DON’T LET ENVIRONMENT PAY THE PRICE FOR MISMANAGED PROJECTS - The Daily Guardian
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DON’T LET ENVIRONMENT PAY THE PRICE FOR MISMANAGED PROJECTS

Large-scale development projects in India, run by poor commercial logic and players insensitive to fragile ecosystems and local communities, are doing a great disservice to the country’s nature and heritage. Public bodies must strike a balance between environmental and commercial considerations.

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In Sikkim, after the earthquake in 2011, there was a state-wide debate on the kind of runaway development path the state is on, specifically with hydropower investments, with 28 projects amounting to 20,000MW under development. Sikkim hosts some 2,200MW of operating hydro projects, soon to rise to 3,000MW. These are large projects, recently commissioned, and they export most of the power generated out of state. These large dams, primarily on the Teesta and Rangeet rivers, have also created enormous environmental problems.

The poster child of such projects is Teesta Urja’s Teesta III 1,200MW project at Chungthang, now majority-owned by the Government of Sikkim, the construction of which has seen, besides embarrassing financial shenanigans worthy of a soap opera, landslides from road construction, deaths of labourers in the tunnel during the 2011 earthquake, the collapse of a bridge by an overloaded truck carrying materials for the projects, disputes over non-construction of fish ladders, issues around e-flow of river water, shareholder disputes, takeover by the state government… a long list of social and environmental failures. Any case study of this project would have to call this gross incompetence and mismanagement, in this case by private management. And yet, the mismanaged project gets away with it, as the cost is borne by the environment and voiceless, isolated local communities.

Conversations with enough Sikkimese convince me that they now have had enough dams for such a small state, and certainly do not need any more power, with less than 100MW used in-state. And yet, even after Chungthang, developers are still eyeing another project on the Teesta, which already has over a dozen large projects operating, with Teesta VI (500MW) recently transferred from bankrupt Lanco to NHPC for completion. This is the Teesta IV project in Dzongu, the Lepcha reserve. Predictably, there is near-total local opposition that has coalesced around this project in a protected location.

Ladakh has very strong and sensitive ecological traditions, given that people have adapted to life in a cold desert. And yet, even after the welcome formation of the UT, there is no progress in a very old idea to expand the protected areas to include the Changthang Cold Desert/High Altitude National Park, which would protect the nesting areas of the Black-Necked Crane at Hanle Plains, Tso Kar and Tso Moriri, all sacred to the Ladakhis. The onslaught of tourism, with images of tourist vehicles driving over the Astragalus and Caragana bushes on the edges of the lakes, obliges a well-supported sustainable model of development based on local culture. Surely, Bhutan cannot get away with the crowning glory of caring for nature when we have similar customs and no less deep ecological thinking!

The NITI Aayog is proposing to construct a mega financial-tourist complex on Little Andaman Island. It would turn the island into an offshore financial hub that could compete with Singapore and Hong Kong. Conservationists say the plan threatens an already-fragile and rich tropical ecosystem and will lead to habitat loss for the vulnerable Onge tribe and the rare wildlife in India’s tiny portion of a genuine tropical forest. The pity is that offshore finance is itself going out of fashion given all the tax loss to OECD countries—offshore is being brought onshore and under regulation worldwide. This project is based on outdated ideas with poorly demonstrated commercial logic (what is the market for yet another offshore centre is not studied), and the irreversible environmental degradation it obliges is against our wildlife laws and will attract worldwide condemnation, and we know that pristine tropical forest, evolved over millennia, cannot be mitigated by pathetic exotic plantations in India as elsewhere.

The Ken-Betwa river inter-linking project is another striking case of the suppression of environmental considerations which only reflects the poor economic viability of the project. The project is proposed to be located in the heart of the Panna National Park and simply cannot make the case that it is designed for the betterment of wildlife, which it has to do under the dual pressure of wildlife laws and the Godavarman case.

