AAP ka Bhopal

After taking the National capital by storm, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to contest the Lok Sabha 2014 across India. The way Arvind Kejriwal - head of AAP and  Chief Minister of Delhi - has gone about his politics has fired the imagination of people. Luminaries like Mr. Chetan Bhagat and Mr. Digvijay Singh has started acknowledging this new phenomenon in Indian politics. In arun up to Lok Sabh aelection 2014, hunt for worthy candidates to contest on AAP tickets for Lok Sabha 2014 has started in Madhya Pradesh too.

Madhya Pradesh State Secretary of Aam Aadmi Party Mr. Akshay Hunka joined Bhopale for a informal chat on Bhopal ka Patiya

Assembly Elections 2013

The voters of Madhya Pradesh are being given a stark choice: pick between a caring Mama (maternal uncle) and a man whom the masses address as Maharaj (king) because of his royal roots. BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, 54, is projecting himself as a “farmer’s son” who will “serve” and not “rule”. He is seeking a third term saying kings in their palaces know or care little about the people. Jyotiraditya Scindia, 42, a royal scion educated at Harvard and Stanford, is silently countering the charge by cultivating the image of a mass leader. The Congress chief campaigner moves around in an open jeep, leaning across and stretching his arms out to shake hands with people in the streets. His plea: throw out the corrupt Shivraj government. Each has distinct advantages and weaknesses. The “tried and tested” Shivraj acquired the “Mama” tag after the success of his Ladli Laxmi Yojna, under which the state gives a girl child over Rs 1 lakh in instalments till she turns 21. His problem is that most of his colleagues are seen as corrupt. “Shivraj is in our hearts but his ministers and MLAs are thieves,” said Banwarilal Shak in Gwalior city.
Jyotiraditya’s problem is that a faction-ridden Congress, despite putting up a united face in recent months, has balked at declaring him its candidate for chief minister.

“As chief minister, he will certainly do well, but will the Congress make him the chief minister? It has too many kings in its ranks,” said a doubtful Suraj Singh, sarpanch of Baretha gram panchayat in Gwalior. His allusion was to the known differences between Jyotiraditya and fellow Congress royal Digvijaya Singh. Shivraj knows his ministers are pulling him down; so he is trying to blur his team out of the picture. “If you don’t elect the MLAs, how will I become chief minister?” he pleads with folded hands. But while some of his government’s schemes have been popular, the failure of many others has earned Shivraj the nickname of “Sapno ka saudagar” (seller of dreams). So, Shivraj has been left playing the Mama vs Maharaj card. “All the kings have joined hands (in the Congress). But they live in forts while I am your servant and live among you,” he says.

The Man Who Would Be King

Background recommended reading: French Connection and Bourbons Of Bhopal

Anon—so beginneth the tale of Balthazar Napoleon de Bourbon, with an angel swooping o’er the earth. The angel flew over the green pastures and sunflower fields that were Europe, above the burnt highland that is Asia Minor, and then out across an emerald ocean, the Indian, to the lush shores of its namesake. The angel’s silver wings were those of a jetliner, and he sat inside the machine of his being, reclining in splendor, perchance sipping some fine wine. In the course of flight, the angel’s shadow fell over spired castles and well-appointed châteaus, exquisite alcazars and fortresses made of red clay. In the interior of India, he passed over a resplendent marble mausoleum engraved in jasper known as the Taj Mahal, built during a seventeen-year span by a king named Shah Jahan as a tribute to his third wife, who died in childbirth. (For his troubles, he was dethroned and imprisoned by his son and left in a cell to die, though one that permitted a view of his glorious creation.)

The angel’s destination was a city on the Malwa Plateau called Bhopal. 

Bhopal—built atop volcanic rock, its own ancient palace crumbling upon itself, streets clogged with cows and goats and sari-clouds of color, birds circling at dusk in the pinkish-orange gloaming like the slow movement of a dark scythe. Looming over the lower city was a giant mosque, Taj-ul-Masajid, its pale white domes hovering in the shimmery heat like an extraterrestrial incursion, its minarets reaching to heaven, its tiny rooms full of boys memorizing the Koran, their voices murmuring across the hot stones of the vast inner courtyard. And there was one other notable landmark, a death memorial really, the abandoned chemical plant—that of Union Carbide—on the north edge of town that on a particular December day twenty-two years earlier oozed methyl isocyanate, a toxic plague that ultimately caused 22,000 deaths.

