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- NMC to launch pay and park on 25 roads soon Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | Jun 28, 2018, 04:11 IST
Nagpur: To ease traffic congestion and promote urban transport, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has identified 53 roads to implement pay and park. In phase-I, pay and park will start on 24 roads, and at the Smart Parking Project developed on Central Bazaar (CB) Road.
Pay and park is part of the parking policy implemented by the civic body last year. NMC had appointed Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC) to prepare a detailed project report (DPR). Accordingly, UMTC submitted the DPR to NMC, and a detailed presentation was made before the committee headed by divisional commissioner Anup Kumar a couple of days ago.
NMC officials told TOI tendering process will be initiated now to appoint private agencies to run the pay and park on 24 roads. “Tendering process for remaining 29 roads will be undertaken later,” said the source.
Started on pilot basis, NMC had received a good response for pay and park at four locations — Wardha Road between Panchsheel Square and Lokmat Square, in front of Yashwant Stadium, and between Panchsheel Square and Yashwant Stadium.
Pay and park will not be implemented on the entire stretch of the identified roads. Areas at the starting and ending of the roads will be no parking, as also areas on tangents and squares.
Under the Rs520 crore Smart and Safe City project, special purpose vehicle Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) through L&T had developed Smart Parking on one side of CB Road, between Jai Kalpana Building T-point and Kachipura Square. Tendering process of Smart Parking will be initiated along with the 24 roads. Total 85 car parking slots are available on this stretch of around 500 meter. It will be fully automated, as it will be equipped with embedded sensors.
The pay and park charges for 24 roads and Smart Parking will be different. For other areas, pay and park charges for two-wheeler will be Rs5 for 2 hours and Rs10 for up to 8 hours; Rs10 for 2 hours and Rs20 for up to 8 hours for four-wheelers; Rs2 for 2 hours and Rs5 for up to 8 hours for bicycles; and Rs5 for 2 hours and Rs10 for up to 8 hours for three and five-wheeler commercial vehicles.
For Smart Parking, where only four-wheelers can be parked, the charges will be Rs10 per hour and reduce as the hours increase. Charges will be Rs50 for six hours and Rs70 for eight hours.
- First traffic jams, now potholes: Driving a deadly test for citizens Proshun Chakraborty| TNN | Jun 28, 2018, 04:15 IST
Nagpur: Already grappling with traffic jams due to ongoing Metro Rail, cement concrete roads and flyover works, motorists will now also have to face the recurring problem of potholes dotting roads across the city, including highways.
NMC’s hotmix department claims that it has repaired potholes and carried out patch works at 1,594 spots from April 1 to June 23, and 1,863 patch works with Jetpatcher machine from January 1 to June 23. However, according to citizens and corporators, city roads are yet to be rid of potholes. With monsoon showing signs of revival, citizens will have to face lot of inconvenience if the repair works are not completed soon.
TOI did a reality check on Tuesday and spotted ‘death traps’ across the city. While some potholes formed on Kalamna Ring Road and Pardi Road (Bhandara highway) can be attributed to poor maintenance by National Highways Authority of India, several others have not been filled by the NMC for months.
Ramesh Bhalerao, a resident of Zingabai Takli, said potholes on the turning near Rashtrasant Tukdoji Society are a threat to motorists. “Every day many motorists meet with accidents after losing balance due to at least five potholes one after another,” he said.
“Many motorists have sustained injuries on the leg after falling from their two-wheelers due to potholes. Luckily, no body has received any serious injuries till date but NMC officials have failed to repair potholes,” said another motorist Gajanan.
Independent corporator Abha Pande pointed out that potholes have become a menace for residents of central and east Nagpur. “There are several potholes on the road from Kumbharpura Square to Khairipura that need immediate repairs. Potholes on Craddack Road passing through Maskasath are causing a lot of inconvenience to motorists,” she said.
NCP corporator Duneshwar Pethe said potholes have developed on several roads in east Nagpur areas like Wardhaman Nagar, Deshpande Layout, Vaishno Devi etc.
“Due to violation of terms and conditions regarding maintenance of roads in Sadar where construction of Y-shaped flyover is going on, the road from Nelson Square to Raj Bhandar T-point is dotted with many death traps. Roads along Metro Rail sites too are in a sorry state,” said a traffic cop.
The shoddy repair work by the NMC is making matters worse. “Now, bumps have replaced craters and potholes as the pits have been overfilled. Motorists drive dangerously in a zig-zag manner to avoid these bumps,” said Rahul Deshpande, a resident of Pande Layout.
