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L-G Anil Baijal takes stock of flyover beautification on NH-24

Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Saturday took stock of the beautification work being done on a part of NH-24 in east Delhi’s Seemapuri. The flyover is an important link connecting Delhi and Noida.The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which is looking after the work, was told by the L-G to make sure that the space under the flyover was kept clean and plants and installations were used for beautification on both sides of the flyover.”The L-G further directed the agencies concerned to develop a bus lane along the highway for better connectivity,” a statement issued by the L-G House said.Besides the NHAI, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Public Works Department (PWD), and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) are involved in the work.The beautification work is expected to be completed by January 26.Meanwhile, Baijal also inspected beautification work done on the Seelampur flyover in east Delhi, which bears the artwork done by an NGO. The work was done at a cost of Rs 20 lakh. The L-G, however, told the east Corporation to outsource the maintenance work of the flyover.The L-G further told the PWD to spruce up the Vikas Marg, Ring Road, and Pushta Marg with artworks on walls, greenery, lights, and proper signages, latest by January 15.

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JDA accountant caught red-handed by ACB

The state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) conducted a trap on Tuesday evening and arrested an accountant posted in the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA). The accountant had demanded a bribe of five thousand rupees to help in an official work for which complaint was registered and the man was trapped. Interestingly, after being arrested the accountant even acted as if he had become unconscious which sent the ACXB sleuths in a tizzy, however, the man soon recovered and the bureau sleuths carried on with their work.The arrested man has been identified as Girdhari Lal, accountant of Zone ten of JDA. Recently one Indraraj Meena approached the bureau and registered a complaint against Girdhari Lal. “In the complaint, the complainant said that he had purchased a shop in Automobile Nagar and to get its lease deed, he had moved a file in the Zone ten of JDA. He met Girdhari Lal for the work where the accountant demanded a bribe of five thousand rupees to decrease the lease estimate amount for the shop,” said Sachin Mittal, Inspector General, ACB.After the complaint was registered, a bid to verify the same was initiated. “The complaint was verified and a trap was laid to nab the man red-handed. On Tuesday evening Girdhari Lal called the man to meet and hand over the bribe money. Meena reached the designated spot and handed over the said amount. The bureau sleuths were already waiting for a signal from the complainant and as the money exchanged hands, the man signaled to bureau sleuths and the team raided the spot.CASE REGISTEREDThe complaint was verified and a trap was laid to nab the man red-handed. A case under Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered and further action in the matter is being taken by ACB, officials said. Girdhari Lal demanded a bribe of five thousand rupees to decrease the lease estimate amount for the shop.

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SDMC seals Chhattarpur farmhouse, traders protest

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation continued with its sealing drive on Tuesday even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the move was rather to”fill its coffers”. The corporation also extended its drive to agricultural properties being used for commercial purposes while sealing a farmhouse in Chhattarpur.The farmhouse used to host social functions and events, and had an additional built-up area, said the civic officials. The civic body had on Saturday sealed 51 restaurants and shops in Defence Colony market for “illegal” construction and not paying conversion charges.The sealing drive is being taken on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee which, in a meeting with commissioners of the three municipal corporations and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday, directed the agencies to carry out the drives in all the areas under their jurisdiction.The AAP, however, alleged that the Monitoring Committee was acting as a”tax collector” for the BJP-led corporations in the city.”We have asked all the civic agencies to carry out the drive in areas under their jurisdiction,” said Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and member of the committee.Meanwhile, the trader’s body of the Defence Colony market, along with AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj and local councillors, met the south corporation commissioner demanding the withdrawal of the sealing drive. They also asked for some time to pay off the conversion charges.”We were assured that the drive will be halted immediately while we have got three months time to pay the pending conversion charges. We have also urged them to reduce or waive off the conversion charges from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000 for which a proposal is pending with the Central government’s urban development ministry,” said RK Bhatia, member of the traders association.Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor, South MCD, agreeing to the traders’demands said she will meet the Monitoring Committee in this regard on Wednesday.”We will be meeting the Committee to take the drive in a phased manner and give enough time to traders to deposit charges. Also, we plan to reduce the conversion charges from 89,000 to 22,000 as per the proposal,” said Sehrawat.

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Airtel Payments Bank MD and CEO Shashi Arora resigns

Airtel Payments Bank Managing Director and CEO Shashi Arora has resigned in the wake of the firm’s eKYC licence suspension by Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI.”Shashi has decided to move on to pursue opportunities outside of Airtel. We wish Shashi the very best for his future endeavours,” the company said in a statement.Arora has been working with Airtel in senior leadership roles since 2006. He was appointed MD and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank on June 1, 2016.”He has been an asset for Airtel and over the years has contributed to the company s growth story. Having led the operations in key telecom circles followed by building a strong DTH business, he has laid the foundation for Airtel’s payments bank operations,” the statement said.The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) had barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based verification of customers using the eKYC process.The action was taken following allegations that Bharti Airtel was using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their ‘informed consent’.UIDAI on Thursday allowed Bharti Airtel to use Aadhaar for re-verification of its mobile customers till January 10 with stiff riders after it returned Rs 138-crore LPG subsidy remitted to the unsolicited payments bank accounts.It, however, maintained that Airtel Payments Bank eKYC licence will remain suspended till final enquiry and audit report.

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Hanuman idol land: Delhi High Court orders probe

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to find out how the 108-feet Hanuman idol in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh was built encroaching public land.The HC bench has asked the investigating agency to find out civic officials under whose tenure the structure came up. Also, the court stressed that the enquiry be taken up in a fast-track manner and that officials of all concerned agencies, including municipal corporation, Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Land and Development Office and Mandir Marg police station, must join the probe.The court also asked the Delhi Police to handover to the CBI the documents of the enquiry conducted so far. “The fact that you (officials) have done nothing shows your culpability. It is high time that all public officers are held accountable,” the bench said.The trustees running the temple must not be permitted to reap the benefit of money derived from the public land, the court said and directed the concerned bank branch to freeze the accounts of the trust. The court further said the bank should only allow deposits and not withdrawals from the account.

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Voters misled by BJP’s tall claims

Voters across Gujarat have been misled by the BJP’s tall caims, yet they continue to support the party, disregarding harsh realities, says Shashikant Patel, the Congress candidate from Ghatlodia constituency, who lost by a margin of 1,17,750 votes to his BJP rival Bhupendra Patel. He said that Ahmedabad has been allocated tens of thousands of rupees but the corresponding development is not visible.Patel, popularly known as Bhurabhai, is a realtor, while his BJP rival is a former chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority and a confidante of former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. “I must have walked close to 250 km to meet people one on one. But we failed to convince voters,” he said.

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Yet again, 35k DDA flats surrendered

Nearly 3,500 allottees of the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) 2017 Housing Scheme have surrendered their newly allotted flats within 19 days of the draw of lots. The flats being returned are the small-sized LIG (low-income group) and Janta flats, which were originally offered by the Authority in its 2014 housing scheme.The repeat surrenders may finally force the Authority to give a serious thought to re-building these flats.The houses are being rejected for the same reason — they are too small and lack basic facilities. This despite the fact that this time the Authority had allowed buyers to visit the flats before applying for one. “I did not know about this provision and could not imagine that LIG houses could be the size of a storehouse. Even if it had all the facilities, this is not acceptable,” said Sarita Sharma, one of the allottees, who got a flat in Rohini’s Sector 35.The DDA had conducted a draw of lots for 12,617 houses on November 30. Of these 12,617 houses on offer, over 11,000 were those LIG flats that were returned under the 2014 housing scheme.Of the total flats allotted, 11,757 were LIG, 403 were MIG (middle-income group), 372 were Janta flats (one-bedroom), and 85 were HIG (high-income group) flats. The LIG flats were spread across Rohini, Siraspur, and Narela.Meanwhile, DDA housing commissioner J P Aggarwal said: “Some of the allottees have surrendered the flats because they were too small. The provision is that allottees can return flats till 15 days after the issue of demand-cum-allotment letters. We will see till that time and then put the names on waiting list.”If the flats are still not taken up, DDA might consult its architects to enhance the size of these houses, Aggarwal said. “We may consult the architects as to what can be done about these flats. May be two flats could be merged. This is, however, too far-fetched at this point of time,” he said. Earlier, residents of Rohini Sector 34 and 35 and Narela G-8 had alleged that their LIG flats, measuring 32 square meters in area were the same size as those EWS flats that were being offered by the Authority to rehabilitate residents of Kathputli Colony, a slum cluster housing puppeteers in west Delhi.2017 HOUSING SCHEMETotal houses allotted: 12,617LIG: 11,757MIG: 403Janta: 372HIG: 85Total eligible applicants: 46,080

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Residents of Worli Koliwada hold candle march against decision to declare 4 acres of land as slum

Nearly 10,000 residents of Worli Koliwada came together to protest against the area being declared as slums. The residents of Koliwada claim that there is an attempt from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority and also from certain developers to declare around 4 acre land as slum, which it isn’t.Prahlad Worlikar, secretary of the Worli koliwada Owners Welfare Cooperative society, said, “Today we held a candle march as a silent protest and nearly 10,000 people from all over Koliwada came to protest against this plan. We aren’t slums, today they are targeting 4 acres, soon they will target whole of Koliwada. We are against it and hence we held the protest.”While only 4 acres is being affected because of this decision, but residents of unaffected parts also participated in the protest. “We have been here even before many people came to this city, we are original habitats not slum dwellers. We need a proper planning for redevelopment and we hope that government doesn’t treat it this way,” said Darshan Worlikar, resident of Koliwada.Koliwada is spread over 65 acres of land, and after the Worli sea link came up, various developers have been eyeing this piece of land to redevelop and hence residents claim this slum issue has cropped up.“Why residents of non affected part came in support is because today they are talking about 4 acres after this they will target whole of Koliwada,” said Worlikar.

