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Negligence of authorities made Delhi a polluting city: Delhi High Court

Had the authorities kept their eyes open, the national Capital would not have become a “polluting city”, the Delhi High Court said on Thursday while coming down heavily on the authorities.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar expressed displeasure over the connivance of officials of the municipal corporations in allowing industrial units in residential and non-conforming areas.”If the authorities would have kept their eyes open, Delhi would not have become a polluting city. The hospitals here would have less patients,” the bench said. The court’s direction came while hearing a PIL filed by the Bawana Factory Welfare Association, which highlighted the failure of authorities to relocate industries from residential areas.It asked the three civic bodies to conduct an inquiry and inform the court about zone-wise details of the industries, before February 19 next year. It also asked the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DSIIDC) to ensure strict action against 1,706 industrial complexes, which failed to construct or shift to that site despite it being allotted to them.Appearing for the DSIIDC, its counsel informed the court that they have appointed a committee for maintaining and providing facilities in these industrial complexes. Following this, the court observed that “in addition to the huge impact on account of illegal industrial activities continuing in non-conforming areas and usage of the residential property for illegal industrial activities, public money is spent for maintaining these industrial complexes developed at a huge cost to the public exchequer”.”Additionally, these continued illegal industrial activities are putting a huge constraint on every resource of the city unreasonably and also putting a pressure on the available infrastructure and impacting the pollution levels,” the bench added.The plea had highlighted as to how the plots allotted to these industries in industrial areas remain unused while factories continue to be operated from non-profit conforming areas.

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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
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Liquor sale rakes in Rs 195.29 crore in Kerala during Christmas season

Liquor sales during this Christmas season in Kerala clocked a new record, netting over Rs 195.29 crore, an increase of nearly Rs 38 crore over the previous year.State-owned Beverages Corporation (BEVCO), the sole vendor of Indian Made Foreign Liquor in both the wholesale and retail markets, recorded a sales turnover of Rs 195.29 crores through its 330 outlets from December 21 to 24, its officials said.The sales figure was Rs.157.39 crore during the same period last year, they said.The turnover for December stood at Rs 898 crore so far, higher than Rs 798 crore last year, and with three more days left in the month and the new year approaching, BEVCO officials said it was expected to go up further.Every year liquor sales had been going up.”This year, we have been able to record a growth of 10-12 per cent over the past year,” an official said.

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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
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

West Bengal: Violence erupts in South 24 Parganas over power project; Rapid Action Force summoned

Two vehicles were set ablaze and several people sustained injuries in a clash between groups of villagers in Bhangar South 24 Parganas over the protest regarding the construction of a power project.According to ANI, the Rapid Action Force has been called to calm the situation.The incident comes 10 months after an agitation over the project claimed two lives.At the time, local TMC workers clashed with agitators on Thursday leading to bullet injuries and gutting of vehicles. Clashes erupted when the TMC workers tried to prevent a motorbike rally of anti-power grid agitators from entering Bhangra by blocking the roads with tree trunks and wooden benches. In the ensuing melee, both side sides sustained injuries. All the injured are being treated at a local hospital. Two pick-up vans and three motorcycles were burnt during the clash.Two people were left dead and one seriously injured after clashes between the villagers and cops reached a boiling point after work on a power substation of Power Grid Corporation of India, for which 13 acres of land had been acquired, neared completion.One of the deceased identified as Mofizul Ali Khan was rushed to the SSKM hospital in Kolkata with bullet injuries. His brother, Intajul Khan said that Mofizul was not one of those whose land was acquired but he was protesting against the probable health hazards owing to the power grid project. Another person named Alam, who had also suffered bullet injuries was declared dead by the RG Kar hospital.

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Ban display of non-veg food outside eateries

Scrumptious seekh kebabs on skewers and juicy chicken tikkas put up outside food stalls to draw customers may soon have to be relegated to inside shelves, as the civic body in south Delhi has proposed that they cannot be displayed in the open.The proposal was brought in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in its last House, which approved it, Leader of House Shikha Rai said, adding that hygiene and “sentiments of people affected by the sight” of meat were the main reasons behind the move.“It was a private member resolution originally moved by a councillor from Kakrola village in Najafgarh Zone in the Health Committee meeting. The committee then moved it to the SDMC House, which then approved it,” a spokesperson of the SDMC said. “The proposal would now be sent to the Commissioner to be examined, if it in accordance with the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act,” he said. South Delhi is home to many eateries and restaurants selling meat products.

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CBI officer held for illicit Tatkal software scam

The CBI busted a railway ticketing racket on Wednesday by arresting one of its own programmers. The scam impacted lakhs of citizens across the country as many failed to get confirmed tickets, especially tatkal ones, because of it. It also exposes the vulnerability of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) software.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with the CBI since 2012, was arrested from Delhi. His associate Anil Kumar Gupta was nabbed from Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur and is being brought to Delhi on transit remand.The agency has registered a case of criminal conspiracy under Sections of the Information Technology Act for making an illegal railway ticketing software. The accused had developed a tatkal (ticketing at short notice) software with distributor Gupta. They sold the software to tour and travel operators across the country.Travel operators using this software booked tickets in advance and created a shortage.Garg received payments through Bitcoin and hawala routes. Before joining the CBI, he worked as a programmer with the IRCTC from 2007 to 2011, and knew the vulnerabilities of the ticketing software of the Railways. Garg knew that the software used by the Railways allowed him to book hundreds of tickets in the morning. He used 800 to 1,000 customer IDs at one go.The CBI has also identified 10 travel agents who were using this software. They include three of Mumbai and seven of Jaunpur.Garg was using proxy and foreign servers to remove any trail.It was also alleged that Garg was collecting money for the use of the software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth. It was also revealed that Gupta on behalf of Garg was allegedly receiving money from dealers for the use of the software through Bitcoin and hawala networks.Searches were conducted at 14 places, including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur, which resulted in recoveries of Rs 89.42 lakh, gold jewellery valued at Rs 61.29 lakh, 15 laptops, 15 hard disks, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIM cards, 10 notebooks, 6 routers, 4 dongles, 19 pen drives and other incriminating material from the premises of the accused and others.

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Over 4.5K towers aren’t fire safe

None of the high-rises inspected by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) over the last two years was found to have adhered to fire safety norms. They only complied after legal notices were sent to them.As per the data accessed by DNA, the MFB inspected 4647 buildings over the last couple of years — residential and commercial – and all of them were found without fire safety compliance. They have issued notices under Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 and given 120 days to comply with the fire safety norms. After the warning, 4637 toed the line, while 10 buildings are now being prosecuted as per law.Two incidents of fire are fresh in minds of Mumbaikars – the Bhanu Farsan shop fire in Saki Naka which claimed 12; and Monday’s fire on the 17thfloor of a high-rise at Walkeshwar, the Legend Tower. Bhanu Farsan shop was not fire-safety compliant, while the fire at Legend Tower was easily controlled as the building had functioning fire safety installations.Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said, “Residents are not serious about fire safety and only install fire safety equipment after we send notices. It is out of fear of prosecution and not safety concerns.” “During inspection, we found that buildings flout basic safety norms such as encroachment on common passage, doors to staircases are closed, water from fire tank is used for domestic purposes,” said a senior MFB officer.Turn to “Some buildings do not have designated entry and exit gates, and while many buildings have firefighting equipment, it is not in working conditions. There will be a faulty or missing knob, rusted pipes or just an inability to operate the equipment,” he added However, residents feel that the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade fail to create awareness about fire safety and are lenient while granting permissions. Nita Bajpai, general Secretary of Juhu-Vile Parle Residents Association said, “It is true that most residents do not take fire safety seriously, but it also the work of the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade to create awareness through campaigns. Buildings should have fire-fighting installations and do regular servicing to keep it operational. It also cannot be rejected that authorities sanction building permissions when the locality does not provide sufficient space for fire brigade in case of emergency.”

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New TDR policy to way to more high rises in Island city

There will be more high-rises in South Mumbai as developers are now permitted to use the transferable development rights (TDR) in Island city that will make redevelopment projects viable there.According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) circular, developers had sought clarifications over the use of TDR from the state. “State government informed that the developers/promoters can use TDR in Island city up to 0.67 TDR against road set back, heritage, slum TDR,” a senior BMC official said.As per the circular, TDR has been given in proportion of returning land for widening road width. In cases of redevelopment, if the developer proposes to keep 9 metre and above, and less than 12.20 metre of road width, then the permissible TDR is 0.17 in the city and 0.50 TDR in suburban district. If road width is 12.20 metre and above and less than 18.30 metre, then allowed TDR is 0.37 here and 0.70 in suburbs. The cap is 0.67 TDR is in the Island city and 1.00 in Suburb if the road width is proposed 30 metre and above.Milind Samel, senior architect said the new TDR policy is a win-win for both developers and residents. “In Mumbai, there are more than 16,000 old buildings that urgently need to be redeveloped. With the additional TDR, more developers will take up projects. Now, undertaking redevelopment project in Island city will be more feasible for developers,” Samel said.Boman Irani, CMD at Rustomjee Group welcomed the state government decision. He said that the government should provide maximum incentives so that the redevelopment of the old and dilapidated buildings can takes place. “In South Mumbai, the sizes of plots are quite small so that the developers do not offer bigger size of houses to existing tenants/residences. And that became the deadlock for the redevelopment. Now, with the higher TDR, uploading in Island city will able to put the more floors in buildings,” Irani said.

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In eight years, only one transgender gets fellowship for minorities

Only one transgender student was awarded fellowship by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under its ‘Maulana Azad National Fellowship’ scheme since 2009-10, the Lok Sabha was informed today.The Ministry is implementing MANF for minority students for pursuing higher studies such as full time M.Phil/Ph.D degrees in sciences, humanities, social sciences and engineering and technology.Over 750 students belonging to the minority communities get the fellowships every year, Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in written reply.”During the selection year 2017-18, one online application was received from candidate belonging to transgender community and was awarded fellowship,” he said.The student was the first in the transgender category to secure fellowship under the scheme since 2009-10.In 2017-18, Muslim students were awarded 517 fellowships, followed by Christian (109), Sikh (72), Buddhist (33) and Jain (25).Replying to another question, Naqvi said 18 states have constituted their own state minority commissions so far.However, no such panel was set up by any state or Union Territory in the last two years.Responding to another query, the minister said the National Wakf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) has identified properties across India, inlcuding Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jodhpur, Pune and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) for consideration of development.He said Rajasthan has also shown interest in getting properties in Jaipur and Kota developed through NAWADCO.Letters of Expression of Interest have been received from State Waqf Boards of Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chandigarh for commercial development of 24 waqf properties, Naqvi said.

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Kolkata to get a floating market

What started off as a plan to rehabilitate shopowners ended up as a gift for Kolkata in the shape of the first market inside a water body, with walkways for customers from which they can shop.At Patuli, a neighbourhood in south Kolkata, an entire lake has been transformed into a floating market about 24,000 sq m in area.”When an adjoining bypass was being widened, the local market had to be removed and its 228 shopowners rehabilitated. Our Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, inspired by the floating market in Bangkok, wanted to set up a similar market here. I met him and gave him this proposal. A team of officials of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) came over for a feasibility study and okayed the place,” said Arup Chakraborty, councillor, Ward 110 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.He said it would be the first such market in the country and the third in Asia. “There is one at Dal Lake in Srinagar but that is not an organised one. People just sell their wares at a venture. Over here, we will have ramps for customers. The merchandise will be sold in clusters. For example, one area would be for vegetable sellers, another for fruits, another for flowers and so on,” Chakraborty said.It was found out that 114 boats have been made in Hooghly district. Each boat would have two shops each. They would be stationary beside the ramps. The market timings are yet to be decided by the KMDA, but tentatively been fixed at 5 am-1 pm and 3 pm-8 pm.”We will avoid using plastic. We will instal a purifier for cleaning the water. The expenditure is expected to be about Rs 10 crore,” Chakraborty said, adding that the market was expected to be ready by the end of January 2018 and would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her convenience.The market would include a cafe, a joggers’ track, seats, fountains and a light-and-sound show in the evening.

