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Chhattisgarh: BJP registers victory in municipal council polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Friday registered victory in the Bhilai-Charoda municipal corporation and Sarangarh municipal council polls putting to rest speculation that demonetisation would impact party’s prospects in the recently held civic elections in Chhattisgarh.”BJP’s nominee Chandrakanta Mandle won the mayor’s seat in Bhilai-Charoda, defeating Congress candidate Jyoti Banjare by a margin of 4922 votes,” a state election official said. Mandle received 27,184 votes followed by Banjare in the second position of the tally with 22,262 votes, he added.Likewise, BJP’s Amit Agrawal defeated Congress’ Suraj Tiwari for the post of president of Sarangarh Municipal Council by 1096 votes. Agrawal secured 6221 votes, while Tiwari got 5125 votes.BJP put up a good show in Bhilai-Charoda winning 16 out of 40 wards (for corporators) while the main Opposition Congress managed to get 13 and remaining 11 went to Independent candidates.Besides, BJP also won byelection held in four wards for corporators and Independent candidates emerged victorious in 2 wards (by-poll).”The victory clearly indicates that it is peoples’ stamp of approval for demonetisation decision of Prime Minister. It is also a signal that people of the state will bring BJP to power for the fourth consecutive time in the next 2018 assembly election,” state BJP chief Dharamlal Kaushik told reporters.The victory that came on the 50th day of demonetisation brought cheer to Chief Minister Raman Singh led BJP who had suffered a setback in the urban body election for 10 municipal corporations held in 2014-15.Congress had won four out of 10 corporations then while the ruling BJP was reduced to four, two less from previous time in that election.Besides, rest of the two seats were won by Independent candidates.

BJP, AAP all set for 2017 high-stakes Delhi municipal poll

New Delhi: The high-stakes municipal poll is likely to set the tone for the political battle in the national capital in 2017 in which BJP will seek to retain its turf facing an upbeat AAP which aims to replicate its stunning performance of 2015 in its civic polls debut.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party had swept the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015 reducing BJP to just three seats while Congress failed to open its account.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Corporations.

BJP has been ruling the MCD and the subsequent three civic bodies for nearly 10 years.

The last municipal elections were held in 2012 in which BJP was voted back to power. The civic bye-polls in May saw AAP bagging 5 of the 13 seats, while Congress had made a spirited comeback by winning 4 seats, pushing BJP to third spot.

The three civic bodies, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation constitute 272 seats, with NDMC and SDMC accounting for 104 seats each while 64 seats fall under EDMC.

File photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

The BJP, which dominates the civic bodies, was left with only three seats in the bypolls, signalling that the municipal elections next year could be a keenly-fought contest.

All three parties are gearing up to put their best foot forward, with BJP hoping to retain its turf amid changed political scenario while AAP seeks to replicate its performance, banking on the loyalty and support it earned from the assembly election.

Sanitation, education and health would be some of the major factors that would be weighing on voters mind during the polls.

AAP and BJP have already been at loggerheads over the sanitation and garbage disposal issue in the city, with one side blaming the other for lack of cleanliness in the city.

The Kejriwal-led party aims to target the BJP on sanitation grounds and conditions in unauthorised colonies, where a considerable chunk of voters in the city reside.

Delimitation will change the geography of many wards and AAP, BJP and Congress think that redrawing of the municipal limits could affect the outcome of the civic elections. Civic polls would be considered the litmus test for AAP in Delhi and the contest would be a keenly-watched one.

Besides, urban issues becoming poll planks, 2017 is also set to see Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) launching its new Housing Scheme with 12,000 flats on offer. The scheme was earlier slated to be launched this Diwali.

Out of the total number of flats, most of them are in Rohini, Dwarka, Narela, Vasant Kunj and Jasola. Ten thousand unoccupied flats are from the 2014 scheme, while 2,000 are other flats which have been lying vacant.

Sources said most of the flats are one-bedroom LIG flats from the last housing scheme and no new flat is on offer this time.

“About 10,000 are LIG flats from 2014 DDA scheme. Unlike EWS (Economically Weaker Section) last time, in 2016 scheme there would be no such category,” a DDA official said.

From application to refund, the DDA this time has planned to make the scheme an online affair to reduce the long queues of flat buyers at its headquarters.

“Yes, plans are underway to make the process completely online,” a source said.

“We are in talks with certain vendors for upgrading our infrastructure to handle the expected increase in traffic. But, we are technologically capable of handling the online rush,” the source said.

The flagship Housing Scheme 2014 offered 25,040 flats across categories, with prices ranging between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 1.2 crore.

The online response had been so massive that the DDA’s official website crashed soon after the launch. The one-bedroom flats were offered in Dwarka, Rohini, Narela and Siraspur areas.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 16:09 IST

NGO aims to create Zero Waste Zones in Capital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Planting and sustaining 100 million trees by 2040 and managing as much as 50 per cent of the city’s waste by 2025 — These are some of the ambitious aims of the non-profit organisation Hara Jeevan. The group has a plan to make various places in the Capital ‘Zero Waste Zones’.Among other goals, the group also wants to spread awareness among youth and involve them in causes to save the environment. At present, their short-term goal is to manage as much as 5,000 metric tonnes of waste in Delhi by 2020.Members of the two-year-old organisation have been talking to RWAs, housing societies, and companies for the Zero Waste project. “The household waste management roadmap includes two steps — segregation of waste, and involvement of locals, including women and children, to spread awareness in the locality,” said Mohit Saini, a member of the NGO.The campaigners plan to set up a system of different bins in office premises. The waste collectors at homes will request people to give them segregated waste, following which manual segregation will also be done by the collectors. “The collected waste will then be processed. Biodegradable waste will be converted into manure, non-biodegradable waste such as paper, card board, plastic, and metal can be sold. The third category of waste includes thermocol, tetra packs, plastic wrappers, diapers, and medical waste, which cannot be sold,” Saini told DNA.The NGO is also in talks with the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for processing of agri-waste, such as leaves, branches, and twigs, which will be converted into manure through mesh composting, which is a major requirement for the ‘Zero Waste Zones’.“We have already started the processing of waste from temples through mesh composting,” Saini said, adding, that the processing of waste from weddings and parties will be started gradually.“A team from Hara Jeevan will train the collectors on segregation of waste, composting, harvesting, and so on. We will also send train members in shredding, mixing in pits, sieving of compost generated etc,” he added.As part of the campaign, during the initial sessions, residents and employees in a particular place will be sensitised regarding segregation, waste management, its need and benefits. This would then be followed by the collection of waste by people hired through the RWAs. These collectors already collect waste from various localities, charging Rs 100 per house. The campaigners plan to give more money to collectors for waste segregation. “We are starting from SDA C-4 block, but intend to take the campaign further to Vasant Kunj, Vasant Vihar, and different societies of Rohini Sector 13. Following this, we plan to implement the plan throughout the National Capital Region (NCR),” Saini said.All they projects have primarily been funded by the NGO, but it intends to involve corporate houses as well as see the manure to generate revenue.

Mumbai: Five coaches of Kurla-Ambernath local derail, services on Kalyan-Karjat line suspended

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five coaches of Kurla-Ambernath local train derailed between Kalyan and Vithalwadi railway station, on Thursday morning.According to initial information, the incident took place at 5:50 am. However, no person has been injured, but services on Kalyan-Karjat line have been suspended.”Derailment of local train on Down Line between Kalyan and Vithalwadi station on Kalyan-Karjat route. Train movement disrupted. Restoration work underway.” said DRM Mumbai Central on Twitter.Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) has been requested to run extra buses between Kalyan-Ambarnath and CST-Kalyan.However, Kasara suburban services have not been affected. DRM Mumbai also said that shuttle train services are being run between Ambarnath and Karjat.

50 days are up, time for whip-lashes? Uddhav Thackeray mocks PM Modi’s demonetizaton move

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi government over demonetization, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asked what should we do now as the ’50-day’ period the prime minister asked for was about to end.”Narendra Modi had said give me 50 days’ time (for the situation to normalise after demonetization) or else give me whip-lashes. Fifty days are getting over on December 30, what should we do on December 31?” Thackeray asked at a rally in Dhule, north Maharashtra.He expressed confidence that Sena will retain power in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Sena will win maximum number of municipal corporations in the coming polls and have maximum number of mayors elected, Thackeray claimed.Referring to the Prime Minister’s speech at Bhoomi-pujan ceremony of Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast, Uddhav said, “After listening to the Prime Minister’s speech, after some time I felt is there any end to this (constant speech-making)?”Meanwhile, a senior Sena minister in the Maharashtra government, requesting anonymity, said his party was ready to contest the crucial MCGM elections on its own.”Sena has made up its mind to contest the elections on its own, given the bitter experience we had with BJP calling off the alliance at the last minute before 2014 Assembly elections,” he said.The minister ruled out possibility of alliance with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. MNS was a spent force, he said. According to a senior BJP minister, the party’s top brass in New Delhi has yet had not taken serious note of the ally Shiv Sena’s regular outbursts against the Modi government. Sena has been attacking the government over demonetization move, among other issues.Sena mouthpiece Saamana today took a swipe at Modi for greeting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on birthday. Chhatrapati Shivaji never extended such greetings to “the enemies of the nation,” it said.

Mahim subway reopens today for public use, to be guarded by BMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The shuttered Mahim subway is open for public use from Tuesday, and this time with security guards provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).The 4,000 sq feet subway which connects Veer Savarkar Marg with Muhammad Ali Rogey Nakhuda garden at Lady Jamshedji Road junction, is the second subway in the city which has security guards. The subway is unshuttered in the morning by Advance Locality Management (ALM) members, residents of Mahim with of G-North ward officials. There are two security deployed by the civic body who will work shift wise, 12 hours shift each. However, BMC feels that the security guards for the subway will not serve the purpose. Taking consideration the high pedestrian volume on Lady Jamshedji Road, BMC constructed the subway in 2008. It was inaugurated in September, 2008, but was shuttered immediately for security reasons. In redux, it was opened in February 2016, however, was again shut a day later. The residents of Mahim have been demanding security at the subway.“In February when the subway reopened, the next day we saw the railing of staircase were destroyed. Thus, considering the safety of citizens, we decided that security is must for the subway. Accordingly, we met Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, who then passed orders to provide security guards”, said Anwar Shaikh, chairman of Dargah street ALM.Irfan Machiwala, a social activist in Mahim said, “The BMC has taken loan of Rs 3 crore from World Bank for constructing this subway. If it is not ustilised by the public, what is the use of building it. We demanded for security as the area has many drug addicts which can be safety threat for the pedestrians. As the civic body has provided security, we are happy that the subway will be used by pedestrians now. The Lady Jamshedji Road has traffic issues, thus, this subway will be of great convenience, specially for school children”, he added.However, the Assistant Commissioner of G-North ward, Ramakant Biradar said that it is not BMC’s responsibility to provide security for subways, skywalks etc. If the residents feel insecure, then they have to ask police to provide security. “We have appointed security guards at Mahim subway just because the residents demanded. But, it is hardly of any use. In any criminal incident, the BMC security guard has authority to take any action. It will anyways be onus of the police”, Biradar told DNA.The Mahim subway which was planned almost a decade ago from Veer Savarkar Marg to Lady Jamshedji Road, Saint Micheal School, taking into consideration the traffic issues in the area and heavy pedestrian volume. However, less than the length of the planned subway was constructed in 2008, which was till Muhammad Ali Rogey Nakhuda garden on Lady Jamshedji Road junction. But due to the shoddy planning of BMC, the construction of the remaining stretch was left incomplete.

NGT asks Delhi govt to shut hazardous industries in East Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that functioning of industrial units in residential areas is harmful, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to take action against all such units operating without consent.A bench headed by Justice UD Salvi pulled up BSES Yamuna for supplying electricity to industrial units located in Vishwas Nagar area here and directed it to immediately snap electricity connections to them.”As of today, it is evident that several industrial units are being run unauthorisedly without consent to operate being obtained from the competent authority in accordance with law in Vishwas Nagar, Delhi. Obviously, their operations are deleterious to the environment generally and in particular to the area of Vishwas Nagar…”We direct the Delhi government and authorities concerned to take action against all the industrial units operating without consent to operate granted by DPCC in accordance with law,” the bench, also comprising Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee, said.Advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, told the bench that several industrial units in Vishwas Nagar were being run unauthorisedly in gross violation of the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act and directions of the Supreme Court.However, the association of Vishwas Nagar Small Scale Manufacturing and Traders told the NGT that Vishwas Nagar has more than 70 per cent plots under manufacturing activity and according to the physical surveys carried out by the Delhi government, the area deserves to be declared as an industrial area.The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by local resident S N Rohatgi, who had approached green panel against industrial units operating in the area seeking their immediate closure on the ground that these industries were causing air and noise pollution.Rohatgi claimed that Vishwas Nagar was residential area where 70,000 residents reside and there were 13 schools besides Chartered Accountants Institute and several private coaching institutes.

