But the Obvious!

Archive for July, 2007

Blame It On Cars

Posted by Irus on July 26, 2007

Is India following an urban transportation policy designed to inflict losses on the exchequer, pollute people, irreparably damage their health, and promote iniquity in resource use? Going by recent developments, it would seem so.
Ford India has just launched a diesel version of its premium ‘Fusion’ (ex-Delhi-showroom cost Rs 6,59,000) and announced that like Renault-Nissan, it’s also considering making a compact car costing Rs 1,20,000. Such corporate announcements have become routine, especially since the Tatas launched their Rs 1,00,000 car project. What is noteworthy about this one is not just that the low-cost car market is set to boom, but also that a mid-sized (1400 cc) diesel car, priced higher than its petrol original, will be treated as a ‘small car’. It will attract not 24, but 16 per cent, excise duty.
That highlights the irrationality of treating a 1500 cc diesel engine on a par with a 1200 cc petrol engine — although it causes 24 times more pollution (in suspended particulate matter). This aggravates the official folly of pricing diesel 36 per cent lower than petrol. The government is thus annually subsidising each diesel car, estimates the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), by Rs 12,000 vis-a-vis petroldriven cars. This works out to a staggering revenue loss of Rs 5,000 crore on diesel cars, which currently command 30 per cent of the automobile market. Their market share is expected to rise to 50 per cent in three years.
Diesel cars are proliferating in India primarily because their owners can recover the price premium in just four years. In Delhi alone, their number has ballooned 425 per cent over a decade and is now annually rising by 17 per cent, or double the rate for petrol cars. Total diesel consumption fell with conversion of buses to CNG during 2000-04. But it has begun to increase. Poor-quality diesel is making a comeback and threatening to nullify air quality gains.
Delhi phased out 12,000 diesel buses. But even conservatively, estimates CSE, diesel cars are adding the equivalent of SPM emissions from 30,000 diesel buses — not to speak of nitrogen and sulphur oxides. SPM levels are more than twice the permissible limit.
Add to this the fact that the most efficient Indian diesel car is 20-30 per cent less efficient and 50 per cent more polluting than its European counterpart. In India, diesel’s contribution to fine particulates (under 2.5 microns) is three to eight times higher than petrol’s.
Dieselisation is only one, minor, part of India’s automobile boom, which has seen car sales double over five years — a rate 60 per cent
higher than GDP growth. Automobiles are being recklessly promoted as symbols of a lifestyle of glamour, luxury, even “freedom”.
In reality, automobilisation spells high social costs, resource waste, air pollution, global warming and iniquitous use of road-space. In most Indian cities, cars and two-wheelers hog 60-80 per cent of space, but deliver 15 to 20 per cent of passenger trips. By contrast, buses occupy under 20 per cent of road space, and account for up to 60 per cent of trips. Cars demand high levels of maintenance, repairs and parking space. They usually occupy prime space — even when unused.
Studies show that if car-owners were made to pay the economic rent for parking, many would stop using them. At Mumbai’s Nariman Point, the true annual market price of parking space per car would exceed its nominal cost at least 10-fold.
Cars are an extremely inefficient form of transportation. According to a US researcher, the average American spends so much time looking after, parking or repairing his car and stopping at signals, etc, that its average speed is roughly 10-12 kmph.
Above all, they pollute. Automobile emissions of particulate matter, and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur account for more than 60 per cent of the air pollution load in our cities, itself fraught with grievous health damage. Fine particulates contain some 40 known carcinogens. Although health impact studies are inadequate in India, it is estimated that a representative Delhi household would annually earn a benefit of Rs 19,870 and in Kolkata Rs 84,355 from reduced particulates. This translates into tens of thousands of crores for India.
Thanks to automobilisation, 57 per cent of monitored Indian cities now record critical SPM levels, exceeding one-and-a-half times the permissible standard. So pervasive is the phenomenon that even smaller cities have become its victims. India’s top 10 hotspots include Raipur, Kanpur, Alwar and Indore but not a single metropolis.
Runaway automobilisation must be curbed through higher taxation (Indian buses are taxed 2.6 times higher per passenger-kilometre than cars), stiff parking fees, Singapore-style bans on use of odd- and even-numbered cars on alternate days, encouragement of carpools, and extensive creation of pedestrian-only zones.
Above all, we must promote efficient, affordable, non-polluting public transport, as well as bicycles and other non-mechanised modes. If Paris can have 200 km of bicycle paths with 250,000 people using them, so can Delhi, Bangalore or Lucknow. This is not a plea for building expensive metros, which cost two to four times more than dedicated bus lanes or electric buses, but for rational planning which recognises that rampant automobilisation is an ecological, financial and social disaster.


