Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken neck(Siliguri Corridor), North-East India and Bangladesh

[Chittagong Port]

Siliguri corridor or chicken neck of north east India is a small stretch of land which connects the north- eastern states to the mainland India. This 21-40km land mass is the only land access to northeastern states from the rest of India. The railway line passing though this corridor and NH 31 are highly critical to India.

Talks are always on air about the land access to North eastern states through the rivers of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Both these proposals have a major degree of success. Recently Bangladesh agreed to allow Ashuganj as new port of call for transporting heavy consignments to Tripura for the proposed Palatana power project as well as the use of Chittagong port by India. Both countries are agreed to sign a deal for the Indian access to the port by May 2010.

According to the proposed agreement cargo vehicles could carry containerized cargo for intercountry or for a third country transfer. Vehicles used for cargo transportation will get 7 days permission to stay with in the territory of other country, while private vehicles will be allowed to stay from 5 days to 1 month. Vehicle's crew will get multiple entry visa for 1 year.

According to the reports proposals are also on the air to facilitate the trade between Bangladesh and landlocked nations like Bhutan, Nepal etc. The success of this initiative will lead other transit proposals between Bangladesh and India to materialize.

Considering overall picture, the new agreements will lead to more regional interaction between India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. If we opened the Siliguri corridor for free trade between 3 countries it will be helpful for the regional development.

The Indian investments in the Bangladesh trasport sector will help Dhaka to solve the infrastructure problems much more faster, and will lead to the development of the country. According to the ADB report Bangladesh needed $2.4 bn to effectively join the proposed Asain Highway Network. At the same time India will get much more connectivity to the north-east. This will ease the strain on the Siliguri corridor. The proposals for powergrid intrconnectivity and the agreement for the transfer of terrorists will open a new era of friendship.

What we have to keep in mind is the illigal migration, drugs and narcotics traffic in these routes. May be the talks between Indian foreign minister Mr SM Krishna and his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni will lead much more partnerships between the two nations.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Continuous saga of delay in defence contracts, Army's struggle with choppers

[AĆ©rospatiale SA 315B Lama - Known as Cheetah in India]

How many defense contracts are signed on time in India? And how many executed on time? Anyone submitted a request according to RTI act on this issue? It is a naked truth that a vast country like India which have not so friendly neighbors and constant floods on different parts of the nation requires a powerful and dynamic support from air. Many parts of India are inaccessible through land and many border posts of the army are heavily depended on air for survival.

The story is not different for people caught in floods and forces ho lead the campaign against Maoists in the deep forests.

Choppers are widely used for transportation of materials and humans to the remote parts and inaccessible terrains. Everyone knows that every machine have successful working time. Did you heared about any machine continuously working for ever?

Army uses Cheetah(AĆ©rospatiale SA 315B Lama) helicopters for material transportation and causality evacuation at an astonishing heights of 20,000 feet or more. The sad fact is that these choppers are of 1970 vintage, already completed approximately 40 years in service.

The 3,000 crore tender for the procurement of 197 choppers(133 for army rest for Air force) canceled after finding discrepancies. Then new tenders are issued. According to the procedures after floating tenders government will invite companies for field trails - summer trials, winter trials, validation trails etc.

But government is yet to invite any company for trails moreover Bell pulled out of the contract citing the offset clauses. Even if trails started in next year the new helicopters will not arrive before 2013-14. 5 critical years after the scheduled time.

Remember that these choppers are the lifeline of thousands of troops deployed across high altitudes. What is the problem with us? Now a days deals after deals are delayed, postponed or re tendered. Aircraft carriers, Trainer aircraft and many other programs suffered the same fate.

What will happen if suddenly a war started? Who will support the troops in high altitudes? 40 year old Cheetahs? Who will provide the food and ammunition to the troops in border?

Government have to make swift decisions on these issues. These are high priority tasks which cant be postponed.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Expecting a significant surge of US troop level in Afganistan - Will it deliver?

[US Army in Afghanistan]

In the end the Game of choice and confusion is almost over. Washington is going to increase the number of troops serving in Afghanistan by 45,000 or close to this value. The new plan is expecting to be announced publicly in the next week. The decision was taken after the request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan some weeks ago.

