Toronto Students Head to India To Spend Holidays Giving Back

Source: CBC via Academica

Two teams of students from Ryerson University will spend most of their winter break in villages in India and Egypt teaching locals how to build and sell affordable water filters, reports the Canadian Press. The goal of the two small teams is to help improve access to clean water while providing local residents with an entrepreneurial education that can spur the creation of new businesses. The two student initiatives—Project Saaf and Project Myaah—are part of the Ryerson chapter of a non-profit organization known as Enactus, whose goal is to transform lives through socially conscious entrepreneurship. “What makes the holidays special for me is the act of giving…The most essential thing that I could give is something that I think should be a human right, the gift of water,” said Samarth Arabastani, a third-year electrical engineering student who is leading the project in India.

Canada and India Invest $3.7M to Address Infrastructure, Water Challenges

Source: IC-IMPACTS via Academica

IC-IMPACTS, India’s Department of Science and Technology, and India’s Department of Biotechnology have invested a total of $3.7 M to fund nine research projects in the infrastructure and water sectors. Since 2014, IC-IMPACTS—a network of Centres of Excellence funded by the Federal Government of Canada—and India have partnered to strengthen innovation, especially through their Water for Health initiative. This past year, the project attracted 80 applications from 76 Canadian and Indian institutions. The initiative’s panel ultimately chose to fund nine research projects that address significant infrastructure and water-based challenges.

SFU to Launch Pacific Water Research Centre

Source: SFU News Release via Academica

[CIEC Academic Member] Simon Fraser University will this week announce the creation of the new Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC), part of its Faculty of Environment. The PWRC will respond to regional, national, and international concerns about the world’s water resources and provide a hub for cross-disciplinary, collaborative research to help address global water crises. Faculty of Environment Dean Ingrid Leman Stefanovic said, “the goal of the PWRC aims to inform research questions on the strength of local and regional priorities, to ensure that community-engaged research leads to positive, community-relevant changes.”

Kerala, Tamil Nadu agree to share water

Source: Times of India

THIRUVANATHAPURAM: Ministerial-level talks between Kerala and Tamil Nadu on sharing water under the Parambikulam-Aliyar river pact ended here on Sunday on a positive note with TN agreeing to release 100 cusecs per day to Kerala.

In response to Tamil Nadu’s gesture, Kerala agreed to release 40 cusecs per day to Tamil Nadu from Shiruvani river to Coimbatore.

Briefing reporters after the meeting which was attended by Tamil Nadu PWD minister T Ramalingam, Kerala water resources minister PJ Joseph said the joint water regulatory board, consisting of officials from both states, would meet soon to discuss water sharing from Sholayar river.

The meeting was held against the background of Kerala government’s decision to move Supreme Court to get due share of water from the neighbouring state under the Parambikulam-Aliyar river agreement.

Kerala had accused Tamil Nadu of not honouring the pact by not releasing the due share to Chittor river in Palakkad which was facing acute drought situaion.

Kerala had also brought to Tamil Nadu’s notice the drought situation prevailing in Palakkad and non-availability of water under PAP had adversely affected agriculture sector.

As per the Parambikulam-Aliyar project (PAP), Kerala is entitled to get 7,250 million unit cubic feet in a water year (between July 1 to June 30).

A joint water regulatory board of officials from Tamil Nadu and Kerala release the water under a “fortnightly pattern”.

Dikshit accepts protest letters over inflated bills

Source: Hindustan Times

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday accepted the 10,50,000 letters written to her by the Delhi residents over inflated water and power bills following the protest of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Jantar Mantar  in the national Capital.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said Dikshit’s agreeing to accept the letters is “people’s victory.”

Kejriwal vowed that the movement against the inflated bills would continue until the tariffs are brought down, and alleged that both the Congress and the BJP have together cartelised the water and electricity sector in the state.

“At 9 am one of my associates, Dilip Pandey, got a call from the chief minister’s Office saying Sheila Dikshit wanted to talk. Dikshit said she will receive the protest letters. She was compelled to do so because of the people’s pressure. She had to bow down to the people,” said Kejriwal, while addressing a gathering.

Since the chief minister agreed to accept 10,50,000 letters of protest to her written by the people of Delhi highlighting the inflated bills, the AAP activists called off their scheduled march to her residence, AAP spokesperson Aswathi Muralidharan said.

In the afternoon, AAP activists Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas along with 10 other party members boarded a bus, carrying the  protest letters from Jantar Mantar and handed these over to Dikshit’s staff around 3 pm at her residence at Motilal Nehru Marg in New Delhi’s VIP area.

Kejriwal said the movement against inflated water and power bills would continue till the bills are either waived off or the charges are reduced.

“Our aim is not just to submit these (over) 10 lakh letters, but we are seeking action on them. Our protest is unlike that of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Vijay Goel who simply protests for limelight. We have said we won’t pay our bills and this movement will continue till these bills are reduced,” he asserted.

Kejriwal said the Congress governments both at the Centre and in the state had failed to address the issue of water crisis in the national Capital.

“Every year, the Prime Minister says that we will provide water to every household in this country. They have not been able to provide water to Delhi in the past 65 years. How will they provide water to the entire country,” he asked.

“Sheila Dikshit has been in power for the past 15 years. Why has not the issue been addressed,” he asked. Most of the water tanker companies are owned by leaders of these two parties, and the government was hand in glove with the power discoms, he alleged.

Earlier, Delhi Traffic Police eased the traffic restrictions they had imposed in Janpath-Sansad Marg area due to protests and demonstrations.

Kejriwal fasted for 15 days earlier this month to press his demand for reduction in water and electricity tariffs in the capital.

Canada supports Safe Drinking Water Project in India

Source: Connect – Canada in India

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Québec non-governmental organisation (NGO) SOPAR are working with Indian NGO Bala Vikasa on a unique project to provide safe drinking water, in a cost-effective manner, in many villages in Andhra Pradesh, India. With the first plant installed two decades ago in Gangadevipally, Canada has supported Bala Vikasa in setting-up over 250 such water systems. A noteworthy recent development on the project has been the use of Any Time Water machines, which dispense 20 litres of water by swiping a card at the machine, similar to the principle of an automated teller machine (ATM).

PM for new approaches to address challenges in economy

Source: Economic Times via Indian Economic Business News

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined the need for new approaches to address challenges in infrastructure, education, energy, water and agriculture. In his inaugural address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 8, the Prime Minister dwelt at length on the state of the economy and pointed out that despite the impressive performance and change on an enormous scale in the past two decades, India faced persisting challenges of poverty, equity, sustainability and opportunity. “Vulnerable sections of society, including our women, face enduring prejudices and continuing problems in a rapidly changing India,” he said. “Among the most positive stories out of India in recent years are the acceleration in the rate of poverty reduction, stronger growth in the poorest States and improved productivity and increased real wages in our agriculture sector. This is significant, given that 65 per cent of our population still relies on agriculture,” he noted. The country has just embarked on its 12th Five-Year Plan with the ambition to sustain an annual growth rate of 8 per cent. For this, we will require enormous resources, reforms in policies and institutions, new models of public-private partnership and community participation and innovation-driven science and technology.