One of the fastest growing Tier III cities in India -Future IT and Aviation city - Companies like Boeing, Satyam computers, HCL, Dell, Hexaware, DLF, Ascendas etc. has already finalized their projects. Adjacent to IT SEZ(Wardha Road – NH7) is Proposed International Cargo HUB(MIHAN – Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur, ( ), which is first and only such kind of project in the country being developed in Nagpur by a joint venture between Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI). Second Capital and third big city in Maharashtra. Nearby is the new VCA cricket stadium.
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  • NU’s indoor stadium to come up at Amravati Road campus Vaibhav Ganjapure| TNN | Updated: May 26, 2018, 05:20 IST

    NAGPUR: Nearly five years after it was first proposed, Nagpur University’s ambitious plan for its own indoor sports stadium is going to become a reality soon. NU officials plan to perform the bhoomipuja in June last week and start work as early as possible.

    The multipurpose complex, which will be funded by the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, would be coming up at the University Campus on Amravati Road, instead of its old location adjacent to Subhedar Hall.

    “Though the union ministry had allocated Rs6 crore for the project in 2013-14, it couldn’t materialize due to some or the other problems. Now, all hurdles have been cleared and we would soon start work,” registrar Puran Meshram told TOI, adding that it wouldn’t be big like Mankapur stadium, but would still accommodate 2,000 spectators.

    He pointed out that the government had released Rs1.80 crore in March 2016, which was still lying with NU. “Recently, we’ve transferred the funds to Public Works Department (PWD) for preparing design and calculating the cost of the project. The expenditure is expected to touch Rs10 crore due to inflation and GST, over the years. NU would contribute remaining funds for the project,” he said.

    The registrar said even the bhoomipuja of the synthetic track, which is coming up at the ground in front of Subhedar Hall, would be performed at the same time in June. Both projects received a boost after vice chancellor SP Kane convened a meeting in this regard in April last year, which was attended by former physical education director Dhananjay Welukar and acting director Kalpana Jadhav, apart from Meshram.

    “Earlier, the stadium was planned on the land adjacent to Subhedar Hall, But the area has a lot of trees, so we decided to shift the venue to the campus, where ample open space was available for it,” Jadhav said, adding that initially construction is planned for two floors.

    NU engineer Dattatray Harde said the new multipurpose stadium would offer state-of-art facilities, and make it the second such facility in the university after Subhedar Hall. “Of course, it would be much bigger in size, and would give fillip to sporting activities in NU. The complex would come up near Pharmacy Department, which would offer frontage of Amravati Road. If a separate gate is given to it, it would have direct entry from the front, which would be convenient to those coming regularly,” he told TOI.

  • Collector not acting against 12 bodies despite confirmed violations Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | May 26, 2018, 04:03 IST

    Nagpur: The collectorate has not taken action against 12 associations, clubs, or institutions for last eight months, despite confirmed violations of nazul plot leases. Now, Nagpur bench of Bombay high court will decide the course of action on the basis of a report to be submitted by a three-member committee headed by amicus curiae and senior counsel Shrirang Bhandarkar on June 7.

    In the HC’s suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) related to violations by nazul plot holders, the then collector Sachin Kurve had submitted an affidavit confirming violation of terms by 12 out of 113 nazul plot holders, on September 26, 2017. Kurve had said the 12 associations, clubs, or institutions were utilizing nazul plots for commercial purposes, even though the lease was for sports, social, or educational purposes.

    RTI activist TH Naidu told TOI the collectorate should have taken action immediately after it admitted violations by the lease holders. “All 12 institutions are famous and their locations are known to all. Unfortunately, the collectorate was turning a blind eye towards the violations for years. The collectorate was supposed to take back possession of the plots, in case of continuing violations. At least, the collectorate should have taken action after its own confirmation of the violations before the HC,” he said.

    Bhandarkar said the committee will submit its report to the HC on or before June 6. “It was expected the collectorate would take action. Now, violations are on the court’s records, so none of the violators can be saved. The committee will suggest the money to be recovered from these violators along with nature of action. The HC will take final decision,” he said.

