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Monday, June 7, 2010

Edition 24: Lessons in Lawlessness

Even as the schools try to impart lessons of good citizenship in the young generation of country, most of them fail to comply with the basic norms set by law and government. The practice raises question about what the young wards will learn in their formative years.
Devidas Deshpande
As the month of May ends, the parents whose kids are eligible for admission in primary schools will be readying for that yearly ordeal. With burgeoning population, increased income and logical ambition of parents to impart best available school education to their kids,
the market is crammed with the applicants and the school administration becomes more and more adamant over own rules and stipulations.
The municipal schools are out of question for people with average to high income group, even though the municipal authorities are entrusted with law to regulate the schools and education process. As part of periodic exercise of this power, a list of unauthorized schools in city is announced each year. The list was announced this year also. According to PMC, these schools run without the proper permission from the authorities. The list of these schools is given in separate box.

Edition 24 : The Food For Thought….And Action, too!



The city of Pune is long known for the habit of its people to enjoy food. This has been enshrined in the history of Pune and become a part of the genes of its people. It is not surprising then that long before industrialisation and information technology led the way to prosperity for the Puneites, an industry burgeoned in the region known as food outlets.

Thousands of food outlets in the city not only became a place to relish the exotic and novel recipes, but also meeting point of sorts. The plethora of such places consisted of restaurants giving a feel of star hotels to the tea cart found on any roadside. As in any other field, the quality was soon taken over by the quantity. As new entrants came in, some of them brought with them dubious tricks and practices in the trade which had a considerable ill effect on the health of the populace consuming it.

Edition 24: Remembering Rajeev


'Yeh Bharat Desh hain , Humme ise ikkisvi sadi mein le jaana hain'. (This is India and we have to take it in 21st century) How many times in my formative years i had heard this. I used to do a reasonabaly well mimikri in my school repeating these lines, tone, accent. 21st century has completed its first decade , and we really are in it. For a middle class boy then aspirtaions were to grow into someone of repute, money and knowledge. And i hold Rajiv Gandhi one of the enabler of dreams of many people like myself. Though someone may attribute the growth of Indian IT to JRD/FC Kohli or someone may attribute liberalization window, someone may define it as windfall of Y2k. For me reasons of clear. Alongwith me , i have few noted economists agreeing to this.
1. Penetration of telecom with STD/ISD
2. Mid 80s construction boom leading to urbanization of cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
3. (Though done not with honest intent) Creation of policy to encourage private educational institutes creating pool of engineers much needed to promote IT.
4. Focus on technology and many schemes encouraging govt funding for initiatives like STPI
I can dwelve upon each of above and impact of those policies on IT , but thats beyong point. Its about remembering a leader whom i liked genuinely.

Edition 24- Now You Know Why Dressing Well Pays

If you were thinking that being well dressed at work can make progress better or gives a new confidence, here is the proof. A recent survey indicates that employees who dress well are taken seriously at work than those that pay scant attention to those crumpled sleeves and faded collars.

Almost 89 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted by Team Lease, a leading staffing company, felt that style of dressing has a long-term impact on the overall image of an individual. Three fourth of the respondents felt that well dressed people are taken more seriously at workplace.

Sixty Nine per cent of respondents, both male and female, felt attire has a direct impact on sexual harassment faced by women at the work place.

72 per cent respondents feel that focus shifts from work when women frequently wear skirts and tops at workplace. But only 53 per cent of respondents in Bangalore felt that way but over 80 per cent agreed to it in Kolkatta and Ahmedabad.

Breaking the myth of female vanity, the survey revealed that 74 per cent felt men spend as much time, if not more, focussing on grooming as women.

Coming to implementing a dress code at work place, 47 per cent felt it was necesssary. More than half the respondents in Kolkatta and Pune opined that it enhanced work productivity. In IT domain, 53 per cent considered implementing dress code is strict but necessary.

Overall 44 per cent respondents' organisations have a strict dress code. Sixty six per cent of organisations in Chennai and 59 per cent in Mumbai have a strict dress code.

Overall 54 per cent respondents feel that incompetent/average performer cover up with meticulous dressing and accessories.

Overall 44 per cent felt that formal dressing applied to only senior manager and client interfacing employees.

The respondents included employees across cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune between the age group of 21-45 years across industries.

Processed Meat Bad For Heart
A study suggests, eating processed meat such as sausages increases the likelihood of heart disease, while red meat does not seem to be as harmful.

A Harvard University team which looked at 20 studies involving over one million people found just 50g of processed meat a day also raised the risk of diabetes. But there was no such risk from eating even twice as much unprocessed meat, such as beef, lamb or pork. This was despite the fact the two forms of meat have a similar fat content.

The study by the team from Harvard School of Public Health involving more than one million participants from 10 countries appears in the journal Circulation. Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said if you like red meat, this can still be included as part of a balanced heart-healthy diet.

However, he suggested further research was needed before any dietary recommendations could be made.

Being First Arab Miss USA!
American won the title of Miss USA in the annual beauty pageant held Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Rima Fakih, a Lebanese immigrant, won the pageant after swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions. During the competition, she nearly fell while walking in her own, but she made it without a spill and went on to beat out contestants from all of the 50 tates and the District of Columbia.

Fakih, who moved to the United States as a baby, is believed to be the first Arab-American and Muslim to hold the title of Miss USA. She told pageant organizers that her family celebrates both Catholic and Muslim holidays.

Fakih represented the state of Michigan. According to pageant officials, she is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. After completing her reign as Miss USA, Fakih plans to attend law school.

The Miss USA pageant is not affiliated with the annual Miss America pageant.

Edition 24: Telecom companies revive value of the Indian paisa


Sanjit Chatterjee

Visiting us during her vacations, Manjari, my teenage niece, asked me if I would help her with a summer project. I agreed. It involved the study of coins. The curious kid wanted to know what a one-paisa coin looked like. Her next question: 'What can one paisa buy?'

We were amused as to why a teacher would give a 'one paisa' project when the cheapest toffee costs 50 paisa, or around one cent. Manjari's search into the shape, size, and metallic content of one paisa coin landed her at the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI's) monetary museum. She learnt that over a period of time, the cost-benefit considerations led to a gradual discontinuance of 1, 2 and 3 paisa coins in 1970s.

Then came a discovery of sorts. There was something that was worth a paisa -- offered by the burgeoning, yet highly competitive, Indian telecom industry. For just one paisa, one can talk to someone in the farthest corner of India for one second, or send an SMS of 160 characters to any one of the 600 million mobile phone users in India. Not only that, one can extract more from the service provider if the bill plan is well chosen. Of course, it also depends on the desperation of the service provider to acquire and retain a customer.

The Indian telecom industry, the world's fastest growing, must be credited with applying all the marketing tricks ranging from product or service sampling, marginal costing, happy hours, family and friends packs among others to hook the customer.

This explains the offer for sending 15,000 SMSs for Rs.99 (around $2) a month -- a cool 3 SMSs for 2 paise. Or for just Rs.299 (around $6.5) to call 65 hours, or full-hour of talking with your mother for under Rs.5 (11 cents). If your circle of friends extends nationally, at Rs.599 ($13.3) per month plan you can talk for 65 hours, packing in 60 minutes of calling for a little over Rs.9 ($2).

For the service provider there is little money to be made in the local or long-distance calls from and individual subscriber. However, money is made from value added services -- ranging from ring tones and astrology, music downloads and jokes, stock alerts to cricket scores, International calls and data services. It is estimated that there are at least 100 different services that add up to plum value added services. There is hardly a subscriber who has not subscribed to a service or two at a minimum of Rs.15 (33 cents) per month.

If you include data services like browsing the web to send email, downloading music or streaming video to watch TV, the billing potential for the mobile companies is huge and is likely to grow manifold in the third generation (3G) regime. By subscribing to data packages on a mobile phone the subscriber can navigate unknown routes or even make international calls for a song.

While all 600 million Indian mobile subscribers don't own a handset that supports data services, it is only a matter of time when some of the cheaper 'copycat' look-alike handsets -- as market researcher, IDC calls them -- will be within every mobile user's reach for as little as one-tenth the average price of a smart phone.

Industry analysts expect that a number of service providers could be offering mobile voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services to offer cheap international calls. Right now making international calls is not only expensive it also needs activation, often for a fee and a fat security deposit. Once the mobile VoIP services are available, the call rates could drop from the current Rs.6.40 (14 cents) per minute at the lower band to as low as Re.1-Rs.2 (2-4 cents) per minute.

Already a few options like the iTel Mobile Dialer Express available in the market allow a phone subscriber to make VoIP call from the mobile phone. With the mass deployment of Wi-Fi networks in many countries and the introduction of cheap GPRS service, calling from mobile set using VoIP technology is getting popular.

The telecom tariffs in India, among the lowest in the world, have silently been making a visible difference at the sociological level -- you see it in a bus, train or plane. At another level there are mobile air space consumers who are busy converting phone calls from a primarily day time activity to a 24/7 activity.

With a variety of cheap night-time calling packages on offer, it is not uncommon for friends to call each other late into night and for much longer durations. With value offerings targeted in the non-peak hours, the service providers have been able to make inroads into the sleeping hours of young student community successfully.

The time is not far when the mobile revolution will embrace the remaining half of the country -- at a steady rate of adding 20 million new mobile connections every month -- in less than three years. The economies of scale will hopefully extract the India demographic advantage for many more seconds at the cost of a single paisa.

