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On New Year’s Eve, restaurants see 20% surge in bookings

Leaving the agony of demonetisation behind, the Capital city is all set to welcome 2018 doing what it does best — party. The excitement is evident from the surge in bookings at the restaurants for the New Year Eve bashes. Restaurants and pubs in the Capital that faced a massive dip in sales in December last year are hopeful of doing brisk business this season.The popular outlets in markets like Connaught Place, Hauz Khas Village, Khan Market claim that booking for the parties have increased by at least 20 per cent this year compared to the slump that hit them last year.Hardly two months into demonetisation last year, the Capital welcomed 2017 with muted celebrations as restaurateurs rued their places going empty on the New Year Eve as people decided not to spend much. The scenario this year, however, seems different as outlets are running packed on Sunday.Inderjeet Singh Banga, owner, Prankster reveals that the Capital is soaked in party spirit this year. “We are already overflowing with enquiries and people are excited to be part of the farewell party at our restaurant. Our bookings were full by Sunday. There is no better time to party than New Year eve. In fact, the party season started on Christmas weekend.”Conceding to the view, Manuj M Gupta from The Darzi Bar & Kitchen in Connaught Place (CP), who is debuting its New Year bash, this year, says,”This is our first time. We have heard that last year December was badly hit because of demonetisation and the trend of partying out was restricted. However, we are enjoying a good footfall this time, as people are thronging to CP to party.”However, Umang Tewari, who runs Vault cafe and Local in Connaught Place, still feels that the influx of party revellers is not much. “December is better than the last months. I see the party season coming back to normal. However, I don’t see that much crowd because of so many restrictions imposed upon us by the government.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Delhi Nursery admissions: Jamia students to help EWS families

Even as the nursery admission process for the Economically Weaker Section and Disadvantaged (EWS/DG) category is yet to begin across the Capital, few students of Jamia Millia Islamia have decided to help such families in completing their online submission process.The Engineering Department of the university has joined hands with an NGO Mission Taleem to serve help the needy families.”We had approached the university to seek their help in helping such people who have no idea about the online admission process. The department has assured us of providing every possible help in filling as many forms as possible,” said Ekramul Haque, national convener of the NGO.”We will try to reach every nook and corner of Delhi, where poor and needy people reside, and fill their forms at their homes with the help of these students,” he added.The Delhi government had switched to a centralised online admission process for the EWS category in 2015, after receiving repeated complaints of discrimination from the parents. However, the parents of the EWS kids face many hardships in the online procedure as most of them do not have access to the internet. The official data also shows a considerable decline in the number of nursery admissions in the EWS/DG category in the last three sessions.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Outlets arrange for cabs for party-goers

Restaurants and pubs in the city have become proactive towards the safety of their customers ahead of the New Year’s Eve. To ensure that they do not drink and drive, and reach home safely after partying, a lot of outlets are arranging for cab facility.Inderjeet Singh Banga, owner of Prankster, said: “Safety of our customers is definitely of prime importance. At the same time, we don’t want them to compromise on their enjoyment, with concerns about who will drive them back home. Hence, we are offering special arrangement to pick and drop them on Sunday.”Sahil Sambhi, who runs Molecule, has tied up with cab aggregators Ola and Uber for diners who think they won’t be able to drive back home after downing a few drinks.Vault Cafe, Junction are some of the other places in the Capital which are taking measures to avoid cases of drunk driving. Umang Tewari, a restaurateur, said: “Traffic in Delhi-NCR becomes unruly, especially on days such as NYE. Constant checking, fog, unpredictable traffic, and alcohol intake, all factors are not safe to add to your positive party vibes. So, we are doing pre-bookings for transport.”

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Lok Sabha passes Bill to protect unauthorised colonies

The Lok Sabha (LS) on Wednesday passed a Bill to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the National Capital Region from punitive action, till a framework for orderly arrangements is in place. The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill gives immunity to slums and some unauthorised constructions till December 31, 2020.The immunity under the exisiting Bill ends on December 31.Urban development minister Hardeep Singh Puri said if the Bill is not passed, it will lead to “unprecedented chaos” in the national Capital.The legislation will give cover against punitive action on “as is where is basis” until December 2020, he said. Puri also attacked the Sheila Dikshit government for not coming out with a proper policy on the matter and said “it was the failure of governance of a very high order”.Singh said the legislation provides that no action will be taken by any local authority till December 31, 2017, with respect to encroachments or unauthorised developments as of January 1, 2006 on unauthorised colonies and village abadi areas that existed on March 31, 2002, and where constructions took place till February 8, 2007.The sealing exercise by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee had created panic among slum-dwellers and traders in part of the city, with the legislation expected to allay their apprehensions to a large extent.Participating in the debate on the Bill, BJP MP Parvesh Varma attacked the AAP government in Delhi, accusing it of not coming out with a policy on unauthorised colonies or slums.Ramesh Bidhuri, BJP MP from south Delhi, referred to the hike in water tariffs and alleged that the Arvind Kejriwal government had deceived the people.He also blamed the Congress for its failure to come up with a policy on unauthorised construction issue.TMC MP Saugata Roy was to speak on the Bill but did not.

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L-G Anil Baijal’s note on scheme ‘saddens’ Manish Sisodia

Continuing the attack on Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that he was “extremely saddened” after reading the noting of the L-G on doorstep delivery of services scheme.On Tuesday, Sisodia had alleged that the L-G rejected the proposal for 40 doorstep services in the national Capital. “I am unable to understand why the L-G has a problem with residents of Delhi getting delivery of services at their doorstep? The basic question that arises is that should a selected L-G have the power to reject a major decision of the elected government?” Sisodia asked on Wednesday.Among the 40 public services that were to be covered under the scheme in the first phase were caste certificates, income certificates, driving licences, duplicate driving licences, new water and sewer connections, handicap pension schemes, domicile certificates, delayed birth order, Lal Dora certificates, etc. Clarifying the doubts raised by the L-G, Sisodia said these services will put an end to the long queues in government offices. “There will be a 100 per cent feedback system to check corruption and quality of services. There is no fear of documents going missing as the executive will visit your place, scan the documents, and upload them then and there. This system will be super quick. The executive will visit your place on a phone call and provide the services,” he explained.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had planned to hire a private agency to implement the decision. According to the plan, mobile sahayaks (facilitators) will be hired through the agency, which would set up call centres.

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Delhi Nursery Admisions: School has ‘novel’ way to curb population

Landing itself in controversy yet again, this year as well, the popular Salwan Public School in Delhi has barred parents with more than two children from seeking admission for their wards in nursery. The school will mention this criteria in its admission form, to be uploaded on Wednesday. According to Sushil Salwan, chairperson of the Salwan group, India’s rising population has become a major hurdle in its development and everybody should contribute to help the nation in curbing it. “ It is our way of motivating people to have less children. We have already mentioned this in our admission form, which will be uploaded on Wednesday,” he said.Last year, both branches of the school — Salwan Montessori and GD Salwan — located in Rajendra Nagar in west Delhi, were slammed by parents for mentioning this clause in its admission form, which stated: “Parents having more than two children, including whose admission is sought, need not apply.” The Delhi government had issued a show cause notice to the school.Unfazed by the criticism, Salwan said: “We are ready to take all the media gagging for the sake of our country. We are not afraid. Criticising those who take bold initiatives has become a norm these days.” When contacted, the Delhi government officials said they will take action against the school, if this happens. “Strict action will be taken against any school for setting such unjustified criteria,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to Delhi deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia.Experts also slammed the move and termed it “arbitrary”, with no mention in the Directorate of Education (DoE) guidelines. “Last year also, the school had included this clause and faced criticism from parents as well as the government. This is no way of contributing to the country’s development. If the school actually wants to do something for the welfare of the nation, it should provide underprivileged children with more opportunities to study,” said Sumit Vohra of the admissionsnursery.com.Meanwhile, parents who were preparing to apply at the Salwan School, are in a fix. “How can a school accept or reject us on the basis of how many children we have? This is the most bizzare regulation one can put,” said Ankit Saini, a Rajendra Nagar resident.Admissions in entry-level classes in 1,700 private, unaided, recognised schools in the national Capital will begin on Wednesday. Strange solution Salwan Public School in New Delhi has barred parents with more than two children from seeking admission for wards in nursery as a way of motivating people to have fewer children.

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Christmas celebrated across city, Arvind Kejriwal urges for communal harmony

Christmas fervour gripped the national Capital on Monday as thousands of devotees thronged churches to offer special prayers and soak in the Yuletide spirit at decked up cathedrals.Delhi was coloured in white and red as the residents sported santa caps, doubling celebratory mode of the festival and the extended weekend, as well.As bells tolled, people thronged the churches, including the Cathedral Church of The Redemption and Sacred Heart Cathedral — looking resplendent with twinkling lights for the midnight service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also greeted people on social media and marked his attendance at several Christmas programmes in the Capital. At one of the events, Kejriwal emphasised the significance of communal harmony, nullifying the role of place for “hatred” in a civil society. Speaking at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kejriwal said, “Today is a day to learn lessons from the life of Jesus Christ, the way he worked for the people of the society including the poor, the ailing and the needy. We should learn from his life and spread happiness and harmony all across .” He also added, “I think there should be love and harmony between all religions in the society and there should be no place for hatred.”Calling India a nation of a unique bouquet of various religions and faiths, Kejriwal reiterated the need to “preserve this bouquet” as a duty.Speaking at another Christmas celebration at Punjabi Bagh, the chief minister expressed happiness over celebrating the festival with people.Churches in different neighbourhoods of the city reverberated with traditional Christmas carols rendering the air festive, with gospel bands enthralling the merry-makers with songs like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Oh Holy Night’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’.

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Centre denies NDMA lacks direction

“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.””
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 25 December 2017 3:52 ISTMust readCops’ neighbourhood watch schemes failed to uncover sex racketYogi Adityanath meets distressed homebuyers, promises quick action<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Centre has refuted the claim made in a PIL that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) members were working on their own, without any direction and coordination, due to vacant posts.The bench was hearing a PIL by a lawyer who claimed that several key posts, including that of the vice-chairperson and secretary of NDMA, were lying vacant for the last two years.“It is not true. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to the PIL. The ministry further informed a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar that the rules provide that the chairperson may designate one of the members to be the vice-chairman of the authority. “At present, there are four members in the NDMA,” the reply filed by the Centre stated, adding that “weekly meetings were held regularly.”

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Month on, Connaught Place molester roams free

Almost a month after a 32-year-old professor was molested in Connaught Place, the heart of the national Capital, the Delhi Police have failed to get any major breakthrough, though a sketch of the accused has also been made with the help of the victim. The police, however, maintain that a dedicated team is working on the case.The woman was molested on the terrace of her office building on November 30. A man groped her, unzipped his pants, and masturbated in front of her while she was taking a break from work. The accused also snatched her phone before fleeing from the location. DNA was the first to report the incident.Four days after the incident, the police got a sketch of the accused made, which was then circulated. The accused, however, still remains at large and has not been identified till now.Investigating officers said the accused was not known to the victim. He was wearing spectacles at the time of the incident. The police officers scanned the CCTV footage from the entire area. A list of people, including courier staff, regular visitors, food delivery men, cleaning staff, and other people who would often visit the building has also been made. So far, nearly 100 people have been verified through the sketch.”We have made a list of people who come to the building. It is a time taking procedure but our teams are working on it. We have put up the sketch at several places and are hopeful of nabbing the accused soon,” said BK Singh, DCP, New Delhi.

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Parents of kids born on March 31 at their wits’ end

Violation of Delhi government’s Directorate of Education’s (DoE) norms by several private schools in the national Capital is giving nightmares to parents seeking nursery admission for their tiny tots. And for those whose children were born on March 31, the confusion seems to have no end.The DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower age limit for students in nursery, KG, and Class I at three, four, and five years, as of March 31, 2018, respectively. It had also asked them to not implement any upper age limit. Flouting the directions, however, nearly 20 private schools have set an age bar in their criteria for nursery admissions. This has made many children eligible for admission in both nursery and KG.Some schools, including Fr. Peter Mermier Pre-School in Janakpuri, have issued a notice stating that “the child should complete 3 years of age by March 31, 2018. The upper limit is 4 years”. Some, including Venkateshwar International School in Dwarka, have stated that “children whose birth date falls between April 1, 2014 and March 21, 2015 are eligible for admission in nursery”.In the first case, a child born on March 31 will not be able to take admission in nursery. In the second case, the candidate will be eligible. Also, the child who turns four on March 31, 2019, can enroll in KG anywhere.Hassled by this confusing criteria, parents said they don’t know whether they should enroll their wards in nursery or KG. “My son will turn 4 on March 31, which makes him ineligible for admission in nursery in various schools. I don’t know what to do. I can’t enroll him directly in KG,” said Manisha Singh, a resident of east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar.Experts, at the same time, said the schools were not only violating the DoE norms by fixing the upper age criteria but also “misinterpreting” it. “Many schools have failed to comprehend the DoE’s upper age limit guideline set in 2015, which states that the candidate should be less than 4 years of age on March 31 of the year of admission. That makes the child born on March 31 not eligible for a nursery seat,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of admissions nursery.com.When contacted, DoE officials said they were not aware of the development and strict actions will be taken if any such violation of the order is found.THE CASEIn 2015, the Delhi government had declared that it would impose an upper age limit on nursery admissions. This part of the government notification was challenged in the High Court. Earlier this year, however, the court upheld the notification and allowed DoE to fix an upper limit for admission in entry level classes in private recognised unaided schools.

