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What’s causing those burning eyes?

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

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Air Pollution
Air Pollution: Children at Most Risk

The toxic Delhi air has given itchy eyes to many in the National Capital Region. There is this burning sensation which the doctors say frequent washing of hands and avoiding rubbing of eyes might help.

What might be causing that burn? According to health experts, this is mainly due to the hazardous pollutants including nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide in the air, an outcome of construction work and carbon emission.

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

Delhi turned into an apocalyptic city the very day after Diwali, as lack of breeze trapped the pollutants from firecrackers and stubble burning in neighbouring states added to the woes.

According to Safar India, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi has hit 381, much below the 600 plus levels in the last few days, when sun completely was shunted out by the heavy smog cover.

“While air pollution has taken a toll on the overall health of individuals, many people are experiencing burning sensation in the eyes too. This is being mainly caused by the presence of pollutants in the air consisting of nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide present in the air leading to irritation in the eyes,” said Ranjana Mithal, Senior Consultant Ophthalmology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi.

Mithal added that once, the pollution settles down, we will get relief from the burning sensation.

“Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential for aiding inadequate tear formation. It becomes all the more essential when external factors like smog increase your proneness to dry eyes. Eight to ten glasses of water should suffice,” Mithal suggested.

Refrain from stepping out during peak smog hours. It’s best to stay indoors during this time. Consume food rich in Vitamin A as it plays an important role, the doctor said.

Satya Karna, Associate Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS: “It is advisable not to go out without protection for the eyes such as sunglasses, keep washing eyes with clean, cool water and avoid wearing contact lenses. Put eye drops as per a doctor’s prescription, not drops bought over the counter, or given by chemists or ayurvedic.”

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday and the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre over the alarming situation of pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital.

Sonia Bhalla, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram said that air pollution adversely affects the eyes.

“Eating Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish besides green leafy vegetables, carrots, spinach, almonds, walnuts, berries are extremely good for the eyes.

“Do not overexert your eyes by indulging in excessive screen time,” Bhalla said.

“Twice a day (after getting a recommendation from your ophthalmologist) use eye drops to flush out the irritants. If there is continuous discomfort go to your doctor immediately,” Bhalla concluded.

(Bharat Upadhyay can be reached at [email protected])

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Maharashtra: BJP-Sena split unites a divided Congress-NCP

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Sonia and Udhav Thackeray

Mumbai, Nov 14 : Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi is said to be a happy woman, smiling and grinning from ear-to-ear over the latest political developments in Maharashtra.

The unexpected split in Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena has come as a boon to the Maharashtra Congress and its ally, Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, party sources reveal.

It’s well-known that the state Congress has always been a big divided house since years, and also harboured huge differences with its 20-year old ally, the NCP.

Since 1999 to 2014, the Congressmen were either engaged in an in-house crabby battle to pull down each other and simultaneously the NCP, as the latter always seemed to have a political edge, and unwittingly giving a political advantage to the rivals.

Even as late as October, the party-men and party-women were engaged in bitter political skirmishes at all levels, including the powerful Mumbai Congress, which dented its image and with serious repercussions at the hustings both in Lok Sabha and assembly election results.

After the October assembly poll results were announced, the Congress came trumps with 44 seats and NCP with 54 – against 42 and 41 in 2014 respectively – boosting their morale though they were miles away from forming a viable government.

Shortly afterwards, the political landscape changed dramatically with the Shiv Sena splitting from the BJP and the ruling NDA at the centre, and extending a clawy paw to the bewildered Congress-NCP.

As the ‘clock’ ticked away, the two opposition parties were naturally reluctant to extend their ‘hand’ of friendship to a party which was not only harshly critical but downright abusive for nearly 53 years, spanning the eras of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, besides Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

After Sena President Uddhav Thackeray climbed down his pedestal and called Sonia Gandhi for support, shooed away an alleged BJP emissary and Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide Guruji, withdrew his sole minister Arvind Sawant from the union cabinet, his intentions became clear.

