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Line of Control becomes Line of Learning in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winds of Change seem to be blowing on the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) with the last point on the Indo-Pak border in the Uri sector becoming the Line of Learning for the students on educational tours.As a part of education tour, the Indian army organized an excursion for 55 students of Army Goodwill School Uri and Aseem-Goodwill Computer Centre at Kamalkot to Kamaan Aman Setu– the last point on Indian side on the LoC –in Uri sector of North Kashmir a few days ago.During the visit, the students were made aware of the commercial and strategic significance of the Kaman Aman Setu. “The students also witnessed the trade services between India and Pakistan. They also visited Kaman Transit point, Cafe Kaman and the Currency Changing Point”, said an army spokesman.Officer – In – Charge of Kaman Aman Setu briefed the students about the importance of the Kaman Bridge; inter-country trade service and cross LoC bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. He also briefed them about the procedure of immigration and various facilities available at Kaman Transit Point.“All visitors displayed a keen interest in understanding the significance of the bridge and the excitement among the students was evident. Students expressed their gratitude to the Army for providing this opportunity”, said the spokesman.The strategically important bridge on the Kaman post connects North Kashmir to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The bridge was refurbished in 2005 when India and Pakistan decided to start the cross LoC Karwan-e-Aman bus, which plies every Monday in the valley.Touted as one the biggest Confidence Building Measures, the cross LoC peace bus enabled reuniting the divided families living on both sides of the Line of Control. A year later another cross LoC route connecting Poonch in Jammu to Rawlakote road in PoK.Three years later the cross LoC trade started in October 2008 when Jammu and Kashmir was up in arms over Amarnath land row. There are two cross LoC routes — Srinagar-Muzaffarabad, Poonch-Rawalakote — that are being used to ferry goods between Jammu and Kashmir and PoK.

Free bus rides for senior citizens today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move that will gladden the hears of Delhi’s senior citizens, the government has announced free bus rides for senior citizens for one day. The move comes on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons on October 1 on Sunday.In a statement, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot directed the Delhi Transport Corporation and the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System to allow senior free rides on that day and ensure they do not face any problems.Senior citizens can avail of the free rides by producing ID proofs such as passport, driving licence, PAN card, Aadhaar card, pension book, school certificate and birth certificate.The United Nations General Assembly in 1990 designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons.Interestingly in March this year, prior to the civic polls, the Delhi government had announced that it would provide free rides in DTC and cluster buses for senior citizens and students up to 21 years of age, as well as a hefty concession in monthly passes for women commuters.

Lost in transit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 1975, Deepak Shinde moved to a MHADA transit camp in Vikhroli’s Kannamwar Nagar along with his parents from Byculla. He was two years old then. Now, forty years later, he stays in the same flat that was allotted to his father as transit accommodation. Like Shinde, thousands of residents, who left their original buildings on the assurance that they will return to a redeveloped building, are languishing in transit camps.It is said that Pratiksha Nagar, in Sion derived its name because of the waiting time for residents at transit camps, who hoped that they would get their homes back some day. Lalita Shirgaonkar came to Pratiksha Nagar in 1979, and is yet to be alloted a flat in her original building — Khandare in Kamathipura’s 5th lane.“When I came here I was 30 years old, and now I am 70. My children grew up in this transit camp. At times my husband visits the Kamathipura building. Today there is nothing except a ground floor. I was hoping that one day I would reside in the building that belonged to my father,” said Lalita.Kanta Patil shifted to this transit camp in 1982 from her original home in Kamathipura. “Today when I saw so many people losing their lives in the Hussaini building collapse I could understand why they do not leave and prefer to die with the building. We have been staying here for four decades, and there’s no way to know what has happened to our original building,” said Patil’s son, Rajesh.While the transit camps at Pratiksha Nagar are still in liveable condition, the ones at Vikhroli are dilapidated and currently stand with the support of bamboo sticks. The homes have no ventilation and recently the authorities attempted to demolish one of the camps but the camp residents objected.Vinod Sonawane moved to the Vikhroli transit camp along with his sisters in 1996 from Chira Bazaar. Despite the deplorable condition of the camp he is forced to stay put because he has nowhere to go. “I came here three decades ago because the building we were staying in at Chira Bazaar was dilapidated. We are waiting to return to our original homes, but now even this transit camp has been declared dilapidated. Where am I supposed to go? Even my file in MHADA is not traceable. It seems we will spend our entire life in transit camps,” said Sonawane.Many camp residents have given up their hope of ever returning to their original homes and want the government to rehabilitate them in the same area as their transit camp.“Now I run an autorickshaw in Vikhroli. My whole life has been spent in Vikhroli. I do not want to go back to Byculla. I have asked the government to rehabilitate us in this area itself,” said Shinde.Residents like Shakuntala Kargutkar, who reside in the Pratiksha Nagar transit camp since 1978 have refused to move to their original home in Umarkhadi, Sandhurst Road, which has been redeveloped. “The flat being allotted to us in Umarkhadi was on a higher floor, and we didn’t wish to stay there. Our entire life has been spent here. We have given up our claim on that building.”The government has been mulling on options to give permanent homes to the dwellers of transit accommodation at the place where they currently reside, but no concrete steps have been taken so far.Allwyn Dias, a former member of MHADA’s Mumbai board said that the successive governments have been unable to instill trust among the residents that once they move to transit camps they will soon get a house in their original building. Hence, people are relenting to leave their buildings even if it is waiting to fall apart, instead of moving to transit camps.Meanwhile, residents of the BMC transit accommodation are waiting to move back to their homes.“In the transit camp, we have been given just one room, and there is no separate kitchen or living room,” said a resident, on condition of anonymity, who moved from his original house in Dadar, two years ago, after the BMC demolished it.According to civic officials, the main reason for delay in redevelopment is due to the demand of residents who want to be accomodated in nearby transit camps. Residents were given homes in transit camps in Mahul but they refused to shift as it was difficult for them to commute to work. “Our children study in Dadar and it is not possible for us to shift there,” he said.REPAIR BOARD WITHOUT A CHAIRMANThe Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board (MRRB) of MHADA is responsible for the maintenance of the cessed buildings. According to former minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir, who prior to becoming a minister was the chairman of the MRRB, “The whole department is being run only by the officers. The committee which generally includes members well-versed with the condition of dilapidated buildings doesn’t exist. It’s been three years now, there is neither a chairman nor a committee.”

