Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bharat Bandh

Delhi Needs Cleaner Politicians

By Vinod Varshney

Delhi needs to be cleaned of dirty politicians and sycophant media. This can be understood in the context of Bharat Bandh organized yesterday.

“Bharat Band” was a political necessity for opposition parties and a matter of faith in democratic system for people of India. Definitely it was much needed in view of the arrogance of the Congress leaders and anti-people attitude they have continually adopted.

People truly have suffered un-imaginably from acute price rise especially in food items for over two years. People who have made money in bourses would not realize this
; they wallow in wealth as sensex doubled in a year. Such people make out that Bandh was a huge national loss. The corporate houses may also say such things, who earned phenomenal profits despite global slow down due to low commodity prices, government stimulus and by resorting to cost-cutting, many a time at the cost of rendering their employees jobless.

True Sufferers Don’s Get Headlines

Monday, February 8, 2010

DDA made to kneel
before Law

Written by

Vinod Varshney

This fortnight-old havoc on road is unbelievable but true. The debris shown here is a soul-wrenching comment on those who have made religion a corrupt business. The huge pile of debris on the main road of Mayur Vihar Phase II, in East Delhi is created by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and is not prepared to clear it. So DDA itself is active in making the capital city of Delhi an eye-sore.

Seeing this debris, so many people for the first time came to know that the temple “Prachin Shivalay” was an unauthorized construction. Shamefully many Indians do not feel shy in breaking law yet they declare themselves reverend. Does any religion teach that laws should be violated in the name of God?

People Did Not Know that Temple Was Un-authorized

Had the unauthorized construction not been demolished, people would never have come to know that it was a shameless violation of law. In India one or two courageous persons have to take initiative, and file writ petition before a court in such matters as real politick unfortunately never supports law, it rather pampers law-breakers. Media has forgotten its watch-dog role and has apportioned itself several dubious priorities.

Several storeys above the temple were demolished by the DDA on the order of the Delhi High Court but only after a lot of delay tactics which was usual in India. “The temple has been left untouched. The religious committee of the Delhi Government which functions under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna has to decide on whether the DDA should also demolish the temple as well, but the meeting of the committee is not taking place”, says Baldev Raj the General Secretary of “The Society for Public Cause”.

Grabbing Land in the Name of Religion is Big Business

Mr Raj says, “Grabbing land in the name of religion has become a big business in India, it needs to be checked. It hurts real religious people. God is everywhere and construction of an unauthorized temple is not required for Him.” For his efforts to bring law to act he was issued threats to his life as well.

Mr Baldev Raj had filed a Writ Petition in 2007 before the Delhi High Court to get this unauthorized construction removed. The court had passed order for demolition only on March 12, 2008, but DDA did not comply with the order on one pretext or the other. Finally on December 14, 2009 Delhi High Court hammered hard and ordered DDA to comply with its order to demolish the unauthorized construction within seven days.

The unauthorized construction has been partially removed, but the road has been laden with debris. Nobody knows how long this will remain like this ! No body knows when DDA would be an efficient civic body.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

No Cleanliness



Writes Vinod Varshney

Impressions of last night remains …fragrance of music from electronic gadgets, lights mingling cheerfully with children’s enthusiasm … Krishna Leela (Deeds of Lord) depicted in thousands of creative ways with modern plastic toys… in lanes, parks, halls and homes, thousands of playful cultural enactments though less crowd due to swine flu scare. Many markets illuminated in spite of global slow-down. After all it is the Janmashtami, birth day of Lord Krishna!

But what Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has to offer on Janmashtami ? It forces that Lord Krishna's birth day is celebrated in stinky surrounding. See the photograph top left. This is Mother Dairy Road of Vinod Nagar area of East Delhi. This photograph is not an exception, go anywhere, deeper in lanes of East Delhi colonies, you are sure to find even more shocking scenes, in hundreds.

Will MCD ever improve?
Political leadership of MCD is with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the party which tried hard to capture power at the centre and making Lal Krishna Advani the Prime Minister . Election results, national and Delhi’s both, shocked entire BJP, but seeing BJP performance courtesy MCD in Delhi, it looks like people rightly threw their dreams like garbage in dumpsters.

