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Delhi air pollution: Arvind Kejriwal government sat on Rs 787 crore green fund

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Delhi choked on toxic smog in the past two winters, the AAP government sat on a fund of Rs 787 crore generated as environment compensation charge (ECC) since it came to power in 2015, an RTI query has revealed. The fund was meant to improve transport infrastructure and cut down on pollution in the city. However, the government has till date spent only 0.11% (Rs 93 lakh) of the total amount.The RTI response came on day when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met his Haryana counterpart ML Khattar in Chandigarh to discuss measures to cut down on toxic air pollution levels by curbing crop stubble burning.However, Delhi government sources quickly said that the fund would be used to procure 500 electric buses within a year.”The CM has instructed Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot to start the process. Each bus will cost between Rs 1.6 crore and 2.6 crore,” said a government source.Sources also claimed that Gahlot was meeting officials for the procurement to strengthen non-polluting public transport.”Since ECC has been enforced, the AAP government did not spend a penny to actually save people from toxic pollution levels. The claim of buying electric buses with the fund as well as meeting the Haryana CM are just an eyewash. If the Delhi government had to spend money on improving infrastructure, it would have done so in two years,” said Sanjeev Jain, an RTI activist, who had filed the query.The amount of Rs 93 lakh has been spent on “paying the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) for pre-tendering incidental cost related for preparation of RFID documents.”Meanwhile, AAP spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said the interference by the Lieutenant Governor — and not shortage of funds — was stalling welfare activities.”An attempt is being made through some sections of the media that the Delhi government has not spent the revenue earned as ECC. This is a brazen misrepresentation of facts. Never has the Delhi government claimed that it has a lack of funds to undertake any activity in the interest of the people. The government allocates enough funds for schemes, but they are stalled for political reasons by the office of the Lieutenant Governor,” said Bharadwaj.The Supreme Court had in October 2015 ordered the imposition of ECC on light and heavy commercial vehicles entering Delhi. The cess came into force on November 1, 2015.The SC direction had come after the National Green Tribunal said that commercial vehicles entering city limits must pay — in addition to toll tax — an environment compensation charge. The order had come in the view of pollutant emissions released by goods vehicles. ECC on light commercial vehicles is Rs 700, while for three-axle and above heavy-duty vehicles, it is Rs 1,300.

Arvind Kejriwal meets residents of Kathputli Colony

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday visited residents of Kathputli Colony. Kejriwal’s visit comes two days after the residents alleged that they were beaten up by the police during the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) demolition drive and not allowed to take their belongings before their houses were razed.During his visit, the Chief Minister, flanked by Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot, asked officers to provide basic facilities such as food and tents to those affected by the demolition drive.Earlier this week, Kejriwal had criticised the DDA over its demolition drive at the colony .”When the AAP government was formed, we introduced a policy under which no jhuggi would be demolished until the affected people were rehabilitated. People’s houses have been brutally demolished. Young girls are on the streets. One child has died,” Kejriwal said.The Chief Minister also said it was not correct to engage the police during a demolition drive. “I am told that there is a high court order according to which houses cannot be demolished in this colony till November 16 and despite this, the demolition drive was launched,” Kejriwal said.After his visit, later in the day, Kejriwal met Lt Governor Anil Baijal over the issue. Sources said that the chief minister had requested the L-G to provide all basic facilities to the residents and the latter agreed.”Tents, water, food, toilets, etc, will be provided to the residents of the colony by the Delhi government as soon as possible. Orders have been passed to the officers concerned for the same,” a government official said.Meanwhile, in a statement, the DDA countered Kejriwal’s remarks and claimed that the chief minister had”appreciated” the work being carried out by it as per the orders of the high court.

City Taxi Scheme 2017: Govt to launch minimum, maximum cap on fares for Uber, Ola

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s new City Taxi Scheme 2017 will soon have a cap for the minimum and maximum fares for app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber plying in the Capital, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot told DNA.The ride-hailing apps can charge passengers “in between minimum and maximum fares set by the government,” the minister said.”The draft is being finalised. We are holding meetings with the stakeholders and will soon be putting the draft in the public domain for inviting suggestions,” he said.The scheme — to regulate taxis including aap-based aggregators — aims to bring all taxis plying in the city under a uniform rule. The scheme will fix the fares, benefits and terms of services for all the taxis. The app-based cabs so far were not bound by the taxi rules of the city government.The scheme will also facilitate tracking of app-based taxi aggregators by the transport department’s control room. The AAP government had earlier stated it will be tracking all public transport vehicles in view of ensuring safety of women.”We will be tracking all the public transport vehicles. While all the buses, auto rickshaws and taxis including Kali-Peelis are being tracked, once the app-based cabs are brought under the scheme, these too will be tracked by the government,” said Gahlot.DNA had earlier reported that the upcoming policy is likely to be bifurcated into taxis and technology-based aggregators.The bifurcation will mean the app-based aggregators such as Ola-Uber will will be able to procure permits to ply as on-demand transportation technology with fixed fares and service benefits for employees (drivers) unlike at present.The Delhi High Court in 2014 had suspended the operations of Uber after its driver was accused of raping a passenger. The new rules will require cab aggregators to install panic button, PSV badges, fixed hours of work and no surge pricing.The scheme, being readied by the state transport authority, is to be reviewed by Gahlot in the coming week after which it will be sent to the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.The policy is being readied as per the Centre’s Motor Vehicles Act Amendment Bill 2016 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.According to officials, section 93 of the Act which does not allow anyone to engage as an agent or canvasser for sale of tickets for travel by public service vehicles or in otherwise soliciting customers for such vehicles.REGULATORY MEASURESRecently the Karnataka and Maharashtra state governments formulated new polices for regulating taxis and aggregators.
The two state governments brought in the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules 2016 and the Maharashtra City Taxi Scheme 2016, respectively to license app-based cab services.

