World Day against Child Labour 2016


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TOP SMART CITY BHUBANESWAR STILL HAS 30K CHILD LABOURERS!

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour on June 12 to attract attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. The theme for this year is ‘Child Labour and Supply Chains.’ 
Supply chains are the sequence of activities/processes involved in the production and distribution of a product. With globalisation, supply chains have become increasingly complex, involving workers, small producers, and enterprises around the world. While most child labour occurs in production for domestic markets, children can also be found working in the production of goods and services for export.
Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. There are 168 million child labourers aged 5-17 years worldwide, which is 11 per cent of the world’s child population, according to an ILO report. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour.
In India there are 11.7 million child labourers and 4.35 million working children in the age group of 5-14, according to the 2011 census. According 2001census, there were 12.26 million working children in the age group of 5-14 years. Child labour has been decreasing at an abysmal rate from 2001 to 2011. Poverty, lack of good schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important causes of child labour in India. 
In Odisha, there are a number of child labourers working in different districts.  The State/national level leading child rights networks like Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Forum Against Child Exploitation (FACE) and the State Institute of Labour, Government of Odisha put the figure of 30 lakhs working children in the age group of 6-14 years. Children work in different occupations such as agriculture and allied works, domestic work, hotels and roadside dhabas, motor garage, rag picking, building and construction works, cycle and automobiles repair etc. In Bhubaneswar, children are working in railway stations, hotels, and garages and many in hazardous industries. There are approximately 30,000 child workers in Bhubaneswar.
In 2010 the international community adopted a roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development. There are many provisions added in the Constitution of India for child welfare to overcome child labour and to avoid the situations that comes as a consequence of the child labour.
In order to stop child labour, the Government of Odisha has passed some rules. One of the important rules is Orissa Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994.
Besides, the Government of India adopted various programmes for the eradication of child labour in India. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has implemented the national policy through the establishment of National Child Labour Projects (NCLPs) for the rehabilitation of child workers since 1988. Initially, these projects were industry specific and aimed at rehabilitating children working in traditional child labour endemic industries. A renewed commitment to fulfil the constitutional mandate resulted in enlarging the ambit of the NCLPs in 1994 to rehabilitate children working in hazardous occupations. The Government of India is stepping up its fight against child labour. Under new laws, all labour involving children under fourteen years old is illegal. Children under 18 years old are also protected from any type of hazardous work.
There are many solutions to stop child labour. Income of the families should be increased and education for all children irrespective of their economic and social background should be ensured, that helps children learn skills and earn a livelihood.  According to the Economic Survey 2013-2014 conducted by Planning and Coordination Department, 34,409 child labourers (between 5 and 14) were admitted to 812 special schools under National Child Labour Projects (NCLP). Similarly, the Orissa Economic Survey 2014-2015 conducted by Planning and Coordination Department reveals that 32,715 child labourers were admitted to 700 special schools under NCLP. 
Children’s development and the overall eradication of child labour problem depend on active public private partnership, proper Government policies and programmes for eliminating poverty and unemployment and provision of free basic facilities and education to poor people in the society.
A number of cities and metropolitan areas around the world are implementing the “Smart City” concept. The smart city mission in India is to improve the quality of life in 100 fast growing urban centres, including Bhubaneswar. The aim is to increase all citizens quality of life and to improve the efficiency and quality of the services provided by city planning authorities. Besides, the Smart City should provide more inclusive environment for the children to study in a smart environment. Bhubaneswar leads in the Smart City race and topped the list. However, we cannot dream of a Smart City where children are not safe. Therefore, children right should be the top priority for smart cities. Authorities should emphasize and motivate the children and their parents towards mainstream education to abolish child labour in the city.

