The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling calling on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on June 15, 2016.


On March 5, 2024 the Chief Minister (CM) of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik completes straight 24 years in office. He was sworn in as such on March 2, 2000 and has been continuing till date uninterrupted. 77 years old Patnaik is also President of  Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the recognized State Party in Odisha. 

After researching and analysing official data in this regard the date of March 5 also happens to be the birth anniversary of Naveen’s father Late Biju Patnaik (actual name Bijayananda Patnaik- born 5 March 1916) who is  also regarded as Bhumiputra of the State and who also remained  CM of Odisha (then Orissa) twice (firstly 1961-63 and then 1990-95)

As on date, only one former Chief Minister in India viz. Pawan Kumar Chamling of Sikkim, whose running tenure was 24 years & 166 days is ahead of Naveen Patnaik in the elite list of longest serving former Chief Ministers in the country. Late Jyoti Basu, continuously remained as Chief Minister of West Bengal for 23 years & 137 days 

Patnaik’s current fifth successive tenure as CM of Odisha is till May, 2024. Further if he gets re-elected  for record 6th time in upcoming Odisha Assembly General Elections scheduled in Apr-May 2024, then he would also surpass Pawan Chamling, former Sikkim CM who as on date holds the distinction of having remained the longest serving CM in India. 

As far as those CMs in the country are concerned whose total tenure remained more than 20 years although not uninterrupted, there have been three such viz. GEGONG APANG who remained as CM of Arunachal Pradesh for a total period of 22 years and 250 days followed by LAL THANHAWLA of Mizoram who total tenure has been 22 years & 60 days and then followed by VIRBHADRA SINGH who remained as CM of Himachal Pradesh for 21 years & 13 years though not in succession. 

The above list further includes name of MANIK SARKAR, former CM of Tripura with straight and total tenure of 19 years & 363 days  followed by Late M. KARUNANIDHI of Tamil Nadu, who remained as CM of the State for total four times with overall tenure of 18 years & 362 days. Then comes the name of PARKASH SINGH BADAL, who remained as Chief Minister of Punjab for a total of five terms and has got an overall tenure of 18 years & 350 days. 

Amongst the current CMs in India, after Naveen Patnaik with running tenure of 24 years, he is followed by Nitish Kumar of Bihar whose till date tenure is 17 years & 197 days. Then comes Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland whose tenure has been 17 years & 9 days.  The list then includes the name of N. Rangaswamy, current CM of UT of Puducherry whose tenure is 14 years & 272 days followed by Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal whose tenure is 12 years & 290 days. 

As far as PM Narendra Modi is concerned, he remained CM of Gujarat for straight 12 years & 227 days i.e. from Oct 7, 2001 to May 22, 2014, when he resigned to take Oath as 14th Prime Minister of India.



An urgent action and swift implementation is needed from the government regarding the establishment of Semiconductor Chip Manufacturing and Wafer Fabrication (Fab) facilities in Punjab, along with the upgradation and modernization of the Semi-Conductor Laboratory at SAS Nagar valued at Rupees 10,000 crores.

The government’s decision for finalizing the modernisation plan of SCL Mohali and the partner for the same should be selected expeditiously as three projects in Gujarat and Assam have already been approved recently with private investors.

Punjab has a strong ecosystem in Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), as it has units in fab manufacturing, telecom equipment, electronic testing labs, and state-of-the-art manufacturing lines. The advantage of Punjab’s infrastructure, including India’s, is only large-scale ASIC Fabrication Laboratory at the Semi-Conductor Laboratory in SAS Nagar.

The Punjab government has also submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Electronics and IT for establishment of a Semiconductor manufacturing unit at Rajpura for which land of 250 acre has already been identified. Central government should approve this proposal also.

I have written to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw mentioning the critical importance of the semiconductor industry in the modern digital landscape. The recent data presented by the Ministry in the Rajya Sabha, emphasized that India stands as the second-largest importer of semiconductor chips globally, with a significant 92% surge in chip imports over the last three years. Projections indicate a substantial growth in semiconductor consumption, underlining the urgent need for domestic production facilities.

The recent global semiconductor shortage has underscored the strategic significance of investing in semiconductor manufacturing, particularly for nations aiming to ensure digital sovereignty, critical infrastructure security, and defense system integrity. Local production of semiconductor chips and allied items is essential for stabilizing the trade balance and reducing dependency on imports.



An estimated 48.4 percent of India’s population of 140 crore is female and as per ECI figures of 2022 there are a total of 46.1 crore female voters. As per data compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in India, women make up 14.44% of the 17th Lok Sabha. As per the latest available report of the Election Commission of India (ECI), women represent just10.5% of all Members of Parliament as of October 2021. Seats are yet not reserved for females and males, in Parliament. Another figures which stands out is that in the present Lok Sabha has only 78 Female members out of a total 542.Now their number is likely to go to 180 female members with 33% reservation  for women coming in with 128 th Constitutional amendment  which has  preconditions of population census and delimitation   meaning that actual reservation for  women in Lok Sabha will come only in 2029 elections, so much for the Women Reservation Act.

A factor which is overriding in the present scenario of intolerance and hate of all kinds based on differences in caste, ethnic, religion, creed, food habits or region is the targeting of every vulnerable target – the female gender. Women are continuously becoming easy and preferred targets of male dominated mobs whenever there is violence based on the above differences be it be supported or not supported by the state. The latest being the video graphed incident of parading naked of two vulnerable women out of which one later was gang raped in Manipur by one ethnic group trying to settle scores with another ethnic group with both groups having a history of hatred from decades. Now coming to getting justice for victims of this heinous crime and outrageous act from the male dominated polity at state and center the women have got no prompt justice from the male dominated state or the central governments till Supreme Court intervened and these victims have not been able to garner any worthwhile vocal support from their own gender present in the ruling cabinet and treasury benches in parliament.