Affordable housing, inclusive growth need of the hour: Narendra Singh Tomar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interview with Amrita Nayak Dutta, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Narendra Singh Tomar talks about meeting rural and urban India’s infrastructure needsWhat are the biggest challenges of urbanisation?Rapid urbanisation is the biggest challenge. Urban population is expected to increase from 377 million in 2011 to about 600 million by 2030. We need both quantitative and qualitative improvements to meet this demographic’s needs. This includes affordable housing, inclusive and sustainable urban development, and augmenting planning and execution capacities of urban local bodies. Various missions launched by central, state and city governments are addressing these issues.What is the priority for the next two years with respect to recasting the urban landscape?The single most important priority is implementation. We have launched new urban missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (NULM) with the overarching objective of addressing urban infrastructure deficit and improving the quality of life in our cities and towns. Implementation of these new missions is envisaged in a convergence mode aimed at better utilization of resources for optimal outcomes. All these missions, unlike in the past target specific outcomes in a specific time frame, addressing different layers of infrastructure issues. Government is focusing on ensuring targeted outcomes.What is the status of the Swachh Bharat Mission?Yes, no doubt. In both rural and urban areas, sanitation is now firmly on the agenda of citizens, which is a major gain. This change of mindset is compelling the local bodies to rise to the occasion and ensure necessary sanitation infrastructure in villages and towns. In terms of physical performance, about half of the target of building 66 lakh individual household toilet in urban areas has already been achieved. About 1,000 cities and towns have already become Open Defecation Free. In rural areas, over two lakh villages have become ODF. We are now focusing on solid and liquid waste management to ensure Clean India by 2019When do we see implementation of schemes such as Transit Oriented Development and Value Capture Financing by city governments?In consultation with States, we have recently come out with Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Value Capture Financing (VCF) policy instruments for guidance to state and city governments. TOD is an urban planning tool to promote walking and cycling to the nearest mass transit mode like metros and BRTS and back to home so that use of motorised transport is done away with. This is the need of the hour in the context of rapid urbanization. VCF aims at mobilising resources to finance infrastructure projects by capturing a share of increase in the value of assets further to public investments in such projects. Several cities have already appointed consultants to implement this instrument. I expect adoption of these new tools by cities quickly.How many affordable houses are likely to be built by 2019?In rural areas, housing requirement is estimated to be about three crore dwelling units. As per a report of the Technical Group in 2012, housing shortage in urban areas was 1.88 crore dwelling units. But States are revisiting housing demand in both rural and urban areas and actual picture would be known soon. For the year 2017-18 alone, we are targeting construction of over 50 lakh dwelling units in rural areas and a similar target for the next financial. This is in addition to what has been built during 2014-16. In urban areas, we have already sanctioned construction of about 24 lakh affordable houses in a short period as against only 12.40 lakh units sanctioned during 2004-14. Since 2014, about four lakh houses have been built in urban areas including those sanctioned under JNNURM. Construction of another over 10 lakh houses is already in progress. Sanctions and construction has gained real momentum. Government is aiming at sanctioning of required number of houses by 2019 so that construction could be completed by 2022 as targeted.Private investment in urban infrastructure is a concern. How is it being looked at?Unfortunately, over the decades since Independence, cities have come to heavily rely on central and state support with sub-optimal resource mobilisation on their part. This has a lot to do with urban governance, which has been neglected over the years. A focused effort is now on to enable city governments to focus on resource mobilisation through innovative mechanisms like PPP besides higher realization of taxes and user charges as a part of urban reforms. For private investments to flow into urban infrastructure projects, we need to have an enabling eco-system in place, including confidence in resource streams of urban local bodies and governance structures. We have taken certain initiatives in this regard. These include making O & M of assets created under Atal Mission for five years mandatory, Credit Rating of urban local bodies, implementation of TOD, VCF etc.Credit Rating of ULBs going full throttle. About 400 AMRUT and Smart Cities have taken up this exercise and about 320 cities and towns have already got ratings. Pune has already come out with Municipal Bond issue and more are in pipeline.Under Smart City Mission, about 20 per cent of the approved investments are planned under PPP. For the first batch of 20 smart cities, about Rs 8,000 crore is coming through PPP. This is a good sign. Things are changing for better.