High BP? Blame It On City!
IANS
People who live in urban areas where air pollution is high tend to have higher blood pressure (BP) than those who live in less polluted areas, says a new research.
The researchers used data from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, an ongoing population-based study of almost 5,000 individuals that focuses on the development of heart disease.
They analysed the effects of air pollution exposure on blood pressure between 2000 and 2003.
'Our results show that living in areas with higher levels of particle air pollution is associated with higher blood pressure,' said Barbara Hoffman, head of the Unit of Environmental and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Duisburg-Essen, and senior author of the study.
High BP ups the risk for atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which leads to cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
'Our results might explain why people who live in more polluted areas are at a higher risk to suffer and die from these diseases,' said Hoffman.
It has also been shown that chronic noise exposure, for example from living close to major roads is associated with higher blood pressure or with diseases of the heart.
'This finding points out that air pollution does not only trigger life threatening events like heart attacks and strokes, but that it may also influence the underlying processes, which lead to chronic cardiovascular diseases,' said Hoffman.
Several large studies in Europe and the US are already underway and are expected to shed more light on the chronic effects of living in polluted areas, said a release of the University of Duisburg-Essen.
The results were presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

(Sanjit Chatterjee is Director Global Marketing and Strategy, REVE Systems, a Singapore based mobile VoIP solutions company)

Edition 24: TV loves cricket

The market for Cricket broadcasts goes much beyond the international matches or IPL. The fact was evident when Neo Cricket, which is the BCCI's broadcast partner, decided to bring excitement into the first ever state run T20 cricket event, the fledgling Maharastra Premier League (MPL) which is in its second edition.

The broadcaster secured the telecast rights for the MPL which took place from 17 -29 May 2010.The matches will be produced live by Nimbus Sport. Last year, the MPL did not have a broadcast partner and is thus hoping to boost its profile through television. Neo Cricket will telecast all the matches played at the Dr. D.Y. Patil Stadium. Other matches are to be played at the Poona Club and Deccan Gymkhana in Pune.

MPL 2010 is an initiative by the Maharashtra Cricket Association and the Sakal Media Group. The MPL teams were bought for under Rs 10 million last year. They have all been named after famous forts of Maharashtra, which are:

Pratapgad Warriors, owned by Life Cycle (Last year Guardian Holidays)
Raigad Royals, owned by Cadence
Shivneri Lions, owned by JMJ (Last year Serum Institute)
Sinhagad Supremos, owned by Jain Irrigation Sytems
Devgiri Emperors, owned by Muraspec
Sindhudurg Sailors, owned by Dahad Group
Panhala Panthers, owned by Mather and Platt
Torna Tigers, owned by Amanora Parktown
Raigad Royals walked away with the MPL trophy in 2009.

Clearly the idea is to capitalise on the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The thing to remember though is that the IPL was built on lots of money, glamour and big name cricket stars. MPL operates on a much lower scale and should mainly appeal to Maharashtrians. Most viewership should come from this state.

From an owner's perspective the investment is low. It gives companies the chance to get involved in the Twenty20 fever even if they cannot afford the IPL. The players have three-year contracts which were signed last year and a franchisee owner had to buy all the 14 players within a budget of Rs 600,000.

The MPL has got a clutch of other partners apart from Nimbus. Kyazoonga is the ticketing partner. Other partners include Yamaha, Men's Avenue, CottonKing and Urja. This year the prize money was Rs. 15 lakhs

Uphill Task For Women Hockey Team
An uphill task awaits India in this year's women's hockey World Cup in Argentina where they have been clubbed alongside reigning World and Olympic champions the Netherlands and formidable teams like Germany and Australia.

Japan and New Zealand are the other two teams in Pool A along with India.

The Indian eves will open their campaign against the mighty Dutch girls on August 30 followed by matches against Australia (September 1), Germany (September 3), Japan (September 5) and New Zealand (September 7).

The Pool B, meanwhile, consists of hosts Argentina, China, Spain, England, Korea and South Africa.

The opening match of the event, to be held in Rosario, Argentina from August 29 to September 11, will witness Asian rivalry between China and Korea, followed by hosts Argentina taking on South Africa and Spain-England encounter.

Believe It or Not, IPL-3 Was Clean!
Reuters
Outgoing International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption chief Paul Condon said on Thursday he had no evidence to suggest there had been any corruption in the third edition of the Indian Premier League.
"IPL three from a clean cricket point of view seems to have been a very clean event," Condon told a news conference at Lord's. "There were rumours and vague allegations about match-fixing in IPL three.
"No one has come forward from within the Indian board or the IPL or franchises or journalists, players or team managers, anyone with any specific allegations about match-fixing in the IPL. All there has been is a generic rumour."
The Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) did not monitor the first two IPL Twenty20 competitions. Condon, who has been in charge of the unit since it was set up 10 years ago to deal with a match-fixing scandal which resulted in life bans for three international captains, will be succeeded by former senior British police offical Ronnie Flanagan on July 1.
Condon said the ACSU was still investigating the second test between Australia and Pakistan in Sydney this year, which the home side won after the Pakistanis appeared to be clearly in charge.
"It is a match and series that worried us," Condon said. "We spent a lot of time talking to the players, talking to the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board).
"Certainly we are satisfied that that was a totally dysfunctional tour from the Pakistan point of view and the dysfunctionality in the dressing room led to players not performing well, to maybe players even potentially under-performing deliberately.
"What we are still trying to establish is whether that was because rival camps wanted to do down captains, or potential captains, or whether they were doing something more serious and were doing it for a financial fix."

Edition 24: Bollywood Bytes

Barbara’s Selection Not For Sex Appeal!
Joginder Tuteja/PTI
Mexican beauty Barbara Mori, who is paired opposite Hrithik Roshan in 'Kites', has been turning heads since the official teaser of the film came out but director Anurag Basu says the the actress was not hired for her sex appeal.

Hrithik has often been equated to a Greek God by Bollywood followers and his chemistry with Mori has been a talking point. The actor's lip locking moments with Mori even led to rumours that his marriage with Suzzanne was in trouble.

However, film maker Anurag Basu insists that 'Kites' is much more than just a skin fest.
"Of course, Barbara is attractive; we all know that. Still, it wasn't just her sex appeal that made us sign her. She has done so much good work in films as well as on TV. I saw them and based on that, we decided that Barbara would be the right fit for 'Kites'," said Basu.
The director is aware that Mori is one of the top searched celebrities on internet today, at least in India, and audience expectation is pretty high from the young woman who is also a mother of a grown up kid in real life.

"Yes, people do search for her pictures on internet. However, as a director I can vouch for the fact that she surprised when we were shooting the film. She has quite a few dramatic scenes in the film and I was wondering if she would be able to pull then off. But I was taken by surprise by her acting," Basu added.

The director says he was so impressed with Mori's performance that he started rethinking about some of the scenes that he had originally written. Basu decided to sizzle up the act by rewriting a few scenes and adding a different perspective to them.

"Really, I was blown over by the chemistry between Barbara and Hrithik. Some of the very scenes that originally looked great to me were seemingly fake once I saw the two on screen. I had to throw these scenes away and improvise at the last moment. Call it ironical but some of the best scenes in the film are those which were written at the very end. Hrithik and Barbara really look so real and good together."

Ekta Hunting New Faces On Net
PTI
It''s not just Bollywood filmmakers who are hunting for new faces. After Ashutosh Gowarikar launched an online hunt for a new face for his period film on Buddha, Ekta Kapoor, the queen of idiot box, is on a look-out for fresh faces through the Internet.

Ekta is leaving no stone unturned to make her upcoming show ''Tere Liye'' on Star Plus her most memorable body of work. The 34-year-old TV mogul, who has created pairs like Sujal-Kashish, Om-Parvati, Tulsi-Mihir on the small screen is on a lead hunt to find the next ''it'' couple in Taani and Anuraag.

"A team of eight members are investing night and day surfing through profiles of young and fresh faces, age group 18-25 on all social networking sites (Facebook, Orkut) to hunt for the leads that can portray Taani and Anuraag. So if you are on these social networking sites and make the cut, you could be the lucky one," a source said.

Plane Enjoyment For Akki
IANS
Akshay Kumar recently took a break from his hectic shooting schedule and flew to Barbados in a private jet to enjoy the T20 World Cup finale between England and Australia.
His friends coaxed him to take a break to catch the match and celebrate the success of his last release 'Housefull'.
'Akshay flew his friends in a private charter for a four-day-long all guys vacation where they stayed at a friend's bungalow on Bridgetown beach,' a source close to the actor said.
The star made sure he and his pals got the best seats in the stadium.
'Seated in the most expensive seats in the stadium, they cheered their hearts out during the England v/s Australia final at Barbados and were seen having a riot of a time,' the source added.
England lifted the World Twenty20 beating Australia by seven wickets in the final Sunday at the Kensington Oval.
Soon after the match, Akshay flew to London in a private jet to shoot for Nikhil Advani's 'Patiala House' since all flights to and fro to London were cancelled due to volcanic ash.
'Yes, Akshay did take a private jet since he wanted to reach London on time for the shoot schedule. He has always been a thorough professional,' Akshay's spokesperson said in a statement.
Apart from 'Patiala House', the actor is also working in Farah Khan's 'Tees Maar Khan' and Anees Bazmee's 'Thank You'.

