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BJP MP Hema Malini blames ‘rising population’ and ‘migrants’ for Kamala Mills fire

Stoking a fresh controversy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Hema Malini on Friday blamed rising number of migrants in Mumbai as one of the reasons for the massive fire in Kamala Mills that killed 14 people.“It’s not that the police are not doing their job. They do a great job, but the population is so high. When Bombay ends, another city should begin. But the city keeps extending. Uncontrollable,” the 65-year-old actor-turned-politician was quoted as saying by Zee News. “The administration has allowed every migrant to live in the city. However, looking at the wide population in the city, the authorities should have brought in some restrictions here to control the population,” the Lok Sabha MP from Mathura said.Also readKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture”Each city should have a population limit and after a certain capacity, the migrants should be allowed to go to another city,” she added.This is not the first time that the Mathura MP has stoked controversy with her remarks. Earlier in September, she had said that “widows from West Bengal and Bihar should not crowd Vrindavan.”Her recent remarks came soon after the tragedy struck the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area in Mumbai.The fire, which also injured 21 people, started after 12.30 am in the “1 Above” pub on the terrace, and spread to Mojo pub on the third floor one level below.Also readKamala Mills tragedy: Pub claims fire emanated from ‘adjoining quarters,’ rejects cops’ version on safety violations Most of the victims, which included 11 women, died of asphyxiation, said Avinash Supe, dean of the KEM Hospital where the injured and dead were brought.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
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Tourists add to moolah rouge

With New Year around the corner, hotels and sightseeing destinations are reporting a big boom in the Pink City. According to sources, tourist arrivals are so high that finding a room in a hotel in the city is difficult at present.Hotels are booked, discounts have vanished and crowd can be seen flocking at the historical monuments of the city. There is no stopping of rupees rolling into Amber fort which has already been visited by 1,91,205 visitors in December till now.All this is also resulting in heavy influx of vehicles on the city roads making the traffic move at snail’s speed. There is a big rush seen in the walled city and places like Amber fort, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall, Jantar Mantar and all such places.The world famous Amber fort is getting its coffers filled since last few days in a big way with both foreigner and domestic tourists making a bee line to this fort which comes first on the itinerary of any tourist coming to Jaipur.Officials informed that on Wednesday, Amber received Rs 15,91,830 from 12,328 tourists. Of these 1,590 were foreign tourists.Similarly, on December 26, 1,761 foreign tourists, 11,732 domestic tourists visited this fort. This made the fort get revenue of Rs 17,85,400 in a single day.A day earlier, on Christmas day, Amber earned whopping revenue of Rs 19,16,030 with 15,720 tourists coming to the fort.Meanwhile, Hawa Mahal too is receiving a large share of tourists. These days on an average tourists between 3,000-4,000 are visiting Hawa Mahal every day. The number was more on Saturday, Sunday and on Christmas on Monday. Albert Hall, Jantar Mantar are also on the “to visit” list of the tourists.However, heavy inflow of tourists has turned the narrow roads of Walled City overcrowded. Additionally, the ongoing smart city work at Ajmeri gate is causing problems for the traffic and tourists. With renovation work going on at Ajmeri Gate, the traffic has been made to run one-way.Meanwhile, hotels are all booked till January 2-3. There are no discounts being given even at budget hotels.Traffic influxHotels are booked, discounts have vanished and crowd can be seen flocking at the historical monuments of the city. There is no stopping of rupees rolling into Amber fort which has already been visited by 1,91,205 visitors in December till now. All this is resulting in heavy influx of vehicles on city roads.

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Anti-eve-teasing squads to keep eye on eve-teasers among new year revelers

In order to avoid eve teasing instances during the new year celebrations, the Mumbai police would be setting up Anti-Eve-Teasing squads at Gateway of India and Marine Drive. The statistics provided by Mumbai Police revealed that there has been over 2000 molestation cases already registered in the city this year till November. However, police sources confirmed that the idea of using drones to keep a check on the activities of party goers at Gateway of India has been dropped.”The anti-eve-teasing squads would have women police persons too. Their primary responsibility would be to keep watch on movements of revelers and to take action against those who harass women. The utmost priority is towards women safety. Those in this squad will roam in public places like Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Girgaum Chowpatty in plain clothes and would keep eyes on anti-social elements. Action will be taken on those who are found indulging in any crime. ,” said a senior police officer.According to the statistics from Mumbai Police, from January till November this year 2046 molestation cases were registered and 1667 persons were arrested in these cases in the city.”The squad is particularly important to ensure women are safe in the crowded places as in the past there had been instances of women being groped by a group of men on New Year night in the city,” said the officer.WOMEN’S SAFETYStatistics provided by Mumbai Police reveal that there have been over 2,000 molestation cases already registered in the city this year until November. As such, anti-eve-teasing squads will be deployed

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Drop in chikungunya, dengue cases as compared to last year

With a nip in temperature, the number of vector-borne diseases in the city has seen a decline. Interestingly, compared to 2016, December saw a substantial drop in number of cases particularly for chikungunya and dengue. Against 162 cases in December 2016, the city recorded just three cases for chikungunya this month while for dengue, the number of cases was 37 against 119 last year for the same period.The AMC in a release said that there has been 44% drop in chikungunya cases while for dengue it was 3.14% if the yearly data for these diseases is compared. Overall yearly malaria cases also saw a decline of 12.24% compared to last year. The department had also collected 29,736 serum samples so far till December 23, 2017 against 40,590 last year. Water-borne diseases saw a slight increase particularly for jaundice. Against 149 cases of jaundice recorded in December last year, this year the month has so far recorded 174 cases. Two cholera cases were reported in December this year from Jamalpur and Vejalpur ward.As for cases of diarrhoea, the number increased from 459 in last december to 473 this year. Overall, 2017 saw 300 more cases of diarrhoea being registered compared to last year.WHAT AMC DIDAs part of its efforts to control outbreak of disease, the civic body has so far in the year distributed 49,1905 chlorine tablets, carried out 29,934 tests for cholera and sent 2695 water samples for testing.

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New year drug worries: Kolkata emerges new hotspot for hashish, LSD

In the last couple of years, Kolkata has evolved as one of the hotspots for drug peddlers during the year-end celebrations, with a rising demand for narcotics among party animals.The city hosts numerous parties and events during Christmas and New Year revelries and drug peddlers throng the hotspots to cater to the demands of party-hoppers, sleuths from the Narcotic Control Bureau said.”It is only recently that Kolkata is emerging as one of the top cities in India where banned drugs like hashish, LSD are sold during this time of the year.”The demand for drugs rises in this period and several peddlers are seen flocking the city to sell these narcotics,” Dilip Kumar Srivastava, Zonal Director, Narcotics Control Bureau Kolkata, told PTI.According to him, drugs are reaching Kolkata through various routes.”Hashish which is also known as Malana charas is quite popular here because it is not that costly. While Hashish is coming mainly from Himachal Pradesh, drugs like LSD are supplied from Europe, the US and China,” Srivastava said.It is also easy for drug peddlers to reach the metropolis due to its strategic location near Bangladesh and Nepal borders, another top officer of the NCB said.Drug peddlers hand over consignments to middle men, who then strikes a deal with buyers, he said.College students are also roped in to sell drugs, the NCB zonal director said.”In some cases, peddlers use students to route drugs to the customers. Several students are also directly involved in selling the drugs to the purchasers,” Srivastava said.Besides popular pubs, there are several bars in the city where drug peddlers have made a ?safe den? for their ?business?, another NCB official said.Incidentally, the NBC in Kolkata had arrested five persons, including a management student and a DJ with a popular pub in the city, earlier this month for their alleged involvement in a drug racket.Around six to seven top schools in the city have been asked to set up a mechanism by the NCB to keep a tab on students as drug smugglers often target vulnerable teenagers, Srivastava said.Asked about the ways and means people use to contact the peddlers, the zonal director said social media and chatting apps are used for the purpose.?Facebook, Whatsapp and other communicating sites are often used to contact the drug sellers and probable buyers,? he explained.If you wish to procure it, you will manage anyway, he said.The NCB will be on the look out for drug peddlers in the city this year and has alerted the Excise and the Kolkata Police in this connection.Last week, the Excise department with the help of the NCB had arrested two women from the city and seized consignments of Hashish from them.On enquiring about the actions initiated against drug peddlers, a senior officer of Kolkata Police said that necessary precautions have been taken to deal with this menace.?It is not that drugs are being supplied only to the rich. It is reaching anyone who can manage to buy it. So you cannot actually say that drug peddlers are targeting a specific class of the society,” the police officer said.There are risks involved in the operations and caution needs to be exercised while dealing with this sensitive issue, another senior officer of Kolkata Police said.“We are well prepared and our officers are keeping a watch on possible people who could be involved in this racket,” he said

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How safe are the elderly in Ahmedabad?

The senior citizen of Ahmedabad is no longer safe, as per the reports of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Senior police officials that DNA talked to said criminals find senior citizens to be easy targets for murder, chain-snatching and loot. For instance, take the loot and murder case of 75-year-old woman Rambha Patel, a resident of Ghatlodia.The Karmacharinagar Housing Society, part-2, resident was found strangulated with a cloth by her daughter Bhagwati Patel around 2 pm on Thursday. There was no sign of struggle at the crime scene. Cops say CCTV footage from the house shows a courier boy entering it with two boxes. The two gold bangles that the victim was wearing were found to be missing from the spot. Deepan Bhadran, DCP of Crime Branch, said, “We are investigating the case. More CCTV footages have been recovered but we cannot reveal further information right now as it may affect the probe.”73% crime against senior citizen of state reported from AhmedabadAccording to the NCRB data, Ahmedabad ranked third in the incidents of crime against senior citizens in 2016. Out of 496 crime cases registered against senior citizens in Gujarat in 2016, 362 were reported from Ahmedabad, which is almost 73 per cent of the total cases.While 68 cases were reported in 2014, it reduced to 17 in 2015 only to rise to 362 cases in 2016.MK Rana, ACP of Prevention of Crime Branch, said, “Senior citizens are the soft target for the accused. Not just elderly but all people should remain alert. We conduct several awareness programmes for senior citizens regularly and also issue guidelines. But most of them don’t follow it.”He added, “If a senior citizen lives alone, his or her relatives should have the information of the people visiting the house including milkman, newspaper boy, cook and domestic help. Most of the time, these aspects are neglected.”The top cop added that informed and updated relatives not only help avert crimes against elderly but also increase the possibility of police to catch them after committing the crime.AHMEDABAD NO CITY FOR ELDERLY?A LOOK AT 2017 On October 12, Meena Jog, 60 was attacked by four people while she was alone in her house in Vidyanagar Flats near Keshavbaug Party Plot in Ahmedabad. Valuables were also stolen but cops were able to nab all the four accused.On August 25, 93-year-old Rasiklal Mehta was suffocated with a pillow at his house in Darshan Society of Navrangpura by his former domestic help, police said. He was nabbed later.On February 1, a 75-year-old woman identified as Malti Parekh was found dead in her house in Swastik Society of Navrangpura. Police later nabbed her former domestic help, a 19-year-old for the crime.CRIME AGAINST SENIOR CITIZEN REPORTED IN GUJ2016- 496 cases2015- 195 cases2014- 372 casesCRIME AGAINST SENIOR CITIZEN IN AHMEDABAD2016- 3622015- 172014- 68CRIME AGAINST ELDERLY IN CITY IN 2016Murder- 6 elderly were victimsExtortion- 1Robbery- 12Cheating- 6Other IPC cases- 336NATIONWIDE (2016)Mumbai- 1,218Delhi- 642Ahmedabad-362Coimbatore- 233Chennai- 210

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Speak up Mumbai: Lax inspections allow flouting of safety norms

