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Chinese lights spell darkness for traditional potters this Diwali
For generations, Indian homes were lit up by diyas, or traditional earthen lamps, during Diwali. Potters now complain that customers prefer cheaper Chinese electrical lighting or more pricey products in shopping malls, jeopardizing their livelihoods.
 
Until a few years ago, hundreds of potters and their families would be overworked in the run up to Diwali, churning out tens of thousands of small and big clay lamps that would brighten innumerable homes and businesses.
 
The diya business has now sharply declined.
 
"There is a huge fall in the sale of diyas. For what is supposed to be a festival of lights, our life has entered a dark phase," Harkishan, the head of Kumhar Gram, Delhi's largest colony for potters, told IANS.
 
"Diwali has lost its traditional charm as Chinese products have taken over the Indian markets.
 
"People are more interested in decorating their homes with Chinese lights or jelly candles rather than with the traditional diyas," he said.
 
Harkishan, 60, who won the National Award for Terracotta art in 1990, is not the only one despairing.
 
Harkishan, who arrived in Kumhar Gram in 1971 from Haryana, said the latest products in markets had jolted their business. "Every year there is at least a 30 percent fall in sales.
 
"Chinese products are choking our business," he said, adding that today's young ones may simply turn their back on diyas and other earthen products.
 
Krishna, 30, another potter, agreed.
 
"Earlier we did not even get time to rest during Diwali. But now we do not even sell half the products we prepare. Diwali is no more a busy time," added Krishna, who learnt the craft from her family elders.
 
"Now people head to malls and supermarkets. They are no more interested in buying earthen lamps and more from potters," Krishna told IANS.
 
"Worse is they don't mind spending more on other products. We hardly get a customer or two now. How can we survive?"
 
Others in the potters' hub said that often prepared products -- including diyas -- remain unsold. This never used to happen until about five years ago.
 
There was a time when Indian families went only for simple earthen lamps. Now the demand is mainly for decorated and fancy lamps.
 
No wonder many potters are slowly moving away from their traditional business in search of greener pastures.
 
"Only years ago our shops used to be crowded during Diwali. Now we wait and wait for buyers," complained a woman who has been selling clay products in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi for the past 30 years.
 
Different types of clay are used to prepare diyas. Much of it comes from Haryana, Harkishan explained, adding that even the quality of clay was not as good as it used to be earlier.
 
Potters are angry that successive governments have not done much to protect the traditional business of pottery.
 
"Earlier soil (clay), used to prepare diyas, was easily available in Delhi itself," another potter said. "Now we have to bring it from states such as Haryana and Rajasthan.
 
"We face several problems while transporting the clay. Shouldn't the government be taking care of such simple issues?"
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Lufthansa cancels three flights out of India
German airlines Lufthansa on Monday cancelled three scheduled flights from India owing to a strike by its staff that has effected its international operations.
 
The airline cancelled flights between New Delhi-Munich, Mumbai-Munich and New Delhi-Frankfurt on Monday. 
 
"At the moment, there is still no visibility about the strike situation tomorrow," the airline said in a statement.
 
Lufthansa operates 47 frequencies a week to and from five Indian metros under the Indo-German air bilateral agreement. The five metros are New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.
 
Lufthansa along other group companies such as Swiss and Austrian Airlines offers a total of 67 flights per week to and from India.
 
The company's cabin crew union Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO) has called for a flight attendants' strike.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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How did Chhota Rajan get Tatkal passport, CBI wants to know
A special CBI team interrogating long-absconding underworld don Chhota Rajan will visit Karnataka in a couple of days to enquire from the regional passport officials who had issued him a passport in 2003 on a fake name and address.
 
The passport was made using the Tatkal (urgent) service with its validity date till 2008, sources said. "But Rajan managed to renew it on July 8, 2008 with its validity till July 7, 2018."
 
The probe agency has booked Rajan in a case under the Passport Act, 1967, and separate sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
 
Apart from that, a case of criminal conspiracy, cheating, cheating by impersonation, forgery of documents under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code has also been added in the same First Information Report (FIR).
 
The case pertaining to this fake passport is the only matter for probing which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has got 10 days custody of the mafia don.
 
Maharashtra Police is yet to transfer any criminal cases registered against Rajan to the CBI.
 
Rajan is wanted for over 85 crimes, ranging from murder to extortion, smuggling and drug trafficking. Apart from Maharashtra, he has cases against him in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and with the CBI.
 
Rajan stayed in Australia on the same passport for 12 years, between September 22, 2003 and October 24, 2015.
 
Sources said Rajan got an Indian passport (No.G9273860) made on the fake name of Mohan Kumar, resident of 107/B, Old M.C. Road, Azad Nagar, Mandya in Karnataka.
 
"The passport was made from Harare in Zimbabwe on September 22, 2003," sources said.
 
Official sources said some government officials working in the Karnataka regional passport office would soon get into trouble as the CBI officials are now planning to visit there to get details of the passport that Rajan managed to prepare after their confirmation of his fake identity and address.
 
"Either the government officials at the Karnataka regional passport office helped Rajan in providing him the passport on his fake name and address in Karnataka or he took advantage of the loopholes in their verification process while issuing passport."
 
Sources said the address mentioned in Rajan's passport was not wrong. "The address exists but who resides at the address is a matter of investigation."
 
Officials privy to Rajan's interrogation told IANS that he landed in Australia using the same passport, which was valid till July 7, 2018, and a tourist visa.
 
Rajan, who fled from India in 1988 for Dubai, prepared the passport on the name of Mohan Kumar when he became afraid of being killed or arrested after the men of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his close friend before the 1993 Mumbai blasts conspiracy, attacked him in 2000 at a hotel.
 
Rajan managed a dramatic escape by jumping from the first floor of the hotel.
 
Rajan used the same passport to find his new hideout in Bali in Indonesia after his residency permit was to be ended on October 31, 2015. But his luck ran out and he was held at Bali airport on October 25 just after landing from an Australian flight, said sources.
 
Rajan landed in the immigration net in Bali when he accidentally revealed his real name, claimed CBI officials.
 
Although the forged documents had his name as Mohan Kumar, he instinctively said Rajendra Nikhalje when he was asked his name, the officials claimed.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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