Monday, December 31, 2012

Mantri Synergy residents are now on Facebook

Our friend Neeraj Singh has created a Facebook page -  MySynergy - that is open to all residents, notably, tenants. Any resident of Mantri Synergy, with a Facebook account,can join MySynergy Group. My sense is, there can be more than one MySynergy group member from a given family. Husband, wife, their sons/daughters may have individual Facebook accounts. What is more, we must recognize that  each of them may well a mind of their own on issues impacting our community.
If the page admin.(Neeraj) knows you live in Mantri Synergy;and if any group member identifies/invites someone as part of our residents community,there should be no hassles in becoming a MySynergy member. Am I right, Neeraj ?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Students for community service

A couple of college boys  (KSR College, Tiruchengode)  hit upon a community initiative to address food wastage by customers in restaurants.  They got a poster printed ,  showing  photo of a needy child  with empty plate.  The message :  ‘Please don’t waste food….wrap it’.
Palaniappan, and  Mohammed Ali, both engineering students, with Merwin Wesley,  found waste of  food by people visiting restaurants unacceptable and decided to do something about it.  The boys designed and printed about 4,000  ‘don’t-waste-food’ posters and distributed in restaurants and eating house in several Tamil Nadu towns, through a network of volunteer students.  They have mobilised over 100 volunteers in 17 towns.
Muhammad Ali – 0-8122139893- and Palaniappan – 0-9500488803 -   registered a society SEEDS.   They conduct awareness programme  to curb wastage of food, household  energy consumption  and conserve  other resources.  Their student volunteers  visit old age homes. With guidance from college alumni, SEEDS conduct counseling sessions in schools for Plus 1 and Plus 2 students  on choice of courses and subjects for higher education.
Interestingly,  the focus of SEEDS  initiative is on smaller towns – Dharmapuri, Erode, Darapuram, Bhavani, Attur, Mettur, Udmelpet, Hosur and Sathy. They  have volunteer representation in some  bigger cities as well – Trichy,  Selam,  Coimbatore, Tirupur,  and Chennai  (volunteers – Sibi Rajan and Rahul).
 Palaniappan (left) and Muhammad Ali  Photo:  M. Balaji, The Hindu
SEEDS approached 20 schools in Mettupalayam,  Erode and Tirupur,  asked students to come up with 15 suggestions to conserve electricity… School students are involved in household energy auditing in their neighbourhood, and community tree-planting in their localities.  During Deepavali,  SEEDS ogranised  door-to-door and distributed 5,000 pamphlets on how firecrackers pollute environment.
Says SEEDS president Muhammad Ali:  “We don’t approach the Government; instead we go to people. They have supported us. Some people have thrown the pamphlets back on our faces, we take it in our stride.”
Secretary Palaniappan: “I used to spend my pocket money on mobile recharge and snacks. Now, I save it to buy gifts for school children as we conduct a number of competitions for school students.”

Crossposted from My Take by GVK

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OMR Greens to join birdwatchers

At our Sunday 'gupshup' we discussed the idea of  OMR Greens participation in the upcoming Chennai Bird Race.  A few of us owning bicycles -  Pandey, Sridhar, Gopalan - endorsed the idea of taking a bicycle ride along  the lake on Kelambakkam-ECR road  while  birdwatchers from various parts of the city turn up on this stretch of road. Kelambakkam-ECR Road is listed among 30 designated spots for birdwatchers..
Those with bicycles could send a e-mail in response to this message. To give us an idea of the number we can expect for OMR Greens 'Awareness Ride'.
Among the birds sighted on the lake along  Kelambakkam-ECR are:  Grey Pelicans, Painted Storks, Egrets, Cormorants, Sandpipers, Terns (Whiskered, Little and Caspian), Black Shouldered Kite,  Eurasian Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Shikra, Kestrel, Pied Crested Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier,  House Swallow, Bee-eater, drongo, Rufous Treepie etc.Indian Robin,Sunbirds, Prinias and Warblers. The day-long birdwatching event, Sunday Dec,30,  is organised  by Madras Naturalists Society, HSBC and Yuhina Eco-Media.
Plan is for OMR Green-ers  to start from Mantri Synergy around 8 a m,, cycling all the way up to the tollgate on ECR end and be back, by 9.30. Blokes like me who can't bike, or ride doubles, would like a lift in someone's car that follows the bicycle riders.
For birdwatch enthusiasts who wish to register their names for Chennai Bird Race (registration free) could call 9840090875 , 9962515479.
To register log on

Monday, December 24, 2012

A 'Ninja' at Mantri Synergy

I don't suppose very many Chennai residents own a Ninja 650R. We have a bike enthusiast at Mantri Synergy who has the 2013 model. He joins the exclusive Ninja-650 club. Its membership in Chennai doesn't exceed 15. Out of curiosity I asked the owner the machine how much he paid. The figure he mentioned for the pricey two-wheeler is nearly as much as my budget - Rs.6 lakhs - for a new car I plan to buy..

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas at Mantri's Daycare

Asters Childcare, daycare centre at Mantri Synergy clubhouse have setup Infant Jesus Crib.  Mr Prem Krishna of the Daycare, in e-mail to parents, says the Christmas tree at their centre has been decorated by children with bulbs and bells. Christmas Day, (Tuesday) is the day of gifts left by Santa, for the children visiting the Daycare between 10.00  and 11.00 a m.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Community Pilliyar splits families

 I admit to a split within my family over this community Pilliyar that was installed unannounced on our residential campus, Mantri Synergy. My wife and I were not on the same page on  the idea of placing a Ganapathy idol in a secularist community,  notably,  when objection was raised from within the community.
 It all started a couple of months back , with a group of residents buying a Ganapathy idol from Mammalapuram, for Rs.16,000.  They were then looking for space in our complex to install the idol. When the issue came up for discussion in our in-house web portal  serious objections were raised to the idea. And nothing further was heard,  for well over a month,  till last weekend when most Mantri residents were taken by surprise to find a Pilliyar idol in place on the lawns of Senior Citizens Area.

A secretive group of residents had worked overnight to get this done. Idol installation puja was held early Sunday morning in the presence of a select group of residents. The event managers may have scored a tactical win, by resorting to hush-hush and questionable means. What they,  perhaps, didn't realize, or chose to ignore, is that their action gives cause for mutual mistrust, social disaffection ; it drives a wedge within the community at varied levels -  between neighbours, colleagues in OMR Greens, and even within families (such as mine).
I wonder if the means they adopted pleases Lord Ganapathy. But I can say it hasn't pleased the Pilliyar 'bakhtas'. Many of them who supported the move and contributed money for the cause  felt deeply let down  by such unannounced idol installation ceremony, carried out in a partisan manner. The Ganesha event managers have managed to create cracks in the community at many levels.