The fire in Bhanu farsan shop in Saki Naka has once again brought to light the fact that several commercial activities in Mumbai are carried out without the requisite licenses issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and are run out of places that do not comply to fire safety normsMany residential structures across the city too have been found not complying to safety norms. La Mer building in Bandra, is a recent example, in which Sachin Tendulkar’s apartment caught fire. The building’s fire extinguishing system was found to be defunct and the Mumbai fire brigade issued a notice to the building under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2005.While the BMC insists that it’s the citizens first that need to comply with fire safety norms, the question that also arises is why the civic body and fire brigade department is not more stringent with its inspections. Officials contend that it is impossible to inspect every building thus they are building a software that allows them to issue notices online. In the meantime, BMC has said that it will be sealing shops which are found to be violating fire safety norms.Residents tell DNA whether they think the authorities are taking fire safety lightly.EXPERTS SPEAKIt is the BMC’s responsibility to ensure that all residential and commercial units comply with fire safety norms but it is also the duty of citizens to comply. We have given buildings and shops one month’s time. The SOP for safety norms is available on the MCGM’s website. We appeal to citizens to read and comply with them. Inspections are necessary but awareness is required too.—Nidhi Chaudhari, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Special)People are not aware of the importance of fire safety norms and put their own lives in danger. However, the BMC and fire brigade too do not inspect all structures nor do they take action against those flouting safety norms. Thus, it is supplementary. Illegal businesses take advantage of BMC’s leniency. The authorities should take action against structures whose complaints are lodged.—Anil Galgali, Social activistVOICESThere have been several incidents of fire in the city recently. In a way we are all responsible for taking fire safety precautions lightly. Every co-operative housing society in the city is supposed to carry out a fire safety audit every six months but we rarely see it being done. At times, the solution to the problem lies with us.—Rohan Salian, ParelIn many instances, the fire department does not have the necessary infrastructure to douse fire effectively. As active residents, we have often observed that the authorities’ reaction to fire incidents is only knee-jerk and there are no provisions in place to eliminate the causes of fire by the corporation and the government.—Sandeep Sawant, GoregaonConsidering the rise in fire incidents, it is true that we are taking fire safety lightly. Most of the fires broke in areas where the BMC has not given fire safety permissions due to illegal constructions. However, even BMC officials are responsible for such incidents as they often give permissions for such illegal constructions. The civic body should also keep a strict watch on residential societies and whether their fire safety equipment is in place.—Uday Nare, AndheriEvery residential society should conduct a fire audit to ensure that the building is safe from fire. As citizens, we do fail to keep fire safety equipment handy and maintain them giving room for such incidents to take place. If safety measures are taken care of, fewer such incidents will take place. We certainly take fire safety lightly. The fire department should enforce some strict measures and make sure citizens follow them to keep themselves safe.—Omkar Sawant, MaladEvery year hundreds of fires are reported across the city. We do not even bother to discuss it as it’s become a normal occurrence. We only discuss when the fire’s intensity is high or the number of casualties is more. From residents to authorities, we do not follow the guidelines to prevent fires at either residential or commercial places. Many of us are not even aware about the standard procedure to be adopted in case of a fire.—Amarjeet Singh, BhandupEveryone, authorities and citizens alike, is taking fire safety lightly. In a number of places the wiring is not done properly or wires are seen hanging or exposed. In case of a fire, one needs to ensure that they can run to safety. However, there are many people who do not listen. This creates impediments in the way of a fire officer while fighting the fire as well. People should also take precautions to not leave the knob of the cooking gas on.—Jagdish Kulur, FortIt is not that the citizens or authorities are taking fire safety norms lightly. Most of the commercial and residential premises in the city are fire compliant and the fire brigade also works promptly in the case of fire emergencies in the city. But there needs to be more awareness among citizens on fire safety norms and fire fighting methods and action should be taken against illegal shops and establishments in the city that are not fire compliant.—Krushna Gupta, BorivliAlthough the number of fatalities in such incidents is on the rise, we are not taking enough safety measures. Having fire complaint workplaces and eating houses should be mandatory. Awareness about the dangers of not having a fire compliant area should be widely publicised and people should be educated on simple safety measures which can prevent major outbreaks. The government should introduce strict fire safety laws.—Gaurav Pinglay, Dombivili

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‘Carrot & Stick’ for swacch Jaipur

Institutions in Jaipur have been offered incentives for cleanliness on their premises as Jaipur Municipal Corporation launches Swacchta ranking contest. City mayor Ashok Lahoti on Wednesday launched a web portal encouraging various private and public institutes of the city to participate in the contest online.While at the launch mayor lured the institutions for taking up the cleanliness drive with cash rewards and rewards, the JMC officials were out in field reprimanding those found violating the norms. During the day, the JMC sealed administrative office of a mall at Malviya Nagar and three shops at MI road for dumping garbage at a public place.“Action was taken against the mall as many of those to hold shops at it was dumping garbage along the railway track nearby and the despite notices a compost plant was not installed at the mall for disposal of wet waste,” said a JMC officer, even as shopkeepers protested the move.The JMC thus had its intention clear, they need the city statistics improved as it gears up for the Swachh Survekshan Survey 2018. Jaipur had been unable to perform well at the last survey and tends to improve this year. The commercial and government complexes are thus in focus of the corporation to meet its cleanliness target.“Institutions like, hotels, hospitals, coaching institutes, marriage garden, trade union bodies and similar contribute to 30 per cent of garbage generated at the city, these bulk waste generators if could develop system to process the waste the city will emerge as the cleanest across the country,” said mayor Ashok Lahoti at launch of the Swacch ranking contest portal.As the Swacch Survekshan 2018 is scheduled to commence from January, the JMC is expected to further boost its effort to abide the city institutes towards sanitation.CompulsionIt is mandatory for all commercial institutes at Jaipur categories in categories of hotel, hospitals, to participate in swacch ranking contest.

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BMC ups swachhta race in schools, offices

To improve its rank in the Cleanliness Survey 2018, the BMC has decided to hold cleanliness competitions among municipal establishments such as schools, ward offices, hospitals and citizen facility centres among others. The winner will be awarded by the mayor. BMC’s rank in the Cleanliness Survey 2017 plummeted to 29 from 10 in 2016.”We are taking several measures to improve our ranking in the national survey,” said Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, BMC. “Every ward office will select one premise from each of the categories, that includes schools and hospitals, which are the cleanest,” added Singhal.”We want to involve every resident in the city in our cleanliness efforts. The process will become easier through such a competition,” said a civic official attached to the 2018 survey.The BMC has also been carrying out surveys to promote and encourage cleanliness among citizens. The civic body has formed 24 teams that will visit all the wards across the city to create awareness about the new Swachhata-MoHUA app, encourage citizens to download it and guide them on the steps to register their area’s garbage-related complaints from their phones. The teams will also solicit feedback from citizens on their area’s cleanliness situation. “In the past two weeks, over 30,000 residents have downloaded the app and are submitting their complaints,” added the official.As per the central government Cleanliness Survey, the Swachhata-MoHUA app must be downloaded by at least 2 per cent of the population to get marks in the survey. “In Cleanliness Survey 2016, only 6,000 residents had downloaded the app,” said the official. In BMC’s jurisdiction, around 2.5 lakh citizens need to download the app to get marks in the Cleanliness Survey 2018.

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Not enough done for safety of women: CM Arvind Kejriwal

Five years after the December 16 gang rape incident, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that not enough has been done for the security of women. The national AAP convener, however, said that his government is all set to install CCTV surveillance cameras across the city to ensure that the city has enough eyes.The AAP government, before coming to power in 2015, had promised better security for women in the Capital and was the on top of the agenda in the party’s manifesto.”A few years ago, on this day, the Nirbhaya incident took place. I don’t think we have taken any bold steps towards bolstering the security of women. It is a matter of concern for all of us and we should not indulge in blaming each other.However, I am happy that the Public Works Department (PWD) has taken a solid step in this direction. The tenders for installing CCTV cameras have been opened. Soon, we will have CCTV cameras across the city,” said Kejriwal on the sidelines of the inauguration of a flyover loop in Mukundpur.

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For most film and ad shoots, it’s no JOY-PUR

It’s not for the first time that shooting of the movie has created controversy in the city. In past also either the historical monuments of the city or public sentiments there has been a damaged or hurt, as a repercussion the film units had to face the ire of the local people.On Thursday, a unit of film Dhadak starring Jhanvi Kapoor had to face the opposition of local people after a chajja was damaged in the 5000-year-old Ambikeshwar Mahadev mandir in Amber and people getting to know cooking of meat near the temple. Locals informed that the unit was not seen in the vicinity of the temple of Friday, however, it was learned that shooting was going on in other parts of Jaipur.Ad filmmakers in the month of April this year had to abort shooting after a group of activists and locals protested against the use of signage and hoardings with names of Pakistani cities, some of them written in the Urdu language.The crew had the permission to shoot in the city. But activists of ‘Dharohar Bachao Samiti’ pulled down the banners and signage with Welcome to Lahore, Karachi Sweets, Rawalpindi Chaiwala and other street fixtures fashioned to depict a Pakistani city in Jaipur, claiming the said unit didn’t spare temples inside Walled City to recreate Lahore.One cannot forget, when earlier this year, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was allegedly roughed up and the set of his under-production film Padmavati was vandalised, when the shooting was in progress at the Jaigarh Fort in January this year.While no one can forget when in 2009, Over a dozen people were injured when a 15-feet-long retaining wall in the Amber fort collapsed when people had come to watch the shooting of Veer, a Salman Khan-starrer period love story and days later shooting was stopped on orders of the court.Controversial pastIt’s not for the first time that shooting of the movie has created controversy in the city. One cannot forget, when earlier this year, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was allegedly roughed up and the set of his under-production film Padmavati was vandalised, when the shooting was in progress at the Jaigarh Fort in January this year.In 2009, Over a dozen people were injured when a 15-feet-long retaining wall in the Amber fort collapsed when people had come to watch the shooting of Veer, and days later shooting was stopped on orders of the court.

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

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

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JMC now deploys ‘Swachh Mitra’ to monitor cleanliness

To get good marks in the cleanliness survey (Swachh Survekshan-2018) the Jaipur Municipal Corporation(JMC) will now strictly adhere to the people in the city. It has been decided that now home guard personnel will be deployed across the city to prevent people from spreading dirt and stop them from defecating in open.There are thousands of employees and officers in addition to Vigilance Cell in Jaipur Municipal Corporation. There is a Sanitary Inspector in every ward of the municipal corporation. Besides, Chief Sanitary Inspector, Health Officer, Health Deputy Commissioner and other officers are also present.A private company has been contracted. This company will appoint Swachhta Mitra in all the 91 wards of the city. These Swachhta Mitra will provide information about cleanliness to the public and will aware the public to cleanliness.Apart from this, home guards will be deployed in the city. The Municipal Corporation has eight zone areas. 20 home guards will be deployed in every zone area. The home guard will be allotted area of various wards.These home guards will go round the allotted area and prevent people from spreading dirt and defecation in the open.Mayor Ashok Lahoti said that all the 91 wards of the city of Jaipur have become ODF. Even after this, some people open defecation.It has been decided to set up a Home Guard to prevent open defecation.EFFORTSA private company has been contracted. This company will appoint Swachhta Mitra in all the 91 wards of the city. These Swachhta Mitra will provide information about cleanliness to the public.

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Speak up Mumbai: Is BMC apathy turning trees into safety issue?

