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T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
MCI (P) 017/11/2015
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
Narendra Modi’s passion and
vision for khadi — an Indian
homespun cotton cloth — the Goa
government has issued an official
circular asking all its employees
to voluntarily wear khadi every
The circular described khadi as
a “symbol of India’s self-reliance”.
“Khadi is the heritage fabric in
India and is providing employment
opportunities to lakhs of rural
artisans in the country.
The prime minister has also giv-
en a clarion call through his ‘Mann
ki Baat’ to all countrymen to buy
at least one product of khadi to
support the rural artisans,” the
Tamil Nadu to build 500 parks
and gyms, 1,000 rural shelters
THE Tamil Nadu government will
build ‘Amma parks’ and ‘Amma
gymnasiums’ across the state. The
500 parks and 500 gymnasiums
will be set up at a cost of Rs100
crores and Rs50 crores respec-
Tamil Nadu will also
set up 1,000 anganwadi
centres (courtyard shelters)
for children and pregnant
women in rural areas.
In addition, Rs300 crores
has been set aside for
converting 800,000 street
lamps into LED lamps and
another Rs300 crores has
been budgeted for renovat-
ing 1,200 minor irrigational
resources across the state.
Delhi records over 1,000
DELHI’s seven big hospitals have
recorded 1,052 cases of chikungu-
nya — caused by an illness spread
by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites.
According to hospital sources,
the All India Institute of Medi-
cal Sciences alone recorded 391
cases up to Aug 20, followed by
Safdarjung Hospital (246), Apollo
Hospital (350), Lok Nayak Hospi-
tal (23), Hindu Rao Hospital (28),
Kasturba Hospital (11) and Guru
Teg Bahadur Hospital (3).
“The situation is bad. It is also
because of the rain and waterlog-
ging. It is going to persist till the
rain stops,” said senior consultant
Suranjit Chatterjee at Indraprastha
Kerala most sought after
destination for 2016-17
A LEADING online review
platform mytourreview.com has
selected Kerala as the place to visit
Of the 300 traveller reviews re-
ceived by the website, 80 per cent
were on Kerala-based tour opera-
tors, which prompted them to pick
the state for the campaign.
Kerala tourism director U.V.
Jose said the country has always
benefitted from positive word-of-
mouth reviews from international
“Online platforms are an influ-
ential and fair tool that tourists use
to spread the word about Kerala,
which has again topped as a must-
visit destination,” said Mr Jose.
Mother Teresa statue unveiled
WEST Bengal chief minister
Mamata Banerjee unveiled a
life-size bronze statue of Mother
Teresa on her 106th anniversary
of her birth at The Archbishop’s
House in Kolkata on Aug 26
The statue was donated by
industrialist and philanthropist
Namit Bajoria, who is the
designate Honorary Consul of the
Republic of Macedonia in Kolkata.
He told The Indian Express: “I
have been greatly influenced by
Mother Teresa since my school
Mother Teresa will be canonised
by Pope Francis during a
ceremony at the Vatican City on
Old bombs, rocket launcher
found in Amritsar
THE Punjab Police and other
security agencies are investigat-
ing the recovery of old bombs
and a rocket launcher which were
found among garbage by a
labourer in Amritsar.
They were alerted after
the labourer opened the
bag and found grenades,
mortars, a rocket launch-
er, cartridges and other
bombs. Police officials said
the materials found were
used and very old. They
have also sought help
from the army to defuse
any live bombs.
Bangladesh and India start
trial run for motor vehicle pact
BANGLADESH sent a cargo
truck loaded with garments from
Dhaka to Delhi as part of a trial
run under the Bangladesh Bhutan
India Nepal Motor Vehicle Agree-
ment on Aug 30 (right).
The agreement was signed to
promote safe, economical,
efficient and environmentally
sound road transport in the
region. The four countries will
benefit economically from the
mutual cross-border movement of
passengers and goods.
In a bid to increase connectivity
between India and Bangladesh,
the countries also organised a trial
run of the Kolkata-Khulna bus
service on Tuesday.
Kerala records highest
number of reckless driving
KERALA saw the most number
of road rage and reckless driving
cases last year, according to the
latest National Crime Records
The state witnessed 500 such
incidents involving juvenile of-
Former transport commissioner
Rishi Raj Singh blamed the state’s
poorly equipped road network
for the high number of cases,
citing that it has “a smaller road
network in comparison to many
The government has proposed
strict punishment for the offend-
ers and also their guardians.
Haryana to bar students
carrying phones into exam
TO CURB unfair practices dur-
ing examinations, the Haryana
Staff Selection Commission has
announced that candidates found
possessing mobile phones or other
materials that could aid them in
the examination room will be de-
barred from future examinations.
A spokesman from the Commis-
sion said that candidates will be
frisked before they can enter the
The use of CCTV cameras and
biometric attendance process of
capturing the thumbprints and
photographs of the candidates will
be taken before the examination
to avoid cases of students trying to
impersonate fellow students.
