Sanitary pads from banana fibre to be delivered in Jharkhand

Social enterprise Saathi, founded by three MIT graduates, aims to deliver one million biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana fibre to women in rural Jharkhand, its co-founder said here on Thursday. "We are partnering with NGOs to distribute pads to women in urban slums and rural villages. The target as of now is to deliver one million pads in rural Jharkhand in a year," co-founder and CEO of Saathi Kristin Kagetsu told IANS here. The Ahmedabad-headquartered Saathi is one of the top 20 ventures featuring in the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) 2016-2017. TSEC is a joint initiative by the TATA Group and the Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta (IIM), a national level challenge to find India's most promising social enterprises. Founded in 2014 by Kristin and colleagues Amrita Saigal and Grace Kane, the venture claims to be the first company to make biodegradable sanitary pads from banana fibre. "We were driven by the fact that 275,000,000 women in India can't access pads because they are too expensive, scarcely available and difficult to discard," said Kristin. With a production plant that is women-operated, the enterprise produces pads that are sustainable, highly-absorbent and non-toxic. The company is mulling a soft launch for urban markets in 2017. "We have not yet decided where to launch. As for the price, it will be cheaper than the commercially available ones," Kristin added.

Work continues on city’s sanitary and wastewater asset management plan

Within this city exist an intricate and complex labyrinth of pipes, dwelling beneath the surface and invisible to the naked eye. Stretching from corner to corner, the system is comprised of clay, concrete and PVC, aging in areas from just a few months to 80 years, carrying the contents of the community’s sanitary sewer and stormwater systems largely without notice. But now, after receiving $2 million in state funding through a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), city officials are beginning to obtain a much better understanding of a system that every city resident is dependent upon. Throughout the past year, engineers from Prein & Newhof in Grand Rapids have worked to develop the management plan by surveying and mapping more than 270,500 feet (51 miles) of sanitary sewer line and 180,700 feet (34 miles) of storm sewer line. “We have miles and miles of infrastructure of water and storm sewer in the city, and it all varies in ages,” Greenville City Manager George Bosanic said. “We have some interesting anomalies, particularly with inflow and infiltration of our sewer system. This SAW grant allows us to do a comprehensive review of our entire infrastructure for sanitary sewer. We’re just about halfway through the process now.” Using a $2 million Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the city of Greenville will soon have detailed mapping of every sanitary and sewer line within the city limits. Prein & Newhof officials have been working to collect all existing data on the two city systems, as well as gather any missing data, inventory all financially and functionally significant parts of the systems and map every aspect. Using both still and video photography, the engineering firm will create an in-depth Geographic Information System (GIS) that will present the city with a resource unlike anything it has possessed previously. “You’re now producing evidence that can back up recommendations,” said James Hegarty, a civil engineer and grants specialist with Prein & Newhof. “It’s a decision support tool. It helps you make better arguments than you’ve ever made before, in terms of what you should be doing. Having all of this information, which Greenville has never had information at this level before, is going to allow the city to manage what it has much better.” According to Bosanic, that evidence will be key as a shift is made state-wide on financial responsibility with improvements to infrastructure. “The push here by the state is to take federal and state monies away and place (the responsibility) all on the local municipalities and have them be responsible for their own systems,” he said. “We’re going to have to develop a capital improvement plan and fund it based on the data that we’ve gathered, and the recommendations, going forward. This is why we’re doing this. We’ll begin developing an action plan based on the recommendations we receive.” Within the past year, the Greenville City Council has approved recommendations from Bosanic, including 10 percent rate increases in city water and sewer rates, to begin preparing for potential upgrades that will need to be addressed once results from the asset management plan are complete. “We’re now going to be able to identify at a state-wide level just how much money is going to be needed to take care of our sanitary and stormwater infrastructures,” Hegarty said. “I think having facts like this is going to help make the case for the city to receive state and federal aid in the future.” Hegarty said Gov. Rick Snyder has made it a priority that asset management is used as a “foundational tool” in how municipalities move forward with infrastructure improvements. Hegarty described the efforts of his company as similar to a patient receiving an MRI, with the city’s sanitary and stormwater lines being the patient. “We are going in and really looking at everything with a microscope,” he said. “We not only locate where everything is, but everything we can find, and then we look at it and we’ll try to assess what kind of shape it’s in. Based on that, then we can determine when it is going to need to be fixed and how.” In reviewing the initial results, John VerPlank, a civil engineer and project manager with Prein & Newhof, said the firm has been able to create a variety of maps that document the entirety of the city’s two systems, ranging from general condition of pipeline to potential areas of risk. “Everything fails with age, but you can keep an eye on it and try to anticipate when it is going to fail, so you can try to replace it or provide property maintenance to catch it before it inconveniences people,” he said. VerPlank said once complete, the mapping system will be available through the GIS, allowing City Engineer Doug Hinken and other city employees to pull up any item from both systems, using GPS coordinates, at a moment’s notice, electronically. “Sometimes we have information, sometimes we don’t really have very good information. Everything I have right now is in different drawers at City Hall,” Hinken said. “I’ve been here 28 years, a lot of it is institutional memory, which is not ideal for any unforeseen circumstance that we don’ have preparation for.” But once the asset management plan is finished, Hegarty said the city will no longer have to solely rely on Hinken’s personal knowledge of the systems. “What we have a is a snapshot in time,” he said. “We’ve got this really smart map. When Doug takes this new system over, and they are picking up information out in the field, that can be put in there and updated on the spot. I will be a living thing, so to speak.”

