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An Assam in Delhi : Pragjyotishpur Apartments

Delhi : TUCKED in a corner of Dwarka's Sector 10 is Pragjyotishpur apartment; Sanjeev Borah is one of the 100-odd flat occupants. A software engineer with HCL and an Assamese by birth, Sanjeev was a happy man the day Newsline visited the colony: wife Reena had made khar (a dish of boiled vegetables) and massor tenga jhol (fish curry) for lunch.

Married for 10 years, Reena, a Punjabi, has settled in well, whipping up Assamese dishes at will. And that's the story of the housing complex: built in the early nineties to primarily house those coming to the Capital from Assam. But like Sanjeev and Reena, the complex is slowly making its own cosmopolitan moves, with a smattering of Punjabi, Bengali and South Indian families moving in over the past couple of years.

Registered in 1983, Pragjyotishpur Cooperative Housing Society was a means to "save our culture", as Society secretary Dr Nilomani Sarmah put it. "But gradually other communities also joined in."

The fact that the Assamese populace here is relatively less, and well spread out, propelled them to move in together, primarily to stay in touch with their roots, Sarmah's wife Rumi said.

In Delhi since late 1980s, the Sarmahs moved into Pragjyotishpur apartment in 2005. "Since my husband toured frequently, my first reaction to the place (Delhi) was, 'how would I stay here alone?' But gradually I got involved in activities concerning my community," Rumi Sarmah said.

For Reshma Shah, 45, life before this apartment meant being confined in her Geeta Colony house while her husband, a tea exporter, worked in Guwahati. "I was too scared to venture out," Shah said. "I stood in the doorway for days, watching the streets with my child."

"Respite" came when a friend told her about Pragjyotishpur apartment. She moved in five years ago.

Barnali Borah, 22, a Masters student of IGNOU, said living within her community has given a surge of confidence, a sense of security, and "I am more comfortable now".

But what made the society — "first of its kind in Delhi", as retired civil engineer A M Choudhury, on a visit to his daughter and son-in-law, claims — open its arms to 'outsiders'? Dr Sarmah said, "Most Assamese people could not really acquire the plots, which are offered here at cheaper rates. That's how others started coming in."

So by the time Asim Chakravarty moved in, in 1999, seemingly the first non-Assamese, he didn't really feel like a stranger. "I am not part of their culture, and I stick to my rice and fish, but I attend Bihu celebrations," he said.

With Chakravarty taking over as president two years ago, the arms have opened further — 2005 saw a steady trickle of 10 Punjabi and six South Indian families. Prabha Sreedhar, a resident for the past two years, admitted she does not know much about Assamese culture. But, "my husband and I thoroughly enjoy their music."

Her neighbour Kala Setia said, "When we celebrate Lohri, they join in. Assamese people never celebrated Diwali with pomp earlier but now they are going the Punjabi way." The spirit of India, housed in an apartment building on its Capital's fringes.


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Atifa Deshamukhya's picture

Hi, I am an Assamese lady, who's recently shifted in with my family at madhur jeevan Apartments, plot #34. I would love to be part of your community, more so as i wish to join in Bihu celebrations. Can you lend a helping hand, please.
animesh bhattacharyya's picture

I recently shifted to new delhi.. want to know whether any flat is available for a poor axomina fellow for me & my wife.
ABDUL AZIZ's picture

Hi, I am an Assamese and recently joined in an MNC in Delhi-Meerut road.I wish to be a part of anybody who is an Assamese near Delhi/NCR . Can you help or come forward, pl.
Bipul Sinha's picture

Hello! to all the Assamese people in Delhi.. Me and Ankita(my wife)have been living in Pragjyotishpur Apt since 2007. it's been a great experience to be a part of this society. we all celebrate Bihu and Uruka every year.. and believe me we never miss Assam in those celebrations, because we all live like a big family. all are very co-operative and very help Full....this spirit makes me an active member of this society....we're proud to be a part of this society....
Krishnakhi dutta's picture

I am krishnakhi dutta from guwahati doing intership in delhi as a psychologist. I am presently living in uttam nagar. Iwould like to get enrolled in the progjyotishpur assamese society   

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Did G8 Summit provide answers to India's Energy Crisis?

