Thursday, August 17, 2017

Diesel vs. Petrol, environmental pollution ..

Modern research states that if you are owning a diesel car, you are polluting the environment four times more (4x) than a petrol car and doing a great disservice to your society and surroundings.

SUVs and other high powered vehicles run on diesel and pollute the environment heavily. Look at the situation practically, do private commuting vehicles require all that power ?

Though Diesel has a higher calorific value and Diesel engines are more efficient than Petrol engines, Diesel engines have higher emissions of NOx and particulate matter in comparison to Petrol vehicles with catalytic converters. (Catalytic converters help mostly oxidise the CO to CO2 besides NO to NOx and unburnt hydrocarbons which otherwise cause smog)

Especially when these toxic emissions like NOx and SOx, have higher fatal health repercussions, diesel cars are a disaster ! In addition, the cost of fatal health repercussions like cancer is immeasurable !!

The general public look smartly at the parochial picture, at keeping the running costs of vehicles low. To help industrial use, public transportation and to control costs, most countries price diesel cheaper than gasolene (petrol) by way of subsidies, for instance it costs less for diesel than petrol in India, unmindful of the bigger picture of the damages it does to the environment..

Contrasting with earlier reports which found CO and CO2 to be detrimental to human health, recent research points to NOx emissions which are the main culprit in deaths related to automobile emissions. Click on this Guardian newspaper link to read of how almost 38,000 people across the world (maninly from China, Europe and India) die every year to diesel pollution (or diesel vehicles meeting pollution regulation standards and failing to meet pollution regulation standards). Thee study also points to the fact that excess NOx (having escaped regulators lenses) will still be responsible for about 70,000 deaths annually by 2040 AD.

For unit pollution, every diesel-km a vehicle runs is equivalent to four petrol-km.

Let us be more responsible and leave enough of our beautiful environment for our future generations to enjoy and live in healthily. Let us dump those beasts and go for Petrol vehicles, still better electric vehicles in the very near future .


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheruvally Estate and the new Sabarimala International airport

KPY with his family

It has been very shocking to find out how K P Yohannan, the self-proclaimed preacher and his relatives from Tiruvalla had purchased the Cheruvally estate from Harrisons Malayalam plantation in 2008. The deal itself was flawed as Harrisons did not have any right to sell leased land to KPY. Though on paper it is only for Rs 80 crores in white, we are not sure how much more money has been paid under the table. KPY's Gospel for Asia is under scrutiny for having received Rs 1050 crores+ from US for missionary work which has been illegally diverted for purchasing land.

The Rs 2500 crore joint venture Sabarimala international airport between NRis and state govt is going to be a prestigious project for Kerala state and the state authorities should lose no time and effort to take over the 2263 acre Cheruvally estate for the purpose of building the airport which will benefit devotees visiting Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappa's shrine in Perunad, Pathanamthitta dist, 48 kms away at an altitude of 1260 m above MSL, situated among the 18 hills comprising the Periyar Tiger Reserve. In comparison the nation's third largest airport (in terms of infrastructure and fourth in terms of passenger traffic) at Kochi is on just 2000 acres of land while the nation's fourth largest, Bangalore International airport is on 4500 acres of land.

KP Yohannan who has been masquerading as a preacher is a self anointed religious leader who through his US entity Gospel for Asia has been amassing huge amounts of money from US to be used for helping the needy and downtrodden through his domestic entity called Believers Church. Yohannan has been using the foreign funds to amass real estate assets for the church and his family members. He is a married man and has no rights to establish a church claiming power from the throne of St Thomas. He needs to be exposed and taken to task.

Let us hope the Kerala govt gets a little more serious in exposing KPY and putting him behind bars.These are some people who bring bad name to all of us ..

george.. (photo courtesy The Hindu newspaper)

Ref :

Friday, August 11, 2017

Drip irrigation - Basics and prospects in india ...