Shammi Shares Secrets Of Dancing
Dibyojyoti Baksi/IANS
His energetic, untamed, inimitable and sometimes crazy dance moves were a hit with all age groups. Veteran actor Shammi Kapoor reveals he never worked with a choreographer and created every step spontaneously for the camera.
'I was very much influenced by my own self,' Kapoor, 78, told IANS in an exclusive interview.
'Technology at that time was not all that advanced. We used to go to the cinema halls once in a while. Things that I used to like in the movies used to stay in my mind and later I used to use them in my songs.
'As far as the dancing is concerned, I made it all by myself. I never knew what would be my next step.'
Some of his timeless hits include 'Baar baar dekho', 'Badan pe sitare', 'Yahoo', 'Aaja Aaja main hoon pyaar tera', 'Aye hasina zulfon wali', 'Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche'. And they have been heard and enjoyed time and again over the decades and are played at dance parties even today.
Asked if anyone among today's actors resembles his traits, he said: 'No. They are much better. Hrithik Roshan and all of them are much, much better. Even Shah Rukh Khan has done some excellent work...I did my things and they do their things.
The 78-year-old, who gave hits like 'Junglee' (1961), 'Bluff Master' (1963), 'Kashmir Ki Kali' (1964) and 'An Evening In Paris'(1967), retired from movies long time back. But he surely keeps a track of the new films and says that he misses innocence and melody in today's movies.
Despite his age, Kapoor keeps himself abreast with new technology. He was first among Hindi film celebrities to use Yahoo e-mail.
In fact, people used to think that Kapoor owned Yahoo Internet browser as their ad used to say something like 'Shammi Kapoor has got Yahoo.com'.
'When my nephew Randhir Kapoor started using internet, he called me up and asked why I didn't tell him that Yahoo belongs to me (because of that promo). I told him that it doesn't belong to me. Had it been mine, I would have been in America. He regretted that it wasn't mine or we could all have settled in America. Lots of people were under the impression that Yahoo was my company.
'When Jerry Yang (co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo) came to India, he opened Yahoo India.com. He invited me to the Taj (Hotel) and as a matter of fact they played my 'Yahoo' song,' Kapoor recalled.

Edition 24: Variety

Can Leopards Survive In India?
Archana Jyoti/PTI
Like tigers, endangered leopards too are battling for survival with as many as 160 already dead so far since this January in the country against 290 last year.
The trend is not recent phenomenon. In the last 12 years since 1994, India has lost atleast 3,189 leopards, according to an estimate by an NGO, Wildlife Protection of India (WPSI).
A member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar, the leopard count is estimated to be between 7,000 to 10,000 in the country.
In India, the leopard is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
"Also, as it is easy to trap leopards, the wildlife smugglers find them as perfect replacement for tigers to feed the illicit global demand for big cat skins along with the bones for use in traditional medicine in countries like China," says WPSI head Belinda Wright.
eopard coats and trimmings are also used for traditional dances and festivals, and are sold quite openly in Tibet. The frequent seizures have established this link.
In March, two leopard skins were seized in Hapur in west Uttar Pradesh by the state's Special Task Force. Two traders were arrested who confessed of their plans to sell them out of the country.
In yet another raid conducted by Tamil Nadu Forest Department in Hosur during the year, two leopard skins were recovered and three persons, including one who reportedly confessed to poaching the animals, were apprehended.
The gun used to kill the leopards was recovered too.
"This shows that the poachers are active in killing the animal and selling them through wildlife trade," a senior official from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) said.
The Central Bureau of Investigations' wildlife crime cell has estimated that for every tiger skin, there are at least seven leopard skins in the haul. In 2004, a seizure in Tibet of 31 tiger skins yielded 581 leopard skins.
Apart from shrinking forests, adaptive migration nature of the predatory felines is bringing them towards human habitats resulting in severe man-animal conflict.
For instance, a total of 74 straying leopards were caged from the revenue area surrounding Gir in Gujarat in 2007.
However, many are not lucky enough to survive, given that the conflict has assumed alarming proportion so much so that angry villagers bay for their blood.

A Letter To Juliet…Answered!
Dany Mitzman/DW
A new American film called "Letters to Juliet" focuses on the curious tradition of writing letters to Shakespeare's tragic heroine and an even more curious Veronese tradition of responding to them. But the movie is more than just a romantic invention, as a trip to Verona can reveal.

In the film, protagonist Sophie follows a woman collecting letters stuck to the wall of Juliet's house and discovers that the woman is part of a group of secretaries who reply to them. Juliet's secretaries actually exist, even if their headquarters in a little known suburban area of town is less picturesque than in the Hollywood version.

The thousands of letters they receive each year deal with love and often ask for advice or a blessing. In turn, the secretaries do their best to offer support or counsel without making the authors wait too long for a reply.

"I started [at the club] about 20 years ago by translating some German letters," said Giovanna Tamassia, one of the secretaries. "It's really a very beautiful thing when you open a letter, and you can read about feelings all around the world. So, I continued to come to the club. I think it's a really romantic and beautiful thing, this idea of writing to Juliet."
These days, all but two members of the Club di Giulietta are women, but that wasn't always the case. The first secretary from the 1930s was Ettore Solimani, who worked as the caretaker at Juliet's tomb in the monastery of San Francesco al Corso. (The story of Romeo and Juliet may be just a legend, but the monastery is considered a possible location for the tragic final scene.) It was Solimani's idea to respond to the letters addressed to Juliet.

"The older letters from the 30s and 40s reflect the time in which they were written. They're very formal, and most of them are about problems within a marriage," said Ceil Friedman, an author whose book on the Veronese letter-writing tradition inspired the film. Today, the club of secretaries is made up of 10 members who work on a completely voluntary basis. The letters they receive are sometimes left directly at Juliet's tomb or home but typically come by post - addressed to the Juliet Club, Juliet's house at number 23, Via Cappello or sometimes simply to "Juliet, Verona."

Cyclone Laila Was Pak Creation…!
Ever wondered how cyclone 'Laila' that has wreaked havoc in coastal Andhra Pradesh got such a lyrical name? Pakistan may have the answer.

The name 'Laila' which means dark-haired beauty or night in Persian was suggested by Pakistan to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) which is tasked by the World Meteorological Organisation to track and name cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean, an IMD official said.

The convention of naming cyclones was started by meteorologists for easy identification and analysis of storm systems and are now named as per the procedure laid down by the World Meteorological Organisation.

Cyclones formed over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea began to be named in 2004, he said.

Edition 23: Trees New Branches of Scam

Sandeep Kortikar.
On the backdrop of city’s disintegrating green canopy, more and more skeletons are tumbling out of Tree Authority’s skeletons. On the one hand, money is being ‘spent’ on supposedly planting of tree samplings.
On the other hand, more than Rs 3 Crores are lying in the PMC’s coffers without any use, which are collected as a compensation for chopping off the green cover.


As hundreds of trees are being chopped off every month in the city, tree authority and garden department have become a mute spectator and not working on the guidelines given by High Court for the effective tree plantation.

The fact was highlighted recently when social activist and tree authority member Gajanan Tharkude alleged that Aniket Agro Services, which has been appointed by PMC for tree
plantation of 50,000 trees, collected Rs 1 crore 36 lakh and planted only 13,445 trees. Tharkude also demanded action against Aniket Agro Services.

Pune Municipal Corporation had decided to plant 50,000 trees under Bio Diversity Park scheme. Tenders of the scheme had been published two times in 2008. In response, only Aniket Agro Services had applied for the tender and obviously PMC had to award this tender to Aniket Agro Services. Also this company has not taken care of planted trees and claimed money for the trees, which have not been planted yet, alleges Tharkude.

Two government agencies perform the role of legal local guardians for the trees in Pune. One is the Tree Authority (TA) and the other is the Garden Department (GD), both belonging to the PMC. While the TA is the main decision- making body, chaired by the Municipal Commissioner, the GD is the implementing agency.

Asserting dilly-dallying by PMC, social activist Vinod Jain said, “There is no effective body or committee to crosscheck if the concern person has planted sufficient number of trees at the location. We know a builder from Sinhgad road, who has got the permission to axe approximately 900 trees at his construction site few months ago and in return, he didn’t planted a single tree till this date. In fact, we are thinking to highlight these law violation cases to the High Court. We also had requested Pune Municipal Corporation not to give ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) to these builders. PMC should reserve space for the tree plantation in every ward. Pune has 144 wards. This is ridiculous that Pune Municipal Corporation is not implementing the HC orders properly. We are also thinking to file a contempt of court petition in court against PMC in near future.”

Highlighting the necessity of tree census, Jain added, “PMC and Garden department should count the exact number of trees in Pune on yearly basis.”

Talking about the duties of PMC, the HC recently had said, it is the primary duty of the PMC to protect the environmental and ecological balance by planting more trees rather than cutting trees, which has adversely affected the climate the city of Pune. The court had asked the PMC to form a five-member expert committee to scrutinize all applications for cutting trees and forward the short listed one to the HC for final approval.”

Giving few details of the law violation cases and attempts to save the trees on the condition of anonymity, an activist said, “To quote a few examples: an upcoming on Senapati Bapat Road, on which 25 trees remain standing, accepted a suggestion for a small design change that involved shifting the location of the underground water tank, which saved some trees. Yet another example is on Shastri Nagar Road and Lahane Path, where we suggested that the storm water drainage should snake around the trees. This simple solution saves hundreds of trees, and is now becoming an accepted model. Similarly, we saved 24 trees at the Vaikunth Mehta Institute by suggesting a similar looping method for building a wall.”

