Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TAPI pipeline gas sale agreement signed

The 1,680 km pipeline to become operational by 2018

In a step that is likely to boost peace and give new shape to regional energy cooperation, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, on Wednesday, inked the historic gas sale purchase agreement (GSPA) for the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, often touted as the peace pipeline.

Turkmenistan, which holds more than 4 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves, signed agreements to sell gas to India and Pakistan through the 1,680 km pipeline at the Caspian Sea resort of Avaza in Turkmenistan, according to a statement issued here. For India, the agreement was signed by GAIL (India) Chairman B. C. Tirpathi in the presence of Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy who described the signing of the GSPA as "no ordinary event" and a triumph of multilateralism, regional cooperation and economic integration.

The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) of gas for a 30-year period and is likely to become operational by 2018. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.

Besides Mr. Reddy, the GSPA, signed by national oil companies of the four nations, was witnessed by Turkmenistan Oil Minister, B. Nedirov, Pakistan's Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain and Afghanistan's Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani.

"Without a doubt, the economic benefits of the TAPI gas pipeline will be immense for our energy-starved economies. The flow of natural gas will bring in industrial and economic development in our countries," Mr. Reddy said.

"It is our belief that the TAPI gas pipeline will transform the politics of this region." Hopefully, the spin-off benefits of this pipeline will encourage us to emphasise trade and investment issues over contentious political issues and enable us to build trust and confidence among ourselves as neighbours and partners in progress," he said.

Last week, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to the signing of GSPA and also approved the payment of 50 cents per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu) as the transit fee to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the gas.

The contract price of TAPI gas is linked to a formula which contains indices based on fuel basket and other indices which are not as volatile as crude oil. The formula is similar to the ones used in international contracts. The U.S. is backing the pipeline as an alternative to the India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) pipeline that has been stalled for quite some time now due to U.S. pressure on India and Pakistan not to go ahead with the project. The pipeline will run from the Turkmenistan gas fields to Afghanistan. It will start from the Dauletabad gas fields and run into Afghanistan alongside the highway running from Heart to Kandahar and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan. The final destination of the pipeline will be Fazilka near the India-Pakistan border.

Keywords: TAPI gas pipeline, GSPA, GAIL India

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ecocabs in Malyalam Manorama-Kerala

Malyalam Manorama, 23rd May 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fazilka Ecocabs Offers New Paradigm for Non-Motorized Transport in Indian Cities - The City FIX

Cycle rickshaws, an eco-friendly mode of transport, continue to play a role in para-transit and non-motorized modes of transport in Indian cities. The world's first dial-a-rickshaw service, Ecocabs, was initiated in Fazilka, Punjab in 2008 by Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka, an NGO dedicated to education, employment, environment and energy.  The concept was successful, and it has now been taken to 21 other cities in the state of Punjab.

According to estimates, nearly 60 lakh (6 million) people travel on cycle rickshaws in Punjab every day. The Ecocabs scheme has been instrumental in employment generation, becoming a source of livelihood for about 3 lakh (300,000) families and reducing use of fossil fuels. In 2011, Fazilka Ecocabs won the National Award for Excellence in Non-Motor Transport from the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. The project has also received international attention and was one of the 15 finalists for the SMART Mobility Enterprize.

The key to the cycle rickshaw—or ecocab—operations has been the improvement of the existing rickshaw design, along with the introduction of a hub-and-spoke model of operations. In Fazilka, ninecall centers have been strategically spread around the town, and each of these serve an average of 1,500 households. The cycle rickshaws are ergonomically designed and are offered at a very affordable price. The service is usually available between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  The scheme functions very similar to the dial-a-cab service and all rickshaw pullers, also known as traction men, have been provided with cell phones.

The new rickshaws, including models called Femto and Nano, designed with ergonomic principles, are lightweight, low-floor and carry extra luggage and advertisement space. Additional revenue can be generated for the traction men with the use of the advertising space. A similar practice has been adopted for auto-rickshaws in several other cities.

There are a total of 500 members of the project in Fazilka. All traction men receive several benefits, including free health checkups, accidental insurance for 50,000 INR (US$918), and access to credit financing schemes of leading banks, among others. They are also provided with work uniforms and have to follow a code of conduct, which, if broken, can lead to the confiscation of their rickshaw license. The project helped increase the latent demand for cycle rickshaws and has contributed towards improved well-being of rickshaw pullers and their families.

