Nagpur. Still humid, muggy and sultry. The rainy season was supposed to start already. But it’s been days now. And no rains! The hushed under song of the early dawn brings in cool breezy winds. You almost smell the moisture laden atmosphere and you are still waiting. And perhaps imagine the earthy scent that is produced when rains hit the parched dry soil. Your senses are yearning for the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of the first rains. Yet they tarry and linger and the clammy days move on from morning to night with nary a drop from the heavens!!
Each morning the weather projections get broadcast everywhere. Even Facebook informs – “It’s going to rain. Take care and stay dry!!” But the past three days since June 5 when the monsoons were predicted to start their annual deliverance, are going high and dry. Insat weather imagery is also going awry. The clouds keep getting all skewed and out of kilter. The high resolution Insat images too are unable to keep track of the wayward clouds. Yet, still we wait…
Nagpur has been gearing up for heavy rains as monsoons this year are expected to be really heavy. With the rains projected to hit soon the civic administration has been attending to issues related to water logging and need for maintaining hygiene, especially in vulnerable areas. The authorities are busy scrambling to complete the sludging and de-silting works of ditches, drains and nallahs. The experiences of last couple of years have not been good. Flooding of homes in low lying areas and swamping of roads and open spaces created severe problems.
As a prelude to the heavy downpours that are expected the city has been ascertaining that garbage disposal is efficaciously carried out. With new norms of garbage collection citizens are being roped in to become accountable for cleanliness around them. This is very important especially in view of ensuing health issues and epidemics like dengue and malaria that must be overcome. Thus while rains are a natural phenomena, flooding and epidemics are certainly preventable. This is why everybody needs to pitch in to make the season safe and healthy.
So even as we wait for the rain gods to bestow their bounty, it has certainly been beneficial to have had city precincts undergo deep-cleaning and sprucing-up to face up to the anticipated monsoon onslaught. In the meantime we stay pinned with our hopes on the skymetweather.com prediction that the Monsoon 2017 will make its onset over North Maharashtra and that rains will increase gradually by June 10-12.
HERD Foundation wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable monsoon season. Here are a few tips to remember to stay healthy while weathering it out for the next few months:
- Avoid street food.
- Keep insect repellent handy.
- Avoid walking about in the rain.
- Keep umbrella, rain coat, and cap handy.
- As far as possible eat hot food and drinks.
- Children should not be allowed to play in the rain.
- Dry feet immediately if they get wet.
- Avoid colds and coughs by keeping your body dry.
- Drink herbal teas often.
Education widely accepted as important for attainment of developmental goals is really the fundamental right of all children whether they are in the city, suburbs or jungles. Nagpur city located in the geographical center of India continues to be a major education hub. College of Agriculture is the oldest college in the country that was founded in 1906 by the then ruling British Government. The historic and heritage Victoria Building in Maharaj Bagh houses this College that was built in 1856 for the stay of Queen Victoria of England at Nagpur!
Nagpur University, now known as Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University was founded in 1923 and is one of the oldest in India. Nagpur with both municipal schools and private schools has emerged as a hub for education in Central India. Nagpur Municipal Corporation runs over 500 schools all over the city. There are numerous private schools run by trusts or individuals. Vidya Shikshan Prasaran Mandal (VSPM) is an affiliate partner of HERD Foundation and it is registered educational body under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
VSPM as it is better known was set up as a trust in the year 1971. The vision was to create learning centers that will allow education for all and at the same time work to eradicate social disparities causing unrest in society. 51 separate educational institutes operate under VSPM that includes a Medical College, Dental College, Physiotherapy College, Nursing Institutes, Hospitals, Degree Colleges with Arts, Commerce, Science, Business Management, Education and the schools in both urban and rural areas.
The school system follows a 10+2+3/4 plan and students have the option to enroll in junior college after 10 years of schooling and then undertake degree courses for three or four years depending on their choice of field. Nagpur can verily be said to be the nucleus for education having countless schools, colleges and higher learning centers. In hindsight it appears that astute political will has seen the emergence of educational centers across the length and breadth of the city.
There is little doubt that Nagpur will continue to grow as a bigger educational hub. Not only in the State but across the country it will have its unparalleled presence drawing countless students from all over the land and outside. Even now students from surrounding districts and states arrive in city with the aim to pursue their education. It is also evident that all these institutions attract companies to Nagpur and create jobs in various disciplines.
