Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Pollutants dispersing in Delhi but air quality is still badAmong the station maintained by the CPCB, nine out of 17 were in the ‘very poor’ category, while the rest recorded ‘severe’ air quality. PTI

Pollutants dispersing in Delhi but air quality is still bad

21 Oct 2017 | 4:18 PM

NEW DELHI: The volume of pollutants markedly came down in Delhi on Saturday with their rapid dispersion caused by a strong wind movement, a day after Diwali.

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New Delhi, October 21

The volume of pollutants markedly came down in Delhi on Saturday with their rapid dispersion caused by a strong wind movement, a day after Diwali fireworks pushed the city’s air quality into the ‘severe’ zone for the first time this year.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which attributed Friday’s high pollution levels to calm wind movement and a low mixing height (where air and suspended particles mix), said the situation would improve further by Sunday if favourable conditions prevailed.

“The wind speed is expected to pick up and reach up to 9 km/hour, which is adequate enough for the dispersion of suspended particulates. On Friday and Thursday, wind speed and mixing height were extremely low, which led to the rapid build-up of pollutants near the surface,” Dipankar Saha, CPCB’s air lab head, told PTI.

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The improvement was captured by the pollution monitoring stations. Six out of the eight stations maintained by SAFAR (System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research), an agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had air quality index (AQI) in the ‘very poor’ category, a shade better than ‘severe’.

Among the station maintained by the CPCB, nine out of 17 were in the ‘very poor’ category, while the rest recorded ‘severe’ air quality.

A ‘very poor’ AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to ‘severe’ air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.

At 12 pm, the 24-hour rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10, ultra-fine particulates, which are up to 30 times tinier than the width of a human hair, were 206 and 357 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/m3) respectively, as against Friday’s 407 and 595.

Their 24-hour safe standards are 60 and 100 and anything beyond that is considered harmful as these particles enter the respiratory system and can manage to reach the bloodstream, causing irreparable damage to humans and animals.

Diwali fireworks left Delhi gasping on Friday as night-long bursting of firecrackers despite a Supreme Court ban on their sale had plunged the air quality into the ‘severe’ zone for the first time this year.

Pollution in Delhi breached emergency levels on the Diwali night and the air quality worsened the day after, but compared to last year’s post-Diwali period, the city is relatively better off, the pollution monitoring agencies concurred in their reports on Friday.

The CPCB, the country’s apex pollution regulator, had on Friday recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 403 in Delhi, 402 in Noida and 412 in Ghaziabad, all in the severe zone, or the most polluted category, on October 20.

In a direct indicator of the impact of firecrackers, the SO2 (sulphur dioxide) levels that otherwise remained very low in the region, had increased by more than three times in several locations, including RK Puram, Shadipur and Punjabi Bagh on October 19, the Centre for the Science and Environment (CSE) said.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain had reviewed the situation during a meeting here on Friday. The government had issued a statement following the meeting, saying major changes in the level of pollutants were observed after 8 pm on Thursday when the fireworks started.

On Friday, the US Embassy’s pollution monitor recorded ‘hazardous’ air quality with the index scoring an alarming 878, which the mission considers “beyond its air quality index (AQI), which ends at 500”.

But unlike previous years, the run-up to Diwali festivities was much cleaner this time.

Even the Diwali evening was relatively quiet and promising, suggesting that the ban on sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region imposed by the apex court had worked.

As the clock ticked, frenzied celebrations picked up and noisy and relentless bursting of firecrackers continued till the wee hours, sending the pollution graph off the charts.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), which is empowered to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR, kicked off a series of preventive measures on October 17.

Measures under the GRAP’s ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories, which include a ban on diesel generator sets, have come into effect and will remain in force till March 15. PTI

Clashes over burning crackers, several injured in Muzaffarnagar

21 Oct 2017 | 3:28 PM

MUZAFFARNAGAR: Several people from the Dalit community were injured in a clash over burning of firecrackers at Muzaffarnagar’s Charthawal town, the police said on Saturday. Trouble started when some Dalit youths opposed the bursting of crackers by another group, they said.