Top municipal and state officials will face prosecution for violating waste rules: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant order on municipal solid waste rules (MSW), 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) principal bench has said that top officials of state governments and municipal bodies shall be liable for prosecution if they violate the rules and orders of the Tribunal on its enforcement.It has also asked all state governments and union territories to prepare an action plan within a month, to enforce the new MSW Rules, 2016 and directed environment ministry to consider phase out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic used in packaging.The NGT’s detailed 89-page judgment of a four-member bench, headed by justice Swatanter Kumar, was passed on Thursday while hearing the petition of Bengaluru-based veteran environment conservationist Almitra Patel, who had sought directions on effective management of solid waste across the country. The Tribunal’s judgment brought down curtains on a 20-year-old petition, that was initially filed as writ in the Supreme Court and was later transferred to the Tribunal in 2014.Patel’s petition led to the formulation of the first Municipal Solid Waste Rules in 2000 that were overhauled in 2016 by the environment ministry. Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “I am happy that they are finally planning on directing phase out of short life PVC’s, stationary, flex-banners etc, which ends up burning on the footpath or in the landfills. Burning them releases dioxins.”She added, “The country needs political and administrative will that has been lacking for 16 years since the 2000 Rules. So, I am waiting to see if the threat of contempt makes any impact.”The Tribunal’s verdict revealed that no municipal corporation has ever physically verified the quantum and quality of waste generated in any district of any state or even a city. “They have proceeded with a presumptive figure that per-capita generation of MSW is nearly 450 grams per day in major towns while per capita MSW generated from small towns is 200-300 grams per day,” it said.It added, “The Central Pollution Control Board report for the year 2014- 15 has revealed that out of 7935 urban local bodies (ULBs), as per 2011 census only 389 ULBs have established compost, vermi-compost sites.” This means that 92 per cent of ULBs are dumping its solid waste in open areas without treatment.On the issue of the piles of waste accumulating at landfills, the Tribunal has directed that landfills should be subjected to ‘bio-stabilisation’, which means that the mounds of waste have to be upturned at regular intervals for composting.It also attempted to deal with the contentious issue of tipping fees, which are paid to contractors who collect and transport waste in cities. It said that tipping fee paid to the operator of the landfill facilities or contractors should also be based on the functioning of waste treatment along with the weight of the solid waste.

Ahead of Punjab elections, BJP-SAD alliance sweeps Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance on Tuesday attained clear majority in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls winning 20 out of the 26 wards.BJP won in 20 wards, rival Congress 4 and Independent one, an election office spokesman said here.Prominent among those who won were BJP Mayor Arun Sood, and Congress stalwart Devinder Singh Babla.The overall polling percentage in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation election was 59.54 per cent.Election to 26 wards of the Municipal Corporation were seen as a litmus test for BJP and Congress post demonetization.Total 122 candidates, including 67 Independents, contested the polls.The total number of voters were 5,07,627, including 2,37,374 women voters.Both Congress and BJP contested all 26 wards, while BSP had also put up candidates in the fray from 17 wards.The Municipal Corporation has 36 members, of which 26 are elected councillors, nine are nominated councillors and one is an MP (ex-officio member of the House).In the last House, BJP has 15 councillors, Congress has nine, BSP has one and one is Independent.Congress had made demonetization a major issue in the polls, with its city unit leaders saying the move was implemented without any “application of mind” and had put the public to “great hardships”.

Pay Rs 10,000 fine for throwing waste in public place: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Municipal solid waste (MSW) is one of the most serious pollutants in the country specially in Delhi, the National Green Tribunal has said while announcing a fine of Rs 10,000 on those found throwing waste at public places.The green panel said that all authorities are under ‘statutory’ obligation to ensure that waste is “collected, transported and disposed” of in accordance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 so that it does not cause public health hazards.”All major sources of municipal solid waste generation hotels, restaurants, slaughter houses, vegetable markets etc. should be directed to provide segregated waste and handover the same to the Corporation in accordance with rules. Any such body, person, hotels, residents, slaughter houses, vegetable markets etc. which does not comply with the directions or throw their waste over any drain or public place shall be liable to pay environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 10,000 per default,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.The tribunal noted that the national capital generates 9,600 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day and there is no “clear map” ready with the municipal bodies to deal with the huge quantity of waste.It also directed Commissioner of each of the corporations to submit a scheme within a month before the Tribunal for providing incentive to the people who give segregated waste at source, “by way of rebate in property tax and on other hand to impose penalties on residents, societies, RWAs who do not provide segregated waste”.”It should be kept in mind that as per polluter pays principle, each person would be liable to pay for causing pollution, if the waste is generated. It is the duty of a citizen to ensure that said waste is handled properly and not to cause any pollution or cause inconvenience to other persons. The entire burden cannot be shifted on the state and authorities,” the bench said.The directions came while hearing a plea relating to mismanagement of municipal solid waste in Delhi and the terrible conditions that are prevailing near landfill sites.

Thane: Shiv Sena corporator, others booked for rioting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a dozen persons, including a Shiv Sena corporator from Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) were booked on charges of disrupting a meeting of citizens to discuss development of slum colony.The incident took place on December 11, while the suspects were booked yesterday, police said today. No arrests have been made so far.The complaint by one Lizzy Chako said the corporator who also doubles up as a developer had in 2009 undertaken to develop the slum colony at Pokhran Road No II and give tenements to the occupants, but he failed to keep up his commitment.In this connection the affected persons had called a meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting was addressed by social worker Adv Darmyansingh Bist and one Madhu Acharya and the issues relating to the delay in redevelopment were being discussed.When the meeting was in progress the accused arrived at the meeting place and allegedly started disrupting the meeting by snatched away the mike from the hands of Adv Bist and also threw the chairs away, the complaint said.The accused also threatened the organisers not to hold any such meeting again else they would face serious consequences, the complaint stated. The accused also beat some people were present for the meeting, it stated.

BMC tells Bombay HC could not meet due to Jayalalithaa’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bombay High Court on Thursday expressed surprise over civic body BMC’s contention that its general body could not meet on December 8 to grant approval for setting up of a doppler radar system due to AIADMK leader Jayalalithas demise and asked if corporators went to Tamil Nadu to mourn.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) general body was to meet on December 8 to discuss a proposal for sanctioning of a site in suburban Goregaon to set up a doppler radar system.BMC counsel SU Kamdar on Thursday informed a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak that the body, comprising corporators, could not meet due to the death of Jayalalithaa and Mumbai’s former Mayor Ramesh Prabhu. The bench expressed surprise at this and asked if the corporators had gone to Tamil Nadu to mourn after Jayalalithaa’s demise on the night of December 5.Kamdar told the court that the general body would now meet on Friday.The bench was hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Atal Bihari Dubey on the heavy rains that brought Mumbai to a halt in June this year. While there is one doppler radar system in Colaba weather station, a state government-appointed committee had recommended for setting up another system in suburban Mumbai.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had identified three sites for construction of the system, but the civic body had not granted its approval to hand over the land. The high court had in the past come down heavily on the corporation for dragging its feet in the matter and directed the civic body to ensure that all efforts are taken to grant approval for the site.The bench has posted the petition for further hearing on December 20.

I-T raid: Rs 1 crore cash seized from Shiv Sena leader, businessman

The currency, in both new and old notes, was found after a tip-off to Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax officials. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate raid at a Shiv Sena leader’s and businessman’s residence in Nallasopara led to seizure of more than Rs one crore cash in both old and new notes.Dhananjay Gawade, the Shiv Sena corporator in Vasai Virar Municipal corporation, was taken into custody along with a businessman from Vasai. The duo have been taken to Nallasopara police station for further investigations.”The tip-off to Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate led to the seizure of cash as both have been grilled for the source of income”, said a local crime branch officer.Prashant Langi, another local crime branch officer, confirmed the incident but refused to comment further on the matter.

Hyderabad building collapse: Death toll rises to 11, rescue workers retrieve six bodies

Hyderabad: The death toll from a multi-storey under construction building collapse has risen to 11 with rescue workers retrieving six bodies on Friday night, officials said on Saturday.

The rescue work completed in the early hours of Saturday. A woman and a child were pulled out alive from the debris on Friday.

The seven-storey building in Nanakramguda area collapsed on Thursday night and it took nearly 36 hours for the rescue workers to clear the debris.

All the victims were construction workers and their family members who were sleeping in cellar when the building crumbled.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Nine of those killed were from Vijayanagaram district and one from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh. A construction worker from Chhattisgarh was also among the dead.

Those killed have been identified as A.N. Sambaiah, 45, N. Paidamma, 40, N. Gauri, 13, K. Polinaidu, 32, K. Lakshmi, 26, R. Shankar Rao, 18, P. Polinaidu, 35, P. Narayanamma, 28, P. Mohan, 3.

Durga Rao from Srikkaulam and Shiva from Chhattisgarh are the other two victims.

Telangana government has announced Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia each for the families of the dead.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been making arrangements to transport the bodies of the victims to their villages.

Rekha, a woman from Chhattisgarh, and her four-year-old son Deepak were pulled out alive from the rubble on Friday. They are undergoing treatment in a private hospital.

Municipal Administration Minister K. T. Rama Rao, who supervised the rescue work, said the police arrested builder Satyanarayana Singh in Kerala.

Police had booked a case of negligence and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against him for constructing the building without permission and in violation of all rules.

The government also suspended a deputy commissioner of GHMC and an assistant town planning officer.

It also constituted a committee headed by IAS officer Navin Mittal to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within 15 days. The panel will also suggest measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 11:17 IST

India will always be thankful to Dr. Ambedkar for his rich service to the nation: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution, on his 60th death anniversary and said that India will always be thankful to Babasaheb for his rich service to the nation.Meanwhile, a special event was held at the Parliament complex to commemorate his death, which was attended by the Vice President Hamid Ansari, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran leader LK Adavani, former prime minister Manmohan Singh among other political top brass.Later in the day, lakhs of people are expected to converge at Chaitya Bhoomi today, where Ambedkar’s ashes have been interred.The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai – MCGM has made adequate arrangements for pilgrims who come to visit Chaityabhoomi on Mahaparinirvan Diwas.MCGM has set up 10 control rooms to guide visitors and almost 11 ambulances have been stationed at various locations around Shivaji Park and Chaityabhoomi.More than 400 stalls, about 200 mobile toilets, water tankers, utility vehicles and fire engines have also been set up to aid the visitors.Around 750 workers have been put on duty round the clock at the venue and Dadar Chowpatty beach, which has the book stalls.With lakhs of people expected to visit Chaityabhoomi, the venue will also be kept under constant CCTV surveillance.Mumbai Police too has made elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order and also to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

Kolkata receives best cities award for tackling climate change

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kolkata, along with 10 other cities from across the globe, has been honoured with the best cities of 2016 award in recognition of its inspiring and innovative programme with regard to solid waste management.”Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project has achieved 60-80 per cent (depending on site) segregation of waste at its source, with further waste segregation occurring at transfer stations,” a media release said on the occasion of international summit of Mayors of millions plus cities of which Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi are its members from India. “Forward looking, the project aims to eradicate open dumping and burning of waste and to limit the concentration of methane gas generated in landfill sites,” it said. Kolkata is the only Indian city to receive the prestigious award. It received the award during the C40 Mayors Summit held in Mexico City. “In our country, only Kolkata metropolitan has got this award,” Dilip Yadav, chairman of the Uttarpara Municipality, said after receiving the prestigious award from C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “This motivates us for more performance for the sustainability of this project. Our motto is participation of the common people. Being chairman, I have visited 50,000 house and have made our people aware about the benefits of solid waste management,” he added. Onkar Singh-Meena, Secretary Municipal Affairs and CEO of Kolkata Municipal Development Authority says, “The project involved 100 per cent door to door collection of solid waste, segregation and recycling by way of compositing, which is sold in the market,”.”One significant aspect of this project is that ragpickers are part of it,” said Meena, who is head of the Kolkata delegation to the Mayors Summit. Other cities that won the award are Addis Adaba, Copenhagen, Curitiba, Sydney and Malborne, Paris, Portland, Seoul Shenzhen, and Yokohama.”On behalf of C40, I want to congratulate all the winning cities for their commitment to their citizens and their dedication to tackling climate change,” said outgoing C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “Throughout my tenure as C40 Chair, I have been increasingly impressed by the calibre of the C40 Cities Award winners, and I look forward to seeing other mayors around the world adapting and implementing these models in their own cities,” he said.”The C40 Cities Awards recognise the best and boldest work being done by mayors to fight climate change and protect people from risks,” said C40 President of the Board and UN. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R Bloomberg.”The winning projects show that great progress is being made on every continent, and they serve as an inspiration to other cities. They also show how cities can help the world meet the ambitious goals set a year ago in Paris,” he said.