Now coming to the present, we are clear about the very heavy gender bias and inequality which exists in the present political representation. Leave aside India, gender inequality exists in almost all kinds of societies the world over whether they are developed, developing or underdeveloped, the leading examples being USA, India and African or South Asian countries respectively. In fact, if we consider societies for the existence of gender inequality and where women have to fight for equality in all spheres of life then there is hardly any society which can be called developed in the real sense which respects the equality of gender.

So, we will focus on our India and Bharat as a case study. A case in point is here that women were struggling from the last 75 years since independence till 19 Sep 2023 to get their women reservation bill passed giving them 33% reservation in Parliament and legislative assemblies passed since 1999 despite the fact that they comprise almost 50% of the population.  This attitude of male dominated political power segment is actually an outcome of age old patriarchal and dominant male bias against women. This is a hard fact that the male dominated political parties are not going to or are not willing to give equal and deserving political power space to women. If that is the case then it is a very  logical outcome to demand or crave or fight for gender equality in the political power spectrum which is the real arena to make and implement policies which are required for any real upliftment of the historically ignored, isolated, crushed under male dominance and ever sacrificing female segment.

If that be so then presently there is  an apparent stalemate which doesn’t seem to bother anyone in the  male dominant political parties  because they don’t want to upset their respective supposed vote apple carts. As no solution seems in sight for an equal participation of women  in the power sharing syndrome and apparent controlled and doctored growth of the gender equality tree  then what is the way out for the political participation opportunity for enlightened women of India which claims itself to be “ Vishawguru” in every sphere of human development?

Another question arises why women should go with a begging bowl for asking reservation from the male dominated political system which controls the parliament and state legislatures when they are almost equal in voting strength and numbers?

 Isn’t it the time for women to have their own political power via a political party or two to come into power on their own steam by just asking all women voters that is all 50% of the women voters to vote en-block for their own welfare and progress to get a share in the political pie which will give them the key to the so far elusive promised land of gender equality.

Plus there will be fair percentage of male voters who will be willing to lend them a helping hand as voters, supporters, organisers, strategic think tanks, intellectual support base, in certain cases becoming the all women party candidates may be on same lines as of present where some percentage of  women are candidates  in the male dominated parties.  

Gone are the times when women can be appeased by giving them a minority share in governance like a post of Lok Sabha Speaker or few cabinet berths or making a woman as the country’s president. Women from different political parties have proved their mettle time and again that they can perform better or equally well if not better than any men when it comes to govern states as chief ministers. They have also proved that  they are capable academically and experienced enough to head and excel as  ministers holding important ministries independently at both center and state levels.

India has its distinction of having a first in women prime minister Mrs Indira Gandhi  who led the country brilliantly during Bangladesh crisis, won a war, created an independent country as well brought in legislations like nationalizing banks and many more which can be counted her pluses and a big minus of  the very forgettable emergency. She, as political analysts can argue, was also an outcome of the dynastic political system being daughter of an ex-prime minister.

So far the entire spectrum of political parties system has not treated or trained women as equal power sharing partners because the masculinity and patriarchal system existing in our society does not allow males to mentally give equal space to the female gender which is actually their due judicious  share as well as a right as per our constitution under Right to Equality.

The women politicians in present political system are generally wives, widows, daughters, daughter in laws, sisters or near relatives of known political leaders and no political party system has a training system which formally  trains them as political executives for the four tiers of governance i.e., panchayat, zila parishad, state legislatures, parliament. On the other hand no effort has been made by the successive governments at center and state level  to train future female political leaders or aspirants by opening institutes  to impart education, training and research facilities in public administration, public governance and duties and rights as applicable  for all four tiers of the governance. As far as males go it was thought they do not need any such training.

This no-training in public administration and governance  is an ongoing conspiracy on the quiet  because it has so far suited all  male dominated  main political parties which have alternatively held power at the central as well as at state level and other two levels of governance at parishad and village level.

In denying equal rights to women every male who is part of the political system of the day is to be blamed and apparently  conspired because in the male dominated world and culture they have quietly considered women inferior in intellect, not capable enough organisers, not cunning enough to do all the machiavellian shady dealings behind the shroud of political honesty, thought them not articulate enough to arouse people’s emotions by giving chest thumping and loud speeches, thought them to be too weak to last a dusty and hot summer election campaign, considered them guileless when it came to political sale of ideology for the sake of power, thought them incapable of shady dealing for election funding with corporate because all this has to be done in the world which is all male pervasive.

All cultural and social norms which wanted women to follow men, possibly stay at home, were used as the male dominance syndrome which had and wanted unbridled power over the women of the family especially so in the old joint family system in particular and society at large.

Another very important factor is the attitude of the male dominated segment of the permanent executive, that is the bureaucracy which does not want trained political bosses or  we will call them temporary executives as they come and go every five years whereas the bureaucracy lasts 35-40 years so that is why sobriquet permanent executive. So we can say this male dominated permanent executive needed an untrained and uneducated male political class to deal with as these were the very persons who were to evaluate their annual performance or confidential reports at the highest level. They wanted to perpetuate the male dominant political class so it will remain ever dependent on the aid and advice of bureaucracy.

So the net inference on the is issue is that when the whole bureaucratic system did not want even the male dominated political class to get educated on good governance it was but natural for women to get ignored which actually needed education and training in governance the most to become equal in knowledge and training to be equal partners in governance.

Now if we go a step further that women form a formidable political party and want to contest elections we are likely to be faced with searching questions like -Are Indian women more likely to vote for female candidates? As per Carnegie Endowment for Peace Foundation research -No. There is little evidence to suggest that women in India are more likely to vote for female candidates. Parties led by prominent women also do not fare better than other parties among female voters, though this may be changing. One study has found that providing additional security at polling booths brings out more women to vote—but the vote share for female candidates actually goes down as a result. One possible explanation is that many Indian women, like men, often have ingrained biases against female leadership.

But all the above is set to change in the new scenario but how?

At present why women participation is lacking because in the present political environment the women from powerful political families are allowed to operate unmolested because of inherent security via the political and muscle power these political families ensure for their immediate family female political aspirants.