As the seriousness of the situation unfolded, the Congress-NCP got into the act, presenting an unprecedented picture of unity and camaraderie, and initiated the process of raising a potential tri-partite government with the Sena as the lead partner.

A party leader said Sonia Gandhi was occasionally both amused and bemused to see her warring tribe assuring her in practically one voice that an alliance with the long-perceived enemy Shiv Sena was worth a political gamble to keep BJP at bay.

Though she raised an eyebrow of doubt, the Congress earnestly got down to business, and practically adopted Sharad Pawar as the Mandrake who could perform the unbelievable magic of giving Maharashtra a “MahaShivAghadi” alliance of Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena – in the coming days.

Adopting a magnanimous approach, the 79-year old Pawar also reciprocated by never displaying the NCP’s overzealousness in the government formation, keeping the Congress sentiments ahead of his own.

In fact, soon after the election results, Sonia Gandhi had warmly received and congratulated Pawar at her home in New Delhi for almost single-handedly dragging both the allies out of the political muck, when the BJP-Sena squabble over the power-sharing was just breaking out.

The past few days have seen the recently-divorced Sena being grudgingly accepted by Congress-NCP as a potential key ally, many of their leaders visiting the ailing Sena MP Sanjay Raut – the man who set the ball rolling against the BJP – convalescing in hospital, and displayed other gestures of goodwill.

A cheerful Thackeray – who has undergone a change of wardrobe from his awesome collection of ‘kurta-pyjamas’ to formal shirts-trousers – is seen hopping from one tiresome meeting to another with his newfound future saviours, and hopes to re-establish the Sena’s position as the once-dreaded ‘Big Brother’ in state politics.

After all, it has dawned on him that finally, the time has come for a ‘son-rise’ even in the Thackeray family!

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

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Token seat not accepted this time: Chirag Paswan

The LJP is a part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

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Chirag Paswan

New Delhi, Nov 13 : The Lok Janshakti Party, which is ready to contest the Assembly elections in Jharkhand alone on 50 seats, has made it clear that it doesn’t want to contest polls on a token seat.

The party has gone its own way from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and has announced that it will contest alone on 50 out of the 81 seats.

The LJP’s national President and son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan told IANS on Wednesday: “Last time (previous Assembly elections) the Bharatiya Janata Party allowed the LJP to contest on just one seat. But this time the LJP has made it clear that we won’t contest on any token seat. We will contest the election only on the seat where our party has a public base”.

Junior Paswan who took over the party reigns earlier this month said: “Last time we were given the Shikaripada seat where we did not have any candidate also. If the BJP does it again, we are not ready”.

The LJP is a part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

He said the LJP has strengthened in the state in the recent past and the party’s state unit wanted to go solo in the Assembly elections. Still, we demanded six seats from the BJP but the efforts went in vain.

Chirag said: “I made an honest effort by contacting the BJP’s central leadership and demanded six seats to contest. But we could not get their consent. Therefore, the LJP has decided to contest this election alone”.

However, he made it clear that even if the LJP wins any seat in the election, it will support the NDA. “We are with the NDA at the Centre and state as well,” he said.

Replying to a query about the impact of the LJP’s decision to go solo in the election, he said it won’t affect the alliance.

“If some opposition parties are happy that they (BJP and LJP) lack coordination in Jharkhand and Shiv Sena has gone its own way in Maharashtra, they should not be overwhelmed,” said Paswan.

He said we had no alliance in Jharkhand, our pact is based on Bihar. We entered into an alliance in Bihar under which we contest the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections there together.

Chirag added that the BJP, LJP and the Janata Dal (United) would contest the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections together.

We will win more than 225 seats in the Assembly elections in Bihar like we won 39 out of 40 seats during the Lok Sabha elections. Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) will retain power, he said.

The LJP chief said that the party will contest the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections alone.

Asked about the imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra and the break-up between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, he said: “People of Maharashtra have given a clear mandate to the NDA. People wanted to form a government under NDA but the decisions from parties and their political aspirations took things to President’s Rule. It’s unfortunate”.

The LJP has announced the candidates for 10 seats in Jharkhand. The state will go to the polls in five phases between November 30 and December 20 while counting is scheduled for December 23.

