Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Delhi Rains Waterlogged Roads

At last when the rain god sent showers across Delhi, it had a story to tell. July 27 was late enough for the rains to come to this part of the country. The earth was already parched and the agricultural fields had gone hard and dry showing off cracks, revealing their real account of thirst. The heat and humidity had become unbearable. With no timely monsoon, people were left with no other alternative except pray for the dark clouds to come and open up. At last the rains came bringing with it a mixed bag effect on the lives of the people.

As the drops of rain began to fall there appeared smile on the faces of the people that was soon to vanish when the roads began to get waterlogged. The early and late evening traffic had to spend long hours on the roads due to heavy traffic jam. Traffic came to a halt on waterlogged stretches sending the signal of the callousness of the civic authorities of this city. The rain brought with it water logging, caving in of a road, traffic jam, vehicle breakdown and long hours spent on the road to reach home. The traffic signals stopped working causing chaos and in many areas water entered into the houses. It was a wet day at Delhi’s airport too. There was rain water flooding at the domestic arrival terminal causing inconvenience to passengers. Many flights were delayed and many ended up missing flights as they could not reach the airport on time.

The MCD’s tall claims that the city would not face water logging this year was simply like words from a fairy tale. With more rains life in this city could turn nightmarish and one may have to take the help of boats to move about.

All this leaves behind a question; “How come the MCD is not prepared to meet such challenges in the capital city of India?”

Food for thought: This is Delhi Meri Jaan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Flip and Flop of Child Labour

It was surprising to read that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has framed guidelines for TV shows involving children after recently the Maharashtra government had sent notices to several production houses for the over-view of the conditions in which child artists work in their shows.

As regards the working of children in serials, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry does not find any fault with children working in serials as long as the parents have no problem and their studies are not hampered. The NCPCR has come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for those TV shows involving children: limited working hours, presence of a counsellor on the sets and little or no make up for the kids.

Here the question arises if a child from a poor family works even as a domestic help, this labour falls under the Child Labour Act. But if we are to compare the two different types of labour, one is not different from the other. In the case of the poor child, he/she works to earn money which can help the economic condition of the family with the consent of their parents. The child working in TV serials also works to earn money; otherwise the parents would have kept their children at home.

As regards the hazards, the children working in the serials work for long hours is missing out a child’s life of play and recreation and toiling hard under the strong heat of the lights and cameras that go on rolling once the shooting starts. The makeup is also harmful for the skin. They may be missing school and the school makes up for the loss of attendance for their student is popularising their institution.

How can the minister say their studies are not hampered? Working in daily soaps they hardly get time to study. And who knows where they will land up in future. As a child they are enjoying the stardom status, but future may not hold such sunny days for them.

Now it is time for the parents to think more about the hazards that are looming over their child and not sit back with a smile that their child has become popular at such a small age.

Here the question that can be raised, if a child from a poor family is earning for the needs of the family, the ministry should not interfere. Instead they should try and find out ways and means where these children can contribute financially to the family and at the same time get enough education for a steady and better future.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Time to Save the Aravalis

The Aravali Hills is one of the oldest mountain ranges in India. This mountain range in Haryana is facing rampant ecological degradation because of illegal mining. In May this year the Supreme Court of India extended the ban on mining over a large area of the Aravali Hills in the Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mewat districts of Haryana. This is keeping in view the serious ecological degradation in this area.

The Supreme Court’s order had banned mining in the areas around Delhi and the Aravalis because of the threat to the ecological balance and pollution. Construction activities have increased in Delhi and surrounding areas for the coming 2010 Commonwealth Games for which demand for stones and other materials has gone up. This has led to more mining in the Aravalis.

Large scale mining has left the state of Haryana with many lakes going dry and the water level depleted. Many famous lakes like the Badkal, Damdama and Dhauj were once prominent tourist spots, but now they have dried up and nobody goes there. The water table has fallen to such a level that a drought-like situation can arise. There has been acute water shortage and the people are the sufferers. With water resources drying up the green belt is, moreover, being converted into virtual deserts.

Time to rethink about the Aravalis, with destruction this mountain range will be read only in books. Stringent steps have to be taken to save the Aravalis from disappearing. With them water table too will go leaving behind a dry land not favourable for habitation.

Many believe due to political patronage from the state and central government, mining in the Aravalis has been going on.

Time to work out to save this mountain range called the Aravalis.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Delhi Heat and Humidity

The first week of July has gone but for Delhi it is still the hot summer days the people of this city are facing. Reeling under heat and humidity, the city’s demand for electricity is demanding. The maximum temperature at this time is above 40 degrees and the minimum crossing the 30 plus mark. There was fluctuation in the humidity level, moving between 70% and 42%. The high humidity level is making life so difficult with a feeling that the temperature is more than recorded by the Met office.