Drip Irrigation - the basics

We have heard of how Israeli agricultural scientists turned the deserts of Sinai into greenlands producing fruits and vegetables, making Israel one of the largest producers of oranges in the world from the desert sand.

Details of a drip irrigation system, courtesy Jain Irrigation Systems,
As per a TOI newspaper report, Hungund taluk, Bagalkot dist in N Karnataka in India has about 11,000 hectares of farmland under drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is gaining in importance across the world especially since we have been observing erratic patterns in rainfall and precipitation and falling river and reservoir levels necessitating more efficient and effective use of existing resources of water.

Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than other types of irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation or sprinkler irrigation. -
An Israeli drip irrigation farm

Simply speaking drip irrigation is a system of providing water to the roots of the plants through a network of pipes to increase irrigation

Drip irrigation which was started commercially in Israel during the 70s has now become an accepted practice in arid and semi arid regions of the world. In northern parts of Karnataka, drip irrigation is used for floriculture, cultivation of fruits and vegetables and possibly maize and jowar ...

Drip irrigation saves anywhere from 30% to 60% of water used for irrigation purposes. Drip irrigation saves labour and electricity, controls soil erosion and even saline water can be used for irrigation,

In any drip irrigation system one needs to be worried about two aspects of the system, the design of the system and its maintenance.

Design of the system :

1. Water sources and the pump -  either from a borewell or well, pond or river.

2. Filtration of the water - depending on whether the water is from a borewell (only screen filter) or whether it is from an pond, well or river, we require a sand filter and hydro cyclone filter besides the screen filter.

3. Network of pipes - has a system of main pipes, sub pipes and laterals spread across the field to which the drippers are connected (or end tubes). The mains and sub mains should be submerged 45 cms below the surface for safety of the pipes from being trampled upon by farm animals. To prevent rats and squirrels from damaging the pipes, it is recommended to keep bowls of water in the farm so that the drippers are not damaged.

For drip irrigation we need a pressure of 1.5 to 2 kg/sq cm in the lateral pipes while for a sprinkler system we need a pressure of 3-5 kg/sq cm. For widely spaced plants, the drippers need to be of 12 mm dia laterals which can carry 250-300 liters of water per hour while for closely spaced plants, we need 16 mm dia laterals which can carry between 450-500 litres per hour.The drippers should be placed at a gap of 30-40 cm for closely spaced crops.

Drip Irrigation Systems, courtesy FAO, United Nations.
Maintenance : 

Maintenance of the system is of great importance to ensure high effectiveness and longevity of the system. Use of high quality ISI mark pipes and valves made from virgin plastic instead of the cheap recycled plastic can ensure longevity of the system for upto ten years if the pipes are exposed to sunlight for upto 800 hours a year.

Clogging of laterals and emitters prevents the flow of water to the roots of the plants. This happens because of algae deposits, sand, organic material, Calcium Carbonate etc. Acid treatment and chlorination ate two methods by which clogging can be prevented. Filters are to be cleaned of impurities daily and flushed cleaned weekly of impurities. End caps of sections and laterals should be opened for upto 30 minutes occasionally once in a couple of days. Adding Hydrochloric acid at 25% concentration is an effective way of cleaning pipe from clogging of organic impurities. Maintaining a pH value of 4 (acidic) throughout the pipe for upto 24 hours, is a good way to do this.

This is an excellent video which University of Agricultural Sciences  Bangalore of 30 mins duration, which states all details about the drip irrigation system and the problems that can arise while operating it in Indian conditions.

Jain Irrigation Systems is one of India's top drip irrigation company. Click here for the more commercial details.

As per the Times of India, the world's largest drip irrigation project is coming up in Bagalkot in Karnataka.  Covering about 35000 hectares of arid farmland in two phases, the Rs 768 crore scheme will benefit almost 15,000 small and medium farmers in the area. The scheme will help the farmers in the area to double the production of maize and jowar in the area. After the first five years of operation and transfer of ownership based on a BOOT model, from the Jain Irrigation group, the farmers will pay a meagre charge of Rs 1330 for each acre to the Water Users Associations, who will help maintain the system in the long run.