Keep me out of Tipu Jayanti celebrations: Union Minister to Karnataka

21 Oct 2017 | 5:15 PM

BENGALURU: Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde has conveyed to the Karnataka government not to invite him to the “shameful” event of Tipu Sultan Jayanti on November 10.

Man repeatedly thrashes girl for asking not to make noise

Man repeatedly thrashes girl for asking not to make noise

21 Oct 2017 | 5:19 PM

MUMBAI: A 16-year-old girl was left with a fractured nose after a man allegedly repeatedly hit her for asking him and his friends not to indulge in loud arguments at Kurla-Nehrunagar here, police said on Saturday.

AAP announces names of 11 candidates for Gujarat polls

21 Oct 2017 | 7:17 PM

AHMEDABAD: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday declared its first list of candidates for eleven Assembly constituencies in Gujarat, but said it would not contest from the seats where it was weak.

Modi wants peace with Pak but not at security cost: US official

Modi wants peace with Pak but not at security cost: US official

21 Oct 2017 | 5:21 PM

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot “pursue peace” with Pakistan in a way that “cuts his own security”, a top Trump administration official has said.

Gorakhpur BJP worker arrested for accepting bribe after CM intervenes

Gorakhpur BJP worker arrested for accepting bribe after CM intervenes

21 Oct 2017 | 5:01 PM

LUCKNOW: A woman BJP leader from chief minister Adityanath’s constituency, Gorakhpur, was arrested recently following his intervention for reportedly accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000, sources said on Saturday.

Modi is with us, nobody can shake AIADMK, says Tamil Nadu minister

Modi is with us, nobody can shake AIADMK, says Tamil Nadu minister

21 Oct 2017 | 3:42 PM

ANDIPATTI (TN): Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajendra Balaji has said "nobody can shake" the AIADMK so long as Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to support the party.

Guj polls: Cong invites Hardik, Alpesh, Jignesh Mevani to join hands

21 Oct 2017 | 4:36 PM

AHMEDABAD: Hoping to garner support of various communities in Gujarat polls, the state Congress on Saturday invited Patidar quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel, Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the party to defeat the ruling BJP.

Venkaiah Naidu discharged from AIIMS after angioplasty

Venkaiah Naidu discharged from AIIMS after angioplasty

21 Oct 2017 | 2:59 PM

NEW DELHI: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who underwent angioplasty at the premier AIIMS hospital here, was discharged on Saturday.

10 labourers killed as truck overturns in Sangli district of Maharashtra

21 Oct 2017 | 11:02 AM

SANGLI: A truck ferrying labourers overturned near here on Saturday, killing 10 of them and injuring 20 others, police said. The truck flipped over at a sharp turn amid low visibility near Tasgaon town in this western Maharashtra district in the morning, it said.

UPA didn’t let me rebuild Kedarnath: PM

UPA didn’t let me rebuild Kedarnath: PM

21 Oct 2017 | 2:24 AM

KEDARNATH (U'KHAND):Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stones of five reconstruction projects here and hit out at the Congress, saying he was not allowed to carry out redevelopment work after the 2013 deluge when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.

All inter-religious marriages not ‘love jihad’: Kerala HC

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

KOCHI:The Kerala High Court has held that all inter-religious weddings cannot be viewed as ‘love jihad’ as it upheld a marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man.

Party and people are with me, says Chandy reacting to solar scam fallout

21 Oct 2017 | 1:35 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy on Saturday said he has the support of the people and the Congress party, even after being named as an accused in the 2013 solar panel scam.

UK MP’s motion for Jallianwala apology

UK MP’s motion for Jallianwala apology

21 Oct 2017 | 1:23 PM

LONDON:One of Britain’s seniormost Indian-origin MPs has tabled a parliamentary motion, calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar during the Raj in 1919.

