Archive for August 2010
31 August 2010
SHIMLA: The dilapidated 12th century Mrikula Devi temple, situated near the confluence of Chenab and Mayar nullah, from where the Mayar valley starts, is set to get another lease of life.
The Archeological Survey of India has roped in expert agencies to save the temple dedicated to local deity in Udaipur of Lahaul and Spiti district. The ASI has intensified the restoration work and has taken up extensive work to study its typical architecture.
“Research have been commission to Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, and the Forest Research Institute of Dehradun. Committee for Conservation of the temple was formed by the ASI under regional director, for Chandigarh region, after the reports of danger to it due to water seepage were highlighted,” said Superintending Archeologist T R Sharma….
August 30, 2010
PANAJI: An unexplained oil spill off the Goa coast has resulted in black balls of hardened oil washing ashore on most beaches in south Goa and some parts of north Goa, a tourism department official Monday said.
Slimy “tar balls” have been washed ashore on the famous beaches of Colva, Betalbhatim, and Sernabatim in south Goa and Calangute, Siquerim, and Candolim beaches in north Goa.
“We have sent teams to the beaches where the tar balls have appeared. There is nothing alarming. It is a normal phenomenon which occurs in Goa during the monsoons,” Tourism department director Swapnil Naik told reporters.
According to the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) officials, tarballs along the coast of Goa rise whenever an oil slick occurs in the vicinity of the coastline.
“One common cause for such a slick is dumping oil overboard by a passing ship… After a spill, initially, the lighter components of the oil evaporate much like a small gasoline spill. In the cases of heavier types of oil, such as crude oil, much of the oil remains behind.
At the same time, some crude oils mix with water to form an emulsion that often looks like chocolate pudding. This emulsion is much thicker and stickier than the original oil. Winds and waves continue to stretch and tear the oil patches into smaller pieces, or tarballs. While some tarballs may be as large as 30 cm in diameter, most are coin-sized or a bit bigger,” the NIO websites states.
29 August 2010
GUWAHATI: Though ‘go green’ is the buzzword today to reduce carbon footprints, the State is yet to ensure optimum utilization of a green technology of road construction using cold bitumen emulsions, that is less time and fuel consuming and has been approved as ideal for the weather conditions of Assam by institutes like IIT-Guwahati and the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).
With the roads of the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) being constructed mostly through the conventional method of heating the bitumen on the spot – a time taking process entailing lots of fuel consumption — apprehensions are often cast on whether the project would meet its deadline.
Whereas the longer monsoons and unpredictable weather of the region are blamed for slow pace of road construction in the whole of the North East, there is much to be done to adopt the technologies that are certified to deliver the maximum results suiting to the weather conditions of the region and the State……
29 August 2010
NEW DELHI: At least 20 incidents of road cave-ins have occurred here in the past fortnight and dozens of other roads are in a dilapidated state. Heavy rains, poor road engineering and maintenance by civic agencies and heavy vehicle traffic due to Commonwealth Games construction are making Delhi’s roads crumble, creating huge craters in places and peeling away tar from re-laid pathways.
In the past week alone, Delhi traffic police received 106 complaints about the pathetic condition of major roads. Experts say regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing roads from crumbling, but the stitch is never in time.
“This is the first time so many cases of cave-ins have been reported. Road cave-ins and potholes have resulted in unending jams and traffic diversions. Certain carriageways are not even motorable,” a Delhi traffic official told IANS.
Delhi roads bear the brunt of around 40 lakh (four million) vehicles every day, according to state-run consultancy RITES. Over 20 incidents of roads caving in have been reported since Aug 14, most of them in areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
P.K. Sarkar, head of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), told IANS: “The main reason for several road cave-ins is improper construction activities being carried out in various parts of the city ahead of the Oct 3-14 Games.
“Many sewer and water pipelines are cut. Over a period of time, water starts seeping and the soil gives way when it rains heavily.”
Roads caved in in areas like Jaswant Singh Road near Andhra Bhavan, Ashoka Road, Yusuf Sarai, Aurobindo Marg, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Maharani Marg and Nyaya Marg.
The Geeta Colony Bridge – laid just a year ago near Rajghat – and Siri Fort Road, opposite the main Games venues for badminton and squash, caved in a week ago, throwing traffic out of gear.
“Due to the Commonwealth Games, a lot of construction is happening in the city. We are continuously working to fill up potholes with cold and hot emulsions. As of now, potholes and road cave-in complaints are much less in areas under the MCD jurisdiction as compared to those under the Public Works Department (PWD),” Ravi Das, engineer-in-chief of MCD, told IANS.
According to norms, a contractor working for both the PWD and MCD has to give a five-year warranty for the roads he lays. If a road gives way before that, it is the responsibility of the contractor to repair it.