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Smart card gets smarter: MMRDA plans all-purpose card

Not only for using various modes of public transport in the city, the single transport smart card being prepared by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) can also be used for making cashless payments during shopping. The Authority has said that the smart card will also allow commuters use it as credit card or debit card along with using it for travelling in suburban local trains, metro, monorail, buses, auto and taxis along with paying toll.Sanjay Khandare, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We have appointed a consultant and are in the final stages of preparing a bid document for integrated ticketing system which will also allow commuters use it for shopping as credit or debit card along with using it for paying toll and travelling on various modes of transport.”However, these cards will be the Rupay card promoted by Central government and not a Mastercard or VISA card. Rupay card is the first of its type of domestic debit and credit card payment network and was prepared by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).”It is going to be a complicated task considering it involves many parties unlike in London wherein they have an oyster card and only one single corporation operates all modes of transport. Here we have a different authority for every mode of transport like bus, train and metro,” added Khandare.He further, said, “We will also have to tie-up with banks and ultimately all the payments made by commuters will have to be routed to one single bank account that will keep the accounts and forward the funds to different agencies accordingly.”Similarly, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is planning to launch a common smart card for commuters who will travel by DTC buses and Metro train network being operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.The idea of a common mobility card, to provide a seamless travel between different modes of transport by Union Ministry of Urban Development to have a National Common Mobility Card but was put on back burner due to the complexity involved.ALL-IN-ONEPayments that the card will enable: Shopping and making cashless payments Metro, Monorail BEST buses and public transport buses in Thane and Navi Mumbai Suburban local trains Auto/Taxi Cities worldwide that have similar cards:London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore

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Fail to seal deal with sign, lose money: MahaRERA

In case a homebuyer fails to register their agreement with a developer within the stipulated time, the developer can cancel the booking. Not only this, the homebuyer will no longer remain an allottee in the developer’s project and will not be eligible for a refund. In a case that came before the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), it held the view of the developer, wherein despite repeated requests, the homebuyer failed to register the agreement and hence the booking was cancelled. The homebuyer then approached the authority seeking a refund from the developer.The complainant, Sanjay Sawant, had booked an apartment in Landmark Real Estate Developers Limited’s Karjat project, Casa Unico, on June 10, 2016 and paid a partial booking amount. However, there was no registered agreement of sale between the complainant and the respondent. Sawant approached MahaRERA and asked that the developer be directed to refund the booking amount.During the hearing, the developer stated that as per the booking terms and conditions which Sawant had agreed to, Sawant had to sign and register the agreement of sale within 30 days from the day of booking. Despite repeated requests, the complainant failed to do so. His booking was therefore cancelled and the booking amount forfeited.Gautam Chaterjee, Chairperson, MahaRERA, held, “Based on the facts mentioned, the complainant is no longer an allottee and his booking has already been cancelled for breach of the agreed terms and conditions of booking.”Chaterjee in his order further stated that the complainant, Sawant, had failed to show if any provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or the rules or regulations made there under had been contravened, thus dismissed the complaint.

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NHAI contractor inks agreement for ring road

Construction work on Jaipur Ring Road is expected to begin over the next week as the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) formally entered an agreement with Haryana based contract firm for the purpose. The contractor firm ‘Gwar’ has emerged as the lowest bidder among 15 companies to have applied for the Jaipur ring road contract and was issued a letter of interest by the highway authority earlier this month.The contract firm already has sent its team for site evaluation, however, it would still take few more days before work begins on the ground. The firm will be under a strict schedule to complete the project in stipulated time. The contractor firm will have a period of 455 days to complete the 47 kilometers long six-lane road between Jaipur-Agra and Jaipur-Ajmer highway.It has been almost four months since the JDA assigned the task to develop the southern section of proposed Jaipur ring road to NHAI. The urban development department at the time has claimed that the work be completed in 15 months, however, DNA in its article published on August 14 was first to report that it would take nearly 120 days before work is formally awarded to the contract firm.The ring road project has a history of being delays, the work has been juggled between NHAI, JDA and private contractors. It has been after instructions from chief minister Vasundhara Raje that the concerned authorities began to bring the project on track. Even as NHAI has been appointed to develop the road, the process got entangled in various formalities. The JDA took time to reach a foreclosure with the previous contractor firm and the issue of EOI by NHAI was delayed for due clearances from the government. The southern ring road is estimated to cost Rs 960 crore and will be completed in the first quarter of 2019.INSTRUCTIONSThe ring road project has a history of being delays, the work has been juggled between NHAI, JDA and private contractors. It has been after instructions from chief minister Vasundhara Raje that the concerned authorities began to bring the project on track.

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Don’t demolish jhuggies till winter is over: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked all land-owning agencies in the capital to not demolish jhuggies and instead take a humanitarian approach till winter is here.The AAP chief told agencies to stop any demolition activity going around in the city even in future without organising ways to relocate or rehabilitate people.”Please do not demolish jhuggis till winters are over, say around February 28, next year. It’s very cold and take a humanitarian approach. Besides, no demolition should take place immediately without following the framework of the demolition policy,” said the CM in a statement issued by the Delhi government.However, the statement comes at a time when a number of homeless could be spotted sleeping on pavements in the open in the absence of enough night shelters in the city.The CM has also asked the land owning agencies to follow the protocol set for demolition in letter and spirit.”No demolition should be done in future also without proper rehabilitation or relocation of the slum dwellers. DUSIB will lay down the norms for demolition according to the notified Slum Policy and it will be applicable across the city and for all agencies,” Kejriwal said in the statement.The decision was taken in a meeting over slum policy on Friday, with the concerned departments including Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), Urban Development, Delhi Development Authority, and the three municipal corporations.The slum policy notified recently lays down guidelines for demolition and has made DUSIB the nodal agency for relocation/rehabilitation of the jhuggi-bastis.HomelessThe statement comes at a time when a number of homeless can be spotted sleeping on pavements in the open in the absence of enough night shelters in the city.

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Fortis raked in moolah of up to 1,737% in Adya Singh case: NPPA

Drugs administered to seven-year-old Adya Singh were grossly overcharged by Gurugram’s Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), a probe conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has revealed.Deceased Adya’s father, Jayant, was billed close to Rs 16 lakh in 15 days for his baby’s dengue shock syndrome treatment at FMRI.The hospital earned a mind-boggling profit ranging from 12% to 1737% on 176 items, including drugs and consumables, according to the information supplied by the hospital to NPPA. “These are tactics adopted by hospitals in collusion with pharma companies to earn profit,” said an NPPA official. He added, “Companies put exorbitant prices on MRP, but sell in bulk at highly discounted rates to hospitals.””Hospitals stand to earn huge profit margins by charging at MRP to patients. Also, they prescribe and procure particular brands of drugs for patients,” the official said.”NPPA shall be taking necessary follow up action as per existing law and within its jurisdiction,” said NPPA deputy director Anand Prakash.A three-way stop cock bi-valve which was procured by FMRI at Rs 5.77 was billed at Rs 106 (a profit margin of 1737%). The MRP of the bi-valve was Rs 106, while pharma company Romsons supplied it to FMRI at a heavily discounted rate of Rs 5.77 per piece.A ventilator circuit procured by FMRI at Rs 46, 614 was billed at Rs 66,305, a profit margin of 42%. Up to 171% profit was made by the hospital on dialysis contraptions like a CRRT kit of seven items procured at Rs 8,033 but billed at Rs 21,745.Surgical gloves, over a thousand of which were used in Adya’s treatment, procured at Rs 12 each, were priced at Rs 49 (marking up to 298% profit on each glove), while some units of gloves were sold at Rs 65 (up to 428% profit).Drugs like injection Dotamin which was bought by FMRI at Rs 28.35 was billed at Rs 287.50 at 914% profit. A simple paracetamol injection, Tamin, procured at Rs 36.29, has been billed at Rs 310 (754% profit) to the patient.Only 39 items of the 176 fall under the Drug Price Control Order where pharmaceutical companies cannot fix MRP over and above the ceiling price fixed by NPPA.Criminal charge12-1737%The profit FMRI has earned on 176 iitems.Rs 106The charge for a three-way stopcock bi-valve procured for Rs 5.77Rs 21,745 Billing for CRRT kit of 7 items procured at Rs 8,033Rs 49-Rs 65 Billing for gloves procured at Rs 49

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3 killed in Zaveri Bazaar building collapse

At least three labourers were killed and one trapped after Chhipi Chawl in Zaveri Bazaar collapsed on Friday morning. The labourers were carrying out repair work on the fourth floor of the five-storeyed building. The dilapidated building, which is more than 60 years old, was already vacated for the said repair work. Relatives of the deceased say the repairing contractor didn’t provide them with any safety gear that could have saved their lives.Chhipi Chawl was declared dangerous last year by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). The building is located on Shamseth Street and has a total 41 tenants, out of which 37 are commercial and four residential.MHADA had issued warning notices to tenants in September and urged them to vacate the premises for carrying out repair work. Sumant Bhange, chief officer, Repair board ( MHADA) said, “Work order was issued under the MLC fund in October 2016. However, owing to non co-operation from tenants, repairs couldn’t begin on time.”Fire Brigade started the rescue operation around 12.30 pm and recovered three bodies till 9 pm. They were identified as Firoz Khan (23), Safai Shaikh (22), and Rocky Shaikh (22). All came from Malharpur in West Bengal.

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Supreme Court raps Delhi govt over ‘illegal constructions’

The Supreme Court on Friday posed searching questions to the Delhi government on the issue of rampant unauthorised constructions in the national capital and asked whether it was prepared to stop them.A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the Delhi government should reply to its queries in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the issue.”Are you (government) interested in stopping unauthorised constructions? Is the Delhi government prepared to stop illegal constructions in Delhi or not? We are asking you a simple question. Answer in yes or no,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the government.Responding to the court’s queries, the counsel said “yes” and told the bench that the city government would file an affidavit in this regard.The court directed the government to file an affidavit indicating the exact plan to stop unauthorised constructions.The bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 15 next year.The South Delhi Municipal Corporation had on Thursday told the apex court that it was taking action against illegal constructions in its area from time to time.The court had earlier said the rule of law over sanction to construct buildings has “completely broken down” and expressed concern over rampant illegal constructions here.It had decided to restore powers of the 2006 Monitoring Committee, which was relieved in 2012, to identify and seal unauthorised premises and construction in the city.The Monitoring Committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the election commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up in March 24, 2006, by the apex court to oversee implementation of the law relating to sealing of offending premises.

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Building collapses in Zaveri Bazaar, four believed to be still trapped

At least four persons are believed to be trapped inside the debris of a building that collapsed during repair work in Zaveri Bazar area in South Mumbai on Friday morning. According to official from the Mumbai fire Brigade, roof of a decade-old cessed building at Zaveri Bazaar collapsed Eyewitnesses claimed that nearly four persons are said to be trapped in the building. The incident took place at 11.00 am. Repair work on the four-storey building on Shamset Street at Chipi Chawl was underway when the incident took place. The building falls under Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board.Initially, around 11 people were trapped out of which seven were rescued. Four of the workers who were carrying out the repair work are believed to be trapped. The fire brigade reached the spot and rescue operation is underway.

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Maharashtra to use drones for mapping 71 villages along Mumbai Pune Expressway

In order to carry out survey and map 71 villages along the 94-km-long Mumbai Pune Expressway, unmanned aerial system (UAS) known as drones will be used by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The MSRDC has already roped in a consultant who will prepare a development plan and chalk out future development potential of the 71 villages along the Expressway. Kiran Kurundkar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC, said, “We have already appointed consultant who has started his work for preparing development plan for the villages along Expressway. We are using drones to conduct survey as it helps in mapping particular areas accordingly.”The project is a part of the MSRDC being appointed as Special Planning Authority (SPA) for areas two kilometre south-west from Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Mumbai-Pune Old Highway (NH-4).The plans after having prepared a development plan is to have MSRDC will look after the development of large of land parcels along the Expressway by acquiring plots from locals or villagers.The Maharashtra government had in March 2016 notified MSRDC SPA for the 71 villages. Of the 71 villages, majority of them are located in Khalapur and Panvel.