Christmas tree at Mantri's

We had Christmas trees coming up on common space at Mantri Synergy over the weekend. Morning walkers om Monday were pleasantly surprised to see on the lawns of the central park a 10 foot tall plastic tree decorated with colourful Christmas bulbs and glittering stars. Two other Christmas trees, not so big, are in place at our frontyard and the Clubhouse entrance.

Monday, December 17, 2012

OMR Greens for clean neighbourhood

Wayside halt on our way back from trash-busting at Kelambakkam

A neighbourhood weekly - The Chennai Outlook  (see Page 8) -  carries in its inaugural edition a feature - OMR Greens - A New Beginning for a clean OMR. The title sums up our agenda.
A clean OMR is possible . if we adopt a cluster approach to effective waste disposal and pre-laid draining system for discharge of sewage water treated at source with individual residential communities. While developers build sewage treatment plant within communities, they don't care about laying neighbourhood pipeline to carry their treated sewage discharge. It is pachayat's job, they say. Panchayat, on its part, cites lack of funds to take on such project. Developer-panchayat particiapation  is the way to go.
The story is the same in respect of  waste disposal strategy. Those of us in an apartments complex  adopt  'outsource and forget' waste   disposal policy.  We don't care where or how our outsourced garbage is disposed of  by service contractors. One guess is, much of our solid waste end up by the side of  Muthukkadu lake, along the road connecting Kelambakkam with ECR.
 OMR Greens would like to see a waste-to-energy conversion plant (like the Mamallapuram one) to serve a cluster of communities. We need to bring together,area-wise, residents, property developers and the panchayats for making this possible. Trash-busting is our way for mobilising public support for long-term solutions  to issues of common concern.
  I couldn't help feeling let down by the Kelambakkam panchayat. We were hoping the garbage collection staff would turn up with their tri-cycles to carry the garbage we collected, when  OMR Green volunteers,  went trash-busting on Kelambakkam Hight Street.
A small, but determined, group (one shy of the double digit number), carrying our cleaning gear, took out an 'Awareness Walk',  from Mantri Synergy main gate to Kelambakkam panchayat chief's office. Starting our trash-bust routine at the bus stop near panchayat chief's office, we worked our way to the road crossing at the market. The trash we collected was heaped up  on the roadside, to be collected by the panchayat garbage collection staff. They didn't show up. Nor did the Panchayat president, Mr G Venkatesan, on whose request, in the first place, we went trash-busting to Kelambakkam.
Mr Venkatesan had also offered to mobilize a group of local residents to join OMR Greens in trash-busting. What we found, in fact, were knots of curious onlookers hanging out on street-side, watching us cleaning up their trash.

 Stalwin was among the few who engaged us in conversation, and on learning of our agenda, offered to become an OMR Green member. Mr Stalwin, an engineer in a local company, said he would spread our message and mobilize a  local group for taking up bigger issues - stemming lake pollution, relocating a local chemical unit - requiring many more green activists.

Our Kelambakkam  'do'  was a learning experience. For instance, we ran into a rag-picker couple who carried their kids - Kartika, 2, and Kavya, 9 months -  in the garbage tricycle as they went about their daily rounds - 'there is no one at home to look after the kids'.. And then there was Santhosh, not older than my 7-year-old grandson, who helped his elder brother Ramesh in rag-picking. Asked why he didn't go to school Santhosh said, 'I don't know how to read'. But wasn't that the purpose of schooling - 'teaching kids to read and write' ?  That was a Q that ought to be addressed to Santhosh's parents.

OMR Greens on YouTube

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getting TV connection in high-rises

Disappointed with the lack of  response from Airtel  when we wanted additional connection for our third room,  I opted for Tata Sky, only to face a hassle about placement of the Dish. The installation technician ruled out balconies for fixing the Dish in our 9th floor apartment in Mantri Synergy. . We had to seek a favour from our 12th and top-floor neighbour who owns the terrace rights. The developer has made money selling terrace space to apartment owners on the top-floor, whether or not the top floor apartment owners require such space on payment. Whether it is right and legally proper for developers to transact what is essentially  common area is quite another matter.
When you go in for Tata Sky  the dealer doesn't tell you about about the technical aspect of fixing the Dish. What is worse, both dears at Kelambakkam were affirmative in response when we asked if the Dish could be fixed in our our balcony. Shouldn't dealers be required to guide customers properly ? Shouldn't they consider hiring part-time staff for site evaluation  before selling Tata Sky or any other DTH package to  residents in high-rise buildings.
As of now, there is no co-ordination among the TV dealer, installation staff (outsourced by Tata Sky folk), and the company's web-based  customer service that mainly  operates as a re-charge  mode.           . .
I don't know if it is feasible for Mantri Synergy or other  high-rise buildings  to go in for DTH service provider who can put up a mega dish on common terrace space or on top of the clubhouse, and feed individual apartments their preferred channels. In such an arrangement we can even have a in-house channel, in which residents welfare associations can telecast their announcement and activities. This would provide the association scope for revenue through ads.. And then we can have movies on this channel..
We could do with feedback on feasibility of in-house cable facility,  cost involved in setting it and operating it  and the licensing procedure, if any.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spotlight on Rosedale

Monday morning sun throws its spotlight on Rosedale apartments at Padur on OMR. This is in refreshing contrast to yesterday morning when mist obscured the towering residential structure, as viewed from across the road.  It is as if the Sun is compensating  Rosedale om Monday for its absence on Sunday.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Morning mist at OMR

We woke up this Sunday to misty morning. Some of the walkers had pulled out their sweater and shawl. Visibility was so poor that the towering  Mantri Synergy buildings got obscured in haze, as viewed from OMR, And the Rosedale apartments across the road was less than a hazy outline..
For more photos see OMR Resident Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sorry state of OMR

Much of the six-lane Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR) is under a foot deep water after sharp shower because it lacks a proper stormwater drainage system.
The Hindu, in a Page 2 article by Deepa H Ramakrishnan, says:   "Though the detailed project report of the road had proposed construction of drains to carry stormwater, this was not implemented. The Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC) gave it up and the State government said that local bodies would construct the drains.
"The road was constructed at a cost of Rs. 400 crore and the average collection from the toll plazas touches Rs. 3 crore per month. TNRDC also gets income from advertising revenue. The drains would cost just Rs. 15 crore, but according to sources, the company did not have adequate funding to construct them.
"Though the road became a tolled facility in December 2008, construction of footpaths and ducts has yet to be completed. The road also does not have bus shelters...

