They paint the town red


FIXING HYDERABAD These youngsters work towards making the city a better place. Photo: Nagara Gopal

FIXING HYDERABAD These youngsters work towards making the city a better place. Photo: Nagara GopalFIXING HYDERABAD These youngsters work towards making the city a better place. Photo: Nagara GopalFIXING HYDERABAD These youngsters work towards making the city a better place. Photo: Nagara Gopal

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Brochure on ICFAI courses released


ICFAI University, Hyderabad, released prospectus for its B. Tech, BBA, and BBA-LLB courses here on Thursday.

Releasing the prospectus, Executive Director of BHEL J. Sankaran said that the B.Tech course was integrated with over eight months of internship and live projects in industries, and this was an unique feature.

According to Sudhakar Rao, Director of Branding and Communication, ICFAI, the university offers five B. Tech courses in civil, computer science, electronics and communication, mechanical, and electrical and electronics.

Entrance test

“The intake is 600 and it is through ATIT, an entrance test, which is held both online and offline,” said Mr. Sudhakar.

The entrance test will be held from May 4 to 18.

Eligibility

Entry into the three-year BBA and five-year integrated BBA-LLB courses is through merit and interview @ ICFAI

 

The trash route to clean living


GREEN WAYS(Above) Romaine, and her house made of recycled plastic bottles.

GREEN WAYS(Above) Romaine, and her house made of recycled plastic bottles.

Romaine San Francesco of the Samarpan Foundation on the wondrous possibilities of building with waste

The place is somewhere near Puzhal lake. A few kilometres beyond Red Hills, we take a turn into village roads, an area without name boards. But driver Narayanan has no problem taking me to Samarpan, an eco-farm in Sarathu Kandigai village, Pammadukulam Panchayat, Ambattur Taluk. We reach the gate, drive past tall water towers to stop in front of a striking yellow house with a front verandah. Saying that it stands out — in that landscape of trees, saplings, open areas, earth mounds, plastic bottles and farm birds — is an understatement. And Romaine San Francesco, its frail-looking owner, could be the wood nymph.

We walk into her breezy living room. “We are standing on a raised platform of plastic bottles,” she says, making me jump. “The pre-fab house came in sections (roof, walls, steel-grids for roof and walls) on a truck from New Delhi, and a technical “threesome” grouted and assembled the house in three days.” I stamp my foot, and she laughs. “These houses are sturdy, insulated and cool. They can withstand high-velocity winds from the lake.”

We need to go back a little in time. In October last, the lease on her Red Hills Forest Nursery was withdrawn as the owner decided to sell it. “Fortunately, we had a lease for a neighbouring farm, on which Samarpan Foundation (SF) was constructing a Women’s Empowerment Centre with plastic bottles.” As Patrick San Francesco, Founder/Chairman, sketched a floor plan for the buildings and nursery on the new farm, SF volunteers rushed in to procure materials and plan electrical systems. Kind-hearted neighbours pitched in with workers, construction material and rubble for the road. “The Red Hills traders supplied us with electrical hardware on deferred payment. The Panchayat heads brought vans/tractors to shift saplings, soil, manure and nursery equipment.”

In 90 days, Romaine had warehouses, living quarters and irrigation systems. Some 20,000 saplings and over one lakh empty bottles had been transported. Her eco-projects had been reassembled on the new farm. Magical, she says, the way barren land was transformed into an ecological outdoor lab in 90 days.

On the old farm, Samarpan had a greenhouse built entirely out of used bottles, tightly packed with waste and mud. Nylon-6 fishnet formed the substitute for steel in the RCC roof. It also encompassed the building from the foundation, she said, interlocking with the bottle caps along walls, and passing through the ceiling. “Our free bottles-and-Nylon-6-fishnet hospital in the Sundarbans benefits 96,000 inhabitants, who otherwise have no access to medical aid.”

