The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tech pundits spend a lot of time wondering about the next black rectangle — that is, the next touchscreen mobile or tablet computer. How many inches and pixels of screen will it have? How many cores? How thin and light will it be? But we all know those questions will only apply for a few more years at most.If you observe the trends in sensors, networked objects, and AI, it begins to seem inevitable that, while they’re certainly the present, black rectangles are not the future. Computing can be much more intelligent and subtle than that. It can blend in and enhance our environment. Think visual or auditory signals triggered by the world around you, not navigating through apps on a screen.In fact, the most innovative tech companies are already working on getting hardware and software out of our way entirely, so that we don’t have to really use them at all. They just happen.As one of my favorite tech observers, Kontra, noted this week, this seems to pose a problem for Apple. Apple is unique among mobile hardware manufacturers by having the whole business, hardware and software alike, rolled up into one. For Apple, the interface is the experience it sells, and the delightful hardware is the place where we make contact with it. If we’re headed for a world where hardware disappears into the background, what does Apple have left to sell?As Kontra observes, Apple’s Siri interface is the key to riding out this transition. In this future we’re imagining, there will be a wider variety of ways to interact with the computer. Not only will we use touch, movement, and voice, we’ll be passively interacting with it all the time just by going about our business. The key to this computing experience is having an aware, intelligent assistant application that can understand all these inputs, and Siri is Apple’s hope.AI Isn’t EasyIt’s a tough climb, though. As my colleague John Paul Titlow writes, even though voice control’s potential is amazing, it’s pretty clunky so far. Kontra’s post highlights the underlying challenges of gathering and understanding enough data to make this work, and we’ve already seen how much trouble Apple had there with Maps, a comparatively simple problem to solve.One wonders whether Google’s slow and steady approach will bear out, even though Apple is definitely winning the present, compared to Google’s hardware partners individually. Google’s Android strategy has created hundreds of millions of mobile Google users, no matter whose devices or OS versions they’re using. Google has gathered tons of data about the world, and data is Google’s specialty.For that reason, Google Now is a much better AI assistant than Siri right now. I’d be using it if there was an Android device I liked better than the iPhone all around.But again, that won’t matter for long. Google is already working on heads-up display glasses as a future interface. Maybe Apple is, too, but they certainly aren’t talking about it yet. By not worrying overly much about hardware and just concentrating on getting the software out there to collect the data, Google looks like it could leapfrog the black rectangle era and dominate the next one.But Apple has a way of surprising everyone by announcing that the new era is already here. And when Apple does that, it unveils a new kind of computer and says you can have it next week. With the kinds of profits and loyalty Apple has built, it would be foolish to rule out another surprise. Tags:#AI#Apple#Google Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces jon mitchell
Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a walk on the Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam after inaugurating it on Friday. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PMOIndia 4. It is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai. The sea link has now become the second longest river bridge in the country.5. The construction of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge began in 2011 by the Ministry of Road Transport along with Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd., under the public-private-partnership agreement6. A sum of ₹ Rs 2,056 crore has been spent on the bridge that can withstand 60 tonnes of weight, including battle tanks.7. The bridge, which has a three-lane carriage way, will also cater to the strategic requirements of the country in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, besides facilitating numerous hydro power projects coming up in the State, as it is the most sought after route for various power project developers.8. The bridge will make it much easier for Army convoys to reach outposts near the China border. It is also expected to boost tourism as there is no civilian airport in Arunachal Pradesh and this will make the road transport smoother.9. The bridge will increase industrial investments with better border trade between the Northeast and South Asian countries.10. State-run SAIL is the largest supplier of steel