When Will BJP Learn to Deliver?
BJP needs to learn that people want work, and cleanliness in their colonies is one of them. Today is the 62nd Independence Day, and while I write this blog, TV is blaring out boring speech of the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, as ever speaking high sounding words… reminding me that people are not getting their basic rights of clean living surroundings among many other equally important things.

If it is not possible in Delhi, a year before Commonwealth Games, within just two kilometers of the Games Village, what can be expected of poorer areas of the country !

Friday, July 17, 2009

Clean the Mentality First

As Commonwealth Games draw nearer, there is worry all round among concerned officials and leaders about Delhi’s looks. Those who have travelled abroad say that it is one of the dirtiest cities owing to its hopeless garbage collection system.

The real problem is the unclean mentality here, which pervades wider than the garbage one finds strewn around on streets of Delhi, specially on inside streets. This is not just because of corrupt MCD which was caught having thousands of ghost employees only to draw salaries and not to remove garbage. The garbage laden mentality is the real problem.

Lately wisdom has dawned upon leaders to transfer the job of garbage collection and disposal to private hands. White and Green dustbins would be given by the MCD to each household in Delhi to segregate garbage at source. Private operators will be deployed to collect garbage from each home. Sounds nice, but let us wait how again we fail this system as well. The culture is to not care about one’s own conduct and but to just talk about others’ fault.

The authorities are worried about beggars also in Delhi. The approach in this matter seems to consider them not human beings but human garbage. It has been estimated there are some 60,000 beggars in Delhi. More than 20,000 of them are children.

Plans are afoot to remove them, without having any proper beggar homes. This again is symptomatic of mental garbage officials and politicians of Delhi possess. Cleaner Delhi by the Commonwealth Games requires we clean our mentality first.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Indian Voters For Cleaner Delhi

Writes Vinod Varshney

Finally the voters of India have accomplished a cleansing job. They have thrown some of the political garbage in the dumpster. But one is not sure what political ragpickers will do of it now. May be they still find some of the garbage as saleable commodity like polythene bags which are picked up for sale and recycled.

Anyhow I hope that Delhi might be a little cleaner in coming years at the central government level at least. One should also expect the local governance of Delhi also to improve taking lessons from the Lok Sabha poll outcome which has shown the voters' cleansing power.

I for the sake of record would like to put a short video clip below, which was produced by the environment group of web delhi 2009 last month. It shows the other face of Delhi. It shows children taking bath in Yamuna river near Okhla Barrage in Delhi where it is so dirty that even fish could not survive in it. Please click the link below:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cleaner Delhi depends on who is the new PM

Writes Vinod Varshney
Will Delhi be any cleaner in coming years? Much would depend on what type of government comes at the centre – stable or shaky. It will also depend on who becomes the Prime Minister and what would be the new initiative for quality governance, one area where Man Mohan Singh failed.

If governance is cleaner then of course Delhi would be cleaner. It is also to be seen if the secret wish of the middle class this time brimming with new political consciousness in favor of stability and quality governance gets fulfilled or not. It was interesting to see that the middle class this time round took the trouble to go out and vote.

Speculation about Delhi’s new probable government is now much heightened. Tomorrow is the last leg of voting, followed by a speculation-filled wait of three days before we know who is going to be the next Prime Minister of India.

Many uncertainties, no doubt, but much will depend on which party is the top scorer, Congress or BJP. However, there is no provision for President’s rule at the Centre. So there has to be a government at the Centre in any case very soon.

Day of Reckoning for Political Rag-pickers

If numbers are not in favor of majority to either United Progressive Alliance or National Democratic Alliance, the two prominent contenders, then a lot of pulls and pressures would ensue and shameless political rag-picking would start, truly representing Delhi’s stinking garbage strewn on streets.

Let us hope the electorate of India has given a clear verdit. Otherwise several brands of King Makers would have a hay day. The CPM polit bureau and central committee will be meeting on May 18 to take a decision on how to go about this business of King making.

Prakash Karat, the General Secretary of CPM thinks that like his predecessor Com Har Kishen Singh Surjeet, he too has a duty to earn a name for himself of being a great king maker.

