Citizens' Issues
Flood alert sounded in Kashmir
A flood alert was sounded in Kashmir on Thursday as the level of Jhelum river crossed the danger mark in some areas, an official said.
 
The level of the river at Sangam in Anantnag district was 26.80 ft., which is above the danger mark, while it was 19.80 ft. at Ram Munshibagh in Srinagar city at 8 a.m., also above the danger mark.
 
"A high flood alert has been sounded in the Kashmir Valley. All staff with flood protection duties have been ordered to report on duty," an official of the provincial administration told IANS here on Thursday.
 
The low lying areas in south Kashmir Kulgam district have been inundated due to the flood waters of the local Vessu river. People from these villages have left for safer places after over a dozen houses suffered damage due to flash floods.
 
Incessant rainfall since Wednesday has swollen all rivers, mountain streams and seasonal rivulets in the valley.
 
The Met Office has forecast more rainfall till Thursday evening.
 
"The weather will start to improve from today (Thursday) evening," an official said.
 
Kashmir witnessed one of history's worst floods in September last year.

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For the Betterment of Underprivileged Rural Children
Aham Bhumika works for rural children to prevent migration to cities
 
Rural poverty is usually the result of lack of opportunity, training and resources. Subrat Goswami and Kavita Bhattacharya, an idealist duo based in Bhopal, decided to do something about it and started Aham Bhumika in 2007. Their ideal and vision was clear: “No one should die due lack of proper clothing. No one should sleep on an empty stomach. Importance of education should be spread far and wide.” Over time, a diverse group comprising artists, housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees have come together to help realise Aham Bhumika’s goal.
 
How is it achieved? Its mission statement has the answer. It says, “Our mission was to help the underprivileged children, destitute and orphans by involving generous people from the cities by collecting material discarded by them (clothes, bicycles, books, toys, newspapers, etc).”
 
Subrat Goswami says, “We have seen the problems of rural India closely and have observed that the talent of rural children does not get a chance to flower or get exposure due to lack of basic materials like pencils, drawing books, paints and colour crayons,. Also, without training in skills, such as sewing and embroidery, rural women cannot earn some extra income, after doing the household chores.” 
 
A unique initiative is the ‘Grain School’ run by Aham Bhumika. Its objective is to teach illiterate women labourers, often stone-crushers, to read, write and do arithmetic. To ensure regular attendance at school, Aham Bhumika gives students a monthly quota of grain for their families. They are encouraged to continue their schooling more as a study circle where they learn various skills to improve their livelihood.
 
Aham Bhumika works at making women self-employed, to the extent they can. And their children are able to do well in a free schooling environment, even without tutors. Where the mother is not able to educate the daughter, the NGO is able to do something for the girl child, in particular. Where professional tutors are not available, volunteers help impart basic education.
 
Over time, the NGO has expanded its activities. Says Mr Goswami,  “Aham Bhumika has set up an after-school support centre in village Borda, where school children are taught the basics of Hindi, English and arithmetic after school hours. This year, the support centre has been converted into an art & craft centre during weekends. Here, the children are taught painting, paper-quilling and papier-mâché work.” As many as 35 children attend this art & craft centre. 
 
Another interesting activity is organisation of summer camps. Theae are aimed at creating excitement about education and school through a series of activities, learning arts, crafts or getting introduced to computers. 
 
Aham Bhumika has trained 30 women and girls in embroidery and sewing. It also commissions work from them to ensure a steady stream of income for them and quality products that the NGO markets. Every week, the NGO provides these women the fabric, design and threads along with a sample of the work required. The finished product, usually cushion covers and sling bags, are deposited with the NGO for sale. 
 
If you would like to do your bit for society, you can volunteer of Aham Bhumika or provide a helping hand by donating to their cause. Or, if you are a trust or organisation, you can help by sponsoring events, buying their products, donating art material or computers or even grain and clothes. 
 
Donations to Aham Bhumika are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-tax Act.
 
