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CEED appeal to people to join campaign Diwali with responsibility

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Lucknow, Nov 5 (TGS) Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) has appealed to the people of Uttar Pradesh to join their campaign to celebrate “Diwali with Responsibility” and also issued a public health advisory considering the severity of existing air quality in the city and weather forecasts.

Due to the weather conditions in the coming days, the quality of air will deteriorate significantly and the fireworks including crackers during Diwali will aggravate the situation.

Last year during Diwali, Lucknow’s and other UP cities air quality exhibited pollution (PM2.5) levels 4 to 5 times higher than the national standard.

Reportedly, the Air Quality Index in the Diwali week, i.e., between October 16 and 22, 2017, was recorded to be in the ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’ category.

Commenting on the Supreme Court’s recent verdict, Ramapati Kumar CEO of CEED said in a statement here on Monday that , “Anything that reduces the emission levels and improves the air quality must be welcomed.

“We have been using firecrackers to celebrate Diwali but it costs us with massive impact on public health. Therefore, we must behave responsibly and obey the Supreme court’s order. It is also important for the authorities to ensure that the apex court’s order is adhered to more strictly.”

Among those who wholeheartedly supported CEED’s campaign on Diwali include several schools, doctors, academics, mothers, senior citizens, to name a few. As responsible citizens, they have promised to celebrate Diwali with responsibility.

While describing the current air quality of the city, Ankita Jyoti, Senior Programme Officer, CEED stated, “Winters have just started and Lucknow is witnessing an alarming air quality level since the past ten days (October 25 – November 3). None of us are unaware of the negative impact of air pollution.

We understand that with winter setting in where temperature and wind speed reduce, the particulate matter will increase but still we are not prepared. Both long-term preventive and reactive emergency response measures are required.

It is necessary that the government, which is making long-term preventive measures, also prepares a clear emergency action plan and enforces it immediately. Such plans ensure the strict enforcement of pollution control measures during the episode of severe air pollution in the city”, she added.

Given the prevailing severe conditions and the coming of Diwali, CEED has issued the following public health advisory to be taken into consideration before and after Diwali:

Keep a tab on the air quality of the city through an app called SAMEER or check pollution levels online (Online AQI).

People with problems related to lungs and heart, older adults, children and pregnant women should remain indoors and keep activity levels low and avoid any strenuous physical activity (walk, cycle or run) or playing outdoors, usually in the morning post Diwali because there are chances of high pollution levels.

Besides, any health complications like sudden breathlessness and tightening of the chest should not be ignored.

(Link source: Indian Expose)

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India Spotlight

Two women below 50 enter Lord Ayyappa temple

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Team Spotlight

Sabarimala: Two women devotees, below the age of 50, on Wednesday managed to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple here, in a first after the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowed entry of women of all ages into the hillock temple.

The women, identified as Ms Bindu from Koilandy and Ms Kanaga Durga from Angadippuram in Malappuram entered the temple accompanied by the police officials from Pamba to Sannidanam and ensured their Darshan at 0330 hrs.

Talking to newspersons over phone after Darshan, Bindu said she and Kanaga Durga reached Pamba at 0100 hrs and sought the police protection for their trekking.

Meanwhile, Chief Priest Kandararu Rajeevaru said he was not aware of the entry of young women and will discuss the matter with officials of Travancore Devaswom Board.

“I came to know the reports and visuals in this regard from TV channels. We don’t know whether they entered the Sanctum Sanctorum,” he added.

Unconfirmed reports say the women with the police in mafty entered Sannidanam not through the traditional trekking path.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Police also confirmed the entry of women into the temple early this morning.

This is to be noted that the same two women were sent back on December 24 following amid protest from devotees.

They were stopped at Marakkuttam and sent back on that day following stiff protection from devotees of other States including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran not reacted to the incident as the Minister earlier said it was not the policy of the Government to bring women for violating the traditions.

Earlier, DGP Loknath Behra said the police tried their level best to implement the September-28 Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry for women of all ages into the hillock shrine.