Terming the pothole repair works a “complete joke”, another citizen Ashok Jogdand said, “Despite spending crore of rupees on pothole filling every year, the NMC or any other civic agency has failed to do the work properly,” he said, demanding a standard operating procedure for pothole repairs at ward level.
Mayor Nanda Jichkar said she will be convening a review meeting over potholes and claimed that NMC’s hotmix department is already doing patchwork.
- Social worker moves HC against railway line expansion in MTR Vaibhav Ganjapure| TNN | Jun 28, 2018, 04:17 IST
Nagpur: Three days after TOI published report on adverse effects of proposed broad gauge conversion of Khandwa to Akola railway line through lush green Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), a social worker knocked judiciary’s praying for staying the project.
A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Zaka Haq issued notices to the respondents, including Union Ministry for Environment, forest and Climate change (MOEFCC), asking them to reply within two weeks. Union Railway Ministry secretary, South Central Railway’s general manager, and state revenue secretary are other respondents in the PIL, filed by city resident Pramod Junghare through counsel Ashwin Ingole.
Citing a report by National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) working group submitted in January, TOI had reported that the railway route shouldn’t be moved from the MTR and alternative one should be explored.
The report mentioned that railways wasn’t keen to construct an alternate route as it was longer by 29.37km and it had to lay a 6.65km single tunnel near Kunverdev village, which will cost Rs556 crore. It further questioned railways stating that when it could dig tunnels in most difficult Pir Panjal (J&K) range and Konkan, why it was reluctant in MTR’s case, considering the threats to wild animals habitat.
The report was bypassed by highways minister Nitin Gadkari and railway minister Piyush Goyal to upgrade line based on an favourable opinion from the Attorney General of India (AGI).
The petitioner contended that MTR provides crucial connectivity with other tiger habitats and if the broad gauge conversation is allowed through buffer zone, it will risk the animals, including tigers being run over by trains. There is also chance that poachers may use the railway line to hunt the animals like happened in Dhakna tiger poaching case in 2013. Therefore, one of the respondents had proposed an alternate route by-passing the reserve.
Junghare further pointed out that railway line expansion, which would passed through buffer zone, would be violation of the Forest Conservation Act and Wild Life Protection Act and therefore, it should be declared as illegal.
- Coal conveyor belts soon for Koradi, Khaparkheda plants Ashish Roy| tnn | Jun 28, 2018, 05:02 IST
Nagpur: Faced with complaints of air pollution and theft on a large scale, Mahagenco has decided to transport coal by conveyor belt from nearby Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) mines. The pilot project is being implemented for Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants. Work order for it has been issued and bhoomipujan is expected to be held soon.
Anand Deotare, chief engineer (civil), said that five mines close to the two power plants — Kamptee, Indar, Gondegaon, Bhanegaon and Singhoti — would be connected with them by a pipe conveyor belt. “This would stop air pollution and theft and do away with the need for human resources in coal transport process. It will lead to saving of crores of Rupees for the company,” he told TOI.
The cost of the project is Rs422 crores and the total length of the belt is 16.5km. “The belt will be 6 metre above the ground and supported by concrete pillars. It will look like a small Metro,” Deotare said.
Chief engineer (mechanical) Rajesh Patil said that the transport capacity of the belt would be 1,200 tonnes per hour. “The design is being made by the company appointed to execute the project. The specifications of the belt would be known soon,” he added.
Patil further said that while such belts existed in a few other power plants in the country, Mahagenco was the first generation company to link five mines with two power plants. “It is happening on a large scale for the first time,” he added.
The work order was issued last month and the project is to be completed in two years. “However, WCL is yet to provide us land needed for erecting the pillars of the belt. We hope to get it soon,” said Patil.
WCL has not been able to supply the required amount of coal to Mahagenco plants due to various constraints. The mining company has stressed on increased use of non-railway modes for increasing the supply. The conveyor belt is one of the means to achieve this objective. This is however, feasible for only those mines that are located near the plant. Four plants of Mahagenco — Nasik, Paras, Parli and Bhusawal — are far away from mines and belts can’t be installed for them.
- Look beyond tiger-centric ecotourism, say researchers Vijay Pinjarkar| tnn | Jun 28, 2018, 05:25 IST
Nagpur: A new study on ecotourism has called for it to be expanded in outlook and made less tiger-centric. “While wildlife tourism in India relies mostly on tigers and a few other charismatic fauna, there is a need to explore potential around other less known wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. Studies need to focus on identification of means to transition from tiger-centric tourism to ecotourism,” the study titled ‘Trends and pathways for ecotourism research in India’ states.