As usual, the environmental flaw hides an even bigger economic flaw: there is insufficient water in the Ken to quality it as ‘surplus.’ The water balance studies are decades old (the calculations have not been made public). Upstream dams like Tendughat, reduced rainfall from climate change reducing supply, the need for 30% aviral dhara, and the huge, more recent and uncomputed offtake of water by agricultural pump sets have all been ignored. If only the resettlement costs of insular villages and the cost of the loss of 23 lakh trees were updated to the recently determined values by the Supreme Court (SC), the borderline cost-benefit ratio would go awry. The CEC already reported to the SC in 2019 that the cost-benefit ratio was misleading, given major errors and exemptions. The late water expert Dr Brij Gopal wrote that Bundelkhand was crying for smaller, local water solutions to be delivered in the near-term, not at this huge cost and after decades.  

In all these cases, the projects suffer from poor commercial logic and the environment pays the price. All too often, poor commercial logic is disguised by the need to hustle and short-change the environment. This suggests that environmental scrutiny should be seen as the last resort to check poor economic and commercial decision-making. The environmental consideration is not a check on development, it is a filter for the good projects, and a meaningful contribution to sustainable development: sensible economics and long-term ecological security.

THE POSSIBILITY

Starting with this massive attack on forests and wildlife alike, it is salutary to see some examples which demonstrate the ‘good projects.’ The Kanha-Pench flyover is a case study of a project which incorporates environmental concerns. The wildlife corridor is of obvious importance to tiger conservation and for ensuring the larger landscapes of the Satpuras (comprising 16,000 sq. km. of forest) stay connected. The five underpasses and four minor bridges on this 37km stretch of highway have ensured that the movement of animals is not disrupted. The threat to the Satpuras continues, but a salutary precedent has been set.

The Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi highway nearing construction is also a good example of bringing in environmental considerations at the design stage itself. Since the highway cuts across three wildlife sanctuaries and 35 wildlife focus areas, special wildlife mitigation measures such as 7 overpasses, 17 underpasses and several high box culverts are being built to facilitate animal movement and to avoid road kills. The increase in project costs is insignificant and this should be a case study for other linear projects being considered.

The proposed Delhi-Saharanpur highway also shows a confluence of interests between environmental sensitivity and commercial considerations. This highway plans a 12km elevated corridor that will prevent major damage to the Shiwaliks (and costs) from road-cutting and landslides while permitting wildlife passage underneath. It is hoped over 8,000 sal trees on the Dehra Dun can be saved by smarter alignment or another elevated segment. The Saharanpur sanctuary is also proposed for the Western Dun forests simultaneously.

THE HOPE

We know what needs to be done, we have the laws and precedents, and our culture and spiritual traditions are very clear that in the case of a choice, we should favour nature. The environment-friendly choice can also be the right economic choice. It is the poor projects which seek short-cuts to defy the environmental norms, break the laws, and fix the environment-clearance system.

The world would welcome, and our people would benefit, now and in the future, if India makes a course-correction back to its culture and history, back towards nature. Back towards saving that one peepul tree on a highway expansion, that co-operation between Centre and State to reject the development of the Bandar coal mine near Tadoba in Maharashtra this summer, as a matter of course. Back towards doing surveys before cutting roads which cover up springs with excavated malba in the Himalayas.

Enlightened environmentalism that directs necessary business and infrastructure investments towards more legal, ecological directions is completely in keeping with India’s heritage and the aspirations of its people. I do hope public bodies can recast the false tension between development and the environment to a naturally Indian confluence of interests. India needs this compromise. Nature symbolised by Kamadhenu is once again complaining to the just ruler Parikshit for help, and the ancient sanatan dharma tradition is abundantly clear that the wisdom to use the power of discrimination to find a balance is both possible and timely.

This piece is the second part of an article carried by The Sunday Guardian on 10 March. The views expressed are personal.

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5 MUST-HAVE JEWELLERY PIECES FOR KARVA CHAUTH

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As we spent yet another year at home in our pyjamas, the ongoing festive season has given us the perfect excuse to dress up! It is that time of the year when festivity in India is in its full swing. India boasts of an array of significant festivals, of which Karva Chauth, marks one important celebration for married couples.

Karva Chauth is a celebration of the pious bond between a husband and a wife. Ladies dress up to the nines and observe fast from sunrise to moonrise for a day for the safety and long lives of their husbands.

Undoubtedly, like every year, ladies would be stressed about choosing the perfect outfit for the special day. But do you think your search will be limited to finding a good dress? Of course not!

With your sartorial choices taking the front seat, do not forget to have your hands on the must-have jewellery pieces that not only compliment your clothes but also your personality.