World Oceans Day 2016

ODISHA COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS HIGHLY DISTURBED

The World Oceans Day, held every June 8, is the United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the plight of oceans and the marine ecosystems they contain. This year, the theme is ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.’
The ocean is absorbing too much heat and carbon dioxide, making it warmer and more acidic. Scientific evidence shows that the impact of human activities, including industrial and agricultural waste, Green House Gas emissions (GMG), and coastal development are seriously affecting the health of our ocean.
Forty per cent of our global oceans are heavily affected by human activities. The trend of biodiversity loss is accelerating on a global scale. Coastal habitats are under pressure, with approximately 20 per cent of the world’s coral reefs lost and another 20 per cent degraded. Mangroves have been reduced from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of their historical cover, impacting biodiversity, habitat for inshore fisheries, and carbon sequestration potential. 29 per cent of sea grass habitats are estimated to have disappeared. Ocean acidification is one of the most serious threats being faced by marine ecosystems today.
These changes are impairing the ocean’s capacity to provide food, protect livelihoods, maintain clean water, recover from environmental stresses like severe storms and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. These factors endanger the survival of hundreds of millions of people and impede the efforts of the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sea-level rise from climate change is projected to lead to coastal erosion and flooding, resulting in the loss of habitat and livelihood for millions of people. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many millions more people are projected to be affected by floods every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s.
20 years ago at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the scientific community recognised the need for international coordination of this vast enterprise to improve the quality of services, increase efficiency and provide international access to the global treasure trove of ocean information. The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), co-sponsored by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), served this role for 20 years, acting on behalf of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the ocean component of the Global Climate Observing System and providing the foundation of data for the future UN Global Marine Assessments.
Ocean health and benefits can be accessed by the ocean health index (OHI). The OHI was developed with the contributions of more than 65 ocean experts. It is the first assessment tool that scientifically compares and combines key elements from all dimensions of the ocean’s health. As per OHI 2014, the overall score of the Oceans of the World stands at 67 out of 100.  In India the ocean health index overall score is 64 and the country ranks 139 among 221 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).
India has a coastline of 7,500 km and 2,000 km wide exclusive economic zone.  The coastline supports almost 30 per cent of its human population. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are rich fishing grounds.
Successful management of the sea coast and its ecological development depends upon scientific exploration and exploitation of the living and non-living resources in coastal waters. In order to conserve resources by controlling their depletion and regulate development activities, the Government of India had enacted the Environmental (protection) Act 1986. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 was issued under section-3(i) and section 3(ii) (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act. Under this notification, the coastal stretches from High Tide Line to 500m towards land and from High Tide Line to Low Tide Line towards sea are identified as coastal regulation zone (CRZ). Through this notification, the coastline of the country has been declared as ecologically sensitive area, requiring regulation of development activities. The Coastal Regulation Zone Rules, 1991 has led to setting of a number of standards for discharge of effluents in the coastal water and controlling activities within 500 m of High Tide Line.
Odisha has a coastline of 480 km. Uses of the coastline are generally considered under four categories such as resource exploitation; tourism and recreation; and the conservation and protection of biodiversity. The coastal ecosystems are now highly disturbed and very much threatened, encountering problems like pollution, siltation, erosion, flooding, storm surges, uncontrolled coastal development and other activities due to ever expanding human settlements. The major issues related to the coastal and marine resource management in the State are coastal pollution, encroachment coastal lands and over exploitation of coastal resources. Coastal pollution is gradually emerging as an important issue in the State. Domestic wastes, industrial wastes, fertilizers and pesticide residues reach coastal waters through rivers, creeks etc. This, in turn, leads to coastal pollution.
The Government of India has constituted the National Coastal Zone Management Authority. The authority has the responsibility for taking measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas. At the State level, Odisha Coastal Zone Management Authority has been constituted. The primary responsibility of the authority is to take adequate measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment. 
Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, we can achieve a healthy ocean by our collective effort.  Effective ocean stewardship requires the participation of all members of society in defining a common ocean future and in promoting behavioural change towards the ocean. To survive and prosper, we all need healthy oceans. Therefore it is important to raise awareness about the problems our ocean is facing today and protect our ocean for future.

