Monday, December 28, 2009

Designer Enclosure for the Snakes at Kankaria zoo

Designer can turn around the face of even a dull looking zoo. An attempt in this direction is made by the graduates of the National Institute of Designs.
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The snakes of Kankaria Zoo in Ahmedabad have received the services National Institute of Design (NID) for their home. The new design look to information panel has given a meaningful outlook to the snake section housing different species of the snakes.

The designer home project for the wild life of zoo was taken by NID graduate Thakkar duo Naman and Preet. The seventeen enclosures renovated by them are now put open for the public during Kankaria carnival.

The innovative information panels design has basic information about snakes like, their food habits, habitats, and scientific taxonomy. The panels also clear the myths associated with the snakes by providing information on snakes about their move, sensing and food habits.

The team did research internationally by visiting Melbourne Zoo, Australia and the famous London Zoo. Finally they decided to break free from the standard rectangular panel format and applying modular approach for the information. This was added with the application of the principles of graphic and information design.

Next was the consideration of the vistors’ spectrum which includes people with different linguistic back ground. So the panels were designed in three languages – English, Hindi and Gujarati. The challenge was to keep the information relevant and easy to understand keeping in mind the profile of people coming to such places,

Use of text and visuals in correct blend has made the displays interesting which was stereotype and boring. Number of visitors per day is very high these days because of the carnival. Except the very young children people were avoiding to go to the zoo. But designer enclosures draw crowd now.

Merinews Link to the post :

The zoo can be contacted at
By  Mail     :
Phone        :    +91 - 79 - 2546 3415

Fax            :    +91 - 79 - 2535 0926

Dry land the biggest challenge for India

‘DESERTIFICATION AND Land Degradation’ Atlas developed by the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, with 17 other national agencies reveals that one fourth of total geographical area of India is a desert. Another 32 per cent land is degraded land, which is almost at par with the global average of 33 per cent. Irrigation is the biggest challenge as 69 per cent of the country’s area is classified as ‘dry land’.

This unique atlas is based on the satellite data and presents state-wise mapping of the status of land degradation and the reasons for it. This will provide authentic data to agencies working on arresting land degradation. There are several scattered reports on land degradation status. This is the first exhaustive baseline data which can be used for future monitoring of desertification.

The land degradation causes include water erosion, vegetal degradation, wind erosion, salinisation/ alkanisation, water-logging, frost heaving, frost shattering and mass movement. Water erosion contributes maximum 10.21 per cent of the land erosion followed by vegetal degradation (9.63 per cent) and wind erosion (5.34 per cent). India is the fifth country to develop such an exhaustive atlas. India is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) since June 1994.

The Western states of India are covered by the Great India Desert – Thar spread over 2,00,000 square kilometer area. It is further expanding at a rate of about a half kilometer per year. Rajasthan accounts for 21.77 per cent desertification of India’s total geographical area. Next three states undergoing high rate of land degradation are Jammu and Kashmir (12.79 per cent), Gujarat (12.72 per cent) and Maharashtra (12.66 per cent).

The only positive news is that Gujarat has taken initiative to make systematic plans towards the environmental issues. It first went ahead for the Narmada Dam ignoring non-government organisation (NGO) protests under various political outfits. Narmada today, is the lifeline of one-third state. It is the leading state to use green fuel and environment friendly power generation plans. The similar approach is needed by the neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra to stop growth of the desert area.

This is published at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RPL may relocate its Dadri Project

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group may relocate its ambitious gas based mega power project of Dadri to industrial friendly states

After the Allahabad High Court’s decision on Dadri project, the Reliance Power management has started to explore possibilities of shifting the project outside Uttar Pradesh. After Nano this would be second big project relocating under political protest.

The on the record version of RPL remains that they are hopeful to proceed with the Rs 30,000 Cr Dadri project, but the round of meetings have begun in last three days to weigh the effects of the judgment. The company has options to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court or to wait for one month and watch the state machinery to act in accordance with the high court judgment and complete the procedure.

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group maintains in media to build a world-class power project in Uttar Pradeh and serve the customers in the northern part of the country. However, the talks with Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Government sources have been restored. In both these states the company already has plans and its presence.

