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City’s air quality gets worse, AQI at 360

The air quality in the Capital deteriorated to 360 units on Thursday from 334 on Wednesday, remaining in the ‘very poor’ category for the eleventh day. The air quality index (AQI) at 360 is six times more than the permissible standards of 60.However, even as officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said the air quality is likely to improve by Monday with the winter setting in, some Delhiites complained of breathing difficulties and irritation in eyes.CPCB officials said that an increase in moisture and humidity in the winds has been the trigger for the spike.”The winter is still to set with winds coming in from the north. So far winds have been fluctuating making it difficult for pollutants to be dispersed. At present south-easterly winds are bringing in humidity which is trapping the pollutants further deteriorating the air quality,” said D Saha, head of air laboratory, CPCB.The AQI is expected to hover from 320 to 360 units until this weekend, said Saha. The air quality is measured against PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR — in units of micrograms per cubic metre.However, even as the average air quality index in the capital remained in the ‘very poor’ category, NCR towns such as Ghaziabad, which is an industrial hub, continued to reel under ‘severe’ pollution levels.The Delhi government had issued a health advisory on Monday asking schools to avoid all outdoor activities including assembly, sports and other physical activities that are held in the early morning hours. Besides this, it also advised people to reduce their exposure to the air and stay indoors as much as possible.AIR QUALITY INDEXDelhi: 360 (very poor)Ghaziabad: 453 (severe) Gurgaon: 312 (very poor) Noida: 359 ( very poor) Faridabad: 322 (very poor)
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After brief respite, city air quality deteriorates again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief respite for Delhiites over the weekend, the air quality once again turned ‘very poor’ on Monday as more vehicles hit the streets on the first working day of the week. Experts, however, hoped that the situation will improve in the coming days as entry of pollutants from external sources has been stopped.With an alarming score of 326, the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) National Air Quality Index slotted Delhi in the ‘very poor’ zone. While it was 292 on Sunday, the count was 298 on Saturday.An AQI value between 301-400 is classified as ‘very poor’. Prolonged exposure to such air can cause respiratory illnesses, according to the CPCB . “The drizzle received in areas surrounding Delhi helped wash out the accumulated particulate. Hence, the city was able to breathe in the season’s best quality air over the last two days. However, the impact of rain is slowly fading, and the temperature has plummeted as well. Also, moisture has marginally increased.”The current air quality is a play of those meteorological conditions and emissions from internal sources,” SAFAR project director Gufran Beig said.He further informed that even though the level of pollutants is likely to increase over the next two days, it would not have a significant bearing on air quality. Incursion of emissions from external sources, such as paddy stubble burning, has stopped and the north-westerly wind is blowing, which is bringing in the cold wave from upper Himalayas.System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an agency of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, recorded the average values of PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 154 and 243 micrograms per cubic metre, as against the prescribed standards 60 and 100. PM 2.5 and PM 10 are descriptions for ultrafine particulates that remain suspended in the air and enter the respiratory system with inhalation, causing a host of complications, both pulmonary and cardiovascular.Delhi has been battling one of the worst pollution crisis as thick blanket of smog has covered the Capital and surrounding areas, prompting the government to take measures, including shutting down of schools and running more Metro trains. The air quality has been abysmally low for more than a fortnight, triggering major health issues among residents, including cough, congestion, constant headaches, burning eyes etc.The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control (EPCA), had even asked states including Haryana, Punjab, UP, and Rajasthan to stop all construction and demolition activities and sprinkle water on roads and at construction sites, besides banning the entry of trucks to Delhi (except those carrying essential commodities).RAIN EFFECTSAFAR project director Gufran Beig said, “The drizzle received in areas surrounding Delhi helped wash out the accumulated particulate. Hence, the city was able to breathe in the season’s best quality air over the last two days. However, the impact of rain is slowly fading, and the temperature has plummeted as well. Also, moisture has marginally increased.”

AMC warns of bad air today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahmedabad is not too behind from the national capital when it comes to air pollution. Air pollution in the city is to shoot up soon, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) warned on Wednesday. The AMC had issued a warning that the city will face severely bad air on Thursday. Air Quality monitoring system placed at Pirana, showing PM 2.5 level, is expected to cross the 400 mark on the Air Quality Index (AQI) metre.The Health department also issued an advisory, anticipating the quality of bad air which is going to prevail in city on Thursday. “People with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoor. Prolonged exposure of such quality of air many develop respiratory illness to health people also,” said Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer of health, AMC.”We have issues advise for people to wear mask, who are going to work in an open area. Over all city’s AQI is going to remain 311, which is considered to be very poor,” added Dr Solanki.

Delhi-NCR smog: Pollution on the wane, EPCA may lift ’emergency’ measures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Air quality remained outside the ‘severe plus’ category today and if the trend prevails till tomorrow, emergency measures such ban on construction and entry of trucks may be lifted.The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, a Supreme Court-appointed panel, said it may withdraw all the measures enforced under the ‘severe plus’ or emergency category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) if pollution remains under control.The 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was 361, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category, showing a marginal dip as compared to yesterday when it was 308, the best in a week.In a major development, the Centre announced that it has preponed the introduction of ultra-clean Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel in the national capital by two years to April 2018 to help fight air pollution.Even as air quality remained out of emergency category, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar met in Chandigarh and resolved to put in “sustained efforts” to prevent a repeat of the recent smog episode in 2018.The hourly-graph of the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management, which tracks the levels of PM2.5 and PM10, also captured the declining trend. PM2.5 and PM10 concentration was recorded as 198 and 307 microgrammes per cubic metre at 7 PM.The corresponding 24-hour safe standards are 60 and 100.Pollution is considered severe plus or emergency when these readings are above 300 and 500 respectively.According to the Centre-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research), air quality is improving as strong surface winds is aiding pumping out accumulated pollutants.However, it said there might be a dip in quality and the AQI may settle in the upper side of ‘very poor’ from November 17 due to meteorological conditions including a fall in temperature and entry of moisture.”But as the speed of wind in the upper layer of the atmosphere is low, possibility of incursion of pollutants from external sources such as stubble burning is very less,” a SAFAR scientist said.Meanwhile, the Delhi Fire Services carried out water sprinkling from the 22-storey high Vikas Minar at ITO in the afernoon for about an hour.”Before and after the water sprinkling, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee measured the pollution levels. A report in this regard will be submitted to the National Green Tribunal tomorrow,” a Delhi Fire Services official said.The process was carried out using a hose pipe that was connected to an overhead tank.The Delhi government’s petition to the NGT on odd-even, seeking a review of its order withdrawing the exemptions given to two-wheelers and three-wheelers, will also come up before the tribunal tomorrow.The fresh petition has also sought a direction from a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that the neighbouring states should also be asked to implement the scheme.The emergency measures continue to be in place.However, the parking fees in areas falling under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which were quadrupled a week ago, will now be restored to the previous rates from tomorrow.The North and East Delhi corporations, however, said, they will continue with the revised rates.

