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Pink MRF: A catalyst for women's empowerment and Chandigarh’s swachata journey

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Pink MRF: A catalyst for women's empowerment and Chandigarh’s swachata journey

Chandigarh, March 8 (IANS) Embodying the spirit of women empowerment, they are strong, independent and the ‘Swachhata Warriors’ of Municipal Corporation Chandigarh.

These ‘Swachhata Warriors’ of Chandigarh not only advocate adoption of the three ‘Rs’ — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — but also convey a message of tenacity, determination and celebration of leadership of women around the world.

A group of 30 energetic women, sporting masks, gloves and helmets, daily sift dry garbage in a Material Recovery Facility (MRF)-cum-garbage transfer station, an all-women first-of-its-kind centre named Pink MRF, in Chandigarh’s Sector 25.

Situated near the garbage processing plant, it is one of the three MRF facilities in Chandigarh, with the other two being operated by a male workforce.

They are supplied garbage that has been collected door to door by twin-bin vehicles.

The Pink MRF team oversees every duty at the facility, right from segregation of dry waste to ensuring its security.

The facility was commissioned on October 2, 2022 to commemorate Gandhi Jayanti.

The workforce largely comprises helpers, who earlier worked as rag pickers at the nearby garbage dumps, facing hazardous and unsanitary conditions.

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They have been rehabilitated by the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh and trained to segregate dry waste on a conveyor belt. They also recover economically-viable waste and drastically improve the quality and quantity of garbage that is recycled.

“As rag pickers we were working for years in unsanitary conditions with least concern about our health and pathetically low incomes. Now the Pink MRF has built our self-confidence as we have a fixed income. We can now take care of day-to-day concerns like paying rent and school fees of our children. We have access to government schemes and above all social inclusion,” remarked an upbeat helper Geeta, now a catalyst for transformation.

“Earlier people used to look at us with contempt. Now we are living a life of dignity and commanding respect,” she told IANS.

Chandigarh generates around 500 metric tonnes of waste per day and has a wet and dry waste segregation system.

After segregation, the wet waste is composted, while the recyclable dry waste is sent to recyclers.

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Another helper Ranjana, recalled how she overcame personal challenges after getting a job with the Pink MRF.

She told IANS that when the Dadu Majra dump was closed after the commissioning of waste plants, she lost her earnings as earlier they used to collect viable reusable waste from the landfill.

“After the closure of the dump, we were struggling to get one square meal a day. Now, after getting a job in the Pink MRF, I am in a position not only to support my family but also work with dignity and in hygienic conditions,” she said.

“When I was a child, I used to dream of becoming a policewoman. Now this uniform gives me the feeling that I am working for the police force,” she said, while pointing towards her khaki dress.

“All the employees of the material recovery facilities were deployed after enhancing their garbage segregation skills,” a spokesperson for the municipal corporation told IANS.

The workers are covered under the minimum wages provision and given other monetary and social security benefits like Provident Fund and Employee State Insurance (ESI).

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Chandigarh Smart City Limited has constructed three material recovery facilities as part of the solid waste management initiative with an outlay of Rs 31 crore and handed them to the municipal corporation for operation.

“Like these women champions of sanitation, there are scores of others who keep the ‘Swachh Bharat’ spirit alive in Chandigarh,” added the spokesperson.

Led by Commissioner Anindita Mitra, the civic body last year launched a campaign ‘Chandigarh Ki Naari, Gandagi pe Bhari’ with an aim to acknowledge women’s contribution to a clean city.

It had dedicated March 2023 to the strength of women by highlighting their “swachh” stories under the title ‘31 Women, 31 Days, 31 Stories.’ “We salute their contribution to the Swachata journey of Chandigarh,” added Mitra.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at gulatiians@gmail.com)

–IANS

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JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

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JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

JP Nadda assures chemical industry of govt support to spur growth

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers J.P. Nadda on Saturday assured industry representatives that the government will come up with policy interventions required to strengthen the chemicals sector.