Nitin Gadkari attends Iran president’s swearing-in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after voting in the vice-presidential elections, transport minister Nitin Gadkari flew to Tehran on a special diplomatic mission to sort out irritants and placate Iran. He was chosen by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to represent India at the inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s second term.Gadkari had played a key role in drafting the Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor Treaty between India, Iran and Afghanistan that was later signed during Modi’s visit to Tehran in 2016.The project involved developing Chabahar port (barely a thousand kilometres from Kandla in Gujarat) with road and rail connectivity linking it to Zaranj, on the Afghan-Iran border, 900 km to the north.But since then, there has been a dip in ties following delays in the timeline India was to follow for the development of the port.

Har Cabinet approves one time settlement scheme of HSIIDC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana Cabinet today approved the Onetime Settlement Scheme of the HSIIDC for clearance of enhanced cost default by those alloted industrial plots. The Cabinet has also decided to give a 75 per cent rebate in the amount of interest and delayed interest in default, an official release said. The scheme of clearance of enhanced cost default in one go shall be applicable for allottees of industrial plots of HSIIDC who are in default towards payment of enhanced compensation against demands raised from them, it said. The rebate of 75 per cent in the amount of interest and delayed interest in default shall be allowed if the payment is made within 15 days from the floatation of the scheme and the rebate shall be reduced at the rate one per cent per day for the next 45 days thereafter, the release said. The Cabinet also approved the final Haryana Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Rules, 2017, the draft of which was notified on April 28 for suggestions and objections, nearly 1,874 were received, the release said. In another decision, the Cabinet approved that the ground coverage of commercial colony in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy may also be made 60 per cent, the release said. Similarly, in respect of mixed land use colony in TOD, maximum 50 per cent coverage may be allowed, it said. In another decision, the Cabinet approved to calculate the fee for renewal of license of colonies on the basis of notified licence fee prevalent at the time of grant of part- completion certificate, it said. This decision was taken to expedite the grant of completion certificates, the release said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt okays procurement of 1,000 new DTC buses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government has approved the procurement of 1,000 DTC buses which was stuck for the last six years. The procurement of buses will also mean a revival of the DTC, which has not had a single new bus to its fleet since 2010.”This will revamp the entire mechanism for the maintenance of the buses. The decision was approved in a late night meeting on Tuesday. The decision will now be put in front of the next cabinet for the approval,” said a senior government official.Tenders for the long-pending 1,000 DTC buses have been floated several times over the past two years. However, there has been no outcome each time.”The move will also aim at re-orienting the entire structure of the DTC buses,” added the official.The number of buses in the DTC fleet is 4,020, out of which about 400 are unavailable on average every day due to breakdowns. The Delhi Integrated Multi-Model Transit System (DIMTS) runs 1,612 buses under the cluster bus services.The total number of buses — which ferry more than 32 lakh passengers every day — is grossly inadequate compared to the estimated need, which is about 10,000 to 11,000 buses.The AAP government in 2015 had promised to add 10,000 buses to the DTC fleet and 736 cluster buses. However, while no new DTC buses have been procured, only 215 cluster buses were added.In needDTC has not added any new bus in its fleet since 2013. This move will help DTC deal with the shortage of buses.However, trained maintenance workers are also needed for running the dept.