In line with the new strategy British government is already announced the deployment of 1000 more troops in Helmand province[It is to be remembered that British premier earlier blocked the request for an additional 2000 troops]. In this 1000 new troops 500 will be new troops from Britain and the rest will be redeployed from British battle group currently under international command in Khandahar province. The new deployments will rise the British troop level in Afghanistan to 9,500.

The proposal for the new surge from General McChystal was on hold for some time. The question of new troop surge created heated debate in US. May people opposing the war and want to pullout from the region.

There was three option before Mr Obama. One was to send no new troops at all. But this will lead to a status quo much in favour of Afghan militants and will not show any quick results. Already the number of attacks is increasing exponentially. If Obama continue th war with the current troop level it will not add any substential value to operations and he will be criticized for the continuing turmoil in Af-Pak region.

[British troops on patrol in Helmand province]

The second option was to send a small contingent of additional troops, again this one will not increase the situation substantially. This will lead to severe criticism as a flawed military strategy, both by military strategists and people opposing the surge. The third option was to give enough troops to the General to fight.

Talks are also on air about making an agreement with the moderate group of Taliban, and people who are not fighting for ideology. That may be in correct direction after all Afghanistan suffered severely due to the decades long continuous civil war, and people who are living on the extreme conditions will be happy if they have some guarentee about their life. But any deals with hardcore Taliban and a premature exit will only lead to turmoil. Analysis suggests that their is a considerable possibility in the rise of insurgency level in India, Afghanistan and western provinces of China after a premature withdrawal.

Indeed Afghanistan required a substantial increase in troops, and a different war strategy. Afghan people are suffering the causalities of war from the time immemorial. This is not a conventional warfare, its a guerrilla one. In order to counter this insurgency there should be enough support from the people and and ground forces. More focus on aerial warfare will lead to massive collateral damage, and the war will become more and more unpopular in Afghanistan.

In order to form a substantial stability in Afghanistan, Obama should be able sell the war in Afghanistan successfully to the common people. This will not be an impossible problem for the already proven highly efficient PR machine of Obama. Considerable ground support and the destruction of the safe heavens in Pakistan will put US in an advantageous position.

In all countries there is a strange thing called patriotism. However bad the civil administration and army is, under invasion people will normally support their own army and government -This is true in majority of cases. Whatever US government i saying and doing, in the end of the day they are outsiders.

So in order to gain support of the locals, authorities should be able to generate belief in common people. Make them think that its their war, US and NATO is fighting for them. Another thing they have to do is to find a solution to the reported corruption and other illegal activities. Some reports suggest that Taliban is already receiving a cut in development aid as ransom for the protection of the new developmental projects.

If people doesn't have the faith in administration, then it will be a never ending war for US.


Report of General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

India - Argentina bilateral trade agreements

[Argentine National Congress]

If you come to mid of Kerala in the tim of Soccer world cup you will be conused whether any meeting of United Nations is going on here. Flags of Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France etc will be there on both sides of the road. Fans associations will be formed, they will enjoy each and every victoy of their favorite country. And nedless to say Argentina and Brazil will always attract a good number of people.

The recent Bilateral trade agreements signed between India and Argentina holds another critical importance to the Indian economic interests. Argentina is one of the rare south American countries famous in many parts of India especially for her brilliant football game. Still in my home state - Kerala - there are a lot of admirers for Argentinian football.

Yet we are making delays in formulating trade agreements with South American countries many of them are rich in mineral resources especially in oil. Consider the fact that its first time in the last 15 years a president of South American nation visits India. South America and Africa offers vast opportunities for Indian companies. The trade with these countries will not only help us in attaining more markets abroad but also adds much more leverage to India's position globally.

At the same time this will give new opportunities for Argentina to tap the growing demands from Indian energy sector. I think if they reach a deal with Indian medical sector, the cost of medical care will be more cheap in Argentina. Boh countries can cooperate much more in space, IT sector etc.

Ten bilateral agreements are signed at Argentinian president's(Cristina Fernandez) visit to India. These includes peaceful use of nuclear energy and elimination of visas; other areas are cooperation in sports, Science and Technology, geology, space , industry etc. A MoU is also signed between ONGC Videsh and Vidarsa companies.

There are many countries in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Central and South East Asian region which are sill outiside of a trade agreement with India. We have to work hard to reach trade agreements with these countries. Once it established and give proper fertilizers in time then it will not be good for India and peace.

Will the agreements about the cooperation in sports will help India's football sector?