World Environment Day 2016

PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT: EVERYBODY HAS A ROLE

The World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. People of all age groups actively involve during the celebration to save their planet in original form as gifted by the nature. This encourages people to make their nearby surroundings safe and clean to enjoy safer, cleaner and more prosperous future. Many awareness campaigns are also run at schools, colleges and other educational institutions to motivate students towards their environmental safety. ‘Join the race to make the world a better place’ is the theme and slogan for the day in 2016.This slogan carries a clear message and asks everyone to get involved in making the world a better place to live in.
Human population generates more waste and pollution than any other living organism on the earth. More demands for day-to-day basic needs deplete natural resources. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in its report popularly known as the ‘Brundtland Report’ named after the Chairman of the Commission GH Brundtland.
According to the report, sustainable developments mean development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Two decades ago, the Brundtland Commission report – Our Common Future – addressed the links between development and environment, and challenged policy-makers to consider the interrelationships among environment, economic and social issues when it comes to solving global problems. The report examined emerging global challenges in population and human resources, food security, species and ecosystems, energy, industry and urbanisation.
Odisha is prone to tropical cyclones, storm surges and heat waves. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the State’s population depends on natural resources to survive. This makes Odisha further vulnerable to climate change impacts. Food security is both directly and indirectly inked with climate change. Any alteration in the climatic parameters such as temperature and humidity which govern crop growth will have a direct impact on quantity of food produced. The consequences of global warming on the coastal zones are one of the major concerns among scientists. Rise in sea levels, a direct impact of global warming and climate change, is the key factor threatening the coastal areas.
It is well known that urbanisation changes the climate of a place. Urban macro-effects are effects that are created by the urban pattern itself. They include Albedo effect, which is the tendency of buildings and paved surfaces to convert solar energy to heat energy and increases the greenhouse effect. This adds to the heating of cities. Heat island effect has the tendency of air to become trapped between buildings, especially tall ones, and heated above ambient levels. Again, this increases the heating of cities and can exacerbate heat wave effects. Throughout the world, cities are summer heat islands. They are hotter than their rural surroundings. The temperature in urban area could be 5 to 10 degree celsius warmer compared to rural areas. The effect is known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) and is seen almost at all the big cities.
Currently cities suffer from severe environmental problems. Paying attention to the environmental impacts of growth is critical for the provision of adequate housing, energy, water, sanitation and mobility. They have to be ensured in a manner that does not cause major depletion of natural resources or endanger future generations.
Bhubaneswar is currently witnessing several modern buildings and high-rise apartments to accommodate its growing population. Today, the city’s growth is so fast that it is spreading towards Khordha and Jatni. The development activities in the city have led to large-scale deforestation, an increasing volume of traffic, pollution and temperature rise. The city’s expansion and lots of concrete structures are also the reason for microclimatic change over the years. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in Bhubaneswar.
It has been found to be excessive heat in summer both during day and night. Bhubaneswar recorded highest temperature in the State compared to Bhawanipatna, Bolangir, Titlagarh and Malkangiri. The tempeeature in Bhubanesware is steadily rising and this year the city created many records in temperature rise. In addition to this, loo prevailed in many parts of Odisha. Dry hot wind creates problem for the commuters. The number of rainy days has been decreased. The ground water level has been decreased by one meter in major areas of the city. The different sources of air pollution in Bhubaneswar are small scale industries, motor vehicles etc.
The choices of food, housing, entertainment, work and mobility all directly or indirectly affect the environment. Building resilience and adapting to climate change is increasingly a high priority for cities.
There is a need to integrate town and regional planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation and emergency management for sustainable human settlement planning. To protect the environment, communities should develop sustainable solutions to meet the basic needs in every sphere of their life. Developing climate-responsible master plan will protect the environmental hazards. Master Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans (CDPs) need to incorporate climate change considerations.  The plan should contain proper green space for plantation with suitable tree species. Components of land-use plan including zoning, FAR, setback etc. should be implemented properly for sustainable development. If planned well, developments can make our lives and the lives of future generations better.
Numerous agencies in India along with Government are trying to make cities more climate-responsive. After the Government of India’s initiative to strengthen municipal governance by the enactment of the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act in 1992, cities today are quite well-placed to make decisions and to initiate innovative responses to climate change. Besides, every individual has a key role for protection of the earth.  To protect the earth, communities should develop sustainable solutions to meet the basic needs in every sphere of their life.
The environment can play a significant role in contributing to development and human well-being. But non-sustainable use of natural resources can threaten individual livelihoods as well as local, national and international economies. A holistic approach is required to mitigate climate change effects by all agencies and stakeholders through initiatives of awareness, training, capacity building and adopting more scientific approach towards development. Every person has to make his or her own choices about protecting the environment. Citizen involvement is crucial to the implementation of an effective environmental protection regime.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2016