    An official from the collectorate said action will be taken as per the HC’s orders. When asked why no action was taken in eight months, the official said the case was sub-judice.

    The other two members of the committee are chartered accountant Surendra Durugkar, and a representative of the collectorate office.

    Naidu also said the HC needs to act against officials neglecting action for years. “We need to verify the collector office’s report on remaining 101 nazul plots’ holders. The report stated there were no violations by 101 lease holders,” he said.

    As per the collector’s report, 12 associations/clubs/institutions that violating the norms are United For Church Hislop College, Vidarbha Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Vidarbha Hindi Sahitya Sangh, Charkha Sangh Public Trust Ansari Secretary, Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA), Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Jawahar Vidyarthi Gruh, Officers’ Club Civil Lines, Ladies Club, CP Club, Bhagini Mandal and Andhra Association.

  • Chanda NGO to clean, upkeep 21 ASI monuments Mazhar Ali| TNN | May 26, 2018, 03:19 IST

    Chandrapur: Non-governmental organization (NGO) Eco-Pro has adopted 21 protected monuments and sites under Archeological Survey of India (ASI) for cleanliness and upkeep. The organization will now shoulder the responsibility of keeping three forts and one-and-a-half dozen temples, tombs and other heritage sites clean and building a heritage-friendly environment through awareness campaigns.

    ASI superintendent Archeologist Israel Hashmi and Eco-Pro president Bandu Dhore have signed a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding (MoU) under ASI’s ‘Adopt a Monument’ project and Union government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Hashmi told TOI that under the agreement, which was signed at ASI’s regional office in Nagpur, Eco-Pro will look after cleanliness of all the adopted monuments.

    “Eco-PRO will also work with ASI to help communities become actively involved in conservation and interpretation of their local archaeological and cultural heritage sites,” said Hashmi.

    Dhotre said, “This will serve in building heritage-friendly atmosphere among local communities and develop educational and recreational activities to encourage greater interpretation and understanding of the monuments.”

    Eco-Pro has been working for cleaning and conservation of Chanda fort since over a year. Dhotre informed that locals have already started activities like morning walk and yoga at the fort.

    The MoU was signed in presence of regional director of ASI M Nanmbirajan, FDCM chairman, Chandansingh Chandel, municipal president of Ballarpur Harish Sharma and others.

    Amenities at Ballarshah fort

    Ballarpur Municipal Council (BMC) has entered into an agreement with ASI for building tourism amenities at Ballarshah fort like landscaping and garden on open space, benches, approach road etc.

  • MSEDCL’s 5% load goes solar, more in pipeline Ashish Roy| NN | May 26, 2018, 03:00 IST

    Nagpur: Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s go green drive is bearing fruits as 1,000MW load has gone solar in last two years. The peak summer load of MSEDCL this year was around 20,000MW, which means that 5% load has switched over to solar. The schemes are being implemented through Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) and the state discom.

    This is in addition to solar power plants being set up by Mahagenco, MSEDCL and private parties. MSEDCL buys 850MW solar power and will purchase another 2,000MW from this fiscal.

    A source in MEDA said that solar projects were going ahead in full steam and more MSEDCL load would go solar this fiscal. “We have floated tenders for supplying solar power to agricultural feeders whose total load is 250MW. In addition several rural water supply schemes, government buildings, schools, households in remote villages, farm pumps will go solar,” he added.

    Bawankule has set a target of converting the entire agricultural load of 7,500MW into solar by 2025. This will ensure that farmers get power during the day. The tariff for industrial and commercial consumers will go down when farmers will no longer get subsidized MSEDCL power.

    The MEDA official said that conventional load was being converted to solar through six central and state government schemes. “These include grid connected roof top scheme, chief minister agricultural solar feeder scheme, rural water works solar scheme, installing solar panels atop government buildings, schools, anganwadis, public health centres (PHCs), Atal Krishi Saur Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana,” he added.

