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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Late Dr. S.B. Rai remembered by local social thinkers

Kalimnews : It was a day to remember late Dr. Sashi Bhushan Rai, a private medical practitioner by profession in his life who had died of cancer in the year 2005. During a programme  held today in Club Royale of Kalimpong his last book  "Mero Cancer Yatra Ra Chihanma Gorkha" was released by veteran stage artist Natyabhushan C.K. Shrestha,Chief Guest of the programme and family members of Dr. Rai in presence of prominent figures of the town and relatives of late Dr. Rai. 
A short documentary film on the life and  works of late Dr. Rai were presented by Kalimpong Television  as a tribute to him during the programme. Dr. Rajendra P. Dhakal, Principal, Kalimpong College, Min Liwang, senior story writer, Samsher Ali, senior story writer, Moti Prasad Sharma, Poet and Ashim Sagar, young Ghazal writer also presented talks and their poems to pay homage to Dr. Rai on this auspicious day. 
         Release of the book     
The programme was chaired by B.R. Chhetri, ex-Principal, Govt. Primary Teachers' Training Centre and conducted by Hira Chhetri.
Dr. Rai was a social thinker and during his life of 49 years he contributed in many fields in the society. He was always found thinking over the economic development of the hills. His friends like Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri said that Dr. Rai was vocal to oppose any odd things in the society without fear. He used to give guidelines to the unemployed youths of Kalimpong and also engaged some of the
young boys and girls in different professions. (Photo: [From L to R] BR Chhetri, CK Shrestha, Elder Sister, Mother and Wife of Late Dr. Rai)
His family members specially Smt. Maya Rai, his wife is of the view that Dr. Rai's dreams are yet to be materialised. To make his unfulfilled dreams a reality Smt. Rai has also been contemplating to initiate a trust in the name of Dr. Rai for the betterment of the society.
Ming Liwang
Dr. R.P.Dhakal
His book is focused on his experiences as a cancer patient his journey to Tata memorial Hospital, Mumbai and his treatment. He has given an outline about the know how of cancer and its treatment in Mumbai. He has also jotted down his befriending with Gorkhas and Non-Gorkhas of Mumbai who helped him in many ways.
In his book he has highlighted the plight of Gorkhas in Darjeeling, real political scenario of the hills and his love and a vision for the hills and the people of Darjeeling. Born on 28th September 1956 and died on 25 August 2005, his Yelung diagnostic center is still one of the best pathological laboratory and USG center. He was a writer had his articles and medical advices printed in Himalchuli, Aba, Charitra, Himali Ava, and Sunchari. He himselg had started two journals Journalee and Jaankaari dot com.
Murderer husband arrested
Accused Chandan
KalimNews: Kalimpong police arrested Chandan Chhetri (53) who allegedly killed his wife Dhan kumari Chhetri (50) in his residence yesterday in Chibo Busty. It is said that Chandan is not sane and he killed his wife while she was preparing the evening meal. 
During interrogation Chandan said that his wife taunted him and he killed her with a knife. Dhan kumari's was hacked to death by striking her on the front side of the throat.
Their sons Anuj and Anup are employed outside Kalimpong and Chandan was suffering from some mental disease since some years. On hearing the cry of Dhan kumari Chandan fled from the house when neighbours of the village gathered there.     
Apolitical dais for Didi on Darjeeling date
Nirmalya Banerjee, TNN, DARJEELING: Mamata Banerjee walks into Darjeeling on Sunday balancing Hills and plains, sentiment and common sense, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) and, above all, politics and leadership.
The result: each step in the political minefield that is Darjeeling has to be small and measured. Which is why the initial plan of a public meeting under the GJM's aegis during her two-day trip has been cancelled. Her entry to the Hills will also be low key, with only a few festoons, banners and welcome arches along the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling.
So, instead of addressing a meeting that might show her up as hobnobbing with the GJM.
"CPM leaders who are saying that Mamata will use the GJM's platform to address a public meeting don't know the facts," Gautam Deb, Trinamool coordinator for North Bengal, said on Saturday.
Mamata will meet delegations from the GJM and the All India Gorkha League in Darjeeling on Sunday, the only openly political meeting during her visit. "But she will meet people from a cross-section of society, NGO representatives and businessmen," Deb said. "It is a great thing that a leader of her stature is coming to Darjeeling. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has not been able to make it here."
That barb at the CM and at the CPM is also a comment on the nature of Mamata's leadership that will be on display in the Hills. The GJM isn't expecting much out of her visit. "She has her own political agenda. Our issues are identity and self-respect. We aren't too interested in discussing development with her," a GJM leader said. "But we understand that at present, it is not possible for her to discuss the issue of a separate state with us." So, when the GJM delegation meets Mamata, it is likely to focus on issues like improving railway connectivity to the Hills.
Though GJM isn't expecting much from Mamata's visit, it is keen to welcome her to the Hills. The party is aware of her clout at the Centre and in present-day Bengal. With tripartite talks going on in Delhi, the party leadership knows the importance of having a senior leader's empathy. Again, if Writers' sees a change next year, Bimal Gurung and his men would need to have a working relationship with her. "She is more welcome than Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to the Hills," said a GJM leader.
The Darjeeling district CPM is, understandably, using the opportunity of Mamata's visit to portray her as someone who threatens the integrity of the state. "Wherever Mamata goes, she encourages separatist elements. She went to Jangalmahal to join hands with the Maoists. Now she's going to the Hills to encourage GJM," CPM Darjeeling district secretary Jibesh Sarkar said. "She is going there to see if she can garner support. In the process, GJM, which had been down since the murder of Madan Tamang, will feel encouraged."
