This 69 year old Man has helped start free Libraries across Chennai , and YOU can too !

No membership, no one to supervise, and no last date to return books: Mahendra Kumar’s libraries run on no rules, and plenty of goodwill.

Chennai-based Mahendra Kumar speaks about reading and books with reverence and passion. “It is a character-building activity,” he says earnestly.

In April 2015, he decided to do something which he hoped would encourage people to read: He opened a library in Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai.

It wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill library. The most unique part about it wasn’t even that it was set up in a cement shop, where 69-year-old Mahendra shared a table with the shopkeeper.

What truly set it apart was there was no membership fee, no register to keep track. Literally anyone could walk in, pick up one of the 20 books, and take it home. They could return it whenever they wanted.   

This was the first Read and Return Free Library (RFL). Now, Mahendra says that there are 66 of them across TN, and a few other states, with 10,000 books in all.

His first library in Thirumillaivoyal has now expanded to three cupboards, which he keeps outside his house,bursting with books. It stands completely unmanned.

“I could have kept a register perhaps, where people could sign with the book they were taking,” he adds as an afterthought. But Mahendra snaps out of it the very next moment. “I wanted no protocols, no control. Just people free to read and return books, as per their conscience.”

Encouraging others

Presently, there are 48 RFL libraries in Chennai alone. The others are in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Aurangabad and Mumbai.

But setting these up has not been an easy task. Unable to travel to these places himself, Mahendra would try to convince others to start such libraries.

“I would sometimes see contact numbers in books. Someone who has written an introduction or a foreword – I’d try to find their numbers. I would try to convince them then to start this in their locality. And I would send whatever little money I could to help them,” Mahendra shares.

One such person he convinced was a former classmate of his, Captain R Venkataraman, who started a RFL library in T Nagar, Chennai, in 2016.

“But there are only so many friends or family members who can be convinced,” Mahendra says. “If there are 66 libraries today, you can assume I made 6,000 calls for them.”

Not as easy as it seems

In the past two years, RFL libraries have sprung up in many different places – gated communities, railway stations, hospitals and even a barber shop.

RFL at a Railway Station….

Mahendra is reluctant to share that this has required a considerable amount of legwork and resources from him. He believes it will discourage people, and make them wary of starting more RFLs.

“When people initially came to know about the concept, they wanted to donate books. So I would speak to a few of them, start at 5 am in the morning, make a round with multiple stops and come back with a car full of books,” he recounts. “Sometimes, I would sleep in the car because I’d get tired.”

The problem was that everyone wanted to donate books, but no one wanted to start the library. “Sometimes, people seemed on board with the idea, but they don’t really follow it up with action. I have been wanting to start one RFL library in Bengaluru as well, and got a volunteer too. But they have not really taken it forward after that.”

Mahendra says that he is ready to send some books, and whatever token amount he can from his pocket to help them get started, if only people volunteer.

He also mentions that he is grateful for his wife, who has never raised an objection against him going around the city at odd hours to collect books, and spending money for the RFLs.

Helping students

Mahendra put together the RFL website in 2016. While he is not very familiar with the internet, he says that he somehow learnt some basics and put it together. “The logo looks very childish, no? I made it on Microsoft Paint,” he says, sounding anxious.

The sole purpose for starting the website, he says, is to promote something called ‘Students Corner’.

It allows students to post requirements for second-hand course books, as well as if they have books to donate. Once they fill a form under that section on the site, other students can see it and get in touch. The donor can either mail the books or have them collected by the recipient, as per convenience.

However, Mahendra rues that this has not become as popular as he would have liked it to be.

He also wishes for more people to start RFLs in their localities. “But, it is quite simple really. You just have to see it from time to time to ensure that the infrastructure, wherever you’ve put it, is okay. You can also start it, madam!” he says, cheerfully.

Source…..Geetika Mantri in https://www.thenewsminute.com/

Natarajan

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World’s Best Airports for 2018 ….Named by Skytrax …Changi Singapore is No.1 !!!