Researchers Mahi Puri and Brijesh Thapa from University of Florida and Krithi K Karanth from Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), Bengaluru, reveal India has seen remarkable growth in nature-based tourism. “However, the current approach has had limited benefits to conservation, protected areas and local communities,” they say. Parks that have more than 1 lakh visitors annually including Kanha, Periyar, Tadoba, Corbett, Mudumalai, Bandipur, Kaziranga, Ranthambore and some with less than 1 lakh visitors were part of the study.
The authors analyzed and reviewed 30 peer-reviewed studies on ecotourism published since 2005. Studies were categorized into three broad themes — those that assessed the potential for ecotourism at specific sites, examined impacts of the existing tourism model, and those that evaluated ongoing ecotourism initiatives. They also identified prominent reasons to adopt ecotourism, evaluated whether principles of ecotourism had been incorporated in scientific research, and identified gaps in research.
Puri, lead author of the study, says, “India is endowed with some of the most diverse landscapes and biodiversity in the world. However, compared to South Africa, Kenya and Costa Rica, India is not recognized as an ecotourism destination, and therefore misses out on a large share of international tourism.”
Puri adds for India to gain a foothold in the global market, a huge shift towards responsible tourism models is required. Scientific research can provide the necessary impetus for policy legislation, consumer awareness, and avenues for financial investment. “Our study is a step towards identifying existing gaps in ecotourism research in India,” she says.
On doing away with tiger-centric tourism, Puri says, “People need to be provided with more options in terms of things to do. This means diversifying tourism itself. Currently, when tourists visit a tiger reserve, the only activity they can have is a safari. Periyar is an interesting example where people have many more activities in the buffer areas. Diversifying tourism would help employ more people from the local communities and provide greater opportunities for their capacity building,”.
Based on existing studies, the researchers conducted quantitative and qualitative thematic analyses along with reviews of ecotourism research in India to classify broad themes, categorize prominent reasons to adopt ecotourism, evaluate whether principles of ecotourism have been incorporated in research and identify gaps in research.
“We found conservation of biodiversity and local socio-economic development to be the primary motivations for ecotourism. In addition, existing research is not comprehensive, nor does it equally address all the principles of ecotourism,” says Karanth.
Another author Thapa says while ecotourism is recognized as a win-win solution for conservation and development goals, issues related to implementation are rarely addressed in research studies.
“Emphasis needs to be generated on public-private partnerships (PPP) to ensure financing of ecotourism projects, and address aspects related to certification and auditing of ecotourism practices. In this context, research needs to explore different market strategies such as tax subsidies, payment for ecosystem services etc that could incentivize private funding,” says Thapa.
There are major gaps in research regarding impact on wildlife in terms of habitat use, populations and behaviour; research to quantify changes in land use pattern, habitat degradation, connectivity and resource consumption; research to ensure equitable distribution of economic benefits; social and ecological carrying capacities of sites, Puri says.
MANY RESEARCH GAPS
* Wildlife monitoring and conservation, human-wildlife interaction, and socio-economic considerations in implementation of projects largely understudied
* Studies that monitor changes in wildlife habitat use and distribution, populations and behaviour due to increased tourism pressure needed
* In certain areas, due to increased interaction with humans or due to unnatural feeding, behavioural changes in animals should be documented
* Ensure that tourism does not become an extractive industry, and supports conservation
* From wildlife ecology perspective, questions on impediments to animal movement and landscape scale connectivity due to construction need to be addressed
* Evaluation of water extraction, use of wood, waste disposal, and pollution needed
* Prior to proposing ecotourism site’s social and ecological carrying capacity should be calculated
- CM has assured relaxation of plastic ban, claims CAMIT chief Proshun Chakraborty| tnn | Jun 28, 2018, 05:28 IST
Nagpur: Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) will be convening a meeting in Mumbai on June 30 to decide future course of action against the plastic products ban.
On June 25, a delegation of CAMIT led by its state president Dipen Agrawal met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai and informed him that nearly 2,500 members of the association were left with no option but to shut shop following government’s ban on plastic products. The association termed the ban “discriminatory.”
He pleaded with the chief minister for a three months postponement of implementation of ban. The CM assured the delegation to consider the plight of citizens, trade and industries of Maharashtra with open mind and told them to expect a three-month postponement on blanket plastic ban in three days.