Through an RTI application filed some months ago, Jain had unearthed the information that Rs 3.19 crore deposit money collected for tree-felling is lying unclaimed with PMC


The agency surveyed trees in the city for the one and a half year now. According to primary estimates by PMC authorities, there will be around 45,00,000 - 50,00,000 trees in the area. Last census which was conducted manually in 1997-1998. The total number of trees then was 32,88,295.

The statistic may be misleading because in earlier survey, there were many big trees in the city which were chopped down for development. Small trees can’t compensate for larger ones. The increased number is also due to the fact that during that census, only 38 sq. kms area fell under PMC limit. After 1997, villages were accommodated in the city limits thereby swelling the number.

Over the years, the PMC road department chopped thousands of trees for the widening of roads but did not plant trees in their place. When the common man has to pay a deposit for planting trees there is no provision for taking deposit from the PMC departments.”

The Reprimand From Court
Irked over the inaction by PMC, Jain and his colleague Deepak Vahikar approached the Bombay High Court against constant tree failing. The court asked the PMC to prepare a list about the trees cut in the city for construction purposes and how many have been re-planted so far.
In the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Vahikar, it was said that Tree Authority has been giving the builders permission without checking the ground, thereby, reducing the greenery in the city and damaging the environment of Pune.
The Bombay High Court has already passed an order prohibiting the PMC from felling or trimming any tree without permission from the court.

Box
This is ridiculous that Pune Municipal Corporation is not implementing the HC orders properly. We are also thinking to file a contempt of court petition in court against PMC in near future, said Jain.
PMC is bound to persuade people to plant three trees against every tree felled as required under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act of 1975. The Rs 3.19 crore were paid between 2003 and 2007 against tree felling by various individuals and organisations which are lying unclaimed with the PMC.


The civic body collects deposit from citizens — builders constitute a major component — for cutting a tree during a project. The deposit is returned if the evidence of having planted new trees is provided to the civic body.

According to PMC garden department officials, the deposit amount till August 2007 was Rs 2,000 per tree that was later increased to Rs 10,000 per tree. However, according to civic activists, builders still do not follow the rule that three trees should be planted against each felled tree as the deposit amount of Rs 10,000 is "miniscule" compared to their project cost.

Of the total amount collected by the PMC as deposit, about 75 per cent is collected from builders and developers, who take permission for cutting trees for their development projects, Jain said. Rajesh Shende, president of Janahit Foundation, had filed a petition with Upalokayukta against tree cutting. Upalokayukta had directed the PCM to make a list of those builders who have not recollected the deposit amount. The action on the matter is still pending.
--------------
Quotes
This is ridiculous that Pune Municipal Corporation is not implementing the HC orders properly. We are also thinking to file a contempt of court petition in court against PMC in near future –Vinod Jain, Activist

-Rajesh Shende, President, Janahit Foundation


As a growing city, the city need more green cover. But the manner in which we are losing our trees, I do not hope the city will keep its attraction intact. Already, we are seeing how the city is getting hotter each summer. This is a fallout of the indiscriminate tree felling and it should be stopped altogether. - Krishnat Pawar, Software Professional


I always thought Pune as a city of greenery and cool landscapes. But the way the trees are being felled down, the day is not far when we could think that we are in Rajasthan. Administration can not escape its duty to protect the trees asd it is a question of our future. -Shuddhodhan Khatgaonkar, Marketing Executive

It is true that the deposit money against tree cutting was nominal till last year. Therefore, some builders preferred not to collect the amount. However, now as the amount has been hiked to Rs 10,000, the trend is bound to be reversed. - Balasaheb Jagzap, Tree Officer, PMC

Edition 23: Bollywood

Deepika ‘Very Comfortable’ In Sari
Deepika Padukone is Right now excited about walking the red carpet at the ongoing 63rd Cannes International Film Festival for liquor brand Chivas Regal.

'This is the first time I am going to a festival like this. Initially I was a bit hesitant but now I am looking forward to meet great people from all across the globe,' she said. Interestingly, she will flaunt a sari at the event. She has decided to wear a sari, designed by Rohit Bal, at the red carpet.
'Sari is a very sensual garment and whenever people from other countries discuss about sari, they just say one word - wow!!,' said Deepika.
She also admitted that she feels very comfortable in a sari and can drape one in just 30 seconds.

In the past Aishwarya Rai and Mallika Sherawat earned flak for their bad dressing sense at the Cannes, but Deepika is unperturbed and says she is least bothered about criticism.

Actress Deepika Padukone, who has reportedly rekindled her romance with long-time boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor, has clarified that she is not planning to get married anytime soon.
'I am just 24 and I have a enough time to decide whom and when to get married to. So, whenever that happens, I will let you people know,' Deepika told reporters at a press conference here Wednesday.

Big B’s Caste Is Indian
While the debate over caste census intensifies with most parties rooting for it, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan is clear where he stands on the controversial issue. If ever asked to mention his caste, he says categorically, he would be ready with the answer -- Indian.
Census enumerators came calling on the Bachchan household, prompting Amitabh to express his views on the issue of caste census.
'Wary of the sensitivity that this has raised recently by politicians, they keep away from it. They reason that they would wait for some government decision on this. I tell them irrespective of what the system decides, my answer is ready - caste, Indian,' he wrote on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.
Big B says that his father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a noted Hindi poet and litterateur, never believed in caste system.
'My Father never believed in caste and neither do any of us. He married a Sikh (Teji Bachchan), I married a Bengali (Jaya Bhaduri), my brother a Sindhi (Ramola), my daughter (Shweta) a Punjabi (Nikhil Nanda), my son (Abhishek) a Mangalorean (Aishwarya Rai)... in his autobiography he (Harivansh Rai) had expressed that future generations of his family should marry into different parts of the country. So far that tradition has been kept alive!!'


Hrithik’s Kites In Copyright Trouble
PTI
Hrithik Roshan starrer Kites just can't keep out of trouble. Two weeks before the release of the Rs 150 crore film, producer Rakesh Roshan faces allegations of copyright infringement.
On Monday, a Bihar Civil Court ordered a stay on the film's release after a person named Laxmi Prasad, of Sunbeam Holdings, claimed that Roshan owes him Rs 10 crore, allegedly for the copyright of the action scenes in the film. Talking to HT City, a baffled Roshan said he's never heard of this man before.
"I have no idea who this guy is. He lives in some village in Bihar and claims that he has the copyright for the action of my film.
How is it even possible? The action director of our film is Hollywood-based Spiro Razatos. There is absolutely no truth in this.
My legal advisors are looking into the matter and the team is flying to Bihar today (Tuesday) and I hope the matter is resolved soon." Rubbishing rumours that Roshan agreed for an out-of-court settlement and will pay Prasad Rs 5 crore now, Roshan says, "I have never heard from him, I have never met him or spoken to him for any sort of negotiation.
" Asked if the stay order will affect the film's release, Roshan says, "Absolutely not. The film will definitely release as per schedule.
" When contacted, the spokesperson for distributors Reliance Big Pictures, while acknowledging that there's legal trouble, said, "We cannot comment as the matter is sub-judicate.".

Akki Gets Away Lightly
PTI
Akshay Kumar''s celeb status came to his rescue when he escaped the wrath of a Canadian police officer despite hitting his car. The actor got the traffic ticket when he hit a police car by accident while shooting his film ''Thank You'' but when the official realised that he was a renowned Indian actor, he shook hand and even posed for a picture with Akshay.
Akshay was filming a scene for the Anees Bazmi film where he had to drive his car back and forth and in the process, the actor rammed his car into a Canadian policeman''s car by mistake. He had to pay a fine for his mistake but when the cops got to know that it was all for a shoot, they posed with him and took snaps, media reports said.
Akshay is quite popular with the Indo-Canadian community here for his roles in films like ''Namaste London'' and ''Singh Is Kinng''.

Edition 23: Working Moms Can Save On Child Care

Katherine Lewis
The cost of child care shocks most new working moms. In many cities, spending on the child care can be as costly as paying an adult’s college fees. Here are 10 ideas for lowering your child care cost.

Compare
Just as you compare the price of apples in the supermarket, you should take into account the cost of child care. I’m not saying that price is the only factor, but it must be weighed.
I admit, when I was first choosing child care, I was focused on finding a place where I was comfortable leaving my precious baby -- and that should be your top priority as well.
But now that I’m a savvier mom, I make sure to pay attention to our daycare and preschool prices and how they change.

Babysitting Cooperative
When my first baby was born, I joined a new mother’s group at the local birthing center. Every Wednesday morning we sat with our babies at our feet, comparing sleep techniques, sharing breastfeeding woes, and gradually helping each other become comfortable in our new role. I stayed close with several of the moms after returning to work, and we decided to start a babysitting cooperative.
If there’s no babysitting coop in your neighborhood, start one! Invite other parents in your child’s daycare center or preschool. It’s important that each member is comfortable with the other adults’ parenting styles and trusts that they’ll keep her children safe.

Barter
Maybe you've found the ideal daycare center for your needs, but the cost is too steep. Ask the director if they need any part-time assistance in the office that might win you a tuition discount.
If you have a special skill like accounting or fundraising, even better. But there's always more filing to be done, and parents to call about the wait list. You'll never know unless you ask Or with other parents, you can simply swap babysitting. You watch their kids this Saturday night; they watch your children the following one.
If you have an only child, a babysitting swap can be even easier than just caring for your own kid, because they play together.

