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‘Better urban planning needed to control pollution’

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New Delhi, Nov 10: Reducing transport activities, improving technologies and relocating traffic sources from crowded areas are some of the measures for better urban planning that can help Delhi combat rising air pollution, a leading health and medical research institute said on Friday.

As residents in Delhi and its suburbs continue to suffer from worsening air quality, The George Institute for Global Health in a statement said air pollution has become “one of the major public health problems in India, especially in the northern regions”.

It said “sustainable public health solutions” were needed, describing pollution as the “largest risk factor for death”.

“In fact, pollution kills more people than HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria put together. In economic terms, the global cost of pollution in terms of hours not worked, premature deaths, health spending and eroded quality of life has been estimated at Rs 26,760 crore a year,” said the statement by The George Institute India Executive Director Professor Vivekanand Jha.

The institute warned that pollution affects all stages of life and reduces the number of years lived in full health by aggravating asthma attacks, eye and skin disorders, and increasing the risk of development of high blood pressure, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, psychiatric disorders and frailty.

“We need better urban planning starting with proper land-use assessment, reducing major transport activity close to communities, relocating traffic sources (roads, airports) from crowded areas, avoiding the mixing of industrial and residential areas, making better roads, reducing uncovered areas in cities by planting more grass and plants, improving transport technologies, and increasing awareness of the societal burden imposed by air pollution,” the institute suggested.

It also suggested cutting down the usage of private and government vehicles, shutting industries that cause emission and heavy watering of the dust-paths alongside roads as a few simple steps to fight the “current public health emergency situation in Delhi.

IANS

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Cold tightens grip in Himachal after more snow

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Jammu and Kashmir

Shimla, Feb 25: The continuing cold tightened its grip over Himachal Pradesh on Sunday as the higher reaches of the state received a fresh spell of snow. However, there was widespread rainfall in the low and mid hills, the weather office said.

The weather office here has forecast more snow and rain in the state till Monday.

Shimla, which was received 15.8 mm rain, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius, a fall by four degrees Celsius from Saturday.

“High hills in Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur, Mandi and Chamba districts have been experiencing light to moderate snowfall since Friday,” a weather department official told IANS.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest in the state where the mercury plummeted to three degrees Celsius below the freezing point.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district, which recorded 19 cm of snow, saw a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, while it was 1 degree Celsius in Manali, 2.2 degrees in Kufri, 4.3 degrees in Dalhousie and 8.6 degrees Celsius in Dharamsala.

Manali received 49.6 mm rain, while Salooni in Chamba district recorded 54 mm rain, the highest in the state.

However, hills overlooking Manali experienced moderate snowfall.

IANS

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After ‘Bhagwad Gita’, Haryana school kids to recite ‘Gayatri Mantra’

Opposition parties in Haryana have accused the BJP government of “saffronising the education system”.

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Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar

Chandigarh, Feb 24 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana is all set to make students in government schools of Haryana recite the “Gayatri Mantra” during morning prayers.

Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said on Saturday that the state government is going to make recitation of Gayatri Mantra mandatory in morning prayers in schools.

“Haryana is the land of ‘Bhagwad Gita’ and the cow. Reciting the Gayatri Mantra will inculcate values among students,” Sharma told the media here.

The BJP government in Haryana led by former RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) ideologue, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, had in 2015 announced that lessons from Hindu holy book Bhagwad Gita would be part of the school curriculum. This was introduced in 2016.

Opposition parties in Haryana have accused the BJP government of “saffronising the education system”.

The state has a BJP government since October 2014.

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Bihar: 9 killed, several others injures as a bolero van runs over School children in Muzaffarpur

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Muzaffarpur Accident (Photo-ANI)

Nine school students died in a road accident in Muzzafarpur of Bihar after a speeding SUV car hit them.

Almost 14 other are reported injured in a road accident at Minapur of Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The students were crossing the road while a speeding bolero van hit them.

“All the injured said to be around 20 in number, have been rushed to the Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital for treatment. The condition of some of them was stated to be critical,” he said.

The MLA of the area has alleged that the driver of the van was drunk. Whereas Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has announced Rs 4 Lakh each as ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.

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