Today is a special day for me, as i celebrate my mom’s birthday. I always wanted to do something different on her birthday, gifting, partying is an old concept (For sure that will continue) but from this year i will start something new and different on her birthday. I have seen people doing various good deeds on their own or their loved once birthday. So this time on her birthday i decided to do something (its not a big thing, but a good thing to start with) for those who are trying to give return something to the society.
I have being there on the social circuit for a long time. I’m proud to be a part of The Sapling Project, Eartholics, Mumbai Travellers. All these groups are doing good work in their respective field and try to make their surrounding the better place to live. And hence i decided to do some thing for such groups. So from today i open the doors of my blog to all those individuals, groups, ngo’s, etc. who are giving something to the society without expecting anything from the society.
If any of such organization (registered / non registered) wish to promote them or their work through my blog can send their organization / group details to me. The group willing to promote themselevs should have a web presence either website or blog or FB page or twitter handle . If the group dont have these then i wont promote that particular group/ ngo. Currently i’ll be promoting only non-profit groups / organizations.
I hope this initiative will help them to reach more people and thus can be helpful for their cause. The group can be based any where across India, i will promote them through my blog.
The things that need to be sent are
Name of sender :-
Name of the group / NGO etc: –
Individual’s connection with the group:-
Url of the group (website, blog, fb page etc):-
Logo (If any):-
Description of the group/ ngo etc ( Not more than 600 words):-
On Sunday 10th June, 2012 i visited Vasai Fort with Mumbai Travellers. For 4 for us it was a bike tour + fort exploration. We started early from Thane as other travelers were going to meet us at Vasai ST stand at 7.30 AM. The fort is around 10-12 Km from the ST stand and it take 20 min to reach the fort by bus.
History of the fort
Bahadur Shah, a Mughal Emperor had built the Bassein Fort in the 1530s. The fort covers area of around 110 acre of land. The Portuguese came, conquered and destroyed most of it a year after it was built and started a town which was also used as a trade center for various materials. After that, in 1739, the Marathas took over. In 1818 the British came and conquered it for a hundred years more until in 1917 it was finally declared by the government of Bombay as its own ancient monument that must be preserved.
The Maratha, Shri Antaji. (Chimaji Appa) Photo Courtesy – Neil Raviya
When we reached near Chimaji Appa statue where a thin guy with full beard wearing a kurta and a formal pant welcomed us. Shridatta Raut was the guy who was going to show the fort and explain the history of the it. The very first thing he said was that a single day is not enough to see the entire fort that is spread across 110 acre.
Shridatta had a big fort map with him and also gave us the xerox of the same so he can explain us each & everything in detail. He had lots of details to share and also he had many documents of that era to show. He explained in detail about the fort structure, its back ground, the reason behind the fortifications (Tatabandi) on the fort. He even knows the Modi Language and also has the government certificate which is used to handle the ancient letters which are in that Modi language.
Assembly, cathedral Church Photo Courtesy – Neil Raviya
He took us around the churches where he explained the structure of the church, old monuments & also took us to places that were worth visiting. We even walked over the fortification to reach the war site. As archaeological department hardly care about the forts maintenance, the support walls and the fencing of fortification is on the verge of falling. Shridatta explained us in detailed about the war on the war site and transported back to the era when the fort had a high importance. He even showed us the underground tunnel which is in the fort. The tunnel is approximately 525 fts which according to Shridatta takes around 21 mins to cross. We concluded our tour near the tunnel. Shridatta promised us that next time when we’ll visit the fort he will guide us in crossing the tunnel. We just could see 1/3rd of the fort in 7 hrs but whatever we saw and the information Shridatta provided was very knowledgeable.
A 26 yrs married man who spend almost all weekends on some or other fort if not any other fort then on Vasai fort. From last 13 yrs he is working on fort conservation and also research on its history. He is also an author, a poet and an activist who fights for other forts conservation. He founded kille Vasai Mohim that works for fort conservation in Thane district since 2003. He celebrates his birthday, festivals, even got married on the fort.
If you wish to explore Vasai fort or any other fort with Shridatta you can call him @ 9764316678. He don’t charge a single penny for it as history fascinate him & he believes in sharing history of forts.
