Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Delhi Dilemma- Odd and Even Rule

The ever increasing pollution in the capital of India has left the population breathless, literally. The dust laden air, full of fumes and poisonous gases has seen an exponential rise in recent times.

The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after having had an experiment with the Odd and Even formula of rationing the vehicles on the road in Jan 2016 has reintroduced the scheme from 15 Apr  to limit the number of vehicles on the road.( The Odd numbered cars are allowed to ply on the odd dates and the vehicles with registration numbers ending in even numbers are allowed on the even dates. The rule is not applicable on Sundays. There are a few categories that are exempt from this rule. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee will gauge the impact on city’s quality of air at 119 locations around the city

A section of people from the opposition parties like Congress and writers like Chetan Bhagat have criticized the move of rationing the vehicles on the road. ( Their view is that such a move would lead to wealthier section buying more cars having both odd and even registration numbers to defeat the scheme. Also, according to the critics, lack of adequate public transport, security of women and higher cab fares besides inconvenience are other concerns.

Having seen the pros and cons the following action points are necessary to consider for curbing the air pollution in future:

·         Review the Results- From the learnings of implementation in Jan and Apr road rationing, regarding effects on air quality be made public to ascertain the success of the scheme
·         Pollution from Construction- A separate study needs to be done on the pollution caused by the rampant construction around the National Capital Region and maintain a check on the same
·         Burning of Trash/ Industrial Pollution- Heavy penalties be imposed on burning of trash and  emitting toxic smoke from industries.

Everyone is a stakeholder in the fight for pollution and needs to contribute to help in inhaling cleaner air and keeping environment clean.

PS: This blog post is in reference to Social Media Marketing Specialization being pursued with Coursera/Northwestern University, USA ( You may correspond with me on

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trek to Chandanwadi

We stepped out of our tent to look at the clear blue skies and the silver clouds drifting across. The sun had still not risen. The distant snow clad peaks shimmered from the light at the daybreak as the golden sky kissed the peaks. The chirping of birds and the ruffling of the leaves by the wind were the only sounds that could be heard. The thick foliage of the trees and undulating slopes with a carpet of velvet green grass made the environment truly romantic! My wife was besides me. We were married less than a week earlier. The location was somewhere off Pahalgam at the Army Adventure Camp. We had arrived there the previous evening after gathering the details of the place from the Transit camp at Srinagar. There was a cluster of olive green tents for accommodation in the midst of the jungle where a sparkling river flowed.
‘Hello! How are you doing?’ a voice from behind our backs started us. A tall sikh gentleman almost six foot high with a silver beard and a rucksack on his back looked at us as he smiled.
‘We are fine sir, ‘I replied.
‘I am Col Manjeet Singh, retired from the Army in 1971 ‘he introduced himself.
We too introduced ourselves and he was amazed that just after our marriage we were there. We too were equally amazed to see the spirited retired Army officer roughing it out, full of zest. He had a married daughter who was settled abroad and his wife had passed away a few years ago. He was an avid traveler and fond of trekking. He was planning to leave for Chandanwadi which was about 16 km from the camp.’ Wow! What a coincidence! We too are leaving an hour from now’ I told him. He had interesting experiences to share as we chatted with him over the breakfast of aloo poori and tea prepared for us by the mess havaldar. It was very well prepared and after polishing off the breakfast we got our packed lunch from him and left. The colonel was in a fit physical shape, and soon overtook us.
My wife was still to get used to the new way of life and with high level of energy we both continued meandering through unfamiliar path. Soon we reached a hill top as we had strayed from the track. Luckily a local girl who was grazing sheep came to our rescue and we were back on track again!
After four hours we reached Chandanwadi and saw a lot of people having tea and lunch in dhabas. They were going on pilgrimage to Amarnath. It was good to see human faces again!  Col Singh was there too and waved at us. He had reached more than an hour earlier and was enjoying his lunch. We ordered tea and then opened our packed lunch as we were almost famished after the trek. Chandanwadi was a small hamlet with a few dhabas where people usually had sojourn en route to Amarnath. The wind was chilly and the spray of water from the gushing water rivulet nearby added to the beauty. We rested for an hour and Col Singh bid us goodbye as he stared the return journey. I asked my wife if she was willing to walk back.

‘Sure, ‘if the old Sardarji can do it I too can’ she replied. So we started our trek back. We completed more than half way when I realized that I was being unfair. Just because my wife had agreed to rough out with me did not imply that she would do all the soldiering from week one of our marriage.  I looked around and found a truck passing by. I waved at him and the driver stopped at a little distance. He asked us to hop in as he was headed in the direction of Pahalgam. My wife was tired after the long trek. I felt proud at her achievement and seeing her inspired by Col Singh. Later in the evening we enjoyed a campfire with him and others who too had joined. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unknown Stranger in Geneva

It was a cold morning as I stepped out in the balcony of the 6th floor of the Hotel Central, located in the midst of the Old City at Geneva. Previous evening we had landed in Geneva from Berne.The distant Alps with snow clad peaks looked beautiful. Our breakfast was delivered in the room sharp at 8.30 AM. Armed with all the information provided by the beautiful girl at the reception we stepped out. The morning rush hour had begun as we arrived at the Bel Air bus stop near the hotel. We waited for a tram to take us to Saleve in the direction of Vernier Covane. Mont Saleve is a tourist attraction in French territory from where one can have a panoramic view of France/ Switzerland and the return trip is about 70 km. I tried to take direction from a man who spoke only German and told us to get in the tram which he also boarded. He got off after a while and told us to follow him. He then brought out a car after the bend and told us to hop in. We were a little concerned with this overtly kind gesture as I enquired if he was a taxi driver. He waved his hand saying no he was not as he started his car. He drove for about 10 minutes before stopping his car near a house. A lady appeared from the house along with this man and spoke in fluent English. She queried as to where we wanted to go and laughed when  her husband explained that we mistook him to be a taxi driver. She then informed us that her husband would take us up to Saleve and will drop us back to the tram station. This was the best help we got!!
I was now convinced that there was some divine force at work in Geneva since I had recovered my lost mobile phone previous day. We thanked them both profusely. The kind gentleman showed us around Saleve. The panoramic view fof Geneva and Lake Geneva was unforgettable from Saleve.  After about an hour and half he dropped us at the tram station in the city. We could enjoy a nice trip which we had contemplated only previous night in company of a total stranger was a sure sweet encounter!

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