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- Kidney failures in Maharashtra village due to contaminated water? Shishir Arya and TO Abraham| TNN | Updated: Mar 12, 2018, 11:31 IST HIGHLIGHTS
The water from the village will be tested at the state govt lab in Pune for presence of heavy metals.
Many govt officials swooped down on the village after the death of 14 villagers due to kidney ailments.
Miffed over the row, Yavatmal guardian minister Madan Yerawar said kidney problems can also happen due to ageing and hypertension.
ASOLA (YAVATMAL): The health department has finally acted upon and collected water samples from Asola village, where kidney failures are reported to be endemic.
The water will be tested at the state government lab in Pune for presence of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury or chromium, which can lead to kidney ailments. A blanket health check-up is also being planned at Asola as well as nearby villages.
Many government officials swooped down on the village, days after the TOI first reported on March 9 the death of 14 villagers due to kidney ailments. Yavatmal guardian minister Madan Yerawar too reached on Sunday. A miffed Yerawar first summoned Ajay Rathore, a lab technician living in Asola, who first raised the alarm.
Last week, Rathore had filed a complaint with the district collector that 14 people died due to kidney failure over the last five-six years at Asola. This had set the official machinery rolling.
“So it’s you who said that people have died of kidney failure. Please tell the cause as well,” Yerawar said to Rathore. “Do you know kidney problems can happen due to ageing, hypertension and even diabetes? You claim the water is contaminated here. I know the entire area thoroughly, why are there no deaths in neighbouring villages,” asked the minister.
Rathore says his suspicion was aroused when tests at his lab at Ner, 12km from Asola, showed high creatinine serum levels in six people in September. In February, one person died of kidney failure. “I began inquiring and found 20 others were patients at Yavatmal or Amravati hospitals for kidney ailments. On March 8, I held a blood test camp. Out of 172 persons tested, high creatinine was found in 61,” he said.
Rathore then reported the matter to the district collector. The administration, however, is not convinced. “We don’t want things to be blown out of proportion. These may be due to normal deterioration of kidneys,” said Yerawar. Rathore’s list has a 20-year-old as well as some in their 40s.
Rathore and other villagers are insisting water should be treated before it is supplied to the village. The government, on the other hand, wants to ascertain whether the kidney failures were due to water or other causes. Some other theories are also doing the rounds.
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The villagers have told the minister that shopkeepers sell medicines without prescription to give relief from pain. The minister ordered sealing of all such shops immediately.
Soon after Rathore’s complaint, even the Sawangi Meghe Hospital and Medical College had waded in. Villagers say 34 persons were taken to the hospital in neighbouring Wardha. No tests were done, but the cases were judged on symptomatic basis. Out of them five returned, for lack of space in the hospital. The health department also tested blood samples of 14 people identified by Rathore. The report says creatinine was only marginally high in one of them, said a medical official. The government medical team also countered Rathore’s report on the 172 persons tested by him. “Out of 61, only 12 have high creatinine levels, which means above 2,” said a government doctor. Other tests are needed to confirm that, the doctor said.
The doctors said out of the 14 deaths, the cause is known only in the last case. There is no record for the others.
- 350 houses, shops face demolition in Katol road widening project TNN | Mar 12, 2018, 02:25 IST
Nagpur: Over 350 residential buildings and shops situated at Gittikhadan, Hazaripahad, Friends Colony, Vayusena Nagar, KT Nagar, Narmada Colony and Vrindavan Colony in West Nagpur are facing the threat of demolition due to widening and concreting of Katol Road.
BJP West Nagpur MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh and Gittikhadan-Borgaon-Friends Colony Shopkeepers Association have decided to oppose the project proposed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Deshmukh told TOI they will request union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari to direct the NHAI for only concreting the road instead of widening.
“Gadkari has organized meeting in this regard on March 17. NHAI has proposed to widen and concretize road from Vidyut Bhavan/MSEB Square up to Katol. The stretch from MSEB Square to Ring Road is in city limits. At present, the road’s width is 30-35m. NHAI proposed to widen it to 45m and will require 10-15m on both sides of the road. Over 350 houses and shops are situated in this area. NHAI should drop the widening plan,” he said.
Deshmukh said NHAI restricted itself to 30m in some stretch beyond New Katol check post that falls outside city limit but the proposed 45m is within the city limit. “Land on some stretch beyond New Katol check post belongs to Forest department and under Gorewada forest project. Therefore, NHAI is not going to widen that stretch. If forest is important, then why not residential buildings and shops,” he said.
