Ahmedabad, Feb 16 (IANS) Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd on Tuesday informed that it has completed the acquisition of 100 per cent in Dighi Port Limited (DPL) for Rs 705 crore on February 15.
The company had intimated the commencement of this development to stock exchanges on March 6, 2020.
With the acquisition, DPL has become the 12th port to join APSEZ's string of economic gateways across the eastern and western coast of India and would establish the company's footprint in Maharashtra. This would enable APSEZ to service customers in the state, including the highly industrialised areas in the Mumbai and Pune regions, the company said in a statement.
APSEZ plans to invest over Rs 10,000 crore to develop the port into a multi-cargo port with world class infrastructure as well as investing in the development of rail and road evacuation infrastructure for seamless cargo movement. The company will also use the investment to strengthen and repair existing infrastructure and for development of facilities for dry, container, and liquid cargo.
Adani Ports said that DPL will evolve as an alternative gateway to the JNPT and will invite and support the development of port-based industries on port land.
It is expected that the development of DPL will lead to further investments across various industries such as consumer appliances, metals, energy, petrochemicals, and chemicals business in Maharashtra and provide a fillip to the industrial development and growth in Maharashtra.
These investments will contribute to employment generation and socio-economic development of the port's hinterland, the company statement said.
As per the terms and requirements of the Resolution Plan, the transfer of concession rights has also been approved by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) and APSEZ has settled the dues of financial creditors, MMB, and other admitted costs and claims.
Karan Adani, CEO and Whole Time Director of APSEZ, said: "The successful acquisition of DPL adds another milestone in Adani Port's target of creating a string of ports to increase service coverage to the entire economic hinterland of India. With our growth focus, experience, and expertise in turning around acquisitions, we are confident of making DPL value accretive for all our stakeholders."
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, a part of globally diversified Adani Group, has evolved from a port company to a ports and logistics platform for India. It is the largest port developer and operator in India with 12 strategically located ports and terminals - Mundra, Dahej, Tuna and Hazira in Gujarat, Dhamra in Odisha, Mormugao in Goa, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Kattupalli and Ennore in Tamil Nadu and Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh - and represents 24 per cent of the country's total port capacity.
The Indian Railways should explore the use of sections of its extensive network for electricity transmission infrastructure, according to a report.
This is a key recommendation in the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) released on Thursday that outlines the opportunity for the Railways to participate in the nation's energy transition beyond its solar power generation plans.
The report titled, 'Indian Railways at the Junction', urges the national transporter to consider the feasibility of locating high voltage direct current (HVDC) lines underground on suitable sections of its right of way.
"With its in-house solar project plans, Indian Railways is on track to becoming a major renewable energy generator. And it could further support India's energy transition by evaluating options for HVDC transmission, which could reduce encroachment on forests and farmland, as well as planning delays," says author Charles Worringham, a researcher and guest contributor for the IEEFA.
"Moving latent electricity in the form of coal is less efficient, less flexible, and increasingly less competitive compared to moving actual electricity on transmission lines."
Worringham points out that the abrupt changes to railway operations caused by the Covid-19 lockdown and the fall in energy demand growth have highlighted critical choices and opportunities for Indian Railways --starting with the priorities to deal with a highly congested network.
Prior to the pandemic, 40 per cent of lines and all of the important freight routes were operating at above 100 per cent of line capacity due to severe congestion on the network, but the suspension of passenger services during the pandemic has seen the movement of more freight and a greater diversity of cargoes, at twice the speed, bringing in new revenue and improved service.
"The ability to deliver a broader range of freight ranging from vehicles to manufactured goods and perishable agricultural produce much more rapidly is in tune with the needs of India's changing economy," Worringham said, adding: "But it was an accidental outcome of the pandemic."
"To maintain these new freight services and speeds when passenger traffic resumes will require Indian Railways to make some hard choices about what kinds of freight have priority. Congestion won't be fixed by new rail projects alone."
These choices should include rethinking plans to expand the movement of coal, which already makes up nearly half of India's bulk rail freight, according to the report.