CHECK OCCUPATIONAL STRESS FOR BETTER PRODUCTIVITY

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide. The theme of the day for 2016 is Workplace Stress: A collective challenge.
For the ILO, stress is the harmful physical and emotional response caused by an imbalance between the perceived demands and the perceived resources and abilities of individuals to cope with those demands. Work-related stress is determined by work organization, work design and labour relations and occurs when the demands of the job do not match or exceed the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker, or when the knowledge or abilities of an individual worker or group to cope are not matched with the expectations of the organizational culture of an enterprise. The workplace factors that can cause stress are called psychosocial hazards.
A negative interaction between occupational conditions and human factors may lead to emotional disturbances and behavioural problems. On the contrary, when working conditions and human factors are in balance, work creates a feeling of mastery and self-confidence; increases motivation, working capacity and satisfaction; and improves health. The core values reflected in ILO standards on occupational safety and health are expressed in three main principles: (i) work should take place in a safe and healthy working environment; (ii) conditions of work should be consistent with workers’ wellbeing and human dignity; and (iii) work should offer real possibilities for personal achievement, self-fulfilment and service to society.
In addition to the ILO a number of international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have been active in the prevention and management of psychosocial hazards and the promotion of mental health at work through research and advocacy, including the development and implementation of specific initiatives.
The WHO has contributed to the prevention of psychosocial risks through the publication of research, guidelines, tools and other resources. The work of the WHO on occupational health is governed by the Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health 2008-2017. The WHO has also developed relevant guidance on how to address psychosocial risks and work related stress through a number of publications.
Employers should be aware of the negative effects of the psychosocial hazards that may affect workers as a result of overwork and lack of control over their tasks, with the consequences of work-related stress and related coping behaviours and health outcomes. Work related stress is often caused by lack of support within the organisation and also when there is little or no help and support from higher officers and colleagues. Stress at work interferes with the ability to perform the job due to depression, social withdrawal, loss of interest in the work etc.
The person is more resilient to stress when the needs of the body are taken care of. The better one feels, the better they are prepared to combat job stress. Making employers and workers aware, informed and competent to address these new risks creates a safe and healthy working environment, builds a positive and constructive preventive culture in the organization, protects the health and wellbeing of workers, and increases productivity.
A national occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where Governments, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment. The Constitution of India provides detailed provisions for the rights of the citizens and also lays down the Directive Principles of State Policy which set an aim to which the activities of the State are to be guided. On the basis of these Directive Principles, the Government is committed to regulate all economic activities for management of safety and health risks at workplaces and to provide measures so as to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for every working man and woman in the nation. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty of a person.
Employers have a duty to prevent occupational stress by taking protective measures through the assessment and control of risks at work. Employers should provide a stress-free work environment, recognise where stress is becoming a problem for staff, and take action to reduce stress.
Stress management is the concepts that can be adopt to reduce occupational stress of employees at work place.  It is a continuous process that should be monitored frequently by different forecasting techniques. The employers may organise different stress management intervention like workshop and awareness programme to help their employees to reduce stress at workplace. This will provide a stress-free work environment for the workers and increase the productivity of the organisation.

Earth Day 2016

CITIES NEED MORE TREES FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL, HEALTHY LIFE

The Earth Day was observed on April 22. The first Earth Day was organised in 1970 with an aim to promote the thoughts of ecology, reverence for existence on earth and highlighting growing concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water.
The April 22 date was also designated as International Mother Earth Day by a resolution adopted by the United Nations in 2009. This is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate and support for environmental protection. This year’s theme is: Trees for the Earth.  This is because trees help to combat climate change. They absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. Scientists, climate experts, Governments and international organizations have all agreed that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the upper limit for CO2 in the atmosphere. Beyond 350 ppm, the planet can no longer support human life. In March, 2015, the global monthly average for CO2 concentration surpassed 400 (ppm). An obvious and necessary solution is to look for ways to dramatically cut carbon-emissions.  But there are no longer sufficient trees on the planet even to absorb the amount of CO2.
In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles. Trees help us breathe clean air. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Trees help us to counteract the loss of species.
By planting the right trees, we can help to counteract the loss of species, as well as provide increased habitat connectivity between regional forest patches. Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.
In majority of the urban areas throughout the world, the tree cover is declining and impervious cover is increasing due to the demand of the land for development. Urbanization appears to contribute to ever-growing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change.
The searing heat wave in western Odisha has reached a record temperature in April 2016.  The daytime temperature in Titilagarh, known as the hottest place of the State, recorded 47 degree Celsius on April 22. Between 2006 and 2016, the maximum temperature in Titilagarh had never crossed 46 degree. This western Odisha town has been a hot zone for decades. However, the highest here was 48.1 degree recorded on April 30, 1999. As per Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre sources, April 17 was one of the hottest days in the month of April as 20 towns recorded maximum temperature over 40 degree.
The very dense forest (VDF) and moderately dense forest (MDF) cover in Odisha has declined by 86 sq km, according to the latest report of India State of Forest Report (ISFR)-2013 compared to 2011. All lands with tree canopy density of 70 per cent and above are categorised as VDF while land with tree canopy density of 40 per cent and more but less than 70 per cent is taken as MDF. Degradation of forests is largely responsible for the change in climate over the land, variation in rainfall patterns and global warming.
Bhubaneswar was a city with pleasant climatic condition throughout the year. Since last decade Bhubaneswar is experiencing high population growth, urbanisation and distinct weather condition. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years. It has been found to be excessive heat in summer. Over last one decade, the temperature of Bhubaneswar has been getting warmer and warmer by breaking the records in temperature rise and heat wave. The capital city created a weather history of 45.7 degree by breaking all time record in the month of April on temperature parameter. The city had recorded maximum temperature of 45 degree Celsius, highest so far in April, 1985. Average temperatures in Bhubaneswar have risen as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. The number of rainy days has also been decreased in the city. Earlier, the city had a sound coverage of greenery but now it has decreased substantially, leading to uncomfortable conditions. Modification of the land surface by urban development and reduction of open space is another reason for the unusual mercurial rise in the city in summer. Small water bodies and wetlands are increasingly being filled up by multistoried buildings. The level of pollution has also increased due to increase in the number of traffic and decrease in green areas of the city. The expansion of the city and a lot of concrete structures are also the reason for microclimatic change over the years.
Human lives are largely supported by the benefits from trees. Trees cool the city, by shading our homes and streets and breaking up urban “heat islands” effect. In the warmer months of the year, urban areas realise lower ambient temperatures when trees are strategically planted along streets and near buildings. Footpaths, which are provided at the sides for pedestrians, have to be shaded by rows of trees. The open spaces of a city perform a variety of functions and a variety of uses. By this, cities can maintain green space within and throughout their urban and suburban centres, including trees and green space for recreation, cooling, storm water management and simple aesthetic enhancement and livability. a coherent
City “climate action plans” often incorporate urban forestry into climate change mitigation and adaption strategies. An active urban forest management for climate change strengthens community resilience to climate change impacts. Urban forests should be included in the city planning process. Forest edges are therefore to be regarded as essential and permanent protection and should never be cut or removed.