Before Shit Hits The Fan

Some time back, while surveying the low income areas of Madhya Pradesh to start a sanitation project, an woman member of  NGO stopped by one of the houses to drink water. However, she was taken aback to see the women of house looking horrified as she drank an entire glass of water. When she asked the reason for their surprise, she was told that, no matter how thirsty they were, women in that area could never take the risk of drinking a full glass of water at one go during the day. Surprisingly, it was not the quality of the water that compelled women to drink less of it, but their 'imprisonment by daylight'. With no toilets inside the house or in the village, women and girls must go to the nearby fields to relieve themselves. But modesty forbids them to do so during the daytime when they are in full view of men. They have no choice but to limit themselves to a few sips of water all day, so that they can wait until dark before needing to use the fields. Although sometimes a newlywed woman leaves her husband's home and returns only after a toilet is built, largely the women folk of India remained "Imprisoned by Daylight".
India sanitation cell phoneIn the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300-million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded. A report by the WHO and the UNICEF says that India has a shocking number of 58% of all people who defecate in the open. China and Indonesia share the second place with just 5% of their population not having toilets. Pakistan and Ethiopia are third with 4.5% such people.

Bhopal To Mars

Meet 31-year-old Vinod Kotiya from Bhopal, who dreams of making it to Mars and settle on the planet permanently.

Kotiya is among 31 Indians who have applied for a one-way ticket to Mars. Vinod Kotiya from Bhopal dreams of making it to Mars and settle on the planet permanently. In the category of Indian applicants he is reportedly currently leading in the first round of the selection procedure with four stars.

The Mars One Foundation is a Dutch non-profit organisation that claims that it will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023. As per the procedure as laid down in the form for making it to the planet the applicants have to clear four rounds to become a part of the team that will leave the first human footprints on Mars.

Kotiya, a manager posted at NTPC, Delhi happens to be the first Indian who applied for the extraterrestrial experiment. Talking to Hindustan Times on phone Kotiya said, "A one-way mission to Mars is about exploring a new world like Christopher Columbus and Vasco-de-Gama had done. It is an opportunity to conduct the most revolutionary research ever conceived, to build a new home for humans on another planet.” "I am ready to endure every difficulty because this will be the flight carrying me to my dream. I always wanted to be an astronaut but I couldn't succeed. But through Mars One project, I can become a Mars astronaut," Kotiya added. In the first round, applicants will be selected on the basis of their popularity level and answers to certain questions. Kotiya is leading the popularity graph in India group of applicants and is quite confident that he will get selected for the second round.

"This is a one-way ticket so there is no possibility of returning to Earth. I have a one-year-old daughter. This has created a panic too in my family. My wife has asked me not to go ahead with this project but I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Kotiya said.

Talking about the extremely cold weather condition on Mars and the chances of his survival, Kotiya said, "I have worked on a hydro power project in the Himalayan region where I had to provide basic IT infrastructure in a difficult hilly terrain for six years. So, I am not afraid of the cold climate. " On the words doing the rounds that the project would never take off he said people should have a positive mindset. Success might come or not but what was necessary that one should take an initiative to explore new world.

Neglecting flu may prove risky in Bhopal

Don't let your guard down if tested negative for H1N1. In the past two weeks about a dozen people in the city have been diagnosed with influenza A and B, the strains of which complicate respiratory disorders in a similar way as it happens in case of swine flu.

Though Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratory in Jabalpur has been testing three strains of H1N1, influenza A and B - it has just been informing about H1N1 status. However, this changed last week after a senior health official was tested suspected for H1N1.

Senior health official had all symptoms of swine flu but his test report was negative. To calm down him, ICMR officials released his complete diagnostics wherein he was positive for influenza A, a less harmful variant of swine flu, said Neeru Singh, director, Jabalpur Regional Centre of the ICMR.

Taking a queue from the precedent, the District Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) started demanding similar reports from all patients. "In the last two weeks about dozen patients have tested positive for influenza A and B in Bhopal. We are complying data to generate trends," said district epidemiologist Rashmi Jain.

Bhopal has reported 34 H1N1 positive cases, which caused nine deaths this year. An analysis of deaths due to other influenza strains is not available with the IDSP.


New Plan for Bhopal

The international fight for justice by survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster in India has been a rollercoaster ride of delay, disappointment and few victories for families of the tens of thousands of people who died in one of the world's worst industrial disasters. However, three recent major legal and environmental developments suggest that the fight following the catastrophe is far from over. The Indian government earmarked $50m for the recovery, which could be used to implement an ambitious five-year action plan to finally clean up the toxic factory site and surrounding area. The poisoned land, where children still play and animals graze in ignorance, contaminates water sources - causing serious health problems for nearby communities. The new plan by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based public interest research group whose funders include the Indian government and the European Commission, is based on a meta-analysis of 15 existing studies to assess soil and groundwater contamination in and around the former Union Carbide factory site. More than 350 tonnes of surface chemical waste, with thousands more buried underground, have been left unsecured since the gas disaster, causing widespread contamination, according to CSE.