Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pervasive phenomena with stark contrasts - One face of india

Pune shows how the drive towards globalisation can have a peculiarly Indian flavour. Residential complexes invoke images of foreign lands. They co-exist uneasily with uprooted rural communities on the city's margins.
Driving down from Mumbai to Pune city some 180 km away over the Expressway one could get the illusion of cruising down a European autobahn or an American highway. The route has its own language of imperious communication signs — of speed limits; warnings against overtaking in tunnels; and advice on lane discipline, with heavy vehicles being sternly told to stay on the outer lane. But this is India; even in the most modernised State, the seductive power of speed is too tempting to resist. Life is dear but speed is so much more fun.
A sense of displacement gathers as one reaches the end of the expressway; at the Pune end, this merges with the bypass to NH4 to Bangalore, which skirts the city with various exits into it. The road surface is more silky-smooth than the expressway's. You look out the window at the scenery; rain-nourished verdant slopes of the Western Ghats occasionally marred by billboards now give way to huge hoardings that compound that sense of displacement.

‘Heights' of imagination

Unlike the American highways, hoardings along the bypass leading into Pune do not tempt you with hamburgers or drive-in motels. They offer fantasy, a promise to re-order your life by offering you a Swiss chalet, Spanish haciendas, Thai villas around the city of Pune.
Globalisation has wormed its way into the city, not just through malls and coffee cafes or multiplexes — transient experiences of globalised modernity at best — but through a fantasy of actually owning and therefore immersing yourself in it.
What helps fortify the fantasy, and for the sceptic a sense of disbelief, is the usage of language itself. Developers of residential complexes eating up rich farmlands for lifestyle homes have begun reinventing English.
One can still find residential complexes with indigenous names such as “Samarth Nagar” but the globalisation bug has bitten deep; developers cannot resist adding the suffix, “Heights” or “Residency”. But the more adventurous ones invent in a way that would have made Shakespeare, no mean coiner of new words, wince.
Hoardings beckon you to “Capriccio”, “Apostrophe”, “Mont Vert”. The developers of “Wisteriaa” are taking no chances with the name of a flower. The extra letter of the alphabet could change fortunes. The creator of “Euthania” stops short of mercy killing. If that phonetic resemblance rattles the sensitive home-buyer, “Invicta” should compensate.
At a surface level, this play with the English language appears crude and the work of demented builders. But it expresses the way globalisation transforms itself into a new creature of post-modernity that at first sight seems obviously syncretic.

Degree shops

This view of two worlds co-existing uneasily at best, and with tension at worst, is strengthened along the bypass. Behind the hoardings for Swiss villas lie vanishing farmlands and the first signs of shanty towns are appearing with garishly painted notices advertising roadside eateries, car repair garages, tyre treading and clumsily built two, three-storied buildings posing as office blocks.
Soon modern, glass-fronted buildings appear and now they express the city's new present and future: academic degrees.
Once again, as with real-estate, rich farmers have seized the opportunity to sell their lands to academic entrepreneurs or transform themselves into chairman and directors of business schools whose roof-topped neon flash grandiosely at you at night along the bypass.
Pune seems to parody the opening lines in T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton: “Time present and time past/ are both perhaps present in time future/ and time future contained in time past.”
Pune has had a rich tradition of learning and scholarship: Fergusson College where D.D. Kosambi taught for a while, Deccan College for ancient Indian history, not to mention Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics where the late V.M. Dandekar wrote the seminal Poverty in India in the mid-1960s.
It is still a place for higher education; but not of scholarship. Its innumerable business and media “study” centres are “degree shops” without the compensating attributes of reflective or critical study.
Globalisation has created a huge demand for skills of dubious value but no one's complaining, not the students who flock to this city from north and eastern India, not the IT personnel at its high tech parks and certainly not those kulak-turned academic entrepreneurs promising degrees and jobs for bloated fees.
In the bargain, Pune is losing its attribute of rootedness that may not be lamented.
As a place of learning it always had a shifting population; its small middle-class was anchored in a community that may have bred Nathuram Godse but that also gave the country D.R. Gadgil, B.G. Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

New gods of modernity

Now globalisation has created an urban sprawl and a rootless middle-class; conversely, globalisation has also uprooted rural communities on its extending margins, coaxing them into petty and large service trades.
But the city's transition is not painless: at the margins, violence against women is on the rise as are burglaries in those fancifully-named complexes.
At night, in the newer parts of the city along the bypass, village life still survives the relentless march of post-modernity and its new gods. At temple sites or under ancient trees, Vithoba, Khandoba and Masoba still reign and bhajans usher in the new morning. 


Sunday, October 16, 2011

India goes Solar..........

Over 150 companies have evinced interest in developing large solar photovoltaic projects of up to 20 MW. These include Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Lanco, Moser Baer and the Tatas. 

