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MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
FEBRUARY 15, 2019
BACK IN INDIA WITH
Exchange cigarette butts
for beer at Goa waste bars
REPORT ON PAGE 4
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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India’s first war memorial to be
India will get its first National War
Memorial 40 years after it was first
proposed by the armed forces.
The memorial, which will bear all
the names of independent India’s war
victims, will be inaugurated by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on Feb 25.
The design of the memorial is a
series of four concentric circles or
“chakras” around a main obelisk like
the national symbol, the
Dharmachakra. It is situated in the “C
Hexagon” of the India Gate circle.
The project had been pending for
decades under previous governments
and had missed two deadlines – the last
Independence Day (Aug 15) and this
year’s Republic Day (Jan 26).
Crackdown on illegal bootleggers
after 80 die from toxic hooch
Police have launched a crackdown on
illegal bootleggers after 80 people were
killed drinking toxic hooch in the north
Police believe the deaths occurred
when victims across two neighbouring
states drank from the same batch of
illegal homemade brew, which was
produced by a criminal group operating
between Uttar Pradesh and
The majority of the deaths were
reported in Uttar Pradesh, with 36
dying in Saharanpur district and eight
in Kushinagar. Thirty-six people died in
Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district.
Two suspects accused of selling the
illicit liquor have been arrested.
Shivaji’s Raigad Fort to be made
The hilltop Raigad Fort in Maharashtra
from where Chhatrapati Shivaji
Maharaj laid the foundations of
“Hindavi Swaraj” is poised for a major
revamp to make it a global tourist
The 350-year-old majestic fort,
which stands on a 820-metre hill and
rises to 1,356m above sea level, is
presently managed by the
Archaeological Survey of India.
Highlights of the attraction will
include a heritage walk encompassing a
14km and four-hour tour of the fort and
more than 350 historic sites within it
which tourists will get to explore
Tea exports down in 2018
India’s tea exports decreased
marginally to 249.11 million kg in 2018
from 251.91 million kg exported in the
previous year, according to data from
Tea Board India.
Provisional data from the board also
suggested that tea exports, in value
terms, in the last calendar year were up
by about three per cent to Rs5,132.37
crores as compared to Rs4,987.59
crores in the same period a year ago.
Exports to neighbouring Pakistan
and China went up, while the
shipments to Germany, the UK and
Commonwealth of Independent States
countries, including Russia, Ukraine
and Kazakhstan, were down in volume
Wrestler-turned-police officer gets
12 years’ jail in drugs case
Former international wrestler Jagdish
Bhola was on Wednesday convicted
and sentenced by a special Central
Bureau of Investigation court in a
multi-crore drugs racket, termed as
Punjab’s biggest and busted in 2013.
He was sentenced to imprisonment
for 12, 10 and two years in the three
cases in which he was convicted.
Bhola had been a deputy
superintendent in the Punjab Police but
was dismissed from service in 2012
after his links with the drugs racket
He was arrested in November 2013
in connection with a Rs700-crore drugs
New study shows Patna is India’s
most polluted city
Three cities have beaten Delhi to
become India’s most polluted this year,
with Patna emerging as the first.
The other two cities occupying
prominent positions on the list are
Kanpur and Varanasi.
This is according to a study released
by IIT-Kanpur and non-government
organisation Shakti Foundation.
The study also revealed that the
country witnessed 50 per cent more
pollution than China this year.
It is based on data studied over a
45-day period through October and
November last year.
Tamil Nadu imposes fine on
plastic ban violators
A heavy penalty of up to Rs1 lakh will
be imposed on those who flout the
plastic ban rule in Tamil Nadu.
Minister S.P. Velumani introduced
the bill in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on
The bill amends laws relating to
powers of municipal corporations and
municipalities to levy fines on those
violating the ban on single-use plastics.
Onlookers on the rooftop of a building next to the hotel where a fire broke out.
in hotel fire
At least 17 people were killed when a
fire engulfed a five-storey hotel in the
heart of Delhi before dawn on
Tuesday, leaving some survivors in
critical condition and others dazed
The dead included at least two
women from Myanmar and a child
who could not escape the leaping
flames and the thick smoke at Hotel
Arpit Palace in the
of Karol Bagh.