Bhavesh Navlakha, founder of online fashion jewellery brand Sukkhi helped ANI list the trending jewellery pieces that would be a one-time investment for you to perfectly style your outfit not only for Karva Chauth but also for the entire festive season:

1. Pearl choker: Chokers are never out of style and are a beautiful addition to accentuate Indian outfits. The choker lends an edginess to your chosen ethnic outfit. An elegant pearl choker can elevate any outfit and give a rather classy look without being too heavy.

2. Long-chain jhumkis: Long-chain jhumkis, also referred to as Bahubali-inspired earrings, is a style statement that acts as the perfect addition to any ethnic outfit. It is a contemporary take on traditional earrings which adds a touch of glamour to your outfit without the need for any more jewellery.

3. Pearl bangles: Bangles are one of the most traditional accessories used in India. Bangles are a versatile jewellery piece that compliments our ethnic outfits. Adding jewellery pieces to your wrist acts as the perfect accessory to just about every Indian outfit.

4. Jhumkis: Jhumkis are immensely popular as one of the most worn jewellery pieces and is loved by everyone for their intricate design. Jhumkis can be paired with Indian ethnic outfits and also western outfits to create an eye-pleasing ensemble.

5. Kundan neckpiece: Kundan neckpieces look elegant and sophisticated and can glam up your outfit in no time. Not just for Karva Chauth, but Kundan sets can be worn by pairing them with your favourite outfit and layering the necklaces.

With jewellery trends constantly evolving and changing every year, we find it hard to keep ourselves updated on them. So, now that we have got you all covered, style your outfit with the above-mentioned jewellery pieces, making your ensemble not only look great but also speaking volumes for you!

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Needledust launches its first-ever store in Mumbai

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India’s first-ever designer jutti label, Needledust is thrilled to announce the launch of their first-ever store in Mumbai at Reliance’s first premium mall in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, Jio World Drive.

Housing more than 90+ premium and luxury brands, JIO World Driver is an exciting hub for luxury, fashion, shopping and entertainment. Located in Bandra Kurla Complex, and spanning across an area of 17.5 acres at Maker Maxity, Jio World Drive is Mumbai’s newest, vibrant urban hangout. The precinct is home to 72 prominent International and Indian brands, 27 culinary outlets with cuisines from across the globe, Mumbai’s first rooftop Jio Drive-In Theatre, an open-air weekend community market, pet-friendly services, a dedicated pop-up experience and other bespoke services. With an international consumer base, Needledust launched in 2014 with an original first of its kind product in the designer jutti space.

Following the immense success of their existing stores in Delhi & Chandigarh and a spectacular online presence on Needledust.com, this is a significant milestone for the brand as they open their doors to the tinsel town. 

Needledust brings to you a line of bespoke fine leather juttis that speak the charm of a true old school artisan with a desire to recreate this age-old craft for those who wear, admire, preserve its elegance and culture.

The celebrated label is all about unbridled passion for the revival of the jutti and unmatched craftsmanship, amalgamating the finesse of old royal moulds with innovative design and embroidery patterns that impeccably reflect 21st-century aesthetics.

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MANUBHAI JEWELLERS LAUNCHES AN EXCLUSIVE BRIDAL JEWELLERY COLLECTION FOR NEW BRIDES-TO-BE

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This wedding season, Manubhai Jewellers, a leading jewellery brand for over 30 years has made the process of finding the perfect jewellery for all the brides-to-be more special and remarkable. The brand has launched a new campaign called “Wedding by Manubhai” that features jewellery for every function – Sangeet, Mehendi and Wedding -along with a special traditional experience for all the new brides-to-be to wish them good luck and prosperity.

Speaking about the new campaign, Samir Sagar, Director, Manubhai Jewellers, said, “We at Manubhai Jewellers have been creating intricate and beautiful pieces of jewellery that balance between tradition and contemporary design to suit every occasion. For the wedding season, we want to take the opportunity to highlight the traditional values associated with our brand and offer a new bridal experience.” Manubhai Jewellers are popularly known for their specially crafted and curated collections in Mumbai. With a retail presence in Borivali, they cater to every customer’s needs ranging from beautiful modern diamond pieces to fanciful and chic gold wear, to traditional Kundan and Jadau jewellery. The brand is one of the few jewellers in Mumbai creating bespoke designs in Polki, Temple and Antique.