Delhi pollution: AAP govt files appeal before NGT; ask for ‘certain changes’ in tribunal’s previous directions over odd-even scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Government on Monday filed an appeal in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking certain changes in NGT’s previous directions regarding the odd-even scheme. The NGT is likely to hear the plea on Tuesday.Earlier in the day, also questioned the government on Odd-Even scheme. The green court asked whether the Delhi government was only informing the media about a review petition on the Odd-Even scheme since no review petition had been filed as yet. The NGT had approved the Delhi government’s suggestion of implementing the odd-even scheme to curb the smog that has plagued the national capial since last Wednesday. However, the NGT made it clear that nobody would be exempted. This was contrary to the Delhi government’s proposal that women drivers and two-wheelers would not fall under the purview of the scheme. The Delhi government then called off implementing the scheme.Earlier on Monday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer R K Kapoor that rise in dust particles on roads, stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab have led to an alarming rise in pollution levels in the NCR and its adjoining areas.Earlier, smog continued to plague the national capital on Monday, with Air Quality Index figures in several parts of the city falling in the ‘hazardous category’, it was reported.According to latest AQI figures, Delhi’s Mandir Marg recorded 523, Anand Vihar recorded 510, while Punjabi Bagh at 743, Shadipur at 420.Despite this, schools reopened after they were shut since last Thursday. Both students and teachers were seen donning masks. Some teachers maintained that closing schools was not an option, and a collective effort was necessary.

Delhi pollution level goes up again, Gurugram schools to be closed on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief let-up, the pollution levels skyrocketed in Delhi on Sunday with the air quality becoming hazardous, which environmental agencies consider unfit for inhalation even by healthy people.As the NCR-region continues to be under worse smog condition, the Gurgaon district administration on Sunday directed that government and private schools would be closed on Monday in view of the persistent smog and pollution situation in the NCR, an official said.”Due to smog and pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), including Gurgaon, we have decided to close all private and government schools on November 13,” District Magistrate Vinay Pratap Singh said.Schools in the district were closed on Friday and Saturday. The order has been extended till Monday, the official said.”Smog can be dangerous for children and students. We have suggested residents to wear best quality mask to combat air pollution,” he said. The pollution monitoring authorities said there may be some respite from Monday evening as surface winds will gain momentum.SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) said there is possibility of rains in the evening of November 14.However, experts say rain brings temporary relief, but also leads to accumulation of particulates due to high levels of moisture.The hourly graph of the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management, which had briefly fallen below emergency levels on Saturday, recorded PM2.5 and PM10 concentration at 478 and 713 microgrammes per cubic metre by afternoon.The corresponding 24-hour safe standards are 60 and 100. Visibility came down below 100 metres at many places.The air quality index of the CPCB had a score of 460, as against Saturday’s 403. The most dominant pollutants were PM 2.5 and CO, according to the CPCB air bulletin.People complained of burning sensation in their eyes and heaviness in breathing, reflecting the severity of the pollution.The PM2.5 reading of the Centre-run SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) was also above 400, which is in the severe category as well.If the prevailing levels of PM2.5 and PM10 persist for another 24 hours, the odd-even scheme is supposed to be implemented, according to the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) being enforced by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.The NGT on Saturday said that the odd-even scheme should be implemented “without any default” as and when PM (particulate matter) 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours.CPCB and SAFAR scientists maintained that the fresh spike in pollution was triggered mainly due to drop in inversion layer (the layer beyond which pollutants cannot disperse into the upper layer of the atmosphere), which in turn happened due to sharp drop in minimum and maximum temperatures.The CPCB’s air lab chief Dipankar Saha said the haze was basically a mixture of dust and moisture. Formation of a thick cloud cover also resulted in the spike in moisture and drop in both minimum and maximum temperatures, he said.”The wind flow from North Western side of Delhi (through Punjab & Haryana) is likely to continue till today. The wind will start flowing towards towards Punjab and Haryana from tomorrow under the influence of a western disturbance approaching Delhi.”Under the above scenario, atmospheric circulation over Delhi will become favourable for substantial reduction of air pollutants from November 13,” Saha said.Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP accused the AAP government of being in an “indecisive state” over the pollution crisis in the city and demanded Lt Governor Anil Baijal to call an all- party meeting.Manoj Tiwari, the president of Delhi BJP, said that air pollution levels in the city are 4-7 times higher than the normal posing serious health hazard to the people.”Despite this, the visionless Arvind Kejriwal government continues to be in a indecisive state,” he alleged.With schools set to open and heavy public activity likely tomorrow after the weekend break, the Kejriwal government seems to be “lost” as it never formulated a strategy to fight such a climatic emergency, he said.He requested the LG to call an all-party meeting to discuss the preparations to fight pollution and remedial measures, Tiwari also demanded 24×7 free chest units at all the government and private hospitals in Delhi.

Delhi-NCR pollution: No immediate relief as air quality likely to deteriorate further today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents of Delhi-NCR may not get an immediate relief from the dangerous level of pollution in the air. On Thursday, the pollution levels spiked up to 599 as against 517 the previous day. This is almost 10 times the safe standards of 60. Ideally the air quality index (AQI) should remain between 51 and 100. The air quality constantly depreciating even after the key measures had been enforced under the ‘severe plus’ category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). For eg, from Thursday afternoon the parking rates will turn four times higher in the city with owners paying upto Rs 800 a day to discourage people from using a large number of personal vehicles.The AAP government is also considering imposing a third round of odd-even formula also.
ALSO READ Smog, closed runway make Delhi-Mumbai air travel expensive as ticket prices shoot up to Rs 29,000Experts said that the situation was worst on Thursday morning with a low visibility and warned that in the evening the pollution level will be beyond hazardous. “The pattern is likely to stay in Delhi-NCR, as the south westerly winds are bringing moisture while the north westerly winds are bringing dust particles. The forecast given to us by the Met department suggests the air quality could improve by Saturday with a little sunshine and if winds at ground level pick up pace,” said Vivek Chattopadhyaya, senior scientist, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
ALSO READ As deadly smog continues in Delhi, foreign nationals in dilemma to ‘leave’ or ‘stay’All the eight air quality monitoring stations under the SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecast and Research) including Delhi University, IGI Airport (T3), Pusa and Noida, among others recorded air quality 500+. The values are measured against PM 2.5 —- the most prominent pollutant in Delhi. The figures are measured in micrograms per cubic meters.