Who else is getting to the top in the political hierarchy? A few are the ones who are mentored by powerful male politicians like Miss Uma Bharti was the protégé of Mr. Govind Acharya a RSS ideologue.

Some very small percentage of grassroots workers do get recognized because of their hard work, ground connection and capabilities like Miss Mamta Bannerji  is an example.

Others are the ones who have to appease various men holding key political posts as they move up the ladder of political hierarchy. Most of these are single or spinsters, divorced or widows.

Some are supported by husbands who do not themselves have the qualities to become political leaders while their wives have these in abundance. In this category we can also include the males who turn a blind eye to the exploitation of their better halves as they consider this is being the only route up the political ladder as they themselves are very weak morally or are very cunning to use their better halves for political power or in some cases the women themselves may be willing to get exploited for achieving political ambitions.

Now let’s take another dimension in view like the political work requires extensive travelling and leaving the house for night out stays which lead to extensive contact with males of the party while setting an environment of opportunity for the exploitation of the gullible or innocents or the willing ones.

So now having researched the present political environment in which the women have to be present and operate  what  is likely to change which will allow a father, brother or husband to send their females to participate in the political process as members of exclusive all women political parties .

Let’s take the example of  all women hostels, all women police stations, women colleges ,girls schools , women staff buses, women compartment of metros which are supposed to provide confidence and safety of the female gender in their respective all female environment  and was having confidence of the male members of the females who were going to these all women environments, similarly these political parties which  will have female members in overwhelming numbers will certainly encourage more fathers, brothers and husbands to let their family females participate in the political process which till date is not considered safe for women from  respectable backgrounds  and on the contrary  every second female participant is looked upon as an object to view  rather than a competing, capable, intelligent and respected member or colleague.

Let’s build this thesis further of women being deprived of their rightful share in the political process so far from another angle. Take the case of reservations provided by the constitution for scheduled castes and tribes because they were the deprived sections of society for centuries and now superimpose  the same argument in the case of women ( from all categories whether general caste  or scheduled caste category)  who have been denied equal opportunity since centuries but more so  the women have  been deprived of their rightful share in political governance in a similar manner since independence.

So women themselves have to organise, know their strength and be warned against that male chauvinistic political spectrum which will not like them to be independent and just keep them as part of nondescript mahila or women wings.  So choice lies with enlightened women of India.

So the road ahead is very difficult and unpaved, full of challenges from home and outside from male dominated political environment which does not want women to gain prominence other than for their ornamental presence.

The concluding opinion is that time has now come for women to come out from the margins to take center stage of the political arena by empowering themselves through political power by taking the route of an all women party/parties. Not far are the days when women as PINK POWER will be bringing a bill in the parliament to ensure 50% reservation for women leaving the present pending bill for 33% reservation in the dustbin of male dominated political governance history.



Despite Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) being the (principal) opposition party in Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly with merely 25 seats in the House with total strength of 68 vis-a-vis the ruling Congress whose tally is 40 while three other being Independent MLAs, the candidate fielded by the saffron party, Harsh Mahajan, in the Biennial Election for one seat of Rajya Sabha (Council of States) from the State got elected with 34 votes courtesy cross-voting by half a dozen Cong party legislators  along with votes of all three Independents. The Cong candidate, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who too got 34 votes i.e. equal to BJP’s Mahajan but the former lost the battle in the  (draw of) lot which is the mechanism being employed  by the Returning Officer (R.O.) in case of tie of votes. 

Nevertheless luck favoured BJP’s nominee Mahajan in tie-breaker i.e. draw of lot  but the interesting yet significant legal point is that even he has not been able to attain quota sufficient for election which in the case at hand was 35. 

Rule #75 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 which pertains to counting of votes where only one seat is to be filled, says that in case of 68 member Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, when all 68 MLAs voted in Rajya Sabha Biennial Election for one seat and all such votes were valid, then as per ibid Rule, the quota sufficient to get elected was 35 i.e one more than  34-34 votes as got by both BJP and Cong nominees.

If non-attainment of quota sufficient to get elected i.e. 35 would have any impact over the election of BJP’s Harsh Mahajan, who with 34 votes i.e. equal with that of Cong’s Singhvi, however the former emerging victorious in the draw of lot, can’t be convincingly asserted at this moment that in case where only one Rajya Seat is to be filled and the two contesting candidates get equal votes although one less than quota sufficient for getting elected, then the  triumph of one nominee via draw of lot would be totally legally valid. Thus, the door of Judicial Review remains open as what has happened is indeed unprecedented.

At the same time also quoted Rule #81(3) of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 which stipulates that when at the end of any count only one vacancy remains unfilled and there are only two continuing candidates and each of them has the same value of votes and no surplus remains capable of transfer, the returning officer shall decide by lot which of them shall be excluded and after excluding him in the manner aforesaid declare the other candidate to be elected.



As you go over the fly over of Kharar on National Highway 05 you will see a concrete jungle as far as you can see but very little greenery. After independence many cities like this which expanded are an aggregate of illegal colonies developed by unscrupulous developers and builders (who were hand and glove with corrupt officials and politicians) later made legal had unplanned layouts and expanded on a very large scale. So developing a picture of these cities in sub parts  one can say  that most cities in Punjab  are consisting of old congested city portion with little green spaces barring few like Patiala, illegal turned legal colonies with narrow roads and little green space, planned government planned spaces fast turning into commercial spaces under political patronage and planned private developed high rise and cities planned with green spaces But majority of the cities, towns and small towns are a mixture of planned and unplanned growth towns minus any thought for green spaces but devoted to utilise every square foot of developed space leading to concrete jungles.

So we now want to reverse this unplanned ugly growth minus greenery by introducing green spaces in horizontal mode like tree belts/ parks, vertical mode by vertical gardens where we lack horizontal space and rooftops where we can do wonders with kitchen gardens and medium bush tree garden concept. How all this will be achieved, here comes into play the concept of urban forestry which is the art and science of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for availing physiological, sociological, economic and aesthetic benefits trees provide for society.

