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Nature’s Treasure: Sindhudurg is Maharashtra’s and India’s cleanest ‘mini-paradise’

The district's picturesque beach town, Vengurla, has set a new trend in solid-liquid waste management technique, Chaudhary said with pride

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Sindhudurga Fort. Wikimedia Commons

MAHARASHTRA, Sept 11, 2016: Bordered on the west by the bluish-green waters of the Arabian Sea and on the east by the lush green forests of the Western Ghats, Sindhudurg district in southwest coastal Maharashtra is a veritable tourist delight.

The district offers an equal measure of 30 sparkling beaches and big and small hill resorts- including the famous Amboli- scores of temples, festivals celebrated grandly, a salubrious climate virtually round-the-year, the typical Malvani style cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, many “things to do” and friendly people.

Earlier this week, Sindhudurg suddenly shot into the national limelight after it was declared as “cleanest” district in the plains in the country, while Mandi in Himachal Pradesh claimed the honour in the hills section.

Though happy with the distinction achieved, the local administration shrugs at the honour almost nonchalantly.

Sindhudurg. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Sindhudurg. Wikimedia Commons

“The people of the district have a very high civic sense and it has been historically doing well on the cleanliness front. There is good synergy between the people and the local government that has made cleanliness a habit rather than a compulsion,” CEO of Sindhudurg Zilla Parishad Shekhar Singh, an IAS officer, told IANS.

He recalled how former CEO Anoop Kumar Yadav had first launched a mass movement on imbibing the spirit of cleanliness among the people way back in 2006.

Even earlier, in 2000, the then Rural Development Minister, the late R.R. Patil, had launched his pet scheme, the Sant Gadge Baba Village Sanitation Campaign (SGBVSC) — later supported by Unicef — in which Sindhudurg villages regularly come tops on several fronts, Singh said.

Sindhudurg Collector Uday Choudhary said it has been a long tough road and the success was not achieved overnight.

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“Fortunately, the locals are highly tuned to hygiene and cleanliness and we were always leading in the SGBVSC. Of course, the real push came in the form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat mission that spurred us to clear the last lap successfully and catapulted us to the national level,” Choudhary told IANS.

The duo explained that a survey under the Gramin Swachh Survekshan since May this year measured overall cleanliness in all places, sanitation, water supply, open-defecation-free (ODF) communities and solid-liquid waste management practices. Sindhudurg became the state’s first ODF district in April 2016.

The district’s picturesque beach town, Vengurla, has set a new trend in solid-liquid waste management technique, Chaudhary said with pride.

“Its unique technique generates power for the solid-liquid waste management unit, the plastic part of the solid is used to build roads and rest is utilised as manure. Thus, there is no wastage even from the waste,” Chaudhary smiled.

Local Congress MLA Nitesh N. Rane said the achievement is the outcome of the steps initiated by his father, Narayan T. Rane, when he was Chief Minister in 1999 and, today, Sindhudurg has the third highest per capita income of Rs 1,04,000 in the state, next only to Mumbai and Pune.

“He had started these efforts way back in 1999, sensitised the public on cleanliness and taken steps to improve the tourist infrastructure, which has now resulted in Sindhudurg being declared as the state’s first Tourist District,” Nitesh Rane told IANS.

However, he cautioned that it was not the time to rest on laurels. The government must now target the next level to make it the most preferred tourist destination and the new distinction (as the cleanest in the country) will hugely help.

As a step towards this, Rane last week has introduced water sports and scuba-diving activities on the Sindhudurg beaches, enabling tourists to experience the rich underwater beauty, marine flora and fauna in the clear, cool waters — where dolphins also abound.

Choudhary said it is the natural beauty of Sindhudurg that draws tourists. The district has 48 percent forest cover, 30 pristine white-sand beaches, several hills and sea forts, tiny picturesque villages, lush plains and the coast — apart from scores of big and small temples and, of course, the famous Malvani cuisine.

“From September 17 to October 2, we conduct our new campaign for clean beaches, 14 of which are extremely popular among tourists, including the five-km-long Kunkeshwar Beach,” the collector said.

But to attract more tourists, only natural beauty would not suffice and the state government must take steps on priority to improve connectivity to Sindhudurg, Rane averred.

“The existing Mumbai-Goa Highway is extremely congested and accident-prone due to its sad condition, the Coastal Highway plans are still on paper and the proposed new airport nearby is languishing for the past three years,” Rane said.

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Sindhudurg is the convergence point for the northern-southern branches of the Western Ghats, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and abounds in rich flora and fauna. Amboli is the last hill station in Maharashtra before the ghats give way to the rolling plains of adjoining Goa and Karnataka.

The district has seven major forts, including the Sindhudurg Fort standing on a tiny isle off the Malvan beach, hill forts, and other sea forts, mostly constructed during the rise of the Maratha Empire founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji as part of the fortification of the entire Konkan region. (IANS)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)