Air quality during Diwali best in last three years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air quality in the Capital during Diwali was the cleanest in the last three years, a study has revealed. The study has cited a ban on the sale of firecrackers by the Supreme Court as the reason behind it.According to the report released by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), a Central government air quality monitoring agency, the level of emissions from fireworks dropped by nearly 40 per cent this Diwali, as compared to 2016.“Level of particulates did shoot up a day after Diwali, but the dispersion was quicker and the air quality returned to pre-Diwali level within three days,” SAFAR stated in the report, released on Sunday. It further stated: “As compared to emissions from fireworks in 2016, the dip was significant — 50 per cent on October 19 (Diwali night), 25 per cent on October 20 (when the pollution peaked), and 45 per cent on October 21.”Despite the ban on the sale of firecrackers, the air quality turned “severe” for the first time in 2017, a day after Diwali. Explaining the reason behind it, SAFAR project director Gufran Beig said reduction in emissions from a particular source and reduction in levels of pollution were not linearly related or directly proportional.He explained how the “incredible”amount of fireworks on Diwali night, despite the relative reduction, led to trapping of smoke in the air and a rapid build-up of pollutants. “Emissions slow down local wind movement as air becomes heavy. It’s like the heaviness in air one feels in a room when the number of occupants goes up, say from five to 20. But subsequently, the air cleaned up faster this time due to warmer temperature and dry conditions,” Beig said.“The ban on crackers certainly had an impact. The days that preceded and followed Diwali saw restraint from people. Usually, crackers are set off before and after the actual night of festivities as well. The real impact could be seen on October 20,” he added.As compared to last year, the air quality had been good after Diwali as the smoke from stubble-burning regions in Punjab and Haryana had not reached Delhi, he said.THE STUDYAs compared to 2016, the air quality had been good after Diwali as the smoke from stubble-burning regions in Punjab and Haryana had not reached Delhi. The study was based on meteorological data including wind speed and direction, and satellite estimate of emissions.

Institutes in 100 backward districts to go digital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reach out to students in technical institutes in backward areas, the central government plans to use its digital learning initiative ‘Swayam’ to connect colleges in 100 districts in states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.The districts have already been identified by the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the institutes have been asked to arrange for infrastructure to make digital learning available for students. Under this initiative, lectures will be held through video conference. Infrastructure like TV and internet will be managed by a centrally-funded scheme.In a letter to the selected institutions, the HRD Ministry’s National Project Implementation Unit has asked them to convert their classrooms audio-visual rooms with a 55″ LED television and DTH connection.”All institutions linked with TEQIP (Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme) are requested to establish the infrastructure and register for SWAYAM Prabha. The expenditure for the infrastructure may be booked under TEQIP,” the letter says.In a related development, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has also written to the vice-chancellors of all central universities to adopt digital initiatives of learning like the National Digital Library, Swayam, and Swayam Prabha, among others.The universities are expected to implement by the end of this year a 17-point list shared with them.The ministry is also coming up with an online portal to track digital learning initiatives by various institutes.

Speak up Mumbai: Rather starve than have meals on trains?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways is the largest public transporter in India and caters to crores of people every day. For a pleasant and comfortable journey, it is not just clean rakes and coaches but the quality of food served on long-distance trains too that plays a role.Last week, 26 passengers travelling on the country’s first semi high-speed train, Tejas Express, were rushed to the hospital after they ate meals aboard the train and fell ill.The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) stated in its preliminary report on the incident that it was not bad eggs in the meals or other food served to passengers on the train, rather cooked Hilsa fish carried on the train by a group of passengers that had triggered the mass nausea and vomiting.However, the incident has once again brought under the scanner not just the quality of food served on trains by the IRCTC but also the hygiene standards maintained by hawkers and vendors that sell food on station premises.DNA spoke to Mumbaikars who regularly use long-distance trains to find out whether they think the quality of food served on trains is up to the mark according to them.VOICESThe general perception is that the quality won’t be good, considering the level of hygiene maintained by the Railways in other areas. Agreed, the food is usually not tasty but at times you may be surprised. I believe they maintain decent quality but of course, if one spots a rat in the on-board pantry, one would definitely think twice.—Nitin Advani, PowaiThe food served by IRCTC is of very poor quality. It is relatively better on certain western routes but bad on other routes. Not only should they improve the quality of the food served on trains but also bring in some variety which is missing from the on-board menu. Most of the time, one opts for the meals served on trains only when there is no other option.—Bilal Khan, LalbaugThe quality of the food served on long-distance trains by IRCTC is certainly not up to the mark. Regular passengers like me have no problem in paying for the meals but the least we can expect is hygienic food in return, if not tasty. Ever since I found out about the recent incident on the Tejas Express, passengers like me will be even more wary of ordering meals on trains. Forget about expecting decent quality food, it seems that the meals are dangerous to our health too.—Shruti Borse, ThaneThe Railways has much to do and consider when it comes to measures of quality control for the food served on long-distance trains. In my experience, on most occasions the food served to me on trains has been cold and sub-standard. When passengers are shelling out money for such expensive fares for train travel, why can’t the Railways get right something as little as quality food during the journey?—Rajesh Patole, KalinaThe food served on trains is always average. During a train journey, I usually focus on things like timeliness of the trains and cleanliness inside coaches. In most cases, I do not like the meals served inside trains which are cooked in the pantry particularly because of hygiene issues. Take a walk to the pantry and you will know what I mean. However, in dire situations, the food can be eaten but I mostly go for packaged food products.—Omkar Worlikar, WorliI am a regular passenger on outstation trains and yes, the quality of the food being served on long-distance trains is truly bad. The Railway authorities should work to have a proper mechanism in place that allows them to keep a check on whether the food being served to passengers on outstation trains is up to healthy consumption standards or not. After the incident on the Tejas Express, I don’t think I would encourage anyone to order meals from the railway’s catering service when on a train journey.—Robin Sharma, KalbadeviIt is true that the catering service of the Railways and the quality of the food being served in passenger trains are touching new lows. The incident on the Tejas Express was shocking considering dozens of people had to be hospitalised because of food served in the train. The Railways authorities should get more serious about their catering services and ensure that such an incident does not happen again.—Suhail Ansari, PydhonieAt times I have opted for the meals served by the IRCTC on trains but the taste is not that good. It is the responsibility of the Railways to ensure that the quality of the food is up to the mark since several passengers rely on their food services during long journeys. They should have a system to check the quality of food. According to me, the prices are high but they fail to provide healthy food of good quality.—Sanjana Sawant, ParelEXPERT SPEAKThere is little that the Railways authorities do to maintain or keep a check on the quality of the food available in long-distance trains and on the premises of railways stations. There are no external checks done to keep a tab on the quality of food being provided to crores of passengers in the trains by IRCTC or in stalls set up at stations and by hawkers.——Gaurang Damani, ex member, Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative CommitteeThe IRCTC’s basic responsibility is to provide quality food on long-distance trains. However, in their reports on the Tejas Express incident, they have chosen to blame the passengers and given a clean chit to the contractors and their own officials. If they are blaming the passengers for carrying outside food, then why do they allow hawkers to set up stalls on station premises?—Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad

Air quality barely improves after Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the air quality in the Capital improved a bit on Sunday from ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’, experts said it was still ‘unhealthy’ and more efforts were needed to cut down on emissions. During Diwali, the air quality had stooped to ‘severe’ level for the first time in 2017.The air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was recorded as ‘very poor’, at a score of 319 ug/m3. The prescribed PM 2.5 level for healthy air is 60 ug/m3.”The air quality has gone back to Pre-Diwali levels. It can be said there is an improvement after Diwali. The wind speed picked up over the last 24 hours, which helped disperse the pollutants hanging in air and forming a thick layer of smog,” said Vivek Chattopadhyaya, senior scientist and project manager, Clean Air Campaign, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).Delhi air quality is measured against PM 2.5 levels, as this is the most prominent pollutant in the Capital’s air.Seven of the eight monitoring stations under SAFAR recorded ‘very poor’ air quality — Mathura Road (334), Indira Gandhi International Airport (335), Lodhi Road (321), Delhi University (339), Pitampura (319), Dhirpur (304), and Noida (323).According to experts, the air quality may improve in the coming days, if the wind speed does not drop.A day after Diwali, which was on October 19, city hospitals saw a surge in cases of respiratory illness and irritation in eyes.If the AQI is in ‘very poor’ category, people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. When it is in ‘severe’ category, it can have adverse effects even on healthy adults.The air quality showed such deterioration despite the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to curb air pollution coming into force from October 15. GRAP, which has an advisory for each category of air pollution, will be in force in Delhi-NCR between October 15 and March 15. The plan came into existence last November, after the national Capital witnessed layers of smog after Diwali, with air turning almost poisonous.VERY POOR QUALITYThe air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was recorded as ‘very poor’, at a score of 319 ug/m3.
The prescribed PM 2.5 level for healthy air is 60 ug/m3.r.

Mumbai: Predator and prey trapped after Russel viper and rat get stuck on glue trap

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another incident highlighting the perils of the rampant usage of glue traps, a one-and-a-half-foot long Russell’s viper got stuck while trying to hunt a rat that incidentally was also stuck on the same glue trap.Mahesh Ithape, a rescuer with Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), said that he received a call from Director General Quality Assurance, Complex at Vikroli West informing about the snake around 10am on Wednesday. “I first asked them to send me a photograph of the snake so that i could identify if it’s a venomous or a non-venomous. As soon as they sent me the photograph, I identified it as the highly venomous Russel’s Viper. I then instructed the the people to not touch the snake nor try to help it free as the snake could bite in defence,” he said.After reaching the spot, Ithape using oil and water first safely managed to free the snake whose lower body was completely stuck on the glue trap along with it jaws and then even released the rat. “The snake had to be removed very carefully as handling a snake that is stuck and is covered with oil is not easy. Once it was freed, I rushed it to a veterinarian for treatment,” he informed.Dr Deepa Katyal who treated the viper said that it was a juvenile snake and was lucky to have been rescued at the right time. “The lower jaw of the snake is thin and had it struggled any more, its skin might have peeled off. The rescuer also did a very good job while freeing this snake from the glue trap and ensured there was no damage to its skin. We have cleared all the glue from its skin and it is now healthy for release,” she said.Honorary Wildlife Warden Pawan Sharma said that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had asked that these glue traps be discontinued as it was inhuman way of catching rodent and also dangerous for other animals getting caught. “In recent times we have rescued several animals and birds getting stuck on these glue traps including kingfisher, owls, squirrels and others and hence it is important that they be completely banned. While a combination of awareness and writing to authority will help, however in the long term only if people stop using it the problem can be completely resolved,” he said.

NCR to get common Air Quality Index by October

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considered to be one of the world’s most polluted regions in the world, the National Capital Region will shortly have a common Air Quality Index (AQI) based on data from around 50 monitoring stations in the north of India namely, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.Currently the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) put out separate AQI lists for the cities of the region while the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) shares real-time data.A common AQI, which is an advisory for people of the air quality will be great benefit. Experts said that in the past, data of air quality status had not matched between the various agencies and in a recent meeting, the Environment Pollution and Control Authority (EPCA) had directed the CPCB to expedite the data integration process.”This (a common AQI) will help cut through the confusion and an accurate picture of the air quality status will emerge. Currently, there are days when the AQI of CPCB does not match with that of the SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), which comes under the MoES,” a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) said.EPCA member Sunita Narain, who is also the chief of the Centre for Science and Environment said that with the expanded pollution monitoring network, authorities will be able to assess air quality at the local level, whereas currently one gets only a macro level picture.The air quality index or AQI is basically a figure and a series of colour codings shared by agencies on the level of pollution. For example, the one CPCB shares ranges between 0 and 500. An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘Good’, 51-100 ‘Satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘Moderate’, 201-300 ‘Poor’, 301-400 ‘Very Poor’, and 401-500 ‘Severe’.The CPCB has also formed around 40 teams for round-the- clock inspections at the ground level to check violations such as burning of waste in the open, dust from construction projects and visibly polluting vehicles on roads through the winter months when pollution levels in Delhi rise.THE BENEFITSThis will help cut through the confusion and an accurate picture of the air quality status will emerge.
Authorities will be able to assess air quality at the local level whereas currently one gets only a macro level picture.

