|Friday, June 23, 2017
CIVIC BODY GEARS UP TO TACKLE PLASTIC POLLUTION : Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has joined hands with AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) to combat plastic pollution in the city.
The civic body with the help of other stakeholders such as the APPCB and several non governmental organizations will implement the Plastic Waste Management rules, 2016, to check the usage of plastic in the city.
Nearly 30,000 traders of plastic, both retailers and wholesalers, will have to register with the GVMC by paying a fee of Rs 4,000 per month or Rs 48,000 per annum. The registered traders will have to purchase the plastic material of permitted thickness (more than 50 microns in thickness) from manufactures, who are registered with the APPCB.
At present, the city has five plastic material manufactures permitted by the APPCB.
Although the Plastic Waste Management rules were introduced six months ago, the GVMC has only started to implement the rules recently.
The corporation has also held a series of interactive sessions along with NGOs, environmentalists and sanitary inspectors to raise awareness about the new rules among the public. The GVMC is readying publicity tools and certificates among other requisite materials.
The GVMC chief medical officer, Dr A Hemanth, said that the corporation was still preparing the ground for the implementation of the new plastic management rules, 2016. No plastic traders have approached the corporation so far to register their names by paying Rs 4,000 per month or Rs 48,000 per annum.
IN A ANDHRA PRADESH''S FIRST, ANDHRA UNIVERSITY WING TO GO DIGITAL : Adapting to the ever-evolving trends in education, Andhra University School of Distance Education (AUSDE) is set to facilitate all its services to its students online to emerge as the first digital university of Andhra Pradesh. To implement the same, Andhra University has partnered with tech giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to reach out to the largest number of students, which could further drive a growth in the number of admissions and student patronage in the coming years.
The proposed complete digitalisation of AUSDE comes at a time when there has been a growing penetration of smartphones and high speed internets in every nook and corner of the country. The AUSDE will deploy the TCS iON platform to offer various services of the AUSDE online, including student admissions, academic course content, examination management as well as regular administrative services.
Andhra University vice-chancellor prof G Nageswara Rao said their partnership with TCS will go a long way in offering better and convenient services to the students of the AUSDE. "We have more than 60,000 students at AUSDE from across the country. Once the system is fully put in place, the students of AUSDE will be able to enrol onto and access courses of their choice, pay fees, get their examination hall tickets and also see their examination results at a click of a button. This will help avoid their drudgery of visiting AUSDE for every small work. We want to extend the same services to the regular students of Andhra University in the coming days,"said Prof Nageswara Rao.
Prof LD Sudhakar Babu, former director of AUSDE and in-charge of AUSDE digitalisation project, said, "The agreement with TCS is a timely thing with AUSDE set to celebrate its 46th Foundation Day on July 1. In 2016, the varsity had formed a committee to check into the pros and cons of digitalising the services. TCS was deemed as the best partner to transform AUSDE into a complete digital platform. Starting from this academic year, we will conduct admissions through the same platform and will implement all the services as the student of this academic year progresses to complete his first year of education at AUSDE."
FISH FOOD TRUCK BY THE MANGAMARIPETA FISHERWOMEN FACES TROUBLE : In a bid to promote marine products in the city, the fisherwomen collective from Mangamaripeta launched the Fish Nutri Cart food truck in April, with the help of District Collector and Joint Director of Fisheries. The truck was supposed to change the lives of these women and costed Rs 15.5 lakh for setting up � with the amount split between the fisherwomen and the government.
But reality seems far from that. Spotting the food truck near the Defence Quarters opposite VUDA Park one hot evening, we decided to approach it to find out how business was going. The first thing that seemed off was the fact that it wasn''t located at Beach Road, like it was supposed to. None-the-less we spoke to the women and found out their grief at the way things were running. One of the fisherwomen stated that they have written permissions from District Collector Pravin Kumar and Dr VV Rao, Joint Director of Fisheries for setting up their food truck at the Beach Road.
But the documents clearly state that these women have permission to set up at Beach Road only for a period of three months and that the management shall place the vehicle at an unobjectionable place. Now, in June, these women have been forced to no longer place their food truck at Beach Road. But the strangest part is that, these women haven''t been displaced by the government agencies. Rather, it is the street food union at Beach Road that has bullied these women from not setting up there anymore.
These women have spoken to the Collector on Monday, who diverted the issue to the Joint Director. One of the women stated that the Collector seemed surprised about their displacement. The Joint Director on the other hand told them that their place at Beach Road is confirmed so there shouldn''t be a problem. Apart from that, nothing really has been done to offer these women the safety and stability they desire. Other than the fact that their current location reduces their business by a significant margin, the women here face problems due to the nearest public toilet being the one at YMCA.
One of the women says, "We are not comfortable with this place. Business here is dull and despite working from 3 PM on Sunday we earned Rs 750 only. While we were placed at the YMCA, we earned close to Rs 2000 in 10 minutes alone. The nearest public toilet from here is near YMCA and it''s hard to leave business unattended and walk from here to there every time. Due to the same, I have been suffering from a UTI the past three days."
