Security Beefed up at Metro Stations

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By Neha Sethi

The Book Fair has come to an end and the Trade Fair is still some time away. Then why is the queue at the Pragati Maidan metro station extending almost till the main road? “After the blasts and the firing incident in Delhi, security has been beefed up in all the metro stations,” says P D Minz, a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) employee at Rajendra Place metro station.

The number of CISF personnel deployed at all the metro stations has gone up. “We cannot disclose the exact number of CISF deployed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) but we have surely increased the number,” says Anuj Dayal, Chief Public Relations Officer at DMRC.

“The patrolling by CISF has gone up on all routes of the metro. The CISF, apart from being responsible for checking on metro stations, also keep traveling on the metro on all the routes and check for miscreants. They also keep checking various corners on metro stations regularly,” says Rajendra Prasad, Customer Care operator at Pragati Maidan metro station.

Since dustbins were used by terrorists for recent bomb blasts, the Managing Director of DMRC, Dr E Sreedharan, has ordered the removal of all the dustbins from the platform areas at all stations as a precautionary measure. “As it is, food and drinks are not allowed inside the metro premises, so we don’t need dustbins,” clarifies Dayal. But an officer at a metro station who didn’t want to be named said that the DMRC is planning to have transparent dustbins at all metro stations.

The security has been increased not only in the metro stations but also in areas around the stations. Rickshaws, which can be seen outside the entrance of all metro stations, have also been told to park a little away from the gate of the stations. Surender, a rickshaw puller outside Patel Nagar metro station says, “Now we can’t stand just outside the gate. If we stand there, then the CISF personnel come and shoo us away. We have to park a little ahead.”

CISF deployed at metro stations also have their own Bomb Disposal Squad and Dog Squad spread over the metro system. “We also have Closed Circuit T elevisions (CCTVs) to monitor movement of people at metro stations. And the new trains that we are procuring will also have CCTV installed inside them,” says Dayal.

Though the DMRC is taking many steps to make sure that the people are safe, not everyone is convinced. Sheena Ahuja, a student of Madhubala College, who travels everyday by the metro says, “The checking is just an eye wash. They just frisk your bag. There is no thorough search of my bag done, ever. I don’t think they are strict enough with the checking.”

It seems that it takes more than long queues and promises to convince people.

India Gate: Just a picnic spot?

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In the fast pace of life we all want few moments of tranquility. Most of the time it’s the historical monuments where we find those split seconds. But how much we know about these monuments? Are they just becoming places to hang around?
Saurabh Sharma sets to find out why people come to India Gate and how much they know about it, through a radio story.

Photo: Jaishree

By Gaurav Kumar and Sumiran Preet Kaur
Photos- Jaishree,Radio story: Aqsa Anjum

Janpath wore a deserted look even at the peak hours of the day, a week after the serial blasts. Delhi Police has now taken various precautions to ensure the safety of the citizens in Connaught Place (CP).

An official stationed near Janpath, on condition of anonymity, said that a lot of precautions have been taken to ensure safety from their side. All the dustbins have been turned upside down, the Central Park has been closed. There is a lot of frisking and metal detectors are used at all the crowded places
But are all these precautions enough to ensure the people of their safety? “Our business has gone down by nearly 50%. People are no more coming here,” says Ashwini Katpalia, owner of snack corner, Depauls at Janpath. “By turning the dustbins, how can how can you ensure the safety of your citizens. The city will get even dirtier. I mean will the bombers come back and put the bombs in the dustbins again? There is so much crowd that it is difficult to actually keep a track of all such activities. This time it was dustbins, next time it can be anything else.”

What happened that day?

Shoaib Hussain, had gone to Gaffar Market to collect his mobile. As he was approaching the bike, a strong push threw him 6ft away. Before being unconscious he saw people being blown into pieces. He woke in the hospital in I.C.U and had received multiple injuries and burns.

Jai Prakash, a beverage seller outside Central Park, says that immediately after the blast all were startled. “After I heard a huge thump I could not understand anything. The thump shook me. After a few seconds later people stared coming out of the Central Park in huge numbers. There was black smoke coming. By that time we knew it was a blast. I could see people lying on the ground in the park.”