Once again the region’s aviation hubs are leading the world when it comes to passenger satisfaction, scooping top prizes in the prestigious annual Skytrax World Airport Awards.
Maintaining its position at the top of that chart for an amazing sixth year in a row is Singapore’s Changi Airport.
The city-state’s gleaming facilities fended off stiff competition from the likes of Doha’s Hamad International and Hong Kong’s International Airport.
“To be voted the World’s Best Airport for the sixth consecutive year is a fabulous achievement for Changi Airport, and this award yet again demonstrates the airport’s popularity with international air travelers,” Edward Plaisted, CEO of UK-based Skytrax, said in a statement.
The annual awards, which were held in Stockholm on Wednesday, are based on millions of airport passenger surveys and have been dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry.”

On top of the world

Changi Airport, which celebrated serving 60 million passengers from almost 100 countries across the world in 2017, has 5,000 arrivals and departures a week, connecting customers to over 200 destinations.
Amenities on offer include two 24-hour movie theaters screening the latest blockbusters for free, a rooftop swimming pool and a sunflower garden that features several varieties of sunflowers grown in the airport’s on site nursery.
This is the ninth time it’s received the “world’s best airport” title at the annual awards in the past two decades.
While there were no new entries among the Top 10, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport moved up one place to No. 2, while last year’s second place holder Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) dropped to No. 3, keeping Asia’s stranglehold on the top slots.
Doha’s Hamad International Airport progressed to fifth place after coming in at No. 6 in 2017, while Munich Airport dropped from fourth to sixth place.

Moving up and down the ranks

There were few surprises in the Top 100, however Rome Fiumicino Airport achieved one of the biggest jumps, moving from 158th place to 85th, while Bahrain International Airport saw its ranking fall from 57th place to number 73.
Vancouver was the No.1 airport in North America yet again, although its ranking dropped one place to 14th.
Denver International Airport came out on top in the United States, claiming 29th place, while Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport fell eight spots from 26th to 34th on the list.
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport ranked number 48, Atlanta Airport at 50, San Francisco International Airport at 51, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at 56, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 62 and New York’s JFK International Airport at 69.
Skytrax also singled out airports for a variety of more specific awards, with categories such as food, shopping facilities and even cleanliness.
Tokyo International Airport won the vote as “the world’s cleanest airport,” while Incheon International Airport was awarded for its airport staff.
Hong Kong International Airport was voted the “world’s best transit airport” and the “best airport for dining,” but Japan’s Chubu Centrair Nagoya stole the title for “world’s best regional airport.”
For the full list, visit the World Airports Awards website.

2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards

1. Singapore Changi Airport
2. Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea)
3. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
4. Hong Kong International Airport
5. Hamad International Airport (Doha, Qatar)
6. Munich Airport (Germany)
7. Chubu Centrair Nagoya (Japan)
8. London Heathrow Airport
9. Zurich Airport (Switzerland)
10. Frankfurt Airport (Germany)
Source…….. https://edition.cnn.com/
Natarajan

Mumbai Beach Welcomes Olive Ridley Turtles After 20 Years….!!!

On Thursday morning, the Versova beach in Mumbai welcomed around 80 palm-sized turtles, making their way slowly but surely in the Arabian Sea.

Why is this event so special?

Well, for starters, the turtles in question are Olive Ridley Turtle, and their eggs hatched on a Mumbai beach after 20 years, and it was all thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Mumbaikars who have been cleaning the Versova beach for over two years now.

The Olive Ridley Turtle has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species, which is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

According to WWF India, “Olive Ridley Turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world” and live in the warm parts Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The females lay their eggs on the same beach that they hatched from!

However, for the past 20 years, these turtles had stopped visiting Mumbai, thanks to the number of pollutants and plastic on the beaches. Not only is the trash an unwelcoming home to lay eggs, but is also a threat to the lives of the tiny turtles who have to walk from their nesting site to the sea all by themselves.