Sarkar was not sure if GJM would extend help to Trinamool. "Earlier GJM was with BJP. Now they are trying to build bridges with Congress. It will not be surprising if they help Trinamool in the future," he said.
According to observers, the support of a possible three GJM MLAs would come in handy for Mamata in case next year's assembly polls throw up a photo-finish result. It would make sense for her to have an understanding with GJM, particularly if the Congress and Trinamool fall out. She also wants to pre-empt the possibility of GJM extending support to CPM after the polls.
Mamata and her party leaders know all of this, which is the reason for keeping the visit apolitical'. Deb said even Trinamool banners welcoming her had been taken down beyond Darjeeling More in Siliguri. The welcome arches are not too visible either. There are placards and banners on Rohini Road coming up from the foothills, and also on Hill Cart Road. But none are too big or ostentatious. Some welcome festoons have been put up by the Railwaymen's Union at toy train stations en route.
leadership, she will speak from an apolitical platform at the World Tourism Day fair on Monday at Darjeeling Gymkhana. 
 Union Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee being welcomed by Gorkha people during her visit to Darjeeling in West Bengal on Sunday. PTI, Darjeeling, Sep 26 : Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was today given a rousing welcome by supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as she arrived on a two-day visit here for hearing "problems" of the Hills.
Her convoy, which started from New Jalpaiguri railway station amid tight security, was greeted by hundreds of GJM supporters lined along Hill Cart Road leading to Darjeeling.
Cut-outs and welcome banners were prominently displayed all along the route.
Mamata, who had on various occasions expressed her reservations against division of Bengal, is scheduled to announce a few railway projects and meet representatives of civil society.
The visit is significant in the light of GJM's sustained agitation for a separate state to be carved out of West Bengal and support from the Hills is crucial to decide the fate of her candidates in three constituencies in the coming Assembly elections.
North Bengal, a Marxist citadel till the other day, has of late developed chinks in the armour and Ms. Banerjee is determined to utilise it to strengthen her chances to come to power in the State.
Recently in the civic elections, the Congress-Trinamool Congress combine had ousted the Left Front from the Siliguri municipal board.
In a by-election at Kalchini in the Dooars, the combine had defeated the Left Front candidate.
Ms. Mamata Banerjee told PTI that she had come to the Hills not as the Centre’s representative, but to see the ground situation. “I love the Darjeeling Hills and its people. I want to hear their problems from their own mouths.”
Demand to allow Karmapa in the throne of Rumtek
Prakha, Gangtok, Sep 26: Thousands of followers and supporters of Ogyen Trinley Dorje drawn from all corners of Sikkim and neighbouring Darjeeling hills today took out a rally in Gangtok demanding their 17th Gyalwa Karmapa as endorsed by the Dalai Lama be allowed to take his rightful throne at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre in East Sikkim.
If the rally was meant to send a message to the Centre that Ogyen Trinley Dorje has numbers behind him in Sikkim, it succeeded with the organizers pegging the strength of rally participants to around 50,000 though judging from the numbers that had gathered at Paljor Stadium, the rally turnout could be conservatively estimated to around 25,000.
Most of these thousands started out early morning hours from remote corners of Sikkim in taxis, private vehicles and buses to gather at Guards Ground here along with around 3,000 monks from all the 65 registered monasteries in Sikkim. When sufficient numbers had assembled, the rally proceeded on a 1.5 km walk up to Paljor Stadium which took almost 90 minutes. All the way, the strains of ‘Karmapa Keno’ (Karmapa, all knowing, past, present and future) chanted by the participants dominated the day which was sunny and pleasant contrary to gloomy and wet days the State is presently enjoying.
While the stirring age-old tunes hymned in unison gave an impression of the Karmapa followers were simplistic in their aspiration, banners and placards carried by them truly reflected their inner-most feelings and frustrations with the Centre disregarding in the past ten years their repeated requests to allow their Karmapa to assume his seat at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre.
One placard, ‘We need the Karmapa in Sikkim because of his historical connection and importance as a religious leader. This is the voice of the people of Sikkim. We are citizens of this country. Please hear us, Government of India’, aptly summed up their aspirations. Another banner berated the Union government with its screaming punch line – ‘If India is a free and democratic country then how is that the Karmapa’s movement in India are restricted’.
One more banner raked up Sikkim’s association with India with its question-‘Is Sikkim an integral State of the India Union?? If yes then the Karmapa must be allowed to come to Sikkim to bless his followers and take charge of his monastery’.
The reverence among the Karmapa faithful peaked when photographers and cameramen along with harmless onlookers were bundled out by Sikkim police from a flyover under which the Karmapa procession was passing near the STNM hospital. The rally leaders were objecting to the presence of people on the flyover as the vehicle carrying a huge frame portrait of Ogyen Trinley Dorje was passing beneath the flyover.
Before the rally snaked down to the Paljor Stadium, the organizers-Karmapa Reception Committee and Joint Action Committee-jointly submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at his official residence at Mitokgang.
In the memorandum, the two organizations have petitioned Chamling to ‘lead a delegation to meet the Prime Minister and other leaders of the Government of India and urgently present this issue with the objective of obtaining Central government commitment to allow the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to come to Rumtek, Sikkim by 2011’.