68th Bhubaneswar Foundation Day

SMART CITY BHUBANESWAR MUST REFLECT ITS CULTURAL IDENTITY

Today, the State capital city of Bhubaneswar will celebrate its 68th Foundation Day.  It was on April 13, 1948 that first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation stone of the city. Since then, Bhubaneswar remains a celebrated model of modern architecture and city planning with the prehistoric past as a Temple City.
Bhubaneswar is one of the planned new towns in the post-Independence period. World renowned German architect and urban planner Dr Otto Koenigsberger prepared the city’s first master plan in 1948, drawn on neighbourhood principles, for a population of 40,000. The city remains a notable paradigm of modern town planning and architecture in India.
Bhubaneswar before becoming the capital of Odisha in 1948 had been a temple town with series of ancient sandstone temples, heritage ponds and water tanks. Koenigsberger wanted Bhubaneswar to be a modern city
In his introductory notes, he said the plans of very few towns in India were laid out by experts. Odisha was fortunate to be able to build a new town specifically designed for the purpose of a capital to be equally convenient for functioning of the Government and everyday life of its inhabitants. Architect Julius Vaz played an important role in shaping the skyline of Bhubaneswar. He designed most of the Government buildings. Vaz adopted the Hindu style of architecture with some modifications to take advantage of modern methods of construction and to meet new social needs of the people. None of his works in Bhubaneswar is a copy of buildings from other area. It is original and unique.
Koenigsberger specified a few guiding principles and climatic design features essential for buildings in the city and suggested the Government buildings not to be designed for air conditioning in the initial stage because the weather was agreeable enough. According to his guidelines, most Government buildings have impressive corridors, which are also intended to protect the walls of office rooms from direct sun rays.
Neighbourhood units were designed by Koenigsberger with the best amenities and facilities of urban life, with units placed at short distances to give people easy access to school, hospital and other amenities. He suggested seven types of roads – footpaths, parkways, cycle paths, minor housing streets, major housing streets, main roads and main arteries -for seven groups of users for seven different functions. The layout of housing was designed with parallel rows to admit sunlight and fresh air. Contemporary neighbourhoods facilitate pleasant and comfortable environment.
The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in the city. It has been found to be excessive heat in summer both during day and night .The temperature in summer is ranging in most of the days around 40 degree celsius, which not only affects the health and comfort of the people but also demands more energy. The number of rainy days has been decreased, and the groundwater level has decreased by one meter in the major areas of the city.
The rapid urbanisation has become a great concern for heritage conservation. There are many threats to cultural heritage sites. Due to development pressures, archaeological sites are neglected or surrounded by poorly planned commercial development. The fine architectural elements are gradually losing their importance. In many areas, there are encroachments and narrow heritage routes. The monuments and the cultural activities associated with the monuments play a very important role in the lifestyle of the people of Odisha and give a special identity to them. It is necessary to improve awareness of cultural heritage due to its historical, social and aesthetic significance.
Urban transformation is a habitual process in the evolution of cities. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a Smart City contains a desire list of infrastructure and services. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban area which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development – institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of smartness.
In the Smart City proposal Bhubaneswar got the score of 78.83 points and topped the list. In Bhubaneswar, the plans are (1) the construction of the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) for which a 985-acre will be developed as a model area with better urban mobility and waste management system. The boundary of the district is
defined by properties fronting Janpath Road on the east, Udyan Marg on the south, railway tracks on the west, and Maharshi College Road on the north. Key city landmarks in the district include: Ashoka Market, Master Canteen Chowk, Bhubaneswar Railway Station, City Bus Terminal Ram Mandir, Rajmahal Chowk and its immediate surroundings. (2) The city administration will build cycle tracks along the town centre.( 3) Development of facilities such as drinking water and sewerage has already been taken up under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) scheme. (4) Besides planning to roll out a fleet of 565 buses to connect all the 67 wards of the city, the administration is also promoting non-motorised mode of transport. (5) Rahagiri to promote no-car days has already started in the city, (6) Pedestrian-friendly traffic signals will also be introduced. (7) Open spaces and parks to be developed to make the city ecologically sustainable. (8) Safe refuse points will also be introduced for female commuters. By pressing a particular button, those in need of help can inform police. (9) The city administration will also install at least five surveillance cameras at 26 major traffic junctions to check crime.  (10) An online parking ticket system will also be introduced.
Cultural heritages are fundamental aspects of our identity and must be transferred to the next generations in the best possible conditions. The new trend in creating Smart Cities for the future should reflect our cultural heritage. One major challenge is the restoration of water bodies. All historical buildings and temples in the old Bhubaneswar need to be protected and conserved. The central area of Bhubaneswar designed by Koenigsberger is a special urban heritage site of the city with outstanding planning features and has a public value. The buildings designed in this area by architect Vaz are the important landmarks of the city.These buildings with special architectural interest along with the site should be protected from alterations by regulatory techniques.
Smart City should address the social and cultural needs of the people. Architects should design climate responsive buildings to provide thermal comfort to people and reduce energy consumption. The buildings, power systems can be brought down considerably by the integration of smart technology in building design. Architect should incorporate Intelligent Building system right from the preparation of the design brief. Right from the concept stage the building elements such as heat load calculation and energy consumption, security system, fire protection, water supply should be considered. Design strategies should promote social inclusion and equity and ensure equitable access of infrastructure and amenities to its people.

