Dr. Manash Jyoti Deka, Dr. Devasish Chowdhury, Dr. N. C. Talukdar (L to R)

Scientists develop technology to make non-toxic activated carbon from waste

Tea and banana waste will make non-toxic activated carbon From waste to wealth New Delhi, Oct 14, 2021: A team of scientists has developed a technique to use tea and banana waste to make non-toxic activated carbon that can be used for several purposes such as industrial pollution control, water purification, food and beverage processing, and odour removal. The processing of tea generates a lot of waste, generally in the form of tea dust. They could be converted to useful substances. The structure of tea is particularly favourable for conversion to high-quality activated carbon. However, it normally involved the use of strong acid and bases, making the product toxic and hence unsuitable for most uses. A non-toxic method of conversion was needed to overcome this challenge. Dr N. C. Talukdar, former Director, Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Dr Devasish Chowdhury, Associate Professor at the Insitute, used banana plant extract as an alternative activating agent for the preparation of activated carbon from tea wastes. Oxygenated potassium compounds contained in the banana plant extract help in activating the carbon obtained from tea waste. An Indian patent has recently been granted for the new process. The process began with the drying of the banana peel. It was then burnt to make an ash out of it. The ash was further crushed and made into a fine powder. Subsequently, water was filtered through the ash powder using a clean cotton cloth and the final solution was used as the activating agent. The main advantage of this process is that the starting materials, as well as activating agents, are waste materials. Also, no toxic material was used at all in the entire process. The most preferred banana was found to be Bheem Kol, which is an indigenous variety found only in Assam and parts of North East India. (India Science Wire) Topics: tea, banana, toxic, activated carbon, pollution control, water purification, beverage, odour, acid, Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, IASST, Department of Science…


Engineers’ forum ridicules illogical fine over vehicles on highways

Guwahati, 12th August 2021: Disappointed with the Assam government road transport officials for imposing fine on the vehicles with higher speed on the four-lane national highways, All Assam Engineer’s Association (AAEA) urged the transport department to revise the policy immediately, as it has been turned into a revenue generation scheme in the name of initiatives to diminish road accidents. The transport department has lately started a ‘fine collection’ drive (Rs 2000 at a time) on the national highways citing the higher speed of vehicles where in some locations (not talking about Kaziranga locality) it is as low as 40 kilometres per hour. But its specified speed limit is too low compared to the national standards, which allow a private vehicle to move with 100 kmph on NHs and up to 120 kmph on expressways. Of course, the speed limit for bike-riders on highways & expressways is fixed on 80 kmph and heavy vehicles (buses, trucks, etc) at 100 kmph, stated the forum of graduate engineers adding that Union road transport & highways minister Nitin Gadkari recently advocated for the increase of maximum speed limits by at least 20 kmph on multi-lane roads as India has lately improved the quality of highways. “As Assam has been penalising the high-speed drivers, should one assume that the quality of four-lane highways inside the State is not up to the mark! If that is true, why the travellers are being forced to pay money in all the toll-gates here?” questioned the AAEA adding that the automobile science narrates that if a vehicle is driven in a relatively lower speed, it consumes more fossil fuel every minute (meaning more deposits of carbon and carbon-mono-oxide in the air). The most fuel-efficient speed is prescribed as around 80 kmph for light motor vehicles. It also depends on proper tire pressure, aero-dynamism, driver’s skill (not to use brakes unnecessarily and accelerate suddenly), elaborated AAEA president Er Kailash Sarma, working president Er Nava J. Thakuria and secretary Er Inamul Hye, finally urging State transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary to look into the matter seriously.

National News

PPFA demands immediate release of Ram Kumar

Guwahati, 4th April: Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA), while expressing relief at the release of Assamese engineer Pranab Kumar Gogoi after three months of abduction, voices serious concern over the fate of  Ram Kumar, who is yet to be released by the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent). The forum of nationalist citizens also expressed concern that the militant outfit has not issued any statement over the development. According to Gogoi, he and Ram Kumar  from Bihar were separated on 4 March 2021. In fact, on the same day, both the employees of Haryana based Quippo Oil and Gas  Infrastructure Limited were expected to be released after obligatory negotiations with the company.  They were kidnapped together from Dayun Khumsai drilling area of Arunachal Pradesh for ransoms on 21 December 2020 by a group of armed militants. It was later delayed because of ‘misreporting’ by a city based digital news platform about their release and the Ulfa (I) demanded an apology from the media outlet. Finally, the issue was resolved after repeated apologies from the concerned scribes. They tendered apologies along with a fervent appeal to release both the Quippo employees. Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), in a statement issued from Hyderabad on 6 March, expressed dismay over repeated intimidations by Ulfa (I) rebels against the scribes. Expressing concern over it, IJU president K Sreenivas Reddy and secretary general Balwinder Singh Jammu requested the militant leaders to clarify on whereabouts of Gogoi and Kumar (so that concerned families get convinced about their safety). It carried significance as Ulfa (I) top leader Barua on  12 January admitted that both the abducted Quippo employees were in their custody. Speaking to a city based news channel, Barua even threatened to take  actions against them if the outfit’s share of money  (for extracting natural resources in Northeast) was not paid by the company. And the first victim would be the Bihar man, asserted  Barua. “It will be very unfortunate if  Ram Kumar becomes the victim of circumstances and the history will never forgive the people of Assam, if we do not raise voices for his…

Assam hooch tragedy toll touches 133

Assam hooch tragedy toll touches 133, CM announces ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the victims’ families

Guwahati, Feb 24 (IANS) The death toll in the Assam hooch tragedy increased to 133 on Sunday, with over 200 people hospitalized in Golaghat and Jorhat districts, authorities said. Toll was confirmed by Senior Police officer The toll was confirmed by Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal, who added that 10 people have been arrested in connection with the sale and manufacture of the illicit liquor known as ‘Sulai mod’ in Assamese. “We have sent liquor samples to the forensic science laboratory and a report is awaited,” he said. 90 cases registered for unauthorized sale and production of hooch Meanwhile, an Excise Department official said that a total of 90 cases have been registered regarding the unauthorized sale and production of hooch and also for violating the excise law. “We have seized and destroyed 4,860 liters of illegal liquor since February 22,” he said. CM Sonowal visited the Jorhat Medical College Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday visited the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital to check on the victims undergoing treatment. He also announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the victims’ families and Rs 50,000 to the people undergoing treatment. The tragedy occurred after a large number of people consumed the spurious liquor on Thursday night at the Salmora tea estate in Golaghat, 300 km from here, and at two remote villages in Titabor sub-division of Jorhat district.