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Ami Bera,Tulsi Gabbard and US lawmakers celebrate Diwali

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Washington: Ten US lawmakers, including the lone Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera and the only Hindu-American lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard joined “Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists across the world” in celebrating Diwali.

Bera, Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, noted that last week almost 1,000 people came together in Washington to “celebrate the largest ever Congressional Diwali to recognize who we are as a community and what we have accomplished together.”

“Diwali is celebrated by nearly a billion people around the world and more than two million people in the US,” he said, and added “I look forward to continuing to grow this celebration and wish all who are celebrating this week a Happy Diwali.”

Gabbard, who represents Hawaii in the US House, said: “Diwali represents the victory of light over darkness, truth over untruth, righteousness over wrong. “Let it inspire us to set aside our differences, and find ways to work together towards the greater and common good.”

“No matter who we are, no matter what our race, religion, economic status, gender, age, or any other material consideration, each of us can use our lives in the loving service of God and of mankind, according to our own abilities,” she said.

“So as we light our lamps for Diwali, let us light the lamps of love for God within our hearts. Let us share the light of His unconditional love for us, and celebrate Diwali by doing what we can to bring about positive change in the world,” Gabbard added.

Grace Meng, who represents New York, reaffirmed her call for the creation of a Diwali postage stamp, an initiative she has pushed the US Postal Service (USPS) on with Representative Carolyn Maloney and others. She also wanted a school holiday created for Diwali in New York City.

Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said: “I am proud to join millions in the United States and around the world in celebrating Diwali this week.”

“As we light up our diyas and share in this joyous festival with family and friends, we are reminded that this holiday is a time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.”

“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I wish everyone celebrating Diwali my best wishes and Saal Mubarak!” she stated.

Other CAPAC members who issued statements on Diwali included: Michael Honda, CAPAC Chair Emeritus, Xavier Becerra, House Democratic Caucus Chairman, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Loretta Sanchez and Chris Van Hollen.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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  • Krishna Rao

    Look forward to the outcome of the Diwali stamp. I think it would be a very profitable venture by the post office.

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Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The measures include a ban on industries using coal and biomass, brick kilns, construction activities and entry of trucks into Delhi.

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India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A man walks in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

With no improvement in the air quality of Delhi-NCR even three days after Diwali, the environment authority on Saturday extended the ban on the entry of trucks, construction and polluting industries.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Saturday ordered the Delhi government to extend the ban which was imposed on November 2.

Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
As pollution levels spike, Delhi and its satellite towns are enveloped in a haze of smog. VOA

The restrictions imposed till November 10 were extended to November 12, by when there will be an improvement in the air quality of Delhi-NCR, as forecast by pollution monitoring agencies.

The restrictions were imposed by the EPCA under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Delhi’s air quality started deteriorating a day after Diwali to “severe-plus” or “emergency” due to fireworks and weather conditions like wind speed and dipping mercury, leading to lower dispersion rate of pollutants. The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday was 401 or “severe”.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

“The CPCB-headed task force has informed EPCA that given the prevailing adverse conditions, the following measures will remain until November 12, when it will further review the situation and inform us,” said EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal, in a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, the Delhi Environment Secretary and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

Also Read: Delhi’s Pollution Brings Down The Diwali High

The measures include a ban on industries using coal and biomass, brick kilns, construction activities and entry of trucks into Delhi. The restrictions exclude power plants and waste to energy plants. (IANS)