Another factor which Is pushing us to consider urban forestry urgently is the ongoing climate change where we are having overheated ac cooled concrete jungles which are not producing enough evapotranspiration as they lack greenery of all types.

Urban Forestry concentrates on all tree-dominated as well as other green resources in and around urban areas, such as woodlands, public and private urban parks and gardens, street tree and square plantations, botanical gardens and cemeteries.

Gandhinagar leads in per capita urban greenery among Indian cities with Chandigarh taking second. Cities renowned for their urban green spaces often have 20% to 35% coverage of total geographical area. For Chandigarh it is 35%, Delhi 20% and Gandhinagar it is 57.13%.


The urban population growth of 31.8 % during 2001–2011 is far ahead of simultaneous national population growth of 17.6 %. Cities are already facing multiple problems and about 40% of the population will be residing in urban areas by 2030 which will further aggravate urban problems. Some problems associated with lack of urban greenery are:

 • Increased Carbon Emissions: Cities occupy less than 3% of the global terrestrial surface but accounts for 78% of the carbon emissions.

 • Climate change Induced Heat Waves and Dust storms: Heat waves aggravate thermal discomfort and culminate in health issues.

 • Creation of ‘Micro-Climates’ and Urban Heat Islands (UHI): Reduced potential for evaporative cooling increases the net heat stored in urban environments and leads to UHIs, thus developing a peculiar ‘micro climate’ in and around urban landscape.

 • Decreasing Biodiversity: Depletion of green cover has caused habitat loss and shrinking shelter for various fauna.

 • Reduced Ecosystem Services: Forests provide a variety of ecosystem services which are lost due to absence of green cover in and around cities.

 • Check Unsustainable Development: Unplanned, explosive and pressurized development has resulted in loss of essential ecology and its components including wetlands, absence of which reduces natural mitigation of disasters. E.g. Chennai Floods.



 Urban forestry plays an important role in addressing environmental engineering problems, including those related to erosion control, noise and air pollution abatement, wastewater management, watershed protection, and glare, reflection, and traffic control etc.


 Although erosion control and watershed protection are important issues in rural areas, they are also a major concern in urban centres. Urban vegetation (trees and other plants) can be used to mitigate extreme stormwater runoff events in urban areas, and in many cases this role can justify the attention placed on the development and maintenance of urban forests (Sanders 1986). Urban trees can affect stream flows as well, by their ability to intercept rainfall and affect soil infiltration rates of water. These acts can reduce surface water runoff, which can indirectly affect water quality by reducing the amount of sediment and urban pollutants entering a river system .Soil Erosion, however, can be caused by both wind and water, although wind has less of an effect than water does. Water-caused erosion is a particular concern in areas  where bare soil is exposed to precipitation. Soil loss due to precipitation runoff can occur when rills (narrow incisions into the upper portion of a soil surface) or gullies (ditches resulting from significant erosion of a soil surface) are formed on the ground, when upper layers of soil are washed away in a large sheet, or when soil is lost in a mass, downhill movement known as a mudslide or landslide. Landslides triggered by precipitation events are a perpetual problem in many coastal areas of both developed and developing countries . Some methods for improving the hydrology of urban areas include perforating compacted areas to improve water absorption and infiltration, planting trees and shrubs to bind the soil, implementing terracing practices and contour planting, and applying mulch to construction sites.


An important engineering issue that could be addressed by urban forests involves wastewater management . As the world population increases, the need to dispose of the daily wastewater produced will also increase, and urban forests have been used to absorb some of this. Several countries, including Egypt, Kuwait, Peru, and Yemen, use wastewater in their urban forests . Many countries around the world, including the United States, use this type of process for irrigating agricultural crops, yet water supply and drainage systems are not perfect, thus the overland flow of wastewater can find its way into forested areas within and outside urban areas . The effects are mixed, since nutrient levels can be limited in some forested ecosystems so adding nutrients to the system can potentially boost productivity; however, soils may retain heavy metals and high levels of phosphorus as a result.


Another possible engineering use of an urban forest is for noise abatement purposes . In general, taller trees and wider tree groups are most effective in reducing  pollution . Noise pollution Is composed of sounds, and sounds can be absorbed, deflected, reflected, or refracted. Reflected sounds bounce off objects, whereas absorbed sounds are trapped by objects. Refracted sounds are broken up and dissipated into the atmosphere, and deflected sounds bounce off objects and can be directed toward an area of least concern . Noise abatement is often necessary in areas where excessive noise occurs, such as along roadways. Given the high density of people living in urban areas and their associated transportation systems, noise often becomes a significant problem for local residents. Noise can be composed of different wavelengths of energy, and the manner in which it travels through the environment can be affected by a number of factors. For instance, the level of outdoor noise is a function of the source, the terrain, the surrounding vegetation, and atmospheric conditions such as wind speed and air temperature. Typically, as noise emanates from a source it decreases in intensity the further away it travels. In other words, noise is loudest the closer one is to it. As noise travels, it spreads in a spherical pattern across the landscape away from its point of origin. Interestingly, urban forests that are closer than about eight average tree heights from a noise can reduce noise pollution more effectively than trees situated further away.

Plant arrangement and density can moderate noise levels, and combining plants with different noise attenuation characteristics can more effectively reduce unwanted sounds . Noise heard upwind may be reduced by 25–30 decibels compared to noise downwind . This effect occurs because noise is directed upward toward the atmosphere when it travels upwind and is directed downward to the ground when it travels downwind.


Urban forests contribute to reductions in air pollution and improvements in air quality . Trees found in urban settings play very important roles in cleansing pollutants from the air. Whether trees are located in rows along a street, in parks, or in undeveloped areas, their leaves, branches, twigs, and boles can trap air pollutants. Typically, these trapped pollutants are washed into the ground during rainfall. Grey and Deneke (1978) refer to this process as air-washing. In addition, when trees are flowering, their floral scents mask disagreeable odours. Tree and shrub vegetative surfaces, therefore, play an important role in the interception of particulate matter pollution. The level of interception typically depends on particle shape and density, and the tree species employed. Plant vegetation can take up trace metal particles, such as lead, as well as radioactive particles, such as caesium isotopes . Trees, such as cottonwoods  have been used for arsenic and trichloroethylene uptake from the soil.


