp we are looking to attract and support more entrepreneurs, innovators and companies to realise the vast potential of the sanitation sector.” The Toilet Accelerator India Edition challenge calls for applications from businesses that are addressing the most challenging water and sanitation issues in the country. Applications will be live on June 13th, 2017 for 3 categories: Toilet Product & Service Model Innovation, Circular Waste Management & Toilet Resource Innovation, and Smart Sanitation Innovation. Top 3 winners will be announced at the 9th Sankalp Global Summit from 6–8 December, 2017 in Mumbai. The winners will receive over 100,000 Euro of in-kind support from leading companies over a 12 month period, as part of the 2018 Toilet Accelerator cohort of the Swiss based Toilet Board Coalition. The Program provides mentorship and support to the TBC-Sankalp investor networks.


12 State News

26 JUNE - 02 JULY, 2017

POLICING MISSING CHILDREN

OPERATION MILAP: KIDS’ SAVIOUR Delhi Police has launched a special operation to identify missing children and reunite them with their parents SATYAM

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HE history of Delhi Police reveals that whenever there are problems related to the citizens of the country’s capital city, the police do not leave any stone unturned to solve them, and ensure that the difficulties of the people are sorted out at the earliest. For this, they do their utmost to keep the common public safe during night and day. The Senior Citizen Cell, Women’s Cell women, Crime Branch for habitual criminals, Crime a branch for financial fraud and cheating, Special Cell for terrorists and similarly half a dozen other branches are formed to check anti social activities. By creating these units and branches, the police try to work for the public and to fulfill their duties towards people. With the same motive, the Delhi Police has launched a new unit in which they have started working on restoring lost children to their parents. The name of the operation is ‘Operation Milap’. This operation has achieved great success in searching and tracing missing children. This campaign has brought hope and brightness on the faces of hundreds of families. The continuously growing numbers of missing children is becoming problematic not only in India but throughout the world. For the solution to this problem, not just the government police but also various voluntary organizations and non government organizations are doing serious work. To deal with this problem, the crime branch of Delhi Police has played an important role in uniting lost children with their families. The crime branch focuses on many other related problems faced by such children. The police do not treat this problem as one that is confined to the disappearance of children. Considering factors such as the danger of trafficking of such children, their involvement in juvenile crimes, pushing girls into prostitution and the suffering of the afflicted families, the branch has started this campaignOperation Milap. The success of this operation can

be judged from the fact that in the last few months, it has played an important role in restoring more than one hundred and fifty missing children to their families. Inspired by the then Special Police Commissioner of Crime Branch, Taj Hassan, a human trafficking preventive unit of the branch was formed for this humanitarian and commendable

Apart from finding missing children at railway stations, bus stations, and main highways, they also make inquiries from other places where the missing or abducted children can be seen loitering. They can be found living in charitable homes or in religious shelters. The police are trained to be friendly and kind to such wandering children and to win their trust. By obtaining their trust, by getting information of their residence and family, and then by contacting their parents, the duties of the Operation can be accomplished. With the help of the Child Welfare Committee, these children can be reunited with their families. The officers of the branch are working not only to carry out their duties by implementing Operation Milap, but are also working towards

Delhi Police have played an important role in the search for the missing persons during the past several decades

work of finding missing children. Though Operation Milap was started on December 16, 2014, work done later under the guidance of Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Yadav really earned kudos. Citizens have appreciated this meaningful initiative of the police. Under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Gupta, the team of experienced police personnel like ACP Ranvir Singh, Inspector Vipin Kumar Bhatia, SI Ashok Kumar and Mukesh Kumar, Head Constable Rajesh, Krishna and Ramesh have visited Delhi’s missing-children homes from time to time. They start this effort by focusing on such lost children who have incomplete addresses, or those whose only face-sketches are available.

strengthening the mutual trust and cooperation between the common citizens and the police. The branch also urges the general public through advertisements to help in the efforts to enable the missing children join their families under this campaign. In the advertisements, the public is requested that if a child is in trouble or appears lost, they should inform the police and become a part of this noble campaign. In this regard, Delhi Police has deployed two child officers in each place for ensuring the welfare of such children, as well as to create a special juvenile unit. Information about such officers is provided on the website of Special Child Police Branch website, so that the general public can also

Quick Glance Milap has achieved great success in tracing missing children These children are then reunited with their families Delhi’s missing-children homes coordinated with the Police

contact them. The Human Trafficking Unit (Anti-Human Trafficking Unit) teamed up with the Salam Child Trust, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Jahangirpuri, and Subhiksha Children’s House in Rohini, Sector-16. Many lost children were welcomed back by their families. Not only has the Delhi Police increased the dignity of Delhi Police by this work in Delhi but in other states as well. Under Operation Milap, in the month of June, the Crime Branch team has set up high standards of humanity by reuniting a number of lost children with their families. By conducting the identification of the children staying in Children’s Homes, the efforts of the Central Government police, the Subhiksha Children’s House and the Salaam Child Trust have done commendable work. The gravity of this problem can be estimated from the fact that on June 2, 2015, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, asked to share information of lost and found children and it has started www.khoya paya . com. for this reason. Just recently, Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik gave the Extraordinary Work Award to three policemen who played a key role in tracing 77 missing children. On April 11, 2017, police commissioner Patnaik praised the high level of professional skill, zeal and the good work done by Inspector Jain, SI Mann and SI Anuj from the police station of Rohini District. Inspector Jain, Mann and Anuj in the year 2011,2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, were able to bring back 77 children out of the 82 missing or abducted from the Vijay Vihar area. They brought a glow of relief and happiness on the faces of all the victims and their families. In a simple award giving ceremony held at the Police Headquarters, the families of the 77 children who returned back home attended the function. Beside them, senior police officers and media persons also became a part of this happiness. Before this, the Crime Branch and the police have been playing a meaningful and important role in the search for the missing persons during the past several decades.


26 JUNE - 02 JULY, 2017

STATE NEWS IN BRIEF

MEGHALAYA COOKING GAS

State News

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STATE NEWS IN BRIEF

UJJWALA COMES TO THE STATE OF CLOUDS

MoS Railways Rajen Gohain said the scheme, besides benefitting women, will also bring in Rs 10,000 crore business

MORE PASSPORT SEVA KENDRAS IN NORTH EAST

TELANGANA TO DISTRIBUTE 15 mn SHEEP

SSB BUREAU

The state needs to boost its livestock economy and will distribute the sheep to the poor and backward

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SSB BUREAU

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ELANGANA Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao last week launched a massive sheep distribution programme aimed at reviving livestock economy in the state. Over the next two years, the state government plans to distribute 15 million sheep among 30 lakh Golla and Kuruma (Yadav) families with 75 per cent subsidy. The scheme is estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore to the state exchequer. The government will distribute 20 sheep and a ram to every beneficiary from Yadav family in the state. The Chief Minister launched his brainchild scheme at Kondapala in his Gajwel assembly constituency. On the occasion, as many as 825 beneficiaries were handed over sheep. Sporting a turban and gongadi (black blanket) like a shepherd, the Chief Minister declared that he would make the Yadav community in the state the richest in the country. KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said every day nearly 250 trucks loads of sheep arrive at the Hyderabad market from all over the country. He said this was shameful for a state which has 30 lakh Golla and Kuruma people in the state. “We are confident about creating an economy of Rs 25,000 crore in the state within three years,” he said while asking the beneficiaries to take care of their sheep.

SSB BUREAU

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HE Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which provides free LPG connection to BPL families, has been launched in Meghalaya, a state which has one of the lowest LPG connections in the country. The state already has 46 LPG distributors and another six distributors will be introduced to meet the surge in demand. Speaking at the launch programme, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said the scheme, besides benefitting women, will also bring in Rs 10,000 crore business, since most of the cylinders and other accessories are being produced within the country. Claiming that the scheme has benefitted scores of people across the country, the minister added that 1.11 crore citizens in the country gave up their LPG subsidy till March 2016 and a substantial

While selection of

beneficiaries will be from BPL families, preference will be given to SC/ST and weaker sections of society

Quick Glance Meghalaya has one of the lowest LPG connections in the country The scheme will also bring in Rs 10,000 crore business The scheme would improve the health condition of women

amount of Rs 8,000 crore allotted for PMUY came from the subsidy that was given up by citizens under the ‘Give-it-Up’ scheme. The scheme assumes significance since just 23 per cent of households in Meghalaya have LPG connection. Just 6.36 lakh households in the State have LPG connections. The national average of LPG connections is 74 per cent and in Northeast it is 49 per cent. Majority of households in Meghalaya are dependent on fuel like wood, charcoal and kerosene for cooking purposes. Meghalaya’s Health Minister Roshan Warjri said having access to LPG connection is a gender issue as traditionally women are in-charge of cooking throughout the country and added that the scheme would improve the health condition of women and also reduce drudgery of collecting firewood. While selection of beneficiaries will be from BPL families, preference will be given to SC/ST and weaker sections of society. The beneficiary list will be as per the Socio Economic Caste Census, 2011.

HE Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Department of Posts (DOP) are utilising the Head Post Offices (HOP)/Post Offices in the country as Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) for delivery of Passport related services to the citizens of the country with the objective to extend passport related services on a larger scale and to ensure wider area coverage. Out of 86 announced POPSKs, 52 POPSKs have become functional including one at Silchar, Assam under the first phase of the programme. MEA and DOP are working closely for the operationalization related services at the remaining 34 POPSKs in the first phase. Following the successful functioning of these POPSKs and the positive response received from the people, MEA and DOP have now decided to open another 149 POPSKs to take the total number of POPSKs to 235 in the country including 13 POPSKs in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya. The places identified in these three states include Changlang, Tirap, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Karbi Anglong, Kokrajhar, Mangaldoi, North Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Baghmara and Tura. The Ministry of External Affairs has opened 14 Passport Seva Laghu Kendras (PSLKs) after May 2014 including all the North Eastern States with the addition of 235 POPSKs, the total number of Passport Seva Kendras including POPSKs to be added by the present Government for benefit of the citizens would be 251, officials said.