Shri Ranjeetbabu Deshmukh Custodian of an Educational Legacy l
Continual Inauguration Events
Happy Students in Learning Mode
Nagpur Winter Session Venue
It’s that time of the year again. Nagpur Winter Session! Our city that has been abuzz with members of the Maharashtra Legislature camping in the winter capital of the state will soon fly out. Nagpur will be back to its original calm and quiet demeanor. We have seen hectic activity since the beginning of the month, along with change in traffic regulations and charged up policing efforts. The winter session of the Maharashtra Legislature includes both of its houses – Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha and Maharashtra Vidhan Parishad. This ritualistic tradition is a practice carried out in Nagpur in the winter season every year, Nagpur being the auxiliary capital of the state.
The winter session is held at Vidhan Bhavan, Nagpur, in the heart of the city close to zero-mile landmark. The Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature of course takes place at Mumbai, said to be the financial capital of India. What marks out the event, especially in the Civil Lines area of the city is the happy political blitzkrieg that affects the lives of residents. One can see some roads being closed and made off limits with traffic being disciplined elsewhere. The sight loved best is the Mumbaikars enjoying a bit of chill in the air that a spell of cold Nagpur provides in the season.
The hotelier community is perhaps the one sector that enjoys and makes the most of this occasion. Most visitors love to experiment the gourmet delights the city has to offer. They have a field day testing out the culinary offerings ranging from the local Saoji to the more exotic. This despite the official hospitality taking care of boarding and lodging. The food court of the MLA Hostel canteen that turns into a political adda becomes the spot for food and more droppings. With thousands of people converging to eat here the conversations flow! Along with the piping hot food. And real aficionados will not let slip by opportunities to the nearby foodie streets of the city.
It must have been good news when the Business Advisory Committee of Maharashtra legislature extended the ongoing winter session by one day. The announcement may have spelled different things for different people when December 24th was included in the session proceedings. For Vidarbha-ites the extended session would have perhaps been a sop for justice to Vidarbha and its people. For the traffic police another day of strict duty. For pedestrians and commuters another day of cordoned areas. And for the hoteliers perhaps more business. And for the political representatives another day for bonhomie without the political divides.
Police Personnel for Winter Session of State Assembly, Nagpur
Nagpur – Nerve Center of the Country
It was pleasant surprise this morning to be informed that Nagpur, largest city of central India and second capital of Maharashtra is re-designated Class-A City by the state government. This perhaps bodes well for the city that is oft cited as a promising futuristic global city. This fast growing metropolis is now the third most populous city in the state after Mumbai and Pune. Despite getting steadily industrialized it still remains a most livable city! Why then did it take so much time for this beautiful city to be given the Grade A?
Here’s the reason. The classification of Indian cities follows a ranking system put in place by the Government of India for purposes of allocation of House Rent Allowance to public servants employed in different cities of the country. House Rent Allowance is also a measure for Indian Revenue Service to offer Income Tax Exemptions. Cities are also alphabetically classified on the basis of their population, as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission back in 2008.
Prior to Sixth Central Pay Commission, classification of cities happened along two parameters — Compensatory City Allowance and House Rent Allowance, both being subdivided into further categories. This classification was initially based on the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission in 1997. As such Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai got classified as A-1 cities. Cities status later got revised through results of 2001 Census of India when Hyderabad and Bangalore were accorded A1 status in 2007.
With nomenclatures like ‘Orange City’ and ‘Tiger Capital’ Nagpur is literally located in the center of the country with the Zero Mile marker affixed as the geographical center of India. A survey undertaken by a media-house sometime back informed us that Nagpur is the best city in India in terms of greenery, public transport, health care facilities and livability. These are not tall claims as Nagpur also has a top literacy rate – 93.13% among cities with over 20 lakh population! So someone must have done the math right!
This new gradation hopefully will bring in more funds being made available for the city’s development. Salaries of government servants will rise due to the commensurate rise in dearness and other allowances in line with a Class-A city. Rated as a great city to live in, this fact being verified by the increasing numbers of government employees always keen on retiring here, it is true that the city offers great capabilities for growth. It is an important area of concentration for both State and Central Governments to aid its complete development. Nagpur is the seat of the annual winter session of the Maharashtra state assembly – Vidhan Sabha. It remains a major commercial and political center.
Zero Mile Marker , Nagpur
The Fun Of It All
“…it is now possible …to create a world where everybody shall have a reasonable chance of happiness.”
Bertrand Russell may have written these lines in a different context, but for HERD Foundation they ring true in our attempt to organize sports events for two rural districts of Nagpur – just for the fun of it all! Realizing that this mainstay extracurricular activity of city bred people needed to be extended to allow a sense of enjoyment for rural populace too, Dr Amol Deshmukh planned a series of sporting events that brought enthusiastic teams in the fray.