Lower energy demand growth combined with dramatic cost reductions for solar have increased the logistical costs and financial risks of increasing coal freight, says Worringham.
"Revised electricity demand forecasts mean that much less thermal coal will require transport than Indian Railways has been planning for, and there are real risks of over-building coal evacuation infrastructure at a time when thermal coal demand is plateauing."
And with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal calling for transformation and electrification, the recently restructured Railways board in the process of adopting a National Rail Plan and the new economic conditions, now is the moment for Indian Railways to embrace innovation, re-prioritise freight services, and explore a new role in transmission of electricity.
"Whether publicly owned or operated by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) or leased to private transmission companies, transmission could become a valuable new revenue stream for Indian Railways," said Worringham.
Though underground cables are generally much more costly to build than overhead cables, the use of existing rail right-of-way in India at scale could bring down these additional costs.
In the US one HVDC project using rail right-of-way is planned to evacuate renewable energy from Iowa to Chicago, and another will bring energy from the Canadian border to New York City making use of HVDC buried beside railway lines, as well as roads and beneath the Hudson River.
US President-elect Joe Biden has advocated the use of road and rail corridors for transmission infrastructure, in part to reduce delays in obtaining permissions required from private landholders and public authorities, a problem in both the US and India.
"Along with the renewable energy projects already completed and those expected in coming years, the ubiquity of potential routes in almost all renewable energy regions and load centres should make cooperation between PGCIL and Indian Railways on one or more demonstration projects a high priority," Worringham further said.
"And post-Covid, re-thinking how Indian Railways best supports not just economic recovery but economic transformation together with energy transition is paramount."
With a major push to road networks, the vision of development of backward areas like LWE-hit Gadchiroli can become a reality
Inaugurating and laying foundation stones for road projects and bridges is a routine activity for politicians. However, when Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid foundation stones for various road projects in Gadchiroli district recently, it had a special significance.
Located in the eastern-most corner of Maharashtra, Gadchiroli has seen little development even after 73 years of Independence. Over 90 per cent of the district is a designated forest area and almost 40 per cent of the population is tribal. Inaccessible terrain and infrastructure deficiencies have hindered Government welfare programmes for the masses. Decades on, Naxalism has flourished because it touches the emotional chord of socio-political and economic wrongs. It’s ironical that in the name of revolution, Naxals are collecting money and blocking development and Government funds meant for tribal and rural development remain unspent or fall into the wrong hands.
The lack of connectivity within the State and with other States has turned Gadchiroli into a hotbed of Naxal activities. Along with it, the adjoining districts of Chandrapur, Gondia, Yavatmal, Bhandara and Nanded have also become prone to Naxalism. These districts are situated in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected belt, stretching across Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Gadchiroli is one of the least developed districts where people live amid extreme violence and abject poverty. Dense forests and large perennial rivers criss-crossing the district have posed a major challenge to connectivity. This, in turn, affects literacy, healthcare and mobility of the people. But things have begun to change now.
In the last six years, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has put development of road networks and enhancement of connectivity in Naxal, tribal and backward areas on the fast track. With the vision of connecting every district with National Highways (NHs) and special emphasis on Naxalism-hit areas, the MoRTH has launched a special programme for LWE affected districts.
In Maharashtra, a LWE scheme connectivity programme of 495 km length was announced with an investment of over Rs 920 crore. This programme comprises development of road networks and bridges on Pranhita, Indravati and Godavari, the major rivers of Gadchiroli. For the first time, the district is seeing infrastructure projects of high magnitude being taken up and completed within a span of five years. Till recently, the NH-63, with a total length of 56 km passing through Sironcha, was the only NH in the district. The network has since been enhanced to 647 km after declaration of four new NHs of 591 km length. In all, MoRTH has approved 44 road projects of 541 km with an outlay of Rs 1,740 crore for Gadchiroli district. The major infrastructure initiatives in Gadchiroli include a 855-metre major bridge across the Pranahita River on the Nizamabad-Jagdalpur Road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 168 crore. Then there is the 630-metre, high-level bridge across the Indravati River near Patagudam on the Nizamabad-Jagdalpur Road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 248 crore; a 30-metre bridge near Lankachen on the Bejurpalli-Aheri Road; the improvement of Bejurpalli-Aheri Road (SH 275) between Watra and Moyabinpeta and the improvement of the Garanji-Pustola Road.