The storyteller “Shreedatta Raut” Photo Courtesy – Neil Raviya
How to Reach Vasai Fort
Get down at Vasai road station. ST stand is just out side the station from where every 20 min a bus leaves towards vasai fort. From Station one can go by auto. They charge around 50 bucks. The fort is around 10-12 km from Vasai station. From Thane the fort is around 50 – 55 Km.
Facilities in the fort
One can take rest in the temple and also can get water in the temple. No other water source inside the fort. Carry your own food as there are no hotels / restaurants near the fort. You can get nimbus pani / cold drink / ice gola near the fort.
The Group – Mumbai Travellers Photo Courtesy – Chand Singh Shahpuri
The history of the Vasai fort is too vast to explain in writing. I think it is best to experience it through Shridatta’s words.
Normally every trek starts with climbing & then descending, but first time in my life i did a trek where there was no climbing, only descending till the end. The trek was Sandhan Valley. Sandhan Valley is situated in the western ghats of Sahyadri. The valley is located on the west side of beautiful Bhandardhara region near Samrad village. The village itself is located approx. at 3000 fts above sea level. Valley is surrounded by Alang, Malang, Kulang, Kalsubai, Ratangad and Ajoba mountain range.
Friday 16th Dec 2011, night we started our trek journey by 12.16 AM Kasara local, but two of our newly wed friends couldn’t reach the station on time and missed the train. So i and Saurabh decided to get down at Kalyan and wait for them to come. We 4 met at Kalyan station and at 1.40 AM we started our journey by last Kasara local. It was freezing cold in Kasara at 3.00 AM when we reached there. A hot cup of tea came to rescue us. We left for Samrad, the base village of the trek at 3.30 AM by 2 jeeps which we had arranged from Kasara Station to Samrad Village. At 6.00 AM we reached the small yet very beautiful Samrad village.
We took halt at our trek guide Datta’s house. He was the one who was going to give us technical support required at 3 patches. After morning rituals and breakfast, we started our trek at 8.15 Am. We enter the valley in just 10 min and from that time our foots were going to just walk on the rocky path. We crossed 2 water pools, in both the pools we first passed all the luggage. The water level in the first pool was below waist height and in the second pool it was above the waist height. (The water level changes according to the season).
We were passing between two huge mountains range. The sun was spreading its rays but the mountains were just blocking it from reaching us. Sandhan Valley is also called as Valley of Shadow as it hardly allows the sun rays to reach the bottom. The valley is also an awesome place for photographers.
The descending is not that simple as it looks. We need to make way from many big rocks. The main problem faced while descending is that we were always in the search of shortest and the easiest path but there is no such path. 14 member of our group went ahead and 4 guys stayed back with 2 girls as they were finding it difficult to descend. The path till the first rappelling point is very time consuming. The first batch completed their rappelling patch and were waiting for us to reach. After around 6 hrs of walk on the rocky path we reached the 1st rappelling patch. The first rappelling patch is about 45 feet. By 3 PM the last 6 members completed their 1st rappelling patch. We decided to have our lunch as we were walking continuously and were too hungry.
At 4 we started our journey towards the second patch. We had told the guide to make sure that the first batch cross the 3rd and final patch before we reach the second rappelling patch. 2nd and 3rd rappelling are of just 10 -15 feets as compare to 1st one but are as thrilling as the first one. Thanks to the two girls cos of them we even enjoyed rappelling in torch light as by the time we reached the 3rd and the last patch it was already dark.
We reached our camp at around 7.15 PM. The camp was close to a waterfall. Beautiful sky packed with shining stars, chilled weather made us forget the tiredness. After the delicious dinner we decided to sleep, so we can get up early and enjoy in the waterfall. Early morning after tea some enjoyed in the waterfall and other enjoyed cooking breakfast for everyone. After the breakfast we started our return journey. The rocky path was back in the trek, yes but this time this path last only for 30 -45 min. After that we started walking towards Dehane village from where we would take the State Transport bus till Shahapur. (Remember to keep ample of water as once off the rocky path there is not source to get water, till we reach Varpadi Village.) In Varpadi village one can get those old peecee colas for 1 Rs each, we had plenty of them. From Varpadi village Dehane village is just 1 and half KM away. We got the 2 PM bus to Shahapur (which came at 2.30 PM). The bus took 1 and half hr to reach shahapur and from there we sat in another bus which was till Asangaon railway station. (Shahapur – Aasangaon journey is of 15-20 min). We reached Aasangaon on time and we were able to catch the 4.20 CST local. This was my first ever trek that got concluded in the day light. And yes Sandhan Valley trek was the most thrilling and memorable trek till now for me.