14 Health

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

PROSTHESIS

EGYPTIANS CREATED WOODEN TOE 3,000 YRS AGO

APP BLOOD DONATION

AN APP FOR BLOOD DONATION FOR THE NEEDY Simply Blood, the world’s first virtual blood donation platform, is helping save lives worldwide

The prosthetic toe shows that the lady user cared about the looks and had experts working for her

IANS

W IANS

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N artificial wooden toe worn by an Egyptian priest’s daughter about 3,000 years ago was so meticulously built that it testifies to the skills of an artisan who was very familiar with the human physiognomy, say researchers. Egyptologists from the University of Basel in Switzerland investigated the prosthesis using modern microscopy, X-ray technology, and computer tomography. They were able to show that the wooden toe, which is likely to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices in human history, was refitted several times to the foot of its owner. The researchers also newly classified the used materials and identified the method with which the highly developed prosthesis was produced and utilised. Experts from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo -- where the prosthetic device was brought to after it had been found -- and the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland were also involved in this study. The technical know-how can be seen particularly well in the mobility of the prosthetic extension and the robust structure of the belt strap, according to a statement released by University of Basel. The fact that the prosthesis was made in such a laborious and meticulous manner indicates that the owner valued a natural look, aesthetics and wearing comfort and that she was able to count on highly qualified specialists to provide this. The prosthesis from the Early Iron Age was found in a shaft tomb that was cut into the bedrock of an older, long time idle burial chapel at the graveyard hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.

E often see messages and posts on social media by people asking for blood in cases of emergency or for various other medical reasons. Many of us donate blood voluntarily at blood donation camps and government hospitals in the hope that it might help people in need. While this act may definitely be helpful, the impact is not quite the same as we expect it to be. Such was the experience of Simply Blood’s creator Kiran Verma (32), who after having faced a couple of significant life altering events decided to take up this social initiative to create the world’s first virtual blood donation platform. When Kiran, a resident of Delhi, lost his mother to cancer at the age of seven, he pledged to help mankind and devote himself to social causes. He decided to do whatever he could in his capacity and become a regular blood donor. He donated blood at government hospitals. As his network of contacts grew bigger, he created

To ensure that the

donor’s blood is not being sold illegally, the donor is able to connect directly with the needy without any middlemen involved

a Whatsapp group that became a community of blood donors to help people in need. In August 2016, one of Kiran’s WhatsApp group members lost his mother to dengue because he was unable to reach the hospital on time for platelet transfusion.. “In December of 2016, a lady had to sell herself for her husband to purchase the same blood that I had donated to the patient for free. Seeing death up close and learning about the touts that engage in black marketing was heart-breaking,” Kiran says. Kiran realised that his efforts weren’t enough—especially in case of people who cannot afford to buy blood and in emergency cases when time is crucial for saving a life. He left his job that very day to start up his new venture. Simply Blood, through the help of its users has created a large database of blood donors—but it’s not a mere database of contacts. Using the GPS technology, the app locates the user’s position when he or she registers themselves, either as a donor or recipient. A person in need of blood no longer needs to contact hundreds of donors; this location based app helps them find the donor nearest to their location with three simple steps.

Quick Glance Kiran Verma having lost mother at 7 years age, pledged to serve humanity He became regular blood donor and exhorted others to do the same In Jan this year, he built World’s first app for donors and recepients

When the person in need for blood posts a requirement, all donors located nearby get notified. In case the search does not show any results, the request is then handled manually by a donor database and its associated agencies. “To ensure that the donor’s blood is not being sold illegally, the donor is able to connect directly with the needy without any middlemen involved,” he adds. Kiran, an admirer of Steve Jobs, wants to ensure that the privacy of users and the data shared on this platform is protected while enabling donors and recipients to connect easily. Since its launch, many people from different parts of India have come forward thanking Kiran for this wonderful initiative and admitting to the usefulness of this free app. A father who needed platelets for his son thanks Kiran “for timely support being available when [he] needed it the most.” Another user states “I should have your app as the first thing in my mobile, even before WhatsApp.” Many are hopeful and have said, “I now realise what potential the younger generation holds” referring to Kiran’s efforts and contribution. The online platform was launched on January 3, 2017. In a very short time, it has impacted more than 7,000 people across more than 15 countries. It has saved more than 700 lives in nine countries. Kiran was awarded as “Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017” at the India International CSR Conclave 2017. “The basic idea behind this initiative was to save as many lives as possible without losing any time. I am glad it is happening,” Kiran says.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Quick Glance

TUBERCULOSIS VITAMIN A

VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY MAY INCREASE TB RISK

People deficient in Vitamin A were found to be 10 times more susceptible to tuberculosis

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EOPLE with low levels of vitamin A living with individuals sick with tuberculosis (TB) may be 10 times more likely to develop the disease than people with high levels of the nutrient, new research has found. The findings suggest that vitamin A supplementation might be an important part of controlling the spread of TB – one of the leading causes of death worldwide. “If the link is affirmed in a clinical trial of vitamin A supplementation, it would make a powerful case for using this

approach to prevent TB in people at high risk of disease,” said senior author Megan Murray, Professor at Harvard Medical School, at Boston in the US. The findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, are based on an analysis of blood drawn from more than 6,000 household contacts of people diagnosed with TB in Lima, Peru. A 10-fold increase in risk is striking, the investigators said. More than 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015. TB strikes hardest in low- and middle-income countries, where vitamin A deficiency can affect up to 30 per cent of the population. “It’s exciting to think that something as simple and inexpensive as supplementing people’s diets with vitamin A may be a powerful tool for preventing TB,” Murray said. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is best known among public health experts for its

The study was conducted on 6,000 persons suffering from TB Upto 30 per cent population of many countries is Vitamin A deficient

association with blindness. Healthy levels of the nutrient have been defined as those needed to prevent damage to eyesight. Previous studies have suggested that vitamin A modulates the immune system and may ward off infection. However, just how vitamin A might affect the risk for TB has, up until now, remained unclear and a matter of debate. In the this study, the researchers found that the protective effect of vitamin A grew stronger as levels of the nutrient increased. Protection continued to grow well above what has been considered the minimum healthy level. Vitamin A deficiency - defined as less than 200 micrograms per liter of blood – fuelled the risk of developing TB disease 10fold. That risk was 20 times higher among young people between the ages of 10 and 19. That finding, the researchers said, suggests that vitamin A may play an even greater role in immunity among younger people.

HOME BP MONITORS 70% INACCURATE The devises were found off the mark by 5 mmHg 70 per cent of the times IANS

S

Quick Glance The digital . monitors were inaccurate by 10 mmHg 30 per cent of the time They were off the mark by at least 5 mmHg 70 per cent of the time Readings were more inaccurate in men than in women

monitor their blood pressure through a device at home and report the results back to their doctor, researchers said. Further, the readings were more inaccurate in men than in women. According to researchers, there are many factors that could account for their findings. “Arm shape, arm size, the stiffness and age of blood vessels, and the type of blood pressure cuff are not always taken into account when a blood pressure machine is designed and validated,” said Raj Padwal, a professor at University of Alberta, Canada. “Individual differences, such as the size, age and medical background of the person

15

The findings are based on a study conducted in Lima, Peru

ACCURACY BP MONITORS

EVENTY per cent of digital blood pressure monitors used at homes are “unacceptably inaccurate”, and could cause serious implications for people who rely on them, said researchers one of Indian-origin. The study found that about 70 per cent of the time, these digital devices weren’t accurate within five mmHg, when compared to the mercury reading of the sphygmomanometer (used by medical practitioners) leading to flaws in making informed health decisions. The devices were off the mark by 10 mmHg about 30 per cent of the time. The findings are extremely relevant given millions of patients are asked to

Health

using the blood pressure monitor are also contributing factors,” Padwal added. For the study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, the team tested 85 patients with home monitors. They noted that steps can be taken to minimise inaccurate readings. Patients should not start or change drugs based on one or two measurements taken at a single point in time unless the measurements are clearly elevated. Patients should also compare the blood pressure machine measurement with a blood pressure measurement in clinic before exclusively relying upon home blood pressure readings. What’s really important is to do several blood pressure measurements and base treatment decisions on multiple readings, the researchers advised. “High blood pressure is the number one cause of death and disability in the world,” said lead researcher Jennifer Ringrose, from the University of Alberta. “Monitoring for and treating hypertension can decrease the consequences of this disease. We need to make sure that home blood pressure readings are accurate,” she added.

HEART SURGERY

HEART SURGERY DEVICES CONTAMINATED The contamination is from a bacterium associated with fatal infections in open-heart surgery patients IANS

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VER a third of heater-cooler devices that are used in open heart surgery may be contaminated with life-threatening bacteria, putting patients at risk for deadly infections, a study has revealed. The study showed that 33 of 89 or 37 per cent heater-cooler units assessed between July 2015 and December 2016 in the US tested positive for Mycobacterium chimaera -- a bacterium associated with fatal infections. “The extent of contamination from such a rare organism in multiple units from all over the country was surprising,” said John Rihs, Vice President of Laboratory Services at Special Pathogens Laboratory in Pennsylvania, in the US. “Some devices remained positive for M. chimera for months, indicating that disinfection can be difficult and routine testing is advisable,” Rihs added. Beyond M. chimera, the researchers also found other nontuberculosis micro-bacteria (NTM) species, Legionella, and fungi, indicating these units are capable of supporting a diverse microbial population. Heater-cooler units (HCUs) control the temperature of a patient’s blood and organs during heart bypass surgery. These HCUs have water tanks that provide temperature-controlled water during surgery through closed circuits. Although the water in the instrument does not come into direct contact with the patient, it can aerosolise. If this water gets contaminated they can transmit bacteria through the air.