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Air pollution linked to defects in foetal growth

As smog engulfed the national Capital on Wednesday, again, and the air quality dropped to ‘very poor’ pointing 400 AQI on the scale, city doctors, in alignment with a paper published in British Medical Journal, talked about the consequences of air pollution on birth weight. The outcome of the paper published in the UK-based journal states that air pollution from road traffic is affecting the foetal growth.”Pollution from vehicular traffic, in particular, releases gases which directly affect the growth of a foetus’ sensitive organs like the brain and the heart,” says Dr SP Byotra, Head of Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.”In urban settings, children and pregnant women suffer due to the bad air quality caused by emissions from traffic,” he adds.Another 2017 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shared their findings that women’s exposure to air pollution before conception causes an increased risk of birth defects in children. This birth data, taken from Ohio Department of Health, and particulate matter data from US Environmental Protection Agency’s 57 monitoring stations, studied the impact on children’s development by linking geographic coordinates of mothers with the station.The Ohio study, holds weight in the current smog scenario in Delhi as it confirms the association between air pollution and birth defects. It suggests that the most susceptible time where women’s exposure to air pollution-related birth-defects is a month before and after conception. The children affected by this may be born with a cleft lip or a palate or abnormal hearts.”All the Nitrogen and small particles released from the vehicles is inhaled by us and travel to our bloodstream, and thus to the entire system. It affects all organs. In case of a pregnant woman, these particles may also travel to the foetus through the placenta and affect growth or cause defects,” Dr Vikas Maurya, Senior Consultant, Pulmonologist, Fortis Healthcare said.”It is strange that other countries are doing such research work despite good air quality, while we see this as ‘new awareness’,” he adds.

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Post Doklam, Indo-China boundary talks on Friday

After the 73-day Doklam military stand-off, special representatives of India and China will meet in the nation Capital on Friday to carry forward talks on boundary dispute. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed that at the invitation of Ajit Doval — the National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on the boundary question — State Councillor and China’s Special Representative on the issue Yang Jiechi will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th SR-level meeting.In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this SR meeting is not only a high-level channel for the border issue discussion, but also the platform for strategic communication. “In 2017, China-India relations have generally maintained a good momentum, but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said.Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the border stand-off from June 16 when Indian soldiers stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ corridor.On August 28, India announced the “disengagement” between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.

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Delhi’s smog-blasting cannon

An anti-smog cannon has been trailed in Delhi. By spraying out water, it aims to combat the capital’s toxic air.

L-G Anil Baijal reviews plan to combat air pollution

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday chaired a meeting to review the detailed action plan of agencies/stakeholders on measures to combat air pollution in the Capital.Baijal directed all the three municipal corporations to ensure that no methane fires occur at the three landfill sites and for this they should take help of experts of the Science & Technology Ministry, Government of India and IIT Delhi. He also asked all three municipal commissioners to procure requisite mechanical sweepers, litter pickers, water sprinklers within a stipulated time.The officials informed the L-G about the progress on constructive plan and regulatory plan focusing on transport department, industries & DG sets, Solid Waste Management, road dust & fugitive emissions to combat air pollution in Delhi.For the action plan on Solid Waste Management, Baijal directed the commissioners of three MCDs to rework their action plan keeping in mind 100 per cent management of day-to-day generation of solid waste, including bio-degradable components as well as construction & demolition waste. “The plan should cover a time-frame not exceeding sixteen months and also indicate the exact requirement of funds,” an official statement from L-G house stated.Regarding the plan to tackle road dust and fugitive emissions, which is to be completed in eight months, it was informed that an assessment of all central verges will be done where watering on perennial basis is not possible, and all such central verges will be done.”Further, large construction agencies like NBCC and CPWD that are working in the National Capital Region should set up their own facilities for processing C&D waste and reuse the products in their own projects. The L-G also stressed that agencies/stakeholders concerned must prepare an intensive awareness plan for anti-fire cracker campaign, plantation campaign, anti-polluting vehicle campaign, old vehicle campaign, lane driving,” the statement further stated.ACTION PLANThe L-G also asked all three municipal commissioners to procure requisite mechanical sweepers, litter pickers, water sprinklers within a stipulated time. He directed the corporations to seek help of experts.

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Concerns raised over drug prices by committee in first meeting

The nine-member committee formed by Delhi government to keep a vigil on the functioning of private hospitals in the Capital in its first meeting raised some serious concern over the price of medicines in all the hospitals. The first meeting held on Friday also discussed and suggested ways to limit the number of visits of a specialist in a hospital.According to the sources, one of the major concerns raised by the members was the capping of the drug prices not covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). These included gloves and syringes.”While the government has a capping on the NLEM drugs, we are concerned about those which are not included in the list. A common rule should be there for all the medicine and drugs,” said one of the members who attended the meeting.The health department had received various complaints against the private hospitals forcing patients to buy medicines at an inflated rate and from the hospital medical shops. The committee will also look into consumables, behaviour protocol of medical staff, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and misdemeanor at the hospital.”This issue is majorly troubling the patients, who are visiting the hospitals on a regular basis,” added the member. The members will now next meet on December 29 to discuss the further course of action.The members are from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Delhi Medical Council (DMC), Delhi Medical Association (DMA).The move comes days after the government cancelled the license of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a newborn dead.”Over-billing is a big problem in private hospitals. We are forming a committee, including experienced doctors and medical experts, which will provide recommendations,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said.The decision was taken following a series of meetings by Jain with various professional and regulatory organisations representing doctors working across the Capital.Meanwhile, the DMC has written to the doctors and nurses of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh involved in the alleged medical negligence to submit their response in the case. The medical council will hear the explanation of all the medical experts individually before taking a final decision.FINAL CALL AWAITEDThe DMC has written to the doctors and nurses of Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh involved in the alleged medical negligence to submit their response in the case. The medical council will hear the explanation of all the medical experts individually before taking a final decision

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No sports facility is 100 govt schools

Ashutosh Kumar, a class VII student at Government Co-ed Senior Secondary School in north-west Delhi’s Rohini, wants to refine athletic skills as he aspires to win an Olympic medal for the country. However, the 12-year-old is not getting the opportunity in the absence of a working sports ground in his school.For Kumar, son of an e-rickshaw driver, enrolling in a private school with a well-equipped playground is a distant dream.”I don’t have interest in studies. I want to pursue sports as a career option. Our school doesn’t have a playground where I can practice. I asked my parents to change my school but they can’t afford it,” he said.Even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government talks about creating a sports university and provide specialised training to tap sports talents, as many as 100 government schools in the Capital do not even have sports grounds, reply to an RTI filed by DNA revealed.Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, it is mandatory to have a playground on school premises. And, in the absence of space, the schools have to make adequate arrangements in a nearby park/playground.”No such effort has been taken by the school authority even as we don’t have a sports ground,” said a faculty member at Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Mangolpuri.The Delhi government recently constructed two new swimming pools – one in Mayur Vihar Phase-2 and another in west Vinod Nagar – and a world-class hockey stadium in Boys Senior Secondary School in Ghumanhera village.”What will they do in the absence of trained teachers? 50 per cent of the sanctioned posts for Physical Education Teachers are lying vacant,” said Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary, Government School Teachers Association and a physical education teacher at a school in Karol Bagh.As per a recent data, of the 864 sanctioned posts of post-graduate teacher (PGT) Physical Education, 636 are lying vacant. Also, among graduate teachers (TGTs), supposed to teach up to class VIII, of the 2205 sanctioned posts, 901 are lying vacant.Officials at the Directorate of Education (DoE), however, cited lack of space to construct sports grounds in these schools. However, teachers said the government should focus on arranging cluster sports grounds.”The government can make cluster grounds for two-three nearby schools. But no such efforts are being taken at their end,” Yadav added.Around 100 government schools in the capital do not even have sports grounds Of 864 sanctioned posts of post-graduate teacher (PGT) Physical Education, 636 are lying vacant in government schools. Of 2205 sanctioned posts graduate teachers (TGTs), 901 are lying vacant.

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Delhi cop out at crime scene

The rate of registration of crimes in the national Capital has gone up fourfold in the last seven years. Cases of theft that have jumped by a whopping 1,530 per cent — from 6,313 in 2011 to 1,02,954 in 2017. Burglaries saw a tenfold increase till 2016, but dipped this year, latest police data shows. Vehicle thefts have also more than doubled during this period. As for heinous crimes, they rose steadily from 2011 to 2015, but came down in 2016. But non-heinous crimes have continued to spike since 2000.In 2011, the total number of cases registered was 53,353. It was 54,287 in 2012 that grew to 80,184 in 2013. The number further grew to 1,55,654 in 2014, and 2015 recorded 1,91,377 cases. In 2016 a total of 2,09,519 crimes were registered. This year, till November, the figure was 2,13,151. Officials say that the rising numbers are because of better reporting of cases and do not reflect poor law and order. A number of initiatives have been taken by the Delhi police to encourage registration, they say.”People in Delhi have good access to the police. If one wants to report a crime, it won’t remain unreported. We have zero-tolerance towards non-registration of crimes. Moreover, facilities like online registration of FIRs through mobile phone apps have made the task hassle free and less time consuming. We must appreciate more registration of crimes so that no crime goes unreported. Citizens must become the eyes and ears of police to help eradicate every form of crime in society,” a senior police officer said.Take the case of Param Srivastava, an IT professional. He had his mobile phone stolen from a market near his residence in East Delhi. Having a hectic work schedule from 10 am to about midnight, what he could do best was to file an e-FIR and let the matter rest with the police for investigation.”I was not aware of this system. To get a new SIM card of the same number I needed to file an FIR and filing it online saved me a lot of time and energy. Even if the phone could not be recovered, my work did not get affected. However, the police also needs to take these FIRs as seriously as the ones registered by complainants physically, in police stations,” he said.The police says that such measures from the force encourage people and victims of crimes to come forward and raise their voice. “Registration of a crime is the first step towards raising your voice. It also allows the police to probe and ensure justice. Such measures have also encouraged women and girls to come forward and report,” he added.”One can simply go to the Delhi police’s website and lodge a complaint. That complaint is then turned into an e-FIR and a receipt is generated for the user, for future reference. Moreover, one can even check the status of her complaint on the website. Apart from these, policing apps are available on cell phones and women safety apps have also been launched to make police accessible anywhere and everywhere,” he said.About three months ago, Isha, who works as a content producer at a private firm, got her laptop stolen from her house. “My residence where I live as a paying guest with two other women, is quite a public place. It is not easy to find a suspect. The ability to solve a crime is a different debate altogether, but I found reporting the theft a very easy and time-saving process. My parents might have otherwise not liked the idea of my visiting a police station at odd hours,” she said. However, increasing street crimes cannot be ignored and vigil needs to be stepped up at a number of stretches in Delhi, she said.Rising CrimesBut heinous crimes are the biggest worry. Delhi accounts for the maximum number of rape cases among 19 major cities at 40 per cent, besides the highest crime rate in 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The national Capital has got the dubious distinction of topping the list in cases of murder, kidnapping and abduction, juveniles bring in conflict and economic offences. Delhi reported 33 per cent (13,803 cases out of total 41,761 cases in 19 cities) of total crimes against women, followed by Mumbai at 12.3 per cent (5,128 cases) last year among the 19 cities with population above two million.The national Capital reported nearly 40 per cent of rape cases and nearly 29 per cent of each of cruelty by husband and his relatives and dowry deaths, the NCRB data said. Delhi accounted for 38.8 per cent of total IPC crime reported in 19 cities, followed by Bengaluru (8.9 per cent) and Mumbai at 7. 7 per cent. The national Capital recorded the highest crime rate—182.1 compared to the national average of 77.2. Delhi reported the highest number of kidnapping and abduction—5,453 cases (48.3 per cent) followed by Mumbai with 1,876 cases (16.6 per cent) and Bengaluru with 879 cases (7.8 per cent) during 2016.The city reported the highest number of murders— 479 out of 2,194 cases (21.8 per cent)—followed by Bengaluru at 10.4 per cent (229 cases) and Patna at 8.9 per cent (195 cases). The highest number of cases—at 35.6 per cent (2,368 cases out of 6,645)—of juveniles in conflict with law were reported in Delhi among the 19 cities during 2016.Delhi has reported the maximum number of cases under economic offences—5,942 cases (19.3 per cent)—followed by Jaipur (4,742 cases) and Mumbai (4,191 cases), accounting for 15.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively during 2016. In cybercrimes, Mumbai reported the highest number of cases—980 (23.5 per cent) out of 4,172 cases in 19 major cities in 2016.The crime scenario in Delhi cannot be compared with other metros because the city has different policing requirements, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik said recently. “In terms of policing requirements, since it is the national Capital, Delhi has got VIP security, law and order arrangements which are typical to Delhi. The city is a separate class in itself and it can only be compared to Delhi of the previous year,” Patnaik told PTI.Poor Strike RateBut the data also shows that cops are struggling to crack cases. The Delhi police’s average crime solving percentage across all its administrative districts till November 19 this year was low as 33.37 per cent. This is when the NCRB has ranked the city as the worst in increasing crime cases. Confidential police documents accessed and reported by DNA recently showed that the force has been struggling to clear case backlogs.The New Delhi district is the worst despite having the biggest police deployment. It managed to solve only 23 per cent of the 3,120 cases. Then comes Rohini that could solve 26 per cent of the total 18,046 cases. The North district achieved a rate of only 29 per cent. It registered 9,513 cases. It is followed by the Southeast that could solve 30 per cent of the 20,549 cases.The East district scored 31 per cent. It registered 15,659 cases. The outer district managed to solve 33 per cent of the 14,961 cases. The Northwest also clocked 33 per cent. It recorded 19,400 cases. The police in West, Southwest and Northeast districts have solved 36 per cent of the 16,105, 14,474 and 15,613 cases, respectively. The Central district recorded 9,564 cases and solved a 37 per cent of them. The Shahdara district performed better and scored 41 per cent. It recorded 12,798 cases. The South district has fared the best. It solved 44 per cent of the 19,786 cases.The IGI airport police, which does not usually witness heinous crimes at it falls in a sensitive zone and has round-the-clock security by the CISF, solved 56 per cent of the 577 cases that included only one murder and a rape as heinous crimes. Railways and Delhi Metro, however, were the worst in non-major police pockets. Both solved 21 per cent and 22 per cent cases, respectively. The Railways recorded 3,683 cases, while the Metro saw 11,872.Police ClaimsOfficers say a number of measures have been taken for crime control. These include more participation of the public in assisting cops in monitoring large areas. “Certain steps which have been of major help are integrated patrolling with traffic police and the police control room, regular bike patrolling to ensure visibility and group patrolling in areas more prone to criminal activities,” a senior official said. Further, initiatives which demand public participation are like Sashakti self-defence training camps, anti-snatching teams and use of local area security guards to assist beat constables and act as force multipliers and Prahari schemes, he said, also mentioning area-wise crime mapping, identification of vulnerable and escape routes used by local criminals, picket checking at crime prone stretches.