Her bottle-house model has passed the “shake-table” test (up to 1G on the Richter Scale) at the Central Structural Institute of Research-SERC, Taramani, making it earthquake-proof. “‘Bottle bricks’ are reusable; the parking area on the farm is laid over ‘bottle-brick’ debris. In fact, her home is a model for building with waste material. “You can construct houses cheap and strong,” she says.

You’ve chosen Chennai to work in, I remark. “I’m a Chennai girl,” she counters, “I did a PG degree in Public Administration at St. Aloysius. My love of Nature comes from my grandma, who would say, ‘If you don’t love trees, you can never love anything’.” “Our message for Chennai is on our logo: Love, peace, happiness, kindness. We aren’t helping; just doing what needs to be done.”

She has grown “all kinds of” saplings from seeds she collects, has found a way to grow mangrove trees in her backyard, prepared solutions for Chennai’s water shortage and flooding, developed a mosquito-eradication programme using herbal pesticide, and installed bottle benches/structures in several places. She lectures educational institutions, corporates and hotels on clean-environment awareness, helps with construction of rain-water-harvesting trenches, and does workshops on the plastic bottle wonder.

She is now greening the 14 villages in her Panchayat. “Our aim is to green the city,” she says.

Call: 08939929678 / 09823529678 or log on to http://www.samarpanfoundation.org

My love of Nature comes from my grandma, who would say, “If you don’t love trees, you can never love anything. – Romaine San Francesco

 

Photo sharing on social media killing real life enjoyment


Photo sharing on social media killing real life enjoyment

Picture perfect

A study has found that 58 percent of people believe that “posting the perfect picture has prevented them from enjoying life’s experiences”.

The study was conducted by the New York Times best-selling authors Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, who surveyed 1,623 people to see how social media affects their lives, Mashable reported. Maxfield decided to explore this subject after going on vacation with his family on his 60th birthday and finding that he was more focused on documenting the moments than he was on experiencing them. He and Grenny have come up with a name for it —Trophy hunting. Trophy hunters are driven by something other than experiencing things and shooting photos to remember those moments — they want trophies to hang up.

IANS

Punganur Jatara gets off to a colourful start


Punganur Jatara gets off to a colourful start

People gather to take part in Jatara at Punganur on Tuesday. —Photo: By Arrangement

People gather to take part in Jatara at Punganur on Tuesday. —Photo: By Arrangement

It was sea of humanity at Punganur on Tuesday, with the commencement of the two-day historical Suguturu Gangamma Jatara, a community festival, involving more than 200 villages in and around Punganur town and devotees from the neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Jatara’s history dates back to early 18th century when the Zamindari system was at its peak in Punganur during the British Raj. Goddess Suguturu Gangamma was believed to have incarnated at this once vibrant province to drive away an evil spirit which was out to devour human beings in the form of a mysterious epidemic. Local people of all communities have been celebrating this Jatara as thanksgiving to the goddess every year since then. A feature of this festival is that the idol of goddess would be kept at her temple only for two days during the event and during the rest of the year, it will be locked up in a chamber at the erstwhile Zamindar’s palace.

As part of the festivities, over two lakh people thronged the temple of the goddess near the palace, followed by the first worship (‘tholi puja’) by the descendants of the Zamindari family. The idol was brought to the temple from the palace chambers amidst heavy fanfare and hysterical beating of drums and street performances by traditional artistes of various genres. After the initial pujas, it was bloodbath at the palace zone with sacrificing of hundreds of goats and poultry birds. The frenzy which began in the evening was scheduled to continue till the wee hours. The sheep shandy witnessed heavy sales at record rates between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 30,000 per each animal.

The APSRTC plied special buses from Madanapalle, Palamaner and Chittoor for the event. Scores of local groups arranged poor feeding from morning. The district police made security arrangements for the event with over 400 cops, headed by a DSP, six Circle Inspectors and 20 Sub-Inspectors.

The idol was brought to the temple from the palace chambers amidst heavy fanfare and hysterical beating of drums