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JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Have the courage to “follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truely want to become”

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

VIEWPOINT

PUTTING A STOP TO MANUAL SCAVENGING

Steve Jobs

Providing cash payment and skill development training might eradicate the practice soon

NUTRITION AND ANEMIA

MOTHER AND CHILD A BIT BETTER OFF TODAY Number of anemic mothers falls by eight per cent

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ECENT figures given out by the Union ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) have been reassuring. Quoting National Family Health Survey 2015-16 it said, more than 50% of pregnant women in India aged 15-49 years are anaemic - a drop from 58 per cent in 2005-06. A steep fall of eight per cent in cases of anaemic mothers is apparently a result of of Narendra Modi government’s relentless campaign to improve child and mother’s mortality rate by raising awareness level about ill effects of being an anemic mother. About 20% of maternal deaths in India are directly related to anemia and another 50% of maternal deaths are associated with it. A booklet titled Mother and Child Care, issued by the AYUSH Ministry, has made several recommendations like : “Don’t eat meat, say no to sex after conception, avoid bad company, have spiritual thoughts and hang some good and beautiful pictures in your room to have a healthy baby.” The booklet was compiled by the government-funded Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) under the AYUSH ministry, formed in 2014 to promote Indian traditional healing practices. The news was picked up by other media outlets as well. Meat and eggs are a rich source of iron and protein, particularly in a proteindeficient population like ours, it said.

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

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HILE the C e n t r a l Government has laid great emphasis on eradicating practice of open defecation by constructing both community and individual toilets, what has gone silently unnoticed is the fact that the practice of manual scavenging too has declined to an almost negligible level. And the strategy has been fairly simple. To stop a practice, its practitioners have to be provided an alternative employment. If the government can achieve cent per cent eradication of the practice made illegal 24 years ago, it would be a major achievement in its kitty. The Centre has claimed that 91 per cent of manual scavengers have been provided a one-time cash payment of Rs 40,000 and 108 per cent of identified scavengers and their dependents have been selected for skill training under the rehabilitation programme for manual scavengers. Of 12,742 manual scavengers identified in India after the promulgation of The Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, 11,598 (91%) have been provided one-time cash assistance of Rs 40,000 each as part of their rehabilitation, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot told the Parliament in April this year. Dr Kirit P Solanki and Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu had on on April 14 asked the Government about the number of manual scavengers identified in the country along with the number of persons rehabilitated during the last three years and the current year, State/UT-wise; the budgetary allocation made and the expenditure incurred on rehabilitation of manual scavengers during the said period, State/UT-wise; the action being taken by the Government to tackle the

said problem including providing alternative employment and skill training to such persons; the problems faced by the Government for elimination of the practice of manual scavenging; and whether the Government has fixed any time frame to make India free from manual scavenging and if so, the details thereof and the steps taken so far in this regard? The questions were probing and answers would have brought out the real progress made by the government schemes. The Minister’s reply too was equally straight forward. Quoting Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 Gehlot replied, “there are 1.82 lakh households in rural India with at least one member doing manual scavenging.” Assuming there is only one person in those identified households doing manual scavenging, there are at least 182,505 manual scavengers in India. The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report about the plight of manual scavengers including 30 women in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh and overall 12,737 identified in 13 states and union territories till January, 2017. Considering it as the worst example of violation of right to life, dignity, equality and health care, the Commission has issued notices, returnable within six weeks, to the ministry of social justice and empowerment and the chief secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government, calling for a detailed report in the matter along with the steps taken/ proposed to be taken to deal with the situation along with measure for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims. The Commission has observed that in a civilized society, where the government has passed laws like Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, Untouchability Offence Act

To stop the practice of manual scavenging, its practitioners have to be provided alternative employment


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

The National Human

Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report about the plight of manual scavengers and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Caste (PoA) Act, the women of a vulnerable Dalit community are still not able to get rid of the slur of carrying human excreta on their heads. Meerut is almost a part of the National Capital Region. If this is the picture of an area not very far from the Nation capital, one can imagine the scenario in the other parts of the country. Narrating the plight of the 30 women manual scavengers in Radhna Inayatpur village of Mawana in the district, of whom many have grown old doing this work, the media report, carried on the June, 15, 2017, says that they are paid as little as between Rs 10-50 every month per household to clean the dry toilets and sometimes, as a bonus, given stale food and worn-out clothes. Due to exposure to filth, most of them have multiple health issues such as vomiting, constant headache, skin and respiratory diseases, trachoma, anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning and diarrhea including infections like Leptospirosis, Hepatitis and Helicobacter. To avoid the stench, they often smoke beedis. One of the women has contracted tuberculosis forcing her to stop working as a manual scavenger. The central government has announced the Swach Bharat Mission to construct over 12 crore toilets in rural parts of the country. However, the project hardly gives a thought to the workers who will be required to clean these toilets. There is no budgetary allocation under the scheme to construct sewer lines to deal with the excreta. Reportedly, The National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) constituted by the government, grants Rs 40,000 to the liberated manual scavengers, which they can withdraw in monthly installments of not more than Rs 7,000. The process of rehabilitation of women manual scavengers is also gendered because all the rehabilitation schemes are aimed at male breadwinner. The National Commission for Scheduled Caste has observed that the expenditure on the loans for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers in the last three years is negligible. The identification of manual scavengers is done by the village pradhans. The government certainly is moving in right direction. The only thing that it needs to do is to hasten the pace. Let us hope that the notice served toit by National Commission for Scheduled Castes, serves as a warning spurring it into action sooner than later.

Oped

17

INDIA IS NOT ENGLISH

ROBIN KESHAW

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

UPFRONT

English is usually forced down the throats of students

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UMEROUS videos are circulating in social media, where Pakistani cricket players are seen vacillating with their communication during presentation ceremony or otherwise. Such videos have been shared widely, mocking the English proficiency of Pakistani players. Many of the comments are written in very poor taste, and highlights the parochial mindset of people. But, a recent video of Sarfaraz Ahmed, the winning captain of ICC Champions Trophy, 2017, elicited some unique responses. There were many Indians out there, who were battling the trolls for equating talent of the individual with their language proficiency. Indian subcontinent in particular has this weird obsession with English language where the language has become paramount, eclipsing other aspects of human persona. Probably this has to do with our colonial past, where English was the only medium to fuel upward social mobility. Unfortunately, the trend continued and has now reached to

nonsensical proportions. While it is definitely a good-to-have skill, it can’t be the only parameter of a person’s success. As a society, we seem to be blindly running after it, keeping other things at stake. Recent movie of Irrfan Khan, Hindi Medium, has portrayed the issue quite appositely. The worst sufferers of mindless paranoia for English, are the children. In many of the families, it is shoved down the throats of children and they are chagrined for not being perfect in their second

or third language. This adversely affects the psyche of the kids and is one of the major reasons for low confidence among teenagers. Numerous researches have pointed out that a child’s cognitive growth is maximum if the medium of instruction is in her or his mother tongue. Researchers have also pointed out that a child is ready to learn a second language only after 8 years of age. One of the problems with vernacular language is the lack of quality content in such languages. Many state governments like Odisha, Chhattisgarh have taken initiatives to provide the learning materials in native languages to cater to all sections of society. Digital availability of vernacular language will also propel their usage. More importantly, social psyche needs to be changed to ensure that English doesn’t become a tool of social divide.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR As the article points out, Nanak spoke in the language of the common man; he made the poorest and even the illiterate man understand the value of selfless service and social service. Please continue to print such articles so that readers can know what our saints and gurus have said about the meaning of good conduct. Gurmeet Singh, Chandigarh

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR Your article on Guru Nanak is a reminder of the true meaning of religion. It does not mean rituals or show of piety. Religion means loving one’s neighbour and serving humanity.

YOGA RETREAT TREAT The article ‘Top 10 Yoga Retreats in India’ has reached us at the right time. With the summer holidays around the corner, families are looking for options to take the children out for a much-needed break from routine life. What can be better than going to a place which soothes the mind along with the body? Better still if it happens to be stylish, with healthy menus! After

the vacation is over, the family can also bring back home with them a wiff of the grand, ancient culture and wisdom of India. Good piece! Ragini Gupta, Mumbai HATS OFF, DR PATHAK Hats off to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak for bringing more and more laurels to India! The article ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ about the honour given to him in New York is heartening news. Dr. Pathak has done so much for people in India, and now he is trying to contribute towards improving India-US relationship by announcing that one village in Haryana would be named after President Trump. Now people can claim that they are visiting the US President’s village in our own country! Congratulations to Dr Pathak. Vijay Raina, Kolkata

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


18 Photo Feature

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Mesmeric Hyderabad!

The city of the Nizams is 650 square kilometres of unending magic, whether in the Nizam Palace with myriad artefacts and hundreds of clocks that people pay to listen at 12 noon, to the charming Charminar and the hundreds of shops offering biryani and haleem

Photos: SIPRA DAS

Even under repair the fabled Charminar has its splendour undiminished, with the added treat of delicious fruits like anaar and watermelons... not to speak of the glass ornaments which every woman cherishes, even the more traditional burqa-clad ones


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Photo Feature

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Then, of course, there are the toy sellers, still around in the age of apps, along with the trincket shops, and of course, the mouthwatering delights of every foodie, from the Hyderabadi biryanis to kebabs and haleem, which, by the way, is now a patented item...


20 Gender

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

SSB BUREAU

FILMS SURFING

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ENDER finds a new and dual meaning at the Wahine Surf Film Festival that will be held from July 1: the word wahine means a woman in Maori, the community of indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. So the Wahine Surf Film Festival will be celebrating the aborigines and women, together. And it will be pure fun since the films will be about women surfing. Earlier this month, the Women in Film & Television (WIFT) NZ and the Wairoa Māori Film Festival Inc announced the 2017 WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Award. She is Christina Asher, one of New Zealand’s most committed and passionate advocates for our Māori and wider New Zealand screen industry. The award was presented at the Wairoa Māori Film Awards at the iconic Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, on Saturday June 3. Gisborne Boardriders Club’s wahine surfing representative Nikki Horsman says Gisborne has an amazing female surfing community. A SURF film festival next week will showcase some of the world’s most inspiring female surfers, travellers and environmentalists.

