Heavy rains and release of water from Gangapur dam into the Godavari river caused a flood-like situation in some areas of Maharashtra’s Nashik district on August 4. More than 20,000 cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water was released from the Gangapur dam on August 4 morning, which led to the Godavari river flowing above the danger mark, an official at the district collectorate said. This also caused water-logging around some temples located on the banks of the river, he said, adding that the water reached up to the neck of the Dutondya Maruti, a statue of Lord Hanuman on the river bed, and was just a few feet below the Ram Setu bridge. Heavy rains continued to lash the city and tribal- dominated tehsils of Igatpuri, Trimbakeshwar, Peint, Surgana, Nashik and Dindori on August 4, he said. In the 24 hours that ended at 8 am on August 4, the Trimbakeshwar tehsil received 315 mm rain, followed by Igatpuri-220 mm, Peint-200 mm, Surgana-180 mm, Nashik-84 mm, Dindori-68 mm, Niphad-25.3 mm and Kalwan-27 mm, as per data provided by the collector’s office. At 8 am, around 26,150 cusecs of water was also released from Darna dam into the river following the heavy showers, according to the data. Around 60 people from Saykheda village were shifted to a safer place, as the river Godavari was in spate in the area, a district administration official said.
Eleven-year-old Thomas was mortally afraid of water. Not unusual for children of his age. Then one fine morning at the Bangalore City Corporation pool, he fought his fear-and won. As he splashed about, it was obvious that this was a big accomplishment. Bigger still because Thomas has cerebral palsy. And,Eleven-year-old Thomas was mortally afraid of water. Not unusual for children of his age. Then one fine morning at the Bangalore City Corporation pool, he fought his fear-and won. As he splashed about, it was obvious that this was a big accomplishment. Bigger still because Thomas has cerebral palsy. And because he was accompanied by 44 children, who like him, are physically or mentally disadvantaged.Some suffer from cerebral palsy, a condition marked by weakness and impaired coordination of the limbs caused by damage to the brain before or during birth. Others have Down’s Syndrome, a congenital disorder due to a chromosome defect and characterised by diminished intelligence and physical abnormalities.But watching them in the pool, you wouldn’t know that. With every successful stroke, their sense of integration with the mainstream seems more complete, the smiles on their drenched faces fuller.In their midst is coach Raju Pujari, a product of the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. He looks at the splashing youngsters with pride, recalling how he first saw them a year ago at Sri Sajjan Rao Vidya Samsthe (SSRVS), a school for children with special needs. The sight tugged at his heart and he imagined taking them under his wing. That’s what he actually did, training them with the support of the neighbouring Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre (BAC), where he works.HOPE FLOATS: Pujari helps the children to improve their motor coordinationDevising a course suited for these 45 children was not easy. “In the beginning, we were not sure how to go about training these children,” says Pujari. “We had to slowly work on them and fight their fear of water.” But painstaking efforts by Pujari, other coaches and a host of volunteers eventually paid off.”Children who had no clue about hand and eye coordination began to show a marked improvement after being put into water,” says K. Shashikala, a teacher at SSRVS who has been trained to impart special education. A good example is that of 14-year-old Swathi Srinath who has Down’s Syndrome. Attending the intensive two-month programme at the centre seems to have done her wonders. Her father believes Swathi looks much more confident now.She’s not the only one. Rekha could not walk properly, but in the pool she splashes about happily. Pawan, who has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, but he undergoes a transformation in the water, as does Raju, who swims with the inflatable tube that keeps him afloat. Says Pawan’s mother: “We wish we had done this earlier. His stiff limbs have loosened.”That’s not an exaggeration. Studies have proved the benefits of swimming for the mentally and physically challenged. Water is believed to relax the muscles while lending firm support to the body weight. There are neurological advantages as well, because sensation is more pronounced in water.The coaches follow exercises that are designed to enhance the range of motion and coordination, besides lung capacity, breath control and overall strength. As a result, children with cerebral palsy or other problems have greater freedom of movement in water than anywhere else.Prabhavati Chandra, whose 12-year old daughter with Down’s Syndrome has made considerable progress at the pool, is even striving for perfection. Though her daughter swims very well, her left arm does not have the same extension, amplitude, speed or power as her right arm, she feels. As a result, her strokes are a bit uneven, but she’s convinced that practice will correct this.Pujari is equally confident. “There is no handicap at all as far as I can see,” he says. “What these kids lacked was opportunity.” While showing them the way, the BAC has been especially sensitive to their special needs-that children with cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome are slow learners. Since flippers have proved beneficial abroad, BAC hopes to acquire some to help the children improve their speed and posture. That would allow them to focus better on their strokes.While self-enhancement and integration are the final goals, the coaches at the centre believe that they can be achieved only through patience and perseverance. That’s instilled in the minds of the students and their parents right at the outset. As Pujari points out, it’s one step at a time. Or perhaps a stroke in the right direction.advertisement
Cricket humour is the new flavour on the sets of Comedy Nights With Kapil. Standup comedian Kapil Sharma has been shooting with a string of cricketers in the upcoming episodes.Virat Kohli, vice-captain of the Indian cricket team, is the latest celebrity hailing from the sport to make an appearance on the show and amuse the audience with his funny bone.Forthcoming episodes will also feature the Pathan brothers – Irfaan and Yusuf – pulling each other’s leg.Kapil made Virat blush by cracking tongue-in-cheek jokes on his alleged affair with actress Anushka Sharma.Veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar set the ball rolling, which led several other cricketers to appear on the show. Sunny made an appearance with Virendra Sehwag, reportedly on the insistence of commentator-turned- politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, and floored the audience with his humour.The episode was a revelation for cricket lovers as they got a glimpse of the rare, funny side of Gavaskar. “The ratings have been consistently strong, however the episodes featuring Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev created a frenzy on social networking sites as the audience for the first time saw the relaxed and comical side of their cricketing heroes,” said a source from the channel.Kapil Dev made an appearance with wife Romi and unabashedly cracked jokes on her raw cooking skills. Sehwag confirmed his shy nature, while Harbhajan Singh made fun of his lack of proficiency in English.Irfaan and Yusuf Pathan were also seen pulling each other’s leg on the show.The production unit of the show has been articulately chalking out theme for episodes featuring cricketers.”The attempt is to make the cricketers reveal funny anecdotes and create greenroom humour,” said a member of the unit.advertisementIn an upcoming episode, Kapil made Virat blush by making tongue-in-cheek jokes on the alleged affair with actress Anushka Sharma.”Did you go to Spain to watch the football World cup?” joked Kapil, hinting at Virat’s much-talked about reported romantic rendezvous with Anushka in Spain.