Citizens' Issues
Tea without sugar more effective than IPL ban
Mumbai can save 150 percent more water by drinking tea without sugar for a day than can be saved by banning a season of Indian Premier League (IPL) in three Maharashtra stadia, IndiaSpend calculations reveal.
 
The Bombay High Court suggested that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reconsider its decision to hold IPL matches in Maharashtra because of a widespread drought but refused to stay the first match to be played at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
 
Maharashtra’s three stadia – at Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur – would use 6 million litres of water for the 20 matches, according to the petitioner, an advocacy called the Loksatta Movement.
 
While this seems like a lot of water, there are more effective ways of saving water than not watering cricket grounds, if we use the concept of embedded water – the water used in production of a product.
 
Agriculture consumes almost 85 percent of water consumed in India, according to the India Infrastructure Report 2011. We consume water for drinking, bathing, cooking and even washing cars, but we consume much more water through food. This is because large quantities of water are used to grow and process that food. For example, an estimate by National Geographic says more than 1,500 litres of water are used to produce half-a-kg of chicken, and nearly 1,000 litres to produce a bottle of wine.
 
“(The real culprit) is the state’s policy that encourages production of the water-guzzling sugarcane,” Sunil Jain wrote in the Financial Express.
 
National Geographic also tells us that more than 1,500 litres of water is used to produce a kg of sugar. Now, even if we assume that approximately 20 percent of Mumbai’s population, or 2.5 million people, drink a cup of tea every day with a teaspoon of sugar, that comes to nearly 10,000 kg of sugar.
 
This sugar has 15 million litres of water embedded – meaning, it has cost us 15 million litres of water to produce this much sugar. That is 2.5 times the water to be used in the three IPL venues in Maharashtra.
 
Of course, this calculation has many approximations. For one, estimates of how much water is embedded in different foods vary widely, and can be different in different places. For another, we have no way of knowing how many cups of tea (or coffee or cold coffee or milk or aerated drinks) are consumed every day in the city. However, the calculation is an indication that intuition may not serve us well when it comes to issues such as water conservation.
 
One may point out that not consuming sugar for a day will only reduce the demand for sugar infinitesimally, and will most probably not reduce the production of sugar even next year. Obviously, it will not have any impact on the water situation in Marathwada today. But then, so wouldn’t using less water in Wankhede Stadium. After all, the water not used in Wankhede would not be transported more than 400 km away to Latur in the crisis-ridden Marathwada region in Maharashtra.
 
The High Court probably knows this, but its intention is to focus the attention of people on what is happening to fellow citizens. Focusing on sugar consumption is a much better way of doing that because unlike cricket, growing sugarcane is a significant part of the water problem in large parts of Maharashtra and India.
 
Sugarcane uses a disproportionately high amount of water, a Current Science study explained.
 
Of 650 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water available for irrigation nationwide, 15 percent, or 100 BCM, is used by sugarcane (the crop uses water from reservoirs as well as groundwater), which is planted on no more than 2.5 percent of India’s farmland, as IndiaSpend recently reported.
 
In the Marathwada region, the number of sugar mills has gone up from 40 in 2009-10 to 52 in 2014-15.
 
Agriculture and other sectors compete for the same water, and overuse, as with sugarcane, affects Indians in many other ways, such as shortage of drinking water, electricity generation and the like. Enabling farmers to grow alternative crops has to be part of the solution, as many experts have explained.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

suneel kumar gupta

8 months ago

same holds true for Day & night matches when it can be played during the day also.

REPLY

Param

In Reply to suneel kumar gupta 8 months ago

valid point. while villages don't have electricity, ipl matches enjoy floodlights just because it makes the whole affair crowd pleasing!!!

Param

8 months ago

happy to hear that high court thinks that wasting water in a place where people do not have water to drink is unacceptable!
next in line should be 5-star marriage parties that waste food in a place where people do not have enough to eat. next in line should be ambani's mega house in a place where people do not have a place to sleep.
cheers!

S Bethamangalkar

8 months ago

I learn from a social activist who has promoted building of check dams in Satara district that his villagers have switched to other crops precisely to reduce the consumption of water and revive the soil quality.

S Bethamangalkar

8 months ago

The sugar that is already in the market has consumed all the water it could! It's like bolting the stable after the horse has bolted!

Oberoi, Ruchi, US fund manager in latest 'Panama Papers' list
New Delhi : The names cropping up on Day 5 of "Panama Papers" expose on Indians holding offshore companies include the promoters of the Oberoi and Ruchi groups, even as the thickest dossier yet is on a US-based Indian purportedly serving a jail term there for alleged fraud.
 
Also named by the Indian Express, as part of a global expose of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and over 100 global media organisations, are an art diva, the kin of a tea baron and an entrepreneur couple.
 
The newspaper said Umesh Shahra, promoter-director of the $6 billion Ruchi Group, floated at least eight offshore entities and two private foundations in Panama.
 
This apart, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named him in August 2014 for alleged irregularities in coal block allocations, the paper added.
 
"The two trusts that Shahras set up in Panama are The Threewells Foundation, the public deed of which was signed on October 1, 2009, and One World Trust, which was set up on October 22, 2008," said the report, adding: "A detailed mail sent to him on March 29 and several calls made thereafter remained unanswered."
 
As regards Oberoi, the newspaper alleged that while the group does disclose the names of a couple of such off-shore funds, but one set up in the Bahamas has not been divulged.
 