Suryakiran team should not be disbanded

[Suryakiran Team]

Talks are on the air about the disbanding of one of the prestigious assets of Indian AirForce -Suryakiran Aerobatic team. After the formation of team in 1996 this 'Bidar air force station' based team have performed from Dal Lake in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south. Abroad 'suryakiran' also performed in Srilanka, China etc.

The reason for disbanding is the shortage of trainer aircraft in the air force arsenal. The currently employed trainer aircraft for pilots - HPT-32 is grounded following crashes and other technical failures. So in order to continue the pilot training program IAF don't have enough aircraft. So they are forced to disband the team and move all the HJT 16 kiran aircrafts to pilot training section.

It is said that usually 140-150 pilots are on training in HPT-32 aircraft at any given time. Then they will move on to other aircraft for further training. Now HPT-32 is down, next in line to be grounded may be the other aircraft series which are infamous for mechanical failures.

In the '90s, according to its own submissions in Parliament, it lost 80 pilots and 185 aircraft. Which makes it almost a squadron a year or a fourth of its entire fleet in the past decade alone. And the estimated loss: Rs 6,800 crore.

According to an old estimate "The IAF loses one MiG fighter every 2,500 flight hours, making it one of the most vulnerable machines in service with any force in the world"

They may find a temperory solution by disbanding the Suryakiran team. But what will they do next? Recently Air Force celebrates 77 years of service, after these much years are we reached in such a situation where we don't even have enough aircraft to train our pilots?

When this 42,000 crore MRCA deal will be finalized and start delivering? Even if it is finalized the shortlisted aircrafts Rafale, Typhoon, F16 C/D, F/A-18E/F, JAS 39 Gipen, MiG35 all are combat aircrafts, not the trainer one. The deal for 66 Advanced Jet Trainers(AJT) is one of the most procrastinated deals in aviation history. IAF projected requirement in 1984 but deal signed only in 2004, 20 years of delay. The deliveries of BAE Hawk Mk 132 finally started in 2007 , within that time may be the fighter aircraft gone one generation further.

The sanctioned strength of IAF is 39.5 squadrons, with an healthy level at 44 squadrons, but currently India doesn't have that much squadrons. For power projection over South Asia and Indian ocean region IAF requires much more squadrons. MRCA deal is good one but not enough, moreover further delays will be disastrous.

Suryakiran aerobatic team performed very good in skies, if Suryakiran will able to participate in foreign airshows it will be better for both IAF and India. What administration have to do is not disbanding the team but allow it more opportunities and bring in new trainer aircrafts for IAF. I don't want to see news like "IAF aircraft crashed; pilot killed" in the front pages. We already lost many promising pilots and trainers not any more. Replace the fleet...

The Indian Air Force Today
India ready for war? Forces grapple with delays, red tape

Friday, October 9, 2009

The otherside of Suicide bomb

According to the latest reports atleast 46people have been killed in a crowded area of Peshawar, a north western Pakistani city, and over a hundred injured. Many of the injured people are in critical situation. According to the list in BBC the major blasts that devastated north-western Pakistan are

5 October: Five killed in suicide blast in UN's Islamabad office
26 September: 16 killed in two car bombs in Peshawar and Bannu
18 September: 33 killed in market blast near Kohat
30 August: Suicide bomber kills 14 police recruits in Swat valley
27 August: 22 police guards killed at checkpoint on Afghan border
14 August: Seven killed in market blast in Dera Ismail Khan
5 June: Mosque blast kills at least 38 in Upper Dir district

Analysis says that now a days attacks are targetted towards common people. As these blasts are happening in the market places a lot of common people became victim of these bombs. After the recent blast one of the witness told AP that "I saw a blood-soaked leg landing close to me," he said. "I understood for the first time in my life what a doomsday would look like."

Now a days these blasts are common in Pakistan, and a good number of people are died in these blasts. It is rightly said that once an arrow shat it cant be taken back. Some of the people who died in the blast may be came to the market to buy some sweets to celebrate his son's/ Daughter's birthday, another may came to buy some medicine for his mother. But as bomb cant cant identify people, it neither leave a child or pregnant woman. In military jargon it may be called as collateral damage.

But this collatral damage brought darkness to many homes, in many cases families may lost their bread winner. To whom they will depend hereafter? Some may lost his/her father or mother or both, and became alone in this world. Who will give food to the small innocent child in each and every day?
Even if anyone helped these people, most of the time it will b short term monetery help. After all the smoke surrounded the incident is over there will not be anyone to help these victims.