for the bridge. The PSU has supplied around 90% or around 30,000 tonnes of steel, including TMT, structurals and plates, for the bridge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in Assam, which is India’s longest river bridge.Here are 10 things to know about the bridge:1. Spanning 9.15 km, the bridge is built across the Lohit river, which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra. It will connect Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of the project, including the approach roads on each side, is 28.50 km.2. The bridge is located 540 km from Assam’s capital Dispur and 300 km from Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar. It connects Sadia town in Assam’s Tinsukia district with Dhola village, also in Assam.3. The bridge will reduce the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to just one hour as the distance will shrink by 165 km.
Days after releasing a separate manifesto, a Sankalp Patr, for the municipal polls, a first for any party in the state, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday kicked-off his poll campaign. His first stop was politically and symbolically significant, Ayodhya, which was elevated to the status of a municipal corporation after the BJP came to power in March.The Bharatiya Janata Party is going all out to campaign for the urban body polls in Uttar Pradesh in a bid to replicate the thumping win it registered in the Assembly elections eight months ago.Mr. Adityanath is expected to address more than three dozen rallies for the municipal polls, in a style similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign strategy.Addressing a rally in Ayodhya, Mr. Adityanath accused the previous Samajwadi Party government of neglecting it and of trying to restrict and tarnish the “pehchaan” (identity) and grandeur of the town in the eyes of the world. Those who “discriminated with your identity”, can never be forgiven, he told voters in Ayodhya.Mocking the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mr. Adityanath said the two parties were struck by “electric current” each time he visited Ayodhya.“Ayodhya is a symbol of faith for us. Ayodhya is the land of maryada purshottam Shri Ram…Ayodhya should get back its glory,” the Chief Minister said. Traditionally strong in urban areas, the BJP secured 10 of the 12 mayor posts in 2012.This time mayoral elections will be held for 16 posts, with the inclusion of four new seats including Mathura (Vrindavan) and Ayodhya, names emphasized by Mr. Adityanath in his speech.While mentioning that his government had already inaugurated development projects worth ₹ 137 crore in Ayodhya, Mr. Adityanath promised more schemes after the polls. He claimed credit for restoring grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya and said that his government’s priority was to make the town “shine” and bring a smile to the face of every person who visited it. “Ayodhya gave Diwali to the world but Diwali disappeared from Ayodhya. We restored it,” he said.While appealing for votes for the BJP candidates, Mr. Adityanath followed up on the promise made by his party in the manifesto and said that a gaushala would be built in all major cities cater to stray cattle.After Ayodhya, Mr. Adityanath is expected to hold campaign rallies in all major centres of UP, including Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Muzaffarnagar, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Lucknow and Mathura, with more than two rallies per day on average.Polls would be held for over 650 posts, including 16 Mayors and 200 Nagar Palika Parishads, starting November 22 in three phases. Results will be declared on December 1.
Quirk and kitsch is certainly making its way into the hearts of shoppers in Punjab. From art-inspired handicrafts and skull shaped phones to vintage shopping, ethnic is exotic on the store shelves, while a funky flavour is splashed across everything. Be it swanky malls or standalone shopping spaces, the city,Quirk and kitsch is certainly making its way into the hearts of shoppers in Punjab. From art-inspired handicrafts and skull shaped phones to vintage shopping, ethnic is exotic on the store shelves, while a funky flavour is splashed across everything. Be it swanky malls or standalone shopping spaces, the city is celebrating all that is quirky and cool. Out of the box and certainly off the beaten track, these cool stores are where you can indulge your wacky side!PhulkariTradition rules the roost here. From ingeniously made bronze and metal statues depicting Punjab’s rural life to gold and silver antique necklaces, earrings, anklets and nose rings as well as exquisite phulkari duppattas-all Punjabi handicrafts find a place here at Phulkari, the state emporium in Chandigarh. Owned by Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) Ltd, the twin-level store promotes Punjabi handicrafts and small scale industries. Named after phulkari-an exquisite traditional embroidery technique from rural Punjab, the neatly