Posted in cars, environment, impact on enviornment, infrastructure, public affair, public policy, social disaster | 1 Comment »

Strawberry Daiquiri

Posted by Irus on July 24, 2007

sbdMmmm… another night another drink.. What’s in store for tonight’s sleep tonic? Read on..!



1/2 oz strawberry schnapps
1 oz light rum
1 oz lime juice
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 oz strawberries


Add ingredients with a bit of ice in a blender. Blend and then strain into a cocktail glass. Sit back and enjoy! 🙂

Posted in Daiquiri, Strawberry | 13 Comments »

Blueprint for a Green Laptop – problems and solutions

Posted by Irus on July 24, 2007


PROBLEM: Petroleum-filled plastic
SOLUTION: Make cases from corn
New bioplastics—plant-based polymers—require less oil and energy to produce than traditional plastics. One challenge: upping heat resistance so electronics won’t melt them. Fujitsu makes a laptop with a half-natural, half-conventional case and is now testing a castor-oil plastic that’s up to 80 percent bio-content.
PROBLEM: Landing in landfills
SOLUTION: Upgrade, don’t trash
The EPA estimates that Americans discard 19,000 tons of laptops a year. But soon it may get easier (and cheaper) to upgrade your laptop than to replace it, keeping e-waste out of dumps and saving the energy and materials needed for a whole new computer. Laptop-maker Asus recently released a model that lets users change the processor, graphics card and other parts just by removing one panel, instead of spending hours disassembling the computer.
PROBLEM: Power-sucking displays
SOLUTION: Create greener light
An LCD can eat more than half of a laptop’s power, mostly due to its fluorescent backlight. Some laptops are lit with more-efficient LEDs instead, but the next step may be to nix backlights altogether. Displays made of OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, form images with electroluminescent films. In small sizes, as in cellphones, OLEDs can significantly cut power use (depending on the image’s colors); companies hope that this advantage will scale up.
PROBLEM: Guzzling power from the grid
SOLUTION: Harness the sun
Portable solar chargers suited for laptops already exist. A company called MSI Computer has even developed a prototype laptop with photovoltaic cells integrated directly into its case.
PROBLEM: Toxic waste
SOLUTION: Get the lead out
Concerned that dumped gadgets could leak poisons, the law is cracking down on dangerous ingredients. (The lead in solder, for example, is now being replaced by silver and copper.) Last year, the European Union enacted legal limits on toxins in electronics sold there, and the U.S. introduced a similar (though voluntary) rating system for computers. President Bush recently mandated that 95 percent of government-purchased electronics meet the American eco-standards, eliminating about 3,000 tons of hazardous waste by 2011.
PROBLEM: Tricky recycling
SOLUTION: Make a digital parts list
Recycling computers can be expensive and time-consuming. Dismantlers usually pull out valuable parts for reuse or resale, but they have to examine each computer individually to determine what’s in it. If manufacturers add a radio-frequency ID tag to a laptop, says Valerie Thomas of Georgia Tech, it could instantly tell recyclers how to recover components.
PROBLEM: That spinning hard drive
SOLUTION: Switch to flash memory
Future laptops could knock 10 percent off their energy use just by replacing hard drives with solid-state, or flash, memory, which has no watt-hungry moving parts. Dell debuted a laptop with a 32-gigabyte solid-state drive this year. By 2012, manufacturer Samsung says, the drives may hold about 30 times as much data.
PROBLEM: Energy-intensive manufacturing
SOLUTION: Build more- efficient factories
Producing a laptop requires nearly as much energy as it will use over the rest of its life, but new plants may slash this consumption. One of the world’s greenest computer–chip factories could go online as early as 2009. The Texas Instruments plant in Richardson, Texas, will consume 20 percent less electricity and 35 percent less water, spit out 50 percent fewer nitrogen oxides—and cost 30 percent less to build—than TI’s previous plant. In one energy-saving measure, the plant uses the waste heat generated by its huge air conditioners to warm water for free, eliminating the need for four polluting gas boilers.