Finally, SOPs to dispose of military ammunition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A year after 19 defence personnel, including two Army officers, died in an ammunition depot fire in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has come out with standard operating procedures (SOPs) for disposal of defective ammunition, but no action has been initiated for the negligence that led to the disaster.While the Army is miffed on no accountability being fixed for the criminal negligence, the MoD note on the new guidelines says, “The accountability and regularisation are being dealt under a separate SOP.”The timely disposal of unserviceable ammunition will ensure safety of personnel and stocks, the SOPs circulated on June 7 by the MoD said, adding that adherence to the guidelines was mandatory.On May 31, last year, a massive fire was triggered at the Pulgaon depot after defective anti-tank mines exploded due to leakage. Over 19,000 mines were destroyed and more than 4 lakh were declared unserviceable after the disaster.The Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) had concluded that lapses and error of judgment at various stages of manufacture and disposal by the Director General of Quality Assurance and the Ordnance Factory Board led to the fire.”The aim of the SOPs is to lay down responsibilities and timelines for management of defective ammunition for its timely disposal.”The SOPs also state that any ammunition with a malfunction caused due to an accident, defect or failure should be segregated within 72 hours. Within one month of a defect being noticed, a joint inspection team from the agencies concerned will submit a report. The classification of the defective ammunition should specify whether the ammunition is serviceable, repairable, needs factory repairs or is unserviceable and needs immediate disposal. The unserviceable ammunition needs to be disposed of within three months and that if declared unsafe or dangerous, it will be immediately disposed of, the SOPs state.”The SOPs are the only action taken document and that too after a year. Nobody has been held responsible for the death of 19 defence personnel due to negligence,” a source said.In a representation made on June 27, the Army expressed concerns to the MoD over the delay in fixing of responsibility. Letters were sent to Secretary Defence Production Ashok Kumar Gupta and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. Several accidents between 2015 and 2017 took place but no responsibility for the lapses has been fixed, the letter said.The defects in the mines were detected in 2010 in some depots, including Pulgaon. Sources said since then at least a dozen letters were written to OFB and MoD officials but no action was initiated.There is a need to trace back and pinpoint responsibility both by production and quality assurance agencies to restore confidence in the system, sources said.There were clear lapses that were ignored while dealing with ammunition in Pulgaon. According to inquiry reports, leakage began within four months. Despite a warning that the ammunition needed to be disposed of, the ordnance factory tried to repair the defects. It was flagged off as a “safety hazard” in 2012 but no action was taken.PULGAON TRAGEDYThere is a need to pinpoint responsibility both by production and quality assurance agencies to restore confidence in the system.
19 defence personnel died in ammunition depot fire. SOPs are out but no action initiated for negligence.

Only qualified docs can sign lab reports: MCI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A pathology report can only be signed by a qualified doctor registered with the Medical Council of India (MCI). The MCI in it’s latest order has specified that “All reports/letters have to be signed/countersigned by persons registered with MCI/State Councils”. MCI issued the statement in response to a three-year-old query from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), which is a constituent board of Quality Council of India.It wanted to know if M.Sc-PhD candidates not registered with the MCI can sign lab reports. This would include experts with PhD degrees in medical microbiology, medical biochemistry, life sciences, applied biology, cytogenetics and biotechnology.“The ethics committee considered the matter during its meetings on February 6 and 7, and their decision was placed before Executive Committee for approval on April 11,” said Dr Parul Goel, Deputy Secretary, MCI. The order impacts pathological laboratories across India.Following their decision, from June 14, 2017, labs report can only be signed by qualified doctors and not by M.Sc-PhD fellows. “This means reports signed by non-doctors after the said date will be illegal in the eyes of law,” said Pune-based advocate Rohit Erande. Meanwhile, opinion of the health ministry is being sought on the matter. Malpractices involving lab technicians signing pathology reports are rife in India.“In many cases, approving signatures on a wrong analysis result in false positives of dengue or malaria and have led to wrong treatment,” said Dr Rajesh Mane of Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM), an umbrella body of qualified pathologists.

Fire at scan room of medical college hospital; none injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire broke out in the CT scan room of the Government Medical College hospital here tonight, damaging the equipment’s transformer. However, none was injured, police said. The CT scan equipment’s transformer costing about Rs.10 lakh was completely damaged in the blaze, police said. The hospital staff and Fire Service personnel disconnected power supply immediately after noticing smoke in the CT scan room. The fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, police said. Hospital officials said no one was injured, though the maternity ward and child care ward, in-patient wards and trauma ward were located close to the room. Initial investigations revealed that the short circuit was caused by an electrical leak. An official said the investigation would include the quality of wiring among other things.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Now, railways to carry out cleanliness survey of tracks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Widening its sanitation drive, the railways will now carry out a cleanliness survey of tracks on busy routes by an independent organisation and rank its 16 zones based on their performance. The railways has recently released results of a similar survey of 407 stations, carried out by the Quality Council of India. All-out efforts will be made to keep the tracks clean as well as part of the government’s ongoing cleanliness campaign, said a senior railway ministry official. Railway tracks at many stretches resemble garbage dump with leftover food, plastic bottles and paper boxes strewn all over. Discharge of human waste from trains is also a cause for concern. The official said accumulation of garbage and human waste from open-discharge toilets were damaging the tracks. Several railway divisions have pressed into service mechanised system for cleaning of tracks near stations. Besides, installation of bio-toilets in several trains have reduced the discharge of human waste on the tracks. The Indian Railways is the third largest rail network in the world, covering 66,000 km and having more than 8,000 stations. Consequent to the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the railways launched ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The aim of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is to achieve the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by October 2, 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. The railways has also made operational a ‘Swachh Rail’ portal to showcase cleanliness rankings of various stations and the methodology adopted for rankings. This web portal will also be used to seek passenger feedback on cleanliness. The feedback from passengers will help identify unclean spots and to improve cleanliness standards. It will bring healthy competition among various railway divisions. In the rail budgets of 2015, 2016 and 2017, a series of measures to improve the cleanliness of stations were announced.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt won’t allow any new BEd college this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a part of improving teacher education in the country, the government has decided to control the number of BEd colleges. The Centre has decided that no new colleges will be allowed in 2017-18, and the current ones will only be allowed to operate after auditing. Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said this on Tuesday while giving a review of the ministry’s work on the three-year completion of the NDA government. “The most important thing if you want to improve education is to improve the quality of teachers. We are working on a policy through which accountability of teachers can be fixed. In the context of improving teacher education, the role of BEd colleges is also important. The colleges were opening in huge numbers like fly by night operators. It was important to stop this,” said Javadekar on Tuesday. “So we have decided this year as a zero year for opening of BEd colleges and the existing ones will have to prove their quality. We have asked for affidavits from colleges asking them about the quality work that they have done.Ones that did not give information were given showcause notice, they then started giving answers,” he added. The minister said this while talking about the achievements of his ministry. Reform in teacher education was one of the important decisions that the government has taken in terms of improving the quality of education.