40 more SDMC schools get CCTV cameras

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to ensure students’ safety and to improve the quality of education in municipal schools, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has installed CCTV cameras in all the classrooms of 40 more schools operating under it. “The Corporation has installed CCTV cameras in 40 more schools with an aim to provide security to students,” SDMC Mayor Shyam Sharma said on Thursday.“This will ensure that the students are provided with quality education and that any untoward incident can be averted. This will also help us keep a check on teachers,” Sharma added.He further said the SDMC’s control room will enable the officers sitting in the Civic Centre to monitor the happenings in the school. At present, the SDMC manages 581 schools.

BMC chief Ajoy Mehta says Mumbai civic body aims to go cashless in 60 days

At a time when the nation is dealing with demonetisation and the subsequent cash crunch, a quiet cashless revolution is unfolding at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is aiming to go completely cashless in about 60 days from now. To facilitate the transition, the BMC is developing an in-house software, said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta in an exclusive interaction with Firstpost on Thursday.

The municipal corporation has been working on this transition for about two months, which is aimed at putting an end to the harassment faced by contract workers. “We have been getting complaints that contractors do not pay the designated minimum wages to their workers. That was the main trigger that led us to say that we will pay the contractor provided they pay their workers through RTGS,” Mehta said.

The move is also prompted by complaints from contractors as well, Mehta said. “There have been complaints that when contractors come to collect cheques, they are subjected to harassment. This move will also change the problem,” he said.

The BMC directly employs about one and half lakh people and provides indirect employment to about 70,000 contract workers. There won’t be any major cost pressure for the corporation to go cashless, the municipal commissioner said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 8 November, announced one of the biggest demonetidation exercises ever carried out in the country. Besides clamping down on the black money hoarders and counterfeit note makers, the exercise was also aimed at pushing the system to a cashless mode by encouraging payments through mobile banking, internet banking and using technology that facilitates prepayment instruments. Almost 70-80 percent of India is living in cash economy.

The demonetisation move resulted in cash crunch across the country since the banking system is short of cash on account of the sudden withdrawal of a substantial chunk of currency, which constituted 86 percent of the total currency in circulation in terms of value.

Mehta said the cash crunch, however, hasn’t made any operational difficulties for the corporation since the corporation mostly operates on cheques.

(With inputs from Dinesh Unnikrishnan)

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 21:03 IST

Maha result should be wakeup call for Opposition, trying to mislead people on demonetization: Amit Shah

Mon, 28 Nov 2016-11:10pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With BJP emerging as a major gainer in Maharashtra local polls, party chief Amit Shah on Monday said the results should be a “wake-up call” for the opposition parties who were “trying to mislead” people on demonetization.”Maharashtra result should be a wakeup call for opposition attempting to mislead people on demonetization, a decision in national interest,” he said in a tweet. “BJP has emerged as the largest party. I thank people of Maharashtra for their continued support and faith in BJP’s development politics,” he added.The party today emerged as a major gainer in the first phase of municipal council polls winning 39 municipal chief’s posts of the 147 urban local bodies, dealing a blow to Congress and NCP in the keenly fought elections, whose campaign centred around issues like demonetization.

Maharashtra municipal council polls as it happened: BJP wins big in first phase; Modi, Shah say victory for demonetisation

Nov 28, 2016

Highlights

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  • 20:01(IST)

  • 19:56(IST)

  • 19:30(IST)

  • 19:12(IST)

  • 18:07(IST)

  • 17:50(IST)

  • 17:29(IST)

17:24(IST)

17:01(IST)

16:54(IST)

16:51(IST)

Counting of votes began on Monday morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.

Counting of votes began at 10 am.

Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.

The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly election sand a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on 14 December.

Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

In total, including Sunday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on 14 December, 18 December and 8 January.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 21:08 IST

Maharashtra municipal council polls LIVE: PM Modi congratulates Fadnavis, BJP workers

Nov 28, 2016

Highlights

  • 20:01(IST)

  • 19:56(IST)

  • 19:30(IST)

  • 19:12(IST)

  • 18:07(IST)

  • 17:50(IST)

  • 17:29(IST)

17:24(IST)

17:01(IST)

16:54(IST)

16:51(IST)

Counting of votes began on Monday morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.

Counting of votes began at 10 am.

Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.

The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly election sand a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on 14 December.

Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

In total, including Sunday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on 14 December, 18 December and 8 January.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 20:08 IST

Maharashtra municipal council polls LIVE: Results for 2,501 seats declared; BJP-Shiv Sena win 1,012

Nov 28, 2016

Highlights

  • 18:07(IST)

  • 17:50(IST)

  • 17:29(IST)

17:24(IST)

17:01(IST)

16:54(IST)

16:51(IST)

Counting of votes began on Monday morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.

Counting of votes began at 10 am.

Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.

The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly election sand a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on 14 December.

Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

In total, including Sunday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on 14 December, 18 December and 8 January.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 17:01 IST

Maharashtra municipal council polls LIVE: BJP-Shiv Sena leading with 562 seats, counting underway

Nov 28, 2016

Highlights

  • 17:50(IST)

  • 17:29(IST)

17:24(IST)

17:01(IST)

16:54(IST)

16:51(IST)

Counting of votes began on Monday morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.

Counting of votes began at 10 am.

Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.

The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly election sand a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on 14 December.

Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

In total, including Sunday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on 14 December, 18 December and 8 January.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 17:01 IST

Maharashtra: 1704 nominations received for 2nd phase Municipal Council polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 1704 nominations have been received for the second phase of polling for 14 municipal councils in Pune and Latur districts of Maharashtra. The elections are scheduled on December 14.In the second phase, there are 10 local bodies in Pune and four in Latur district where polls will be held, State Election Commissioner J S Saharia said. In all the 14 poll-bound local bodies, 162 nominations were received for the post of Municipal Council President. The last date of withdrawal of nominations is December 1.In the first phase, 70% nominations and affidavits were received online while for the second phase it was 100%, he said. “Lack of connectivity and power shortage in remote areas was one of the reasons why candidates could not file their papers online. But the commission set up help desks due to which the online filing of forms was easier for the candidates,” he said.Meanwhile, 50 gram panchayats in different districts will also go to polls on December 28. Nominations will be received between December 6 and 13. Scrutiny of papers will be done on December 14 and last date of withdrawal is December 16. On the same day, election symbols will be distributed to candidates. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 28, after the polling is over.In Thane district, there are five gram panchayats, which will go to polls while in Palghar district there are three gram panchayats; Raigad, Ratnagiri, Ahmednagar, Nandurbar, Aurangabad, Beed and Gadchoroli one each; Solapur, Nanded, Amravati, Buldhana and Wardha two each; Bhandara, Dhule and Yavatmal 3 each; Pune 6, and Nashik 10.

Demonetization: Maharashtra BJP reaches out to queued up citizens with biscuits, water

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, when Union Minister of State for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal tweeted the video appeal of a young man, asking people to stay calm and support the government in its drive to wipe out corruption and black money from the country, it was regarded as an attempt to contain the anger among people owing to inconvenience.After Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to India from Japan on Sunday and gave an emotional speech in Goa, his cabinet colleagues and senior BJP leaders also swung into action. Many of them are now taking to social media to counter the negativity around the decision to curb further damage to the image of the Modi government.Going a step ahead, the BJP in Maharashtra has decided to reach out to people standing in the queues outside ATMs and banks across the state. The karyakartas (rank and file) have been directed to go to the banks and distribute water and biscuits to the people who are forced to wait for hours to exchange or withdraw money. A group of CAs have been taken on board to manage a helpline and address the queries of people and counsel them.Party members have been asked to chat with the people informally, explaining to them the larger benefits of the Centre’s decision— how it will help the poor and middle class in the long run and why they should support the PM in this mission.The exercise aims to calm down the people by delivering the PM’s message directly and telling them how important public support is for the entire campaign against black money. This is significant considering the civic elections across the state which are slated to begin from the third week of November to go on until February.Voters are hassled because of delay in bank services and have been expressing anger over the move which suddenly brought things to a standstill.”We have also been asked to withdraw our own money by standing in queues. This will give people a feel that even the ruling party members are affected by the decision, just like others, and also that the party is sensitive to common man’s pain,” a party leader told DNA.Madhav Bhandari, senior BJP leader and spokesperson, along with his team has been helping citizens in Chembur and nearby areas since Sunday.On Tuesday, party spokesperson Shaina NC too visited a dozen banks around the Muslim-concentrated Byculla area of Mumbai to speak with harried citizens. “We will continue doing so for many days,” said Shaina, admitting that banks needed to fasten the process.The message is clear and loud. The BJP cares about minorities, a strong vote bank which had overwhelmingly supported the saffron party in the Lok Sabha and the assembly polls, and is also crucial to winning several seats in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. Bhandari says,”Party workers across the state have been advised to help the people in all possible ways.” Political observers call the move a compulsion for the party. “With the money power gone, after the currencies were declared invalid, the only way to woo the voters is to reach out to them. While other parties will also start the same exercise, the BJP has to work doubly hard as the decision will impact them the most,” says an observer.

Rs 650 crore water and property taxes collected in four days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government continues to reap the benefits of the Union government’s decision of demonitization. State Urban Development Secretary Manisha Mhaiskar said they had collected over Rs650 crore as water and property tax in the last four days. “The government has extended the tax collection deadline by another ten days, and we hope to reach our target of Rs1,000 in collections up to November 24,” she added. The good news is that citizens can use their Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes to pay taxes. Mhaiskar said they are in the process of collecting taxes systematically. “We have decided to urge tax defaulters to pay their water bills and property taxes. We have even reached out to defaulters personally through emails and text messages. We have in our possession the list of defaulters in descending order. We hope to collect all dues by the end of our drive,” she said, adding the municipal corporation has the right to attach defaulters’ property if they fail to cough up their taxes. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data, the civic body has received Rs12 crore — the highest collection of dues, followed by the civic bodies of Pune, Kalyan-Dombivli and Pimpri-Chinchwad. BMC sources said the civic body has the scope to recover huge taxes. “BMC has to collect a total water bill of Rs1,200 crore, but the recovery system has not been encouraging. People queue up to pay their taxes, but civic officials do not respond quickly. So, there are quite a few citizens who leave midway without paying their taxes,”said Rajkumar Singh, a resident of Kurla.A senior government official said citizens are now motivated to pay their taxes. “Most citizens stash a certain amount of cash at home. It is the win-win situation for both of the citizens and the civic body. People should take full advantage of the situation,” he said.Moreover, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday formed a committee headed by Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to resolve the issue pertaining to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee’s transactions, government transports issues and RBI rejection to district co-operative banks to collect cancelled denominations.

Demonetization ended terror-funding, stone-pelting: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since the demonetization of high currency notes terror funding has come down to zero and there hasn’t been stone-pelting on security forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “daring” move, which, he said, will also help clamp down on the narcotic drugs.”Earlier, there were rates: Rs 500 for stone pelting (on security forces in Kashmir) and Rs 1,000 for doing something else. PM has brought terror funding to zero,” Parrikar said.”In the last few days after PM’s daring move there hasn’t been stone pelting on security forces. I congratulate PM for it,” he said, speaking at an event here organised by the BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar.Talking to reporters later, Parrikar said those who sponsor terror will be affected by the demonetization.Earlier, at the event, Parrikar said, “Bhatkhalkar did not tell me beforehand that he will felicitate me.” A citation was presented to Parrikar, which lauded his role in surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. It also thanked him for providing relief to people affected by land development rules in the vicinity of Central Ordnance Depots.”When I became Defence Minister, I did not think there will be things like this (dealing with COD-land issue). I thought Defence meant bang-bang on the border,” he said.”Altogether, 17.38 lakh acres of land in the country is under Defence possession. Defence is the largest land owner in India,” Parrikar said.”There was delay in resolving COD issue as there were concerns over security on one hand and people’s concerns on the other,” he said.”Whether it’s border security or economic security, PM Modi has taken daring decisions,” he said, adding “whatever is being done, our jawans on border are doing it, I and PM are just supporting it.””Problem of new notes circulation will be resolved to a large extent in the next four-five days,” Parrikar said.In the next Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, nobody will be left with power to bribe voters, Parrikar said, without naming the ally Shiv Sena which has been critical of demonetization.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis attends Chhath puja at Mumbai’s Juhu beach

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four-day Chhath festival concluded in the mega city today with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attending the event at the famous Juhu beach here.Invited by Mumbai BJP unit general secretary Amarjeet Mishra and the organisers of social organisation Chhath Utsav Mahasangh, Fadnavis arrived at the beach at around 5.30 AM and spent around an hour with the devotees by taking part in Chhath puja. In his brief address to the devotees, the CM said, “Offering oblation to the rising sun has multiple spiritual and scientific advantages. The sun is the most precious gift given to the habitant of the earth, without whom we cannot imagine to live for a while.”A large number of devotees gathered at various beaches and other water bodies since the wee hours and offered prayers to the rising sun. The festival is mainly celebrated in Bihar, eastern UP and Jharkhand. The puja is performed in order to thank the sun god for sustaining life on earth. With an eye on north Indian votes in the megalopolis which can tilt scales in upcoming high-stakes Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, various political parties have been trying to leverage the Chhath festival. There are more than 22 lakh north Indians living in the megalopolis.However, denying any political angle to the festival, Mishra had earlier said the BJP has been organising the festivities for the last two decades as a “social cause” without any connection with elections. The Chhath puja was organised at various places in the city, including Borivali, Mulund, Chembur and Colaba, with the biggest programmes held at Dadar and Juhu chowpatty.