Comfortable Living Space for Autism

COMFORTABLE LIVING SPACE FOR AUTISM-HIT: ARCHITECTS HOLD KEY

The percentage of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is rising in our society. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that promise to leave no one behind.
Autism is characterised by difficulties with social functioning, which can seriously affect a person’s ability to live independently. Adults with autism therefore often need support in managing daily tasks in their homes. In order to highlight the need to improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from ASD, United Nation’s (UN) World Autism Awareness Day is being celebrated on April 2 every year.
The theme for 2016 is “Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”. Neurodiversity is the idea that a neurological difference like autism is the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome. Autism is a lifelong neurological and complex condition that affects the way a person perceives and interacts with other people and the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that whilst all people with autism share certain difficulties, they will be affected by them in different ways. Some may lead relatively independent lives while others require dedicated support every day.
Each of the autistic children’s sensory sensitivities differ from one to another. Some might be disturbed by the light, and some might feel annoyed by sound. Occasionally, to build the children’s confidence, they need a space for them to walk and practice their activities on their own while the parents can still supervise them. Architects should creatively design spaces which do not make the children feel confined, but make them comfortable enough to carry on their activities freely. The supervision should not create excessive intrusion in the child’s activities or interactions.
The design of residential buildings can profoundly impact on the health, wellbeing and behaviour of children and adults with autism. To enhance the confidence and independence of people with autism and complex needs, a holistic approach must be taken that aligns the building design and level of personal support with individual preferences and aspirations. Service staffs, prospective residents and their families are rarely consulted in the writing of design briefs and are typically not involved in the preparation and initial stages of building projects. Post Occupancy Evaluations (POE) is rarely done in such projects. (POE) represented a special opportunity to investigate the space designed for autistic people served their needs. A variety of research techniques (behaviour mapping, videos, and user interviews) are used to evaluate how the facility as a whole and its component parts supported the needs of the people.
Behavioural factors emphasize the relationship between behaviour and the physical environment. Some of the issues explored in this area are: How does the size of the facility affect its users? What does the building’s image imply to the users and the community? How does the proximity of areas in the building affect the frequency of their use? Does the configuration of the rooms and materials affect user behaviour?  How do other factors combine with the physical environment to affect users? Research and evaluations indicate that the physical environment profoundly affect the users behaviour. Without POE, it can be difficult and expensive to modify the building being evaluated, which may have several shortcomings.
The task for providing suitable surroundings for people with autism falls into the realm of architecture. Thus, architectural designs for autism treatment centers should incorporate both design approaches in order to keep up with treatment necessities and offer suitable surroundings for autism therapy.  Autism therapy is mainly targeted towards children and focus on establishing the key abilities and social skills that facilitate their possibilities to integrate in the public education system. Autism treatment centres should not be isolated in spaces outside the city, but rather be located inside the urban area where they can establish relations with cultural, education and health institutions. This will facilitate interactions between autism children and the people outside, especially children studying at nearby schools and kindergartens. In this regard, the public interface becomes an extremely necessary part of an autism treatment centre and a tool for awareness and integration. The interaction spaces need to be large enough, and flexible to be able to accommodate many activities and circumstances that people may come across in day to day lives, from school environments to public spaces. Also, interaction spaces should have both indoor and outdoor areas in order to cover more levels of sensory stimulation.
To produce the behavioral map, each child was observed for a fixed time interval. His responses, movements and activities will be documented.  This technique may be used for modification and reorganisation of space for better benefit of the autistic people.
Developing standard guidelines for creating autistic-friendly environments rely greatly on research. To provide a calm ‘back drop’ for people with autism can assist in reducing some elements of stress which is helpful for their well being. Housing providers and architects need to know how best to create autism-friendly environments and how residents can be helped to manage in their homes and their wider communities. There is a need to develop design guidelines for people with ASDs. The basic design considerations should focus on safety and security.
Autism Therapy Centre, Bhubaneswar is the outcome of strong determination, commitment and sustained efforts of a few parents of children affected with autism. The centre was founded in August, 2008. The Therapy Centre is managed by a trust called “Manage Autism Now (MAN)” since June, 2010. The Autism Therapy Centre, Bhubaneswar is fully conscious of this and is giving emphasis on creating public awareness in this regard, besides providing effective intervention to the special kids having autism spectrum disorder. These  covers Behavioural Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social skills training, Yoga and meditation Therapy, Ayurvedic treatment, Sensory integration Therapy, learning through computers and alternative mode to develop communication skills. The centre also provides referral service to parents/families and professionals who work with them.
Architecture design for autism addresses sensory needs as it develops an environment which will enable them to lead a better life in autism-friendly built environment.