Two employees of Hindustan
Petroleum Corporation, an Indian
Revenue Service official and three
members of a family from Kochi in
Kerala were also killed in the second
worst fire incident in the capital since
the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy in
south Delhi that killed 59 people.
February 15, 2019
Mrs Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mr Rahul
Gandhi touring Lucknow.
India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty on Mon-
day unleashed its newest star – with
thousands turning out to see Priyanka
Gandhi Vadra speak at her first rally as
the country gears up for general elec-
Crowds showered rose petals on the
great-granddaughter of India’s first
prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as she
took an open-bus tour through Luc-
know, capital of the key northern state
of Uttar Pradesh.
The opposition Congress party is
counting on the 47-year-old daughter of
assassinated prime minister Rajiv
Gandhi to boost its campaign against the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led
by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who
is expected to call the elections in April.
Mrs Vadra and elder brother Rahul
Gandhi, the Congress president, waved
at cheering supporters who chanted
their names while dancing to drums.
Many wore pink T-shirts emblazoned
with her picture.
At a rally she called for supporters to
join a campaign to build “a new future”
for India and a “new kind of politics
where everyone is a stakeholder”.
But it will not be easy for the brother-
sister combination to sway voters in Ut-
tar Pradesh, where two regional caste-
based parties now compete for power
with the BJP and Congress is only a mar-
The BJP won 73 of the 80 seats in the
state in the last general elections. BJP
president Amit Shah said last week the
party would win 74 seats this time.
Mrs Vadra stayed in Lucknow for
three more days and held marathon
meetings with party workers from more
than 40 constituencies.
“I am still trying to understand what
are the issues and the complexities
where we lack in the organisation,” she
said. “I’m learning a lot from party work-
ers and taking their views on how to
fight elections, to win.”
News agency IANS quoted party
workers who met Mrs Vadra as saying
that they were told: “My focus is on
strengthening the party organisation in
the state and to ensure that we win, the
‘muqabla’ (fight) is between Rahul and
Modi and not me.”
Priyanka getting views
on how to win
With India’s parliamentary elections
due by May, supporters of Prime Minis-
ter Narendra Modi are looking at differ-
ent ways to boost his image.
Some have imprinted his photo on
wedding invitations and gold and silver
bars, while others have him waving
from coffee mugs and T-shirts.
A shop owner in Surat, a city from
the state of Gujarat from which Mr Modi
hails, has gone a step further: He has
launched the “Modi Sari”.
It is available in different styles. And,
after word spread about its availability,
women in Surat have been flocking to
the shop to buy the sari, reported the
The newspaper quoted shopkeeper
Ronak Shah as saying: “The digitally-
printed sari has become a favourite
among women. We have four varieties
which we are selling currently. In the
coming days, we are planning to launch
saris of other politicians and leaders.”
Customers have the option to choose
between a sari that shows Mr Modi
against a backdrop of flowers or one
with the face of the Prime Minister
alongside what appears to be the demon-
etised Rs1,000 note.
A shopper told the Ahmedabad Mir-
ror: “When I went to the store, I saw the
sari with the photo of PM Modi. I really
liked it, so I bought it. To wear his sari is
a matter of pride.”
According to the Times of India, a
supporter in Hyderabad recently used
the wedding card of his son as a platform
to canvas for Mr Modi’s re-election.
Mr Subhash Rao Kishan Rao Yande,
68, asked guests to vote for Mr Modi in-
stead of giving gifts to the couple.
NDTV reported that a Gujarati fam-
ily last month invited guests to their
son’s wedding and urged them to vote
for the BJP.
The invitation card read: “Our gift is
your vote for PM Modi in 2019 Lok
Groom Bhushan Branson tweeted
on Jan 3 that Mr Modi’s government has
achieved a lot during its tenure: @naren-
dramodi Sir. With my wedding invita-
tion card, I am trying to explain the
achievement, schemes by Modi Govt. &
Urging all invitees get the use. Hand to
hand helping them to get the max.bene-
fit. I believe “We have to take care of
Modi, Modi will take care of nation.”
NDTV also reported that a restau-
rant owner in Karnataka has been ap-
pealing to to his customers to vote for
Mr Modi during the coming elections.
