These Dwarkaites have made composting a habit

Several residents of Dwarka are no longer dependent on their garbage vendor. While some have been doing waste composting in their homes for a year now, many others have taken up this initiative in the course of the past one month. Educating neighbours on this subject has also become a passion for this enterprising bunch of environment enthusiasts, social workers and housewives.   Dwarka Society News

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City Spidey recently caught up with a few of them. Madhuri Varshney, a social worker and environment enthusiast who utilises her compost in her kitchen garden, says, “I want the entire society to become waste-free and all the wet waste to be converted into compost in people’s homes. You can see the pits that I have made using two plastic buckets. This initiative entails very little money. Composting is actually just a habit that translates to a waste-free home.”Dwarka News

Varshney is always seeking innovations in composting and has been practising the aerobic and anaerobic methods.

Varshney’s success at composting went on to inspire one of her friends, VK Priya, a resident of Ekta Apartments. Priya, too, shared her story with City Spidey. “I experimented with a mixer grinder. I started using it to crush waste and found it very effective. This technique also reduces the composting time. I am learning something new every day and happy that I am contributing to environment conservation,” she shares.

Leena Dabiru, a resident of Defence Officers Apartments in Sector 4, has started composting with an earthen pit. Now the pit is full of compost, which she uses for her plants. “I bought the pit for Rs 2,700 and started putting wet waste in it. Everybody can do composting,” Leena shares. Apartment Management System

Ramanjeet Suri from New Millennium Apartments, Sector 23, has a pit made up of sticks. “Since I started composting about six months back, my entire kitchen waste has been converted into compost. I use that for my plants, and the rest of the compost is given to the green areas of the society,” shares Suri.

Poonam Tyagi, a social activist and a resident of Paradise Apartments, Sector 9, is another composting enthusiast. “Through people like us there is sensitisation in the community. We are tapping into WhatsApp groups to spread the message about the practicality and cost-effectiveness of composting.”

DDA: Lofty dreams but no implementation

Delhi Development Authority had come up with a number of ambitious projects for Dwarka, but do you know what happened to them? They all got shelved.

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Projects such as the Socio Cultural Centre in Sector 11 (Indraprastha Sanskritik Kendra), studio apartments for senior citizen in Sector 16, and the Adventure Cycle Park have gone missing from the DDA files. According to sources, these projects have been canned because senior officials were unconvinced about their cost and viability. Delhi Local News

One official said on condition of anonymity, “The Indraprastha Sanskritik Kendra was cancelled by the former DDA vice-chairman Arun Goel, because he thought the project wasn’t feasible when compared to the construction cost. The studio apartment project in Sector 16 was also cancelled for the same reason.” Delhi News

The layout plan for the Indraprastha Sanskritik Kendra in Sector 11, a project worth Rs 300 crore, had already been prepared and passed. According to officials and press releases, this project was conceptualised with a vision to giving Dwarka a business-cultural centre in the league of the India Habitat Center. The DDA officials further stated that the project sketches were in place and tendering had started; the project was to take off in the previous financial year, but now all work on it has abruptly been stopped.

Residents of Dwarka who were eagerly waiting for these projects are a disappointed lot. A resident of Sector 11, AK Sharma, said, “It is sad for us that a wonderful project such as Indraprastha Sanskritik Kendra has been cancelled by the authority. We were happy when the project was announced in 2011. I think DDA should rethink its decision.”

The old age home for retired government servants in Sector 16 is another project which was declared and planned last year but now stands cancelled. The project, which was meant to be a joint venture between DDA and Indian Navy, was to take off this year. According to a press release issued by DDA in September 2016, approximately 12 acres of land were identified in Sector 16, on which about 1,550 studio apartments of around 550 sq ft each were to be constructed. The project had to be completed in the next four years. “I don’t know why the senior officials cancelled it, but there is definitely no sign of progress on this project,” said an official of DDA.

The cycle sharing project, which was envisaged as the green mode of transport and last-mile connectivity for Dwarka, has also been shelved. Though DDA officials have not commented on this, they haven’t indicated that it has been abandoned. According to an official, this project could be resumed in future if a senior official or authority considers it an integral part of sustainable development.

Will Delhi finally be free of plastic bags?

If you are found carrying a non-biodegradable plastic bag in the city, you may have to rustle up Rs 5,000 as environment compensation. This is as per the directive issued today by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The directive has specifically imposed a ban on using non-biodegradable plastics less than 50 microns across the NCR. Delhi Society News

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The tribunal has granted a week’s time to the state government to seize all plastic bags that are a threat to the environment and follow the fresh directive. The court has also asked the government to issue a public advisory in this regard. The NGT has simultaneously asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the National Pollution Control Board (NPCB) to file an affidavit on this. Meanwhile, the court has sought a complete report on the city’s ongoing waste-management strategy, particularly in respect to non-biodegradable plastics. Apartment Management System

However, this is not the first time that NGT has directed the Delhi government to ban plastic bags.  A directive prohibiting the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags was issued on January 1 this year as well. However, on July 31, the NGT reviewed the enforcement and blamed the state government for the continued use of plastic bags. Delhi Local News

This fresh directive particularly stresses the enforcement of this ban in hotels, restaurants and public functions. The state government has been asked to submit its report after a week.