The Chief Minister was also requested to provide necessary instructions to the two Parliament members of Sikkim to raise the issue in both the Houses during the forthcoming Parliament session to create awareness and drum up support for this cause.
“The Chief Minister promised to instruct the Members of Parliament to raise the Karmapa issue in the Parliament. He also assured us to fix up appointments with concerned authorities and once appointments are confirmed, he would be leading the delegation”, said Joint Action Committee general secretary Karma Sonam Topden to media.
“The Chief Minister highlighted to us that he has been raising the issue with Delhi on earlier occasions. He also told us that 99 percent of Sikkimese wants Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to come to Rumtek and he is with us”, said Topden.
According to Topden, the two associations pointed out to the Chief Minister on excuses hammed up by the Centre on the Karmapa issue. “One excuse of the Centre is that the Karmapa issue is an international issue. It is just an excuse because if the Centre was worried about Chinese reaction then it would have near allowed the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh which is being claimed by the Chinese. Sikkim has already conceded by the Chinese as an integral part of the Indian Union. So why should India bother about Chinese reaction in the context of the Karmapa issue?”, he said.
The Karmapa Reception Committee spokesperson, KN Topden said that 8,085 light vehicles and 42 buses were supposed to ferry around 84,000 participants including monks for the rally from all corners of Sikkim. About sixty percent came and many from South and West districts have still not yet arrived due to bad road conditions and other delays, he said.
“We have exceeded our expectations on this rally. We now hope that Delhi will listen after seeing the spontaneous response of the public here. The people of Sikkim have gathered here peaceful with their demand. We are not throwing stones but we are approaching the Union government with folded hands praying that our Karmapa be allowed to take his rightful throne here at Rumtek and bless the people here. Many people including the poor and old cannot go to Dharmasala to seek his blessings there”, said KN Topden.
Background note as per the Karmapa Reception Committee:
The 16th Gyalwa Karampa Rangjung Rigpai Dorje had fled Tibet in 1959 and set up Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre in Sikkim after the then Chogyal gave land and support. The centre then became the 16th Karmapa’s seat-in-exile and is the international headquarters for Kaygug school of Tibetan Buddhisim. The 16th Karmapa passed away in 1981.
The Dalai Lama in 1992 endorsed and proclaimed Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa which is widely accepted and supported by heads of all major and minor Buddhist sects.
Ogyen was in September 27, 1992 was enthroned at the Tshurphu monastery in Tibet, the traditional seat of the Karma Kagyug linage. He had escaped Tibet in 1999 and arrived at Dharmasala on January 5, 2000. 
Global urban vision-2010 
(Compiled and Published by J.N. Manokaran  on behalf of Glocal Resources Development Associates)
I           India
!.          Express Avenue, the largest mall in South, opens: Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on 30 August inaugurated Express Avenue (EA), the largest shopping mall in South India. EA would be the future landmark of Chennai and would light up the heart of the city in an environment that would infuse into Chennai a fresh attractiveness as a tourist destination. EA had applied global standards of mall management - from astute planning to right tenant mix, synergistic placement, food and entertainment options to establish a new standard in mall development and international level property management. Built over a 10-acre property with an investment of around Rs 750 crore, the EA promises to be an attraction for tourists and shoppers across south India.
Strategically located on Whites Road off Anna Road, the ‘green’ mall is Tamil Nadu’s biggest. It houses some of the best global brands. The mall offers products and services ranging from fashion and food to home needs, leisure and entertainment. ( accessed on 31 August 2010)

2.         Slow Road to Smooth Traffic:  In the last eight months, the traffic police have booked over 7,000 cases of drunken driving. The vehicle population has almost doubled in the last five years, and Chennai now has 31.70 lakh vehicles.Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) had just 1.44 lakh vehicles in 1984, a figure that went up to 16.74 lakh by 2005. Vehicle population as on 1 August 2010: Two wheelers, 24.35 lakh; Cars 5.31 lakh; Autorickshaws 52000; Lorries 39000, Light Commercial vehicles 24000; MTC buses 3500; School buses 2150 and others 83350 – Total 31.7 lakh.   Two-wheeler riders even drive their vehicles even on pavements when the roads are congested and honk to force pedestrians out of their way. The increase in the number of vehicles has led to a drop in the average speed on the road. Buses, which used to average 40kmph in the 1970s, now move at just 15kmph to 20kmph. (Jeeva, The Times of India  31 August 2010, p. 4)

3.         The New Urban Junkie:  Drugs are cool for new urban junkies. The New "cocktail" is: "Cough syrup and rum, pepsi or coke, with crushed spasmo proxyvon tablets and a bit of iodex." Urban young need such "pharm kicks" to survive the daily grind of sleeplessness, abusive customers, fake accents and tight targets. Age of initiation averages at 17. Party drugs, designer drugs, metro drugs-call it what you will. Synthetic chemicals and mind-altering amphetamines are the new rage in Asia with India being a major contributor. Drugs via Internet and couriers are in. India is now a hub of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies and courier companies. There's a crisis in the call centres of the country with 27 per cent of workers using drugs, new research shows. These are  regular people who just want to smoothen life's little issues-do a job better, appear more cheerful, stay awake longer, feel more relaxed. From metros to Tier II towns, the conventional understanding of who does which drug, where, how and why is being turned on its head as substance abuse becomes a part of everyday social activity.  Ketamine a vet anaesthetic, also called the date rape drug. Meant to relax, it's 10 to 20 times stronger than the sedative Valium. Overdosing can be fatal. Yaba a brand new psychotropic drug, gives a kick four times stronger than Ecstasy. Known to cause intense sexual arousal, it leads to a crash once the effect wears off. Overdosing can cause death. ICE known as crank, glass or crystal meth. Powerful, very addictive and is spreading fast. Looks like crystal chunks. Has euphoric effects. Can cause erratic, violent behaviour. Methylone  & mCPP designer drugs that appeared first on the Dutch drug market. Often used by psychiatrists to probe the serotonin function of the brain. 32,000 drug abusers turn up at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) every year and 21,000 more get community care. White collar addiction is increasing. (Damayanti Datta, India Today 30 August 2010, p.40-47.)