The Met department does not stop with their babble of the monsoon. They make predictions about the coming rains but their words end up with a blank. People’s faith has now revolved on God to whom they pray if not openly but in their hearts for the rains to come and cool this burning earth.

Without the rains and the rising heat and humidity, Delhi’s electricity demand has gone up. If we are to go by information, electricity consumption in this city on Wednesday was 4,408MW, something that Delhi is seeing for the first time. And why not, the air conditioners are running round the clock as most households use AC’s to get respite from the heat. The air coolers are non-effective due to the humidity.

The worse part is some parts of the city is facing power cuts and anger rising. There is no fixed time for power cuts, it may just vanish at any time of the day or night leaving the consumers facing heat and sweat with anger.

Now the only thing that remains is a prayer to the rain God to come and bless all with His downpour.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Save Water with Rain Water Harvesting

This year the monsoon has been delayed although the Met Department had made early predictions of a not an average but a good Monsoon for this country. Although monsoon has reached some parts of the country, North India is still waiting for the rains to come. This has left the northern part of India with a drought threat.

Delayed rains no doubt have affected the water supply in many cities.
With the rivers and other water bodies drying up it is time for a serious thought about water management. One way of managing this is by Rain Water harvesting. With rising demand for water and the shrinking of the ground water level, rain water harvesting is a ray of hope to re-charge the ground water level to meet people’s demand.

Talking of rain water harvesting, this is not specified to one area like for Delhi or Mumbai only but this has to be a cause related topic for the whole of India.

Going by the meaning of Rain Water harvesting, the common meaning is the need to create methods to capture the rain water. For this it has to be the rainy days when the rain water can be collected by developed methods and can be used later.

With modernisation the faces of towns and cities have changed. Most areas are plastered with concrete leaving no space for the falling rain water to percolate into the soil thus leaving a shrinking ground water level. For this rising water problem, time is ripe enough to make sincere attempt to replenish the rain water in its modern form known as Rain Water Harvesting.

It is time to wake up before its too late and at the same time try to understand and implement this method for the benefit of all.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Pre-Budget Thought

The first morning cup of tea invigorates the mind and body. But the saddest part is this morning cuppa has burdened the household by becoming costlier. It is all because of the rise in the price of petrol and diesel. Why has the government taken this decision in a hurry? This hurry raises the eyebrows of the millions in this country with a question that needs an answer. Why didn’t the government wait till the budget was placed before the nation by the Finance minister of this country?

The price of all commodities will rise further, leaving the home ministers of every household to re-write their monthly budget. In this whole process, many households will have to cut down on even some basic needs. With soaring prices it has become a tough job to shop for the monthly grocery and at the green grocer for fruits and vegetables.

It is time instead of making a hole in the pockets of the Aam Admi, the government should be looking into more serious matters relating to the people of this country. Startling revelations of adulterations have shocked and rocked the people. Apart from adulterated milk, recently it has been found how in the name of pure ghee adulterated ghee is entering the market. So also is the case with some of the powdered spices sold in the market. The fruits and vegetables are not safe to eat because they are injected with harmful substances which can cause fatal health problems. All this happening under the very nose of the government and if they say that can’t smell the rat, people will not believe them as confidence in the present government is losing grounds.

Just imagine the shocking revelation in Delhi of thousands of fake MCD employees. We, the tax payers of this country have every right to know where our hard earned money is going and how it is spent.

Most of the people must have seen on a news channel how a Lok Sabha MP is slapping a bank manager in public and thereby misusing his power. It shows those in power have got the right and guts to disrespect an individual publicly and go about unpunished. How can a party remain blind and deaf and let such people remain in their fold. Instead of discouraging with punishment it seems more of encouraging.

Another political controversy that has come up is of the misuse of political power and office. A minister in this ruling government had wanted to pressure a Madras High Court judge to grant anticipatory bail to a father-son duo arrested by CBI. Where are the rulers heading to?

The HRD minister comes up with the thought of doing away with the class X board exams. But he does not give a thought to the trauma the parents in a city go through in getting their child admitted in the entry level of a school. And what about the rising school fees? He should think of more vocational courses that will guarantee more jobs. A lot of homework needs to be done to bring about changes in the education and examination system of this country.

Global recession has hit the world job market not sparing the job market in this country either. At such a juncture more work needs to be done to stop people from flocking the cities and make them concentrate to earn their living out of agriculture in the villages. For that agriculture needs a boost. When people have food and earning at home why will they turn towards the unknown city which gives them a hard and difficult life, at times leaving them without food and a roof over their heads.

Water problem, electricity problem, terrorism, health-related problems, are among the many problems we all are facing in our everyday life. It is no doubt a hard uphill and challenging task for the government with so many problems but there has to be remedial measures. All that is expected from the government is good partnership, consideration and working towards getting the wrong mended so that common man’s life can thrive safely.