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Inspect DLF Place mall: Delhi High Court to DDA

Delhi HC on Tuesday told the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to inspect the DLF Place, a popular mall in south Delhi to find out if the kiosks inside it posed a risk to public health or safety.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction after it was informed that the authorities had inspected only the Select Citywalk mall following the orders of the court.The bench said that no orders are required to perform one’s duty.“You don’t need a court order to do your job. Go and inspect the second mall also,”the bench said. During the proceedings on Tuesday, the court also directed the DDA to file an affidavit on the inspection conducted at Select Citywalk and fixed the matter for April 18. Appearing for Select Citywalk mall, the counsel submitted that the petition was filed without any verification of facts. He stated that a “fishing inquiry was being conducted” and that the kiosks in the open areas were not unauthorised. The court was hearing a PIL alleging that commercial activities inside the open areas of the popular south Delhi malls — Select Citywalk and DLF Place — could pose a risk to public safety if there was a fire or an earthquake.

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Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property?

“Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property? What is the sanctity in that?”, the Delhi High court asked on Tuesday while dealing with encroachments around the 108-feet tall Hanuman statue in the Karol Bagh area of Central Delhi.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the remarks while hearing a host of matters relating to illegal constructions in the Karol Bagh area of the national capital. The bench directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)’s additional commissioner to inspect all the buildings in Old Rajinder Nagar within a week from Tuesday.”No status report filed. Additional Commissioner of NDMC to physically inspect the building in Old Rajinder Nagar within one week from today,” the court said in its order.The bench also directed the additional commissioner”to place the details and records pertaining to the construction of the Link Road and the pavement on which the encroachments have come up”. The court’s direction came when the additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, advocate Satyakam, informed the court that one paw of the Hanuman Idol at Karol Bagh is on the pavement maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government and the rest on the land possessed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).To this the court posed a query about the ownership and maintenance of the Hanuman idol to which it was informed that the idol is maintained by a trust run by one Om Prakash Giri and his father had started the trust in 1981. It was also said that the bank statements of the trust are being examined.”Who is maintaining the idol? Who is the owner of the trust? Where do they get the authority to maintain it,” the court asked as it expressed its displeasure on the ongoing commercial activities and illegal car parking in the area.The court also said that all the encroachments “will be dealt with,” thereby stating that it will prosecute the officers under whose tenure the encroachments had come up.

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Will prayers reach god from illegally built temples, asks Delhi High Court

Will prayers reach god if you pray from temples built illegally on pavements? This was a question posed by the Delhi High Court today as it dealt with a case of removing encroachments from around the 108-feet tall Hanuman statue in the Karol Bagh area of central Delhi.”Will prayers reach the god if you pray from illegal encroachments on pavements? What is its sanctity,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, warning that everyone responsible for unauthorised constructions, including the temple, “will be dealt with”.The court asked the municipal corporation of north Delhi, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, to produce records pertaining to the construction of the road and the pavement adjoining which the illegal encroachments have sprung up.The direction was issued after Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam, appearing for the Public Works Department (PWD), told the bench that the road and the pavement was the responsibility of the municipal corporation.He said while one paw of the statue fell on the pavement, the rest of the structure was primarily located on land belonging to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).Thereafter, the court asked the authorities why commercial activities and car parking was permitted in the area and said it will prosecute the corporation and DDA officials during whose tenure the statue and other encroachments came up.Satyakam, who also appeared for the Delhi Police, said the temple, including the statue, was being maintained and operated by a trust whose bank statements were being examined by the agency.The bench asked the police to complete its enquiry and follow and enforce the law.It also questioned the trust authority over running and maintaining a temple on DDA land.The court was hearing several pleas in connection with illegal constructions and encroachments in Karol Bagh area of Delhi. It had earlier said that religious structures cannot be allowed to encroach on public land for private gain.

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Three Indo-Nepal road connectivity projects to commence early next year

Early next calendar year three of Indo-Nepal road connectivity projects are to witness the commencement of ground works.The three projects are – Mechi River Bridge, Piprakothi-Raxaul Highway, and Mirganj Bridge.A review meeting was held by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) to check the status of these three projects. The Centre is looking at constructing 600 km of roads in the Terai Region bordering India. Both the countries had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to have connectivity and to have postal roads, these three projects are part of the same.“Mechi River Bridge project is to be implemented at the Indo-Nepal border is on track. Letter Of Intent is likely to be issued to the contractor shortly,” read a MoRTH statement.Also readNepal Left alliance wins 72 seats, heading towards majorityMoRTH has received bids for Piprakothi-Raxaul Highway and contracts to repair the road will be awarded later this month.National Highways Authority of India has done a survey of Mirganj Bridge that is part of National Highway 57A. A proposal for temporary bridge strengthening will be formulated in January 2018, followed by the bidding process and ground work.

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Want weekly reports on sanitation, says Anil Baijal

Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Monday reviewed the progress of sanitation and beautification works undertaken by the three municipal corporations — north, south, and east — in the national Capital. He told the civic bodies to maintain hygienic conditions in the toilet complexes, streets, and public parks of the city.Besides, the L-G directed the three corporations to send a weekly progress report about these works to the Urban Development (UD) Department.”All three municipal corporations told the L-G that efforts were being made to ensure that all toilets complexes have proper lights. Also, they informed about the upcoming projects such as building toilet units and installing LED lights in their respective areas,” a statement issued by the L-G’s office read.Baijal also told the corporations that they must continue to take steps that focus on cleanliness and sanitation of the areas and also ensure that the communities were involved in maintenance of assets.Further, the L-G also reviewed the progress on encroachment removal on 29 identified stretches. “Baijal emphasised that places that are made encroachment-free should not be allowed to be encroached again. These places had bottlenecks holding up vehicular movement for hours,” the statement read.The meeting was attended by chief secretary Anshu Prakash, senior officials from the Urban Development Department, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), and all three municipal corporations.Meanwhile, earlier this year, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) launched the first public ‘Pink Toilet’ equipped with a sanitary pad vending machine and incinerator in the city. While all three municipal corporations had announced opening of toilets at public places and busy markets, under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), this was the first toilet to have a sanitary pad vending machine.The corporations had in 2015 received Rs 120 crore from the Centre under the SBM to build toilet blocks, besides other sanitation work in the national Capital. According to the SBM guidelines, there must be a toilet complex available at a distance of every kilometer in the national Capital.According to a report published by the north corporation on sanitation earlier this year, the civic body, which has over 800 toilet blocks under it, has built 50 women toilet seats in the last one year, which became functional a few months ago. The east corporation, which has 400 toilet blocks under it, has built 70 new blocks under the Mission.MISSION SWACCHMeeting’s focus was hygiene in toilet complexes, streets and public parks of the Capital The L-G stressed on need to involve communities in maintenance of assets Progress on the encorachment removal on 29 stretches was reviewed, with emphasis being on keeping further encroachment at bay

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Monorail system not effective to tackle blazes: Fire brigade report

Battling a blaze on the elevated monorail corridor may not be effective, the city’s fire brigade has said in a report on its probe into last month’s fire at Mysore Colony station. The Mumbai Fire Brigade began an investigation after a fire broke out in an empty coach in Mahul on November 9. Since then, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority has suspended the monorail services.In its report, a copy of which has been accessed by DNA, the fire brigade has said that the procedures laid down by the operator to fight fires appear effective only on paper. It says certain locations on the route are inaccessible, and raises concern about commuters’ safety during a fire. The report has recommended measures for fire prevention, including installation of automatic fire extinguishers under each car. City’s Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said the problem can get worse if people are stranded on the elevated corridor. “Monorail has poor accessibility to roads due to its geographical conditions.”When it comes to fire, transport expert Sudhir Badami said, monorail is more dangerous compared with the metro. “The chances of fatalities are highest as coaches being smaller the fire will spread faster.”

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Maharashtra RERA trashes home buyer’s complaint over ‘forum shopping’, says can’t ‘ride two horses’

A home buyer cannot do a forum shopping in regards to his complaint, he has to choose between MahaRERA or the the consumer forum.The MahaRERA held this view while dismissing a complaint of a home buyer who had filed a complaint at MahaRERA and also at consumer disputes redressal commission.The complainant a home buyer Deepak Tejwani, had filed a complaint with Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority, contending therein that he had booked a flat no. 506 in C-2, Siddhi project of the developer situated at Shahad, Kalyan.It is the grievance of the complainant that the developer Anil Chabria has not executed the agreement for sale of the said flat and register it. The respondent has also failed to inform him about the status of the construction.The developer then brought to the notice of MahaRERA, that the home buyer had filed CC no. 870 of 2017 before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra State, Mumbai on 14.06.2017 in respect of same flat against the developer and one of the prayers of the said complaint is also regarding the execution and registration of the agreement for sale.”The complainant wants to ride on two horses at a time which is not permissible in view of Section 71 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016. The complainant is at liberty to proceed with only one case, either the case before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or MahaRERA.”When the complainant has been asked to choose one, he submits that if MahaRERA grants his relief in this complaint then he shall withdraw the complaint filed before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. I find that the complainant cannot do a forum shopping, hence, this complaint is dismissed,” read the order passed by MahaRERA member BD Kapadnis.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE | Construction of lifts in service lanes is not illegal: Delhi High Court

Striking down a plea which sought to set aside the No Objection Cerificate (NoC) issued by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to a housing society, the Delhi High Court ruled that the construction of lifts in the service lane or common areas in housing societies owned by corporations is not illegal.The court’s direction came while hearing a plea which had challenged the grant of an NoC for the construction of a lift in the service lane, to cater to four of the residential blocks in the society called Dhruva Cooperative Group Housing Society, which, in all, houses 52 blocks.Justice AK Chawla said that “the policy to issue NOC for the purpose of erection of the lifts in a Group Housing Flats built by DDA or Group Housing Societies, falling with the jurisdiction of the different Corporations, cannot be faulted with”.The petition had contended that the construction was permitted in the service lane, which is a common area and hence the NOC granted is illegal and bad in law. It also said that the common areas (service lane) are allowed to install lifts, services of fire vehicles, etc, in cases of emergency such as a natural calamity, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the commute of other flats owners.The plea also added that the NOC was issued without site inspection by the EDMC and without applying any rationality, or reasoning the rights of other residents, their convenience, safety and security.The court, while striking down all the arguments of the petitioner, stated that the whole premise, on which the petition is founded, was misconceived.The single bench referred to a Shaik Abdul Hameed vs Delhi Development Authority and ORS case, where it was observed by the High Court that housing societies were made at a time when lifts were not in vogue. It had held that such lifts would help the aged during medical complications.”Most of the flat owners, who may have purchased the same 30-40 years ago, would be old and infirm. It is often not possible for them to take the staircase up to the first, second, and third floor. They often feel marooned due to inaccessibility leading to further complications for aged “emptynestness”. Medical emergencies, too, would pose their own set of logistic problems. …The land where the lift-well is to be erected has been clearly demarcated and in any case is in a common area over which no particular individual can claim an individual or proprietary right,” the court had said.