Militant groups want Pakistan governemt to stop support NATO groups, NATO and US want the elimination of terrorist groups. But the clash of ideology and civilisations are not for common people. The values of ideology is zero before an empty stomach -it only hear and tell the voice of hungry.
Whether it is in India, Pakistan, China or wherever it is - in general common people have one voice in the end, allow us to live. They may support various ideologies in the begning. But in the end of the day life matters.
In this time of violence and bloodshed Pakistan government have to take action to protect all civilians of the country 'gracefully'. They should stop criticising India for each and every matter and work for the uplift of the nation.


List of Violent incidents in Pakistan
2.2 million IDPS in Pakistan: United Nations

KG Blocks and India's Dilemma - Indian saga of Oil and Gas

Lacks of Indians are working in Gulf countries; Middle East Asian countries are very wealthy; Russian economy is still working; Venezuela is powerful; Malacca strait is a vital for China and East Asian countries; Exxonmobil, Shell etc are numbered among the biggest companies in the world. These all statements have one thing in common, all are related to Oil and Natural gas. In the economic jargon it can called as petrodollar phenomenon.

In India too there are some big blocks of crude oil and gas like the Bombay High run by ONGC, KG Basin etc. It may be the ambition of every finance minister of India to reduce the oil bills.

It is in this background government gave exploration licenses to private companies like Relience Industries and public sector behemoth ONGC etc(Earlier only ONGC was allowd to explore fo the oil and gas). It was expectd that if we discovered some major oil field, then we can save some billions of dollors flowing out in every year.

Expectation full filled and many new oil blocks(commercially viable) were discovered. Oil and Gas blocks in Krishna-Godavari basin discovered by Relience Industries was the biggest in the chain. They developed it in record time and Production started. Upto this time everything went fine. But after the discovery disputs arised between RIL, RNRL and Oil ministry. Everyone have their on arguments and counter arguments and the washing machine went on publically in full swing(after all its the matter of billions of dollors).

Cases are filed in the courts, verdict came again appeal came and the chain moved on. For a number of days public saw a new serious of 'Tom and Jerrey' fight free of cost. People of great Indian democracy starts to read n number of stories relating to KG basin contracts in news papers. Dispute is still on and no one expects it will end soon, but public may lose the interest.

What is the stake of common man here? You can say that billions of dollors will be saved and this money can be routed for the building of infrastructure, social empowerment blah blah blah. Common man will have more job oppertunities and more income.

If you believe in all these things, i want to introduce you to an old syndrome, popularly called Dutch Syndrome -
"The theory is that an increase in revenues from natural resources will deindustrialise a nation’s economy by raising the exchange rate, which makes the manufacturing sector less competitive and public services entangled with business interests"
In otherwords it can be interpretted as - its not necessary that the exploitation or discovery of major natural reserves will lead to prosperity of citizens. lf it is happening in that way, then Nigrieans will be one of the most whealthy people in the world, people of Venezula may start to visit all the tourist places in the world. Many African countries will be in the list of most devloped nations. But it didnt happen.

The disputes between the parties RIL, RNRL, Oil Ministry and NTPC seems like a never ending seriel. But these disputes will be very costly for India, it will affect India's image globally. If companies have to face this much difficulty even after finding a major resource then how many foreign companies will come to India for exploration of Oil? The companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron etc which also have deep water exploration expertise will think twice before coming to India.

Its not for the first time oil and Gas are discovered in the world, this happened in many countries and successful contracts and profit sharing agreements were signed leading well developed long time mechanism.

Oil and Gas is a long term business, were you have to spend millions of dollors for exploration in places where you are not sure about the result. In order to transform a deep water discovery in to production it requires huge amount of investment and technical expertise. The profit will come only after a decade or two.

If government cant resolve the questions regading to profit sharing, production sharing agreement then how they will solve other problems? It not about the absence of oil reserves, neiter about the technical expertise but about pen and paper, about how to write sentences in a contract!!!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

UNICEF Report 'Progress for Children' - Never ending cruelty towards children

"Children worldwide experience violence, exploitation and abuse. They are forced to fight in wars or labour in intolerable conditions; they are sexually abused or subjected to violence as a punishment; they are forced into child marriage or trafficked into exploitative conditions of work; they are needlessly placed in prisons, detention facilities and institutions.