Rajesh Lanjewar, treasure of Gittikhadan-Borgaon-Friends Colony Shopkeepers Association, in a press conference on Saturday, said over 350 families will become homeless and jobless due to the project. “The road was widened in 2003. Many had faced huge losses and have managed to establish themselves in these 15 years. Any project should be for welfare and development of the people and not for vanishing them,” he said.
Lanjewar added that the famous Hanuman temple, Old Satyanarayana temple and Buddha Vihar situated on the road will require to be razed for the project.
“Majority of the areas in West Nagpur are dependent on shops situated on this road. Public will also face serious inconvenience. We hope Gadkari and Deshmukh will save over 350 families from destruction,” he said.
Other office bearers of the association, including president Mahesh Khandelwal, secretary Suresh Girhe, vice-president Dilip Khorgade, were present during the press conference.
- NMC to start bicycle sharing project Proshun Chakraborty| tnn | Updated: Mar 13, 2018, 08:34 IST
NAGPUR: With a view to promote non-motorized transport, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is all set to start bicycle sharing project.
The NMC’s traffic department has submitted a proposal before the general body meeting, to held on March 20, for its nod to invite expression of interest for appointing an operator to run the project. The operator will be responsible for purchase of the bicycles and its maintenance. The bicycles will be used under self-start dockless cycle transport scheme.
As per the proposal, the operator will solely be liable for all the expenses, repairs and its usage. NMC can appoint more than one operator for the scheme. Operators will also be responsible for insuring the cycles. The safety and protection issues will handled by the city police, the proposal stated.
Another proposal has been submitted by the NMC’s public works department over National Highways Authority of India proposal to handover four patches for repair and maintenance after cement concretization of these patches including Zero Mile to Automotive Square, Zero Mile to Khapri ROB, Hotel Pride to Ajni Chowk and Kadbi Chowk to Automotive Chowk get completed.
After nod from the standing committee, malaria and filaria department has submitted the proposal to allow it to levy fine on the citizens if it finds stagnant water in the surroundings and mosquitoes breeding there. The proposal to impose between Rs100 and Rs500 fine will also be tabled before the general body. With a view to control larva breeding, the department has prepared a by-law to penalize repeat offenders.
- Water consumers to get 1% rebate if bills paid within 7 days Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | Updated: Mar 12, 2018, 12:27 IST
NAGPUR: The state government has approved various amendments in Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) water by-laws. Consumers will now get rebate of 1% if they pay their bills within seven days. NMC is also now authorized to launch criminal prosecution against illegal water connections, if they are not regularized in six months.
NMC had approved amendments in water bylaws and submitted them to the government for approval over a year ago. The state’s urban development department has approved the amendments on February 15. Accordingly, municipal commissioner Ashwin Mudgalhas implemented the amendments with effect from February 17.
NMC official from water works department told TOI consumers will begin to get rebate of 1% from water billing cycle of March 1 to May 31. “Consumers will be given minimum rebate of Rs10 in case rebate amount is below Rs10.”
There are provisions in the water bylaws to levy penalty of 2% per month for delay in paying water bills. Also, NMC had conducted a special drive to recover arrears and offered various incentives to defaulters. Considering these two steps, ruling party leader Sandip Joshi had in 2014 proposed providing a rebate to consumers who pay their bills regularly. Joshi was chairman of water works consultative committee at that time. Initially, the proposal was to provide rebate of 5-10% but this was lowered due to fear of high losses for the civic body if rebate was 2% or more.
To regularize illegal water connections, NMC has for the first time got powers to initiate criminal prosecution. There were around a lakh illegal water connections, of which less than 40,000 have been regularized despite giving benefits like no levy of regularization charges, no cost for new water meter and connection in last two years.
Joshi told TOI that NMC will now take action under new provisions if illegal water consumers still do not regularize their connections. “We have been requesting people to regularize their illegal water connections. A special regularization drive will be launched, and then action will be launched,” he said.
Also, NMC has got powers to levy penalty of Rs50-200 on water consumers for violations of Water Bylaws. In case violators repeat the violations a second time, provisions have been made for penalty on daily basis — Rs5-50 per day — from date of confirming the violation.
