December 10, 2018

13-year-old girl gang-raped, accused in police custody

Delhi/India/Politics by

A 13-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by two men, including a juvenile, on Tuesday in West Delhi’s Uttam Nagar area. The police apprehended the juvenile and arrested the other accused.

The girl skipped school to attend the birthday party of the juvenile on Tuesday morning. When she reached the venue, four of the juvenile’s friends, including two females were already present. After some time, both the girls and another minor left the party. The victim and a friend were left behind with the other accused at the venue. The girl alleged that she was forced to have a drink, which was laced with sedatives. After downing the drink, the girl fell unconscious. The men present at the party took turns to rape her. The two men dropped the girl home, but she collapsed outside. Locals spotted her and called the police. She was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, the victim’s brother informed police that his sister skipped school, and could not be found. The police was informed about the girl’s whereabouts. The brother accompanied the officers to the hospital to identify the minor.

“The accused, identified by police as Sahil, 18, was arrested. The juvenile has also been apprehended. A case under appropriate sections has been has been registered against the accused. We will continue to probe the matter,” said Vijay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West).

In another incident, a 50-year-old woman working at Puducherry House alleged that she was raped by a staffer working at the house. The victim, in her complaint, alleged that she was living with the accused at the staff quarters, but did not know he was married.

NDMC schools’ staffers panned for ‘unhygienic’ mid-day meals

Delhi/India/Politics by

North Corporation Standing Committee Chairman Pravesh Wahi pulled up staffers of two corporation-run schools on Tuesday, after he found the mid-day meals provided to students there ‘unhygienic’ and of ‘poor quality’.

Wahi and a team of Education Department officials inspected two primary schools in outer Delhi’s Pooth Kalan village and Krishan Vihar in Rohini Zone.

He also directed the officials to collect samples of food from these schools and send them to a private laboratory for testing. “The puri provided there was so tough that I suffered a stomachache after eating it. I have directed the Commissioner to launch an inquiry,” Wahi said. He further said the NGOs responsible for providing cooked meals will be monitored closely.

According to corporation sources, it was the first time since the trifurcation of civic bodies in 2012 that an elected member inspected schools to check the quality of mid-day meals. The move comes at a time when contracts with NGOs roped in for the service are to be renewed.

“Samples of mid-day meal have been collected and sent to the laboratory for testing. Though the condition of the kitchen was satisfactory, the food samples checked were of poor quality and the quantity being provided was also less,” a senior official said.

He added that the problem was that the nutritional value was not easy to be monitored at all times.

The north corporation has 588 schools under it, in which mid-day meals are provided to nearly 3.5 lakh children. “Strict action will be taken against the agencies concerned, in case of any violation in the prescribed standards for meals,” Wahi said.

Meanwhile, the south corporation has proposed in its 2017-18 budget that four kitchens will be set up in each of the four zones to monitor and control the quality of mid-day meals given to students.

Air-purifying plants trend in pollution-hit city

Delhi/India/Politics by

Rising pollution levels coupled with a host of respiratory and other health problems have taken the sheen out of the otherwise beloved winter, with Delhiites huffing and puffing their way to life post-Diwali. At such a time, air purifying plants have become the latest de rigueur for people struggling for some clean air.

These plants, commonly known as air purifiers, come packed with a host of pollution-combating functions, making them a popular choice for home gardens as well as inside residences. They also win extra brownie points for being low on budget and maintenance, as most of them require very less water, just enough to keep the soil moist, about once or twice a week, and sunlight once a week.

A lot of people, especially those living in high rises, are placing plants such as dwarf date palm, Chinese evergreen, flamingo lily, even the humble rubber plant, in their homes for better air quality.

Sharing how her three-year-old daughter fell regularly ill because of the pollution in Gurgaon, Sana Dhillon said: “The first year we shifted from Delhi was a nightmare for my kid. She was on nebulisers and suffered from cold and cough. After doctors discouraged us from buying an air purifying machine, we decided to bring home air purifiers and go green.”

Today, her house is a pleasant green of snake plants and peace lilies, which don’t require large amounts of water or light to survive, prefer shade, and are best watered when the soil is dry. Hailed as the most efficient air filtration plant, the latter reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene and ammonia.

More and more people are turning to air purifiers after the smog nightmare of November, according to Kapil Mandawewala of Edible Routes. Which specialises in such greens. “Not just air purifiers, but the use of indoor plants has also increased with the decline in air quality in Delhi. Plants such as spider plant, dracaena, syngonium, sansevieria, areca palm, English Ivy and Boston fern, which are known to reduce the negative impact of toxic fumes, are increasingly being asked for, especially by families with kids,” he said.

Mandawewala added that many private companies, too, were placing these plants in their offices to not only purify the air but to create a pleasant and aesthetic environment for the employees. Where there’s a lack of space, vertical gardens are getting popular.

His sentiments are echoed by Ruchi Warikoo, a freelancer in Faridabad, who has turned her house into a “virtual green house” for her five-year-old son. “We are breathing poison every day. While adults can manage, I do not want my child to fall ill. I have about 50 plants in the house and balconies and we visibly feel the difference in the air around us,” she said.

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