Quick Glance Wahine means a woman in New Zealand’s aborigine Maori language Gisborne city has an amazing number of female surfers Six films will be screened that track women surfers across the world

WOMEN AND WAVES A festival of films on women surfers will be held in New Zealand that will feature six films

Wahine Surf Film Festival, presented by Gisborne Boardriders Club, features six handpicked films celebrating women’s surfing at a special screening at the Dome Cinema on Saturday, July 1. Interestingly all proceeds after costs will be put back into supporting women’s surfing initiatives.The idea for the evening came from a similar event a couple of years ago, organised by former Gisborne woman Fi Duncan, who has since moved to Byron Bay. Gisborne is a

city in northeastern New Zealand. The organiser of next week’s screening and GBC wahine representative Nikki Horsman said there is an amazing female surfing community in Gisborne. “Young and old, friends, mothers and daughters, there are even sessions when the women have outnumbered the men.” The aim of the film night is not only to celebrate and inspire female surfers, but also to bring together the Gisborne surf community — guys

EDUCATION US COMPETITION

I

N a manner of sarcasm, this is what irks US president Donald Trump, you see. An Indian origin girl beats the blues out of 11 million American competitors to top the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship. No wonder Trump says he loves, but hates Indians! And this is not the only one. Since the beginning of this century, Indians have dominated the scene, with Pratyush Buddiga, Sai Gunturi, Anurag Kashyap and others winning sixteen of the 17 annual awards. That includes girls like Kavya Shishankar,

included. “The films range from feelgood to poignant and humorous,” Horsman said.“They feature both long and short-boarding, so there is something for everybody.”Films include Steer With Your Heart, which follows Patagaonia ambassador and adventurer Liz Clark, solo-sailing and surfing around the world (as yet unreleased footage); Given, about a young family surf-travelling the globe as seen through the eyes of a child; and Sliding Into The Light, a contemplative short film about human connections to the sea. Another will be a New Zealand live screening premier that features a broad range and age of wahine who surf and what surfing means to them.“There are some really inspiring women in the films and also a recognition of environmental responsibility.” The timing of the festival is no coincidence — the beginning of Plastic Free July, promoted by Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti. “For many of us, surfing is a passion, something our lives revolve around,” Ms Horsman said. “We owe it to the ocean and to our groms, present and future, to give something back. Be aware and proactive in its protection.” Ms Horsman is rapt with support for the festival from local businesses.

She beats 11 million Americans and even her own fellow US Indians Indians have dominated the US spelling bee championship

Ananya Vinay from California became the 2017 champion of America’s 92-year old spelling championship Anamika Viramani, Sukanya Roy, Snigdha Nandipati, Vanya Shivshankar and now this one…. Phew! The Indian American community seems to be blessed with incredible girl power. Much to the surprise of USA, 12-year-old Indian American Ananya Vinay from California became champ, beating 291 finalists among more than 11 million contestants from all over America. A 6th grader at Fugman Elementary School in Fresno, the Californian girl of Indian descent described her championship of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee competition as

came from a similar event organised by a former Gisborne lady, Fi Duncan

Quick Glance

CASTING A SPELL IANS

The idea for the evening

Over the past 17 years, six Indian girls have become champions

a ‘dream cum true.’ Being a Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, one of the most coveted honors for students in America, might have been a ‘dream cum true’ to Ananya Vinay, while the consistent success of Indian American students in spelling bee contests for 10

consecutive years has been questioned given the fact that Indians in American form 1% of the total US population. A documentary titled “Breaking The Bee” exploring what makes young Indian Americans national spelling bee champions will reportedly hit theaters in winter 2017. Importantly, the five runners-up are also from the Indian American community. They are Rohan Rajeev of Oklahoma in the second place, Mira Dedhia of Illinois in the third place, Sourav Dasari of Texas in the fourth place, Raksheet Kota of Texas in the 5th place, and Tejas Muthusamy of Virginia (6th).


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

CRICKET STADIUM NAMING

PAVILION SUSHMA! Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association has the grace to name a pavilion in a new stadium after a woman

IANS

I

NDIA’S wicketkeeper-batswoman Sushma Verma added another feather to her cap when the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) named after her a pavilion of its newly-opened cricket stadium ringed by lush green hills in her home district Shimla. The HPCA last week said it was an honour to name the pavilion of Gumma stadium, the fifth in the state, after the ace player. It was inaugurated on June 1 by former HPCA President Anurag Thakur, who is also former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)

President. “The naming of a pavilion after our player would go a long way in promoting, encouraging and inspiring young cricketers,” HPCA Director RP Singh told IANS.Shimla-born Sushma, the first cricketer from this state to represent India in international cricket, is the biggest success story of the HPCA’s residential academy

Two sports are fast empowering women, and that too in cities outside the megapolises: rugby and skateboarding SAURABH SINGH

D

ID we hear it right? Did you say women in Srinagar, Bhuvaneshwar, Guwahati, Ranchi and other tier II cities getting into rugby? But that’s a fact that Rugby India secretary Agha Husain vouches for when he speaks with SSB. Rugby is the fastest growing sport for women in the hinterlands, and Husain believes this is as much a part of the fun of the sport as a feminist

assertion of getting into a male bastion where even more accepted sports are frowned upon by families of girls. This is true gender assertion, Husain says. And though the Indian women are doing great in cricket, it is interesting that non-cricket sport is picking up, especially among women. Likewise, another sport that has broken the gender stereotype is skate boarding. Wyanet Vaz told Verve portal: “More than a decade ago I, along with two boys, decided to take inline skating

Quick Glance Gumma stadium is the fifth cricket stadium in the Himalayan state It was inaugurated by former HPCA President Anurag Thakur One pavilion has been named after India’s wicketkeeper-batswoman

The news to name the pavilion after the 25-year-old has brought cheers on the faces of Himachal Women Cricket Academy players. “It’s really a big thing for any player when a stand or pavilion is named after him/her just like Sachin Tendulkar. We juniors have always been inspired by Sushma ‘didi’. She has been our support system,” said Harleen Kaur Deol, a player. Shivani Thakur of the academy said: “We always followed her footsteps. She has been a true source of guidance for us all. And after this news, we feel so proud of her. She deserves this honour.”Other trainees of the academy were also excited to hear the news. Sushma, a right-hand batswoman and wicket-keeper, made her debut in the Indian cricket team in the 2014 England tour.The HPCA’s stadium at Gumma, with facilities like a pavilion, dressing rooms and four turf wickets, has been constructed with an outlay of Rs 3 crore. The stadium is located around 60 km from the state capital at an altitude of 5,500 feet above sea level.

classes. My father took us 10-year-olds to the nearest skating ring where we trained. Both the boys were quick to pick up things. I stumbled, while they raced ahead — and almost gave up when they did a backward crossover. But every time I made an excuse to miss a day of skating, my father didn’t let me. After hours of encouragement I learnt to balance, to bend those knees and glide. And soon, I was with the

Quick Glance

located around 60 km from the state capital at an altitude of 5,500 feet above sea level

BULL-ING INTO THE MALE BASTION

21

located in its picturesque stadium in Dharamsala, around 250 km from the state capital. HPCA Press Secretary Mohit Sood said: “It’s a great motivation for the girls of the Himachal Women Cricket Academy and other players to work harder and perform at their level best to achieve such heights.”

The stadium is

SPORTS OUTSIDE CRICKET

Gender

Women in Srinagar and other tier II cities are getting into rugby Skateboarding has also become a major gender equaliser Forty-five per cent of learners in Afghanistan’s ‘Skateistan’ are women

boys, racing with them, knowing that I could do what they could — and on some days I was even better. Ten years ago, Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich started a gender revolution in Kabul. His 360-degree flips sparked an interest in the kids around him, most of whom were girls. So, in 2007, he began Skateistan — an international award-winning nonprofit school that uses skateboarding as a tool for empowerment in war-torn Afghanistan. And, significantly, out of the 800 students that attended it, 45 per cent were girls.


22 Science & Technology ASTROPHYSICS

WAITING FOR A HIT!

The earth getting hit by an asteroid is not a matter of speculation

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

APP PRIVACY

SMARTPHONE BLUES Over two third of the smartphone apps share your data with third-party services

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HE world must be prepared for an asteroid strike, which is just a matter of time, warns a leading astrophysicist from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.It is a case of when an asteroid collision will happen, rather than if it will happen, said Alan Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons was highlighting the threat for Asteroid Day, a global event on June 30. On that day in 1908, a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated 800 square miles. A similar unexpected strike in today’s world could easily destroy a major city and a larger asteroid could be more dangerous, Fitzsimmons warned. “It is important to know that scientists and engineers have made great strides in detecting Near-Earth Asteroids and understanding the threat posed by them. Over 1,800 potentially hazardous objects have been discovered so far, but there are many more waiting to be found,” Fitzsimmons said in a statement released by Queen’s University Belfast. “Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them,” he said. Fitzsimmons will be joined by other astronauts and experts for discussions and presentations to be be streamed live from Luxembourg on June 30. According to a knowledge web portal, asteroid impact avoidance comprises a number of methods by which near-Earth objects (NEO) could be diverted. A sufficiently large impact by an asteroid could cause massive tsunamis, multiple firestorms and an impact-winter caused by the sunlightblocking effect of pulverized rock dust. A collision between the Earth and an approximately 10-kilometre-wide object 66 million years ago is thought to have produced the Chicxulub Crater and the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, widely held responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

IANS

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ORE than 70 per cent of smartphone apps are reporting personal data to third-party tracking companies like Google Analytics, the Facebook Graph API or Crashlytics, warns a new study. When people install a new Android or iOS app, it asks the user’s permission before accessing personal information. Some of the information these apps are collecting are necessary for them to work properly: A map app wouldn’t be nearly as useful if it couldn’t use GPS data to get a location. But once an app has permission to collect that information, it can share your data with anyone the app’s developer wants to -- letting third-party companies track where you are, how fast you are moving and what you are doing. To get a picture of what data are being collected and transmitted from

people’s smartphones, the researchers from IMDEA Networks Institute in Spain developed a free Android app of their own, called the Lumen Privacy Monitor. It analyses the traffic apps send out, to report which applications and online services actively harvest personal data. Because Lumen is about transparency, a phone user can see the information installed apps collect in real time and with whom they share these data.