    Under the rooftop scheme, large number of industries, commercial establishments and residences have gone solar bearing the cost of panels themselves. The agricultural feeders are being converted to solar through MEDA and MSEDCL grants. Same is the case with rural water works solar schemes. District planning committee (DPC) and government departments are providing money for installing panels atop schools, government offices, etc. Central government is providing funds for installing solar agricultural pumps and supplying solar power to remote rural households.

    Bawankule has sanctioned Rs2 crore to MEDA for each district. In addition, the agency seeks funds from DPC. In Nagpur district, Rs10 crore have been sanctioned and a cluster of 30 villages will go solar. Bhandara district will go entirely solar on a pilot basis.

    Two years ago, MEDA had only one office in Pune. Bawankule started 10 field offices including one at Nagpur and since then solar power growth has been phenomenal.

    In Nagpur, Central Museum is supplied with solar power. MEDA is installing 200kW panels atop Nagpur bench of Bombay high court. Tenders have been floated for many government buildings in Bhandara and Wardha districts too.

  • Not just trees, strong winds also bring down Metro crane Soumitra Bose| tnn | May 27, 2018, 06:01 IST

    Nagpur: A crane of Mahametro engaged in construction of Jai Prakash Nagar Station near Coca Cola Company Square on Wardha Road collapsed due to strong winds which was accompanied with thundershowers on Saturday evening. The stormy weather also led to disruption in power supply in the city, plunging many areas into darkness.

    Around 20-25 tree were uprooted across the city as per the information available with the fire control room including Manewada, Chhatrapati Nagar, Trimurti Nagar, Prajapati Nagar and New Vaishali Nagar. City police control room had no information about any casualty or untoward incidents till filing of this report.

    According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) authorities, the change in weather was triggered due to excessive heat.

    A two-wheeler rider and some passersby had a miraculous escape after the crane engaged by ILFC Company at Metro rail site crashed on the road. A bike, a three-wheeler and couple of carts of vegetable vendors were crushed under the crane.

    Mahametro’s public relations office said the process of removing the heavy crane was underway and traffic between Somalwada Square and Khamla was diverted to prevent snarls.

    An eyewitness said a major accident was averted as there was sparse traffic on the road following the thundershowers and strong winds. “The crane seemed to have got detached off its base as the rain began along with the gushing winds,” he said.

    Orange City Water works too released a press release stating the water supply in the city will remain affected on Sunday as strong winds and rains had led to power failure, crippling the Navegaon Khairi pumping station and few other units including Godhni, Gorewada and Kanhan.

    SNDL authorities informed that most of their feeders were charged and restored in little over an hour, except in few locations like Jafar Nagar, Vayusena Nagar, Godhni Road and KT Nagar-Katol Road. Till filing of the report, SNDL authorities claimed to have restored supply in 92% of the affected localities.

    When reports last came in, there was no power in Sneh Nagar and residents complained that MSEDCL toll free number too was not working. Some localities under MSEDCL which suffered power breakdowns in the city including Congress Nagar, Sonegaon, Shankar Nagar and some other areas.

  • MSEDCL’s 25 staffers sacked for absenteeism NAGPUR: Cracking the whip, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) regional director, Bhalchandra Khandait, has terminated the services of 25 employees in Vidarbha for habitual absenteeism. Stringent action against nine more employees is in the offing.
    A source in the MSEDCL said that Khandait had issued show-cause notices to 52 employees who frequently remained absent in March. “Most of these employees were posted in small towns and chose to remain at their native places rather than join the duty. Thirty-four employees either did not bother to reply to the notice or submitted unsatisfactory replies,” he added.

    Mild action was taken against 12 employees like deducting an increment while six had genuine causes for remaining frequently absent.

    The source further said that one of the sacked employees was from Akola circle, four from Amravati circle, six from Chandrapur and seven each from Nagpur and Gondia circles. “One of the nine employees against whom action is in final stages is from Akola, one from Chandrapur, two from Amravati and five from Nagpur,” he added.

