Daunting traffic scenario: Delhi to come to a standstill in seven years

It is difficult to live with the fact that three people died in this vehicle last year and this stupid traffic is responsible for my plight,” says Mohammed Chand, the ambulance driver pointing a finger accusingly at the bumper to bumper traffic.

It is around five in the evening and Old Delhi is bursting at the seams on a road that connects one of the largest hospitals in this part of the capital with the rest of the city. Mohammed who works as an ambulance driver with St Stephen’s Hospital is driving around the hospital to provide what he calls “a sample of his daily grief”.

The world moves in slow motion. After a while, the two middle-aged men in the car ahead of us and the auto rickshaw driver next to the ambulance seem rather familiar. It may have something to do with the fact that we have been playing nudge-nudge for close to half an hour.

The avowed benefits of the motor car suddenly seem rather dated. Forty-year-old Mohammed has been working with the St Stephen’s Hospital in Old Delhi for the past five years and it was only since last year that he has had to deal with patients dying in his ambulance.

Read the full story at http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-17/news/37787203_1_traffic-road-ambulance-driver.


Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Make GPS Work for India

Author: Mark Bergen

Usually, one of the surest bets for a technology innovator here is to handpick a winner in the U.S., then just bring it over. When Rahul RS and his partners left Infosys, one of the nation’s largest IT companies, to start their own venture, location-based services were becoming all the rage stateside. A flurry of GPS-enabled apps sprung up allowing users to pinpoint themselves and others. They ranged from the leisurely social networkers (i.e. Foursquare) to the serious security services, now bound for profitable IPOs.

“We were trying to adapt something that worked in the West to India,” Rahul says, describing his efforts with Onze Technologies. But transplanting mapping software to Indian cities is not a simple feat. “It doesn’t quite work out,” he says.

For one, the landscape is entirely different. Very few urban pockets are laid out in a grid. They’re filled with winding, narrow roads prone to sudden turns and stops. Addresses are often out of order or sight. Streets pop up, change names and add new commercial inhabitants all the time.

Another obstacle is cultural. “People are not used to maps,” Rahul explains. Giving directions in India is an idiomatic art, well-rehearsed and rarely done following formal strictures. He goes on: “I can guarantee you nobody will say, ‘head south.'” Rather than cardinal directions, people will navigate the lost using a series of routes and familiar landmarks.

Read the full article at http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/03/why-its-nearly-impossible-make-gps-work-india/4934/.


How cycling set deprived Indian girls on a life-long journey

In Bihar, one of India’s poorest and most populous states, half of the women and a quarter of the men are illiterate, and about 90% of its 104 million inhabitants live in rural areas. Life here is particularly difficult for girls, and one of the greatest hindrances to their development is the simple journey to school. For many, the trip is long, expensive and dangerous.

But here, in rural Bihar, we recently saw that a two-wheeled solution to the problem has been found.

Three years ago the state’s new chief minister Nitish Kumar adopted a “gender agenda” and set about redressing his state’s endemic gender imbalances in an attempt to boost development in one of India’s most backward states. His vision was to bring a sense of independence and purpose to his state’s young women, and the flagship initiative of this agenda is the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna, a project that gives schoolgirls 2,000 rupees (about £25) to purchase a bicycle.

The project’s results so far have been extremely promising: in those three years in Bihar alone, 871,000 schoolgirls have taken to the saddle as a result of the scheme. The number of girls dropping out of school has fallen and the number of girls enrolling has risen from 160,000 in 2006-2007 to 490,000 now.

Read the full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2011/nov/25/cycling-indian-schoolgirls-bike-blog.


Metro rail row evokes mixed response

Author: Greeshma Gopal Giri

Amid controversies over Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) role in implementing the Kochi metro project, city residents want the state government to execute the project without further delays. Many would like DMRC and E Sreedharan to finish the work they have begun, while some expressed their dissatisfaction over the shoddy state of affairs. TOI caught up with a few prominent personalities in Kochi for their opinion on the issue.

While district collector and Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) director board member P I Sheik Pareeth supported DMRC’s role saying that the agency can complete the project in a time bound manner, the chairman of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) N Venugopal urged the government to take the global tender route to ensure transparency.

Elaborating his views, the collector said: “If Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is executing the Kochi Metro project and E Sreedharan is there to oversee the work, then we will be able to complete the metro project in three years. If not, I don’t have an answer.”

Read the full article at http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-22/kochi/34652451_1_kochi-metro-project-e-sreedharan-global-tender.