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Mumbai- Nagpur expressway to have 31 toll plazas, toll activists stage protests

While the state government’s ambitious Samruddhi Mahamarg, the Mumbai- Nagpur super communication highway is facing stern protest from farmers, this information about the highway under RTI may spark new controversy. According to the information, the 710 kilometre proposed highway will have as many as 31 toll plazas which toll activists are already opposing.The Samruddhi Mahamarg (prosperity highway) will run through ten districts and connect Mumbai and Nagpur. It is also considered as a dream project of the state government as once it is completed, the highway will connect backward regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha with growing regions of Mumbai and Thane. However, since the most part of the land which is to be acquired for the highway is agricultural land, the farmers community has been staging protests against the proposed highway and state government is trying its best to pacify the protest.Also readMumbai-Nagpur E-way: Trust deficit hits land acquisitionNow amidst the protests and government’s countering strategy, Pune based toll activist Sanjay Shirodkar had filed RTI with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) seeking details of projected toll plazas situated on the proposed Samruddhi Mahamarg. In the reply to his RTI, he has got the information that the proposed highway will have 31 toll plazas. Speaking to DNA, Shirodkar said, “While feasibility study and other such reports related to the proposed highway are yet to be completed, the state government has already finalised the locations of toll plaza on the highway which is still at the primary stage.”Also readNo runway on Mumbai-Nagpur E-wayAfter finding out that the highway will have 31 toll plazas, Shirodkar claimed that finalising 31 toll plazas on 710 kilometre highway is a clear violation of the state government’s toll policy. “In 2009, the state government came up with toll policy. According to the policy, the distance between two toll plazas on the same highway should not be less than 35 to 40 kilometre. However, if we calculate the number of toll plazas against the total length of the highway, the distance between two toll plazas on Samruddhi Mahamarg will be around 22 kilometres only. It clearly suggests that the state government is violating its own toll policy,” Shirodkar said. Shirodkar who has been fighting against the toll collection at various highways has filed some public interest litigation in the court, particularly in connection with toll collection of Mumbai- Pune expressway. Shirodkar stated that the present government in the state came to power by promising that they will be ending the toll culture in the state, however, now instead of shutting down toll plazas, they are opening new ones. “This information of RTI clearly shows that the government before coming to power had given false promises of shutting toll plazas. They are not bothered about the common people. They are more concerned about toll collection and therefore the first thing which they have done is to finalise 31 toll plazas on the proposed Samruddhi Mahamarg,” Shirodkar said.

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Cell-ing point

Jaipur city is in the race to become one of the leading cities for smartphone sales as at this point it is ranked 4th in Tier II cities across the country by a popular data analysis website. Moreover, Pink City has risen from 5th position in second quarter of 2017-18.In addition to this, the city is also ranked 9th across India in the third quarter of the year, which is a rank higher than the previous quarter. City-based smartphone distributors believe that Jaipur has witnessed year after year growth of 30 per cent in sale of smartphones.“Jaipur is one of the fastest growing city in terms of smartphone sales. On an average, there is a sale of around 3,000 phones per day in Jaipur alone. Phones under price range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 are being preferred the most,” said Samveg Arora, a Jaipur-based distributor.According to researches by GfK and Counterpoint, Samsung has acquired a major share in the city’s offline smartphone market with 33 per cent. This is followed by Xiaomi at 18 per cent and Vivo at 17 per cent.“Jaipur is amongst the leading 10 smartphone markets in India growing by 47.2 per cent quarter on quarter in Q3 2017. This spike can be primarily attributed to multiple online festivals and sales by e-tailers expanding big into non metro cities by building upon a strong logistics network. Xiaomi and Samsung are the leading vendors. With online heavy vendors getting aggressive offline, retail will continue to dominate in Jaipur in the coming quarters,” said Himanshu Jain, market analyst, International Data Corporation India.On the other hand, the market for purchase of second-hand smartphones has also witnessed a jump in the city.“Jaipur serves as one of the major market for sale of used smartphones that are being procured in Delhi NCR. We aim to bring trust and transparency within this highly unorganised trade. We will see buyback of used mobiles becoming a growth driver and enabler of sale of new ones, rather than just being an additional good-to-have feature,” said Prateek Goel, founder, InstaCash. InstaCash is a recently-launched mobile application that allows the user to sell old smartphones in few minutes.Goel further informed that average purchase price of a phone in Jaipur is cheaper at Rs 5,500 as compared to Delhi at Rs. 6,500.City-based technology enthusiasts have started harbouring trust over used smartphones and now understand the benefit of ‘better product at cheaper cost’. This has led to increase in demand, informed Jitendra Pal, Delhi-based secondhand phone dealer who supplies in Rajasthan.

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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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AMC’s annual carnival branches out to more venues across city

This year will be the tenth edition of Kankaria Carnival and to make it more memorable, the authority at Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has planned to organise cultural events, outside of Kankaria Lakefront.Performances have been scheduled at Vastrapur amphitheater and Sabarmati Riverfront as a part of the Kankaria Carnival. Kankaria Carnival is a week long festival held at the Kankaria Lakefront in the start week of December, since 2007. The event was marked to celebrate former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. During seven days, many performances are being held like cultural and art performances. Daily lesser show is also being organized every year.”It’s been nine years, the celebration is happening at Kankaria, majority of the people located are eastern side of the riverbank visit the event, while to engage more people form western side, we are organizing the event at two more places other than Kankaria,” said an official of AMC.”This is a public event and for public, so that we want to reach out to maximum people we can, so that people take part at a large number and enjoy the event,” added the official.At Sabarmati Riverfront jugalbandhi of Pankaj Udhas and Manhar Udhas is going to have, which according to the authority is it happening for the first time that the Udhas bothers are performing together, ever. At Vastrapur Kabir Cafe is going to have performance.It is to be noted that DNA did a story on how Kankaria carnival is losing its sheen over the year and authority has shown least interest for this annual event.

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Delhi High Court directs CBI to probe Rohini Ashram’s activities

Amidst allegations of illegal confinement of minor girls and women in north Delhi’s ashram where they were kept in animal like conditions behind metal doors in a “fortress” surrounded by barbed wire, the Delhi High court transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the probe.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar noted the “seriousness and the sensitivity of the matter”, to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) which will take charge records and documents pertaining to the case.The directions were passed by the court after the committee constituted by the High court informed the court about the resistance faced by them during the inspection on Tuesday.Senior advocate Nandita Rao, DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal, Rajneesh Gupta, DCP, Rohini and advocate Ajay Verma, who had conducted the inspection, informed the court that they were not allowed to enter into the Ashram for over an hour. Even the DCP was held captive by the people at the Ashram for an hour.According to sources, the report submitted to the court in a sealed cover, highlighted the unhygienic conditions in which the women and girls were held hostage. The report detailed the “horrible” living conditions of the over 100 girls and women who were housed in “animal-like conditions with no privacy even for bathing.” The inmates seemed to be under the influence of drugs, it said.Sources also said that there were several iron gates, all of which were locked. Even the balconies were locked and the inmates were not allowed to leave the premises. The team also seized a box of DVDs, syringes, medicines and several letters written to the founder Virendra Dev Dixit and accused of assaulting the inmates.The letters allegedly addressed to the Baba (Virendra) allegedly had objectionable content. The team also found a register of male visitors who came to the Ashram, but they did not find any details of the inmates staying there.The court asked the CBI to investigate the FIRs lodged in Delhi against the Rohini-based ashram and its founder-cum- spiritual head Virender Dev Dixit and the daily diary entries relating to complaints of missing girls, commission of sexual offences and even a case of suicide there.The bench ordered the CBI to file a status report with regards to the cases registered in Uttar Pradesh.”The CBI shall proceed expeditiously in the matter and ensure that steps in accordance with the law be taken at the earliest,” the court said during a four-hour-long hearing.Directions were also issued to the institute and its founder to produce tomorrow the full details and particulars of every inmate lodged in the two buildings housing male and female staff and followers.The court-appointed panel said that there was an adjoining building where male staff were being housed and that there was a possibility that there were minor boys there and that it was probably connected to the women’s building by an underground tunnel.The bench ordered that the adjoining building be also inspected by the panel as well as the child welfare committee of the area which shall be provided police protection.Directions were also issued by the court to the commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to inspect the two premises and “in case, any illegality is discovered with regard to the buildings, immediate action shall be taken in accordance with law”.The institute and its founder were directed to ensure compliance of the court’s orders and extend full cooperation to the members of the committee.The court expressed its displeasure on the sorry state of affairs and the secrecy with which the ashram was conducting its activities. “We have spent four hours in this matter because you are working in shrouds of secrecy. Under the garb of good activities, you cannot be allowed to do what is not permissible,” it said.The court asked the police to continue with the pickets outside the institute to ensure no untoward incident or violence took place.

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Govt mulls order for safety of newspaper vendors

The government would soon direct all the municipal corporations to ensure that newspaper vendors in their cities are protected. The government would hold a meeting within a fortnight for sorting out problems of newspaper vendors in the state.Through a call attention motion in the state Assembly on Wednesday, BJP’s Ashish Shelar raised the issue of newspaper vendors’ protection. Replying to the same Minister of State for Home Dr Ranjeet Patil said that he would hold a meeting with all the stakeholders in the next fifteen days and sort out their issues.Shelar said that there are 15,000 newspaper vendors and three thousand stalls in the Thane and Mumbai Metropolitan region. He also said that 1.5 lakh families are dependent on this occupation but vendors have to face action by the local bodies as well as the Railways since some of them carry out their business on Railway premises.Shelar pointed out that during a meeting with Minister for Labor Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar, it was decided that a welfare board for newspaper vendors would be set up and said that it should be done immediately.Patil informed the House that Shelar had met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with a delegation of newspaper vendors on October 24, 2017 and the Chief Minister had directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in this regard.Patil informed that all the municipal corporations would be directed to ensure protection and safety of newspaper vendors. He said that while finalizing hawkers’ zones in the next two months, a separate provision for newspaper vendors would be made.HELPING HANDShelar demanded that whenever there is action against hawkers, newspaper vendors need to be spared from it. MLAs Sanjay Kelkar and Mangal Prabhat Lodha also raised the issue.

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Fingerprint, iris issues affect Aadhaar work, impact salaries

Hansa Jadhav from the B ward of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not receive her November salary as her fingerprints were of poor quality and could not mark her attendance in the biometric machine introduced by the BMC about two months ago.The BMC has made biometric attendance compulsory for all employees and even declared salary cut for those who fail to clock biometric attendance in their respective office.In December, the BMC administration decided to cut the salary of around 4,000 employees for not marking attendance in biometric systems. “I used to get my salary by first week of every month. But, till December 20, I did not receive my salary for November ,” said Jadhav.Udaykumar Shiroorkar, assistant commissioner of B ward took the matter to administrative department and Human Resource departments of the BMC.”Jadhav’s fingerprints are poor and it was not recorded when Aadhaar was being generated. So, she could not mark her attendance through the biometric machine,” said Shiroorkar. He added that she, however, had come to office all working days. Surprisingly, the BMC had stopped providing stationery for muster attendance soon after it introduced biometric attendance.In another case, Arun Karkhanis, 73, did not receive his pension for the last six months. The reason quoted was that the biometric machine couldn’t read his finger print. “Now, the bank has asked me to update my Aadhar as my finger prints do not come,” said Karkhanis. He added that the bank or his office from where he retired is unwilling to accept any other documents. “It is not possible to for me to go Aadhaar centre at 3 am to stand in queue to get my Aadhaar upadate,” said Karkhanis. He added that his office has agreed to pay pension till December but I have to submit my updated Aadhaar by January to continue to get pension.Sudhir Naik, deputy municipal commissioner said that there are around 140 employees in BMC who have such problems and now, the civic administration will not push them for biometric attendance.FOR THE RECORDAadhaar records finger prints, iris and face information while registering. However, if any person is having problem in finger print, it is mentioned in the acknowledgment copy whether the finger quality is good. In such cases, the Aadhaar operator mentions these while registering which appear in the acknowledgment copy.