On December 7, Sharda Ghodeswar, 45, lost her life after a 45-foot long Gulmohar tree fell on her when she was sitting on a bench in Chembur. The incident has given Mumbaikars a new reason to worry as they consider whether the trees in their areas are healthy and strong enough to not be a safety concern.Environmentalists believe that concretisation and haphazard tree pruning is a major reason behind the recent tree collapse incidents from across the city. Residents also blame Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not inspecting trees properly before cutting them and deem a tree healthy based on its appearance.Civic officials accept the fact that they only visually inspect a tree before declaring it healthy and do not have a mechanism in place to inspect its roots for a better idea of its health status. In the recent fatal incidents of tree falls, the BMC has shirked away responsibility by terming the deaths ‘accidental’.DNA spoke to citizens across the city to find out what they think about BMC’s approach towards tree cutting and whether the body is cutting the right trees.VOICESThe work is outsourced to contractors, there is no inspection by BMC which is why the right trees are not cut. I have seen contractors cutting trees that don’t need to be. Trees should be judicially trimmed and not hacked.—Dr Vijay Sangole, ChemburAt times a particular tree looks strong from outside but its roots could be weak. The BMC should appropriately identify which tree is more inclined and threatens to fall. An annual survey of trees is required for this.—Dattatray Gosavi, AndheriThe BMC should ideally take the help of experts who understand which trees need to be cut or which need attention. There are people studying this as well. Unless it is not done, more such incidents will keep occurring. People should also be careful while sitting or standing below a tree especially after heavy rain or cyclones like the recent one.—Dr Rita Savla, GoregaonThe BMC is not taking care of the city’s trees. The contractors it appoints for pruning are not qualified ecologists or environmentalists, they simply cut the trees as per the road’s requirement. At times, they ignore the trees whose roots are damaged due to which they pose potential dangers of falling. BMC should use aboriculture which deals in tree maintenance, especially in metro cities where lateral growth of roots is not possible due to concretisation.—AD Sawant, ElphinstoneThe BMC cannot be blamed for unforeseen situations like a natural or sudden calamity. But since our city has a terrific monsoon, the BMC needs to start doing a lot more inspection. They should go around looking for weak trees and trim them. A number of times, utilities dig roads and they too make the tree base weak. That needs to be checked often. BMC should also regularly check whether trees are growing properly or if they are becoming weak. Even if there is a big area, they need to check them.—Nikhil Banker, Marine DriveOften, trees are chopped to benefit some or the other developer, hotel owner or shop keeper as the trees obstruct their view, project or accessibility. Most trees do not fall because of rain and don’t need chopping, their roots are damaged because of concretising on every side because of which the roots don’t get adequate water and they become weak.—Shiva Malik, AndheriIt is the BMC’s responsibility to ensure that the branches of trees and the trees that are likely to fall, are chopped in time. Several incidents of tree falls have resulted in the death of citizens or damage to property which means there is something wrong on the BMC’s part. It is time the BMC identifies such trees that pose a threat and ensure they are chopped before they claim lives. The authorities should conduct a regular audit of such killer trees.—Robin Sharma, KalbadeviSuch incidents are not new to the city. After every monsoon season, we see hundreds of trees falling across the city. The BMC claims that they surveys trees before trimming them but such incidents continue to take place. The BMC is aware that Mumbai is situated in a coastal area and strong winds can uproot any tree. The civic body must ensure that at least weak trees are trimmed or cut. The BMC does not pay heed to these issues and are busy announcing ambitious infrastructure projects.—Nisha Sunil Ramakrishanan, BycullaEXPERT SPEAKBMC appoints contractors to decide which trees should be cut, who simply select trees based on which wood is commercially useful instead of the safety aspect. Trees like Gulmohar have soft wood and are not useful for burning thus many a times they are not cut. Gulmohar trees are always the first to fall after monsoon. The BMC works only on the contractor’s whims and fancies. It is the work of the garden department that never inspects the trees scientifically before deciding to cut or trim them.—Biju Auhustine, Environment activistEvery monsoon, Gulmohar and rain forest trees are the first to fall. These trees are not native trees for our soil and thus have a lesser life span as their roots are not deep enough and wood is also soft. To begin with, the BMC should only plant native trees. Besides, BMC haphazardly prunes the trees. Taking a lesson from the recent death of a woman, BMC needs to stop haphazard tree cutting and inspect the trees scientifically.—Sandeep Athalye, Environment activist

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India’s Hyderabad gets a makeover for Ivanka Trump

Sprucing up of the areas Ivanka Trump is to visit have led to jokes that she should visit regularly.

A BMC cell for dilapidated bldgs soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to form a separate cell for dilapidated buildings in the city. The cell or the department will keep records of all dilapidated buildings and ensure that incidents like the Sai Siddhi building collapse in July are prevented.The proposal, which is at the initial stage of planning, is aimed at ensuring audit of every building that has completed 30 years. “The cell will ensure that the civic body must have complete information of dilapidated buildings, and also how many new buildings will require structural audit in the next five years,” said an official from the Building Proposal department of BMC.“With rapid construction and alleged compromise in construction materials, the city will have more number of dilapidated buildings in future than today. Keeping this fact in mind, we must have data of dilapidated buildings in the city, and accordingly we can plan to prevent Ghatkopar-like incidents,” said the official.According to officials working on the project, the cell is likely to take shape in the next two months. The civic chief himself is taking interest in the project and a meeting on the subject is scheduled on Tuesday.AUDIT MUSTThe BMC is also working to streamline the process of declaring a building dilapidated. The policy will have provisions from making structural audit mandatory before declaring a building dilapidated.

Despite being considered one of the safest cities, 1600 molestation cases registered in Mumbai till September 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier this month a 25-year-old Russian National was molested on a busy Borivli street. A closer analysis of the crime statistics procured from Mumbai Police revealed that on an average at least 150 women are molested every month in Mumbai, which is considered to be one of the safest cities for women. According to the statistics, from January till September this year, 1609 cases under section 354 of Indian Penal Code for outraging modesty of a woman were registered by the Mumbai Police as compared to 1639 cases registered during the same period.While number of molestation cases registered are high in numbers, the detection rate of these cases are on the lower side. As per the statistics, of the registered 1609 cases this year, only 1227 could be detected. Which means thd detection rate was only 76 %. On the other hand, number of cases registered under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code for Intended insult to Modesty of Women are showing increasing trend in city. From January till September, 333 cases were registered by Mumbai Police under section 509 of IPC, as Compared to 319 cases registered last year during same period. Of the 333 cases, only 191 cases could be detected by the police having detection rate of just 57%.”Women safety is one of priorities of the Mumbai Police. We ensure enough police presence is there in the city and that they are safe from hooligan elements,” said a senior Mumbai Police officer, requesting anonymity. Earlier Mumbai Police had taken several initiatives to ensure women are safe in the city. These initiatives include a help desk for women at all railway terminals, dedicated women help desk in police stations and women beat patrolling in the city.

Odd-even returns in Delhi, car rationing scheme to come into force from November 13

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Arvind Kejriwal government has decided to bring back odd-even scheme in Delhi on Thursday. Battling the worsening smog in the city, administration has decided to impose the car rationing scheme from November 13 to November 17.The decision was taken after the Delhi High Court slammed the Kejriwal government for not taking enough measures to provide clean environment to the people of the city.In fact, the court had earlier suggested to bring back the scheme, which was implemented for first time in January last year after a trial run in month of December in 2015. The second time the scheme came into force was from April 15-30 in 2016.Under the third phase of the odd-even scheme, vehicles with odd and even numbers will be permitted to run on alternate days.Earlier today, the High Court had also observed that the odd-even scheme last year had unclogged the city.The national capital region continues to breathe the toxic air as the The maximum Air quality in the national capital and its nearby areas is hovering between 400-700, which is above the danger level for the third consecutive day.The odd-even plan is inspired by the Beijing model that was introduced ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Pollution: Arvind Kejriwal seeks meeting with CMs of Haryana and Punjab

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today sought a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana to discuss measures to bring down the alarming pollution levels.Delhi’s air quality was at the season’s worst yesterday as a combined effect of smoke from stubble burning and moisture turned the city into a “gas chamber” leaving people gasping and prompting authorities to announce closure of primary schools and a four-fold hike in parking fees among a series of sweeping measures.Even today the city was enveloped with a thick blanket of haze which hung low over the city leading to a drop in visibility.”Am writing letters to CMs of Punjab and Haryana requesting them for a meeting to find solns to crop burning,” Kejriwal tweeted.The Indian Medical Association said the capital was witnessing a “public health emergency” and has appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.The Delhi government also issued a health advisory for high risk people, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from asthma and heart ailments.The National Green Tribunal took the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana to task, seeking to know why steps to prevent steps were not taken despite knowing well in advance that such a situation was likely to arise.

Delhi pollution: After Kejriwal asks for schools to be closed, Sisodia to decide by evening

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked his deputy Manish Sisodia today to consider shutting schools for a few days in view of the high pollution in the city, prompting him to convene a meeting of officials of education, health and environment departments.Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister, has directed the environment department to submit a report on the city’s pollution level by this evening.He said that the Delhi government would take a final decision on the closure of schools and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme after examining the report.The chief minister will chair the meeting.Kejriwal has also sought an appointment with Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to discuss the alarming situation, he said.Delhi woke up to ‘severe’ air quality with a thick haze blanketing the city as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.”Hv called a meeting at 5.30pm with Edu, Health & Env Dept with today’s pollution data and all relevant studies (sic),” Sisodia tweeted.”We are closely monitoring the situation and will take a final decision on it once the report comes. The Delhi government has requested the Centre several times to intervene in the issue of crop burning in neighbouring states but the central government has not responded yet,” he told reporters.Earlier today, the chief minister tweeted, “Considering high level of pollution, I have requested Manish Sisodia, Education Minister, to consider closing schools for few days.” The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also appealed to the Delhi government to shut down outdoor sports and other such activities in schools keeping in view the harmful impact of air pollution on the health of the children.The rapid fall in air quality and visibility began last evening as moisture combined with pollutants shrouded the city in a thick cover of haze.By 10 am today, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme. PTI GJS BUN

Delhi: Despite steps, thick smog layer covers city; worst yet to come

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national Capital woke up to a thick layer of smog on Monday, clocking ‘very poor’ on the air quality index (AQI). The air quality has remained in this category since the onset of winter. It is, in fact, expected to worsen over the coming days, with an increase in moisture in the winds.On Monday, the AQI was recorded at 316, considered ‘hazardous’ even for healthy adults. The prescribed standard for healthy air quality is 60. Anand Vihar in east Delhi recorded ‘hazardous’ air quality at 319.In view of the air quality remaining continuously ‘very poor’, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) — a Supreme Court-mandated authority to monitor air quality in Delhi-NCR — has directed the Transport Department and the civic bodies to strengthen the crackdown on vehicular emissions and garbage burning.”We held a meeting with civic bodies members recently, wherein they were directed to intensify the crackdown on garbage burning. A number of instances have been reported from the Yamuna floodplains and the shanties located alongside the banks. The monitoring has to be intensified to cut down the emissions,” a senior official said.Besides, a number of out-of-state diesel-run buses coming to the city on a daily basis have been found to be not having valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates, he added. Vehicular emissions count for over 20 per cent of the city pollution. “Theses buses have been found to be adding to emissions. The Transport Department has been directed to intensify its drive against such vehicles,” the official added.As part of its drive since October, the Transport Department has impounded over 1,000 out-of-state buses coming to the Kashmere Gate inter-state bus terminal (ISBT) .Meanwhile, the AQI in NCR towns, including Noida and Ghaziabad, stood at ‘very poor’ at 264.77 and 367, respectively. The air quality is measured against PM 2.5 levels — the most prominent pollutant in Delhi air. The figures are measured in microgram per cubic meters.LOOPHOLESA number of out-of-state diesel-run buses coming to the city on a daily basis have been found to be not having valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates. Vehicular emissions count for over 20 per cent of the city pollution. As part of its drive since October, the Transport Department has impounded over 1,000 out-of-state buses coming to the Kashmere Gate inter-state bus terminal (ISBT) FATAL STATSAQI very poorDelhi 319Ghaziabad 367Noida 264.77