Source: A 'world-class' road, a horror in a downpour

Friday, November 23, 2012

'Today' : Akshaya's next @ OMR

'Today' is an unusual name for a housing project.  It developers -  Akshaya - chose it,  presumably, on suggestion from a corporate astrologer or creative head of their advt. agency. For the record, the developers say the name was chosen , as it reflects, in every way,  their upcoming project at  Thaiyur, OMR. The housing project, with 2000 plus units, has  'an air of speed and dynamism' that today's age stands for.
The Hindu  carries a 16-page supplement anouncing  Akshaya's  'Today' project, termed  'the people's mini-city on OMR'.  Referring to Today's location, the supplement says the govt. is planning to develop a 187-acre Financial City - housing banks,  insurance companies, and other financial institutions - near Thaiyur.
Elsewhere on OMR TIDCO plans to come up with a Media and Entertainment sector Park spread over 25 acres. And then a sprawling Sports City spread over 1500 acres is in the works  on the  Kelambakkam-Thiruporur stretch.
Today, says Akshaya, would have a courtyard developed around a 65-year old banyan tree on the premises ; and they also have plans for a green patch covered with ornamental trees, shrubs, vines and a lotus pond.
Unlike most other OMR communities Today  would have a visitors' car park within the campus. At  my place, Mantri Synergy, visitors are obliged to leave their vehicles outside the main gate. The Akshaya's supplement makes no mention of car-parking designated for the handicapped.
Speaking  of parking space a general complaint  against  developers is they sell the open area as parking space,  in utter disregard to the court orders. Apartment owners associations have been fighting a losing battle against developers,  basically because the demand for housing keeps rising and even those who are aware of the rights of apartment buyers find themselves helpless in asserting their due.
As a panelist in NDTV Property Show  put it, such is the demand for apartments that developers usually close bookings for apartments  within  days of project announcement. Apartment owners associations are formed years later, during occupancy of completed flats.
Incidentally,  Akshyaya's have announced, what they call, a three-day booking marathon during which flats can be booked at discounted rate, on payment of a booking advance of Rs.2 lakhs.  Call 42008811/24968811.

Monday, November 19, 2012

OMR Greens go Trash-busting at Sai Temple

Members of  OMR Greens, a community initiative by Mantri Synergy apartments residents, went trash-busting at Sai Temple, Kelambakkam, early Sunday morning. With help from Mr S Kumar of Saravana Medicals, some Sai temple employees, and schoolboy Arvind, a group of 12  OMR Green-ers got down to cleaning up the garbage littered in the vicinity of the temple.
Earlier OMR Green members, carrying placards, set out from Mantri Synergy gate on an 'awareness' walk to Sai Temple. This was our idea of attracting public attention to our initiative. We didn't set Muthukkadu on fire, but we could say OMR Greens was being talked about and the  Kelambakkam panchayat president, Mr G Venkatesan,  made a request to OMR Greens that we organise Trash-busting on Kelambakkam main street (near the petrol station) one of these weekends.
At Sai Temple the panchayat chief deployed a tractor trolley, and a couple of tricycles to collect and carry the trash to the designated landfill
Sai Temple head priest Sri Acharya arranged for a few pongai saplings that we planted near the temple to mark the trash-busting - the third since OMR greens was launched in September last. Tne OMR community environment group has earlier carried out Trash-busting,to clear a garbage heap close to Hindustan University and on the main street at Padur.
OMR Greens participants at the Sai Temple event included Pravin, Pandian, Bala, Shine, Santhakumar, Neeraj, Pandey,  P S Sridhar and wife, Gopalan, Viswanath, Vasu, GVK and wife.
See OMR Greens Facebook page for Trash-busting video.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apt.owners unite to fight developers

The message appears on the bottom of this video image, of  NDTV Profit show telecast on the launch of the Federation of Apartment Owners Associations (FAOA).
Participants included FAOA vice-president, Mr Gautam Gulati; and Sand Legal Service M D, Mr Sai Chandravardhan.
Points that emerged in their discussion:
1) Selling open-space parking lots by developers is a huge scandal;
2) Court orders, even Supreme Court directive, have been ignored by real estate developers;
3) Developers throw to the winds the commitments they make to the authorities while seeking permission to build;
4) Open space parking lots are sold  openly, and blatantly. And developers have been getting away with it;
5) In confronting developers apartment owners associations have not much hope without a) their unity at all India level, b) class-action by a critical mass of apt.owners in such big numbers that courts are driven to action, and c) creation of an effective regulatory body.
6) Uniform regulation on a national level difficult accomplish because real-estate comes under state govt. jurisdiction.
7) Legislation governing real-estate in 8 states is based on the Maharashtra apartment ownership Act of 1963.
Apartment owners associations find themselves on a weak wicket because:
a) Ever increasing demand for housing; and heightened anxiety among apartment owners to take possession, because of inordinate delay in delivery by developers;
b) Developers, in most cases,  get bookings from buyers within days of announcing a new  housing  project,  when not even a single document is ready.
c) Many apt. owners go in for purchase even though they are well aware that developer cannot legally  sell open-space as parking lot.
d) Apartment  buyers act individually  at the time of booking, signing of agreements.
e) Apartment owners association get formed only during occupancy of flats.
As the panelists viewed it, the way to go :
1) Consolidation of apartment owners association at all-India level - FAOA has till date only 15 associations as members.
2) Building database by FAOA for  publicising  the track-record of various developers for the benefit of  intending apartment buyers..
3) A common platform of associations to create awareness among apartment buyers of their rights.
4) Filing class-action litigation..

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Join OMR Greens Walk to Sai Temple

OMR Greens, a Manti Synergy, Padur,  residents initiative, has plans this Sunday (Nov.18)  for Trash-busting in the vicinity of Kelambakkam Sai Temple. Kelambakkam panchayat chief Mr G Venkatesan has offered to join us with the panchayat garbage collection staff.
In a minute-long video for our YouTube channel, recorded this morning the Sai Temple head priest Acharya says the temple people would extend all possible support to our endeavour. Moreover he has offered to plant a few saplings in the temple vicinity in recognition of OMR Greens service activity.
Trash-busting,  we know,  isn't the thing that many of us are really excited about. Those who are not keen on messing up their hands can still help the cause by joining OMR Green-ers in the 20-min. 'Awarness Walk' from Mantri Synergy to Sai Temple on Sunday morning.
Our programme
Sunday, Nov.18, 2012
8.15 a m - Green Awareness Walk (starting from Mantri Synergy main gate.
8.30 - 10.00 a m - Trash-busting
10.05 - 1.15 a m - Tree-planting

Meanwhile Join us for online discussion on OMR Greens Facebook

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting stuck in lift at a high-rise

Watch this 90 second video before you read.  The wailing sound you hear is a siren from someone stuck in a lift as power went out in our high-rise residential complex. Our lifts - we have 19 at Mantri Synergy - are not fitted with automatic rescue device (ARD).
Whoever gets caught in a lift when power goes off stays stuck in there till power supply is resumed. And it takes anytime from 2 mins to 20 for our diesel generated back-up power to kick in. It took nearly half-hour for  power supply to be restored  last evening (Sunday). This video was taken from our 9th floor flat when we were some 10 minutes into the darkness that covered the entire apartments complex.
At Padur, on OMR, you never can tell when the state electricity board switches off power supply. Unannounced EB power shut-down, frequent as they are, add up to 6 to 8 hours daily.. This is a situation about which none of us were aware when we bought apartments at Mantri Synergy. Developers had assured us of 24/7 power supply through an effective back-up system.