Aham Bhumika Swayam Sevi Sanstha, 
65, Elegant Estate, Sai Ganesh Mandir,
Near Mother Teresa School,
P.O. Bairagarh Chichli, Kolar Road, Bhopal 462042
Madhya Pradesh Phone +91 98264 72718
Email Aham [email protected]

 

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Clean India drive needs Rs2.24 lakh crore: Naidu

The ambitious mission is part of the NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog, the NDA government set up on March 9, to achieve universal sanitation, improve cleanliness and make India open defecation free by 2019, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary

 

The Modi government's flagship programme 'Swacch Bharat' Mission by 2019 would need Rs2.24 lakh crore (Rs2.24 trillion), its sub-group's convener, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said on Wednesday.
 
"The Mission will need a total outlay of Rs2.24 lakh crore, with Rs1.34 lakh crore for villages and Rs62,000 crore for urban areas across the country," Naidu told reporters after chairing the 10-members sub-group's third meeting here.
 
The ambitious mission is part of the NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog, the NDA government set up on March 9, to achieve universal sanitation, improve cleanliness and make India open defecation free by 2019, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869.
 
"The nature of the mission will be known after we submit our report to the central government by August 15," Naidu said.
 
The members favoured the mission to go beyond cleanliness to improvise on the waste management process and promote waste-to-energy plants, with a combined capacity of generating 1,033 MW of power from waste daily.
 
"We have decided to focus on cost-effective solid-liquid waste management technologies and vermin-composting besides setting up toilets," Naidu noted.
 
Noting that the country generated a whopping 133,760 tonnes of waste daily, he said efforts would be made to harness it to generate energy.
 
"Karnataka has the potential to generate 130 MW from its waste, with 30 MW from Bengaluru alone," Naidu pointed out.
 
As part of the same mission, the Karnataka government on Wednesday sought Rs500 crore from the central government to expand infrastructure.
 
"The state government has invested Rs400 crore to set up basic infrastructure over the last eight months. We require Rs500 crore support from the central government to complete civic projects, including basic amenities in the city," Chief minister Siddaramaiah said at a meeting of the mission's sub-group here.
 
Participating in the sub-group's third meeting, Siddaramaiah said as the state revenues were not enough to meet the challenging tasks, it was imperative for the central government to fund the mission's work in the southern state.
 
"Though we have succeeded in improving sanitation to handle waste in rural and urban areas, much more needs to be done to make our state Swacch Karnataka," he said.
 
Reiterating his government's support to Prime Minister's Narendra Modi's vision of a clean India by 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, Siddaramaiah said the central government's suggestion to take funds for the mission from the devolution to states was not appropriate, though sanitation was a state subject and hence each state should provide resources.
 
"A net reduction of Rs1,987 crore to the state after devolution under the 14th Finance Commission's recommendations for this fiscal (2015-16) has adversely affected Karnataka, as funds were reduced for various centrally-sponsored schemes and modified the sharing pattern," Siddaramaiah claimed.
 
As per the guidelines, Rs955.76 crore will be spent on the mission, with central government's share being Rs716.82 crore and the state's share Rs238.94 crore.
 
"As the mission is the central government's flagship programme, it is essential for the Centre to provide funds to states in 90:10 ratio to achieve universal sanitation coverage, improved cleanliness and make India open defecation-free by 2019," Siddaramaiah added.
 
Of the 10 chief ministers who are the sub-group's members, only four, including Mizoram's Lal Thanhawla and Uttarkhand's Harish Rawat attended the day-long meeting, chaired by its convener, Andhra Pradesh's N. Chandrababu Naidu.
 
Six chief ministers - Bihar' Nitish Kumar, Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal, Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar, Maharashtra' Devendra Fadnavis, Sikkim's Pawan Kumar Chamling and West Bengal' Mamata Banerjee - were absent.
 
Maharashtra Home Minister Ranjit Vitthalrao Patil and Haryana Agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar, however, represented their states.
 

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