Urban forests can also be used to facilitate carbon sink or sequestering  efforts. Carbon sequestration occurs when trees accumulate carbon and release oxygen (O2) essential for life. The conversion of forests to land uses such as roads, homes, office buildings, factories, shopping centres, sports stadiums, and airports releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. Urban tree planting efforts, whether through green belts, parks, windbreaks, or shade trees around residential houses, can play an important role in the sequestration of carbon. One example is the nearly 55,000 tons of carbon that is expected to be sequestered through an urban tree program in Pretoria (Tshwane) South Africa . The development and maintenance of urban forests, coupled with sustainable living concepts such as recycling and wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies, can be used to address the growing concern of global climate change. Interestingly, in one analysis a park-like design of an urban forest seemed to be less effective for carbon sequestration purposes than a forest-like design due to emissions from construction and maintenance activities.


Another engineering use of urban forests can involve their ability to filter or block glare and reflected light (Beatty and Heckman 1981, Smardon 1988). Materials such as light-coloured concrete, glass, water, snow, and metals can reflect light in ways that cause difficulties involving increased heat and concentrated light energy. The strategic placement of trees can mitigate some of these problems. In addition to reducing glare imposed on homes, urban trees can reduce glare imposed on automobile drivers and pedestrians, which increases human health and safety conditions.


Microclimate and Urban Heat Island effect: Urban trees can help to improve the air quality by cooling and cleaning the air, reducing smog, ground-level ozone and greenhouse effect. They can mitigate the heat island effect by giving green lungs to cities

A variety of measures can be taken to mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas, including the application of cool roofs, cool pavements, green roofs, and urban forestry. Cool roofs are composed of materials that have a high albedo and therefore high reflectivity. Many cool roof materials also have a high emittance, which refers to the ability of a material to release thermal radiation. Cool roofs can significantly reduce roof temperatures and therefore reduce heat transfer into a building. More specifically, the U.S. EPA (http://www.epa. Gov/heat island) reports that summertime temperatures on a traditional roof may reach as high as 190 °F (88°C). Cool roofs, by comparison, will only reach 120°F (49°C). Cool pavements are generally composed of light-coloured material with a high permeability. Lighter colored pavements reflect more light and absorb less heat. Pavements with a high permeability allow water to percolate and evaporate, thereby cooling the pavement and surrounding air. Green roofs are roofs that have been planted with vegetation to reduce rooftop temperature and cool the surrounding air. A green roof consists of a waterproof membrane, a drainage system, a growing medium, and plants.


1. Reduce roof top temperatures.

2. Reduce temperature of surrounding air.

3. Reduce rainwater runoff to sewer systems.

4. Work as filtration systems for pollutants such as heavy metals and excess nutrients.

5. Provide habitat for birds and other small animals.

6. Esthetic green space for building residents.

Urban forestry is the process of incorporating vegetation into an urban area to increase cooling through shading and evapotranspiration. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has reported that urban forestry can decrease midday maximum air temperatures by 0.07°F (0.04°C) to 0.36°F (0.2°C) for every 1% increase in canopy cover. Similarly, the incorporation of urban agriculture can also help reduce the heat island effect.

Phytoremediation of Air Pollutants by Planning and Selection of Plants to Improve Outdoor Air Quality.

As air pollution has become a major threat, afforestation policies to increase urban forestry would be a good investment. In an experiment, Nowak et al. (2014) reported that plants removed almost 17 million metric tonnes of air pollutants (like NO, NO2, and CO2) in the United States in 2010, accounting for almost US$ 6.8 billion. Parks and plant barriers have also been proven to be extremely effective at improving ambient environments. For phytoremediation, plants should possess these characteristics: have a large leaf area and rough stem; be ecologically compatible and indigenous in nature; require low water and agricultural input; have a high rate of pollutant absorption; be tolerant to the synergistic effects of pollutants; have climatic suitability; be tall and straight with a spreading canopy and medium growth rate; have aesthetic values like foliage and conspicuous, attractive flowers; and should be easily multiplied. Leaf morphology plays an important role in phytoremediation as leaf surface rigidity, or roughness, affects the deposition of particles. Stickier leaves are better for efficient dust capture than other types. Furthermore, evergreen trees are better filters than deciduous trees and leaves with complex shapes and large surface areas collect airborne particles more efficiently than other types. Having an abundant waxy layer on the needles and being evergreen, conifer plants are considered to be excellent pollutant accumulators throughout the year.

In Mumbai, Shetye and Chaphekar (1989) conducted a survey on dust fall in relation to common roadside trees and reported that mango trees (M. indica), pongamia (Derris indica), and umbrella trees (Thespepsia populnea) trapped considerable amounts of dust. Pokhriyal and Subba Rao (1986) found trees like neem (Azadirachta indica), gulmohar (Delonix regia), silk cotton (Bombax ceiba), pipal (Ficus religiosa), Indian laburnum (Cassia fistula and Cassia siamea), Indian lilac (Lagerstroemia indica), pagoda tree (Plumeria rubra and Plumeria alba), and java plum (Syzygium cumini) to be more suitable for urban environments. Among them Taxus sp. (yew) is found to be extremely tolerant against airborne particulates. Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) has smaller compound leaves and is more efficient in trapping dust compared to trees with larger leaves. Popek et al. (2013) found that particulate matter accumulation by trees and shrubs can be varied by more than 10-fold. Tree species like Pinus sylvestris, Alnus spaethii, Fraxinus excelsior, Pyrus calleryana, Populus sp., Robinia pseudoacacia, Sophora japonica, Ligustrum lucidum, and Quercus ilex, etc., are reported to have potential for the phytoremediation of airborne particulates. Similarly, some shrubs like Pinus mugo; Spiraea sp., Stephanandra incisa, Taxus baccata, Taxus media, Acer campestre, Hydrangea arborescens; Sorbaria sorbifolia; and Forsythia × intermedia are observed as excellent phytoremediators (Wang et al., 2015). Climbers like Parthenocissus tricuspidata, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Hedera helix, and Polygonum aubertii could be efficient for the phytoremediation of particulates in dense habitats where the surface for growing plants is limited (Borowski et al., 2009). Herbaceous plants, such as Achillea millefolium, Polygonum aviculare, Berteroa incana, Flaveria trinervia, and Aster gymnocephalus can also be successful regarding phytoremediation (Weber et al., 2014). Takahashi et al. (2005) recommended four species among 70 species of woody plants, viz., R. pseudoacacia, Sophora japonica, Populus nigra, and Prunus lannesiana to plant in the vicinity of roads experiencing heavy traffic for air phytoremediation of NO2. Morikawa et al. (1998) noted variations of up to 600-fold in uptake and assimilation capacity of NO2 among 217 herbaceous and woody plant species and Magnolia kobus, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus grandis, P. nigra, Populus sp., Prunus cerasoides, Nicotiana tabacum, and Erechtites hieracifolia are found to be the most efficient species for the phytoremediation of NO2. Bidwell and Bebee (1974) investigated 35 woody plant species among which 17 (such as Acer saccharum, P. nigra, Gleditsia triacanthos, Pinus resinosa, and Fraxinus pennsylvanica) were specified for the ability to fix CO.