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DMRC suspends four officials including depot in-charge for crash

The Delhi Metro today suspended four officials, including the in-charge of the Kalindi Kunj depot, where an empty train crashed into a wall yesterday while being taken for washing.Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) managing director Mangu Singh approved the orders of suspension based on an inquiry done by a team of three Executive Director-rank officials, DMRC chief spokesperson Anuj Dayal said. The four officials include one deputy general manager who was the depot incharge, one assistant manager, a junior engineer and an assistant section engineer, Dayal said. “The incident report of the inquiry revealed that this incident was solely attributable to human failure as proper procedures were not followed,” Dayal said.The brake of the train, which will run on the Botanical Garden-Kalkaji Mandir section to be launched on December 25 by the prime minister, was not functional when it was being taken for washing, the DMRC said. It was because, as per DMRC’s laid down norms, when a train enters a workshop (depot), the brakes of the train are decommissioned so that the train and its systems including the brakes can be freely checked. “As a result, as soon as the operator brought the train at the ramp, it started rolling back, got derailed and hit the wall,” Dayal said.Also readDelhi Metro: Magenta Line driverless train crashes into boundary wall during trial runHe also stressed that the train, which can be enabled to run unattended or ‘driverless’, was not actually without a driver when the incident happened as a person was very much on board. Trains on the new 12.38-km-long section, part of metro’s upcoming Magenta Line, will initially operate with a driver with a high level of automation including platform screen doors, he said.

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One AMC councillor makes it to Assembly

Of the three existing councillors from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) who tried their luck in the assembly polls, only one could make it through. Imran Khedawala, an independent councillor who won from Jamalpur-Khadia, was given a Congress mandate to contest the polls from the constituency keeping in mind the caste equation.Khedawala belongs to Chhipa community, which is why he was selected. The choice paid off as he won by a margin of 22,939 votes.Incidentally, he was denied a Congress ticket for the municipal election in 2015.The other two AMC councillors who contested are Atul Patel and Jamna Vegda, both of the Congress.The party asked the two to withdraw their nomination, following which Vegda, who had filed her nomination from Danilimda, complied. Congress then fielded Shailesh Parmar, who has won from the reserved SC seat by a margin of 32,600 votes.Atul Patel, a councillor from Vatva, however, remained firm on his candidature and lost the election. The Congress suspended him for six years. It was believed earlier that Patel would become Leader of the Opposition but he was denied that too.In the assembly election, he contested from Vatva constituency, from where he garnered 987 votes, way less than the 2,460 NOTA (None of the Above) votes cast in Vatva.Former councillor Raju Momin also contested from Dariyapur constituency. He turned a rebel and contested as an independent candidate.

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Driverless train leaves no scope for human error

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had brought in the country’s first driverless (Unattended Train Operation) train to be run on its Magenta Line last year.The trial run was flagged off by former union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at DMRC’s Mukundpur depot on May 17, last year.The six-coach driverless train will first run from Kalkaji Mandir to Botanical Garden, after which it will ply on two other corridors — 58 km Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar line and the over 38 km Janakpuri (W)-Botanical Garden line.While driverless trains have been operating in cities such as London since 1960s, it will be first such operation in India. The DMRC has over 60 such UTO-mode equipped trains in the manufacturing process at the Bharat Earth Movers plant in Bengaluru.Under the UTO mode, these new trains will be controlled and their movement regulated by the Operations Control Centres (OCC) and not by train operators.

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Metro rams wall during trial

Days ahead of its inauguration, the country’s first driverless train, meant for the Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line, rammed a depot wall during a trial run in south Delhi’s Kailindi Kunj on Tuesday.According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the incident took place because of the negligence of the staffers, who did not test the brake system before moving the train up the ramp for washing.No injuries were reported. The officials further said that such an incident will not happen once the train is operational as there are automatic signals on the Line to manage the run.The 13.5km Magenta Line, connecting south-southeast Delhi to satellite towns of Noida and Faridabad was to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25.The incident took place at 3.40 pm. After the trial, the train had been moved up a ramp for washing, but it rolled back and hit the adjacent boundary wall.”It appears that the brakes were not checked by the maintenance staff. We have ordered a high-level inquiry by a three-member committee of officers of the ranks of executive director. Appropriate action will be taken in the case,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC’s chief spokesperson.As per procedure, when a train enters the workshop, the brakes are decommissioned so that the train and its systems, including the brakes, can be freely checked.Once the train is re-commissioned, the brakes should be tested by the maintenance staff in the depot. The train is moved inside the workshop area manually and not by the signalling system.WHAT AUTHORITIES HAVE TO SAY“It appears that the brakes were not checked by the maintenance staff. We have ordered a high-level inquiry by a three-member committee of officers of the ranks of executive director. Appropriate action will be taken in the case,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC’s chief spokesperson. SALIENT FEATURESNo scope of human error Maximum speed of 95 kmphRoute maps available on each door panel Each coach can accommodate a maximum of 380 passengers Each coach has four 18.5 inch LCD screens

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Andheri to get maximum hawking spots

As per the list prepared by the Removal of Encroachment department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), several areas in Andheri are set to get hawking spots.According to officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), K East ward (Andheri and Vile Parle) will get the maximum number of hawking pitches. “The K East ward will get around 8,529 pitches followed by F South with 5,588 pitches,” said a BMC official. He added that P North will get around 4,824 pitches.Around 89,000 hawkers out of the city’s 99,435 hawkers who were surveyed in 2014 by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will get designated hawking spots in the city in the next couple of months.The civic body has already put up around 24,000 pitches for objections and suggestions from citizens while another list of around 65,000 hawking pitches is also ready. These hawking pitches are spread across all wards in the city.In its crackdown on illegal hawkers over the past two months, the BMC evicted over 22,000 hawkers from across railway stations, foot-overbridges and skywalks following the fatal stampede at Elphinstone Road station.

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BMC blames socio-economic problems for Andheri farsan shop fire

A day after 12 people were charred in a fire at an illegal condiment factory in Sakinaka, the civic body on Tuesday tried to shrug off its responsibility by attributing the tragedy to a combination of several issues.Political pressure, court cases and government failure in checking illegal supply of electricity and gas cylinders for commercial purposes the hurdles that it faces in controlling unauthorised businesses in the city, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.”It is a socio-economic problem that people come to Mumbai to do odd jobs. The workers who died on Monday were from north India,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Bharat Marathe. The Bhanu condiment factory on Khairani Road was too small to operate as a factory and accommodate 20 people, said Marathe, the in-charge of civic affairs for the area.And the issues span across Mumbai, he said. “It is a reality that 60 percent of the city have the same scenario.” Regular inspections and strict action are the need of the hour, he said.Vote-bank politics undo all the efforts of the civic body, said a BMC official, who did not wish to be named. “We are under immense political pressure to not take action in slums. It is only after court orders that we can do something.” He said only a handful of politicians allow the BMC to do its work in good faith.Resource crunch is another impediment, said the second official. “We lack staff in sanitary inspections, factory and licence departments. One person can inspect maximum 20 shops per day but in Mumbai depending on the area ranging from 60 to 200 illegal small scale businesses come up every day. Many a times we don’t even come to know that some businesses start and even closes after few months. Even if we take the owner to court, high court penalises him sometimes with just Rs 500 and the illegal business continues”, he said.BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, who has written to the BMC chief after Monday’s tragedy, said he has demanded inspection at all condiment factories in Mumbai. “It may be true that some politicians don’t allow BMC action, but it is not important at the moment. We have to look forward that such incidences should not occur and innocent should not lose their lives”.

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Khairani: Fire waiting to happen, claim locals

Members of Swachh Chandivali, a resident’s organisation, are irked by the fact that it took a fire, that claimed 12 lives, for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to finally inquire into the glaring irregularities in safety norms by a majority of the establishments — most of them running small scale industries from the slums — on Khairani Road in Saki Naka.The residents had been repeatedly warning the concerned authorities about a potential high-risk fire waiting to break in the slum area, and had written several letters to the BMC and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the same. In September, the residents escalated the matter by writing to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.Based on their complaints, the MPCB carried out a site visit in September and submitted a report in November, which clearly states the violations that some of the establishments were engaged in. The board found that the units were operating without any documents. In fact, MPCB officials stated that a majority of the small scale industries in the area were operating illegally.”The report asked BMC to take action and ordered closure of 18 such industries. If properly surveyed, all the units operating in these slums, which has turned into an industrial area over the years, will be found violating safety regulations as well as labour laws. These units are a ticking time bomb and are endangering the lives of people,” said Dr SL Dhingra, member, Swachh Chandivali.Lavita Powell, another member of the group, said that Monday’s fire only goes to prove that many more such disasters can occur in the area.Demanding action against the authorities, former Councillor Ishwar Tayade said, “We wrote to the civic body and the police to take action against the illegal activities taking place inside these industrial units but they kept turning a blind eye.””We had received complaints from local residents about air pollution from the small scale industries operating on Khairani Road. After a survey, several violations were observed based on which we directed the BMC to disconnect water and electricity supply for 18 of the units,” said MR Lad, Regional Officer (Mumbai), MPCB.

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You are unable to clear garbage, what education will you impart: HC raps Delhi govt, MCD

What kind of education will you impart, if you are unable to remove garbage from your schools — the Delhi High Court today asked the AAP government and the municipal corporations in the national capital.”It cannot be denied that the liability for collection, removal and disposal of garbage rests on the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which exercises its functions under the MCD Act,” a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal said.The bench, also comprising Justice C Hari Shankar, further chided the civic bodies, saying they were “hopelessly unable to do their duty”.”Cleanliness, maintenance of hygiene in the city are your prime duties. If you are not able to do it, what kind of education will you impart? It is sad that you are not able to remove garbage from your schools,” the bench observed.”The point is inability,” the bench said and asked the counsel of the Delhi government and the three MCDs if it was not their duty.The bench directed the authorities to file their replies as regards removal of garbage generated in the schools run by the Delhi government as well as the MCDs and fixed the matter for April 23 next year.The directions of the court came during the hearing of a plea filed by an NGO, Justice for All, through its counsel Khagesh Jha, who urged the court to direct the authorities to make appropriate arrangements for daily collection and disposal of garbage from the premises of these schools.The petition claimed that multiple agencies in Delhi were busy shifting the blame on each other and that there was no coordination between these agencies as regards improving the infrastructure for the students.The petition also dealt with the “poor” condition of toilets in these schools.