The success of the Bagalkot project will give the needed boost for other drip irrigation systems in the country and abroad. With dwindling precipitation noticed in certain areas of the country, especially North Karnataka and the impact of the seasonal El Nino Southern Oscillation across the world once in seven years, it is all the more important that drip irrigation systems are given the needed fillip and encouragement across the country to help build the needed food stocks for food security in the country.

George Easaw

    Ref :
       1. FAO, Drip Irrigation, Last accessed August 2017
       2. Jain Irrigation Systems, Drip Irrigation, , Last accessed Aug 2017.
       3. Times of India, World's largest Drip Irrigation Project, Aug, 30, 2016.
       4. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, Drip Irrigation a detailed overview, Your agri channel, Youtube, 2014.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Understanding the water and energy intensity of industries ..

Modern day industries depend heavily on water and energy, the two vital components of survival.

We use water in all our daily uses preparing food, for agriculture that gives us food, livestock that gives us proteins, meat etc and industrial use. It is said that more than 70% of water use in developing countries is for agriculture while it is about 30% in the developed countries. Combined with water, the other important component of growth, development and human life is energy. We need energy to power up our homes, kitchens, automobiles that guzzle non-renewable resources like fossil fuels and finally for private and public transport and industrial uses. 
The graph given here , courtesy Ross et al, HBR, gives us a measure of the energy and water intensities of use across industries in developed countries.

First of all we come up with three areas A, B and C in the graph.

Area A (bottom left) where the the water intensity (measured in units of cubic metres of water per million US dollars of sale) against the energy intensity (measured in units of Megawatt per million US dollars of sale) is linearly proportional, ie, in the region between 100 and 500 cu m of water and 100-200 MW of energy per million US dollars of sale. This Area A (green class) includes Technology companies like IBM, TCS, Accenture, Google, Infosys etc. All telecommunication companies like China Mobile, Vodafone, Airtel etc  fall in this group. Once the telecom infrastructure is in place, we find these companies need very less inputs in terms of water and energy. Defence, Manufacturing, automobile manufacturing like Toyota, Renault, VW etc and health care including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies fall in this category. We can also call them the green industries, to signify the relatively low levels of water and energy usage intensity per million dollars of sales. 

Area B (orange class, centre) includes industries where the water and energy usage is slightly on the higher side, we find in these industries like food processing (Brittannia, Nestle etc), beverages (Coke Pepsi etc) , hospitality, oil, gas and coal industry that includes conventional transportation industry, the water intensity is in the region of 1000-7000 cu m of water per million dollars of sale while the energy intensity is in the range of 300-1000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. We call these industries the orange group of industries as they have greater pollution potential than the type A green class of industries. A society should try to invest in less of these industries for better sustainability of the environment.
Area C (red class, top right) includes industries that have water usage intensity in the range of 10,000 to 90,000 cu. m. and energy usage intensity in the range of 2000-8000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. The industries that fall within this category are energy utilities like thermal, nuclear and hydro electric power plants and metal processing and chemical industries, which includes tyre, paints, chemicals etc.

We find technology industries like Information technology, chemical technology etc use the least of both these resources while the oil and gas industry uses energy on an average scale while energy utilities in organisations have the highest combination of use of both these resources. The more modern electronic commerce class of Industries also fall in this category as they have less warehousing needs (Alibaba model) and thus energy needs and slightly higher transportation energy needs, with very less water consumption intensity.

In densely populated cities and urban areas and societies which are very concerned about environmental pollution and safety hazards, it is better to have industries of the Green class or Type A industries that are technology based, automobile, defence, manufacturing health care etc. In areas less populated, the orange and red class of industries can be setup.

Employment potential is higher in the case of green class industries in comparison to orange and red classes of industries.

