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Renowned Hydro geologist, Subhajyoti Das warns of water crises reaching alarming proportions in Bangalore

In an exclusive interview to Anjishnu Biswas, editor of exoticecho.com, Mr. Subhajyoti Das who visited the USA on UNDP Fellowship for training connected with “Integrated Use of all Water Resources” expresses his deep concern over the growing water crises plaguing Bangalore, referred to as the software hub of India. Mr. Subhajyoti Das, one of the eminent Hydro geologists of India has contributed significantly to groundwater research in the country by means of his revolutionary work and connected activities in groundwater studies. Mr. Das who visited the USA on UNDP Fellowship for training connected with “Integrated Use of all Water Resources”, in the Colorado State University (Fort Colins), US geological Survey (Tucson), American Water Foundation and Salt River Project (Phoenix) was also the Regional Director of the Central Ground Water Board of India. Mr. Das is currently the editor of a journal published by the Geological Society of India, Bangalore. In the interview to Anjishnu Biswas, the editor of exoticecho.com, Mr. Subhajyoti Das warns that if corrective steps are not taken Bangalore could witness problems of extraordinary nature in terms of non availability of water to the required extent. The following is an excerpt of the interview with Anjishnu Biswas.

Bangalore, the software hub of India, also referred to as silicon city, is a rapidly expanding territory with a populace of 8 million people and dotted with numerous multistoried buildings, housing and commercial complexes along with Malls and Multiplexes The IT boom has resulted in unparalleled commercial activities together with the need to keep the sector going . As a consequence the demand for the city’s water supply has augmented considerably. Water is a major component of the infrastructure of a city where varied forms of activities takes place. However Bangalore does not enjoy the privilege of having a perennial river in close proximity. The city has to rely chiefly on the waters of Cauvery River, transported from a distance of roughly 100 km and raised to a height of 500 m from the source. But in comparison to the water supply requirement of 1200 million litres per day (MLD), the water that the river Cauvery provides to the city is to the extent of only 870MLD, thereby leaving a difference of 330 MLD. Apart from this demand for water is the industrial necessity of nearly 60 MLD, thus, increasing the deficit further.

A considerable quantity of Cauvery water is also lost in transmission creating additional stress in the accessibility of water for consumption by the city dwellers. Following an upsurge in population growth, expansion of industries, as well as commercial activities, the difference between demand and supply by the year 2025, will be tough to fulfill. Rampant urbanization has created an adverse impact on a number of the surface water bodies, with much of the precipitation water lost as runoff with the resultant reduction in groundwater recharge and decrease in water supplies. This dwindling water supply has resulted in the city’s growing reliance on bore wells, of which there has been no appropriate evaluation so far, - 1.5 lakh to 3 lakhs by a number of assessments made so far. This has led to groundwater overexploitation, deepening of groundwater levels, jeopardizing the ecosystem in the process. This problem becomes severe every summer as reservoir levels are at the lowest. This affects the water supply, and growing stress on groundwater. Under these circumstances of dwindling water supply trade in commercial marketing of water is thriving. The burden of the suffering is endured by the low income group or the deprived as they are compelled to pay a number of times extra on water tankers than their wealthy counterparts, who live in luxurious apartments or buildings, furnished with safe BWSSB water supplies at subsidized charges.

Till the first half of the 20th century Bangalore did not encounter any water shortage with numerous flowing lakes and stream around the city furnishing continuous supplies of water to the city. Currently the city’s water supply network encounters two-pronged difficulty of dwindling surface water resource because of drying up of lakes and reducing ground water because of excessive utilization. To discover an enduring solution to the water shortage, the origin of water crisis has to be comprehended in the correct angle. Mr. Das backs the refurbishment of waste land and lakes, rainwater harvesting, and water conservation actions to cope up with the dual crisis of surface water and groundwater.

Dr. Das points to the exercise of water conservation as the only crucial answer to the uncontrolled water crisis. He envisages retrieving considerable amount of water by means of domestic level wastewater treatment and recycling as well as recovery of enormous transmission wastes through suitable actions.


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Two Great Maestros Come Together in Kolkata after 21 Years, Enthrall Music Lovers

(An exoticecho.com exclusive)

January 21: Renowned classical vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty along with famed tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain enthralled a packed Science City audience in Kolkata with their scintillating performance. The exclusive jugalbandi by Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty together with Ustad Zakir Hussain was organized by Friend’s 91.9 FM service. The musical extravaganza witnessed two supreme exponents of classical music churning out a melodious rendition that kept the audience spell bound for nearly two and half hours.

Ustad Zakir Hussain was his normal brilliant self playing the tabla with a passion that is difficult to emulate. Pandit Ajoy Chakroborty with his masterly voice in tandem with the deft touches on the tabla by Zakir Hussain was a treat for the music lovers of Kolkata. Lauding Ustad Zakir Hussain for his exceptional skill as a tabla player Pandit Ajay Chakraborty said that Zakir was his constant companion in his nascent years as a classical singer and was in many ways responsible for his gradual rise to fame.