Children in circumstances such as these are seeing their human rights infringed in the most fundamental ways – and suffering both physical and psychological harm that has wide-reaching and sometimes irreparable effects. The elements of a healthy childhood as specified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are being denied because the world is failing to provide children the protection to which they are entitled."
These lines are from the recent UNICEF report "Progress for children: A report on child protection".

Well, you can say that "whats the new thing about it I already know that - the people living next to my door are married before 15, even I attended the marriage"; "We regularly saw children doing dangerous works which are legally prohibited, and I am keeping 'mum' about it, do the same all your problem will be solved", "Its not at all matter for me, I am protecting my children from problems, others i don't know, it their problem","its government's job not mine" etc.

For us there may not be anything new in it. We always know it, experience it, even then will not do anything to stop it. And the same people who will not care a damn for these things will be in the forefront of the protest if something gone against their interest, suddenly they will ask the public to cooperate with them for their cause.

The attitude of this passive society is the root cause of all major problems. When it comes to religious issues, reservation etc they will act like a 'do or die' situation, destroying all the things they can- Burning trains, throwing stones to public properties etc.

I still remember one of he incidents narrated by my friend, some months back he was working in Thiruvananthapuram- Capital of Kerala. There is a college and opposite that stands a 3 star hotel covered with beautiful glass. But the problem is that whenever students go on strike, one of things they will do as a ritual is to throw stones to this glasses ; needless to say the strikes are no so rare.

Society is like that, when it comes to the case of real social issues like child marriage, the same society will do the conspiracy against the innocent child. Simply they didn't saw anything wrong in it and the saga of honour killings, sexual exploitation etc going on.

Child marriages cuts their chances of education, playing and freedom. It is obvious that these innocent child are not deciding their fate neither they are hungry for sexual pleasures. but they have to suffer the result of this marriages like premature pregnancy and (according to the report) have physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual consequences). But who cares this???

According to the recent UNICEF report,
"Nearly two out of three children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are not registered"

"Children from the poorest households are twice as likely as children from the richest households to be unregistered; boys and girls are equally likely to be unregistered"
Registration is indeed a vital step regarding to child protection, because it is the foundation for all official purposes whether it is the issue of illegal recruitment by armed groups, child marriage or child labour. Proper registration will help in dealing severely against sexual exploitation.
data on physical violence compiled by the Innocenti Research Centre for the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children (2006), led to an estimate of between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experiencing violence annually.
This is against the childs, who are supposed to be the future of humanity.
"More than one third of young women 20–24 years old in developing countries have reported that they were married or in union by age 18. The proportions are highest in South Asia (46 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (39 per cent). In the six countries where child marriage is most prevalent, more than 60 per cent of women 20–24 years old married as children. Girls from poorer households are more likely to be married as children than girls from richer households."
Early marriages may result in severe intellectual, emotional, psychological consequences. Lifetime domestic violence; sexual subservience, harassment and exploitation, sexually transmitted diseases(Thee is a myth that if a man with HIV/AIDS slept with a virgin his AIDS will be cured and you know what will be the result) etc are the other results.
"Female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence against girls and women. It violates their physical and psychological integrity and thus their human rights.UNICEF estimates that more than 70 million girls and women 15–49 years old have undergone FGM/C in 28 countries in Africa, plus Yemen"
Another cruelty against girls.
"UNICEF estimates that 150 million children 5–14 years old worldwide are engaged in child labour. This estimate is based on data from 102 countries. Child labour is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a third of children work."
Labor or Playground? What is the face of Justice in child labour?
"The United States Government estimates that 600,000– 800,000 people are trafficked each year across international borders. Drawing on its own analysis and other three.Evidence from UNODC indicates that more than 20 per cent of victims of all trafficking, both within countries and across borders, are children."
Mind blowing numbers. In many cases these child will live one of the most miserable life humanity ever seen, deprived of childhood pleasures, education etc.
"High proportions of children experience both physical punishment and psychological aggression
UNICEF estimates that more than 1million children are detained through justice systems worldwide at any one time, this is likely to be a significant underestimate given the difficulties in obtaining data about unreported cases .Among the 44 countries for which data were available, around 59% of children in detention had not been sentenced. Only a minority of these children receive a custodial sentence, in violation of the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty according to law, as affirmed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child"
If 59% doesn't receive any sentence in the end then on what ground government will justify the detention?
"UNICEF estimates that just over 1 billion children live in countries or territories affected by armed conflict, and of these, around 300 million are under 5 years old In 2007, 72 countries recorded new victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and children accounted for nearly a third of these casualties."
These children are suffering the consequences of actions, for which they are not responsible in any way.
"The estimated number of children under 18 years old who have lost one or both parents due to all causes increased in Eastern and Southern Africa from 21.1 million in 2001 to 24.9 million in 2007, and 8.7 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS in this region.42 In four Southern African countries – Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – more than a quarter of children under 15 years old are living without a parent, and in Namibia the proportion has reached more than one third."
What will be the future of these innocent ones?
"More than half of all the world’s women 20–24 years old who were married or in union by age 18 live in South Asia and more than one in three women in the world who were married as children are from India"
Obviously these girls are not married due to their extreme eagerness to experience sexual life. But marriage is forced upon thus. There will always be reasons, do we have any problems for finding reasons? Society doesn't have time to deal with these issues, they are engaged in strikes for getting more reservations, burning trains etc.
"Some 13% of all children in South Asia are engaged in child labour – around 44mn. Of these children, 29mn live in India, where the child labour rate is 12%. Within India itself there are vast divergences between states in the incidence of child labour, ranging from 32 per cent in Gujarat to 3 per cent in Goa and Kerala, indicating that the regional targeting of policies aimed at eliminating child labour is essential."
Remember these children too have a soul with ambitions, But in many cases we are using the products made up of their tears.
"The 2006 UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children estimated that, every year, between 41 million and 88 million children in the region witness violence at home –the highest regional total in the world.