Enlist Family Members
If you’re lucky enough to live near your child’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles, ask them if they’d be able to watch your offspring one or two days a week.
For far-off relatives, consider whether they might visit for a month in the summer to care for your little ones. Or if your children are old enough, send them to your relative’s for a week or two. You might enjoy the novelty of a quiet house at the end of the work day.

Neighborhood Children
My husband and I love the 11-year old girls in our neighborhood. They adore babies and preschoolers, and consider it an honor to spend a couple of hours playing with them while we have a meeting in our home or get some work done.
We would never leave a mother’s helper alone with our children. But she keeps the kids occupied enough for us to attend to things that require undivided focus. Teens certainly have more energy for active play than a lot of adult babysitters! Once in a while, their moms have even volunteered to come over and supervise.
We hope that as these helpers grow up and become more responsible, they’ll continue to babysit. It’s such a relief to leave the girls with a babysitter they’ve known for years.


Girls, Be Cautious Of Boyfriends!
PTI
With rise in cases of young girls being exploited by their male friends, State Commission for Women in Assam has asked all college-goers to be careful while being in a relationship. "This is a serious matter and a new trend in Orissa.
We will sensitise girls through a state-wide campaign," SCW Chairperson Jyoti Panigrahi told reporters. During the campaign the girls will be told to be careful while being in a relationship with boy, she said.
The initiative comes in the wake of a number of girls, committing suicide or attempting to end their lives after being ''blackmailed'' by their boyfriends. A 22-year-old girl committed suicide last year in Cuttack after she found her objectionable pictures in a CD allegedly made by her male friend. He was later arrested by police.

Three more girls fell victim to pornographic CD racket in Dhenkanal district last month. A similar incident came to light in Balangir district. In all the cases, the boys were in "relationship" with the girls, Panigrahi said.
In a message to parents, the SCW of Orissa chairperson also advised them to be friendly with their growing daughters so that they can openly discuss about their acquaintances, friends and relationships.

Edition 23: Can we get Medicines at Fair prices?

P. K. Mohanty
Over the years, India has developed a strong capability in producing generic medicines in almost all the therapeutic categories. These medicines are being sold mostly as branded medicines which push up the retail price of these medicines. There is still a large population of poor people in the country which finds it difficult to afford these medicines. In fact access to quality health care is a challenge in a developing country like India.

According to NSO estimates, upto 79% cost of health care in rural areas is due to cost of medicines. This problem gets further aggravated as upto 80% of expenditure on health care is out-of-pocket. With 65% of India’s population not having access to modern health care (WHO estimates 2008) the entire problem is compounded several times.

Access to quality medicines at affordable prices is a key challenge for the Government. In this connection the prices of branded medicines are generally higher than generic medicines due to various reasons inter-alia including branded drugs having patent protection and a number of drugs having limited regulation through the Drug Prices Control Order, 1995 etc,. A sample comparison of some of the prices, shows the vast difference between the Generics Price and the Market price. Therefore, making available medicines at affordable prices has been taken up by the newly created Department of Pharmaceuticals.

Name of salt Dosage Pack Market Price (Rs.) Generics Price (Rs.) Difference
Antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin 250 mg 10 55.00 11.10 5 times higher
Pain Killer: Diclofenac 100 mg 10 36.70 3.50 10 times higher
Common Cold: Cetrizine 10 mg 10 20.00 2.75 7 times higher
Fever: Paracetamol 500 mg 10 10.00 2.45 4 times higher
Pain & Fever Nimesulide 100 mg 10 25.00 2.70 9 times higher
Cough syrup 110 ml bottle 33.00 13.30 2.5 times higher

Jan Aushadhi Campaign
For fulfilment of this goal, a campaign in the name of ‘Jan Aushadhi Campaign’ has been launched. The aim of this campaign is to make available quality medicines at affordable prices for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged. Under this campaign, less priced quality unbranded generic medicines will be made available through Jan Aushadhi stores which inherently are less priced but are of same and equivalent quality, efficacy and safety as compared to branded generic medicines.
The generic medicines are being supplied in the first instance by the Central Pharma PSUs which will ensure both quality and timely supply. Medicines not available currently with the CPSUs will be sourced from quality SME units. This will also give support to the Pharma SME sectored as well as promote public-private partnership and avenues for achievement of corporate social responsibilities geared towards affordable Medicare for the masses. The Jan Aushadhi Campaign has now been formalized as Generic Drug Scheme with the approval of the Planning Scheme.

Under this Scheme, the State Government has to provide space in Government Hospital premises for the running of the outlets (JAS). Government hospitals, NGOs, Charitable Organisations and public societies like Red Cross Society typically constituted for the purpose can be operating agencies for the JAS. It is run on the principle of “Not for Profits but with Minimal Profits”. In order to encourage and provide the initial trigger for above, it is envisaged that the Central Government would provide only a one-time assistance of Rs. 2.00 lakhs as furnishing and establishment costs and further Rs. 50,000 as one time start up cost to NGO etc,. setting up the Jan Aushadhi Outlet.

At present, 231 medicines are being supplied in the 44 JAS opened in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Union Territories of Chandigarh and Delhi.

Neanderthals live on in modern man
Mark Mattox/DW
If you found some human carrying the traits of the ancient human beings, don’t be surprised. Using genome sequencing, German researchers have made a discovery that proves that Neanderthals didn't die out some 30,000 years ago - at least not completely. Their DNA lives on.

Analysis has shown that Neanderthal DNA still lives on in modern man, disproving the long-held belief that the more primitive homo species never interbred with humans and had in fact died out some 30,000 years ago.
German scientists announced their findings on Friday in a paper published in the US journal Science, which shows that between 1 and 4 percent of the DNA in people living in Europe, China and New Guinea has Neanderthal origins. The rest is attributable to the main Homo sapiens line with its roots in Africa. Previous laboratory tests had missed the hard-to-find clues and assumed the two species forked 500,000 years ago, never to rejoin.

Ralf W. Schmitz, a University of Bonn scientist who took part in the study, said that now that they have uncovered the whole picture, they've proven that Neanderthals are a part of our ancestry.
"This is an incredible breakthrough for paleogenetics, and incredible breakthrough for archeology and for anthropology. This paper is an absolute milestone," he told German television station ZDF.
Living side by side
Historians have speculated that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis hunter-gatherers made war with one another, but the finding shows they made love too, and could have produced children. That probably happened in the Middle East, where archaeological excavations show the populations existed side by side between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago. The mixed children spread to Asia and Europe.
The finding comes from a first draft of the Neanderthal genome, using partly rotted material from the bones of six individuals, sequenced at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Edition 23: The Lackluster Pune Infrastructure Exposed

However pride the citizens of Pune might take for achievements in various fields, but there is one aspect where the city lags way behind others: Sanitation. The proof came from the union government which has ranked the city at 65th place, trainling behind cities like Panvel and Bhusawal from the state.

In order to sensitize the cities administration as well as the citizens about the current state of sanitation and raise awareness about the need for improvement, Govt of India has announced a National Rating of Class 1 Cities on sanitation parameters. The ratings were released by union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy yesterday. While releasing the list, he said, "Exercise for the rating initiated in 2009 is a part of National Urban Sanitation Policy to make Indian cities and towns totally sanitized, healthy and liveable i.e. they become Nirmal Shahars."

Various expert agencies were involved to assess the status of sanitation on the spot in Class I cities. Data collected and assessment made by these agencies were further analyzed by technical experts and rating was done by awarding points for various parameters. On the basis of their performance, cities have been kept in four categories that are - green, blue, black and red. No city could qualify in the green category while only four cities are in blue category.

Pune is ranked 65th in the list with 42.730 points. Bangalore and Chennai are ahead of Pune while Hyderabad is below it. Among the cities from Maharashtra, Navi Mumbai tops the list with 53.920 points. Cities like Akola, Satara and Ichalkaranji, with comparatively less resources and less size, have made their place in the upper part of the list.

Edition 23: FIFA WC , Vishwanathan Anand

FIFA World Cup without Sensations
Stefan Nestler/DW
Several World Cup participants from the group of favorites have announced their provisional squad. Some prominent names, which are nothing less than the sensations, are missing on the lists.

For the 33-year-old Dutch star striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who started this year in the service of Hamburger SV, the dream of World Cup finals in South Africa has burst. "I think he is fit," said coach Bert van Marwijk with Bond, "but he had come since his knee injury is not enough time to get to its normal level". Van Nistelrooy had resigned after the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, had decided this season, but at a comeback in the Orange jersey.

Among the 30 players in the provisional Dutch World Cup squad are five Bundesliga professionals: Mark van Bommel and Arjen Robben from the German champions FC Bayern Munich, Eljero Elia and Joris Mathijsen from Hamburger SV and VfB Stuttgart by Khalid Boulahrouz.

Toni and Totti to stay home
Italy let its two strikers from 2006 World Champion team- Luca Toni and Francesco Totti- stay at home. Totti-as van Nistelrooy for the Dutch–was in fact adopted for the national team. National coach Marcello Lippi appointed ten players from 2006 World Champion team in his provisional squad of 30 players.

Coach Raymond Domenech of France surprisingly omitted star striker Karim Benzema of Real Madrid. Even veteran Patrick Vieira to Manchester City and Samir Nasri from Arsenal FC are missing in the preliminary squad. Franck Ribery from German champions Bayern Munich is it.

Also missing are two prominent names from the record times World Cup champions Brazil. National coach Carlos Dunga sent ex-world footballer Ronaldinho and Adriano at home. For a World Cup appearance Ronaldinho had been given a massive public campaign in Brazil.