4.         The Mummy State: If the Prevention of Offences Against the Child Bill, 2009-shortly to be put up before the Cabinet-solidifies into law, corporal punishment by parents will become a punishable offence. "Any form of persistent beating, battering, twisting and (even) pinching" is dubbed in the draft Bill as "violence, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment" and will invite rigorous imprisonment of up to three years or a fine, or both. Children will be free to seek police intervention against parents when they cannot take it any longer. Social activists say it is not a moment too soon while parents insist it is a needless interference by a government in mummy state mode. A natiowide study on child abuse by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in 2007, which was based on 12,447 children in the age group 5-18 across 13 states, paints an alarming picture: three out of four children are physically abused. Distressingly, 88.6 per cent of the children physically abused within the family are by their parents. (Mihir Srivastava, India Today 16 August 2010, p. 51-52)
5.      Progressive Kolkata has a dark secret: Kolkata known to be a bastion of progressive forces, hides in its womb a startling fact: one out of every six pregnancies end in sex selective malpractice — the official term for female foeticide. Records from as many as 25 out of 141 wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation show a reduction of more than 10 percent in the sex ratio between the 1991 and 2001 census. Contrary to popular perception, it’s not poverty and lack of education which lead to this kind of selective abortion. A third of the families engaged in this malpractice are affluent, about 22 percent belong to the middle class.  In slums, it is not sex determination but mother’s malnutrition and anaemia are the cause for missing girl children. The survey has identified and indicted many clinics in Kolkata which offered incomplete and anomalous F-forms with false addresses of patients and most strikingly, omitted the reason for conducting the ultrasound. Dr Satyajit Chakraborty, deputy assistant director (clinical health), refuses to admit that these clinics are involved in female foeticide but says vigilance will be stepped up. (Partha Dasgupta, Tehelka 14 August 2010, p. 22)
6.         Couture Communities: As old cities such as Shahjahanabad demonstrate, gating and fortification are significant parts of community life in India. Modernity, on the other hand, was premised on the idea of a more open society. However, in keeping with a striking trend around the world, including South Africa, the US, China, Turkey and Brazil, we are witnessing a curious return to the notion of the self-contained community, one that can ward off the troubles of the world through building walls around it. The gated residential enclave appears to be rapidly emerging as the most desirable form of real estate development in urban India. Moreover, there are large tracts of rural land that have become instantly urban through the appearance of gated enclaves. The gated complexes of Gurgaon and Bangalore have extended and reinforced ideas of separation. Gated communities are being constructed (or already exist) in an extraordinary range of large and small cities across the country and involve equally mind-boggling areas of land. So, the Sahara corporation has plans for the "world's largest chain of well-planned self sufficient high quality townships across 217 cities in the country" (Ahmedabad: 104 acres; Coimbatore, Kerala: 103 acres; Lucknow: 200 acres); it has already constructed the Amby Valley township near Pune on 10,000 acres, which is described as "independent India's first planned, self contained, aspirational city, remarkable for its unsurpassed grandeur and plush signature features". In the Rajasthan township of Bhiwadi, no less than 11 real estate companies are reported to have launched gated residential projects in different price ranges, hoping to cash in on the proposed development of a number of Export Processing Zones and Special Economic Zones by large corporations such as the Reliance and Omaxe.  The most significant manner in which gated enclaves are marketed relates to their self-sufficient nature. So, potential residents are told that they will be safe from all crime, enjoy life without the inconveniences of the world "out there", experience a rural idyll, and only encounter "people like them. It is, frequently, the vision of our very own residential Disneyland. The promise of being instantly transported to a "global" landscape only adds to the fairy-tale nature of the marketing of gated enclaves. Are we witnessing a situation which is the making of a society which believes that social problems can simply be blocked out of view, and those who can afford to, should retreat to fortified enclaves? Whether gated communities are the real solution to the needs and problems of a complex society such as ours is debatable. What they do signify, however, is a lack of confidence in the state's ability to provide security and everyday infrastructure, the strong sense of a middle-class under threat from urban "under-classes, and the overwhelming perception that such threats can only be countered through creating highly regulated space. (Sanjay Srivatsava, India Today 23 August 2010, P. 92-93.)
7.         Couch Potatoes, Enjoy:  There are over 460 channels .  The Hindi market shares the largest share of the pie while South Indians spend more time before the idiot box.  Hindi channels dominate TV viewing closely followed by regional channels in 2009.  Hindi is 43%; regional 37%, English 11% and others 9%.  Soaps and dramas form the staply diet for housewives.  English news sees a higher focus on political and sports news.  Hindi news sees a higher share allotted to astrology and entertainment.  (Business Today 22 August 2010, p. 24-25.)
