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Delhi air quality beyond ‘severe’ for 3rd consecutive day, dusty haze prevails

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New Delhi: The air quality in Delhi remained beyond the “severe” level for the third day, as authorities warned the dust conditions are likely to prevail for another 3-4 days and advised people to avoid staying outdoors for long hours.
The air quality deteriorated because of dust storms in western India, particularly Rajasthan, which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said.
The PM10 level (presence of particles with diameter less than 10 mm) was beyond severe at 796 in Delhi-NCR and 830 in Delhi particularly, leading to hazy conditions. According to the CPCB, the air quality index (AQI) – a measurement of the concentration of toxic particulate matter in the air – at several places in Delhi remained beyond the 500-mark, with east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area recording a PM10 level of 929 and PM2.5 level of 301 Thursday morning.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “Good”, 51-100 “Satisfactory”, 101-200 “Moderate”, 201-300 “Poor”, 301-400 “Very Poor”, and 401-500 “Severe”.
The wind blowing in the region has contributed to the spread of dust particles. According to the Met department, wind speed reaching up to 35 kmph is predicted for Thursday in Delhi. The dust-laden winds have created a haze in Delhi-NCR since Wednesday.
The Environment Ministry has said the dusty conditions are likely to prevail for the next three days. It has alerted construction agencies, municipal corporations and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to ensure water sprinkling.
The CPCB said pollution this summer is very different from 2017. In November, both PM2.5 and PM10 spiked in the Delhi-NCR region which posed a serious health hazard to residents.
However, the increase in pollution levels now is mainly due to a drastic increase in coarse particles in the air. This time the PM2.5, ultra-fine particles that may reach lungs and affect its functioning, is not as high as that of November 2017.
A Sudhakar, CPCB member-secretary, warned residents that the pollution level is expected to remain like this for 3-4 days and people are requested to avoid staying outdoors for more than 3 to 4 hours.
“There could be discomfort or breathing difficulties due to the pollution,” Sudhakar said.
“We have also called a meeting of construction companies and if the beyond severe condition persist we would stop the construction activities,” he added.
At an urgent meeting , the CPCB directed agencies concerned to contain local dust sources.
The Environment Ministry too has requested the Delhi chief secretary to issue instructions to the agencies concerned.


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National

CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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