    Khandait has also ordered freezing of house rent allowance (HRA) of employees who do not remain present in their place of work during rainy season. “The number of breakdowns increase during rainy season and consumers are put to severe inconvenience if they are not attended to in time. Last year, we had frozen the HRA of several employees due to which most of them now remain at their place of work. Khandait has asked chief engineers of all five MSEDCL zones in Vidarbha to ensure that employees do not remain absent without leave,” said the source.

    The superintending engineers (SEs) of all circles have been asked to act on the directive. The CEs and SEs have been asked to submit a report on absentee employees by Tuesday.

    The regional director has also warned that if any employee was found to be casual towards power theft in his area, strict action would be taken against him.

  • NMC serves notices to 3 commercial buildings
    Representative image
    NAGPUR: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has issued notices to three commercial buildings — Chaudhari Lifestyle, Gurudeo Motors’ two-wheeler showroom and building housing Patanjali store — situated on Ring Road, for unauthorized usage and constructions. Directives have also been given to demolish the constructions done in deviation from the sanctioned building plans.
    TOI had exposed the unauthorized usage and constructions in these buildings situated between Khamla Square and Pratap Nagar Square. RTI activist TH Naidu had lodged a complaint with the NMC’s Laxmi Nagar zone demanding action.

    As per documents obtained under RTI by Naidu, the Laxmi Nagar zone has issued notices under sections 53, 54, 55 and 142 of the MRTP Act to these three buildings with directives to demolish the unauthorized constructions within five weeks.

    In Chaudhari Lifestyle building case, the zone office has also found violations in basement parking. As highlighted by TOI, the zone office said the firm was using first, second and third floors for commercial purposes despite it being sanctioned for residential.

    Earlier, the fire and emergency services department had issued notices to these three buildings for lack of NOC and fire systems. Now, the fire department has sent letters to the MSEDCL and water works department to scrap power and water connections, respectively.

    Interestingly, the fire department had declared building housing service centre of Gurudeo Motors on Khamla road at Deo Nagar as unsafe and asked the MSEDCL and water works department to snap the supplies. But the zone office is yet to issue notice to the building under MRTP Act despite the complaint by Naidu.

  • New roads should be over 9m wide, demand citizens Ashish Roy| tnn | May 29, 2018, 05:48 IST
    Nagpur: Citizens have demanded that all new roads should be over nine metre wide keeping in view the future requirements of the city.

    The demand was raised during the meeting of city-level advisory forum of Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL).

    Tejinder Singh Renu, member of the forum, said that effective width of the roads shrunk soon after their construction as people parked vehicles on both sides. “We should plan for 30 to 40 years ahead. We can’t do redevelopment every 10 to 15 years,” he told TOI. Renu further said that NSSCDCL planned to install 65 automated public information kiosks. “The number is very high. It should be drastically brought down as Nagpurians are not trained enough to use them. Moreover, most such machines have become non-functional after a few months and they were not repaired,” he added.

    The members also opposed free Wi-Fi for initial 30 minutes. “This has actually reduced efficiency rather than increasing it. It is more used for unproductive data,” said Renu.

    Smart City consultants have suggested that LED display boards be installed at squares to educate road users about traffic rules. Members said that it was a bad idea as violators would hardly be affected by the messages.

    Renu also stressed that beautification should only be done if NSSCDCL was planning to maintain it. “We have many examples of taxpayers’ money being wasted on a large scale and the beautified spot turn ugly within some years due to lack of maintenance,” he added.

  • CM offers slum land for free, NIT seeks ground rent Ashish Roy| TNN | May 29, 2018, 03:14 IST
    Nagpur: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari had promised ownership of land to slum dwellers for free. While some of the beneficiaries have got ownership documents, the same are being accompanied by ground rent demand note, which is as high as Rs 1 lakh per annum. The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) is calculating the ground rent at the rate of 2% of lease premium, which interestingly is zero.

    Alarmed by the strong reaction of slum dwellers and Congress activists, the NIT has decided to cancel the annual ground rent demand notes. The demand notes were issued to around 1,000 slum dwellers of Indira Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Panther Nagar and nearby areas who were recently issued ownership pattas by the civic agency. The ground rent for slum dwellers is in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per year on an average.