organised shop claims to have something for every home. Rustic looking brick walls house wardrobes that are stacked with clothing material. Needless to say, many of these unstitched suits and dupattas come with phulkari and bagh work on them. You can also find brightly coloured cushions, moorahas (cane stools), mats, bedspreads, jholas (cloth handbags) and quilts adorned with phulkari work. Art aficionados can pick from one of the traditional paintings by various schools of art like Chamba or Tanjore that are on display here as well.Where: S.C.O 27, Sector 17, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 150 to Rs 1,500 (furnishings); Rs 400 onwards (dupattas).Tel: 01722706246.USP: The Phulkari embroidery used on various clothing, jholas, mats, moorahs, dupattas and bedspreads.-Anandita GuptaadvertisementBittu BanglesIt is a glitzy affair at this iconic store that was set up way back in 1985. Bittu Bangle was just a small booth when it was started but with their wide variety and great collection of bangles, has managed to grow steadily and today, the store stocks thousands of bangles in all shades of the rainbow from across the country. Lac chudi bangles from Maharashtra, Kolkata and Hyderabad, glass and oxidised silver bangles from Delhi and Jodhpur and metal and embellished bangles from China (Rs 20-200), the store offers a great selection for every woman’s bangle needs. A striking assortment of cuffs and bracelets in stone, lac, metal and oxidised silver (Rs 30 to Rs 100 a pair) apart from their famous bridal choodas (not just the common red ones but also turquoise and white) from Amritsar and Rajasthan (Rs 250-Rs 6,000) are also on offer here.Where: S.C.F 21-22, Sector-22C, Near Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 250 to Rs 6,000 (choodas).Tel: 01722725755.USP: The variety of bangles that one can choose from and the variation of its customised services have made this store a runaway hit.-Anandita Gupta18.104.22.168What started as a shop selling only tees is now a space synonymous with ‘Punjabi-ness’. Named after the birth year of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, 22.214.171.124. is the brainchild of Harinder Singh. A whole range of handicrafts- phulkari embroidery, jutis, original paintings of the Golden Temple, antique locks, gramophones, brass lassi glasses and kirpans are available here. But it is their T-shirts with catchy captions-main gabru des punjab da, sadke jaavan, vekhi ja phercheri na, proud by birth-Sikh by choice-which have made them famous. Selling T-shirts was not something new for Singh as he is also behind the label Uni Style Image. With outlets spread across Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar, Singh says that the one in Chandigarh attracts the most customers.They also stock pottery from Auroville in Pondicherry, silver jewellery from Jaipur and ethnic embroidered bags from Gujarat. But they try to bring Punjab into even these items in a creative way. For instance, the tea set from Auroville, has “cha” written on it in Gurmukhi.Where: Shop No 81. Sector 17D, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 (T-shirts); Rs 500 (Pankhi).Tel: 01724677333.USP: The store stocks artefacts, apparel and accessories that celebrate the essence of the Punjabi culture.-Rewati RauMaskLocated within the popular Alpha one Mall in Amritsar is Mask, a fashion outlet that is definitely out of the ordinary. The remains of an ancient Ambassador car placed at the centre of the store is an indication of the ‘quirk’ factor to be expected from the merchandise. This multi brand apparel store is known for its furnishings and clothing range for young men and women. Modish accessories like bags, belts, caps, scarves are available here. The store houses collections from brands such as Unisex, Recap, Expose, IT, Virsa, Nostrum, Copper Stone and Butterfly to name a few. Tees with cult graphics, auto graphics and slogans are the definite hot sellers here. Being easy on the pocket makes Mask just that much more appealing to the city’s college-going crowd who are their main patrons.Where: Alphaone Mall, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 350 to Rs 2,500.Tel: 01835052400.USP: Their clothing range is fun, cool and affordable- perfect for the city’s youth.-Puja R.MahaldaradvertisementPleasentinoAn unusual concept in Amritsar, Pleasantino was started last year by Jaswinder Singh and his son Danish. The father-son duo began by selling games carved on wood (chess, backgammon, and cribbage) in USA. Demand for an off-beat carving for a game gave them the idea of utilising their skills in a different way. “We imported machines from USA to create a special carving for that client and that’s when we thought of making god and goddess figurines,” says Singh. A carving of the Golden Temple was their first effort. It soon resulted in a store in Amritsar’s Alpha One mall. Carvings are done on a variety of wood such as maple, rosewood, bloodwood, and mahogany. Deities of every faith find space on the shelves along with chessboards, keychains, wooden boxes, wall hangings, and side tables.Where: Alphaone Mall, S.C.O 43, DSC, BBlock, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 75 (keychain); Rs 15,000 (Guru Nanak carving).Tel: 09915588416. USP: Exotic wood carvings in unusual forms that serve as home dcor items.