These projects were inaugurated on September 6. The bridges across the Pranahita River at the Maharashtra-Telangana border and at Sironcha and the Indravati River at the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border near Patagudam ensure seamless inter-State connectivity to the neighbouring States. The NH-930 connects Gadchiroli to Chandrapur district and the work of improving 81 km of this road to two lanes with paved shoulder (2L+PS) standards is in progress at a cost of Rs 646 crore.
Improvement of the 39.76 km-long stretch of the Nagbhid-Armori section of the NH-353D has been completed at cost of Rs 269 crore. This road now connects Gadchiroli district with the city of Nagpur. The NH-353C, connecting Sakoli, Wadsa, Gadchiroli, Chamorshi, Alapalli and Sironcha, links the remotest part of Gadchiroli district with the old NH-6 and in turn provides connectivity with the rest of the country. The Gadchiroli-Asthi section of this road is being improved to 2L+PS standards at a cost of Rs 577 crore. Strengthening other sections of this road has also been taken up. The tribal areas of Alapalli, Hemalkasa, Bhamragarh are now connected through NH-130D. Improvement of this road section has been taken up. Construction of major bridges across Perimelli, Bandia and Paralkota, too, has been taken up at cost of Rs 194 crore. The Wainganga river, which divides Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts, is one of the important rivers in Maharashtra. Due to the current narrow, low-level bridge, commuters face many difficulties, especially during the monsoon season. To eliminate the hardships of the people, a new 825- metre bridge will be constructed at a cost of Rs 99 crore near Asthi.
Four new major bridges on the Perimilli, Bandiya, Pearikota and Waingagana Rivers and 14 minor bridges will ensure seamless transportation in otherwise inaccessible areas of Gadchiroli. This remarkable progress of infrastructure development is not a small achievement. We must compliment the engineers and contractors who are working hard despite the constant fear of Naxal attacks. In fact, the bridge across River Indravati was completed under very trying and war-like conditions. A police station had to be set up in order to help construct the bridge. It was an excellent manifestation of commitment, political desire and coordination between various Government agencies and the security forces.
With a major push to infrastructure, the vision of development of backward areas like LWE-hit Gadchiroli can become a reality. With an abundance of natural resources like bamboo in the district, Gadchiroli can become a hub for sticks used by incense manufacturers as the import of agarbattis has been banned. More than 100 such units can be set up, which would give employment to the local people. With these initiatives, job creation in Gadchiroli will get a fillip as the Government has a target of providing employment to more than 10,000 youth within the next five years. This would be a fitting tribute of an aspirational district to the concept of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
(The writer is Advisor, NHAI, under MoRTH, New Delhi)
The Corona crisis has showed that NCR needs to be more than a term that real-estate developers use to sell houses
There are many lessons that will be learnt in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic in India but one definitely will be a unified administrative approach in the areas surrounding the capital, the so-called National Capital Region (NCR). The economic success of this region in the past three decades has allowed it to usurp the role of the Greater Mumbai region as India’s economic heartland. For example, Delhi’s airport, much smaller than Mumbai just a decade ago, now has over twice the number of flights and passengers than the financial capital. And one major reason for the development of the Delhi region has been the easy access to the plentiful of available land surrounding the city. This has led to the creation of satellite cities like Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Sonipat along Delhi’s borders. Even the likes of Meerut, Manesar, Panipat and even Bhiwadi in Rajasthan are little further away. The peripheral expressways around Delhi will only add to this development.
