Dilip Dey had only a physically challenged cousin to call family. So when he died in his hometown Mariani on Thursday, there weren’t enough people to carry his body to the crematorium.Mariani, in Assam’s Jorhat district, is about 320 km east of Guwahati.Local Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, 40, stepped in to be one of the pallbearers as well as cremate Mr. Dey’s body.“He was too poor and lonely to have a decent funeral. As a human being and responsible for the people I represent, it was the least I could do for him,” Mr. Kurmi told The Hindu.Mr. Dey, who was in his mid-50s, lived in the Deberapar Chariali locality of Mariani. Rupom Gogoi, a trader in the neighbourhood, came to know about his death and informed Mr. Kurmi.“He lost no time in helping prepare the chita (stretcher-like bamboo structure on which a body is taken to the crematorium) and carry the body for cremation,” Mr. Gogoi said.Locals said Mr. Kurmi, a three-time MLA from Mariani constituency has had a history of humanitarian service – at times in situation considered too dangerous for VIPs, thus earning him the ‘quirky’ tag.Do-gooderIn July 2017, he hoisted a bag of 50 kg rice on his back and delivered it to a flood relief camp near Kaziranga National Park.On Friday evening, less than 24 hours after ensuring Mr. Dey’s cremation, the MLA became a pallbearer for the janaza (funeral) of a local auto-rickshaw driver’s mother.Kabir Ahmed, the auto-rickshaw driver, had wanted the MLA to be part of his mother’s final journey.Mr. Kurmi won his first Assembly election from Mariani in 2006. The seat had earlier been represented by his mother Rupam Kurmi, who was the first woman graduate among Adivasis in Assam.The Adivasis are often called ‘tea tribes’ though they do not enjoy the Scheduled Tribe status.
TOKYO—Idled after a radiation leak in May 2013, the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) in Tokaimura took a step toward resuming full operations yesterday when the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture accepted a set of countermeasures aimed at preventing another accident. If the facility passes a final inspection by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, J-PARC could resume normal operations by the end of next month.It has been a long slog. An independent investigative panel convened by J-PARC concluded that the accident resulted from a combination of equipment malfunction and human error. In J-PARC’s Hadron Experimental Facility, a proton beam from a 50-GeV synchrotron strikes a target to produce a variety of secondary subatomic particles, including kaons, pions, and muons for use in experiments to determine their characteristics and interactions. On 23 May 2013, a malfunction sent a brief, unexpectedly high intensity beam at a gold target and vaporized radioactive material leaked into the experiment hall. Unaware of what had happened, researchers and staff inhaled contaminated air and also vented it outside the building. J-PARC took 34 hours to notify local and national authorities of the accident. 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Nonetheless, J-PARC, operated jointly by the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, then had to convince local and national authorities they could resume operating the facility without endangering staff or the community.The countermeasures developed over the past 2 years include upgrading schemes to minimize the impact of equipment glitches, making key experimental chambers airtight, fitting ventilation equipment with filters, and upgrading radiation monitoring and alarm systems. Researchers and staff have received safety training. Designated, trained emergency response personnel will be on hand at all times during operations and J-PARC will conduct accident drills several times annually.Experiments resumed at J-PARC’s Materials and Life Science Experimental Facility in February 2014 and at the Neutrino Experimental Facility last May after reviews and strengthening of safety programs. But more extensive work was needed in the hadron facility. The upgrades were accepted by the prefecture’s own panel of experts earlier this month. Yesterday’s presentation to the governor was largely symbolic. Starting next week, J-PARC officials will explain their strengthened safety measures at three public meetings in nearby towns. The final green light must come from the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which will inspect the facility next month.Chastened J-PARC officials are confident their countermeasures will pass muster. Speaking to reporters yesterday after meeting the Ibaraki governor, J-PARC Director Yujiro Ikeda said that he wanted a commitment to safety “inscribed on everyone’s hearts.”
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