Citizens' Issues
Punjab's do-gooders: Quenching people's thirst with sweetened water
'Chhabeels' are counters put up along roads where water and milk are mixed with essence and sweetener and offered to thirsty people, motorists included. Hundreds of thousands benefit from the largesse
 
Year after year in the peak of summer, a charitable activity provides a soothing relief all over Punjab. Hundreds of 'chhabeels' dot highways where people are offered sweetened water to quench their thirst in the scorching heat.
 
'Chhabeels' are counters put up along roads where water and milk are mixed with essence and sweetener and offered to thirsty people, motorists included. Hundreds of thousands benefit from the largesse.
 
The water is offered to all, irrespective of one's religion. The tradition has since spread to many other parts of northern India, Delhi included.
 
The 'chhabeels' are mostly put up around gurdwaras where young and old people can be seen enthusiastically requesting people to stop and partake the sweetened water-milk combo.
 
"Chhabeel is a religious tradition that has been followed for hundreds of years," Tarsem Singh, a granthi (religious preacher) in Ropar town, told IANS.
 
"In peak summers, the event coincides with the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev (the fifth Sikh guru). The concept is to offer the sweetened drink to people who are moving in the scorching heat," he added.
 
At every 'chhabeel', a counter is put up where volunteers offere the sweetened drink in glasses to people.
 
"It gives a very nice feeling to offer sweetened water to people in this burning heat," Chandan Singh, a private sector employee in his 30s, told IANS.
 
"Motorists and others get a lot of relief after taking it. This is a very good tradition. Even the younger generation feels happy to help out in this activity," he added.
 
The martyrdom day of Arjan Dev is observed every June. The guru was tortured to death on the orders of Mughal emperor Jahangir in the early 17th century.
 
Ravi Singh, a resident of Amritsar, said when he drove from Amritsar to Chandigarh this week, he saw well over 100 'chhabeels' in the nearly 250 km journey. 
 
"The volunteers were enthusiastic about offering the sweetened water. I had it at least six times during the journey," he recalled.
 
'Chhabeels' are organised on other days too, especially related to the Sikh religious calendar. The maximum number of 'chhabeels' are organised in the summer months of May and June.
 

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Killing the Colorado: Holy and Thirstiest Cotton Crop
The scarcity of water in California, Arizona and other Western states is as much a man-made crisis as a natural one, the result of decades of missteps and misapprehensions by governments and businesses as they have faced surging demand driven by a booming population
 
State Route 87, the thin band of pavement that approaches the mostly shuttered town of Coolidge, Ariz., cuts through some of the least hospitable land in the country. The valley of red and brown sand is interrupted occasionally by rock and saguaro cactus. It’s not unusual for summer temperatures to top 116 degrees. And there is almost no water; this part of Arizona receives less than nine inches of rainfall each year. 
 
Then Route 87 tacks left and the dead landscape springs to life. Barren roadside is replaced by thousands of acres of cotton fields, their bright, leafy green stalks and white, puffy bolls in neat rows that unravel for miles. It’s a vision of bounty where it would be least expected. Step into the hip-high cotton shrubs, with the soft, water-soaked dirt giving way beneath your boot soles, the bees buzzing in your ears, the pungent odor of the plants in your nostrils, and you might as well be in Georgia.
 
Getting plants to grow in the Sonoran Desert is made possible by importing billions of gallons of water each year. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in existence, and each acre cultivated here demands six times as much water as lettuce, 60 percent more than wheat. That precious liquid is pulled from a nearby federal reservoir, siphoned from beleaguered underground aquifers and pumped in from the Colorado River hundreds of miles away. Greg Wuertz has been farming cotton on these fields since 1981, and before him, his father and grandfather did the same. His family is part of Arizona’s agricultural royalty. His father was a board member of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District for nearly two decades. Wuertz has served as president of several of the most important cotton organizations in the state.
 
But what was once a breathtaking accomplishment — raising cotton in a desert — has become something that Wuertz pursues with a twinge of doubt chipping at his conscience. Demand and prices for cotton have plummeted, and he knows no one really needs what he supplies. More importantly, he understands that cotton comes at enormous environmental expense, a price the American West may no longer be able to afford. 
 
Wuertz could plant any number of crops that use far less water than cotton and fill grocery store shelves from Maine to Minnesota. But along with hundreds of farmers across Arizona, he has kept planting his fields with cotton instead. He says he has done it out of habit, pride, practicality, and even a self-deprecating sense that he wouldn’t be good at anything else. But in truth, one reason outweighs all the others: The federal government has long offered him so many financial incentives to do it that he can’t afford not to. 
 
“Some years all of what you made came from the government,” Wuertz said. “Your bank would finance your farming operation … because they knew the support was guaranteed. They wouldn’t finance wheat, or alfalfa. Cotton was always dependable, it would always work.”
 
 
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
 

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Maggi samples found unsafe: Delhi government
Samples of Maggi noodles tested in the national capital were found unsafe, the Delhi government announced on Tuesday and said it may take action against the company manufacturing the popular snack.
 
Health Minister Satyendra Jain said 10 in 13 samples of Maggi noodles sent for testing were found to have excess amount of lead.
 
"Out of 13 samples taken last week, 10 have been found to be containing lead more than the permissible limit. Eighty percent of the samples failed. The officials (of Nestle India which manufactures Maggi noodles) will be called tomorrow (Wednesday) and further action will be taken," Jain said.
 
Jain added that there was "incorrect information" provided on five of the 13 samples.
 
Earlier, Delhi government spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said the samples had been sent to lab for testing and found unsafe.
 
"Lab testing reports show Maggi samples found unsafe in national capital: Delhi govt," Sharma said in a tweet.

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COMMENTS

Fairy gada

2 years ago

I am stricly banned to have Maggie noodles, by my parents, since a couple of years. I used to feel dizzyness and my blood pressure felt after having it. But never bothered to find out the actual reason behing it.
I still had it sometimes and felt weakness.

I am never ever in my life having Maggie or any other packed food again.

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