Or will they? Until now, it appeared that there was almost a daily crisis at the city’s borders with both Haryana and Uttar Pradesh blocking daily commuters inside the region. With metro services coming to a standstill and just limited forms of other public transportation, the NCR was in a coma, barely functional. While essential goods and employees were allowed to cross the border, confusion has reigned. Pilots have, for example, found it difficult to move between Noida and Delhi and workmen in factories have not been able to cross in the Gurugram region. There needs to be an understanding that while the political boundaries of the region are defined, it does for all intent and purposes function as one economic, commercial and transportation entity. There needs to be cohesive planning between the civil administrations of all major cities in the region with Delhi playing the lead. Without these satellite cities serving as housing and industrial zones, Delhi would have been unable to become what it has. But at the same time, Gurugram and Noida would not exist without Delhi. The ill-preparedness of the authorities to a health crisis was bad enough but the lack of coordination and the constant changing status of the lockdown in different parts of the NCR have been an unmitigated disaster. It is only now, after the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, that there is a semblance of unified planning and a sameness of response protocol. That it took three months to do so, however, is a shame and emblematic of India’s ham-handed response to the crisis.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)
A FEASIBLE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO REFORM, RESTRUCTURE JOBS & ALTER ECONOMY AFTER COVID-19 LOCK DOWN BY MITIGATING THE RISKS AND CHALLENGES
Problem Statement and Background: As soon as LOCK-DOWN 2 was announced by the Prime Minister, restless work force of migrant workers started to panic. It served an alarm that it’s beyond our tolerance limits to stay safe and cool at the same time by confining ourselves within four walls. Though PMO seems to be practical with relaxation norms for essential service sector and other sectors of importance with subject to the projected increase in positive cases and spread of COVID-19 across India.
Intellectuals, CEO’s of larger corporate organizations, economists, businessmen and experts have started discussing and debating on post world scenario after COVID-19 lock down on national economy with after effects on demand and supply cycle. As most of the economists project GDP growth for 2020-2021 between 1.8-2.7% for India, if this is assumed to be true then the lower and middle strata of society will be greatly affected. However, so called experts have potentially failed to visualize the “structural reforms” with available resources in both government and private sectors for the purpose of improving productivity and utilization of workforce with prime focus on new-job creations with improved services to wider community who are the backbone for 5 trillion economy. Authors have put honest efforts to visualize the same and explained in brief how to protect and save common man’s “bread & butter” without significant losses to SME and MSME sectors. The approach discussed in this article covers the logical feasibility and approach to a faster economic recovery and bringing the economy back in track without hampering the interests of all strata and sectors of the pyramid economy.
GOVERNMENT SECTORS Including all central, state, PSU’s, banks, insurance, education, national research laboratories, railways and public transport. Under any catastrophic or epidemic event, public servants, bureaucrats, police personnel are empowered and mostly result in imbalance of power to serve “common people”. There is another class of NGOs who also collects funds in the name of the poor to provide relief and preliminary measures to bring back their routine life on track. This situation normally affects the state and nation beyond any boundaries of caste, creed, class and economics. As a result collateral damage is in the form of loss of lives, livelihood and jobs for time being. This is a result of utilization of public services and their manpower utilization.
PRIVATE SECTORS including manufacturing, organised, unorganized hospitality, retail, aviation, daily needs, essential services, supply chain, blue collar and daily wage workers. Most of the unorganized private sectors core are migrant and daily wage workers whose livelihood and earnings depends the productive days in a month, without any substantial savings and with hardships to sustain and survive and to meet their ends results in frustration and agitation. With a circular economy at halt and near to zero demand and supply, results are quite evident on people and economy. Nothing is above human life and the objective of lock down due to COVID-19 is to safeguard citizen of nation which supersedes the economy.
Major Issues Which Arise Out Of Catastrophic And Epidemic Events :
MAJOR CRITICAL REASON ANALYSIS ON ABOVE REFERRED ISSUES FOR POOR PRODUCTIVITY
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ABOVE ISSUES AND TO IMPROVE BETTER PRODUCTIVITY:
20 to 25% time loss per shift per employee, just in lunch & tea breaks is the mindset to enjoy more time than permitted, particularly in government sectors and in private sectors permissible and acceptable minimum efficiency level [such norms missing in govt] directly impacts on productivity per unit cost of a product / service offered. Deep thoughts are given to eliminate non-productive contributing factors, how unnecessary and indirect breaks can be eliminated through restructuring system norms, keeping in mind following objectives
FOLLOWING REFORMS ARE SUGGESTED TO IMPLEMENT
Hence 20-25?ditions in jobs will create at least 20 CRORES JOBS [Present strength of government job is @ 10-12% of population & MSME jobs are 25-30% of population] in government and private sector.