Question: 1) Weren't developers on OMR aware of erratic power supply situation in Padur-Kelambakkam neighbourhood ?
2) Shouldn't they have shared this info. with prospective apartment buyers ?
3) Now that we are faced with fait accompli, aren't  Mantri as well as the other builders in Padur-Kelambakkam neighbourhood socially, morally, if not legally,  responsible  for exploring  possibilities -   such as petitioning the EB authorities,  proposing to govt. and  participating in joint solar/wind energy and renewable energy projects? 

Even when we get EB power supply at Mantri's the voltage is so low that you need to operate DG to keep lifts, water pumping, BSNL phone/broadband network functioning. Domestic Air-conditioners and washing machines wouldn't work under low voltage power supply. It may not make business sense for real estate developers to mention all this to prospective apartment buyers. And those going in for apartments in Padur, Kelambakkam and beyond on OMR would would do well to factor in erraticity of EB power supply. Frequent power cut and voltage erraticity raises the monthly maintenance bill  for apartment owners. At Mantri Synergy we pay Rs.1,500 a month as water and diesel charges.
I don't know about other communities, but at Mantri Synergy the lifts do not have automatic rescue device (ARD). We have 9 blocks, 12 floors in each, and 19 lifts in the complex. A proper and fully functional lift goes with construction of a high-rise building. I wonder if developers cutting corners on this score can be taken to consumer courts.

Didn't know ducks eat sand, stones

It wouldn't have  occurred to me to do Internet search about matters such as  the lifespan and eating habits of ducks,  if I had  not escorted a bunch of  children in our apartment complex  to the Gateway School pets' club. They ask too many questions - these children.  The pet club visit  followed Children's Day tree-planting at Mantri Synergy apartments complex. We had children plant nine saplings - pongai - representing each residential block - A to I.. After which we asked them to name the saplings they planted.

The  children came up with  Aditya, Buddha, Cashmeera, D'Arcey, Ezhile, Freddy, Gautham, Harish and India.  Frankly, I couldn't catch the C- name that Sundeep's  kids gave for their plant.  And I am not sure about the  'D'  plant's  spelling ( Trishna, who named the plant  can tell us). I got stumped by kids, once again, at the pet club ducks enclosure. Watching the ducks Nitya asked how long do they live and what do they eat for breakfast or lunch. Nitya and other children had just come  after watching couple of caged rabbits making a meal of cabbage.

Google search reveals that average lifespan of domestic duck is 10 yrs. And they eat almost anything - small fish, snails, worms, weeds,  algae, insects, seeds and,  at times, even  sand,  gravel and small stones. But for having to respond to such inconvenient questions,  it was fun spening time with children. OMR Greens organized Children's Day programme on Sunday ( Nov.14 being a working day) because we wanted  parents' participation. Our hunch was that  parents have as much fun watching children having fun.Besides, such social programming generated a community chemistry among Mantri Synergy residents.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

OMR Greens invites kids to mini-zoo

The plan is to take children, after Sunday's tree-planting, on a drive to Gateway School mini-zoo. They have a few birds, a couple of rabbits, and a turtle, perhaps. But then we thought it would be fun. The idea came up when a couple of Green-ers met Gateway principal. She readily agreed to invite our children to her mini-zoo; and offered to deploy the staff to take care of us, even though it would be a Sunday.
Our programme is:
Tree-planting - 9 a m
School trip - 10 a m

Children would plant 9 'pongai' saplings, one for each Block, on our front lawns. We could do with some volunteers to drive the children in their cars to Gateway School at Padur. We wouldn't spend more than 30 mins. at min-zoo.

Gateway School, Padur, OMR

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting waste-wise

We all know of the process of converting household organic waste into manure. Most of us wouldn't  give it a try,  Why ?
1)  we think we can't spare the space;
2) It's messy, smelly, would attract flies.
3) Can't  find anyone for its up-keep.
4) Lack of consensus, in the case of apartment buildings.
Anusha Parthasarathy's article in The Hindu  citing residents who are using organic converters, says:
-  Not much space is  needed. A small green patch,  or balcony would do.
-  Maintenance costs get reduced if it is a community initiative, says the Bangalore-based 'Daily Dump' founder Poonam Bir Kasturi.
 -  Navneeth Raghavan, Chennai, lives on 4th floor, uses 3-layered terracotta pots - 'Khambas' for composting - leaves them in her balcony. No stink during decomposition and we have a solution to keep away flies, says Navneeth (.9840082607)
- 'Daily Dump' has changed the way Preethi Sukumaran and Sruti Harihara Subramanian think of household waste - everything that comes into the house is looked at,to see if it can be recycled or composted.
- Preethi carries own containers and oil cans to grocery stores - packaged grocer covers are washed, dried and put into the recycling bin.
- Preethi keeps separate kitchen bin for plastic, paper, and other recyclables. Uses stainless steel water bottles, instead of plastic ones.
- Rinse-water from hand-washed clothes is used  to mop floors and clean toilets.
- Water used to wash vegetables or rice is recycled for plants.
- Sruti sustains her terrace garden ...with Khamba compost....'Throw organic waste into it. You get microbes and additives to mix in'. Sruti, who runs Ashvita Bistro, Alwarpet, uses a Khamba there as well, and retails the compost sets.
- Singapore-based blogger Bhavani Prakash  has written an e-book called  '50 Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly'
OMR Greens can consider setting up a pilot khamba compost unit - with contributions from a few volunteer households in gated communities. If apartment owners association designates a small patch for trial plant, OMR Greens, can take the idea forward.
Related links:
Eco-soap, detergents retail  KryaBoxtree
Recycler Kuppathotti

Friday, November 2, 2012

Next Trash-busting, at Sai Temple, OMR

Sai Temple at Kelambakkam is probably the most well-maintained place of worship in our OMR neighbourhood.  We  see devotees helping the  maintenance staff in keeping the temple neat and clean. In the tradition of karsewa  performed by Sikhs visiting gurudwara,  I have observed Sai devotees visiting Kelambakkam devoting their time to cleaning the temple premises as part of their worship.

Outside is another story. Adjacent to the temple is a vacant plot that is being used as garbage dump by residents in the vicinity. I took this video to be able to share  with members of OMR Greens. And to suggest we take up the next trash-busting around Sai Temple. We have since decided the date - Sunday, Nov.18. The temple management has extended their support.