Launching the 13th edition of India Chem with the theme “Advantage Bharat: Indian Chemicals and Petrochemicals Paving the Future” here, the Union Minister said that this sector is a top priority for the government.

J.P. Nadda said that the government has initiated numerous structural reforms to support industrial development in general, and to strengthen the chemicals sector in particular.

He said: “The Ministry will initiate policy measures to achieve the outcomes that will come out of the deliberation that will take place at the 13th edition of India Chem in Mumbai during October 17-19 this year.

He said the theme of India Chem 2024 conference aligns well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

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J.P. Nadda expressed hope that “with focus on import, research and development and manpower training, this sector will contribute its share in realising the dream of Viksit Bharat by 2047”.

Addressing the gathering, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertlisers, Anupriya Patel, said that the chemical and petrochemical sector plays a crucial role in the economic development of key sectors such as automotive, construction, electronics, healthcare, textiles, and FMCGs.

She said: “India is the second-largest exporter of chemical dyes and dyestuff as well as agrochemicals in the world. It also contributes about 3 per cent of global chemical sales.”

Since its beginning, India Chem has contributed to the growth of the sector by bringing more investment, Anupriya Patel said.

“With a clear focus on investment-friendly reforms, the removal of policy bottlenecks is a top priority for the government,” the Minister added.

She urged all the participants to make the best use of the opportunity to learn, network, and explore new possibilities.

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India Chem 2024, the flagship event of the Department, is one of the largest composite events of the industry in the Asia-Pacific comprising an International Exhibition and Conference.

The India Chem exhibition aims to showcase the huge potential of the Indian chemical industry as well as its different industry segments (including chemicals, petrochemicals, agrochemicals etc.,) and to provide a platform for groundbreaking discussions, visionary ideas, and strategic collaborations among industry representatives.

The Indian chemical industry is currently valued at $220 billion and is expected to reach $300 billion by 2030 and $1 trillion by 2040.

This industry remains an active hub of opportunities, even in an environment of global uncertainty.

–IANS

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Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

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Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

Nurse kidnapped in Bihar’s Begusarai

Patna, July 20 (IANS) A nurse of a private hospital has been allegedly kidnapped by four to five individuals in Bihar’s Begusarai district.

The kidnappers have informed the victim’s family about the abduction. However, police said that the incident might be related to a love affair.

According to the victim’s mother, she saw the kidnappers in a Baleno car while her brother identified the kidnappers as residents of the Matihani block.

“My daughter went to give fodder to the cattle when four to five persons came and forcibly kidnapped her. By the time I informed the other members of the family, they had sped away in a car,” the victim’s mother told police.

DSP Bhaskar Ranjan of Sadar-2 range Begusarai said that the preliminary investigation reveals that the matter could be a case of a love affair.

“However, we are investigating from all angles. We have identified one of the accused, named Rishikesh Kumar, who was seen with the victim in the past. The search operation is underway to trace the victim,” he said.

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–IANS

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Our party's goal is that CM Siddaramaiah should resign: K’taka BJP

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Our party's goal is that CM Siddaramaiah should resign: K’taka BJP

Our party's goal is that CM Siddaramaiah should resign: K’taka BJP

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) The leader of the opposition in Karnataka Assembly, R. Ashoka, said on Saturday that the BJP’s goal is that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should resign, the duped Dalit community members should get their money back, and the culprits in the tribal welfare board scam should be punished.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Ashoka claimed the Congress government has made a clear decision to cover up the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation (KMVSTDC) scam.

“The mask of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has fallen off, revealing how clean he really is. The CM is shifting the blame for the tribal welfare board scam to his officials.

“The CM has given himself a clean chit, and blamed his officials for all the mistakes. If the officials are at fault, what was the Chief Minister doing? If an official has made a mistake, why is he continuing in the same position,” Ashoka asked.

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The senior BJP leader also claimed that the state government has put people’s money in fraudulent accounts.

“Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has no role in this. The bank officials wanted to hand over the probe to the CBI. But the state government handed it over to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to cover up things.

“The CM is scared. I have provided over 40 records, but the CM has not made any clarification on them. Instead, he has blamed (MD of the ST corporation) J.G. Padmanabha for everything,” Ashoka said.