Parshuram, a chaatwala at Janpath recalls that there was panic. “When people came to know that serial blasts were taking place in CP, everybody started running here and there. Everybody shut their shops and went home. There was police all around. Janpath hasn’t seen as much crowd as we used to see before the blasts.”

The never die attitude

So does that mean it’s a no-no to CP for shoppers? “Everybody gets scared initially. But people move on. There’s so much more to Connaught Place than just shopping. Clothes at cheap prices, restaurants, window shopping …No one can resist Connaught Place,” says Neelam Juneja , a doctor and a regular visitor to CP.

For Pia, a tourist from China, there is no reason to be afraid. “We all have to die, if not this way than some other way. We have to move on.”

According to Katpalia of Depauls it’s just a matter of time. “People have short memories. They will forget it and move on .We were lucky enough to escape this time. We all pray that we do not have to face it again. It is nothing less than a nightmare. Police cannot ensure everything with so much population in the city. It is us who have to keep our eyes and ears open. ”

Kabir Bedi is perhaps the first crossover actor from India. Handsomely suave, he received great reviews for his title role in the Italian television series, Sandokan. Too dapper to be serenading lady loves around trees, he did some films for the Hindi film industry and achieved greater success abroad with memorable roles for both the big and the small screens in Thief of Baghdad, Octopussy, The Lost Empire and Dynasty. Bedi was recently awarded the Asian Jewel Award by the London-based Institute of British Asian Professionals. Still capable of setting hearts aflutter, he has been a style icon for decades now. Question him on his branded sartorial preferences and he retorts: “I am not a fashion victim. Fashion isn't about designer brands alone. It's about your personal sense of style. I am eclectic. I often mix and match high street labels with designer items. For the consumer, fashion should be an expression of the self”. He shares with Kunal Majumder his style secrets and favourite fashion brands.

Please share with us your definition of fashion

Fashion is expression. It embodies beauty and freshness. It gives newness to old forms and gives us new ways of expressing ourselves.

What do you generally wear at home? What is your favourite casual and jeans wear brand? And why?

During the day, I wear pleat less pants and jeans, with casual shirts and t-shirts that I never tuck in. I love Indian cottons, in all the colours of autumn leaves.

My favourite jeans wear brand is Armani. I have no brand favourites for casual wear, although in India I do like Colorplus. During the evening, I love wearing comfortable cotton kurta pyjamas at home.

Which is your favourite formal wear attire? Which are the formal wear brands that you admire and why?

Indian designer kurta pyjamas are my favourite formalwear attire. But I wear suits too. In India my suits are tailored for me, often with fabrics from Raymonds. I like Italian designer suits too, specially Armani, Cavali and Brioni. I admire the quality of their fabrics, their styles and cuts. Apart from Italian designers I also like London's Paul Boetang, he's really excellent.

What do you prefer for foot wears – Chappals, slip-ins or shoes? Which are your favourite brands?

I wear sandals and chappals with Indian clothing, lace-up shoes with suits, sneakers and slip-ins or loafers with jeans. I never compromise on formal shoes. They have to be well crafted, quality leather and comfortable. My favourite Italian brands are Prada, Rosetti and Ferragamo. Most brands don't make my size (12.5 / 47) and I'm always grateful to find shoes that fit me.

Which are the brands of watches that you possess? Which is your favourite watch and why?

I wear Rolex, Dunhill, Cartier and a Swatch for casual wear. My favourite is the Cartier because my daughter Pooja gave it to me. In India, Titan makes some great watches too.

Do you use any jewellery?

I don't wear jewellery. But I do like nice cuff-links and have acquired an interesting collection over the years.

Which are your favourite innerwear brands?

Soft cottons from Marks & Spencer and whatever else feels good.

Which is your favourite shopping destination outside India and why?

My favourite shopping destination is Los Angeles. The city has brands from all over the world in spacious shopping centres and most importantly, they stock my sizes. The prices are much cheaper than Europe. And parking is never a problem.

Which is your favourite shopping store in the country and why?

I'd like to reserve judgment on that. There are so many new stores I haven't seen yet. India is experiencing a retail revolution.

Do you use bags? Which is your favourite brand in this category and why? Please share with us the names of your favourite wallet brands?

I like leather satchels that can be hung from the shoulder and my favourite brand is Hidesign from Pondicherry. As for wallets, my brands keep changing. Currently I'm using Missoni and Mont Blanc.