Afroz Shah had taken the initiative to clean up Versova beaches and collect all the plastic dumped there. According to the Hindustan Times, in only 126 weeks, Afroz Shah and the Versova Residents Volunteers’ team has successfully cleared 13 million kg of garbage, which included plastic from the beach.

Speaking about the Olive Ridley Turtle hatchlings, Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer, Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit said,

“Such an incident happened after 20 years. The presence of more turtle nesting sites cannot be ruled out. We will push for the development of a turtle rescue centre close to this nesting site, and we expect it to be built soon.”

Week 127 .

Fantastic news for Mumbai .

We got back Olive Ridley Sea Turtle after 20 years. Historic moment

Nested and Hatched at our beach. We facilitate their journey to ocean.

Constant cleaning helps marine species.

Marine conservation centre needed at @versovabeach

Apart from Versova, these turtles are found on the beaches of Velas, Anjarle, Harihareshwar, Maral and Diveagar in Maharashtra.

The largest nesting site of the world is in Odisha along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal. Villagers in Odisha, too, have made attempts to save the nesting sites and ensure safety to the newborn turtles. You can read more about this story here.

Edited by Gayatri Mishra.

Source……. Tanvi Patel in http://www.the better india.com

Natarajan

 

 

The Hindi-Speaking Aussie who loves India …

Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thomson, is an Australian who speaks fluent Hindi learnt on the streets, trains and buses of India’s hinterland.
Biharilal tells Rediff.com‘s Archana Masih how India has bewitched him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Charles Thomson/Facebook

Biharilal Thomson is a white Australian who speaks Hindi better than many Indians.

The first time he saw a non-white person was as a 10 year old. His mother had invited an Indian yogi from Bihar into their home in Australia and asked her son to share his room with the sadhu for a few weeks.

“I had only seen white Australians till then, not even native Aboriginals — and here was an Indian in a langoti in my room!” he exclaims in good humour, sitting in a film producer’s home in suburban Mumbai, wearing a kurta-pajama and a yellow stole.

In the two hour conversation, he only speaks Hindi, a language he learnt in the streets, trains and buses of Bihar where he had arrived at age 13 in December 1974.

He loved his new home on the banks of the Ganga so much that he did not return to Australia for the next 11 years. Accounts of his experiences in India’s rural underbelly in the 1970s-1980s, include encounters with dacoits on horseback on at least two railway journeys.

“I saw real sadhus, I saw real dacoits — and I thought I had reached an amazing place,” says Biharilal with a grin. His life experiences, he says are so unbelievable that he sometimes thinks it is like a film.

It also reveals an India of another time — one that was simpler, wilder, unfamiliar and distant from what it is today.

“India was friendly with the Soviet Union, and I came across Indians who were desperate to emigrate to the USA, Canada or UK — not to the USSR.”

“The other thing that was common was cycles. Only the DM (district magistrate) and SP (superintendent of police) had cars — and in the trains people sometimes travelled with their own cooks!”

After going back to Australia in 1985, he returned to formally work in India in 2011.

India has seen a giant leap ahead since, and he has spent nearly 16 years here, but one question posed to him that hasn’t changed over the years is — “Why did you come to India?”

“This is what I am routinely asked, especially by the youth. They ask ‘Why have you come here when we want to settle abroad?’,” says Biharilal, who applied for Indian citizenship in 2014 and hopes to hold an Indian passport soon.

“The other thing I am amazed with is this craze for English. Even if I speak to those who know Hindi in Hindi, they reply in English!”

“Why?”

His fluency in Hindi has fetched him invites to Hindi events by the Indian high commission in Australia, to symposia at Savitribai Phule Pune university and Delhi’s Hansraj College. He has anchored a few film festivals and done some acting roles.

It has also brought him an FM radio show that he hopes to receive a confirmation for by April.

“In independent India it will be the first time that an angrez will do a radio show in Hindi,” he says enthusiastically.