We plan to mobilize public awareness and support for our awareness programme,  among residents, Hindustan University  students and faculty members who partner with OMR Greens, our well-wishers in Kelambakkam - Saravana Medicals, and Murugesan of the firewood depot -  and Kelambakkam panchayat people. We also count on participation of Sai devotees.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sidharth/Nikhil stand up to Nilam's fury

Team Jayaram of Mantri Synergy gardening staff fixing bamboo crutches to secure Nikhil from battering wind that preceded Nilam, the storm that hit Chennai on Oct.31, 2012.

 Sidharth and Nikhil, the neems in our Seniors Area  are among the few plants that withstood Nilam's fury, as the storm ravaged its way through OMR at Chennai.   At our Mantri Synergy apartment complex  we give a name to every tree planted by residents under our community tree-planting programme.
The cyclone warning (that Nilam would hit the coast, Wednesday evening) had us worried. And on my request an overworked Jayaram and three others on  Mantri's gardening staff attended, on a priority,  to the neems that were being battered in howling wind,  that started blowing several hours before the storm crossed Mamallapuram coast

Such was the scene on Wednesday afternoon when we managed to secure the neems against anticipated storm later in the evening. We we pleasantly surprised to find our neems  standing their ground through the storm while the the trees all around them were battered, bruised and beaten to the ground. 

This was the scene and  status of Nikhil and Sidharth the morning after the storm Nilam.

How about Children's Day parade at Mantri's ?

I wish to share, notably, with parents of young ones, some video clips on a Halloween parade of school kids. They give us an idea of the fun we could have, organising a fancy dress parade in our residential complex to celebrate Children's Day.  As of now, the programme is to have Mantri Synergy children plant 9 saplings, one representing each block of flats, on Sunday Nov.11. Children's Day (Nov.14) happens to be a working day.

The Halloween video clips reveal, if anything, that at any children's function, it is parents who get more excited, and, possibly,  have more fun, than the kids. Besides, such events provide each parent an opportunity for photographing children in a social setting.  One other thing I noticed as I viewed the video clips, some children don't wish to be patted or pampered in public by parents, particularly  when they are in company of peers or classmates. I see Sidharth, in green head-gear, blue t-shirt,  walking by (Video 2) without so much as  saying 'Hi' to his dad hailing him.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Whistle of the wind, OMR

This photo taken from the 9th floor of Mantri Synergy apartment complex doesn't reflect the sound and speed of the  wind blowing from the sea several hour before Cyclone Nilam was expected to hit the coast ( Wednesday evening). You get a sense of  play of the scene from these YouTube clips::
Whistling wind - 1
Whistling wind - 2

Driveway side flowers

Now that I have been bitten by this YouTube bug, I take a shot at whatever I fancy during our morning walk at our residential complex on OMR.
I have set up my own channel - MyTakebyGVK - on YouTube

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

At a OMR community concert

Anuja in concert at Navarathri celebrations.  Photo by -  Mr Lakshmanan (my D block neighbour)

I am not into music of the Carnatic kind, but  on wife's recommendation, I attended Anuja's rendering of concert music as part of Mantri Synergy Navarathri celebrations at our clubhouse. Anuja's approach, presentation, and the way she addressed the audience appealed even to the uninformed among us, says my wife. It is this quality,  more than anything else,  that empowered Anuja (H-block) to teach music to the 4-year-olds.

Talent alone isn't enough. It takes poise, stage presence and ettiquette to make a musician. And, in my book, Anuja (H block)  makes the grade in all departments. What's more, she has the temperament to put up with other hassles of a community gathering during Navarathri.

For many us in the audience music is a  side-show. On such occasions we are more into socializing, social networking. Artistes often find themselves performing for an uncaring audience, or empty chairs. Anuja handled with grace the irritating rings of audience cell-phones; incessant back-row chatter; and hyper active toddlers who barely sit in one chair for more than 17 seconds at a time. Children appeared to have a free play in the hall; and if singers find this a distraction, they simply  grin and bear it. I wonder if organisers or anyone else can do much about this. After all, the children escorting elders need to be engaged.

Ms Karthikaipavai of cultural programme committee  could, perhaps,  do with some volunteer baby-sitters to run a cartoon films show or some thing elsewhere at the clubhouse during Navarathri  song and dance evenings. Ms Pavai would also do well to put up a proposal to the Association,  for sanction of a few pedestal fans in the clubhouse.. A packed hall without air-conditioners adds to the discomfort of children and women, notably, those in heavy silk sari.

As I said at the start, carnatic music is not quite my cup of tea. Realising this, presumably, Anuja wound up her concert with a touching Tamil number  - Ethanai janmum eduthalum..... The pull of one's own soil has been the theme of poets and lyricists in every language. My own favourites in this genre include Chhod Aaye Hum Oh Galian ... and  O Yaaro Maaf Karna ...

As they have done so well in identifying in-house talent in carnatic music, Ms Pavai and friends in her committee should scout for  talent within our complex to make an evening of  movie  songs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Community event at Hiranandani's, OMR

My friend Viswanath at Mantri Synergy, with connection in other residential communities on OMR sent a set of pictures taken during a community event at Hirananadani's,  Navalur. We have at Mantri's quite a few Hiranandani families that have taken apartments on rent while their own place is getting ready for occupation.
For more photos on Hiranandani's community event look up OMR Resident on Facebook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Navarathri @ MantriSynergy, OMR

The young ladies organizing community Kolu (display of dolls) at our clubhouse were keen on projecting a green message; and Neeraj of  OMR Greens, with Sundeep, landscaped a model (see photo) that has a windmill towering over a green patch. I would like to see, wouldn't you, our apartments owners association taking a cue from Sundeep/Neeraj model, and take a shot at setting up rooftop windmills at  Mantri Synergy. My friends and D block neighbour , Mr Sriraj, has expressed his willingness to offer his apartment terrace for putting up a hybrid solar-wind power generation unit, as a pilot programme.
Meanwhile, as part of Navarthri celebrations a rangoli contest was held at our clubhouse last weekend. My favourite entry,  picked out for its message, is the rangoli that talks about the oneness of people, of different religious faiths, and of the green imperative for saving Planet Earth.
And then I happened to visit Ms Lakshmi Gopalan's (F 603) apartment, where the kolu she has set up depicts urbanisation of rual Padur, in the wake of real estate development all  around the village  - Akshaya,Oak Tree, Rosedale, and, of course Mantri Synergy. Mrs Gopalan's landscape reflects transition of Padur,from village to a township, as a result of our moving into their neighbourhood. The Kolu artist also takes note of our new-found neighbourhood community initiative - OMR Greens.
Lakshmi Gopalan's Kolu on YouTube.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trash-busting 20/10, Padur @ OMR

