Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Pavement sellers in New Delhi are all geared up to sell earthen lamps and other decorative items used during Diwali. voa

As New Delhi battles deadly air pollution, it might be missing the customary fireworks during the Hindu festival of lights, following a temporary Delhi Firecracker Ban imposed by the Supreme Court on the sale of firecrackers.

The order has raised a firestorm in the city of about 18 million as it gears up for Diwali on October 19. Complaining that the order strikes at the heart of a quintessential Hindu tradition, critics compared it to banning Christmas trees on Christmas. Jubilant supporters pointed out that the top priority is the health of citizens in a city where the air turns toxic at this time of the year because of slower winds and colder temperatures that trap more pollution.


“Let’s try at least one Diwali without firecrackers,” said one judge as the court announced the order Monday. The Supreme Court ban is not new — it was also imposed last year, but only after the festival when New Delhi was already enveloped in a haze of smog.


Shops in National Capital Region are stocked with gifts and sweets as the festival of Diwali approaches. voa

The Delhi Firecracker Ban was partially lifted last month as Diwali approached, but it has been reimposed in connection with a public interest lawsuit on behalf of three children who are seeking the court’s intervention to better clean up Delhi’s toxic air.

Supporters of the Delhi Firecracker Ban hope the preemptive measure will prevent pollution from reaching levels of last year when air quality was nearly 20 times the safe limit set by the World Health Organization in the days following the festival. Many people became sick and that led city authorities to impose emergency measures such as closing schools.

Environmental experts, however, point out the measure would help at a time when the air is already saturated with pollutants.

India’s environment minister, Harsh Vardhan, welcomed the Delhi Firecracker Ban order and urged people to abide by it and “give green Diwali and our environment a chance.”

But there were sharp divisions. Some in his Hindu nationalist party voiced anger at what they saw as a blow to an age-old Hindu custom. Diwali is known as the festival of lights when homes are decorated with oil lamps, but it is also customary to set off firecrackers at night.

A popular author, Chetan Bhagat, compared the ruling to “banning Christmas trees on Christmas” and tweeted “Regulate. Don’t ban. Respect traditions.”

It is unclear who will win out on Diwali day — environmentalists, thousands of ordinary citizens and school children, who have conducted campaigns for several years to abandon the tradition and rejoice in other ways or diehard enthusiasts, who say the order has left the door open for them to bring in firecrackers from neighboring towns.

No one, however, including the critics, dispute that Delhi’s air pollution needs urgent attention. A 2015 study said that the lungs of half the children in the city have been damaged due to the toxic air. Doctors also link the dirty air to a rise in respiratory diseases and heart attacks and advise elderly people to leave the city in winter.

After last year’s experience, city authorities have put an action Delhi Firecracker Ban, starting Sunday to tackle any alarming rise in pollution levels. That will include banning trucks from the city, halting construction activity and restricting traffic. (voa)


Popular

Photo by Brian Kostiuk on Unsplash

Traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market.

By Md Waquar Haider

When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.

The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.

Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.

a computer chip close up According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia

A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study published in The Lancet. The research, led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, showed that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia -- and was possibly more likely to be associated with mortality than no intervention at all.

Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. Non-drug patient-centered care is the first intervention that should be offered but, when this doesn't work, clinicians may move to a drug-based alternative.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying

Digital beauty platform Boddess.com aims to be a disrupter in the Indian beauty market segment offering a curation of products to suit customisation and individual needs. Intime for the festive season, Chandni Goyal, Training Manager at House of Beauty and Boddess, shares a few tricks to see you through endless nights of partying:


* Have fun with colour and sparkle--Move away from blacks and browns and experiment with colours complementing your outfit. The traditional smokey eye can be given a touch of glamour with a dab of glitter eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eyes. It will make your eye make-up pop and will be just what is needed for a festive look.

Keep reading... Show less