(P.K. Jha can be contacted at [email protected])

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New political equations in Maharashtra: Toying with their own T-20 formula?

Shiv Sena and NCP would share the post of CM for 30 months each with Congress keeping the Deputy Chief Minister post for the full tenure of 60 months (five years), sources in various parties revealed.

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Shiv Sena leaders with Maharashtra Governor

Mumbai, Nov 13 : With President’s Rule in effect from Nov 12, Maharashtra politics shifted from high-tension to a relaxed mode and the main contenders for government formation breathed easy.

The Nationalist Congress Party, Congress and Shiv Sena – who seem to be headed for an unprecedented “MahaShivAghadi” alliance – are currently engaged in formal/informal talks at various levels with their respective shopping lists of demands.

The crux of the new partnership would be, of course, the coveted post of Chief Minister, a tug-of-war on which saw the pre-poll alliance of Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Party collapse on Monday as the BJP looked on silently.

Under the new upcoming scenario, an initial formula discussed was Shiv Sena and NCP would share the post of CM for 30 months each with Congress keeping the Deputy Chief Minister post for the full tenure of 60 months (five years), sources in various parties revealed.

Then a new formula was floated from the Congress side – the three parties sharing the CM’s term for 20 months each and also rotating the Deputy Chief Minister for a like period by all parties.

However, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray – who discarded his trademark kurtas for a set of formal shirt and trousers – angrily showed his fangs and rejected it outright,

A party source said it was the Sena demand with the BJP, which did not budge on sharing the CM’s post for 30 months, so there was no question of settling for a term of 20 months — “How shall we face our legislators and supporters?”

A counter suggestion was to give Sena 30 months, while the NCP-Congress could share it for 15 months each and also divide the post of Deputy Chief Minister among themselves.

Presently, the master-potters Congress’ Ahmed Patel and NCP President Sharad Pawar are currently giving finishing touches to the final pot of goodies from which all the parties would sup for the next five years.

Another issue is the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) among the three parties for which Patel, Pawar and other leaders are poring over the manifestos of the three parties to pick out the agreeable issues and weeding out the contentious ones.

These would include the obvious agreeables like — complete waiver of farm loans, reviewing the implementation of the crop insurance and related schemes, boosting the agricultural produce market commodities, et al.

Among the contentious ones could be — five per cent reservations for the Muslim communities which was spiked by the former BJP regime, Shiv Sena’s demand for conferring a Bharat Ratna on Vinayak Damodar aVeer’ Savarkar, soften its ‘Hindutva’ agenda to ensure the new alliance doesn’t get a saffron tinge, adopt a more inclusive approach towards all non-Maharashtrians, particularly north-Indians, minorities, etc.

It may be recalled that when the outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had implemented reservations in education and government jobs for the Marathas, all state parties — including the Opposition Congress-NCP — had full-throatedly supported the historic move.

Some Congress-NCP leaders have privately lauded Thackeray’s decision earlier this week to politely show door to Hindutva leader and Shiv Pratisthan Hindustan leader Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’ who was hoping to win over the Sena back to the BJP fold, and his decision to withdraw the party’s sole nominee, Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant from the union cabinet.

A section of Congress-NCP is confident that despite all the vexed issues that may confront the potential alliance with Sena, things would be amicably sorted out as “Pawar hai to mumkin hai”.

A worried BJP — which Thackeray revealed is still in hot pursuit of the former ally — has now deployed the Sena’s dreaded bogey-man and former CM Narayan Rane, to help it (BJP) muster the magical 145 simple majority figure in the 288-member assembly.

Leaders on all sides have warned that this time, it will be near-impossible to engineer defections or horse-trading by/from any parties as the adefectors’ could face the prospect of finishing their long-term political careers at the altar of short-term pecuniary gains.

In the meantime, the state awaits the dawn of a new era of coalition politics with the 134-year old Congress and 20-year old NCP planning to hug their bitter opponent, the 53-year old Sena — barely three days before the seventh death anniversary of its founder, the late Bal Thackeray on Nov 17.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

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