Delhi pollution: Nothing can be solved unless AAP govt takes action, says Environment Ministry

In an attempt to find a possible solution for the toxic air pollution in Delhi, the Environment Ministry held a meeting on Monday and Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, recognised dust as one of the major reasons for the pollution.

Minister Anil Dave also said that unless the state government takes an initiative, nothing could be solved. He also urged the AAP government to sprinkle water according to the plan. The New Delhi Municipal Council sprinkled water using jet pressure.

PWD Minister Satyendar Jain also tweeted about the same.

The priority, as Dave points out, is to make the air pollution free for people to breathe and there must not be any blame-game. Dismissing reports that burning of crop stubble from neighbouring states leads to major air pollution in Delhi, he said that 80 percent of the problem in Delhi is derived from here itself.

In an emergency meeting convened by the Delhi government, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the government’s plan to tackle air pollution included the use of emission-control devices, resuming vacuum cleaning of arterial roads, sprinkling water on streets, and cutting dust pollution from construction sites.

Municipal schools in north and east Delhi will remain closed till Wednesday, while those in south Delhi will remain shut for the entire week due to the alarming pollution levels in the national capital.

With inputs from PTI.

Pollution in Delhi: Municipal schools to stay shut till Wednesday

New Delhi: Municipal schools in north and east Delhi will remain closed till Wednesday, while those in south Delhi will remain shut for the entire week due to the alarming pollution levels in the national capital, officials said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“We have ordered the schools to remain shut till 9 November. We will assess the situation after that and take a decision accordingly,” North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar said.

“Schools of East Delhi Municipal Corporation will also remain closed till 9 November,” said an EDMC official.

“All SDMC schools will remain closed till 12 November due to the high level of pollution and smog,” South Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Shyam Sharma said.

“We have also urged the parents to take special care of the children as they are vulnerable to the situation,” he added.

A decision was taken yesterday to close nearly 17,000 schools under the three municipal corporations of Delhi for a day in view of the heavy smog, the worst the national capital has witnessed in 17 years.

The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting of civic officials.

About 10 lakh students are enrolled in the schools run by by SDMC, NDMC and EDMC.

Delhi pollution: Citizens can approach courts to take action against state, central govt

As New Delhi suffers from the worst smog it has seen in 17 years, the people in the national capital can actually take action against the state and central government for denying them a basic right.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Environmental activist MC Mehta told News18 that the citizens could exercise the basic right to life given to them by the Constitution. “Patients in Delhi hospitals suffering from various environment-related ailments should come out and file a petition in the Supreme Court claiming inhaling such polluted air violates their fundamental right to life as enshrined in our Constitution,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

In the 1985 judgment in ‘Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra vs State of Uttar Pradesh’, a court had held that “air and water are the most indispensable gifts of nature for preservation of life.”

Mehta further said in the report that the state and central governments were responsible for the crisis and that it was high time the pollution financiers in Delhi were punished. He also talked about the ‘polluter pays’ principle and said that agencies providing loans for vehicles or governments which did not pay attention to the road-carrying of Delhi.

Nearly 17,000 schools running under the three municipal corporations of Delhi were closed on Saturday in view of the heavy smog.

“All municipal schools under the three corporations were closed due to the heavy smog and pollution. The order for closure is only for today as of now. As per the situation, we may decide to close them later as well,” Leader of Opposition in SDMC, Subhash Arya had said.

About 10 lakh students are enrolled in the schools administered by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting of civic officials held in the wake of severe pollution Delhiites are reeling under.

Recently, the National Green Tribunal had pulled up the Centre and AAP government for “shifting blame” and not taking steps to tackle the alarming air pollution level in Delhi, saying what a “terrible” future are we giving to our children.

The national capital was facing the worst smog in 17 years, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said on Thursday, while asking the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors as there was a state of health emergency due to peaking air pollution.

Peak level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 had also violated the safe limits by over 15 times at places like RK Puram. The prescribed standard of PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, but it touched 955 in real-time during early morning hours.

Admitting that the enforcement of rules for tackling air pollution was “weak”, the Environment Ministry on Friday had asked states to “strictly” implement a host of measures, including checking spread of fly ash from Delhi’s Badarpur plant and shutting down of old brick kilns.

With inputs from PTI

Restaurant causing pollution: NGT issues notice to East Delhi Municipal Corporation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal has issued notice to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on a plea seeking closure of a restaurant in East Delhi for allegedly causing air and water pollution.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought response from EDMC and asked its concerned officer to be present before it on November 10 on the plea of a local resident claiming commercial use of the property in a residential area.”The counsel appearing for Delhi Development Authority submits that there is apparent commercial use of the property in a residential area. However, he states that East Delhi Municipal Corporation is an appropriate authority to take action as the property in question has already been handed over to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. Let notice be issued to East Delhi Municipal Corporation,” the bench said.The tribunal directed the officer concerned of East Delhi Municipal Corporation along with that of Delhi Development Authority to be present before it on November 10, the next date of hearing.The NGT was hearing a plea filed by Praveen Gupta seeking closure of the restaurant-cum-party hall in Dilshad Garden here.The plea, filed through advocate Siddhartha Singh, claimed that till date this restaurant has not applied for consent under Air and Water Act from Delhi Pollution Control Committee and was not complying with the prescribed environ mental norms.It further said that very often there are wedding parties and loud music being played by DJs which creates noise pollution in the area affecting students and senior citizens who have no option but to face this pollution.”Besides loudspeakers and music systems, generator is also installed which not only causes noise pollution but also deteriorates air quality of the area.”A number of complaints were also lodged with authorities regarding air-pollution but authorities have not taken any action till date,” it alleged.

BMC polls: Political leverage over Chhat festival to gather votes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an eye on north Indian votes in the megalopolis which can tilt scales in upcoming high-stakes BMC polls, various political parties are trying to leverage the forthcoming Chhat festival, mainly celebrated by people from Bihar.While city unit of ruling BJP has organised Chhat puja at various places, Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which thrives on the sons-of-soil agenda, feels the saffron party was trying to “woo” outsiders ahead of BMC polls through the festival.Country’s richest civic body the Brihanumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been ruled by Sena, with BJP as a junior partner. The 2017 BMC polls are crucial for Sena, which is facing aggressive BJP on its home turf.Mumbai BJP is actively involved in organising Chhat Puja at around a dozen locations including popular Juhu beach. “BJP is holding Chhat puja to attract ‘outsiders'”, an MNS leader said, in a veiled reference to north Indian voters in Mumbai.Chhat is performed in order to thank the Sun god for sustaining life on earth. The festival is mainly celebrated in Bihar, eastern UP and Jharkhand. City unit Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has said that “BJP only celebrates Chhat Puja when there is an election round the corner.”Nirupam, who originally hails from Bihar, today asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ensure that BJP does not politicise Chhat ahead of the BMC polls.”BJP is known to use religious rituals for political gains. I have been organising Chhath puja celebrations at Juhu beach for the last 18 years. As per the High Court guidelines, the celebrations should not take place under the banner of any political party and party flags should not be displayed at the venue,” Nirupam stated in a letter to Fadnavis on Friday.On Thursday, a delegation of some BJP leaders called on the CM and sought assistance of state government for celebrating Chhat puja at sea fronts in different parts of city on November 6. Shiv Sena, known for its aggressive ‘bhumiputra’ stance, said Chhat events are being organised with an eye on BMC polls and that they are a show of “political affection to people”.”Sena is not concerned about which party is doing what. Entire country knows Sena for its unwavering stand on Hindutva. It’s only Sena which never backtracked from its stand and even Biharis know that. All these events are being held in view of BMC polls, but it’s true love and affection that people require. People are fed up with political affection towards them,” said local Sena MP Arvind Sawant.

10,851 chikungunya cases reported in Delhi this season

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 10,851 chikungunya cases have been reported in Delhi this season, with nearly 640 of them being recorded in the last week, according to a municipal report released on Monday.Of the total chikungunya cases, nearly 720 of them have been reported in areas falling under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). “As many as 10,851 suspected cases have been recorded this season till October 29, out of which 8,720 have been confirmed,” the report by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation said.SDMC tabulates the data for vector-borne disease cases in the national capital on behalf of all the civic bodies in New Delhi.At least 10,210 suspected chikungunya cases were reported in the city till October 22. As per the report, at least 3,650 dengue cases were reported in the national capital till October 29 this season.3,333 cases were recorded till October 22.Among the three corporations, 718 confirmed chikungunya cases have been reported in areas under NDMC, 638 under SDMC and 354 under EDMC this season. 3,395 cases have also been reported from areas falling outside the jurisdiction of the three municipal corporations. And, 3,615 cases have been recorded from other states. At least 15 fatalities have been reported at various hospitals in the city due to complications triggered by the chikungunya, though the civic bodies have kept the death tally at zero.Delhi and other parts of north India are facing a spike in chikungunya cases after nearly 10 years. In 2006, over 13 lakh suspected cases of chikungunya were reported.Dengue cases on the other hand, continued to taper down, with just 317 fresh cases reported in Delhi in the last one week. This month 1,517 cases have been recorded till October 29.Last year, out of the 15,867 dengue cases, 7,283 were reported in October, the highest among all the month. Also, September last year had seen 6,775 cases but only 1,362 cases were reported this September.At least 21 deaths due to dengue have been reported at various hospitals, including nine at AIIMS, though the civic bodies said only four persons died of the disease this season. Experts say a “less virulent strain” of dengue virus is in circulation this year compared to the one last year or in 2010 when 6,259 cases and eight deaths were reported by SDMC. 1,477 cases were reported from areas falling outside the jurisdiction of municipal corporations in the city. 1,133 cases were reported to have originated from neighbouring areas outside of Delhi.In NDMC area, breeding of mosquitoes was found in 62,690 houses, 84,943 houses in SDMC area and 22,930 in EDMC area. The number of prosecution launched in these areas was 5,000, 9,016 and 3,007 respectively.In 1996, Delhi had recorded about 10,252 cases of dengue and 423 deaths, prompting the authorities to declare it a notifiable disease.

Navi Mumbai: Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane demands immediate recall of NMMC Commissioner Mundhe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after passing a no-confidence motion against Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane on Wednesday demanded his immediate recall by Chief Minister saying that the officer has lost all his right to head the civic body. “This officer was exercising his executive powers absolutely autocratically. He lost all the sense of democratic style of functioning and this is the reason why almost all the corporators cutting across party lines voted against him,” he said.The motion was passed 105-6 at a special meeting convened by the NCP-ruled Corporation yesterday, which was chaired by Sonawane. This is the first time in the history of the civic body that such a motion has been passed against its commissioner. Mundhe, who was present in the House, later alleged that he was not allowed to put forth his side. Sonawane said the House has apprised the state government about the motion and demanded immediate recall of the officer and wants him to be replaced by another IAS officer.”We informed the state government about the motion passed against the officer through an e-mail. We are going to send a hard copy of the decision today and hope that the Chief Minister would call the officer immediately to take action on our motion,” the Mayor said.He said the section 36 (3) of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 stipulates that if such a motion is passed by even 60 corporators, then administrative head should be sacked with immediate effect. To a question that Mundhe was targeted by politicians as he cracked whip on illegal activities that eventually clashed with the interests of the powerful lobby of politicians, Sonawane said, “These kind of allegations have no element of truth.Only being honest does not mean everything. An officer who heads administrative things should have the capacity and ability to take every concerned stakeholder along with him. He or she cannot misuse the executive powers blatantly.” In 111-member NMMC, the Sharad Pawar-led party has the highest number of corporators and also holds post of Mayor whereas as the Deputy Mayor belongs to Congress.Interestingly, the 16-member crucial standing committee is ruled by Opposition Shiv Sena. Yesterday, during the voting, the BJP opposed and voted against the no-confidence motion.However, an unfazed Mundhe has said he would continue doing his job until further government orders. “I will continue doing my work until I am ordered not to do so by the state government. I had asked the Mayor to let me put my side in the House, but I was not given a chance to do so,” he alleged.Known for his strict and upright decisions, Mundhe, for the first time in NMMC”s history, had proposed a survey to map properties falling under its limit. However, the survey was stonewalled for over 90 days by the unwilling corporators. Mundhe took this decision following an alleged “scam” wherein over 15,000 property owners allegedly found to have evaded paying property tax to NMMC over last decade. “I rationalised the tendering process system, cracked whip on illegal activities and have mechanised one of the best grievance redressal systems (in NMMC). People are very happy,” Mundhe had told PTI a day before the no confidence motion was proposed.Local residents feel that Mundhe is an “upright officer” and he was being targetted for acting against illegal constructions supported by some corporators in the area.”Ever since Mundhe took over as the civic body chief six months back, he has been going cracking against illegal constructions, mostly raised by these corporators, across Navi Mumbai. They are targeting him as he has put a full stop to the menace of illegal works,” said Ravi Srivastava, a local resident and activist.