The ecocab services are operationally efficient and include benefits for the rickshaw pullers, users and society at large. With the success of the scheme and national-level recognition of it, several other cities, including Delhi and Jaipur, are considering implementing a similar dial-a-rickshaw system. In addition, the idea also finds mention in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan, under the low carbon mobility agenda.

Read all about the history of cycle rickshaws in the virtual rickshaw museum.

Related news:

Saturday, May 19, 2012


ਭਾਰਤ ਦੀ ਆਜ਼ਾਦੀ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ ਸਰਹ¤ਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਅ¤ਜ ਆਪਣੇ ਸਥਾਪਨਾ ਦੇ ਭਾਵੇਂ 164ਵੇਂ ਸਾਲ 'ਚ ਪ੍ਰਵੇਸ਼ ਕਰਨ ਜਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ, ਪਰ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਸਾਲਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਸ ਇਲਾਕੇ ਦੀ ਤਰ¤ਕੀ ਵ¤ਲ ਕੋਈ ਧਿਆਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਦਿ¤ਤਾ ਗਿਆ।। ਇਸ ਸਰਹ¤ਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਨੂੰ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ ਅਫ਼ਸਰ ਮਿਸਟਰ ਓਲੀਵਰ ਨੇ ਨੰਬਰਦਾਰ ਫ਼ਜ਼ਲ ਖਾਂ ਤੋਂ 144 ਰੁਪਏ 8 ਆਨੇ 'ਚ 32 ਏਕੜ ਜ਼ਮੀਨ ਖ਼ਰੀਦ ਕੇ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਸੀ।। ਉਸ ਸਮੇਂ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਤਹਿਸੀਲ ਦੀ ਹ¤ਦ ਸਿਰਸਾ, ਬੀਕਾਨੇਰ, ਬਹਾਵਲਪੁਰ (ਜੋ ਕਿ ਹੁਣ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ 'ਚ ਹੈ) ਅਤੇ ਮਮਦੋਟ ਤ¤ਕ ਸੀ। ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਸਾਰਿਆਂ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ 'ਚ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਕੰਮਾਂ, ਪੁਲਿਸ, ਸੈਨਾ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਕੰਮ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ 'ਚ ਹੀ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਸਨ, ਪਰ ਸਮੇਂ-ਸਮੇਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਆਗੂਆਂ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਫ਼ਾਇਦੇ ਲਈ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਨੂੰ ਇੱਕ ਛੋਟੀ ਜਿਹੀ ਤਹਿਸੀਲ ਬਣਾ ਦਿ¤ਤਾ।। ਉਸ ਸਮੇਂ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਆਪਣੀ ਸਹੂਲਤ ਲਈ ਬਣਾਏ ਗਏ ਵ¤ਖ-ਵ¤ਖ ਦਫ਼ਤਰ ਡਾਨ ਹਸਪਤਾਲ (ਹੁਣ ਸਿਵਲ ਹਸਪਤਾਲ), ਡਾਕ ਬੰਗਲਾ, ਬਾਧਾ ਝੀਲ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਕਈ ਅਦਾਰੇ ਇਕ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਬਣ ਕੇ ਰਹਿ ਗਏ ਹਨ।।