Agrawal was confident the state government’s notification about relaxation will be issued in a day or two. “Since the ban was implemented, authorities have been targeting small shopkeepers and traders. Kirana owners, jewellery shops, general stores, gift shops, everyone is living under fear of raids and harassment. They are creating terror and panic among small shopkeepers,” he told the CM
They also pointed out the hardships being faced by common people, traders and manufacturers due to bringing the ban during ongoing rainy season. “Plastic is the most viable and durable option used worldwide for packaging and carrying. Solution for pollution problem lies in proper disposal as there is no practical alternative to plastic,” Agrawal said.
According to him, the ban was just covering up the failure of municipal corporations. “Ensuring garbage is properly segregated and recycled is the responsibility of civic bodies. Cleaning up garbage bins on roads is also their duty. They are failing to do so, leading to so-called ‘plastic pollution,” he alleged.
CAMIT expressed gratitude towards the CM for his assurance of postponement of plastic ban for three months.
8 fined for keeping banned plastic products
Nagpur: With the news of widespread action against selling or keeping plastic products ban in the city limits, shopkeepers have started keeping their shops shut. It was evident in Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s action on Wednesday. The special squad comprising zonal officer, sanitary inspectors and civic cops from nuisance detection squads could find only eight shopkeepers keeping banned products. In Hanuman Nagar zone, two shopkeepers were fined Rs5,000 and Rs 3,000 each for keeping banned products.
Similarly, Dhantoli and Ashi Nagar zones caught three traders in this regard and fines of Rs 5,000 each were recovered from them.
- Cong MLA of Buldhana too opposes rly line through Melghat Vijay Pinjarkar| TNN | Updated: Jun 30, 2018, 00:19 IST
Nagpur: Even as South Central Railway (SCR) is insisting on upgrading the meter gauge railway line through Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), the move has created a political storm, with the Congress being the latest to jump on to the bandwagon opposing the decision.
On June 26, Congress MLA from Buldhana Harshawardhan Sapkal urged governor C Vidyasagar Rao to stop the anti-environment move to broaden the 176km Akola-Khandwa railway line, of which 39km passes through the tiger reserve.
Earlier, BJP MLA from Jalgaon-Jamod Dr Sanjay Kute had, on June 6, written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to oppose the project through MTR.
Sapkal told TOI, MTR is home to 50 tigers and the Centre has taken the decision without considering climate change issues. “Melghat has come up slowly in the last 46 years by spending crores of rupees on conservation. It is the country’s fourth biggest reserve with an area of 2,768 sq km and acts as lungs of Vidarbha, and broad gauge line destroying rich biodiversity is not acceptable,” he said.
“Instead of going through MTR, I would suggest connecting the line via Akola-Jalamb-Akot. A broad gauge line already exists between Akola-Jalamb,” Sapkal said.
The Congress MLA said as per Human Development Index (HDI), Jalgaon-Jamod and Sangrampur blocks outside MTR are backward, and railway infrastructure would bring social and economic development as a population of over 2.50 lakh people can benefit.
On Thursday, Youth Congress activists from Jalgaon-Jamod submitted a memorandum to the SDO against taking up the project through MTR. They demanded alternative route through Hiwarkhed-Sonala-Jalgaon Jamod.
However, even as villagers are gearing up against the upgradation of railway line, SCR is reluctant to budge. SCR chief public relations officer (CPRO) Umashankar M did not respond to TOI calls on Thursday. On Monday, he had promised to come back with details.
After a meeting between highways minister Nitin Gadkari and railway minister Piyush Goyal on June 18 at Delhi, SC Jain, executive director (works), Railway Board, had on June 19 issued a letter asking SCR to start work on the project as clearances are not needed.
When SCR’s chief engineer (construction) GRK Reddy was asked about the ownership of the land through MTR, he said, “When meter gauge is passing through the reserve, no doubt the land belongs to the railways. We will go ahead with the upgradation as planned, but it will take some time.”
However, when the NTCA team constituted by the government to examine the feasibility visited the site, there was no record to state whether the said land with claimed right of way (ROW) belonged to the railways. This fact has also been mentioned in the NTCA report.
TOI has already reported NTCA concluded that the project through tiger reserve is unfeasible. On Wednesday, taking note of the issue, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has admitted a series of TOI reports as PIL filed by social worker Pramod Junghare.
Wildlife lawyer Manish Jeswani says the railways will have to prove ownership of land. “Even if ROW belongs to them, they cannot circumvent forest clearance,” he said.
- Mahagenco fly-ash in Kanhan hits city water supply Ashish Roy| TNN | Jun 29, 2018, 00:17 IST
Nagpur: Large parts of the city did not get water supply Thursday evening as fly-ash released by Mahagenco’s Koradi and Khaparkheda plants caused Kanhan water treatment plant (WTP) to shut down. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had closed the plant from 10 am to 11.20 am. Fly-ash is toxic and water contaminated by it can create health problems.
