The Central government on Friday accepted Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh government’s recommendation to hand over the Tarn Taran blast case to the National Investigation Agency, in view of its national and international ramifications and suspected links of the accused with the Pakistan-backed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).A communique to this effect has been received by the Chief Secretary and DGP Punjab, according to an official spokesperson.The case registered under Section 304 IPC and various sections of the Explosive Substances Act related to a powerful explosion that took place in a vacant plot on the outskirts of village Pandori Gola in Tarn Taran district. Two persons were killed and another was injured in the blast, which took place when the victims were reportedly digging a pit to retrieve a dumped explosive consignment, which they mishandled.The Punjab police had arrested eight members of the Pakistan-backed module, whose interrogations led to a complex web of conspiracy and attacks by the group, including an aborted attack on a high-value target in 2016.Module leaderThe spokesperson said seven others, including the alleged module leader and main conspirator Bikramjit Singh alias Granthi, who is believed to be in Austria, are still absconding. “A Granthi by profession and a follower of Damdami Taksal, Bikramjit planned to target socio-religious places, politicians, Hindu leaders and Sikh preachers with the help of locally made crude bombs,” said the spokesperson.
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The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has put in place an action plan to tackle the air pollution in the city, an official said.The Air Quality Index in several automated air monitoring stations in the city had hovered between 200 and 350 (PM 2.5) in the first week of November, which was categorised as ‘moderate’ and ‘poor’ but then improved substantially as Cyclone Bulbul lashed the city and washed away the particulate matters in air for next few days. A WBPCB statement said on Friday, although the levels of PM 2.5 during summer and monsoon remain within the prescribed standards, it exceeds during the winter months due to various factors and an air quality action plan has been put in place to address the situation. An Air Quality Index from 0-100 (PM 2.5) is considered satisfactory and within prescribed limits. The WBPCB statement attributed road dust as “having contributed substantially to air pollution” in recent times and said the WBPCB has provided ₹6 crore to Kolkata Municipal Corporation for procurement of 10 water sprinkling vehicles. Ten ‘mechanical sweeping vehicles’ which will sweep dust from road in a mechanised manner will also be procured by KMC for containing dust, the statement said. Three water sprinkling vehicles, apart from the 10 to be procured later, are already being put in service by the WBPCB in the eastern parts of the city from Friday, a WBPCB official said. All these water sprinkling vehicles and mechanical sweeping vehicles, when together put in service, will cover the airport to Garia stretch via EM Bypass, Garia to Tollygunje Phari, Tollygunje to Rashbehari via Mominpur, Thakurpukur to Taratala via Behala, Esplanade to Shyambazar, Dunlop to Chiria More, the official said. The water sprinklers will help in a great way to contain particulate matters gathering in air and bring down air pollution to a great extent, he added.