COVID-19 epidemic has put global economy and every individual is suffering, so it is the perfect opportunity to reform existing old system of working and accountability.
Inputs from the following experts Dhiren Shah / Dr Dhananjay Bhatt / Arvind Jain and contact email are in respective order email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
The impact of Coronavirus on commercial real estate will be interesting, primarily because none really knows the future
As the Coronavirus pandemic began spreading its tentacles out of China and to the rest of the world in the middle of March, offices and malls began clearing out. People became genuinely scared of contracting the virus. Now, as the world is gradually beginning to lift the lockdown, the commercial real estate sector is just about picking up the pieces. Nobody really knows what the future will be. Take the example of movie theatres. One among the single-largest occupiers of space in malls, the pandemic not only forced the people home, it also drove up media consumption but on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar. And while streaming services always showed movies soon after the release, several Indian movies scheduled to be screened around the Eid time-frame, a major marketing opportunity, have moved straight to streaming platforms. An angry and petulant letter by one theatre chain will not change studios from adopting this practice. Going back to the movie theatre or indeed the mall will need confidence to come back to the consumers. As e-commerce players restart deliveries of “non-essentials,” we could find ourselves spending even more time at home.
Then what about offices? Not only will several organisations, small and large and previously profitable, find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of the pandemic, they may also give up their expensive office rental spaces. Other organisations may have noted the success of the “work from home” culture started by the virus, which may as well lead to a re-evaluation of the amount of space they actually need in a building. But some operations, which need physical presence of employees, might end up needing more space as the need for distancing might mean more floor space is required. The usage of “hot-desking,” where employees can use any free space, has been banned in several Western countries, but it may well be followed in India for hygiene reasons. This could lead to more space being needed. The overall impact of the virus on real estate may, therefore, not be all negative. However, with the entire economy stressed and short-term impact of less office space being needed will lead to less buildings being occupied. For a sector that was already teetering on the edge, the virus is proving to be deadly. Far deadlier than it actually has been on humans.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)
The vandalism of Vidyasagar’s bust is way beyond political point-scoring, it is a demolition of the idea of India
Had revival of the true Hindu consciousness been the real intention and the mind had indeed perceived its sacredness, then nobody would have smashed the statue of Bengal’s Renaissance man, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, in a seat of learning and knowledge. Perhaps the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad students, who represent the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had not been schooled in what he stood for as they rampaged the Vidyasagar College in Kolkata during inter-party campaign clashes. For far from being a polymath, he was a Hindu first whose mastery of Sanskrit texts and Oriental philosophy is probably still unsurpassed. It was because of his deep-rooted understanding that he could respond to the need of adapting tradition to evolving times and ensure its continuity, one where religion could be lived seamlessly rather than seeming like an imposition, particularly in the colonial era when Western thought and scientific temperament were making inroads. His liberalism was home-grown, applicable and relevant to society. He gave Bengalis a reason for being, simplifying the language and preparing a primer that is still followed in all homes, revamped the education system, avidly coopted girls and the most backward into the school system and was the foremost champion of women’s empowerment by advocating widow remarriage. A reformist, who remained till the end a crusader of Indic civilisational values and died working among Santhal tribals, he was the man among men as Rabindranath Tagore put it. Vidyasagar College, which he founded in 1872, was India’s first private college run by Indians, taught by Indians and financed by Indians. If the idea of India is what we need to be reminded about, then no claimant to that legacy would destroy his statue or attack a centre of learning professing his values.