According to sources in NMC, daily standard evening supply could not be achieved for Nehru Nagar and Laxmi Nagar zones as well as areas supplied by overhead tanks in Binaki and Bastarwari. “Areas catered to by direct tappings (DTs) in Gamdoor, Pulia No 10 and Indora were also affected,” said a source.
“The quantity of fly-ash in Kanhan water started increasing from morning and by 10 am it was so high that we had to shut down WTP. Our plant is not equipped to treat water contaminated with fly-ash. We continued partial pumping to clear the fly-ash until 11.20 am when normal pumping was resumed,” the source further said.
In the meantime NMC contacted Mahagenco officials at Koradi and Khaparkheda and asked them to prevent discharge of fly-ash into the river. The generation officials woke up from their slumber and took steps to prevent discharge.
A Mahagenco spokesperson said chief engineer of Khaparkheda immediately inspected the ash discharge points with his staff. “No leakage was found anywhere. The content of fly-ash increases in Kanhan every monsoon when the ash lying on the bed gets dissolved and flows towards WTP,” he added.
This is not the first time Mahagenco has been unable to prevent discharge of fly-ash into Kanhan river from Koradi and Khaparkheda plants. In December 2012 and January 2013 quantity of fly-ash had assumed alarming proportions and polluted city’s water supply for days.
At that time Mahagenco spokesperson had said the ash bund of Khaparkheda plant had become overburdened as the ash pond for the new 500MW unit was not ready. He had also said that generation could not be stopped as it would have led to load-shedding in state.
- NMC quiet on tall bldgs in plane landing path Ashish Roy| TNN | Jun 29, 2018, 00:17 IST
Nagpur: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and union transport minister Nitin Gadkari’s dream of making Nagpur a big international airport may be nipped in the bud by apathetic civic officials. Since Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is not razing illegal buildings and mobile towers near the airport, Mihan India Limited (MIL) is considering reducing the length of the runway. If this happens, Nagpur airport will not be able to handle more flights and larger planes in the near future.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Vijay Mulekar, senior airport director, said a few buildings at Jaitala and Chinchbhuvan were coming in the way of flights landing and take off. “These high rises were constructed in violation of our permits. We wrote a letter to the then municipal commissioner Ashwin Mudgal to raze the extra construction, but he turned down our request, saying that it was not NMC’s job. We also held two meetings with him, but to no avail,” added Mulekar.
The director had then written to Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to raze the constructions, but is yet to get a response. “I will also write to the ministry of civil aviation but if I do not get any response, I will have no option but to reduce the length of the runway by 560 metre from its present length of 3,200m,” he told the media.
The official pointed out that Nagpur airport had two runways — 1-4 and 3-2. “We will have to stop using the 3-2 runway completely for big aircraft like Boeing 737 and Airbus 320. Only 1-4 runway will be used, but this means that the airport will not be able to handle more flights in the future,” he added.
Currently, the problem from Chinchbhuvan side was not much, but some constructions on Jaitala side are in the flight path. Pilots landing from Jaitala side have frequently complained that their ground proximity warning (GPW) system sounds an alarm near these constructions. MIL is keeping a record of these complaints. “The airport survey to be done later this year will once again confirm the problem,” said Mulekar.
NMC has refused to take responsibility because the Demolition Rules, 1994, of DGCA are not clear as to which agency has to raze illegal constructions. “The practical reality is that local bodies must do it, because they have the demolition machinery,” Mulekar said.
The director further said that local bodies should stop giving sanction to buildings on both sides of the new runway, else it would also run into trouble.
Former municipal commissioner Mudgal defended his conduct. “All these buildings were constructed with MIL’s permission. If they exceed the permissible height then MIL should demolish them as per the Demolition Act,” he said.
- NMC sleeps as sewage water flows on streets, enters houses Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | Jun 30, 2018, 03:25 IST
Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) negligence towards cleaning of sewage and storm water drain network before monsoon has resulted into unhygienic condition in residential localities. Sewage water has started to flow on streets and into residences of many localities posing threat to the citizens.
After rains halted on Friday, sewage water was seen overflowing from chambers in many areas of the city. Fine examples were Verma Layout in North Nagpur, Sonegaon in South-West, Mahal in Central Nagpur, Panchvati Nagar in North Nagpur and Dipty Signal in East Nagpur where streets were filled with sewage water, thus making breathing difficult for the citizens.