People residing in slums too have much to cheer as maximum water consumption criteria has been increased. Earlier, NMC used to charge Rs35 for consumption up to 10 units for non-concrete houses, and Rs60 for 12 units for concrete houses. The rates as per water tariff were levied if consumption was above 10-12 units. This level has been increased to 15 for non-concrete houses and 20 for concrete house. Also, regularization charges along with charges for new water meter and connection will not be levied to slum-dwellers till completion of 24X7 water supply scheme.
- Private company needs to assess 7,000 properties a day to meet deadline Proshun Chakraborty| TNN | Updated: Mar 13, 2018, 07:31 IST
NAGPUR: M/s Cybertech Systems and Software Limited, tasked with assessing all properties in the city for tax purposes, faces a Herculean task as it will have to complete the assessment of nearly 1.40 lakh properties in the 19 days remaining in the current fiscal year. This comes to around 7,368 properties per day.
The NMC had entrusted the job of door-to-door assessment of properties to the firm in July 2015 which was to be completed in two years. The firm was also given three-month extension twice.
Of the 5.27 lakh properties in the city, Cybertech Systems has surveyed 3.83 lakh properties comprising 6,00,729 units till February 27. The zonal offices have approved 2,43,707 properties and 4,51,502 units. However, the zone offices have rejected surveys of around 1,39,845 properties and 1,49,227 units for various reasons like incomplete data, wrong address etc.
According to data procured from the NMC, the firm is now has an impossible task ahead to complete the remaining assessment in 19 days as its new deadline is March 31.
Based on the survey, the NMC has been able to raise only two lakh invoices for the current fiscal and this delay would hit its property tax revenue collection target of Rs 564 crore including current target of Rs 302 crore.
Sources in NMC’s property tax department said there are around 5.27 lakh properties in 10 zones and through Cybertech Systems the civic body is doing its Geographic Information System (GIS)-based mapping to increase its revenue and to calibrate the identified unassessed properties.
Since 2000, no survey was done to assess the properties under the NMC limits, said sources. For any civic body, one of the major sources of revenue is its property tax collection. To get the correct revenue realization, GIS-based technologies and applications would be extremely effective. The technology was also implemented by Pune Municipal Corporation, resulting in its property tax collection increasing manifold.
An official from the tax department admitted that it would be nearly impossible task for the agency and also blamed the standing committee for clearing the extension proposal of the firm. He, however, pointed out that to overcome this crisis the NMC is planning to rope in two more contractors for the survey of remaining properties.
- NMC identifies 608 wells, 4,840 borewells to tackle water crisis Proshun Chakraborty| tnn | Mar 14, 2018, 05:35 IST
Nagpur: To tackle the impending water crisis, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is set to take over all the wells and borewells in the city, and open them up for citizens, to help tide over the water shortage in the coming months.
“The civic body plans to utilize 608 wells and 4,840 bore wells in the city,” said a senior official from NMC’s water works department. “The identified open wells and bore wells, including private and commercial ones, will be opened to public in the coming days,” the officer told TOI.
Orange City Water (OCW) pumps roughly 640-660 MLD water to the city from Kanhan river (200 MLD) and Pench reservoir. Due to scanty rainfall in 2017 and commissioning of Chaurai dam in the upstream of Totladoh dam in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, the water storage level in dams is around 20%.
The water level in Kanhan begins to drop in April every year, and, like in 2017, it happened this year in February itself. Besides this, Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) had demanded a drastic cut in NMC water consumption. NMC’s reservation in Totladoh is 190 mm3. VIDC says that as per norms, it should be only 106 mm3. A case is going on in Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) in this regard and a decision may come in the next meeting scheduled to be held on March 15.
Though at present the civic body has not announced any water cuts in the city, the water works department has kept the option open. The officer, however, was quick to point out that water from both open and bore wells is not potable drinking water. The official said that officials of the department will visit sites where the wells have been dug up.
“Once the bore wells and dug wells are taken over by the civic body, they will be monitored by the authorities, to ensure proper use by people. The officials will do site visits and check if the wells have been thrown open to public or not. If owners prevent people from using the wells, necessary action will be taken against them,” he said.
Recently, NMC’s standing committee has given its nod to water works department’s proposal of Rs12.08 crore to keep alternate sources of water supply ready, other than the present two sources — Totladoh reservoir and Kanhan river.
- Fire at Chanda garbage dumping yard tnn | Mar 14, 2018, 05:38 IST
Chandrapur: A massive fire has been raging at garbage dumping yard of Chandrapur Municipal Corporation (CMC) in the outskirts of the city since the last two days.