8.         Seamless commuting to be reality soon in Chennai: A common pass for travelling in buses and trains, dedicated bus lanes and feeder services between bus, MRTS and Metro Rail stations, speedy completion of transport projects through a single-window system all that talk about seamless commuting finally seems to be taking shape with the government set to introduce the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA) Bill in the monsoon session of the assembly. The legislation will make the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority the apex body in all areas of transport with veto powers on coordination, infrastructure priorities and financial allocation. In theory, this means a hassle-free, single-window clearance for all transport-related infrastructure and an end to bureaucratic delays and file-pushing between departments. According to the draft bill, CUMTA will recommend measures for integration of all public transport modes by means of physical measures, routing and scheduling, operating feeder services and combined ticketing to facilitate seamless commuting. The 21-member CUMTA, led by the transport minister, will advise in the implementation of a unified parking policy, including fixation of parking fees and changing the traffic situation, besides managing a road safety cell and preparing annual budgets. CUMTA will have powers vested in a civil court, under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, while trying a suit. The authority will meet once in three months. (Julie Mariappan, The Times of India 28 August 2010, p.1)
9.         Jam session: In Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Kanpur and Coimbatore, traffic jams kill people in marooned ambulances, desperate mothers are stuck on the way to pick up their children from school, candidates don't make it to job interviews, passengers miss important flights and security forces fail to reach in time to handle terror, as happened during the Akshardham attack of 2002. These are the street signs of an urban India in collapse; unplanned growth, corruption and above all the aspirational compulsion to buy more and more cars. The worsening traffic situation in Indian cities threatens their already strained infrastructure. Health and productivity are daily victims. Bangalore's peak traffic speed is 18 kmph, while Delhi's and Mumbai's are 16 kmph. Indian thoroughfares host over 48 modes of transport, with 40 per cent of commercial vehicles plying illegally. Forty-one per cent of streets are taken up by parking. Most Indians drive 10 km on an average daily; one in four spending over 90 minutes every day; 32 per cent of the country's vehicles move on urban roads. India has 50 million two-wheelers and rising. Despite this, national car sales have grown by 38 per cent; 2009-10 was the pinnacle with 1.95 million cars sold. The cheapest car in India is about 12 times the annual per capita income of a citizen, while in the US it is about one-third the average income. Urban India's love affair with the automobile is scandalous: the country's five mega metros have over 40 lakh cars out of a total vehicular population of 10 crore, its auto market growing by 26 per cent last year. India is paralysed by its traffic. Delhi: A rites 2008 study shows that each car travels 10.4 km a day while a Metro train does 13.8. Which means Delhi's commuters clock 119.8 million km a day- amounting to an average daily travel of 10 km. About 20 per cent of Delhi households own cars and 43.4 per cent have two-wheelers. Has traffic been so bad in the last three years as to alter commute plans? "Yes," said 59 per cent in a new IBM 2010 Commuter Pain Survey: 66 per cent resent the stop-start mode of traffic, 53 per cent want better public transport, 48 per cent confess to bouts of rage and 45 per cent to rampant stress. On an average, 1.6 litres go waste in traffic (2.5 litres for cars and 0.75 litres for two-wheelers)- 30 lakh litres of fuel down the drain, reveals a 2009 survey by the Centre for Transforming India. The typical commuter loses 90 minutes every day and Delhi about Rs 10 crore worth of fuel. Congestion costs can be as high as Rs 3,000-4,000 crore per year. In addition, the loss of man hours and productivity runs into thousands of crores of rupees. The 29-km Delhi-Gurgaon section of National Highway 8 carries more than 1,80,000 passenger cars a day, likely to increase by over 7 per cent yearly. Mumbai: The city's average traffic density is 747 motor vehicles per km with 6,500 cars during rush hour and a 5.75 per cent boost yearly in the number of new cars. Mumbai has more than two lakh autorickshaws, nine lakh-odd passenger cars, nearly 55,000 taxis, more than 25,000 buses and three lakhplus commercial vehicles. The parking on the roads is another reason for traffic snarls. Bangalore: Most roads here are at 300 per cent capacity during peak hours; the average speed in the central Business district is 18-20 kmph. Kolkata: In Kolkata, vehicles wait at signals for six-seven minutes during peak hours compared to the usual three. With around eight lakh registered vehicles and 400 new ones on city streets every day, Kolkata needs 16-18 per cent of its road space free, It currently uses only six. Chennai: With India's traffic situation going south, Chennai registers 700 new vehicles daily. The total private vehicle population is up by 300 per cent in the last 15 years, but the road network has not kept pace-rising from 10 per cent to a modest 31. Schools are reporting late attendance and many have changed the starting time for classes while some post traffic constables outside to regulate traffic. Small towns: In Jaipur, vehicle figures have risen to 15 lakh compared to five lakh in 1997-98. Coimbatore Traffic Police estimates show 10.5 lakh plus one lakh floating vehicles on the roads daily. In Lucknow, 200 new vehicles are added to the 10 lakh vehicles on the roads. Lucknow needs 6,000 traffic personnel but there are only 300. Whimsical urban planning is a big culprit of the parking mess. With the