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Speak up Delhi: Dropout rate a serious issue in civic-run schools

A recent report released on the condition of public schooling in the national capital, once again raised the alarm on the “deteriorating condition” of the school run by the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs).”The estimated dropout percentage in schools run by the North MCD is 6.1 per cent, South MCD is 6 per cent in the academic year 2016-17,” the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi 2017’ released by the NGO Praja Foundation on Thursday. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), however, has not provided any information on the number of dropouts in their schools.On average, from the three Municipal Corporations, in the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17), the EDMC has witnessed the maximum dropout followed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Highest drop of 30 per cent being reported in Class 1, between 2010 to 2017.The data was compiled on the basis of RTI received from 640 schools of MCD. These schools offer education from Class 1 to Class 5. Afterwards, students move to government-run schools.The report also highlighted the status of teacher quality in these schools with 55 per cent of MCD schools show a medium level of teacher quality. “On an average, teachers from 55% MCD schools reported to have a medium level of teaching quality based on the various parameters under SSEF whereas 34% reported to have a high quality of teaching,” it said.In a bid to provide inclusive education under the right to Education Act, 2009, a ramp for differentially-abled is mandatory in every school under RTE norms. However, in the academic 2016- 17, 21% of the NDMC schools, 8% of SDMC and 15% of EDMC schools did not have ramps for the differently-abled students.Officials at the corporations, however cite “lack of resources” as the reason behind all these discrepancies. “We are always short of resources. We don’t even have money to spend on basic infrastructure,” a senior education official at the corporation said.However, the Praja report said that “there is no constraint on available resources”.”In terms of the infrastructure available, teacher quality and budget allocation, there is no constraint on available resources. The corporation is faring well on the student teacher ratio, the quality of teacher is above average and the budget estimate being set by the state government at 49,740 rupees per child,” it said.CRUNCHING FIGURES18,860The number of students who dropped out from New Delhi Municipal Corporation schools in the academic year 2016-1715,787The number of students who opted out from the schools run by South Delhi Municipal Corporation for the academic year 2016-17.BUDGET ESTIMATE (2016-17)NDMC: Rs 15,505 lakhSDMC Rs 12,360 lakhEDMC: 14,075 lakhEXPERT SPEAK“We have well-trained teachers who are being selected through an entrance exam conducted Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board. In terms of dropout rate, there are two reasons behind it is including regular relocation of slum clusters and the primary classes started by the Delhi government schools. People prefer to send their children in one school rather than changing their schools after Class 5”Tilak Raj Kataria, standing committee chairman North MCDVOICESI don’t believe in the quality of education in government schools. Around 15 years back when I had to choose school for my children, I opted for private school. And any parent would do the same as everybody wants to give best education to their child. Primary education makes the base of a student and it should be very strong for a better future which is not possible in public schools.Ritu Jain, HousewifeThe quality of government schools is getting better as compared to previous years. When I took admission in school, my parents did not even consider the option of public schools. Society taboo was a major reason behind it. Nobody wants to say that I have studied in public schools. But now the conditions are improving and I feel the next generation will have a more positive perspective for public schools.Aditya Jain, Engineering studentI took admission in government school when private schools rejected me for admission as I was from Bihar. I have done my higher education from there and it was the time when Aam Admi Party was promising (as their election agenda) that bribe taker will go through the rough ways. The irony is I had to give bribe on the very day when AAP won the elections.Aaryan Chand Prakash, StudentIf I would have this option of making choice between public and private schools, I would definitely choose the later one. Many reasons can be listed to justify my choice. For instance, teachers are kept busy with other activities like election duties, function preparations that leaves no time with them to teach students. Education quality is not up to the standards of tough competitions.Kavita Gupta, HousewifeI definitely will not choose public schools for my daughter. Government is lacking in many aspects for making the education system better and cheaper. There is no infrastructure in government schools, the toilets are not proper and also less efficient staff. When the basic needs are not fulfilled the quality education is a far sight. Also the class which is mostly associated with public schools is low and thus prevent the overall growth of the children.Razia Malik, Housewife

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60 sports teachers for over 9 lakh students in 1700 govt schools

Even as the AAP-led Delhi government has been promoting public schools and sports in the city, the situation of sports facilities of schools operating under the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) tells a different story. Hundreds of these government-run schools do not have a basic working playground.As per the recent data released by an NGO, 24% schools from North MCD, 11% from SDMC and 12% from EDMC did not have playgrounds in the academic year 2016-17. The schools operating under the MCDs offer education till class V.Even the number of physical education teachers in these schools is surprisingly low, prompting a call for a massive recruitment drive.”There are only 60 Physical Education Teachers for over 9 lakh students in 1,700 MCD schools,” said Ramniwas Solanki, general secretary, Municipal Corporation of Teachers’ Association.”When the schools across the world are promoting extra-curricular activities, we are depriving our children by not even providing the teachers,” he added.In a bid to apprise the authorities about the situation, the association had also written to the commissioners and mayors of the three civic bodies but to no avail. However, officials at the civic bodies, claim that the process of hiring new teachers is”underway”.”With no physical education in hundreds of MCD schools, students are neither getting proper physical training nor getting a chance to participate in any recreational activity. Many of these kids are from poor families and if we don’t channelise their energy, there is a risk of them getting involved in anti-social activities,” said a teacher at an MCD school in east Delhi’s Patparganj.MATTER RAISEDIn a bid to apprise the authorities about the situation, the association had also written to the commissioners and mayors of the three civic bodies but to no avail

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Fire in the city: Guts factory in Turbhe MIDC; Curbed at MMRDA

A major fire broke out on Sunday evening in a chemical factory located at Turbhe MIDC near Balmer Lawrie Company in Navi Mumbai. Seven people injured in the fire have been admitted to a civic hospital in Vashi. A total of nine fire engines from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), MIDC Turbhe and MIDC Taloja were called to douse the fire.According to an official from NMMC’s fire department, the intensity of the fire was high and took time to control. The Emergency Response Station at Pawane MIDC received the fire call at 4.42 pm on Sunday.”Nine fire engines and three water tankers from Vashi, Nerul, Turbhe and Pawane ERS reached the factory,” said an official from MIDC’s fire department. He added that the chemical factory has been fully gutted in the fire. “There were reactors on the third and fourth floor of the four-storied building which could have possibly blasted,” added the official. The exact cause of the fire is yet unknown. Officials from the factory were unavailable for comment.According to sources, there were more than 30 workers inside the premises when the fire broke. While most of them were successfully evacuated, some of them suffered minor burn injuries.Minor fire in MMRDA groundA minor fire broke out at a stall during an event at MMRDA Exhibition Grounds on Sunday around 5 pm. It was immediately brought under control by the emergency fire engine stationed near the ground. An official from the Mumbai Fire Brigade said that a short circuit was the cause of the fire.

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10 free WiFi zones to come up in Ahmedabad

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) that had announced to provide more than 45 free WiFi spots in city under its Smart City plan by August has now decided to at least start a trial run on 10 of these by December 30.Ahmedabad has lagged behind as Rajkot has been providing internet access to its citizens since February. For internet connectivity and fibre optic network, civic authorities of Ahmedabad have allotted a budget of Rs 239 crore including CCTV cameras for surveillance.The 30 minute of free Internet access would be provided to Amdavadis under Internet of Things (IoT). “We are ready with the 10 spots as part of a trial run. December 30 is the day when we are going to start the run. Initially, we have covered all zonal offices of AMC, MJ Library, Riverfront, LG Hospital and a dental college of AMC,” said Yatindra Nayak, manager e-governance of AMC. “User data and limit is yet to be finalised and will be based on TRAI guidelines,” added Nayak.”Any smart phone has to be connected with the Internet after generation of One Time Password (OTP),” said Ramyakumar Bhatt, assistant municipal commissioner. Interestingly, a private company had started to provide free internet service in some zones of Ahmedabad in 2014, when Narendra Modi was the CM. The PM had even launched eight Wi-Fi hot-spots for citizens to enjoy seamless network facility including Kankaria Lakefront, Gandhi Ashram, Science City and Civil Hospital. The facility at most of these areas is not available now.AMC promises that soon after the trial run, more than 45 such spots will be set up. It is to be noted that the civic body is providing free internet access during its annual book fair which is held in May.CONNECTING PEOPLEFor internet connectivity and fibre optic network, civic authorities have allotted a budget of Rs239 crore including CCTV cameras for surveillance A 30-minute free Internet access would be provided to Amdavadis under Internet of Things (IoT) by the authorities

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | BJP leaders chalk out strategy ahead of D-Day

After the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections got over on Thursday, BJP leaders met at state party’s headquarters Shri Kamalam near Gandhinagar on Saturday. The meeting of top brass leaders was called by party chief Jitu Vaghani and attended by CM Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, Gujarat in-charge of BJP Bhupender Yadav and others.The senior leaders also met party candidates and the counting agents (who are present at counting venues) of BJP deputed for all 182 seats across the state. The party leaders guided them on the counting process, issues and objections that can be raised during counting, counting through VVPAT slips and EVMs and other aspects they should take care of.Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Vaghani said, “Bhupender Yadav is a lawyer in the Supreme Court and has good understanding of laws. He guided counting agents on the process and related acts. We appealed our workers besides those of Congress and other candidates that they should maintain peace and composure during the counting process and should not create any ruckus in case of adverse results.”He added, “Congress has already started to cry foul over the issue of EVMs when even the counting process has not started leave aside results. They have conceded to their defeat and are trying to pass the buck on BJP and EVM to shield the failure of their leader Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat polls.”On the other hand, it is also learnt that the Gujarat government has booked the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad for oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet. The booking for December 25 has been made with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).Sources in AMC said, “We have received the booking application of Sardar Patel Stadium three days back for oath taking ceremony of new cabinet. The booking date indicates that the ceremony can be held on Christmas on December 25.”BJP won the Assembly polls with 116 seats in 2012 and Narendra Modi became the chief minister of the state. He along with seven cabinet ministers and nine state level ministers had taken the oath at Sardar Patel stadium on December 26, 2012.Cabinet oath at Sardar Patel stadiumGujarat government has booked the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad for oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet. The booking for December 25 has been made with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).BJP leaders guided workers on the counting process, issues and objections that can be raised during counting, counting through VVPAT slips and EVMs and other aspects they should take care of.

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Uttar Pradesh: 15 BJP members booked for allegedly manhandling BSP corporator Musharraf Husain

An FIR on Saturday was registered against 15 unidentified BJP members for allegedly manhandling BSP corporator Musharraf Husain during the oath taking ceremony of Aligarh Municipal Corporation members earlier this week, police said today.The case was filed at the Banna Devi police station under relevant sections of IPC, four days after the BSP corporator filed a complaint with the police.The FIR against BJP members comes in the wake of mounting pressure by opposition parties alleging that the police was taking one-sided view of the entire episode.SSP Rajesh Pandey told PTI that those responsible for the unsavoury incident would be identified on the basis of video recording of the oath taking ceremony.He clarified that earlier a case was filed against the BSP corporator on the basis of a complaint filed by a BJP corporator, charging the former of trying to disrupt communal peace of the city during the ceremony.The police officer also refuted allegations that Hussain was earlier booked because he took oath in Urdu.”It is his constitutional right and there is no question of having booked him on that point,” Pandey said.Meanwhile, Congress leader Yogesh Dikshit has demanded Z+ security for the newly elected mayor Mohammed Furqan in the wake of “serious threat to his life”.Furqan of BSP had won the mayoral post in the just concluded civic body elections, upsetting the BJP’s applecart.On Tuesday, unpleasant scenes had marred the swearing-in function of members of the Aligarh Municipal Corporation, with the BJP corporators allegedly creating ruckus after the lone BSP corporator, Musharraf Husain, insisted on taking oath in Urdu.Husain, who was allegedly beaten up, had told media later that there was a conspiracy to kill him.