Bird Flu scare escalates as 58 avian deaths reported in Delhi, 18 die in Gwalior; killer strain is H5N8

On Sunday, 10 ducks were found dead at the Hauz Khas deer park, which brings the total number of avian deaths in the national capital due to H5N8, to 58. The Delhi government has described this as a “sign of worry”.

Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai confirmed that three crows, that were found dead earlier in the Sunder Nagar area, had also succumbed to the H5N8 avial influenza strain.

He visited the deer park along with DDA officials and doctors where the death toll due to suspected H5N8 viral strain has climbed to 43. Rai formed a 10-member team to spray anti-virus in the area, including on birds.

A private security guard wearing a mask stands next to a notice tied to a gate of the Deer Park which according to local media is temporarily closed to visitors as a precautionary measure after ... birds died due to bird flu. ReutersA private security guard wearing a mask stands next to a notice tied to a gate of the Deer Park which according to local media is temporarily closed to visitors as a precautionary measure after ... birds died due to bird flu. Reuters

A private security guard wearing a mask stands next to a notice tied to a gate of the Deer Park which according to local media is temporarily closed to visitors as a precautionary measure after 58 birds died in New Delhi due to bird flu. Reuters

“The strain (H5N8) is not as dangerous for humans as it is for birds. There has been no report of it affecting humans across the world. Monitoring is being done across Delhi’s parks and bird sanctuaries. The government is planning to issue a health advisory as well,” Rai said.

Meanwhile, three more painted storks died at the zoo in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, taking the number of birds suspected to have been killed by a new sub-type of bird flu to 18.

Three more birds are critical and may soon succumb, an official said. With at least two samples of the 15 painted storks that died earlier this week testing positive for the subtype H5N8 at the Bhopal-based Animal Disease Laboratory recently, the MP government has sounded an alert across the state, directing all 51 districts to immediately report any fowl mortality.

Seeking to allay concerns over a possible bird flu outbreak, the officer said, “There is no need to panic as the death (of painted storks) due to H5N8 virus has taken place in the wild (zoo).”

The, Gwalior Municipal Commissioner Anay Dwivedi told PTI that with these deaths, only six painted storks were left in the zoo enclosure and three of them are in critical condition.

Citing veterinarians, he said the storks may die soon. “The rest (three storks) too appear to be sick and may succumb tomorrow,” he said.

Governments kick up defence mechanism

Although the virus is not directly a threat to human health, the state governments in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh have issued advisories to the zoo administration to monitor the situation very closely.

In Delhi, Animal Husbandry Minister Gopa Rai told reporters , “Things are in control in the zoo (National Zoological Garden) but 10 more ducks died in the deer park today. So we decided that areas where birds are dying, anti-virus will be sprayed on them as well. Vitamins and garlic will be mixed in their food to boost immunity”.

Both the zoo and the DDA-run deer park continue to remain shut due to the bird flu scare. The city government’s coordination committee, formed to tackle the situation, will meet on Tuesday. Rai said the water of the deer park will be sent to the Bhopal laboratory to be tested.

The Delhi government had also set up a 23-member committee to coordinate work among various departments and to probe the reasons behind the bird deaths since last week.

“Also, we have decided to build a medicated subway at the entry gate in the market which will have medicines mixed with water. Every truck entering the market will have to pass through this water which will help in preventing the infection from spreading,” Rai said.

On Thursday, the government had taken 50 samples from birds in the zoo, various bird sanctuaries and poultry markets in the city and sent them to labs for analysis. Both the Delhi zoo and the Deer Park will remain shut until normalcy returns.

The first deaths of two migratory birds were reported on 14 October in the Delhi Zoo, where six more birds were found dead the next day. One more bird each died on 17 and 19 October.

According to a report in The Hindu, an alert has been sounded in Rajasthan as well and the state’s forest department will also conduct a survey on the recent deaths of birds in the forest areas.

Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry department also confirmed that an alert has been sounded in the state.  “We have sounded alert across the state. However, no fowl death has been reported from any part of state. Officers concerned are keeping a close watch,” Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry Director Dr RK Rokde said.

To a query on culling the birds, The Gwalior Municipal Commissioner Anay Dwivedi said they will take the call in this regard later, depending upon the situation. The commissioner said they were burning the dead fowls and burring them deep underground.

“Three falcons which were in the enclosure along with the painted storks, have been quarantined and they will be closely monitored for a month. These falcons are healthy,” the commissioner added.

On reopening the zoo, closed since the death of 15 painted storks, the officer said, “Possibly, we won’t open it for this entire month (October).”

According to 2012 census, MP had a population of 119 lakh domestic fowls. He said the state has 400-odd private poultry farms and nine government ones.

According to Rokde, a hen had died of bird flu in Burhanpur district of state in February this year. Sources said that around 9,000 fowls had been culled in the radius of one km from the area where the hen had died.

The Union Environment Ministry has also formed a three-member panel to keep a watch over the developments.

With inputs from agencies

Maharashtra: Sea plane service soon from Nagpur to Shirdi, says Gadkari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said a sea place service will be soon launched from Ambajhari lake here to Shirdi via Anand Sagar Lake in Shegaon.The sea plane will fly in the morning and return the same day. The sea plane has been launched to benefit the people in and around Nagpur who visit these two pilgrim sites, Gadkari said at a function here.There is a shrine of Sai Baba in Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra while in Shegaon there is ‘Gajanan Maharaj Samadhi Mandir’.Gadkari along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis performed ‘bhoomipoojan’ of network of cement concrete roads here.The two BJP leaders vowed to make Maharashtra’s second capital a top city in the country with number of development works.Fadnavis said these cement concrete roads will last for at least 50 years.The cement roads worth Rs 1,000 crores are being constructed in the city, including Rs 300 crore cement roads in South-West Assembly constituency which is represented by Fadnavis himself.The Metro Rail work is also in full swing and by 2019, Nagpur will be a developed in to a global city, said the Chief Minister.Gadkari also said tar roads are not suitable for Nagpur and don’t last long hence cement roads are being constructed by the Nagpur Improvement Trust and the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).The soil will be tested before taking up cement roads, he added.Road works to the tune of Rs 28 crores was already undertaken during the last two-and-half-year regime of BJP-SS, he said.

Civic polls: BJP leaders ‘purposefully creating confusion,’ says Shiv Sena

Mumbai: As uncertainty loomed over their tie-up for upcoming civic polls, Shiv Sena on Thursday said BJP should designate one leader for co-ordination between them as many BJP leaders were “purposefully creating confusion” over the issue through their utterances.

File image of uddhav Thackeray. PTI

File image of Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

“We have decided that BJP should designate one person who will officially communicate with us for seat-sharing ahead of these elections. We will not talk to any other BJP leader,” said a senior Sena leader after attending a meeting of party leaders, including state cabinet ministers, to discuss Sena’s strategy for the polls.

The meeting was held at Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’. A close aide of the Sena chief told PTI that Thackeray asserted that he will take a call on tie-up with BJP even as those present at the meeting favoured going solo for polls.

He also asked party leaders to work towards expansion of Sena at the grassroot level all over Maharashtra. According to a Sena leader, Thackeray told the meeting that BJP leaders are deliberately making misleading statements and creating impression that BJP would continue the alliance with Sena for polls.

Incidentally, state Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar has said in Nagpur that BJP is keen on maintaining alliance with Sena for elections to municipal councils.

At the meeting, Thackeray referred to the bitter experience wherein BJP had snapped ties with Sena just ahead of 2014 Assembly elections. After NDA victory in polls, Sena was forced to accept subordinate position in state government.

Sena is a junior alliance partner in the BJP-led NDA governments in the Centre and Maharashtra. “Sena did not call off alliance (with BJP) before the (2014) Assembly polls. It was the BJP which snapped the 25-year-old ties. Uddhav ji wants the BJP to appoint one leader from the party who will coordinate with Shiv Sena as many BJP leaders are speaking in different voices in current situation,” the leader said.

Thackeray also clarified that formation of local outfits at the poll-bound municipal council and nagar panchayat level won’t be allowed. “Party will field candidates on the bow and arrow symbol,” the aide quoted the Sena chief as saying.

On the occasion, the leaders apprised Thackeray about the prevailing political situation in various parts of state. The four-phased polls will be held for 212 civic bodies, including 192 municipal councils and 20 nagar panchayats, spanning 25 districts, between November and January next.

Though forming alliance with the BJP for next year’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election is still undecided, Sena leadership has decided to focus only on civic polls as of now.

Soon, an e-portal to fix appointments with docs at NDMC hospitals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Come November, patients will be able to skip long queues to see a doctor at New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC)-run hospitals. In what should come as a relief to about 25,000-30,000 people visiting NDMC’s 39 dispensaries and four hospitals, they will be able to log on to its e-portal to fix appointments and find details of their medical history, among other services.In a bid to make Lutyen’s Delhi a smart city, the civic body has taken up the initiative to bring all hospitals and dispensaries under one e-portal by mid-November.”A few of the modules are already functional, including at Charak Palika Hospital, Moti Bagh and in a few other dispensaries. We expect the system to go live by November-end,” said NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar.Under the e-health system, people will be able to scan through the list of available doctors and make appointments to visit the OPD and other departments.”People will not be required to carry their medical reports every time they visit the health care unit. The portal will allow them to feed in the details of their health history, which will then automatically find its way to the medical wing they are being treated at. This would cut down the hassle of waiting in queues and at times having to return home without seeing a doctor,” said a senior official.The civic body will also connect the portal to its mobile application—’NDMC 311′, which will allow patients direct access to the portal.Through the portal, the civic body is also looking at having data ready to ascertain which diseases are more prevalent and the demand for which medicines is the highest.”The patient data available from the portal will help us plan better and narrow down the areas of focus for community health projects and supply of medicines,” the official said.The software for the facility is being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The NDMC is collaborating with the NIC for cloud-based hospital management.

Acid-laden truck topples in Thane, school in vicinity shut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An acid-laden container truck overturned on the busy Ghodbunder road in Thane this morning and the leaking acid’s fumes spread in the area, prompting authorities to evacuate a school in the vicinity.The speeding truck carrying several drums of hydrochloric acid toppled near the Gaimukh octroi post at around 8 am, Thane Municipal Corporation’s Regional Disaster Management Cell chief Santosh Kadam said. As a result, the acid from the drums started leaking.Since the acid fumes engulfed the entire area, a school and octroi post close to the mishap spot were closed and children and staff sent home, he said.The truck driver sustained injuries in the mishap and was rushed to hospital.The firemen and disaster management cell personnel rushed to the site, Kadam said, adding work was on to remove the truck from the road.Meanwhile, another container truck also overturned in the same area. However, its driver and cleaner fled from the spot.

Mumbai RTI activist murder: CIC directs authorities to declassify information sought by Bhupendra Vira

Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra and former chief secretary of state Ratnakar Gaikwad on Monday asked authorities to ensure a thorough probe into the murder of RTI activist Bhupendra Vira and make public the information sought by him.

He gave the direction after former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi filed a complaint under the RTI Act.

According to Mumbai MirrorRTI activist Shailesh Gandhi wrote to Gaikwad for the immediate release of all pending RTI applications filed by Vira and to give police security to Vira’s family along with a speedy investigation into his murder. “The incident is despicable and I request the commission to treat this as a complaint under Section 18 (Powers and functions of Information Commission) of RTI Act. This continued violence against activists must be brought to an end,” he wrote.

In his order, Gaikwad asked the chief secretary, additional chief secretary (home) and police commissioner to carry out a thorough probe into the incident. He directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to upload on its website information sought by Vira through applications pending with its Public Information Officers (PIOs).

“The Municipal Commissioner shall review all pending applications filed with various PIOs in BMC by Bhupendra Vira during the last one year and ensure information sought is put on the BMC website before 31 October, 2016 without fail,” Gaikwad said. The Additional Chief Secretary (General Administration Department) shall review pending RTI applications filed by Vira during the last one year with various public authorities other than BMC and make sure information sought is put on the government websites concerned before 31 October.

File photo of Bupendra Vira. PTI

File photo of Bhupendra Vira. PTI

The 72-year-old campaigner, who had taken on land mafia and encroachers, had filed applications with BMC and Slum Rehabilitation Authority and Lokayutka, among others. Vira is survived by a daughter and two sons. He was shot dead on Saturday night at his residence in Mumbai’s Santacruz.

Former corporator Razzaq Khan and his son were arrested in connection with the murder, which police suspect, is a fallout of a land dispute.

Mid-day reported that Bhupendra Vira worked to put out 100 notices and demolition orders against illegal structures, mainly belonging to the accused. There were past records of the long-standing dispute between Vira and Khan. The activist had also complained of danger to his life to the police.