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Every day a Nirbhaya is gang-raped and killed here: Asha Devi

Tomorrow marks five years of the brutal Delhi gang-rape incident, an incident that triggered nation-wide protests and led to the formation of new laws on crimes against women in the country.But little has changed for Nirbhaya’s parents. Depressed and down, Asha Devi says that every time a girl is raped in the Capital she feels that it is her daughter.”Every day a Nirbhaya is gang-raped and killed in the city. Whenever, I hear about any such incident, I feel that it is happening with my daughter.” Both mother and father want that a speedy justice delivery system in place.But they doubt that will happen”Are these laws capable enough to stop Nirbhaya-like incidents from happening?”, questions Nirbhaya’s father Badrinath Singh. The man has been visiting the doors of the courts for last five years yet he is still waiting for the criminals of this gruesome act to be sent to the gallows.”Even now in our daughter’s case we are visiting courts and still after the final judgments, the criminals have not yet been punished,” Singh told DNA. The matter is still with the Supreme Court.This week Delhi Police opposed, in the Supreme Court, a plea filed by one of the four death-row convicts in the December 16, 2012 gang-rape and murder case for review of its verdict upholding capital punishment awarded to him. The apex court had on May 5 upheld the death penalty to the four convicts – Mukesh (29), Pawan (22), Vinay Sharma (23) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31), saying the “brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature” of the crime could create a “tsunami of shock to destroy a civilised society”.Singh further pointed out that even after lapse of five years the situation has not improved but deteriorated. “Today, two-year-old girls are being gang raped and murdered. Who is responsible for that? The system or the victims family,” he questioned adding that it was the system that needed to protect the girls but it had failed to do so.He reasoned saying, “When the system to punish the rapists is so weak and corrupt how can you accept justice in this society.”Singh further stated that every day two to three families are facing the same trauma and pain when their daughters, just like Nirbhaya, are being gang-raped and murder.”See the case of Shimla gang rape, the police arrested the wrong people. Is this a system? Even CBI has not been able to identify the accused,” said Singh adding that there are several such incidents across the country.”There is complete lack of will on the part of government to come up with a system where such criminals are punished in an year,” he said.WHAT HAPPENEDA 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012 inside a moving bus in South Delhi by a gang of six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out of the bus. She succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.STATISTICSRAPE(376 IPC)2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016 2017 (up to Nov 30)706 1636 2166 2199 2155 1992 1968

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New Year revelry without fireworks in Delhi NCR as SC refuses to lift ban

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to lift the ban on bursting of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh.The apex court added that itwould hear the case against the ban on January 5.Earlier, the court had banned the bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) during Diwali.The court gave the verdict on a plea seeking restoration of the apex court’s last year order.The top court, through its November 11 order last year, had suspended all licences which ‘permit a sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR’.The apex court had last month temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of firecrackers, saying a complete ban would be an ‘extreme step’ and a graded approach was needed to curb pollution caused by them.The court, however, had said its order lifting the ban on sale of firecrackers might require a ‘review’ after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality after the festival.

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Gang targeting music fests in Delhi busted, two thieves held

A gang of thieves, which had chosen music festivals and concerts held in the Capital as its place of work, was busted after two of its members were nabbed. Many high-end mobile phones and other valuables were recovered from their possession.The arrested accused have been identified as Mohammad Yusuf, 32, and Saddam alias Danish, 24.According to senior officers, the gang came under the police radar after several complaints were received about people losing their wallets, phones, and other valuables while attending music festivals and concerts. It was also noticed that the NSIC Ground was one of the places where the frequency of such incidents was exceptionally high. So, the southeast district police took special initiatives and a strict vigil was maintained in the area.”Last Saturday, one Anmol Bhatia lodged a complaint that he had gone to attend a musical concert at the NSIC Ground, where someone stole his i-Phone. During the investigation, CCTV footage of the concert was scanned and intelligence was developed.Several workers of the venue as well as frequent visitors were questioned and it was revealed that two suspicious men, known to come to many major events, had visited this musical concert as well. It was also revealed that the duo stole valuables from marriages and parties also,” DCP (south) Chinmoy Biswal said.After identifying them, more information was developed and a trap was laid near the Kalkaji temple, from where the duo was arrested. “During questioning, the duo revealed that they used work as waiters in a hotel in Nizamuddin and would steal valuables from parties. Gradually, they gained confidence and started buying tickets for major concerts and festivals across the city . Ajmat would sell the stolen items in Nehru Place or Gaffar Market, with the help of their associates,” the DCP said.

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Brief spell of rain brings relief to pollution-hit Capital

The pollution-hit Capital heaved a sigh of relief on Monday after a light rainfall graced the city in the evening. The drizzle started around 5 pm and as much as 2 mm rainfall was received till 8.30 pm, officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.The air quality, however, remained ‘very poor’, with an AQI score of 366 during the evening. Scientists at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said the rain was likely to continue on Tuesday as well, with which the air quality might improve from poor to moderate in the coming few days. In fact, it is not expected to end up in the ‘severe’ category till December-end.”The rain is likely to continue on Tuesday and will help in washing down of pollutants hanging in the air. The AQI in the city is expected to range from moderate to poor in the coming fortnight,” said Dipankar Saha, chief of air laboratory, CPCB. The temperature is also expected to come down with the downpour, he added.The maximum and minimum temperatures on Monday were recorded at 24.2 degrees Celsius and 8.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.”So far, winter has not set properly in Delhi. It is expected to set in by December 15-16. At present, the pressure in the atmosphere is low, which will pick up after winter sets in and a cold wave from the Himalayas comes in. Air from this region is clean and will help improve the air quality in the Capital as well. In the next 20 days at least, it will not touch the ‘severe’ category,” Saha said.After a brief respite on December 6 and 7, which were tagged as ‘good air days’ in the month, pollution levels spiked once again on Friday, with the AQI shooting up to 390 units. The permissible standards for PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in the city — are 60 units (measured in microgram per cubic meters).Meanwhile, the air quality in the NCR towns of Ghaziabad and Noida, which are industrial hubs, continued to remain in ‘severe’ category at 463 and 408 units, respectively.Last week, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had asked the Lieutenant-Governor in a meeting to tell the Delhi government to start patrolling of small industrial units using cheap fuels, which leads to pollution.The Delhi Technological University (DTU) surrounded by Narela, Bawana, and Badli in outer Delhi has been witnessing massive pollution levels. The air quality index (AQI) readings of these two areas is always found to be high.

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Speak up Delhi: Max hospital license cancellation irrational, say city residents

The recent decision of Delhi government cancelling the license of a private hospital over an alleged medical negligence has received a mixed response from the residents.This is the first time that a big chain of private hospitals in the Capital has faced such action from the government. “There is zero tolerance for cases of criminal negligence. We will not accept any kind of lax attitude in dealing with the lives of patients,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said on Friday.“The decision will set an example for other private hospitals who are overcharging the patients. Most the hospitals are just making money and not looking after the actual condition of the people coming to them. This practice must stop,” said Shiv Singh, a resident of Mukherjee Nagar.After battling for life for five days, the premature baby died at a private clinic on Wednesday. The matter came to light last Friday, when the father of the twins, Ashish Kumar, who was on his way to the cremation ground, noticed that one of the polybags handed over to him by the doctors was moving.A preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors to Delhi government on Tuesday had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in dealing with the newborns. The three-member panel prepared the report after scrutinising the hospital records and meeting with the staffers concerned. After the death of the second child, the investigation into the case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.While some residents have applauded the government’s decision, few felt that shutting down an existing medical facility will not serve any purpose. “By cancelling the license of a private hospital means Delhities now have one less medical facility. Delhi is already struggling to meet the shortage of medical facilities. The government should ideally have taken over the administrative team just like they did it with the private schools,” said Vineet Sharma, a resident of Geeta colony.The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) on Saturday termed the Delhi government’s move to cancel the license of Max Super Speciality hospital in Shalimar Bagh as “irrational and autocratic”. The doctors’ body said that the government should have waited for the report of the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) on the issue, which is expected in a few days. It said it will give a call for a strike if needed and will appeal to the government to revoke the licence cancellation decision.TRACK RECORDThe Delhi Medical Council in 2017 has received 23 complaints against Max hospitals in Delhi Six complaints were received against Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh The medical council in 2017 has received a total of 234 complaints against the various hospitals in the capital. Out of which, 82 have moved to the disciplinary committee for action. EXPERT SPEAKThe decision will set an example for the other hospitals and nursing homes. All these private institutes will now be more vigilant in dealing with the sensitive cases. They will properly follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in all the cases. A life has been lost in this case. The baby survived for five more days in other private hospital. The hospital had registered the child as a stillbirth. When the baby was handed over to the patients, his heart was beating. We could not ignore the hospital in this case. This is a case of error of judgement where the hospital failed to understand the situation of the new born.”—Dr Kirti Bhushan, director general of health services, Delhi governmentVOICESThis is a wonderful step taken by the AAP government. No other government has ever taken such a bold step. These hospitals will now be very careful while dealing with the patients. There should be a legal framework to monitor the functioning of these hospitals.—Akriti SinghLast year, I took my father to a private hospital for a routine check-up and the hospital gave us a long list of the tests and asked us to get them done immediately. We were surprised after we saw the list and cost of the tests was going above Rs 40,000. We left the hospital and got the tests done from a government hospital.—Saurbh BhatiI feel that the government should not have closed the facility for the general public. Not all of us go to a government hospital for treatment. Many a times, these private hospitals come as a saviour.—Sudhanyu DimriThis is an extreme step taken by the government. It should have also thought about the large number of patients coming to the hospital on a regular basis. Before taking such a strong step, the government should have explored the other options as well.—Vipin MandalOther hospitals should also learn lesson from this incident. This incident will act as a milestone in the history of medical negligence. The Kejriwal government has once again proved that they will not tolerate any kind of criminal negligence when it comes to education and health sector. —Anil Kumar Dimri

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Fate of patients, staff hangs in the balance

The decision to cancel the license of the Max hospital in Shalimar Bagh has put a question mark on the fate of nearly 2,000 employees working in the hospital, besides the numerous patients currently availing treatment from there.In 2017 till now, the hospital admitted more than 33,000 patients. The 250-bed facility also welcomed over 1.5 lakh patients in its OPD this year. Now, the hospital cannot admit any new patients.The government has directed the hospital to finish the treatment of all indoor patients admitted but has given no direction regarding the employees. “It is not our duty. The hospital should decide what to do with their staff,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.In its official statement, the hospital stated that it will explore its options. “We have received a notice of cancellation of the license. We strongly believe that this ruling is harsh and that we have not been given adequate opportunity to be heard.We believe that even if there is an individual error of judgement, holding the hospital responsible is unfair and will severely limit the ability of patients to access treatment. This will compound the shortage of hospital facilities in the national Capital. We will explore all options available to us. We stand firmly behind our commitment to patient care, clinical, and service excellence to the best of our capabilities,” the hospital statement read.