Few points to remember while on the Sandhan Valley Trek
1. Technical support is must for 3 rock patches.
2. It’s not easy to descend as it looks, its time consuming. So time management is important.
3. Have ample of water while on the way to Dehane as there is no water source in between till Varpadi village.
1. Get down at Kasara and book a jeep for Samrad Village. 1 Jeep cost is around 2k to 3k (depending on the season)
2. You can hire a local guide cum technical support guy (in advance). They charge 300-400 per person. (For techical Support contact – Datta bhangre – 8605151641)
3. Dehane to Shahapur State Transport. Ticket 33 Rs. 1hrs 30 min Journey
4. Shahapur to Aasangaon State Transport. Ticket 5 Rs. 20 min Journey. (Share auto take 8 Rs per person)
The total cost of our trek was 900 Rs which includes Traveling from Thane to Kasara, Kasara To Samrad, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Dehane to Shahapur, Shahapur to Aasangaon, Aasangaon to Thane and Technical expert cost.
We have been wanting do this post for sometime now, simply because the more people know about RTI and actively use it, the more each one of us are doing our bit to curb corruption and wrong practices in Government Department. RTI indirectly ensures that all Government departments adhere to legal processes and systems and is documents as RTI can immediately bring everything in public domain!
In simple words, the Right to Information Act or RTI is an act that practically supports and enables citizens to claim their right to information which is guaranteed by the constitution of India.
Let’s put aside all the jargon and complicated terms to take a look at what the Right to Information Act is all about – from a common citizen’s perspective.
Right to Information Act (RTI) – What is it for?
The Right to Information Act was established to make the government accountable for its work by empowering citizens to demand information regarding its activities. This act applies to both the Central and the State Governments of India except Jammu and Kashmir, which has its own RTI Act.
What information are we talking about?
The RTI aims to allow citizens to ask for records, documents, circulars, contracts, reports, papers, emails, memos and all other information held in print or electronic form from the public authorities, i.e. all the governing bodies. There are certain sections of administrative activities that are exempt from the RTI Act, details of which can be found in Section 8 and 9 of RTI Act 2005.
The RTI Act 2005 also empowers citizens to physically inspect the records that have been duly maintained by the government and its administrative bodies.
Who can ask for information?
All citizens can ask for information whether they want to inspect the work and activities of the Government or simply exercise their right to other information and documents that were mentioned earlier. If you are a citizen who seeks information or want to inspect records of governing and administrative bodies, you are a valid applicant.
How can you ask for information?
Citizens can exercise their right to information by filing an application with a Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). All the administrative levels of the government will have a CPIO who will give the required information to people who file an application or a query under the RTI Act.
As an applicant, you should know that there is no particular format required. Your application can even be on simple plain paper. Applicants however need to ensure that their contact details including name and correspondence address appear on the application. Reasonable assistance can be expected from the CPIO if you decide to give your application in writing.
On what grounds can you seek information under the RTI act?
As a citizen, applicant under the RTI and as an information seeker, you are not required to give any reasons if you wish to seek information under the RTI Act.
Is there a fee to file and RTI application?
Yes, as per the RTI Act 2005, applicants will incur fees and costs that include, but may not be limited to the following
Fee on initial application
Demand draft, banker’s cheque or cash with subsequent receipt of Rs. 10
Fees for information sought
Rs. 2 per page printed, copied or created in A4 or A3 size
Cost of the page or paper
Rs. 50 per disc if information is given in that form
Cost or actual price of sample or models requested under the RTI Act
Fees for inspection of records
First hour is free after which there is a fee of Rs. 5 per hour
How long will it take?
Information sought under the RTI 2005 will be supplied within a time period of 30 days. However it has been stated in the RTI Act 2005 guide that if the information ‘concerns the life and liberty of a person’, it will be supplied in 48 hours. Here are the details of various time limits for receiving information for your RTI application.
For PIO to reply to application
30 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to transfer to another PA under Sec 6(3)
5 days from date of receipt of application
For PIO to issue notice to 3rd Party
5 days from date of receipt of application
For 3rd Party to make a representation to PIO
10 days from receipt of notice from PIO
For PIO to reply to application if 3rdParty involved
40 days from date of receipt of application
For applicant to make First Appeal
30 days from date of receipt of PIO’s reply or from date when reply was to be received
For First Appellate Authority to pass an order
30 days from receipt of First Appeal OR Maximum 45 days, if reasons for delay are given in writing
For applicant to make Second Appeal before CIC/SIC
90 days from receipt of First Appeal orders or from the date when orders were to be received
The RTI Act 2005 guide also mentions that if you as an applicant have given your application to an Assistant CPIO or the wrong public authority, 5 days will be added to the generally prescribed time frame.
What if you don’t receive the RTI information or wish to appeal?
The RTI Act 2005 has set forth guidelines and procedures for applicants who have not been given the information they seek in time or are not satisfied with the information provided to them. Here is an overview of the appeals procedure
As an applicant, you should file an appeal with the relevant first appellate authority within 30 days of the date that was the last day of the expiry of the 30 day time period to supply information. [Please refer the timeline chart above]
Your appeal will be reviewed and disposed within 30 days of receipt, or 45 days in ‘exceptional cases’.
As an applicant, if your appeal is not disposed or you are still left unsatisfied, you can file a second appeal to Central Information Commission. This appeal must be done within 90 days from the date that was the last day of the 30 or 45 day time period of the first appeal.
Cumulative RTI statistics for past 3 years
Here are some numbers released by authorities that give you an idea about number of RTI applications that were filed / rejected in last 3 years.
Opening balance of RTI requests (as on 1st April of the reporting year)
Number of requests received during the year
Total number of requests at the end of the reporting year
Number of Requests rejected
Requests rejected as a percentage of requests received during the year
Requests rejected as percentage of total number of requests at the end of reporting year
Title may make you think this must be something related to personality development. Yes… you are right to some extent. We have grown up and undergone through various education programs but do you think really have we grown up in right sense. Answer isNO because though we have grown in our carriers, in our designations, in age but we have lost on our basics. Just rethink on it, are you perfect in your basics? Again answer will be NO……… So let’s not waste more time and get back to our basics what we have learnt in school regarding our environment and our duties towards the same.
Today everyone has become health conscious but are we really health conscious and what steps other than initiating exercising or dieting have we taken towards our health. Have we ever thought why our health is declining day by day is it stress or food. Though stress is responsible for bad health but food is also playing a vital role. People say I am diet conscious and hence eat only healthy diet i.e. vegetables and fruits no junk food. Is this healthy diet really healthy are vegetables and fruits grown with the help of fertilizers are keeping us healthy, then its BIG NO….. As we all have studied in school that excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides is harmful for our health. Yet we continue to eat same fruits and vegetables grown with excessive fertilizers.
As I said earlier we have lost upon our basics and good example of the same is organic farming which we have studied in our schools, have we ever practiced it or taken an initiative towards it? Lets not play a blame game why not initiate organic farming from today itself because it’s always better to start before it gets too late. Now First thing that will come to your mind is we are not farmers and we buy vegetables from market so why should we think about organic farming. Yes you are right but after all it’s your health and you need to take care of it. You can practice organic farming in your terrace garden itself with very less investments.
What I need for organic farming?
Pot, soil, kitchen waste or garden waste or flowers devoted to god, that we usually throw into water can be best used as fertilizers rather making water bodies polluted. Why organic farming?
For Better health:
Save you from harmful fertilizers and pesticides
Keeps you away from colored vegetables immersed in harmful chemicals to look fresh
Develops gardening hobby which refreshes your body as it fills your lungs with fresh air and energy. Also purifies blood circulation and thus enhance immunity
Reduces stress: staying with nature reduces stress as it replaces negative energy with positive energy. Also studies have revealed that viewing garden or nature brings you healthy psychological benefits
Keeps you physically active hence no saturation of fats
Will save money spend on expensive vegetables available in market
Helps in reducing expenditure on medical services incurred due to bad effects of harmful chemicals and stress
Reduces air and water pollution due to reduced use of fertilizer and pesticides
Help to reduce effects of global warming
So lets get back to our basics and grow up once again for our better future….
Just don’t read and consider as one more article! rather act upon it and put the same into practice.
It’s you and me who can make this world a better place to live…..
Fosters sponsored me 2 Crates of Beer , Pizza and Mineral Water last year to host a Christmas party at my home. I was very thankful to Fosters for the Art Of Chilling party as we enjoyed a lot and yes my friends blessed Fosters for the beer they sponsored.
On 15th Nov i got a call from Fosters again and ask me if i would love to host another party and as usual my answer was YES. (How could i say no to a Fosters Art Of Chilling party). I decide to host the party on 19th November and accordingly I started planning for the party, I called my friends but unfortunately most of them had already their Saturday evening plans in place. As my bro was in India i asked my bro to call his friends for the party. He and his friends never say NO for a beer party.
Friday 18th Nov afternoon i received 2 Crates of Fosters (To be precise 30 bottles of 650 ml each). I was in the office when my bro called to confirm the delivery of the bottles. When i reached home from office my bro gave me a shock by telling the Party will be hosted today but at his friends place. We took 14 bottles for 7 people but 1 of his friend didn’t turned up.
The party started with tweets praising Forster and the Foster strong beer. We all tried Fosters strong for the first time and we all were highly impressed. Chicken lollypop, Chicken Manchurian,etc. were the starters along with Fosters strong. As the party progressed the frequency of tweets were reduced and by 3 Am all the 14 bottles were empty. I liked Fosters Strong and would recommend it for sure as it is totally different from the other brands.
From the busy routine schedule Fosters gave us a reason to chill at home with their Art Of Chilling party. Thanks Fosters for the chilling party (my bro and his friends have asked me to tell you that next time pls give “Chakna” with the beer :P). And yes 25th Dec is just few days away and as promised i will be hosting another party :D. This time more friends and more fun.
It gives me immense pleasure to introduce our new Organization ‘EARTHOHOLICS’.
OUR VISION is –“to urgently stop poisoning of the ‘only earth’ we have, by implementing change in practices which will ensure a healthy future for our planet and generations to come.”
We’ll be conducting awareness programs, workshops and will offer products and services which ensure that we save our planet earth…as ‘EARTH IS OUR ONLY HOME’.!
We’ll be promoting–
->Urban agriculture for food security, healthy living & aiming to reduce our carbon footprints. -> Rain Water Harvesting ->Solar Products -> Waste Management ->Implementation programs to reduce our carbon footprints.
WHY DO WE NEED TO GROW OUR OWN FOOD…??? KNOW WHERE UR FOOD COMES FROM ..??
The mind set of the urbanites, particularly the upper income groups who regard food security as simply being able to buy food from the market and regard farming as a loco status and less skilled activity, needs to undergo a change in order to recognize the importance of urban agriculture.
Population is rapidly growing and the land available for cultivation is limited. Each year we have to multiply the production in the same land available, infact at times the land gets scarcer if farmers sell their land for other occupations.
Significantly, we do not have the margin of loosing a bit in the pest attack; hence taking support of chemical protection seems imperative. As vegetables are perishable items we import only 0.05% of our total vegetable production. This implies moving towards intense cultivation to meet our future demands hence more pesticides use. This coupled with consumers choice for fresh and healthy looking vegetables, especially in the urban context, push up the unwanted and unethical use of chemicals like preservatives, colors, flavors etc.
Thus from sowing of the crops till its final delivery to the consumers, vegetables are subject to multiple applications of toxic chemicals at various stages. In the end what the consumers get is daily doses of a cocktail of deadly chemicals, often in much higher quantities than the safe limits.
Urban agriculture is a bold step towards reducing our carbon footprints as it does not require inputs like fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers.
Thus, it aids healthy living for us and the planet.
So, lets all unite for a sustainable tomorrow.!
We announce our inaugural workshop on “GROWING ORGANIC FRUITS & VEGETABLES AT HOME” conducted by Miguel Braganza, Vice president –Asia of INOFO of IFOAM, specially coming from Goa on 5th and 6th November.
The wounds of 7/11, 26/11 are not yet healed and Mumbai was yet again targeted on 13/7 where again innocent people lost their lives. Around 21 people died and more than 80 people injured when 3 blast took places within the time span of 20min in 3 major parts of Mumbai Dadar (Kabutar khana), Oberio house and Zaveri bazaar (khau galli).
After 26/11 our home ministry promised to be more efficient in security but they have failed drastically. What our government did from last 2 yrs after the Mumbai attack ? .. the answer is just save one terrorist and helped other terrorist to believe that even if you bombed us and or you got caught not to worry because we Indians believe in “Atithi Devo Bhava”. We will take utmost care of you and will spends lacs and crore on your security but not on Common man security.
Unless loved ones of political leaders don’t die in such attack they wont understand the pain. Few lacs compensation is just they what they give (who knows how much time does it takes for the compensation to reach to the needy family) to the victims. Politicians never turn up to help the victims, who help is the people who are the been targeted. Yes media people had reached the spot but just to cover the news so they can get more TRP and next day more copies of their newspaper can be sold by publishing the pics of dead bodies.
It was great to see social media in action immediately after the news broke out especially Twitter. People where ready to give lift, food, accommodation and also were twitting live updates of traffic. Even as the phone network were congested people were asking to tweet their friends and family number so they can call and check if there loved ones are fine. A sheet with more than 240 names, numbers, locations and what and how they can offer help to those stuck in traffic or anywhere in the city was spread on social media. Bow down to all those people and police who risk there life and help the victims.
The world gives example of the spirit of Mumbai when such thing happens but let me tell you today this is not the spirit of Mumbai but Mumbai is used to these things now. People know they cant expect anything from the Government and from the corrupt politicians. Getting out of the house is risk now, no one know what will happen next second, will they reach home, will their family’s will be see them again.. No one knows
Before i end i just have few questions… Let me know if you have answers to any of this questions. Do you think we should walk on the path of Gandhiji today also ? will non violence help the terrorist to change themselves ? will the candle march help the government to understand the meaning security? will peach walks and or just by condemning can solve the problem of terrorism ?
Last week i got sms from star bazaar saying that “Now star bazaar will charge RS 1-4 on the plastic bags, So please bring along your bags with you while shopping”. This rule is imposed by the government to help restrict the use of plastic bags. There are very mix reaction about this rule as some are happy and some says that wont be helpful.
Do you really think that charge on plastic carry bags will make a huge difference ? I don’t think so, cos even i am of the second opinion firstly as this rule is only imposed on Shopping malls and not applicable to local shops. As compare to the Mall going people , people shopping in local shops is drastically high. Secondly, families/individuals who do shopping in malls normally spends thousands and wont mind spending extra 5-10 Rs for a plastic bag. Few families / people who do there monthly shopping in Big Bazaar / Star Bazaar / More or any such stores will think twice before paying for plastic as they are budget oriented people. This charge is directly or indirectly going to help the company as they will be selling 50 Paisa bag for Rs. 5-10 .
If the Mall charges a bit higher say around 30-40 Rs per bag then that will hurt the customer and next time while coming to shopping he will bring carry bags with him. I am sure these big shops will later come up with offers like shop for “X” amount and dont pay for the bags. By an ways the shops are going to get the profit and they wont be serious about the environmental issues. If government really want to save the environment then they should have ban the plastic bags and should encourage paper/ cotton bags. Even if someone forgets to bring the bag he wont mind spending 10 rs for a cotton bag.
Some good marketing stuffs like return a bag and get discount on your purchase will encourage people to return it the next time they come for shopping. In this way shops will retain the customer plus will also help in preventing the environment. And this can work with both plastic and cotton bags. Both can be the reused or recycled depending on their condition. Hope government take some serious steps in banning plastic bags before its too late. But i know our government can never be serious about this so hope the mall community handle this issue and bans use of plastic carry bags and promote cotton bags.