In November, when a group of women began trekking from Pamba, the Tantri said the temple will be closed if the customs are violated. However, Tantri is yet to confirm whether any special ritual will be held in connection with the violation of the customs.

(Link Source: Indian Expose)

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Saying repeated lies do not make it truth, says Home Minister on Cong charge on Rafale

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New Delhi: Countering principal Opposition party Congress’ charge over Rafale deal, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that saying repeated lies over the issue would not make it the truth.

‘Repeating lies again and again, won’t change it to becoming the truth,’ said Mr Singh intervening in the Lok Sabha when Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the ‘government has entered into the aircraft deal to benefit its friends’.

Mr Singh said the government was ready to hold discussion on the deal and does not understand ‘why are they running away from it’.

After papers were laid on the table of the House, and the Zero Hour commenced, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Mr Kharge if he wants to say something.

The Congress leader alleged that the government has contracted the Rafale at hugely inflated prices.

‘The total cost of the deal for the 36 Rafale is about Rs 59,000 crore. The UPA government had negotiated a price of Rs 526 crore per aircraft when it was processing a requirement for 126 aircraft,’ Mr Kharge said and alleged the the Narendra Modi government was ‘benefitting its crony friends’.

The NDA government paid three times the rate negotiated by the UPA government for Rafale aircraft, Mr Kharge said, adding that ‘it was a Rs 30,000 crore scam’.

He demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the government deal with France.

The ruckus continued in the House over multiple issues including Congress demand for a JPC on Rafale, TDP for Special Category status demand for Andhra Pradesh and AIADMK, over plight of the people in Cauvery delta.

As soon as the House met for the day, slogan shouting by the agitating members also started.

Congress, AIADMK and TDP members, carrying placards remained in the Well as the business continued amid din.

(Link Source: Indian Expose)

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Sonia, Rahul never interfered in any defence deal: Cong

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New Delhi: Charging the NDA Government of using investigating agencies to ‘manufacture lies’ in the AgustaWestland case, the Congress on Monday said that former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party president Rahul Gandhi never interfered in any defence deals during the rule of the previous UPA Government.

Addressing a joint press conference along with AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala, Mr Antony said, “I am surprised that the present government and the BJP are peddling lies and are trying to manufacture lies out of nothing. They are suing the investigating agencies to manufacture lies.

“As a former Defence Minister in the UPA Government, I want to state that Mrs Sonia Gandhi or Mr Rahul Gandhi never interfered in the AgustaWestland deal. In fact, Mrs Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi never interfered in any defence deal.’’

In this context, Mr Antony said that AgustaWestland was selected after evaluation by a team compromising Indian air force, Defence officials and the SPG.

‘’It was purely professional decision taken by a evaluation committee of IAF, Defence officials and the SPG,’’ Mr Antony said.

The former Defence Minister said that the moment reports came of there being corruption in the deal, he ordered a CBI enquiry.

‘’The moment there were report of corruption in the deal, we ordered a CBI enquiry into the deal. It was an unusual decision by our Government.

We also took a decision to file a case in Itali in a Milan court against AgustaWestland case. We ultimately won the case and managed to get the entire money given to the AgustaWestland company back. In 2014, we started the process of blacklisting the company. In contrast, the Modi government did not take any action against the company. Instead, it removed it from the blacklist and made it a partner in the Make in India programme,’’Mr Antony said.

On the BJP raking up the alleged involvement of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi in the AgustaWestland deal, Mr Antony said,’’without any iota of truth, they are raking up the names of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi. They are reporting lies while we are standing for truth. Their lies will not stand in the face of truth.’’

Mr Antony said that while the previous UPA Governemt shwoied the courage to fight against corruption, the NDA Government has faield to take any action against corruption.

‘’Our Government showed the courage to act against corruption. During our rule, we blacklisted many companies for indulging in corruption. On the other hand, the present NDA Government has failed to take action against corruption in the Rafale deal and have refused to respond to the opposition demand for a JPC probe into the deal as they fear that the truth will come out,’’Mr Antony said.

(Link Source: Indian Expose)

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