The fire was first noticed on Tuesday evening in the dumping yard spread over 50 acres. The habitation in Asthbhuja ward and a section of the bypass road through the locality was engulfed with thick smoke rising from large piles of burning garbage.
Commuters claimed to have burning sensation in the eyes and drop in visibility due to the thick smoke. The residents of Asthabhuja ward said fire in dumping yard is common during summer.
CMC has built a garden in a section of the dumping yard, where people go for morning and evening walks. However, no one visited the park on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the thick fumes.
Mayor Anjali Ghotekar claimed that cattle herders living in the neighborhood tend to set the dumping yard afire to deter their cattle from rummaging there. She directed the officials to identify the culprits and file police complaint against them.
CMC has still not allotted the work for segregation of garbage at dumping yard and compost making from it. Tenders for the work were summoned twice, but were cancelled both the time before bidding was finalized.
Two companies have offered their services for the work. While one has quoted the rate of Rs799 per tonne of garbage treatment, other company has offered to work free of cost provided it gets ample land and water for the work.
Standing committee chairman Rahul Pawde claimed that they have directed the officials to study the feasibility of the claim of the company offering to work free of cost.
- Amt forest officials mum on FCA violation by PWD Vijay Pinjarkar| TNN | Mar 14, 2018, 03:45 IST
Nagpur: It’s a classic case of fence eating the farm! To please public works department (PWD), Amravati forest officials not only evaluated roadside trees on a lower side but are also mum on violation of Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 in widening of highway 353K between Nandgaon-Morshi-Warud-Pandhurna.
Wildlife Awareness, Research & Rescue Welfare Society, Amravati, has demanded an inquiry into financial irregularities in felling of 4,400 trees and violation of FCA in the 53km stretch. A complaint has been lodged with principal secretary (forest) Vikas Kharge.
The first evaluation of 4,400 trees was done by Morshi RFO in September and October 2017 for Rs2.43 crore. It was done as per Amravati circle rates. However, as PWD contractor disapproved the higher evaluation, the same trees were revaluated by forest officials in December last for Rs57.59 lakh. Reasons for revaluation have not been mentioned. The revaluation was lowered by around Rs1.85 crore (76% reduction) causing huge loss to the state government. Interestingly, the trees were revaluated by applying Yavatmal circle rates for 2016.
If evaluation of trees is one issue, there was violation of FCA by digging forest land and felling trees on it without submitting a mandatory proposal under Section 2 of the FCA. The violations were brought to the notice of Amravati CCF Praveen Chouhan by DFO (vigilance) after a field inspection on February 23, 2018.
Chouhan says it is true that evaluation of 4,400 trees was done as per high rates prevailing in Amravati circle owing to best quality timber extracted here. “But same rates cannot be applied for roadside trees which are not of good quality. Hence, revaluation was done,” he adds.
On FCA violation, Chouhan said responsibility will be fixed for digging on forest land and felling trees on it without any land diversion proposal. “We will take action against PWD and also our own staff,” he said.
In his report on March 3, Chouhan admitted that no forest offence was registered against PWD contractor for excavation on forest land and illegally felling 309 trees in the forest area. An explanation has been sought by Chouhan from Amravati DyCF on March 3. This was done without submitting mandatory proposal under Section 2 of FCA.
PWD executive engineer Raosaheb Zalte, Akola, says, “Felling trees is not a day’s process. Forest department did not object to when we felled the trees. Now, work has been stopped in the forest stretches. We are trying to prove our ownership of the road. If not, then a revised proposal for forest land diversion will be submitted.”
Forest sources said the evaluation of trees was lowered as there were no takers for trees valued at Rs2.43 crore. “This delayed road widening and the issue was taken up by Union minister Nitin Gadkari with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Things changed after this and forest ministry issued directions to expedite road widening work in forest areas,” they said.
Amravati deputy conservator Hemant Kumar Meena denied any mala fide intention to lower valuation of trees. “The trees were wrongly evaluated and hence revaluation,” he said.
- NMC action against illegal rooftop hookah parlour Proshun Chakraborty| tnn | Mar 15, 2018, 03:50 IST
Nagpur: In a first, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) anti-encroachment squad took action against two restaurants including a rooftop illegal hookah parlour in tony Abhyankar Nagar and another restaurant on Hingna road on Wednesday.