12 Jul 2008 - 1:34pm | editor

Dr Rahul Pandey
The recently concluded G8 summit in Japan placed rising fuel and food prices, besides climate change, at the top of its agenda. While fuel crisis is enough to stoke panic, it has also partly induced the food crisis due to both high fuel cost of producing and transporting food as well vast bio-fuel cultivation in the West. With unabatedly rising price of oil and uncertainty about its reserves, energy security is today every nation's concern.

This also reflects in the desperation with which the Indian government is pushing ahead nuclear deal with the US. These developments raise some critical questions:

- Can energy policy deliver both energy security and climate change mitigation goals?

- Is nuclear energy the main alternative to fossil fuels? How competitive can renewable energy options become?

- Can the poor have access to modern energy services?

Here I attempt to answer these questions for India in light of current and prospective international trends in technologies, investments and policy. The general arguments hold good also for other countries facing similar uncertain energy future.

We are today in a historical phase in which major global trends in economy, technology, fuel, and environment are showing an interesting convergence. New styles of businesses have made customer responsiveness very important for suppliers and service providers. This means efficient supply chain-wide delivery, rather than just a single link like production, is strategically critical. Greater investments are being pumped in development of technologies that are smaller scale and mass-assembled rather than large scale and centrally installed. Fossil fuels are becoming scarcer. The concerns of climate change globally and of domestic pollutions in developing countries have never been more severe. All these trends are reinforcing each other and driving a radical shift in economics of several industries. Let us look at what they foretell for energy. In the remaining paragraphs I will first lay out the goals of energy policy, then review global trends of energy technologies and fuels, and finally outline the desired policy for India.

The right energy policy for a nation must aim to satisfy energy needs of current and future generations of all citizens in an affordable manner without adverse impact on the environment. As explained earlier, in today's world, mere domestic availability of a particular fuel may not ensure access of modern energy services to all. A nation requires a range of resources in the entire energy supply chains -- primary energy, financial capital, material and human capabilities for development and manufacture of relevant technological systems, and logistical infrastructure for delivery -- to make available useful energy to its citizens at affordable costs over a long period of time.

Bright prospects are lurking globally for renewable energy as centralized conventional technologies are declining, natural gas faces uncertainty beyond the next 2-3 decades, and environmental concerns are intensifying. Prominent EU countries and Japan have already begun serious initiatives to transition to low-carbon society by 2050 for which the state is providing support to large scale development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies. Thanks to rapid increase in R&D investments and installed cumulative capacity globally, renewable energy systems based on wind, solar and biomass are witnessing high learning rates as reflected in progress ratios of 70-90% (implying 10-30% fall in capital costs for every doubling of capacity). As most of these systems are viable at small scale, they hold promise also for the rural and remote regions of developing countries where majority of the poor live. It is clear that the countries who are making serious investment in technological and delivery infrastructure aspects of such options now will gain distinct advantage in the future. They will be able to deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to their people.

On the other hand, conventional large-scale options based on coal, nuclear and large hydro are facing declining trends and saturating costs. For instance, over the past two decades share of coal in electricity generation markets of North America, Europe and former USSR has eroded by 20-40% in favour of natural gas and, to some extent, renewables. Similar erosion has happened to big dams as they have imposed severe costs on local communities and environment everywhere. As for the nuclear power, its poor cost competitiveness has been demonstrated in the case of Indian heavy water reactors. No new nuclear power capacity has been installed in the US for the past three decades owing mainly to unresolved problems of nuclear waste handling and high costs. This is despite the billions of dollars received as subsidy through the Price Anderson Act. Given the high capital intensity and long life of nuclear power plants, India (or any other country) will be locking itself to huge resource commitments for the future if it pushes ahead with its ongoing nuclear enthusiasm. Needless to say, these commitments will deter us from exploring superior alternatives.