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Construction of lifts in common areas of societies owned by municipal corporations not illegal: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Thursday ruled that construction of lifts in service lane or common areas of housing societies is not illegal. The court was responding to a plea that sought to set aside a No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to a housing society.The court’s direction come while hearing a plea that had challenged the grant of NOC for theconstruction of a lift in the service lane, to cater to four of the residential blocks of Dhruva Cooperative Group Housing Society. The society houses 52 blocks.The petition had contended that the construction was permitted in the service lane, which is a common area and hence the NOC granted was illegal. It also said that the common areas (service lane) are permitted for installing a lift.The plea also stated that the NOC had been issued without site inspection by the EDMC and without applying any rationality or reasoning.The court, while striking down all the arguments of the petitioner, stated that whole premise, on which the petition is founded, is misconceived.Justice A K Chawla said, “The policy to issue NOC for the purposes of erection of the lifts in a Group Housing Flats built by DDA or Group Housing Societies, falling within the jurisdiction of the different Corporations cannot be faulted with”.The single bench referred to a Shaik Abdul Hameed vs Delhi Development Authority & Ors case where it was observed by the High court that housing societies were made at a time when lifts were not in vogue. It had held that such lifts would help the aged during medical complications and that it would be convenient for all.“Most of the flat owners, who may have purchased the same 30-40 years ago, would be old and infirm. It is often not possible for them to take the staircase up to the first, second and third floors. In the absence of the facility of a lift the prospect of having to take the stairs to reach the ground or to access a higher floor apartment can be very daunting,” the court saidDuring the course of hearing the bench found that it was only the petitioner along with three other members who were raising questions out of the 206 members in the society.“Societies cannot function in this manner. Once, a decision is taken by the society through its elected executive, all the members of the society are bound by it. It also does not lie in the mouth of the petitioners that the permission granted by the society for the issuance of impugned NOC is not in the larger interest of the occupants of the four blocks, where the lift is getting erected,” the court said and rejected the plea.
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Mumbai Metro routes going through airports will not allow heavy luggage

There are three Mumbai Metro corridors – either planned or under construction in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – that connect the domestic and international airports in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. However, none of these routes will allow flyers to carry heavy luggage in trains – a move that may prompt flyers to rely on other modes of transport.Currently, three Metro corridors are planned in MMR to connect both the domestic and international airport in Mumbai and the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai.The three Metro corridors include Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 underground corridor, Dahisar East- Andheri East Metro-7 corridor extension up to airport and the Mumbai airport to Navi Mumbai airport of which work on Metro-3 and Metro-7 is ongoing and for airport Metro report is prepared.A official from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), assisting the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in executing Metro-7 and Mumbai airport to Navi Mumbai airport Metro, said, “The Metro-7 and Mumbai- Navi Mumbai airport are being constructed keeping in mind the connectivity for city commuters as their ridership is far more than that of commuters going to airport. Both these corridors are not dedicated airport Metro corridors.”The DMRC official, added, “Particularly in case of Mumbai-Navi Mumbai airport, the Metro goes via areas like Mankhurd, Chembur, Vashi and the number of commuters using Metro without wanting to connect the airport are more than those looking to go from one airport to another. There are fewer commuters wanting to go from one airport to another airport. Furthermore, airlines have their connecting flights, accordingly.”In case of Metro-7, it passes via the core residential area of western suburbs and it is mainly being extended up to airport for connecting with Metro-3 from where commuters can go up to Colaba and further towards south Mumbai, said DMRC officials.MMRC, executing the Metro-3 in the past has said it won’t allow heavy luggage as the route is not a dedicated airport Metro route unlike New Delhi’s Airport Express.
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Band, Baja and baraat! Mehbooba Mufti government to speed up scheme to help poor, unmarried girls of Valley

Band, baja, baraat…at last, this will become a pleasant reality for the poor girls in the terror-plagued Jammu and Kashmir!Mehbooba Mufti-led state government has revised the timelines to ensure speedy and effective implementation of the State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS) and deal strictly with inordinate delay in settling the cases.Under SMAS the government provides one-time financial assistance of Rs 25,000 and five-gram gold from the Social Welfare department to poor girls living below poverty line who may not find themselves in a position to marry due to financial constraints.The 27 years of conflict and bloodbath has torn apart the social fabric in conservative Kashmir. Late marriages, infertility and depleting sex ratio has become rampant in the Kashmir Valley.A study conducted by the Sociology department at University of Kashmir in 2009 revealed shocking facts about the fallout of the turmoil.According to the study, an overwhelming majority of 88 per cent of respondents opined that conflict situation in Kashmir has contributed to the emergence of the late marriages, a phenomenon unheard of before the onset of militancy in 1990.Complying with the directions of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the government on Wednesday issued a circular, in modification to its earlier version, detailing the revised timelines.According to the revised timelines, a period of three working days has been fixed for District Social Welfare Officer, six working days for Sanctioning Authority (Deputy Commissioner) while five working days have been fixed for Director Finance, Social Welfare Department to dispose of the cases under SMAS.“The Government has issued strict directions to all the concerned for ensuring strict adherence to the revised guidelines and any deviation in this regard would be dealt strictly as per the Law”, an official spokesman said.Launched in 2015, the SMAS was aimed at facilitating the poor girls with requisite financial support to enable them solemnize their marriages. Official figures reveal that around 6,589 beneficiaries, who were found eligible to receive the assistance as per guidelines of the scheme, have been brought under the ambit of SMAS upto August 31, 2017.“The Social Welfare Department had also observed that substantial time is being taken for disposing of these cases before referring it to the administrative department for unknown reasons, which is defeating the objective of launching this vital girl specific scheme, where timely assistance has paramount significance”, said the spokesman.
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Prime Minister’s Office help sought for Mumbai Metro execution roadblocks

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) executing several Metro projects in the city has sought help from Prime Minister’s office (PMO) for tackling several issues involving land acquisition and getting clearances from several state and central government agencies for construction of Metro corridors in the city.According to MMRDA, PMO’s ‘pragati portal’ monitors the Metro projects in the city and regular assistance is sought from the PMO for clearances from Central government agencies like Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Defence for acquiring their land for Metro projects.Pravin Darade, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We seek assistance from PMO where central government agencies are involved. At several stretches we either require land from the Defence Ministry or require no objection certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Railway, as our Metro alignment is going above railway tracks at several locations. In this case, seeking assistance from PMO helps in getting approvals smoothly.”A senior MMRDA official, said, “We may also seek assistance from the PMO regarding roadblocks for procuring loan from international banks. We want the 75 per cent of the Metro coaches to be manufactured in India under ‘Make In India’ but the banks that are going to finance the Metro projects have reservations about it.”The MMRDA official, added, “In this case, we will seek assistance from PMO who will certainly intervene along with the Union Ministry of Finance for having banks agree with having 75 per cent coaches made in India.”
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RSRTC property set for auction

The process of auctioning commercial land of Rajasthan state road transport corporation (RSRTC) which is at Chomu House Parivahan Marg will be carried out on Wednesday.Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) will carry out this exercise in the auction hall of its office.The land comes in zone number 1 and is 5000 square meter in area. Having khasra number 151/443 the land is of commercial nature.This means that Roadways is going ahead with its plan to sell off the property to settle the dues it has accumulated.Meanwhile, in a press conference organised by transport minister Yunus khan on Monday in his chamber in the secretariat, has claimed that no land has been sold.He instead told that the attempts to sell land of tyre plant were being made for 3 years.He informed that alternative land has been given in Bagrana to roadways in lieu of the land while in Deedwana (Nagaur) also of 7000 square meter area was also given free of cost to roadways. The media persons had been raising questions about the selling of properties of roadways.Earlier on Saturday also, while addressing a press conference had clearly termed Rajasthan roadways a pride of state and had said that it won’t be closed. Notably, Roadways earns revenue of Rs 150 crores, while its administrative expenses are Rs 195 crores. The plan was made to clear the liabilities of the roadways which are running into crores The employees of roadways have already been opposing this move. A few days back, JDA had issued advertisements to auction various properties of JDA.Apart from this land, two more lands having same khasra number having area of 5000 square meters of commercial use and 9390.55 square meter which is of mixed-use nature were advertised for auction on December 13 and 20 respectively.WORK BOYCOTTRoadways employees will boycott work for one hour on Wednesday between 1pm and 2pm. Kishan Singh Rathore, general secretary of Rajasthan Roadways Workers’ Union, claimed that the buses during this time won’t move from bus stands across the state. However, the buses already on the route won’t be stopped. This is being done to put pressur on government to meet their demands, including seeking post-retirement benefit and salaries.
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‘Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul Gandhi

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday ‘congratulated’ Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on filing nomination for the post of the party chief and called it a ‘promotion without performance’.”I congratulate Rahul Gandhi for his promotion without performance, can only be possible in a feudal setup,” Naqvi said taking a dig at RahulRahul Gandhi on Monday filed his nomination papers for the party’s chief post.The 47-year-old Gandhi scion is likely to emerge as the lone candidate in the fray and decks have been cleared for his election as the Congress president, succeeding his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has held the post for 19 years in a row now.Today is the last date for filing nominations.Also readRahul Gandhi files nomination for Congress President, party dismisses allegations of dynastic politics No one else filed papers till Sunday, according to Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority.Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh are among the proposers for the candidature of Rahul Gandhi for the party chief’s post.Also readNo democracy in Cong, says PM Modi on Rahul Gandhi electionThe last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 11, and the poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19.
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Comedian jokes Ivanka came to India to get Aadhar, and then comes UIDAI’s punchline

US President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka was recently in India to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. At least that was the stated purpose. A comedian, however, joked that the first daughter actually came to India to get her Aadhaar Card done.”Breaking : Exclusive : Paid media will not show you this. Ivanka Trump actually came to India to get her Aadhaar Card done,” tweeted José Covaco with an edited clip of Ivanka Trump.The clip was of Ivanka walking with officials, some Indians and some Americans, towards her car. The video, on its own, seems nothing out of ordinary until you turn the volume up. Covaco, who often posts memes on his Twitter account, among other things, had overlaid the clip with a comical voiceover where Ivanka is heard saying (we have no idea what she really said) that she needs to get her Aadhaar done and asks her driver to take her to “Aadhaar centre” as she gets in the car. Her drivers replies by saying: “I can do it in Rs 200.”That was some funny stuff we bet. While Twitterati replied to the video, one tweet caught everyone’s attention. “But couldn’t apply since she’s not a resident of India,” tweeted UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), the government agency that issues Aadhaar cards to citizens. This was, however, not UIDAI’s first attempt at humour (if that was it). Earlier this year on Dussehra, the UIDAI had a similar response when someone asked it how many Aadhaar Ravan could get with his 10 heads. “Not a resident of India. Not eligible to enroll for Aadhaar,” UIDAI had tweeted in reply.
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Meet Babli, the first trans legal consultant of Delhi High Court

