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- ‘Moderate’ air quality in Muzaffarpur TNN | Updated: Nov 2, 2018, 08:34 IST
MUZAFFARPUR: The air quality index (AQI) in Muzaffarpur, released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was recorded at 183 on Thursday, putting it into “moderate” category. The drop in AQI level before Diwali has sent alarm bells ringing in the office of the district magistrate.
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According to the CPCB, moderate category of AQI can lead to breathing discomfort among people with lung, heart and asthma diseases.
The Muzaffarpur district administration has claimed that it has taken several initiatives to reduce pollution level prior to Diwali. DM Md Sohail said an anti-pollution awareness programme would be launched in the district soon.
“We will urge people not to use firecrackers, which emit highly polluting substances in the air,” said the DM, adding the district administration would take necessary steps to curb air pollution.
- Patna chokes as air quality continues to deteriorate TNN | Nov 2, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Air quality in city has continued to deteriorate prior to Diwali as the air quality index (AQI) level measured by Central Pollution Control Board soared to 282 on Thursday, which is considered “poor”.
PM 2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns) was the dominant pollutant, which was measured at 143.34 micrograms per cubic meter, much higher than the prescribed limit of 60 microgram/cubic meter.
PM 2.5 is made of dust, harmful pollutants arising out of vehicular emissions. These pollutants cause serious respiratory and lung problems. According to State of Global Air Report released in 2017 by US-based Global Burden of Disease Project, the extreme level of PM 2.5 (above 75 micograms per cubic meter) causes heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infections.
S N Jaiswal, pollution analyst at Bihar State Pollution Control Board, said: “The dust emanating from roads and construction activities, vehicular emissions and burning of waste are responsible for alarming levels of PM 2.5 in Patna. It remained the dominant pollutant in Gaya and Muzaffarpur also. It may cause serious health problems to senior citizens and minors.”
Ankita, senior programme officer at Centre for Environment and Energy Development, said, “Given the levels of PM 2.5, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya are comparable to other major polluting cities, such as New Delhi, Noida and Gurugram. The combat against toxic air not only needs effective government policies, but also citizens’ participation”.
Vikram Singh, a resident of Alamganj in Patna City, said, “Roads in our locality are prone to traffic jams, which lead to sore eyes and throat. We get some relief by using sunglasses and masks”.
- Replace all old electric wires by December 2019: Nitish Kumar Madan Kumar | TNN | Updated: Nov 2, 2018, 07:39 IST
PATNA: CM Nitish Kumar on Thursday asked the energy department to complete the work of providing dedicated agriculture feeders in all 38 districts by December-end in 2019.
Speaking at a function to mark the 6th foundation day of Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) and its four allied companies here, Nitishalso asked the power distribution companies — NBPDCL and SBPDCL — to replace all old electric wires across the state by December 2019.
The CM said the incidents of people getting killed due to snapping of old electric wires were man-made disaster and the energy department should pay special attention to removing the rickety wires at the earliest.
“There will be no dearth of funds and other resources required for the two works,” CM told energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and department’s principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit.
“Altogether 296 new power substations will be set up across the state to supply electricity to 1,312 dedicated agriculture feeders for providing power directly to the fields. It will reduce production cost of farmers who depend on diesel pump sets to irrigate their fields,” an energy department official told TOI on Thursday.
Nitish also asked officials to improve billing system to provide more relief to the consumers. “Once you update your billing system, the rate of payment by consumers will improve. It will ultimately reduce losses up to 15% from existing 25%,” Nitish said.
He also announced construction of a new building on the Vidyut Bhavan premises at the cost of Rs85 crore. He also said a new auditorium would be built in the electricity board colony at Shastrinagar.
The CM thanked the officials and engineers of the BSPHCL and its allied companies for accomplishing the task of providing electricity connection to each households across the state two months before the deadline. The CM had earlier fixed December 31, 2018 deadline for providing electricity connection to each household. But the BSPHCL completed the task by October 25. He said with the electrification of all households, the ‘ghost of darkness’ has fled away from each village.
- Notice to confiscate Brajesh’s properties TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 01:00 IST
MUZAFFARPUR: The district administration may confiscate the properties of Brajesh Thakur and six other members of his NGO Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti. They are accused in the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. Thakur is in jail and has been shifted to Patiala from Bhagalpur on the Supreme Court’s order.