Airline industry is a vast and important sector in any economy and we find its water intensity is very less (in the range of 40-50 cu m of water usage/million dollar sales) while energy usage intensity is on the higher side (in the range of 5000-6000 MW of energy usage/million dollar sales). The same can be said about the retailing sector as they have huge warehouses,  transportation networks to power up with comparitively  less usage of water  We put them in the orange class of industries considering their higher energy intensity over water intensity.

The above chart is plotted for industries that are supplied by the conventional non-renewable sources of energy like thermal, oil and gas etc. As industries get supplied by renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, tidal etc, which is more efficient in generation and transmission compared to conventional forms of non-renewable sources of energy, the points get closer to the Y-axis, or the slope of line joining the industries increases, or the line becomes more vertical. Usage of electric driven vehicles in transportation is thus a big game changer in the transportation sector.

As industry develops and energy gets cheaper and widely available, we find water still remains the bottleneck as mankind is yet to produce great technologies that help reduce water consumption in major industries, Unless we are able to come up with a really cheap industrial class desalination technology to convert salty seawater for potable use in homes and industries, we are still at risk in future of running into water scarcity.  Really as James Ferguson in the April 2015 Newsweek article highlighted, the next global war will not be over boundaries or economic might, it will be over water.

george ..

Reference : 1. Ross, Kevin and Deborah Frodl, Solving the twin crisis of water and energy scarcity, HBR, Jan 2016

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Chicago chain tea stalls, Chennai ..

This chain of 15 year old profitable and high volume *Chicago tea stall chain in Chennai* is run by Gopalan, who believes in values, takes care of his employees very well with 9 hr work schedules and very good pay .. 

The employee perks are interesting !! Dress allowance, May Day treat a city 5 star hotel and so on .. 

An example of how happy and satisfied employees automatically bring in satisfied customers and thus help build a great business ..👌👌 ( don't miss the video..)


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Youtube as an educational and entertainment channel ..

Some exciting Youtube statistics I collected (as of July 2017) :

1. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube daily.  
2. 1.3 billion population on planet earth (of the 7.44 billion-2016) use Youtube 
3. On an average there are 1 billion mobile Youtube views every day ..

No doubt Youtube and videos are getting to be the most widely used entertainment and information tools of the future. Even all the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) use videos for teaching their students. Most of the Universities use a mix of videos and quizzes to help students learn. I use videos heavily in my E-learning courses at

While it is easy to convey ideas at the school level, one of the greatest doubts higher education Professors have is, can videos based teaching help in higher education. The author believes that if used creatively, with a blend of white board and videos, even higher education can benefit a lot. 

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words, similarly a video speaks a thousand pictures. Visual systems is an interesting lean manufacturing philosophy (Japanese) where by whatever actions, commands, situations, environments , choices, decisions, information etc are displayed by means of pictures. 

Videos take this information a step further and gives a three dimension view of the situation and the ecosystem around it. It is very comforting for the viewer to observe and imbibe what is good and what is bad from it.  Videos should always be used as an extension to the classroom lectures and not a s a substitute for it. If used carefully, it can be the best teaching mode to be used in a classroom. Used in the blended mode with a bit of oral teaching combined with occasional videos, also called blended teaching, learning can be made really interesting and fun. 

Worldover, Youtube videos are used more for entertainment than as a learning resource. But as a teaching professional, even the entertainment videos I watch on Facebook or Whatsapp social media, I find there is always a learning component to it. It is for us to discern the good from the bad and absorb the positive aspect. 

The research is to find whether there is a still better medium or mix of media that can help in effective learning .. The immersion experience of taking students to different places around the world for a better understanding of the situation, the environment and the eco system surrounding any event is a better way to understand a situation. 

Can every student of the world be able to do it around the world ?  It is definitely possible in one's near surroundings and nearby places. That is the reason why educational tours and industry visits need to be made mandatory along with industry internship in a student's educational life, whatever stream the student is pursuing, be it engineering, medical, law, arts, commerce, pure sciences etc..


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Why organisations need to move from strategic planning to innovation planning ?