The CPI’s national executive is meeting on May 19 and its national council the following day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

of Garbage ?
The ongoing practice can make anyone depressed in Delhi. Unorganized private hands do the dirtiest part of garbage collection. This is done by aprroximately 150,000 independent ragpickers in Delhi.

The way they do it, is a shame on modern city like Delhi. I have shown this in a couple blogs earlier by way of pictures. It is risky for their health as well. As civilized society can't do much , they just keep on doing this. They don't have any other thing to do as paying as this .

After huge clamour all round for cleaner Delhi over the years, now this job is set to go to companies. Definitely they would do it more efficiently and Delhi may look cleaner in future. However thousands of existing rag-pickers would lose their livelihood. Many of them may be hired by companies at a lesser wage than what they earn today.

The weaker and old may be thrown out of this job altogether as they may neither be hired nor allowed to even go near the garbage dumpsters. Any pension for them who did their bit to clean-up Delhi ? Will begging be the only option before them ? A detailed and well researched story below :


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daughters of

Cleaner Delhi
Writes Vinod Varshney
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights took swift action recently when two children died in Delhi schools. What about those who are daughters of men and women who make Delhi cleaner ?

Shanno, an 11-year-old girl of class II died in a hospital after she was allegedly punished by her teacher of MCD Primary School on April 17. Aakriti (17), an asthmatic patient, died on April 22 allegedly due to negligence by her school authorities who failed to provide her timely medical facilities when she suffered an asthma attack.

These deaths have really shaken Delhites while TV made full use of the event to icrease their viewership. So far so good. But Delhi has children of lesser God also.

Nobody does anything concrete for them. There are Prem Shila (4 ) and Karma Shila(2 ), who get schooling only at father's rag-pick site. They come everyday here while their mother is away to wash utensils in homes.

Father promises that he would sent his daughters to school. But seeing that he earns only seventy rupees a day from rag-picking, there is hardly any possibility these children will ever go to school.

Whatever may happen to these girls later, today they are as happy as any innocent child. View a short video clip below:

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Who cares for climate change?

Tons of leaves are burnt in Delhi every day.

Leaves are high valued waste which can easily be converted into manure, yet it is not done. Today there are modified worms to make compost quickly, yet it is not done.

Scavengers on streets and gardeners in parks make a heap of leaves and burn it like a pyre.
Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) employees give an excuse that it is cumbersome to transport leaves to composting sites. But even in parks this bad practice goes on where composting pits can be made easily.

Delhi’s most parks come under MCD which has over fourteen thousand parks under its maintenance. Big parks are maintained by
Delhi Development Authority (DDA). This central government body has no dearth of resources and access to technology, yet in DDA parks too, leaves are burnt.

Morning walkers see this every day, a few do object, yet the practice goes on. Surprisingly there are people in the city who support burning leaves. One such an elderly and educated gentleman Goswami tells this in so many words. When asked if it is good practice to burn leaves to get rid of them, he said ….(To listen click below:


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Garbage Segregation Delhi Style !

Segregation is a key to efficient disposal of garbage. Those who generate it are supposed to do it in their homes. But Delhi has a different style. While passing by I happened to see a garbage dump in Naib Sarai area of Delhi. Such scenes are normal in Delhi, yet it does not trouble anybody's conscience. You can get an idea of what I am saying by watching the following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgaYldCe8GQ

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eyesore Delhi can dream of
zero garbage in 5 years
Go anywhere a little inside, Delhi roads are littered with stinking garbage. But the city has a dream. Will it ever be fulfilled ?
Delhi, the City of Garbage can expect in next five years to become a zero garbage city. Sounds unbelievable to NGOs and Resident Welfare Associations, but municipal officials insist that new generation landfill sites and new model of collecting garbage from each and every home would dramatically change the look of the city.

Even during the electioneering when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has made best efforts to make city look clean to avoid embarrassment to local leaders who visit colonies to canvass for votes, the most part of this capital city gives a horrible look.

The system of garbage disposal is outright inadequate and inefficient due to lack of political will and incorrect policies, says Suresh Babu, a specialist from Centre for Science and Environment. He says that the city generates approximately 7000 million tons of solid waste every day and just three landfill sites that Delhi has, cannot accommodate this.