Transport minister conducts surprise check at Burari office

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new Transport minister in Delhi government Kailash Gehlot today conducted a surprise inspection of the Burari office of the department. The minister visited the vehicle inspection and auto rickshaw units situated at Transport department office at Burari and took stock of its working besides inspecting basic amenities available at the office. He directed that CCTV cameras should be installed at both units for monitoring purposes. He said the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) should ensure that the GPS fitted with vehicles were activated from the date of activation upto one year till date of expiry. The minister also issued directions for an efficient person at the help desk of the auto rickshaw unit and separate toilets for men and women there. He instructed the Motor Licensing Officer (MLO) to apply for a new water connection in view of shortage of water at the auto rickshaw unit. He also asked for cleaning of the main road approaching the office. In view of the poor condition of the building, he directed for approaching the government agencies for extensive repairs in a time-bound manner.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi govt starts process to procure 2,000 new buses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Transport Department has started the process of procuring 2,000 new buses with the first lot expected to hit the roads by early next year. The government will buy 1,000 buses each for the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the cluster scheme of the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DMITS). “Right now the thinking is to go for 1,000 buses each for the DTC and the cluster scheme, considering the factors of available depot space and the speed with which the manufacturers can deliver the buses. “The first batch of the buses is expected to arrive early next year,” said a senior government official. The process of floating a tender is expected to be started in next few months, said the officer. At present, around 5,200 buses, including 4,000 DTC and 2,200 cluster scheme buses, are plying across the city, but there is a need of 16,000 more buses to deal with the growing passenger traffic. The process of procuring new buses was stuck up for some times due to different reasons with the AAP government being attacked by the BJP and the Congress for not being able to buy even a single bus during its over two-year rule.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cluster bus drivers go on hunger strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After talks with the government failed, cluster bus drivers on Friday sat on a hunger strike at north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar Depot. The cluster buses also known as the “orange buses” have remained off the roads since May 15, when the drivers called for a strike.The Audyogik Kamgar Vikas Union, which had launched the strike has threatened the government of self-immolation if their demands are not heard till the coming Monday.The drivers and conductors have been demanding the implementation of the new rates of minimum wages in the payment of salaries, which were introduced by the AAP government in March this year. “We had met the transport secretary but they did not give anything in written. There were just verbal assurances of payment of salaries. Also, they did not give any specific date as to when we will get the dues. If they don’t hear our demands by Monday, I will immolate myself in full public view,” said Pramod Tomar, president of the union.At least 18,000 drivers are attached to the union.As the strike entered its fifth day, thousands of commuters relying on bus services on a daily basis had a harrowing time.Around 1,700 cluster buses run by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) ply in the city. “I used to take the cluster bus every day to work to Saket. While there is no service for the past few days, I have to change three rides, which is a hassle,” said Sanjeev Malik, who works with an insurance company.Meanwhile, officials in the Delhi government said, “We have been holding talks with them. However, the dispute is now between the private concessionaires and the drivers.”AnalysisDelhi commuters have been at a loss. Few months ago, app-based cab services went on strike. Now, once again cluster bus drivers are on strike, the government time and again has not been able to solve the transport issues, they wait till the public transport facility threatens to go on strike

Income tax commissioner, five others arrested in bribery case; over Rs 1.5 crore seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials on Wednesday arrested Commissioner of Income tax (Appeals), Mumbai, along with five others in a bribery case.The agency has seized more than Rs 1.5 crore from accused persons so far.A CBI official without divulging exact details of the case said that accused was nabbed red handed accepting a bribe of Rs 19.34 lakh.Coincidentally, Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) BB Rajendra Prasad and others will be produced in a court in Vishakhapatnam on Wednesday. “We will be seeking their transit remand and will produce them before a court in Vishakhapatnam,” said a CBI official.

HP govt allows felling of 23 tree species on pvt land

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major relief to owners of trees on private lands, Himachal Pradesh government has allowed felling of 23 species besides exempting the forest produce obtained from them from requirement of “Transit Pass”. The government amended the relevant sections of HP Land Preservation Act 1978 pertaining to “temporarily regulating, restricting and prohibiting felling of trees” provided that “there shall be no prohibition or restriction on 23 species of trees grown on private lands.” It also amended the HP Forest Produce Transit (Land Routes) Rules, 2013 provided that the forest produce obtained from notified plant species growing on private lands would be exempted from requirement of Transit Pass, according to a notification. The decision has been taken to encourage the owners to grow plants trees on their lands as restrictions to fell trees or transit the forest produce had negative impact on plantations, a forest department official said. The exempted species included Albizia, Bauhinia, Eucalyptus, Morus, Populus, Bamboo (Dendrocalaamin), Kuth (Saussurea costus), Kal Zira (Bunian persicum), Paper mulberry, Khirki (celtis), Toon, Jamun (Syzygiun cumini) teak/Sagwan, Arjun (Terminilia arjuna), Mallotus philippensis and Bombax ceiba, the notification said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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