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Prosecute officials under whose tenure Hanuman idol was constructed: Delhi High Court

Showing displeasure on the allegedly illegally built 108-ft high Hanuman idol in Karol Bagh area yet again, the Delhi High court said on Friday that it will ask the CBI to investigate the construction of the statue and prosecute officials of DDA and municipal corporation during whose tenure it was constructed.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that while it cannot go after individual unauthorised buildings, builders, or the “hapless people” who are buying them, “the time has come” to ensure that the authorities comply with the laws.”We propose to send it (the case) to the CBI,” the court said and asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the municipal corporation of the area to give the names of its officials who have been posted in the area since 1995, when the construction of the colossal statue started.The bench stated that the list of names sought were incomplete and unacceptable, thereby ordering to give the list by December, fixing it as the next date of hearing.The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) filed an affidavit stating that it has taken action to remove some of the encroachments around the statue and commercial activity outside the temple has been stopped. But the court did not seem to be satisfied and said that the NDMC has withheld vital information about when the road and pavement adjacent to the statue came under its jurisdiction.During the proceedings, Delhi police informed the court that it was interrogating the trustees running the temple and was also looking into its source of funding. It was stated that the temple has an account, containing Rs 11 lakh, in a UCO Bank branch at Model Basti area along with a fixed deposit of Rs 40 lakh.They also added that these cannot be the only funds of the trust, whose sole source of earning is the temple which has been running from 1978. The statue, however, was built completely only in 2002.Appearing for the Delhi police, its counsel Satyakam said that the general manager of the UCO Bank was seeking 30-60 days to provide information about who all deposited cheques in the trust’s account.The bench, thereafter, directed the general manager of the bank to provide the information sought by the police at the earliest and not later than two weeks. The DDA and the corporation told the court that neither the temple nor the trust was paying any property tax to them.The court had ordered a police probe after a committee appointed by it in May this year to look into illegal constructions all over Delhi had pointed to encroachments of up to 1,170 square yards on the DDA land which forms part of the Southern Ridge.

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South Delhi Municipal Corporation beautifies space under two major flyovers

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has beautified the space underneath Raja Garden flyover and Mayapuri flyover, constructed by PWD on the main roads. The aim, officials said, is to work on the look and image of the city .According to SDMC officials, an amount of Rs 78 lakh has been spent on this. The civic body had deputed employees of Horticulture and Engineering and Electrical Department and their resources for the purpose. Sarita Jindal, Chairperson, West Zone Ward Committee, said a few councilors and West Zone Deputy Commissioner Mona Srinivas were present for the occasion, along with West Delhi MP Pravesh Verma and Deputy Mayor Kailash Sankla.”The SDMC has been striving hard to beautify all its localities including flyovers that come under its jurisdiction. Keeping in view the instruction of L-G Anil Baijal, a number of flyovers have been beautified within the shortest possible time,” said Verma.He added, “The beautified spaces under the flyovers will glorify the image of Delhi in future, including in January 2018, when leaders of other countries will be in Delhi to attend a summit.”More than a dozen flyovers have been developed in the process so far. All the flyovers are being developed as per different themes. The details of the illustration for each were prepared separately and respective departments undertook the work assigned to them.”The Electrical Department also meticulously executed the work assigned to it. The entire work was undertaken under a mission to get rid of an atmosphere of filth and stink leading to an unhealthy ambiance and anti-social activities. Locals are now visiting the spaces for evening walks,” said Kailash Sankla, Deputy Mayor.”The actual work was done quickly once the unauthorised occupants were evicted. The entire work has been completed in a period of 30-40 days,” he said.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Talkshows and public rallies, AMC gets rich by Rs 17.25 lakh

People are busy discussing opinion polls, exit polls and surveys related to elections as the poll hangover is still on. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), on the other hand, is counting notes.AMC earned Rs17.25 lakh during the poll season. The amount is very nominal for AMC, whose annual budget is more than Rs 6,000 crore. Apart from the riverfront space, not a single community hall of AMC was booked for political meetings.For talk shows in different news channel, AMC rented the space at Sabarmati Riverfront. As per data given by the civic authority, a total of 36 such talk shows were organised at the riverfront. This generated an income of Rs2.12 lakh.Also three major public meetings were held at riverfront which has fetched Rs9.33 lakh to AMC’s bank. “We are renting open spaces commercially. There are many religious events, sports events, and other functions. During elections, private news channels and political parties had approached us,” said a senior civic body officer.”By renting out space at Sabarmati riverfront, AMC earned Rs11.45 lakh. Space for advertisements and hoardings brought us another Rs5.80 lakh,” added the official.”The income of Rs 5.80 lakh is from political parties and applied via a single window system. Election related advertisements were also from the Collector’s office regarding voting awareness. We haven’t charged anything from the Collector’s office,” remarked the official.Also, the civic body is renting out space for shooting purposes, since 2014. However, income generated from renting out space for shooting is lesser than the entry to visiting the Riverfront park and Flower park.

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More than 80K MCD students dropped out

As many as 85,412 students dropped out from the schools run by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) during the academic year 2016-17, a report released by NGO Praja Foundation stated on Thursday.”The estimated drop out percentage in schools run by the North MCD is 6.1 percent, South MCD is 6 percent and state government schools is 3.4 percent,” the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ said. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), however, has not provided any information on the number of dropouts in their schools.On average, from the three Municipal Corporations, in the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17), the EDMC has witnessed the maximum dropout followed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation.”Number of drop outs from state government schools has been increasing in the past three years (2014-15 to 2016-17),” the report stated.The data has been compiled on the basis of RTIs received from 640 schools of MCD and 749 schools of state government.SCHOOL-STUDENT RATIO

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BMC to give 89K vendors hawking spots in city soon

Around 89,000 hawkers out of the city’s 99,435 hawkers who were surveyed in 2014 by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will get designated hawking spots in the city in the next couple of months.The civic body has already put up around 24,000 pitches for objections and suggestions from citizens while another list of around 65,000 hawking pitches is also ready. These hawking pitches are spread across all wards in the city. In its crackdown on illegal hawkers over the past two months, the BMC had driven out over 22,000 hawkers from across railway stations, foot-overbridges and skywalks following the fatal stampede at Elphinstone Road station.However, soon after the hawkers were removed, hawkers associations as well as political parties demanded their immediate rehabilitation.In 2007, the BMC had to declare ward-wise hawking zones following an order from the Bombay High Court. Around 23,950 pitches were declared in 222 roads across the city. However, over the period, many of roads have become no-hawking zones. Moreover, the civic body has put up the same list on a public domain to seek public opinion.“The additional 65,000 hawking pitches will be available for objections and suggestion on December 19,” said a civic official.FACTS OF THE MATTERHawking is not allowed within 150 metres of railway stations, hospitals, religious places and schools. The total number of hawkers in the city is around 3 lakh. Out of these, the number of licensed hawkers is 15,159 The BMC can allow two hawkers at the same place in an area provided they have different timings. The BMC has decided to issue identity cards to hawkers. The civic body has also planned for biometric registration of hawkers.

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Delhi HC orders probe into trust which built famous Hanuman statue in Karol Bagh

The Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered a probe into the trust which built the famous Hanuman statue in the busy Karol Bagh area of the city, saying the 108-feet structure could not have built overnight without the “active connivance” of the local authorities.Had the authorities done their duty, something like this would not have happened, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed while ordering a probe into the trust that built the idol and was maintaining it.”Nothing would have happened, if we (civic agencies and the government) would have been doing our job,” the bench said, adding that “this structure could not have been built overnight without connivance of the public authorities”.It said the land belongs to the city and not the individual sitting in the government office, so it has to be returned to the public.Annoyed over the illegalities surrounding the Hanuman statue, the bench directed the Delhi Police to find out the details and the money deposited in the bank accounts of the trust running the temple.It sought to know from the Municipal Corporation about the property tax paid by the trustee of the temple, which is allegedly on the right of way of vehicular traffic.It asked the Delhi Development Authority to provide the details of officials responsible for the construction of the huge structure on the public land.The bench directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to also provide the full particulars of the persons responsible for erection of the idol.The court ordered an enquiry after a committee appointed by it in May this year to look into illegal constructions all over Delhi, had pointed to encroachments of up to 1170 square yards on DDA land which forms part of the Southern Ridge.”This is clearly in the teeth of the orders of the Supreme Court regarding protection of the Ridge Area and is completely impermissible,” the committee had said.It had also said that apart from the Hanuman statue, there was unauthorised construction of multiple small and big buildings of up to four floors including a residential complex there.The bench had then directed the authorities to take action against the unauthorised construction on public land and ensure that all encroachments on the Southern Ridge are removed immediately and the Ridge is secured in terms of the orders of the Supreme Court.

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Residential parking in South Mumbai now one step closer to reality

Residential parking in Churchgate, Colaba and CST in South Mumbai will soon be a reality. The civic body, which has already received the traffic department’s no objection certificates (NoC) for residential parking slots at around 30 areas, is awaiting the approval of the civic chief to begin.The efforts of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s to make additional parking space available in South Mumbai under the new parking policy will bring relief for residents. Residents can now park their vehicles in front of their society building by paying a requisite fee.The civic body had received an overwhelming response from housing societies and commercial units in Colaba, Churchgate and Nariman Point for reserved parking slots. However, the operation was delayed for almost five months due to a delay in issuing an NOC from the traffic department. The traffic department had raised a query on the timings of the parking. The residential parking slots are available from 8 pm to 8 am only. However, the civic body managed to get the NOC from the traffic department.The BMC had received around 28 applications for reserved/residential parking. Of the 28 applications, 19 were housing societies while nine commercial establishments sought reserved parking spaces.For reserved residential parking (8 pm to 8 am), societies have to pay the BMC monthly charges which vary from Rs 600 to Rs 1,800, depending on the location. Initially, the residents association of A-ward were not satisfied with the civic body citing non-clarity in the implementation of the new parking policy.However, with NOCs from traffic department, the residential parking in South Mumbai as a pilot project seems to be a reality. “We has received traffic department NOC and send it civic chief for final approval,” said a senior official from A-ward of the BMC.NO SPACE AT ALLA-ward has several commercial complexes, government buildings and plenty of cars. The area also falls under ‘A’ category, which has the highest parking rates. The BMC has a total of 91 on-street parking spaces of which 54 falls under A-ward.

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Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property?

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

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Put in place a plan to tackle defacement: Delhi High Court to AAP

Delhi HC has expressed its displeasure on the failure of the AAP government to comply with its order by setting up a concrete action plan to deal with the issue of defacement of properties in the city.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar pulled up the Delhi government thereby expresssing concern on the inability of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Delhi University to conduct awareness programmes to teach people.The court’s observation while hearing a plea filed by advocate Prashant Manchanda that had sought a complete ban on the alleged defacement of public properties by the candidates for the DUSU polls.Earlier, the bench had told the Delhi University to frame comprehensive guidelines and the authorities to launch a large scale public awareness campaign to deal with the alleged mess of defacement which was ignored by the concerned.Terming the actions of the authorities as ‘appalling’, the court asked the about the ground work they have carried out to clear the mess across Delhi. However, since so satisfactory answer was given by the authorities concerned, they had to face the ire of the court.”We see only meetings but no fruitful results. It is hopeless,” the bench observed and pulled up the Delhi government for not setting out a comprehensive solution to deal with the issue.NO WRITINGS ON WALLBench had earlier told DU to frame guidelines and authorities to launch large scale public awar-eness campaign to deal with mess of defacement. Court asked about the ground work they had done to clear mess.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Will Vadodara give a shocker to the ruling party this time?