• Biodiversity: Trees and forests present in urban areas can provide shelter and habitat to many important animals especially avifauna.

• Management of Urban Hydrological Cycle: Through water provisioning, regulating, recharging and filtering roles, urban forests play a key role in supporting water management in and around urban settlements.

• Ecosystem services: Increasing ecosystem services with increasing of green cover in cities


• Checks Haphazard Urbanization: Urban forests can check rapid and unplanned urbanization; development of slums by demarcating city limits and industrial spaces.

• Aesthetic Benefits:Urban trees enhance beauty and environmental quotient of the city and contribute to the aesthetic quality of residential streets and community parks.

• Improves Mental Alertness And Reduce Stress:Green areas reduce stress and improve physical health for urban residents while providing spaces for people to interact.

• Education: Urban forests in the form of parks, botanical gardens, zoological gardens, avenue trees and other urban green spaces are centres of education on flora and fauna.

• Recreation: Green parks provide a break from the busy, tiring, often repetitive and tedious routine jobs and works for people and safe playgrounds for children

• Cultural Regeneration:Urban green spaces can enhance cultural activities by providing venues for local festivals, civic celebrations, political gatherings and theatrical performances.


• Real estate prices:Landscaping with trees—in yards, in parks and greenways, along street , and in shopping centres—can increase property values and commercial benefits

• Employment: Tree planting and maintenance in urban forests can be labour intensive and provide work opportunities which may be especially important in poorer cities.

• Reduced energy consumption:Urban forest offers significant benefits in reducing building air-conditioning demand and reducing energy consumption.


There are many challenges which restrict the realization of urban forestry development in India and similarly in Punjab The problems of urban forestry are to an extent similar to those afflicting the social forestry and agroforestry development in India.


The missing coordination between town planning at state and local government level, lack of initiatives to correct the imbalance, people’s narrow approach to just let things be as they are , why upset the apple cart , lack of planning and not pushing changes at the policy level. No holistic plan has been developed for the greening of the whole of Punjab which focuses on urban forestry as a focus area.

Keeping all the above in view there is requirement to set up a URBAN FORESTRY TASK FORCE headed by Minister of Environment with all secretaries of Forest, Urban Development, Local Government, Finance and Chairman PPCB so as to see a holistic policy,plan and speedy implementation with regular monthly monitoring  action taken report.


A timely and accurate database of urban forest characteristics is fundamental to urban forestry for ensuring continual supply of their services to human well-being. While improving our understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of the provision of and demand for ecosystem services is the utmost priority (Wolff et al., 2015), pragmatic challenges exist when it comes to using remote sensing to achieve this goal. These include improving remotely sensed indirect measurements of ecological and hydrologic variables. However, three particular areas of research deserve future attention given the advancements in remote sensing systems, data acquisitions, and processing.

1. PhoDAR—it is an airborne photogrammetric technique for developing high-resolution 3D point clouds using photos taken from many different angles . PhoDAR has three advantages over other remote sensing data sources: (1) data accuracies are in the order of centimetres; (2) since photos are used to create PhoDAR data, it can be acquired using a fixed-wing platform rather than a helicopter; and (3) it is very cost-effective to acquire real-time data over areas inaccessible for ecological measurement. The entire process requires a UAV with a camera, GPS, and shareware for ingesting those photos (Eagle Imaging).

2. Interface between LiDAR and urban–rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools—most of the available urban forestry management software uses high-resolution imagery as direct input to map forest characteristics. It will be advantageous to use LiDAR or PhoDAR with high-resolution multispectral imagery together to yield structural characteristics of urban forest for assessment of ecosystem services. 

3. Real-time remote sensing—time-sensitive and dynamic events such as flash flooding, storm, and forest disease often threaten urban forest ecosystems. These events require constant monitoring, visualization, and rapid analysis to safeguard human and natural resources. Typical approach consists of classifying remotely sensed images. However, using real-time remote sensing data as input can help predict, visualize, and reveal hot spots of occurrences.

Ultimately, as research continues to broaden the usefulness of remote sensing to support urban forestry, a stronger connection among urban foresters, remote sensing experts, and programmers is key to ensuring the optimal provisioning of ecosystem services for human well-being by urban forests.


At the end I would say that if we treat this as a concept note for ushering in the urban forestry in Punjab the time is just so right because pollution is at its highest, unpredictability of climate change is evident in form of floods and unseasonal rains, high temperatures in normal cool months  so we need all the mitigation which we can achieve by bringing in urban forestry as fast as possible by a a vigorous and doable approach from the government to a local concrete courtyard of a town.