They took over our city 30 years ago

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The problem of the burgeoning number of hawkers in the city is not new. Albeit complex, the issue has been allowed to fester over three decades. Thus, a holistic solution remains out of sight.In 1985, the Mumbai Hawkers Association (MHU) filed a petition against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the Bombay High Court, seeking clarity on whether they have a legal right to hawk in the city. The matter went up to the Supreme Court (SC) which observed that there must be hawking and non-hawking zones marked out in the city.”The court also said that hawkers do not have a fundamental right to carry out their business on footpaths as pedestrians have a right to walk there,” said advocate Jamshed Mistry, who appeared on behalf of the Ramdas Nayak Marg Retail Merchants Association.Soon after the civic body began the demarcation exercise, around 40 petitions were filed by various unions, residents’ associations and traders. “It was then decided that hawkers would not be permitted within an area of 150 metres from railway stations, schools, hospitals and religious places. However, one hawker’s group Maharashtra Ekta Association managed to secure a stay from the Supreme Court,” added Mistry.The National Hawkers Policy was in place in 2007, and in 2014, the Central Government enacted the Street Vendors (Protection Of Livelihood And Regulation Of Street Vending) Act. As per the Act, the local body should form a Town Vending Committee (TVC) which is supposed to identify street vendors, issue certificates, identify sites for hawking, and regulate timings, among other tasks.A senior official from the BMC’s Removal of Encroachments (RE) department said, “The BMC has already sent a list of representatives as members of the TVC to the urban development (UD) department of the state government a month ago, and is now waiting for approval.” Manisha Patankar Mhaiskar, principal secretary, UD II (Special Projects) told DNA that they have received TVC proposal from the BMC last week, and now the state government is processing it.CLEARING AREAS OUTSIDE SCHOOLS, HOSPSLast week, the BMC started the demarcation of 150 metres outside all railway stations, making them no-hawking zones. Now, the civic body will remove hawkers from outside schools, hospitals, government offices and religious places. As per the HC’s decision, no hawkers are allowed in 100-metre area of these places. The BMC’s RE department is expected to submit a plan of action for the removal of hawkers outside government schools and hospitals to the Municipal Commissioner next week.NUMBER AT WORK3 lakh Number of hawkers in the city as per unions18,000 Licensed hawkers2014 Last survey of hawkersRs 100 Amount charged for licenseEXPERT SPEAKThe BMC should first frame the policy before evicting hawkers. Why should hawkers be punished because there is a delay from the BMC in forming the Town Vending Committee which is supposed to do the survey and designate a hawkers’ zone to them?—Shanshank Rao, President, Maharashtra Hawkers UnionAfter a long fight, the policy has been framed for hawkers in the city. But it’s very unfortunate that the authority has been delaying its implementation. Why does the local body or state government wait for the court to intervene again and again?—Jamshed Mistry, Advocate, Ramdas Nayak Marg Retail Merchants AssociationAUTHORITIES HAVE FAILED, SAY RESIDENTSThe authorities have failed to regulate hawkers in the city and a solution is long overdue. Hawkers are causing a huge problem for daily pedestrians and motorists. Several places all over the city have been overtaken and encroached by them. It was clear from the recent tragedy at Elphinstone Road station that they are a fatal disturbance. The court was right in rejecting the Congress president’s plea along with the hawker union’s to implement a hawking policy — that the policy is not implementable.—Anil Joseph, BandraThe authorities have certainly failed to regulate an executable policy for hawkers in the city. Moreover they have even failed to implement existing policies for hawkers. A permanent solution was drafted for implementation by the previous government but it is still caught in delays due to red tape bureaucracy of the present government. It is impossible that they will regulate hawkers in the city as a section of the authorities have vested interests in the menace.—Vijay Kanojia, BycullaThe citizens are suffering while political parties treat the hawkers as mere vote banks. The problem is envisaged more as a political agenda than a civic concern. The government has been ineffective in resolving the hawkers’ issue in the city. It has failed to eliminate the illicit activities of hawkers and address the concerns of civilians.—Aniket M Salvi, Vile ParleWe cannot blame the civic body entirely for the hawkers’ menace. The common man who gets affected by the hawkers should also work to spread awareness among themselves by discouraging the purchase of items from illegal hawkers. Though legally the BMC has failed to take action against the hawkers, it is high time that a permanent solution is worked out to free up space for pedestrians and vehicles outside railway stations.—Preeti Chavan, KandivliThe concerned authorities have certainly failed to manage the hawkers’ menace that has mushroomed across the city over the years. There have to be designated markets and zones where these hawkers can sell their wares. That is the only way to control them and make sure pedestrians have access to space. This has to be implemented without wasting time as these measures have been long overdue.—Aakash Sarawal, MatungaThe authorities as well as political parties have failed to regulate the increasing number of hawkers in the city. I stay in Borivli and the hawkers have just multiplied with each year. They are mostly situated outside the railway station. Giving them a designated spot is a development in the right direction as when they sit on the footpath, it creates several problems for pedestrians.—Viraj Mamania, BorivliThe authorities have failed in containing the menace, turning a blind eye to illegal hawkers. Instead of cracking the whip on hawkers, the police and BMC take ‘hafta’ from hawkers and allowing them to run their stalls. There is no solution to this unless the authorities themselves stop getting involved in such illegitimate businesses.—Ralph Long, Colaba

Hawking zone plan delayed as panel yet to be formed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court ordered on Wednesday that hawkers will be allowed only in designated hawking zones, however, designated hawking zones are yet to be exhaustively chalked out in the city for its 90,000 licensed hawkers. This is because the Town Vending Committee (TVC) that will survey and demarcate legal and illegal hawking zones in the city is yet to be set up. There were only a few areas identified in 2009 where hawkers were to be permitted.The formation of the TVC has been delayed for three years, and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is currently awaiting a state government approval on members recommended for the committee.Proposed in 2014, the formation of the TVC met with opposition from several quarters, which delayed its formation. According to civic officials, it may take another year before the Hawkers Policy is implemented.Vendors across the city, meanwhile, have been demanding implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. The Act stipulates the formation of a TVC tasked with the job of ensuring that all existing street vendors identified in the survey are accommodated in vending zones subject to a norm conforming to two-and-a-half per cent of the population of the city, in accordance with the plan for street vending and holding capacity of vending zones.A senior official from the Removal of Encroachments (RE) department of the BMC said, “The BMC has already sent a list of representatives as members of the TVC, to the urban development (UD) department of the state government, a month ago, and is now waiting for the approval.”There will be six members in the TVC. “We are waiting for UD department’s approval and once we get it, we can carry out a survey of hawkers in the city and accordingly, their legalities will be decided,” said the official.WHAT’S THE PLANIn August 2016, the state government had issued a notification to set up the TVC.
BMC had published ads in newspapers while preparing the list of representatives to be proposed as members of the committee.

Govt bans hookah bars, orders to cancel licence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hookahs will no longer be permitted in smoking zones at hotels, restaurants and airports in the city as the Delhi government on Tuesday ordered the police and civic bodies to cancel the licenses of all eateries allowing it.Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain announced that hookah smoking would not be allowed in smoking or non-smoking zones in the national Capital, and the Delhi Police and municipal corporations should immediately cancel the licences of restaurants or eateries having hookah bars. “The minister has made it clear that hookah smoking is not allowed in non-smoking zones as per section 4 of COTPA (Cigarette & other Tobacco Products Act),” the government said in a statement.Stating an estimate by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government said,”An hour-long hookah session comprises 200 puffs compared to 30 puffs in a cigarette, but a number of hookah bars have been ‘flourishing’ flouting anti-tobacco rules and laws.”It, further, said that the state tobacco control cell has conducted several raids in various parts of the city and the chemical analysis of picked up samples have shown the presence of nicotine in a significant amount.”The samples though were claimed to be herbal in nature,” the statement added.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Delhi government also pulled up the police and civic bodies for not taking appropriate action against “illegally” running hookah bars in the last four years.”However, the action is yet awaited and the violations are still going on in many parts of Delhi. It has been noticed that hookah smoking is rampant in restaurants/eateries/hotels in metropolitan cities including Delhi these days, and has unfortunately become status symbol even in family functions,” it said.Earlier on October 9, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had sought replies from the Ministry of Environment of Forests, Delhi government, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the police on the wide existence of hookah bars in the restaurants and eateries across the city. Hearing a plea filed by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, a BJP MLA from Rajouri Garden, seeking an immediate ban on hookah bars in the national Capital, the green panel had also directed the government to furnish a list of all restaurants and bars in the city which permit hookah smoking within their premises.FALLING IN LINEDelhi Minister Satyendar Jain announced that hookah smoking would not be allowed in smoking or non-smoking zones in the national Capital. The Delhi govt pulled up the police and civic bodies for not taking action against“illegal” hookah bars.

Speak up Delhi | Road trap: Killer potholes, rising death toll & authority’s apathy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death of a 61-year-old man in Civil Lines last week has once again thrown the spotlight on the poor condition of roads in the Capital and the indifference of the Delhi government’s Public Works Department. The victim, Jagdish Sukhija, fell off when his scooter hit a pothole on a road next to Metcalfe House and bled to death despite wearing a helmet.This is the second death reported due to potholes in the city in the past three months. In August, a school teacher was run over by a bus when she lost her balance and fell off her scooter after hitting a waterlogged pothole. A 35-year-old motorcycle-borne man met a similar fate in 2016 in Vasant Kunj.According to data available with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 10,876 people lost their lives due to potholed roads in 2015. The number saw a marginal dip from 2014 which reported 11,106 deaths.Another study in 2016 found that on an average, six people died every day due to potholes with Uttar Pradesh recording the maximum number of deaths at 714 followed by Maharashtra at 329.Badly constructed roads and their poor upkeep have been a cause of worry for residents across the city, who rue that in spite of taking up the matter with the PWD, which is responsible for the maintenance of roads, they are often left unattended for months together, leaving them with no option but to “adjust” to the situation.Monsoons make matters worse when roads in many areas give way and waterlogged potholes spread across the length and breadth of the city.Residents Welfare Associations in various areas, as well as local area councillors routinely take up the matter with the PWD for better roads, but their pleas fall on deaf ears. For people who pay taxes for better civic facilities, they lament that they are not getting the worth.SIMILAR CASES IN THE CITYThe death of a 61-year-old man in Civil Lines last week is the second death reported due to potholes in the city in the past three months.
In August, a school teacher was run over by a bus when she lost her balance and fell off her scooter after hitting a waterlogged pothole.
A 35-year-old motorcycle-borne man met a similar fate in 2016 in Vasant Kunj. Every political party makes tall claims ahead of municipal elections but nothing actually happens on the ground. Potholes are causing a lot of trouble in our locality. We think twice before allowing our children to play on the streets even in residential areas. The authority should take serious note of it and address the issue.—Mohita Khari, Civil Lines residentWe pay taxes so that our government can provide us with better civic infrastructure. It is unfortunate that civic agencies are so lackadaisical towards roads and callous towards people dying on the streets because of potholes.—Benul Tomar, Vasant Kunj residentThe risk of potholes are immense and authorities do not seem to grasp the dangers it poses. They keep passing the buck every time an accident occurs, and nobody is held responsible. Sign boards should be put up warning people whenever repair work is on. however, But authorities do not want to take preventive measures to avoid any untoward incidents.—Sandeep Bali, RWA, Mehrauli residentDuring election time, politicians come to us with tall promises of better roads. The reality check is contrastingly different. No one bothers about the plight of the common man. The PWD department won’t be doing us any favour by providing the same as it is our right to have good roads. Why else do we pay huge amounts of money as tax?—Siddharth Parashar, Rohini residentYou have to be very careful while walking on the road. Many potholes in my area are not even properly covered and the authorities are least bothered. A pothole in our locality has been left open for more than 10 days now. The RWAs of our locality have also written to the authorities but nothing has been done so far.—Shalini Verma, Lajpat Nagar residentThere are no warning signs put up near potholes. The authorities have no sense of planning and in managing this civic mess. Despite repeated requests to fill up potholes, authorities turn a deaf ear. At times, we (the residents) have called labourers to fill them up.—Shradha Gupta, Rohini residentEXPERT SPEAKWe have given them suggestions on various roads across the capital like Savitri Cinema, and flyovers like DDA, Punjabi Bagh, IIT, Bikaji Cama Place among others to maintain them. The implementation of those recommendations, however, is very poor. Other than roads falling under NDMC, the entire capital is grappling with bad civic amenities. Not only the roads are ill-maintained, the lack other basic features like signage, markings etc. No wonder, they are fast emerging as killers—S Velmurrugan, expert from Central Road Research Institute (CRRI)

Doc stripped, paraded on streets for molesting woman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A local psychiatrist in Fatehabad district of Haryana was thrashed, stripped naked and paraded around the city before being handed over to the police for allegedly molesting a woman. The angry mob blackened the face of accused Dr Jimmy Jindal, and also vandalised his hospital. Police arrested him on a complaint filed by the victim’s grandfather.According to the complaint, Jindal allegedly gave sedatives to the mother of the victim, when the duo visited him for consultation. Another doctor at a private hopsital where the woman was undergoing treatment for dengue, advised the family to consult a psychiatrist because they found something “amiss” in her behaviour. She claimed that the doctor drove her to his home on the pretext of counselling and molested her there. She, somehow, managed to escape and narrated the incident to her relatives, who then reached the hospital along with others.They then vandalised the hospital before rounding up the doctor. Jindal was then dragged out of the premises by the irate crowd who beat him up in full public view. By then, a large number of people, including shopkeepers around the area, gathered there. His counterparts from other private hospitals also reached the area to intervene, but abstained after seeing the mob and learning about the incident.The doctor was stripped and paraded through the streets of Fatehabad up to the city police station. Spectators recorded the entire event on their mobile phones, while others hurled abuses at him. The woman’s relatives submitted a complaint to the district Superintendent of Police demanding “strict action”, who referred the matter to the women’s cell.MOB OUTRAGEAccording to the complaint, the doctor allegedly sedated the mother of the victim, when the duo visited him for consultation.
An angry mob rounded up the doctor, blackened his face, and paraded him through the city naked, before handing him over to the police.