ਦ¤ਸਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਉਪਮੰਡਲ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਆਲਮ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਨੂੰ ਫ਼ਜ਼ਲ ਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਪੁ¤ਤਰ ਆਲਮ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਨੇ, ਪਿੰਡ ਸਲੇਮਸ਼ਾਹ ਨੂੰ ਫ਼ਜ਼ਲ ਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਭਰਾ ਸਲੇਮ ਖਾਨ ਨੇ, ਪਿੰਡ ਸੁਰੇਸ਼ ਵਾਲਾ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਸੁਰੇਸ਼ ਖ਼ਾਨ ਨੇ, ਪਿੰਡ ਆਵਾ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਆਵ ਖ਼ਾਨ ਨੇ ਅਤੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਲੁਕਮਾਨ ਉਰਫ਼ ਵਰਿਆਮ ਖੇੜਾ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਲੁਕਮਾਨ ਖਾਂ ਨੇ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਸੀ।। ਭਾਰਤ ਦੀ ਆਜ਼ਾਦੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ 1965 ਅਤੇ 1971 'ਚ ਭਾਰਤ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ 'ਚ ਹੋਏ ਯੁ¤ਧ ਦਾ ਇ¤ਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਬੜੀ ਦਲੇਰੀ ਦਾ ਸਾਹਮਣਾ ਕਰਨਾ ਪਿਆ। 1971 'ਚ ਹੋਏ ਯੁ¤ਧ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਫ਼ੌਜ ਦਾ ਸਾਹਮਣਾ ਕਰਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਕਈ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਜਵਾਨ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਹੋ ਗਏ, ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਯਾਦ 'ਚ ਆਸਫਵਾਲਾ ਨੇੜੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਮਾਧ ਬਣਾਈ ਗਈ ਹੈ।। ਜੇਕਰ ਮੌਜੂਦਾ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ 'ਤੇ ਝਾਤ ਮਾਰੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਇਹ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵ¤ਡੇ ਆਗੂਆਂ ਦੀ ਸਿਆਸਤੀ ਚਾਲਾਂ 'ਚ ਫਸ ਕੇ ਤਰ¤ਕੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਿਆ।। ਚਾਹੇ ਇ¤ਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੇ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਨੂੰ ਜ਼ਿਲ੍ਹੇ ਦਾ ਦਰਜਾ ਦੇ ਦਿ¤ਤਾ ਹੈ ਪਰ ਹਾਲੇ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਇਲਾਕੇ ਦੇ ਵਿਕਾਸ ਲਈ ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਕੁ¤ਝ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਲੋੜ ਹੈ।। ਇ¤ਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵ¤ਡੀ ਮੰਗ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਦੇ ਅੰਤਰਰਾਸ਼ਟਰੀ ਭਾਰਤ-ਪਾਕ ਸਾਦਕੀ-ਸੁਲੇਮਾਨ ਕੀ ਬਾਰਡਰ ਨੂੰ ਵਪਾਰ ਲਈ ਖੋਲ੍ਹਣਾ ਨੂੰ ਹਾਲੇ ਤ¤ਕ ਪੂਰਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ।। ਇਸ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਫ਼ਾਜ਼ਿਲਕਾ ਤੋਂ ਅਬੋਹਰ ਲਈ ਰੇਲਗ¤ਡੀ ਚਲਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਕੰਮ ਵੀ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਲਟਕਦਾ ਆ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ।। ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਮੰਗ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸਰਹ¤ਦੀ ਇਲਾਕੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਵਲੋਂ ਵ¤ਡਾ ਉਦਯੋਗ ਸਥਾਪਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਕਿ ਨੌਜਵਾਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਰੁਜ਼ਗਾਰ ਮਿਲ ਸਕੇ। 