Once an app has

permission to collect your information, it can share it with anyone that the developer wants to do so

Quick Glance Most apps at the time of downloads seek various permissions These include sharing your personal information like location, preferences About 70 per cent apps share your info with tracking companies

“We try to show the details of apps’ hidden behaviour in an easy-to-understand way. It’s about research, too, so we ask users if they’ll allow us to collect some data about what Lumen observes their apps are doing - but that doesn’t include any personal or privacy-sensitive data,” the researchers said in a statement released by the institute. This unique access to data allowed the researchers to study how mobile apps collect users’ personal data and with whom they share data at an unprecedented scale. More than 1,600 people who have used Lumen since October 2015 allowed the researchers to analyse more than 5,000 apps. “We discovered 598 internet sites likely to be tracking users for advertising purposes, including social media services like Facebook, large internet companies like Google and Yahoo, and online marketing companies under the umbrella of internet service providers like Verizon Wireless,” the study said. More than 70 per cent of the apps were connected to at least one tracker, and 15 per cent of them were connected to five or more trackers, the findings showed. “Tracking users on their mobile devices is just part of a larger problem. More than half of the app-trackers we identified also track users through websites. Thanks to this technique, called ‘cross-device’ tracking, these services can build a much more complete profile of your online persona,” the researchers said.

CLIMATE STUDY FOREST FIRE

UNHOLY SMOKE

Wildfire smoke may be worse for climate than thought till now IANS

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MOKE from wildfire worldwide could impact the atmosphere and climate much more than previously thought, new research using data collected during NASA airborne science campaigns has found. Brown carbon particles released into the air from burning trees and other organic matter are much more likely than previously thought to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere, where they can interfere with rays from the Sun – sometimes

cooling the air and at other times warming it, the findings showed. “Most of the brown carbon released into the air stays in the lower atmosphere, but we found that a fraction of it does get up into the upper atmosphere, where it has a disproportionately large effect on the planetary radiation balance - much stronger than if it was all at the surface,” said Rodney Weber, Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in the US. The research used air samples collected during two airborne science missions

supported by researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The two missions together made observations in the central, southeast and western US. The researchers found surprising levels of brown carbon in the samples taken from the upper troposphere -about seven miles above the Earth’s surface -- but much less black carbon, according to the study published online in the journal.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Science & Technology

MONSOON CLOUD THINNING

RAIN CLOUDS THINNING OVER INDIA Scientific study has found cloud cover thinning by 0.45 % per decade JUHI CHAUDHARY

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HE India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that this year’s monsoon rainfall will be around 98 per cent of the longperiod average, which is good news in this drought-prone era. But another study by the same IMD shows a more worrying trend. It has found that rain-bearing clouds have been thinning out across the country over the last 50 years. The study, published in the IMD journal Mausam, shows that between 1960 and 2010, annual mean low cloud cover (responsible for the bulk of the rainfall) over India has been decreasing by 0.45 per cent per decade on average. Low clouds are declining over various seasons as well, the most significant one being during the monsoons. The study has found that the

decline during the monsoon has been 1.22 per cent per decade on an average. India gets around 70 per cent of its annual rainfall and snowfall during the monsoon, from June to September. According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade. This means that the country has lost approximately one rainy day over the last five decades. IMD defines a rainy day as a day when total precipitation is 2.5 mm or more. Thinning of this cloud cover also seems to lead to rising maximum temperature. For the study, observations of cloud cover were made at 215 surface meteorological stations by trained observers who can distinguish low clouds from medium and high ones. Annual low cloud cover was found to have decreased

Quick Glance Thinning of rain-bearing clouds is a cause of concern

at 61 per cent of the stations studied. During the monsoon season, the thickest low cloud cover was recorded in 1961 (46.7 per cent), and the thinnest in 2009 (33.5 per cent). The study found there has been an increase in the low cloud cover over the Indo-Gangetic plains and northeast India, while it has decreased over the rest of the country. The authors say more studies are needed to account for these regional differences. Given that agriculture in India is hugely dependent on monsoon rainfall, there is a strong case for learning to adapt to a thinning low cloud cover. “We are seeing so many farmer suicides. Agriculture is in lot of stress. And farmers have to adapt to the changing climate by storing water through traditional methods, changing crop patterns, creating ponds to augment groundwater depletion,” said Jaswal. The study found that while the number of rainy days is decreasing, there is not much change in the total amount of rainfall. This shows a trend towards shorter, heavier bursts of rain. That is bad news, because heavier raindrops can dislodge wheat and rice grains from their stalks. It also means rainwater flows down a slope that much faster instead of percolating underground.

Beijing’s first driverless subway line to start service by end of the year

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EIJING’S first driverless subway line started test runs on Monday, preparing to start service by the end of this year. The Yanfang line will serve the southwestern suburb Fangshan and be the first domestically developed automated subway on the mainland, according to

MELTING ARCTIC ICE RAISING SEA LEVELS Coastal cities like Mumbai & Hong Kong might submerge if the entire Arctic ice melts down

This erodes the top soil and is bad for crops like wheat and rice

TEST RUN FOR DRIVERLESS TRAIN First Engineering Co. Ltd. of China Railway Electrification Bureau Group. The maximum speed on the line will be 80 km per hour, and trains will have a capacity of 1,262 passengers, reports Xinhua news agency. According to the city’s five-year plan on rail construction, the total length of operational rail in the city will exceed 900

ENVIRONMENT

It is resulting in short bursts of heavy rains, which is very damaging

CHINA RAILWAYS

IANS

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km by 2020. Up to 90 per cent of the city will have at least one subway station within 750 metres, and rail access will reach all of the capital’s 16 urban and rural districts by 2020. Driverless trains are planned for more lines, including an express line to the new airport being built in Daxing district.

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LIMATE change is warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. One of the most serious consequences is sea level rise, which threatens nations from Bangladesh to the U.S. But exactly how does melting Arctic ice contribute to sea level rise? Seas are now rising an average of 3.2 millimeters per year globally, and are predicted to climb a total of 0.2 to 2.0 meters by 2100. In the Arctic, the Greenland Ice Sheet poses the greatest risk for ocean levels because melting land ice is the main cause of rising seas—and “most of the Arctic’s land ice is locked up in Greenland,” explains Eric Rignot, professor of earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. That’s 2.96 million cubic kilometers of ice now covering land areas—and it’s melting into the ocean. If the entire Greenland Ice Sheet thawed, says Andrea Dutton, assistant professor of geology at the University of Florida, adding it would raise sea levels by an average of seven meters. That would significantly flood coastal megacities such as Mumbai and Hong Kong. Greenland’s land ice is already thawing fast enough to raise worldwide seas 0.74 millimeter per year. “The melt rate has been increasing,” in large part because the ice sheet’s surface thawing has picked up as global temperatures warm, Dutton says. “This acceleration of surface melt has doubled Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise” compared with the period from 1992 to 2011, Dutton adds. And the Arctic has other frozen land areas—mountain glaciers and ice caps—in places like Iceland, the Canadian and Russian Arctic, Alaska and Norway’s Svalbard Islands. These hold nowhere near as much water as the Greenland Ice Sheet.


24 Inspiration

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

LADLI BANO INSPIRING MILLIONS

SCRIPTING HER OWN DESTINY From being a pauper to a job giver, Ladli Bano’s story may inspire millions

SANJEEV KUMAR

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ERELY a big name or a high social status does not change society. This is to say, just money or an impressive profile is not the only road to an ambitious project. This has been proved by a lady who is poor and belongs to society in which there is nothing but purdah and restrictions. But despite living in such a society, she has managed to work within her given space, and yet reach the skies in a flight to freedom. Thirty-five kilometres from Patna lies Masaudhi and its narrow streets, on which the lives of some of the most helpless people have been dragging on for years. Ladli Bano came here as a bride 30 years ago. She is now known by the name Shri Devi. In reality she has become a ‘ladli’ (darling) daughter. Shri Devi is called so because she happens to be, perhaps, the more beautiful woman around, but it is also because she has created a more special beauty with the help of her two hands, which now have been supported further by thousands of other hands. Some time ago, the picture here was different, but now it has changed. Earlier, a life of poverty and deprivation lay for people living in the hundreds of families here. Two meals a day were not easy to get. Ladli arrived here as an angel. For the first time, when the color of poverty touched her, Ladli was not broken, nor did she allow herself to suffer from anxiety and discomfort. But she faced all this with courage. There was no money in the house, it was difficult to think of how to get two meals a day. Now was time for her to live a full life, but a mountain of difficulties was obstructing the way to happiness. However, Ladli did not want to run away from the problems of life, she wanted to fight them. After

Quick Glance Ladli Bano, post-marriage, shifted to Masaudhi 30-years ago Her husband was so poor that there no was no foodgrain in the house She started making sticks for industrial use and made a fortune

