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Concerted efforts needed to tackle the issue of terrorism, says President Pranab Mukherjee

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

President Pranab Mukherjee today said that concerted efforts are needed to tackle the issue of terrorism which has assumed serious proportions and threatens the international community.

The above remarks were made by the President while addressing the Officer Trainees of 2013 Batch of the Indian Foreign Service, who called on the President in Rashtrapati Bhavan on 27 May, 2015.

The President said extremists appear to have access to abundant arms and resources through drug trafficking and other criminal activities. The trouble spots in the world are spreading rapidly and many important cities are being threatened. There is not only danger to historical and civilizational relics in these cities, but their collapse also becomes a symbol of political destabilisation. Despite Cold War having come to an end, the desired peace and tranquillity is still far from the reach of the people of the world.

Describing the current global situation as extremely complex, the President said simplistic approaches will not be sufficient to understand current trends. Indian diplomats should take note of developments in the world with utmost speed. They should develop the ability and expertise to understand and analyse them.

Describing the Civil Service as a great opportunity to serve the nation and people, the President recalled how officers of the Indian Foreign Service have done an outstanding job at great risk to their own safety and security in situations like Lebanon and more recently in Yemen where Indian nationals had to be evacuated. He said these operations conducted with the support of a number of services and organizations testify to the skill and competence of the Foreign Service.

The President called upon the young diplomats to pay special attention to Non Resident Indians whom he described as an important factor in India’s diplomacy. He said NRIs represent India’s values, culture and civilisation in the countries that they live in and also project our soft-power.

The President said foreign policy is an extension of enlightened national interest in the context of the prevailing situation. Diplomats should not only protect but also enhance the national interest. He concluded calling upon the young diplomats to serve the nation and its people with commitment and dedication.

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)