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Decision is an example to other hospitals, nursing homes: Dr Kirti Bhushan

As the Delhi government cancelled the license of Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, DNA speaks to the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Dr Kirti Bhushan, who played an active role in preparing the enquiry committee report and suggesting ways to the government.This is the first time that any government has taken such a bold step against a major private hospital. How did this work out?A life has been lost in this case. The baby survived for five more days in another private hospital. The hospital had registered the child as a stillbirth. When the baby was handed over to the patients, his heart was beating. As a result, we could not ignore the hospital’s actions in this case. This is a case of error of judgement, where the hospital failed to understand the situation of the newborn.What about the other private hospitals?The decision will set an example to other hospitals and nursing homes. All these private institutes will now be more vigilant in dealing with sensitive cases. They will properly follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in all cases.The hospital’s licence has been cancelled. What will happen to the existing patients who are availing treatment there?We have asked them to treat the existing patients till the time they are completely cured. For the rest, all the OPD services have been suspended with immediate effect. They cannot admit any new patient in the hospital.Delhi still does not have the Clinical Establishment Act, so what is the government doing about this? (Recently, Union Health Minister JP Nadda also wrote to various CMs to enforce the act in their respective states)We have submitted a report to the Secretary (Health) to introduce the Clinical Establishment Act in the Capital. The matter is being discussed with the stakeholders. The act, if enforced in Delhi, will help us in getting hold of the large number of diagnostic centres and pathology labs that are operating without following any guideline.

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Clinical Establishment Act to soon come into force in Capital

The Delhi government is soon planning to soon bring in Clinical Establishment Act, 2010 in the Capital. The Act that applies to registration and regulation of all clinical establishments will help the government to tighten the noose over the diagnostic centres and pathology labs running in various parts of the city.The move comes after the capital reported cases of medical negligence in private hospitals and diagnostic centres. On Thursday, a diagnostic centre in Delhi’s New Friends Colony wrongly declared a patient as HIV positive. The Delhi Medical Council even wrote a letter to the Directorate of Health Services (DGHS) cancelling license of the centre.”We are chalking out a plan to bring in the act in the Capital as well. Till now, we do not have any control on these diagnostic centres and pathology labs. We are only limited to the hospitals and nursing cells,” said Dr Kirti Bhushan, Director General of Health Services, Delhi government.At present, the state government regulates the nursing homes and the private hospitals under the Nursing Home Cell. The cell was established in the department to register the private nursing homes and hospitals as per Delhi Nursing Home. Inspections are carried out to see that the nursing homes maintain the standards and norms as per the Rules in the said Act. Efforts are made to prevent the functioning of the nursing homes providing inferior quality and suggesting appropriate action against the unregistered nursing homes.Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Thursday directed all the Chief Ministers to adopt and implement the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 so that malpractice in private hospitals can be curbed.In a letter to the Chief Ministers of all states and Union Territories, the Minister said that effective implementation of the Act would deter clinical establishments from indulging in unethical practices and ensuring that they discharge their duties responsibly towards the patients.WHAT THE ACT MEANSThe state government regulates the nursing homes and the private hospitals under the Nursing Home Cell. Inspections are carried out to ensure norms are followed. The Act has taken effect in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, and all Union Territories except the NCT of Delhi
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Hospital wrongly tags man HIV+

In yet another case of medical negligence in the Capital, a private diagnostic centre wrongly declared an Uttarakhand resident HIV positive. Taking action against the centre, the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) has now directed the authorities to cancel the license of the diagnostic centre.Complainant Salim Ahmad had applied for a job in Dubai and needed a medical fitness certificate for the purpose. A tout referred the Neutech Medical Centre at Taimoor Nagar in New Friends Colony to Ahmad, which declared him HIV positive. He then decided to get a second opinion.To Ahmad’s surprise, the two other centres he approached reported him completely fit. “This callous attitude of the diagnostic centre is highly deplorable and reflects poorly on the management in-charge. This is incompetence. Our committee examined the other two test reports as well, which declared the complainant completely healthy,” Dr Girish Tyagi, registrar, DMC, said. The DMC’s Executive Committee then examined Ahmad’s complaint and asked the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to cancel the license of the diagnostic centre.”Despite repeated notices sent to the Superintendent of the Neutech Medical Centre, it failed to submit a written statement and medical records pertaining to the treatment and tests of Ahmad,” Dr Tyagi added.
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No exceptions for Odd-Even, govt tells NGT

After being pulled up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government finally submitted in court on Wednesday, an action plan to curb pollution in the city. Changing its earlier stance, the AAP government said the Odd-Even road rationing scheme will be implemented with no exemptions, as an ’emergency measure’.The plan also includes a ban on entry of trucks in city limits, shutting down of industries, prohibition on burning of waste, and a complete stop to construction activities, once the pollution levels touch the ‘Severe’ category.Earlier, the AAP government had told the court that due to the lack of adequate number of buses and keeping women’s security in mind, it must allow exemption to women drivers and two-wheelers.The green court, however, was not in agreement and told the government to add to its bus fleet. The transport department is still in the process of procuring 1,000 more Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.The NGT also directed the city government to file a a detailed report, including details of exemptions given in the Odd-Even scheme, besides directing the Haryana and Punjab governments to submits their detailed action plan by Thursday. The panel will now hear the matter on Thursday.A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar stated that the air quality in the national Capital was never normal. “You all (states) tell us what steps you will take at what level of pollution. What are your normal steps to check pollution?” the bench asked.The court also rapped the AAP government for not filing a comprehensive action plan on ways to tackle severe air pollution in the city, besides slamming the authorities for organising the India-Sri Lanka cricket test match, despite the bad air quality.The report also stated that after the NGT orders, sprinkling of water and mechanised cleaning of major roads is being done.”The Public Works Department (PWD) has deployed 51 water tankers every day, covering an average of 130 km of roads. The department also took help of the DJB. As many as 6 water tankers have been deployed at an average distance of 15-16 km from September 9 onwards,” the report stated.It added: “The PWD is making efforts to increase the number of machines by re-tendering procurement of sweeping machines.”Besides, monitoring and action against persons for burning waste material in the open has been going on as a special drive. Public notices have been issued on prohibition on open burning of leaves and waste.According to the plan, Sub Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) and Tehsildars (Executive Magistrate), Department of Revenue, have been authorised to take action against violators. Penalty will be imposed in accordance with the NGT directions. The report further stated that promotion of Battery Operated Vehicles or e-rickshaws has been taken up.Air quality in the national Capital had dipped close to ‘severe’ category again over the week. However, with the sun showing up and wind speed picking up on Wednesday, it improved to ‘poor’ from the ‘very poor’ category.
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PWD has only three machines to clean roads: Delhi government to Delhi High court

There are “only” three mechanised vacuum cleaning machines with the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) to sweep the roads. These submissions were made in the High Court in the wake of the failure of the Delhi government to curtail the increasing air pollution in the Capital. In an affidavit filed in the Delhi High court through its standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, the AAP government informed the court that there are three vacuum cleaning machines which have been used to clean the roads of posh South Delhi. “Three numbers mechanised sweeping machines have been deployed on various roads of the PWD in South Delhi only. The PWD is making efforts to increase the number of machines, by re-tendering for procurement on hiring basis the mechanized sweeping machines,” the government said in the affidavit filed on November 29.The length of the PWD roads’ measures is 1,270 km and each machine can cover not more than five-six km of the road at a time. Sources said that the action would just end up cleaning 15 per cent of the roads while 85 per cent of the roads are yet to becovered. However, when asked about the machines, an official in the PWD stated that they do not own the machines and the same have been hired or procured from a third party.“We do not have a single vacuum cleaning machine to sweep the roads. The three machines have been hired. Also it is not our responsibility to procure the machines. It is the municipal bodies who are responsible to the get the machines. We are just entrusted with the construction and maintenance of the roads,” the official said on the condition of anonymity. According to an IIT Kanpur report, a big contributor to Delhi’s air pollution is road dust that accounts for about 35 per cent of tiny particles known as PM 2.5 in the air, followed by vehicles.The High Court has also noted that there should be appropriate cleaning and washing of roads so as to ensure that the dust settles down. In an order dated November 9, the court also directed water sprinkling on the roads to prevent dust contamination, which is the biggest reason for pollution in the city. However, the suggestions have not been properly complied with major roads of the Capital remaining uncovered. WHEN DUST MATTERSAccording to an IIT Kanpur report, road dust accounts for about 35 per cent of tiny particles known as PM 2.5 in the air, followed by vehicles. The length of the PWD roads’ measures is 1,270 km and each machine can cover not more than five-six km of the road at a time. In an order dated November 9, the court also directed water sprinkling on the roads to prevent dust contamination
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Supreme Court reserves judgement on pleas on Delhi-Centre power dispute

The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a clutch of pleas on the issue whether the Lieutenant Governor or the Delhi government enjoyed supremacy in administration, after the AAP dispensation concluded its arguments asserting that it possessed both legislative and executive powers. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which had commenced hearing on November 2, reserved the judgement after hearing a galaxy of senior lawyers for 15 days in over four weeks. While the battery of senior lawyers — P Chidambaram, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising — argued for the Arvind Kejriwal government, the NDA government at the Centre was represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh in the marathon proceedings. Wrapping up the rejoinder submissions, Subramanium told the bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that the chief minister and the council of ministers had the legislative power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes. “The Chief Minister heads the council of ministers to aid and advice the Lieutenant Governor,” he said, adding that Parliament wanted to accord special status to Delhi under the Constitution and, hence, Article 239AA came into being. Had that not been the intention, there was no need to frame Article 239AA (which deals with power and status of Delhi under the Constitution), Subramanium said, adding that the national capital could have also been governed by Article 239A, meant to deal with the Union Territory of Puducherry. “The executive authority lies with the Government of Delhi when one says that the Chief Minister and the council of ministers shall be responsible to the Delhi assembly,” he said. Subramanium, however, said that certain powers are “co- extensive” and the rule of Delhi has to be conducted in the name of the President through the elected government. He said the LG has been taking many executive decisions and a “harmonious interpretation” of Article 239AA was needed to fulfil the constitutional mandate for a democratically- elected Delhi government. Another senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said that Article 239AA and the GNCTD Act of 1991, made it clear that the LG was just a delegatee of the President and can only act on his own in case of an urgency. He said the Constitution has to be read as a whole to interpret the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and the fact cannot be ignored that Delhi has a democratic government chosen by the people. The top court was hearing a batch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging Delhi High Court’s verdict holding the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the national capital. Earlier, the apex court had considered the submissions of the ASG that several “illegal” notifications were issued by the Delhi government and they were challenged in High Court. The constitution bench had said it would only lay down the principles on the status of the national capital under the Constitution and not deal with the issues arising out of individual notifications issued by the Delhi government on matters like the ‘mohalla clinics’ and regularisation of guest teachers. The ASG had referred to several decisions taken by the AAP government on issues like mohalla clinics, regularisation of guest teachers and posting of Bihar officials in its Anti- Corruption Branch (ACB). He had also referred to a decision of the Kejriwal government to declare a bungalow allocated to its minister, as the office of the ruling Aam Admi Party. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Reliance Industries Ltd, had dealt with the decision of Delhi government to register an FIR against then Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and others over alleged irregularities in raising of gas prices. Can a state government register an FIR against sitting Union Cabinet ministers and private company in matters pertaining to policy decision of fixing the gas price, Singhvi had asked and said in a federal set-up, such actions would “lead to chaos”. The Centre had also said the Delhi government cannot have “exclusive” executive powers as it would be against national interests. It had referred to the 1989 Balakrishnan committee report that had dealt with reasons for not granting the status of a state to Delhi.It had referred to the Constitution, the 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules to drive home the point that the President, the union government and the LG had supremacy over the city dispensation in administering the national capital. On the other hand, the Delhi government had accused the LG of making a “mockery of democracy”, saying he was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power.
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Air quality may turn ‘severe’