Soon after realising her sexual orientation, 23-year-old Babli left her family in 2010, to save her kin from “public shaming”. Seven years down the line, she has made everyone proud after becoming the first transgender person to become a legal consultant of the Delhi High Court.Babli, hailing from Badaun in UP, started working on a project with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority five months ago, after which she was selected for the post. The journey, however, was not easy. Mental torture and harassment were a regular affair for her.”My family has always been very supportive of me and my sexual orientation. But, this didn’t stop the jibes from the neighbours and relatives, that would haunt me daily. When things went out of line, I decided to leave the house. I consulted a trans friend of mine, who had been working as an orchestra dancer, and decided to join them to earn a living,” Babli said.One day, while she was on a tour with her orchestra team, she saw a person beating a trans and it was on that day that she realised she wants to become the voice of the community.”After returning from the tour, I decided to leave the orchestra. I joined a non-governmental organisation, Pahel, to study. There was no looking back thereafter. Though it was not easy initially, I found ways to work around my hurdles. I used to wake up early to cope with others, as I had missed a lot of early schooling,” added Babli.Finally, after toiling day and night, she secured a government job at the Delhi High Court in September.But, what haunts her still is the kind of treatment usually meted out to transgender people.”I know the world sees us differently, but, at the end, we are humans, too. I still do not understand why people see us as untouchables. This was not something we chose. People should treat us equally; we have done no wrong. We are all creations of God. I have also worked with the Delhi Traffic Police in various campaigns creating awareness about traffic rules and believe in doing a lot of social work in the future, too,” she said.Babli now lives a life of respect and proudly identifies herself as a transgender person. The only thing, she says, missing in her life, is her family.
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Delhi HC employs first transgender legal consultant

Soon after realising her sexual orientation, 23-year-old Babli left her family in 2010 to save it from “public shaming”. Seven years down the line, she has done everyone proud after becoming the first transgender person to get a post of a legal consultant with the Delhi High Court.Babli, hailing from Badaun in UP, started working on a project with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority five months back, after which she was selected for the post but the journey till now was not easy.Daily mental torture and harassment was a regular feature for her throughout her struggling days.Also readTransgender, denied job as cabin crew in Air India, moves Supreme Court “Ever since I was conscious of my sexual orientation, my family had been very supportive of me. But the jibes from neighbours and relatives were something that always haunted me. When things crossed a limit, it was then that I decided to leave the house. I consulted a trans friend of mine, who had been working as orchestra dancer, so I decided to join them to earn money,” narrated Babli.One day, while she was on a tour with her orchestra team, she saw a person beating a trans and it was on that day that she realised she would study and work hard to become somebody different and make her community proud.Also readConsider accommodating transgender officer: Delhi High Court“After returning from the tour, I decided to leave the orchestra. I joined a non-governmental organisation, Pahel, to study. Thereafter, there was no looking back for me. Initially, it was not easy but as they say‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. I used to wake up early to cope up with others as I had missed a lot of early schooling,” added Babli.Finally, after working day and night, she got a government job in the Delhi High Court in September. But she still feels bad about the treatment meted out to transgender people.“I know the world sees us differently but at the end, we are human too. I still do not understand why people see us as untouchables. This was not a choice but God has made us like this. People should treat us equally as we have done no harm to them. I have also worked with the Delhi Traffic Police in various campaigns for creating awareness about traffic rules and believe in doing a lot of social work,” she added.Now, Babli lives a life of respect and proudly identifies herself a transgender person. The only thing, she says, missing in her life now is her family.
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Dilapidated school building in Chembur-Vashi naka poses threat to students

The lives of students in Ayodhya Nagar Marathi and Telugu-medium BMC school at Chembur-Vashi Naka is at risk owing to the dilapidated condition of the school building. The plan was to demolish the building, set up a transit camp near the ground and shift the students to the camp. BMC Education department decided to shift the school to a residential building of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). Parents have opposed the shift as the MHADA building is not close to their homes, and they didn’t want to take the risk.The foundation stone was laid by local corporator in December 2016 to build a ground plus five-floor building for the Ayodhya Nagar Marathi and Telugu-medium school.After one developer took the matter to court to reserve the ground for playground and not for educational purposes, the transit camp could not be built. According to sources, in September, the school officials brought the condition of building to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) notice of BMC’s education department.In a recent ward committee meeting, the higher authorities ordered the school officials to vacate the school immediately and move the students to a safer place. A residential building of MHADA named Suraksha was then finalised and it was decided to give four rooms. Parents have opposed this move on the grounds that the new building is far and they didn’t want to risk sending their children to a residential building.A BMC education official on condition of anonymity said, “We are still exploring where to shift the students as the MHADA building where it is decided to shift haveDIP IN STUDENTSThe school, earlier, had 550 students in Marathi medium and 250 in Telugu medium. Now the number has come down to 328 in Marathi medium and only 60 in Telugu medium When contacted, school principal of Ayodhya Nagar BMC school refused to comment on the issue
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Man, woman fall for ‘cheaper’ flats, lose Rs 2 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After paying nearly Rs 2 crore to purchase their dream homes, Kaushik Ashar and Priti Singh were shocked when officials from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) told them that the provisional allotment letters that had been given to them were fake.The two are making rounds at the Amboli police station since 2016. So far, two first information reports against five accused have been registered. Three of them are behind bars, while two are out on bail. Ashar and Singh said they fell for the con after the accused promised them a flat at a cheaper rate in flats constructed by MMRDA for its staff in Vile Parle.In Singh’s case, the MMRDA has also given in writing to the accused and the police that the allotment letters issued to Singh is fake and were not issued by MMRDA. Singh had further in May 2017 had filed FIR with the Amboli Police station which arrested five accused. In case of Ashar, the Amboli police station on Thursday registered an FIR under several sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for forgery, cheating and creating fake documents.Speaking to DNA, Singh said, “I have paid around Rs 1.55 crore for purchasing six flats of Rs 25 lakh each. I paid the whole amount to the accused because one of the five accused worked with me in my office and told me that they have contacts with officers in MMRDA. However, even one year after paying the amount we had nothing except the provisional letter that turned out to be fake certificate when we checked with MMRDA.”Singh added, “The police later arrested five accused after filing FIR in May but have not filed charge-sheet even after completing 90 days of arrest due to which two accused have got bail. We fear other two will also get bail after their 90 days are completed and they will flee with our money.Ashar, whole filed FIR on Thursday, said, “I paid around 25 lakh because I came to know about it Priti Singh and I trusted her but later we came to know we both were duped when my lawyer checked about the documents with MMRDA.”Meanwhile, Bharat Gaikwad, Senior Police Inspector, Amboli police station, said, “I will not like to comment on part of the investigations in both the case. We will take action according to due process of law.”UPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, told DNA, “We are also enquiring into one such complaint received on Thursday only. We will file a police case so that real culprits are brought to book.”MMRDA constructs various flats for project affected people (PAP) and its staff but general public are not eligible to buy or purchase flats in such apartments.

CM offers suggestions to speed up slum rehabilitation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to speed up the slum rehabilitation scheme, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked officials to make necessary amendments to existing provisions so that slum dwellers get 300 sq ft houses instead of 269 sq ft.On Thursday, Fadnavis held a review meeting with the officials of Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA). Minister of State for Housing Development Ravindra Waikar, Additional Chief Secretary for Housing Sanjay Kumar and officials from the CM’s office were also present.Fadnavis directed them to make the law easy so that rehabilitation could be sped up, and ensure that slum rehabilitation does not become a long-pending project.Often slum dwellers can’t claim a house due to inadequate proof of being the slum’s resident. In such cases, Fadnavis suggested the possibility of including them under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana if the concerned person does not own a house elsewhere in the country. Fadnavis also suggested providing a separate police force for removing the hurdles in slum rehabilitation.Often the developer does not complete the project for a long time and in such cases Fadnavis told the officials to look for another developer if 90 per cent of the residents agree to it.

3rd party to need allottees’ consent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If a developer wishes to transfer or assign his rights of a project to a third party, he will need two-third consent of the allottees before doing so. He will also have to inform MahaRERA on the same. The authority came out with a ruling on the same this month, giving more power to home buyers and preventing developers from running away or shirking responsibility. The new developer too will have to fulfill all promises made by the previous one.The new rule reads, “In accordance with Section 15 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, the promoter shall not transfer or assign his majority rights and liabilities in respect of a real estate project to a third party without obtaining prior written consent from two-third allottees, and without the prior written approval of the Authority.”On receipt of such application, MahaRERA shall then pass an order within a month either granting approval or not. The rule is relaxed in cases where the company is changing from a partnership to a private limited company.

EPCA plans to put odd-even scheme on auto mode

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) is soon planning to devise a system under which measures like odd-even will kick in automatically when air pollution enters’emergency’zone.”It is learnt that the EPCA is now mulling over a proposal to make the enforcement mechanism automatic so that such situations can be avoided. The issue is likely to be taken up at the panel’s meeting on Friday,” said an EPCA official.Earlier this month, when pollution breached emergency levels, the Delhi government had decided to implement the car-rationing scheme based on odd and even number plates but had to call it off at the last moment.The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had made it clear that it would allow the scheme to be enforced only if the exemptions to two-wheelers and women were withdrawn, but the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had expressed its inability to do so, citing inadequacies in the city’s public transport system.Caught between the NGT and the government, the measure, which is a part of the Centre-notified Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), could ultimately not be enforced in the Capital.In fact, the Delhi government had gone ahead with its plan without the EPCA approval. Firstly, the court-appointed watchdog was not in favour of its implementation as the pollution levels were expected to dip and secondly, it was against the exemptions as well.This was also found in a recent report of the EPCA to the apex court. The report stressed the need for “deterrence” so that GRAP’s implementation is strengthened.”It is clear that any direction is as good as its implementation.Given all the challenges of effective governance in our cities, it is clear we need a better system for the implementation of GRAP, during the pollution emergency periods. EPCA will discuss how stronger deterrence can be incorporated in GRAP and get back to the Hon’ble Court on the possible directives needed in this regard,” said the report.Under the current mechanism, if pollution persists in the emergency category for 48 hours or more, then action, as required under such severe spells, shall immediately be pressed into through state-level committees and various implementing agencies listed in the GRAP.In the case of odd-even, the implementing agency as listed by the GRAP is the transport department in Delhi and transport commissioners of the NCR towns such as Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida.