Notices have been served on the directive of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Notices were pasted on Thursday at the shelter home building and the adjacent residential house of Asha Thakur, wife of Brajesh. The notices have also been served and pasted on the houses of six other members of the NGO, which used to run the shelter home where 36 girls were allegedly sexually abused.
Musahari circle officer Nagendra Prasad directed the owner of the buildings to submit details and other legal documents within seven days from serving of the notices. “If you fail to report within stipulated time, all your movable and immovable properties will be confiscated,” the notices read.
Manorama Devi, mother of Thakur and owner of the shelter home building, has requested Muzaffarpur DM to give one month time to furnish the required papers. “Most documents have been kept in haphazard way, as the investigation agencies had searched every corner of the house. It will take some time following which the papers would be produced before the officials concerned,” she said.
- Move to open airport in Darbhanga hailed TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 01:00 IST
DARBHANGA: Mithilanchal people are happy after the ministry of defence gave its nod to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for construction of a civil enclave or terminal building and other allied structure at airfield of Indian Air Force (IAFD) at Darbhanga.
Low- cost airline Spice Jet is slated to operate flights from Darbhanga to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru under Udan regional air connectivity scheme .
LNMU VC Prof S K Singh said, “Whenever we invited reputed teachers to come here for delivering lectures their first query was whether Darbhanga had any air connectivity. Most of them are reluctant to accept our invitation as they have to endure a long journey by road after reaching Patna.”
“Even varsity officials often travel to Delhi for official work. The news has come as a huge relief,” added the vice-chancellor.
Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University (KSDSU) VC professor S N Jha said the Sanskrit university will also be benefited from this air connectivity.
“It was a long pending demand of the people of Mithilanchal region.Many business and institutions refused to have base in Darbhanga due to lack of air connectivity. With an air link in the offing, many may come here. It will also boost the economy of the region,” said Pawan Sureka, president, divisional chamber of commerce and industries, Darbhanga.
- New policy focuses on rural road maintenance TNN | Nov 5, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: With the state cabinet approving ‘Bihar Rural Road Maintenance Policy-2018’, rural roads in Bihar will now be built as per international standards and in accordance to the norms prescribed by the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI).
Rural works department (RWD) principal secretary Vinay Kumar told mediapersons on Sunday that under the new policy, roads would be included for maintenance for five years irrespective of schemes under which they are constructed. Secretary to CM Manish Kumar Verma was also present at the press briefing.
“Work on the new policy will begin by the end of this month. The RWD will be responsible for maintenance of around 36,000km of rural roads,” Kumar said, adding Bihar is the first state in the country to come up with such a policy for rural road maintenance.
“Under the new policy, the WRD will make 70% expenditure on construction and 30% on maintenance of roads. Earlier, the department used to spend just 10% of the sanctioned amount for a road on maintenance,” he said, adding the policy will cost state exchequer Rs 4,000 crore annually. However, according to Kumar, the cost will come down to Rs 3,000 crore per annum from next financial year.
“The contractor will have to ensure that there are bumps at every 400cm in 1km stretch of rural roads as per International Roughness Index. From safety point of view, the policy envisages installation of crash barriers, rumble strips, road signs and speed breakers. The contractor will get payment only after fulfilment of these conditions,” Kumar said.
- RERA asks realtor to refund money to aggrieved buyers TNN | Updated: Nov 5, 2018, 06:58 IST
PATNA: The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA)-Bihar has asked Agrani Homes Pvt Ltd, a real estate firm, to refund the principal amount along with suitable rate of interest on the deposit from the date of payment of the deposit till the date of refund to the aggrieved parties within 60 days.
The petitioners had alleged that they had executed agreements with the respondent company for flats and paid the principal amount after the company promised that the construction work will be completed within three years. However, according to the petitioners, nothing happened even after five years despite payment of nearly 80% of the total cost by them. In its defence, the company said it could not start the project due to disputes among the landowners.
Agrani Homes Pvt Ltd has three sister concerns – Agrani Homes Real Marketing Pvt Ltd, Agrani Homes Real Construction Pvt Ltd and Agrani Homes Ral Services Pvt Ltd. The complainants in three cases filed against Agrani Homes Pvt Ltd director Alok Kumar were Nitumani, Monika Mani and Anita Devi.
