Crisis of prosperity in cities: Architects warn

What is applicable to Ahmadabad is equally applicable to all cities in India

growing in an uncontrolled manner.

Infrastructure is crumbling as demand for civic services out strips availability

Architects warn of crisis of prosperity in city soon


Ahmedabad: Warning of a stage where a crisis of prosperity for the city becomes imminent, experts at the ‘Development Plan 2021’ for Ahmedabad city at the Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA) pressed for changes in planning methodology which promotes sustainable development.

A sustainable community, according to experts gathered at the conclave, is the one which responsibly utilises resources to meet current needs while ensuring that resources are available for future generations. Being sustainable also means improved public health and a better quality of life for all its residents by preventing pollution, limiting waste, promoting efficiency of resources both of human and systems, maximising conservation and developing local capacities to revitalise the local economy.

Speaking on the occasion urban planner Dr Dinesh Mehta said, “Every city has to go through a stage called the ‘crisis of prosperity’. As incomes grow, economic activities grow, there is immense pressures on various resources. If today we do not learn to address these issues in our city planning we cannot brace up for the challenges that lie ahead of us.

Today Amdavadis demand for 24 hours water supply against two hours, garbage collection becomes prime concern as no prospering city would not like to see filth spilled all over

Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute, scientist R Gopichandran says, “No one today talks of mitigation, building local capacities and building awareness levels towards sustainable living.We lack that attitude while planning initiatives.”

While,urban planner BR Balachandran pressed for eco-friendly housing. GICEA honoured Safal group for being awarded the “Best Employer” in the country by the president of India. The presentation was done by the urban development minister Nitin Patel.

Vikram Buddhi: Miscarriage of Justice in US Court?

‘They never proved him guilty’

Supporters Of Convicted IITian Vikram Buddhi Slam US Judiciary, Indian Govt Apathy

Vijay Singh | TNN

Mumbai: Feeling deeply let down by a “non-intervening Indian government and a “grossly unfair American court trial’’, the supporters and family of Vikram Buddhi (38), the Indian student jailed in the United States, accused Indian leaders of doing nothing to stop his conviction despite glaring legal loopholes in the US district court case.

An IIT-Bombay graduate and doctoral student of maths at Purdue University in the US, Vikram was sentenced on Friday to four years and nine months in jail for internet posts that expressed hate against former US president George W Bush and vice president Dick Cheney, and calling for the bombing of US sites.

Vikram’s father B K Subbarao, a retired Navy captain and lawyer, told TOI: “This is an adverse and perverse court order against Vikram. In fact, since the very beginning, in April 2006, the prosecution could never prove that Vikram had posted those online messages, yet he has suffered so much.’’

Subbarao added that he had also written to President Obama and US Attorney General Eric H Holder, Jr, pointing out a shocking discrimination against Vikram during the trial. “US District Judge James T Moody withheld from the jury the law of First Amendment (Freedom of Speech) in a case tried as a speech threat case. Judge

Moody shockingly made a special law for Vikram and instructed the jury only on that special law; otherwise my son would have been free long ago,’’ he explained, cautioning that this should alarm all Indians who lawfully entered the US and who live and work there.

After his sentence in Chicago, a calm Vikram also remarked to the US media that the outcome of the trial was grave injustice.

Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer and activist Somnath Bharti, who had earlier met Vikram in the US prison, said it was ironic that when the federal prosecution was launched in April 2006, the 11-count indictment (charge) did not contain even a whisper about internet messages. “So the entire charge in the court trial is faulty; the case Vikram should have crumbled like a pack of cards, but for some strange reason, he has got nearly five years of jail, said Bharti.

He added in the 10 days Vikram has got to appeal in a higher court, he is trying to raise funds in India and the US to help Vikram get justice. “We’re not seeking mercy but justice. Our Indian leaders, including foreign minister S M Krishna, have seemingly done nothing to help Vikram despite being systematically
briefed about the highly unfair trial,’’ said an angry Bharti.

“Is our nation so meek and afraid of the US that our leaders can’t even ask America to intervene and correct the injustice done?’’ asked Subbarao.


Threatening internet messages were found on Yahoo space in December 2005 and January 2006. US Secret Service agents enquired about these at Purdue University in January 2006

Purdue official Scott Ksander told the Secret Service the Address Resolution Protocol table was poisoned. In other words, the IP (Internet Protocol) and MAC (Media Access Control) addresses of machines were altered

Thus someone outside the university could have made the messages appear to have originated from Purdue. A concerted technical investigation was never done Ksander, who admitted he was no technical expert, reportedly made crude guesses. He first traced the messages to Purdue graduate student Anthony Cimasko. The Secret Service interrogated Cimasko and let him go. Ksander made another crude guess and pinned the blame on sBuddhi

The Secret Service questioned Vikram and let him go on January 18, 2006

A Secret Service report of February 3, 2006, confirmed there was no threat from Vikram Buddhi to any US leader. During the trial, Secret Service agent Wade Gault said his organisation had indeed made such a report
Vikram was arrested on April 14, 2006

He has been convicted and sentenced to four years and nine months in jail, plus three years under supervision, despite the lack of technical proof.