Vadodara, the cultural city of Gujarat, has a typical pattern of politics and is believed to be an invincible fort of BJP. After delimitation, it has five seats and all five had gone to BJP in the in 2012 polls which were held for the first time after the realignment. Congress has been in opposition in civic body polls since long, and no caste equation dominates here as the city has the mixed population of upper caste, OBC, SC, ST, minorities and others.Besides Gujarati, Maharashtrian community also lives in Vadodara for centuries as the princely state Baroda was ruled by Gaekwad dynasty. However, the Hindu-Muslim rivalry becomes evident many times in a year and many pockets are categorised as sensitive. The communal clashes are more often inspired by political rivalry and that is why the politics in Vadodara is peculiar in nature. Amidst this, BJP has successfully retained the position here.Even in local government body, BJP has been exceling. It was only once, a third party came to power in Vadodara Municipal Corporation and that was Savdhan Party formed by former IPS officer Jaspal Singh. Later, Singh also joined BJP and then elected as MLA thrice from Sayajigunj seat in 1990, 1995 and 1998 polls.This time Rajesh Ayre, former BJP leader has been posing challenge on the same seat as his party has good hold over the poor community and Maharashtrian voters. However, this could worry both Congress and BJP as polarisation of votes does not have fix design giving benefit to any of the two parties.Besides, Sayajigunj, there are other four seats: Vadodara city, Akota, Raopura and Manjalpur. The Congress has been trying to raise the local issues and the ordeals citizens of Vadodara passed through and that was bad roads, water logging during monsoon, and lack of cleanliness.The vice-president of Congress, Maulin Vaishnav said, “Vadodara seems BJP’s fort but there are local issues that people of this city are reeling under. We have tried to raise these issues in Vadodara this time.”The MP of Vadodara and city BJP president, Ranjan Bhatt said, “There is no impact of agitation here and all Patel voters from North Gujarat, Saurasthra and Central Gujarat are with BJP. The local government body ruled by BJP has made many developmental work and people are happy. Booth level workers are easily approachable. That is why we are confident that all five seats will be of BJP again.”

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Want weekly reports on sanitation, says Anil Baijal

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

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Garbage management in Mumbai: BMC to set up 35 dry waste processing centres

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to develop dry waste collection and processing centres across Mumbai. The centres will be developed at CST, Churchgate, Colaba, Grant Road, Malabar Hills, Nana Chowk among others. Each centre is expected to process around 5 tonnes of dry waste every day.Since the BMC has been promoting segregation of dry and wet waste and composting of wet waste at source, the present move will help citizens to manage their dry waste with ease. “There has always been a complaint that BMC does not lift dry and wet waste separately,” said a senior official from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department of BMC.The cost of each processing set up will vary owing to quantity it will process. “The machine will cost from Rs 2.2 lakh to 7 lakh as per capacity it will process,” said an official from SWM.Also readBMC to help pick spot for waste management“We are taking a number of measures to bring down the quantity of waste being dumped every day at dumping grounds. The question being raised by a section of society that the civic body is doing nothing in waste management does not stand,” added the official. In the last six months, the civic body has brought down daily waste generation to 7500 MT from 9400 MT.“Everyday, the processing centre will process around 5MT dry waste,” said the official.Also readMumbai: Check how much this Kandivali society shells out each month to maintain a waste segregation machineIn addition, the civic body is also buying around 350 new garbage compactors for its Solid Waste Management (SWM) department which will have separate sections for carrying dry, wet and e-waste. This will put an end to the contract system for carrying dry and wet waste separately. The new garbage compactors will have around 85 percent space for wet waste while 10 percent space for dry waste. The remaining space will be used for the for e-waste. “With an increase in the amount of waste, it is becoming difficult to manage e-waste. The new compactor will prevent it from mixing with other waste,” added the official.

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Tree fall death: No FIR filed yet

The mother and three kids of Sharda Ghodeswar, 45, who died on Thursday after a tree fell upon her were inconsolable, as her body was brought home after the postmortem. Ghodeswar, who was the only bread earner of the family died instantly when a 40 feet tree fell upon the garden bench that she was sitting on.Following the incident, the Ghodeswar family and residents of Chembur have been demanding FIR against the gardens department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for their negligence. However, the police and BMC have both brushed away their responsibilities. The Chembur Resident’s Group (CRG) met officials of the Govandi police station and urged to file an FIR against BMC’s Superintendent of Gardens for criminal negligence.However, the police refused to file an FIR saying that the investigation was still on. Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Bharat Marathe said, “The death is due to natural calamity and garden’s department has promised Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the family of deceased in ten days time.”Chembur citizens have urged BMC in a written correspondence that it does not have any mechanism to check the health of the tree and the officers just leave at a cursory survey of the trees.”How can the officer know if the tree is healthy by just looking at it. In July, after the death of another Chembur resident Kanchan Nath, who died after a tree fell on her, the Gardens officer promised to inspect the trees in Chembur.This is still pending,” said Manish Gangurde from CRG.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Randeep Surjewala lashes out at govt on GSPC scam

The Congress came out with an exhaustive report which indicates at a major scam by the state government with the Gujarat State Petrolium Corporation (GSPC). Congress leader Randeep Surjewala questioned why Modi should not be investigated for the GSPC scam?Elaborating on the scam worth Rs20,000 crore, Surjewala said, “Zero gas and loot gaya Gujarat ka cash (zero gas and Gujrat’s cash is robbed) is all we can say about the GSPC scam. The BJP-run Gujarat government has looted public money but there is no gas even after spending crores. I demand an independent inquiry into the scam,” said Surjewala.“Looking at the balance sheet of the GSPC’s accounts, shocking revelations of foreign exchange has come out. The amount spent by the GSPC after foreign exchange is Rs 10,651.80 crore, which has been mentioned for the same and isn’t shown in the profit and loss account. Why is this so?” asked Surjewala. “Foreign exchange worth Rs 372.32 crore is shown as miscellaneous expenses. This sudden increase in the GSPC account on foreign exchange points to a scam and I demand an inquiry by the Supreme Court,” he said.

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JMC saga: No meetings, no panels

The general body meeting (GBM) of Jaipur Municipal Corporation(JMC), is neither being held on time nor the functionary committees have been formed. Because of which the public is facing trouble. Since there is no general body meeting, the proposal related to the development of the city and people’s problems is not being discussed.Two and a half months ago, the General Body Meeting of the Municipal Corporation was held on September 22. Mayor Ashok Lahoti has convened a general body meeting only three times during his one year term. While he should have organized six meetings in a year. When Lahoti took over on December 14, 2016, the BJP organization had promised that General body meetings would be held on time and committees would also be formed soon. But promises remained verbal only and even after 12 months the committees could not be formed. As per Rajasthan Municipalities Act, the meeting should have been organised within 60 days but no meeting has been held after the last general body meeting which was held on September 22.Formation of committees has also been delayed and some councilors had complained about it to party organisation functionaries earlier.Some councillors approached their respective MLAs. The BJP councilors are lobbying against their own party’s Mayor Ashok Lahoti.Three months before over 50 BJP councilors prepared a memorandum signed, Which will be handed over to city BJP president Sanjay Jain. According to the sources, the counselor wants to convey their voice to the organization. Since the election of Mayor of Ashok Lahoti, a group of councilors was against himAfter this, the Mayor called the JMC general body meeting. The general body meeting (GBM) of Jaipur Municipal Corporation was held on September 22 after a period of seven months.LAST GBMNotably, the JMC has been working without committees for the past 12 months and due to this the day to day working of the civic body also gets hampered. The general body meeting (GBM) of Jaipur Municipal Corporation was held on September 22 after a period of seven months.

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Delhi-6 revamp a distant dream?

It has been almost 15 years since redevelopment of the historic city of Shahjahanabad, or modern day’s Walled City or Old Delhi, was proposed. The web of overhead cables in its markets, hours-long traffic jams in its narrow alleys, and encroachment by vendors around its heritage sites were to be removed and the place was to be spruced up as a heritage tourist spot. The face-lift of the oldest city in Delhi, however, has been stuck in the time warp of files and politics.The city of Mughal rulers has been in the running for the UNESCO World Heritage City tag, which initially triggered its revamp plans. Multiple court orders, plans, and presentations, however, failed to bring the various agencies concerned together for the work. Also, many architects, engineers, conservationists, and heritage experts have changed since then.Work on the long-pending project moved a bit this August, but mainly on paper. It was finally decided that creation of parking spaces and enforcement of encroachment and traffic laws in the area must be set as priority.Musical chairsThe Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) has been handling the project. Appointment of the SRDC chairman was caught in red tape earlier this year, when Public Works Department (PWD) engineer-in-chief Sarvagya Srivastava was made the head but his appointment was cancelled by Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, who said norms were not followed.Initially, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was the SRDC chairman but he passed on the post to urban development minister Satyender Jain, who then passed on the baton to Srivastava. During the Congress regime, the chief minister used to be the chairman of SRDC.Recently, Jain again resumed charge while the new PWD principal secretary, Renu Sharma, is now the project’s chief nodal officer. The project’s entire execution was handed over to the PWD in 2012, as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was not able to implement it on ground.Earlier, former PWD principal secretary Ashwini Kumar was in-charge, who was transferred from the AAP government.The initial plan of creating underground tunnels for movement of traffic was kept on hold as it was not feasible, Kumar had told DNA. “The priority is to focus on the basics — enforcing traffic regulation, removal of encroachment, and building adequate parking space. The overall revamp plan is too ambitious while the basics are missing. We have decided to fix things on the ground first and later take it to another level,” a senior government official associated with the project said.The decision was taken at a recent review meeting of the project with L-G Anil Baijal. The official, however, also said that removing encroachment from pavements was a challenge as squatters earned their livelihood there.”Once removed, they come back to earn their bread. They need to be rehabilitated. The character of the place is such that by just redesigning or restoring the facades, it cannot be redeveloped as a whole. The society and the people living in the lanes, too, have to be readied for the change. That is why we have decided to work on improving the basic infrastructure first,” the official said.Also, the north corporation, under which the area falls, is looking for vacant land to be allocated to them to build stack parking spaces in the area, he added.”We are in the process of acquiring land to build the parking spaces, which will help decongest the main roads to an extent. Stack parking can fit well in the Walled City. We are planning a stack parking at three Metro stations, including Lal Quila, Dilli Gate, and Chandni Chowk. This will help decongest the visitor traffic, who don’t find a place to park at present,” a senior north corporation official said.Hope for the futureBringing some hope to the project, the Delhi government finally has moved some files on revamping the 361-year-old Jama Masjid precinct. It entails restoring the façade and surroundings of the 17th century structure as well as the urban milieu around it.The degradation of the structure was first flagged in 2004, after which the High Court ordered authorities to make plans to restore the structure to its glory. The site is visited by tourists from all over the world throughout the year.At present, the approach roads to the mosque have been encroached upon by vendors, hawkers, and squatters with the boundaries encircling the structure dotted by small shops. The lanes leading up the to place are congested with slow-moving traffic and illegal parking.After the L-G’s recent directions to speed up the redevelopment work, the SRDC sent two plans for the makeover of the Walled City to the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) for suggestions. Once the plans are approved, a committee formed by the government will look into their implementation.Refurbishment planThe project has been planned in different phases — redevelopment of Chandni Chowk, revamp of Jama Masjid precinct, traffic management of Chandni Chowk Road from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid as non-motorised vehicle (NMV) zone, and improvement of the socio-economic status of the community surrounding the area.According to the revamp plans, the Chandni Chowk area, a jumble of narrow lanes, was to be turned into a vehicle-free and pedestrian-friendly zone. The plan was to make walkways and allow only bicycles, cycle rickshaws, and electric or battery-operated vehicles to ply.The extreme congestion and incursion of a myriad variety of activities and trade has deteriorated the living conditions in the area. Despite a number of fire accidents, provisions of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 have not been implemented by the departments concerned.The project also included taking off all the overhead cables dangling from poles and shifting them underground, which, besides being an eyesore, are a safety hazard. Then improvement of facades, new road signages, construction of footpaths, upgrade of sewer and drainage systems, street furniture, and preserving other heritage in the area was to be done.’Civic body and police have failed miserably’Q & A with Alka Lamba, Chandni Chowk MLAWhat do you think is the most crucial issue to be addressed in the Walled City?Illegal encroachment is the major issue in the entire locality. Both North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and the Delhi Police have failed to tackle it. They, however, have now started a drive, following the High Court’s order. Parking is another crucial issue. Adequate parking space is not available due to illegal encroachment in the area. We need to come up with some facility such as free e-rickshaws or vans to stop the movement of private vehicles in the alleys of the Walled City. Also, there are no public parks or spaces near these markets. The corporation should renovate these areas, such as the Urdu park of Jama Masjid. Also, there are no public toilets for women even thought majority of the visitors in these markets are women.Why are anti-encroachment drives not successful in the Walled City?It’s a complete failure of the Delhi Police and the north civic body. Officials at the corporation say they have only two cranes to remove illegal encroachments. They also claim they don’t have sufficient funds to buy new cranes. The Delhi Police are not at all serious about tackling the issue. They have even failed to control the rising number of snatching cases in the area.At what stage is the re-development work stuck? It has been pending since 2011…The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) has a new chief nodal officer, Renu Sharma, who is not even acquainted with the Walled City. It will take time for her to understand the issues of the locality. Also, she can’t give undivided attention to the redevelopment plan as she already has multiple charges. I had personally requested the L-G to appoint someone familiar with the area.What is the AAP government doing for the redevelopment of this historic city?We are working to make SRDC an independent civic body, just like the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). The involvement of multiple agencies has already delayed the redevelopment plan for so long.Origin of the cityIn 1639, because of the paucity of space in Agra and Lahore courts, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan laid the foundation stone for a new capital — Shahjahanabad. The planned city was encircled by an 8 km wall, interspersed by 14 entry gates and 16 wicket gates called khirkis (windows), which were oriented towards important regions and cities in the empire — Kashmir, Ajmer, Lahore, and the pre-existing settlements in the south. It enclosed an area of about 590 hectares. The palace citadel, Qila-i-Mubarak (Red Fort), was located at the junction of the north-south and east-west axis of the city, along with what was then the edge of river Yamuna. Another major focal point was the main congregational Friday mosque, Jama Masjid, built on a prominent hillock called Bhojla Pahari. The Mughal trade markets were settled on both sides of the stretch from Lal Quila to Fatehpuri Mosque, such as Fatehpuri Bazaar, Chitli Bazaar, Urdu Bazaar, Jauhri Bazaar, Khari Baoli, Khas Bazaar, and Faiz Bazaar. Chattah Chowk, the covered bazaar inside the Red Fort complex, catered only to the royal family.Facelift plansThe plan to give the Walled City a facelift, including turning Chandni Chowk into a vehicle-free zone, was first conceived in 2003 by the then chief minister Sheila Dikshit. The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Plan was approved in 2007. Initially, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was given the work to draft the plan. It was submitted in the High Court in 2006, and was later modified by the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) in 2009. After MCD’s trifurcation, however, the project fell under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Later, the work was handed over to the SRDC.Project aimsTo be a catalyst for future conservation and revitalisation of Shahjahanabad. To reinforce pedestrian movement. To make Chandni Chowk a multifunctional entity as a market street, a gathering place for the public, and a ceremonial axis for festive occasions. To bring greenery back to the landscape. Plan for Chandni ChowkPhase IThe first phase covers shifting of electric wires on the main roads underground. The executing agency is the BSES Yamuna Power, along with the implementing agency (MCD or PWD). It covers the following roads:i) Lal Jain Mandir-Fatehpuri Masjid main roadii) Khari Baoliiii) Naya Bazariv) Church Mission roadv) HC Sen roadvi) Esplanade roadvii) Nai Sarakviii) Dariba Kalanix) Jama Masjidx) Urdu Bazarxi) Matia MahalPhase IIIt aims at taking remedial measures to decongest the current mixed traffic and other related issues. The solutions need to be both economically feasible as well as technologically viable, in terms of power consumption and environment friendliness. The plan includes street improvement, creating pedestrian-friendly environment, integrated plan for all the services, and preservation of heritage and culture.