In one case against Agrani Homes Pvt Ltd, the RERA ordered that the entire principal amount along with due interest of 15% per annum to be compounded quarterly from the dates of deposit to the date of refund should be refunded in three instalments by the company to each petitioner within 60 days.
In other two cases against Agrani Homes Real Construction Pvt Ltd, the RERA ordered that as the benefit of deposited amount was availed by the respondent company for more than two-and-a-half years, equity demands that principal amount ought to be refunded along with suitable rate of interest.
The principal amount in these two cases had already been refunded by the company. The petitioners complained that they were not allotted the flats of their choice, there were drastic changes in the plan of the project and that they got only the refund of the principal amount and not the compound interest. The order was passed by RERA members Rajiva Bhushan Sinha and Subodh Kumar Sinha on Thursday.
- Encroachments to be removed from Police Lines: IG Debashish Karmakar | TNN | Nov 7, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: After mass dismissal of 167 trainee constables, including 79 women, for indulging in arson and vandalism at Police Lines on November 2, Patna zonal IG Nayyar Hasnain Khan on Tuesday said action would be taken against those living on Police Lines premises even after their transfer or retirement.
“There is a need to inculcate discipline among police personnel,” Khan, who is conducting an inquiry into the November 2 incident following CM Nitish Kumar’s directive, said. He added the inquiry report would be submitted to the state government within a day or two.
On Monday, 92 police personnel were transferred to other police zones from Patna zone by the state police headquarters on the recommendation of Khan. These cops were in Patna for more than 10 years.
Hundreds of trainee constables, mostly women, had gone berserk in and outside the Police Lines after the death of one of their colleagues, Savita Pathak (22), allegedly due to dengue. They allegedly tried to lynch DSP Mohammad Mashluddin for allegedly not granting leave to Savita.
City SP (central) D Amarkesh, SP (east) Rajendra Kumar Bheel, SP (rural) Anand Kumar and Mashluddin’s family members were allegedly manhandled by trainees. Kumar’s bodyguards were forced to open fire in air to disperse the protesters. More than 24 vehicles were damaged and the trainees also ransacked DSP’s office and residence inside the Police Lines.
- Air pollution in Patna worst on eve of Diwali TNN | Updated: Nov 7, 2018, 07:07 IST
A hazy view of Patna on Tuesday due to air pollution
PATNA: Tuesday turned out to be the most polluted day in Patna this season with air quality plunging to ‘very poor’ category a day before Diwali. The Air Quality Index (AQI) read 334 as thick haze of dust enveloped the state capital.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) stipulates that “very poor” category of air can lead to respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. Experts at Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) attributed the thick haze to a combination of meteorological and man-made factors. Apart from Patna, air quality also worsened in Gaya and Muzaffarpur as well.
The AQI released by CPCB for Patna stood at 307 and 318, which remained in ‘very poor’ category. The AQI in 0-50 range is considered good, 50-100 as satisfactory, 101-200 as moderate, 201-300 as poor, 301-400 as very poor and above 400 as severe.
Experts cautioned that such situation would prevail in Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur even a day after Diwali.
S N Jaiswal, senior scientist at Bihar State Pollution Control Board, said: “Vehicular emission and dust emanating from damaged roads and construction activities are responsible for the high level of air pollution in Patna and some other cities in Bihar.”
Deliberating on the measures to curb air pollution, Jaiswal said: “We request people not to burn waste in the open. The construction sites should be covered and people should reduce their dependence on private vehicles.”
According to Sameer app of CPCB, the average level of pollutants such as PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) in Patna at 2.30pm on Tuesday were 166, 129 and 68 microgram per cubic metre, respectively. Latest Comment Polluted air and spread of Dengue in Patna still no alarm by the state Govt and health deptt.Mithilesh Kumar
As per National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the standard level of PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide should be 60 and 80 microgram per cubic metre per day. The level of carbon monoxide should be under 4 microgram per cubic metre per hour.
PMCH superintendent Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said: “Due to high level of air pollution in Patna, we advise people to avoid prolonged exposure in the heavily polluted air. Senior citizens and children should use masks to protect themselves from the bad impacts of toxic air during Diwali.”
