Inside Delhi

No to plastic bags

In an eco-friendly move, the New Delhi Municipal Council is organising an awareness campaign for preventing the use of plastic bags by seizing them from shops at various markets under its jurisdiction.

The campaign, “Say no to plastic bags”, is being run among traders as well as residents and students. According to the civic body, the drive was started this past week and is expected to continue till all markets in the NDMC area are covered.

As part of the drive, the health department of the civic body seized plastic bags from shops located in Connaught Place, Netaji Nagar Market, Begum Zaidi Market, Moti Bagh, East Kidwai Nagar Market and Sarojini Nagar Market.

During the drive the NDMC health department is also issuing circulars to restaurants and eating houses forbidding the use of plastic bags in the entire NDMC area. The circular is also being issued to each area's sanitary inspector, residents' welfare associations, market traders' associations, schools, colleges, corporate houses, government and non-government organisations to aid implementation of plastic bags notification by the Delhi Government's Department of Environment.

The NDMC's health education unit is also organising interactive sessions with the residents' welfare associations, market traders' associations and schools on the issue. During these sessions, residents, traders and students are being advised to use bags made of jutes, cloth and paper instead of plastic carry bags.

Manisha Jha

Too hot to handle

Considered a potent tool for empowerment of the common man, the Right to Information Act has scripted a success story for many who had been fighting against the proverbial red tape.

The story is, however, quite different for the officials who find themselves answering questions that sometimes border on the bizarre.

Officials delegated with the task of filing replies to applications filed under RTI claim they find themselves “besieged by the increasing number of applications that are unmerited”. An official at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for instance has been busy collating information on all employees starting with their date of birth and going further to their other personal details.

“One application wants us to furnish details of all communication that includes the name of a certain individual. This applicant wants us to give details about all internal and external mail that has the specific name mentioned in it. Finding a reply to this query means going through a labyrinth of material,” the official complained.

An official in a government department said the number of RTI applications “motivate by disagreements between individuals and unhealthy competition are on the rise”.

“A majority of applications that we get are motivated by some personal grievances. We even had an application seeking details about an employee's salary and other benefits, apparently for matrimonial reasons,” said the official.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

A launching pad

To commemorate 22 years of publishing for children, non-government organisation Katha launched the “Us for Us Series” in the Capital on Monday showcasing the creative skills of little ones.

Fledgling young writers and artists have been invited to try their hand at creating books for Katha. The first book in the series, “Kisne Banaya”, has been illustrated by talented children of Katha Lab School.

Vividly capturing the spirit and simple joys of life, the book zooms into the colours and magic of nature. Ringing with sound and rhythm, this imaginative book for kids has been brought alive with art.

Terming “child art” amazing whether it is in word or colour, Katha wants to give an ideal launching pad to children writing their first story. They need only kind words of advice or a small pat on their back to give them encouragement.

Set up in 1988 by Geeta Dharmarajan, Katha has been working towards finding innovative methods to improve basic education for children working for their livelihoods and to provide higher education to all members of the community. Through language, culture and education, the NGO has expanded its role.

It believes that story-telling is the most powerful tool to build an equitable level field for all.

Madhur Tankha