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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Edition 26: The Curious History Of Shimla House , Dalit Enterprise and Green City

The building housing the Indian Metreorological Department in Pune is famous as the Shimla House of Simla House. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city standing in the main part of the city. The structure has a curious tale to tell.

The IMD was founded in 1875 by Henry Blanford having its headquarters in Calcutta. It had a branch office in Shimla (originally Simla), which was later made its headquarters in 1905. However, when the weather office in Shimla failed to cater to growing demand of weather forecast, the British rulers decided to set it up in plain in the south.

Pune was chosen for its favourable climatic conditions and proximity to the west coast., IMD shifted base to the scantily-populated suburb of Bhamburda (Shivajinagar) in 1928. This is the reason why the building came to be known as Shimla Office.

The heritage building was designed by Messrs Stevens and Partners and built by Pallonjee and Sons. A sum of Rs 2 lakh was allocated over 1926-27 to acquire ten acres of land from the then Bombay government and construct the buildings. The main building was inaugurated on July 20, 1928, by Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, the then governor of Bombay, in the presence of A C McWatters, an acting member of the Viceroy’s Council.

The key features of the black-and-buff trapstone building include a clock-tower, with weather-monitoring devices atop, a false pediment forming a distinctly Baroque relief sculpture; a fa├žade image of Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and flowers; the cage of the first ever lift installed in Pune; and antique woodwork.

Pune is no longer the IMD headquarters — they were shifted to Delhi in 1944. But the IMD building, notwithstanding the impact of age and adaptations, continues to be an elegant reminder of the evolution of meteorological research in the country.

New Chapter in the Dalit Entrepreneurship

Tata Group and Thermax, two of the biggest names in industries sector, have extended the hand to work with the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI). The move came after the successful completion of first ever exhibition by Dalit entrepreneurs.

The information was given by Milind Kamble, Chairman, DICCI in a press conference. He said, "These groups have shown interest in working with Dalit entrepreneurs. For that, Tata Group have asked 10 Dalit entrepreneurs to come for business presentation every month in their monthly vendor’s meeting. This will begin from June 23, 2010. Thermax has also shown such interest and has asked for Dalit entrepreneur’s list for consideration. Soon, they will also ask Dalit entrepreneur’s to make corporate presentations. With such response from Tata Group and Thermax has initiated a new era in the growth of Dalit entrepreneurs"

TATA Group has further promised to jointly work with DICCI for marketing efforts. This step would enable these entrepreneurs to get business permanently. After the success of ever exhibition of products of Dalit entrepreneurs, demand for more such exhibitions in Maharashtra and other parts of India is been voiced so that more and more Dalit youths would attract and encouraged to become entrepreneurs. The first exhibition has immensely helped to increase confidence and sense of self-dependency amongst all, added Kamble. The expo not only attracted visitors from various parts of Pune district but people came from different parts of Maharashtra, Delhi, Patna, Bangalore, UP etc.

During the expo many dignitaries visited the stalls and addressed the gathering. Senior Scientist Raghunath Mashelkar who visited the expo expressed his sincere happiness and agreed to worked with DICCI as a Patron.

Kalpana Saroj, Managing Director, Kamani Tubes; E. Z. Khobragade, Director, Social Jusrice Dept; Harshadeep Kamble, IAS officer; Chandrabhan Prasad, senior journalist and thinker were the prominent visitors to the expo.

Famous builder and realtor from Mumbai Suresh Haware termed this expo to be a beginning of a new era. With such events new entrepreneurs will be created.

A step Towards Green City, Livable City

Pune Municipal Coporation and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation have pledged to learn the techniques for living in the changing world from Mother Earth herself. The two municipal corporation declared a manifesto against the global warming, urbanization and developments. Dr. Mahesh Zagade, commissioner of PMC and Ashish Sharma, commissioner of PCMC made this announcement in a press conference.

A two day state level summit on the ‘Sustainable Urbanisation: Cities In a Changing Climate’ concluded today. The summit was organised by Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture and PMC. At the end of the summit, a declaration was drawn named as "Pune - Pimpri Chinchwad Declaration" for the cities to make commitments to work towards bringing down their carbon emissions.

In the declaration, the municipal corporations have said:

We will try to keep our urban system and life style appreciating the importance of existence of all creatures and interaction between them.

We aim for increase in quality of life for all creatures;

Healthy and clean environment for all, especially weaker sections;

To ensure clean and safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, solid waste disposal, pedestrian ways and shelters for all citizens.

To ensure that every decision for development works will increase social, economic and environment quality.

To bring preventive mechanism instead of responsive one for natural and human management.

To raise holistic public transport service in city to achieve satisfactory economic growth.

To give more prominence to non-conventional energy sources.

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