Water concern in Smart cities

PROMOTE RAINWATER HARVESTING TO BOOST BHUBANESWAR GROUNDWATER LEVEL

The World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for sustainable management of freshwater resources. Water is essential for life. The World Water Day 2016 is celebrated with the theme ‘Water and Jobs’.    
According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change. Major consumption of water is for agriculture, industry and domestic purposes. With the urbanisation and industrialisation, water usage is likely to increase in the coming years.
India receives most of its water from south-west monsoon which is the most important feature controlling its climate. The rainfall distribution over the country shows large variations in the amount of rainfall received by different locations. Despite adequate average rainfall in India, there is a large area under the less water conditions/drought. There are a lot of places where the quality of groundwater is not good. Some major reasons behind water scarcity are population growth and agriculture, increasing construction activities, massive urbanisation and industrialisation, climatic change, depleting of natural resources, deforestation and lack of implementation of effective water management systems.
There are many habitations in Odisha that do not meet the norm of 40 litres of water per capita per day. In a number of areas, tube-wells stop yielding water during summer and sometimes even before this. The problem occurs when the water-table falls. Drinking water facilities are not optimum in Odisha, particularly in its western and southern parts. Rural women have to walk several kilometers to fetch drinking water. A majority of rural people still depend on open water bodies, i.e., river, stream, pond, chua, etc., for drinking water.
Development of watershed is an important programme to make best use of rainwater for agriculture while improving soil conservation and biodiversity. Imposing regulatory measures to prevent the misuse of water would be helpful in conserving water. Finally, awareness and orientation of all the water users to change their lifestyles to conserve water can help prevent water crisis in future.
The environment of Bhubaneswar has been degraded due to high population growth and different manmade activities. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in the city. The temperature in summer is ranging in most of the days around 40 degree Celsius. The number of rainy days has decreased and the groundwater level has decreased by one meter in major areas of the city.
Most of the water bodies of Bhubaneswar are not protected. Besides, increasing surface runoff due to more paved areas decreases the groundwater recharge. Several water bodies near Old Town, Sundarpada and Kapilaprasad are lying neglected without renovation. Unplanned growth of multistoried buildings in and around water bodies is also causing fast depletion of the groundwater table. Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged to increase the groundwater level.
In the process of city planning, planners should earmark sufficient places for reserve forest, green belt and tree plantation. Water resources management issues must be addressed at the local, national and international levels.
A number of cities and metropolitan areas around the world are implementing the “Smart City” concept. Smart Water Management (SWM) in cities seeks to address challenges in the urban water management through the incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) products, solution and systems in areas of water management. A smart water network is an integrated set of systems that enable utilities to continuously monitor and diagnose problems.
Bhubaneswar, as the administrative, economic and cultural capital of Odisha, demands transformation of the temple city to a smart city. In the smart city Stage 1 competition, Bhubaneswar obtained 75 score and shortlisted and qualified for Stage 2 challenge. It participated in the stage 2, the Challenge round for selection. In the winning city proposal Bhubaneswar got the score of 78.83 points and topped the list. After selection of the cities in Stage II of the Challenge, the process of implementation will start with the setting up of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose.
Smart water management solutions use instrumentation (e.g. metering systems) and analytics to better manage demand and supply. For example, they can anticipate potential delivery disruption, better forecast long-term demand, and coordinate resources to protect water supply. Further, smart water management solutions provide insights into the utility’s infrastructure, assets and operations, detecting patterns and anomalies and then acting on them. Such capabilities include pressure, leak management, flood management, sewer overflow mitigation, quality management and work scheduling. 
Today, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognizsed or protected by basic labour rights. The theme in 2016  ‘Water and Jobs’ focuses on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods and even transform societies and economies.
We all have a shared responsibility for protecting the environment surrounding rivers and their associated watersheds. All stakeholders, including those in government, international organisations, private sector and civil society, should be engaged, paying special attention to work towards water cooperation. An immediate solution to India’s water crisis is to change water management practices by regulating usage with effective legislation.

