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India tales: ISRO makes bus for the future, school shuts for lack of teachers

Patrika Staff | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:12 IST
Beyond borders: transgenders from Pakistan enliven Bhopal festival

There is at least one community in Pakistan that can travel to India without any conditions.

A group of eunuchs from across the border are in Bhopal for Bhujriya, an annual festival celebrated by eunuchs since the time of the Nawabs.

When thousands of transgenders congregated in Bhopal took out a colourful parade, a festival tradition, the Pakistani contingent was the centre of attention.

"I always wanted to take part in this festival, and now I am here," said Ms Heena, who was part of the Pakistani group. "It is a great experience."

The event was, meanwhile, used by the transgender community to highlight its plight.

"The government has started many plans for around 7 lakh eunuchs who live in this country. But most members of our community are not even aware of these plans," said Suraiya Nayak, a representative of the community.

"All sections of the society are demanding, and getting, reservations, but there is not even a clear-cut policy regarding our issues."

Bhujariya is celebrated every year after Raksha Bandhan. Transgenders carry pots containing sprouted wheat on their head and parade through the city as part of the celebrations.

This parade concluded with the prayer that the festival will help promote happiness, peace and brotherhood.

Hard lesson: Villagers shutter school to protest absentee teachers

The residents of Semaria village in Chhattisgarh's Raipur had had enough of absentee teachers at their school. So, last month, they locked it down and handed over the keys to the District Education Officer.

The DEO re-opened the school the following day after the issue was highlighted in the media.

However, the teachers who had been absent for over a month, were not penalised; their salary hike was also not withheld.

The school has some 250 students, and the villagers had even provided for three private teachers to facilitate the studies. Obviously, they are proving insufficient.

[twittable]Teachers absent for over a month weren't penalised, not even their salary hike was withheld[/twittable]

Last week, the Assistant Block Education Officer visited the school for an inspection. He's expected to submit his report to the DEO soon.

So far, however, all the education department has offered is the assurance of a probe.

"We have sent notices to the absentee teachers. The BEO has inspected the school. We will take action after receiving his report," said the DEO Ashutosh Chawre.

Clean ride: ISRO is working to ferry MPs on battery-powered buses

The batteries that power ISRO's satellites could soon be used to run buses for the Members of Parliament.

ISRO is working on adapting the battery for buses at the Centre's request as a pilot project.

The buses are expected to be operational within two months. They will initially be used to ferry MPs who do not own vehicles.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said he will gift such buses to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in two months time. Gadkari's ministry is planning to run 15 such buses on experimental basis.

If the pilot project is successful, it could potentially revolutionise the way India travels.

[twittable]ISRO is adapting its lithium-ion battery for buses at the Centre's request as a pilot project[/twittable]

The lithium-ion battery-powered buses currently cost around Rs 50 lakh. But the cost is likely to come down considerably with ISRO's batteries.

And if the space agency's manages to make the buses affordable, they could reduce India's dependence on conventional fuels as well as help reduce pollution levels in major cities.

First published: 6 September 2015, 11:40 IST