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PM Modi to unveil Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statue on Dec 25

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Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a bronze statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary in Lucknow on December 25.

A three-day ceremony, beginning Dec 23, will also be held to mark the occasion. Modi will reach the state capital on the last day of the ceremony and inaugurate Vajpayee”s statue at Lok Bhavan.

He will also lay the foundation stone of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University.

“Prime Minister Modi will reach Lucknow by a special plane at around 3 pm on December 25 and will directly go to Lok Bhavan, where he will unveil the statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” Y.P. Singh, Joint Director of Culture Department, said.

“There will be a 25-minute address by the PM. Governor Anandi Ben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also attend the event. Modi will leave for Delhi at around 4 pm,” he added.

He said that there will be a recitation of 51 poems of Vajpayee by the Department of Culture on December 23 and there will be a seminar on “Rashtra Dharma, Rashtravad aur Atal Bihari Vajpayee” on December 24.

Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha will attend the seminar. The event will be presided over by the UP Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit.

On the last day of the ceremony on December 25, National Poet Conference will be organised.

National

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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