The GVMC also doesn''t seem to be supportive of them parking their food truck where it is now and keeps asking them to shift elsewhere. The problem lies in the fact that these women have nowhere else to go. When asked about the reason for the cold treatment from the street food union at Beach Road these fisherwomen state that the union is averse to them having their food truck there as it would lessen the sales of all the other items sold along the Beach Road. "If we''re handed space at YMCA like we''re promised, we know we can earn a significant amount in an hour, some of the hawkers there easily earn Rs 2000 per 15 minutes."
The last three months haven''t been an easy ride for these women either. They claim to have approached the Collector before and the same events transpired, but no solution was really brought forth. They remain thankful to the Collector and JD for all the encouragement and support they received when they first set up, but the lack of a permanent solution now has shaken up their lives. "If this is the scenario of a food truck that was set up with the support of the government, it''s surprising how others are even coping up," one of them says.
But the women aren''t ready to budge. They realise the importance of having their own identities and independence. They say, "We don''t know what''ll happen or whom to blame for this. But we do know that we''re ready to work 24 hours if we''re provided with the place we were promised. We were simple housewives before the Collector and JD provided us with the opportunity to change our lives. We''ll let nothing stop us now."
VISAKHAPATNAM PORT CAUSING HAZARD FOR RESIDENTS : Visakhapatnam Port recently received the distinction of being the second cleanest port in the country, amongst 12 major ports. But it can�t be denied that the pollution caused by the port has been a hazard for residents in parts of Steel City. Coal and iron cargo being handled by the Visakhapatnam port has allegedly polluted air in the vicinity.
People from the Old Town area in Kotaveedhi, Soldierpeta and Ganapuram are reportedly prone to health disorders like skin allergies and eye problems due to the pollution. The hospitals in these localities always seem to be filled and it�s a common complaint here that the locals in these areas spend sleepless nights due to eye issues.
The victims of the pollution have been demanding safety measures from the Visakhapatnam Port for a long while. Numerous petitions have been sent to the port and to officials of the state and central governments. But nothing has really come out of this move. The areas in Old Town consist of educational institutions and a large number of students of all ages end up inhaling this polluted air.
Several ports including Chennai have stopped dusty cargo operations and the citizens here reportedly want the same to be introduced in Visakhapatnam Port to save them from health hazards. The pollutants can be stocked in sheds and vehicles laden with the same can be covered with tarps to keep the air pollution in check.
APPCB norms dictate that irrespirable suspended particulate matter cannot cross the tolerable limit of 60 microns per metric cube. But in several places in the city, the limit exceeds the limit and in some places, the levels are even alarming.
A proposal was reportedly made by the then VPT Chairman Ajay Kallam to shift all inhaitants away from the vulnerable areas around the port, but for reasons unknown, the proposal was shelved. Inhaling the polluted air could cause chronic pulmonary disease, forcing victims to use inhalers.
A massive plantation campaign has been launched by VPT to keep the air pollution in check. The measures put in place by the port now include sprinkling water and building high-rise walls around the cargo.
NAVEEN URGES PRABHU TO RUN TRAINS FROM NAYAGARH TOWN
: The Odisha Chief Minister today urged the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to run one Express train each to Howrah and Visakhapatnam from Nayagarh Town, a new station inaugurated this week.
It is suggested that Garib Rath Express that is plying between Bhubaneswar to Howrah may be considered for extension up to Nayagarh Town.
Similarly a new Inter-city type train from Nayagarh Town to Visakhapatnam may be introduced to give the people of Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Boudh and Ganjam district an access to the large coastal belt of the state as well as Howrah and Visakhapatnam," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prabhu.
While thanking Prabhu for commissioning the section from Bolagarh to Nayagarh Town, which brings the Nayagarh district headquarters on the railway map, Patnaik said Khurda Road to Bolangir railway project was of the highest priority of the state government. "We''ll continue to support the project financially as well as administratively," Patnaik said.
He, however, said that with the commissioning of the Khurda-Bolangir line upto Nayagarh district headquarters, it was now important to provide connectivity to the people of this area to the nearest large railway hub. Currently only two ordinary passenger trains are plying over the 65 km stretch from Khurda Road station to Nayagarh Town station.
Patnaik also reminded Prabhu about the state''s earlier demands of re-commissioning of Paralakhemundi and Kashinagar stations on the Nuapada-Gunupur railway line, early commencement of work for the state partnership projects of Jeypore-Malkangiri and Jeypore-Nabarangpur new lines and introduction of a daily train from Bhubaneswar/Khurda to Mumbai in the name of legendary warrior Buxi Jagabandhu.
ISCKON VIZAG TO HOLD JAGANNATH RATHA YATRA ON SUNDAY: International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Visakhapatnam chapter will take out Jagannath Ratha Yatra festival on the lines of famous Puri''s Jagannath rath yatra, on June 25.
President of ISKCON''s local chapter, Samba Das told a press conference here today that the yatra will commence from Vizag Urban Development Authority (Vuda) park near Beach road on Sunday evening and culminate at Viswapriya function hall in the night.
Andhra Pradesh human resources minister Ganta Srinivas Rao and local MLAs and MPs will take part in the procession.
Das urged people to come out in large numbers to pull the ''ratham'' (chariot) and participate in the grand religious programme.