The newspaper said it nonetheless got a detailed response from R.P.S. Oberoi, non-executive chairman of the group.
 
"It is a matter of public record that the Oberoi Group and the Amex Group had a joint venture for hotels and hotel management outside of India for many years," said the response, which also went on to add that the business was mainly done through EIH Holdings in British Virgin Islands.
 
"Amex Group is a private partnership whose business affairs are not public. The business affairs of Amex Group/Oberoi Group joint venture are confidential and the parties are legally bound not to discuss those matters with third parties."
 
Then on the US-based hedge fund manager.
 
"The most voluminous bunch of documents in 'Panama Papers' relating to Indian names belongs to brothers Chetan Kapur and Kabir Kapur and their entity 'Family and Children Charitable Foundation', incorporated by Mossack Fonseca in Panama in 2010," says the newspaper.
 
The entire expose is the outcome of millions of leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossak Fonseca.
 
"There are 499 sets of documents in Kapur files and they show that Opler, a 'vintage offshore company', was purchased by Chetan Kapur from Mossack Fonseca for $6,750 in 2007. It was only three years later that FCCF (the foundation) was set up," says the paper.
 
"In January 2013, he (Chetan) was indicted by US Securities and Exchange Commission and ordered to pay $4.95 million in fines and barred from securities, brokerage and investment business," said the paper, adding a US Federal Court ordered him back in jail for failing to pay $10 million to the commission.
 
Kabir Kapur told the paper that he has been a US national since 2011 -- before his name was added to the foundation in 2012. He also said Opler Consulting was since wound up, even as the foundation still exists. "As far as my brother Chetan Kapur is concerned, he is still in prison in the US," he said.
 
"We have got no justice in this case from any quarter."
 
Also in this edition is a response from Harshad Mehta of the Rosy Blue Diamonds conglomerate. "I have been a non-resident at the time when I, either incorporated, acquired or participated in these companies," he told the paper, alluding to the legitimacy of his offshore companies.
 
"These companies were operating companies and the structures are all according to globally accepted and followed corporate holding structures. The locations are typically chosen for ease of incorporation, established legal systems and succession clarity," he is quoted as saying in the response.
 
"Being a non-resident based in the UAE, tax avoidance was not a requirement for me nor was it my intention to establish companies in 'tax haven' jurisdictions such as the BVI (British Virgin Islands) for tax avoidance, as erroneously implied."
 
Others named on Day Five include:
 
Art collector Amrita Jhaveri of Amaya Collection fame, who is alleged to have set up an offshore firm in the Seychelles to own assets in Switzerland. The newspaper said she did not respond to calls, with her office saying the queries were passed on to her in London.
 
Delhi businessman Satya Prakash Gupta, who admits to being the beneficiary owner of an offshore firm in Ras Al Khaima, but also said there were no assets in the company.
 
Gargi Barooah, daughter-in-law of late Hemendra Prasad Barooah, the grand old man of Assam's tea industry. She is alleged as the sole beneficiary of Walker Foundation set up in Panama in April 2010. She, too, did not respond to queries, the paper said.
 
Husband-wife duo Nimitt Rai Tiwari and Ankita Sehgal are directors in Damodar Sunidhi Ventures, based out of Delhi. The duo has been alleged to own Suncell Holding SA incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Ankita Sehgal did not respond to multiple emails.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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UK Serious Fraud Office probes Tata Steel's British plants
Mumbai : Britain's Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into Tata Steel's UK operations, which the company is looking to sell, according to reports appearing in the British media.
 
The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that authorities have launched a criminal investigation into charges that Tata Steel staff, at its Yorkshire's site, may have tampered with certificates on the composition of steel products before its sale.
 
At least nine employees have been suspended and around 500 clients, including Rolls-Royce and BAE, are affected, the paper said citing sources.
 
Having suffered nearly 3 billion dollars in losses on the British operations, Tata Steel last week said it will explore the options to put its entire portfolio there up for sale, some 10 years after it forayed into Europe by acquiring the Anglo-Dutch Corus for over 8.1 billion dollars.
 
The company said the move was to cut its heavy losses from high manufacturing costs, competition with China and a global steel glut. 
 
Former chairman Ratan Tata has described the UK steel operations as "underinvested and overmanned".
 
British Business Secretary Sajid Javid flew into this city earlier this week to specifically hold talks with the Tata Group top brass led by chairman Cyrus Mistry, in a bid to avert over 40,000 job losses at Tata Steel UK.
 
The Tata Group on Wednesday sought the British government's help in finding a suitable buyer for its floundering steel assets in Britain, while also exploring the possibility of a third-party independent auditor to oversee the transition, sources here said.
 
Speaking to reporters here following the meeting, Javid called it "constructive and positive" and said the Tata Group was a "responsible company". He added that it had told him that a "reasonable amount of time" would be allowed for the sale process.
 
Javid also tweeted that Tata Steel will begin the formal process to sell its UK units by coming Monday.
 
Among the parties that have shown interest in purchasing the Tata assets, the British business secretary only named Liberty Steel.
 
India-born, London-based businessman Sanjiv Kumar Gupta, founder of the UK-based Liberty House, is touted as a strong contender to take over Tata Steel's British assets. He was one of the potential buyers Javid met in London before flying out to Mumbai.
 
Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron held emergency talks in London with his colleagues to tackle the crisis, amid warnings that the firm has just weeks for a rescue deal.
 
The Labour Party has termed it a national crisis and wants the UK steel industry to be nationalised.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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