    The decision to levy ground rent on slum land owners was taken by the NIT in its last board meeting. Virendra Kukreja, standing committee chairman of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), and BJP corporator Bhushan Shingne, approved the decision. Apparently, at that time they did not realize its implications.

    It was the slum dwellers who got a shock. Karuna Shigade, a resident of Panther Nagar, got a demand note of Rs4,781. The corresponding figure for Mohammed Pinjari, a resident of the same locality, is Rs8,422. The classic case is that of Uttamrao Sawarkar, whose rent has been fixed at Rs99,843 for his 55 square metre plot.

    When the slum dwellers received the demand notes, they were shocked and rushed to Congress leader Yashwant Meshram. He collected a large number of demand notes and took up the issue with NIT officials. He threatened to collectively burn the demand notes in front of the NIT office to register protest.

    Meshram’s threat along with reports in local media jolted the BJP leaders. They immediately took up the issue with acting NIT chairman Ashwin Mudgal. The NIT chief, however, pointed out that Kukreja and Shingne had approved the decision. Mudgal then decided to cancel the demand notes in the next board meeting of the NIT.

    Ajay Ramteke, general manager of the NIT, told TOI, “The decision to levy ground rent on slum dwellers was a mistake. The rent is 2% of the lease premium. Since we are giving the land to them for free, the premium is zero and 2% of this amount is also zero. We will not charge anything from them on the lines of the NMC.”

    Admitting the mistake, Kukreja said, “I have sent my party workers to the “affected” slums to tell the residents that they need not pay the rent. Once a resolution is passed by the NIT board revoking the decision, we will hold a meeting in the slums and inform the dwellers about it.”

    Reacting to the NIT’s assurance, Meshram said, “If they have decided to revoke the demand notes, why are NIT divisional offices still issuing them. Slum dwellers are in a state of panic due to this.”

  • Now, NMC officials must meet people, activists at fixed timings Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | Updated: May 28, 2018, 12:12 IST

    NAGPUR: In a first for the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), its officials will have to mandatorily reserve time for people visiting them for official work. If the rule is implemented effectively, officials of all departments at the NMC head office and zone offices will be available for the common man and activists between 3pm and 5pm on every Monday and Friday.

    Following directives from municipal commissioner Virendra Singh, additional municipal commissioner Ravindra Kumbhare has implemented Zero Pendency and Daily Disposal drive in the civic body a few days ago. As part of the drive, officials will have to promptly display timings for people’s visit to their offices. “Officials should avoid outside tours, visits and meetings during the given time. The public should be heard properly by giving sufficient time,” Kumbhare said.

    Kumbhare also said this is not a temporary measure but a rule to be followed always. In the circular itself, Kumbhare has stated that officials have been found to not devoting time to meet citizens, hear grievances and solve them.

    As per the circular, the NMC has introduced Zero Pendency and Daily Disposal drive on the lines of policy implemented by the state government. Directives have been given to ensure disposal of files as soon as possible to ensure timely justice to citizens, speedy execution of works and improvement in civic services.

    RTI activist Suraj Lolge lauded the move but said it should be implemented in an effective manner. “I have had very bad experiences while trying to meet officials of PWD and NMC projects departments. The officials even neglect RTI activists. Officials are not present during the evening hours when citizens and activists visit their offices. Majority of the problems can be solved if officials meet people. This will improve civic services drastically and also NMC’s image,” he said.

    Property taxpayers and water consumers have to make several rounds to meet officials to get their problems solved, especially at zone offices.

  • Fire in commercial complex exposes major violations Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | May 31, 2018, 04:44 IST

    Nagpur: A fire broke out in a recently constructed commercial complex at Civil Lines on Wednesday afternoon. The incident exposed major violations in the G+3 floor building, hinting at a nexus between the developer and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) officials.

