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Delhi witnessed 40% rise in deaths due to respiratory diseases in 2016, when air pollution shot up

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New Delhi :Delhi registered an alarming increase in deaths due to respiratory ailments in 2016, the year the national Capital witnessed its worst pollution crisis in at least two decades, according to data released by the state government on Saturday.

Deaths linked to breathing disorders shot up by 40% in 2016 from 2015 — 6,502 to 9,149 — the highest jump from the previous year since 2010. Incidentally, both 2016 and 2010 had seen a sharp rise in dust pollution, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board. Dust is a major cause of pulmonary and cardiac ailments.

From 2009 to 2010, the number of deaths linked to respiratory problems had gone up from 5,328 to 7,525 – an increase of 41%.

 

“This data proves that air pollution is taking a heavy toll on our health. We need stricter and sustained measures to bring down pollution levels,” said Anumita Roychoudhury, executive director (research and advocacy) at the Centre for Science and Environment.

In 2016, the annual average PM10 particulate level in Delhi shot up to 260ug/m3, more than two-and-a-half times the permissible limit of 100. The city was also engulfed in its worst smog in 17 years in November that year.

Data submitted in the Lok Sabha last week by the ministry of environment and forest had shown that Delhi accounts for the highest number of respiratory ailment deaths after Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Earlier this year, British Medical journal The Lancet had published a report that more than half-a-million Indians were estimated to have died prematurely in 2015 due to high levels of the smallest PM 2.5 particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and trigger a range of respiratory and cardiac ailments.

Ironically, other statistics released by the government showed a sharp drop in diesel consumption between 2015-16 and 2016-2017 despite the fact that its vehicular fleet has shot up by 8%, crossing the 10-million mark. Experts attributed a fall in diesel consumption to various court rulings, which acted as a deterrent for buying such cars.

Diesel exhaust fumes are classified as more polluting than fumes released by vehicles that run on petrol.

The consumption of diesel dropped from around 1.5 milllion metric tonnes in 2015-16 to around 1.2 million metric tonnes in 2016-17, while the consumption of petrol went up marginally from .902 million metric tonnes to .906 million metric tonnes, the data showed.

“Various court rulings and directions by the National Green Tribunal have resulted in the drop in diesel vehicles.

There is a ban on 10-year-old diesel operated vehicles in Delhi-NCR. Earlier the apex court had temporarily banned the sale of large diesel cars with an engine capacity of over 2000cc. These rulings have resulted in drop in diesel vehicles in Delhi,” said Kamal Soi, member of the National Road Safety Council.


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‘Voter ID more powerful than IED’, says Modi after casting vote

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Mumbai: Voters in India are wise and their ID is more powerful than the IEDs of terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after voting in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

The Prime Minister arrived to vote in an open jeep as he walked down the streets with the BJP’s candidate in Ahmedabad East, Hasmukhbhai Somabhai Patel, and addressed the media after voting inside the polling booth in Nishan Higher Secondary School in Ranip area of Ahmedabad.

“Today, the third phase of polling is underway. I am fortunate that I got the opportunity to fulfil my duty in my home state of Gujarat. Like one feels pure after a holy dip during the Kumbh, I feel pure after casting vote in this festival of democracy,” the Prime Minister said while speaking to reporters.

 

“The weapon of terrorism is IED, the strength of democracy is voter’s ID. I can say with surety that the voter’s ID is much much more powerful than an IED, so we should understand the strength of our voter IDs,” Modi said.

Amid chants of “Modi, Modi”, the Prime Minister came out after casting his ballot, showed his inked finger and acknowledged the people gathered outside the booth. He also walked a little distance as people continued to chant his name.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s president Amit Shah, who is up against the Congress’ three-term legislator CJ Chavda in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, accompanied the Prime Minister.

Earlier, Modi met his mother at her house in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar. Photographs tweeted by news agency ANI showed the Prime Minister touching nearly 99-year-old Heeraben Patel’s feet as she blesses him. Modi also met people outside his mother’s house before getting in.

All the 26 parliamentary constituencies in Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat is polling in the third phase of ongoing general elections and the contest is primarily between the ruling BJP and Congress. The BJP won all 26 seats in 2014.

The third phase of the Lok Sabha elections will see as many as 117 seats across 15 states and two Union territories going to vote on April 23. Among the seats will be a solitary seat from Tripura, Tripura East, where elections were delayed by one phase due to security reasons.

Chants of “Modi, Modi” were heard as he came out after casting his ballot and acknowledged the people gathered outside the booth. He also walked a little distance as people continued to chant his name.

Earlier, Modi met his mother at her house in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar. Photographs tweeted by news agency ANI showed the Prime Minister touching nearly 99-year-old Heeraben Patel’s feet as she blesses him. Modi also met people outside his mother’s house in Gandhinagar before getting in the house.

All the 26 parliamentary constituencies in Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat is polling in the third phase of ongoing general elections and the contest is primarily between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress. The BJP won all 26 seats in 2014.

The third phase of the Lok Sabha elections will see as many as 117 seats across 15 states and two Union territories going to vote on April 23. Among the seats will be a solitary seat from Tripura, Tripura East, where elections were delayed by one phase due to security reasons.

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SC notice to lawyer who was ‘offerred money to frame CJI for harassment’

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from a lawyer, who had made a sensational claim that there was a conspiracy to make CJI Ranjan Gogoi resign by “framing him” in a false case of sexual harassment.

A three-judge special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra issued notice to lawyer Utsav Singh Bains and sought his response with regard to his claim that he was also offered Rs 1.5 crore to represent a former apex court woman employee and arrange a presser against the CJI at the Press Club of India here. The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta, has now fixed the case titled as a matter of “great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary”, for hearing on Wednesday at 10:30 am.

The lawyer had filed an affidavit on Monday following the unprecedented hearing on Saturday during which the CJI had said a larger conspiracy was behind it and that he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.

 
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Rahul ‘regrets’ using SC reference in ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark over Rafale deal

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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his response to a contempt petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Meenakshi Lekhi over his remark on the Rafale deal. Rahul said that he ‘regrets’ using Supreme Court’s reference in ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark and it was ‘made in the heat of the political campaign.’

SC had last week issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi in connection to the contempt petition and sought an explanation from him.

In his response, the Congress president said that the statement was made in the “heat of political campaigning” but alleged that it has been “used and misused by political opponents.”

 

“I will not attribute any views, observations or findings to the court in political addresses to the media and in public speeches, unless such views, observations or findings are recorded by the Court,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“It is also clear that no court would ever do that (say Chowkidar Chor hai) and hence the unfortunate references (for which I express regret) to the court order and to the political juxtaposition in the same breath in the heat of the political campaigning,” he added.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter .

After the apex court had dismissed preliminary objection raised by the Centre seeking review of the earlier judgment in the Rafale case, the Congress president remarked: “Supreme Court has said chowkidar chor hai in the verdict.”

While making the observations last week, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general.”

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