He added that if the ministers were not at fault, why did B. Nagendra resign?

“This means the CM abandoned him halfway. Nagendra and Basanagouda Daddal worked hard for the Lok Sabha elections, collected funds for the Congress, and sent them to Telangana,” the LoP claimed.

“We are ready to investigate all the 21 scam allegations levelled against the previous BJP government by the Chief Minister. Let him step down from his post, and give us the authority,” he added.

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–IANS

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Pact for waste-to-charcoal plants in Faridabad, Gurugram

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Pact for waste-to-charcoal plants in Faridabad, Gurugram

Pact for waste-to-charcoal plants in Faridabad, Gurugram

Chandigarh, July 20 (IANS) Taking a step towards waste management in Haryana, waste-to-charcoal plants, also known as green coal plants, will be established with the Centre’s assistance.

This project will be the first-of-its-kind green initiative and will be set up in Faridabad and Gurugram.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL), a subsidiary of NTPC Ltd, and the Municipal Corporations of Gurugram and Faridabad in the presence of Union Minister Manohar Lal, Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini and Minister of State for Urban Local Bodies Subhash Sudha.

The Chief Minister said today is a very important day for Haryana as an MoU has been signed for setting up plants to produce green charcoal.

According to the pact, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd will establish waste-to-charcoal plants in Gurugram and Faridabad under the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign of the Central government.

He said green coal plants would be set up in Bandhwari in Gurugram and Motuka in Faridabad at a cost of around Rs 500 crore each. These plants will convert 1,500 tonnes of waste collected daily from Gurugram and Faridabad into charcoal.

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The Municipal Corporations will provide 20 acres of land each for these plants. NTPC will soon take possession of the land and start setting up the plants, which are expected to be completed in about 30 months. These plants will be based entirely on indigenous technology.

Earlier, Commissioner and Secretary (Urban Local Bodies Department) Vikas Gupta said with the increasing urbanization, the generation of waste is also continuously rising, making waste disposal a major challenge in cities.

“To address this problem, we have initiated this step with NVVNL under the guidance of the Chief Minister. The setting up of these plants in Gurugram and Faridabad will strengthen waste management,” he added.

–IANS

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Thackeray to grassroots cadre: Poll codes in 41 days, reach out to masses

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Thackeray to grassroots cadre: Poll codes in 41 days, reach out to masses

Thackeray to grassroots cadre: Poll codes in 41 days, reach out to masses

Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) Cracking the whip, Shiv Sena (UBT) President and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday that the model code of conduct for the Maharashtra assembly elections in October is likely to be announced in 41 days and called upon the party’s grassroots cadres to reach out to the masses at the village levels.

Speaking to the liaison heads of the party at various levels, Thackeray exhorted them to organise a ‘Saffron Week’ from August 4-11 all over the state and review the status and preparations of each Assembly constituency which must be submitted to the party headquarters in Mumbai.

He also asked them to undertake reviews of various programmes and remain present in the Assembly segment for at least two days in a fortnight for the next three-four months till the elections are over.

Thackeray has directed all the liaison heads of the party to undertake extensive tours of their respective regions along with other district and taluka level office-bearers, organise meetings right up to each Panchayat Samiti level, with the participation of the local party leaders/activists in those villages.

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These liaison teams shall be expected to provide details of the party’s local influence like, how many Shiv Sena (UBT) active members are present in each village, the number of new voters registered, villages where the party has no branches or a significant presence and when this would be rectified.

Earlier this week, the other Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituents Congress and Nationalist Congress (SP) also organised high-level meetings addressed by state-national leaders and initiated major efforts to reach out to the masses with the aim to oust the ruling MahaYuti government in the next elections.

Over the coming weeks, top MVA leaders including Congress state President Nana Patole, NCP (SP) President Sharad Pawar and Thackeray, besides other smaller allies, shall embark on state-wide pre-election tours to drum up support of the masses ahead of the polls as their teams hammer out the contentious seat-sharing formula.

–IANS

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