These sticks are used in agarbatti, kulfi, ice cream, etc., fetching her Rs 30,000 every month

all, there was a long life waiting for her, and it was necessary to live it. In the given situation, Ladli took a strong decision which helped her to achieve the position where she has arrived today, and to become a rolemodel for everyone. There was no foodgrain in the house, and immediately after taking over the responsibilities of the household, a heavy burden fell upon her head. A new beginning was made by making things out of wooden pieces, which did not have very good prospects in the beginning, but later the result was encouraging. It made Ladli, in the true sense, a darling of the people. If one wants to see how small sticks made from bamboos could resurrect the life of not one person but that of the entire village, then one should come and see this in these lanes of Masaudhi. In 1983, when the Ladli, as a new bride, came to the house here, it did not have even a thatched roof. Today she lives in a properly cemented house. She had never even touched a slate or a pencil herself, today her four daughters are studying in different schools. There was hardly any grain in her own house, now she is offering

jobs to others and is able to meet every day needs. Today Ladli’s daughters are proud of their mother, also the people around her see her as the one who brought them a ray of hope. Thirty years ago Ladli had for the first time, bought a bamboo for three rupees. And she started the business of making the sticks. These sticks are used here for many types of products like Agarbatti, Kulfi, Ice Cream etc. Today she earns thirty thousand rupees every month. Her husband has lost his job, but there is no cause for worry in Ladli’s family, because with her income the household expenses will be taken care of. The difficulty of belonging to a Muslim family in which purdah was a condition was the biggest obstacle for these women. But Ladli tried to find a way out of it, and with Ladli, the other girls of the village too stepped out. Today, most of these women lead a successful life and dream of a better life in the future. Ladli has never been awarded or recognized for her work by the government or any other organization, but the love and respect that Ladli has received from her village and neighbors, has left no room for complaints. She is very happy today

and walks through the streets with pride, happiness and contentment. It seems that these are the roads which give her a sense of achievement and pride. Ladli had a special desire to do something unique, and because of this, she came out of the enclosed space of the courtyard of the house, into the streets and alleys, to work for women and needy people like herself. Day and night, for thirty years, she taught other girls who had been deprived and excluded. Till date, more than seven thousand girls have learned from her the skill to cut and make sticks. Beyond the confines of the purdah and the burqa, if many Muslim girls and women have been able to see the sight of a school, then it is thanks to none other but Ladli Bano. It is enough to say that the narrow and dirty streets are indication enough that neither the government nor any government scheme has come to help this village but now the picture will change, its hopes and the minds of the people here will find expansion just because of the efforts of a courageous lady. Ladli had to listen to numerous taunts and suffer uncountable difficulties, but she never stopped. She had thought she would fulfill all the other dreams. Once a fighter, always a fighter. Ladli will continue to walk till all her dreams come true...


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

TEXTILE ASSAM

MUGA GOES GLOBAL A mega international textile fair is being organised with Centre’s help to take Indian textiles to the global arena

RAJ KASHYAP

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SSAM government has firmed up a plan with the Centre for organising a mega international event – Textiles India 2017 – with the goal to take Indian textiles to the global arena. The event will showcase India’s strength in the textile sector. The textiles fair will be held from June 30 to July 2, 2017 at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat and is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Assam, as one of the two partner States for the event, will promote the state’s indigenous silk products - eri and muga (golden silk) apart from a range of other handloom and handicraft items. Subrata Gupta, Joint Secretary in the ministry of textiles informed reporters in Guwahati that as a partnering State for the event, the silk and other items of Assam would get “significant exposure” in all the programmes of the event including the promos, business to business meetings, conferences etc. He added 1838 foreign buyers have registered for the event from all over the world and more than 87 countries likely to participate. Andhra Pradesh is another partner State for the event and Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Karnataka would be the focus States for the exhibition. The indigenous textiles and handicrafts that in other parts of the country are confined to professional castes were practiced as household industries in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. Every family in the state had looms to meet the requirement of the

Nearly 1,300 exhibitors will showcase their

products to more than 2,500 international buyers and more than 15,000 domestic buyers household. The looms were the center of the domestic economy which were of great help in an hour of distress. Assam grows all the four major varieties of silk that include eri, muga, mulberry and tasar. The first two occupy leading positions in the sericulture sector in Assam . Weaving in Assam is done with

handlooms which are obsolete and no recent improvements have been added. The version among the hill tribes was yet another mechanism of producing the fabric. In this case the warp was tied up in split bamboo to the ends to which were fastened a leather strap. Sericulture in Assam is mostly carried on by illiterate or semi literate persons,

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Quick Glance A textile fair is planned in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from June 30 Assam is known the world over for its sericulture industry All varieties of Assam silk will be on display at the fair

who have no idea about scientific as well as commercial process of rearing silkworms. Also due to illiteracy and lack of information, the rearers cannot avail the opportunities given by the government from time to time. Scaricity of quality and healthy seeds of standard breed are the major problem of sericulture in Assam. The main cause of shortage of feeds and mulberry or lesser growth of area under plantation is due to the pressure of increasing population on wasteland for food crop cultivation, erosion of rivers, lack of protective measures from the government to preserve naturally grown food plants. The success of the sericulture depends on the availability of finance. Most of the rearers are poor. They cannot undertake large scale rearing on a commercial basis. The commercial banks in Assam are not interested in providing finance in this sector because the rearers cannot offer sufficient land as collateral security against loans. There is no organized market for the transaction of seri cocoon. Therefore, the rearers have to sell their cocoon to the traders at the price offered by them. The rearers are compelled to sell at meager price as very few buyers visit them, which is also due to their low scale of production and locational remoteness as well as lack of transport and communication. But the Indian textile sector has both richness and variety to offer, to the international market. Moreover, the country has a strong presence in the entire gamut of textile and apparel value chain, from fibre to fashion. At the forthcoming event in Gujarat, nearly 1300 exhibitors will showcase their products and services to more than 2,500 international buyers and more than 15,000 domestic buyers. The silk sector, through the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council (ISEPC) will have a larger display in an area of around 1350 square metres in Textile India venue at the Mahatma Mandir as one of the major product categories, officials said, adding that the council will have the participation of more than 100 member exporters with the best of silk and other allied silk products from all parts of the country. The total exhibition area for the event is 125,000 square meters.


26 Environment NEWS IN BRIEF MCD

MAYORS TO DISCUSS SANITATION

Preeti Agarwal, Mayor, North MCD met the Minister of Urban Development to propose steps to eradicate food wastage

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

HERITAGE CHILIKA LAKE

ANOTHER WORLD HERITAGE SITE FOR INDIA ONGC & UNESCO will work together to get Chilika Lake, fabled for its bird citings, a heritage site tag

SSB BUREAU

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INISTER of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu has directed his officials to soon convene a meeting of the newly elected Mayors of all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi for a detailed discussion on issues concerning sanitation in the national capital including Solid Waste Management. Naidu’s direction came during the meeting of Mayor of North MCD Ms.Preeti Agarwal with him today in NirmanBhawan. The Mayor referred to financial and other constraints being faced by the municipal body

to address various problems including ensuring sanitation. She elaborated on the efforts initiated to improve the revenues of the Urban Local Body like development of municipal land and properties, ward level surveys of properties and issuing of unique ID numbers and clusterwise advertisement policy. The Mayor referred to the problem of land availability for garbage disposal and said the MCD would like to focus more on Solid Waste Management approach through Waste to Energy plants and waste recycling to minimize the quantum of garbage disposal. The overflowing Bhalswa landfill needs immediate attention, she said. Stressing on the need for improving sanitation in the National Capital, Naidu said he would like to have detailed discussions with the Mayors of all the three MCDs soon for evolving a road map for ensuring total sanitation in Delhi.

SSB BUREAU

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joint team of the ONGC and Unesco has carried out a preliminary survey for the conservation of Chilika Lake to help the country’s largest coastal lagoon secure the world heritage site tag, said an official on Wednesday. “With the objective to declare Chilika Lake as a Unesco World Heritage Site, both Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) will work

together,” said Shigeru Aoyagi, Unesco Chief Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. “In order to get world heritage site recognition, it should have outstanding global value in terms of biodiversity and eco-system. The state government has assured us to provide full support to conserve the lake,” he added. During their visit to the periphery areas of the lake, they interacted with various stakeholders in the village and local officials, where certain focal areas were identified to begin with, so that

WILDLIFE INJURED TIGRESS

SAVIOURS FOR THE INJURED TIGRESS

Forest officials are seeking permission to treat the injured tigress that escaped poachers in Bandhavgarh IANS

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tigress who sustained neck wounds while attempting to free herself from a trap set up by poachers in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is being tracked by forest officials to treat her injuries. Reserve Field Director Mridul Pathak said they have sought permission from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Wildlife Warden to tranquilise the tigress for treatment. “Her wounds could get infected, which is a matter of concern. ,” Pathak, who has handled such

Quick Glance To get recognized, it should have outstanding value in biodiversity Union Petroleum Minister appreciates the effort ONGC would carry out a comprehensive conservation plan

the efforts could finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site. They also met Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who appreciated the ONGC-Unesco efforts for the comprehensive development of the eco-system of the lake, particularly the wetlands of Mangalajodi, which is intrinsically linked to the conservation of migratory and endemic birds. Shigeru Aoyagi assured that he would put in his best efforts to enable the declaration of Chilika Lake as anUnesco World Heritage Site. He said a comprehensive dossier with a detailed development plan of the ecosystem, including that of the inhabitants, by involving various central and state government ministries would be prepared. ONGC Director D.D. Misra said the company would carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area. He said the Unesco had also proposed to set up a world class conservation centre with a climate change observatory with state-of-the-art data and monitoring facilities.

Quick Glance Poachers had set up a trap for the tigress in Bandhavgarh The tigress lay trapped for two days and has been injured in the neck Forest officials need to tranquilise her and operate upon the injury

situations earlier also, told IANS. According to villagers living in Dhamokhar range of the reserve, the tigress remained stuck in the trap for two days. The forest official said the tigress finally managed to set herself free and was spotted in an injured state on June 18. Pathak said the tigress had, however, made a kill in the last three days and was feeding well, though her movement is restricted to the reserve’s buffer zone. “Since the tigress is very shy, it is very hard to keep track of her movements,” the official said.


