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Delhi-NCR witness ‘Severe’ air quality

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delhi air pollution

New Delhi, Nov 1: The air quality in the national capital and its surroundings turned “severe” on Thursday with humidity trapping particulate matter added to stubble burning by Punjab and Haryana farmers.

While restrictions on construction, industries and garbage burning came in to force from Thursday, more bans were being considered including one on entry of trucks and the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme here.

Stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana was contributing to 28 to 30 per cent of the city’s pollution, Polash Mukherjee, Senior Research Associate with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) told IANS.

With negligible wind over Delhi, pollutants were trapped due to rise in humidity early on Thursday when the air quality was put as “very poor”.

The central government’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) advised people to avoid all outdoor physical activities and those with asthma to keep relief medication handy.

At 11 a.m., the Air Quality Index of Delhi was 394. However, with sharp rise in major pollutants and Delhi’s PM2.5 at 247 and PM10 at 448 microgrammes per cubic meters, the quality turned severe as it crossed the 400 mark.

Across the National Capital Region, the average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were 241 and 431 units, respectively.

For air quality to be severe, the PM2.5 must be between 250 and 300 or PM10 must be between 430 and 500, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The first day of restriction in Delhi was imposed on Thursday after “severe-plus” air quality was measured with the AQI crossing the 500 mark.

Chandni Chowk, Dwarka sub-city, Rohini, R.K. Puram, Narela and Punjabi Bagh were among the 18 regions, out of 36, which reeled under severe air quality with PM2.5 above 400 units.

In Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida it was already “severe” by 11 a.m.

Both PM2.5 and 10 get into the lungs and cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but PM2.5 is more dangerous because it mixes with the blood stream.

IANS

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RBI allows settlement files of payment systems on all days of year

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Shaktikanta Das

Mumbai: The RBI has proposed to allow settlement files of payment systems viz., AePS, IMPS, NETC, NFS, RuPay, UPI to be posted to the apex bank on all days of the year.

The measure will reduce build-up of settlement and default risks and enable better management of funds by member banks.

It will also enhance overall efficiency of the payments ecosystem.

Presently, the facility of posting settlement files of payment systems, operated by authorised payment system operators, to the Reserve Bank is available only on RTGS working days.

With round the clock availability of eKuber (core banking system of RBI) and RTGS (to be operationalised soon), it is proposed to allow settlement files of payment systems on all days of the year, the RBI said in a statement.

Instructions in this regard will be issued by the pax bank shortly.

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Malegaon Blast Case: MP Pragya Thakur Fails To Appear In NIA Court

The court has directed all the accused, including Pragya Thakur, to be present before it on December 19.

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Pragya Singh Thakur

A special NIA court here on Thursday said the trial in 2008 Malegaon blast case will resume from Friday and directed all the seven accused to remain present in the court on December 19.

Special NIA court judge P R Sitre had earlier directed all the accused in the case, including BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, to remain present in the court on Thursday.

However, Pragya Thakur, Ramesh Upadhayay, Sudhakar Diwedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi did not appear in the court.

Thakur had appeared before the court in June last year after it ordered the seven accused to remain present once a week. She later sought exemption from appearance on various occasions since then.

Lt Col Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni and Ajay Rahikar were present before the judge on Thursday.

The lawyers of the other four accused told the court that their clients were absent due to the Covid-19 situation.

The court then directed all the accused to be present before it on December 19.

It said the trial in the case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), will resume from Friday.

Six people were killed and over 100 others injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from Mumbai in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.

The court had framed terror charges against Purohit, Thakur and five other accused in October 2018.

The trial in the case could not proceed since March this year as the normal functioning of the courts was hampered due to the Covid-19 situation.

Responding to a plea seeking day-to-day trial in the case, the probe agency had earlier told the court that it was making all efforts to expedite the case.

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Varavara Rao To Stay At Private Hospital Till December 14: Bombay High Court

The 81-year-old activist was admitted to Nanavati hospital on November 18.

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Varavara Rao

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the condition of poet-activist Varavara Rao, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, had improved but he will continue to remain at a private hospital till December 14.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik perused a medical report submitted by the Nanavati hospital here where Rao was admitted on November 18.

“There is some slight improvement. He shall continue to remain admitted there till December 14,” the court said.

The HC will hear the petition filed by Rao seeking bail on medical grounds and another filed by his wife Hemalata seeking that he be shifted to Nanavati hospital from jail for medical treatment on December 14.

On November 18, the High Court had noted that Rao was 81 years old, suffered from neurological ailments and also needed post-Covid-19 care after recovering from the viral infection.

A person was on death bed and in such circumstances, the state government cannot say that he should be treated in the jail, the Court had said.

Following the court’s observations, the Maharashtra government had on November 18 agreed to shift Rao from Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai to the Nanavati hospital and also to bear the expenses of his treatment.

The HC on Thursday said that the lawyers of the petitioners as well as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) — which is probing the case — shall go through the medical report, and posted the matter for further hearing on December 14.

Rao had been in and out of the state-run JJ hospital in the city and the Taloja prison hospital since his arrest in June 2018.

On July 16 this year, he tested positive for coronavirus and was shifted to the Nanavati hospital. He was discharged on July 30 and sent back to the prison.

His and his wife’s petitions claimed that he was suffering from several ailments.

Rao and a few other left-leaning activists were arrested for alleged links with Naxals following the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017.

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