Study on the impact of small arms shows that Latin America and the Caribbean has the highest rates of armed violence in the world and accounts for 42 per cent of all homicides globally. Study found that children are more frequently the victims than the perpetrators of these crimes. In Jamaica, for example, boys under 18 years old accounted for 60 per cent of victims of violence-related injury."
Children is always an easy target. Whether it is sexual or other type of violence.
"In industrialized countries It is estimated that throughout the course of their childhood,5–10 per cent of girls and up to 5 per cent of boys suffer penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this percentage experience some type of sexual abuse.82 Evidence suggests, however, that physical and sexual abuse may be decreasing in some settings."
Developed nations too are not completely free form this miseries.

Reports will come and go. Do we have any shortages for reports? In many cases excuses are louder than actions. Today we are reached in such a stage where goto moon is a reality. Tomarrow may be we will reach Mars but cant solve the problem of a child in street!!! Think from the angle of an innocent child they want playground, education etc not wedlock, arms, drugs and sex in early ages.


You can access the full report from - 'Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection'
Child Marriage and the Law
"Early Marriage: Child Spouses" UNICEF 2001 Report
UNICEF: Child marriages must stop
Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
Child Sexual abuse : The cruel face of society

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hogenakkal Roundup

[Hogenakkal Falls]

Hogenakkal falls is a beautiful waterfall on Cauvery river located on the Dharmapuri district of Tamilnadu - a state in South India. The falls of Hogenakkal is very famous and many people are coming here to see the falls. The spot is 180km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri town.

It is believed that the word Hogenakkal is formed from the combination of Hoge(Smoke in Kannada) and Kal(Rock in Kannada). It is also called Marikottayam.

To visit Hoganekkal falls in this Dasara holidays was one of my friends idea. To say honestly its was proved to be a good destination.

We (6 people in total) started from Madivala(Bangalore), I joined from Electronic City(Bangalore) around 6.45 in the morning. As usual NH7 was another river of vehicles, problem with this river is that, its not flowing smoothly(thanks to ongoing construction works).
'n' number of blocks. In each and every block people are anxiously waiting to move to their private world. Couples are desperately waiting for some gaps to move on. Who want to waste a holiday on roads?

In one car an innocent child -with total disregard for the circumstances - is looking around. May be to laugh at the humans who doesn't have the patience to wait for some time. Many people in other vehicles are doing many things to get the attention of this innocent one. In their day to day life they may do many things to get the attention of the boss but here in the middle of this traffic jam this small child is the center of attraction.

After the blocks were over we gain speed and moved towards Hosur. As we already know taking right from Hosur and took another road instead of NH7 will save many kms. Again who want to increase the cost of journy? So we turn right and started towards our destination.