CEA releases policy to promote power generation from paddy straw

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents from Delhi and the National Capital Region can now expect relief next year from the pollution caused due to the burning of stubble by farmers in Punjab and Harayana. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on behalf of ministry of power has framed up a policy for biomass utilisation for power generation through co-firing in coal based power plants.CEA estimates that 30 to 40 million tonnes of paddy straw that remains unutilised and burnt in north west India has potential to generate about 6,000 to 8000 MW and 45,000 million units of electricity annually by co firing it along with coal in existing power plants. About 2.5 to 3 lakh tonnes of biomass pellets are required for 7% blending in a thermal power plant of 1,000 MW capacity.Biomass co-firing has a potential to create a market for large scale consumption of agro residue and convert into electricity in eco-friendly and cost effective manner while mitigation problem of air quality deterioration. The policy envisages that the appropriate electricity regulatory commission will determine the compensation to be allowed in tariff for increase in cost of generation on account of using bio mass pallets. Besides, the appropriate commission will devise a suitable mechanism to ensure the use of bio mass.Already, the power ministry last week has asked the state run NTPC to float a tender to buy farm stubble at Rs 5,500 per tonne, which will yield an additional income of approximately Rs 11,000 per acre to farmers.Power Ministry officer told DNA,” The biomass pellets co-firing in coal power plants will eliminate or minimize burning of agro residue and create economic value of agro residue by promoting its use as fuel in power plants in co firing mode. It will improve the air quality index and encourage the establishment of decentralized pellets manufacturing units and generate job opportunities. The officer clarified that the existing power plant infrastructure cannot directly use raw and agro residue bio mass in a pulverised coal fired type boiler and it is required to be processed into dense bio mass in the form of pellets.According to the officer, the CEA will provide technical assistance to utilities on how to use bio mass pellets for blending with coal in coal based thermal power plants.

Vasundhara Raje burns ‘disputes’ with Rajputs in Padmavati jauhar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protest against Bollywood epic Padmavati has more than what meets the eye. It carries political connotation rather than just being a social dissent. It’s a point on which Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has got an opportunity to show her solidarity with the royalties of Rajasthan and the Rajput community of the state. Raje didn’t miss it. She announced banning the release of this flick till the objectionable scenes are removed.This created a sort of bridge between royalties and Raje, which had developed fissures after the episode of Raj Mahal Palace last year when Jaipur Development Authority had take on the Jaipur Royal family by locking the Palace gates. It was then suspected that JDA had acted on the instructions of chief minister, that had created a ‘gulf’ between the royal family and Raje. That time all the royal families of Rajasthan rallied behind Jaipur Royals showing their solidarity against the ‘Maharani of Dholpur’. Even Karni Sena, a social outfit of Rajputs, carried protests against the government forcing it on the back foot. Diya Kumari of royal family despite being in her team of MLAs looked standing against her own government. The locks were later opened but that could not unlock the strenuous relationship, both of them sneaked into. The widespread protest against Padmavati just came up as a convergence point for royalties and Raje. All royalties including Jaipur Royal family put up a strong protest against screening of the film in Rajasthan. Raje echoed their voice of dissent. On this point, Raje, royalties and Karni Sena – all appeared to be on the same platform sending out message that Raje still has the favour for Rajputs.The harmony which Raje has shown for the royalty issue may win her back the confidence of Rajput community, which had cast a doubt on Raje’s role in the encounter of Anandpal Singh, a dreaded gangster from Rajput community. The ‘encounter’ of Anandpal , who was on the run, had united the Rajput community against Raje’s government. The community, which comprising around 8% of total population has a decisive role in the fate of few constituencies, especially in districts like Sikar, Churu, Jhunjhunu and Nagaur. The anger of Rajputs forced Raje to refer the encounter case to CBI for investigation, which was later turned down by the central investigating agency.Now that Raje has openly sided the community’s protest, BJP can win some political points, a year before elections. The door which seemed closed, now looks ajar giving the party the opportunity to woo back Rajputs to its fold.

MTHL: With increasing civil cost, toll burden set to go up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With civil construction cost for India’s proposed 22-km sea link connecting Sewri with Nhava Sheva increasing substantially, the toll amount that will be levied on motorists for using the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is also likely to increase.The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) executing the project had calculated the toll matrix in 2012, but since then there has been constant increase in the civil construction and overall cost of the project, which also means that the burden on motorists in the form of additional toll amount has also gone up.The overall concession period for which the toll will be levied on motorists is of 30 years to make the project financially viable, and the toll amount derived by MMRDA in 2012 was Rs 175 for light motor vehicles, Rs 265 for light commercial vehicles, Rs 525 for buses and trucks and Rs 790 for heavy axle vehicles.However, the construction cost has increased with every year passing. Recently, the MMRDA awarded contract to three consortium’s who are in joint venture constructing the project at Rs 14,263 crore which is more than the estimations of MMRDA.The MMRDA had earlier estimated Rs 12,600 crore for the civil construction out of the total cost of Rs 17,800 crore for the project. However, bidders quoting more resulted in cost escalations.A senior MMRDA official, said, “We do not know the revised toll amount at this stage because we do not what would the actual cost escalation of the project be, when it is ready for motorists in 2023. However, additional toll may have to be levied in order to finish recovery of project cost within 30 years.”The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding almost 85 per cent of the project cost of MTHL. Ever since MTHL was proposed back in 1980’s the project cost has increased more than 350%. In 2005, the cost was estimated at Rs 4,000 crore and the same was estimated to be Rs 17,800 crore in 2016.WHAT IS MTHL?MTHL is a 22-km-long cable stay bridge and will be the second longest sea-link in the world after the 42-km link between Qingdao to Huandao in China. The project has been on paper since the 1980s due to lack of environmental clearances.

Political Parties bat for GST rate cut be passed on to consumers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Political Parties have appealed to the Centre that the GST reduction should be passed on to the ultimate consumers. They have cited that despite GST Council’s move to cut a tax on 178 items to 18% from 28% and in case of restaurants to 5%, the consumers at the retail level have not felt a substantial change.This is despite repeated call given by the finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia that company has to ensure that their entire distribution chain-wholesalers, retailers- pass on this tax cut.Adhia has also asked fast moving consumer goods to ensure that the tax cut is passed to consumers if they want to escape action from the Anti Profiteering Authority.BJP MP from Northeast Mumbai Kirit Somaiya in his letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has complained that several traders and entrepreneurs are not passing on the benefits to the ultimate consumers. He has quoted some examples of AC restaurants and chain food outlets who have allegedly manipulated the prices and value of their products to pocket the difference of reduction to 5% from 18%.Further, Somaiya said that several restaurants are yet collecting 18% in the name of GST or old sales tax slab rates. ‘’I thank the government to reduce GST to 5% from 18% in restaurants, bring down GST on consumer used items to 18% from 28% and provide relaxation in 200 items. However, the officials from the ministries of finance, consumer affairs, and the state governments should be asked to take appropriate action to see that the government’s initiative to slash GST rates as passed on to the ultimate consumers,’’ he noted.The Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik also cited that the restaurants continue to recover from the consumers GST at the previous rates so also the consumer goods companies. ‘’The government will have to immediately look into the issue especially when GST has been touted as seamless taxation across the country. As far as restaurants are concerned, they pay GST on purchases but they do not get set off on final sale. This has to be looked into,’’ he opined.Both Somaiya and Malik argued that the ministry of consumer affairs need to act swiftly which will help consumers to benefit from the tax cut.

UIDAI admits Aadhaar details were leaked on 210 govt sites

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has accepted that around 210 central and state government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some of Aadhaar beneficiaries. The statutory authority, in response to an RTI query, also said that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.The authority however did not specify when the breach took place but also claimed the details of Aadhaar have never been made public by it at any point of time and it is maintaining highest level of data security and integrity.In the RTI reply, the authority said, “However, it was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public.”The authority also said that it has a well-designed, multi-layer robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity.”Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually thereby appropriately controlling and monitoring any movement of people, material and data in and out of UIDAI premises, particularly the data centres,” UIDAI said in the reply.The authority said that it carries out security audits on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data.

Metro track laying to begin in Jan 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a step ahead, the laying down of tracks for two Metro corridors in the western suburbs — Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro-2A and Dahisar East-Andheri (E) Metro-7 — will start from January 2018.The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), executing the two Metro projects, has said that wherever the civil structure is ready tracks will be laid.The MMRDA has also started procuring tracks for the two corridors, and the civil works for both will be completed by December 2018 with the aim to make both the corridors operational by 2019.Pravin Darade, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We have the necessary civil structure at several sections ready for laying tracks. The procurement process has also been initiated and we will start laying of tracks from January 2018,” adding that by this time next year they will have almost completed the track laying process. “The only issue is procuring coaches which is handled at the Central government level due to certain issues,” he said.DNA had reported on November 7, 2017, that MMRDA had claimed that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding Metro projects had reservations regarding the procurement policy of Metro coaches wherein 75 per cent of the coaches would have to be manufactured in India. MMRDA has written to the Centre seeking assistance on the same.SMART TRAINSMMRDA has plans to procure 63 driverless trains of six coaches each for the Metro corridors. Of these, 15 will be manufactured outside India.
Around 35 to 40 per cent of the civil works for Metro-2A and Metro-7 have been completed and the major of the civil works will be completed by May 2018, keeping in mind rainfall from June.

Vehicles flout PUC norms as city chokes on toxic pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While toxic smog remains one of the biggest concerns in Delhi, a large number of vehicles are flouting pollution under control (PUC) norms. Vehicular emission contributes to 20 per cent of the city’s air pollution.DNA had sought, through an RTI application, PUC-related information for 20014-17. Though the reply hides more than it reveals, it exposes inefficiency of the Delhi government’s transport department. No information was provided for 2014. The reply says records are not available for the year. It, however, admits that of the 1,16,077 vehicles checked during July 1-18 in 2015, only 67, 686 had valid PUC certificates. The reply also admits that 20,729 tickets were issued to vehicles for not having valid PUC certificates from January 1 to September 30 in 2017.Drives against polluting vehicles were intensified only after last November’s toxic smog episode when pollution levels reached alarming levels. This was followed by the formulation of a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to deal with different categories of air pollution.While 13,122 tickets were issued to visibly polluting vehicles in 2016, 33,335 were fined for the same this year (till September 30).The city registered a total of 97.05 lakh vehicles till last year, while there are only 957 pollution checking centres (PCCs).However, an inspection of PCCs done this year (February to August) reveals that action against 353 was taken for various complaints.“We are strengthening PUC norms and testing centres. Also, we are cracking down on vehicles violating norms or not turning up for fitness tests,” an official from the transport department said.The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), a Supreme Court-mandated body to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR, found in April that most pollution checking centres did not have upgraded technology or trained staff to get correct readings. Besides, it also found that the rejection rate for vehicles is very less, as PUC norms in the region are weak.EPCA has recommended technological advancements in testing equipment to cut down on vehicular emission.Besides, a number of out-of-state diesel-run buses coming to the city daily have been found to be not having valid PUC certificates.