The action was jointly conducted by Laxmi Nagar zone and NMC’s fire and emergency services department, said assistant municipal commissioner Suwarna Dakhane.
The first action was taken at G+3 storey Pooja Arcade where SR Cafe Restaurant and Smoking Zone had come up on the rooftop of the building. The restaurant was constructed illegally without any permission from NMC, even though it is completely a residential building. The owner Mohammed Shakil Khan had not obtained any permission to run the restaurant from the fire department, said chief fire officer Rajendra Uchake.
“We found the rooftop restaurant was constructed with bamboos and even the kitchen was set up near the tarpaulin posing fire threat,” he said.
Dakhane said the owner had also encroached upon the building’s basement and converted it for playing snooker.
The assistant commissioner said the owner tried to prevent the action by claiming of a stay order which he had procured from the high court. Initially, the team stopped the action midway but upon verification, we learnt that there was no such stay order against NMC’s zone and fire department to take action, she said.
“Today, we have demolished half of the rooftop structure and remaining illegal construction will be razed within a couple of days,” she said.
Later, the squad moved towards Hingna road to take action against a terrace restaurant which too was illegal. Dakhane said the hotel being run by Hemant Darvekar did not obtain no-objection certificate from the fire department.
She, however, claimed that only part of the hotel structure was demolished as the owner has assured to remove the construction on his own.
According to fire department official, it has served notices to 169 bars (out of 293) for violating fire safety compliance. Similar action was initiated against five hookah parlours and four rooftop restaurants.
- Shopkeepers on Katol Road down shutters to protest widening project Sarfaraz Ahmed| TNN | Updated: Mar 17, 2018, 12:50 IST NAGPUR: Although Friday was a working day, it wasn't business as usual on Katol Road.
Over 300 commercial establishments, vegetable and fruit vendors, cobblers and kiosks on the stretches from Old Katol Naka to New Katol Naka and Gittikhadan Square to Gorewada Square downed their shutters on Day 1 of the two-day protests to oppose proposed widening of Katol Road by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The protest, launched from Hanuman Mandir premises, was near-total with three petrol pumps and medical stores too responding to the call given by Gittikhadan Borgaon Friends Colony Vyapari Sangh. On Saturday, traders and residents, whose shops and homes are likely to be demolished for the widening, would be marching towards city MP and union minister Nitin Gadkari's Ravi Nagar bungalow at 10am.
The Sangh claimed so far their appeals had gone unheeded but warned of intensifying the agitation if talks with Gadkari fail.
The Sangh pegged the losses between Rs 50lakh to Rs 1.5crore because of the bandh. On Friday, the protest was peaceful with most of the affected traders and shopkeepers staging a sit-in at Hanuman Mandir premises.
The Sangh volunteers kept patrolling both the stretches throughout the day on bikes and requested those who had opened their shops to extend support. The otherwise congested squares wore deserted look with even auto drivers from the area keeping off the road.
The agitators led by Mahesh and Raju Khandelwal said no political party had extended support to their cause. But, they said, on Saturday local MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh and 16 corporators would be accompanying them to Gadkari’s residence.
The shopkeepers and traders initiated the campaign after they came to know of the transfer of the road from state PWD to NHAI and the latter’s plans to widen it. They said widening the road would only displace hundreds of families and businesses leading to unemployment in the area and not help ease traffic jams. They also said accidents will rise on the relatively safe stretch due to four-lanning.
“There are several alternate routes available and NHAI could work on them rather than displacing so many people who are directly and indirectly benefitting from the establishments on Katol Road,” they said.
A vegetable vendor from Borgaon said they were supporting the protest since they wanted to send a strong message of solidarity to the government. “We are united in this fight though the road widening won’t affect us directly. In future, the government may try to bulldoze us too when they widen the Gorewada Road and that time we will need greater support,” she said.
- For banning plastic, NMCs bag of ideas is empty
Proshun Chakraborty| TNN | Updated: Mar 17, 2018, 12:49 IST
NAGPUR: Even as the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) banned the sale and use of polythene carry bags below 50 microns in 2011, nothing changed in the last seven years on the ground.
The data pertaining to door-to-door garbage collection reveals that the city generates approximately 18 metric tonnes of plastic waste, out of the 1,200 metric tonnes of waste daily.
Shopkeepers, roadside vendors and citizens can be seen openly using polythene bags below 50 microns in flagrant violation of the ban due to NMCs lackadaisical attitude.
