Gurgaon is one of Delhi‘s four major satellite cities and is part of the National Capital Region of India. According to a survey by Business Today magazine, it is considered the best city in India to work and live in.
But whats the catch? Gurgaon is a city with fancy superstructure and zero infrastructure: no public transport, not enough road surface or parking space, deficient grid power, poor drainage and sad tales of heavy rains marooning people on the 25th floor, as water floods into basements swamping power generators and immobilising lifts and water pumps besides cutting off back-up power for apartments. It is a city creaking under the weight of its own growth. And the appalling power situation is just one example of that. Clogged roads are another. The water table is fast depleting. Law and order is an area of concern. And then there is the sub-city infrastructure — sewerage, water drains, waste management — which is far from model, if it exists at all.
The focus here is not the poor souls trapped in the condominiums of New Delhi’s premier satellite town, but how policy should pre-empt the mushrooming of yet more Gurgaons, if India is to add its bit to arresting climate change.
Realty rates have shot up reflecting the huge gap between supply and demand. Retrospectively, during the hitch period, the apartment capital value, in the range of Rs 3500-3800 per sq ft came crashing down to Rs 2500 per sq ft, making the property market of the city slump like never before. But, at present, property values have doubled and even tripled at some places.

Researches unearth that, the fall by and large was due to the lack of infrastructure facilities in Gurgaon. Gurgaon real estate agent, Anil Mehta adds, ‘besides poor infrastructure facilities the bad response to certain properties further resulted in the shortage of investors so much so that NRI investors nearly gone astray from the market but now the business has regained the lost tempo.’ Every new project in the city means an additional load on the already stretched, and scant, infrastructure of the city, leading to some rather extreme suggestions from those who have already got a foot into Gurgaon.
It is possible for India to use new concepts of urban planning, new developments in design and construction and new technologies in lighting and climate control to greatly bring down the energy consumption per town-dweller, as compared to the energy consumed by town-dwellers around the world. India cannot sacrifice economic growth to mitigate climate change wrought, essentially, by the developed nations over the last couple of centuries.
The biggest flaw in this millennium town is transport.
To improve the public transport system in the Millennium City, the state government has finally decided to start a city bus service in Gurgaon on public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.To facilitate the move, the state transport department has decided to purchase 450 new buses which will hit the streets by August-end in 2010. There will be an inter as well as intra-city service. Buses will ply from Gurgaon to Faridabad and Delhi.
Metro in Gurgaon : The Gurgaon-Qutub minar section of Delhi Metro opened to public on 21 June 2010. The line has been extended up to Central Secretariat on 3 September 2010 and is ultimately merged with the existing Yellow line between Jahangirpuri and Central Secretariat The travel time for the 30 km between Qutub minar and HUDA city center on the currently open section is around 14 minute.
Better planned city
Buildings must be made to comply with green codes for energy efficiency. Natural ventilation in climes where this works and sound insulation combined with artificial ventilation in areas where this works — policy must mandate these. Building codes already mandate levels of natural lighting. All artificial lighting must switch to LEDs, which are more than twice as energy efficient as compact fluorescent lamps.
Therefore, Go to Gurgaon, and this is what you’ll see: malls, not exactly aesthetically pleasing, but glittering and glinting in lights; highrise buildings, again not exactly giving the impression of tasteful, unobtrusive affluence, but affluence nevertheless; all against the backdrop of traffic jams, livestock spilling onto potholed roads and cars parked crazily as far as the eye can see. Infrastructurally, it is chaos.

shimmering city

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Malaria kills about one million people a year and sickens another two hundred fifty million worldwide. Most of the deaths are in young children.

 A new study estimates the possibility of ending malaria in countries that have the deadliest form of the disease. Researchers found that this could be possible in most parts of the world within ten to fifteen years.

What it would require, they say, is reducing the spread of malaria by ninety percent from two thousand seven rates.

The study says malaria could be eliminated if countries are serious about using proven control measures. These include insecticides and bed nets.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partly financed the research. The study appears in the Lancet medical journal in a series of reports on eliminating malaria.