अब जय किसान जय जवान

अंशकालिक प्रतिनिधि, फाजिल्का

पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री स्व.लाल बहादुर शास्त्री की ओर से दिया स्लोगन जय जवान जय किसान अब यहां जय किसान जय जवान के रूप में चरितार्थ हो रहा है। तमाम खतरों को झेल सीमा से सटे खेतों में मेहनत कर लोगों का पेट भरने वाले किसान अब देश की सीमाओं की रक्षा करने के लिए सीमा सुरक्षा बल (बीएसएफ) का साथ देने के लिए आगे आ रहे हैं।

गौरतलब है कि पाकिस्तान की सीमा से सटे इलाकों में घुसपैठ, जाली करंसी, नशे और हथियारों की तस्करी की वारदातें आम बात हैं। ज्यादातर वारदातें सीमा के साथ खेतों में लगी फसलों के कारण होती हैं। घुसपैठिये या तस्कर ऊंचे कद वाली फसल का फायदा उठाते हुए गैर कानूनी सामान उधर से इधर करते हैं। इस समस्या का हल करने के लिए किसान भी बीएसएफ का साथ देंगे।

बार्डर एरिया संघर्ष कमेटी पंजाब के साथ कुछ अन्य संगठनों के सदस्यों का एक शिष्टमंडल बीएसएफ के कमांडेंट राम सेवक को शुक्रवार को यहां मिला। इस अवसर पर उन्होंने सीमावर्ती क्षेत्र के अंतर्गत आती जमीन पर पानी की कमी की समस्या बताते हुए धान की बुआई के बजाय कम ऊंचाई वाले नरमे की फसल बीजने की मंजूरी दिए जाने की माग की। किसानों ने कहा कि देश की सुरक्षा उनके लिए सर्वोपरि है। इससे घुसपैठ रोकने के लिए पूरी मदद मिलेगी।

इस मौके पर कमेटी के जिला सचिव रमेश वढेरा, राजिंदर चावला, कुलवंत सिंह, हरीराम तथा तेजा सिंह के अलावा जमहूरी किसान सभा के जिला सचिव कुलवंत सिंह, अवतार सिंह, मजदूर सभा के सचिव राम कुमार वर्मा तथा गुरमेज गेजी आदि उपस्थित थे।

Cabinet approves TAPI gas pact

New Delhi, May 17: The Union cabinet has given its approval to the agreement to bring gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Officials said the cabinet had also approved the transit fee to bring gas through the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.

Petroleum minister S. Jaipal Reddy is slated to visit Turkmenistan next week to sign the sale and purchase agreement, officials said.

The gas will be purchased for about $8 to $10 per million British thermal unit at Turkmenistan's Dauletabad gasfield.

It will be transported through a 1,680km pipeline traversing the Herat, Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan.

The pipeline will pass through Multan in Pakistan and end at Fazilka in Punjab.

Turkmenistan will deliver the gas at the Afghanistan border and thereafter a consortium of companies would take responsibility for establishing, operating and maintaining the transnational pipeline.

Apart from the gas price, India will pay $0.50 per mmBtu (million metric British thermal unit) as a transit fee to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The delivered price of gas on the Indian border will be $10-$12 per mmBtu compared with $4.20 per mmBtu price of domestic gas and $16 per mmBtu rate of gas imported in ships in liquid form.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

ADMN NOT OPEN TO NEW IDEAS, SAYS HC - Vehicle Free & Pedestrian Friendly Sector 17 Chandigarh

Observing that the UT administration had been "stonewalling" the court directions over making Sector 17-E a no-vehicle and pedestrian friendly zone for quite long, the Punjab and Haryana high court said neither the authorities were open to new ideas as proposed by the court nor were they taking any measures.
Special division bench comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Ajay Tewari suggested that 400 vehicles being accommodated in the parking lot in front of Empire Stores can be shifted to a ground near RBI, on pilot basis for a month.
The municipal corporation had informed the court that there was no alternative space available for accommodating vehicles if Sector-17 parking lot was made vehicle-free.
The bench observed that the suggestion of making the parking lot a no-vehicle zone was being opposed "tooth and nail" by the administration and when the bench suggested of removing 400 cars from the parking lot to some other place just to check results, the authorities were diverting court's mind that by saying they were coming up with multi-level parking lots, which would take time.
"Unless you have a long-term policy based on people's feedback and research, nothing is going to work. For many months, we have been wasting time. Who are officials delaying it? At least, tell us," it said.
However, the senior UT standing counsel told the bench that the administration was making all-out efforts to come up with a concrete plan but there were many practical problems in way.
The court issued the directions to amicus curiae (friend of court) advocate APS Shergill, Rita Kohli and Navdeep Asija to visit Sector-17 parking lot and give detailed report by Wednesday.
Directions were also issued to the MC to extend cooperation to the advocates in order to come out with a solution. The case would now come up for hearing on May 18.