Banks allowed to hire machines, private data entry operators for Aadhaar enrollment: UIDAI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The UIDAI has provided some “relaxation” to banks in procurement of enrolment machines and hiring private data entry operators for their Aadhaar centres, and hopes that banks will offer such services at stipulated 10 per cent of the branches “at the earliest”, its CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey has said.The Aadhaar-issuing body, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has allowed banks to hire private data entry operators and enrolment machines and expects the relaxation to speed up the opening of Aadhaar enrolment and updation centres at bank premises. But the reprieve has been granted with the condition that banks will have to ensure proper supervision of enrolment and updation process within their premises. “They (banks) wanted some relaxation so that they could hire operators for data entry, and also …Hire the enrolment machines. So we have provided them this relaxation. Now using that, they are going ahead and setting up the (enrolment) stations…They have assured that they will do this task as early as possible,” the UIDAI CEO told PTI in an interview.Until now, banks had to procure enrolment machines on their own and place their own employees for the job of data entry, he explained. So far, only about 3,000 branches of private and public sector banks have opened?Aadhaar?centres within their premises as against the targeted 15,300 branches that are required to do so. “The good thing is they are all catching up and they have started getting into this. Many of them have placed order on GeM (Government e-Marketplace) portal and they are in the process of procurement,” he said.Asked about the time it would take for banks to achieve the target of opening Aadhaar centres in at least 10 per cent of their branches, Pandey said, “It should be possible within next few weeks”.”The entire idea is that people should get the convenience as early as possible,” he added. On whether the UIDAI would take action against the banks for not meeting the deadline of October 31 for opening such centres, Pandey declined to spell out the consequences saying that the authority will have to take a considered view on whether banks can demonstrate valid reasons for missing the deadline.”If they (banks) are able to demonstrate that they faced a genuine difficulty then appropriate view can be taken. At this stage, it is difficult to say what exactly will be the consequences,” he added. The Bank Aadhaar Kendras are being set up with a view to make the Aadhaar verification process of bank accounts convenient for the people and also to have more Aadhaar centres across the country. According to UIDAI stipulation, 43 private and public sector banks have to open Aadhaar enrolment and updation centres in 15,315 branches.?

Delhi smog: Diesel and coal particles more toxic than dust, claim reports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dust may be the most visible marker of Delhi’s air pollution, but its sheer abundance may actually be masking the bigger killers — emissions from vehicles, thermal power plants and industries.Studies and research reports have underlined that its the chemical composition of ultrafine particulates PM2.5 or PM10, and not their volume, which is more crucial in determining the toxicity of air.The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), a Supreme Court-appointed pollution watchdog, made a similar point in a report the apex court, that particles from coal and diesel are more harmful than wind-blown dust, as they can lead to an increase in heart disease-related deaths.”Similarly, particles from diesel combustion are very toxic and have been classified by the World Health Organisation as a class I carcinogen for strong links with lung cancer, putting them in the same bracket as tobacco smoking and asbestos.”This suggests that we must prioritise the more harmful particulates for action. Combustion sources — vehicles, power plants and industry — need more stringent and priority action,” the report says.The EPCA mentioned it separately under a section — addressing quantum vs toxicity.An Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur report, which assessed the chemical composition of pollution from various sources in the city, also concluded that combustion — vehicular and industrial alike — was responsible for the formation of PM2.5 in greater quantity.Among PM2.5 and PM10, the most dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air, PM2.5 is deadlier owing to its tinier size — up to 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair — aiding it in lodging deep in the lungs and subsequently entering the bloodstream.The IIT report found that PM2.5 Nitrate particles formed from nitrogen oxides and sulphate particles formed from sulphur dioxides can be 25 per cent of the total PM2.5 load in the city.Both nitrates and sulphates are classified as ‘secondary particles’, which are formed due to the reaction of gases such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emitted from vehicles, thermal power plants and industries.”In a broad sense, fractions of secondary particles of both PM 10 and PM2.5 in two seasons were consistent and need to be controlled for better air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region,” the report pointed out.It estimates that of around 312 tons of NOx produced per day in the city, nearly 52 per cent come from industrial point sources such as power plants and 36 per cent from vehicular emissions, “probably making it the most important emission”.

Over 210 government websites made details of Aadhaar beneficiaries public: UIDAI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 200 central and state government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some Aadhaar beneficiaries, the Unique Identification Authority of India has said.The Aadhaar issuing body added, in response to an RTI query, that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.It did not specify when the breach took place.It said Aadhaar details have never been made public from/by UIDAI.”However, it was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of the general public,” it said.The UIDAI took note and got the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites, it said in reply to the RTI application.UIDAI issues Aadhaar — a 12-digit unique identification number — which acts as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country.The central government is in the process of making Aadhaar mandatory for people to avail benefits of various social service schemes.”UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer approach robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity,” the RTI reply said.The architecture of the Aadhaar ecosystem has been designed to ensure data security and privacy which is an integral part of the system from the initial design to the final stage, it said.”Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually thereby appropriately controlling and monitoring any movement of people, material and data in and out of UIDAI premises, particularly the data centres,” the UIDAI said.It said security audits are conducted on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data. Besides this, all possible steps are taken to make the data safer and protected, the authority said.

Time to pave national highways with pragmatism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) – beaming with confidence of India moving up in the global index of doing business – flexed its muscles by making it clear that there shall be proper rating of highways, toll plazas, construction companies and consultants. Interestingly, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had recently debarred companies like Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) from bidding for new projects for a year due to their “lackadaisical attitude” in meeting deadlines. These developments in the infrastructure sector with the regulatory framework being tightened are a bit too much and a bit too fast. India with its continental size needs effective highways – broad, without potholes and cattle besides smooth flow of traffic without bottlenecks. It also needs driver-friendly, safe, secure, durable and easy to maintain roads. It is not always possible to connect cities, towns and villages by rail or air and road connectivity is the answer. Expressways are the conduit between two habitations, and with motorised vehicles providing speed, safety and comfort, it is natural that the demand for good roads will grow with prosperity, business and trade.Movement of goods and people require speedy transport and proper roads. The government has not done enough on this front. Lack of resources, both financial and technical, has been a major reason to bring in private participation in infrastructure development.Private companies like L&T, HCC and others have contributed immensely to the growth story. In the process, the companies have generally done well by rewarding shareholders in the long run. Knowing the entire landscape – political, bureaucratic, legal and social – of doing business like the back of their hand, these companies have often been running the show. It is an open secret that most of the premium construction business has been shared between a few top-notch companies.Other players have not been able to compete due to their inability to handle big-ticket projects as well as lack of understanding of finer aspects of handling political and legal issues. This often results in matters reaching courts as stakes are usually high and parties do not hesitate toplay the legal gamble – it doesn’t cost much to fight the legal battle but if one wins, it is like hitting the jackpot.Though the recent actions by the MoRTH and the NHAI are salutary and aim at cleansing the system, there are serious doubts about the ability and willingness of these organisations in putting their own houses in order.Unfortunately, recently there have been several media reports about issues of conflict of interest, favouritism, dummy players bidding for lucrative contracts with knowledge and sometimes collusion of insiders, tailoring specifications to suit certain bidders and biased decision-making. Such disclosures and discussions in public do not infuse confidence.With 24X7 media, and the people armed with the RTI Act, there is hardly anything which can be kept away from public knowledge. There is rightfully no need to keep anything under wraps, however, any government or any statutory authority is not supposed to transact all the business it does at the crossroads. Most of the negotiation exercises, before anything is put down in black and white, are not open to public scrutiny. Re-negotiation of awarded contracts is also a ticklish matter and most of the issues can be dealt with satisfactorily if both parties remain realistic.The current stand taken by the MoRTH and NHAI, prima facie, is too idealistic and text-book style. Earlier too, there have been serious issues with all major construction companies walking away when the bar was raised too much. There has to be a proper blend of realism to make things work. Only then, the people will be able to have a better experience at better highways.

Safety comes first: Bihar schools set to have ‘Safe Saturday’ for students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a novel initiative, the Bihar government is set to launch a school safety programme from January 2018, where the students will be trained in disaster management at their schools every Saturday. The programme has thus been named “Safe Saturday”, and is a part of Chief Minister’s “School Suraksha Karyakram”.The decision was taken at the 11th review meeting of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and senior government and BSDMA officials in attendance. Disaster management is already studied as a subject by high school students in the state. A BSDMA official said the Safe Saturday programme will include modules on types of disasters, how to identify them, what steps can be taken to mitigate their effects and post-disaster management.The school teachers will be trained by master trainers of BSDMA and booklets and other related reference materials will be provided to them, so that they can educate the students about disaster risks and management. “Not just natural calamities, but risks of heatwave and cold wave, drowning, traffic hazards or fire safety etc will also be told to them,” the official said. The schools will also conduct mock drills, he added.Bihar is a “disaster-prone” state which faces multiple hazards of flood, drought, and lightning every year besides being in seismic zone IV and V, making it earthquake-prone too. These hazards have been claiming several lives across the state, due to lack of timely mitigation or management and delayed relief and rescue operations.

Metro 1 rolls out ‘Skiiip Q’ facility

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stuck in line waiting to get a ticket? Wait no more as commuters can now skip long queues at ticket windows of Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro stations. Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), operating the Metro, launched a mobile ticketing system on Thursday allowing commuters to scan their mobile phones at the automatic fare collection (AFC) gates to ply on Metro.Commuters can book their journey using the Mumbai Metro application ‘Skiiip Q’ facility, which will generate a QR code and can be scanned at the AFC gates to gain access to metro stations.”It will help commuters book their journey tickets at their own convenience even from outside the Metro stations. The facility, which is available on the Paytm app and that of technology partner Ridlr, will soon be introduced on the Mumbai Metro app,” MMOPL said in a statement.MMOPL has said that such type of Mobile Ticketing product is the first in India to be rolled out by it. Earlier, the Kolkatta and Delhi Metro had also announced that they were working on a similar system.Present at the launch, Abhay Kumar Mishra, CEO, MMOPL, said, “It has always been our aim to have customer-centric facilities to improve their travel experience and the skip queue facility for Mumbai Metro will enable commuters to cut down on their travel time.”UPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), that also own stakes of Metro-1, said, “MMOPL has always used technology in the right way, and this will definitely help in providing the comfort of skipping queues to commuters using Metro-1.”BREAKING RECORDSMetro 1 recorded its highest ridership of 4.13 lakh commuters on a single day in Sept 2017.According to MMOPL, Metro 1’s record ridership stood at 3.8 lakh on July 17, followed by 3.71 lakh on June 28, while on September 2, 2016, it stood at 3.68 lakh commuters.

