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Farmer’s Suicide: HC seeks AAP government response on PIL

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Delhi government’s response to a petition against its decision to label Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh – who committed suicide at an AAP rally here – as a “martyr” and to seek an end to “glorification” of his death.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath sought response from the Delhi government by September 2 on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik.

The court earlier asked the city government to submit a copy of the cabinet decision to accord “martyr” status on the Rajasthan farmer who committed suicide on April 22 by hanging himself from a tree at Jantar Mantar during an anti-land bill rally of the Aam Aadmi Party.

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After the Arvind Kejriwal govt. failed to submit the copy of the April 29 cabinet decision, the petitioner submitted it.

He said that an RTI reply revealed that the Delhi government decided to construct a memorial to Singh and other farmers who committed suicide and to provide jobs to their family members.

Kaushik maintained that the AAP government’s action to label Gajendra Singh a “martyr” and name a compensation scheme after him amounted to “abetment of suicide”.

He argued that glorifying such an act of “cowardice” was not justified.
After the suicide of Gajendra Singh, the Delhi government launched a farmers’ compensation scheme in his name – Gajendra Singh Kisan Sahayata Yojana – for Delhi farmers whose crops were destroyed by recent unseasonal rains.

A government job was also offered to one of his family on compassionate grounds.

“This act of the Delhi government is nothing but an effort to glorify, justify, praise, support and consecrate the act of suicide; attempt thereof itself is an offence under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860,” the PIL said.

It sought directions to the AAP government to “restrain it from glorifying, justifying, supporting, propagating and consecrating” the farmer’s suicide.

(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)