Not wanting to be boxed into roles of the typical gora speaking tooti-phooti Hindi, he refers to the accomplished actor Tom Alter.

“He is an asli Hindustani, I’m nakli, but because earlier directors made him speak broken Hindi like an angrez, people thought he was English.”

“People didn’t know he was Indian, a Padma Shri, who spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu.”

Biharilal works at Josh Talks, a media company that invites guests to share inspirational stories. His focus is on all regional languages and tier-2 cities.

He has also done a few acting roles in Hindi and Marathi television serials, and recently appeared in an airline commercial for Scoot, a budget airline owned by Singapore Airlines.

There are quirky benefits to a white man speaking Hindi too — like the number of wedding invitations he receives. Many wedding organisers in the Delhi area send him invitations only to have a foreigner on display!

“I get so many invitations for chief guest. In the marriage season, I’ll be booked,” he laughs.

“People want a gora who speaks Hindi to show at their weddings.”

The move from Australia to India may have been a continental shift, but for Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thompson, it was like coming home.

It was a life introduced to him by his mother, a ballerina and an early convert to yoga, who came to learn at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger in 1972.

“At that time only 1% of the world travelled by aeroplane,” says Biharilal, who is often recognised as ‘Biharilal Autowale Babu’ after a show on Zee TV where he covered the 2017 Delhi municipal election in a colourful autorickshaw.

He also covered the UP assembly election last year for WION, Zee’s English news channel.

“We used to fly to the Gold Coast to visit my grandparents every year. I made my father promise that he would send me to India instead, if I stood 1st or 2nd in school.”

He stood 2nd and travelled to Calcutta, he says, taking a train to Jamalpur and then a bus to Munger.

“I was shocked to see the poverty in Calcutta, but hearing ‘garam chai‘ by tea vendors in the train was like music,” he remembers.

Eight weeks later, his father returned to take him home.

“I told him I wanted to stay for one more year,” he says over a cup of tea.

“But I stayed for 11.”

blob:https://ishare.rediff.com/d8239350-f845-46f6-86e1-762bd67d53b5

He has now spent 16 years in India — first at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, then working in a financial tech start up Eko India, and currently in the entertainment industry.

At the famed yoga school in Munger, he says he learnt yoga and managed the library. He helped in the institute’s office work which would take him to Patna and Delhi.

It was on one these travels that he found himself in the middle of a dacoity.

He had bought a third class ticket and boarded a train from Jamalpur to Patna in Bihar. The TT saw his ticket and upgraded him to first class. Along the way, dacoits came riding alongside the train, detached the first class compartment and started looting passengers.

When they reached his coupe, he held out his hands, and said, “Ruko, ruko! (stop, stop!)”

The dacoits stopped.

“I was a young boy and did not know very good Hindi at that time, so I just managed to ask a dacoit if he had any videshifriend?”

The dacoit said ‘No’ and Biharilal told him that he would be his friend.

“He smiled and did not take anything from me.”

Caught in another dacoity on a railway platform — this time on a dark railway platform surrounded by crop fields — his saffron clothes came to his rescue.

“When they came to me, I just sprang up and started chanting Bum, Bum Bole-Bum, Bum Bole and they said, ‘Yeh toh Ganga jal wala aadmi hai‘ and let me go,” he chuckles.

India was very different then, he says. Yoga institutes were very austere and drew only the most committed.

He remembers the first function he organised which had a generator as backup for electricity failure. When the lights went off and the generator was switched on — the crowd left the sammelan and rushed to get a first glimpse of a generator at the back.

At fifty-seven, Biharilal has seen the arc of India’s history from Indira Gandhi’s Emergency to her assassination to the post liberalisation. He has travelled widely, even taken his mother to the Kumbh Mela.

In between, he returned to Australia and ran a Thai vegetarian restaurant but kept coming back to India.

“I started coming back in the late 80s, but visas were very difficult. Till the Modi Sarkar came, getting a visa to India was not easy. Sushma Swaraj is doing a good job,” he says.