Other malaria experts writing in the Lancet expressed concern about giving too much attention to eliminating malaria. They say such a goal could take many years, if it is possible at all. The concern is that resources for controlling malaria could be lost if the money is spent instead on trying to defeat it.

The last of four publications in the Lancet’s Malaria Elimination series [1] examines the economic costs of eliminating malaria, and highlights data indicating that “the cost of achieving malaria elimination will be substantially greater than the cost of control” [2]. The Lancet workers conducted a review of published works and created and analysed datasets from present elimination programmes. Comparing the economic costs of malaria elimination versus malaria control in China, Mauritius, Swaziland and Tanzania, they concluded that elimination is not likely to produce a cost-saving benefit over control within 50 years.

Lead author Oliver Sabot of the Clinton Health Access Initiative concludes that, “We shouldn’t consider cost savings as a rationale for pursuing [malaria elimination]” because elimination “is not likely to be cost-saving” compared with controlling the disease. Sabot considers that, based on this new analysis, treating “elimination as an investment, as any good business would do, [would mean that] generally across the board countries would be in the red”.

Whichever route, control or elimination, is taken to tackle malaria by specific malaria-endemic countries, the financial costs will be high; commitment and investment will need to be sustained both locally and globally. Malaria elimination, it seems, won’t cut the costs of malaria control in the short term. Choosing either route will mean a long and bumpy financial ride.

How many people die of malaria every year in India? According to the estimates of World Health Organisation(WHO), 15,000 (10,000 adults and 5,000 children) malarial deaths occur each year.

But a study published online on Thursday (Oct 21) in The Lancet points out that the numbers could be as high as 2,05,000 per year. The upper limit is around 2,77,000 and the lower limit is nearly 1,25,000.

In this tussle of reports and studies,how much havoc has malaria already played? The picture is still murky.In the present case scenario, outbreak of malaria in Delhi could be a result of lack of coordination between government and the various civic agencies in the city to ensure that the preventive efforts taken to contain dengue, malaria and other seasonal diseases are put on a common platform and synchronized.

The question is the real issue takes a back seat. Accuracy is of utmost importance but to act promptly too combat malaria is inevitable.
The WHO study indeed has some limitations, though. The authors agree that their study has a degree of “uncertainty” as the cause of death is deduced in those people who were never properly diagnosed or treated. “The major source of uncertainty in estimates arises from the possible misclassification of malaria deaths as deaths from other diseases, and vice versa,” they state. WHO estimates, both for India and worldwide, are way off the mark.
Expressing serious doubts over the high estimates of 200,000 malaria deaths in India as reported in the latest edition of The Lancet, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday questioned the methodology adopted by the authors of the study.
The Lancet uses verbal autopsy method which is suitable only for diseases with distinctive symptoms and not for malaria. Malaria has symptoms similar to many other diseases, and cannot be correctly identified by the local population.
The use of verbal autopsy for malaria may result in many false positives. In this method, deaths due to fever from any cause are likely to be misinterpreted as malaria in areas with high incidence. In areas with low malaria incidence, the symptoms are difficult to distinguish, and would result in overestimates of malaria deaths, a statement issued by the WHO here said.

Easily preventable.
It must be understood that deaths due to malaria can be easily prevented with prompt treatements, and those cases that are diagnosed properly will not result in deaths. Since most malaria victims who see doctors in time can be cured, India’s medical system vastly underreports malaria deaths, the authors argued, and W.H.O. estimates rely largely on confirmed cases with adjustments for underreporting.
The implications of such gross underestimation are unimaginable. For one, it results in complacency and wrong disease control strategies. If the numbers are indeed much higher than WHO estimates, then serious re-evaluation of disease control strategies is required.
In an editorial accompanying the study, three malaria experts pointed out that several other malarial countries have large rural populations with little access to doctors, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Myanmar, so global estimates of malaria deaths may be low.

The advantageous step would be to concentrate on rural areas where in the cases go unobserved and the death toll subsequently increases. This ambiguity needs to be tackled by an accurate estimate of malaria cases. The groundwork is crucial to combat malaria.

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Posted: October 26, 2010 in news and current affairs

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