Crop fires in Punjab, Haryana causing Air Pollution over Delhi-NCR

NASA has released satellite pictures showing how a thick haze has enveloped   North India as poisonous air chokes residents in Delhi,NCR and  UP states. The images taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite on November 7, the space agency said the haze is due to smoke from crop fires in Punjab and Haryana which has blown across northern India and Pakistan.  With the arrival of cooler weather in November, the smoke mixed with fog, dust, and industrial pollution to form a  thick haze, it said. Image shows how North India, parts of Pakistan are covered in haze and fog in Nov 2017. The picture was captured by ” Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer “(MODIS) on NASA’s  satellite. With a medical emergency declared in Delhi/NCR……can’t agricultural waste and residue be used up in thermal power plants by NTPC/Govt or Manure created from this residue?

Jallikattu on hold: SC stays govt notification to allow bull Taming.

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The sport that has been an integral part of Pongal festivities was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, following demands from rights groups who pointed to animal cruelty and human deaths during the event. 

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The Supreme Court stayed on Tuesday a central government notification that paved the way for a return of the banned bull taming sport Jallikattu, effectively scuttling plans of staging the event during Pongal celebrations in Tamil Nadu later this week.

The top court also issued notices to the Centre, Tamil Nadu and other states where the controversial sport is played, days after the environment ministry issued new guidelines that permitted the popular event to go ahead, overriding protests from animal rights activists and the law ministry.

The sport that has been an integral part of Pongal festivities was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, following demands from rights groups who pointed to animal cruelty and human deaths during the event.The new norms triggered howls of protests and animal welfare organisations — including the animal welfare board – filed a clutch of petitions in the court.

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But the Centre objected to the pleas, saying no fundamental right of the petitioners were violated and questioned the maintainability of the petitions. The court also issued a notice on whether the petitions could be heard or not.
Both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government assured the court that the new notification underlined safety measures and precautions to be taken during the festival.

Under the rules, permission has to be given by the district collector or magistrate and bullock cart races must be held on a proper track. Bulls, once they leave the enclosure, have to be tamed within a radial distance of 15 metres, the government order said.

The new norms came after a concerted political push by parties in the poll-bound Tamil Nadu, where the banned sport has a strong connection with thousands of people who view it as a part of their culture

Chief minister J Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, backing the sport, which wasn’t held last year for the first time in decades.

This article was originally published in Hindustantimes..

Long-drawn affair

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To divert sewage from Hussainsagar lake, as part of project funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the HMWSSB took up pipe-laying works.

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After missing multiple deadlines and half-year’s delay in execution, pipe-laying works on the key Tadbund road connecting the city to its suburbs and also onto the national highway may end this month.

As part of a bigger project to divert sewage from Hussainsagar lake, funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) took up pipe-laying works on the stretch to combine four main nalas or storm water drains flowing from the Secunderabad Cantonment into Hussainsagar and divert them.

The works began in March this year with a slated two-month deadline, but have not been completed until today.

This has left businesses in the area reeling under loss as traffic operation is one-way and parking along the road is nearly impossible due to the work paraphernalia.

“For six months now, we have been facing 40 per cent loss. Before the work commenced, we were told it would be completed in 45 days. It now looks like the work will go on for another half year,” said Hameed Dashti, who owns a restaurant and café in the area.

To facilitate pipe-laying works, traffic police diverted vehicles coming from Bowenpally towards Sikh Village, making the Tadbund stretch adjoining old Begumpet airport boundary wall, one way. During peak hours, the traffic movement on the stretch is reduced to a crawl as pipe-laying has taken up half the road.

Sources in the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), which administers the area, claimed regular communication with the water board to hasten work progress has been unyielding.

However, water board officials overseeing the project assured completion of works by the end of this month, adding that only gaps in the pipeline totalling around 200 meters have to be completed. “Much of the pipeline work is done. We encountered rock while digging, but could not use explosives to blast it. This has added to the work duration,” a senior HMWSSB official said.