Which are the foreign brands that you love to see in India?

Victoria Secrets!

Which are your favourite accessory brands?

Mont Blanc belts, card holders are my favourites. Italy is a great place to buy sunglasses – my favourites are Prada and Bulgari

Who are your favourite fashion designers and why?

I like all the major Indian designers, many are going international too. It was great to be in Italy to see Tarun Tahiliani's show at the Milan Fashion Week.

Wrestling for the Gold

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A Photo feature by Gargi Nim

Bhupesh Kumar, an international wrestling coach, trains wrestlers in view of 2010 Commonwealth Games. But apart from wrestling, yoga is also an essential part of his training module. He prescribes yoga on regular basis to his trainees for relaxation.

A wrestler being trained.
Wrestlers performing
Meditation helps concentration
A wrestler observes tactics

Trying hands with a dummy

Get Set Go

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XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 are just 743 days away. This global event will take place in New Delhi from October 3-14, 2010. What are the preparations going on and is Delhi ready to take up this event, Akanksha Kukreti finds through a radio story.

PPP - a good alternative?

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Public –private partnership in health care service
Kapou Malakar

Twenty five year-old Jarifa is a full-time domestic worker in East Delhi. Last year, her husband Siraj, a barber, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She managed to get her husband admitted to a nearby public hospital. Siraj remained there for about three and a half months. During this time, she became the sole bread earner of her family of seven members. Had the family been able to afford to treat Siraj in a private hospital, would things be any different? Probably yes. Public-private partnership can possibly be a way that can help poor people like Jarifa and Siraj to get better health care.
Public private partnership (PPP) is a policy sponsored by World Health Organisation (WHO) that was implemented in India from 2003. Reports of WHO defines PPP as a method to bring together both public and private hospitals to improve the state of health of the population.

PPP programmes are implemented in the developing countries to make the health care service more equitable. Few states in India like Karnataka, Haryana and Orrissa have already started working on PPP policy in their respective health care schemes.

In Delhi, Arpana Swastha Kendra in Gautampuri is the only health centre which has been working under PPP policy . It functions in collaboration with Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), offering different services on the urban health care development programme.
Retired Brigadier Ashok Sondhi, administrative head of Arpana Swastha Kendra says: “No urban health programme can be fully successful unless there is a synergy of effort from all the quarters concerned. PPP can be an option when there is a big gap in the services of public and private hospitals in terms of infrastructure, quality and the cost of the services provided.”
He added that they have 23 renowned doctors from various fields who volunteered to work with them. “With their help we run a free OPD twice a week although it is not adequate,” he says.
How does PPP policy claim to be cost effective in its operation? Mr. Sondhi says: “We offer a medicine worth Rs.60 at a subsidised rate of Rs.20. The patient has to give a nominal fee for their treatment whether it is root canalling, X-rays or ultrasound.”

Arpana Swastha Kendra has been working with hospitals like Apollo, Sri Ganga Ram, AIIMS, Safdarganj and St. Stephens for various treatments and surgery. “For the treatment of tuberculosis, we are tied with Cheshire Homes with a comprehensive Dot Programme,” says Mr Sondhi.

Very recently, Arpana Swastha Kendra has tied up with AIIMS on a treatment programme for cervical cancer as a part of WHO pubic private partnership programme.

The best part in public private partnership scheme is its community development programme. “During the past five years, 30 self- help groups were formed with total members of over 500 women. It can help the community to be self sufficient”, adds Mr.Sondhi.

Experts say that the public and private sectors can potentially gain from one another in the form of resources, technology, skills and management practices. “Collaboration with the private sector in the form of Public-Private Partnership would improve quality, efficiency and accountability of the services,” says Dr Behera, Director of L.R.S. Institute of Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases.

Meanwhile, people in Gautampuri area are pleased with the services of Arpana Swastha Kendra, the one under PPP policy scheme.

Punam, a construction worker staying in Gautampuri locality says: “Once in every month community workers visit our home to find out our difficulties. We are glad that someone is there to help us out.”

No Blueline buses, no work

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By: Dipu Shaw & Gaurav Kumar

Have you given a thought to the number of people who make a living out of the blueline buses? The drivers and conductors may be the only people who come to your mind. But, wait! There are others too.