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

CLIMATE CHANGE INDIA

TAMING THE HEAT

Death due to heat waves are 10 times more than the recorded figures, Ahmedabad Municipal Cooperation comes forward to spread combat measures

IANS

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CIENTISTS who studied India’s 2015 heatwave that claimed 2,500 lives (over 1,700 in Andhra Pradesh alone) concluded that the region was likely to see intense heatwaves once in every 10 years, instead of once in every 100 years. The next year turned out to be India’s hottest ever, since recordkeeping began in 1901. And earlier in 2017, summer got off to an unprecedented intense start, as heatwaves in late March swept through nine states. With 13 of India’s 15 hottest years on record occurring since 2002, intense heat appears to be the new normal. US President Donald Trump dismisses global warming as a hoax, a money-making industry, and a concept created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive and has now pulled his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But India simply cannot afford to ignore the new health and livelihood challenges global warming will present to “people who are no strangers to warm weather but who will now face more severe heatwaves intensified by climate change”, as

Dileep Mavalankar, 59, director of the Indian Institute of Public Health, India’s first public health university in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, told IndiaSpend in an interview. If heatwaves are perceived as a disaster-like situation with the potential to kill thousands, heat deaths are preventable. In 2014, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation pioneered South Asia’s first Heat Action Plan, as IndiaSpend reported on May 31, 2017.“ Combining public education, extreme heat warnings and efforts to safeguard the most vulnerable populations is proving to be a good template for other cities and states to follow,” said Mavalankar of the Heat Action Plan that his colleagues and the Natural Resources Defence Council are supporting. Excerpts from the interview:

How reliable are heatstroke mortality figures in the media, and why do these fluctuate so much from year to year? Heatwave fatalities are not at all well documented in India. The fatality numbers that the civil administration releases to the media are well below the actual number of people who succumb to excessive heat. One reason for this is death recording in our country is far from perfect. People who have not been directly exposed to the sun but have been exposed to high ambient temperature can also suffer heatstroke. In Ahmedabad, where we have studied the number and cause of fatalities in detail, we know that about 100 people die of all causes on any given day in summer. During the heatwave of 2010, the city’s five municipal hospitals attributed 65 fatalities to heatstroke during the week. But we estimated that the heat caused 800 additional deaths in that week. The initiative of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, which you are supporting and guiding, combines measures to prevent heatstroke and strengthen publichealth responses to heatstroke victims. However, of what use is it to tell poor people to take shelter, when they may be living on the road with no resources to protect themselves? We are aware that the urban poor are extremely vulnerable to heatstroke. In Ahmedabad, we proposed that municipal gardens be kept open between 11 am and 5 pm, a time when they usually remain closed to the public, with the idea that homeless people and working class people with jobs in their vicinity

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

pioneered South Asia’s first Heat Action Plan to ensure that there are no causalities due to heat stroke Dileep Mavalankar, Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health

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Quick Glance Ahmedabad may see serious heat waves once in every 10 years Around 1,700 people lost their lives due to heat stroke 900 water facilities have been set up to relieve people in Ahmedabad

would find shade and a place to rest under trees. For the same reason, we requested the administration to keep the city’s 45 night shelters open during the day. Over 900 water facilities were also created. An initiative driven by the mayor was asking paint companies to donate white paint to coat the roof of poor people’s houses. White-painted roofs reflect more sunlight, which helps keep interiors cool. The municipality has not accepted some of our suggestions, such as our request to supply extra water during heatwaves. A lot of municipalities across India supply extra water during religious festivals, and we believe it is even more important to supply extra water at a time when people need it to protect their health. We also proposed that the municipality should not issue major work contracts after April. Also, labour contractors should be asked to employ workers in split shifts, such as from 6 am to 11 am and from 5 pm to 8 pm. We were told this is impractical to implement. Densely populated areas are said to be generally hotter than rural areas. What temperature difference have you recorded between rural areas and urban areas? In summer, we have found that Ahmedabad records temperatures that are usually 2-3 degrees Centigrade higher, even up to 4 degrees higher than the surrounding areas because of the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon whereby concrete buildings and traffic enclose the heat in a limited space. Rural areas around the city with more vegetation and water bodies see lower temperatures. However, the majority of residents of urban areas spend less time outdoors and have more resources and utilities (such as water, cooling devices, hospitals) to rely on for their wellbeing. Heat fatalities can happen in both urban and rural areas. Recently, we have also started pilot testing a heat action plan for rural blocks of Rajasthan with the help of Unicef.


28 Google

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

VIRTUAL TOUR VICTORIA MEMORIAL

GOOGLING TO VICTORIAN RAJ Google has made the iconic Kolkata monument a part of its arts and culture online platform, starting from this year’s World Museum Day Quick Glance

PRASANTA PAUL

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URING summer, the sun soars to suVictoria Memorial, the grand piece of Italian architecture and one of the major attractions of the City of Joy, has opened itself up to the visitors in the farthest corners of the world, virtually. Believe it or not, sitting in any corner of the world, a visitor can stroll across almost all the galleries of this edifice of the British era, courtesy a tech tie-up between the authorities of the Memorial and Google. Armed with the powerful Google Street View, the visitor has the liberty to glide through the galleries of the museum that houses artefacts and art works of the period between 1770 and 1850. The virtual tour of the galleries that has formally been inaugurated last month coinciding with the International Museum Day, has put the Memorial in company with other such edifices across the world where the internet giant has penetrated gainfully. To put it more succinctly, the project is part of Google Arts and Culture, the online platform that gives access to the visitors to highresolution images of artworks kept in the partner museums. The visitors may either walk through the museums or make static visits to designated collections of their choice. A spokesman quoting the Memorial curator Jayanta Sengupta said that the necessary permission from the union ministry of culture for signing of the agreement with Google for this virtual tour of the Victoria Memorial was obtained sometime back. The agreement oversaw each and every aspect of the virtual tour, taking into account every detail of each artwork that has been on permanent display and even those that are not put on display and kept and preserved in the museum vaults for occasional and seasonal display. “ With this, Victoria Memorial becomes the third such museum in the country being run by the union ministry of culture to go

Victoria Memorial is one of Kolkata’s prominent monuments It houses invaluable art pieces that are open to the public Now, courtesy Google anyone anywhere can walk through it

The project is part of

Google Arts and Culture, the online platform that gives access to the visitors to high-resolution images of artworks

virtual; the other two are the New Delhi-based National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art,” the spokesman pointed out. What makes the tie-up unique is the fact that the Memorial has been facing an acute space crunch and on an average, barely 13 per cent of its collections have been put on for display on a given day. And that too shrinks when some repair work, major or minor, is taken up. “ We’re compelled to put a majority of the art works in the vaults away from public view as we don’t have adequate space for display. The agreement with Google enables us to gradually throw the entire collection up for virtual display before art connoisseurs across the world,” he said.

Galleries on the ground floor of the Museum that will be part of the virtual walk include Portrait Gallery, Entrance Hall, Central Hall, Prince Hall, Durbar Hall and Calcutta Gallery. According to him, Google has already completed the digitization of these six ground floor halls and gone live. The Durbal Hall which is famous for its larger-thanlife-sized oil paintings, is likely to be one of the key attractions of the tour. Among some of the priceless and rare collections of the Memorial that the visitors will be privileged to enjoy a digital walk at the Google Arts and Culture platform are the paintings by Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore and Thomas and William Daniell, the last two being world famous for their company paintings. In fact, these collections provide a rare glimpse of the British raj in India and what is more important is the fact that the Memorial boasts of a collection of 72

works of Daniell, the largest in the world. Elaborating on some of the paintings, the spokesman said those like `Bharat Mata”, `Passing of Shah Jahan”, `Chandi Mangal” and `Krishna Leela” by Abani Tagore, are still considered to be gems from the Bengal School of Painting. Gaganendranath whose maiden introduction of concepts like cubism and satire on the canvas, brought alive the-then Bengal tradition. In fact, as many as 300 Abani and 200 Gaganendranath paintings will gradually be put on virtual view which the physical visitors had no access to earlier. “ These paintings are coveted and prized because they have set a new trend of art in the Indian subcontinent at that time and they have been sketched at a time when there was no camera,” the spokesman pointed out. “ these paintings enable us to obtain a close and rare view of the contemporary India that no longer exists. Naturally, the historical significance of the same is immense.” Not only the British office interiors of the period (paintings by Daniell), British architectural patterns and contemporary Indian life in the streets and localities have also come alive in those paintings. Referring to a series of paintings that reveal an iconic view of what is presently known as Esplanade, he said that one of them had a sketch of Raj Bhavan minus its present dome. “This painting gives us the original picture of the Raj Bhavan of the golden era and the Google Art View enables one access to the Memorial at the drop of his/her sweet will irrespective of whether it’s a holiday or there’s a hartal (bandh) in the city,” the spokesman added smilingly.


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30 Trekking

JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

TREKKING INDRAHAR PASS

THE MOODY MOUNTAINS

Trekking in the mountains has its own fair share of uncertainties, similar to our lives. However, these uncertainties and apprehensions make our journey worthwhile, both in the mountains and in our lives Quick Glance Indrahar pass connects Kangra and Chamba valleys in Himachal Dhauladhar mountains are known for their volatile weather The two-day trek ran into a third day due to incessant rains

ROBIN KESHAW

T

HE Main Square in the heart of Mcleodganj is always bustling with tourists, Indians and foreigners alike. Vineet and I were enjoying the morning chill and the captivating aroma of coffee, as we waited for our guide to join us. A shrill voice broke our chain of thoughts, and a slender fellow emerged out of nowhere. “Myself Jaydev Panwar, I am your guide for your trek to Indrahar Pass,” he rushed through the sentence in a single breath. Without even waiting for our response, he started walking swiftly on the Dharmkot Road. “Unless something unusual happens, we will be here by tomorrow night,” Jaidev held. Vineet and I gave each other a questioning look at his disclaimer and started walking behind him. To us, he

seemed like a man of few words; we were proved wrong in the next 2 days. Indrahar Pass connects the Kangra and Chamba valley, through its passage way on the mighty Dhauladhars. Since time immemorial, the route has been used by herders and traders to cross the high rising Dhauladhars and established a link between the two valleys. The pass lies between the two famous peaks, Moon Peak and the Camel Peak, at a height of 14,250 feet. Indrahar Pass trek is considered a moderately difficult one, with regular trekkers taking 4 days to complete the job. We, however, had

planned to finish it off in 2 days and theoretically everything seemed perfect. But, mountain gods had other plans for us. A RUN ALONG THE MOUNTAINS As Jaidev scurried along the familiar trail to Triund, we followed him closely. The plan was to reach Triund top, have our lunch there and then proceed to Snowline, another 2-hour trek, and camp there. The trail till Triund was familiar to Vineet, as he has trekked through this route in the past. We would need Jaidev’s help only after Triund, as the trail gets