The Capital’s air came close to’severe’category on Monday with the air quality index (AQI) at 390 units. Though still in the’very poor’category, the index bordered the ‘severe’ air pollution levels, over six times above the prescribed standards of 60 units.The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) — a Supreme Court mandated body — said if pollution levels enter’severe plus (500+)’ category in the next 48 hours, it will issue emergency directions.No movement in the air and emissions from the NCR towns led to the spike in pollutants, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said. This comes a day after much hue an cry was raised as Sri Lankan cricketers wore anti-pollution masks during the test match at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Sunday.The PM 2.5 — most prominent pollutant in Delhi NCR — had reached past 400 during the day. NCR towns, including Ghaziabad, Noida had’severe’levels of pollution at 467 units and 415 units, respectively.Gurugram and Faridabad remained high up in the’very poor’category — at 323 and 394 units, respectively. The units for pollution concentrations are measured in microgramms per cubic meters. “Meteorological conditions, in particular, no wind speed coupled with fuel emissions from vehicles and industries in NCR towns is resulting in foul air. If the wind speed picks up the pace in the coming days, it will get better. However, if conditions reach ‘severe plus’ category for 48 hours, we will issue fresh emergency directions,” said Bhure Lal, EPCA chairman.The monitoring stations under the CPCB and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) recorded high PM 2.5 concentrations above 300-400 units — R K Puram (442), Anand Vihar (476), DTU (390), NSIT Dwarka (367) and Mother Dairy Plant, Patparganj shooting up to (515).”There is a depression in the south and west with no movement of air on the Indo-Gangetic plains. There is a condition of complete calm, which means there are no winds to disperse the pollutants. However, light rain is expected in Delhi on Thursday, which will help clear the air and improve the air quality,” said Dipankar Saha, chief of Air Laboratory, CPCB. ‘Very poor’ AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure air affects healthy people and seriously impact those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.GASPING ALREADYNCR towns, including Ghaziabad, Noida had ‘severe’ levels at 467 and 415 units, respectively.
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Speak up Delhi : Time to end free access to terraces on city buildings

The molestation of a 32-year-old woman on the terrace of a building in the bustling Connaught Place have not only shaken the National Capital but also turned the spotlight on a rather ubiquitous spot – the rooftops.While the police are yet to track down the suspect in the last week’s crime, the bigger concern at hand for citizens is unhindered access to terraces of several buildings across the city, discovered DNA through a ground study. This correspondent visited the same H Block where the woman was groped. Despite the public outrage over the assault, neither the terrace was locked nor any security arrangement was in place. The rooftops across the H-Block are interconnected. This means once a person climbs one of them, he/she can hop onto the others to have an easy escape. A few of the terraces had makeshift rooms for building employees and staff, while a portion of the common space was being used for sunbathing. The startling part was that many of those present on the terraces had nothing to do the buildings. It wasn’t their place in the first place. They didn’t work there either. The suspect groped and flashed the woman after he followed her all the way up to the terrace. That the crime was committed during office hours and on the rooftop of an office building also highlights the need for a security system on terraces to bar random people from entering the space. Connaught Place, known as the heart of the National Capital, sees huge footfall, including foreigners. When this correspondent spoke to some people on how safe they felt in CP, a handful of men blamed alcohol and party joints as the reason for rising cases of molestation. A few working women said it was a regular site to see men in parking lots and bylanes touching their private parts with impunity.Others were of the opinion that there should be mandatory rules to curb access to terraces by all and sundry. This will add some amount of safety to the rooftops, they said.TERRACES TURN MAKESHIFT ROOMSA few of the terraces had makeshift rooms for building employees and staff, while a portion of the common space was being used for sunbathing The startling part was that many of those present on the terraces had nothing to do the buildings. It wasn’t their place in the first place. They didn’t work there either. EXPERT SPEAKDelhi Police handles crime against women complaints with utmost care and concern. Our main aim is to arrest the accused as soon as the crime is reported to us and bring him to the books. As far as the security of rooftops is concerned we will try and pursue the building owners so that they can device a safety mechanism. If any outsider has to visit the terrace for some work, they need to take prior permission from the security staff of the building or the officer if any is there—Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police.VOICESI think the freedom given to women is the cause for the crime against them. Women get drunk, smoke and party till late. I believe most of the harassment and rape cases turn out to be fake.”—Rishi, staff member of Indira Palace located in H-block of Connaught Place Male members of my family including me work mostly on ground floors and in offices while my wife stays up. She didn’t see or hear anything that day. I cannot under stand the motive of accused —Rajendra, maintenance staff. He stays on the adjoining terrace where incident took place “It is scary that at workplace as well women have to face such trauma. The incident took place in a posh locality like Connaught Place, if we are not safe at our workplace, I wonder what life are we leading. —Banoshree Roy, engineering student “Molestation is equally derogatory as rape and mentally damaging. Victim has to go through everlasting trauma. Government should make amendments in law and impose harsher penalties on convicts.—Tanushree Roy, schoolteacher Now, we are not even safe in our house. Terrace of my house is connected to other houses. This incident has made me think not just my safety alone, but also of my family members. Easy entry to building indicates that no one is out of danger from strangers. —Dikshant Saxena, engineer It is sad that women are not safe even at their workplace. I am of the opinion that women should carry a weapon for self defence, as the crime against women is on the rise. I feel ashamed to say that women are not safe anywhere. —Dipanshu Malik, student
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Woman molested and groped while out for a smoke in CP

A 32-year-old professor had to face a horrendous incident of molestation in Connaught Place (CP), the heart of the national Capital, on Thursday afternoon. A man groped her, unzipped his pants, and masturbated in front of her while she was taking a break from her work in a language school in CP.The woman, Anita (name changed), had gone to the terrace of the building when the incident took place. The accused, who is yet to be arrested, also snatched her phone before fleeing the spot.According to Anita, during her break at 1.30 pm, as usual, she went to the terrace of the building to smoke. A man in his mid 20s followed her to the terrace but she didn’t pay much attention. The accused constantly stared at her while pretending to be on the phone. When she asked him whether there was a problem, he said there wasn’t but did not move from the spot. Then he suddenly came in front of her and pointed at her breasts.Speaking to DNA, the victim said: “I pushed him and threatened to call the police. Instead of feeling deterred, he unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis, and started touching himself. When I tried to run past him, he grabbed me and ejaculated.”Anita made another attempt to free herself and managed to reach the door of the terrace but the accused had apparently bolted it while coming up. By this time, the accused caught up with her and pushed her against the door. “He said he liked my breasts. I raised an alarm. He then snatched my mobile phone, hopped on to an adjacent terrace, and fled,” she said.Some office staffers who heard Anita’s screams came to help her but the accused had fled by then. The CCTV footage showed the man following the victim but his face was hidden by a hoodie.The woman immediately called the police and a case under Sections 354 (criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 342 (wrongful confinement), 356 (theft), and 379 (punishment for theft) has been registered at the Connaught Place police station. Also, the victim recorded her statement in front of the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC on Friday.
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City’s air quality gets worse, AQI at 360

The air quality in the Capital deteriorated to 360 units on Thursday from 334 on Wednesday, remaining in the ‘very poor’ category for the eleventh day. The air quality index (AQI) at 360 is six times more than the permissible standards of 60.However, even as officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said the air quality is likely to improve by Monday with the winter setting in, some Delhiites complained of breathing difficulties and irritation in eyes.CPCB officials said that an increase in moisture and humidity in the winds has been the trigger for the spike.”The winter is still to set with winds coming in from the north. So far winds have been fluctuating making it difficult for pollutants to be dispersed. At present south-easterly winds are bringing in humidity which is trapping the pollutants further deteriorating the air quality,” said D Saha, head of air laboratory, CPCB.The AQI is expected to hover from 320 to 360 units until this weekend, said Saha. The air quality is measured against PM 2.5 — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi-NCR — in units of micrograms per cubic metre.However, even as the average air quality index in the capital remained in the ‘very poor’ category, NCR towns such as Ghaziabad, which is an industrial hub, continued to reel under ‘severe’ pollution levels.The Delhi government had issued a health advisory on Monday asking schools to avoid all outdoor activities including assembly, sports and other physical activities that are held in the early morning hours. Besides this, it also advised people to reduce their exposure to the air and stay indoors as much as possible.AIR QUALITY INDEXDelhi: 360 (very poor)Ghaziabad: 453 (severe) Gurgaon: 312 (very poor) Noida: 359 ( very poor) Faridabad: 322 (very poor)
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Delhi is national capital of crime

When it comes to the rising crime rate, Delhi has left behind states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra. In 2016, the Capital also recorded the highest number of Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes ever in its history, according to the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Thursday.The NCRB has ranked Delhi first based on the crime rate across the country and also first among all metropolitan cities based on the percentage share of incidents. It also ranked Delhi fifth based on the percentage share of crimes across the country.The data further suggested that the Capital ranked fifth, when it came to the number of crimes, and it alone added 7% to the country’s crime records. According to the data, in 2016, Delhi witnessed 209,519 crime cases. The number was 191,377 in 2015 and 155,654 in 2014.The data also stated that in 2016, 545 people were murdered while 1,591 died due to rash driving. Dowry claimed 162 lives, 6,982 fell victim to kidnapping and abduction, 2,079 were raped, and 85 were gangraped in 2016.Apart from this, 837 victims reported stalking, 183 were made victims of unnatural offences, and 230 cases of extortion, 4,776 robberies, and 131,418 thefts were reported. Based on the crime rate in 2016, after Delhi, Kochi was ranked second and Jaipur was ranked third.Moreover, as inflow of arms in the Capital has reportedly increased in the recent past, 688 cases under the Arms Act were also registered while total number cases under the Arms and Explosives related Acts were 702.The data further stated that 2,356 cases were registered under the Excise Act while 2,653 were lodged under the Liquor and Narcotic Drugs-related Acts.
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Love, illicit affairs sparked 3 murders a month: NCRB data

In Delhi, almost three murders were sparked every month either due to an illicit relationship or a love affair at an average, out of the total 479 murders reported from the city in 2016. Delhi ranks first with 21.8 per cent as the Capital’s percentage share in total murders recorded in all metropolitan cities across the country.The fact was revealed in a data unveiled by the National Crime Records Bureau on Thursday. Other reasons that the data mentioned behind killings in the Capital, were personal enmity in 50 murders, property related dispute leading to 37 killings, four people were killed over water or money disputes, three due to rape and two murders were claimed by honour killings.The Capital also witnessed one death following road rage and apart from this six people were killed for robbery in 2016. The data also states that out of the total number of murder victims of 2016, 11 were below the age of six years and 14 victims were among the age group of 12 and 16 years. The highest number of murder victims targeted between the age of 18 to 30 years, was 254. Twenty senior citizens including 11 women were also killed in the city in 2016.Interestingly, at a time when the Delhi Police is seeking curbs on regulation of illegal arms in the Capital, data read that 26 victims of murders were killed by firearms, of which 21 were executed with the help of illegal unlicensed firearms. The highest number of murders by illegal firearms were reported from Uttar Pradesh at 1,302.A few weeks ago, based on Delhi Police data, DNA had reported that sudden provocation in the Capital leads to 12.60 per cent of the total crimes reported, while 22.83 per cent were sparked out of enmity.
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Delhi Development Authority holds draw for 2017 scheme

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) held the draw of lots to its much-awaited 2017 housing scheme on Thursday. The housing authority allotted 12,617 flats across different income categories.The draw of lots was conducted for the 46,080 applications it had received for the houses on offer. With the draw concluded, the DDA is now planning to launch the 2018 housing scheme offering around 20,000 flats between March and June next year.Of the total flats on offer, over 11,000 were LIG (low-income group) houses which were surrendered during the 2014 housing scheme.”The draw was conducted in a transparent manner in which 12, 617 flats were allotted from the 46,080 eligible applicants. The allotment letters for the winners will be handed over within a month. After this, the winners will get three months duration to pay the full amount. We will now focus on our next 2018 housing scheme for which 90% construction has been completed,” said J P Aggarwal, Housing Commissioner, DDA.The 20,000 new flats under the upcoming scheme are part of the urban body’s plan to build 81,000 more flats in the Capital over the four years till 2021 under the Prime Minister’s Residential Scheme.Besides, new in-situ rehabilitation projects are also in the works, added Aggarwal.Of the total flats allotted — 11,757 are LIG, 403 are MIG (middle-income group), 372 are Janta flats (one-bedroom), while 85 are HIG (high-income group) flats.TOTAL HOUSES ALLOTTED -12, 617LIG – 11,757MIG – 403Janta – 372HIG – 85Total no.of eligible applicants — 46,080LOCATION OF FLATSThe HIG flats are located in Dwarka and Vasant Kunj while the other houses are spread across Rohini, Narela, Peetampura, Siraspur, Jasola and Paschim Vihar, among others.Nageshwar Rao, was the first winner of the lots, who was allotted an HIG flat in Dwarka.
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AAP govt vs Centre: We would lay down principles on status of Delhi, says SC