Mughal-e-Azam theme park to
open in Etawah
THE Uttar Pradesh government
will build a theme park in Etawah
based on the 1960 epic Indian
historical drama Mughal-e-Azam,
directed by K. Asif.
It will house galleries dedicated
to Asif and his films, as well as key
characters in the film. The an-
nouncement was warmly received
by the people of Katra Purdal
Khan in Etawah, where Asif was
According to Times of India,
sources said the state government
is planning to invite key charac-
ters of the film who are still alive
to inaugurate the park after its
Goa govt workers urged to
wear khadi outfit on Fridays
IN A bid to spread prime minister
September 2, 2016
Cleaning up... (top) A trash skimmer boat for the Yamuna river in New Delhi.
(Above) A view of the swollen Yamuna after heavy rainfall in Mathura.
Government working to clean up
‘ecologically dead’ river
HE Yamuna river, often
called Delhi’s lifeline, is
gasping for life. The 22-
km stretch that runs through the
national capital has virtually no
aquatic life because of the drains
that pour untreated sewage and
other waste into the river.
It is not that the Yamuna has no
aquatic life at all.
Upstream from Wazirabad — be-
fore the river enters Delhi — it is
home to turtles, different species of
fish, crocodiles and an abundance
of aquatic plants and phytoplank-
ton. But as it enters Delhi, the river
starts to die.
Ecologist C.R. Babu, who is
helping the Delhi government in
developing a riverfront for the
Yamuna, says the river is “ecologi-
cally dead” in the urban stretch
between the Wazirabad and Okhla
“Low levels of dissolved oxygen
and a very high degree of pollu-
tion are (what) killed the river,” Mr
Babu told IANS.
The retired Delhi University pro-
fessor said sewage from 21 drains
flows into the river, polluting it to a
level that is enough to kill the com-
ponents essential for maintaining
Agents like phytoplankton are
responsible for sustaining the
aquatic food web by creating or-
ganic compounds from carbon di-
oxide dissolved in the water.
“In the urban stretch of the Ya-
muna there are no phytoplankton
or zooplankton left. These play an
important role in maintaining the
aquatic life of any water body. They
Delhi’s waste chokes Yamuna
have vanished,” he said.
Experts say factors like river-ba-
sin degradation, ecological pollu-
tion, contaminant effect on ecosys-
tem and ecology, solid and liquid
waste pollution and encroachment
on riverbed have all combined to
kill Yamuna’s aquatic life.
The drains discharge around 850
MGD (million gallons per day) of
sewage into the Yamuna every day.
Of these drains, more than two-
thirds of the pollution is caused by
the Najafgarh drain alone.
The stench emanating from the
river can make one nauseous.
The 33 sewage treatment plants
operational at present treat only
390 MGD of this, although even
their total combined capacity of
640 MGD is inadequate to treat
all of the sewage emptied into the
The river these days is flooded
because of heavy monsoon rains
which may temporarily revive
some aquatic life.
“We can witness some free-
floating phytoplankton and fishes
in the urban stretch of the river
because of some excess of fresh
water in the river, but this is all
temporary,” Babu said.
According to a report of the
Central Pollution Control Board,
the current level of dissolved oxy-
gen in the river is only around 1
mg per litre, while it should be be-
tween 4 and 5 mg/l to sustain life.
Deputy water programme man-
ager at the Centre for Science and
Environment Sushmita Sengupta
quotes government data to sub-
stantiate these figures.
According to numbers provided
in the Lok Sabha, she says, the
quantity of dissolved oxygen at
Nizamuddin is 1.5 mg/l and at
Okhla it is 2.4 mg/l.
“The formation of coliform bac-
teria is very high due to pollution.
It is formed from raw sewage,
and the Delhi stretch of the Ya-
muna is no different from a sewer
This is a major factor discourag-
ing aquatic life in the river,” said
Ammonia levels, which should
be at a maximum level of 1.2 mg/l,
also shoot up to 12 mg/l at some
points in the city.
Research biologist Chaitra
Baliga, who has worked extensive-
ly on turtles in various parts of the
country, says that outside of Delhi,
the Yamuna contains rich aquatic
In addition to different species
of fish, crocodiles and turtles, there
are even fresh water Gangetic Dol-
phins in some stretches of the river
near Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh.
“Fresh water during the mon-
soon may dilute some of the river’s
pollutants, but that will not have
any sustainable effect on aquatic
life,” the biologist told IANS, add-
ing that river-bed construction and
human interference are equally re-
sponsible for the ecological imbal-
ance in the river.
Delhi Water Minister Kapil
Mishra said the government was
working seriously to clean the river
and bring the Yamuna back to life.
“The construction of 14 sewage
treatment plants is going on and
we will complete it by December
2017. It is our primary focus that
after these are made functional,
untreated water will not be allowed
into the river,” said Mr Mishra.
Indo-Asian News Service
September 2, 2016
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