Gender Inclusiveness in Smart Cities

GENDER INCLUSIVENESS SMART CITY’S PRIME CONCERNS

To end violence against women and encourage the economic, political and social achievements of women, each year around the world the International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The 2016 theme for the day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
Since the past several centuries, the women of India were never given equal status and opportunities as compared to that of their male counterparts. According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 34 per cent of women in Odisha experience physical violence. Women’s fear of violence and crime affects their lifestyle and routines and the way they experience urban areas and the public realm in particular. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. The sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto has been enacted by the Parliament of India.  The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. Articles 14, 15 not only grant equality to women, but also empower the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women and protect the rights of women. Articles 16, 39, 42 and 51 favour gender mainstreaming .There are also several sections of the Indian Penal Code that deal with sexual harassment. In spite of legal measures violence against women not yet completely eliminated.
The women and girls in Bhubaneswar are not safe in different public and work places. This has come several times in newspaper headlines and media. Besides, gender-based violence is present at various levels, beginning with discrimination in education, nutrition, employment and wages.  State capital Bhubaneswar leads in the Smart City race. A city cannot be smart and sustainable city, if women and girls are not safe and live in fear of violence. People will not be interested to stay in a city which is not safe for women.
International cities have either implemented or are experimenting with smart technologies in the areas of intelligent transport management systems and public safety. Countries like China have already built Smart Cities that have building with sensor monitoring traffic flows and security cameras. The data can be directly sent to the city administrators. Bhubaneswar has taken the initiative to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at different locations of the city. It is the first of its kind initiative in Odisha and is being utilized as a tool to control crime and enhance traffic movement in Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar is one of the first cities in India that has empowered its citizens by setting up a state-of-the-art online grievance redressal system. This system, more popularly known as ‘My City My Pride’ (MCMP) was launched in early 2015 with an objective of providing a citizen-centric approach towards online service delivery. Through this real-time system, citizens have become active participants in the governance of the city.
The United Nations observance on March 8 will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
Some key targets of the 2030 agenda are, by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes; that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education; end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere; eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage.
According to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2013, India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the gender inequality index.  The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is a new index for measurement of gender disparity that was introduced in the 2010 Human Development Report. According to the UNDP, this index is a composite measure which captures the loss of achievement, within a country, due to gender inequality, and uses three dimensions to do so: Reproductive health, empowerment, and labour market participation.
A Smart City must emphasise the prevention and elimination of violence against women through human rights-based solutions. Women can access comprehensive services as part of a city’s design. A positive change in a society’s attitude towards women is equally important to change perceptions on gender norms and behaviours of people. A Smart City must enable its women with social security. A gender-inclusive urban plan will not only safeguard women’s rights to decent jobs but also put an end to discrimination and violence at the workplace, ensuring social security. Besides, engaging women in the Smart City planning and design of these cities will go a long way in addressing their needs.
Safety is a part of what makes a city smart and hence it can be said without a doubt that safe cities are the stepping stones to smart cities. Women’s Safety Audits (WSA) can help to build smart communities. WSA is a participatory tool that is used for collecting and assessing information about perceptions of safety in public spaces. Harassment of women at workplace is a cause and concern for discrimination and inequality of women in the society. It can be addressed through implementation of proper legal measures in Smart City planning.
The Smart City should be inclusive and equitable. It is important for the policymakers to adopt a gender-inclusive urban plan. Smart cities are those which use multiple intelligence systems to gather public safety information effectively and respond to events efficiently, along with predicting and preventing suspicious activities. In the approach document of the Smart Cities Mission by the Government of India, it is clearly laid down that one of the key objectives is to promote cities that provide smart solutions for safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly. It can be addressed through implementation of proper legal measures and change in attitude.