Saturday December 15, 2018
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Child killed during demolition of 500 shanties by Railway police

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New Delhi: Exposing hundreds of people to bitter cold, around 500 shanties in a slum area of west Delhi were demolished on Saturday by the Railway police during an anti-encroachment drive, allegedly leading to the death of a child.

According to the dwellers of Shakur Basti, the girl died when a piece of furniture fell over her during the demolition, which was allegedly carried out without any prior notice or warning.

Denying the charges, the Railways in a statement said that the residents were issued a number of notices to vacate the land where a new passenger terminal was proposed to be built. The girl, the statement said, died before the demolition drive began.

“Death of the child and encroachment drive are not related. According to police records, the child died much earlier,” said Delhi Divisional Railway Manager Arun Arora.

Railways officials are expected to meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday on the issue.

Kejriwal, who visited the area late Saturday night, condemned the incident, saying, “This is highly condemnable. God will not forgive them. They (officers involved) should be booked for murder,” adding that the government has suspended three senior officials for failing to provide relief material to the residents.

It should be noted that Kejriwal had promised to replace slums with permanent structures without razing a single home.

He later tweeted:

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Air Quality In Delhi Very Low, No Sign Of Improvement

SAFAR has advised people to avoid outdoor physical activities.

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Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

The air quality deteriorated to ‘very poor’ in the national capital Delhi and areas around it due to low wind speed and marginal effect of stubble burning in neighbouring states.

Several areas across Delhi also saw ‘severe-plus’ and ‘severe’ air quality due to high level of particle pollution, which remained over 10 times the safe limit.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was 337 or very-poor against 273 or poor or Thursday. The AQI at Anand Vihar was 407 and of Mundaka was 432, both under ‘severe’ category.

PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm, is still the dominant pollutant. Despite dry and cool north-westerly winds, the air quality dropped to the average PM2.5 over 37 areas of Delhi recording 191 microgrammes per cubic meters, against 134 units on Thursday and 240 units on Wednesday.

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

“Air Quality Index will remain in very poor category on Saturday. A slight improvement is predicted later,” said a forecast by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

According to weather analysts, wind speed at present is slow allowing the pollutant to accumulate.

“Stubble fire will have a marginal impact,” SAFAR said.

Also Read: Tips to Improve The Air Quality of Your Home

SAFAR has advised people to avoid outdoor physical activities.

“If asthmatic, keep relief medicine handy,” the warning added. (IANS)