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Aaditya Thackeray wants Joggers Park extn

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering a project to link Carter Road promenade and Joggers’ Park in Bandra west, which are adjacent to each other.According to a civic official, the idea is the brainchild of Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray. The missing link is hardly 25 metres long, and after the two are connected, the length of Carter Road promenade will increase from 1.6 km to 2.2 km.In a tweet on Friday, Thackeray said he has submitted the plan to mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Sharad Ughade, assistant commissioner of H-West (Bandra), confirmed that there is a proposal to connect the two. “It is being discussed at the civic chief level and I have yet to get it,” he said, adding that a feasibility study will be conducted once the proposal reaches the ward office.Farzana Fazelbhoy, a member of the Sunshine Walkers group of Bandra, has welcomed the move. “This is a great idea as walkers and joggers will enjoy a longer path,” she said.The missing linkThe patch between Joggers’ Park and Carter Rd promenade is 25 metres longThis will increase the length of Carter Road from 1.6 km to 2.2 km

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D-ward invites students to learn waste management

In order to spread awareness and inculcate the habit of recycling waste, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s D ward has taken up the initiative to provide students with a practical experience in composting and waste segregation.Assistant Municipal Commissioner (AMC) from D ward had written a letter to over 40 schools in the ward inviting them to participate in the initiative.According to officials, the initiative will set an example for students and inspire them to do composting and waste segregation at the school level.So far, only a handful of schools in D ward segregate e-waste, wet and dry waste.Through the initiative, the solid waste management team of the D ward will guide and explain the concept to school students.”This will help students gain practical knowledge and hands-on experience. Citizens should embrace the responsibility of recycling the waste they generate. Students have environmental studies as a subject which includes field visits. This initiative will make them aware of waste segregation techniques that can be done at the local level,” said Vishvas Mote, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of D ward.

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BKC locals vie for cycle stand at Bandra station

A group of diamond traders from Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) have demanded that space be allotted for a cycle stand outside Bandra station (E) and inside BKC so that office goers are motivated to use cycles for commute.The group has also written to several authorities including the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), traffic police department and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asking that space be allotted to park their cycles. They claim that using cycles is not only environment-friendly but will also help avoid traffic snarls during peak hours in BKC.The MMRDA had also requested offices in BKC to stagger office timings so that traffic can be managed efficiently during the ongoing construction work of DN Nagar Mandale Metro-2BBhavesh Shah, a diamond trader from BKC, said, “We have written several times to the authority to have cycle stands and parking. Earlier, in BKC, we had cycle tracks and cycle stands but that was shut down.”Shah added, “There are lakhs of office goers who will happily use cycles between Bandra station and BKC but without cycle stands, what is the point of cycle tracks? For now, we want cycle stands, cycle tracks can follow later.”Meanwhile, a senior MMRDA official, said, “Our cycle track project failed. However, if we want cycle stands, it will require coordination from several agencies. The proposal if found feasible will be implemented.”Off trackThe MMRDA had built a 10-km cycle track in BKC in 2011. However, the track was removed, and it was replaced with bus lanes. But those too were removed after motorists complained of traffic snarls.

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

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

Mumbaikars may no longer have to make several trips to their local ward office for civic-related information, as the civic body plans to provide information such as property details, building permissions, water lines, drainage system, nearby gardens, plots reservations and more on a single platform — a mobile app — in the next two weeks. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has worked on a geographic information system (GIS) portal, using which one can access details on utilities, property tax, roads, trees and development plan reservations of a particular location on their phone.The GIS portal called ‘One MCGM’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis but the BMC will take the next 10 to 15 days to upload filtered data from various civic departments before making the app available to citizens.”We are now gathering filtered data from departments like hydraulic engineering, stormwater drains, sewage department, gardens, assession and collection for property taxes, etc. We are also trying to get data from service providers like BEST, Tata, Reliance and others which will take some time,” said a senior civic officer.
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Swachhata goes digital, BMC launches app for complaints

In order to promote and encourage cleanliness among citizens, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has formed 24 teams who will visit all the wards across the city to create awareness about the new Swachhata-MoHUA App. The teams will encourage citizens to download the app and guide them on the steps to be followed that will help them conveniently register the garbage-related complaints of their area from their phone. The teams will also interact with citizens to solicit feedback on the cleanliness situation.Vijay Singhal, Additional Municipal Commissioner (eastern suburbs) and in charge of Cleanliness Survey 2018 said that the feedback from residents will help BMC to improve cleanliness standards.Each survey team will have three to four members from an independent agency who will visit crowded areas like markets, bus stands and hospitals among others to interact with people and know their views. “The survey will be completed in 45 days which will be used to improve cleanliness across the city,” said Singhal. The survey is slated to begin from Monday.Singhal said that residents can register their complaints through the Swachhata-MoHUA App which will aid fast redressal of complaints. “The complaint made through the Swachhata-MoHUA App will be addressed within 12 hours. The BMC has made provisions for a separate control room to monitor complaints received through the app,” said Singhal.Civic-related issues like garbage dumps, dead animals, cleaning of public toilets and water supply can be resolved through the app.Singhal added that cleanliness is a participatory process and the civic body alone cannot keep the city clean.
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Civic body floats fresh tender for Hancock Bridge as per GST rate

The construction of a new bridge in place of the demolished Hancock bridge in Byculla is likely to start in a month as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started to invite fresh tender for the project as per the new Goods and Service Tax (GST) rate. Earlier, the process of awarding the contract was put on hold due to change in GST rate.According to an official from the Bridge department of BMC, GST rate has been revised to 12 per cent from earlier 18 per cent. “With the change in GST rate, the overall price of the tender will also change,” the official said. So, the fresh tender has to be floated to award contract.SO Kori, chief engineer (Bridge) of BMC, said, “We have invited tender as per the new GST rate… We are expecting that the tender process will be complete in one month or a maximum of two-months time.”Earlier, the Supreme Court had given permission to carry out construction for a new bridge with a new contractor after taking account of the trouble faced by motorists and pedestrians.The construction of the new bridge was put on hold following a Bombay High Court order. The BMC had reportedly awarded the contract for construction of four bridges, including the Hancock Bridge, to a blacklisted contractor.The contractor was blacklisted for carrying out shoddy roadworks. After HC stayed the construction of a new bridge, the contractor approached the Supreme Court. However, the civic body managed to lift the stay.It is almost one and half years the 135-year-old Hancock bridge was demolished in November 2015.The British-era bridge near Sandhurst Road Railway station was deemed dangerous by the CR in 2013 and was demolished. The Railway overbridge was connecting Byculla and Dadar.ABOUT THE BRIDGEThe 135-year-old British-era bridge near Sandhurst Road Railway station was deemed dangerous by the CR in 2013 and was demolished. The Railway overbridge would connect Byculla and Dadar.
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Centre assures help to Jammu and Kashmir under ‘Incredible India’