By carrying out raids, the civic bodys squad caught 199 traders for keeping and selling banned plastic bags below 50 microns in 2016 and 2017 calendar years. It also seized a stock of 32.2kg and collected Rs1.2 lakh as fine.
Ignoring the NMCs guidelines and taking advantage of absence of special drives, traders in the city continue to sell polythene covers below the stipulated thickness.
However, an officer said in October 2015, the NMC had issued a notification under the Maharashtra Plastic Carrybags Manufacturing and Usage Rules, 2006 and Central Governments Plastic Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2011, to allow shopkeepers to charge for polythene bags. The move was not to earn extra money but to discourage citizens from using them, the officer said, adding that the NMCs nuisance squad has been asked to implement the ban.
The big shops have slowly stopped usage of banned plastic carry bags. But hawkers, vegetable and fruit vendors as well as small shopkeepers still use banned plastic. The drive has been expedited in last the two years. Some 1,337kg plastic was seized this year. The drive is carried out throughout the year and a report is sent every quarter to the state government, he said.
He said cooperation from the citizens is also very important in this drive. The NMC is collecting garbage door-to-door and shop-to-shop every day. Still, plastic is thrown in open spaces, nullahs and rivers. Safe collection of plastic waste can also ease problems, the officer said.
Restaurant owners, hawkers, street-side food vendors, temples and flower vendors who use plastic bags, claimed that it is the customer who demand carry bags. Dilip Khandelwal, a trader from Anant Nagar, claimed that buyers demand items in carry bags as nowadays they do not bring one from home.
Rahul Sahu, a fruit vendor from Itwari Tonga Stand, claimed that carry bags are cheap and the alternative to switch over to should be both cheap and feasible.
Experts said the problem is lack of awareness. They said there is a need for a major attitudinal change on part of the seller as well as the buyer.
Even the NMCs health officer pointed out that almost all the local bodies in urban and rural areas are not aware of the earlier rule. He said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board should conduct a detailed training programme for the staffers and educate them thoroughly, like how to identify banned bags etc.
- Top garment store building’s two floors unauthorized: RTI Anjaya Anparthi| tnn | Mar 17, 2018, 03:17 IST
Nagpur: Yet another case of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) neglecting unauthorized commercial buildings has come to fore. Documents obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act have revealed that two floors of Chaudhari Lifestyle building on Ring Road near Pratap Nagar square are unauthorized. The building has been brought into total commercial use over a year ago but no action has been taken by the civic body.
Within a span of 16 days, fire incidents were recorded in four commercial buildings in Giripeth, Dharampeth, Sadar and Kalamna, the latest one being on Monday. All four structures had unauthorized constructions and also lacked fire safety systems and lacked sanctions.
RTI activist TH Naidu obtained documents including sanctioned building plan of Chaudhari Lifestyle building on Plot 69 in Atre layout. Documents show use on the land is residential in city’s development plan (DP). NMC had sanctioned the building plan for residential-cum-commercial on December 31, 2014.
The sanction is for parking in basement, one shop along with letter box and AC plant room on ground floor. First and second floors were supposed to be totally residential. Of the total plot area of 543 sq mtrs, 60% (353.29 sq mtrs) is meant for residential, 17.65 sq mtrs for commercial and remaining for balconies etc.
Owner of the building Rahul Chaudhari constructed the total building for commercial use. Two floors sanctioned for residential are being utilized for commercial purpose making it a completely unauthorized structure.
TOI, on January 6, had highlighted that building lacked NOC from the NMC’s fire and emergency services department too. As per NMC’s norms, NOC from fire department is must for commercial building/area of 150 sq mtrs or more and any building with a height of 15 metres or more.
Stating the building also lacked occupancy certificate, Naidu alleged NMC officials were hand-in-glove with Chaudhari. “They showed commercial area within limit and also kept the building’s height at 14.90 metres, just 10 cm below maximum mark.
“NMC officials are aware of unauthorized constructions and usage as it is totally residential plot. Still, no action has been taken. It is the responsibility of NMC to inspect buildings during and after construction and check for deviations from sanctioned plan but it was never done. After complaints from citizens, only notices are issued. The building is in use for storing and selling garments and prone to fire. Still, the building lacks all mandatory permissions,” he said.
NMC deputy engineer (Laxmi Nagar Zone) RV Mule told TOI a special drive will be taken to inspect all buildings on Ring Road between Khamla square and Pratap Nagar square soon. “There are many complaints related to the buildings in this stretch. Appropriate action will be taken on violations,” he said.