That said, there’s no excuse for vandalising any public property for something as routine as electioneering. On this count, both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress, which has grown out of a deeply entrenched confrontational politics in Bengal, are guilty of crossing the line. In a democracy, all kinds of voices have a right to present their argument without going to extremes of posturing. BJP president Amit Shah, whose roadshow was allegedly spoilt and violence provoked by sloganeering Trinamool Congress activists, must realise that dissenters are always there in a public rally and a sentiment cannot be manufactured. Haven’t we heard shouts of “Modi, Modi” at many rallies addressed by Congress and Opposition leaders without descending into chaos? Why single out Bengal then? And to assign the blame to the ruling Trinamool itself, saying it hired goons, is preposterous to say the least. Even the Trinamool’s arch rival, the Left, didn’t buy into this argument and lambasted the BJP. Finally, College Street is not just a shrine to education, it is the efflorescence of a cultural movement. College Square has provided a platform for every school of thought ever since it developed as a hallowed centre of learning with a cluster of Bengal’s most prestigious colleges and universities. It took off with the Young Bengal movement under Henry Derozio, a free-thinking radicalism that laid the template of the Bengal Renaissance. Many of India’s icons, whose legacies all parties love to appropriate — Swami Vivekananda and Subhas Chandra Bose in particular — were shaped here. It was the unacknowledged forum for dissent and anti-establishment thought from which the Left movement took off. Of course, the Left did try to damage the spirit of College Square by unionising and indoctrinating the entire body of students at these institutions. The Trinamool inherited this heavily politicised legacy and tried to poach on the autonomy of thought, too, but never went overboard. It did stop rallies at College Square, saying it hurt students’ schedule, while critics saw it as a way of muzzling dissent. Still, it allowed a silent protest movement against this declaration and reeled in its adventurism. But the ignorant will always be blissfully unaware and consider an educated mind its biggest enemy.
Courtesy: The Pioneer
The housing sector collapse triggered the slide in the economy. Will the Government’s revival plan help?
The decision of the Government to pump in Rs 25,000 crore to help revive the stalled real-estate market is interesting in more ways than one. For one, this is a massive sop to the middle classes, millions of whom have found their investments in their dream homes to be money poured down the drain with delivery delays now exceeding seven-eight years. Second, by capping the value amount of the homes that the project would help with, the Government is attempting to curb the intense speculation and massive price-rise that accompanied the real-estate sector in the boom years. In doing so, there must be a hope that this move will bring a degree of rationality to prices and that developers desperate for a bailout would slash their tags. At the same time, the conditions for getting a bailout are very strict and while a massive corpus has been announced, meeting the conditions might be difficult for several developers as the Government has made it clear at the very outset that it won’t fund projects that have a negative net worth. So several stalled projects by prominent developers around the National Capital Region (NCR) will not get a breather unless the conditions are changed.
Then there is another question. With the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) providing Rs 15,000 crore of the funds towards this revival, one wonders how these two organisations will make any money? There is yet to be any clarity on that issue. It is likely that the developers will have to pay interest on the funds that they acquire through this project, whether it is through the pending payments of existing house owners or through the sale of the unsold dwelling units. And it remains to be seen whether real-estate developers, who have often been adamant on not reducing prices, being forced to do so, either to gain eligibility or just to stay competitive. This might address some of the incomplete projects out there and will help those who have been waiting for delivery of homes for years, but it might not do enough to spur additional demand. For years, real-estate developers had taken buyers for a ride and the particularly egregious ones — both sides of the Wadhawan clan for example — were living life up at the expense of homebuyers. Those days are over and right now it is a buyer’s market. The Government’s intervention will make it even more so.
Courtesy: The Pioneer
The figures from Jammu & Kashmir’s electricity department reveal that the power system is up to the mark. However, on the other hand, the ground reality is way different from what they show, says Basharat Akhtar
A special attention was given to various ambitious plans of the Modi government in this year’s budget, which also included the Saubhagya scheme. The scheme incorporates electricity connection to all households in rural as well as urban areas by the year 2022. The scheme was launched back in 2017 and the initial deadline was December 2018. In February, Jammu & Kashmir bagged the Saubhagya Excellence Award for being the first state to achieve successful implementation of the scheme.