    An official from NMC fire department told TOI the exact reason for the fire could not be ascertained. “A bowling alley is under construction on the third floor, where the fire broke out. Some said an AC exploded causing the fire. Some said sparks from welding works caused a fire in the bushes at the rear of the building. The fire was easily brought under control within a couple of hours,” he said.

    NMC records show developer Indo Agro Synergy Limited got sanction for the building plan and obtained fire NOC in February last year. Two restaurants are in operation on the ground floor, two offices on the first floor, and a coaching class on the second floor. The building lacks fire compliance and occupancy certificate.

    Besides, the developer has only started construction of a fire escape staircase, which is supposed to be ready before bringing the building into use. Surprisingly, the fire staircase is being constructed on the ramp to the basement parking.

    The official said firemen had to use the regular staircase to go up and douse the fire. “Side margins on two sides are not vacant. Fire tenders were parked on two adjacent roads. Construction has been done in side margins. Many of the fire systems are not in place in the building,” he said.

    Even the basement parking is not ready, even though two restaurants and coaching class are operating in the building, where a large number of vehicles must be arriving. Two-wheelers and four-wheelers were parked on the road creating congestion.

    The officials of town planning, and fire department, and Dharampeth Zone have not taken any action even though the building is situated right behind the NMC head office.

    Chief fire officer Rajendra Uchake said an inspection will be followed by action in case there are violations in the building.

    This is the second fire incident in a commercial building in last two days. There was a fire in one of the shops at Eternity Mall, Sitabuldi, on Tuesday.

  • Demolition of Agriculture College wall begins tnn | May 31, 2018, 05:36 IST
    Restoring old charm: The compound wall will now have iron grills erected on it so that the structure could be easily visible

    Nagpur: The work on demolitionof a tall compound wall that was blocking the grandeur of British era Agriculture College, situated near Maharajbagh, began on Tuesday so that people can get its full view. According to plans, the compound wall will now have iron grills erected on it so that the old charm of the structure could be easily visible.

    According to records, the building was constructed as residence of Queen Victoria during her stay in India.

    The tall wall was built in September last year that deprived the people of enjoying its beauty. Taking notice of this, former minister Anil Deshmukh took up the issue with the authorities concerned. Deshmukh wrote letters to PKV vice-chancellor Vilas Bhale and associate dean Parlawar, stating that the wall was a hurdle in the beauty of the historic building. Deshmukh suggested that the height of the wall be reduced to two feet and an iron grill be fitted on it.

    In reply to the letter, Parlawar informed that the wall was constructed by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) in violation of terms and conditions of the no-objection certificate issued by the college.

    On the basis of the reply, Deshmukh wrote to municipal commissioner Ashwin Mudgal with suggestions on the height of the wall. But the matter was kept in cold storage for close to four months following which Deshmukh wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, complaining that the beauty of the building was lost after the wall was constructed.

    His efforts finally paid off as NMC has started demolition of the wall. Iron grills will be erected shortly.

  • State okays Rs1,000cr water plan for drinking and irrigation Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | May 31, 2018, 04:39 IST
    Nagpur: The state government has approved a Rs 1,015 crore plan for mitigating water problems prevailing in the city for drinking and some parts of the district for irrigation following the construction of the Chaurai dam by the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government on Pench river. Special permission has been given to Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) for beginning works on seven lift irrigation schemes under the plan.

    The water resources department (WRD) has issued a notification on Wednesday. CM Devendra Fadnavis has approved the plan under the drought mitigation scheme. The need for special measures was felt after the state lost 60% of water from the Totladoh dam following the construction of the Chaurai dam.

    The plan aims to develop new sources of water with capacity of 188 million meter cube (MMC) that will irrigate 26,370 hectare agriculture land. More water for irrigation will pave way for increase in raw drinking water allocation to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) from Totladoh irrigation reservoir.

    Divided into three parts, the VIDC will develop seven lift irrigation schemes, of which three are on Kanhan river, two on Sur river and two at Babdeo Sugar Factory and Sand nullah, at the cost of Rs 245 crore under phase-I.