One of the owners Kishor Chaudhari said they were paying property tax for commercial, so it was not a loss to the NMC. “Market areas like Sitabuldi, Dharampeth etc are lacking parking spaces and facing congestion. There is need to develop more commercial areas in other parts of the city. Commercial plots are not situated and should be provided,” he said. Chaudhari added process to obtain fire NOC was underway. “Process to install all systems is going on,” he added.
* Owners get sanction for residential-cum-commercial building on plots
* Area of commercial use and building’s height is kept within limit
* Construction for total commercial purpose is done followed by usage
* NMC does not carry out mandatory inspections
* No check is done to ensure occupancy and fire compliance certificate
* If complaints come, only notices are issued
* Owners submit revised plan or appeal with state government and get stay on action
* No action is taken for years and violations get buried
- Recover 90% property tax by March end: Virendra Kukreja, Chairman, Nagpur Municipal Corporation Kukreja held meeting at Laxmi Nagar, Dharampeth and Dhantoli Zones on Friday. Deputy municipal commissioner Rajesh Mohite and assistant commissioner (property tax) Milind Meshram were present with Kukreja during the review meetingsAnjaya Anparthi | TNN | March 17, 2018, 18:00 IST
NAGPUR: Newly elected standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja kicked-off review meetings of property tax zone-wise from Friday. He directed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) officials and employees of property tax department to ensure recovery of 90% by March 31.
Kukreja held meeting at Laxmi Nagar, Dharampeth and Dhantoli Zones on Friday. Deputy municipal commissioner Rajesh Mohite and assistant commissioner (property tax) Milind Meshram were present with Kukreja during the review meetings.
At Laxmi Nagar zone, assistant commissioner Suwarna Dakhane said notices were issued to 175 property taxpayers whose arrears were above Rs 25,000 and 1,068 taxpayers whose demand was below Rs 25,000. She also said demand notes to 37,000 taxpayers will be distributed by March 23.
Assistant commissioner (Dharampeth Zone) Mahesh Moroney and assistant commissioner (Dhantoli Zone) Smita Kale also informed about notices, recovery and distribution of demand notes.
Kukreja directed Dhantoli zone officials and employees to distribute demand notes going to all houses as soon as possible for increase in recovery of property tax. Review meetings will be continued in remaining seven zones in coming days.
- Save Dhamapur Lake: Citizens fight to protect wetland Manka Behl| TNN | Updated: Mar 17, 2018, 13:14 IST
Wetland area adjacent to the almost 500-year-old Dhamapur Lake in Sindhudurg district
NAGPUR: Since more than a year, civil society groups have been fighting to protect the wetlands in the coastal areas of the state. Despite various orders being passed by the Bombay High Court and setting-up of a grievance redressal committee, the “state’s biggest man-made” lake Dhamapur is under severe threat. Environmentalists have now drawn the attention of state chief secretary seeking his intervention.
The almost 500-year-old lake, which is located in Sindhudurg district, is a man-made biodiversity-rich site and a tourist spot. Since centuries it is a source of drinking water for many villages around it. Trouble began for the lake in 2014 when the district administration initiated the construction of a skywalk over the lake which was built in 1530 and is spread over an area of 43.80 hectares as per the latest report of the water resources department.
Meenal and Sachin Desai, who are running a study centre for experiential learning in Dhamapur village, were one of the first few who raised an objection to the construction activity. “As per the Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules and ruling of various courts, construction is not allowed within 75 meters of a wetland. Here, they were doing construction right in the middle of the lake,” said Sachin.
After fighting a battle with the administration of Sindhudurg for over a year, the Desai couple has now filed a complaint with the state chief secretary. They have demanded that the skywalk should be removed before the monsoons and offences be registered against concerned officials. “Though the construction is not in compliance with wetland rules, the administration is blatantly going ahead with it. It recently laid paver tiles on the skywalk,” the complaint stated.
They further pointed out that neither did the administration obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the water resources department, nor did it consult any expert committee. “In such projects, an environmental impact assessment is a must. As per the central government guidelines, it should have been a protected site but the administration has constructed 35 concrete pillars within the lake,” said Sachin.
He added that the ‘banned’ diesel boats are also being used. “The gram panchayat has given a contract for running a diesel boat. Though the committee issued a notice to the panchayat, the boat is still in use posing threat to human health,” he said.