The Supreme Court, hearing pleas on whether the Lieutenant Governor or the Delhi government enjoyed supremacy in administration, today said it would only lay down the principles on the status of the national capital under the Constitution.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would not deal with the issues arising out of individual notifications issued by the Delhi government on matters like the ‘mohalla clinics’ and regularisation of guest teachers. “We must lay down guidelines as to what the Constitution has provided to them (the Lieutenant Governor and the Delhi government),” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said.The observation was made when Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, arguing on behalf of the Centre, referred to various notifications of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government to buttress his submission that these were issued in violation of the prescribed norms. “We are not going to deal with as to whether a particular notification was ultra-vires or illegal. We are not going to decide the individual challenges to those notifications. We will decide as to what is the status of Delhi and what kind of state is this,” the apex court observed.Also readAAP govt vs Centre: Delhi can’t have exclusive executive powers, Supreme Court toldIt said the issues of individual notification may be referred to a bench of two or three judges after the constitution bench lays down the principles or guidelines on the dispute. At the outset, the ASG referred to several decisions taken by the AAP government on issues like ‘mohalla clinics’, regularisation of guest teachers and posting of Bihar officials in its Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). “Even if Delhi government has vertical and exclusive executive powers, it cannot take such decisions,” he said, adding “the ACB is a police station which works under the LG. When it is working under the LG, then under which exclusive executive power you can bring officers from Bihar”.A bill to regularise guest teachers was brought without it being dealt with by the law department and this was the “constitutional statesmanship” shown by the Delhi government, Singh said in a sarcastic tone. He then referred to a decision of the Kejriwal government to declare a bungalow allocated to its minister, as the office of the ruling Aam Admi Party. “Of course, they are entitled to a party office. The land was earmarked for this purpose at Saket. Still they, on their own, decided to give the minister’s residence to the party,” he said. The ASG, while concluding his submissions, said DANICS (the NCT of Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Civil Service) is a group civil service of the Centre but still Delhi government took the decisions.Also readAAP govt vs Centre: Constitution provides restriction on Delhi’s legislative power, says Supreme CourtThe bench dispelled the apprehensions of the Centre that it would deal with specific notifications of Delhi government. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for a company, dealt with the decision of Delhi government to register an FIR against then Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and others over alleged irregularities in raising of gas prices. Can a state government register an FIR against sitting Union Cabinet ministers and private company in matters pertaining to policy decision of fixing the gas price, Singhvi asked and said in a federal set-up, such actions would “lead to chaos”.Another senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for an official, said the Commission of Enquiry Act and the General Clauses Act provided that the appropriate government for ordering an enquiry would be the Centre. The court would now resume hearing on December 5 when counsel for the Delhi government would advance rejoinder submissions. Earlier, the Centre had refuted the AAP government’s charge that the LG sits over its proposals and files and had asserted that 96 per cent of its decisions were approved by the LG within 2-3 days.The top court is hearing a clutch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging Delhi High Court’s verdict holding LG as the administrative head of the national capital. The Centre had also said the Delhi government cannot have “exclusive” executive powers as it would be against national interests. It had referred to the 1989 Balakrishnan committee report that had dealt with reasons for not granting the status of state to Delhi.It had referred to the Constitution, the 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules to drive home the point that the President, the union government and the LG had supremacy over the city dispensation in administering the national capital.On the other hand, the Delhi government had accused the LG of making a “mockery of democracy”, saying he was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power.
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Urdu festival returns to serenade Delhi from December 8

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Urdu lovers can gear up for a literary treat next weekend as the much-loved Urdu festival — Jashn-e-Rekhta, returns to the Capital on December 8. Armed with an array of mushairas, panel discussions and book exhibitions, the fourth edition of the event will conclude on Sunday.The three-day event that celebrates the creative richness and timeless glory of the Urdu language will host over 40 poets, authors and artistes at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here. Visitors will witness Urdu in different forms of its creative best — from Dastangoi, mushaira and ghazals, to qawwali, calligraphy, and Urdu prose and poetry readings.”Jashn-e-Rekhta showcases how Urdu lends itself to various art forms be it literature, music, films, art, theatre, dance, or oral storytelling,” Sanjiv Saraf, founder of Rekhta Foundation, said.Famous poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar will regale audiences with his poetry over the course of three days, in his session ‘Kuch Ishq Kiya Kuch Kaam Kiya’, a panel discussion on the depiction of Muslim culture in Indian cinema.Eminent personalities like Waheeda Rehman, Shabana Azmi and Muzaffar Ali will also be part of the panel, along with JNU film historian Ira Bhaskar. Actor Annu Kapoor will chronicle Urdu poetry, music and history, including folk tales related to Laila-Majnu.The event will also celebrate Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s rich literary legacy, with renowned actor-director Aamir Raza Husain reciting the verses of the 20th century poet. Singer Radhika Chopra will pay her tributes to Faiz with her musical renditions of the poet’s works.LOVE FOR MANTOLovers of famous Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto will get to know Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s experience of living the character of the author in the session Manto ke Rubaru. Nandita Das, who is directing the upcoming biopic, Manto, will talk about her love for the renowned writer.
Other well personalities taking part in the festival incluide Shubha Mudgal, Gopi Chand Narang, Ashok Chakradhar, Neelesh Mishra, and Manoj Muntashir.
The event will conclude on December 10 with a performance by the Kun Faya Kun fame Qawwali singers Nizami Bandhu.

World heritage conservation body to hold meet in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 800 delegates — with hundreds of heritage professionals including archaeologists, architects, urban planners, curators and art historians — from 85 countries will be coming to the Capital to attend an ‘general assembly’ meet organised by International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a body which conserves and protects cultural heritage around the world.Headquartered in Paris, France, ICOMOS is organising its 19th Triennial General Assembly in New Delhi between December 11 and 15 and the theme of the assembly is ‘Heritage and Democracy’.”The idea of holding this Assembly here is to provide the Indian perspective on heritage conservation and place it within the wider international discourse,” says Prohibit Jigyasu, president, ICOMOS India Executive Committee. “So far ICOMOS has mainly been Euro-centric and by bringing it here, we can help them understand our challenges and integrate the Indian discourse into their charters. The topic ‘Heritage and Democracy’is the ideal topic for this as we have diversity and multiple narratives here,” he adds.This year’s General Assembly will elect 20 members of the Board by a secret ballot for a term of three years 2017 – 2020. These elected board members will then elect a president, a secretary general, a treasurer, and five vice presidents.Also, according to the group’s website — this Assembly and Scientific Symposium will provide an opportunity to promote international co-operation and strengthen understanding and communication in the field of heritage. It also provides an opportunity for heritage professionals and enthusiasts to come together on a common platform to deliberate on various aspects of heritage conservation and management.As a result, young professionals and enthusiasts will get a chance to interact with experts and comprehend emerging issues and case studies on conservation and management of cultural resources.For the India event, various self-help groups have been pulled together for the preparations. A women’s self-help group established by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) — which is an institutional member of ICOMOS India — is preparing the registration bags and notebooks for the delegates. The group has been running the Humayun’s Tomb – Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Project in Delhi.For the events, there will be pre-meetings from 8-10 December and post-meetings and events from 16-17 December.WHAT IS ICOMOS?International Council on Monuments and Sites is an association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage around the world, now offers advice to UNESCO on world heritage sites.

Speak up Delhi: Breather for residents as govt rolls back parking fare hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s decision to reserve its orders of a four-fold increase in parking fees due to heavy smog has residents heaving a sigh of relief.Unwilling to pay the revised fares last week, many not only criticised the step taken by the government but also weighed their options while venturing out in the last 10 days. At the same time, some were even supportive of the idea, asserting that the step did a lot of good to the environment in view of the alarming pollution levels.The government had decided to hike the parking fee to control pollution in the Capital. The decision was, however, reversed one week later when pollution levels dropped from ‘Severe’ to ‘Very Poor’. The new rates seemed to achieve its objective of reducing the number of vehicles on the roads as car parking in last week reduced to half.”There were around 12 cars a day last week while usually, the number of cars is around 35,” said Prasun Kumar, an Akashvani parking attendant.Meanwhile, implementing the new rates have come as a relief to the common man.”Increasing the fare is an attack on the pocket of the common man as these are not measures that are of any help to the general public,” said Dr Rajender Singla. “People had to pay these exorbitant charges even when they were only a minute late,” he added.”Some customers did not pay the money if they got few minutes late, but we did not have an option because of the automatic token, and thus we had to bear the extra charge,” said Siddharth Kumar, Palika Bazar parking attendant.The charges were also imposed on places where parking was free. Khan market, which provides free parking, last week faced four-fold charges on normal rates i.e. Rs 10 for two-wheelers and Rs 20 for four-wheelers.MEASURE TAKEN TO REDUCE POLLUTIONGovt decided to hike parking fee to control pollution
The decision was reversed a week later when pollution levels dropped from ‘Severe’ to ‘Very Poor’. VOICESThe increase in fare can be considered a smart step in curbing pollution and reducing its adverse impact on the environment. The need of the hour was to reduce pollution in any way and the fare hike fulfilled this purpose effectively. The number of cars in parking areas reduced by half and even showed the desired result on the streets.—Sakshi Arora, Green ParkTaking such measures to reduce pollution may help for a short period of time. But, the Odd-Even scheme and hike in parking fare are just aggressive methods. When the level of pollution goes back to normal, the whole debate will be forgotten, and then new schemes will be introduced, making life difficult for people.—Mahavir Saini, Chandni ChowkThe four-fold hike in the parking fare might have done little for the environment but it did a lot to the life of the public. First, the Odd-Even scheme and then hike in fare only shows that the onus is on the citizens to reduce pollution and work towards a permanent solution.—Samiksha Bansal, SikandarpurDelhi obviously needs a solution, but a permanent one. Increasing parking charges merely creates chaos. The government should take steps to provide a permanent solution, something that can eventually become a part of their life. The Odd-Even scheme and increased fares have both been a troublesome step for the people of Delhi as well as for the outsiders.—Parth Saxena, RK PuramIncreasing the fare was a good step. It reduced the number of vehicles plying for a week. What happens after that? Are we going to keep coming up with temporary solutions to the problem? The air quality is poor on most days of the year, and hiking the parking fare will not work as a solution. The government should use modern technology to tackle the problem of stubble burning and vehicular emission in the city.—Bittu Sharma, Noida Sector 16If the existing rules are implemented strictly for 12 months, then there is no need for such schemes. People in many parts of Delhi can move without helmet and seat belts while no strict action is taken against those riding triple seat. It only shows that people do what they want. Many vehicles plying are too old and they create three times the pollution.—Sonia Bansal, Karol BaghThe decision to hike the parking fee was a good decision, but it works only as a temporary solution. It certainly does pinch people’s pocket and I am not sure how it proved effective in curbing pollution. The government should introduce permanent measures instead of just resorting to knee-jerk steps.—Rajnish GogiaI did not support the government decision to increase parking charges. Why burden the common man with extra charges? The government may have decided to discourage people from using their vehicles, but at what cost?—Amit Singh

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”.