Clean coal technologies are being explored as cleaner alternatives, but their high capital cost and longer term uncertainty of coal reserves make them a candidate for temporary solution alone. Same goes for natural gas based options that have low capital cost but suffer from uncertain future gas prices. Fuel cell, run on hydrogen produced from natural gas and other alternatives, is likely to emerge as a competitive option in both transport and power sectors. Like renewable energy systems, they too will be viable at small, decentralized scale.

In the final analysis, energy policy aimed at long term affordability, clean environment, sustainability and security must be centered on a wide mix of renewable energy options -- solar, wind, small-hydel, biomass and others. Wide mix of renewables is necessary to ensure reliability of supplies and avoid possible fallout of dependence on single option like biofuels.

Therefore, to begin with, India must change its energy strategy towards one that places the highest priority on renewable energy by committing huge resources for up-scaling infrastructure for manufacture and supply of technologies for production of electricity, heat and other end-use energy from solar, wind, biomass and small-hydel resources. In addition, state support must be provided to build dispersed infrastructure in rural areas for delivery and maintenance of these systems. Systems based on clean coal and natural gas, given their current domestic availability and low capital cost respectively, can play stopgap role in the transitory phase until delivery infrastructure based on renewables is put in place.

In addition to changing energy supply mix, drastic end-use and life-style changes that cut down energy use will be necessary. Examples are: new urban planning with homes closer to offices, excess public transport capacities, and promotion of local markets and local materials to avoid long distance transport. But these changes cannot come by market economics alone. Governments need to intervene now to make them economically attractive in the future.

[The author is a former faculty member of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow, and is currently a member of a start up venture that develops mathematical models for planning and policy analysis. His doctoral and post-doctoral research work was related to energy and environment policy and climate change. He can be contacted at ]

Science based competition at Tangla

18 Nov 2012 - 6:34am | Jayanta Kumar Das

Aryabhatta Science Centre, Kalaigaon block under ASTEC (Assam Science Technology and Environment Council) Guwahati in association with Maharishi Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School,Tangla organized a science based competition for students on November 17 at Tangla. Rajashree Borah,Principal, MVM,Tangla hoisted the ASC flag at 10 AM while Nabin Chandra Boro, Inspector of Schools,Udalguri district inaugurated the competition at 11 AM. In his inaugural speech Inspector of Schools analyzed Vigyan,Pragyan and Gyan. He requested child scientists to study and experiment small matters found in their surrounding areas. He said that study and understanding science could very much help in removing blind believe and superstition from minds of people which in turn would check a few burning problems namely-witch hunting,dowry killing sacrifices etc

DN Hazarika,Circle officer,Harisinga Revenue Circle,Tangla attended the programme as the guest of honor. On the occasion he requested students and teachers to work for the conservation of nature wild life and ecology. He expressed regret at the unabated destruction of flora and fauna in the district. Mentioning governments schools apathy for such programmes, He said it was a pity that no student from government schools participated in the science based competitions.

In the science based model competition-Krishna Boro and Tejashree Deka (MVM,Tangla); Rodali Das and Diksha Devi (Arunodoi Academy,Tangla); Meenakshi Dutta and Dibyarupa Rabha (MVM,Tangla) won first three places. In the science based extempore speech competition- Deep Anand Basumatari (AA.Tangla);Suraj Roy (MVM,Tangla);Bismita Mahanta Das (MVM,Tangla) won first three places.In the science based poster drawing competition- Prastuti Parashar (LB Public School,Kalaigaon);Kalyani Rabha (MVM,Tangla) and Jinti Baruah (LB Public School,Kalaigaon) won first three places.All the winners have qualified to participate in the district level competition to be held at Udalguri next month. Anima Bhuan,HOD,Zoology,Tangla College (who also judged the competition) and Rajashree Borah,Principal,MVM,Tangla distributed prizes and certificates.

Bandh paralises Dima Hasao

8 Jan 2019 - 9:03pm | Ajoy Warisa

Assam bandh called by AASU & other organisation protesting Citizen Amendment Bill 2016 on Tuesday effected Dima Hasao. In Haflong, Maibang and many other places people kept their shops closed and refrained themselves from attending offices in support of the strike. Many student bodes & associations like DSU, Indigenous Student Association extended there support to the bandh.