- Now, widows in Bihar need SDM’s nod to sell property Alok Chamaria | TNN | Updated: Nov 7, 2018, 11:55 IST
SASARAM: Now, widows in Bihar, irrespective of caste creed and religion will have to take the approval of the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) before selling out their property.
The SDM will have to certify that the widow is not selling her property under any duress and the petition concerning this must be disposed off within three days of submitting the application.
Talking to this newspaper, DIG, state prohibition, excise and registration department Ayaz Ahamad Khan said, “The new system has been implemented in the light of recommendations of a committee formed by the Supreme Court. Directives have been issued to all district registrar-cum-district magistrates and registering officer in the state.” Sasaram SDM Raj Kumar Gupta confirmed that he had already received a directive in this regard. According to sources, the apex court while hearing a PIL in August 2014 had formed a six-member committee to prepare an action plan to protect the rights of widows in the country. The committee submitted its report on August 11 last year, which recommended mandatory no-objection certificate from the SDM concerned for transfer of widow’s property.
The SDM concerned has also been asked to give NOC to the widow in a prescribed format. At least three release deeds were rejected by the local registry office in Sasaram recently as the sellers who were widows had not procured the required NOC from the SDM.
- Pollution causes health hazards TNN | Updated: Nov 7, 2018, 11:50 IST
PATNA: With air quality deteriorating in city, people have started developing breathing problems, eye irritation, chronic cough and nose and throat infections.
“Concentration of dust particles and harmful pollutants may further increase in winter season as the pollutants remain trapped in the lower level of atmosphere when the temperature drops,” said S N Jaiswal, scientist at Bihar State Pollution Control Board.
Senior citizens above 60 years of age and children below five years, according to Jaiswal, are more vulnerable to air pollution.
“We have decided to phase out old, polluting vehicles from Patna and other major districts of the state,” Jaiswal said.
Dr Deependra Kumar Rai, associate professor at AIIMS-Patna, said, “We recorded 25% growth in number of people complaining about respiratory illness last month.”
Besides Patna, the air quality monitoring stations at Muzaffarpur and Gaya on Friday recorded air quality index (AQI) at 259 and 130, which is considered “poor” and “moderate”, respectively.
Danapur resident Ashish Ranjan, who has been suffering from chronic cough because of pollution, said, “The doctors have advised me to wear mask while heading outdoors,” a 26-year-old said.
- Ensure 24X7 power supply at Ganga ghats: Nitish Kumar TNN | Updated: Nov 9, 2018, 03:56 IST
PATNA: Chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar on Thursday inspected Ganga ghats between Nasirganj in Danapur to Khajekala in Patna City to review the preparations for Chhath. He expressed satisfaction on the ongoing works.
The CM instructed officials to ensure proper sanitation and tighten security arrangements around the ghats to prevent any untoward incident. He also asked them to ensure 24X7 electricity supply at the ghats where devotees will worship the Sun God.
Directions were issued to the Patna Municipal Corporation and other agencies to complete barricading of the ghats where soil erosion has taken place.
The four-day Chhath festival will begin on November 11 with ‘Nahai-Khai’ and end on November 14 when devotees offer ‘Arghya’ to the rising sun.
Earlier, Nitish had inspected Kurji and LCT ghats on Saturday last and directed the officials to ensure construction of slopes on ghats where stairs were not available.
The CM was accompanied by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav, urban development and housing department minister Suresh Kumar Sharma, energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and mayor Sita Sahu, among others during the visit on Thursday.
- Soon, traffic signals in Patna to have timers Faryal Rumi | TNN | Updated: Nov 9, 2018, 03:39 IST
PATNA: The urban development and housing department (UDHD) has planned to replace the automatic traffic lights with traffic signals having countdown timers soon. Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (BUIDCO) has been assigned the task of preparing a proposal for installation of new traffic lights by replacing the old ones at 25 locations in the city under the Smart City project.
UDHD minister Suresh Kumar Sharma said the new traffic lights would be installed in the city in two phases. “In the first phase, the new traffic lights will be installed between Gandhi Maidan and Patna Junction under the area-based development plan of Smart City project. Gradually, the new traffic lights will come up in other parts of the city in the second phase. The main intersections where new traffic signals will be installed include Exhibition Road, Dak Bungalow roundabout, Secretariat, Gandhi Maidan, Patna Junction, Fraser Road and Income-Tax roundabout. The department will finalise the proposal after Chhath,” the minister told this newspaper on Thursday.