Source: POPSci

Posted in future, Green Laptop, technology | 9 Comments »

DDA building bylaws

Posted by Irus on July 24, 2007


The Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Government of India has allowed certain addition(s)/alteration(s) in DDA flats. These are applicable to all flats built and allotted by DDA irrespective of whether these are located in notified and denotified areas. The addition/alteration(s) allowed are categorized in three categories:

  • Condonable: These are minor addition /alteration(s)which do not require structural changes and can be carried out by the owner(s) without any prior intimation/permission of DDA/MCD.
  • Permitted with intimation/permission: These addition(s) / alteration(s) are of major nature which may require structural changes, changes in the service lines and additional coverage.
  • Additional coverage permitted with prior permission.

The details of all the categories of addition / alterations which have been approved by Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation by various orders by various orders are given below:


  • To convert existing barsati into room provided the wall is made of only 115 mm thick.
  • Grills and glazing in verandah with proper fixing arrangement.
  • Raising height of front and rear courtyard wall upto 7′ height by putting up jali/fencing.
  • Providing door in courtyard wherever not provided.
  • Providing sunshades on doors and windows wherever not provided with proper fixing arrangements.
  • Closing the door.
  • If the bathroom or WC are not having roof, these may be treated as open urinals and allowed. 8. Raising the wall of balcony/terrace parapet with grill or glazing upto 5′ height.
  • Construction of open staircase (cat ladder) where no staircase has been provided for approach to the terrace.
  • To put provide additional PVC water tank at ground floor area without disturbing the common passage.
  • To provide an additional PVC water tank in the scooter/car garage at the surface level.
  • To provide loft /shelf in the rooms without chase in the walls.
  • To change the flooring with water proofing treatment.
  • To remove half (41/2) brick wall.
  • To make a ramp at front gate without disturbing the common passage /storm water drain.
  • To provide sunshades or the outer windows upto 2’wide projection.
  • To provide false ceiling in rooms.
  • To make an opening of maximum size of 2’6″ x1’9″ for exhaust fan or air-conditioner in existing walls.
  • Fixing of door in back and front courtyard.
  • Converting of window into Almirah subject to availability of light and ventilation as per building byelaws provided that no structural elements are disturbed and there is no projection extending beyond the external wall.
  • Shifting of water storage tank/raising of parapet wall upto 5′ height and putting additional water storage tank. Wherever the existing water storage tank capacity is less than 500 ltrs in a flat, a 500 ltrs tank can either replace the existing water storage tank or if possible the additional tank can be added so as to make the total storage capacity upto 550 ltrs. However, such replacement/provision of additional tank will be done only on the locations specified for such tanks and the supporting beams will be required to be strengthened suitably. Parapet wall around terrace can be increased to a height of 5′.
  • To shift the front glazing, rooms/windows upto existing chajja.


Following addition(s) / alteration(s) can be carried out with prior intimation/permission of the concerned agency i.e. DDA/MCD as per the prescribed procedure:

  • Interchange the position of kitchen,bathroom & WC with proper connections subject to structure safety. To carryout this interchange, all the allottees of one vertical stack will have to apply jointly to the concerned agency.
  • Construction of bath room and WC in the rear courtyard.
  • Covering of open terrace with sloping roofs upto 9′ height with light weight material e.g. fibre glass / AC sheets / GI sheets with pipes and standard angle iron section etc. and enclosing with glazing.
  • Removal of original structure and reconstruction with due permission in the case of single storeyed built up flats only subject to the satisfaction of building bye-laws and prior approval of the local authority.


  • Covering of courtyard and floor level terraces is allowed subject to fulfillment of building byelaws and structural safety. In three or four storeyed flats the owners at upper floor shall have the right to cover the area available as a result of coverage of courtyard /terrace of floor below. In such cases the residents of DDA flats in a vertical stack served by the same staircase should give their consent and jointly apply for permission.
  • In two storeyed flats the allottee at first floor wil have no right of construction above the courtyard built by ground floor allottee. The upper floor allottee of two storeyed flat can use the roof terrace for extra coverage as permissible.
  • A barsati on the roof terrace of the top floor in addition to mumty is allowed. This barsati should preferably be adjoining to the mumty and equivalent to the size of the room below so that construction of wall over is ensured at terrace level. This will be subject to the provision of access to the residents of the block for maintenance of water tank, plumbing system,fixing of TV/Cable antennas etc.