It said Mr Velappa from Hubli has
stuck stickers and posters of Mr Modi on
his restaurant wall along with the
achievements and initiatives of the
He has also printed Mr Modi’s inspir-
ing quotes on the food bills, which has
taken his customers by surprise.
It quoted the restaurant owner as say-
ing: “I want people to give one more
chance to Prime Minister Narendra
Modi. I have pasted a lot of stickers of
the Prime Minister in my shop to influ-
ence people. I want my customers to
vote for him.”
Mr Modi’s supporters in the past
have used the Swachh Bharat (a cam-
paign to clean the streets, roads and in-
frastructure of India’s cities, towns and
rural areas) logo on their wedding cards
too. He had retweeted some of them.
Last year, a jewellery shop in Surat
sold gold and silver bars with Mr Modi’s
face engraved on them. Mugs and T-shirts
with such photo impressions have also
been popular across the country.
creates a buzz
A woman in a store in Surat trying on a “Modi Sari”.
You could be fined Rs 2,000 for drinking beer on a Goa
beach, but thanks to an innovative green initiative, 10
beer bottle caps or 20 used cigarette butts can fetch you
a beer in the Indian state, if you exchange them at a
pop-up waste bar.
The idea is to engage beach visitors in activities that
create awareness about environment and conserva-
tion, while also cleaning the beaches.
Conceived by Drishti Marine, a private beach man-
agement agency roped in by the state tourism ministry
to rein in the garbage menace on Goa’s beaches, the
waste bar is a hangout of sorts, where one can exchange
segregated garbage for a drink.
The initiative kicked off on Jan 30, when the first of
the pop-up waste bars opened up at the Zanzibar
shack, located at the beach end of the popular Tito’s
Lane in the north Goan beach village of Baga.
“The waste bar is a win-win concept. It is positive for
the venue as it is an event that attracts a crowd.
“You get very happy customers as they feel they con-
tribute to society and get a free drink for it. And for
brands, it helps in positioning,” said Ms Noreen van
Holstein, who conceptualised the campaign along with
“People come to Goa for two things: beach and bar.
So let’s give them what they come for – free drinks in ex-
change for garbage that they collect.
“This ensures that they become conscious of the
waste that is there on the beach and that trash actually
has value. They will leave Goa with a positive feeling
and a clean beach.”
According to Ms van Holstein, waste bars kicked off
in the Netherlands years ago and the idea is catching
on. Apart from cigarette butts and bottle caps, five used
plastic straws will get you a bottle of chilled beer or a
The waste bar will pop up at various venues in the
state in the next few months.
Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in
India. Its beaches attract nearly eight million tourists an-
nually, of which more than half a million are foreigners.
Garbage piling up on the beaches in recent years has
been a cause for concern and has led to the appoint-
ment of a private agency to keep the beaches clean and
Over the past month, however, the government’s in-
ability to deal with the garbage menace, especially in ar-
eas which are popular with tourists, has been a major
area of concern for the travel and tourism industry
stakeholders following a drop in tourist arrivals.
An ongoing tussle between the government and Dr-
ishti Marine has also resulted in a slowing in the pace of
garbage collection, with the opposition parties blaming
the government for not handling the issue properly, es-
pecially during the peak tourist season.
“We ran an extremely successful campaign over 150
days in the last tourist season with the intention of creat-
ing awareness on beach clean-up and teaching people
about the importance of waste segregation. We made a
significantly positive impact on that front and hence
have decided to run the campaign this season as well,”
said Drishti Marine’s CEO Ravi Shankar.
“We are also trying to help the beach shacks to re-
duce the use of disposable plastic like straws and make
the transition to being more sustainable operations.
The campaign will run till the end of the tourist sea-
Among other things, the waste items collected dur-
ing the campaign are used to create various useful
items, including music instruments, during workshops
run by the organisation.
Indo-Asian News Service
“People come to Goa for two things:
beach and bar. So let’s give them
what they come for – free drinks in
exchange for garbage that they
collect. This ensures that they
become conscious of the waste that is
there on the beach and that trash actually
has value. They will leave Goa with a
positive feeling and a clean beach.”
– Ms Noreen van Holstein, who helped conceptualise
Visitors trade in
and used straws
Exchange cigarette butts
for beer at Goa waste bars
in the clean-beach
February 15, 2019
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