Churchgate to get reflective zebra crossing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, a zebra crossing in the city will now be painted with reflective paint that will shine at night. This is being done at the junction outside Churchgate station by the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA). The association completes 99 years on October 17.It is for the first time that radium will be used to paint zebra crossings in the city. The radium will help the crossing to glow in the dark which will assist motorists in low light.”We have written to the traffic police and the BMC about these reflective zebra crossings. We are working out a pilot project at the Churchgate station junction in this month,” said Nitin Dossa, president, WIAA.There are four heavy traffic junctions at Churchgate that are likely to be painted by the WIAA. Depending on the pilot project’s success, the government agencies will consider taking it forward in rest of the city.Zebra crossings across the city continually get wiped off and are barely visible. These reflective ones will be similar to the side barriers seen on highways.Members from WIAA said that they have planned many more activities in the coming months as part of the association entering its centurion in 2017-18. Plans are being chalked out so far.Some of these activities will take up issues of parking, decongesting and other traffic-related concerns of south Mumbai.For this purpose, the WIAA will install electronic notice boards at various junctions in south Mumbai that will display the status of congested roads in real-time.This is likely to start in the first week of November. The electronic notice board will also show other information such as diversions to be taken during heavy rains or at the time of accidents.The display boards will also have slogans and traffic rules showcased on them.

Bengaluru records highest rainfall in 115 years; death toll rises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru has recorded highest rainfall in at least 115 years, according to Indian Meteorological Department on Sunday.The annual rainfall for the city is 1615.2mm as on Saturday morning is the highest record ever that surpassed the earlier record of 1606.8 mm in 2005.The incessant rainfall for the past two months in Bengaluru shows that the city is somewhat facing unique weather condition where the south-west monsoon has extended and the north-east monsoon is about to arrive, a senior official at the IMD said.”The combination of the weather system coupled by low pressure situation created in the Arabian Sea is resulting in showers over interior Karnataka and Bengaluru falls in this region,” he said.”One has to analyse the possible relation to climate change as extreme weather events are related to it. Bengaluru is a growing city and has been experiencing heat island effect which further results in rainfall after a prolonged harsh summer or dry run,” he added.Heavy rains in the city have caused severe waterlogging and traffic jams on the road. Around 19 deaths have occurred in the past 15 days due to potholes and the heavy showers. A 16-year-old girl was drowned in an overflowing rain on Sunday at Krishnappa Garden.In another incident, a mother and her daughter were washed away in a nearby drain in Kurubrahalli.

Mumbai: Activists a Chipko Movement to save Aarey’s forestland from Metro car shed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Environmental activists in Mumbai have launched Chipko movement to protect over 3,000 trees from being hacked in Aarey Colony to make way for the construction of Mumbai Metro car shed.The activists of Aarey Conservation Group on Saturday along with scores of people and school children, held a peaceful protest by embracing the trees and appealed to the government to reconsider its decision to build a car shed in the only large green lung of the city.”There are seven other plots in the city where car shed can come up without destroying the ecological balance of the city. But Mumbai Metro Corporation officials are hell-bent to cut 3,500 trees and now they have started excavation work and soon they are going to hack the trees.”So we decided to show our affection with the innocent trees by launching the Chipko (embracing) movement in the Aarey Colony,” said Stalin Dayanand, the convener of NGO Vanashakti.Dayanand added, “It is not Metro’s construction, but it is Metro’s (Mumbai’s) destruction which MMRC is doing without getting permission from the agencies.”National Green Tribunal has clearly said that Metro Act cannot be above the Environment Protection Act, but MMRC is brazenly violating the rules.”He alleged that MMRC has falsely made different affidavits in different agencies to cut the trees.Dayanand said, “MMRC stated in High Court that it will cut only 250 trees whereas in NGT, it said that only 500 trees will be hacked. But, shockingly here on ground zero in Mumbai, it has come up with the tender to hack 3,500 trees.” Meanwhile, noted lyricist Piyush Mishra, who too is batting for the green cover in the Aarey Colony, has compiled a video song to sensitise people and the government to protect the trees.Mishra said that it is the high time to do something to save the green tract of the city.”We can breathe in Mumbai, because of green tract like Aarey in our city, and therefore, it is our responsibility to protect them (trees) from being hacked in the name of development.”In western countries, people treat trees like God or saviour and see what we are doing. Why don’t they build carshed at other convenient places?” Mishra told PTI over phone.The state government has demarcated a portion of Aarey land for setting up the carshed for the Metro-3 corridor which has been the rootcause of controversy between green activists and the nodal agency MMRC.Reacting to the developments, MMRC, said there was no restraining order from NGT on undertaking any construction work at Aarey and it has not initiated any tree cutting activity in Aarey as of now.A MMRC spokesperson said, “Being a responsible government organisation, we always ensure that permission of MCGM’s Tree Authority, which is the competent authority to grant permission for tree cutting, is taken.” “We also reiterate that hacking will not be initiated till we receive approval from the Tree Authority,” he said.

Pothole claims one more life:Woman run over by truck in Bengaluru

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman riding pillion on a two-wheeler was killed on Wednesday when a truck rammed the vehicle as the rider was trying to avoid a pothole near Devanahalli, police said.With this, four persons have died in accidents this month because of the battered condition of some of the city’s roads.Police said G Veena (21), a resident of Kundana in Devanahalli, was heading home riding pillion with elder sister G Lakshmi (24).At the Shettarahalli gate, while trying to negotiate a pothole, Lakshmi slowed down the two-wheeler when a truck hit them from behind.As the women fell off their vehicle, the truck ran over Veena, killing her instantaneously. Lakshmi too sustained serious injuries. She has been admitted to a nearby hospital, the police said.Angry residents blocked the road protesting the pathetic condition of the road.Police have registered a case against the truck driver who fled the spot leaving his vehicle.Two days ago, a woman was run over by a truck when the motorcycle she was riding pillion with her nephew skidded near Nayandahalli while negotiating a pothole.About a week ago, an elderly couple lost their lives when a bus ran over them on Mysuru road flyover as they were trying to avoid a pothole. The government has come under sharp criticism for the condition of the roads in the city.Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has blamed torrential rains for the potholes in the city and has promised to rid the city of potholes in a fortnight.

An asthmatic breathes a sigh of relief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swapnil Mathur, 31, has been suffering from asthma since he was a toddler, but in the last few years, his condition had severely deteriorated due to the bad air quality. His problems would get worse around Diwali, as this is the time when the weather changes as well. In fact, last year, he had to be hospitalisedjust after Diwali.The Supreme Court’s decision to completely ban the sale of of firecrackers in the city till November 1 has come as a boon to Mathur.”Any change in weather conditions i.e. temperature or wind, has been a problem for me since birth. Exposure to pollen, dust, or even strong smells lead to an asthma attack,” said Mathur, a technology reviewer. “Last year was the worst in my three decades of asthma. Despite starting the precautionary medicines two weeks ahead of Diwali, I still had to be hospitalised the next day,” he said.Mathur later had to get an industrial-grade mask, which is specifically designed to filter out fumes and particulate matter, and nebulise for several days, even at home. This year again, he has started taking the precautionary medicines and will leave the city for a week during Diwali. His doctor has strictly prescribed him to move out of the city for a few days and return only after the fumes have settled. Unfortunately, he will not be able to celebrate Diwali with his family.”I absolutely love the SC decision. But I would have loved it if it had barred the use of firecrackers as well. Right now, it is illegal only to sell them in Delhi-NCR, but those who want to burn crackers would still get them from Meerut, Sonipat, and other areas on the outskirts. It’s still good to know that they have taken a step like this,”he said.

Speak up Mumbai: Finding a solution to the city’s rush-hour chaos

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2015, Justice Naresh Patil of the Bombay High Court made a suggestion to the state government to change office timings, questioning whether the fixed routine of 9 am to 5 pm could be done away with.”What if some departments begin work at 11 am? Can some offices work on weekdays and take the weekends off? For instance, Dadar market is closed on Mondays — can similar options be worked out?” He had suggested, adding, “Will an integrated study of the situation by the state, Railways, police and other partners, like the private sector, help ease overcrowding in the city?”The court further directed the government to consider if changing the timings of office, college and school-goers, would divide the rush during peak-hours. “Mumbai is an island city, there is no scope for further expansion thus the lesser evil has to be tackled. The traditional schedule needs to be revised — zone and area-wise working hours need to be adopted,” it had said.Following this, a committee of officials from various government departments was constituted — which is yet to release its report.A cross-section of Mumbaikars tells DNA whether this proposal would be as good on the ground as it is in theory.VOICESOffice timings for employed people in the city should be different or flexible to ease congestion. Work from home should be made compulsory twice a month or so for jobs and companies where such an option is feasible in terms of work. The option of flexible timings will not only help in decongesting the local trains but roads in the city as well.—Shilpa Popat, WadalaChanging office timings of workplaces in the city to reduce peak time rush in local trains is the need of the hour. With the number of people travelling to work from the suburbs increasing every year, and the office-going crowd mostly concentrated in south Mumbai areas, there seems to be no better solution than this to control the rush of daily commute.—Rajendra Patil, BadlapurThe concept of peak-hours no longer exists in Mumbai — every hour is peak-hour. The city is so populated that one is bound to find the local trains crowded throughout the day. If office timings are staggered, it may thin the crowds to an extent but won’t serve the purpose entirely. Most companies work in shifts and those timings vary depending on the company. What we need is trains on time, better infrastructure and a reduced waiting time between trains.—Swapnil Waghmare, KalyanYes, this will ease the burden on trains. It will make travelling easier as the peak-hour rush will be distributed in a more even manner. Existing college timings should be kept in mind as well. However, only a change in timings is not enough. Better facilities for dispersing of passengers outside stations is needed. Several hawkers and vehicles block station entry and exit points, and action must be taken against them.—Cassendra Nazareth, BorivliIt is about time we have staggered working hours. People will be more at ease and will reach their workplaces with a smile instead of the manner in which they reach office now. In fact, not just staggered timings but work from home should also be considered as an option. For offices that have a five-day week, there should be an option of work from home twice a week and offices that have a six-day week should have the option of working from home thrice a week.—Swati Kondapalli, AndheriInstead of asking offices to change their timings, the government should provide adequate infrastructure and make commute more comfortable for citizens. The shift in office hours will affect the revenue for both the government and the firms. It is high time that office goers stop having to compromise and cross hurdles daily in order to make a living. The government has to give some relief to taxpayers rather than asking people to adjust yet again.—Riya Rawat, ThaneOffice timings should be staggered particularly for women. Besides, varying timetables will help people across the city travel with ease. Instead of a fixed timing, employees should be asked to put in a certain number of work hours every day within which the work should be completed. If that does not happen, they should be asked to put in extra hours the following day. This will also ensure efficient working.—Mili Shetty, KandivliThe condition of railway stations across the city is pathetic and it gets particularly worse during peak office hours. Daily commuters in the city are repeatedly becoming the target of poorly maintained infrastructure as well as the apathy of railway officials. Not only do we have to pay our taxes but we also seem to have to beg for basic facilities due to us as citizens of the city. Owing to the negligence of railway authorities, some have to pay the price by losing their lives.—Somesh Chowdhary, AndheriEXPERT SPEAKImplementing a timetable that is spaced out over the day is ideal for Mumbai. It will ensure that the crowds in the city are better managed. The Railways and government authorities should work on a schedule that separates the time of commute for office goers from that of school-going children. It is quite a hassle for students to commute during peak hours in the city.—Vivek Sahai, former Chairman Railway Board, Railway MinistryThere is no doubt that if office timings are staggered, it will reduce crowding inside local trains. But this solution needs to be supplemented by an improvement in the city’s rail infrastructure, in order to cater to the rising number of commuters in the metropolitan city.—Dr Rita Savla, Radhee Foundation

