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takes root in
Mr Kanti Kagrana is among
a growing community
who plant produce
on alloted plots
REPORT ON PAGE 6
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
APRIL 26, 2019
KIDS SET TO
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Man amputates finger after voting
for wrong party
An Indian man chopped off his index
finger in desperation after voting for the
wrong party in the country’s national
Mr Pawan Kumar, 25, became
confused by the symbols on the
electronic voting machine and voted for
the Bharatiya Janata Party instead of its
regional rival in Uttar Pradesh state, his
brother told AFP.
Distraught, Mr Kumar went home
and chopped off his finger with a meat
cleaver. Even though votes are cast
electronically at polling stations, the
index finger of every voter is marked
with indelible ink after they cast ballots
– to make sure they do not vote again.
The family rushed him to a hospital,
and videos circulating online showed
the first-time voter sporting a bandaged
hand standing over a butcher’s knife
outside a toilet.
Earthquake rocks Arunachal
A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake
struck the north-eastern state of
Arunachal Pradesh early on
Wednesday, the US Geological Survey
The epicentre of the shallow quake
was about 180km south-west of the
state capital Itanagar. Chief Secretary
Satya Gopal told IANS that there were
no immediate reports of casualties or
damage to property.
The tremors were felt in some parts
of Assam, Nagaland and neighbouring
China, Myanmar and Bhutan.
Top judge faces sexual
India’s top judge is enduring a sexual
harassment storm after a former
Supreme Court staff member accused
him of making unwanted advances and
Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi said the
accusations made by a 35-year-old
former court assistant were
“unbelievable” and an attempt to stop
him hearing important cases.
Saying judicial independence was at
stake, Gogoi, 64, called a special
session of the apex court after the
woman wrote to 22 Supreme Court
judges alleging that he twice made
sexual advances in the office of his
official residence in October last year.
Spotify loses access to songs from
Music streaming service Spotify will
remove all songs belonging to one of
India’s oldest record labels from its app
after they failed to agree on licensing
According to a court document,
Saregama filed a petition with the Delhi
High Court seeking an injunction to
stop Spotify from using its songs.
The move comes two months after
Spotify launched in India, a price
sensitive market already crowded by
well-funded local players such as
JioSaavn and Apple Music.
Spotify said last month it had more
than one million unique users in India
across its free and premium categories.
Officials travel into jungle so
temple priest can vote
Indian officials travelled nearly 70km
through lion-infested jungle this week
to ensure a 69-year-old priest got his
chance to take part in the world’s
biggest democratic exercise.
A four-member team of election
officials, accompanied by a policeman,
set up a special polling station deep in
the Gir wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat so
that Mr Bharatdas Darshandas could
cast his ballot in the general elections.
Mr Darshandas is a priest who has
lived at his remote forest temple for two
He has not missed an election since
2002, and cast his vote on Tuesday by
walking nearly a kilometre to the
special polling station.
Wife arrested for death of former
UP chief minister’s son
Rohit Shekhar, the son of former Uttar
Pradesh chief minister N.D. Tiwari, was
reportedly killed by his wife Apoorva
Shukla Tiwari. The police said she
strangled her husband and choked him
with a pillow after a fight.
Ms Tiwari, a lawyer, was questioned
for three days as the police investigated
Mr Shekhar’s death on April 16.
“She confessed that she murdered
her husband and said their marriage
was unhappy. She said her hopes and
dreams were all dashed,” said senior
police officer Rajiv Ranjan.
Chitra new Asian 1,500m champion
P.U. Chitra defended her 1,500m title to give India
its third gold medal on the final day of the Asian
Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on
She won the race by beating Bahrain’s Gashaw
Tigest and Yavi Mutile.
Chitra overtook Tigest a few metres before the
finishing line to win the race in 4 minutes and
14.56 seconds at the Khalifa Stadium.
“The idea was to hang in till the last 50m and I
realised I had the strength to take them on,” said
Chitra. “In the last 20m, they got weaker and I
was able to beat them to the line.”
This was India’s third gold of the
championships, after Gomathi Marimuthu
(women’s 800m) and Tejinder Pal Singh Toor
(men’s shot put) won titles on Monday.
April 26, 2019
Rain or shine, every day for the past
year Kanti Kagrana has been walking a
short distance from his son’s flat to Sin-
gapore’s HortPark, a national park
where he grows chillies, eggplant and
spinach in his allotment garden.
Mr Kagrana, a 60-something native
of India, is among a growing commu-
nity of urban farmers in Singapore
which introduced allotment gardens in
November 2017 modelled after Eng-
land’s programme which dates back to
the 19th century.
Singapore now has more than 1,000
allotment gardens in a dozen of its na-
Each is a raised planter bed measur-
ing 2.5 metres by 1 metre and can be
leased for three years for $42 annually.
“I enjoy gardening, but there is not
enough space in my son’s flat,” said
Mr Kagrana, who has two plots.
“This gives me something to do, and
I take the produce home so we save
some money as well.”
Agriculture makes up only about
1 per cent of Singapore’s land area, but
urban farming – including vertical and
roof-top farms – is fast becoming popu-
Singapore last year topped the Econ-
omist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global
Food Security Index for the first time,
scoring high on metrics such as afford-
ability and availability.
Yet, as the country imports about
90 per cent of its food, its food security
is susceptible to climate change and nat-
ural resource risks, the EIU noted.
Former prime minister Lee Kuan
Yew had envisioned the country as a
“Garden City” in the 1960s.
With some 5.6 million people in an
area three-fifths the size of New York
City, land is at a premium in Singapore.
Yet, it has among the most green
cover of urban centres – 66 square me-
tres per person, compared to New York
City’s 23.1 sq m, according to a
Siemens-sponsored Green City Index.
More than 36,000 Singaporeans are
part of the Community in Bloom pro-
gramme, tending to 1,300 gardens in
housing estates, schools and organisa-
tions, according to officials.
More of them now grow edibles such
as vegetables and herbs, said Mr Bjorn
Low, co-founder of Edible Garden City,
a social enterprise that designs such gar-
dens in under-utilised spaces.
“Allotment gardens and community
gardens give the public the ability to be-
come more food independent. It is im-
portant to engage the community to
help Singapore become more food se-
cure,”Mr Low said.
More than two-thirds of the world’s
population are expected to live in cities
by 2050, according to the United Na-
Urban agriculture can be crucial to
feeding them, producing as much as
180 million metric tonnes of food a
year – or about 10 per cent of the
global output of pulses and vegetables,
according to a study published last year
by the journal Earth’s Future.
Singapore aims to produce 30 per
cent of its nutritional needs by 2030 by
increasing the local supply of fruits, veg-
etables and protein from meat and fish.
Allotment gardens are key to that
goal, said Mr Azmi Shahbudin, director
of HortPark. “We are encouraged by
the positive response,” he said.
An urban farmer
tending to her
plot at HortPark.
but there is
space in my
This gives me
do, and I take
home so we
– Mr Kanti Kagrana who has
two garden plots
Urban farming takes root in Singapore
April 26, 2019
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