    Also, the VIDC will develop lift irrigation schemes at the coal mines of WCL at Inder, Kamptee and Gondegaon at the cost of Rs 22 crore. Around 28 MMC water from the three mines will be lifted for irrigation of 3,360 hectare agriculture land.

    Special permission has been given to VIDC for floating tenders to execute the works before administrative approval. Work orders will have to be issued after administrative approval.

    Following efforts from guardian minister Chandrashekar Bawankule, the government has approved the lift irrigation schemes under solar power.

    The government has appointed the central government’s WAPCOS Limited as consultant for the project. VIDC sources told TOI that WAPCOS has started to prepare a detailed project report and design of all works approved under the plan.

    VIDC superintending engineer LP Ingle told TOI that water from seven schemes will be released in canals of Totladoh irrigation reservoir and those situated on its downstream like Navegaon Khairi. “It has been planned for the forthcoming kharif season. Excess water in Kanhan and Sur rivers that otherwise goes into Gosikhurd dam will be tapped in these schemes. The VIDC will develop a water network and related infrastructure from these schemes to beneficiaries in phase-II at the cost of Rs 470 crore,” he said.

    Under phase-III, the VIDC will repair and augment right and left bank canals of Totladoh irrigation reservoir at the cost of Rs 300 crore.

    Official sources told TOI that water crisis will increase manifold during kharif and rabi season if works get delayed. “The plan was decided in September last year but approved now. The NMC, some more civic bodies and Mahagenco’s Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations will also require to pay high tariff for water,” sources said.

    As reported by TOI on May 26, the central water commission (CWC) had constituted a five-member committee to study and suggest water allocation to the state and MP from Pench river within three months.

  • MahaMetro plans to assemble coaches at Butibori as China co backs out Ashish Roy| TNN | May 31, 2018, 04:36 IST

    Nagpur: With China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) showing no interest in setting up a Metro coach manufacturing plant near the city, MahaMetro has decided to assemble them in Butibori extension. The plant will be ready in an year. It plans to expand it to a full scale manufacturing unit if it gets orders from other Metros in the country. CRRC will, however, supply the first 69 coaches to Nagpur Metro.

    A source in MahaMetro said that both standard gauge and broad gauge coaches would be assembled at the Butibori plant. “We will make broad gauge coaches for Metro trains to Ramtek, Wardha, Bhandara and Katol, and standard gauge coaches for Pune Metro. We will also bid to supply coaches to other Metros across the country,” he added.

    MahaMetro has sought 100 acre land from the state government, and the initial investment will be Rs350 crore. The plant is expected to provide employment to around 300 people in the beginning. It will have the capacity to assemble 100 coaches a year.

    “We have saved around Rs200 crore from our rolling stock purchase. The central government will contribute to the project, and we will also seek a strategic partner like Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Alstom etc. The state government will also be urged to invest in the project. We will assemble the coaches under both Make in India and Make in Maharashtra schemes,” said the source.

    According to him, MahaMetro will also set up a coach maintenance facility at the plant. “Currently, there are 2,500 coaches running in various Metros of the country. They will require maintenance from time to time,” he said.

    Commenting on CRRC, the official said that the company purchases most parts from other companies. “It only manufactures the shell and then assembles the coaches,” he said.

    Elaborating on the plant, he said, “There will be three sections, one assembling, another testing, and one for maintenance. The 100 acre land is sufficient for setting up a full scale manufacturing unit. Alstom makes coaches in less than this near Chennai.”

    The proposal will be put up before MahaMetro board at its meeting on June 6 in Delhi. The board will decide whether to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) or a subsidiary of MahaMetro will manage manufacturing. “Whatever the model, we will supervise the plant. We will engage a company to do the actual work,” said the official.

    The official was confident of getting orders for manufacturing coaches. “Currently there are Metros in 13 cities of India and the number will go up to 50 in the coming years,” he said.

    CRRC had signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government in October 2016, to set up a coach manufacturing plant in Mihan. The central government sent several reminders to the company regarding the MoU, but did not get any response. Finally, both central and state government reached a conclusion that China was not interested in the project.