Talking to exoticecho.com Zakir Hussain commended Kolkata’s music lovers for their knowledge of classical music. He said that performing with Pandit Ajay Chakraborty was a rare honour for him and he was glad to perform along side him on an evening that saw the two stars together on the stage at Kolkata after twenty one years.

The song Aeya na balam keya karu sajini made famous by Bare Ghulam Ali and a revelation in the world of music was enriched by the talent of Zakir’s father Allah Rakkha Khan as a tabla player. Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty performed the same song today with Zakir as his accompanist on the tabla. The packed audience went in raptures as the song gradually unfolded and both the maestros showing their skills in their respective spheres. While Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty kept the audience spell bound with his vocal skill Zakir regaled the audience with his nimble fingers that struck the tabla at an incredible pace. At the end of a scintillating evening the audience at the Science City auditorium gave a standing ovation to two of the finest musicians that played in unison and made music sound celestial, archetypal of the ultimate maestros that have redefined music.

By ANJISHNU BISWAS


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Safety Industry Expansion Anticipated to Reach Rs 50,000 Crore in India

New Delhi, December 6: The booming populace of 1.1 billion Indians consists of 40% of the population residing in the urban segments of key cities. 30% of this urban populace is engaged in some form or occupation or other and 65% have right of entry to an average 11-12 million sq ft of public locations where a quarter of a million or in excess people are in attendance, at any point of time. Similar numerical figures are applicable to transport terminals such as bus, train as well as air.

With a whooping total of 15-20 million sq feet of area encircling public as well as private utilities or services, the security and protection of the populace having entry to them continues to be uncertain. The recent slew of rebel assaults along with mishaps and occurrences triggered by human faults has thrown up questions, not merely on the role of the government but also on confined levels like commercial as well as residential segments. Naturally the question has cropped up regarding the security and protection of the immediate vicinity.

A study reveals that there will be a surge in production of safety tools along with a growing use of security personnel. It is anticipated that in excess of two lakh security professionals will be needed in the forthcoming years.

Nigel Luke Brown, Director- Exhibitions, UBM India observed, "The security industry, which has been growing in India at 25% over the past 5-7 years, would achieve a growth rate of 125% by 2012. India's Private Security Agency (Regulation) Act of 2005 has aided industry growth and it is expected to touch Rs 50,000 crore as security becomes top priority."

The requirement for safety tools has enhanced in educational organizations, hospitals, shopping malls, giving rise to the need to import additional goods to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore in the subsequent couple of years.

To cope up with this steep increase in requirement and anticipation of safety, UBM India is ready to stage IFSEC India 2011 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India from 08 - 10 December 2011. Billed as India's Largest Exhibition for Commercial & Homeland Security, the extravaganza is backed by UK Trade & Investments & APSA- Asian professional Security Association & Certified by US Commercial Services. The Homeland Security India symposium will as well be organized in association with ASSOCHAM.

250 top Security Companies will be showcasing their expertise and there will be pavilions that will highlight the special know how of the USA, UK, Sweden, France as well as Taiwan.

An exoticecho.com special by Anjishnu Biswas


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2G Scam: What Vikramaditya taught us about Manmohan Singh

Amal Bhattacharjee

Does the Indian Prime Minister have any responsibility for the 2G scam, which is taking toll among the Prime Minister’s cabinet? This vital issue has been in round among Indians for quite some time. Here is a piece, written by a senior citizen, who went into the traditional theory of Governance from mythology.

Once there lived an old and pious man, renowned for his honesty. One day his neighbor, a rich merchant comes to him with a request. The merchant was leaving on a voyage and wants the old man to safeguard his wealth, until his return. The old man agrees and with God as witness promises to protect and safeguard the merchant’s wealth. The old man then entrusts the safe keep of the merchant’s wealth to his son, from whom he takes an oath of propriety and honesty. Slowly the son starts dipping into the merchant’s wealth; people notice this and warn the old man of the son’s misdeeds. The old man calls his son asks him to explain, he also reminds him of his oath on following the right path. The son rubbishes the accusations as rumors and the idle gossip of jealous people, who could not bear to see his prosperity. The old man accepts the son’s explanation and things go on as before.

The merchant returns and demands his wealth. The old man calls his son, who hands over a quarter of the merchant’s wealth saying that is all there was. The merchant realizing that he has been cheated approaches the King. The King listens to the merchant’s complaint and summons the old man. The old man comes to the court with his son and handing him over to the King says “your majesty, the merchant is right. My son has confessed to the crime. Please punish him.”

The king has the son flogged and imprisoned. He then praises the old mans honesty and dismisses the case. But the merchant demands punishment for the old man saying, “I have still not received justice. I had entrusted my wealth to the old man which he swore by God to safeguard. The old man’s integrity is intact, but what of me, I have been robbed of my life’s savings, and made a pauper. It was the old man’s decision to entrust my wealth the son for safe keeping. As far as I am concerned the old man is the culprit, and should be punished.”