average length of a car being 5 m, Mumbai will need 3,750 km to park its cars; it has only 2,045 km of roads. At any given point in time, more than two lakh cars stay parked on Mumbai's roads; 70 per cent of which are in prohibited areas, according to a Mumbai Environmental Social Network (MESN) study. The Mizoram government has decreed that only those with garages may own cars; the state has one of the highest people-to-car ratios in India. Delhi adds more than 1,000 cars daily. India's answer lies in building more roads. There is  need foralternatives- walking, bicycles, public transport- more attractive in terms of quality, time and cost. A tragic byproduct of traffic stress is road rage. Roads aren't the only stages to rage. Urban parking is an increasing nightmare with new colonies and markets mushrooming with the economic boom. Motorised traffic violations have multiplied during the last three years. 146 million road traffic violations (RTV) occur every day in Delhi, of which 23 per cent are due to faulty road environment. Mixed traffic conditions lead to conflicts between slow and fast moving vehicles; two-wheelers accounted for 22 per cent of road accidents. Almost three-fifths of road fatalities in Mumbai are pedestrian-related. 18 per cent of these accidents in Delhi occurred at approaches where signals were non-functional. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are the sixth leading cause of death in India and projected to be the fifth major killer by 2020. If the current trend continues, the damage will rise to two lakh deaths and 3.5 million hospitalisations in another five years; which means with a 1:3 ratio of fatality to serious injury in accidents, the cost is estimated to hit Rs 17,360 million. A recent Tata Consultancy Services study gives a higher estimate of road accident costs (0.69 per cent of the GDP). Protracted road repair work too feeds into snarls. Good urban planning in Chandigarh has turned it into India's model city for traffic. Chandigarh's roads are the widest among small and medium-sized cities. The town's well-planned grid network and better pedestrian facilities ensure that motorists enjoy the fastest journey speed of 30 kmph against a national average of 22. If 23 per cent walk in Chandigarh, 18 per cent cycle, 10 per cent ride two-wheelers, 18 per cent use public transport, 28 per cent drive cars and 3 per cent use autos. Chandigarh has the best urban congestion index of zero, reflecting an excellent road network and low average trip lengths of 4.5 km only. No wonder, the city's service accessibility index is high: 80 per cent of services can be reached within 15 minutes. "The car has become the carapace- the protective and aggressive shell-of the urban and suburban man," observes philosopher Marshall McLuhan. As growth forces societies to become increasingly insular, the salvation of our cities lie in the Indian breaking out of his automotive shell and going home to peace. And within the speed limit.(Ravi Shankar and Damayanti Datta, India Today 6 September 2010, p. 36-46.)
10.       Woman police officer dragged on road by subordinates in UP: Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Kalpana Saxena, who is in hospital with a fractured hand and injuries on her head, said she had received information from an Army jawan on 2 September Thursday evening that some traffic constables were demanding bribes from truckers near the Jat regimental centre here. "I rushed to the area along with the gunner and driver in a private car to catch them red handed. When I reached the area, I saw them extorting bribes from the constables. The constables recognised me and tried to flee and crush me under their police vehicle," the 1990 batch officer of the state's Provincial Police Service said. "I caught hold of the neck of the driver driving the vehicle and it dragged me for more than an kilometre in full public view. Finally, they threw me on the road," Saxena said. Police said one of the accused has been arrested and hunt is on to nab the two others. DIG N K Srivastav said all the three constables have been suspended and FIR has been lodged at the Cantt police station in this regard. ( accessed on 3 September 2010)
11.       93 million slumdwellers by next year:  Despite the country's robust economic growth, around 93.06 million people will live in slums in cities by next year, an increase of around 23% since 2001 forced by a lack of space and means. According to an expert committee set up to estimate "reliable" urban slum population, there has been a growth of 17.8 million across the country in the last decade. By next year, 31.63 lakh people will be living in slums inDelhi as compared to 23.18 lakh in 2001, going by the panel's methodology. Among the states, Maharastra tops the chart with around 1.815 crore will be living in slums in 2011, followed by Uttar Pradesh (1.087 crore), Tamil Nadu (86.44 lakh), West Bengal (85.46 lakh) and Andhra Pradesh (81.88 lakh). A major reason for the total slum population being underreported was due to the fact that the Census 2001 took into account only notified slums in 1,764 towns across the country. The committee recommended to adopt a normative definition based on appropriate indicators and checklists for the purpose of identification of slum areas and enumeration of population of area with 20-25 households, having slum-like characteristics in an enumeration block in Census 2011. All clusters of 20-25 or more households having no roofs or non-concrete roofs, and not having any facility of drinking water, toilets or drainage will be considered as slums. Earlier, the cluster size for identification of slums was 60 households. The panel has suggested that for the purpose of policy formulation -- for Slum Census 2011 -- it is absolutely essential to "count the slum population even in cities having less than 20,000 population".  The committee has recommended that Registrar General of India, which is conducting the 2011 survey, should share layout maps with the ministry as an aid for slum surveys.