-Rewati RauHoney HutHoney Hut, a 500 sq ft eatery, tucked away in Sector 22’s noisy corridor stocks all kinds of products that pack in the goodness of honey. The health cafe offers raw honey and honey-based products that act as natural sweeteners apart from offering a whole range of health benefits as well. Brainchild of Paramjit Singh, 54, the first Honey Hut store was established in 2008 at Shimla, to encourage guilt-free sweet indulgence. Consequently, Singh has opened seven outlets, across India and tied up with Ludhiana-based Kashmir Aperies (that exports honey to 70 countries) for sourcing the best quality honey. The store serves multiple delicacies and varieties of honey, at reasonable prices. Try their honey-based coffee, tea, milk, shakes, lemon water and lassi. Their honey idlis and honey chocolates, as well as kulfis and ice creams infused with honey are simply delectable. They also have a range of cosmetics that are all made from honey.Where: Honey Hut, Khadi Bhawan, S.C.O 7-8, Sector 22B, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 25 to Rs 80.Tel: 01724003286.USP: The store stocks a wide range of products from food items to cosmetics-all made from honey.-Anandita GuptaFeathersThis little shop in Sector 22 is a gold mine for fashion accessories. The three storey store, established by city-based entrepreneur, Ajay Sarna in 1973 stocks accessories of all kinds ranging from bangles, earrings, danglers, hair clips, cosmetics, beauty products, purses, clutches, pouches, hand bags, wallets, vanity kits, jewellery boxes and even night wear and lingerie. A great place to stop at before the next big Punjabi marriage party, pick up elegantly decorated cash envelopes, wedding garlands and everything else that makes trousseau packing convenient and stylish. advertisementReplicas of global brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Dior and travel gear are hot sellers here and the store is known for its great discounts as well.Where: SCF 2, Sector 22D, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 210 to Rs 6,000.Tel: 01722707281.USP: Feathers scores high both, on quality and the variety of products they stock.-Anandita GuptaKarma RepublicPreet Arjun Singh, 26, decided that rather than wearing his politics on his sleeve, why not wear a cause instead? It was with this in mind that this Chandigarh boy set up Karma Republic, an online concept store that has been spreading awareness about social and cultural issues through exciting and lucid graphics on tees. “Karma Republic tees are a wearable canvas for my inner activist,” says founder Preet Arjun Singh with a smile. Preet quit his lucrative job with IT major Infosys and launched Karma Republic four years ago. Though things started out slowly, they soon picked up, with Punjab’s hip crowd all sporting KR tees.Now thousands of t-shirts are sold every month on his website. Preet designs each piece himself, the messages the tees contain range from raising a voice against corruption and communalism to expressing patriotism for the country. If you’d like to buy offline, there is an outlet at Sector 35 as well. Anyone who buys a tee from KR also gets a ‘passport’-a booklet to keep a record of their good karmas!Where: Karma Republic headquarters, S.C.O 367, Second floor, Sector 35B, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 450 to Rs 700.Tel: 09988224475/karmarepublic.comUSP: The unique t-shirts with lucid graphics and quotes relating to social and cultural issues.-Anandita GuptaAmritsari BazaarThe Amritsari Bazaar that houses more than 50 outlets is a one-stop-shop for all your Punjabi handicrafts needs. The bazaar’s decor grabs your attention as soon as you enter with its huge artistic ambience and with the traditionally decorated halls that are laid out with jali, mirror and wood works that set the tone for a great day out for handicraft shopping.Spread out over 15,000 square feet, the bazaar located at the top floor of the Alpha One mall is a stark contrast from the rest of the mall that retails more urbane, trendy fashion wear and apparel. Head here to pick up home decor items or interesting made out in various traditional styles such as phulkari, lacquered woodwork and traditional jewellery styles. Punjabi jutis, hand-woven carpets and popular delicacies like papads and wadiyan are must buys here.Where: Alpha One Mall, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 200 to Rs 50,000.Tel: 01835031500; alphaoneamritsar.comUSP: The store has everything that is quintessentially Punjabi and is a onestop-shop for traditional handicrafts.-Puja Raina MahaldarAnaha JewelleryThe store imbues class with its wooden cabinets, antique showcases and wide variety of jewellery. Boasting of a great selection of jewellery from India as well as countries like France, North and South America, Italy, Africa and the Middle East, personal attention is given to every customer who steps in here. The store is divided into two sections-Indian and World Jewellery. In the Indian section kundan designs from Punjab, polki designs from Jaipur, gold designs from south India and gemstones from Hyderabad are all on display. In the international section, one can find diamond jewellery from France under the brand ‘Viona’, gemstones from North America under ‘Zayna’, gold and silver jewellery from Italy under ‘Evana’, pearls from Japan under ‘Osaka’, South American bronze designs under ‘Inca’ and exquisite bead designs from Africa and the Arab World under the name, ‘Jambo’. It has an exquisite antique jewellery collection which is trendy and can be worn to work. Besides gold, silver and diamonds, you can also find bronze, stone, acrylic and wooden jewellery here.Where: S.C.O 215-217, Sector 34, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 100 onwards (artificial jewellery); Rs 300 (silver); Rs 5000 onwards (gold-kundan/diamonds).Tel: 09855501827.USP: A wide variety of jewellery from all over the world. They also customise jewellery for their customers.-Monita SharmaVijay Metal WorksTake a slight detour on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway to Jandiala Guru and pick up brass utensils of every size and shape. The nerve centre of brass utensil manufacturing in the state; people from this nondescript place near Amritsar have been making brass utensils for over five decades. There are large and small brass kadhais (thick woks), bowls, spoons, and pots. You can also spot rows of tablas being made here. “People from across the country come to buy our tablas and other brass utensils,” says Mohan Lal Malhotra of Vijay Metal Works.Where: Brass factory, Vijay Metal Works; Bazaar Kaserian, Jandiala Guru (district Amritsar).Cost: Rs 350 (brass plate) and; Rs 500 (glass).Tel: 01832431229.USP: Their brass utensils are a unique concept which have been manufactured for over five decades.-Rewati RauYakshi Wedding BazaarThis brightly-lit wedding accessories showroom is all about celebrating marriage. Conceptualized and launched by 45 year old Satinder Kumar two years ago, the 1000 sq ft store is a one-stop-shop for addressing all your wedding ceremony needs. From shagun thalis with embellished covers, decorative coconuts, currency garlands and sindoordanis to kirpans (sword carried by the bridegroom), turbans, sehras and kaliras; everything is available at Yakshi and all of it at affordable prices too. Yakshi has about 30 sherwanis and 40 lehengas in their wedding collection. They also have an in-house tailor for alterations.Where: S.C.F 24, Sector 7C, Inner Market, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 (sherwanis and lehengas).Tel: 01725051440, 09316108440.USP: Its exquisite wedding attire and accessories at affordable prices makes the store a favorite with to-be brides and grooms.-Anandita GuptaFragrance and FlavorStocking a variety of exclusive global perfume brands, a stopover at Fragrance and Flavors is sure to be a treat for your olfactory senses. City-based entrepreneur Harpreet Singh set up this boutique, the tri-city area’s first exclusive perfume outlet three years ago and has since managed to bedazzle the Punjabi shopper with his great collections. Spread over 400 sq feet, the contemporary looking store is designed to cater to perfume aficionados. Besides, the store has introduced the uninitiated to fine international fragrances such as Channel, Creed, La Prairie, YSL, Dunhill, Bvlgari, Hogo Boss, Tom Ford, Armani and Hermes.Where: SCO 80, Sector 17D, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 500 to Rs 25,000.Tel: 01724008998.-Anandita GuptaEmergeThe gateway to the best rock ‘n’ roll merchandise in Punjab, Emerge is a one-stop-shop for all things cool. From classic posters to eccentric tees, it’s all available inside this 1200 sq ft store. The store is laid out like an old, run down garage with worn out, deflated tyres, air compressors and junk items placed all around. A professional DJ spinning progressive house and trance tunes adds to the eclectic mood as well. Trendy apparel is the mainstay here, but there is a huge line of accessories, posters, medals and studded belts. Ordinary household items get interesting twists here with skull shaped ashtrays and napkin holders that are designed like toothpaste tubes. This four year old store has set up outlets across Punjab, including the ones in Shimla and Panchkula.Where: S.C.O Sector 10D Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 350 to Rs 3,000.Tel: 01724674890, 09501133551.USP: Their selection of rock ‘n’roll merchandise. Most of their stuff has an edgy, quirky feel to it.-Anandita GuptaSvaasa ShopHow about a cup of tea to cure insomnia? A herb liquid extract for depression? Svaasa Shop, a tiny shop tucked away in Ranjit’s Svaasa, a boutique spa resort in Amritsar, stocks stuff for those who appreciate the finer things in life. An entire section dedicated to wellness has a range of Yogi Tea (imported from Netherland) for detoxifyng, throat comfort, digestion, and sound sleep.There are 150 liquid herbal extracts available that cure various kinds of ailments. Svaasa also manufactures essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemongrass and mandarin which are available at the shop. While they do make a style statement, what is most interesting here is their funky jute slippers which have been designed by Badhte Kadam, a group of street children in Delhi. You can also pick up handmade coasters sourced from Orissa.Where: 47A, Mall Road, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 315 onwards.Tel: 09872626618/svaasa.comUSP: Their range of products that aim to target wellness needs of the local populace.-Rewati RauLalit Kala AkademiYour favourite artist can now find a place on your dining table, couch, drawing room or even your clothes. Three years ago Le Corbusier Centre and the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) came out with this interesting idea to attract art lovers. A set of mugs and t-shirts with art critic Ashok Vajpeyi’s poems printed on them was LKA’s first creation.Later on, works of other renowned artists’ such as Jatin Das, Paramjit Singh, Krishen Khanna, Shakti Burman, Ranbir Kaleka, Vivan Sundaram, and Anjolie Ela Menon were incorporated on items of daily use. Says Diwan Manna, the chairperson of Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh, “The idea is not new, it’s there all over the West, but in India nobody was doing it. So I thought we should start it here.” When you pay the store a visit, check out the painting on a mug by Krishen Khanna. Monalisa cushion covers, beer mugs printed with Corbusier’s paintings, and a mug with an Amrita Shergill painting-all quite attractive.Where: Le Corbusier Centre, Sec 10C, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 500 to Rs 750 (Beer Mugs); 750 to Rs 7,000 (Paintings); Rs 1,000 (Cushion Covers).Tel: 01722740261.USP: The artistic decor is with impressions of it on various products available at the store.-Rewati RauArt Craft and BeyondThis 28 room bungalow in a narrow Amritsar street urges you to pause and take notice. Look in and expect to be drawn by the artefacts, artfully scattered all around. Three commodious rooms here are stacked with a mix of small and big collectibles from India and abroad. An avid traveller with an eye for vintage items, Aradhana Mehra started Art Craft and Beyond last year. Here, you could pick up a mask from Indonesia, tiny plates from Turkey, ceramics from Thailand, mahogany wooden tables from Java, or a painting from Hong Kong. Mehra has also stocked some ethnic glass vases, bathroom sets and lamps from Agra and antique furniture from Rajasthan. She brings in new stocks every 15 days. What’s unique about her store is the convenient option of paying in installments. “When people come to pay their installment, they spot new items and are tempted to buy more stuff, so it works for me,” she says.Where: 9, Rattan Chand Road, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 250 to Rs 50,000.Tel: 01832220980.USP: Home decor artefacts sourced from around the world, and the convenient option of paying in installments.-Rewati RauIndia House GroupEnter Sona Makhni’s house and showroom decorated like a Rajasthani haveli and you’ll forget you are in Amritsar. An antique palki greets you up front while workers are busy weaving or carving as you go past the door. Inside, there is a spread of handcrafted trousseau boxes, a wooden bar with bar stools, coat hangers, cupboards of vintage value, wooden dining tables and side tables.”The most popular items here are the antique doors and the bar that comes with a table and bar stools,” says Makhni. We loved the trousseau boxes, which can also be used as side tables or as regular storage boxes. Her husband Vikram Singh has impressed Westerners with Indian carpets and antique furniture made of mango, sheesham and teak wood for over 25 years-they have shops in Switzerland and France. Makhni decided to utilise her free time at home and started retailing from Amritsar. Her venture of one-and-a-half years has given her an exclusive clientele in the city. Makhni also customises furniture. All the wooden products are made at the family’s manufacturing unit in Jodhpur. The Makhnis started their business with hand-knotted silk carpets. The wool for these carpets is imported from New Zealand and the weaving is done in neighbouring villages. “We’ve employed over 300 housewives from the villages,” she says. Makhni also stocks a range of phulkari and Pashmina shawls at her store.Where: 5, RB, Duni Chand Road, Lawrence Road, Amritsar.Cost: Rs 500 (antique box); Rs 50,000; (wooden cupboard).Tel: 01832223845.USP: A Rajasthani haveli styled store, stocking vintage, antique products with a twist.-Rewati RauVanity BoxIf you think your house cannot do without printed toilet paper from Germany, floral cushion covers from England or acrylic wine glasses from Italy, head straight to the Vanity Box. The store is also a treasure trove of stuff like magnets by a bunch of young designers from Bengaluru, pottery from Puducherry, unique saris by Delhi based designer Neeru Ahuja, table linen by US designer, April Cornell and much more. The store has a vintage look with a quirky ambience. Vanity Box, as a concept, was born out of an annual flea market organised at the Whispering Willows at Zirakpur, a resort owned by Priya Jagat, also the owner of Vanity Box.Where: S.C.S 7, Sector 8 Market, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 150 onwards.Tel: 017227813329.USP: A vintage store with a wide range of quality antique products.-Rewati RauTantraThe first dedicated outlet in the state that retails the perennially cool Tantra tees, this spacious store became an instant hit among the citys hip crowd when it was set up in 2010. One can browse the well-lit shelves of this 1000 sq ft space for a wide range of classic Tantra cotton tees with fun ideas, ranging from social messages on issues such as empowerment of women and human rights to tees with themes such as going green, spirituality, music and parties here. The hot sellers, however, are the funky tees with peppy images and one-liners such as ‘Bakwaas ke Baadshah’, ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Shiva in a Trance’ and ‘Read Books, not T Shirts!’ Also look out for their range of interesting accessoriesfrom eco-friendly cloth bags made from recycled fabric to framed artworks and quirky mouse pads.Where: S.C.O 481, Sector 35C, Chandigarh.Cost: Rs 300 to Rs 650.Tel: 09915068553.USP: With new t-shirts being launched every month, the store has perhaps the widest variety of cool t-shirts in the state.-Anandita GuptaOxyzone AromasSensing the growing popularity of aromatic essential oils in the hospitality and wellness industry, Chandigarh-based Simar Kaaur set up Oxyzone Aromasa store offering an exquisite collection of aroma oils. “These aroma oils are completely natural, being benzene and alcohol-free. They work wonderfully as natural perfumes and help greatly in relaxing and soothing your body,” says 28 year old Kaaur, who ventured into the aromatic oils business while running her two upscale gyms (Oceanic and Oxyzone) in Chandigarh and Zirakpur. This small yet well-laid out store was set up last year and now supplies aromatic and spa oils to many luxury hotels across the state, including The Taj, Piccadily, KC Royale and Hotel Heritage. Their product range includes aromatic diffuser oils, pure aromatic essential oils and reed oils, aromatic mists, spa oils and Jacuzzi oils.Cost: Rs Rs 200 to Rs 70,000Tel: 09779653119/oxyzonearomas.comUSP: The aroma oils are available in exquisite fragrances and are completely natural and alcohol free.-Anandita Gupta
zoomImage Courtesy: SWS Chinese shipbuilder Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) has reportedly signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with two South Korean shipping companies for the construction of up to five bulkers.Namely, Sinokor Merchant Marine and Polaris Shipping have been linked to an order for four Newcastlemaxes and one Capesize bulker respectively, data from Asiasis shows.Under the terms specified in the contract, the delivery of the ships has been set for 2020.The total value of the LoI is said to be USD 294 million.South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries has been the preferred choice for both shipowners so far, as Sinokor has six very large crude carriers (VLCC) on order at HHI, while Polaris has as much as 18 Capesize newbuildings taking shape at the yard, data from VesselsValue shows.Back in February, SWS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China CSSC Holding, snapped up an order for four additional 210,000 dwt bulk carriers from the New York-based ship management firm Foremost Group.The order was described as the first contract secured by the shipbuilder this year.World Maritime News Staff
VANCOUVER — Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the Crown corporation’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says.Mike Pearson says the “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek crossing in Chilliwack will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon and limit their ability to hide from predators. The fish are part of the diet of endangered southern resident killer whales.“There was no consideration given whatsoever to the habitat, which is just not acceptable,” said Pearson, a biologist with 30 years’ experience, in an interview.Trans Mountain Corp. filed documents with the National Energy Board showing its plans to cover exposed pipe in the Fraser Valley creek. It wrote that it would place concrete mats in the channel, extending about eight metres upstream and nine metres downstream of the exposed line, and cover it with small stones.Pearson said the work was completed in August to September of last year. He visited the site in December and took photos that he says show most of the stones have been swept away by currents, leaving the concrete blocks exposed.