In 2009, a startup started by Biharis, Eko India, offered him a job and he moved to India.

But it was a chance encounter with an Indian student at a Sydney swimming pool that opened the door to acting.

Shashank Ketkar, now a popular television actor, had got talking to him by the pool hearing his Hindi and came to eat at his Thai restaurant.

Few years later, Biharilal would visit him on the sets of his show whenever he was in Mumbai. His kurta-pajama style of dressing and fluency in Hindi caught the eyes of the director and led to small roles. He also got to play an angrez in a Marathi film Shashank Ketkar was acting in.

“I went to Kohlapur and shot a scene where I was seated on a horse in 40 degrees heat. I loved it. I thought I had become Shah Rukh Khan!”

He has also acted in a Hindi suspense thriller that will release this year.

Every day, he receives a large number of messages on Facebook and makes it a point to at least say ‘Ram, Ram’ or ‘Namaste’ to them.

“I feel the whole of Hindustan is made for me. Yeh kamal ka desh hai, yaha aapko sab kuch mil jayega (this is a great country, there is nothing you can’t find here),” he says, adjusting the famous Australian Akubra hat he is wearing and steps into the hot Mumbai sun.

Archana Masih / Rediff.com

Source…..www.rediff.com

Natarajan

Her Small Act Of Kindness Went Viral. Now, She Has A College Scholarship…!

Her Small Act Of Kindness Went Viral. Now, She Has A College Scholarship

A young restaurant worker in Texas who spent the past year saving up for college is now one step closer to her dream – all thanks to a small act of kindness she performed. Evoni Williams, 18, went viral earlier this month for helping an elderly customer at the Waffle House Texas eat his food. A picture of Evoni, an employee of the Waffle House, cutting up food for a customer who was unable to do so himself, was clicked by another customer and shared on Facebook. The picture went viral with thousands of shares and even earned Evoni a scholarship to the Texas Southern University.

The incident took place on March 3 at La Marque in Texas, USA, when Adrian Charpentier came into the restaurant. He had recently undergone surgery, which made it difficult for him to cut his food, reports the Daily Mail. Evoni cut up his food for him, and her small act of kindness was captured on camera:

I don’t know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don’t work too good. He was also on oxygen and struggling to breathe. 😔 Without hesitation, she took his plate and began cutting up his ham. This may seem small but to him, I’m sure it was huge. I’m thankful to have seen this act of kindness and caring at the start of my day while everything in this world seems so negative. If we could all be like this waitress & take time to offer a helping hand….🤝 #wafflehouse#kindness #givingback #offerlove #bekind #goodnews 

As the post gained attention, praise started pouring in for the teenager. “She’s an angel,” wrote one person. “That was very kind and sweet,” said another.

It eventually caught the eye of Texas Southern University, and they decided to present Evoni with a $16,000 scholarship. “Her act of kindness went viral on social media, and today Texas Southern University returned that act of kindness by surprising Evoni Williams with a scholarship,” they said.

Not only this, she was also honoured by the mayor of La Marque, Bobby Hocking.

It just came from the heart,” Evoni said to ABC 7 about her now-famous act.

Source….www.ndtv.com

Natarajan

The little girl from Mahabalipuram who is taking Indian skateboarding scene by storm…

Eight-year-old Kamali Moorthy, a child prodigy, is the only girl skateboarder and surfer in her hamlet in Tamil Nadu.

 

It was 3pm on a Friday. The air was hot and salty, and Fisherman Colony, a seaside village near Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, was baking in the afternoon sun. Seemingly oblivious to the heat, a few children are skateboarding on a quirky new skating ramp set up in the street. Among them was an arresting sight – a small girl effortlessly navigating the concrete slopes of the ramp, setting herself apart from the rest.

With her short hair tied up and two front teeth still taking shape, 8-year-old Kamali Moorthy grins as she drops into the ramp from the granite coping and rolls down the slopes, as if she was born to do so. And this is indeed the common belief among many people, from tourists to the fisher folk, who adore Kamali, the only girl skateboarder and surfer in the hamlet.