CISF, cops to replan Metro’s security structure

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the molestation of a journalist at ITO metro station subway sparked a row over women’s safety, Director General of CISF, the force that secures metro stations, and Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik, on Friday, discussed a review of the present security system of Delhi Metro.It was on Tuesday night when the journalist who was entering the metro station was attacked by a man who attempted to grope the woman. CCTV footage of the incident which went viral on social media also shows that when the woman was confronted and raised an alarm, the man tried to escape but was chased by the journalist. A day later he was arrested by the Delhi Police and was identified as a 25-year-old tea stall worker.Following the incident, while the DG CISF, OP Singh, has directed his DIG DMRC unit to review the security setup in Delhi Metro, Patnaik also ordered a Special Commissioner to look into the security structure that the Delhi Metro Rail Police (DMRP)follows. Soon the Delhi Police and CISF are expected to replan their security set up in Delhi Metro.The incident took place in the subway that connects the main road to ITO metro station. When DNA looked into the security set up of a metro station, it was found that various areas are divided according to jurisdiction of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Delhi Police’s DMRP.However, Singh pointed out that the force is always the first responder to any incident inside or even in the proximity to any metro station. “For us, security and safety of passengers come first and we have always responded with our best. Such incidents are addressed with utmost priority and no laxity will be tolerated,” Singh said.Talking to DNA, a senior CISF officer said, “Technically the areas that fall under CISF’s are start from frisking gates to the platform. The tracks, electrical installations over the tracks and areas beyond frisking areas, like the entry staircase or subways connecting the metro station to main roads are to be technically guarded by the DMRP. However, since the DMRP is drastically short staffed, our QRTs keep patrolling these areas also.”Even on Tuesday, the CISF was the first responder when the journalist was attacked at ITO, the DG claimed. Pankaj Singh, DCP Metro, said that they have requested for increased manpower.SOLUTIONS NEEDEDDMRP – metro train track tunnel, electrical installations over the track, subways connecting metro stations to main roads, staircase at entrance of metro stations
CISF – from the frisking gates to the platforms
Problem: Every metro station in the Capital is divided into different areas to be taken care of by the CISF and DMRP separately. This creates confusion over jurisdiction in such cases leading to delayed action

Plea on measures to tackle pollution: SC seeks Centre’s reply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to respond to a plea which has sought its direction on issues, including availability of sufficient gas supply in the NCR and review of status of existing coal-based power plants, aimed at tackling the problem of air pollution.The application has also sought the top court’s direction to implement the 2015 emission standards for power plants by December this year and also direct the Centre to strengthen the distribution of electricity in the National Capital Region (NCR).A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, representing the Centre, about it and he said that he would take instructions and file a response, if necessary.The application has been filed by an advocate, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.During the hearing, the court also observed that it would consider the issue of deadline for implementing BS-VI emission standards for vehicles.The plea has sought a direction that “sufficient gas supply be made available so that all power generation in the NCR is from power plants using gas as their principal fuel”.It has also sought ban on import of pet coke and furnace oil, review of status of existing coal-based power plants and a time-bound switch over to natural gas.It has said the Centre should be directed to oversee measures to strengthen the distribution of electricity in NCR to ensure that there was no shortfall in availability of power on 24X7 basis.Meanwhile, the bench asked the Centre, amicus and the counsel appearing for the Central Pollution Control Board to identify the money, which was collected under various heads pursuant to orders passed by the court in pollution matter, so that it could be properly utilised.The court, however, did not pass any order on a separate application filed by the amicus seeking a direction for collection of a compensatory sum on petrol and diesel in the NCR which would be used for measures to deal with pollution in the region.The plea has also sought a direction to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to examine the feasibility of existing technologies and present a workable scheme on the use and disposal of crop stubble to the court.The court was hearing a PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M C Mehta who had raised the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR.

Arvind Kejriwal approves setting up of 1,000 Mohalla clinics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday has approved a proposal in which the Delhi State Health Mission (DSHM) will manage and set up 1,000 Mohalla clinics in the Capital. The decision was taken in a review meeting of the DSHM along with Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Social Welfare Minister Rajendar Pal Gautam and senior officers.At present, there are 160 Mohalla clinics running in the national capital. These clinics are aimed at providing free healthcare to people close to their homes. The scheme is a flagship project of the AAP government.The meeting chaired by the Chief Minister also allowed the Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS) to hire short-term manpower for hospitals to fill the gaps in health services.”This will help hospitals have an adequate number of staff for services as and when required,” Kejriwal said.The decision came after a month-long indefinite strike by the health mission workers demanding ‘same work, same pay’. The 2,700 workers in the city went on a strike paralyzing the health system at the grassroots level. Workers in all the eleven vertical programs including Reproductive Child Health RCH, Tuberculosis Program, Leprosy Program, IDSP, Integrated Disease Surveillance Program etc, involving doctors, pharmacists, nurses, ANMs, lab technicians, had ceased work for the longest strike this year.The 800 Auxillary Nurse Midwife, ANM workers, perform at least two immunisations weekly for children in different areas and if calculated, more than 40,000 children did not receive their vaccines during the strike, thus questioning the working of these clinics.’Remove politics from Mohalla clinics’Recently, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday had requested everyone to leave behind party politics and help in setting up of Mohalla clinics in the national capital. “Everybody should come forward for the cause leaving behind party politics,” the chief minister wrote on Twitter.
Talking about the clinics, Kejriwal said that any help in setting these clinics up was an “act of virtue”. “Poor people are treated in the Mohalla clinics. Any help towards setting up these clinics is an act of virtue,” he said.
Kejriwal was referring to media reports about the Delhi government not being given land by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation for the expansion of the Mohalla clinics.

Capital sees slight improvement in air

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Capital has received little respite from ‘severe’ levels of air pollution despite the air quality having slightly improved over the past two days from ‘severe’ to the ‘very poor’ category. While the early morning hours see visibility reduced to about 500 meters, it increases as the day progresses.The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was recorded at 363 units on Thursday. The permissible standards of AQI are between 51 — 100 units.Scientists working with the CPCB said that the better air quality can be attributed to the improvement in meteorological conditions.“The wind speed at the ground level which had remained stagnant has picked up over the past three days resulting in the disbursal of pollutants hung in the air. Also, there is sunshine which clears pollutants suspended in the air,” said Vivek Chattopadhyaya, senior scientist, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).MONITORING DATADelhi Technological University (DTU), Rohini (260)RK Puram (229)ISBT Anand Vihar (274)Siri Fort (217)Shadipur (193)North Campus (139)

Delhi High Court gives go ahead for Half Marathon to be held

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court has cleared the way for the Half Marathon to be held in the Capital on November 19 after the organisers informed the court that participants will get a refund of the amount if they wanted to withdraw their candidature in view of the air pollution situation.A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva allowed the organisers, Procam International and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to go ahead with the event, after they mentioned the measures taken to give the best facilities possible to the participants.”The DPCC have placed on record the measures taken to prevent medical emergency and to ensure, provide the most conducive environment and the route for the participants. The organisers have facilitated the refund of money to those who do not wish to participate in the event in wake of the pollution,” the court said while allowing the event to be conducted.The court was informed that on the date of the event, the entire course would be washed with treated water mixed with salt and thereafter there would be intermittent spraying of water on the route from 2 am to 10 am.Appearing for the event promoter, senior counsel Rajiv Nayyar said that around 150 mist fans would be deployed at varying heights at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.”Two medical camps, 75 doctors, 100 nurses, 50 physiotherapists, 12 water stations, 98,000 bisleri bottles have been kept for the participants. In addition, Max Hospital is nearby in case there is a medical emergency,” he said.Appearing for Delhi government, Naushad Ahmed Khan, said that the conditions are now “viable” and the event could be conducted. Following this, the court allowed the organisers to go ahead with the event, adding that the participants can opt out if they want.The court’s order comes in wake of a letter written by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) urging to pass necessary directions to postpone the Delhi Half Marathon after terming the air quality of the national capital as “poor” and “unsafe.”

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”.

Speeding WagonR kills 50-yr-old, two injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 50-year-old man died while two others were injured when a speeding WagonR hit them from behind in the Jarcha area of Greater Noida on Monday night. Police said that the driver left the car on the spot and fled.According to police, the deceased has been identified as Madan Kumar (50), a National Capital Power Station (NCPS) worker. Kumar was on his way home after work, when the WagonR lost control and hit him from behind.“The incident occurred at around 8:30 pm when Kumar was heading home. Locals stated that a Wagon R was overtaking a truck when it lost control and hit Kumar who was walking on the side of the road. Kumar’s head hit a motorcycle moving ahead,” said Nishank Sharma, Circle Officer, Dadri area of Gautam Buddha Nagar.The two traveling on the bike have been identified as Hari Om (43) and Jitender (48) and the three were rushed to the National Capital Power Station hospital where Kumar was declared brought dead on arrival while Hari Om was discharged after first aid. According to the doctors at the NTPC hospital in Dadri, Jitender has suffered severe head injuries and has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).“After the accident, the driver left the cab and fled. We have taken the car into custody and informed its owner who is a resident of Kapawaali village in Greater Noida,” Sharma added.Police have registered an FIR against an unknown person under sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304A (Causing death by negligence).

Postpone Delhi Half Marathon: IMA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the Delhi High Court on Tuesday to pass necessary directions to postpone the Delhi Half Marathon after terming the air quality of the national capital as “poor” and “unsafe”.A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva took note of the present air pollution and the urgency surrounding it. It issued notices to the Delhi government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), organisers of the event and the Delhi police seeking their reply by November 6.The court’s direction come on a letter written by the IMA to the Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking them to postpone the marathon scheduled on November 19.”The air quality is particularly poor in the early morning when pollution is extremely high. This is also the time when the proposed Half Marathon is scheduled to start. The hazardous pollution levels may have disastrous health consequences, even for the healthy participants,” Dr KK Aggarwal, IMA President, wrote in the letter.The letter was moved in the main PIL initiated by the high court to address the air pollution problems of Delhi and in which it has been issuing directions from time to time.On November 9, the Delhi High Court had issued a slew of measures to improve the worse air quality in the Capital. These included cloud seeding to produce artificial rainfall.Following the letter, the organisers of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon had said on Saturday the call for cancellation of the November 19 run is “shortsighted” and asserted they have support of international athletes despite the prevailing pollution in the city.The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi has ranged from “very unhealthy” to “hazardous”. The levels have crossed the 300 ‘danger’ mark in several parts of the city.

CISF may take over security of Delhi courts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The security of courts in the national Capital might soon be a mandate of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). Top level sources in the force told DNA that after “successfully” guarding the Madras High Court, the CISF may now find itself stationed at various Delhi courts. Nothing, however, has been finalised as of now.An undertrial was shot at and killed inside the Rohini court complex on Monday. This was not the first time that a court in Delhi witnessed such an incident. In April, a shootout had left the Rohini court complex rattled. In 2015, three men opened fire inside a court room at the Karkardooma court, killing a Delhi Police constable and critically wounding an undertrial.“Our deployment at the Madras High Court has received a positive response. The hooliganism and nuisance that was reported at times have witnessed a drastic curb. The premise has also witnessed a tighter security ring and a hawk-eye vigil. If asked to secure Delhi courts, the force will make a proposal accordingly,” a senior officer said.“If deployed, the CISF will demarcate fixed entry-exit points, install baggage scanners, and get cameras installed to get rid of dark zones. This will step up the security manifold,” the officer said.Security of the Madras High Court landed in CISF’s lap in 2015, following a suo motu PIL on two incidents that had raised serious concerns about the arrangements at the court premises. A group of lawyers had laid siege to the bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, sporting black flags and placards and demanding that Tamil be declared the official language of the High Court.Former Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul then insisted on getting the court building secured by the CISF, though the state government objected to it and went up to the Supreme Court. It lost the case. A series of orders extended the cover periodically, by either a year or six months.

BJP demands 24-hour chest clinics for pollution-hit Delhiites

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the Arvind Kejriwal government, calling it visionless for its inability to arrest rising pollution levels in the national Capital that has been gripped in a thick blanket of poisonous smog.Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari on Monday said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) remains indecisive with a string of failed decisions to its credit in handling the hazardous smog.Citing Monday’s pollution levels that were recorded as 4 to 7 times higher than the tolerable 60 mg level, Tiwari said,”With schools set to open and a heavy public activity, the Kejriwal government seems to be lost as it never formulated a strategy to fight such a climatic emergency. People are worried and state administration, especially in hospitals have failed the citizens.”Tiwari also requested Lt. Governor Anil Baijal to call an all-party meeting to discuss the preparation to fight pollution and remedial measures in the Capital. The Delhi BJP also requested the Lt Governor to direct all government and private hospitals to set up 24-hour free chest clinics to help the affected people.The BJP has trained its guns on CM Arvind Kejriwal since Delhi caught itself warped in heavy smog. The party last week distributed masks in the northeast part of the city, as Tiwari attacked the AAP government for being indifferent towards the health of people.The party said the government failed to formulate any decisive policies to tackle the pollution scenario which was turning grim by the day. The Delhi chief minister was also lambasted for passing the buck to neighbouring states for burning stubble while he himself did not have any roadmap for pollution.