According to Stalin D, member of the wetland grievance redressal committee, the process of notifying the lake as a wetland is under way. “The wetland inventory prepared by Nagpur-based Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre has mapped Dhamapur as a wetland,” he said.
On the damage caused by the skywalk, Stalin said that the concrete pillars will increase the water body’s temperature and thus harm the lake’s biodiversity. “The complaints raised are genuine and we have asked the district administration to submit a report in the next meeting of the committee,” he added.
The damage of the construction has already started showing. Botanist Balkrishna Gavade, who recently conducted a study on the flora and fauna, said that the skywalk has disturbed the entire biodiversity. “There are 134 plant species out which 23 are rare and three endangered as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The construction activity has damaged a lot of these species. Also, as the pillars are built inside the lake, it is destroying the algae which is a major source of food for fishes,” said Gavade.
The lake seems to be shrinking too. “As per the latest report of irrigation department, the lake covers area of about 43.80 hectares. But the Ratnagiri District Gazette, 1962, states the area to be 50.58 hectares, If the construction is not stopped, the state will lose one of its biggest wetlands,” said Sachin.
LAKE BE DAMNED
The story behind wetlands
1. What are wetlands: Are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. Once treated as transitional habitats or seral stages in succession from open water to land, the wetlands are now considered to be distinct ecosystems with specific ecological characteristics, functions and values.
2. In August 2016, the Bombay High Court took serious note of the unabated destruction of wetlands and directed the state to create a grievance redressal mechanism.
3. In September 2016, the state formed a grievance redressal committee to monitor and protect the wetlands in the state. The committee is responsible for the protection of all wetlands including lakes, rivers, mangroves etc
4. On September 26, 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued a notification formulating Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
5. In February 2018, Bombay HC directed the state government to use satellite imaging and mapping to continuously monitor and protect wetlands across the state.
II. About Dhamapur Lake
1. Built in 1530, is said to be the biggest lake of Sindhudurg district
2. Spread over 43.80 hectares and adjoined by a reserve forest
3. Facing severe threat from construction of a 2.5 kilometre long skywalk and use of a diesel boat
4. As per NGT’s order, no construction to take place within 75 meters of lakes. This area is a buffer zone
5. Breaching rules, 35 concrete pillars built inside the water body
6. A total report of 134 plants out which many are rare species are being damaged due to construction activities
- Katol Road widening may get a relook Sarfaraz Ahmed| TNN | Mar 18, 2018, 03:15 IST
Nagpur: Shopkeepers and traders from Katol Road erupted in joy after city MP and Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari agreed to their demand to shift the road widening project. However, NHAI officials maintained that they were yet to get any written communication to shift the start point of the project from Old Katol Naka to New Katol Naka and beyond.
At the same time, they also didn’t deny the claim by the project opponents that the road widening from 30 metres to 45 metres on the stretch has been called off. The news also brought cheers to environment friendly residents who were concerned about the fate of several old trees dotting the stretch from Old Katol Naka.
At 10am on Saturday, over 400 protesters accompanied by MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh, corporators from BJP and Congress gathered at a Ravi Nagar ground. District guardian minister Chandrashekar Bawankule too was present. Later, a delegation along with the political leaders met Gadkari at his Gokulpeth bungalow and sought his intervention as they were facing demolition of homes and shops.
Gittikhadan Borgaon Friends Colony chief Vyari Sangh told TOI that the minister has accepted their demand. “The widening will start from New Katol Naka, Gadkari assured us,” he said.
Gadkari himself couldn’t be reached for his comment. His personal assistant didn’t respond to TOI’s SMSes.
An NHAI official associated with the project said the minister accepted the representation and discussed damage control measures. “The existing width of this road is 30 metres. NHAI wants to widen it to 45 metres to include service road for locals that will give them right of way as well as keep NHAI’s carriageway free of hindrances and check accidents,” he said.
The official added that NHAI would start the proposed widening from Fetri somewhere at Outer Ring Road point if it has to exclude the city stretch. He said the NHAI did try to make a case for its project, which it believes was essential for development.
The decision on the starting point of the widening project would be taken in a week, the official said.
Meanwhile, many shops remained closed till 2pm on Day 2 of the bandh call given by the organization. This forced residents to travel to nearby localities to make their daily purchases of groceries and other items. As the news about positive outcome spread, several shops were opened by evening.