But engineers say huge potholes emerge on the roads right after the monsoon as most Delhi roads have bituminous layers.
“Bitumen loses the binding quality when it comes in contact with water; as and when waterlogging happens the top layer of the road erodes. If small potholes are not filled in time, they keep crumbling further owing to the friction as vehicles ply over them,” a junior engineer in MCD told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Sunil Bose, head of the flexible pavement division of the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said, “Potholes and incidents of road cave-ins are definitely avoidable in any city if proper maintenance is carried out.
“Due to the lackadaisical approach of government agencies, the national capital’s roads are in such a dilapidated condition.”
He said potholes never form overnight. Timely attention should be ensured to avert the formation of small potholes which soon turn into big craters.
“Various construction works ahead of the Commonwealth Games are one of the reasons for the increase in road cave-in incidents. With debris getting collected, sewer pipelines get choked and stormwater also gushes in, creating pressure.
“At the same time, there is a heavy continuous traffic flow on the roads. Notwithstanding the pressure, roads cave in. Road cave-ins usually happen on busy and big roads due to heavy pressure,” Bose explained…..
28 August 2010
The State of Goa completed the demarcation of High Tide Line (HTL), 200mts line and 500mts line along the sea coast onto the Cadastral Survey Plan. With the technical assistance of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Dona Paula State’s Directorate of Settlement and Land Records (DSLR) completed the task along with the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA). The methodology adopted is in conformity with the guidelines framed under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991.
The Coastal Regulation Zone maps are available to the public which are with the Directorate of Settlement and Land Records, Government of Goa. Further, the village-wise Cadastral Survey Plans are also provided to the Coastal Village Panchayats, which are available on request and payment of requisite fees.
Government of Goa has already initiated steps to put up the maps on the website of the Department of Science, Technology & Environment, Government of Goa.
26 August 2010
The future of pharmaceutical R&D may lie in open-source research, with key data being made available to a number of people, including college students and university researchers, in an open and collaborative process. Open-source drug development would leverage an online community of computer users worldwide.
Although the idea of the traditionally reserved and secretive pharma industry adopting such an open R&D process may seem farfetched, a consortium has already been developed to achieve this. The Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) Consortium was launched in 2008 and includes more than 3000 people from 74 countries. People can participate in the programme by logging on to the website.
“Most drug discoveries are made in a closed-door environment in which pharmaceutical companies keep drug development information under wraps and limit participation of the academic world,” Samir Brahmachari, project director of OSDD, explained, according to a statement from the American Chemical Society (ACS). “The OSDD program aims to address this issue by attempting to attract the youngest and brightest minds around the globe to be part of the drug discovery movement.”
According to the ACS release, a dozen reports on open-source R&D will be presented at the upcoming ACS meeting.
“I believe this is the way to go about not only drug discovery, but it may be a way of doing science in the future,” said Brahmachari……
24 August 2010
Seldom does a company approach employees for ideas which can generate millions of dollar for its business. Also, many a times, ideas, what employees might be thinking as innovative, are buried due to lack of support and funding.
But MindTree, a mid-tier information technology (IT) services company, has not only invited its employees to become part of its growth plans by coming out innovative ideas, but also provided necessary infrastructure to convert these ideas into business.
The Bangalore-based company, which aims to achieve $1 billion revenue by 2014, has seen the first success of its internal programme, ‘5/50’, by setting up ‘Digital Surveillance’ business incubating one of those ideas.
As a part of ‘Vision 2020’ plan devised last year, MindTree had launched 5/50. The programme aims at incubating five innovative ideas, which have the potential of becoming $50-million business each in five years, from employees.
“Ultimately, the key challenge is how do we create the environment of a start-up within a larger company to help incubating such ideas. It consists of several elements — one is giving the flexibility to people to think, then supporting them to ensure that they address the unanswered part of it, and finally how to fund these ideas so that they come out with breakthrough solutions,” said Krishnakumar Natarajan, chief executive officer and managing director of MindTree.
The company said the idea behind the launching of digital surveillance business came from a group of employees after the 9/11 incident, when there were few Indian suppliers to cater to the homeland security. This is, in fact, the time when the Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) launched its New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) to fund innovative technologies that will take India into global technology map.
MindTree leveraged this opportunity and proposed the idea, which was selected by CSIR. MindTree also got initial funding at a ‘concessional rate of interest’ from CSIR to develop the digital surveillance platform.
Today, while the newly-launched business has already bagged a client, Bangalore City Traffic Police, many other cities have shown interest in its traffic management solution. Many Indian system integrators which provide digital surveillance products, using the platform and software of global firms like Bosch or Honeywell, are understood to be in talks with MindTree for the software platform, which is ready-to-brand……….