“The assailant entered Vira’s residence around 9 PM yesterday (15 October), put a gun to his temple and fired. The activist died on the spot,” a police officer attached with Vakola police station said. Social activist and former AAP leader Anjali Damania, who had worked with Vira, demanded immediate arrest of the accused. She said Vira was attached to ‘Voice of Kalina’, an advanced locality management (ALM) body and a citizen’s group. Describing him as committed social worker, Damania said, “Vira along with other members of the ALM were fighting against encroachments, illegal structures and land mafia in and around Kalina by filing RTIs.” According to her, several activists had received threats and many of them, including Vira, had filed several complaints at Vakola Police Station in this regard.

According to The Hindu, Razzaq Khan and his son, Amjad were produced in court on Monday and placed in police custody till 24 October. They are being interrogated about the identity of the assassin and the source of the firearm and other such details.

According to The Indian Express, local politicians said that Vira was a BJP member and used to attend party meetings. According to Yeshpal Kanchan, a former Mumbai BJP leader, the deceased was not an RTI activist and was only filing applications against Khan’s illegal properties when his gala shop was seized about six years ago. A settlement was being reached in a series of meetings at the local corporator’s office and the BJP office but could not be concluded because of a disagreement over the “sum demanded to peacefully settle the issue”. This was reiterated by the local Congress corporator Brian Miranda, who added that a personal grudge and money was involved in between Vira and Khan.

In another report by Mid-day, Clarence Pinto from Voice of Kalina said that there is a lot of pressure on activists to stop questioning the system.

With inputs from agencies

Akbar Road to ‘Qabar’ Road: It’s a grave matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Misspelt Urdu signboards in Delhi are an epitaph for a language that once flourished in the land of Mirza Ghalib and Bahadur Shah Zafar. Travelling through Lutyens Delhi and looking out for Urdu signboards to guide you through to Akbar Road? Well, you’d be better off looking for ‘Qabar’ (grave) Road because that’s what the Urdu sign for the leafy avenue housing ministers, bureaucrats and the Congress party headquarters reads.A mere typo, a slip from ‘Ak’ to ‘Qa’, or callous disregard for detail reflecting the state of the language?It became imperative to include Urdu and Punjabi in street signs and signages after the Delhi government declared them official second languages four years ago, but the carelessness with which this is being done has left the government red-facedAnd Akbar Road being reduced to Qabar Road is not the only instance.The Urdu signage for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road, renamed from the original Aurangzeb Road also in Lutyens Delhi, reads “Ye PJ Abdul Kalam” Road and the text for Tees January Marg near Gandhi Smriti says “Ees January Marg”. All of these in the showcase zone of the Indian capital, which with its expansive bungalows housing the most powerful and influential and wide tree lined avenues is amongst the best maintained in the country.It doesn’t stop there either. The signboard pointing to Bhairon Marg near Pragati Maidan is completely illegible.Delhi, the home of Mirza Ghalib, has a rich history in Urdu going back centuries. But this is dying a slow death if its street signs are any indication.”Though we get all the name spellings approved from language centres, the errors may have occurred in the painting or repainting of the boards. We would get it checked and rectified within a day or two,” said a spokesperson of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).The civic body, which looks after Lutyens zone, says its gets the spellings and names approved from authorities such as the Delhi Urdu Academy and the Delhi Punjab Academy. It has its own department to monitor the Hindi signs.However, the Delhi Urdu Academy says it is not consulted. “All these road signs are made by NDMC or MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) and they don’t take any suggestions from us,” says Mohammad Alim, deputy secretary of Delhi Urdu Academy. He adds that the Academy will voluntarily help if the civic authorities were to ask for advice.In 2012, a delegation that accompanied then Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari had a good laugh when they noticed an Urdu road sign for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Marg — the text was so written so badly that the word ‘Mustafa’ itself was indecipherable.A few years before that, Syed Ejaz, head of German Radio’s Urdu service, was surprised when he approached Max Mueller Road and found that Urdu signage had turned it into “Sexmullar”.An Urdu signage pointing to Maulana Azad Road where Vice President Hamid Ansari lives once read Maulana Azurd (sad, pessimistic) Road in 2012. When a journalist pointed out the mistake to the chief minister’s office, NDMC quickly changed it near the vice president’s residence but it continued with the same spelling in other locations.This is unfortunate, say scholars.”This is not the first time that Urdu is being treated like this in Delhi…Urdu is one of the officially recognized languages in India and this callous attitude towards the language is really unfortunate,” says Ali Javed, professor of Urdu in Delhi University, adding: “Seventy percent seats of Urdu teachers are vacant in Delhi. They are in fact forced to teach other subjects”.”Not even a single government school has Urdu as a subject. How will people learn the language?” he adds.

Recyle food waste to cook food

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Controlling the food waste generated across the nation is a mammoth task, but there are certainly ways to make things better. Working on similar strategy, Mumbai-based mechanical engineer with a PhD from the University of Michigan, USA, Dr Kabir Udeshi, has designed a bio-gas plant that has a massive potential to generate clean energy, using food waste.This plant, Udeshi explains, uses the food waste and converts it into cooking gas, liquid fertilisers, and is highly efficient, extremely easy to maintain and comes in two models called Dedko digester and Rhino Digester to manage small and big quantum of food waste.He explains, “The Rhino digester which costs around Rs.3,40,000 is apt for places that generate large quantities of food such as canteens, offices and commercial complexes. It can be installed where food wastage is more or less up to 80 kg a day, while dedko digester, is suitable for household level, as the food quantity accomodated is up to 2kg of food waste a day and costs Rs.30,000.”The digesters also generate liquid fertiliser, which comes out through a tube and can be directly poured into the plants as these act as organic fertiliser. Since this is implemented at the source of waste generation, the process eliminates the need for collection and transportation of garbage. These digesters are installed at various places in Mumbai including Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s H/West ward office.

India’s decision to seal Pak border irrational: Chinese experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s move to completely seal its border with Pakistan was a ” very irrational decision” and would further complicate India-China relations considering Beijing’s “all-weather” strategic ties with Islamabad, a state media report on Tuesday quoted leading experts as saying.”India is making a very irrational decision, since no exhaustive investigation has been conducted after the Uri incident, and no evidence proves Pakistan is behind the attack,” the Global Times quoted Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow from the official thinktank Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy, as saying. Hu was commenting on Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s announcement on Friday that the 3,323-km-long border between India and Pakistan would be “completely sealed” by December 2018. A “completely sealed” border would further hinder the already scarce border trade and talks between the two countries, Hu said. Wang Dehua, director of the Institute for Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, said that a sealed border would only disrupt peace efforts made by the two sides. “The country’s decision reflects its Cold War mentality, and would only cause deeper hatred among residents living in Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir,” Hu added. Since Pakistan is China’s “all-weather” strategic partner, India’s decision would make China-Pakistan-India relations more complicated, Hu said. But he said a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute is in the interest of China’s homeland security, especially its western regions. Their hardline comments come ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India this week to take part in the BRICS Summit in Goa during which he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will be their second meeting in two months. The two met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou last month.Yesterday, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong defended China’s “technical hold” in the UN on a ban on Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad. “China is opposed to all forms of terrorism. There should be no double standards on counter terrorism. Nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counter terrorism,” he had said indirectly accusing India.

Delhi: 6,712 cases of chikungunya reported

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 6,712 people have been afflicted with chikungunya in the national capital, with 1,473 cases of the vector-borne disease being reported in the last week.According to a municipal report released on Monday, out of the total cases recorded till October 8, nearly 620 of them have been reported in areas falling under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). Nearly 5,300 cases were reported in the city till October 1, according to South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which tabulates the data for vector-borne disease cases in the national capital on behalf of all the civic bodies here.Among the three corporations, 618 cases have been reported in areas under NDMC, 560 under SDMC and 253 under East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) this season. At least 15 fatalities have been reported at various hospitals in the city due to complications triggered by the disease, though the civic bodies have kept the death tally at zero.Delhi and other parts of north India are facing a spike in chikungunya cases after nearly 10 years, with the experts claiming that the rising number of cases could have been due to “evolution” in the chikungunya virus (CHIKV).However, doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here have identified the genotype of the CHIKV, which they claim is the same as the one that caused the 2006 outbreak of the vector-borne disease. “We have identified the genotype of the virus–East Central South African–and sent the report to the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). It is the same genotype that was in circulation in 2006 outbreak,” Lalit Dar of Department of Microbiology at AIIMS had earlier said.Chikungunya is generally considered a non-fatal disease. It is caused by the chikungunya virus which has one serotype. There are three genotypes of this serotype — Asian, West African and East Central South African.According to municipal data, the last time the number of affected people had reached the three-figure mark in Delhi was in 2011. In 2006, over 13 lakh suspected cases of chikungunya were reported, the data said. At least 19,617 people have been affected by chikungunya across the country till September 25, with 10,334 in Karnataka and 1,187 in Maharashtra, according to NVBDCP.

It will take 2 to 4 months to set up mohalla clinics: Delhi CM Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said there will be a delay of about two to four months to set up the proposed 1,000 mohalla clinics, a month after NDMC decided to remove such structures which have been built without permission. The work of mohalla clinics were to be completed by the end of December as per earlier decision of the government.Kejriwal said Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has given principal approval to use government land for setting up mohalla clinics. The move comes after North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) had last month decided to remove mohalla clinics built on roadsides, saying government didn’t seek its prior approval.On the delay in setting up mohalla clinics, he said: “There have been a tug of war for the last three-four months. Our Health Secretary has been transfered. There are also several issues of land for setting up mohalla clinics.””One of the municipal corporations had even said that it will demolish all mohalla clinics set up by the government. These issues are being sorted out,” he said.Mohalla clinics scheme is one of the flagship projects of the AAP government and 105 such facilities have been set up currently in different areas of the national capital, with most of these operating out of porta-cabins.The Chief Minister said, he was happy that in a meeting held on Thursday on the directions of Supreme Court, “in-principal” decision has been taken that government land can be used for setting up mohalla clinics.”1,000 mohalla clinics and 100 poly-clinics will soon be set up. We cannot achieve the target (of 1,000 mohalla clinics) by December. There may be a delay of two-four months,” he said while talking to reporters at his official residence.The Arvind Kejriwal-led government had an aim to increase the number of such clinics to 1,000 by the end of this year. These are planned to be set up in commercial hubs, including Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama Place, and Subhash Place, in order to provide medical facility to the working class there.Delhi government has identified 300 schools where such clinics will be set up for giving medical service to students near their study places.

Another turf war: Lt Gov Najeeb Jung slaps notice against illegal Mohalla Clinics in Delhi

New Delhi: Even though the joint battle against the chikungunya epidemic, declared by the Delhi government and the Lt Governor is yet to be won, the turf war between the two resurfaced again on Friday after the latter slapped notices on the government for building Mohalla Clinics illegally.

Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind KejriwalLt. Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

The reemergence of the battle for domain adds much to the woes of the Delhites, struck by chikungunya outbreak, queuing in the Mohalla Clinics to avail free medicines, advice and diagnostic tests. The new stand-off came to public glare after the Delhi Chief Minister posted a news item on his Facebook page, about the slapping of notices by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for allegedly building Mohalla Clinics without permission of the MCD. The news item also says that some of the Mohalla Clinics are being built blocking footpaths.

The tug of war that has put the common man at the receiving end is seen with much bitterness.

“When the question is of public service, I think that minor deviations from rule should be over looked. Mohalla Clinics are doing great public service by providing us free medicine, free medical advice and free tests. If the Lt Governor must evict such a facility, then an alternative to it has to be given to us for meeting our medical needs,” saïd Deepak Katyal, a resident of Patparganj.

Jung issued notices to the Chief Secretary and PWD Secretary of the Delhi government after the MCD complaint to him about the deviations, said a report.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar told Firstpost that the Delhi government is setting up structures wherever it wants, just to show that it is doing something.

“Structures are built blocking footpaths in the name of Mohalla Clinics. What do they want to prove?”he asked.

He also said that the Delhi government has made one Mohalla Clinic in Paschim Vihar where already three dispensaries — one run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the other two by the Central government and the Delhi government itself — already exist within half a kilometre of each other.

“Do they want to close the dispensary run by the Delhi government and run the Mohalla Clinic there?” he questioned.

“Law will take its own course,” he said when asked what the MCD plans to do after serving of notice, hinting that these structures may be evicted.

Nayyar said that the Aam Aadmi Party hardly listens to anyone. Hence, he said the MCD is left with not many options.

“They even ask for proof of surgical strikes. What can one expect from them,” he said.

Hinting that the move against Mohalla Clinic is a mere turf war, Abhishek Kumar, an Aam Aadmi Party functionary, said that there is hardly any such clinic made on the footpaths.

“When a Mohalla Clinic is built, due suggestions from the local residents and local MLA is taken. I do not think that the local residents will allow it to be built on the footpaths. It is utterly wrong to say that Mohalla Clinics exist on footpaths,” he said.