Sharma said the installation of new traffic lights would be a boon for drivers as they would know the exact time left before the change in traffic light colours. “This will help drivers know when to put the break or slow down their vehicles when approaching the traffic signal. It will also reduce the burden on traffic cops,” he said.
Elaborating on traffic lights equipped with countdown timers, a senior official at BUIDCO said, “The system will digitally display the time remaining for the current spotlight indication, such as red, yellow and green,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the BUIDCO has decided to withdraw defunct traffic lights from Punaichak Mor, Anisabad, Chitkohra Mor, Beur Mor and Saguna Mor and replace them with new ones. Ajay Kumar Pandey, deputy project director, BUIDCO, said all defunct traffic lights would be replaced with newer ones soon.
- Patna air third most toxic in country TNN | Updated: Nov 9, 2018, 04:09 IST
PATNA: A day after Diwali, air in Patna was third most toxic in the country after Faridabad and Noida.
The air quality index (AQI) of the city, measured at 4pm on Thursday by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was recorded at 427, which falls in “severe” category. Faridabad topped the AQI chart with 455 and Noida followed it with 432. According to experts, severe air quality can affect even healthy people besides impacting those with existing diseases.
The AQI value ranging between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ and above 400 ‘severe’.
Patna’s air quality on Thursday was harsher than Delhi, which has been infamous for its toxic air. The AQI level in Delhi was measured at 390 on Thursday.
As per air pollution data issued by Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) on Thursday, the concentration of PM 2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter) saw a steep surge in Patna after bursting of firecrackers on Diwali. The PM 2.5 level peaked to 768 micrograms per cubic meter between 10pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday. It was 12 times higher than 60 micrograms per cubic meter standard prescribed by National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Besides Patna, air quality deteriorated in Gaya and Muzaffarpur as well. While AQI at Gaya was 282, it stood at 388 in Muzaffarpur on Thursday. According to experts, such levels of air quality may lead to respiratory illness among people.
Several people in Patna complained that they woke up to burning sensations in eyes and irritation in nose and throat on Thursday.
Dr Chandra Shekhar, superintendent at Nalanda Medical College and Hospital-Patna, said, “Severe level of air pollution may lead to respiratory problems, such as chronic cough, wheezing and breathlessness. Senior citizens and toddlers are especially vulnerable to breathing troubles. Heavily polluted air can also lead to irritation and watering in eyes. People should use masks and plane glasses to protect themselves from the harmful impacts of foul air.”
BSPCB chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh, on the other hand, attributed higher level of air pollution to extensive fireworks on Diwali night. “We had expected lesser fireworks, but it did not happen probably due to unavailability of green crackers. However, the sudden worsening of air quality is only temporary as the pollutants are likely to disperse from the air within 48 hours,” Ghosh said.
Asked about measures to control air pollution, Ghosh said, “As there is no machine-based resolution of air pollution, it can only be dealt by increasing awareness among people. People’s participation is necessary to curb pollution.”
- Bihar: Over 9,000 BPL families in Nalanda & Sheikhpura districts get houses
Nalanda DM Thiyagarajan SM thanked the officials of the district administration for the achievement. Sheikhpura DDC Niranjan Kumar Jha said they will take forward the mission with renewed energy.TNN | November 10, 2018, 13:00 IST
BIHARSHARIF: Altogether 9,445 BPL families of Nalanda and Sheikhpuradistricts were given houses constructed under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin on Wednesday.
While the Nalanda district administration has constructed 7,845 houses for BPL families, which is slightly higher than its target, Sheikhpura district administration has built 1,600 houses, which is far short of the target.
Nalanda DM Thiyagarajan SM thanked the officials of the district administration for the achievement. Sheikhpura DDC Niranjan Kumar Jha said they will take forward the mission with renewed energy.
It was Harnaut in Nalanda district, the home turf of chief minister Nitish Kumar, where a maximum of 988 BPL families performed ‘grih pravesh (house- warming)' ceremony on Diwali.