TN govt launches 5 mobile quality control labs to check infra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu government today launched five mobile quality control labs that will evaluate the quality of various central and state government road and infrastructure projects in five districts. Chief Minister K Palaniswami flagged off the mobile quality control units, valued at Rs 2.35 crore, at an event held here, an official release here said. The Rural Development Department was implementing over Rs 20,000 crore worth of Central and state government road and infrastructure projects annually and there were various levels of quality control measures for these, it said. In order to give a fillip to these efforts, these mobile quality control labs have now been established, it said. These mobile labs were equipped with over 20 required tools and equipment that could enable officials to undertake 15 types of quality assessments on the spot, it said, adding the results could be uploaded and monitored online. These five units will be used in Tiruvallur, Erode, Madurai, Nagapattinam and Tirunelveli districts, it added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Swachh Bharat mission is working, claims govt survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sanitation and cleanliness have largely improved in many cities and towns, indicating that the Swachh Bharat mission has had a positive impact, a government-commissioned sample survey has stated.The survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development during January this year, stated that 82 per cent of the people reported improvement in sanitation infrastructure and services like increased availability of litter bins and door-to-door collection of solid waste, while 80 per cent of the respondents said access to community and public toilets have improved substantially.The two-month long survey, which took into consideration the responses of 18 lakh citizens on a set of six questions, stressed, however, on making community and public toilets more gender, children and differently-abled friendly.Last year, 73 cities with a population of 10 lakh were ranked in Swachh Survekshan, which covered about 500 cities this time.As many as 421 assessors of Quality Council of India, which carried out the survey, have physically inspected 17,500 locations in 434 cities and towns.A total of 2,680 residential locations, 2,680 commercial locations and 2,582 commercial and public toilets were inspected in these cities and towns for on-the-spot third-party assessment of ground level assessment of sanitation.Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu tweeted, “Survey results are very encouraging. Revealed major improvement in cleanliness in last one year. Swachh Bharat buzz is reflecting on ground (sic).”He also revealed that the Swachh Survekshan-2017 rankings of 434 cities and towns will be announced on Thursday.The survey also mentioned that in 185 cities, railway stations and their surrounding areas — which are traditionally littered — have been found to be clean.It also stated that 75 per cent of community and public toilets are functional and well-lit, and had water supply and improved ventilation systems.The survey revealed that door-to-door waste collection was done in 80 per cent of the wards in 297 cities, and towns and 75 per cent of the notified commercial areas in 226 cities and towns were swept twice daily.An important development reported in the survey was that the vacancy of sanitation staff was reduced to less than 10 per cent in 227 cities and towns.In terms of monitoring, GPS and RFID-based tracking of vehicles transporting solid waste had started in 166 cities and towns, while ICT based monitoring of attendance is being done in 158 cities, the survey stated.It also mentioned that there has been substantial improvement in overall cleanliness in 75% of the residential areas in 404 cities and towns.

Noise pollution, particulate matters exceed limit in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The levels of noise pollution and particulate matters exceed permissible limits in most locations in Delhi where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels too cross the permissible threshold in some locations. However, the Air Quality data for the period 2014-16 for Delhi and NCR does not show day-to-day continuous increase in the level of air pollution, the government said today. According to a reply tabled by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on behalf of Environment minister Anil Dave in the Rajya Sabha, the ambient quality of Delhi and NCR is monitored under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme under which there are 21 monitoring stations in Delhi and NCR. “The air quality data for the period 2014-16 for Delhi and NCR does not show day to day continuous increase in the level of air pollution and significant fluctuations are noted,” the written reply said. It added that the values of SO2 (sulphur dioxide) are within permissible limits for all locations monitored. In respect of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), Alwar, Ghaziabad and Noida are within permissible limits, though the “values exceed the permissible limits at some locations in Delhi”, the minister said. “With respect to PM 10, the air quality data shows significant fluctuations, though the values exceed permissible limits,” he said. “Noise pollution, though exceedence is observed at nearly all locations, there has not been any sharp increase on a day-to-day basis”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India expresses willingness to support Bangladesh in renewable energy sector

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal on Thursday expressed willingness in supporting Bangladesh in the renewable energy sector and energy efficiency initiatives, in which India has achieved huge success. Talking about the future prospects of engagements between the nations, Goyal said the scale at which the renewable energy sector has expanded, it would surely help Bangladesh learn from India?s experiences and help the nation in transition towards clean energy in the future. ?India and Bangladesh have expanded the scope of engagement to an unprecedented scale, which has built a great level of mutual trust between the two nations,? Goyal said while addressing a delegation of senior editors and journalists from Bangladesh. The Minister noted that both countries have a lot to learn from each other and cooperate on a number of issues of regional and global importance. Goyal commended the neighbouring nation on its achievements like the Grameen Bank, revolution in the textile sector, on which India looks up to Bangladesh. ?India and Bangladesh are neighbours, more than just neighbours,? he added. Goyal also expressed confidence of receiving greater cooperation from Bangladesh in areas like developing intra-regional power and transport corridors, maintaining peace and security in the South Asian region by putting up a consolidated front against regional and global terrorism, among others. ?This would enrich and strengthen the engagement between the two countries in the areas of mutual and shared interests,? he added. The members of delegation were apprised about the series of reform measures that have been taken by the government to bring about transparency and accountability in the power sector and to achieve the mission of Affordable, Quality, 24×7 Power for All. The interaction was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as a familiarisation initiative for the delegation learning about the turnaround that has been achieved in India?s Power sector. A presentation was given to the delegation informing them about the transparency initiatives taken by the government like various mobile apps and web portals in the power sector and the change that the transparency and accountability has brought about in the governance in the sector.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jain proposes changes in hiring consultant architects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government plans to change the method to pick consultant architects for its projects but the public works and finance departments have objected saying the proposed changes would hit “fairness” and encourage favouritism. It is learnt that PWD Minister Satyender Jain has proposed to abolish the widely used (Quality and Cost-Based Selection) system and also cap the number of projects that can be awarded to a particular agency. The proposal seeks to do away with the financial bid aspect and give entire weightage to quality. “Left to quality based selection of consultant for construction projects, it is nearly certain that the practice will quickly deteriorate into pick and choose policy, compromising fairness and giving rise to controversy and complaints,” a PWD department note said. Under the existing guidelines, while awarding architectural consultancy work, which is the first stage of executing any project, 70 per cent weightage is given to quality and 30 per cent to cost. Also, the existing consultancy rates prevalent in PWD are in the range of 0.18 to 1.52 per cent of the project cost while Jain’s proposal pegs it at a flat 2 per cent which has been described as “arbitrary” and on the “higher side”. Government sources said the officials of the PWD as well as the Finance Department objected to the proposal saying it would lead to losses to the public exchequer and deterioration in the quality of work as “subjectivity” would creep in while awarding work. In its note, the PWD department wrote that financial bid brings fairness in decision making process. “By doing away with the financial clause, one would not know the real cost of performing the work and it would not be in tune with the market,” a senior official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai varsity scores a zero on rankings test