Kumar said that Mohalla Clinics are generally built in areas where people want a government health facility near to their dwelling places.

“In most cases, Mohalla Clinics are built where there is no health facility,” he said.

But he could not tell for sure whether all the Mohalla Clinics had permission from MCD.

He also said that patients flow to the Mohalla Clinics continue as the battle against chikungunya is still not won.

On the other hand, a local resident of Peeragarhi who did not wish to be named said that evicting Mohalla Clinics will make no sense. For in Delhi, a number of illegal colonies were regularised in the past, so there is no point in evicting Mohalla Clinics.

“After all Mohalla Clinics are providing great service to the poor for whom healthcare expense is unbearable,” he said.

Delhi stung by chikungunya, dengue: Angry SC rebukes Najeeb Jung, Arvind Kejriwal

In September last year, parents of a seven-year-old boy named Avinash ran from hospital to hospital, trying in vain to save their dying child. They begged everyone to admit their child, who was suffering from dengue, but by the time someone consented to treat their son, it was too late.

The parents, not able to cope with their loss, committed suicide by jumping off a four-storeyed building in south Delhi’s Lado Sarai.

Following a Times of India report, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) passed an order on 16 September, 2015 to treat the case as a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Dengue. Representational image. AFPDengue. Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The petition came up for hearing on 4 October. After hearing from all the parties in the case – CU Singh, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the government of Delhi, the Solicitor General appearing for the government of Delhi, the Amicus Curiae – the court held that “as all the parties have expressed the view that everybody would like to co-operate for the benefit of the people of Delhi. In our opinion, for the general interest of the people of Delhi and considering the fact that a large number of people are affected by dengue and chikungunya, it would be appropriate if a meeting is convened by the Lieutenant Governor on 5 October, 2016 at 2 pm.”

The order further read, “The participants should resolve issues relating to the better management of the problems faced by the people of Delhi due to dengue and chikungunya – and other issues, if so advised. The interests of the people of Delhi are paramount.”

According to the 4 October order, the Solicitor General stated that he will request the chief secretary of the government of Delhi to convey this to the Lieutenant Governor and the participants in the meeting will be: the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal; Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain; Dr Puneet Kumar Goel, commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation; Mohanjeet Singh, commissioner of East Delhi Municipal Corporation; PK Gupta, commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation;  Naresh Kumar, chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation; Mangu Singh, chairman of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation; AK Puthia, general manager of the Northern Railway;  KK Sharma, chief secretary of Delhi; CK Mishra, union health secretary; Uday Pratap Singh, the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority and B Reddy Sankar Babu, chief executive officer of the Delhi Cantonment Board.

Further, it was agreed that the Amicus Curiae will also be present in the meeting and the L-G will be assisted by an officer of his choice in the meeting.

The meeting, however, did not bear any results as reflected in the 6 October order of the apex court when the petition was called on for hearing again. The apex court in its order observed, “We have gone through the minutes of the meeting held yesterday and are quite disappointed with the outcome.”

The order states that the Solicitor General informed that another meeting will be convened on Thursday by the Lieutenant Governor at 5.30 pm with the amicus and the officers mentioned in the order dated 4 October, 2016. However, as stated in the order, senior counsel CU Singh stated  that the chief minister is unwell and perhaps may not be able to attend the meeting. Also, that the Delhi Development Authority does not have any incumbent vice-chairman and that the chief secretary, KK Sharma, is on leave and in their place other persons in charge would participate in the meeting.

The court also made an important observation that “it was pointed out to us by learned amicus on 4 October, 2016 that there is a huge amount of garbage lying in and around the city and that is also one of the reasons for vector-borne diseases.”

“The participants will discuss effective ways to have the garbage cleared so that standards of sanitation and hygiene are maintained in and around Delhi,” the court stated in its order.

It further states that “we expect the participants to keep the interests of the people of Delhi in mind and look out at the entire exercise in a positive manner and think about the future rather than the past. We also expect the efforts to be consultative, collaborative and cooperative.”

As on 30 August, as reported by PTI, a massive surge in vector-borne diseases in the national capital was observed. Chikungunya and dengue cases in the city shot up to 423 and 487 respectively. According to the report released by the civic authorities, 423 chikungunya cases were diagnosed in Delhi till 27 August, while 368 out of the 487 dengue cases were recorded in August.

The PIL that is being heard by the apex court is a reminder of the sad episode involving Avinash’s parents and stands testament to the fact that vector-borne diseases, when not tackled sensitively, can shatter lives. In this context, the role of civic authorities becomes most important and any lethargy on their part is sure to create ‘disappointments’.

NGT’s website hacked: Litigants, lawyers unable to access daily orders and judgements

New Delhi: The hacked website of National Green Tribunal remained unaccessible for the second consecutive day on Wednesday after it was blocked by National Informatics Centre, with officials hoping that it would become operational in another couple of days.

National Green Tribunal's logo. Image courtesy: conservationinida.org

National Green Tribunal’s logo. Image courtesy: conservationinida.org

“This site can’t be reached,” said a message posted on the green panel’s website. NGT officials said the NIC was working on the site, which came under cyber attack with a group posting profanities, and it was likely to be restored soon.

“We have already complained to National Informatics Centre and the site is blocked as of now. We are in touch with them and hopefully the website would be restored in a day or two,” said an NGT official on condition of anonymity. The NGT officials said they were providing the causelists of cases to the NGT Bar Association who are in turn circulating it to others.

A case has already been registered in the cyber cell at the Tilak Marg police station in this regard. Litigants and lawyers, who accessed the website for a list of hearings scheduled were having a tough time as they could not access important contents like daily orders or judgements.

Advocate Balendu Shekhar, who represents East Delhi Municipal Corporation in the green panel, said the NGT’s orders used to get uploaded daily by the evening but after the hacking episode, the site has been down for two days now.

“The biggest issue is of compliance of the NGT order. Non-availabilty of the judicial order leads to delay in implementation of the order. So there is always a threat of contempt looming large,” he said. Another lawyer Gautam Singh said the NGT website was quite useful as it gave out the composition of bench, list of cases, daily orders, judgements or any latest announcements.

“There is now a delay in execution of orders as we have to ask for the orders which were earlier available online,” he said. Amul Mani Tripathi, a litigant, blamed the NGT officials for the problem and said he has filed a case but was totally unaware about when it would be listed for hearing.

The NGT website was hacked on 3 October evening by a group claiming it was an act of “revenge” against Indian army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control.

Supreme Court seeks Kerala’s response on public display of dead stray dogs

New Delhi: Taking strong note of photographs of street dogs being beaten to death in Kerala by politicians and other people, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the state government to file its response within three weeks along with details of action taken on the offenders.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit, however, refrained themselves from commenting on the photographs, submitted by some lawyers, but said the Chief Secretary shall also file the affidavit along with the response of state government.

A file image of a stray dog being burried in a village in Kannur.

A file image of a stray dog being burried in a village in Kannur.

The court said it will be an obligation of the state government that orders of the apex court are followed “scrupulously” and there is no public demonstration in the manner in which the photographs depict.

The bench also granted time to Centre to file its response within six weeks on the module dealing with aspects ‘Implementation Framework for street dog population management, rabies eradication and reducing man-dog conflict’ filed by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

The bench which was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by various NGOs and individual petitioners posted the matter after six weeks.

The apex court had on 14 September, said compassion should be shown to stray dogs but these animals should not be allowed to become a menace to the society and a balance needs to be created for dealing with such situations.

The AWBI had suggested to the court that a Central Coordination Committee with representation from various union ministeries should be set up to implement these measures.

An apex court-appointed panel headed by former Kerala High Court judge Justice SS Jagan has in its interim report said that more than one lakh people in Kerala have been bitten by dogs in 2015-16 and warned that frequent stray dog attacks on children there has created a dangerous situation.

Some NGOs and individual petitioners have moved the apex court against the decisions of some high courts, including the Bombay High Court and the Kerala High Court, to allow municipal authorities to deal with the stray dogs menace as per the rules.

The apex court had earlier declined to pass an interim order to stay culling of stray dogs by Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation on a PIL by advocate Anupam Tripathi, saying the killing of dangerous dogs and those infected with rabies should be guided by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.

SC directs Arvind Kejriwal, Najeeb Jung to prepare strategy for curbing dengue, chikungunya

New Delhi: Warning Delhi government against playing any blame game, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendra Jain to hold a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung by Wednesday to chalk out a strategy for curbing vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

“There is no question of playing any blame game. You have the responsibility to look after the people of Delhi. You may be great but you have to do something to maintain that stature. Nothing digging of the past should happen. You have to look at the future,” a bench of justices MB Lokur and L Nageswara Rao said.

It refused to go into the allegations and counter-allegations over power tussle between the LG and Kejriwal-led government and said “no substitute” should attend the meeting with LG, except whose names have been proposed. The court also asked Union Health secretary PK Mishra, Chief Secretary KK Sharma, commissioners of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and New Delhi Municipal Council, CEO of Delhi Cantonment Board to attend the meeting with LG.

Apart from the officials and office bearers of civic bodies, the court also asked Amicus Curiae Colin Gonsalves, Chairman of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and General Manager of Northern Railway and Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority to attend the meeting to discuss the steps to be taken to check the menace in the city.

The bench expressed annoyance after senior advocate Chander Uday Singh appearing for Delhi government and Health Minister Satyender Jain alleged that officials are not reporting to the minister and not coming to the meetings. “There cannot be two Delhi governments. Officials are not reporting to us they are not coming to the meeting. We should know with whom we should sit and talk,” Singh said.

To this, the infuriated bench said, “Don’t beat around the bush. Do we tell you with whom you should sit and talk. Who is the elected government? There cannot be two elected governments. The elected government has responsibility to look after the people.”

Poll-bound Mumbai civic body BMC redraws ward quota boundaries ahead of polls

Mumbai: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which will go to the polls early next year, announced on Monday the reservations of seats by draw of lottery, unveiling a new electoral map that will force political parties to redraw their strategy to win votes.

Though the total number of seats across the metropolis remained the same at 227, lottery rejigged positioning of wards by following the rotation policy for reservation.

Of the 227 seats, 149 were kept open for general category candidates (74 for women and 75 for men), 61 for OBCs (31 for women and 30 for men), 15 for SCs (8 for women and 7 for men) while 2 seats were reserved for ST nominees (1 each for woman and 1 for man).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Members of general public, aspirants and political leaders were present to witness the lottery proceedings that was personally monitored by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

In 2012, BMC became the first civic body in India to reserve 50 per cent of its seats for women candidates.

State Election Commission (SEC) officials conducted the lottery in the presence of Mehta and redrew the electoral ward boundaries. Each ward will have a population of over 54,000.

The wards that were put under the open category in the last elections (in 2012) were this time reserved for various categories as per the rotation rule for quotas.

Election Commission will now publish the draft information of all wards on 5 October to which citizens can put forward their objections and suggestions till 20 October, said a senior official from SEC.

Currently, the country’s richest municipal body is jointly ruled by Shiv Sena and BJP, who are in power since last 20 years.

Shiv Sena won 76 seats and BJP 32 in the last elections. They were later supported by over a dozen Independent Corporators. Congress secured 50 seats, MNS 28, NCP 14 and Samajwadi Party bagged 8, among others.

Some Corporators, however, termed this exercise of redrawing electoral boundaries as “unfair” and said it will adversely affect their calculations and preparations for the upcoming polls.

“Now I won’t be contesting from the ward where I was elected last time and worked hard to serve the people. I will have to contest from a different ward,” said Sandeep Deshpande, Group leader of MNS in the House, who lost his seat in the reshuffle.