Mascots Beckham

European champion Spain and England hope that their troubled stars will be fit in time for the World Cup. The injured Fernando Torres and Francesc FĂ bregas were appointed to the provisional squad of the Spanish. Wayne Rooney is in spite of his groin to the enlarged squad of the English. Even superstar David Beckham is to go to South Africa - but not as a player, but rather as a mascot. The 35-year-old, who was snatched in March, who was injured in March, has been appointed as an additional supervisor to the staff of coach Fabio Capello.

Parents Elated Over Anand’s Win

PTI
Elated after their son retained his World Chess Championship title, Viswanathan Anand''s parents today said the win is very as special as the Indian tamed challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in his own backyard.
"It is a special moment for us on many counts. Firstly, we are thrilled that no player had won the title so many times as Anand. Winning the title in 2002 and retaining it since 2007, Baba (as Anand is affectionately called by his parents) is the greatest player. We are sure that he will continue to rule the roost at highest levels in the game," the champion''s parents, Viswanathan and Susheela, told PTI. Anand retained his crown by wrapping up the final game against Topalov in Sofia.
Viswanathan said the triumph shows that his son is menatlly very strong. "Right from his young days he always ventures to take challenges," he said.
Anand''s mother said she was delighted result after all the problems that he was forced to confront prior to the tournament. Anand had to travel by road to compete in the world championship as air traffic had been disrupted due to volcanic ash over Europe.
"We were still very hopeful of his triumph because he has always been focused on his work from younger days," she said. "We were not under any pressure and we do not think that Anand was in any such situation.
We were not at all worried about his game since we knew his capabilities and abilities in handling complex situations. "As usual, we did not talk to him during the tournament.
Aruna (Anand''s wife) gave us information on a daily basis. Our prayers were answered and we are happy that he has defended his title," she said.
World champion Viswanathan Anand retained his crown winning the World Chess Championship title by wrapping up the final game against Veselin Topalov of Russia here. Anand achieved an improbable win playing with black in the final game to retain the world title by 6.5-5.5 margin after the end of the 12th and final game here.
Experts over the world had predicted that Topalov, at his worst, will draw the last game under normal time control and then the match will be headed in to the rapid tiebreaker. However, it was not to be as Topalov, trying to look for complications, went haywire in a slightly difficult position and could not recover as Anand kept dealing one lethal blow after another to notch up his fourth world title in 11 years to remain the undisputed king of the game once again.
Earlier, in 2008 Anand had won the world title in a match against Russian Vladimir Kramnik. In 2006 he had won the world championship match tournament ahead of almost all top players in the world and in the year 2000 he had won the championship when it was held on a knockout basis. Anand, thus became the first official world champion in recent history to win two back-to-back matches in world championships against different opponents.
Vladimir Kramnik can also lay his claims for that but for the fact that the match he won against Garry Kasparov in 2000 was not played under the official FIDE flag. If the last game was any indication, Anand had indeed reserved his best as he knew Topalov will go all out for a win.

Edition23: Variety

Was Superman A Jew?
Jane Paulick/DW
On their way into the Jewish Museum in Berlin, visitors these days will find themselves passing a sculpture entitled "Even Superheroes Have Bad Days." Superman appears to have crash-landed headfirst into the pavement. He might have ended up on a Berlin street, but where did Superman come from? It's a question the exhibition inside the museum sets out to answer.

Conceived in cooperation with the Museum of Art and History of Judaism in Paris and the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, the show traces the roots of comics, and demonstrates how the industry was built from the ground up by the children of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

"Superman is a Jew"
If anyone was not aware that cartoon characters across the board - from Spiderman to X-Men and the Fantastic Four - all had Jewish creators, the curators have certainly spelled out their message: The show provides ample evidence that the history of Jewish comic artists is nothing less than the history of comic art.

In many cases, the Jewish origins of the early comic strip characters are instantly apparent. One obvious example is Milt Gross, who in the 1920s wrote comics for the daily broadsheet New York World in a Yiddish-inflected English and often reworked well-known fairytales - such as "Nize ferry-tail from Elledin witt de wanderful lemp."

But by the 1930s, the era of the superhero had dawned. The writers might have still been Jewish - even if they did Americanize their names, such as Batman's inventor Robert Kahn, who become Bob Kane - but there was nothing overtly Jewish about these lantern-jawed characters. Nonetheless, as the exhibition shows, the Nazis were often the enemy.

Assimilation fantasies
A host of scholars over the years have pointed out that the core of Superman's persona is indeed that of the immigrant. Originally, he is a "starchild," placed by his parents on a rocket and shipped alone across millions of light-years to earth as the only survivor on the eve of the planet Krypton's destruction.

Although the exhibition shows rather than tells, Anne Helene Hoog echoed this theory at the press conference, when she said that superheroes were often depicted as outsiders who, with an immigrant's deep patriotism, battle to save their adopted country from an outside threat.

"It wasn't Krypton that Superman came from; it was the planet Minsk or Lodz or Vilna or Warsaw," wrote another popular US cartoonist Jules Feiffer in a 1996 essay for The New York Times Magazine called "The Minsk Theory of Krypton."



Did We Used Wrong Word For 99 Years?
IANS
Those who swear by the dictionary for uses of words may need to cross check as the meaning explained in the bible of lexicon may not be error free.

The error may be slight, but it's an error nonetheless, said Stephen Hughes, a physicist with Queensland University of Technology, who spotted a 99-year-old mistake in the Oxford English Dictionary. Hughes claims he has discovered that the dictionary's definition of the word 'siphon' has been incorrect since 1911.

The definition in the Oxford dictionary and many other dictionaries stated that atmospheric pressure was the force behind a siphon. But in fact it is the force of gravity at work. 'It is gravity that moved the fluid in a siphon, with the water in the longer downward arm pulling the water up the shorter arm,' Hughes was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Hughes alerted the dictionary's revision team, which had just completed revising words beginning with the letter 'R'. 'I thought, 'Oh good, just in time,' because S is next,' he said. The dictionary's review team has agreed to re-examine the definition.

Edition 22: Our City Our Metro



Even as the city administrators are bent on introducing the metro railway in Pune, the citizens are coming up against the project. Some call it the disastrous plan while some oppose it because of technical faults. Whatever, the reason, the citizens have given the statement that in their city, project can not come from outside.

City Blog Desk
Almost 200 persons from all walks of life marched in protest of the Metro project which has become the pet project of the powers that be. Convened by the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan (PMJA), the walk to protest against what the activist say, ‘present form of the disastrously planned metro’ was a huge success. Nearly 200 citizens of age groups between 14 years and 82 years participated in the walk.
They congregated at the subway of the Garware flyover in Deccan Gymkhana. Many curious passers by stopped by, patiently read the objection letter and signed it on the spot itself. Others took it home and said would post it. We collected many objection signatures on the spot - will have to count today. Amongst the well-known personalities of Pune, Vidya Bal, Mangesh Tendulkar, Alpana Kirloskar, Monika Trivedi, Gaurav Natekar, Nachiket and Jayu Patwardhan were a part of this walk which culminated at the Institution of Engineers.
According to Prashant Inamdar, member of PMJA and president of Pedestrian’s First, the present design of the Metro rail is nothing but disaster. Metro is a very costly project and decision will impact city for 100 years and more. Hasty decision if proved wrong later would be disastrous for the city. The PMJA has shot a letter to PMC commissioner Mahesh Zagade outlining the protest. The letter titled ‘Why I, as a citizen, am opposing the present form of Pune Metro?’ says, “No doubt that Pune needs a good public transport system, hence I welcome any mode of public transport which would be people-friendly and of long term use for solving the serious traffic problems Pune is facing. However, there has to be transparency and wide public consultations before taking any decision in the matter. The PMC city fathers have cleared the Rs.4,000 odd crore, 15 km Pune Metro corridor between Vanaz and Ramwadi (Phase-1) without taking people into confidence. We need to know whether the proposal made by the DMRC will be really useful for us, what impact it will have on us and our city and then decide whether we want it. Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad (or rather the entire Pune Metropolitan Region) ought to have a composite traffic and transportation plan because the two neighbouring cities are very closely interlinked and thus have a bearing on each other. Yet PCMC has already backtracked and wants to have its own separate Metro. So the metro plan for Pune alone may either prove ineffective or problematic.”

According to members of PMJA, the PMC states that citizens will be burdened with additional civic taxes after the construction of Pune Metro. We want the PMC to make it very clear what the additional financial burden on citizens would be, the period for which we will have to pay it etc before decision about the project is taken. The DMRC proposal provides only one recommendation which has been blindly accepted by the PMC. We would like to know why the PMC has not asked for various options from the DMRC before making the decision, which is a costly, long term, irreversible commitment for the city.