Hindustan Times,
  • 12 May 2012
  • Hindustan Times (Chandigarh), HT City Live

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

पक्षियों को बचाने में फाजिल्का आगे लोगों ने पार्क में परिंडे रखकर अभियान में सहयोग दे रहे हैं

भास्कर न्यूज -!- फाजिल्का
भास्कर की ओर से शुरू किए गए अभियान 'आइए बनें पक्षियों का सहारा' से लोग जागरूक होने शुरू हो गए हैं। लोगों ने घरों की छतों व अन्य स्थानों पर पानी दान रखकर पक्षियों के गले तर करने का सिलसिला शुरू कर दिया है। कुछ जागरूक लोगों ने संजय गांधी मेमोरियल पार्क में भी परिंडे रखकर इस अभियान में सहयोग देना शुरू किया है। यह पानी दान पक्षियों की प्यास बुझाने और दाने चुगने के लिए बनाए गए हैं। 
झलकती है राष्ट्र की महानता : ग्रेजुएट्स वेलफेयर एसोसिएशन फाजिल्का के सचिव नवदीप असीजा ने बताया कि मोहन दास कर्मचंद गांधी ने कहा था कि किसी राष्ट्र की महानता और नैतिक प्रगति को इस बात से मापा जाता है कि वह अपने यहां जानवरों से किसी तरह का सलूक करते हैं। उन्होंने बताया कि गवफ ने भास्कर के अभियान के प्रभावित होकर एसएमएस के जरिए पक्षियों को बचाने का अभियान शुरू किया है। हर आदमी को इस अभियान से जुडऩा चाहिए।
पक्षियों की सेवा से उतारो ऋण :कृषि विशेषज्ञ कैप्टन एमएस बेदी ने बताया कि पक्षी हमारे मित्र है और वह कृषि फसलों को क्षति पहुंचाने वाले अधिकांश कीटों को खाकर न केवल किसानों की सहायता करते हैं, बल्कि आहार शृंखला में भी कीटनाशकों को पहुंचाने में कमी करके हमें अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से विषपान से बचाते हैं, इसलिए पक्षियों को ऋण उतारने के लिए पक्षियों की सेवा जरूरी है। उनका कहना है कि आजकल गांवों के पास तालाबों और नदियों में पानी उपलब्ध नहीं है। उनमें पक्षियों को पीने का पानी नहीं मिलने से जल अभाव में उन पर भी तापमान का खतरा है। 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fazilka in Punjab gets Dial-a-rickshaw service

May 4, 2012 - India: There is a change of trend in certain pockets of India where communities are organising themselves to assert their right to walk and cycle. These zero carbon emitters have checked the country's pollution from soaring. They also point to the route India needs to take to make cities clean. Anumita Roychowdhury charts this route along with Ruchita Bansal, Aniruddha Bhattacharjee and Shashank Gandhi

DILIP SINGH looks important. A rickshaw puller by profession, he is also the president of the south zone Ecocab's Dial-a-rickshaw service in Fazilka, a town in Punjab. Wearing a crisp shirt and smart shoes, he flashes his android cellphone and says, "Gone are the days when rickshaw pullers were known for dirty, unkempt looks." Just like taxis in other cities, rickshaws in Fazilka arrive at the doorstep when called on their service number.

Complete with a fleet of uniform-wearing pullers and a strict etiquette code to follow, Dial a rickshaw is a modern twist to an old mode of transport. The rickshaw pullers can lose their licence if found misbehaving. Says Navdip Asija, an IIT graduate and a leading member of Graduates Welfare Association, Fazilka: "We did not want rickshaws to be known as a poor person's transport. In this town even the wealthy and the aged demand such services."

One can locate the nearest Ecocab call centre by using Google Maps or GPS. Ecocab also has a website where one can check details of the registered rickshaw pullers.

Every day about 500 rickshaw pullers ferry 10,000 passengers. Each zone in the town has a dedicated phone number and at least 30 rickshaw pullers are available round-the-clock. Every puller owns a cellphone. Around 65 per cent of the pullers own their rickshaws. Ecocab provides each puller an insurance policy worth Rs 50,000. A set of woollens every winter and medical checkup and medicines are also offered at discounted prices. They also get legal aid and support for children's schooling.

Fazilka's community is reaping the benefits of the service. The Ecocab saves as much as 1,500 litres of fuel every day for the city. It has made travel safer. Resident Asha Kumari says, "Initially it used to be a long walk before I could get a rickshaw. Now all I have to do is pick up my phone. I also feel very safe."

The service has helped the prime business area of Ghanta Ghar become a car-free zone. Following the services' success, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued suo moto direction to both Punjab and Haryana to find ways to replicate Ecocab service in the rest of the state.

