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Sad state of Yamuna pains green warriors – World Rivers Day

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Yamuna World Rivers Day

River lovers and green activists in Agra on Sunday celebrated the World Rivers Day, at the Etmauddaula view-point park, by cleaning up a stretch of Yamuna bank and taking out a rally to demand a comprehensive National Rivers policy along with constitution of a Central Rivers Authority to manage major rivers of India.

Eminent environmentalist and member of the River Connect Campaign, Devashish Bhattacharya said “the world rivers day commemorates the many values of rivers and encourages river stewardship and conservational efforts around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic public participation in the annual event was restricted, but small groups joined river front activities and through web-seminars highlighted the pathetic plight of most rivers in India”.

In fact the pandemic had underlined the important contribution of healthy rivers to our well-being, he added.

“Most rivers are facing increasing pressures associated with climate change, industrial pollution, fallouts of haphazard urbanization and population explosion. Even after seven decades of Independence India does not have a clear road map or a national rivers policy, resulting in protracted wrangling among states over water-sharing and maintenance of waterways,” Pramod Gautam, chairman of the Vedic Sutram, after the Yamuna March, told IANS.

This year’s theme is “waterways in our communities” to stress on the need for protecting and conserving urban waterways.

“The importance of clean fresh water is essential to the fight against Covid-19 so World Rivers Day is a timely opportunity for literally millions of people around the world to come together to commemorate the importance of healthy vibrant waterways,” said Mark Angelo, the founder and Chair of World Rivers Day, in his message to the river activists.

“Rivers are integral to all life,” said Angelo, who has paddled more than 1,000 rivers in over 100 countries, perhaps more than any other. Angelo’s life-long commitment to river conservation, including the founding of World Rivers Day, is also the subject of the upcoming feature length film, “Last Paddle: 1,000 Rivers, One Life”.

In the Braj Mandal, the River Connect Campaign has been actively involved in conservational efforts to save Yamuna river from further degradation.

“Though the river Yamuna is considered sacred, being the beloved consort of Sri Krishna, the Brijbasis are pained to see the river choking to death due to pollution by industries and civic bodies that seem to have no control over sewage discharge,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan.

Rivers are our life-lines and our future is intricately linked to the health of our holy rivers, added Vrindavan green activist Madhu Mangal.

Pandit Jugal Kishor Shrotriya, Mahant of daily Yamuna Arti in Agra, reminded Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkiri of his oft-repeated promise to start ferry service in Yamuna between Delhi and Agra.

The Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society vice president Shravan Kumar Singh said there was an urgent need to construct a barrage on Yamuna downstream of the Taj Mahal, so that these magnificent Mughal monuments are not harmed by air and water pollution.

The Yogi Adityanath government should have focused more on saving rivers in Uttar Pradesh through dredging and desilting than prioritizing the Film City project in Greater Noida, added Surendra Sharma, founder president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association.

Sharma pointed out that the local administration had failed to activate the River Police squad, shift dhobis and ban cattle grazing in the Yamuna.

“Though the district administration had declared Agra ODF (open defecation free) people were still going to the river bed to answer nature’s calls, a sight that is a real putoff early in the morning,” activist Rahul Raj said.

“The upstream cities and barrages have to ensure a minimum flow in the river round the year to save a dying river and protect aqua life,” River Connect Campaign activist Padmini Iyer said.

“Haryana is drawing all the water of the Yamuna river, what little is left is consumed by Delhi. Uttar Pradesh does not get its share of water as was promised in the 1994 river water sharing agreement among UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, signed by then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

By: Brij Khandelwal

(can be contacted at [email protected])

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Hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits 3 yrs away: ICRA

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

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Park Hotel Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 24 : The Indian hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits is at least three years away, ratings agency ICRA has said.

The ratings agency said that road ahead for the industry is rough as revenues and margins are expected to post record decline in FY21 with losses mounting over the next two years.

The hotel industry has witnessed one of the worst revenue declines, in Q1FY21, with revenues for the industry sample declining by 85 per cent.

“Given the high operating and financial leverage in the industry, the revenue decline led to huge operating and net losses in Q1 FY2021 despite the extensive cost-cutting measures adopted by most entities in the industry,” ICRA said in a statement.

“Despite sharp weakening in interest coverage, recourse to the RBI provided moratorium on debt servicing as part of its Covid relief package announced in March 2020 supported the industry.”

As per the statement, about 66 per cent of ICRA’s hospitality portfolio applied for moratorium under this scheme and several of these will apply for restructuring under the K.V. Kamath committee too.

“Although hotels have been gradually allowed to reopen, occupancies have remained subdued in H1FY2021,” the statement said.

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

The industry has reported a 2.7 per cent de-growth in topline with flat operating margins at 22 per cent in FY2020.

“With an 85 per cent YoY decline witnessed in revenues in Q1 FY2021 and subdued occupancies witnessed in Q2 FY2021 as well, industry wide revenues are expected to witness sharp de-growth of 60-65 per cent for FY2021,” ICRA said.

“Despite several measures taken by the companies to variabilise the fixed costs, the industry is likely to report massive operating and net losses in FY2021.”

–IANS

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31% adolescents battled extreme anxiety in past few months due to COVID-19, says survey

About 31% surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey

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work-load office tension stress

About 31 percent surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey of over 7,300 adolescents from four states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha.

The survey on ‘What do the Adolescents have to say? COVID-19 and its Impact’ by NGO Centre for Catalysing Change was conducted in two rounds in the months of April, July and August.

Out of the 7,324 adolescents surveyed, 31 percent admitted to battling extreme anxiety worrying about the pandemic’s impact on their family’s financial status.

The survey also found that adolescent girls faced significant gender discrimination in these months due to the pandemic.

“Only 12 percent of surveyed adolescent girls had access to their own mobile phones to be able to attend online classes, while 35 percent boys had access to their own mobile phones,” the survey found.

“Further, 51 percent of the adolescent girls surveyed lacked access to essential textbooks in comparison to boys, highlighting how the pandemic had jeopardized girls’ access to education,” it said.

About 39 percent of the girls were found to be contributing to housework as opposed to the number of boys at 35 percent, it said.

Under the survey, the adolescent girls also stated how their mobility has been curbed, with only 39 percent girls saying they were allowed to go out alone in comparison to 62 percent boys of the same age who were allowed to go out alone.

“At the same time, only 36 percent adolescents knew the correct helpline numbers, while awareness about the use of the helplines was even lower. Only 18 percent was aware that the helplines could be used in reporting domestic violence and only 22-23 percent knew that it could be used in reporting child labour and child trafficking cases,” it added.

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Sahir Ludhianvi death anniversary: Top Bollywood songs penned by the legendary poet

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet!

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Sahir Ludhianvi

Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, in 1921, Sahir began writing since childhood. Born as Abdul Hayee, he found the word ‘Sahir’ while reading Iqbal’s poetry and decided to use it as his pen name.

Sahir’s poetry was remarkably concerned with socio-economic and political problems of the country. He often voiced problems of the downtrodden with his words.

Sahir’s debut as film lyricist was with Azadi Ki Rah Par and Baazi. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan. Sahir died in Mumbai on October 25, 1980.

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet.

Dekha hai zindagi ko kuch itna kareeb se

Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar hu

Kabhi Kabhi Mere DIl Mein

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