On October 17, 2018, Greater Kashmir, a Kashmir based English daily, published a report quoting Commissioner Secretary Power Development Department (PDD), Hardesh Kumar that 100 per cent electrification had been completed in six districts of Srinagar, Badgam, Pulwama, Jammu, Samba, and Kathua whereas in 16 other districts, the work is in the final phase. At the same time, he also informed that infrastructure had been built to connect 102 border villages of the state to provide electricity connection. By May 31, 6,337 villages of Jammu and Kashmir had received the connection under the Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya), which is considered as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project. Around Rs 133.42 crores have been approved out of which Rs 53.24 crores have already been released. Also, Rs 435.13 crores have been incurred from the additional amount of Rs 875.03 crores. According to Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, DDUGJY and Saubhagya, 15,10,271 out of a total of 18,72,195 households have been electrified. Electrical connections have been provided to 8,861 additional households since February 1. The figures from Jammu & Kashmir’s electricity department reveal that the power system is up to the mark and the process of electrifying is being implemented at a rapid pace. But on the other hand, if we look at the ground reality, the difference between what is being claimed and the reality is poles apart.
Even after the deadline had passed last year, the aim has not been achieved. However, since the launch of the Subhagya scheme, there has been great improvement in the situation but there are many such areas where electricity wires and pillars are yet to reach. From a geographical perspective, most areas of the valley are located on mountainous regions, which are covered with snow for more than half of the year. In such areas, uninterrupted supply of electricity is the biggest challenge. Several times, the snow storms badly affects the power system. Besides that, the electric system is disrupted in many areas because wooden poles have been used to support the electric cables, which often crumble under heavy thunderstorm and rain. Many a time, there have been incidents when the electricity current that runs through the broken poles has proved fatal for the local residents.
The problems do not end here. To meet high electricity demands, the power supply system is modified, which would then lead to low voltage and in turn creates trouble for the villagers. Ladoran, a village located on the North West Hills, which is 10 km away from Kupwara, the district headquarter, is also a victim of power mismanagement. The village has a population of 3,200 people. But even today, the electricity in the village is negligible. Villagers have to make alternative arrangements even when the bulb is lit due to low voltage. It was a challenging task to transport electric wires and poles to the mountainous village, but they were installed successfully. However, the continued issue with low voltage of electricity in the village has raised questions about the success of the state electricity department. Poor electricity is affecting the health of the villagers as well the students whose studies are constantly being interrupted.
A local student studying in tenth class, Dilshada Bano, says, “Even though there is electricity, we are not able to make a good use of it due to such low voltage. The students of the class are unable to complete their homework on time because of which the teachers scold them. Also, the future of the students preparing for competitive exam looks grim.” This is the major reason why so many students are giving up on their studies gradually. Although the state electricity department has spent millions in delivering electrical equipment to the village, but due to high demand, the low-megawatt transformers installed could not solve the problem. In a situation like this, the availability of electricity is considered as equivalent to none. Due to high costs involved with solar power, the option is not available to the villagers.
In this regard, village Sarpanch, Ghulam Mohiuddin Vani, also considers the electricity complaints of people completely valid. He says that in relation to low voltage, he has raised their concerns to the high officials of the department many times but nothing has happened except for their assurance. Sarpanch says, “The village needs at least 10 MW whereas only 6 MW transformers has been installed by the department due to which excessive load on the transformer increases and results in low voltage problems. The issue can easily be addressed by installing high MW transformers.” Apart from this, the difficulty that the villagers face can be fixed by timely repairs of electrical wires and by replacing the wooden poles with the proper ones. Though the department has nominated this village under the DDUGJY last year, the villagers are yet to receive its benefits. Let’s hope that the flame of education does not burn one day.