Source: The weekend leader

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GreenTalk: Indians fight for the right to walk, or bicycle

Millions more Indians travel by foot, bicycle and bus than travel by car, but you'd never guess it from the design of India's cities or the allocation of government funds. A handful of interesting organizations is fighting for the rights of zero emitters, however.

The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) magazine Down To Earth reports that a number of groups, ranging from rickshaw pullers in the Punjab to bicycle crazy yuppies in Haryana are working to influence policy makers and change the way India thinks about urban infrastructure.

Ecocab's Dial-a-rickshaw service in Fazilka, Punjab, for instance, is revamping the "outdated" bicycle rickshaw as a cutting-edge, modern form of transportation by focusing on its naturally eco-friendly qualities. The Manipur Cycling Club, in the northeastern state of Manipur, is manufacturing bicycles from bamboo to simultaneously create a source of employment and encourage eco-friendly transportation. The Namma Cycle movement initiated by Ride-A-Cycle Foundation has made free-to-share bicycles available around educational institutes and recreational sites in Bangalore. And Rickshaw Bank offers a microfinance-type scheme combined with a cheaper, lighter rickshaw designed at the Indian Institute of Technology (Guwahati), in Assam, to free rickshaw pullers from endless rental payments to the cartel of rickshaw owners.

It looks like a long haul, though. Down To Earth writes:

Over the past decade, laws have banned cycle rickshaws from prime areas of many cities to make room for cars. Delhi is fighting a bitter battle to protect its 0.6 million cycle rickshaw fleet as Delhi Municipal Corporation (Cycle-Rickshaw) By-laws of 1960 has restricted their number to 99,000 in ear-marked zones. The Act has also empowered authorities to confiscate, crush and sell rickshaws if they are found plying without a licence. But reprieve came from the Supreme Court when in its April hearing of the public interest petition it quashed the civic body's bid and castigated it for taking away the right of the "weak and meek". The apex court asked the municipal corporation, "Are you prepared to scrap cars? Impound those involved in drunken driving or even remove them from roads, say for a period of 10 years?"

In 2008 Kolkata curtailed bicycles on 39 key roads following a notification issued by the city's police. It states that with a view to "providing safe and uninterrupted movement of vehicular traffic, we hereby order that no bicycle shall ply or remain standing between 9 am and 7 pm on all days". Activist Debasish Banerjee of Kolkata laments, "It is ironical that while globally cities are bringing back bicycles and trams, Kolkata despite its rich legacy is letting them decay."

Moreover, public spending is the opposite of green:

The National Urban Transport Policy has made the right noises about promoting walking and cycling. However its funding arm, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), has played spoilsport. Almost the entire booty so far has been given for roads, flyovers and parking structures. Only a few small-scale projects in smaller cities like Nanded in Maharashtra have seen some transformation of its footpaths and cycling paths. Currently, the Union Ministry of Urban Development is framing a public bicycle sharing scheme. But the Planning Commission has already argued against it, citing lack of funds.

Beat the heat with solar-based coolers, air-conditioners

Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, May 2
Bhupinder Singh, a retired professor from IIT Roorkee, who is based in Fazilka, and is the recipient of the Urja Purush award by the Uttarakhand government, has introduced solar energy-based fans, coolers and air conditioners.

The equipment would work on solar energy during the day and will require minimum investment, without the use of any battery and will help save grid energy.

"Since the sun rises for more than 260 days in a year in Punjab, hence, the shopkeepers, office and house owners can save grid power by using solar power equipment during the day in summer," said Singh.

For this, there will be a need to set up sun radiation photovoltaic (PV) panels which would meet the demand during the day. The significance of the project is that the consumers do not need batteries as these have to be replaced after about two years, which would have resulted in cost escalation. The panels generate the energy which runs the fans and coolers.

Singh demonstrated the two systems today at his research centre in Ghas Mandi, Fazilka. One is a DC fan of 9" diameter run by a 90 W PV panel during the day time without any battery. It can provide spot cooling.

Another is a standard PV set of panels with 90x3 W coupled to an inverter and a small battery capacity to operate an AC or a desert cooler.

"A consumers needs to spend only Rs 4,000 on the project to run a fan, having a life of 10 years without incurring any expense," said Singh.