(A paper researched, compiled and written by the author)



As the Parliament polls 2024 are waiting announcement any day now, the political circles in India particularly Punjab are discussing return of former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Navjot Singh Sidhu back into the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the party that is in power in the country since 2014 and is making all efforts to be back into the power for the third consecutive term.

1963 born Navjot Singh Sidhu aka Sherry is former cricketer commentators, television presenter, and a retired international cricketer, also remained Local bodies and Tourism and Cultural Affairs minister in the Punjab government when Capt. Amarinder Singh was the Chief Minister.

Sherry know for his oratorical skills, and for his open criticism he had rough relations with the leadership of the Congress party. In Congress party circles, Sidhu is going against the party discipline and program for holding rallies independent of the leaders and cadres will and decisions.

BJP functionaries in Punjab are of the opinion when the party has set a target to 400 seats in the 543-strong lok sabha Sidhu’s return in the saffron party would contribute towards the winning target. A BJP leader revealed that on his return to BJP he would most likely contest from a lok sabha seat.

Amritsar lok sabha constituency segment being a traditional BJP stronghold, chances are rife that Sidhu could be a winning candidate if the party chose to field him from Amritsar.

However, a Congress leader dismissed the possibility of Sidhu joining BJP. “A leader who keeps hopping from one party to another loses his charm and credibility”, he said. Reportedly Sidhu has held meeting with the BJP leaders in the Capital and have reached an understanding  

Sidhu joined the BJP in 2004 when LK Advani was at the helm of the party and contested the lok sabha elections Amritsar the same year. He won the election and held the seat till 2014 winning also the next elections of 2009.  

He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 from Punjab before he resigned from the position the same year and quitting the party. In 2017, he joined the Congress and was elected to the state legislative assembly from Amritsar East. He lost the election in 2022 from Amritsar East. Party sources say the announcement was planned for the past week however owing to the ongoing farmers protest on the borders of Shambu and Khanouri along Haryana the decision has been held back.



Bertrand Russel – In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He  said: “If some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, the SIKH religion will be the ONLY means of guiding them. It has the capability, but Sikhs have not brought-out, in broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of their religion, which has come into existence for the benefit of mankind.

“Western Atheist’s views We were doing great with knocking out Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Baha’i, even Buddhism but we have gotten very stuck with Sikhism. Look instead in service to humanity. You will find “meaning” in your love for other human beings. You can experience God when you help someone who needs your help.

Why is this interesting?

Because we found this religion of Sikhism to be in agreement with this! This is why we have a problem. We tried to look at their holy text (Adi Granth) but didn’t find the usual absurdities we found in the other religious books. In fact, it’s refreshingly inspiring and very good!

Did you know that they believed in Democracy, freedom of speech, choice, expression, freedom of religion, pluralism, human rights, equality between men and women, equality of all people regardless of race, religion, caste, creed, status etc.

300 years before the existence of the USA! Theirs is the only religion which says in their religious scriptures that women are equal in every respect to men. They even had women soldiers leading armies into battle against “you know who” (The usual suspects – Muslims!).

Their history is a proud one, they fought in both World Wars. Even Hitler praised them for their bravery andbAryan heritage!

Russell writes that they have been trying for weeks now to find a way to fairly and rationally criticize and find fault with this religion but have failed. He says they even found out that there are many people converting to this religion in the USA and Europe as well as Russia

(Mostly well educated and affluent white people).

Bertrand Russell was a great philosopher and free thinker and is said to have given Christianity (same applies to Islam and Judaism) a body blow and exposed its absurdities; but even this great man got stuck when it came to Sikhism!

In fact he gave up and said “if some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of  guiding them.” Russell was asked that he was talking about the third world war, but isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war?

In reply, Russell said, “Yes, it has this capability, but the Sikhs have not brought out in the broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of this religion which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it. What Bertrand was most impressed with was that Sikhism does not have a doctrine of evangelism that it does not go out to try to subvert and convert. In some ways he thought that Sikhs should go out and propagate their great faith to the entire world.

(Please bear in mind that Bertrand Russell was a great philosopher and free thinker)



Ravneet Kaur is a dynamic leader, brimming with enthusiasm and imbued with boundless energy. She distinguishes herself through her unwavering dedication to her work and her profound compassion for those she serves.

The Indian market faces a multitude of challenges from an antitrust perspective. In effectively tackling these challenges, Ravneet Kaur, Chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), plays a pivotal role in ensuring robust enforcement, fostering fair competition, and continuously monitoring market dynamics. Kaur, the second woman to serve as an ‘economic regulator’ after Madhabi Puri Buch, brings her expertise to the forefront at a time when artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming various sectors and industries.

“This is indeed a fascinating assignment. With the new Competition Amendment Act 2023, numerous developments are poised to take shape. As rapid technological advancements unfold, new frameworks are being established,” remarked Ravneet Kaur, demonstrating her intellectual acumen and leadership prowess in guiding the office she leads.

Historically, challenges such as market dominance and potential abuses by major tech conglomerates, data privacy concerns, platform policies, self-preference, and market concentration have hindered fair competition, particularly in merger and acquisition activities. Kaur assumed her role during a period when the CCI was actively investigating tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook for alleged anti-competitive practices.

While these challenges persist, new ones emerge, including issues related to blockchain and algorithmic collusion. “But I believe nothing is insurmountable,” asserts the resilient and determined leader.

A graduate of the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and a Hubert H. Humphrey fellow at Cornell University, New York, Ravneet Kaur has held several pivotal positions within the Government of India and the State Government of Punjab during her illustrious 34-year career as a bureaucrat in the Indian Administrative Service. As a Punjab cadre officer, she has led various departments in Punjab as a Special Chief Secretary and also served as a Joint Secretary in the Government of India on multiple occasions.

During her tenure as Chairperson and Managing Director of the India Tourism Development Corporation (2017–2019), she spearheaded numerous initiatives that revolutionized the tourism sector in the country. Recognizing her significant contributions to the growth of tourism in India, she was honored with the ISAW Women Achiever Award for ‘Professionalism in Management’ at the ITB (International Tourism Fair) in Berlin.