We are living in a world full of disruptions and uncertainties. It is difficult in the present world to plan strategically for a unchanging future. All planning needs to factor in the element of variability, uncertainty and disruption.

I was reading this Greg Satel article on how businesses will get disrupted in the future.. This article has some of his points while others have been added, especially the reference to Tata Sons. 

1. Having a very clear mission - Google's mission is to organise all the world's information. It could not be anymore clearer than that. Walmart's mission is to offer goods at the lowest price everyday. Similarly South West Airline believes in offering the lowest priced flights for the people of US. Getting great clarity in one's mission helps one to achieve the results much faster and effectively. Clear mission helps get stability in the business and prevents it from overspinning out of control. Tata Sons in India believes in serving the society ethically as much as in making profits as their mission. Click here for their core values and the philosophy of giving back to society .... How many of the global corporates we come across believe in giving back to society ?

2. Leveraging on the core competencies - SouthWest Airlines remained true to its mission by having only limited variety in its fleet. Sam Walton concentrated on organising the best logistics and supply chain operations to deliver items at the lowest cost to customers. Tata Sons ensures they have the right people and the rights sets of values imbibed in them to help reach their goal of being fair to its customers, society and other stake holders in the business. By ensuring they have the right team of suppliers and efficient supply chains, Tata Sons are able to serve the customers well.

3. Driving profitability - Once you have a clear mission and core competencies in place, getting one's products through to the customers at the lowest cost ensures profitability. Satisfied customers talk to other customers and help more products to be sold, driving profitability. Tata Sons has great core competencies that support their mission. Unless it succeeds in converting this core competency into profits, Tata Sons will find it difficult to survive in the long run. High customer value ensures customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and this brings in the needed profits in the long run. It is in this area that Tata Sons needs to concentrate to ensure it is able to survive in a cut-throat market focusing only at short term gains than long term goals.

4. Shift focus from strategic planning to Innovative planning - Walmart's planning is focused on the uncertainty and changes that can affects its operations on a daily basis. Tata Sons in its planning does focus on certainties as much as it does on innovative disruptions. By keeping its employees properly motivated and energised, it ensures that its employees are able to sense changes happening in the ecosystem and adapt to the new environment as fast as possible. 

5. Leadership : Any implementation of progressive thoughts and ideas need to be fully supported by the top management. The top down culture of promoting an environment of thinking innovatively needs to come from the leader.  Were it not for the great leadership by Sam Walton or Steve Jobs or Jamshedji Tata of Tata Sons pursuing excellence, innovation and a value based leadership, some of these great organisations on planet earth would not have existed.

6. Promoting a culture of innovation - understanding that the future is very dynamic, if an organisation needs to be in the forefront in any industry globally, it has to continually innovate, evolve and adapt to the changing technology, customer needs and dynamic economic, business, social, cultural and political environment across the world.

The best way to foster innovation is not to focus on ideas or solutions, but on problems. According to me, problems drive innovative thinking, innovative thinking drives changes in mindset, changes in mindset drive changes in the ecosystem and changes in ecosystem drive value, changes in value drive benefits. Tata  Sons tries its level best to be as close to the customer as possible. In addition to be innovative it should also understand that the problems of the present day Indian society is fast urban development, generation of waste and alarming rate of consumption of water and lowering of the water table across the country. Let these be the new problems that are going to drive the next set of innovations in India. 

No business model is fixed. In this fast changing world, the models are very dynamic. Innovative planning and innovative thinking are the drivers for organisations to turn out successful and profitable in the long run. Tata Sons founded by a group of Parsis who landed on the Gujarat coast from Northern Iran around the beginning of the nineteenth century, over one hundred and eighty years back around 1830s have over this time built a global organisation known for its values and customer loyalty.  Planning for innovation aimed at better serving the society has helped Tata Sons to establish itself in the growing markets of India and Europe.


Diesel vs. Petrol, environmental pollution ..

Modern research states that if you are owning a diesel car, you are polluting the environment four times more (4x) than a petrol car and ...

My popular posts over the last month ..