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Tripura to set up human rights commission

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Agartala: The Left Front government in Tripura on Monday decided to constitute the much expected state human rights commission to deal with issues of human rights and cases of their violation, a minister announced.

“The state government in today’s (Monday) cabinet meeting decided to set up a human rights commission. Necessary rules and regulations were approved by the council of ministers,” Information and Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha told reporters.

He said: “After completion of some formalities, the commission is expected to be formed by January next year.”

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, while participating in a discussion here recently, said his government was keen on the commission but paucity of suitable retired judges had become a stumbling block.

“According to rules, the commission chairman has to be a retired Supreme Court judge or retired high court chief justice. For many years, we looked for such a retired judge but failed,” he said.

“In 2007, the state government constituted the Police Accountability Commission, with provisions to protect the human rights of the state’s people. Cases of human rights violations are extremely low in Tripura,” said Sarkar, who holds the home portfolio.

The Tripura Police Accountability Commission has been constituted under the Tripura Police Act, 2007, with the powers of a civil court to summon and enforce attendance of witnesses under the civil procedure code, 1908.

The Supreme Court recently said it was the statutory duty of the state governments to set up human rights commissions.

A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi in their judgment said it was a matter of regret that despite the National Human Rights Commission strongly and repeatedly recommending setting up of state commissions, they have not been set up.

The court directed the governments in Tripura, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland to set up these commissions.

Various political parties in Tripura have been demanding a rights panel in the state.

(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)

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