Chhagan Bhujbal in land-lease defaulters’ list in south Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Plots worth thousands of crore or equivalent to 12 times the size of Oval Maidan await renewal of lease with the city collectorate. One of the 639 defaulters is imprisoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Chandrakant Bhujbal. If these leases are renewed, it will make the collectorate richer by over Rs 3,000 crore. All of these land parcels are in south Mumbai.There are also many other plots within south Mumbai whose renewals are due, but they fall under the jurisdiction of either the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)or the Mumbai Port Trust.Under the collectorate’s ambit, in south Mumbai, there is a total land area of10,95,222.14 sq m. Of these, the BMC alone occupies 10%. Bhujbal’s plot in Mazgaon is spread over 38.46 sq m. Though he was home minister and deputy chief minister, he did not renew its lease, due from January 1, 1973. In the same year, he was elected as corporator from Mazgaon on a Shiv Sena ticket. Till 1984, he was leader of opposition in the civic body.In the collectorate’s records, even the then Royal Indian Navy, now Indian Navy, is a defaulter (7,416.17 sq m). So are the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking, Western Railway etc. Interestingly, even the first citizen of the state – the Governor – finds mention in the list of defaulters. As per records, “Governor of Maharashtra”, with an area of 325.44 sq m, too, hasn’t got the lease renewed after it got expired on September 30, 1988.In the recent past, only nine leases, accounting for 10,765.37 sq m, have been renewed. “Though leases of gymkhanas have expired, since a policy for them is yet to be formalised, those survey numbers (details) are not mentioned,” said Dr Ashwini Joshi, collector, Mumbai city. There are over 8 gymkhanas in south Mumbai, including the Bombay Gymkhana.According to her, the defaulters have to apply for lease renewals within a month. “As per a government resolution, notices to all leaseholders have been sent, but since their responses were inadequate, a public appeal had to be made,” she said.Earlier, the state government had the powers to renew leases and collect the revenue, but from December 2012, collectors have been entrusted with this task. “We expect a huge amount through these renewals. I cannot state a specific figure,” said Joshi. If there is an illegal transfer, a different charge will be applicable. This fee varies from case to case.Top defaultersBrihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (1,10,477.73 sq m)Acworth Leper Asylum at Wadala (68,768.75 sq m)The Bombay Xaverian Corporation Ltd at Mahim (44,272.54 sq m)Shapoorji Bomanjee Billimoria KT at Mazgaon (38,816.89 sq m)Rustum Behramji Colah Minoo Murzaban Dalal at Mazgaon (25,506.89 sq m)His Highness Sultan Mahomed Shah Ali Aga Khan (20,332.94 sq m)Total defaulters 639Total renewals 9

Tamil Nadu: Filing of nominations for local body polls ends

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Filing of nominations for two-phase October 17 and 19 local body polls to over 1.31 lakh posts ended on Monday with the State Election Commission directing 35 poll observers to report at their districts of posting. SEC, in an official release, said it has directed poll observers–27 IAS officials and eight District Revenue Officers– to be stationed at their respective districts by Friday.Meanwhile, the SEC has convened a meeting of all recognised political parties over the civic polls in Chennai on Tuesday. The details relating to the total number of nominations received across Tamil Nadu is awaited. Elections will be held to over 1.31 lakh civic body posts, including 1,18,974 posts in rural and 12,820 posts in urban local bodies.Counting of votes will be taken up on October 21. Scrutiny of nominations will be taken up on Tuesday. In the first phase, 10 municipal corporations, 64 municipalities, 255 town panchayats, 332 district panchayats, 3,250 village panchayat unions and 50,640 village panchayats, would go to the polls on October 17.In the second phase on October 19, Chennai and Dindigul Municipal Corporations, 60 municipalities, 273 town panchayats, 323 district panchayats, 3,221 panchayat unions, 48,684 village panchayats would go to the polls. Corporation mayors, deputy mayors, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayats, panchayat unions, and vice-presidents of village panchayats are elected by councillors and ward members.Councillors of Corporations, municipalities and town panchayats are elected directly by the people. Similarly, village panchayat presidents, ward members of village panchayats, district panchayats and panchayat unions are elected by people.

Gangtok awarded ‘Cleanest Tourist Destination’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, has been named as the ‘Cleanest City Destination’ by the Union Ministry of Tourism.The award was received from the Prime Minister by the Commissioner, Gangtok Municipal Corporation in New Delhi on September 30, an official release said in Gangtok on Sunday. The Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, nodal Ministries responsible for implementing the flagship programme Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Urban and Gramin), jointly organised a day-long national workshop ‘INDOSAN’ at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Friday.The workshop which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister saw the participation of Union Ministers of the Ministries concerned, Chief Ministers of many states and Ministers in-charge of Swachh Bharat Mission.The Sikkim delegation was led by state Minister, Urban Development (UD) and Housing Development (HD), N K Subba, Mayor GMC, PCE/Secretary UD and HD, Municipal Commissioner, State Mission Directors (Urban and Gramin), Officials and Panchayats, ADCs-Development Namchi and Gyalshing.The delegates from Sikkim participated in the workshop, particularly in the technical session on Sanitation Technologies, Solid-Liquid Waste Management, inclusive Sanitation and Role of IT and Technology in SBM. A plenary session on Inter-Ministerial collaboration was also conducted, the release said.

Maharashtra to have new law regulating hookah bars soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon, Maharashtra will have a new law to regulate hookah bars. The decision has been taken in the wake of repeated complaints being received from the public over hookah bars mushrooming all over the state. Top sources in the home department said the new policy would make it mandatory to procure a special licence for hookah parlours. At present, such parlours come under the Maharashtra Police Act rules and Tobacco Control Act of the Central government, which do not mention anything specific about hookah.”We are fine-tuning the process and are hopeful that the proposal would become a law in the winter session,” said a senior officer.The demand to have a policy to regulate hookah bars was raised in the last winter session in Nagpur as well, after 10 youths and two women were arrested from such parlours in the city. It is reported that the hookah parlour was serving customers till 4am, way beyond the 1.30am deadline.The proposed policy will set criteria such as age limit for visitors, bar timings and other necessary concerns. There will also be a mechanism to check the quality and toxicity of the substance served in hookah. Hookah lounges have been operating according to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) rules, set by the Centre, in keeping with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.The state then put a blanket ban on hookah bars in 2011, after Shubha Raul, the then Mumbai mayor, launched an agitation against them. She even staged a dharna outside popular joints and filed a petition to ban the hookah parlours.Acting on the petition, Bombay High Court asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reset the rules. Many other states then followed suit, causing the hookah lounge business to shut down. The city had to shut close to 400 hookah lounges.The bars, however, came back after the Supreme Court recognised that the BMC could not interfere with them. The law prohibits smoking in public places, except in designated smoking rooms in hotels and restaurants. The apex court pointed out that the law permits the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to adults in areas outside a 100yard radius of educational institutions.

Rains lash Mumbai for 6th day in row; heavy downpour likely

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbaikars this morning woke up to heavy showers as intermittent rains continued to lash the city and its outskirts for sixth day on Friday even as the weatherman predicted more heavy downpour in the metropolis. According to disaster management control room of the civic body, no injury or casualty has been reported so far. “Our officers are keeping a close watch on the rain and preparedness. Few routes of BEST buses have been diverted and local suburban services were running late by 5 to 10 minutes,” a disaster management cell official said.He said they have received several complaints of potholes on roads across the city which have been causing inconvenience to the motorists. “We take every complaint very sincerely, and each complaint is forward to the concerned authorities with a deadline to address it,” the official said. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), its weather stations recorded 32.5 mm rainfall in the island city, 25.14 mm in western suburbs and 23.77 mm in the eastern suburbs in last 24 hours till 8 AM today.”Heavy to very heavy rains are likely to occur at one or two places in the next 24 hours,” IMD, Mumbai Director V K Rajiv said. He said an alert was issued yesterday to fishermen not to venture into the deep sea, and they were reviewing it today too.The weather stations at Dahanu Road recorded 3.07 mm rainfall, Alibaugh 96.4 mm, Ratnagiri 33.8 mm, Mahabaleshwar 44.4 mm, Harnai 136.7 mm, Nashik 26.2 mm, Nanded 24.5 mm, Parbhani 16.5 mm, and Solapur 24.7 mm in last 24 hours. An official from IMD Mumbai region said Colaba recorded 45.2 mm rainfall while Santacruz received 39.7 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, the state Disaster Management Authority said intermittent or continuous rain with a few heavy spells are likely in Mumbai and suburbs. “The cyclonic circulation is slowly moving towards adjoining districts of Maharashtra with Telangana. Heavy rains likely at few locations in these districts. Heavy to very heavy rain/spells also likely in Raigad, Ratnagiri districts and South Madhya Maharashtra districts with one or two heavy to very heavy spells.It also warned of heavy to very heavy rains at few places in Konkan, Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidharbha during next 24-48 hours.

Rains lash Mumbai for 6th day in row; heavy downpour likely in next 24 hours

Mumbai: Mumbaikars this morning woke up to heavy showers as intermittent rains continued to lash the city and its outskirts for sixth day on Friday even as the weatherman predicted more heavy downpour in the metropolis.

According to disaster management control room of the civic body, no injury or casualty has been reported so far. “Our officers are keeping a close watch on the rain and preparedness. Few routes of BEST buses have been diverted and local suburban services were running late by 5 to 10 minutes,” a disaster management cell official said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

He said they have received several complaints of potholes on roads across the city which have been causing inconvenience to the motorists. “We take every complaint very sincerely, and each complaint is forward to the concerned authorities with a deadline to address it,” the official said.

According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), its weather stations recorded 32.5 mm rainfall in the island city, 25.14 mm in western suburbs and 23.77 mm in the eastern suburbs in last 24 hours till 8 AM on Friday.

“Heavy to very heavy rains are likely to occur at one or two places in the next 24 hours,” IMD, Mumbai Director VK Rajiv told PTI.

He said an alert was issued on Thursday to fishermen not to venture into the deep sea, and they were reviewing it on Friday too.

The weather stations at Dahanu Road recorded 3.07 mm rainfall, Alibaugh 96.4 mm, Ratnagiri 33.8 mm, Mahabaleshwar 44.4 mm, Harnai 136.7 mm, Nashik 26.2 mm, Nanded 24.5 mm, Parbhani 16.5 mm, and Solapur 24.7 mm in last 24 hours.

An official from IMD Mumbai region said Colaba recorded 45.2 mm rainfall while Santacruz received 39.7 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the state Disaster Management Authority said intermittent or continuous rain with a few heavy spells are likely in Mumbai and suburbs. “The cyclonic circulation is slowly moving towards adjoining districts of Maharashtra with Telangana. Heavy rains likely at few locations in these districts. Heavy to very heavy rain/spells also likely in Raigad, Ratnagiri districts
and South Madhya Maharashtra districts with one or two heavy to very heavy spells.

It also warned of heavy to very heavy rains at few places in Konkan, Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidharbha during next 24-48 hours.

Chikungunya spread: SC to hear PIL on menace in Delhi on September 26

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday against the Delhi government over its inability to control the spread of chikungunya, dengue and malaria. The plea was filed by Delhi-based doctor Anil Mittal who asked for proper steps to be taken to stop the spread of chikungunya, dengue and malaria.The apex court division bench is headed by Justice Anil R Dave has decided to hear the plea on September 26. The PIL makes South Delhi Municipal Corporation and other wards of Delhi as party in the matter.The plea says Delhi has been used as a dumping ground. Earlier, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday and apprised him of the fact that the Delhi High Court had asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) last year to take steps to prevent the spread of these diseases.Talking to ANI, Satyendra Jain said Kejriwal has charged the MCD with not carrying out fogging the way it should have been done and had asked him to get it done properly. Meanwhile, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia held a press conference to announce that he will ensure that dengue, chikungunya and malaria in Delhi are kept under check through intensive fogging in all areas. Sisodia spoke about how flogging will be used till the end of October to remove all mosquitoes. He further mentioned that although this work is under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), still the Delhi government will co-operate with the MCD to push the agenda to fight these vector-borne diseases all over Delhi. Several cases of dengue and chikungunya have been reported from all over Delhi in different hospitals. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has admitted 100 patients who have tested positive for chikungunya and 39 tested positive for dengue.Five deaths from chikungunya complications were reported till yesterday at Apollo Hospital here, most of the victims were aged 80 or above. AIIMS laboratories have tested 1,443 chikungunya blood test samples positive till September 13. At the Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, 425 chikungunya cases have been reported this season while 112 have been diagnosed with dengue. At Safdarjung Hospital, also Centre-run, 536 chikungunya cases and 342 dengue cases have been confirmed this season.

Maximum cases of chikungunya in Maharashtra recorded from Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 90% of the total 439 cases of chikungunya in Maharashtra since January this year have been reported from Pune district, according to a latest Health Department report.”So far, 439 cases of chikungunya have been recorded in the state. Out of these, 393 cases are detected in Pune district between January 1 and August 31,” Joint Director, health department, Kanchan Jagtap said.In Pune, out of 393, 225 cases were reported from Pune city, while 168 from rural parts of the district, she said, adding that the figures indicate the city civic body needs to intensify surveillance and eliminate the breeding spots of aedes aegypti mosquito which causes dengue and chikungunya. She said neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has negligible number and only 14 cases were recorded till August 31.Meanwhile, apprising on rising menace dengue in the state, Jagtap said till August 31, a total of 2,572 cases were found to be positive for the vector-borne disease. Of the total number, 1,672 were recorded in urban parts of the state, while 900 in rural. “In August alone this year, 794 cases of dengue were detected in the state, of which 620 were found in urban areas,” the officer said. She attributed intermittent rainfall, accumulation of water, and absence of effective solid waste management as key reasons behind spiralling cases of chikungunya and dengue.”We have been issuing constant advisories to the civic bodies and asked them to strengthen the anti-larval and anti-mosquito surveillance, do constant fogging, create awareness among people to keep their surroundings dry and not allowing water accumulation,” said Jagtap.With Pune recording the maximum number of chikungunya cases, Jagtap said health department is constantly in touch with the civic authority and has asked it to adopt exhaustive measures to bring the cases down.”We have asked them to do mapping of most affected areas in the city and create awareness among people. I am sure that if exhaustive and preventive measures are adopted in the city, we collectively can get rid of diseases like dengue and chikungunya,” she said.

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