City Spidey spoke to a senior Delhi government spokesperson to ascertain the government’s action on the court’s directive. “The government will discuss the issue in detail and decide its next move,” the spokesperson said.

When specifically asked if the government had decided to issue a public advisory in this regard, the spokesperson replied, “Any such decision will only be taken after detailed consultations during our party meeting. At present I am not able to commit anything on the behalf of my party.”

SDMC note to Dwarka on waste segregation spurs debate

There have been concerted efforts to promote waste segregation at all levels, but the recent notice published by South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (SDMC) Najafgarh zone for Dwarka has become the bone of contention.

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The notice published for Dwarka bears the following subject line: “Final guidelines for mandatory segregation of waste at the level of CGHS, DDA Pockets, Markets and institutions, etc.” Dwarka Society News

And the source of discord? The provision of penalty for failure to comply, and lack of efforts on the part of the authorities to take the societies and RWAs into confidence before taking this unilateral decision.

V Selvarajan, secretary of Federation of CGHS, and a resident of Diamond Square Society in Sector 6, retorted, “The recent public notice from SDMC Najafgarh, which specifically targets Dwarka sub-city, is shocking! The meeting convened by the DC on June 18 to explain waste-segregation rules was a total failure. The DC was not present, and the SDMC officials mismanaged the meeting, which ended in chaos. Instead of calling a fresh meeting to take the societies and RWAs into confidence before taking out such a notice, the SDMC decided to go ahead with its unilateral decision. Why SDMC (Najafgarh) is targeting Dwarka alone when the MOEF (the Ministry of Environment & Forests) rules apply for the entire country. If the SDMC is going to enforce unilateral rules on societies alone, Dwarkites — besides taking legal help — may have to fall back on dharnas.”

On the other hand, some have hailed the decision.

Poonam Tyagi, a resident of Paradise Apartments — who has been doing waste segregation at home — felt, “Waste segregation is our responsibility because we are generating it. It’s easy, and I have been doing it for months — it needs very little space! If the SDMC is going to penalise for non-segregated waste, it should be at the society level. It would help in making societies more responsible and accountable. Residents will, as a consequence, have to take the process more seriously.”

Arvind Agrawal, a resident of New Millennium Apartments in Sector 23, added, “I started waste segregation with some my friends. This is a good move, but the SDMC should prepare the community for it. They should first create awareness among people before applying such a strict norm.”

According to the SDMC, there would be three types of segregation —biodegradable waste would be picked up daily, non-biodegradable waste would be picked up every three days, and  domestic hazardous waste would be picked up on a weekly basis. Penalties would be imposed for non-segregated waste.

City Spidey spoke to SDMC mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat on the subject.

She said, “In the third week of August, we hope to provide big, covered dustbins to societies. These bins are to be kept inside the societies, and not on the roads. If they are found on the road in front of the society, the society will be penalised. We also will be doing awareness campaigns to promote waste segregation. We want the sub-city clean and well-managed. And, along with rules and regulations, we need community support for this to happen.”

She added, “We’ll have a system in place for horticulture waste of the society. We have composters at various locations in the sub-city. We will provide a number on which a society can call to have someone collect the waste or they can dump the waste at designated sites.

East Delhi: Stormwater drains or filth-water drains?

How long will residents of well-planned colonies pay for the failure of the government agencies to provide basic civic infrastructure to unauthorised colonies in adjoining areas?

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Take the stormwater drains, for instance. In the absence of proper drainage facilities, dirty water from illegal colonies find an outlet in the stormwater drains of neighbouring residential colonies. Instead of laying sewer lines, the authorities have connected the open filthy drains of illegal colonies with stormwater drains, contributing to the messy state of affairs.  Delhi News

A report on Delhi’s civic infrastructure, which was collectively prepared by Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA), has revealed that stormwater drains in the city carry almost everything from daily generated kitchen waste to untreated industrial and construction waste. Dwarka News

“The purpose of stormwater drains is to carry only rain water, but there are a large number of colonies that do not have a sewage system, and the sewage from these colonies discharge into stormwater drains,” the report says.

East Delhi’s Vasundhara Enclave is one of the many posh colonies that are faced with the challenge of filthy stormwater drains. The 45 cooperative group housing societies in Vasundhara Enclave are surrounded by a small covered stormwater drain.