Trash-busters pose for photo by Arun Raveendran Nair. He handles a shovel and trash 'tokri' as well as he does, a camera.
We thought we would be beaten back; and despite a wet and unwelcoming weather a bunch of us, hardcore OMR Green-ers, made a go of Trash-busting on Padur main street. We had the backing of Hindustan University  students, notably girls, and two faculty members  Prof. Geethadevi, and Dr Ilavazhagan, who took to the street with us in our green awareness drive.
Dr G Ilavazhagan, Director(Research), Hinduatan University,  along with a student, did heavy-duty trash-lifting near Padur bustand.   Prof. Geethadevi, got down to picking up used paper cups discarded on pavement in front of a teashop.
Padur Panchayat chief, Mr Chinnakutty, showed up at the bus stand to facilitate our 'do' and and organise transporting of trash to the dumping yard. Shopkeepers,and scores of passers-by stood watching us, perhaps,  baffled at our intervention. OMR Greens' Rajaraman and Prof. Geethadevi went up to shopkeepers to tell them what the score was; and why it wasn't such a good idea to litter pavement with garbage. A shopkeeper was heard arguing, it was for the panchayat to keep the streets clean. Maybe, he has a point. And OMR Greens' appeal is addressed to people and their panchayat alike.
OMR Greens on YouTube                  

Solar power, the cost factor

Commercial tariff for grid power: Rs.6 - Rs.8 per unit:
Disesel generator back-up - Rs. 16 - Rs.18
Solar power - Rs.10 a unit.
So says Solkar Solar MD, Mr K E Raghunathan. He is quoted in media as saying,  some 60 sq.ft space is required for one kW rooftop system, capable of producing 5 units on a fair weather day. 
A solar photovoltaic power plant, with a capacity of one kilowatt, has been up and running for some months at a Kilpauk residence of Mr D Suresh.
He has 10 solar panels; a dual power converter, along with 10 batteries of 100 ampere-hours (AH) capacity each. During day, the power plant lights the house and during night, the converter takes over, drawing power from the batteries. 
Capital cost:  Rs. 2.5 lakh, inclusive of  subsidy of Rs.80,000 provided through the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA). Net cost for consumer: Rs.1.7 lakh.
If someone is planning a study visit to Mr Suresh's  Kilpauk house, I would be interested.
This one can be taken up by OMR Greens.

Friday, October 19, 2012

OMR Greens: Our charge against Mantri's

Our next door neighbour at Padur,  OMR and organic farmer Mr R Ranganathan, who has been here since early 1970s, says hundreds of trees - coconut and mango - were slaughtered by Mantri's to pave way for raising our residential complex.
So, what's new in it, doesn't every developer do it ? I would have thought so as well, had  a Mantri resident Mr D Venkatesan (A-block) not e-mailed us a media report citing a statement by Snehal Mantri. She was reported in The Hindu Property Plus (Jan.12, 2008) as saying :
When MDPL took over the land on OMR at Chennai, the entire area looked so green we had second thoughts about building Mantri Synergy there. We then thought of transplantation. There were a total of 165 coconut trees, 24 mango trees and around 140 teak wood trees spread there, and we managed to save 90% of the trees.
A tree count on Mantri Synergy campus appears appropriate.  So that,  when the apartment owners association takes over of assets from Mantri's,  we could seek an account of transplanted trees from Mantri's. Apart from an exercise in 'green' auditing, this has financial implication. The cost of transplanting a tree (at 2008 price level) ranged from Rs,5,000 to Rs.10,000. And the expenses, we assume, was billed to apartment buyers .
Meanwhile OMR Greens would like to see trees planted wherever we can. We could do with some on the sides of our front lawn, for some shade on driveway. Would it be too late to consider planting some, may be neem, in celebration of our 'Go Green' Navarathri ?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Navarathri @ OMR

Photos by  Mantri Synergy resident Chelakara Viswanath
A spirited group of young residents at Mantri Synergy were at work till wee hours of Tuesday (Oct.16) setting up Navarathri dolls at the clubhouse community hall. Sandeep who has flair for design and decorative art, and Neeraj of OMR Greens (whose theme is projected in kolu) , along with their wives did the landscaping. They were at it till 4 a m, says Ms Karthikaipavai who heads the Navarathri celebrations panel.
Mr Jayamani, his wife, and Mr Soundarajan, did Ganapathy puja, Tuesday morning, to mark the start of the 9-day celebrations.
During Navarathri we have puja, twice daily - 7.30 a m and 6 p m. Those who wish to taste 'sundal' prasadam, from varied households, would do well not to miss the evening session. Which, I believe, includes music and dance sessions on a daily basis.
YouTube 1) Navarathri Kolu @ OMR 1 - 7 mins
 2) Navarathri Kolu @ OMR 2 - 1.15 mins.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

OMR Greens: Placards wanted

We are looking for school students who can help us with painting placards on cardboard sheets, taken  from discarded packing cases. The cards would carry environment-related messages, preferably, in Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Bwngali and English.
Whatever the language, the message is the same. Idea is to address these messages to people at Padur, which is also home for students and migrant workers from other states.
OMR Greens plans trash-busting 20/10 at Padur. After cleaning up garbage along Padur main street near the bus stand, we propose to march through the streets in Padur, carrying placards with green messages such as:

1) We're Trash Busters - 'kuppai ozhippu padai' (in Tamil)
2) Plant Trees, Banish Trash
Marum Nedu; Kuppai Eadu (Tamil)
3) Trash-busting 20/10, Padur
Save the Lake, Save Water
5) OMR Greens
we're on Facebook,YouTube 

It would help, if you turn in your placards (don't forget to sign your name,Class, School, at the bottom) by Sat. morning. That is, before
8.00 a m (start from Mantri gates in procesion)
Padur Main Street (near bus stand)
Trash-busting (8.15 - 9.30 a m)
Green Awareness march (9.30 a m) through Padur streets.