Corporator Bunty Shelke told TOI that citizens in Mahal had to remove sewage water from their residences throughout the day. “I have closed down my office since last two days as I could not see situation of the citizens. Sewage water can be seen flowing from chambers into residences from entrance and also from toilets due to back water in Shivaji Nagar, Bhuteshwar Nagar, Nandaji Nagar etc. Nag river is situated a few meters away but sewage and storm water do not reach there,” he said.
Shelke added that mosquito menace was a major problem other than foul smell. “Cleaning of network before monsoon can easily prevent from such situations,” he said.
A resident of Dipty Signal, Benu Hiroundi, said children and senior citizens suffered the most. “Many people have started to witness one or the other health problem. We have an NMC school in our vicinity and children walk through sewage water to enter its premises. Such has been the case since last five years. Problem increases after commencement of monsoon. After sitting pretty throughout the monsoon, NMC started works in one of the areas a couple of days ago,” he said.
Amit Vibhute from Sonegaon said Samarth Nagri continued to witness sewage overflow despite NMC executing works of new storm water drain few months ago. “Workers do not check and clear chambers and trunks before monsoon. Entire garbage and waste lying on the streets plunge into the network, thus blocking free flow of water. No one pays heed despite regular complaints,” he said.
Resident of Panchvati Nagar Sheikh Shahnawaz said areas of North Nagpur were largely affected due to sewage choking problems. “Open plots, playgrounds etc submerge with sewage water,” he said.
NMC official said chambers collapsed in some places. “It is not possible to check and clear network before monsoon due to paucity of staff and machinery. We act swiftly after receiving complaints and resolve the problems,” he said.
- 10 out of 11 authorities sitting idle on plastic ban, only NMC at work Anjaya Anparthi| TNN | Jun 30, 2018, 04:00 IST
Nagpur: The ban on plastic has been in place for a week now, but action still seems inadequate. The state government has given powers to 11 government departments to implement the ban, but only Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is initiating action, due to which use of plastic continues in the city.
In last one week, the civic body has seized 2,502kg plastic from distributors, retailers, vendors and shopkeepers. Also, a penalty of Rs6,53,100 has been recovered from violators. On Friday, 411.55kg plastic was seized and fine of Rs65,000 was recovered from violators.
Since June 23, NMC has appointed a team of 11 members in each of the 10 zones. Each team comprises of assistant commissioner, nuisance detection squad member, and employees of health department, who otherwise do other works. However, these 110 staffers have failed to take the action to all parts of the city spread over 227 sq km, and comprising 28 lakh population.
Residents of Vayu Sena Nagar and Trimurti Nagar told TOI restaurants are still giving parcels in plastic containers and plastic bags. “We ordered some food from a famous restaurant. We were shocked to find plastic usage continues. We had no option other than dumping it in dustbins situated in our locality,” they said. TOI found plastic usage continuing in vegetable and non-vegetable markets at many places. Fine example was weekly vegetable market at Sonegaon on Thursday, where some of the vendors gave vegetables in plastic bags.
Also, NMC collection centres established in 10 zones to deposit plastic are receiving very less response from citizens.
A restaurant owner said they will face huge losses if they cannot utilize whatever plastic plates, packaging items are available with them. “Also, we are yet to get alternate source of serving food, packaging etc,” they said.
An NMC official told TOI the entire city can be covered if other authorities too swing into action. “As per the government notification, 11 government departments, including NMC, have been given powers to take action. Proper coordination between all departments and simultaneous action can make a big difference. We are making all efforts to implement the ban. Public participation is must as drive can be effective only if each and every citizen stops using plastic,” he said.
To spread awareness and also dispose off PET bottles in scientific manner at source itself, NMC has signed a MoU with Parle Agro Private Ltd to install co-branded reverse vending machines, which will work on electricity to crush and disintegrate single use PET bottles. The Digital Reverse Vending Machines will recycle PET bottles at some locations for a period of three years. The MoU was executed in front of CM Devendra Fadnavis at Mumbai on Thursday in the presence of municipal commissioner Virendra Singh.
The PET bottles will be crushed and disintegrated into plastic flakes which will then be recycled. This will be a 24X7 eco-friendly facility and display animated videos on plastic pollution and its effects on environment.
- Plastic ban: State traders’ body decides not to pay fine Proshun Chakraborty| tnn | Jul 1, 2018, 03:30 IST
Nagpur: Manufacturers and traders across the state have unanimously decided not to pay fine if caught selling or keeping banned plastic products. The decision was taken at a meeting of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) in Mumbai on Saturday. The meeting was attended by representatives from all municipal corporations in the state, said the associations’ state president Dipen Agrawal.
