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Prohibitory orders in UP for 2 days, schools shut

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Lucknow: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPc have been imposed in the whole of Uttar Pradesh and no permission for an assembly or gathering in the state has been given on Thursday.

“Section 144 is in force and no permission for any gathering has been given for December 19. Please do not participate. Parents are also requested to counsel their children,” said Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) O. P. Singh in a tweet posted around midnight on Wednesday.

The Samajwadi Party had announced statewide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Thursday.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said that his party would go ahead with the protests and asked party workers to participate in it in large numbers.

Several other demonstrations were also planned in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday against the citizenship law. The protests are being led by some Muslim groups, which view the CAA as a ploy to rid them of their citizenship.

In Uttar Pradesh, violent protests were reported on Tuesday in Mau district. Clashes erupted in the district between police personnel and scores of protesters who had hit the streets in opposition to the law.

A day earlier, protest marches were taken out in Aligarh and Lucknow — where a large number of youth came out to demonstrate against the alleged violence perpetrated by police against students in the Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

The state government has also closed all schools and colleges on December 19 and 20 in view of the ”extreme cold conditions”.

The practical examinations of the UP Board, scheduled for these two days, will be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, a heavy deployment of forces has been made from Wednesday night in the old city areas of Lucknow that has a sizeable Muslim population.

The Lucknow Traffic Police, from its social media handle, has issued an advisory, asking people not to allow unknown persons in their vehicles.

A senior police official said that internet shutdown would be an option if anyone tried to foment trouble through the social media.

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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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