Odd-even scheme: Delhi transport ministry urges EPCA to implement scheme in neighbouring states

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot on Thursday urged the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to implement the odd-even road rationing scheme in neighbouring states as a solution to bring down overall pollution levels in Delhi-NCR. The minister wrote to EPCA chairman Bhure Lal in this regard, as the odd-even scheme was to be implemented as an ’emergency’ measure under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which has been prepared by the Authority to tackle various levels of air pollution. “The Delhi government immediately announced the implementation of third phase of odd-even, as air pollution reached emergency levels in order to comply with GRAP. However, due to NGT orders bringing two-wheelers and women drivers in the non-exemption category for which the government again had to approach the green court to allow the exemption. However, unfortunately, the impression that is getting generated is that only Delhi needs to implement the scheme as mandated by GRAP,” write Gahlot. The government has not been able to implement the same because of NGT order, hence it must not be seen as a failure of scheme on part of the AAP government, said Gahlot. The minister further requested EPCA chief to advise neighbouring towns to implement the odd-even scheme as well, in order to bring down the pollution levels. Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts EPCA chairman Bhure Lal was not available for comments. Also, the EPCA in view of improving air quality on Thursday lifted the ban it had imposed on entry of trucks in city limits, all construction activity in Delhi-NCR and the four-fold hike in parking charges. While the air quality has improved from the past week, it was still in the ‘very poor’ category.

Ring Road: Dilemma over China link now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new hurdle has stalled much awaited Jaipur ring road project. NHAI is in dilemma over China connection of Haryana based ‘Gawar’ company, which placed the lowest bid for this project. The matter was sent to union ministry of surface transport and national highway, which forwarded it to ministry of external affairs. Now, the NHAI will wait for foreign ministry’s nod to go ahead with bidding process.Ring road project has been facing problems from the beginning. Initially, the company, which was awarded contract in 2011 couldn’t complete the project in stipulated 24-months due to tussle with its partner. Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) then handed over project to NHAI but went too slow in annulment of contract with the old company. Now, there is a new hurdle. Of the 15 companies in race for this project, Gawar had the lowest bid but before NHAI could issue letter of interest (LOI) to the company, it was revealed that a Chinese has 5% stake in Gawar. The NHAI then sent the matter to union surface transport ministry and subsequently it reached ministry of foreign affairs. Sources said that LOI can now be issued only after clearance from the foreign ministry.After years of delay, the government was hoping that the NHAI would complete the project by September 2018.MONEY MATTERSProject cost Rs 1,190 crore
Rs 960 crore for first phase of six-lane CC road
Rs 230 crore second phase, includes three flyovers

Book violators for every inch of encroachment, Delhi High Court tells police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking note of the unauthorised constructions in the Capital, Delhi High Court directed the police on Wednesday to register an FIR and take action against violators for every inch of encroachment on land meant for public.The court further directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to demolish all encroachments around the Southern Ridge and prosecute encroachers at Hanuman Mandir.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar gave the following directions after a committee submitted a report on encroachments in the Capital. On May 16, it had appointed former CBI director D R Karthikeyan, India Habitat Centre (IHC) director Raj Liberhan, and retired district judge Ravinder Kaur as committee members, who will act as court commissioners.According to the committee’s report, there are 1,170 square yards of encroachment on the Old Link Road, Southern Avenue, and the 108ft-high Hanuman Murti on the Karol Bagh/Pusa Road junction, right in the way of vehicular traffic.”These constructions are not only encroachments on public land but also render the persons responsible for the commission of this offence under the IPC,” the bench said, directing the DDA to file a report indicating the persons responsible for “every inch of encroachment on the Southern ridge area and the Hanuman Mandir”.

NGT’s tough talk forces Kejri govt to back down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning the scientific rationale behind the Delhi government’s review plea, which sought exemption for women motorists and polluting two-wheelers under the Odd-Even car rationing scheme, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to modify its previous order that permitted the car rationing without exemptions. The NGT said when the two-wheelers also contribute to high levels of pollution in the city, why should they be exempted?The NGT’s tough line of questioning prompted the Delhi government to withdraw its review plea. It then filed a fresh plea before the Tribunal, seeking implementation of Odd-Even scheme in neighbouring states.”Give us one scientific reason for allowing two-wheelers? Why can’t you run buses for women? Why don’t you take positive steps? Why should we exempt anybody? If they (two-wheelers) are not polluting, we will allow them,” a three-member bench, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, said. It was hearing a batch of petitions, seeking to curb air pollution.The NGT also ordered that industries that were involved in manufacture of essential services, commodities, and eatables were exempted from the prohibitory orders it had passed on November 9. It also clarified that industries that were complying with pollution norms would be allowed to operate upon verification by authorities.The Tribunal modified its orders after industries such as the All India Rice Manufacturers Association pleaded relief and said that since operations were shut, paddy procured for rice production was getting wasted.After the pollution levels breached the severe category, the NGT passed an order on November 9, with a slew of directions, including a prohibition on construction activity and industries.The Tribunal, however, refused to provide relief to others, observing that pollution levels were still unacceptable. “In light of these hazardous values, which are bound to create environmental and health hazards, it is not possible for this Tribunal to vary the order dated November, 11, 2017 and its judgment dated November, 10, 2016 at this stage,” the bench said.It further directed the Delhi government and civic bodies to identify an area that is highly polluted and sprinkle water using appropriate equipment to control the particulate matter pollution.During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the bench that work on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway construction had been stopped after NGT’s order. The Tribunal thus modified its order in that regard and allowed the work to continue, with a rider that the senior most officer of the National Highway Authority of India would file an undertaking on Wednesday to assure that there would be no dust pollution.

Jis desh mein… Ganga to be ‘1st’ Rajasthan constable

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ganga Kumari of Raniwara will create a record of sorts when she will become the first transgender to join Rajasthan police as a constable.Ganga had applied for police recruitment in 2013 and was selected on February 13, 2015 but her selection was cancelled when she was found to be a transgender in the medical examination. However, Ganga challenged the decision and after four-year legal battle she finally got what she rightfully deserved. Hearing the petition filed by Ganga, Justice Dinesh Mehta of the Rajasthan High Court on Monday ordered the Home Secretary to appoint Ganga on the post of constable within six weeks and she should also be given all the emoluments from 2015.Ganga in her petition had pleaded that she had mentioned her gender as female in the application form and her selection was also done on that basis. During the hearing of the petition at the High Court, Ganga’s counsel Rituraj Singh cited the Supreme Court verdict of the National Legal Service Authority Council of the Union of India saying, none of the cross-genders can be neglected. Every Indian citizen has the right to get a job according to the constitution. It is not written that the transgender will not be appointed. Anil Bissa, the counsel for the state government, told the court that during the medical examination, petitioner was found to be of third category (transgender) and in this connection, the bill was also passed on behalf of the state government which is pending in Parliament and there is no option or category of transgender mentioned anywhere in the relevant rules. Amendments to related rules are possible only after the bill is passed by the state government.Justice Mehta reprimanded the govt counsel and said that if the bill will not passed for three years, would any transgender not get a job? Agreeing with the arguments of Ganga’s lawyer, Justice Mehta issued orders to the home Secretary of the Government, Director General of Police and Jalore SP for the appointment of Ganga as a constable. Also, orders have been issued to to give her emoluments from December 2015.Overjoyed by the decision, Ganga said, ”that there was no option other than male and female in the form of police recruitment That’s why I applied in the female category due to the identity of a girl from childhood. I have full confidence that when I get the appointment, I will prove to be a good constable.

IndiGo again! Woman thrown off wheelchair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IndiGo is in trouble again and has apologised to a female passenger who fell off her wheelchair while being assisted by the airline’s staff at Lucknow airport on Saturday night. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) squarely blamed the airline’s gross negligence for the mishap.This is a second case of embarrassment for the budget carrier which had to say sorry days before after a video went viral, showing a passenger being manhandled by its employees at Delhi airport in October.”We apologise to Ms Urvashi Parikh Viren for the mishap which occurred at the Lucknow airport at 8 pm,” the airline said in a statement on the latest case.”Our IndiGo representative was pushing her wheelchair towards the arrival hall. As he was guiding her wheelchair through a vehicular lane, which was dimly lit at that time of the night, her wheelchair got stuck in a deep crack on the tarmac and lost balance and she fell off her wheelchair,” it read.”Parikh was injured and immediately rushed to the doctor of the Airports Authority of India. He administered first aid to her.”The state-owned AAI that operates Lucknow’s airport, however, said in a statement that investigations showed the incident happened due to “gross negligence of IndiGo staff as he chose the wrong path on the tarmac and mishandled the passenger. The AAI said the whole area has sufficient illumination. A detailed investigation is in progress and CCTV footage is also being looked into, an AAI spokesperson said.Earlier, a passenger was assaulted and dragged on the tarmac at Delhi airport by IndiGo’s staff. A video of the incident surfaced and was widely shared.The airline first issued a four-page defence and said its staff had followed the Standard Operating Procedure and acted in self-defence, but was attacked first by the passenger. IndiGo chief Aditya Ghosh later offered his “personal apologies”, saying “this does not reflect our culture.”The Civil Aviation Minister later ordered an inquiry into the incident and asked the airline to explain.Parikh and her family have not immediately lodged a complaint with the airline, the AAI or the Civil Aviation Ministry. The woman or her family has also not immediately issued any statement about the incident.ONE AFTER ANOTHER…This is a second such case of embarrassment for the budget carrier which had to say sorry days before after a video went viral, showing a passenger being manhandled by its employees at Delhi airport in October(With agency inputs)

Supreme Court calls Delhi pollution an ’emergency situation’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court said on Monday that the Capital’s air pollution was an emergency-like situation and ordered the central government as well as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and its municipal corporations to respond to a petition on stubble burning and dust spread for quick action.A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard lawyer RK Kapoor’s submission on rising air pollution levels. It said there would not be any stay on pollution cases being heard in other courts.Kapoor suggested sprinkling of water and vacuum cleaning to tackle the dust problem. He also sought direction for the promotion of solar energy and e-rickshaws. He sought schemes and subsidies to dissuade stubble burning.The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) suggested that plying of diesel vehicles should be banned and thermal power plants should be shut when pollution crosses emergency levels.It said to the court on Monday that stickers on vehicles should show fuel and age to allow certain categories to be stopped prohibited, depending on pollution levels.Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court asked the traffic police and the city’s transport department to check vehicles for compliance of pollution norms. The court said there was rampant violation of rules by vehicles.Meanwhile, the AAP government filed an application at the NGT seeking modifications of its order passed on Odd-Even traffic restrictions. This was after the NGT asked: “Are you approaching us or was the minister’s statement that the government will file a review petition only for the press.” The government has for now called off the plan because exemptions to two-wheelers and female motorists were not allowed by the NGT for vehicle rationing.Strict measuresThe Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) suggested that plying of diesel vehicles should be banned and thermal power plants should be shut when pollution crosses emergency levels

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