Check if vehicles are complying with pollution norms: Delhi High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi traffic police and the transport department to check whether the vehicles on the streets of the Capital are complying with the pollution norms or not.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that there was a rampant violation of rules and thus there should be thorough checking of the vehicles. “There has to be some checking. Rules are being violated rampantly,” the bench said. It also posed a question to the authorities as to why regular checks are not being conducted to check the violations.The court also observed that the police was not vigilant even with regard to violation of traffic rules as people can be seen talking on phones even while driving.Appearing for the Delhi government, counsel Satyakam said that there were“enforcement issues”.The court’s observation comes while hearing a petition which sought a ban on buses from other states in the Capital by private operators in contravention of the law. The plea has alleged inaction on the part of the transport department and the police.During the proceedings, the AAP government informed the court that 680 buses from other states have been prosecuted for not carrying proper permits. Most of these vehicles are from Uttar Pradesh. The petition filed by Rashtriya Rajdhani Kshetra Tipahiya Chalak Union has claimed that a number of private buses and vehicles registered with the UP government, entered Delhi from different entry points and carried passengers without proper permits.Earlier, the high court had considered the current weather as emergent and issued a slew of measures including water sprinkling, cloud seeding for artificial rainfall and an immediate ban on the construction activities to improve the conditions of ‘pea soup fog’, which it said had engulfed the city of London in 1952.

Over 100 flights, 50 trains delayed in Capital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief spell of respite, smog cover enveloped the Capital again on Sunday, disrupting flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) for the fourth day this week. More than 100 arrivals and a number of departures were delayed as visibility dipped during the early hours and late in the evening. A number of trains were also affected, with the adverse weather leaving several stranded at railway stations.Airport officials, however, denied reports of any diversion or cancellation on Sunday, unlike on Tuesday and Wednesday, when major air traffic menace delayed and diverted over 500 flight. Runway 29-11, which was shut for three days, also added to the congestion.”Low visibility slowed down air traffic, eventually causing backlog resulting in congestion. Flights witnessed delays ranging from 30 minutes to more than an hour,” a senior officer said.The situation is expected to worsen as winter approaches. Officials said that keeping the possible fog and adverse weather conditions in mind, they have planned to undertake several measures to ensure commuters’ convenience. Deployment of additional traffic marshalls for smooth traffic flow, adequate lighting in car parking areas, and increased number of airport patrol vehicles fitted with radio sets and beacons are some of the measures that will be undertaken to ensure smooth traffic on the roads.”Display of weather information inside terminals, additional help desks at entry gates where information on cancellations and delays will be displayed, and additional seating capacity in the terminal building will be ensured. Apart from this, airlines will be briefed about deployment of additional staff for appropriate manning of check-in counters and boarding gate areas during fog,” the official said.Meanwhile, more than 50 trains were also affected in Delhi due to reduced visibility coupled with operational glitches. This left many passengers stranded at railway stations, leading to overcrowding.”Some arrivals were delayed, while more than two dozen trains had to be rescheduled and cancelled on Sunday, a senior railway official said. “Adequate security arrangements are being ensured to manage the situation,” the official added.TRAIN ISSUES, TOOApart from the flight delays due to reduced visibility, some two dozen trains were also rescheduled and cancelled on Sunday for adverse weather conditions and technical glitches.

Fire at Bhalswa landfill aggravates pollution crisis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Capital already facing a severe pollution crisis, Delhi’s largest landfill site at Bhalswa caught fire on Saturday afternoon, worsening weather conditions.Fire officials maintained that the fire was later put out and no casualties were reported.According to a senior fire officer, the incident took place at around 12:50 pm. He said four fire tenders were rushed there with the help of two more tenders and it took them around six hours to doze of the fire.”The exact cause of the fire is still unknown. The fire kept on spreading in the landfill site due to which it required a lot of time to doze it off,” said the officer.The landfill site had been “exhausted” in 2006 after reaching the maximum permissible limit which ranges from 15 meters by the Environment Ministry. However, with no options, garbage dumping carried on here. As a result, the site has crossed the permissible height limit by over 30 metres.”People from nearby localities dump garbage here on a daily basis. As a result, the landfill site has crossed the permissible height. Because of the rise in height, fires usually break out due to the excessive release of methane gas. It happened last week as well. We have officials at the site who have been directed to immediately call fire tenders if any major fire breaks out,” said an official, North Corporation.Earlier, an accident at the Ghazipur landfill site in September which claimed two lives had caused Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to direct all the corporations to stop dumping garbage at existing landfill sites, which are overfull, and start processing waste.Experts from IIT Delhi had been called in and a plan to process waste was discussed with the government and relevant authorities.THE ALTERNATIVEEarlier, an accident at the Ghazipur landfill site in September had claimed two lives
This prompted Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to direct all the city’s corporations to stop dumping garbage at existing landfill sites, which are overfull, and start processing waste.

Odd! Odd-Even off after NGT spoiler

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government did a flip-flop on Saturday and called off the Odd-Even scheme for vehicles after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to allow a number of exemptions in the proposed five-day exercise. The scheme was to come into effect from Monday.In what could be seen as a more odd than even twist, the government will now petition before the NGT against its own order on Monday. The green panel had given a conditional nod to the Odd-Even proposal, after ruling out any exemptions to women drivers and those riding two-wheelers.The fast-paced back-to-back developments were triggered by an NGT order earlier in the day, which stated that no exemption should be allowed to “any person or officer and two-wheelers” during the proposed car rationing scheme.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said on Saturday that the Odd-Even scheme should be implemented “without any default” as and when the particulate matter (PM ) 10 level goes above 500 microgrammes per cubic metre and PM 2.5 level crosses the limit of 300 microgrammes per cubic metre during a span of 48 hours. At the same time, the green panel ordered that no exemption should be allowed to “any person or officer and two-wheelers”.The panel allowed the exemption only for emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire tenders.”Is the Odd-Even scheme at the whim and thought of a particular officer or the Delhi government as a whole? Is it being implemented with the consent of both the Lieutenant-Governor and the Delhi government?” the NGT asked.As Delhi air became unbreathable, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had announced on November 9 that the scheme will be back for a week. Also, schools were shut down till Sunday due to the high level of smog in the Capital. Earlier, appearing before the NGT bench, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had said that two-wheelers were more polluting than other vehicles, and emissions from motorbikes accounted for 20 per cent of the total vehicular pollution.The bench also castigated the government over its decision to hike parking fees saying: “Measures such as enhanced parking fees to decrease pollution are absurd. The hike will benefit only the contractors and would stress people by encouraging them to park vehicles on roads instead.”Ruing the NGT order, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the government was not ready “to compromise with the safety of women”. “We respect the NGT decision. Two conditions of NGT, that two-wheelers and women cannot be exempted, make it difficult to implement the Odd-Even scheme as we do not have enough buses,” he said.”We cannot compromise with the safety of women. The PM2.5 and PM10 levels have also come down. So, at the moment, we are calling the scheme off. We will file a review application in NGT on Monday,” the minister said, after participating in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, with other senior officials, at the CM’s residence.Had the scheme been implemented this Monday, it would have been the third edition of car rationing in Delhi. The scheme was earlier implemented for a fortnight from January 1-15, 2016, and then for the second time, from April 15-30, 2016.Under the scheme, odd-numbered vehicles ply on odd dates and even numbered on even dates. Restrictions were supposed to be in place from 8 am to 8 pm.

Alleged arms smuggler held in Ghaziabad, 21 pistols seized

Updated: Nov 11, 2017, 08:47 AM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police on Saturday arrested a person and seized 21 country-made pistols from him, an official said.He was arrested by a police team from the Tigri roundabout where a search operation was launched on the basis of a tip-off, SP Akash Tomar said.The officer said that 21 country-made pistols of different bores were seized. He has been identified as Kausar, a native of Shamli district, he said.He has confessed that he used to smuggle firearms to criminal groups in Noida, Vijay Nagar and other districts of the National Capital Region, the SP claimed.

Fake number plate racket likely to see an increase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Starting Monday, the odd-even formula will be tougher to implement than imagined. As a reality check by DNA showed, if one drops in at any of the numerous shops at the outer circle of Connaught Place, central Delhi or NCR, and anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours, you can easily walk out with a new number plate for your vehicle — that too without producing the registration certificate (RC) or any other documents. Traffic cops say a close watch will be kept on the menace.Fake number plates top the list of the many challenges the government and traffic police are going to face in implementing its clean-up plan for the Capital. According to norms, a number plate can be procured only from an authorised dealer and after producing the RC of the vehicle and other related documents.However, when DNA accessed the black market, the reality seemed different. Shops providing fake registration number plates not only put on display a number of designs and styles but also did not bother to ask for document or ID proof.”We have number plates starting from Rs 250 and the costliest is Rs 3,500. While the cheapest one has sticker digits, styles vary from stylish embossed fonts to illuminated digits with custom-made logos,” said a dealer who owns a shop in Noida’s sector 16 car market.Another dealer, who has a shop in Connaught Place, says that a simple number plate would cost Rs 800 while a legal one with holograms can only be made after the customer provides transport authority’s approval. “Last year, during the scheme, demand for fake number plates was high, the same is expected this year,” he said.When asked about the flourishing hidden business of fake registration number plates — which can lead to a severe national security threat — a senior traffic police officer said, “The only way this market can be curbed is to conduct raids on such shops and take legal action.”Price rangeRs 250 to 500 with sticker digits, simple, non-styledRs 500 to 1000 embossed stylish digits, custom made designs, change of languageRs 1200 to 3500 number plates with fancy lights, golden silver design, change of fontsHidden BusinessShops at Connaught Place, Kashmere Gate, Karol Bagh and NCR provide fake number platesPrice range varies from Rs 250 to 3500 depending upon styleNo vehicle-related document or ID proof required

Pollution due to stubble burning, Odd-Even won’t help: JNU study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A study by researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) department of environmental sciences has stated that measures like the Odd-Even scheme will not help in controlling pollution levels that the Capital is currently witnessing, as it is not the vehicular pollution but stubble burning in fields in neighbouring states that is causing the air quality to worsen.Researchers studied pollution patterns between October 1 and November 10, 2016, when air quality had touched similar severe levels as last three-four days and found that it was mainly stubble burning from farm fields in Punjab and Haryana that contributed to the air quality going bad while other things like crackers and vehicular pollution did not have much effect.Last year, Diwali fell in the beginning of November when the air quality was already at ‘severe’ levels worsened after. The research, however, shows that crackers contributed very little to pollution levels.”We conducted a study on pollution patterns in Delhi and NCR for a similar period of 2016. We studied the material present in pollutants and found that it was mainly carbonaceous material,” said JNU professor AP Dimri who headed the research team.”Things like nitrogen and sulphur, present in crackers were not present in a significant amounts. On further study, we found a large amount of biomass and residue of cow dung in the pollutants, which is not emitted by diesel burning, which means vehicles are not causing that kind of pollution,” he addedAs a way, for controlling the severe pollution in the Capital, the government had on Thursday announced that Odd-Even vehicle scheme should be implemented in Delhi for a week starting on Monday. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is going to hold a meeting on Saturday to discuss its implementation.RESEARCHERS SAIDDespite the ban on crackers during Diwali, there is no change in pollution levels Mainly due to farm residue burning in neighbouring states that worsened air quality Pollutants affected by weather conditions make particles settle in the air

Transport Dept bans heavy vehicle entry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Transport Department banned the entry of heavy and medium goods vehicles in the Capital from Thursday 11pm to November 12, 11pm. The notification also stated that entry would be further banned if the air quality does not improve. The Delhi Traffic Police and the Municipal Corporations of Delhi have been directed and informed to comply with the notification. Delhi Traffic Police have made elaborate arrangements and deployed forces accordingly at border points. There are over 30 entry and exit points out of which 18 border points receive maximum number of trucks. The borders include Anand Vihar, Badarpur, Noida, Singhu border, Tughlakabad, Faridabad, GT Karnal road, Gurugram, Kalindi Kunj. Only trucks with essential commodities such as eggs, milk, petroleum, vegetables, etc, will be allowed.

Smog in Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari steps in, orders water sprinkling on highways

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake smog-induced ‘health emergency’ in the Capital, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has ordered some tough measures to help reducing air pollution in Delhi-NCR.The slew of measures include water sprinkling at all construction sites, covering of dumpers transporting construction waste including flyash, covering of exposed soil at the construction sites and adherence to air quality norms by all plants and machinery.An official release stated that the roads and highways officials have been directed by the minister to inspect the construction sites regularly to ensure that all the pollution control measures are adhered to in a strict manner.The roads minister also mentioned that a thorough research needs to be carried out to find the cause of the pollution.He said, this year the smog has descended despite the ban on crackers and restrain on burning of crops, adding that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry will offer all help to carry out such a research.The ministry has taken up a plethora of highway projects around Delhi NCR, including the Delhi-Meerut expressway and the eastern peripheral expressway surrounding Delhi.The Haryana government is also constructing the western expressway or the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway slated to be inaugurated by March next year.Both eastern and western peripheral expressways are aimed at halving Delhi traffic by diverting vehicles passing via the capital and thus bring down pollution significantly.

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