“It has been an immensely fulfilling journey, filled with opportunities to serve the public good. I have remained steadfast and committed, never ceasing to learn,” reflects the bureaucrat. A staunch advocate for gender equality, she champions equal opportunities for all. The values she upholds in every aspect of her life were instilled by her parents, whom she regards as her role models. Her father, a distinguished bureaucrat in Punjab, profoundly influenced her career trajectory. “The principles of integrity, dedication, and public service that I witnessed in my father have been transformative in my life. I strive to embody these values in my daily work,” shares Ravneet Kaur, who consistently embodies grace, humility, and compassion



The Indian #farmer is very small in size compared to developed countries—tens of acres vs thousands of acres—so the parameters of ‘free market’ cannot be applied to him equally. For eg., unless there are village link roads like in Punjab, a farmer cannot even transport his produce to a mandi 30 km away. So even small arhtiyas (commission agents) can exploit them, what to talk of corporates such as Adani.

Moreover, nowhere in the world is #agriculture free of subsidies. Because even as these subsidies are paid to the farmer, in reality they are #food #subsidy for the entire #consumer base. (Without profit, the size of the farmer also becomes irrelevant, because the loss also gets multiplied by the size of the land holding.)

The point here is that farming—and farmer—both need help from the government. Ideal help would be in the form of providing suitable plant material (which requires research for each agro-climatic zone), introducing relevant cultivation practices, and making available the machinery and equipment along with finance on reasonable terms for it. Once the produce is ready, it needs help in the form of a market and access to it – Warehousing and transportation.

None of this can be worked out instantly. It takes decades of sustained policy and effort. Govts—sates included—after the initial initiative of Green Revolution, became lazy once the crisis of famines was overcome.

The consequences were different in various parts and states of the country—seen in the environment, economy, health, politics, society. And the situation was constantly changing, and continues to be changing. The redress, therefore, too has to be dynamic. There is no one-time one-solution-fits-all policy possible.

The government in 2021 tried to pass on the responsibility of providing help to the corporate sector through the farm laws. But those were rightly rejected by the farmer—simply because (all would agree) the only motive corporates have is profit. Farmer’s well being, environmental degradation, consumer’s affordability, consumer health, long term food security are none of their concerns. They will promote whatever is produced most efficiently in India, and import the rest from the cheapest source available anywhere in the world (eg. oilseeds). Consequences of such an arrangement are already seen in the US, where the working class is overweight and unhealthy, living on refined wheat flour (bread), sugar (Coke), and South American oranges (packed juice), all of which are relatively cheap, and everything else very expensive (not going into American details).

On the other hand, govts—if they are not lazy— can develop policies that are tailor-made for Indian and regional requirements, keeping a balance between all stakeholders in mind, ie, #farmer, #trader, #consumer, and the government’s own revenue.

As things stand today, the devious farm laws are out, and the mess in agriculture created over decades has come to a head vis-à-vis all stakeholders, govt included. What the Central govt is trying now (under pressure) is overnight policy-making—when it had been two full years since the withdrawal of farm laws. No good can come of such an exercise. Even accepting the demand for #MSP is not going to solve all problems, because it is only one instrument of intervention, when many others are equally required.

So what is the solution? The answer is give MSP as an immediate measure. Thereafter make policies and start helping farmers in implementing all the ‘gyan’ that everyone is giving them to diversify, etc. There can be no shortcuts, it’s a long hard road. But it has to be travelled because 60% of the population still depends on agriculture financially, and 100% depends on it for nutrition and health.

Bringing nationalism, regionalism, or religion into this is not going to help anyone.

May calm and good sense prevail all around.



I am deeply anguished and pained to know that some individuals abused Arshdeep Singh, a budding Cricketer after the India-Pakistan Cricket Match. The young left-arm seamer has been facing the wrath ever since he dropped Pakistan batter Asif Ali in the 18th over of India’s match against Pakistan on Sunday. The trolling went up several notches as Pakistan went on to beat India in that match despite Arshdeep brilliant last over.

While the entire cricket fraternity took strong exception to the deplorable behaviour meted out to Arshdeep Singh on social media, there are still some out there, calling themselves Indian cricket fans, who continue to target the young pacer for his miss. Arshdeep had to endure heavy trolling for his dropped catch on social media, but he also found support from every quarter following the Pakistan game. Even skipper Rohit Sharma backed the left-arm pacer and talked about him at length during the post-match briefing after the Sri Lanka game praising him for his mental fortitude and confidence.

The trolling went up to the extent of Arshdeep Singh being called a Khalistani. It’s bigotry at its worst and speaks about the mindset of certain elements who neither have respect for their fellow Indian nor possess any sportsman spirit. Sports need to be treated purely as a sport and nothing more or less, whether it is between two neighbouring nations or any other countries.

A Catch was also missed by Kohli in the same match, but no one is talking about it. Doesn’t it show obstinate or unreasonable attachment to a belief, opinion, or faction; in particular, prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group or perhaps belonging to Sikh community. Are the Sikhs not loyal to their motherland! History abounds with incidents showing their loyalty, valour and sacrifices for the motherland.

 It makes one believe that Sikhs have to constantly go on proving their loyalty to their country which standard perhaps doesn’t apply to others irrespective of their misdeeds.

We all have to be sober enough and to internalise that it is only a sports event and not a battle between two neighbouring countries. It will be for the good of one and all if a sports event remains at that instead of turning the cricket field into a battlefield. Such people who try to create hysteria about it are not doing any good either to the sport or their country. Such elements are making the people turn away from watching sports events which may create unnecessary controversies totally unrelated to the game. What we witness after an India-Pakistan Cricket Match is that the people of the country losing the game go into depression and keep on mourning the loss. This is more so in the case of Pakistan and in comparison, the people in India, though feeling disturbed still maintain their balance and don’t go overboard.  If a game of Cricket between the two countries is to be taken to such a level of emotionalism, it would be better not to organize such ties as it will only increase the bitterness between the people of these two countries.

I truly hope that they will be sane and refrain from acting in such an irrational manner!