Speak up Delhi: Will it be a firecracker-free Diwali in Capital this year?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diwali, the festival of lights is round the corner and so is the fear of pollution in the capital. The cracker ban might have been imposed by the Supreme Court last year, but that did not dampen the spirits of the manufacturers and also the shopkeepers. Despite the ban, crackers were sold during Diwali.Sensing the festive move in Delhi, it seems that no lessons might have been learnt from last year’s poor air quality days, just after the festival of lights. Just a few weeks before Diwali, the air quality level in the capital city has worsened and the situation is further going to deteriorate in the next few days, according to central government agency SAFAR, which monitors air pollution.In 2016, the apex court banned the sale of crackers following thick smog in the city, two weeks after Diwali. The court, while imposing the ban said that no new licenses shall be issued for sale and stocking of firecrackers.However, close to a year later, the apex court removed the ban temporarily saying that a graded and balanced and not radical approach was required to deal with pollution menace in the city. The court said that as more than 50 lakh kg crackers are available for sale, which is more than enough for Diwali, the transport of fireworks into Delhi and the NCR from outside is prohibited.The apex court had rapped the Delhi government also for its failure to curb the pollution in the city. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has also reviewed the conditions and has requested the people to refrain from the use of crackers.On Monday, the apex court is going to deliver an important verdict for the sale of crackers on a plea which had asked for the restoration of the earlier order to ban the crackers. A close scrutiny of the situation show that the bans are not effective with crackers being available in the city and even burst at special occasions.The onus is now on the top court and all eyes are eagerly waiting for a decision to prevent the capital from becoming a gas chamber.FAILURE OF GOVTThe apex court had rapped the Delhi government also for its failure to curb the pollution in the city. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has also reviewed the conditions and has requested the people to refrain from the use of crackers. VOICESEnvironmental degradation is at it’s peak during the festival of lights. Government should take measures to stop people from polluting the city. It’s difficult to breathe in Delhi during Diwali and the after effect continues. Last year’s Diwali should have taught some lessons to Delhiites—Sahil Bhatia, NoidaOne should celebrate festivals without causing harm to nature and people. Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated with firecrackers, one should minimise the use of them as much as possible. The new inventions like air purifiers are taking place because of our irresponsibleness towards resources and environment that has been provided us without any cost.—Priyanka Dada, Vikas PuriDiwali is my favourite festival and I could never think of celebrating it without fire crackers. I can never forget last Diwali, as I for the very first time I saw the sky full of smog. Life had come to standstill when the smog had engulfed the Capital city. This year, I have plans for a safer and greener Diwali. I hope every one would adopt the same idea.—Isha Harkawat, Patel NagarDiwali was always said to festival of lights and never a festival of noise. Over the years we have celebrated the festival of lights by bursting crackers and polluting the environment. For so many years we never paid attention how bursting crackers would lead to serious air pollution. Now, the nature has come to haunt us, if we don’t act now we will not have any pure to breath in near future—Mohit Gupta, JanakpuriUpcoming festival is full of lights and who doesn’t likes burst crackers. Since I have two dogs I am aware that it not only affects humans but also causes trouble to animals and birds. I will only burst crackers that are cleared by government. I would prefer a noise-free Diwali.—Farhan Islam, JangpuraDespite of High Court banning the use of firecrackers, people use it, especially during Diwali. Delhi gets highly polluted after every Diwali, in order to prevent the city from such conditions every citizen should take the responsibility. Also, government should take steps like eco-friendly Diwali campaigns to make people understand the importance of saving our environment.—Syed Jazib Ali, NoidaEXPERT SPEAKThe central pollution control board’s air quality index reading was 397 on the day after Diwali last year and the severity level begins from 400. Firecrackers should be completely banned as the level of pollution they cause to the environment can root life threatening conditions for people. Diwali is the festivals of light not noise and firecrackers, so banning it would not hurt religious sentiments in any way.—Vivek Kamboj, Environmental activist

Govt has no power to sack Metro chief, say officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government has refused to back down on the fare hike issue with the state Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot remarking to the media that his government would sack Delhi Metro chief Mangu Singh if the hike was not put on hold. However, off the record, senior officers and former bureaucrats maintain the city government can “neither appoint nor remove the Metro chief.”“It is not in the power of the city government to appoint or remove the Metro chief. In the present case, Singh was a nominee of the Delhi government and his appointment was approved by the former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. In order to remove him from the post, only the LG, after seeking concurrence from the Centre, can move a proposal regarding this,” said a senior government official.The hike is proposed to come into effect from October 10. The government official also pointed out that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was an autonomous body and added that the city government does not have the power to put the Metro fare hike on hold or decide on the fares, except for recommending the same to the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC). “The fares are decided by the FFC which has judges from the High Court on its panel as well.The Delhi government can give its observations/recommendations, but these are not binding on the Metro or the Centre in any way. They have made it a prestige issue without confirming their powers” said a former bureaucrat. Meanwhile, the Centre sent a letter on Friday telling the city government that the Metro Act does not allow the fare hike to be held.Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in the letter to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that constituting a fresh FFC could be considered if the city government agrees on providing Rs 3,000 crore every year in order to make up for the operational loss that the Metro suffers.“Your suggestion that this ministry direct that the fare increase is kept on hold overlooks the fact the central government does not have any such authority. Tampering with the recommendations of FFC (Fare Fixation Committee) is legally untenable,” the letter stated.

No more lights out this Diwali for locals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 4.2 million electricity consumers in Greater Mumbai will not face load-shedding during Diwali and in the coming month’s, thanks to the islanding system and adequate power supply being planned by the distribution companies including Tata Power Distribution, Reliance Infrastructure and BrihanMUmbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST).The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars especially when the state distribution utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours in different parts of the state following a dip in generation due to inadequate coal supply.Mumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies. Tata Power runs its Trombay plant on an imported coal and therefore does not rely on Coal India or other domestic suppliers. Tata Power generation supplies power to Tata Power Distribution with a consumer base of over 4 lakh.In case of Reliance Infrastructure, it has tied up about 60 per cent imported coal and the balance 40 per cent from domestic suppliers for its 500 MW plant at Dahanu. However, Reliance Infrastructure’s arm Vidarbha Industries Power Limited with 500 MW receives coal from Coal India and through E auction. These two companies supply power to Reliance Infrastructure distribution with a consumer base of over 2.4 million.This apart, Reliance Infrastructure distribution and Tata Power distribution draw a total of 700 MW from outside. BEST, which is not a generator, draws 800 MW power from Tata Power and supplies to 9 lakh consumers in the island city. Reliance Energy spokesperson said, “Despite coal shortage and high power demand during the peak season of October, we have been able to effectively mitigate the problem by optimising our Dahanu power plant operations to ensure continuity of power supply to our customers.”An officer at the energy department told DNA, “The islanding system was designed to intentionally isolate Mumbai’s network during widespread external grid disturbance, enabling supply to continue for essential category consumers, avoiding a tripping of thermal generators and quick restoration. The city won’t witness load shedding,” he said.CITY’S ELECTRICITY NEEDSMumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies
The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars
The state distribution utility, MahaVitaran, is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours following a dip in electricity generation due to inadequate coal supply.

split: Vector-borne cases in city on decrease mode

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city has finaly been eradicated of vector-borne diseases if reports from the health department of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation are to be believed.As per the latest weekly health report that AMC issued on Monday, there were 1,363 cases last month. The number is not even half of what September 2016 witnessed when 3,744 cases of vector-borne illnesses were reported.From 2,566 cases in September, 2016 to 1,015 cases in September 2017, malaria has been decreasing. An average of 33 cases have been reported on a daily basis in the city in the last month.In other cases, AMC reported 215 cases of falciparum, six cases of chikungunya and 127 cases of dengue for the same period.In the waterborne cases, a total of 997 cases have been reported in September, which is more than what September 2016 had reported. In 2016, 867 cases were reported. Of 997 cases, there were 445 cases of gastroenteritis, 265 cases of jaundice and 247 cases of typhoid. In September, not a single case of cholera was found which was the same in 2016.Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer of health, said, “During the monsoon, we had focused on eliminating of mosquito-breeding sites. We organised several medical camps where early detection of diseases were done and treatment was timely.”HEALTH REPORTFrom 2,566 cases in September, 2016 to 1,015 cases in September 2017, malaria has been decreasing.
There were 1,363 cases last month.

Heavy rains halt Hyderabad; several parts of the city submerged under water

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life was thrown out of gear as heavy rain lashed Hyderabad for several hours this evening.According to a Met department official, 67.6 mm of rainfall was recorded in the city from around 4.30 PM to 8.30 PM. The rainfall was mainly due to the monsoon.The downpour led to inundation of several low-lying areas and traffic moved at a snail’s pace due to water-logging at different places in the city.The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said its personnel have been pressed into service to flush out stagnated water and to take up other relief works.Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who spoke to GHMC Commissioner and the city police commissioner, urged the official machinery to be on alert throughout the night, a release from Rao’s office said.He directed the officials to take up relief works and respond to problems wherever they occurred, it said.

DNA Edit: How long will Mumbai cry?

Updated: Sep 30, 2017, 06:35 AM IST, DNA

This city has suffered in every possible way — terror attacks, natural calamities, not-so-natural calamities <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many decades ago, after a railway accident, authorities couldn’t rescue a man in time as he bled to death. A newspaper put the photo on its front page indicting the railway administration for not reaching in time. It hurt a sensitive railway officer so much that he framed that photo and put it in his cabin to remind him of the tragedy and the guilt.Today’s officers and ministers need to frame picture of every single victim in yesterday’s Elphinstone Road tragedy so that the guilt keeps reminding them to work towards saving lives while it is still possible. There were so many warnings, pleas, requests about the foot-over-bridges at railway stations that fell on deaf ears. This city has suffered in every possible way — terror attacks, natural calamities, not-so-natural calamities. This city has given a lot — in terms of sweat, wealth… and now blood. What we need is not post-death compensations. What we need is a humane touch, a sensitive administration that reciprocates the spirit of Mumbai.

Mahila cops to keep vigil during Navratri festival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move to step up its security during Navratri, the city police have extended the duty hours from 9 pm to 1 pm. Sleuths of local police and Mahila crime branch will be deployed across the city to maintain peace. The cops have created three teams which will closely monitor the 58 garba venues during the nine-day festival.In order to avoid traffic snarls, at least across the main city arteries, the cops will also deploy teams outside the venues.As per Mahila crime branch officials, around three teams of Mahila police officers have been formed, who will be traditionally dressed during celebrations. The cops will also keep a special watch with CCTV footage to prevent any harassment of women. Besides, the cops in uniform will also be deployed across all venues.Panna Mommaya, ACP Mahila Crime branch, said, “The teams will be deployed in both western and eastern parts of the city. For safety of women, our officials will be deployed across major garba venues. The woman officers will also be present at different venues for immediate assistance.”Restriction on heavy vehiclesIn order to maintain a smooth vehicular movement during the nine-day festival, the traffic police department has issued a notification to band heavy vehicles on SG Highway. The vehicles will be diverted to alternate routes between 11 pm to 3 am to avoid any congestion. Around 14 towing trucks will be deployed outside major Garba venues to clear the vehicles which will be parked on the roads and creating congestion. At the major crossroads, more traffic personals will be deployed to maintain the traffic movement.