All the addition/alteration(s) and additional coverage will be governed by 5 basic principals:

  • There is no encroachment on the public land.
  • Structural stability of the building is ensured.
  • Light and ventilation of the habitable rooms is ensured as per the building byelaws.
  • There is no infringement of other’s rights.
  • The service elements such as manhole, rainwater fittings, sanitary fittings etc. are not disturbed and remain exposed for periodical inspection and maintenance.

The owner(s) will be allowed to cover additional space with prior permission of the concerned agency i.e DDA/MCD as per the prescribed procedure.

The existing additional covered area and addition(s)/alteration(s) can also be get regularized by the owner(s) of DDA flats if the same are within the prescribed norms following the same procedure.

Procedure of Permission

  • Additions/alterations in DDA flats in the Development Areas of the DDA shall be permitted by DDA and in other areas by MCD.
  • An Architect registered with Council of Architecture under Architects Act 1972 shall have the authority to certify plans for their correctness regarding original construction as well as proposals being in conformity with building byelaws and to the guidelines of addition (s) /alteration(s). Once the plans with all the documents certified by the Architect, structural Engineer and fee are submitted to DDA/MCD, these will be taken on record and treated as permitted.
  • The person(s) who has / have already carried out or intend to make addition(s)/ alteration(s) in the flat(s), shall intimate in writing in the prescribed form and such intimation shall be accompanied alongwith the documents as given in Para 3. The form is to be filled up and jointly certified by the owner(s) and Registered Architect which contains the statement of the proposal and amount deposited. The proposal with all requisite information/documents and certification shall be accepted by DDA/MCD and one coy of the proposal will be certified /stamped and returned to the applicant. Incomplete proposal shall not be accepted.
  • In cases where permission is required for interchanging the position of kitchen, bathroom & WC or for additional coverage in courtyard and terraces, all the owner(s) of one vertical block will jointly submit the proposal to DDA/MCD. In case, where all the owner(s) of one vertical block are not interested to carry out the addition/ alteration but one or two of them are interested, they will have to obtain no Objection Certificate from the remaining owner(s).
  • The Architect(s) may draw the original plan of the flat(s) by measurements and satisfy themselves about their correctness. If need be, they can obtain a certified copy of original plan of the flat from Housing and Urban Projects Wing, DDA on prescribed payment.

Building Plan Fee And Additional Floor Area Charges

A building plan fee of Rs. 200/- will be charged for processing the plans irrespective of covered area involved. In addition to this, a charge of Rs. 450/- per sqm. Will be levied for additional covered area proposed to be constructed. The rate of Rs. 450/- per sqm. is in accordance with the rate given by the Ministry vide order dated 25.09.1998 (Annexure -E) for additional FAR in group housing pockets.

Provision of Test Check

DDA/MCD reserves the right to test check the proposal / completion submitted to it and in case it is found that the proposal / completion is not in conformity with building bye-laws / given guidelines for addition(s)/alteration(s) in DDA flats, the permission will be revoked and action will be taken against the Architect as per Rules and Regulations, and the construction which is not in conformity with building bye-laws and guidelines will be removed as per provisions of Delhi Development Act/ DMC Act.

Documents to be Submitted

  • Application form in prescribed proforma.
  • 4 (four) Registered with Council of Architecture under the Architects Act 1972 indicating his / her name, address, telephone number, clearly showing original construction in blue colour and proposed construction/construction to be regularized in red colour at a scale not less than 1: 100.
  • Certificate of supervision by Architect and structural Engineer alongwith a copy of their valid registration and qualification certificate.
  • Certificate of supervision by Plumber if changes in wet areas i.e. kitchen,bath,WC/Toilet are proposed or the services are being affected in any way alongwith copy of valid registration certificate of Plumber.
  • Proof of ownership documents: Lease deed / conveyance deed shall be taken as documents for the proof of ownership. Registered sale deed or general Power of Attorney /Agreement to sale shall be accepted as the proof of ownership only after the property has been converted into freehold by DDA. This will also be required from the owner(s) who have given NOC only.
  • Certificate by owner(s) and structural Engineer for safety from natural hazard as per the proforma prescribed by Ministry.
  • Indemnity Bond for structural stability on a non-judicial stamp paper of Rs. 100/- duly attested by 1st Class Magistrate/Notary Public. This Indemnity Bond will have to be given individually by all the owners of the vertical stack of flats. This will not be required from those owner(s) who have given NOC only.

Posted in building, bylaws, DDA | 34 Comments »