Ranjit Kumar quits post of Solicitor Gen

Ranjit Kumar quits post of Solicitor Gen

21 Oct 2017 | 1:04 PM

NEW DELHI:Kumar is the second senior law officer to have resigned after Mukul Rohatgi, who quit as Attorney General in June.

30 lakh Americans carry loaded handguns daily: Survey

30 lakh Americans carry loaded handguns daily: Survey

21 Oct 2017 | 1:04 PM

WASHINGTON:An estimated 30 lakh adult American handgun owners carry a loaded firearm on a daily basis, and 90 lakh do so on a monthly basis, a study has found.

India tops pollution deaths: ‘25 lakh a year’

India tops pollution deaths: ‘25 lakh a year’

21 Oct 2017 | 1:04 PM

LONDON:Pollution caused 90 lakh deaths in 2015 — three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined — scientists said on Thursday, calling for governments in poor countries to act.

Maharashtra ST buses back on roads after high court rap

21 Oct 2017 | 1:02 PM

MUMBAI: Striking employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on Saturday called off their five-day strike after the Bombay High Court ruled it illegal.

Cracks in ban, but not total mess

Cracks in ban, but not total mess

21 Oct 2017 | 12:55 PM

NEW DELHI:Delhi, that saw relentless bursting of crackers till late in the night despite the ban imposed by the Supreme Court, woke up to a blanket of smog today.

Rare bonhomie, Yadav family feud over?

Rare bonhomie, Yadav family feud over?

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

LUCKNOW:Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family which has been at daggers drawn for the last nine months appeared to have made on the occasion of Diwali where they were seen smiling in one happy family photo.

PM celebrates Diwali with jawans

PM celebrates Diwali with jawans

21 Oct 2017 | 10:53 AM

SRINAGAR:For the fourth consecutive year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers, this time near the Line of Control (LoC) in the landlocked Gurez area of Bandipore district in north Kashmir on Thursday.

R’sthan public servants get 180-day probe shield

21 Oct 2017 | 10:38 AM

JAIPUR:In Rajasthan, a judge, magistrate or public servant cannot be probed for on-duty actions without the government’s prior sanction.

Man forced to lick his saliva in Bihar

Man forced to lick his saliva in Bihar

21 Oct 2017 | 1:38 AM

BIHARSHARIF:A man was forced to lick his own spit in Bihar’s Nalanda district as punishment for trying to enter the house of an influential man of a village, allegedly without permission.

Maha farmers resume protests

21 Oct 2017 | 9:45 AM

MUMBAI:Maharashtra farmers today resumed protests for a total waiver of all farm loans in the state, just days after the state government began disbursing the first tranche of Rs 4,000 crore under the farm loan waiver scheme.

Stand up, show respect to MPs, MLAs, UP tells officials

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

LUCKNOW:The Uttar Pradesh Government has issued a directive asking all officials to show respect to MPs and MLAs by standing up and welcoming them whenever they visit their office andthe gesture has to be repeated when they leave.

Rank Rankle in Forces Part-I

MoD, armed forces lock horns over panel report

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

NEW DELHI:In a move that threatens to question the seniority in military ranks, a report of a committee of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has resulted in a heated exchange of correspondence between various wings of the ministry and the forces.

Delhi welcomes Tillerson’s remarks on bilateral ties

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

NEW DELHI:India today welcomed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statements on defining India-US relations for the next century even as China criticised it sharply.

500 long-distance trains to run quicker

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

NEW DELHI:The Railways would soon cut short the running time of over 500 long-distance trains by up to two hours, a senior railway official said today.

BSF commander attacked by cattle smugglers, dead

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

NEW DELHI:A Border Security Force (BSF) commander, who was attacked by suspected cattle smugglers along the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura recently, succumbed to injuries today.

Iconic Marxist Achuthanandan going strong at 94

Iconic Marxist Achuthanandan going strong at 94

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Kerala’s iconic Marxist and former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan turned 94 today.