Reliance Power is setting up a 4,000 MW ultra mega power project (UMPP) at Krishnapatnam, , in Andhra Pradesh. The project is based on imported coal. RPL had won this project at a very competitive bidding of Rs 2.33 per unit. This was very low compared to earlier bids of Sterlite at Rs 4.18 per unit. The company and the state government both can expand this deal to double the size on alternate fuel of KG basin gas.

Through a subsidiary company RPL is implementing 4000 MW Power Project at Shahapur, Alibag Raigad District. This has both gas and coal based options. The project is planned to go live by 2011. For 2x600 MW coal-fired project employing supercritical PCC technology is chosen whereas 1,400 x2 MW gas-fired project is on CCGT technology.

The third option is the state where elder brother Mukesh has bigger presence. In Gujarat RPL is setting up power plants near Bharuch. Two sites near Baruch have been identified. Gujarat administration with its investor friendly approach may allow expansion to 7,000 MW capacity. Gujarat is already having many mega power projects in line from various players including Adani Torrent and others.

All the options planned are keeping in mind the KG gas availability from RIL. The gas transportation to these locations would be easy. The ADA group maintains that it has right to transport its share of KG basin gas to any location if Dadri project fails.

RPL was negotiating EPC contract for Dadri and Shahpur. Relocating the project to other state will not be difficult as the project was at a very preliminary stage of land acquisition. The loss of UP would be the gain of industrialized states.

This was published in Ahmedabad Mirror

Sunday, December 6, 2009

US banks continue to fail

The mortgage crisis of US banks continue to take toll of the banks with six more casualties in the last week. The expert's opinion project deeper crisis in the next year.

THE CASUALITY of US banks continued in slump. Addition of six new banks in the list of closed one took the total to 130 in the current year. The list of the casualties included the AmTrust Bank of Cleveland, Ohio, fourth largest bank to close. The six failures are expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s (FDIC) insurance fund a total of more than $2.3 billion.

Last week, the US economy showed some signs of brightening as the report showed far less job cuts since the recession began. The FDCI, which protects bank accounts, has said the banking industry's recovery will lag behind the general economy. Hence, the small banks are expected to continue to fail at an elevated pace through next year. Banks are collapsing at the highest annual level since 1992. In 2007 just three banks collapsed, last year it rose to 25. This year is a record high.

The AM Trust Bank had assets of $12 billion and deposits of $8 billion. The New York Community Bank of Westbury, New York, assumed its deposits. The regulators closed three banks in Georgia, bringing the number of bank failures in that state this year to 24. Benchmark Bank was the 20th to fail in Illinois. California and Florida are other most affected states.

The other five banks - Benchmark Bank of Illinois, Greater Atlantic Bank of Virginia and the three banks in Georgia — Tattnall Bank, Buckhead Community Bank, and First Security National Bank had assets of less than $1 billion.

When the crisis began in December 2007, the soured mortgage-backed securities and bad home loans brought down the banks. Small banks have a disproportionately large exposure to commercial real estate. During the credit boom it was an area in which they could effectively compete with larger banks. Commercial real estate loans have stuck and unlocking of valuation is likely to take longer time than expected.

The FDIC has said it expects bank failures to cost its insurance fund about $100 billion from 2009 through 2013. The agency has ordered banks to prepay three years of industry assessments, or about $45 billion, to give the FDIC cash to handle the failures.

The above post was published on

Friday, November 20, 2009

Three Gujarati Industrialists in top 10 Forbes Billionairs

Gujarat has lots to cheer with the Forbes billionaire list as it demonstrates the entrepreneurial strength of the state with three industrialist in the top ten list.

At the top of the list is Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani with his younger brother at number 3 position. Total networth of Mukesh is Rs.1,53,600 Crore (32 billion dollars) and that of Anil is Rs. 84,000 Crore (17.5 billion dollars).

Gautam Adani with Rs 30,720 Crore (6.4 billion dollars) networth is at the 10 position. Adani group is one of the fastest growing group in the country.

Mehta brothers - Sudhir and Samir of Torrent have shown their power with an entry at 23rd position and networth of Rs 9,6,96 Crore (2.02 billion dollars).

Future plans as laid by all four of these companies would help them in remaining amongst the top 10 list for next few years.