Mahendra Kumar Singh, accessed on 4 September 2010)
12.       Chennai's roads take a heavy toll of pedestrians: Chennai city roads continue to take a heavy toll of human life. Though the figures are an improvement over those recorded in 2008 and 2009, at least 50 people die in road mishaps every month. According to city traffic police records, as many as 410 people lost their lives in road accidents in the last eight months (from January 1 to August 26), against 618 deaths last year and 629 in 2008. While 147 of the 410 people who died in accidents this year were pedestrians, two-wheelers were the major culprits they were involved in 108 fatal accidents. Heavy vehicles were involved in 69 such cases and government buses in 48. Even the number of people injured has not come down much an average of 370 people continue to suffer injuries in the city every month. The records showed that 2,982 road users suffered injuries in accidents till August 26 this year as against 4,377 people in 2008. Poor road maintenance, absence of footpaths, insufficient lighting, lack of traffic sense among vehicle users, parking on the roadside, rash driving and overspeeding of vehicles contributed to accidents, and that pedestrians were the worst-hit. Police should take action against roadside parking.  Because of this pedestrians are forced to walk on the road.  Stopline violation is not viewed seriously by the police.  Police have booked about eight lakh cases of traffic violations from January to August this year, including signal violations and overspeeding. The traffic police had recommended cancellation of driving licences of as many as 651 vehicle users on charges of drunken driving. A total of 89 licences were suspended this year,
( accessed on 4 September 2010)
13.       Missing teachers are India's weakest linkIndia is short of 1.2 million teachers; 42 million children aged between 6 and 14 do not go to school; roughly 16% of all villages do not have primary schooling facilities and 17% schools have just one teacher. UP doesn't have a single teacher in more than 1,000 primary schools and roughly 15% teaching posts lie vacant in schools across Maharashtra. This figure rises to 42% in Jharkhand. Only Kerala , with an average of six teachers per primary school, is the exception to the rule. India's average student to teacher ratio is 1:42, a high figure by international standards. The reason — lack of qualified teachers — remains unchanged as well. Many teachers prefer to work in urban areas. Hence there is a shortage of teachers in rural areas, Also there are issues related to absenteeism of teachers which affects the quality of teaching learning processes. Missing teachers are a a big problem. But poorly-trained teachers could be an even bigger one. The government has just begun the process of filling 1.2 million teaching vacancies and promised it will spend Rs 2,31,000 crore on education in the next five years. It may be a while before any of this shows results. Till then, its missing teachers may be the weakest link in emerging India's unfolding story
(Shobhan Saxena, accessed on 5 September 2010)
14.       Seeking greener pastures, 80 IPS officers quit jobs in 7 years: 80 Indian Police Service officers have quit in last seven years. Seven Indian Police Service officers quit their jobs in 2007, 11 in 2004, eight in 2005, 13 in 2006, 16 in 2007, 15 in 2008 and eight IPS officers resigned in 2009. Disparity in services, uneasiness in allotted cadre, challenging nature of the job, late promotion and attractive salary in private sectors are some of the major reasons for many IPS officers mid-career leaving the service, which is considered 'coveted' by many. Though steps are being taken to the vacancy positions of the IPS officers, no major step has been taken to stop their attrition. It is the same story among the jawans of central paramilitary forces. In 2010 till June 30, 3,522 personnel quitting their job in CRPF,  3,000 in BSF and 1,417 in CISF. ( accessed on 5 September 2010.)
15.       Splits in Silicon Valley:  Four family courts are receiving 30 divorce petitions a day in the Indian Silicon Valley – Bengaluru.  In the last two years, 4000 cases have come up for hearing the family courts.  There were only 1200 cases in 2004 and it has jumped to 3300 in 2008.  It is estimated that there are 10000 cases pending before the courts.  Young people working in I. ITES and BPO sector are unable to handle high pressure jobs and marriage.  When both are earning well, the question is who will cut down on work to build the family.  (Stephen David, India Today 13 September 2010, p. 50-52)

16.       Chennai emerging a rent-a-womb destination: A domestic help, gave up her job a few months ago to become pregnant. In five months’ time, the 28-year-old mother of two sons would be delivered of twins, who would be flown to Australia immediately. For, the twins that domestic help  is carrying belong to an Australian couple, Susan and Michael. Chennai is emerging as a destination for surrogacy, with many women from lower income groups willing to offer their wombs on rent. In fact, fertility hospitals — at least four of them — have a waiting list of 10 to 15 wannabe surrogates. Dr C Geetha Haripriya of Prashanth hospitals, says it costs about `7 to 8 lakh for a couple to have a child through a surrogate. The hospital gets `1.5 to `1.7 lakh — as `1 lakh goes to the surrogate and the rest for accommodation and medical expenses.

17.       About 200 criminal cases against Delhi policemen in 3 years: According to information received under the Right to Information Act, 2,297 instances have come to notice between 2007 and May 2010 in which at least 2,350 policemen, including Assistant Commissioner of Police level officers, have been issued show-cause notices, faced departmental inquiries or criminal cases. A total of 199 criminal cases were registered against policemen for offences like allegedly extorting money, involvement in dowry harassment cases, beating up youths, molesting girls and taking bribes during the period. A maximum of 795 cases were registered in 2007, followed by 552 in 2009 and 505 in 2008. A total of 126 such cases were registered between January and May this year.The reply said that maximum of departmental actions or inquiries were initiated or show-cause notices and criminal cases registered against constables, head constables and Assistant Sub-inspectors. There were also cases against senior officers like Inspector and ACP-level officers.Some of the reasons that figured in the reply include performing duty under the influence of alcohol, possessing heroin, losing wireless set, misbehaving with seniors, losing identity cards twice or thrice, kidnapping minor, dowry harassment and dereliction of duty. ( accessed on 12 September 2010)

18.       Cops pray to stop track deaths: Rattled by a spurt of deaths on railway tracks in the Tambaram area, the railway police conducted a special puja at Tambaram railway police station on 10 September to ward of “evil spirits wandering in the area”. They said they hope that divine intervention would reduce the number of fatal train-hits. All the police personnel attached to the Tambaram railway police, which has a jurisdiction of 15 railway stations starting from Pazhavanthagal to Singaperumalkoil, were present during the puja. The police officers had invited a special priest to conduct the puja after an astrologer suggested that special prayers would be effective to ward off a “spirit that had been inducing deaths on the tracks”. As many as 107 people were killed on railway tracks in the Tambaram railway police jurisdiction from January 1 to August 31 this year. There were 10 deaths in the first week of September, which forced the police to seek divine help. Most of the fatal accidents occurred when train passengers were carelessly crossing the tracks. This is not the first time the police looked for help from beyond the terrestrial. Some senior officers who served the Chennai city police reportedly approached ‘mediums’ to communicate with spirits to get clues that would help crack unsolved crimes. Asked if the railway police is doing anything to increase the number of personnel to keep a better watch on the railway tracks, a railways police officer said the wing is already short staffed and the only option he had was to pray to God to keep the tracks incident-free.