KTR launches biometric for sanitary workers

The Minister formally launched the attendance system which has been introduced by the civic body to keep a check on possible irregularities of sanitary staff. Hyderabad: The Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K T Rama Rao on Tuesday launched the biometric attendance system for the sanitary workers of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. At the GHMC head office, the Minister formally launched the attendance system which has been introduced by the civic body to keep a check on possible irregularities of sanitary staff. Apart from attendance irregularity, a regular complaint GHMC receives from residents is about sanitary workers skipping their duties and not clearing garbage from their localities. A main complaint for some years has been about more workers being shown in the attendance register and drawing wages accordingly, while fewer workers operated on the ground. To address these irregularities, the biometric system was introduced covering all the 22,000 workers and initially it was being launched in circle 2, 9A and 14 B. The GHMC is utilising over 1,200 handheld scanners to scan the fingerprints of the workers hiring scanners on monthly charges of Rs 1,175 from a private company. To avoid any duplication, a Sanitary Inspector will be entering the Aadhaar card and scan the fingerprint of the workers. After the fingerprint matches the Aadhaar details in the central server, attendance will get marked.

Cera plans enhanced presence in central India

Sanitary ware company Cera plans enhanced presence in central India by increasing its galleries, distribution and marketing drive. The company plans to increase its distribution network from current 70 to 100 in Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, said company officials.

Hindustan Sanitaryware takes 60% in Garden Polymers

Deal worth Rs 89 crore, to buy rest of stake, too; aims at growing subsidiary 40% yearly for next 5 yrs In a Rs 89-crore deal, Hindustan Sanitaryware and Industries Ltd (HSIL), the ceramics major, has entered into a share purchase agreement with Garden Polymers Pvt Ltd and its promoters, acquiring 60 per cent stake in the company. The balance 40 per cent is being bought over by the promoters of HSIL on the same terms. Sandip Somany, joint managing director, HSIL, said,

Asian Paints to launch comprehensive sanitary ware range by January end

Asian Paints shall be launching a comprehensive sanitary ware range by end of January, 2016 under the brand name

Roca to export sanitaryware from India to Europe, China

Sanitaryware major Roca is preparing to export products from its Indian manufacturing units to Europe and China . The company, which used to export earlier from China, is directing some of its global orders to India. Roca says recent developments in the neighbouring country have blunted its competitive edge to some extent leading the company to procure global orders from India now.