The view at the top was majestic, as we could see

the enormous Dhauladhar range spread across Mother Earth’s bosom like her own babies’ families

tricky and treacherous after that. We comfortably reached Triund in 3 hours, as we were literally running along the trail. The trees and the meadows passed by unnoticed, as was Jaidev’s presence. His laconic first impression had stayed with us and the proverbial ice hadn’t broken between us. We reached Triund top, with sun shining bright up in the sky and saw the first snowy patch of the trek there. Jaidev had reached there first and was prepared with some small lumps of snow. As we neared the patch, he started throwing them at us, shouting, “I am the best snow fighter in the mighty Himalayas”. We were taken aback, but soon we too joined in the small little snowy battlefield. I could see some ‘ice’ breaking right there. After we filled our bellies with plates full of maggi, we proceeded towards Snowline. By this time, Jaidev had come into his usual self and his chattering didn’t stop for a minute. Throughout the trail, he was exhorting us to race towards a designated spot. Every time, he would beat us by a long margin, he would give a victory call, which echoed through the mountains. We met several groups of herders on our way and crisscrossed our way through the mountain goats and sheep. OF STORIES AND LAMB CURRY By the time, we reached Snowline or Laka as it is known among locals, sun was already on the horizon and the sky had acquired the scarlet hue of the parting sun. Chachu, a middle aged man who was the caretaker of the Snowline Café, the last pitstop before ascent to Indrahar, welcomed us with his characteristic grin. Vineet and I decided to chase the sun down the horizon, while Jaidev stayed at the café. By the time, we returned it was


JUNE 26 - JULY 02, 2017

Trekking

31

Dark clouds appeared

from nowhere, as if they wanted to engulf the whole of the Himalaya mountains pitch dark. Chachu informed us that a lamb has recently died near his café and if we are willing to pay some extra money, he will cook a delicious lamb curry for us. Our next day climb was quite strenuous and red meat would have proved detrimental, yet the idea of having a Pahadi style lamb curry was irresistible. We looked at Jaidev and on getting his green signal, we gave a go-ahead to Chachu. As the curry was getting prepared, Jaidev kept us hooked with his stories - about the bear attack, of the snowstorm, of irresponsible trekkers and what not. His stories were so captivating that even the starry sky and the tall trees were active listeners to his tales. As Chachu sprinkled the spices in the

lamb curry, Jaidev’s stories were the perfect appetisers for a delicious meal ahead. At around 8 pm, we had a hearty meal of boiled rice and lamb curry, one of the best I have had till date. While enjoying the meal, we also finalised next day’s plan. We were to leave the café by 4 am in the morning, as the trek gets steeper from here. We will have our first stop at Lahesh caves, which is midway to Indrahar Pass and should be able to reach there by 10 am. After spending some quality time at the top, we would return back and reach Snowline by 2 pm and then rush back to Mcleodganj by night. The plan looked solid and we retired to our tents soon after finishing our meals.

The beautiful Manimahesh Kailash peak and snow-

clad Pir Panjal range were also visible from the top

MOUNTAIN GODS Next morning, we left Laka as per our schedule and hurried our way through the meadows in the dark. As we weren’t carrying our backpacks, we were quite fast and we reached Lahesh Caves before sun rays could reach there. The climb from Lahesh Caves was too steep and strenuous. This is where Jaidev’s expertise came in really handy. He would know just the perfect spot to put one’s foot and navigated through the ascents quite swiftly. Vineet and I were panting heavily and wanted some rest badly, but we knew that every minute we lose here will drift us away from our plans to reach Mcleodganj by night. With Jaidev ’s constant encouragement and push, we reached the top of the pass by 10 am, exactly as per our schedule. We were welcomed by cold and chilly wind, which felt like heaven after the monumental effort. The view at the top was majestic, as we could see the enormous Dhauladhar range spread across Mother Earth’s bosom like her own babies. The beautiful Manimahesh Kailash peak and snowclad Pir Panjal range were also visible from the top. The enormity of the magnificent Himalayas was overwhelming and we just stood there soaking ourselves in the melange of emotions they evoked. The sun was shining quite bright up in the sky and there were no signs of clouds. Although Jaidev had warned us about the weather volatility in Dhauladhars, we were least worried about the rains. Within a flip second, the sky started changing its colours. It was as if someone has changed the background on a large screen with the press of a button. Dark clouds appeared out of nowhere, as if they want to engulf the whole of Himalaya.

“I think we are screwed”, Jaidev shouted from a distance and signalled for us to run. “If it starts raining, we won’t be able to reach even Snowline by evening”. Vineet and I looked at each other and silently followed Jaidev’s lead for our descent. The drizzling started soon, but we continued our descent. By the time we reached Lahesh Caves, it was raining crazily. We were completely drenched by that time and decided to take a stop at the caves and wait for the rain to stop. But, the mountain gods had some other plans. It rained cats and dogs for the next one and half hours and visibility was reduced to 2-3 metres. It was dangerous to descend in such conditions and we waited for minutes and minutes, until a hundred had been added to our lives. As the rain stopped, we started our descent very carefully as a single wrong step would have proved fatal in such slippery conditions. By the time, we reached Laka, it was well past 4 pm and there was no way we could have trekked down further in such wet conditions. Hence, we decided to spend our night there among Chachu’s delicacies and Jaidev’s stories. Next morning, the sky was pretty clear and the soil had gotten rid of most of the moisture from the previous day’s rain. We started a little late, as it would hardly take 4-5 hours for the descent from here. We stopped at Triund and sipped some hot tea. We were at the Main Square in Mcleodganj by 12 noon. We had our lunch at the famous Tibetan Kitchen with Jaidev, before he bade goodbye. He promised to come up with more stories, next time we meet. As Vineet and I proceeded towards our hotel room, Jaidev’s opening sentence about the uncertainty in mountains echoed in the background.


32 Newsmakers

26 JUNE - 02 JULY, 2017

NEWSMAKERS

NEWSMAKERS Law expert Neeru Chadha is the first Indian woman to serve in the international court on seas

NEERU CHADHA

SEA LAW TRIBUNAL JUDGE KHUSHBOO AKASH

GEM OF AN APPROACH Khushboo prepared an artwork with five lakh pearls for the PM

P

NSUN

G

U

RIME MINISTER Narendra Modi was recently presented with a unique artwork made of pearls. Khushboo Akash Davda, the creator of the image, amazingly used over five lakh pearls to create this wonderful artwork. A thread of

HERO

length 10 km has been used in the process. The artwork which has dimensions of 7 feet by 7 feet, took approximately 850 hours for Khushboo Akash Davda to prepare. It is perhaps one of a kind of piece in the world.

GURUKUL FOR THE IAS The underprivileged students are given coaching for civil services by Dr Motiur Rahman Khan for a fee of just Rs 11

F

OR thousands of students of Adamya Aditi Gurukul, who have become Sub Inspectors, IAS, IPS, IRS and CTO officers, Guru Rahman is that one teacher who has changed their world. Dr. Motiur Rahman Khan started holding coaching classes in 1994, because he fell in love. “Amita and I fell in love in college and it was to impress her that I topped in MA in Banaras Hindu University. But those times were different. Hindu-Muslim marriages were taboo. We got married without

L

AW expert Neeru Chadha has been elected a judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and will be the first Indian woman to serve on the 21-member court. Last week, she won a nine-year term on the tribunal that adjudicates disputes arising over the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The tribunal was set up in 1996 and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Chadha was the only candidate from the Asia-Pacific Group to be elected in the first round, where the 168 countries voted. Chadha was the first woman to be the chief legal

adviser to the Indian government and her career includes stints as an additional secretary in the External Affairs Ministry and a counsellor at India’s UN Mission. In the maritime borders dispute between India and Bangladesh, she represented New Delhi at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The verdict awarding Bangladesh 19,467 sq.km of the contested area in the Bay of Bengal was seen as a victory for Dhaka. The tribunal has two women judges, Elsa Kelly of Argentina, and another, Liesbeth Lijnzaad of the Netherlands, was elected on the same day along with Neeru Chadha.

the consent of our parents. We the boy to be brilliant and asked were very clear on one thing that him to join his classes anyway. none of us is going to change our Rahman asked the boy, who had religion and that was not accepted lost his father, to pay just Rs 11 by the society. Everyone boycotted for his classes. This student, us and I could not get a job Shadique Alam, is now the anywhere,” says Rahman. District Collector of Nuapada, Rahman started his classes in Odisha. his tiny rented room where the After this, Rahman started students had to sit on the taking in more students floor. Being a police from underprivileged inspector’s son, he always backgrounds and trained wanted to them just for become an IPS Rs. 11. “More In 1994, there was a officer. He came than 10,000 recruitment of 4,000 into the limelight students have when in 1994 studied in my sub-inspectors in Bihar, there was a a c a d e y . out of which 1,100 were recruitment of Everyone pays 4,000 sub students of Motiur Rahman according to inspectors in Bihar, among whom their capacity,” he says. Another 1,100 were from Rahman’s classes. student, Meenu Kumari Jha, Another incident changed the wanted to become an IPS officer. course of how Rahman looked at She is an IPS officer today, his coaching classes. A student having studied under Rahman once came to him only for some for Rs 11. Rahman teaches guidance as he did not have around 2,000 students at enough money, but Rahman found present.

RNI No. DELENG/2016/71561, Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 VOLUME - 1, ISSUE - 28 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 - 28)  
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