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Indian Army will also focus on China border: New Army Chief

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New Delhi: New Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Wednesday that the Army will focus on the border with China with equal attention as it does on the Pakistan border.

He said he is confident that India will eventually resolve the border issue with China.

“We have the Line of Actual Control. The border question (with China) is yet to be settled. We have made progress in maintaining peace and tranquillity. We will be able to set the stage for an eventual solution,” General Naravane said after the Indian Army presented him a Guard of Honour.

He further stated that India has land borders with the two countries and both are equally important. “While we have been paying attention in the past to the western front, the northern front also requires equal attention. It is in that context we are doing capability development and enhancement on our northern borders, including north-east part of the country,” the Army Chief said.

About India’s border with Pakistan and threats from across the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir, General Naravane said, “Whatever threats we have we keep analysing. This is a continuous process where we analyse threats and act accordingly.”

On force modernisation, he said, “modernisation is one of the key and priorities area. We have a long term perspective plan based on the analysis of likely threat. These threats keep changing and we change our perspective plan.”

He also said that special attention will be given to the issues of human rights. He said the Indian Army is battle hardened and capable of facing all challenges.

“Our priorities are always to be ever ready for all challenges and be operational ready,” he said.

On Tuesday, General Naravane took charge as Chief of Army Staff succeeding General Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed India’s first Chief of the Defence Staff.

General Naravane was earlier serving as Vice Chief of Indian Army. He took charge as Vice Chief in September this year.

Before that he was heading the Eastern Command of the force, which takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km border with China.

In his 37 years of service, General Naravane has served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace time, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu & Kashmir and the northeast.

In a distinguished military career spanning almost four decades, the General has the distinction of holding key command and staff appointments in peace and field both in the northeast and Jammu & Kashmir and has been part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

The officer had commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion, raised an Infantry brigade, as Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) and has also commanded a prestigious Strike Corps.

Former Army Chief Bipin Rawat, who took charge as the first Chief of Defence Staff on Wednesday, said that his task is to create synergy between different wings of the armed forces.

General Rawat, who demitted office on retirement as Chief of Indian Army on Tuesday received the guard of honour from all the three forces.

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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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