“The work has degraded habitat in several ways,” he wrote in an assessment filed with the energy board by intervener Yarrow Ecovillage.The smooth, hard concrete provides no hiding places for salmon, supports very few of the aquatic invertebrates they feed on, inhibits plant growth and prevents fish from burying their eggs, the document says.Pearson believes it’s not an isolated incident. An assessment he did of a pipeline creek crossing on Sumas Mountain in 2015 for Pipe Up Network, an anti-pipeline group, concluded the site was physically unstable and reconstructed with materials inappropriate to restoring habitat.A stream-keeper has also raised concerns about excavation at Trans Mountain’s terminal in Burnaby. John Preissl has filed several complaints with the energy board alleging the work has caused sediment to fall into two salmon-bearing creeks.Federal and provincial officials inspected the terminal in April and found improperly installed sediment and erosion control measures. A follow-up energy board report concluded Trans Mountain had fixed the problems by the end of November.Trans Mountain said in a statement that the BC Oil and Gas Commission approved its Stewart Creek work and found no issues in site inspections during and after construction.It said a third-party engineer designed the plan to protect the exposed line and conducted a study to ensure it would not impede fish passage. Environmental plans were created and work was monitored full-time by a qualified environmental professional, it said.As for Pearson’s 2015 criticism of the Sumas Mountain crossing, Trans Mountain said an independent environmental consultant completed an assessment and made a management plan. The work was monitored by an environmental professional and the oil and gas commission found no issues.It also said “extensive” sediment control measures and mitigation efforts are in place at its Burnaby terminal.The corporation added that field crews investigated all potential watercourse crossings for its expansion project even before it applied to the energy board for approval.“The information gleaned from this fieldwork allows us to avoid or minimize impact to fish and fish habitat during pipeline construction,” it said, adding environmental inspectors will monitor construction.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has purchased the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion.The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing line that runs from the Edmonton area to Burnaby. The energy board completed its first review in 2016 and recommended the government approve the project with 157 conditions.In its report, the board wrote the watercourse crossing plans “would effectively reduce the extent of effects on fish and fish habitat.”Ten conditions relate to fish, including that the company must file details on the presence of fish and fish habitat with the board before starting construction on watercourse crossings.Most of the conditions are “a plan to make a plan,” argued Eugene Kung, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law.“They don’t have any actual measurable effect on the outcome.”The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the project’s approval in August in part due to the board’s failure to consider marine shipping impacts. The government ordered the board to conduct a new review looking at this issue and produce a report by Feb. 22.Scientists and environmentalists say the new review, which is limited to 12 nautical miles off B.C.’s coast, is neglecting the streams and rivers that support salmon.Board spokesman James Stevenson said it will consider all evidence on the record relevant to assessing impacts of project-related marine shipping, including but not limited to impacts on southern resident killer whales.“Some parties have filed evidence regarding (southern resident) prey, including salmon,” he said.The board rejected Pearson’s evidence because Yarrow Ecovillage filed it nine days after a December deadline, but the board noted the evidence “may have some relevance as it pertains to salmon, which is a food source of the (southern residents).”Chinook salmon comprise roughly 80 per cent of southern resident orca diet in the summer, but chum, coho and steelhead trout make up about 14 to 18 per cent, and little is known of their winter diet, said Pearson in his filing with the energy board.Paul Spong, founder of Orca Lab research station on Vancouver Island, said chum are the whales’ second choice after chinook, adding that starvation is the biggest threat to their survival.“Anything that interferes with salmon using river systems is detrimental to the orcas.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.Laura Kane, The Canadian Press