Additionally, Manubhai Jewellers are also committed to specialising in bridal jewellery called Madhuban. The Madhuban collection features beautifully handcrafted inspirational jewellery displayed in the store with a royal theme. Manubhai’s traditional concepts stand are brilliantly reflected through the indigenous craftsmanship of the Madhuban collection and has made the brand popular among the best jewellery shops in Mumbai. Further, all jewellers at Manubhai are hallmarked and certified.

Further, to make the moment special for new brides, Manubhai Jewellers have also introduced “Madhuban Delight” wherein the bride is first welcomed in a traditional way with the ‘Aarti thali’ and then gifted with a ‘Potli’ – a traditional drawstring bag that contains silver coins, vermilion, rice and Swastik that symbolise good luck, prosperity and imply the underlying cultural significance of ceremonial rituals.

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Karva Chauth 2021: Stand out with these easy makeup looks

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Karva Chauth, an important festival for married couples has always been about dressing up to the nines and sporting elaborate makeup looks for women. Karva Chauth is a celebration of the pious bond between a husband and a wife. Ladies dress up to the nines and observe fast from sunrise to moonrise for a day for the safety and long lives of their husbands. This year Karva Chauth will be celebrated on 24 October, that is, Sunday.

Ladies, you may even have spent days planning out your Karva Chauth outfit and makeup look. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic easing down, there is much of a point in getting decked up like earlier.

So, it is time to come up with a makeup look that is not only appropriate for your special day but also worthy of posting on Instagram!

Check out the simple tips listed below by Professional MUA Sahibjeet Kaur shared with ANI to create a makeup look that is unapologetically you:

1. Basic red, with popping eyeliner or kajal: Women love to wear traditional red shades for their Karwa Chauth, but another trend that has really taken up and we cannot get enough of is the coloured eyeliner or kajal look. Gone are the days when your eyes could carry only basic black or simple brown colours. Now, you can use coloured eyeliner or kajal to add a unique point to your Karva Chauth look. Add trendy colours like lime green, electric blue, and bubblegum pink to your eyeliner or Kajal. You can play around with a sleek cat-eye look or experiment with a graphic liner look by doing a cut-crease with a coloured liner. Apply bold blood-red lipstick with small size red bindi. To compliment your look, style your dress with gajra, mang tikka, and a choker neckpiece.

2. Have fun with the eyeshadow palette: Bid adieu to your basic pink and red eyeshadow look. Explore the peppy colours in the palette and blend the shades that go with your outfit. To add more glam to your eye makeup, apply artificial lashes on your eyes and coat them with intense mascara. Go light with your lip-shade to let your eyes do the talking!

3. Smokey eyes with a glitter twist: A trend that can never become stale is the basic smokey eye makeup look. But, why should you settle for basic? Pick up your makeup brush tool and add some glittery twist to the whole look. Choose a colour matching to your outfit for the smokey eyeshadow. Blend it until you achieve the perfect smoke. Apply artificial lashes to your eyes and coat them with intense mascara. Ditching the basic black, add a glittery twist to the whole look by applying a silver shiny eyeliner. Apply nude or glossy lipstick and a stroke of highlighter on your cheekbones. If you can wear big jhumkis, it can enhance your look like anything.

4. Add some glow to your look: Steer clear of your ultra-bright golden highlighter and go for a subtler look instead. Opt for a subtle highlighter in the shade of rose gold, champagne, or dull gold. Apply it at the high points of your cheekbones, on your brow bones, and down your nose to give yourself that lit-from-within look. This will make your makeup look understated while still making you look effervescent.

5. Get peachy with blush: Red, pink or green- choose any colour for your outfit and peachy makeup will add volumes to your look! Go for a peachy blush with a slight shimmer to add warmth to your face and elevate that dewy look. You can apply the blush straight across your cheekbones and nose to create a pretty fresh look and to your nose to give yourself that lit-from-within look.

Pro-tip: Do not neglect your eyebrows. You can use an eyebrow pencil to shape up your eyebrows or can use eyeshadow to give a natural uplift to your brows.

Now that we have got you all covered, try out these makeup tips to glam up this Karva Chauth!