Organic retail @ OMR

Organic farmer Ranganathan has opened a retail outlet on his OMR farmland at Padur, near Kelambakkam. His shop, set up in the front hall of his farm house, sells about 140 organic products procured from 2,000 farmers in Tamilnadu and elsewhere. Mr Ranganathan, an activist in organic farming, said he got initiated by a friend in Sweden in early 1970s.
That was the time when he came from his native Myladuthurai to work at a dairy in Chennai. It was around the same yime he set up a farm of his own on a one-acre patch near Kelambakkam on OMR. His farm  is now sourrounded by high-rise residential buildings. Amid the emerging communities developed by the Mantri's, the Gem Group, X S Real, the Jain Housing Group and the Poorvankara, would Mr Ranganathan's one-acre coconut and Mango patch hold out on its own ?
'I have no intention of giving up my farm land, not till my death, at any rate," says 64-year-old Ranganathan.
He moved his organic retail  from T Nagar to his own farmland a month back, Besides vegetables and organic fruits, the OMR outlet stocks a wide range of value-added food items, neatly packed, labeled and bottled.
Mr Ranganathan wanted us  to report to him our assessment of organic milk he procures from a  Chingulpet dairy-owner who maintains a livestock of 100 truly Indian bred cattle. He gets organic milk packets only on weekends nowadays.. Mr Ranganathan said could arrange for daily milk supply,  if he could have a customer base of at least 60 neighbourhood residents.
Mr Ranganathan can be reached at 9443346369; Landline - 044 27475961
Related YouTube video clips:
Farmhouse organic outlet on OMR - 2.43 mins.
Organic farmer Mr Ranganathan interview - 4.05 mins.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

OMR Greens - Review 13/10

With barely 3 days left for the start of  Navarathri celebrations at Mantri Synergy residential complex, a  OMR Greens activist,  Neeraj Singh , has volunteered to take up with Madhumita and friends modalities of the  Greens involvement by way of  1) designing a display of kolu toys depicting a scene from Trash-busting 29/9 (to be cleared by kolu organisers); and
2) Organising a children's film evening - showing 10-15 min. OMR Greens video, and a feature film - Cars -1.  Mr Arvind Rajgopaul  has agreed to provide digital copy for the film show. Date , to be decided in consultation with programme organisers.
Incidentally, Mr Rajgopaul would be happy to loan his grandson's toy-train set (Thomas and Friends) for Kolu display,  if Navarathri organisers would be interested.
Our next trash-busting is scheduled on  Saturday, Oct.20, at Padur main bus stop on the main street. Plan is, OMR Greens volunteers plan to assemble at Mantri's main gate at 8 a m, and march to Padur with their cleaning gear. Padur panchayat chief is expected to join them on the job around 9 a m.
Meanwhile a 2 min, video on the current status of the trash dump (pathetic) that was cleaned up two weeks back has been uploaded on YouTube : Trash is back 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Navarathri at Mantri Synergy

Chandra, Farzana and Madhumita represent the organising panel for Navarathri celebrations, starting Oct.16
Mantri Synergy residents association has mandated a three-member volunteer group - Chandra, Farzana and Madhumita -  to do the spadework for Dasara/Navarthri celebrations, starting Oct.16, at the Clubhouse.
The 9-day celebrations includes 'Kolu', children's singing,  pot-painting, OMR Greens video show for children. I suggested that the ladies could consider planting a sapling on the clubhouse lawns  to mark Dasara celebration.
Chandra  would want to see Mantri Synergy participate in the Kolu contest announced by The Times of India Group.
Madhumita suggested,  apart from display of traditional dolls, the kolu should have a theme and wondered if OMR Greens had any ideas to offer.
The three women listed the following tasks:
1) Shop for a kolu stand
2) Collect dolls on loan from Mantri residents for the clubhouse Kolu display.
3) Designate 9 families that volunteer to make 'sundal' for distribution as evening prasad.
4) Have a group of Mr Viswanathan's music students sing during the evening puja time.
5) Get the association to award certificates of participation to children taking part in various programmes.
6) Organise children pot-painting on the driveway and elsewhere on a weekend.
7) Mobilise residents for kollum (rangoli) show at clubhouse entrance.
8) Plant a sapling in celebration of Dasara.
The three-woman group would be happy to consider other ideas  residents may have, and and hear from volunteers who can add value to our celebrations.           

OMR Greens - an update

First, something that's not so nice and encouraging.
Within 2 weeks of our 29/9 trash-busting on OMR , Padur,  garbage is back on the site - like the curl of a dog's tail that we sought to straighten out (to use the anology of a friend of mine). But then wasn't this anticipated ? Trash littered all around OMR Greens concrete bin (costing Rs.1,000) shows, if anything, that we still have a long way to go in educating the uninformed. Maybe, after some weeks, we need to revisit the site, and call it, Trash-busting 29/10. Meanwhile,let us move the panchayat to get the bin emptied now and then. 
Now, the positives: We heard from a resident at Thoraipakkam that his community would like to be associated with OMR Greens. Isn't that encouraging ?
Padur panchayat chief would like us to trash-bust at Padur main street (bus stop), preferably, this Sat. Oct.13. He also wants  OMR Greens T-shirt to wear. Of course, he has his own agenda. Who doesn't ?
Our agenda is to get Panchayat chief on our side. He may not be much of a help, but he wouldn't be a hindrance to our plans. Mr Gopalan R would want us to take out a anwareness march through Padur streets, carrying 'green' placards.
We plan to approach Hindustan University authorities for planning a joint programme to clean their vicinity. We already have the backing of the auto-stand people.
From viewpoint of some youngsters in OMR Greens, we are not moving fast enough. For instance, Neeraj 'B' Singh spoke, at our review meet last night, of organising a OMR photo contest, and approaching companies with CSR account for sponsorship. We reckon he wants us to move at bullet speed. The 'B' I have put in as his middle name stands for 'bullet'

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dumping in Muthukkadu Lake ?

Muthukkadu Lake on ECR, as viewed from Mantri Synergy on OMR

Pallavaram municipal chairman has been directed by the national green tribunal not to dump garbage into Pallavaram Lake. A Madipakkam resident S.P. Surendranath Karthik, who petitioned the tribunal has also claimed damages under the 'polluter pays' principle. But then the civic body would argue that dumping has been happening for decades. Besides the municipal waste collectors aren't the only culprit.  Decades of dumping  truckloads of trash from elsewhere may well have contributed to the current mess.
 Upshot is: Pallavaram Lake, spread over 300 acres, is shrinking, and whatever remains of the water spread, in the southern part of the lake, is said to have turned toxic. The  lake is the prime source of drinking water for residents in neighbourhood localities.

The lake from where Padur people source water is getting smaller, and increasingly polluted. The issue, if left unaddressed any further, can only get worse, at a faster pace,.
 The case before the green tribunal ought to serve as a wake-up call to Padur-Kelambakkam residents on OMR.  They need to take steps to prevent Padur and Muthukkadu lakes going the Pallavaram way. Stakeholders - developers,  residents associations and panchayat bodies - should come together to explore possibilities. Which include a co-ordinated approach to 1) check further lake pollution through people-panchayat monitoring system; and 2) evolve effective waste management and sewage processing/recycling system to cover the residential areas around Padur and Muthukkadu lakes

OMR Greens, a community service initiative, can play a role in facilitating  the process of mobilising public awareness and in connecting communities to work out a joint programme to address issues of common concern.          

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

OMR Greens go shopping

With 4 days left for T-Day (Sat., Sept.29) Gopalan R, Neeraj Singh and I went to Kelambakkam to shop for hardware that we need to clear the OMR trash heap that sits bang in front of our apartments complex, Mantri Synergy.  Hand-in-Hand, green NGO, didn't confirm till Monday our request for loan of implements such as shovel, earth scraper,and tokri.