Also in the race are public sector companies GAIL (India) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
Official sources told Business Line that the request for selection (RFS) were received for 218 solar PV projects for over 2,500 MW capacity, much higher than the capacity offered – 350 MW.
The RFS were invited by the Government as part of the second batch of Phase-1 of the National Solar Mission. The last date for submission was October 3.
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), the trading arm of NTPC, has been designated as the nodal agency for sale and purchase of grid-connected solar power under Phase-1 of the Mission. NVVN expects to call for discount bids from the shortlisted entities by November.
What made this phase attractive was that besides the incentives being offered by the Government, the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy revised the guidelines for new grid-connected solar PV projects and increased the per unit capacity into multiples of 5 MW with the maximum of 20 MW for FY 2011-12.
In the earlier round, where projects with a cumulative capacity of 150 MW were approved, the maximum capacity stood at 5 MW for each unit.
Further, for the second batch of the Mission, the Government has increased the timeline to achieve financial closure by a month to seven months or 210 days for the bidders from the time of signing the power purchase agreements.
Also, the total capacity of such projects to be allocated to a company, including its parent, affiliate or ultimate parent or any Group company shall be limited to 50 MW. They can submit applications for a maximum of three projects at different locations, subject to a maximum aggregate capacity of 50 MW.
The net worth of the company should be equal to or greater than the value calculated at the rate of Rs 3 crore of the project capacity up to 20 MW. For every MW additional capacity, beyond 20 MW, additional net worth of Rs 2 crore would need to be demonstrated.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission envisages the implementation of the solar programme including utility grid solar power in three phases – first phase up to 2013 (1,100 MW), second phase up to 2017 (4,000 MW), and third phase up to 2022 (20,000 MW). 
From the hindu bussinessline dated 16/10/2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

India to have one more satellite launch site

From the Hindu (Archieves)

Amid requests from various countries for launch of their satellites, India has decided to set up one more launch site to expand its capacity in this aspect.
At a meeting held by the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary T.K.A. Nair here to review performance of the Department of Space, it was decided that a feasibility study would be conducted for a new site, sources said.
The decision to find a new site was taken after the meeting was told that ISRO has only two satellite launch pads, both of which are affected during the cyclone season, the sources said.
The two launch pads are located at Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR).
During recent years, there have been requests from a number of countries for launching their satellites in India.
The meeting was also informed that despite successful launch of GSAT-8 and GSAT-12 satellites, there is shortage of transponders primarily due to DTH and communication requirements.
It was decided that steps should be taken to meet the gap within two years, the sources said.
At present, Department of Space is leasing transponders and using foreign launch vehicles to meet the needs.
The sources said thrust is being given by the PMO on these spheres as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s desire to see boost in scientific innovation in the current decade.
Pursuant to Prime Minister’s keenness, government has decided to push contribution of private sector in scientific research and development from the current 20 per cent to 50 per cent and undertake a number of other crucial steps.
The meeting felt that investments in research and development in the country is “highly skewed” as 80 per cent of contribution comes only from the public sector.
It was noted that in advanced and emerging economies, private sector plays a dominant role in R&D and encourages innovation, the sources said.
Accordingly, it was decided that secretaries concerned would jointly prepare a proposal on private sector investment in R&D by the end of next month, they said.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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Monday, August 8, 2011

What Makes a Great Engineering Manager?

Design News special

Meaning of 'Extrovert' from

Definition: Most people believe that an extrovert is a person who is friendly and outgoing. While that may be true, that is not the true meaning of extroversion. Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Extroverts often think best when they are talking. Concepts just don't seem real to them unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough.

Extroverts enjoy social situations and even seek them out since they enjoy being around people. Their ability to make small talk makes them appear to be more socially adept than introverts (although introverts may have little difficulty talking to people they don't know if they can talk about concepts or issues).

Extrovert behavior seems to be the standard in American society, which means that other behavior is judged against the ways an extrovert would behave. However, extroverted behavior is simply a manifestation of the way an extrovert interacts with the world. Extroverts are interested in and concerned with the external world.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transportation woes of Kerala

hahaha...........the main problem is, we Keralites don't know what we want exactly for a transportation point of view. Earlier, a north - south expressway was mooted. Now, we are locking horns with NHAI to reduce the width or something like that. Also, we thought of a high speed rail link from TVM to Kasargod. Always we talk about things that won't happen really. The truth is, neither we don't know whether to implement as scheme nor we don't know which one is the best.

Always scientific studies are conducted for the project. But the final proposal will be in the favor of bureaucrats only. So, what is that exactly we want for a better transportation?????

The core needs of the project are:

1. non polluting
2. high speed and reliable
3. limited access
4. affordable
5. should carry large volumes of traffic including containers
6. non interruptive and efficient
7. less accident prone
8. least area should be consumed

the probable solutions of the above points are,

1. electric trains are best
2. high speed electric trains (HSET)
3. HSET or a limited access expressway
4. HSET with various types of classes viz. AC, non AC, and general
    Buses are not affordable in Kerala.
5. Again electric trains. they can carry the ultimate amount of containers. Container trucks are not suited to Kerala.
6. Again HSET. expresswayrailwas are not suited to Kerala.
7. HSET. highways in Kerala are famous for accidents.
8. HSET. GoK is in tussle with NHAI for reducing width to 30 m.

So, what is the conclusion??????

A state like Kerala should not waste land and money for a 45m wide highway. let the NHAI decide where to go for 45m and where for 30m with least possible eviction. Then, we can go for a high speed rail link that is tailor made only for Kerala like the case of Air India express. GoK can hold a 45-50% share of a newly formed JV with Indian Railways for running HSETs in the State.
What more, it will be obvious to get a new zonal HQ in Kerala for Kerala!!!!!!

New HSETs can be proposed for running from Nagarcoil in the south to Mangalore in the north covering the two extreme boundaries of Kerala.

Two tracks should be laid in addition to the existing rails in all lines to run the new trains.

The tracks should be like the ones for a metro rail: concreted basement with extra long rails.

All district HQs along with 2 or 3 additional stations in each district should be the boarding and alighting points. Trains can run at an average speed of 90kmph. Top speeds can go up to 120kmph.

the existing NHs can be used for intra district movement and not for long distances. Even if they are NHs, they don't serve the purpose of a NH in Kerala unless we go for a 45-60m wide roads consistently.

Moreover, our economy is highly dependent on oil prices. So, minimum container trucks should ply on the highway.