Even Maharatta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture has objection over the plane. Chandmal Parmar, chairman of transport committee of MCCIA had outlined his objections with City Blog (Feb. 12-18, 2010). These objections were raised in the letters written to Maharashtra government, Dilip Bund, divisional commissioner of Pune and Mahesh Zagade, municipal commisioner.According to Parmar,
• In the planning of the route, Metro rail should connect to the PMPML depot, ST stand and railway station. The purpose should be to provide public with fastest, cheap and convnient mean of transport. This is not done in the present scheme.
• The routes earmarked for the Metro project are based on the D. P. Rues in 1987. The situation in and around Pune has changed so much, but the changes are not considered. Hence the ground reality of the routes is totally different. There will be severe problems in the land acquisition. It will delay the implementation of the project resulting in the cost inflation.
• Instead of Metro rail, MCCIA has suggested a monorail system. This will bring the cost to Rs 0-40 crores per km. This monorail should support the proposed ring road to be taken from outside the city limits. The monorail should be taken along Nagzira Nalla, which is lying unused.
• The gauge of the proposed Metro rail is also a problem. While India has accepted unigauge policy, meaning that all rail lines in the country will run on the broad gauge, Metro rail is proposed to run on the meter gauge. It will create problem in procuring equipments, coaches and manpower for the routes. Also, if there is unigauge system, the metro rails can be easily accommodated with the normal lines in case of emergency. It will not be possible in the meter gauge lines.
• MCCIA has proposed that existing railway line on the Pune-Lonavala route should be strengthened with a third track and frequency of the trains on that route should be increased. Also, railways should start shuttle services on Pune-Daund section which will be later on added with shuttle services on Jejuri and Saswad route.
• Also, MCCIA has asked that the maintenance depot, the dockyard of the Metro should be outside Pune. Because the space required for this depot is too large and looking at the space crunch in the city, it will be futile if existing spaces are taken up.


The Points of Objections
• The DMRC does not explain how the proposed Metro is going to be integrated with the existing and proposed traffic and transportation channels. As a result, we, the citizens’ fear that the Metro in its present form would not be cost-effective and may even worsen the existing mess in Pune rather than easing it.

• This Pune Metro Corridor will be an elevated one, meaning it will run above the surface of the road. This means, Jangli Maharaj Road, Karve Road, Sassoon Road and Pune Station chowk will have monstrous looking flyover-like structures on which the metro will run. There will be wide pillars to support these flyovers at the centre of the existing road which will reduce the carriageway width on the already congested roads.

• As per the DMRC report, there will be 16 Metro Stations, one each at every km, on both sides of the road, each one to be seven to eight storeys high, each one about 140m long & 35 mtrs wide which will come up on the roadsides of Jangli Maharaj Road, Karve Road and Sassoon Road. Due to insufficient clear space for stations, there will be demolition of existing buildings on roadsides and cutting of hundreds of trees.

• As per the DMRC report, no vehicle parking place can be provided at the stations as these are located in congested areas. People with their own vehicles will hence not be able to use the metro.

• The Metro Stations would be very close to existing buildings without sufficient natural ventilation, light and circulation space between the structures. In case of fire mishap, quick access to the site and rescue will be hampered.

• Elevated metro on road will also mean permanently closing all future options along the route for public transport, road infrastructure improvement as well as beautification etc.

• 4 FSI has been proposed for 500 mtr stretch on both sides of metro corridor to raise funds for metro. This densification will distort the fabric of the city and affect quality of life.

Edition 22: Kasab Case still Open

The Case Is Still Open…
As was widely expected, Muhammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone alive terrorist who descended in Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008, was sentenced to death by sessions judge M L Tahaliyani. The whole nation was seen celebrating the verdict with firecrackers, garlands and sweets. This could be seen as a very cruel thing in other circumstances but in this case, the jubilation was seen as the only thing obvious. Perhaps it was our sense of justice or vengeance behind the act.

After the word was out, voices were raised to hang the ‘killing machine,’ as Kasab was described by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, without any delay. Surely, not a single nation lover person will want Kasab to emerge as the next Afzal Guru, who is enjoying his stay in the safe custody of jail premise even almost two years of pronouncement of hanging.

Now the question arises, was this celebration in place for the occasion? It has been almost three months that a bomb ripped through the German Bakery in Pune, which was considered to be one of the safest places in India. Given its strategic positioning and heavy presence of military organizations, the Pune always stood as a safe and sound city. But that concept was shaken inside out on the evening of Feb 13, 2010.

It will be better before absorbing ourselves in the sound of crackers and taste of sweets that the Indian police lost three prominent officers in the ‘low intensity conflict’ of that fateful night. It was a constable from the Mumbai police who grabbed Kasab and shed his life to stop the guy from taking more innocent lives.

Kasab was only a pawn, as has been said quite a number of times. But the operatives who supported are still in active in the country. Merely hanging Kasab will not get us rid of these forces. Quite to the contrary, these factories which had been in a go-slow mode for some time now are once again going full steam in manufacturing murderers. It is not going to be enough to stop the operation of jihad factories operating in Pakistan. For example, On the very day Kasab was pronounced guilty, a Lashkar-e-Tayiba cell was unearthed in Kashmir. Not only is LeT founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed openly addressing rallies in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan, LeT commander in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Abdul Wahid Kashmiri had been addressing rallies of jihadi groups in PoK, threatening jihad against India and rest of the world.

Even this week, the main accused of the bomb scare in Time Square was found to have links with Pakistan. The US authorities are still investigating the case. If this is the case, the need is to be alert. We should not let the elation take us over resulting in the neglect of our duty. One Kasab might be hanged, but that does not make us any safer!

Edition22: Sushma Chavan


Accustomed To Honour
There are many officers in the police department who are associated with the honours. As the time changes, women offiers have joined the rank of their male counterparts. Inspector Sushma Chavan is one of those officer who have brought honours after honours to the department. The summit of these honours was the reverred President's Medal which was announced on Republic Day this year.

Sushma Shailendra Chavan is the first woman officer from the Pune police to be honoured with the President's medal. She is presently posted in the Foreigner's registration branch. Having joined the state police force in June 1987, she has received 186 rewards and 34 certificates for solving many cases during her previous postings with the Pune police and the State Criminal Investigation Department, Pune.

Chavan is also the recipient of the state director-general of police medal in 2008. During her illustrious career, she has worked in Bhosari, Vishrambaug, Deccan and Kothrud police stations in Pune. She has also served in Airport Security branch and Anti-Narcotics Branch in Navi Mumbai.

Among the list of the major cases investigated and resolved by Chavan include one busting the gang behind theft of spare parts in the Cummins company. 14 men were arrested in the case and material worth Rs 15 lakh was recovered from them. Second important case which she investigated was the sex scandal in Ahmednagar.

Edition22: Impact of 3G auctions in India

As the 3G/BWA auction process moves towards a closure, a backgrounder on its possible impact on the wider India Telecom industry is prepared by Naveen Mishra, Lead Analyst, Telecoms Research Practice, IDC India DC (India) Ltd. Set up in 1987, IDC (India) Ltd., ais regarded as comprehensive, dependable and respected source for market intelligence and consulting in the fields of IT, telecommunications and consumer technology.


Q: Can IDC throw light on the status of the India 3G spectrum bidding and the monies involved?

A: The formal bidding process, which started off on April 9 is an iterative process and is expected to be completed over the next few days. The base price for all-India licence has been pegged at INR 3,500 Crore (US$ 760 million) for 3G spectrum and INR 1,750 Crore (US$ 380 million) for BWA spectrum.

The successful launch of 3G / BWA networks and services would help to decongest mobile services networks especially in metros/urban areas and improve quality of service (QoS) for the Indian mobile services user. BWA spectrum is expected to help launch WiMax services in rural areas. This would help reach broadband connectivity to the rural masses. Government initiatives such as connecting Citizen Service Centres (CSCs) and e-Governance programs to provide telemedicine / e-health and other services is further expected to help in the development of the ecosystem.

Q2. Please describe the two parallel auctions that are going on here, 3G spectrum vs. broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum?
A: The 3G spectrum auction involves identification of successful bidders for allocation of 3 or 4 blocks of 2 x 5 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band across 22 service areas or circles. The BWA auction, to be launched two days after the close of the 3G spectrum auction, involves identification of successful bidders for 2 blocks of 20 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band across 22 service areas or circles.

Q3. Can you comment on the rationale for Qualcomm, a vendor, bidding to become a broadband wireless access provider?

A: Qualcomm has a history of participating in spectrum auctions. In the India auction they have bid for BWA spectrum with the stated purpose of expediting deployment of TD-LTE, which is compatible with 3G WCDMA/HSPA and EV-DO.

Q4. Will it be worth the investment for the successful Telcos in the end?

A: India is a spectrum-starved market, especially in urban areas. Operators are looking to access spectrum to not only offer new generation data services base to consumers to boost their earnings, but also to improve the quality of service (QoS) offered under the current 2G regime.

Q5. What are the winning bidders going to do differently for 3G in India compared to the countries that have had it for some time?

A: India is a predominantly pre-paid mobile services market. Therefore, the business models of service providers who eventually win the spectrum bids and offer 3G services have to be tailored to this reality. India being a 'young nation' with an estimated fifty percent of the population under the age of 35 years, is expected to see greater demand for content centred around sports and entertainment. Indian consumers would be able to access new age services such as video-on-demand, live TV etc.