19.          Khan Market India’s costliest street, world’s 21st: Khan Market — the country’s most-expensive retail destination — has moved up three notches to 21 in the list of the world’s most expensive shopping streets in an annual global survey by real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield. The survey provides a global barometer of the retail sector, tracking rents in the world’s top 269 shopping locations across 59 countries. New York’s Fifth Avenue retained its title as the world’s most expensive shopping destination in the survey, Main Streets Across the World 2010, followed by Hong Kong’s Causeway. Ginza in Tokyo, Japan came in third position overtaking London, Paris and Milan. The biggest erosion of rental values across India was noted in NCR with Basant Lok recording an annual decline of over 38%. Other retail high street destinations in New Delhi did not see the same fervour and locations such as Greater Kailash-I (-10%) and South Extension (-12% ) continued to see a downward slide. Khan Market saw a rise of over 15 per cent in its rental values over 2009-10. ( accessed on 24 September 2010)

20.       India's health system has failed miserably: Survey: The country's healthcare system fails miserably in almost all parameters when compared to six developed and developing nations such as the US and UK, China, Brazil, and Singapore, reveals a newly released study. The most telling finding was that despite having 10.8 lakh beds—the second highest among all the countries surveyed—there is less than one bed for every 1,000 people. The UK tops the bed-patient ratio parameter with 3.9 beds higher than WHO's norm of three beds per 1,000 people. China has 40.63 lakh beds, and meets WHO's norms.  India has to add a minimum of one-lakh beds to the country's existing kitty over the next 30 years. China has successfully managed to create an efficient healthcare system with an army of medical personnel. In terms of manpower, our neighbour has three times the number of doctors working in India, and 1.22 crore nurses. India has only 13.72 lakh nurses. The only silver lining in the study is that India holds the top position in the number of medical and nursing colleges—-303 and 3,904 respectively. But then, despite having less than half the number of medical colleges as compared to India, the United States has more doctors on its rolls. Statistics suggest that in 2008 nearly one-tenth of doctors in the UK were not British citizens, while the percentage stood at 26% in the US. (Sumitra Deb Roy, accessed on 25 September 2010)
II         Diaspora
Gujarati only regional language in US census: The census reveals that the number of Gujarati-speaking people in the US is steadily rising, and the figure now stands at 287,367. Gujarati is the only regional language of India which featured in the US census, the national languages being Hindi and Urdu. The survey shows how the number of Gujarati-speaking people has been rising since the 19th century, though much of the immigration happened over the past three decades. For the Gujarati-speaking people, New York is the number one cluster — other metros being Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. ( accessed on 3 September 2010)
III  Global

1.     School for pregnant teens to open in Malaysia: A school exclusively for pregnant teenagers will be opened on the month of September in Malaysia's Malacca state. The purpose of opening the school is to help the girls overcome the stigma of having children without being married.The school, which starts September 16, will accept about 30 students. The Islamic affairs department in Malacca will run the school and offer classes in math, science, English and other subjects as well as religious counselling for the girls. After they deliver their babies, the girls can go back to their ordinary schools. The plan comes after Malaysian officials have voiced increasing concerns about teenagers who become pregnant and drop out of school. Some young mothers have abandoned their babies in garbage dumps, bushes or public toilets. Sex out of wedlock remains a taboo for many Muslims in Malaysia, where more than 50 babies have been found abandoned so far this year. Most of them were found dead. Officials in Malacca have recorded at least 170 babies born out of wedlock this year. More than 70 were delivered by teenaged girls. Malacca's chief minister recently encouraged Muslim teenagers to get married if they cannot resist having sex and promised to allocate state funds to help them start a family. ( accessed on 1 September 2010)
2.     Only one in every 100 Britons is gay: An integrated Household survey was conducted and information was gathered from 250000 individual who answered the questions.  The Office for National Statistics said 1.2 percent of men are gay and 0.6 per cent of women are lesbian.  Another 0.5 per cent consider themselves bisexual.  This means that, in total 1.5 percent of the population is either homosexual or bisexual.   (Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, 24 September 2010, p.20)
3.     We are Christian, say 71% of public: According to Office for National Statistics, 71.4 per cent of UK 450000 adult citizens surveyed call themselves as Christians.  20.5 per cent said that they have no religion.  4.2 per cent were Muslims; 1.5 percent are Hindus; 0.7 per cent Sikhs; 0.6 per cent Jews; 0.4 per cent Buddhist and 1.1 percent said they belong to some other religion.   (Daily Mail 24 September 2010, p.20)

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