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite signing at least a dozen memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with international universities and introducing several new academic programmes and initiatives in the past one year, the University of Mumbai has failed to feature in the list of top 100 institutions in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). This is the second time in a row that the university is failing to make it.While the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) bagged the third position overall, the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) ranked fourth in the pharmacy category. The University of Mumbai figured in the 101-150 band of rankings. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar released the report in Delhi on Monday.In 2016 also, the university did not figure in the list of best universities and institutions across the country as its officials failed to send the data to the ministry. It finally collated the data and sent it this year but failed to get a spot in any of the six categories. Some of the key parameters for the rankings included teaching, learning and resources, research and the perception of the institution by its stakeholders.While Vice Chancellor (VC) Sanjay Deshmukh could not be reached for comments despite several calls and messages, Registrar MA Khan said: “The Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) would introspect what can be done to better the rankings next year.””Research forms a very important part of these rankings and it is an area where the university has failed to progress in the last few years. The number of research projects undertaken and patents filed remain significantly low in the last few years. The university has not followed several UGC guidelines for research, including open viva and having a plagiarism-detecting software. How can we expect the ranking to be good in such a situation?” said AD Sawant, former Pro VC. “We cannot expect a university to function smoothly when its most prominent appointments are political,” he said.As per data submitted to NIRF, the number of patents filed for in 2015 was zero. So was the number of students placed through campus placement. Neeraj Hatekar, Chief of Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), said that while individual departments do conduct placements, the university does not have a centralised placement cell.A senior professor said that the ranking might be a result of the poor perception index of the university. “There are several fundamental issues like delays in declaring results, errors in mark sheets and poor grievance redressal mechanism. This affects the overall reputation,” added the professor. The university was in the news recently for printing thousands of degree certificates with errors in names.VC Sanjay Deshmukh had earlier this year come up with a Rs 3,000-crore revamp plan to construct new buildings and improve the infrastructure at the university. The VC had also announced that the university would very soon have an offshore campus in the US. In March, the university tied up with Pawan Hans and promised discounted rides over the city to its students. According to experts, all these plans have not translated into the betterment of the university in any way.

Beef row: BJP to seek clarification from candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after kicking up a storm with his “quality beef” remark, Sreeprakash, the BJP candidate in the Malappuram by-poll today made it clear that he was against cow slaughter and he stood by the party’s national policy on the matter, even as the state leadership said a clarification would be sought from him. Sreeprakash had reportedly said in Malappuram yesterday that he would offer “quality beef” in the district if voted to Parliament in the April 12 by-poll and that slaughterhouses would be made air-conditioned to ensure the quality of meat. Amidst hectic electioneering, he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi HC asks parents to fill forms for nursery admission to ‘avoid ambiguity’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To “avoid any ambiguity” in the nursery admission process, the Delhi High Court directed the parents to fill up the application forms of various schools based on the criteria set by them as well as the AAP government. The court said it was passing the order to ensure that the admission was “not hampered” and added that scrutiny of the application forms would be subject to further orders.Justice Manmohan also issued notice to the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Lieutenant Governor seeking their replies by January 17. “To avoid any ambiguity, it is directed that parents shall fill up the forms in the prescribed format and as per the criteria mentioned therein. The format of the form shall contain the criteria (of distance) mentioned in the impugned order of January 7.”The scrutiny of the applications shall be subject to further orders,” the court said and listed for hearing on January 19 the pleas of two school bodies and some parents, challenging DoE’s recent circulars laying down the guidelines for nursery admission for the 2017-18 session.The schools have also challenged a condition in DDA’s allotment letters, giving land to some private unaided schools, under which the institutes have to reserve 75% seats for students in the neighbourhood. The two circulars of December 19, 2016 and January 7, 2017 have enforced the allotment clause and has thereby restricted admission in schools on DDA land to their locality.When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Manmohan, after Justice VK Rao recused from hearing it earlier in the day, he said the government’s “eleventh hour schedule upsets everyone”. “We interfere in the matter courtesy you (government), but we become the villains,” he said and added the court will now have to give priority to this matter over others like that of an elderly citizen who wants to evict his son. During the brief arguments, the two school bodies — the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education — said the restriction of admissions to the neighbourhood in private unaided schools on DDA land creates a distinction between such institutes and others.They said that the personality of a school is determined by the diversity of the students studying there and added that parents and children are not concerned with the allotment conditions imposed on a school. They are concerned with the restriction on their right to choose an institute within their means, the two bodies argued.The lawyers for the schools and the parents argued that the new guidelines are trying to bring back issues, like draw of lots, which were excluded earlier by an order of 2007. The Delhi government said that the distance criteria was a “priority gradation system” where first preference would be given to children within 1 km, then 1-3 km and then, if there was vacancy, to beyond 6 kms.It also said there was no restriction, even now, on the parents to apply for admission to any school. As per the admission schedule of DoE, which was modified after January 7 and made uniform for all schools including those on DDA land, the application process will go on from January 10 to January 31 and thereafter, the applications would be scrutinised. 298 private unaided schools on DDA land were affected by the nursery admission guidelines which state that such institutes “shall not refuse admission to the residents of the locality”.

Air quality over Delhi continues to remain ‘very poor’, says traffic police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi and the National Capital Region’s air quality continue to remain ‘very poor’, as the level of prominent pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 is above normal at many places, the Delhi Traffic Police reported on Thursday.In Anand Vihar, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was pegged at 585, in R K Puram at 382, in Mandir Marg at 326 and in Gurugram at 316 (AQICN).Delhi leads the list of most polluted cities in the country followed by several in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana and Bihar, a report by Greenpeace India has revealed.The report is based on information obtained through online reports and Right to Information applications from state pollution control boards across India, and assessments of air quality performed in 168 cities across 24 states and union territories. It claims that none of the 168 cities assessed complies with air quality standards prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO).Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain recently reviewed the ambient air quality position with scientists and engineers of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and senior officials of the Department of Environment.He also reviewed implementation of the directions issued by different agencies and courts in recent past to curb air pollution.