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DIAL M FOR MINIMALISM

With the adage ‘Less is more’, allow your furnishings and accessories to come through placing them judiciously, giving your home an effective yet understated appeal that is easy on the eyes.

NAMRATA KUMAR

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Clamping down on consumption for some has indirectly affected their aesthetic (most for the better). It has initiated a shift in consumer choices. The year 2020 and a majority of 2021 have seen a shift in design trends. Instagram accounts with zen influencers have made impressions in the aesthetic inclinations of many. Enter Marie Kondo, the purveyor of minimalism with tidying up as her motto. Known to preach cleanliness, she believes ’Tidying up’ fosters joy and serenity. Indulgence and maximal living is a personal choice and we are not arguing about it. Respect, Kardashians and Jenners.

However, understated interiors are an aesthetically pleasing choice of decor. This style that is #trending can be incorporated into homes of all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s Japanese, modern or Scandinavian, there are many ways to achieve this coveted look. An added advantage is it is not labour intensive to execute so you can save energy for your upcoming HIIT session. Most of these sleek looks can be achieved by incorporating simple streamlined furniture with chalky hues for upholstery.

Clean modern lines, a pastel palette of colours and simple silhouettes. With the adage ‘Less is more’, allow your furnishings and accessories to come through placing them judiciously, giving your home an effective yet understated appeal that is easy on the eyes. Colours are imperative.

A decluttered coffee table with a statement pot planter can do the trick. Facets that add to the zen features range from contemporary ceramic bowls to a some-free soy wax candle. These contemporary bowls can be procured from Ellementry, a home accessory studio from Jaipur. Nestasia (an online Indian home store) boasts of geometric ceramic pots that are unique and trendy. They are available in chalky hues in harmony with a minimalist’s handbook. For everything else there is Ikea.

Rattan mirrors are topping the charts for sprucing up your blank spaces. Choose from a range of hand made rattan numbers to bevelled circular pieces. One mirror on a single wall should do the trick. A multitude of small rattan mirrors can add that subtle adornment. These handmade rattan numbers could be found at gingercrush.com. You could also explore www.pepperfry.in for some sleek round mirrors by the brand Flairglass.

Tables with sharp lines or curves comply with the minimalist’s montage. Sofas and couches with forms conforming to the Marie Kondo design sensibility.

If you’re looking to fix the mess, commit to tidying up. Investing in simple yet effective pieces with minimum maintenance. Airy spaces with sunlight pouring in are therapeutic. Choose earthy and pastel colours in tandem with the zen philosophy. To destress, declutter.

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ICDMA FOUNDER TO INTRODUCE AI PLATFORM FOR IDENTIFYING AND MITIGATING DIGITAL RISKS

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ICDMA is a provider of IT services such as Cyber Forensics, IT Audit, IT Risk Evaluation, and Digital Security. In recent years, it has become a tried-and-true standard for businesses looking to defend their brands, enterprises, and reputations from crippling cyber attacks. They develop and deploy information security platforms and services, both standard and personalised, to protect, evaluate, and respond to cyber threats such as security breaches that occur in your systems and networks. The services they provide include Application and Web Development, Graphic Design, Security Audits, Cyber Security Services, Vulnerability Assessments, Fraud Risk Management, and IT Consultancy.

In addition, the firm achieved awards for being the best Cyber Forensics firm preventing businesses from external threats. A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business, or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible and practical solutions to protect you.

Being a cyber security expert and analyst, Dheeraj Kumar has years of experience and stays up-to-date with the current crimes and security trends. He believes that like many other professions, this is a never-ending learning field. They monitor your networks and then analyse them to find common threat patterns or trends. Further, they design software that suits the needs of the problem at hand and ensures that these measures are maintained properly. If, in any case, they encounter a new problem, they utilise their years of experience and knowledge to produce a unique solution.

Witnessing the increased cyber threats, Cybersecurity analyst Dheeraj advises people to use the Internet wisely and productively. Dheeraj is currently working on an Al-driven platform for identifying and mitigating digital risks and counteracting brand impersonation attacks with the company’s patented technologies at its core. Dheeraj’s experience in threat hunting and cyber intelligence has been fused into an ecosystem of highly sophisticated software and hardware solutions designed to monitor, identify, and prevent cyberattacks.

A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible solutions.

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