“Was she born with a skateboard?” asks Steffano Beccari, an Italian sculptor as he watches Kamali on the ramp.

“Right? she makes it look so easy,” responds Aine Edwards, Kamali’s mentor and an Irish entrepreneur residing in Mahabalipuram.

For the skateboarding community in India, Kamali is a child prodigy. She is not a professional skateboarder yet, but she is already a part of the circuit and goes on tours with other skateboarders. How did this young girl from a fishing hamlet in coastal TN become the next big thing in Indian skateboarding?

Destined to meet

“Kamali was only 3 years old when she started skating on a slope built by Holystoked collective, which builds skating ramps free of cost across India,” Aine says, “Mahabs has always been a surfer’s town, and skateboarding is concrete surfing, so it goes hand-in-hand here.”

Velu, a well-known surfer and Kamali’s uncle’s friend taught her and her little brother, Harish, how to balance themselves on a skate board, she says. “He even gifted them two boards. Ever since those baby steps, Kamali has been on a roll, quite literally, teaching herself new tricks every day and skating to her heart’s content.”

However, it was when world-renowned skater Jamie Thomas visited Mahabs as part of a brand promotion event few years ago, that Kamali got her first big break.

“I was down the end of the street and one of my friends mentioned that there was a pro skate-boarder in town. Just then, Kamali came out in a white dress with a skate board in her hand and Jamie Thomas was by the beach. I went and asked him if I can introduce him to a little girl. The rest is history,” says Aine, adding that they were destined to meet.

For Aine, it was just surreal to watch Jamie and Kamali skateboard together.

“What was merely a chance encounter lasted 3 to 4 hours. Jamie changed all his plans and taught her new tricks,” Aine says, “And just like that, he took Kamali’s skills up by a few notches. It was magic.”

“I learned a lot of new tricks from Jamie which I have been practicing. He taught me to drop in from the big one (taller part of the ramp) and to skate through steeper slopes. Then he taught me this cool trick called rock to fakie which I’m not sure how to explain” Kamali chips in with excitement. A talkative child, who is not shy to speak up, Kamali has more than just the sporting talent, she has confidence.

Jamie even sent Kamali a skateboard, on which she has been practicing ever since. Every day, she takes her board and goes to the ramp opposite to her house to hone her skills. However, Kamali’s potential, Aine explains, is not limited to the ramps in her village.

“Last year, we took a bunch of kids, including Kamali, to Mangaluru where Holystoked set up a skate park. She skated non-stop. She dropped in from the top of the ramp which is twice as tall as the ramp she was used to back home. After she got back, she was dejected as she had to go back to the smaller ramp. It was like giving a kid a big candy and taking it back,” laughs Aine.

Skateboarder in the surfers’ family

Aine and Kamali were introduced to each other through a surfer friend who stayed in a homestay atop Kamali’s house. Kamali’s chirpy presence instantly drew everyone to her, and Aine too was charmed the moment they met.

“She was quite a character even then. A lot of fun to hang out with. We soon started going to the ocean to surf and she gradually picked up the art of riding the waves,” Aine recollects.

Unlike the other girls in the town, Kamali was born into a family of surfers and hence it came naturally to her, Aine explains.

“Surfing is in her blood. Kamali only started skating regularly during her school summer holidays, as there was no one to take her surfing. Now she can catch green waves and go sideways on her own, which is quite impressive,” says Aine.

“She has two skateboards and there’s a skating park conveniently located opposite to our house. She has been skateboarding almost every day since she was three. I sometimes think she uses her board more than her feet,” Kamali’s mother Suganthi says.

 

With the surf season beginning in March, Aine says that Kamali is excited to hit the waves again.

Skateboarding into the future

Living with her single mum, Suganthi, and grandparents, Kamali and her four-year-old brother Harish are the first-generation English medium school goers. So, they have to strike a balance between their formal education and sport. But with growing popularity, a lot of the residents around Mahabs want to send their kids to skate. And many of them even ask if Kamali can teach their children, explains Aine.