Judicial Reforms:‘Inept judges to blame for mess’

‘Inept judges to blame for mess’


Mumbai: “Many judges, right from the magistrate’s court to the Supreme Court, are incapable of dealing with criminal cases,’’ said Bilal Nazki, who retired recently as chief justice of Orissa high court. “Add to this inefficient policemen, public prosecutors and defence lawyers. That is why we are in such a mess today,’’ added Nazki who was delivering the valedictory address at a two-day seminar on criminal justice reforms at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences on Saturday.

According to him, criminal appeals since 1988 are still pending in the Bombay high court primarily because no judge is interested in reading the case. “Judges don’t want to touch such files because they know they can’t deal with them,’’ he said. Citing an example of the apathy of the system to the rights of the undertrials and prisoners, he said a man had spent five years in jail even after being acquitted.

Nazki stressed that human rights activists need not look to only trouble-torn states such as J&K for violations. “Maharashtra has more human rights violations than J&K,’’ he said. “The highest number of custodial killings are in Maharashtra,’’ he said.

Nazki said the Mumbai police had invoked a section of the Code of Criminal Procedure which even the J&K government had not done in so many years. He was referring to the preventive detention of activists Firoze Mithiborewala and Aslam Ghazi who were picked up by the police a day before US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was to arrive in Mumbai.

The police said they had been picked up because they were likely to hold anti-US demonstrations. The section which they applied says that if the police has reliable information that a person may commit a cognisable offence, he\she may be taken into custody.

The former chief justice was also critical of the way the judicial system blindly accepts the police version in case of encounters. He said the judicial system cannot improve unless the number of judges are increased five-fold. At present, he said, there are 12,000 magistrates to Supreme Court judges in the country. He said human rights activists ought to take up the issue of better protection for policemen who combat Naxalites.

UP- Malihabad:Small eyes dream big

Small eyes dream big

Over 600 children in 34 upper-primary schools of Mall block want

a High School and other amenities.

Shailvee Sharda

Mall (Malihabad): Humbly dressed in red and white uniform, teenager Sania Raees represents change in several ways. Breaking indigenous barriers that confine rural girls to the four walls of their house, Sania will pass grade eight this year. Empowered with education, her mind is full of ideas to transform her village. She envisions pucca roads and sewerage system, clean public toilets in every locality, access to drinking water and round-the-clock health facilities.

Equally enthusiastic is Raushni Devi who wants the school in her village to be raised to the level of a high school if not an inter-college. What makes good educational facilities essential for her, is a desire to see her village free from social malpractices like early marriage and undue preference for male child. “A high school in the village will give us an opportunity to study beyond class eight… It will also save many girls from early marriages,” says the girl.

Abhay Shankar wants more banks to come to his village so that farmers can have easier access to loans. “Banks do not work like moneylenders who give loan to one generation and indebt the successors,” reasoned the enterprising teenager. Bhanu Pratap wants more hand pumps in his village to save people from annual cases of seasonal diarrhoea and infections while Malti Gautam wants to put an end to open defecation.

These are some examples of facilities which the children of Mall block of Malihabad tehsil in Lucknow want for their villages. The feelings came to fore through an inter-school essay competition organised by local MLA Siddhart Shankar under the flagship of an NGO. Interestingly, these children echo former president APJ Kalam’s mantra of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas).

The aim, claims a press-release issued by him, is to understand the needs of one’s area and plan developmental work accordingly. More than 600 children across 34 upper-primary school participated in the competition. The entries were judged by education expert Vinoba Gautam; Prof Rakesh Chandra of Lucknow University and women’s rights activist Shalini Mathur. The best ‘vision’ was awarded at a public function in the block on Saturday.

What stirs the mind of Vinoba was hope that each copy contains. “Every child’s mind is impregnated with dreams and this reflected in their writings. Many of them want to be torchbearers too,” said Vinoba who is excited to get a feel that he stands at the cusp of an undercurrent social change.

Citing an example, he said, many girls underlined the need of a high school or an inter-college in their village to escape early marriage. Social audits and grassroot surveys have shown that parents marry off their daughters the moment they are out of school because of security concerns. They admitted that they would allow the girls to study up to any grade if the school was in the same village or same panchayat. “If this little dream turns true, marriages will be delayed and a number of infant and maternal health challenges will be addressed automatically,” he explained.

When asked to comment, Prof Rakesh Chandra said he was impressed with uncorrupted imagination and simplicity of thoughts. “Children don’t seek cinema halls or malls…. all they want is capacity building… This to me, is a strong indicator, ascertaining that they have the will to lead a quality life but with individual efforts and not as alms. In short, all they need is an opportunity,” he said.

The only negative to this story of change is that a flip through the essays exposed an urgent need to elevate the standards of education. Certain grammatical errors and incorrect expressions played a spoilsport. Let’s hope the dreams come true within the term of the present MLA.