The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday adopted the proposal to rename the historical city of Allahabad as Prayagraj, a move opposed by the Opposition parties in the State.The State government said it was only restoring an old name to the city. Today, the BJP government had rectified the mistake made by Akbar,” a BJP spokesperson said.Keeping in view the feelings and emotions of the people, Allahabad had been renamed Prayagraj by our government. Five hundred years ago, the name of the place was Prayagraj as it was at the Triveni Sangam [a confluence of three rivers],” Mr. Adityanath said later in Gorakhpur.“Those who are opposing this are not aware of their history, culture and traditions and we can’t have hopes from them,” he told presspersons during at visit to the Budhiya Mata temple in Gorakhpur. There are many Prayags on the bank of the sacred rivers coming from the Himalayas, but this place is Prayagraj (the leading one among them), the Chief Minister said.Before the CentreThe proposal would now go to the Centre before the city is officially renamed, though an Uttar Pradesh Minister seemed to suggest the change had already come into effect.“I am happy to say Allahabad will now be known as Prayagraj,” senior Uttar Pradesh Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh told presspersons after the Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister. “The government has announced this decision. It has come into effect from today, Mr. Singh said. “There is a process to carry out changes and the departments concerned will undertake it.” The State government would write to the Centre, he said.Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had earlier criticised the move.The Congress had also opposed it, saying the name change ignored the history of Allahabad, which played a significant role during the Independence struggle.Congress spokesperson Onkar Singh said the region where Kumbh Mela was held was already called Prayagraj. The State government could make that a separate city but Allahabad’s name should not be changed.However, Mr. Siddhartha Nath Singh said the move would help highlight Indian culture internationally.
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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.