A patron of the Graduate Welfare Association, Fazilka, Singh called upon consumers to joint hands to tap solar energy during this summer. He invited them to watch the system at his research centre in Ghas Mandi.

He regretted that the Punjab Energy Development Agencies (PEDA) has been allegedly unsuccessful in motivating people to conserve energy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vote Now! “EnterPrizing” New Mobility in India

This blog post is a part of the catalyzing new mobility program and receives support from The Rockefeller Foundation.

In 2009, when Nirmal Kumar first started G-Auto, a dial-a-rickshaw service, little did he know that it would grow into a hugely successful entrepreneurship initiative spanning four cities in just three short years. After Ahmedabad, Baroda and Gandhi Nagar, G-Auto is now poised to commence operations in the city of Rajkot, in partnership with the Rajkot Municipal Corporation.

Starting off small as a social project under the Nirmal Foundation, he sold the idea to 1,000 drivers in Ahmedabad and gradually got several more on board. Today, in the cities of Ahmedabad, Baroda and Gandhi Nagar, G-Auto has 10,000 rickshaw drivers and several thousand happy customers. Although the idea isn't revolutionary, it has dramatically changed the rickshaw landscape, connecting passengers to rickshaw drivers, offering honest, safe and reliable para-transit services.

Nirmal Kumar's G-Auto has been shortlisted for the SMART Mobility Enterprize ("MobiPrize") award conceived and developed by the University of Michigan SMART initiative and its local and international partners, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. The award seeks to honor entrepreneurial ventures that are changing the world—helping to improve quality of life and revitalize the environment and economy—through sustainable transportation, or "new mobility."

Another entry shortlisted for the award is Navdeep Asija's Fazilka EcoCabs, set up in 2008 with the mission to organize and improve the existing cycle-rickshaw operations in the town of Fazilka, Punjab. Using modern management tools and real-time technology, this dial-a-rickshaw service promotes an environmentally friendly and sustainable para-transit mode of public transport, as an alternative to car-centric development.

This system can be used as a feeder to mass rapid transit and achieve low-carbon mobility. Navdeep started off with 500 cycle-rickshaw "pilots," as he likes to call the drivers, and launched the world's first dial-a-rickshaw service with cycle-rickshaws using five call centers. The project uses an advanced mobile phone-based intelligence system that connects users to rickshaws, building on the core commitment of EcoCabs, which is accessibility and quality of service.

The town of Fazilka is divided into zones, each with a unique three-digit code that becomes the last three digits of the call center number that users from a particular zone need to ring to book a rickshaw. EcoCabs also has a downloadable Android app, an interactive web portal, advanced database management systems and user information guides to aid ease of access for users.

EcoCabs and G-Auto strive to benefit not only passengers but also drivers, ensuring social and financial inclusion, making them responsible and socially aware. A range of benefits are available to the rickshaw drivers, including training, health care, insurance, legal aid, educational allowance for their children, and a unifying brand image of an organized fleet operation that assures safety and reliability for users.

Entrepreneurs Navdeep Asija and Nirmal Kumar are competing with each other and 13 others for the SMART Mobility Enterprize award. Here are the other shortlisted entries:

Click here to vote for the top three projects of your choice. The three grand prizes include a $5,000 cash award, a trip to Rio +20 in June 2012 to receive the prize, and dedicated time with expert entrepreneurial mentors.

सोलर फैन : अब सूर्यदेव ही भगाएंगे गर्मी : Solar Energy for Vendors in Fazilka

अमृत सचदेवा, फाजिल्का : बुढ़ापा शरीर पर आता है, दिमाग पर नहीं, इसकी ताजा मिसाल आईआईटी रुड़की से सेवानिवृत्त एवं उत्तराखंड सरकार की ओर से 'ऊर्जा पुरुष' के खिताब से नवाजे गए फाजिल्का निवासी डा. भूपेंद्र सिंह हैं। उन्होंने गर्मी में झुलसते हुए अजीविका कमाने वाले रेहड़ी वालों के लिए मुफ्त में ठंडी हवा व म्यूजिक का प्रबंध किया है।