“The teachers in her school are very encouraging. Some of them wanted to get Kamali to teach skating to her classmates as part of the school’s extra-curricular activity,” says Aine.

“All said, this is still a conventional fishing village and the girls are brought up pretty traditionally. Many in this village don’t understand this culture of skating and surfing. For them it is something that has infiltrated from the West and they wonder what all the fuss is about?” says Aine.

Despite these challenges, Kamali, Harish and several other skater kids aim to shatter stereotypes and become mainstream skateboarders.

Aine and other surfing enthusiasts in Mahabs want to promote the sport in and around the village by setting up more and better ramps in the future. However, when asked about promoting skating through competitions, she remains sceptical, “She is too young to compete professionally. But besides this, skating much like surfing, is a soul sport. Although there are quite a few surfing contests, you do it not as a competition but for the love of the sport.”

Source ::::: Sreedevi Jayarajan in http://www.thenewsminute.com

natarajan

 

 

 

After Coimbatore’s Water Table Collapsed, This Simple Initiative Revived It…Thanks to ” Siruthuli “

As cities across India are facing a severe shortage of water, Coimbatore has been trying to preserve and recharge its groundwater levels. At the forefront of this change is Siruthuli, an NGO that is dedicated to cleaning Coimbatore, and infusing green methods throughout the city!

Coimbatore, which was once a place of abundant rainfall, was shaken to reality following a drought in 2003.

As part of its initiative to recharge groundwater levels in the city, Siruthuli has implemented rainwater harvesting structures (RWH).                                               

“In 2003, Coimbatore received 65% less rainfall than in previous years. This made us release the need to save water, and harvest it when there was adequate rainfall,” says Shruthi Suresh, a representative of the organisation.

The organisation conducted a series of geo-hydrological studies in 2005, to better analyse how to approach the conservation of groundwater in the region. In association with the Corporation of Coimbatore, Siruthuli began conducting rainwater harvesting structures in various locations across the city.

However, one of the significant challenges of the construction was the fact that Coimbatore was primarily a hard rock structure, and thus percolation of water was difficult. The organisation persevered and came up with the idea of drilling bore wells for groundwater.

“We came up with this technique to recharge the groundwater. We recommended two types of structures using this technique. The first simply recharges the aquifers, while the other not only recharges but also pumps the harvested waters so that it can be used,” she explains.

According to Shruthi, the structures are installed in both open spaces, as well as on roadsides.

Today, thanks to the efforts of this organisation, Coimbatore has more than 600 rainwater harvesting structures in different locations across the city.

However, on average it has been observed that the open spaces have seen a much higher level of maintenance than the ones on the roadside ones. There have been instances where some of the roadside RWH structures have been shut down for new roads and construction.

However, the organisation is optimistic and has seen significant growth in groundwater tables, from the time the wells have been implemented. This can be seen in the table below:

The water that is harvested from the ground is what is used extensively for not only daily use but as drinking water. It, therefore, becomes imperative for the citizens of the city, to maintain and use the water judiciously.

Today, even with a shortage of water, Coimbatore maintains stable and sustainable groundwater tables.

This initiative goes along with one of the organisation’s chief objectives, titled, “Water Watch,” under which, they aim to not only recharge groundwater, but also rejuvenate water bodies, and restore the River Noyyal. The river, which once had 34 streams, is now reduced to just four.

In the future, Siruthuli plans to conduct a comprehensive study of the entire region. This will be done to better understand natural drains, vegetation, groundwater levels, land use, and livelihoods. The study will form the basis for developing watershed concepts, RWH structures, and more. These will be applied across Coimbatore, after a series of awareness campaigns.

Siruthuli has also been involved in spreading the message of going green and educating the next generation for the same.

You can read about their initiatives here!

Source…..Anakha Arikara  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan