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Day long shut down brings life to standstill in Andhra Pradesh

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Vijayawada: Day long shut down on Saturday brought normal hum-drum of life to a halt in Andhra Pradesh. The strike was initiated by YSR Congress over the delay in providing a special status to the recently bifurcated state of Andhra Pradesh.

Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed in most parts of the 13 districts.

The left parties, students’ groups, traders, employees’ unions and people’s organisations announced their support to the shutdown call.

YSRCP workers took to streets in many towns since early morning. Raising slogans of ‘we want special status’ and ‘CM down down’, they staged sit-ins at APSRTC depots to prevent buses from coming out.

They also put up roadblocks and took out rallies to protest the failure of TDP-led government to get the special status from the Centre.

The shutdown evoked good response in both Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions. Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI-Marxist also took out rallies in support of the shutdown.

Police arrested YSRCP leaders in Vijayawada when they staged a sit-in at the Nehru bus station. Former minister Parthasarthi and Vangaveeti Radha were among those arrested.

In Visakhapatnam, police arrested YSRCP leader Vijay Sai Reddy, a close aide of party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, and other party leaders and activists for blocking the road.

Police also arrested YSRCP legislators and other leaders and workers in the temple town of Tirupati. CPI and CPI-M activists took out a rally in Anantapur.

Protests were also held in Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore, Guntur, Ongole, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Srikakulam and other towns.

Leader of the opposition Jaganmohan Reddy said the Telugu Desam Party government had failed to get special status for the state though it shared power at the Centre.

He said the Centre should immediately fulfill the commitment as the delay in doing so had already led to loss of precious lives. Three persons have committed suicide over the issue. Another person died of heart stroke in Kurnool on Friday.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge him to immediately grant special status to the revenue-deficit state.

The then UPA government had promised special status while dividing Andhra Pradesh to carve out a separate Telangana state.

(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)