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Not a single charge framed against me in 106 days: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, released from the Tihar jail, here on Wednesday, after granted bail by the Supreme Court, said there was not a “single charge framed against me” in the last 106 days.

After stepping out of the jail, Chidambaram said, “I can’t comment on the case. I am going to obey the Supreme Court order.”

“But the fact is in the 106 days of pre-trail incarceration not a single charge was framed against me. I will speak all about that tomorrow (Thursday),” the senior Congress leader said.

Chidambaram came out of the Tihar jail around 8 p.m. after the jail authorities received the court orders.

He was received by his son and Lok Sabha member Karti Chidambaram outside the jail premises. Besides his son, hundreds of Congress activists welcomed the former Finance Minister and raised slogans in his favour.

After the release, Chidambaram along with his son drove straight to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi’s residence, while several Congress workers gathered outside his residence in the Jor Bagh area to welcome him. Some Congress activists were also spotted playing guitar and singing ‘Nyay do, nyay do’ (Deliver justice) outside his residence.

While in jail, Chidambaram was visited by the top Congress brass, including Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and his sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Chidambaram was arrested on August 21 from his residence by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a probe into granting of the Foreign Exchange Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to the INX Media, now known as 9X News, when he was Finance Minister.

He was sent to the judicial custody on September 5. On October 16, while in judicial custody at Tihar Jail, he was arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Since October 17, Chidambaram was remanded to the ED custody till October 30.

Earlier in the day, Chidambaram was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

While granting the bail, the apex court said even if the allegation was related grave economic offence, it was not a rule that bail should be denied in every case since there was no such bar created in the relevant enactment passed by the legislature nor did the bail jurisprudence provided so.

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Choose wisely – go organic this Holi

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With Holi -the festival of colours coming up — everyone is busy buying colours, ‘pichkaris’, and balloons but with increasing environment pollution and severe allergic reactions to synthetic colours, there is a growing awareness among people to opt for organic variants.

“In an approximately Rs 4,500-crore unorganised Holi colour market, the share of the organic variety is miniscule, but growing,” said Madhumita Puri, Founder and Executive Director of Avacayam Naturals, a Delhi-based manufacturer of organic colours.

The adverse effects of synthetic colours was observed in a study titled ‘The Holi Dermatoses’, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
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It found a spate in skin diseases following the spring festival in India.

In the study conducted on 42 patients in Kolkata, 11 patients suffered due to activities related to preparation of colors and 12 reported aggravation of pre-existing dermatoses.

Nearly 60 per cent patients reported itching, while others reported to have suffered from a burning sensation, scaling, redness and watering of the eyes, as per the study.

Treading on a eco-friendly and skin-friendly path, Avacayam Naturals employed differently-abled persons to make organic colours by using waste and used flowers and leaves.

This solves three purposes at one go – generates employment for the disabled, manufactures harmless eco-friendly colours, and there is optimal usage of waste flowers.

Speaking to IANS, Puri said: “For making the colours, we collect used flowers — roses, marigolds, and others — and leaves from temples, weddings, and hotels.”

Avacayam Naturals, one of the programs that Puri started under her “Trash to Cash” scheme, makes four colours: Pink from roses, yellow from yellow marigolds, orange from orange marigolds, and green from leaves.

On being asked if the colours are harmless, she said: “Rather than damaging the environment, they are beneficial as each packet of colour is made from waste flowers which otherwise would dirty the place.”

How are the colours made?
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“After the flowers are collected, the workers sort them in different baskets according to their colour. Then, the petals and seed pods are separated and cut. These are then spread out to dry in a well ventilated space for all the moisture to evaporate.

“After that, they are ground and processed — without adding any chemicals — to be made into colours for people to enjoy,” Puri said, adding that the process of collection, drying, and grinding continues throughout the year but it is only before festivals that they process them into the final product.

“In a year, we manufacture around 20 tonne of pure organic colour, some of which is sold to Walmart India. One kilo of colour is sold between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.”

When asked about the expiry date of these colours, Puri said: “The product is a dry one and completely natural. We have been testing them since five years now and have not found any deterioration in the quality, fungal infestations, or weevils. So there is no ‘expiry date’ to them.”

Another such manufacturer is Jaipur-based Red Earth which makes colours “exclusively from edible materials and scent them with pure, traditional attars”.

Speaking to IANS, Himanshu Verma, Director-Owner of Red Earth, said: “Every 2-3 years, we change our colour palette… this year we have four colours — Sunahra Dhamaal, Shvet Abeer, Neem Sanrachna, and Gulabi Nagariya — that are inspired by local materials.”

“The colours are curated on the basis of availability of local materials. We use items like camphor, neem, mehendi, multani-mitti, geru powder, arrowroot, flour, and others,” Verma said, adding that 50-60 per cent materials used are edible so that even if someone ingests them by mistake, they will not be as harmful.

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