The Centre has assured the Jammu and Kashmir government support under the its flagship tourism programme ‘Incredible India’, an official spokesman said on Tuesday.The central government has also called for roping in business and corporate houses for facilitating promotion of tourism in the state, he said.Director General, Tourism Ministry, Satyajeet Rajan has suggested that the International Travel Mart be held in the state’s summer capital Srinagar around the Tulip Season in March, the spokesman said.Rajan was speaking at a high-level meeting convened here last evening to review the progress of tourism projects in J-K under the Prime Minister’s Developmental Package (PMDP).Under the package, Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked for development of tourism infrastructure in the state, the spokesman said.These funds are to be spent over a period of five years beginning 2016 with Rs 400 crore to be released by the Centre each year, he said.Rajan suggested that corporate bodies such as the CII and the FICCI should be involved by the state for the promotion of tourism and said that support under Incredible India would be provided to J-K .Chief Secretary B B Vyas said that Jammu and Kashmir has immense potential for varied tourism activities and with adequate infrastructure in place.He said that the tourism sector has the potential to create jobs and it can be harnessed to address unemployment in the state.Given the resources available for infrastructure development in the tourism sector, the state is going to witness huge augmentation of facilities in the coming years, the chief secretary said.He called for fast-pacing tourism projects to ensure productive use of resources under the PMDP.”Access the funds available to the sector, use it judiciously and deliver the mandated outcome within the set time-frame,” Vyas said.The key projects taken up under the PMDP include the development of tourism facilities on the Mantalai Sudhmahadev-Patnitop, Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh, Jammu- Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama, Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar circuits.These projects are being executed by central government subsidiaries– the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and the National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC).The official said that coordinated efforts must be made at various levels in the administration to remove bottlenecks and called for regular follow-up of projects.”You can personally flag issues with me, if my intervention is needed at any level to expedite the execution of these important projects,” the chief secretary told the officers.He also called for employing innovative marketing strategies to sell tourism projects.The projects to be taken up under PMDP include providing infrastructure to 12 tourism development authorities, creating three tourism circuits, setting up 50 proposed tourist villages and conservation of the Wullar Lake, the official said.
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Mumbai to get another sea link! Maharashtra govt grants approval to Versova-Bandra route

The Maharashtra government today accorded administrative approval to the Versova-Bandra sea link (VBSL) project, eight years after the state cabinet committee on Infrastructure (SCCI) cleared it.In a Government Resolution, the state has pegged the project cost to be around Rs 7,502 crore and its length is estimated to be about 17.17 kms.The SCCI had cleared the project on August 18, 2009.However, it took another four years, for the government to get the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and environment clearance from the Centre which were given in January 2013, an official said.Also readIndia’s longest sea link: Work to start soon, but motorists have to wait till 2023In extending the area in length, the government has approved the design plan at a height of 900 meters from the coastline, states the GR.The main four by four lane bridge of VBSL will be 9.60 kms. The cable stayed bridge will be 0.30 kms long and the Balance Cantilever Bridge will be 0.10 km long.Besides this, the VBSL will have connectors at Bandra, Otters Club, Juhu Link Road and Versova Link Road. There will be toll plazas at Bandra, Carter Road, Juhu-Koliwada and at Nana-Nani Park, it added.Also read5 years on, Bhayander-Naigaon Sea Link estimate up by 200%The existing prevailing toll rates shall apply to the VBSL and the concession period shall be up to 2052.In case there is any change in the toll tax policy in the future, the concession period will be revived as per the toll tax policy prevailing then, it stated.The GR states that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) shall appoint two separate contractors for toll collection and repairs and maintenance of VBSL.The government has also approved the MSRDC to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to raise loan.Also readSpeed limit at Bandra Worli Sea Link to stay, say city traffic police
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PM to lay foundation stone of Barmer refinery in second half of Dec

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone of Barmer Refinery-cum-Petrochemical complex some time in the second half of December. The state machinery has swung into action in wake of PM visit’s and a meeting under the chairmanship of ACS (finance) DB Gupta has been scheduled on Tuesday to discuss loaning to the project with the officials of HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited).“The meeting will be chaired by the ACS Gupta and attended by mines and petroleum principal secretary Aparna Arora along with HPCL officials. All aspects, including loaning process with the banks and how to plan the event, are the agenda of the meeting,” said an official unfolding details of the proposed meeting at the Secretariat.The official said that state’s various agencies have been geared up for the event slated to be held in Pachpadra and officials at the district level have been instructed to be ready for it. Notably, the union minister for petroleum and natural gas, and skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan, who was in Jaipur in November, had informed that the refinery project has got environment clearance and the PM will lay the foundation stone any time next month, (December).The Raje government has been working on the war-footing to launch the project at the earliest. The reason is that the previous Gehlot government, which claims the refinery its brainchild, had signed an MoU with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) before the Assembly elections in 2013 but failed to turn into reality.When Raje came into power, she said that state needed to renegotiate the project. After almost three years of negotiations, the state government signed a new MoU with HPCL in April this year for setting up the complex.As per the agreement, the HPCL has a 74 per cent stake while the state government holds a 26 per cent stake in the new firm which is called HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL). The total cost of the project is Rs 43,129 crore. Raje at the time of signing MoU claimed that new agreement led to significant saving of Rs 40,000 crore. Also, the state would receive 12 per cent return on investment instead of earlier 2 per cent mentioned in Gehlot’s agreement.OFFICIALS TO CONVENE TODAYThe state machinery has swung into action in wake of PM visit’s and a meeting under the chairmanship of ACS (finance) DB Gupta has been scheduled on Tuesday. The meeting will be chaired by the ACS Gupta and attended by mines and petroleum principal secretary Aparna Arora along with HPCL officials.
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Bengal’s fund frozen as state has failed to give utilisation certificate for money given: Babul Supriyo

As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday afternoon that the Centre was yet to release Rs 13,714.32 crore to the state under several welfare projects, BJP MP and Union minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises Babul Supriyo said at a separate press conference in the evening that funds were frozen because the state had failed to give utilisation certificate (UC) for the money that had been allotted so far. “The state government should submit the UC first and then say these,” he said.He alleged that the state government had not only renamed Central government projects as its own but had also failed to submit an account of usage of those funds. “The Chief Minister has been touring the districts saying that she had been giving people rice at Rs 2 per kg but the truth is that Food Corporation of India (FCI) was buying the rice at Rs 33 per kg of which, the Centre was providing Rs 29.67 per kg, the state was paying Rs 1 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for the rice. In spite of the Centre paying 91 per cent subsidy for such foodgrain, the state government did not even mention the Centre’s contribution,” he said. Similarly, he said that wheat was procured by FCI at Rs 24 per kg of which the Centre was paying Rs 21.45 per kg and consumers were paying Rs 2 per kg for it. “The state government has no contribution to this but is trying to take all the credit,” he added.He also held some printed documents saying how much money was allotted in different housing, NREGA and Swachh Bharat, Amrut projects of the Central government. “We will raise the issue at the parliament,” Supriyo said.
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Bhopal Gas Tragedy: 33 yrs on, survivors still wait for adequate compensation, medical treatment

Thirty-three years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, survivors are still fighting for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.Families of the deceased and people who bore the brunt of the industrial disaster are now signing a petition, to be sent to the Supreme Court, requesting it to start hearing a curative petition of the government filed in December 2010 for more compensation.The US company which then owned the chemical plant here, from where the poisonous gas leaked in 1984, has not yet adequately compensated the victims, a Madhya Pradesh minister said.Also readBhopal: Remove toxins in Union Carbide under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, NGOs tell PM ModiThe victims of the “world’s worst disaster” had not been paid adequately by US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) now owned by Dow Chemicals, MP’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishwas Sarang told PTI.He alleged that the then Central government led by the Congress was more interested in helping the multi-national company rather than bringing it to book.Also readBhopal gas tragedy victims move higher US court against Union Carbide Corporation”The Central and the state governments, both led by the Congress, helped the then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, who had come to Bhopal after the tragedy, to escape to the US,” Sarang claimed.He said the curative petition seeks compensation of more than Rs 1,000 crore from the UCC (now owned by Dow) for the welfare of the victims.Abdul Jabbar, the convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, who has been working for the survivors for over three decades, said the UCC gave a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) after the toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killed 3,000 people and affected 1.02 lakh others.”We all challenged the meagre compensation in the Supreme Court saying that the number of victims was ‘too high’ and the compensation given by Union Carbide was ‘too small’ in 1989,” Jabbar said.He added that the claim courts for the tragedy started work in Bhopal in 1990 and completed it by 2005.The Rs 715 crore-compensation was paid to the families of 15,274 deceased and 5.74 lakh affected by the leak, he said.Jabbar said the signature campaign for more compensation was launched by those whose health had been affected by the gas leak.”We moved the apex court again in 2005 saying that the number of victims had swelled five fold,” Jabbar said.On December 3, 2010, the Centre and the state government filed a curative petition in the apex court seeking more compensation for the victims from UCC, Jabbar said.”But nothing has happened after that. So now the sufferers are signing the petition, with a request to the Supreme Court to hear the curative petition and decide the matter at the earliest,” he added.The survivors were suffering from many diseases, including cancer, tumours and lung problems, caused by the inhalation of the poisonous gas three decades ago, he said.”They are not getting proper medical care as they don’t have money,” Jabbar said.He accused the Congress government and the BJP-led NDA rule of not doing enough to bring Anderson to book.”Anderson escaped from the country after the Congress government as the Centre buckled under US pressure in 1984,” he claimed.The CBI, when the NDA was in power in 2002, tried to “dilute the charges” against Anderson which made the extradition of the US national difficult, he added.On June 7, 2010, a Bhopal court convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years’ imprisonment in connection with the incident.Anderson was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court declared him an absconder.The courts in Bhopal had issued non-bailable warrants against Anderson twice — in 1992 and 2009.Anderson died in September, 2014.
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JMC’s call centre number changed without notice

Jaipur Municipal Corporation changed the number of its call centre a week ago but did not inform the public about it, creating unnecessary inconvenience for the common man.People are unable to register complaints regarding cleanliness, street lights, stray cattle, sewer, encroachment and other problems. A separate call center should have set up for complaint related to Door to Door Waste Collection but the JMC is using the same call centre for this purpose.For almost 13 years, the JMC call center has been operational. BJP state president Ashok Parnami introduced this service during his tenure as mayor. This call center number was 5110111, 5110686 and 2742900. Former mayor Jyoti Khandelwal extended this call centre and added call centre toll-free number 1800-180-6681. All types of complaints were registered on toll-free number. This toll-free number was advertised in the city through hoardings and boards. About 15 days ago, all the numbers were changed including the toll-free number. The new toll-free number is 2747400. According to sources, the number of call centre was changed to benefit the BVG company, working for Door to Door Waste Collection in the city. Under the terms of Door to Door Waste Collection Project, the company had to set up the separate call centre. This number should have been written on the Door to Door Waste Collection vehicles so that people could file complaints related to the company. Instead of doing so, the company’s employees were put in the existing call center of JMC.
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Ghaziabad municipal polls: BJP candidate wins

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the municipal corporation elections on Friday with party’s mayoral candidate Asha Sharma defeating her rivals with 1,63,000 votes. The polls were seen as the litmus test for the Yogi Adityanath government in UP, which came to power in March this year.Sharma defeated Congress’ Dolly Sharma, Samajwadi Party’s Rashi Garg, and BSP’s Munni Chaudhary, wife of strongman Satyapal Chaudhary. The Ghaziabad mayor seat was reserved for a woman. Sharma, who was leading from the first round of counting, received a total of 2,82,738 votes. The results were declared after 26 rounds of counting. 13 candidates contested for the post.After her landslide victory, Sharma promised to turn Ghaziabad into a smart city. “Ghaziabad will be made a smart city just like Noida and other NCR cities. We will immediately start tackling the civic problems of the city, most importantly disposal of the garbage,” she said while speaking to the media persons.Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation is the official local governing body of the district urban center. It has been divided into five district administrative zones, including City zone, Kavi Nagar zone, Vijay Nagar zone, Mohan Nagar zone and Vasundhara zone.The municipal corporation of Ghaziabad came into existence in 1994. In 1995, for the first time, the election was held for the mayor’s post. BJP’s Dinesh Chand Garg was the first mayor followed by Damayanti Goyal, Teluram Kamboj and Ashu Verma. All the three were from the BJP.The BJP won 14 of the total 16 mayoral seats in Uttar Pradesh. By the time of filing this report, the party was also leading in municipal councils and nagar panchayat elections as well. There are four new municipalities this time – Ayodhya, Saharanpur, Firozabad and Mathura – all have been won by the BJP.
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