Will Delhi Metro revert its ‘anti-people’ fare hike decision after Arvind Kejriwal’s intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Thursday have directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to put on hold any impending fare hike till the completion of enquiry on the matter.In a letter addressed to the DMRC, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot on Thursday said, “Delhi Metro is directed to put on hold any further hike till Delhi government completes its enquiry and forms an opinion on this subject.””The proposed fare hike by Delhi Metro is likely to adversely affect the interests of a large number of commuters in Delhi,” Gahlot said. “Delhi Government is completely against any hike in Metro fares,” he added.The transport minister also said the it is not clear whether the Delhi government’s stand was considered by the fare fixation committee of Delhi Metro.Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came down heavily against fare hike in Delhi Metro. Terming the fare hike as “anti-people”, Kejriwal in a letter to Gahlot directed the transport minister to look into the matter immediately and stop the proposed fare hike.“The Metro fare hike is anti-people. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has been directed to find a solution to prevent a hike in metro fares within a week.”The revised metro fares are likely to be increased by Rs 10 next month. Under the revised fares, commuters will have to pay Rs 10 for 0-2 kms, Rs 20 for 2-5 kms, Rs 30 for 5-12 kms, Rs 40 for 12-21 kms, Rs 50 for 21-32 kms and Rs 60 for more than 32 kms. The fare hike is likely to be implemented from October 3 as October 1 is Sunday and October 2 is Gandhi Jayanti, This is the second time the fares are set to increase this year. Earlier this year in May, DMRC had revised its fares with effect from May 10.

Minor’s rape: Security lapses found in school

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sub-Divisional Majistrate (SDM) of Vivek Vihar has identified “major lapses” in the functioning of a private school, recognised by the civic body, in Gandhi Nagar, where a five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a peon on September 9.According to the SDM’s report, “unhindered access” was given to the accused to all parts of the school. The Delhi government had ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.The report, which was submitted to Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot, has now been forwarded to Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia for further action.”The accused was working for the school, though a formal appointment letter was not issued to him. His movement and of other such non-teaching employees was required to be restricted, so that they did not have any contact with the school children,” the government said in a statement, quoting the report.It also stated that the nursery classroom, where the incident allegedly took place, should have been locked after the class was over, adding that the unlocked pitch-dark room facilitated the accused.”Non-coverage of the entire school building under CCTV cameras reduced the deterrence effect. The accused had been working in the school for almost two-and-a-half years without any kind of verification and background check by the school authorities or police,” the statement read.Last week, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police after Health Minister Satyendar Jain requested Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal for the same. The accused has already been arrested.NO ACTION TAKENGovernment says the magisterial probe report stated the East Delhi Municipal Corporation has not taken action against the school for undertaking classes in “unrecognised areas” of the building.

AAP sacks Kapil Mishra, inducts 2 new faces in Cabinet rejig

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra was axed from the Cabinet today, days after he sided with senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas who has been at loggerheads with the party leadership. His sacking also highlighted the simmering tension between the leadership and Vishwas, which could snowball into a major crisis for the poll-battered AAP. The party also inducted two new faces — Seemapuri MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam and Najafgarh legislator Kailash Gahlot — taking the number of ministers in the Arvind Kejriwal-led Cabinet to seven. However, they have not been alloted any portfolio yet. A senior official said the decision to remove Mishra was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mishra became the fourth AAP minister to be sacked after Jitendra Singh Tomar, Asim Ahmed Khan and Sandeep Kumar, since the AAP stormed to power in 2015. The official said Mishra was removed after it was found that consumers were receiving “inflated” water bills. Soon after the move, Mishra claimed he would “expose” the involvement of certain AAP leaders in an alleged scam tomorrow. Mishra said he had met the chief minister earlier in the day and handed over documents related to the alleged scam. “I was not informed of the decision and as per my knowledge, it was taken unilaterally by Kejriwal. The Cabinet or the Political Affairs Committee (the AAP’s top decision- making body) was not involved,” Mishra told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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