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SC ban on crackers on Diwali in Delhi-NCR not very effective

The PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 and 10 micrometers, in Delhi NCR was 164 and 292 microgrammes per cubic meter.

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Representative Picture of Crackers

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Despite the Supreme Courts directives, people in Delhi-NCR on Wednesday continued to burst crackers on Diwali well past the 10 p.m. deadline though the air quality index (AQI) showed a slight improvement over last year.

The Supreme Court had limited the time for bursting crackers between 8-10 p.m. on Diwali, but people started bursting crackers soon after sunset around 6 p.m. and continued well after 10 p.m.

Also, the apex court had banned the sale of traditional crackers and allowed only “green crackers” in Delhi-NCR, but there was no clarity as to how many people could procure these, or the ones not containing the polluting barium salts.

Delhi Police spokesman Madhur Verma said data was not immediately available at how many places the police took action against those flouting the Supreme Court directive on Diwali day.

Ravi Sharma, a journalist residing in East Delhi said that he could not find crackers in Delhi for his child but his neighbours did.

“I could not buy even a phuljhadi (sparkler) or anar (fountain) for my child but some of my neighbours have arranged the crackers through some jugaad (improvisation) and they are bursting them now,” Sharma told IANS.

Similar stories came in from other parts of the city such as Mayur Vihar, Dwarka and New Friends Colony.

In Ghaziabad, an IANS correspondent who went around the town was witness to violations in the posh Raj Nagar and Kavi Nagar localities, where almost all district and police officers reside.

Though some firecrackers went off from 5 p.m., the frequency rapidly went up as the sun set.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer admitted that it was very difficult to implement the Supreme Court order.

The air quality in the national capital and surrounding areas on Wednesday was recorded as “very poor”, a slight improvement from last year’s Diwali night.

The Supreme Court’s strict directive and a moderately high wind speed appeared to be the reason the Air Quality Index (AQI) did not reach the “severe” level.

The AQI at 9 p.m. was 291, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Last Diwali, the AQI was recorded at 326.

The PM2.5 and PM10, or particles with diameter less than 2.5 and 10 micrometers, in Delhi NCR was 164 and 292 microgrammes per cubic meter.

The permissible limit for PM2.5 and PM10 is 60 and 80 units by national standards and 25 and 50 units by international standards.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), weather forecasting body under Ministry of Earth Science, said the moisture in the air on Wednesday was normal, thus reducing the air holding capacity.

It warned that the air quality in the region could be bad on Thursday. On Wednesday night it said the key weather parameter was the good wind speed and if it reduces, the levels of PM 2.5 could increase.

The Delhi fire department received 209 calls till 10 p.m though no fatality was reported. The only major incident was that of a fire at a factory in Bawana where 18 fire tenders were pressed into service.
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Delhi-NCR wakes up to rain

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Delhi Rains

New Delhi, Nov 14: The national capital on Wednesday witnessed rains in the morning with the minimum temperature recorded at 17.6 degrees Celsius, four notches above season’s average.

“There has been light drizzles in the Delhi-NCR belt since Tuesday night. The sky will remain cloudy throughout the day with light rains. No rain is expected tomorrow,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi continued to breathe “very poor” air  with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at 9 a.m. recorded  355 with prominent pollutants being PM 2.5 and PM 10.

Meanwhile, the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir saw fresh snowfall and rains and according to the Met forecast scattered rains and snow to continue till Thursday.

Kargil in Ladakh region was the coldest at minus 7 degrees Celsius, while Leh was minus 1.4.

Jammu city recorded 15.2 degrees Celsius while Katra was at 11.7.

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2 Killed In Fire At High-Rise In Mumbai’s Andheri

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Mumbai, Nov 13 : At least two persons were killed when a fire broke out on the 10-11 floors of a building in Andheri West, late on Tuesday night, an official said.

The fire was reported around 10.10 p.m. in the middle floors of the 21-storied Kadam Nagar SRA Building on Veera Desai Road, police said.

“The fire has now been confined to electrical wiring, household articles, furniture in a flat on the 10th floor and in some portion of a flat on the 11th floor,” a fire official said.

At least 10 firetenders and other specialised equipment were rushed to the scene to battle the fire.

Rescuers managed to retrieve two victims who were taken to a hospital and were declared dead, said the BMC Disaster Control.

Details of the cause of the fire and the victims’ identity were not immediately available.

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UP cabinet ratifies name change of Allahabad, Faizabad

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Lucknow, Nov 13 : The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday ratified the renaming of Faizabad as Ayodhya and Allahabad as Prayagraj district, an official spokesman said.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also decided that the Faizabad division would now be known as Ayodhya division and the Allahabad division as Prayagraj.

The cabinet also approved the tabling of the report of the Judicial Commission that probed the death of 25 persons in a stampede at Rajghat bridge in Varanasi in October 2016.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to award the Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee Award of Merit to good teachers of the financially unaided schools of the state.

There are 19,275 such schools in the state and under the award scheme, one teacher each from every division would be given Rs 25,000.

The cabinet also fixed the minimum support price (MSP) of maize at Rs 1,700 per quintal and okayed Rs 20 as carrying charges in addition to the MSP.

The procurement would be conducted in 20 districts and a budget of Rs 214.90 crore has been fixed for buying one lakh metric tonnes.

An Amendment (Fifth) in the rule book of the Medical University Service was also made, paving the way for the post of Assistant Professor in place of Lecturer.

The cabinet also approved the transfer of 48.03 square meters of land at the government polytechnic on Faizabad road in Lucknow to the Lucknow Metro and acquisition of 130 buildings around the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi for the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project.

166 houses have already been acquired. The government has earmarked Rs 413 crore for this, of which Rs 190 crore has been sanctioned.

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