Anil Pandey, president of Vasundhara Enclave CGHS federation, said, “This stormwater drain was meant to be a route for rain water to flow into a big drain. In the course of the past five years, this drain has been connected with filthy open drains coming from Ashok Nagar and Dallupura village that carry sewage as well. This has blocked the flow of water.”

Following this issue, City Spidey had earlier reported that residents of affected housing societies had asked PWD to disconnect stormwater drains from filthy open drains that flow from adjoining illegal colonies.

VS Rawat, a resident of Delux Apartments, said, “After we raised this issue, PWD had constructed a drain along the road and connected it with a big irrigation drain. However, even now the stormwater drains of societies are connected with the filthy drains of illegal colonies. This also results in spillage of dirty water on the roads of the planned societies.”

DDA: Road repairs to start in Dwarka by September

Dwarka can now, perhaps, hope for better roads. Damaged roads under DDA jurisdiction are to be repaired soon. The process of tendering has already begun and work is expected to start by September. Dwarka News

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SN Singh, DDA chief engineer, Dwarka, confirmed the same.

The roads have become difficult to negotiate, particularly with the rains kicking in — and rain-filled potholes at sharp turns and near the signals have become a life threat. Singh again assured, “I have directed my officials to have a look and fill up the potholes temporarily. They have started the process.” Delhi News

A temporarily levelled pothole near Ashoka Apartments in Sector 12

The situation has become so dire that a few residents and members of Sukh Dukh Ke Sathi took it upon themselves to fill up the potholes. Their efforts are visible in sectors 22 and 23. But they want DDA to take the matter more seriously.

Parminder Khetrapal, a resident of New Kanchanjunga Apartments, and also a member of Sukh Dukh Ke Sathi, has filled many such potholes in his area.

But residents pitching in can only be a temporary measure. Some potholes go back to being the same after the rains — and some are so big they can’t be levelled by the residents alone.

Urging DDA, Khetrapal said, “Potholes on both sides of the police station in Sector 23 are huge and must be levelled urgently. We have requested DDA to work on them. Let’s hope they take some initiative soon.”

East Delhi: Three women Samaritans educate children of domestic helps

The adage ‘the best things in life are free’ is reiterated in the selfless act of three women residents of United India Apartment, Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension, who have undertaken the responsibility of educating poor children minus any tuition fee.

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Meena Kapoor, Kamaljeet Burmi and Krishna Chalia also provide books and study material to the children of the employees and domestic workers of the society in addition to imparting creative skills such as drawing, painting, paper cutting and cloth designing.  Delhi Local News

This philanthropic initiative began nearly two months ago when the managing committee of the society had organised a children’s summer camp — the highlights of which were an art and painting competition. The camp had witnessed active participation from some women residents, particularly from Kapoor, Burmi and Chalia. They had organised an interaction session with the children of the society employees and domestic maids. During the course of this interaction, the three enterprising ladies realised that many of these economically underprivileged children have the potential and will to learn new skills and live a better life. Delhi Society News

Inspired by the zeal of these children, the three residents started their initiative. In the words of Kamaljeet Burmi, “These children have talent but hesitate to express themselves. This is mainly because they do not have the right environment for self expression in their homes or municipal schools. Moreover, many such children, especially the girls, do not even have primary education.” Delhi News

Usha Sukheja, a social activist, and yoga teacher from the same society, is also extending support for this initiative. In a single week, three classes each of one-and-half hours are conducted by this team of women. About ten children — hailing from New Ashok Nagar, Chilla village and Kalyanpuri — are split into two groups and then coached on mainstream disciplines such as English, mathematics, science and others. Neighbourhood News

This initiative has been well received by the beneficiaries. Suman Kumari, a daughter of a labourer and domestic maid, says, “Here, I am learning English, maths and art subjects. I have also learnt different mehendi designs. These madams do not scold us.”

In the words of Nandan Kumar Jha, a student of Class VIII in a municipal corporation school, “The teachers of this society teach much better than my school teachers. I easily understand what they teach and I also get to learn English and maths here.” Apartment Management System

Krishna Chalia, who has two daughters and a son, is an expert in painting, drawing and anchoring.  “After I lost my husband in 2012, I started teaching painting and drawing to little children of the society to keep myself occupied. My own children are grown up and settled. It gives me immense satisfaction to conduct free tuition classes. And I also feel very happy when I see the interest of these poor children in art,” says Chalia.

Meena Kapoor, on the other hand, is a senior teacher of mathematics and English in Rishabh Public School in Pocket 4, Mayur Vihar Phase I. According to her, many of the children studying in municipal schools do not understand the basics of their subjects even while studying in Class VIII and X.

Speaking about their community initiative, she says, “We decided to call those students who genuinely want to learn. It’s better to teach less number of students, but teach them better. I understand their level of comprehension and teach accordingly.”