ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

This is the Kumbh Mela of culture, Narendra Modi says at Art of Living festival

The prime minister praised the foundation while attending the first day of the World Culture Festival, which has been mired in controversy after allegations that the foundation damaged the Yamuna floodplains.

The National Green Tribunal on Friday gave the Art of Living Foundation three weeks to pay the Rs 5-crore fine imposed on it for damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains by its World Culture Festival. The organisation had claimed it was a charitable group and could not come up with the entire sum at short notice. The NGT agreed to the Art of Living's limitations and said it could pay Rs 25 lakh on Friday, and the rest within three weeks, PTI reported. It also said if the foundation did not pay Rs 25 lakh today, the government's Rs 2.5 crore contribution to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's charities will be attached. The tribunal had earlier said it can revoke its clearance for the event if the fine was not paid.

On Thursday, activist Manoj Mishra had approached the NGT saying Art of Living had not got the right clearances from the police, the fire department and the central public works department. The green body had penalised the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-led organisation for the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains in the run up to its World Culture Festival, which is will begin on Friday evening.

Earlier this week, the foundation had said it will appeal against the tribunal's order. An NGT panel had originally recommended imposing a Rs 120-crore fine after an inspection and study of the area, but the green court had imposed a penalty of Rs 5-crore and allowed the controversial event to take place as planned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the festival, though many world leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee have opted out.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.