The king is astounded by this demand. The old man, was neither a party to the theft nor did he benefit from it. In fact, he had sent his son to jail. Yet, the merchant was asking for the old man’s punishment. The Betal asks Vikramaditya, “What should be the Kings decision.”

Vikramaditya’s replies, “Though the old man is innocent of the actual theft, he is guilty of dereliction of duty. The son’s crime was a straight forward one, the old man’s was a graver crime. He did nothing to protect the merchant’s wealth. Far from being vigilant he failed to take action even when he was warned of his son’s misdeeds. Because of his laxity the merchant is condemned to a life of penury. He should be punished.”

India 2010, Dr. Manmohan Singh, esteemed economist, former Governor of RBI, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, former Finance Minister, a man whose personal ethics and integrity are unblemished, takes oath to protect and safeguard the Nation and its assets. He appoints Raja, as his Cabinet Minister for IT & Telecom. Unlike the story, this heist of a precious national asset is carried out in full view of Dr. Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues. Newspapers across the country cry out at this outrage in front page headlines.

The Indian Constitution grants the Prime Minister absolute power in running the country. He is the head of the Government and the Union Cabinet functions at his pleasure. As per the Transaction of Business Rules the Prime Minister has the unrestricted right to demand and get any file, any record from any Ministry. Dr. Man Mohan Singh could have at any time stopped this heist of a National asset, yet he chose to remain silent. The Minister’s failure to exercise his constitutional rights has caused irreparable loss to the Nation.

Dr. Singh did not profit personally from Raja’s shenigans, but his failure to act, to honor the oath of office, to protect and safeguard the nation and its wealth is unforgivable. Like the old man, he has sacked Raja from his ministerial berth, but does his culpability end there.

The people of India had entrusted their faith and the future of the Nation in Dr. Manmohan Singh, believing him to be a man of integrity and honesty, and not to Raja. Does dismissing Raja absolve Dr. Singh or like the old man is he guilty of dereliction of duty and failure to safeguard the Nation and its citizens. Does he deserve punishment?

It is for the Indian citizen to decide.


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Rapid Action Force Personnel Urges West Bengal Government to Fight Maoists Judiciously

(An exoticecho.com exclusive)



Sijua is a small hamlet under Salboni Police Station in Maoist infested West Midnapore District of West Bengal. Sijua is surrounded by the dense forests of Goaltore, Tirekota and Salboni. exoticecho.com talked to a RAF personnel staying at the barracks of a Rapid Action Force Squad in Sijua, currently engaged in a joint anti-rebel operation with the Central Security Forces in the area. The village of Sijua is strategically located and Maoists or the ultra Left Wing forces are desperately trying to capture the region as the ability to secure the area would offer the Maoist guerillas a distinct advantage by giving them a border region to wield their authority and offer tougher resistance to the security forces.



Talking to exoticecho.com a senior officer of the Rapid Action Force told exoticecho.com on conditions of anonymity that the Maoists had failed to penetrate Sijua because of a sizeable population of CPI (M) supporters who have robustly defended relentless attacks by the Maoist rebels.



However this is not the scenario in the adjoining areas where the writs of the Maoists run large. The officer however urged the West Bengal government to be judicious in the tactical deployment of troops from the West Bengal police in the war zone. He asserted that deployment of troops at the barracks for a prolonged span of time enabled the Maoists to spot and target them with ease while the personnel of the Rapid Action Force are traveling elsewhere in civilian dresses.



According to the officer deployment of police officials from the lower levels for a long time without the presence and guidance of an official belonging to the rank of an IPS officer was not a wise choice. He revealed that high ranking police officials hardly stayed for a week or two and were provided with all sorts of comfort, the officials belonging to the lower ranks had to languish in the barracks for months without adequate provisions for a proper living.



The RAF official pointed out that an uncovered well, the only source of water for the cops was utilised for drinking after passing the water through a strainer. He nonetheless said that despite numerous constraints work for constructing a drinking water tap had already started and lauded the administration for the effort.



As far as the weaponry provided by the government to combat the Maoist rebels was concerned, the RAF official said though the weapons provided by the government were satisfactory in thwarting Maoist assaults, the bullet proof jackets provided to the troops of the Rapid Action Force were cumbersome as they were quite heavy and exerted a great deal of strain on the troops while patrolling large stretches. He appealed to the government to offer modern bullet proof jackets that are light in weight so that they could perform the task of patrolling Maoist affected regions more efficiently.



Referring to the spate of attacks on cops fighting against the rebels and blaming them for the casualties suffered by them for their lax attitude, the RAF personnel told exoticecho.com, “Cops are humans. They too need rest after long hours of patrols. At times they take a break from their tiring schedule by relaxing at tea stalls and roadside village eateries. Taking advantage of the circumstances, Maoists posing as customers engage them in conversation and shoot them from point blank range and snatch their weapons. He refused to further elaborate on the topic.






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