After some time i saw the entrance of Hosur Railway station. How can I forget this station? In the last time when i was coming back from home in Yeswantpur Express, i was supposed to get down at this station.
That story goes like this. According to the railway touch screen in Palakkad station. Train will reach Hosur sation at 5.10am or around. In addition to that there is not even a single stop between Salem and Hosur and above all train is on time.
Some minutes before the 'right time' it reached a station and stopped there. As Salem is already over (time too is correct), i though this may be the Hosur station. I asked to some people who are standing on the door. They dont have any idea. So i get down at that station and in order to check the name i started running towards the board on one end.
It was the first time I am using this route - usually i use bus or Island express- moreover I never saw Hosur station before. Before I can read the board train starts moving, leaving me alone in that deserted place. Board reads 'Marandahalli' not Hosur!!! Train already gained speed and moved away. After that i sat their for an entire 45 minutes to get the next train which came around 5.50am.
Atlast I reached Hosur station in the middle of rain and from there boarded a tightly packed bus to reach Bangalore(In bus i was on the second last step with all the luggages!!! Motion was sevrly restricted).

From here onwards, a good number of trees are visible on both sides of the road forming a curve accross the road. Occassionaly some small hills too. Sometimes buses came in the opposit side, all are tightly packed, looks like they trying to create new equations for atomic packing dimensions. In one bus there are some 20 pople above the bus. How the conductor will reach them?

Occassionally we saw many small towns, where people are sitting in both sides to sell their agri products. If we saw these calm and barely populated places none will be able to say that Bangalore is only some 50-70 kms away.

With an empty stomach nothing will look good except food!!! So we start looking for a resurant, but it took considerable time to find out one. In h opposite side of the hotel there is pony standing on the road. I asked one of my friend to took a photo of me and pony. I approched him he started looking me through a corner of his eyes - may be thinking that what he wants now? Thinking about about the power of his back legs and his easiness to move his legs in any way he wants I finally we dropped the plan. After all I have to reach Hogenekkal not hospital.

The breakfast was good and cheap. The 'parippuvada' we bought from the nearby stall was very good indeed.

Journey continued and after paying entrance and parking fees, we reached the banks of Cauvery river. From the entrance and before reaching the river the view from the road is veru good one. If you are lucky you can saw many monkeis too.

After much bargaining we reached a common accepable charge for a 'Coracle'. These coracles are made from Bamboo, covered with plastic seet and later a layer of tar to make it waterproof. These coracles can be used for a maximum of 7 people. To our surprise there were many Malayali groups on the spot. Most of them are from colleges in Kerala.

We went to some 300 meters above the falls in our taxi and started our journey from there. This part of river is very wide surrounded with forest and we are going in the downstream. This is the third time i am seing Cauvery. First in Srirangapattam then in Talacavery, Cauuvery Nisargadhama and now in Hoganekkal. I want to see Cauvery delta too, where cauvery joins with 'Bay of Bengal'.

We went out from Coracle to the rocks near to falls started moving to the nearest possible point to saw the falls.

It was a magnificent sight. There is an open channel some 20-30 metres deep in the river, water from cauvery is moving towards and finally fall in to this channel from three sides. This creates the Hoganekkal falls. The sight is wonderful, in the middle of the falls. we can see the white fog moving up, frequently small water drops came towards me just like a rain. The sensation is an enchanting one. Some 1 hour we spend there, I sat in a rock close to the falls and looked towards the falls.

Nothing will come to mind, it will go blank. Just water, her music, rocks and beauty of surrounding forests. The beautiful concert will give you some everlasting memories.

After that we moved again in our coracle and reach the other bank, this is the place for bathing, swimming etc. Except me and another one al others went for bath. We simplly sat in the banks, students from different colleges came there and njoying their tour. We simply talked to our driver- the person who drives the corcale. He told us that the next tourist place is Erkkad and it is some 140kms away. As we have to reach Bangalore today itself we were unable to reach there.

After paying him we went to the near by hotel for the late lunch. After that we retraced our path and reach Bangalore around 18.00 hours.


The one thing i didnt like is the selling of goods above the MRP or at the MRP level. For mineral water it is 1-2 Rs above the MRP. After coming to Bangalore in the last year i paid the cooling charge for the first time. Cooling charge 1 Rs/bottle for keeping mineral water bottle/juice bottle in refrigerator.