If any official conducts raid at any shop or trader, other traders in the city will reach the spot and oppose the action. “We have decided to motivate all traders not to pay fine until the government acts upon our demand of giving us three-month relaxation from the ban,” said Agrawal.
CAMIT has given a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to issue notification about relaxation, he said adding that if the government fails to pay heed, a statewide agitation will be launched.
From June 23, the Maharashtra government had imposed a blanket ban on usage of plastic products across the state. On June 25, a delegation of CAMIT led Agrawal informed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai that nearly 2,500 members of the association were left with no option but to shut shop following the ban.
CAMIT members had pleaded with Fadnavis to defer the ban by three months. “The CM had assured the delegation that the government will consider the plight of citizens, trade and industries of Maharashtra with an open mind and told them to expect a three-month postponement on blanket plastic ban in three days. But no notification was issued over relaxation, causing anguish among CAMIT members,” claimed Agrawal.
NMC fines 10 traders
With no relaxation on banned plastic products, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) continued its action against shopkeepers on Saturday too. The special squad comprising zonal officer, sanitary inspectors and civic cops from nuisance detection squads fined 10 shopkeepers who were found with banned products and collected a fine of Rs50,000.
- Test finds water impure in Mohan Nagar, other areas Proshun Chakraborty| TNN | Jul 1, 2018, 03:42 IST
Nagpur: Water samples taken from Mohan Nagar, Khalasi Line and Gaddigodam, where a large number of residents contracted jaundice after they consumed tap water, are ‘highly contaminated’ as per information provided by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) Mangalwari zone’s water works department.
NMC’s health department also found many residents from these localities suffering from jaundice, confirmed health officer (epidemic) Dr Sunil Ghurde. “Preliminary inspection reveals that the residents contracted jaundice after consumption of contaminated water,” Dr Ghurde said.
The water works department along with Orange City Water (OCW) and NMC health department visited Mohan Nagar, Khalasi Line and Gaddigodam area on Saturday after TOI, on Friday, reported about 150 residents from these localities suffering from jaundice. Residents claimed to have been getting contaminated water supply since last couple of months.
According to results of tests conducted jointly by the NMC’s water works department and Orange City Water, samples collected from these localities were found unfit for consumption. The official admitted that the water samples were stinking.
BSP corporator Sanjay Burrewar said, “The water being supplied to residential areas has impurities. Water supply pipelines in these areas run parallel to and across the sewage pipelines. When high pressure suction occurs, it allows sewage to be pushed into the water supply system.”
Expressed anguish over step-motherly treatment being given to Prabhag number 9, as neither of the four elected corporators are from ruling BJP, Burrewar said the civic administration too is neglecting the hygiene of the locality.
Dr Ghurde said, “Water contamination causes gastrointestinal diseases, typhoid, intestinal worms, cardiovascular problems, excessive thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness and frequent headache and vomiting. The general public needs to be careful about the quality of the water they consume.”
Dr Ghurde said instructions have been given to residents about precautions to be taken. “We have distributed pamphlets and asked them to ensure they boil or filter the water they drink,” he said.
The process to disconnect the old pipelines in these localities has already been started, claimed OCW official.
- To alert motorists, residents erect poles in waterlogged potholes Proshun Chakraborty| TNN | Jul 1, 2018, 03:43 IST
Nagpur: Ramesh Janbadhu, a software engineer, fell on the road after his motorcycle hit a waterlogged pothole on the busy Zingabai Taki-Godhni Road. Vehicles were behind him, but all of them were moving slowly and it gave time to Janbandhu to get out of harm’s way.
As the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has failed to take corrective measures, residents and shopkeepers alongside the stretch have erected poles inside potholes to alert motorists to identify accident-prone spots.
After the city received heavy rains a couple of days ago, at least two big potholes have developed on Zingabai Takli Road and it has become an accident-prone spot.
TOI visited the area on Saturday and found that waterlogging was causing a lot of inconvenience to the motorists. As potholes on the road are also covered with water, the motorists are more prone to accidents.
Residents said an 18-metre stretch on the busy road witnessed accumulation of water at three prominent spots every monsoon. One has to drive very cautiously on this stretch in the rainy season. Due to waterlogging, the pothole is not visible, they said.
According to residents, development seems to be eluding Zingabai Takli, which despite being within the city limits, is no better than a village for them. Adding to the list of civic woes is the persistent problem of waterlogging on Godhni Road, leaving residents and motorists stranded as well as inviting mosquito-borne diseases.