60 साल से अधिक उम्र के हो चुके डा. भूपेंद्र सिंह ऊर्जा बचाने के लिए अपने फोल्ड होने वाले साइकिल पर चलते हैं और अकसर कोई न कोई ऐसा आविष्कार करते रहते हैं जिससे ऊर्जा की बचत हो। इन गर्मियों में उन्होंने 90 वॉट की सोलर प्लेट व एक बैटरी चार्जर से रेहड़ी लगाने वालों के लिए दिन भर मुफ्त पंखे की ठंडी हवा का प्रबंध भी किया है।

डा. भूपेंद्र सिंह के अनुसार सोलर पावर के इस्तेमाल की खोज कोई नई नहीं है। बल्कि उन्होंने तो इसे आगे बढ़ाया है। पहले सोलर पावर का इस्तेमाल बैटरी के जरिये किया जाता है। लेकिन बड़े प्रोजेक्टों में बैटरी की जरूरत होती है। उन्होंने इस आविष्कार की एक्सटेंशन तो सिर्फ गरीब रेहड़ी लगाने वालों के लिए की है। डा. सिंह ने कहा कि सूर्यदेव अपनी किरणों से पूरी दुनिया में ऊर्जा बांट रहे हैं। जरूरत तो केवल उस ऊर्जा के सदुपयोग की है। जब उन्होंने देखा कि हर शहर में हजारों रेहड़ी लगाने वाले लोग गर्मी में झुलसते हुए फल, सब्जियां व अन्य सामान बेचते हैं। रेहड़ी पर छोटा पंखा चलाने के लिए उन्हें हजारों रुपये की कीमत वाले बैटरी इनवर्टर का प्रयोग करना पड़ता है, जिसे वह रोजाना घर जाकर चार्ज करते हैं। इसलिए उन्होंने एक 90 वॉट की सोलर प्लेट से धूप में पैदा होने वाली बिजली को बैटरी में संचित करने के बजाय डायरेक्ट करंट (डीसी) से पंखा चलाने का तजुर्बा किया। बैटरी के साथ चार्जर जोड़कर उनका यह तजुर्बा कामयाब रहा है।

यूं काम करता है सोलर फैन

फाजिल्का : डा. भूपेंद्र सिंह ने बताया कि साल के 365 दिन में कम से कम 220 दिन धूप खिलती है। 90 वॉट की सोलर प्लेट पूरे दिन की धूप में करीब 750 वॉट यानी पौन किलोवाट बिजली पैदा करती है। इतनी बिजली से गर्मी में झुलसने वाला रेहड़ी वाला पूरा दिन ठंडी हवा ले सकता है। साथ ही उस बिजली से वह रेहड़ी पर म्यूजिक सिस्टम, इलेक्ट्रिक कांटा भी चल सकता है, जोकि बैटरी से चलाना पड़ता है। यह सोलर फैन 45 सौ रुपये में तैयार होता है। इससे पूरे दिन में आधा यूनिट, महीने में 15 यूनिट व एक साल में 180 यूनिट बिजली पैदा होती है। इस तरह पांच साल में यह सोलर फैन अपनी कीमत पूरी कर देता है व आगामी पांच साल 45 सौ की बचत करवाता है।

सरकार संभाले प्रोजेक्ट तो बचेगी लाखों यूनिट बिजली

फाजिल्का : डा. भूपेंद्र सिंह ने कहा कि सोलर पावर का प्रचार कर रही सरकार रेहड़ी वालों के लिए सोलर फैन के लिए कर्ज का प्रबंध करे तो अकेले पंजाब में प्रतिदिन लाखों यूनिट बिजली बचेगी। क्योंकि वर्तमान में रेहड़ी वाले घर से ऊर्जा खपत कर चार्ज करके लाई बैटरियों से पंखे, बल्ब व इलेक्ट्रिक कांटे चलाते हैं।

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

फाजिल्का के लोगों ने जलाया सांझा चूल्हा

पैसों के इस दौर में इनसान इतना ख़ुदगर्ज़ हो गया है कि झूठी शानो-शौकत के कारण एक ही छत के नीचे नहीं रह पारहा है वहीं दूसरी तरफ़ फाजिल्का के तकरीबन 300 परिवारों ने मिलकर सांझा चूल्हा लगा कर एक मिसाल कायम की है।