BCA advances Durga Puja festivities by a day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The oldest Durga Puja in the state is 80-year-old. However, celebrating its anniversary this year, the Bengali Cultural Association (BCA) in Ahmedabad has decided to pre-pone the festivities by a day.Considering that many people will miss out on the celebrations if the organizers arrange the prasad distribution and related programmes on weekdays, the committee has decided to advance the meet-ups.The Puja is starting from September 25, but BCA will start celebrating the annual festival from September 24. The attraction of the first day will be Anandamela, a food festival where women will serve home-made food to the visitors. Besides the treat that will be sold at a very little price, the pandal-hoppers will also be a part of the musical event that will be held at the same venue.Kanak Das Adhikary, Genearal Secretary of BCA, said, “The Puja dates this year is not falling on any Sunday. This is the main reason we thought to advance it. We don’t want anybody to miss the celebration as we enter 80th year. There will be around 25 food stalls during the food festival.”Wrath of the rains:For the first time, BCA has this year invested in creating two domes of 250 feet so that the Puja is not hampered by the rains. Genearal Secretary of BCA, Kanak Das Adhikary, said, “MeT has predicted rains during Navratri. As a precautionary measure, we are creating two huge domes to cover the area.”Tribute to city’s heritage statusBCA has also roped in a master craftsman, Sanat Maity, who specializes in wood carving to create a unique entrance for the pandal. “The city has been awarded a heritage status. Hence, we are creating inscriptions, depicting the heritage of the city, depicting the heritage of the city on a wooden gate. The gate will be of 20 feet high and 40 feet wide.”ISKCON temple President visits KalibariLocated on Rajpath Club-Sardar Patel Ring Road route, the Rs 2-crore temple complex on Tuesday also hosted Jasumati Nanda Prabhu, President, ISKCON temple said. Considering Tuesday auspicious, Kalibari held an Amavasya puja also.In 2013, BCA had shifted its venue to the ground behind Doordarshan on Drive-In road. Owned by the Ahmedabad Education Society (AES), the ground was not been used for any event for 70 years.This year too, the Durga idol is being prepared by Kolkata artisans, who came to the city to prepare the idol, which is estimated to be around 17-feet-high. According to tradition, the artisans fetch clay from the banks of the Ganges, on the day of Rath Yatra.CULTURAL PROGRAMME:Date-Day Pujo prog Cultural progSept 24 Anandamela – food festival, musical show
Sept 25 Panchami Inauguration, children musical performance, dance recital
Sept 26 Shashti Drama by BCA theatre group, singer Saptak Chaterjee
Sept 27 Maha Saptami Children drama, Bengali folk song by a band in Kolkata
Sept 28 Maha Ashtami Dance show by Kolkata triupe, song
Sept 29 Maha Navami Comedy show by Mridul Bhattacharya, folk song
Sept 30 Dashami (Sindoor Khela) Song by Anneswa Dutta

Mumbai: Heavy rains overnight sees a 5 degree drop in temperature

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing sweltering heat and humidity for the past couple of days, Mumbaikars woke up on Wednesday to not only thunders and heavy rains but also saw the day temperatures in the city dropping by almost five degrees.As per officials from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the city witnessed a massive rainfall between 3 am and 5 am. “Santacruz recorded 103mm of rainfall while Colaba recorded 59mm of rains,” said the official adding that these weather conditions left the city weather pleasant.On Tuesday, the maximum temperature at Santacruz was recorded as 35.9 degree Celsius, but Wednesday the mercury dipped by 5.2 degree Celsius as the maximum temperature was recorded 30.7 degree Celsius. Similarly, Colaba on Tuesday recorded a temperature of 33.5 degree Celsius, which reduced to 29.8 degree Celsius on Wednesday.As per Skymet Weather portal, these weather conditions have been attributed to the presence of a trough which is extending from the North Madhya Maharashtra region to Southeast Arabian Sea across Konkan and Goa in proximity of Mumbai more rains are likely to be expected in the city.Senior IMD officials said that Mumbaikars needs not worry as monsoon is still very much.

Monsoon shocker: 102 dengue cases recorded in September

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within 11 days, the city has recorded 102 dengue cases in September. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) health department, the the city recorded 93 dengue cases and two deaths in August, this month till September 11, 102 dengue cases are reported by the civic authority.As per the BMC’s health department every year, there has been increase in number of dengue cases after the monsoon season.Dr Mini Khetarpal, chief of BMC’s epidemiology cell, said, “The rise is not due to heavy rainfall. Compared to last five years, the dengue cases rose majorly in the month of September, October and November after the monsoon season. In comparison to last year’s September data, the number is same. People needs to be more aware and alert about the breeding spots to be destroyed.”

What about illegal vehicles, asks school bus body

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of the Gurugram murder of a seven-year-old boy allegedly by a bus conductor, the city’s School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) is ready to play its part and begin counselling its employees. However, it has now raised questions regarding vehicles that illegally ferry children, citing that they have no control over them. The SBOA has now asked the government to step up and handle these illegally-run vehicles.The development comes a day after DNA reported the plan for drivers and attendants of the estimated 3,500 buses that ferry children across the city.”We will counsel our drivers and bus attendants, but what if something wrong happens inside those illegally plying school vehicles? The government needs to take action against these illegal vehicles,” said Anil Garg, President, SBOA.On September 9, in an emergency meeting on what the association can do to avoid incidents like the one in Gurugram, they decided on getting in touch with schools and NGOs to conduct psychological tests for drivers and female bus attendants. Moreover, there is another meeting scheduled in the next few of days where school bus owners across Maharashtra will determine preventive steps for added safety and security of school children.However, currently, even the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) do not have an exact number of vehicles, including autos and private vehicles, in the city that ferry school children….& ANALYSISProper recruitment procedure, beyond police verification, needs to be implemented
Schools need to step up and take ownership of the issue as well and not play blame game

Coimbatore: 9 dead, 20 more feared trapped under debris as bus stand roof collapses

Updated: Sep 7, 2017, 03:57 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least nine persons were killed when the roof of a bus stand collapsed in Somanur on the city outskirts today, police said.Preliminary information reaching rural police headquarters here said that the roof of the shed at the bus stand suddenly collapsed on commuters.Police said there could be more casualties, as several people are still trapped under the debris.Rescue operations are on at the spot, about 25 kms from here, they said.

More women in the city died of H1N1 than men

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swine flu cases in Ahmedabad went down in September compared to August but women accounted for more deaths due to the virus than men. This year, a total of 1,942 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the city, out of which 96 died. Of these 57 were women.August saw the the highest number of cases at 1,711, and 70 deaths. But with the mercury hovering above 35 degrees Celsius and rain abating in September, the cases are under control. “There is some respite when you look at the number of cases this month. Still we are carrying out awareness campaigns across the city,” said Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer of health, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. He added that a total of 96 deaths were reported in the city this calendar year.According to the doctors, there is no specific reason for the difference, except that women have lower immunity. “Generally speaking, resistance among females is less compared to males. Also, the deaths reported have some or the other co-morbidity factor. That is, people suffering with some diseases get affected with the new virus, and their condition worsens,”added Dr Solanki.Dr Pravin Garg, senior physician, concurred, “Resistance power of women is comparative less than that of males. So if females encounter such a serious virus, they tend to get affected more than males.””As this is an airborne disease, the elderly, children amd women who are pregnant are more prone to it. Precautions are a must,” he said.

Viewpoint: Why poor planning leads to floods in Chennai and Houston

Both the cities have prioritised unbridled growth and urbanisation over caution and better sense.

UP youth visiting family in city dies in building collapse

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twenty-two-year-old Mustafa Shah, who was visiting the city from Uttar Pradesh, was at the building in Bhendi Bazar to meet his uncle inside a godown.Unfortunately, he happened to find himself there at the time of the collapse. Mustafa had come to Mumbai two months back to meet his family.Shah has been staying in Uttar Pradesh. Villagers staying in the city visited Sir JJ Hospital to look for him.More than five hours after the building collapsed, he was rushed to the hospital but was declared brought dead.Shah, who lives in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh, would visit Mumbai once a year.Shah’s father Rais Shah said, “He went to meet his uncle. He had the habit of visiting the godown since people who stayed there knew him.”Shah, and few others have been running from pillar to post in the hospital looking for family members since they were rescued and admitted in different wards according to their injuries.Tohal Shah, a villager who stay in the city, said, “The people in the godown knew each other because they are all from nearby villages in Uttar Pradesh.People from the nearby areas who know them started visiting the hospital to get more information on the victim’s health.”

First time since 26/7, Dabbawalas don’t show up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After 12 years, Mumbai dabbawalas were unable to operate on Wednesday due to heavy rains in the city. According to the Dabbawala Association, the last time they weren’t operational for a day during the monsoon season was during the flood on July 26, 2005.On Tuesday, while the dabbawalas were able to deliver lunch in the morning, they couldn’t return the empty lunch boxes to the source point in the evening, that they had collected from the offices after lunch.As per the association’s spokesperson, the dabbawalas were stranded at railway stations across the city due to the heavy downpour.Speaking about the decision to remain non-operational, Subhash Talekar, spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said, “Majority of the dabbawalas were stranded on Western line railway stations. The other two railway routes were also not functioning on Tuesday due to which none of them were able to deliver the lunch box back post lunch. Tuesday morning, while delivering lunch boxes, we were working as per the scheduled time. Post lunch, we got delayed.”Over two lakh lunch box are delivered by them across the city daily.Since all educational institutions and many offices are closed on Wednesday, according to the association, they are not facing any issue of not delivering lunch on time.Subhash Talekar, said, “Since few trains started functioning on Wednesday morning, all lunch boxes were delivered back to the source point. We are always on schedule even during the monsoon. This is the second time we could not function due to floods in the city.”DEDICATED SERVICEMumbai dabbawalas deliver over two lakh lunch boxes across the city daily
As schools were shut and several offices were closed, the dabbawalas did not face the problem of not delivering meals

Eateries show big heart: Eat today, pay tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Restaurant owners across the city followed one simple principle on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was: ‘Eat today, pay tomorrow’. A similar message was sent out by the hotel association to its members in the city to follow the same. Some restaurants had two types of arrangements, one included shelter, and the other was free takeaway.Niranjan Shetty, chairman of the BMC committee of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Ahar), apex body of city’s hoteliers said, “Normally, during times of distress and such calamities, we owners keep our restaurants open day and night and provide food at reasonable rates and also for free. Most hotel owners gave away free food to those customers who were stranded and couldn’t even pay.”He further added, “There are instances when owners cannot leave their hotels, so what we do is prepare food packets and give it to local politicians who, along with their volunteers, stay on the streets and distribute it the stranded people.”Many restaurants in the city had made several types of arrangements. Bineet Salian, who owns Harish Lunch Home in commercial hub Fort — where many people were stranded — claims that they used two techniques. “People who needed shelter stayed back and were accommodated, many even paid for the services. However, there were many who were on the move and couldn’t pay, we had made biryani in lots and packed them in containers. We distributed them for free to those who didn’t want to wait or where not in a position to pay.”Shetty claims that almost all hotels in Mumbai told their customers to not worry about money, and that they can eat today and pay on any other day they want.Adarsh Shetty, President of Ahar, said, “We tried sending an advisory to all our hotel owners in Mumbai, but couldn’t because of bad network. However, we spoke to many hoteliers, and asked them to do their bit, and were already distributing free food. Our focus was mostly on Fort, Chembur, and Parel area as these parts were severely affected. Our members provided free food to stranded Mumbaikars.”Do your bitAdarsh Shetty, President of Ahar, said though they couldn’t reach hotel owners with an advisory because of bad network, they told hoteliers to do their bit

Panchkula violence ground report: How Haryana police failed to control Dera Sacha Sauda mob

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is an eerie silence that hangs over the beautiful, planned city of Panchkula.The satellite town is still coming to terms with the worst mob violence that it witnessed in recent times.Panchkula was the epicentre of violent clashes that erupted after the conviction of controversial self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by a CBI court on Friday.Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda may say that the conviction was an ‘injustice’, but the ground reality is quite different.What is more baffling is the fact that the Haryana Police underestimated the Dera followers, the DNA has learnt from sources. The two hours after the verdict changed the face the city.According to the sources there were three groups that were responsible for the violence.The three groups of Dera followers were camping in three different locations.First group was camping near Shimla-Zirakpur National Highway near Old Panchkula.Second group was camping in Sector 3 near Tau Devi Lal Stadium. It is said that they didn’t cause much of the damage.The third group was based in the Green Belt in Sector 5 of Panchkula.As soon as the verdict was announced, convicting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the 15-year-old rape case, in a seemingly coordinated manner, these three groups quickly took over the city and began what was one of the worst episodes of mob violence that India has seen in recent times.What is shocking is that despite the ‘intel inputs’, and strict orders from the court, the police failed to contain the mob.DNA has learnt from the sources that the Haryana Police had ‘assumed’ that the ardent devotees had gathered to catch a glimpse of their beloved Guru. The reason may be because for 72 hours, nearly 1.5 lakh ‘Premis’, as the Dera followers are popularly knowns as, remained completely peaceful without any report of even minor skirmishes from any part of the town.The police, despite heavy bandobast, coudn’t envisage the extent of Dera followers’ reaction.Old Panchkula has been burnt down to a some extent by the furious mob. Though the curfew is still on in the city, power supply has been restored in most of the sectors of Panchkula.The DNA has also learnt that majority of those who were killed in the violence were the stone-pelters.After the first tear gas was fired in Sector 2 near Shimla-Zirakpur Highway, the city was soon engulfed in complete mayhem. The protesters used wooden sticks used to make small cots and tree branches as weapons.