Edition 22: Pune cops unfair to fairer sex

PTI
Even as they continue to step up vigilance to arrest an alarming rise in sex crimes in the city, Pune Police have drawn flak from women's groups for purportedly seeking to downplay the issue.
What has agitated the women activists is a survey released by police, which claims that as per their statistics over 70% of the rape cases were filed belatedly by the victims who first agreed to consensual sex act and later chose to file complaints when the promise of marriage was not kept by the accused men.
Addressing a meeting of women's organisations convened here last week to discuss security measures being implemented by police to curb sex crimes, a senior police official contended that a majority of rape cases registered were "fall out of love affairs".
Complaints in such episodes were lodged after considerable delay and this made the job of gathering evidence difficult for the investigators, he argued.
This contention was later supported by DCP (Crime) Anil Kumbhare citing statistics over the last couple of years.
The officials claimed that the statistics showed cases of harassment filed by women had actually dropped in the city.
However, the police claim has not gone down well with representatives of women who have raised doubts over the conclusions drawn by the law enforcing machinery.
Questioning the findings, Kiran Moghe, who heads the Pune unit of All India Democratic Women's Association, said the police survey also mentioned that most of the cases that fell under the category of consensual sex involved underage girls.
"If that is true, then it is a contradiction as sex with minor should be considered as a rape because the consent aspect in such cases is void," she said.
Moghe rubbished the police statistics and said lack of sensitivity on part of authorities while handling complaints of sexual assault on women could have resulted in registration of less number of cases during the period under reference.
Apart from an increased number of sex crimes, the city has also witnessed a spurt in the cases of domestic violence, she added. "A liberalised liquor policy in Maharashtra could be a contributory factor to this malady."
Echoing her views, Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC who has been associated with a women's cell, "Stree Adhar Kendra", for the last three decades, said she could not agree with the police version of nature of rape cases emanating from failed love affairs and betrayals.
"One needs to ponder over as to why police are releasing this kind of survey when the whole law and order machinery in the city has come under a scanner following a series of rapes reported in last one and a half months."
It could well be a ploy to divert the public's attention from their own failure to curb crime against women, said Gorhe, who has demanded removal of Police commissioner Satyapal Singh.

Kiran Muzumdar-A Role Model
Successful Indian entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who recently made it to the 2010 Times 100 list, has funded to launch a new fellowship on cancer research in India at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Announced early this week during her visit to Boston, the Mazumdar-Shaw International Oncology Fellows Programme is a high-impact, bilateral collaboration with India focusing on cancer research training as its cornerstone. Funded by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chair and managing director of Biocon, one of India's largest biotechnology firms, the fellowship will bring Indian scientists to MIT to train for two years.

Those researchers will then return to India to help jump-start cancer research programs there. It's broader mission is to build India's position as an intellectual hub for oncology research from which significant advances are expected to emerge.

The programme offers opportunities for postdoctoral scientists, engineers and physicians to undertake cancer research at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, working at the interfaces between biology/medicine and the diverse fields of mathematics, engineering, computer science and the physical and chemical sciences.

"As an entrepreneur whose company is pursuing cancer research, I am acutely aware of the need to augment cancer research in the country at a basic scientific level," Mazumdar-Shaw said in a statement.

"If we are to develop new onco-therapies for Indian patients, we must create a strong research ethos amongst the medical and scientific communities engaged in the area of cancer," she said.



Green Exercise-Good For Health
Researchers claim that just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being. In the latest analysis, British researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people. The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail.

The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes. Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the young and the mentally-ill.

Edition 22: DSK Gappa



The DSK Gappa continued its tradition of cultural programmes this year also with an event stretching over four days. This year, celebrity actors and music directors shared their little known secrets with the audience in the events prganised by DSK Foundation. The programmes also came up with the expert opinion on the current trend of reality shows, competition and the attitude of Hindi movie industry towards Marathi artists.

Reality Shows Wasting Talents
On the first day of event, May 6, music directorAshok Patki held responsible reality shows on TV channels for harming the future of budding singers.

He said , “Although reality shows are giving budding singers chance to showcase there talent, at the same time they are binding them in two years contract, they can’t sing anywhere therefore these shows harming the future of talented singer." Patki was speaking in the programme 'Jingles to Cinema'.

While elaborating his opinion Patki Said, "In the period of two years contract singers don't have permission for singing for other channels. During these two years, new batch of singers comes out from the same reality shows. But those two important years of the singer are wasted." Patki was interviewed by Rajesh Damle and Milind Kulkarni.

In the programme, Patki presented some of his memorable compositions like Ketakichya bani tithe nachala ga Mor, Radha hi Bawari, Tang ting tinga, Besides that title songs of serial Wadalwat, Manasi and Jingles like Zandu Balm, Mile Sur Mera tumhara.

CMD of DSK group D.S. Kulkarni, Group Director Hemanti Kulkarni and Assitant General Manager of Maharashtra bank Shrikant Brahme were present at the occasion.

The Homely Stars
Popular sitcom actors of Marathi serials came together to share their secrets of career on the second day of DSK Gappa. Stars like Satish Rajwade (Agnihotra), Sidharth Chandekar (Agnihotra), Sai Tamnankar (Anubandh), Prasad Oak (Avghachi Sansar) along with Mukta Barve (Agnihotra) in “Maliketil Mandali” program.

Speaking on the occasion, Mukta Barve, lead actress of “Jogwa”, the national award winning film said, “We actually lived with Jogte’s to understand their life and that’s how we could portray with conviction the painful life of Jogte’s. Audience’s reaction gives me energy to perform. Apart from good acting skills it’s more important to imbibe the characteristics of that character for total justice”

Singing cum acting sensation Prasad Oak commenced the program with Morya… Morya…song. “Though acting and singing has given me name and fame but ultimately the goal is direction. Late Nilu Phule, Ashok Saraf and Viram Gokhale are my idols and are Live creative University for me,” Oak said,

Young and happening Siddharth Chandekar attributed his success to “Agnihotra” and considered it to be his turning point of professional life. “Until and unless I am convinced about my character I do not accept any role” said Sai Tamhankar. Sudhir Gadgil and Rajesh Damle compered the program in a lively manner.

Saraf Lashes Out At Bollywood

Lashing out on the politics and discrimination prevalent in Hindi film industry, veteran theatre, film and TV actor Ashok Saraf said that even though regional films offered less money, they give more satisfaction to him as an actor.

Speaking on the third day of DSK Gappa on Saturday, Saraf said that Hindi movie industry always treats the regional actors as sub-standard. They are given but only the roles of either comedian or villain, that is all about it. The industry tries to belittle the Marathi artists, said Saraf, who has worked in at least 50 Hindi films and as many serials.
Veteran compeer Sudhir Gadgil interviewed Saraf and his wife Nivedita, who is also an actress. The couple shared the little known facts about their career, hobbies, married life and experiences. Both of them were felicitated at the hands of Pratap Dighavkar, superintendent of police, Pune Rural.
Saraf said, it is a thing to be proud of that the viewers consider me as a comedian. Comedy roles are the most difficult to portray.
…………
Photo Captions
Actors.jpg
Sai Tamhankar, Mukta Barve, Sudhir Gadgil, Rajesh Damle, Prasad Oak and Siddhartha Chandekar speaking on the second day of DSK Gappa.

Ashok Saraf.jpg
Sai Tamhankar, Mukta Barve, Sudhir Gadgil, Rajesh Damle, Prasad Oak and Siddhartha Chandekar speaking on the second day of DSK Gappa.

Edition 22: Are Kalmadi’s Days Numbered?

City Blog Desk
The ongoing tussle between union sports ministry and Suresh Kalmadi, president of Indian Olympic Association means that Kalmadi’s days as the head of sports organization in India are numbered. After a stint over a decade, Kalmadi got marching orders by thr ministry last week. The sports ministry informed that politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen occupying top posts in various National Sports Federations (NSF) for more than a decade will have to step down after their current term expires.

Kalmadi is at the helm of affairs of IOA since 1996. He was re-elected twice, in 2004 and 2008. His present tenure is to end in Reelected un opposed 2012. Sports Minister M S Gill said the new regulation that seeks to limit the tenure of sports administrators has the backing of all political parties and is in fact a softer version of the original 1975 guideline.

Gill was rather taken aback by the reaction of the chiefs of various National Sports Federations (NSF), among whom Kalmadi is prominent, vehemently opposed the regulation, questioning its timing since it came barely five months before the Commonwealth Games in the capital. In an interview, the Sports Minister said he was requested by all political parties to limit the tenure of sports administrators.

"On April 22, there was a full debate on my ministry in the Rajya Sabha and all parties, barring none, urged me to have the regulation to limit terms (of the sports administrators), this being the demand of the sports people and the public for long," Gill said.

"I studied the issue with my officers and gave a considered order which should be read and re-read for total understanding," he said.

Gill said all he did was to bring back an old regulation and in fact relaxed the norm to allow NSF presidents to continue for 12 years, instead of eight suggested by the original 1975 guideline.

"I have only restored the regulation of the Indira Gandhi government. For the sake of the federation office-bearers, I have in fact softened the regulation and it's milder than the 1975 direction," he said.

The new regulation suggests NSF presidents, which includes long-standing Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, cannot occupy the post for more than 12 years, with or without break, while secretaries and treasurers can serve eight years at a stretch and can seek a re-election only after a four-year gap.

"I guess the current protest is frankly because my friends (in NSFs) want unlimited tenures which don't exist even in IOC and most major sports federations in the world," Gill said.

On the other hand, the heads of sporting federations, including Kalmadi, met PM Manmohan Singh to protest the sports ministry limiting their tenures but came away with little assurance. The plea that the order was ill-timed, coming before the Commonwealth Games and in the midst of a security inspection, and that autonomy of sporting federations was affected elicited a non-committal response.

The PM is most unlikely to weigh in for the sports federations, given their record of opaque functioning and poor results in most disciplines. The argument that federations were elected bodies and office-bearers held office democratically has not cut much ice as the government feels it has the powers to set tenure limits.

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CityBlog Pune is weekly paper launched by Orange Publications and Productions Pvt Ltd. It aims to create a forum where each issue will be followed up. We will have citizen to express and not just read what others have to say. Just like an on + offline blog