It is very true that sports are to be enjoyed to bring on the feel good factor. They help develop excitement for living it up for something much more than beyond the ordinary normalcy of everyday life. Offering a great diversion for some part of your time, they help you forget about the rigors of life and give you joy for a little while. Yes sports do have a happy impact on your psyche and sustain your tame existence.
Games in all honesty are a healing factor uniting people for a common passion. It has been interesting to make note of the manner in which the teams have been practicing for various events, egged on by vigilant sports teachers. Our coaches have been offering guidance and instructions for understanding the rules of the games. Even the general onlookers rooting for the teams offer a sense of exhilaration, which is a pleasure to watch.
We love how the competitions have developed a fan following for HERD Premier League or HPL in the region. It’s great to see the youth look forward to something that is so simple and so good for them. Besides getting their minds off the daily grind of life these games have become a symbol for something much deeper – developing a sense of strength and purpose to prevail on their minds.
This euphoria that HERD Foundation has injected in the youth has created good interaction and better connections among people who perhaps otherwise would never have met up. They have been instrumental in projecting good, clean fun besides opening up a world of sporting fun. If only for sometime HPL Sports do act as a bonding element to bring the youth together to have a moment of unadulterated happiness.
The Pursuit of Happiness
The world celebrates International Tiger Day to raise awareness for tiger conservation. Also known as Global Tiger Day that is held each year on July 29, the aim is to promote global conscientiousness for protecting the tiger’s natural habitats and to make the public aware of the need to support conservation issues for tigers. Nagpur famous as the gateway to Tigerland has a special responsibility in such conservation efforts.
Pench National Park, close to Nagpur gets its name from Pench River flowing through the Park. The Park is accessible from Village Pauni on National Highway 7, the closest point from Nagpur. Pench actually has two well known entry points – Turiya and Karmajhiri. The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. Its description of natural wealth and richness can be traced to Ain-i-Akbari where it is recounted in all its glory. It is also the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work – The Jungle Book.
The tiger is the main cat species of the park and is said to be present in good numbers but sighted infrequently. The tiger count census tells us there are 25 tigers around this region along with 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, apart from the park’s rich bird life. We are also told that India holds over half the world’s tiger population. According to the latest tiger census report by National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population estimated is 1,706. The results include figures from 17 Indian states with a tiger population.
In the wake of Project Tiger, initiated by the government of Smt Indira Gandhi, who was herself an avid naturalist and keen environmentalist, the most effective way to implement tiger conservation appears to be through NGO participation. Nagpur itself has number of dedicated organizations working effectively with locals for hands-on tiger conservation. They keep the issue alive on national and international levels and persistently seek political will to secure the tiger’s future. The Indian conservation community is a force to reckon with but we need all the strength of purpose to keep it intact. Because as we all well know by now – if the tiger survives so do we!!!
“Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, In the forests of the night:”
The struggle to equate the balance between the haves and have-nots, finds perfect expression in Dr Amol Deshmukh’s undertaking offering healthcare delivery to all sections of society. His sensitivity to ailing populations, surviving in the middle of nowhere, has actualized and changed the context in which healthcare delivery can take place; even in remote rural regions. Being a doctor himself, often finds him in a hands-on role at ongoing medical health camps organized by HERD Foundation.
It is noteworthy that his politico-educationist backdrop allows him to envision a larger picture for the operational provision of essential healthcare services for disadvantaged people. Following the historic tradition of social service emanating from familial conditioning, provides him with resilience to continue offering such benevolent handouts to assist the underprivileged. Yes, they do well with free medical check-ups, subsidized healthcare costs, besides direct access to finest hospitals.
It is a happy combination of intentions and close collaboration and participation with Medical Institutes that adequately address health issues for rural people having little or no access to medical care. It must be a sense of deep conviction that enables him to pay attention, understand and support the lacunae in healthcare delivery, that makes him keep at it through innovative approaches for extending such outreach to people who need it so critically.
Notwithstanding a well-defined, public healthcare delivery system that is stagnating everywhere in our country, here is a doctor advocating and promoting a health care delivery model that is totally ingenious and being run selflessly for the benefit of rural populations, at their very door steps. Organizing mini, meso and mega medical healthcare camps comes easy for this Doctor for all Seasons, whose forte essentially lies in hospital management. Also he does not hesitate to readily pick up the stethoscope and listen a kid’s heartbeat or counsel addicts to a better way of life.