Jitendra Kalra runs a small business of supplying water to the drivers and conductors of the blueline buses. He employs six labourers for this. They fill the 15 liter water cans at the nearby Mandavli Water Tank at Rs 5 per can. They charge Rs 15 from the bus drivers for the water.
As the blueline buses stop at the Shakarpur stand, Ritesh Pandey, the water supplier can be seen rushing with a can of water into each of them. Ritesh, a labourer from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh is paid Rs. 3,000 per month by his employer for the job.

There are more than 50 such points at various bus routes in the capital. About 250 labourers are employed by small businessmen. They supply the cans of water to more than 4,000 blueline buses in the capital. While Ritesh rushes in and out of the buses exchanging the cans of water with empty cans in the buses, his colleague Manoj Kumar refills the empty cans at a water tank about 2 kilo meters away. Ritesh only gets a few minutes to supply the water and scribble the number of the bus in the small pad that he carries in his pocket.“I supply water for the first half of the day and from 2 pm we start collecting the money from the respective buses,” informs Ritesh. The passengers are usually too busy to notice him. Some even mistake him to be a fellow commuter when he enters the buses.

However, this business which is as old as the blueline buses may soon close down. The Government aims to phase out all the blueline buses from the capital’s roads. The red and green low floored DTC buses are already on the roads. “The phasing out has already begun and soon we will get rid of all the killer blueline buses,” says Haroon Yusuf, Transport and Power Minister. When asked about these water suppliers who would loose their means of livelihood, the Transport Minister said that the safety of Delhites was more important than the income of such small businessmen and labourers.

The DTC bus drivers do not buy the water cans. Instead, they drink water at the DTC Depot which is available for free.

Businessman Jitendra Kalra has other alternatives. “This is an illegal business and I am not solely dependent on it,” he specifies. Nevertheless, for poor labourers like Ritesh the blueline buses are the only means to earn their bread.

Bata is planning a new retail strategy. It plans to close down its smaller stores and open larger retail outlets. Deepak Deshpande, VP (Retail), Bata India speaks to Kunal Majumder about it.

Bata has emerged into a brand from a retailing company. So what is your take?

We are more focused on retail than we were in the past. The ongoing retail revolution has helped a lot in this. In the past, it was different but today retailers are deciding what is to be manufactured and what is to be sold.

With the revolution in the retail, you are going to have a situation in the market, where getting a product would not be the challenge it used to be in the past. But putting the right product in the right place has to be the thing that needs to be taken into consideration. Today, for example, if you want a range of shirt, you know the local shirt manufacturer, and then through the chain of networks, you can have an access to all the manufacturers and retailers in the world. So the trick is not how to get manufactured, but in selecting what you want and what message you want to convey.
Bata is a brand which is more concentrated into tier-2 cities, now that you are planning to expand and close down smaller retail chains, what is going to be your strategy for tier-II and tier-III cities?

In tier-II and tier-III cities we are planning to open 2,000 sq ft stores along with existing Bata store. We are not abandoning the market. Tell me where or in which city or market you don’t find a Bata store. We will continue to expand and we want to increase the size of our foot brand. The amount of retail acquisitions which we are planning to have, is more than what the market is doing in this particular segment.

Retail is suffering in the West while India still continues to hold. Are Indian consumers still confident?

There are two things that drive a market. One is the unsaturated market demand. And second is per capital consumption. Earlier what has happened is that products were not available and incomes were limited. But today things have changed. Moreover, today there is premium branding. Soon, affordable branding will come in and there will be hypermarkets. Branding is the thing which is going to happen on a long term basis.

What about malls? How many stores you are planning to open in malls?

Yes, we are planning to have stores in malls. It is definitely for the brand presence but at the same time we don’t want our stores in malls to make money for the landlords and not for the company.

What about the Hush Puppies stores?

They are going to be the stand alone stores and will be present in selected malls.
Bata is one of the most recognised brand names in the country. So definitely we want to reinforce that. Within the umbrella of Bata, we would be developing our own brands. Differently, people call them private labels and we call them our own

Cremation goes online

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Antim Niwas, a crematorium at Noida Sector-94 now has the technology which allows people to watch the cremation of their loved ones online. CCTV-s have been installed here to record funerals. Those who are unable to attend the funeral can even get the copy of a DVD. Here is a report by Nazia Jafri, Sheeba Naaz and Sumiran Preet Kaur