Writer : Basharat Akhtar
Courtesy: Viva City
The history of mankind has countless gruesome battles and conflicts, enraged in the name of “noble causes” raises a question on the channels through which they were achieved, says Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj Ji
There hasn’t been a single day in history when news reports would only talk about how peace is prevailing across the globe and that there is nothing wrong with the world. A study of the recorded history of the world gives the conclusive evidence that there has constantly been a bitter or bloody strife since the last two-and-a-half millennia. The strife has had been social, economic, political, cultural, ethnic, religious, militaristic, etc., but often it was buckled by a claim that it’s done for a noble cause. For instance, the class struggle, waged by various countries over the years, claimed that its goal was to get economic justice for a million deprived and exploited workers and establish a classless society where people will have freedom and basic needs. As a reaction to this, the capitalist countries waged a relentless struggle, claiming that it was to provide social, economic and political liberty to all sections of society and freedom to own a property and choose a profession of their choice. Similarly, the Partition of the Indian subcontinent was claimed to be done for a “noble cause” — that of seeking justice for the so-called minority community. In another similar case, those who are now waging a struggle for reservation of government jobs for the SCs and STs (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes), etc., claim that they are fighting for social and economic justice for the weaker and backward section of society. Of lately, even the extremists claim that their battles are for obtaining political freedom and human rights of self-determination.
Even if we believe in this philosophy that the struggle waged by communities and individuals has been for justified goals, a question arises — the medium through which the professed goal has been achieved. Is it justified? Is that medium worthy?
Looking at the historical facts, one would find out that these struggles and protests, gory acts of bloodshed of hundreds of thousands of people, have left a deep feud against the capitalist world, thus leading to the build-up of large-scale armament. In their bid to create a classless society, they have led to the creation of antagonistic groups and countries, locked in global conflicts of various sorts. The means, adopted by the leaders during the Partition, resulted in an unparalleled communal carnage and genocide on a mass scale. Similarly, the strategies of those who want reservation for the backward castes and the approach by militants also have led to great strife and the latter, in particular, have led to numerous killings, abduction and fear.
The analysis of the events in history draws the conclusion that if we wish peace for ourselves and the world and aspire that the bloodshed and strifes should end, then we must first review our goals and see if they are really justified or noble. And post that, we should double check whether our means to achieve the cause are also noble. Let us not forget that the means is as important as the goal.
Writer: Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj ji
Courtesy: The Pioneer
The Delhi Traffic Police issues over 17,700 traffic challans daily but less than a quarter of a per cent of those are for talking on the mobile phone. This is a truly shocking statistic given that on any given day, if you are on the roads of Delhi, you will notice hundreds of people talking on the mobile phones while driving. And this is not restricted to car drivers, even those driving heavy commercial vehicles, buses, two-wheelers, rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and even cyclists talk over the phone while driving. The mobile phone revolution in India might have put a phone in every hand but it has also made Indian roads extremely dangerous. According to one survey, 47 per cent of drivers in Delhi admitted to talking on the phone while driving. Be assured that a majority of the remaining 53 per cent are liars. A joke that does the rounds among some in the industry is that Indians will evolve bent necks as two-wheeler riders chat on the phone while riding a motorcycle. Unsurprisingly, statistics have emerged that mobile phones played a role in almost 20 per cent of road accidents.
Apart from the fact that driving or riding is a two-handed activity, where both hands ought to be steering, the fact is that talking on the mobile phone is a very distracting activity. In fact, some studies in the United States have shown that if a mobile conversation distracts you, it can be more dangerous than driving over the alcohol limit. Imagine driving while arguing with your spouse; most human beings are unable to disassociate the act of driving from the anger they feel towards their spouse and as a result drive very poorly. And while new technologies such as CarPlay from Apple and Android Auto from Google have enabled high-tech Artificial Intelligence assistance in cars via smartphones, they do not take away the distraction, even if some of them now feature the ability to receive and send messages. While hands-free technology may not be a solution, it does not subtract from the fact that hand-held calls while driving or riding are dangerous. India’s roads are already the deadliest in the world with over 150,000 people dying annually. Talking on your mobile phones is making it even more dangerous. And while the traffic police force, even in cities like Delhi, is very stretched, it must start cracking down on those who think the road is a great place for a chat through CCTVs and tech-enabled means.
Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer