ON THE RECORD

By


Esha Paul & Suchita Maheshwari

The 14 day strike in Maruti Suzuki’s biggest plant in Manesar, Haryana resolved on 21st October. A mutual discussion between the Maruti Workers and Management led to an agreement on reinstating 64 permanent workers and 1200 contractual workers.

The whole issue came to the surface on 24th July when workers demanded recognition of a separate union in Manesar. Maruti management recognizes only one union which is at the Gurgaon plant of Maruti Suzuki. “There are four production plants in Haryana. Workers of all the plants were members of the Gurgaon union. The leaders were controlled by the management itself. The workers couldn’t have their say. So, all the workers decided to form a separate union here in Manesar plant” says Shiv Kumar, General Secretary on Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU). But the Maruti Management refused to recognize this union in Manesar.

The strike started on 7th October. Workers stopped production and announced a ‘tool down’ in the IMT Manesar plant, Haryana. They were allegedly forced to sign a document and faced violence from management. Parvesh was one of those who faced these atrocities.

On 14th October High court ordered workers to move out of Maruti Suzuki plant. They organized a mass rally on 17th October in which more then 8,000 workers participated. Complete halt on production brought Maruti’s profit down in October by 59.8%.

After this, in a meeting between members of management and workers Maruti management agreed to reinstate 64 workers, but another 30 workers, against whom there were serious legal allegations of violence, were refused reinstatement.

This whole strike began with the demand of formation of separate union in the IMT Manesar plant. Though the strike has been resolved, their demand of separate union remains unfulfilled.


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By

Brahm Prakash Chaturvedi & Taha Siddiqui

India and United States have initiated a dialogue on collaboration in higher education. With this the debate about the feasibility of foreign universities setting up campuses in India has gained momentum once again.

On October 13, Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and Secretary of state Hilary Clinton met in Washington DC to discuss the possibilities of cooperation in the higher education sector.

Before this initiative HRD ministry had set up a committee in 2008 in the chairmanship of Prof. Yashpal to advice on renovation and rejuvenation of higher education. In its report in 2009 the committee categorically said that quality universities grow in organic connection with cultural soil and cannot be transplanted mechanically.

Government has also tabled “The Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010 in the parliament which proposes to allow foreign education providers set up campuses in India and offer degrees.

On the other hand, experts are of the opinion that setting up of foreign universities wouldn’t improve the quality of higher education in India

“Setting up foreign universities in India is just the first step to attract the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) but improving the quality, the courses and the standard of teaching is far more crucial, says Dr Apoorvaanand, of Delhi University.

We don’t have to make small islands of excellence but create an indigenous education system that takes care of the large student population, he adds.

As it is, govt. has allowed 100 % FDI in education sector since 2000 but according to experts it has not yielded great results in improving the quality of teaching.

Students are also apprehensive that if foreign universities are established in India it might make higher education more expensive. They would rather prefer an Indian university with quality teachers and good infrastructure than a mediocre foreign university.

“ I don’t think I will apply for a foreign university because the budget would be very high, and if am getting good education in my government run college, in my own country then why would I apply in foreign university which is just mediocre in nature, says Sneha, a student of jamia Milia Islamia.

However, some students believe that it would make higher education more competitive. “ I think setting up foreign campuses here would bring world class faculty”, says Siddhanth Manocha of Pearl Academy of fashion. He thinks that the exposure will rise the standard of education in India.

With millions of students ready to enroll in colleges every year, India is still struggling to improve the quality of higher education. Amidst these disparate voices and opinions, one thing is clear that a long consensus building exercise is necessary with the passing of the bill in the parliament.


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Lifeline for City Lakes

Posted In: , . By Journalism student

By

Sushovan Sircar and Zeyad Masroor Khan

Rahul Sabharwal, a marketing manager, has been a regular visitor of Sanjay Lake for years. The lake , he feels is “different from the chaos and noise of the city”. However , Sabharwal , like many others is disappointed by the government’s apathy towards the lakes and its repeated failure to keep them pollution free.

Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has once again taken an initiative to revive three of Delhi’s largest lakes – Hauz Khas Lake , Sanjay Lake and Bhalaswa Lake.

DDA previously had an MoU with INTACH [Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage] for the maintenance of Hauz Khas Lake which expired in 2007. Noting the deteriorating conditions of the lakes , it has once again turned to the heritage body for the revival of the water bodies. A new MoU for five years has been signed with INTACH for their technical expertise in this field.

“What happens in urban lakes is that pollution level is so high, that the natural water system loses its ability to self cleanse it. We will introduce a consortium of bacteria, which can replicate this natural cleansing process”, says Ritu Singh of INTACH.

Environmentalists though feel that the simply treating the lakes is not enough. A more sensitive approach towards the issue needs to be adopted. However , at a time when the Yamuna itself is so dangerously polluted , lakes often end up as a soft target for pollutants. Sunny Verma of SWECHHA an NGO which works for the revival of Yamuna says ,“ Open spaces need to be kept open and encroachment along the lakes must stop”. Moreover , “the groundwater must be retained and conserved” he adds.

Experts at INTACH ,however , say that having previously attempted to pump groundwater for the Hauz Khas Lake they realized it was neither cost effective nor a solution. “ The only effective method is to ecologically treat water from the sewage treatment plants and introduce them in the lakes” says Ritu Singh.

Both Sanjay and Bhalaswa Lakes have been cut off from the Yamuna due to construction of embankments. Hence they tend to dry up during summer. A treated supply of water from nearby Kondli sewage plants should keep water levels intact throughout the year , says Singh.

Lakes , which attract thousands of visitors everyday are often polluted by the visitors themselves. Navneet Singh , a resident of Mayur Vihar who visits the nearby Sanjay Lake daily for a walk says that people tend to discard garbage in the lakes which spawns mosquitoes and other insects.

“ If the massive Sanjay Lake in Mayur Vihar is properly rejuvenated , the water problems of the entire East Delhi region can be solved to a great extent” says Verma of SWECHHA. “The lakes need to protected as they are crucial not just for humans but all other life forms as well”, he added.