8 die in TN transport corpn building collapse

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

Nagapattinam/Chennai: A portion of a 65- year-old building belonging to the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation collapsed in Nagapattinam district on Friday morning, killing eight transport department staffers.

Bihar police firing: 1 dead

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

PATNA:Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Friday ordered a probe into police firing that left one person dead and several others injured at Tajpur locality in Samastipur district.

Panel to find RS television Editor-in-Chief

21 Oct 2017 | 1:27 AM

NEW DELHI:Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu appointed a five-member search-cum-selection committee to select Editor-in-Chief of the Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV).

J’khand CM rides without helmet

21 Oct 2017 | 1:53 AM

Ranchi: Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das has invited opposition flak for riding a scooter without a helmet on Diwali and also travelling minus security cover.

Telangana Cong invites Azhar

21 Oct 2017 | 1:53 AM

Hyderabad: The Congress in Telangana has invited ex-cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin to contest the next state Assembly election, due in 2019.

Kerala’s ‘Kudumbashree School’ opens

21 Oct 2017 | 7:11 PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala’s all-women self-help group “Kudumbashree’ on Saturday opened a special academic platform to impart training for its 43 lakh members targeting their socio-cultural, educational and overall personality development.

Sitharaman to attend South Asian Defence Ministers’ meet in Philippines

Sitharaman to attend South Asian Defence Ministers’ meet in Philippines

21 Oct 2017 | 6:20 PM

NEW DELHI: In her first foreign visit as Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman will travel to the Philippines on Monday to attend a South Asian Defence Ministers’ meeting which is likely to review the regional security architecture, including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Three suspected J-K militants arrested from train in Rajasthan

Three suspected J-K militants arrested from train in Rajasthan

20 Oct 2017 | 10:22 PM

JAIPUR: Three suspected militants of Jammu and Kashmir were arrested from Ahmedabad-Jammu-Twai train at Merta Road station in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district by a joint team of RPF and SOG-ATS late on Thursday night.

Modi to visit Gujarat on Oct 22 to launch several projects

Modi to visit Gujarat on Oct 22 to launch several projects

20 Oct 2017 | 9:49 PM

AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit poll-bound Gujarat on October 22 for the third time this month, where he will inaugurate and lay foundation stones for a number of projects in Bhavnagar and Vadodara districts.

New Rajasthan ordinance seeks to protect judges, babus from probe

New Rajasthan ordinance seeks to protect judges, babus from probe

20 Oct 2017 | 10:40 PM

JAIPUR: The Vasundhara Raje government has passed an ordinance which seeks to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in Rajasthan from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction.

Indian-origin MP tables motion on Jallianwala Bagh in UK Parliament; asks PM May to apologise for massacre

Indian-origin MP tables motion on Jallianwala Bagh in UK Parliament; asks PM May to apologise for massacre

20 Oct 2017 | 10:41 PM

LONDON: One of Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin MPs has tabled a parliamentary motion, calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar during the Raj in 1919.

Bofors: CBI asks Centre for permission to file Special Leave Petition in SC

Bofors: CBI asks Centre for permission to file Special Leave Petition in SC

20 Oct 2017 | 10:43 PM

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation has asked the central government to allow it to file a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court to appeal the Delhi High Court’s 2005 order to quash an FIR in the Bofors scam, sources in the agency said on Friday.

Women neck-deep in pits to protest land acquisition

Women neck-deep in pits to protest land acquisition

20 Oct 2017 | 8:49 PM

JAIPUR: About 650 women, who have buried themselves neck-deep in the ground to oppose the Jaipur Development Authority's move to acquire land in their village, marked Diwali and performed puja at the demonstration site, continuing their protest against the Rajasthan government.

BSF officer attacked by cattle smugglers in Tripura succumbs

BSF officer attacked by cattle smugglers in Tripura succumbs

20 Oct 2017 | 7:13 PM

NEW DELHI: A Border Security Force (BSF) commander, who was attacked by suspected cattle smugglers along the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura recently, succumbed to injuries on Friday.

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