Haven’t talked to my husband, don’t know where he is: BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Singh’s wife’s plea on Facebook

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, a BSF jawan became an internet sensation when he posted a video about poor quality food . This led to a huge uproar with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh promising to take action. However, Tej Bahadur Yadav came under fire from the BSF, who claimed that he is a ‘habitual offender’ who was almost court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline. BSF claimed that Tej Bahadur even pointed a gun at his senior once. On Tuesday, there was another post on his Facebook account which was reportedly posted by his wife. She took to Facebook to claim that she hadn’t heard from him since last evening, and didn’t even know his condition. She wrote on Facebook: “TEJ BAHADUR KI WIFE. Sabhi desh vasiyo ko mera namaskar mein aap sbhi se social media ke jarye ye batana cha ti hu ki meri mere husband se kal shaam se baat nahi ho pa rahi hume to ye bhi nhi pata ki unko kaha aur kaise halat me rakha gaya hai.”(Tej Bahadur’s wife. Greeting to all Indians. I want to tell you all through social media that I haven’t talked to my husband since yesterday evening. I don’t even know where he is or what condition he is in.) A screenshot of her post: The BSF said the constable, who claimed poor quality food was being served to soldiers on the LoC, was court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline and aiming a gun at a senior officer even as it assured of a thorough probe into his allegations.”A high-level enquiry is underway as the BSF has taken the allegations leveled by the constable very seriously.”However, prima facie it was found that no other jawan deployed at the same place had any problem with the quality of food being served to them,” IG BSF DK Upadhyaya told reporters here.The IG said DIG level officers who visited the camp earlier had never received any complaint similar to the allegations raised by Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav.”Even Yadav never raised any complaint earlier when the DIG went to the post,” he said.He said the constable has been a habitual offender and was court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline and pointing a gun at a senior officer.”It is reality. He has many complaints against him including intoxication, insubordination, aiming a gun at a senior officer. He was court-martialed in 2010. But keeping in view his family and his children, he was not dismissed from the service but was given a rigorous imprisonment of 89 days,” the IG said.Upadhyaya said Yadav has applied for a voluntary retirement from the force and was to leave the services on January 31.Regarding the allegations leveled by Yadav in his videos, the IG BSF said the quality of the food was same for the officers and jawans deployed on forward posts.”The BSF itself purchases ration for its force deployed on the International Border, but for the deployment on the Line of Control, the ration is supplied by the army and nobody has ever complained about the quality of the food either on LoC or the IB,” the IG said.He said that as the winter stocking started from January 1, the jawans do not get fresh vegetables as the force rely mostly on tinned food and there has been no complaint against it.”That too is a time-tested method and the quality of the ration from army is also good. The jawans get vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food as per their liking,” he said.The IG said that to ensure that an impartial inquiry is conducted into the entire episode, Yadav has been shifted from his headquarters.”He has been shifted to another headquarter to ensure that an impartial inquiry is conducted and that he does not complain of being pressurized.”The prima facie inquiry conducted reveal that no other jawan deployed at the same place had any complaint about the quality of the food and they were quite satisfied with it,” he said.The officer said that a thorough probe will be conducted and the aspect of Yadav taking a mobile phone at the forward post will also be probed.”The jawans are not allowed to take mobile phone when on duty on the forward posts and the same has to be deposited before going on duty. This aspect as how he took mobile phone along with him would also be inquired,” the IGP said.Yadav’s videos posted on his Facebook page allegedly showing poor quality food being served to jawans had yesterday gone viral, forcing Home Minister Rajnath Singh to order an inquiry into the entire episode. With inputs from agencies

Jawan’s video goes viral: BSF claims soldier was court-martialed in 2010, had aimed gun at senior officer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BSF said the constable, who claimed poor quality food was being served to soldiers on the LoC, was court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline and aiming a gun at a senior officer even as it assured of a thorough probe into his allegations. “A high-level enquiry is underway as the BSF has taken the allegations leveled by the constable very seriously.”However, prima facie it was found that no other jawan deployed at the same place had any problem with the quality of food being served to them,” IG BSF DK Upadhyaya told reporters here.The IG said DIG level officers who visited the camp earlier had never received any complaint similar to the allegations raised by Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav.”Even Yadav never raised any complaint earlier when the DIG went to the post,” he said.He said the constable has been a habitual offender and was court-martialed in 2010 for indiscipline and pointing a gun at a senior officer.”It is reality. He has many complaints against him including intoxication, insubordination, aiming a gun at a senior officer. He was court-martialed in 2010. But keeping in view his family and his children, he was not dismissed from the service but was given a rigorous imprisonment of 89 days,” the IG said.Upadhyaya said Yadav has applied for a voluntary retirement from the force and was to leave the services on January 31. Regarding the allegations leveled by Yadav in his videos, the IG BSF said the quality of the food was same for the officers and jawans deployed on forward posts.”The BSF itself purchases ration for its force deployed on the International Border, but for the deployment on the Line of Control, the ration is supplied by the army and nobody has ever complained about the quality of the food either on LoC or the IB,” the IG said. He said that as the winter stocking started from January 1, the jawans do not get fresh vegetables as the force rely mostly on tinned food and there has been no complaint against it.”That too is a time-tested method and the quality of the ration from army is also good. The jawans get vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food as per their liking,” he said.The IG said that to ensure that an impartial inquiry is conducted into the entire episode, Yadav has been shifted from his headquarters. “He has been shifted to another headquarter to ensure that an impartial inquiry is conducted and that he does not complain of being pressurized. “The prima facie inquiry conducted reveal that no other jawan deployed at the same place had any complaint about the quality of the food and they were quite satisfied with it,” he said. The officer said that a thorough probe will be conducted and the aspect of Yadav taking a mobile phone at the forward post will also be probed.”The jawans are not allowed to take mobile phone when on duty on the forward posts and the same has to be deposited before going on duty. This aspect as how he took mobile phone along with him would also be inquired,” the IGP said.Yadav’s videos posted on his Facebook page allegedly showing poor quality food being served to jawans had yesterday gone viral, forcing Home Minister Rajnath Singh to order an inquiry into the entire episode.

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