    CRRC was to invest Rs1,500 crore in the unit and generate employment opportunities for 5,000 people. MahaMetro is confident of matching these figures some years down the line.

  • Measures to tackle air pollution can reduce 8.58L deaths: Study Manka Behl| TNN | May 31, 2018, 03:40 IST

    Nagpur: Every year in India, around 26.45% premature deaths (among people above 25 years) are due to air pollution from thermal power plants and industries. While most of the coal-fired plants are violating air pollution standards thanks to the extension on the already-missed deadline given by the central government, the compliance of the standards by the currently operating and under-construction plants can actually avoid 1.24 lakh premature deaths annually. Also, 8.58 lakh premature deaths and 40% pollution levels in India can be reduced if mitigation measures are implemented.

    This was revealed in the latest study by Louisiana State University (LSU) which pointed out that emission from thermal power plants is the largest single-point source of pollution in India. At 22.62%, the highest premature mortality due to toxic emissions from power units was found to be in Chhattisgarh — a state which is often called the country’s power hub, having the seventh-largest coal-fired power plant in the country (Korba Super Thermal Power Plant).

    TOI has been reporting on how Indians will continue to suffer for next few years as the power plants have got an extension to comply with environmental norms. While new power plants are all set to come up in various parts the country, the study concludes that cancelling the construction of proposed coal-fired power plants can save 26,000 lives.

    When it comes to premature mortality due to industrial air pollution, Delhi topped the list. The study attributes around 40% of premature deaths in the Capital to industrial sources. “Not just the polluting sources in Delhi, even the industrial units in neighbouring areas like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh contribute to the pre-mature deaths in the capital. Similarly, the power units of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand are affecting Chattisgarh,” said Sunil Dahiya, campaigner at Greenpeace India. The environmental group also contributed in the study.

    Based on a mathematical modelling, the study analysed 13 scenarios (see box) with current emissions in different sectors. “Emission inventory for various sectors were clubbed with meteorological parameters and were then used to predict the PM2.5 emissions from different sources and their concentrations at various geographies. The PM2.5 data was then clubbed with population data to estimate the health risk,” added Dahiya.

    As per the study, premature deaths associated with PM2.5 exposure are mainly due to cerebrovascular disease which takes away around 4.4 lakh lives every year. This is followed by ischemic heart disease which leads to approximately 4 lakh deaths and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which causes 1.8 lakh pre-mature deaths. About 10,000 people die prematurely of lung cancer. The total number of pre-mature deaths due to the deadly PM.25 are 10.04 lakhs in the country.

    The study further discloses that Uttar Pradesh witnesses the highest number of premature mortality with 2.3 lakh. Bihar and West Bengal are next in line with 1.2 lakh and 1 lakh deaths, respectively.

    The study substantiates that household air pollution continues to be a major threat to public health. Highest number of pre-mature deaths — 55.45% — are caused due to residential pollution. “A majority of households in India use solid fuels for cooking instead of gas and electricity,” the study states.

    As per the calculations, reducing the use of solid fuel in households by 50%, especially in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the North-East can avoid 2.58 lakh deaths annually. During the study, concentrations of PM2.5 were found to be the highest in the Indo-Gangetic region, including northern and eastern India.

    Furthermore, if crop burning is completely abandoned, almost 55,000 premature deaths per year can be avoided. It also focuses on the air pollution caused by burning of municipal solid waste. “Assuming that waste burning is reduced by 80%, 46,000 lives can be saved across the country,” said Dahiya.

    He added that though India has formulated mitigation measures to avoid pollution, its time and target-bound implementation remains a big question mark. “The need of the hour is to implement all the policies systematically in a time-bound manner,” he said.

    Professor Hongliang Zhang, the author of the study, said that major policy measures should include reducing emissions from thermal power plants, instituting strong emissions standards for industries and reducing solid fuel use in households. “Shifting to zigzag kilns in brickmaking and introducing stronger vehicular emissions standards is also needed,” he said.