Privatization was taboo due to various political interests. Bhagidari system of the government to involve local residents in garbage disposal has not succeeded. People want their city clean but they are helpless.


There is nothing like Bhagidari System in our colony, we only hear about this in newspapers, no body from the government has ever contacted us in this regard”, says T.C. Mitla, President Hauz Khas Welfare Association. He informs that seventy percent household have hired on their own jamadars to take care of the garbage generated in homes and transport it to the litter bins of the colony. A few residents do it themselves. But most of the residents do not segregate the garbage before it is dumped in the bins. There is no awareness among residents about this, asserts Mitla.

Taking cue from this practice of hiring jamadars by households, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has hired a private agency Ramki which starting July will on pilot basis collect garbage from homes in Rohini and Civil Lines, informs K.S. Mehra, the MCD Commissioner. The Ramky would give two different types of boxes, one green and the other blue to each household. Residents would segregate garbage into biodegradable and non-biodegradable before handing them over to the worker.


Mehra says that Ramky’s responsibility would be to transport garbage from homes to the new landfill site, which will be most advanced, with facilities to recycle most of the waste. “A part of the waste would be composted, another part would be used to generate electricity, while some would be used to make bricks to be used in construction. Overall only 25 percent waste would be left out to be dumped in the landfill site. This landfill site would ensure that contamination does not seep into the ground water and no foul smell from the composting.

Another official from the MCD on the request of anonymity said this was yet another grand promise which we keep on announcing. It is only a pilot plan for 18 months and that too would cover just two colonies. According to him to bring entire city into any such scheme may take at least a decade.

However the residents in most parts of the city are desperate. They say the worst part of the garbage disposal system is that it depends on rag-pickers, who are largely migrants, many from the neighboring country Bangladesh. They segregate the garbage in most inhuman conditions before it is carted to the landfill site. Surprisingly this practice has not attracted the attention of any human rights organizations so far.

More surprising is MCD officials’ tacit support to the inhuman system of garbage segregation at the dumps by rag-pickers on the ground that they at least allow most poor people to earn their livelihood, who otherwise might become criminals.


Another surprising thing in Delhi’s garbage disposal system is the practice of burning tree leaves, which adds to green house gases in the environment. “We objected repeatedly whenever smoke entered our colony on burning leaves in nearby Park Gulmohar, but no body listened”, complained Mitla.

Surprisingly there was one Mr Goswami, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase II, emphasized that it was a good practice to burn leaves as it helped get rid of mosquitoes and the ash that was left behind was better manure than what one can get from composting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Corporate Course


IGNOU is on the spree to start fancy courses, which can mint money for this university. The latest in the series is the one year course on Corporate Education, Training and Consultancy. The Coordinator Prof R R Nair tells what this course is about and how it is the need of the hour to Surabhi Yadav, a member of my team. Please listen by clicking on the black arrow below on the left:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

G rrr eat !!


If one takes a tour of Delhi and ventures to go to its inner areas away from main roads, the city shocks. It can be labeled as City of Garbage. Why this remains so? Who are the people responsible for this? Why citizens of Delhi tolerate all this? These are the questions which bother everybody, yet no solution in sight.

I live trans-Yamuna at Indraprastha Extension. This colony came into existence some 20 years ago. Expectations were that the colony would be better than many as it was a planned one, based on new concept of cooperative group housing.

But even after twenty years the streets here remain littered with garbage. One can see everywhere much publicized Green and Blue plastic garbage bins in the area, but truly they themselves have become model pieces of garbage. Many of them have become ramshackled, others have melted at places by fire, scavengers lit for getting rid of burnable garbage.

Moist and bio-degradable garbage in these bin stinks. A truck, of course comes every morning with mechanized system to lift these plastic bins up in the air to empty. But before they come street boys toil overnight and scour the garbage to pick paper, plastic and card-board from bins to earn their livelihood. "How much do you earn", I asked.

“ Rs 80 per day by selling paper, plastic and cardboard collected here. It takes me three hours to do it”, tells Ali.

So, thousands get livelihood in the capital of India this way! Truly, thanks to our leaders, India hai Mahaan!!( India is G rrr eat !!)