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India to gift Seychelles coastguard boat, Dornier aircraft: Modi

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: After holding talks with visiting Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday the gifting of an Interceptor Coastguard boat and a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles.

Narendra-ModiModi, who had met Michel during a visit to the strategic Indian Ocean archipelago nation in March this year, termed Seychelles a key strategic partner for India and said Michel’s visit has imparted additional momentum to bilateral relations.

“We are honoured to be a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing,” Modi said.

Both sides signed five agreements, including exchange of information with regard to taxes and an MoU for providing a Dornier aircraft.

Modi said India will be gifting one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles.

“In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today,” he said.

Fisherman_Seychelles

He termed the agreement for cooperation on blue economy as a “huge step forward” in ties and in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region. Modi said both sides look forward to cooperating in space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management.

“We have begun preparations for infrastructure development on the Assumption Island in Seychelles,” Modi said.

He said the Air Services agreement inked on Wednesday would enable more and easier connections between the two countries.

With the climate change summit in December, Modi said that climate change is a serious threat to island countries like Seychelles. “With a shoreline of 7,500 km and nearly 1,300 islands, India has similar concerns.” He proposed that both could “work together for a comprehensive, balanced and effective outcome on climate change at COP 21 in Paris later this year”.

He expressed appreciation for Seychelles’ support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN security council.

He also conveyed India’s “desire to work with Small Island Developing States to realise their vision of Samoa Pathway and to be a source of strength for each other in international forums”.

He also thanked Seychelles for its support in making the International Day of Yoga a big success.

James Alix Michel Photo credit: seychellesreality.blogspot.com
James Alix Michel
Photo credit: seychellesreality.blogspot.com

Michel, in his media statement, said his visit to India within five months of Modi’s visit “illustrates the unique relationship the two have on shared values and aspirations”.

He said both have common goals in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and that the agreements signed on Wednesday would pave the way for enhancement of bilateral ties.

He expressed appreciation for the Dornier aircraft, which he said, would significantly enhance security of his country.

Michel said Seychelles has expressed willingness to be part of the maritime cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The five documents exchanged were for exchange of information with regard to taxes; an MoU for providing one Dornier maritime aircraft; an air services agreement; a protocol on framework of cooperation on blue economy; an MoU in agricultural research and education; and presentation of navigational chart of an island of Seychelles to the foreign minister.

Michel arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit.

With inputs from IANS

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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)