Meanwhile, we had a re-think on hardware hiring Vs buying and decided on buying the hardware (as suggested by my friend Ramkumar).The cost - nearly Rs.1,200 - made business sense, for we may have to pay transport cost from Mamallapuram organic waste disposal plant, even if  Hand-in-Hand loaned us the trash collection implements.
 We shopped for disposable gloves and mouth mask at Saravana Medicals. Its owner Mr B Kumar waived the charges - about Rs.250 - when he heard of OMR Greens and the purpose for which we needed mouth mask and gloves.  Incidentally, Mr Kumar's is the first sponsorship OMR Greens have recieved. We started off with Rs. 8,000 as contribution by 8 founder members.
Of this we spent Rs.4,000 on ourselves, buying designer T-shirts. Neeraj and his wife didn't bill us for designing T-shirt. Those who want to get OMR Greens T-shirt could contact Neeraj with Rs.400. He is available at ; Phone- 9600159307

T-Day (trash-busting day): Sat.,Sept.29
Time: From 7.30 a m (till 9.30 when it gets too warm)
Place: Pavement trash heap opposite Mantri Synergy, Padur, OMR

Monday, September 24, 2012

OMR Greens can go to schools

The photo triggered our thoughts on taking OMR Greens to neighbourhood schools. Following the Sept.29 trash-busting event, right in front of Mantri Synergy,  we could take our drive further up along OMR, from Padur upto Kazhipathur. Hopefully, the 29/9. trash-busting would help us create a buzz in the area.. We would like to hear from folks in other residential communities - Akshaya, Ouranya Bay, Oak Tree, Victoria Towers.
After a weekend meeting with Mr Keerthi of Hand-in-Hand  founder member Gopalan R suggested we organise an awareness march through the streets of  Padur village after 29/9. Hand-in-Hand can help us with placards that OMR Greens marchers could carry. The placards,  Mr Keerthi said,  have green slogans in Tamil.
Schools can be our next target. And the  signage (see photo), put up by the  29/9 site, points the Gateway International School, Padur, where we can organize a neighbourhood trash-busting , in collaboration with the school management. This is an opportunity for us to engage school students and teachers in our green awareness drive.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Automen back OMR Greens

A Padur autorickshaw driver Sudharkan gave me the idea. I asked him if he knew any place from where we could hire shovel, pickaxe and other implements to collect garbage, he wanted to know why I needed them. When I mentioned about OMR Greens plan to clear a trash heap on pavement in front of Mantri Synergy residential complex Sudhakaran offered to join in, and also bring his auto-driver friends. The auto stand at Hindustan University main gate has 17 registered auto-drivers.

But then when Vasu and I went to the auto stand the other day to talk to drivers about our Sept.29 trash-busting programme Sudhakaran wasn't there. But another auto-driver friend Yesu introduced us to his friends. I told them about our drive to create public awareness about the need to keep the space around us clean. The auto-drivers readily agreed to help. They said the local auto-drivers union would support OMR Greens.

We told them OMR Greens would reciprocate their help in a drive to clean their auto stand. I was particulary interested in getting them to  paste OMR Greens sticker on their vehicles. The auto drivers didn't need much persuasion to agree to our request.

It is now for us to design and get printed bumper-stickers. Which costs money. Any sponsors ? Meanwhile we have uploaded a 5-min video in two parts on YouTube.. Don't go by its quality. My amateurish attempt to record video with camera, while carrying on a chat with autodrivers is clumsy. I couldn't even focus on the faces while talking to them. But the audio track conveys a clear message of  automen's support to our green movement.                                   

Automen back us (2 min.28 sec)
Automen join Greens (2 min.07 sec.)

Honda showcase car at Mantri's

Mantri Synergy residents had Honda people showcase their latest model on their campus over the weekend.Prospective car buyers among our residents got all relevant details on the car without having to step out of their residential complex.Presumably, car companies, and those of other consumer durables, see marketing sense in taking their road shows into emerging OMR communities.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OMR Greens bring out a T-shirt

 OMR Greens founder member Mr.Neeraj Singh has designed a T-shirt, which can be ordered by those who subscribe to the community cause. The first consignment of 10 shirts has been received.
Idea is to order a another lot of T-shirts, online  this weekend, so that we get them before Saturday next, Sept.29, when we plan to take on the first task of  clearing  the trash heap that has developed on the pavement right in front of Manti Synergy residential complex at Padur, OMR.

You don't have to wear our T-shirt to join us in trash-busting, but it helps in promoting our visibility, if participants can get one to wear,  in time for the T-Day. It takes four days for an order to be delivered.
As of now we rely on Neeraj to take care of T-shirts ordering. As someone who designed the shirt in a self-design-and-order website, it was expedient for him to do the ordering as well. Those who wish to acquire OMR Greens shirt could phone or e-mail Neeraj.  T-shirt costs Rs.400.
Neeraj can be accessed at ; Phone- 9600159307

Thursday, September 20, 2012

OMR Greens: Panchayat chief chips in

Padur panchayat chief with OMR Greens
 Padur panchayat president Mr Chinnakutty offered to join in a  OMR Greens  initiative to mobilise volunteers among residents to clear a trash heap in front of Mantri Synergy.. "I can also work  to clear the trash ," he told OMR Greens founder member R Vasudevan when he heard Vasu, Gopalan and I (all senior citizens) planned to put on gloves and mouth-mask and get down to cleaning the trash heap that has accumulated on the roadside in front of our residential complex. Pleased with  panchayat chief's response, Gopalan offered to  buy him a OMR Greens designer T-shirt.

The three of us had gone to meet the panchayat chief to seek Panchayat's help  in moving the garbage we collect to the landfill  at Padur. OMR Greens, a community service initiative by Mantri Synergy residents, plans, what they call, a trash-buster operation on Saturday, Sept.29.  The idea came from the Ugly Indian, a Bangalore-based volunteers group,  comprising mostly software professionals from Oracle, IBM and other companies. A platoon of these professionals move in to scoop up garbage  from city streets. They call their trash-cleaning work  'spotfixing'. We call it 'trash-busting'.

On OMR  at Padur we have littered the pavement over so long, allowing a trash heap to grow right under our nose. We blame the panchayat for the sorry state of affairs. The panchayat chief , on his part, blames  residents of  gated communities for using the pavement outside their complex  as dumping ground .Mr Chinnakutty expressed helplessness in catching the culprits because the trash  was usually brought to be dumped late into  the night to escape detention. According to the panchayat chief, trash dumped on streets was too much to handle by a staff of 12 street cleaners, who work part-time. You can't get full-time cleaning staff on the pay panchayat offers - Rs.2,600 a month.