AMC health dept reaches out to city’s 16 lakh houses in ten days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ever since the steep rise in H1N1 cases have been reported in state, the health department of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has started extensive surveillance across the city. In order to reach out to maximum people, they have a team of 3,100 medical and para-medical staff for the door to door survey, along with mega medical camps and free distribution of concoction at several places organised by the civic body.In last ten days, they have surveyed 16 lakh houses out of which some houses have been surveyed twice and thrice. Over this period, the number of suspects has decreased. A total of 1,692 cases of category B has been found.In the first round of surveillance, it has been found that south zone has maximum suspected patients after the survey of 2,66,408 houses. They had 6,538 suspected patients but due to thorough follow-up, only 191 patients turned out to be category B patients.Nikol is the most affected ward in the city due to H1N1 as total 114 cases have been reported including one death case. In other wards, Naroda reported 50 cases including two deaths, Bapunagar reported 46 cases including three deaths among others.As on Sunday, total 74 patients were admitted in isolation wards of AMC run hospitals out of which one patient is on the ventilator, 32 patients are on oxygen and 10 patients are on biPAP while 31 patients are stable.”Looking at the trend, there is a rising number of Swine Flu cases in the city. The situation will be under control in a week’s time. We are doing door to door survey for early detection which has helped a lot to prevent further cases,” said Mukesh Kumar, municipal commissioner, Ahmedabad.

DAY1 (20.08.2017): Heavy to very heavy rain with

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>extremely heavy rain at isolated places is likely to occur over North interior Karnataka. Heavy to very heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places over Coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana. DAY2 (21.08.2017): Heavy to very heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places over Coastal Karnataka and Kerala. Heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places over North interior Karnataka. DAY3 (22.08.2017): Nil. DAY4 (23.08.2017): Heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places over Kerala, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. DAY5 (24.08.2017): Heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places over Kerala, Coastal Karnataka, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. LOCAL FORECAST FOR CHENNAI CITY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD: FOR NEXT 24 HOURS: The sky condition is likely to be generally cloudy. Rain or thundershowers is likely to occur in some areas during evening or night. Maximum and minimum temperature is likely to be around 36 and 26 deg Celsius respectively. FOR NEXT 48 HOURS: The sky condition is likely to be generally cloudy. Rain or thundershowers is likely to occur in some areas during evening or night. Maximum and minimum temperature is likely to be around 36 and 26 deg Celsius respectively.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai’s blue dogs

Animal rights campaigners say they know why some of the city’s stray dogs have suddenly gone blue.

Mumbaikars for ?e?co?-friendly Ganeshotsav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an attempt to curb pollution, South Mumbai ​residents ​are gearing up to celebrate Ganeshotsav in an eco​-​friendly manner. Many housing societies have come together to celebrate the festival through environment-friendly ways and are promoting the same in their locality. Moreover, artificial ponds will be set up in housing societies to immerse the Ganesha idols, civic officials have said.Alka Shah, 50, a financial consultant and a Worli resident, ha​s​ become ​the crusader for an eco-friendly Ganeshotsav. With six centres selling eco-friendly Ganpati idols in the city, Shah is spearheading a campaign in South Mumbai to promote environment-friendly ways to celebrate the festival. Shah​‘s trust – NirmalJyot – h​​as given employment to 15 artists who prepare clay idols of Ganesha throughout the year.“We sold over 2,000 clay idols online, of which 800 were sold in South Mumbai. Moreover, we are spreading awareness and promoting eco-friendly ways to celebrate the festival in South Mumbai,” said Shah.“Many people, including those residing in housing societies, have now joined hands to promote this. It is important that every person is conscious of keeping the environment clean and green, instead of exploiting it in the name of festivals,” she added.Shah expects to sell over 4,500 clay idols, with 2,000 being sold in South Mumbai alone before the festival begins. She revealed that purchasing an idol has become easier due to the internet. “It is a fight between natural versus artificial forms of idol-making and we are happy that we are getting a good response. The sale of clay idols in South Mumbai is more due to environmental consciousness among its people,” Shah added.BMC spokesperson Vijay Khabale said, “We are also spreading the word among Mumbaikars to celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly way. Moreover, we will also have artificial ponds in the city.”

Rs 5,000 EC for possessing banned plastic in Delhi: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today imposed an interim ban on use of non-biodegradable plastic bags which are less than 50 microns in the entire national capital. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also announced an environment compensation of Rs 5,000 on anyone found in possession of such banned plastic. The tribunal has also directed the Delhi government to seize the entire stock of plastic within one week from today. The bench asked the AAP-ruled city government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to file an affidavit by a senior most officer and inform it how directions with regard to waste management in the city were being implemented particularly in respect to plastics. The green panel had last year banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and NCR with effect from January 1, 2017 and directed the city government to take steps to reduce dumped waste. The Tribunal had on July 31, slammed the Delhi government over indiscriminate and rampant use of plastic in the national capital despite its prohibition. The bench had directed the city government to strictly enforce its ban order in the city and sought a status report on the issue. The NGT had prohibited the use of disposable plastic in the entire city, especially at hotels, restaurants and for public and private functions, while asking the Delhi government to take appropriate steps against “storage, sale and use” of such material from January 1 this year. It had also said that an environment compensation of Rs 10,000 would be imposed on vegetable vendors and slaughter houses for throwing garbage in public places.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rains drench city, more likely tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heavy showers drenched the national capital today, offering much-needed respite from muggy weather conditions. As the skies turned grey, vehicles were seen plying with their headlights on at around 2.30 pm. The downpour led to water-logging and traffic snarls in several areas of the city. The Safdarjung Observatory gauged 29.6 mm of rain between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm. Lodhi Road recorded 42.6 mm of precipitation, Palam 15.3 mm, Ridge 30 mm and Aayangar 10.2 mm, a MeT Department official said. The city had a high of 34.4 degrees Celsius and a low of 29 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels oscillated between 76 and 95 per cent, the official said. The weatherman has predicted overcast skies and a possibility of moderate to heavy rain at several places tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Highway liquor ban: Delhi govt to re-verify 40 hotels, clubs,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government has ordered the physical re-verification of around 40 hotels, clubs and restaurants in the city which were sealed due to the Supreme Court’s order banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways, an official said. The order came after the owners approached the excise department for restoration of their licences, claiming their establishments were beyond the distance limit. An official said the department has constituted a committee for physical re-verification and it has been directed to submit its report at the earliest. “The excise department has ordered re-verification of 40 clubs, hotels and restaurants to ascertain whether their sealing was in accordance with the SC’s order,” the official, who did not wish to be named, said. Two clubs, 19 hotels and as many restaurants comprise the establishments whose distance from highways will be re- verified by the excise department’s officials. In April, around five hotel bars in the Aerocity area near the IGI Airport were reopened after a government committee had found they were beyond the distance limit. Over 100 liquor vends, restaurant and hotel bars located within 500 metres of national and state highways had been shut down in the city following the court order. In March, the Supreme Court had banned sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways including in bars, pubs and restaurants.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai Speak Up: As the city falls apart, corporators get a pay hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been under fire for its inability to tackle the issue of pothole-ridden roads across the city; and its failure to ensure that dangerous tree fall incidents in the monsoon do not continue to pose a threat the pedestrians and motorists.The nexus between corrupt local politicians and civic officials, that has allowed illegal constructions and structural alterations in buildings to go unchecked, has also been under the scanner after the collapse of a four-storey building in Sai Siddhi Cooperative Housing Society in Ghatkopar which claimed 17 lives, and left the bereaved survivors homeless.A fortnight ago, the state government approved a hike in the monthly honorarium of corporators in municipal corporations across the state. BMC corporators received a 150 per cent hike in their monthly honorarium, which has now increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.DNA spoke to a cross section of Mumbaikars to find out whether a hike in salary is justified, whether it will ensure better and more qualified persons took up the mantle of representing them in the local body, or if the hike was wholly undeserved given the current state of affairs in the city.VOICESCorporators are not debarred from carrying on with their businesses or professions. They really don’t need salaries or hikes. They amass huge assets anyway. But if they still desire a hike it must be linked to performance, and non-performance should be punished. For instance, Rs 100 per pothole in their ward should be deducted per month from their salaries. Also, any misuse of corporator funds resulting in loss to the public exchequer must be recoverable from their salaries.—Raju Moray, Bandra resident”I am against any hike given in salary to our corporators because I feel it is not justified. We common people are not getting anything, and they just keep raising their salary. Why should their salary increase in any case. Whatever work they have to do for the area, they get a package for that. Where are they any way putting anything from their pocket. They do not even meet or call as many people for their telephone bills to be high. We lay persons have to call more people and many number of times for anything to get done. In this era, I do not think there is someone who is a full-time politician. They have two to three sources of income and just being a corporator. They should do a survey and see how many corporators are full-time corporators and have no other income. As corporators they keep taking money from people anyway.”—Mary D’Souza, resident of VakolaIt is good for the corporators if their salary has been increased. They should get increase in their salary so that they can work more hard for their ward. But they should not overlook their duties. It is the duty of the local corporator to be aware of any constructions in his constituency. So, yes they should look into such cases. The Ghatkopar building collapse incident must be a learning point for all the corporators in the city.—Surabhi Rathod, Andheri residentI think there should not be any problem if corporators are getting a hike in their salary, but as their salary has been increased, they should also put more effort into solving the problems of citizens and should not show their face only before the election. It’s their responsibility to look after their particular constituency.—Sonu Singh, resident of DahisarIt is surprising that the monthly allowance has been increased by 150 per cent, and there has been no opposition. We know that the state government will also justify the decision by citing inflation as the main reason. However, the government should have fixed the responsibility for ensuring civic works are executed in the city in time and that common persons’ issues are raised at the right platform.—Rahul Tomar, AndheriThere is no issue in giving a corporator a hike in salary, but then they should also do the work properly. They should see to it that the pothole menace is tackled, and that garbage collection is done on time, nullahs are cleaned and local problems related to BMC are solved. They should be available in times of need.—Rashmi Worlikar, Resident of Worli.EXPERT SPEAKThe salaries should be increased in proportion, just as it is in the case of pay commission. Corporators should be made accountable for the work entrusted to them. If any illegal construction takes place in their ward, in that case, the BMC as well as the local corporator should be held responsible for the wrong doings. The increase in salary should act as a positive gesture so that they actually work in the direction of eliminating civic issues, which if ignored become lethal.—Advocate Abha Singh”The salary hike of corporators is not related to their effectiveness as public representatives. They have to be good leaders, available whenever the public approaches them for any redressal, should be present for corporation meetings, and should keep their promises regarding redressal of civic issues regardless of what they get paid by the corporation. The salary hike does not matter; what matters is their performance as public representatives”—D M Sukthankar, retired Chief Secretary of Government of Maharashtra and former BMC Commissioner

Police nabs two, seizes firearm and five rounds ammunition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police arrested two persons from the port area in the city today and seized one firearm and five rounds of ammunition from their possession, a police officer said. Afroz Alam (31) and Imtiaz Ahmed (35) were arrested from a place near the Dhobiatala Container Yard in the city, a senior officer of Kolkata Police said. One 7.6 mm semi-automatic pistol and five rounds of ammunition were seized from them, the police officer said. “We have also seized one motorcycle from their possession. Both have been booked under relevant sections of the Arms Act,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

T’gana government taking measures to check ind pollution: Min

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Telangana government is taking tough measures to check industrial pollution in the city, Industries Minister K T Rama Rao said here today. Rao, who held a meeting with officials of industries department and also pollution control board, directed them to take concrete measures to ensure that industrial waste is not dumped into the drainage system, a government release said. He took stock of the implementation of orders issued earlier to install CCTV cameras for preventing illegal dumping of industrial waste. The help of police can be taken to prevent illegal dumping, he said. The pollution control board should prepare a report on the number of industries located around Hyderabad, the volume of waste generated from them and the number of vehicles transporting the waste, he said. The minister also sought a report on the foam emanating from different water bodies in the city, the release added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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