The stretch has become a problem for motorists on a daily basis, said Manoj Singh, a resident of Godhni. “Almost every day, motorists fall on this stretch. It has several potholes and traffic movement has become very difficult. The rainy season has added to the misery,” added Singh.
As per residents, they have approached NIT, corporators and even NMC’s Mangalwari zone, but are yet to get any response.
Sangita Girhe, corporator from Zingabai Takli, admitted that the patch is very dangerous due to no stormwater network. She claimed that when the road was constructed, no thought was given to construct stormwater network alongside. She, however, said the potholes will be repaired once the water dries up.
As a temporary arrangement, she said a pipeline will be laid alongside the road to pave way for rainwater to flow from the road. “Besides, the Rs35 crore 60ft road widening work will commence soon,” she said.
- PLASTIC BAN: Impractical, Selective, Unresearched
Manka Behl| TNN | Jul 1, 2018, 20:10 IST Representative Image
Will the states plastic banchoke its most flourishing industries? Those in the business estimate that the industry stands to lose nearly Rs25-30,000 crores annually which will result in reduced taxes for the government. In Vidarbha itself, livelihoods of approximately 5 lakh families are expected to get affected. To present the other picture of the plastic ban, TOI spoke to Ajay Agrawal (AA), Manish Jain (MJ) and Rajesh Batwani (RB), executive members of the Vidarbha Plastic Industries Association who feel that the impulsive ban will prove to be futile as a large percentage of non-recyclable items are exempted. While Agrawal represented the plastic packaging sector, Jain is from the non-woven bags and Batwani is from the disposable items.
Excerpts from the interview...
Q. Is the ban fair to all industries?
MJ: What was supposed to be a blanket ban has turned very selective. There is a clear discrimination as the state government seems to be favouring the big players.
AA: If top fast-moving consumer goods companies pack grains or pulses in plastic, it is exempted. But if a general provision store gives you rice or dal in plastic, it can be fined. Popular brands of chips, papad and crackers can use plastic packaging but women who are involved in papad and cracker-making cottage industries are being slapped fines for using plastic as a packaging material.
Q. How many livelihoods are expected to get affected by the ban?
MJ: In Vidarbha, at least 5 lakh families will suffer miserably due to the ban.
AA: Incomes of both, the small-scale traders and many labourers, have been hit hard in the last few days since the ban came into effect. While we can still think about setting-up alternate businesses, the daily wagers have no other source of income.
MJ: In Maharashtra, the annual turnover of plastic sector is around Rs25-30,000 crores. The government is not realizing that the states economy can get paralysed by an impulsive decision. How can you give us three months to shut down an industry which is running since ages? I have taken a huge loan for setting up a unit. This ban will the loans into non-performing assets (NPA).
Q. Recently, the state environment minister Ramdas Kadam had stated that the plastic ban decision was not taken overnight like demonetization. Do you think the decision was well thought out?
RB: The decision was not carefully researched at all. In our industry, many plastic manufacturers are not registered with the government. So, when the government was scrutinizing the available database while planning the ban, it probably did not consider the huge plastic small and medium enterprises (SME) sector.
AA: The fact that every other day, government is giving relaxation to new products shows that the blanket ban was a completely impractical target. Since the announcement of the ban, state is realizing how it is impossible to do without packaged drinking water, milk pouches, retail packing and keeps exempting them.
MJ: The government failed miserably in creating mass awareness about plastic waste management and thus took a short cut by imposing a statewide ban. If you cant manage it, get rid of it was a very irrational approach.
Q. Do you think the ban will be successful?
MJ: The ban cant be successful as many non-recyclable products have been exempted. Today more than 80% of the plastic waste which is lying around in dumping grounds consists of non-recyclable items like shampoo and soap packets, tobacco pouches. These are the plastic items which dont go for recycling, the rag pickers dont even touch them. But they are not included in the ban.
RB: 70% of the total recyclable plastic waste gets recycled. The waste menace was due to non-recyclable plastic a large part of which is now exempted. In this case, the ban will prove to be a completely futile exercise.
AA: Its been years since the government banned carry bags below 50 microns despite which it has been used openly and widely in the region. When the government failed in implementing this, it is next to impossible to achieve a much bigger target. The municipal corporations dont have enough manpower.
Q. Do you feel this ban was more of a Mumbai-centric decision?
AA: Thats what it seems. The initial reason behind the ban was large quantities of plastic waste littered at Mumbai beaches or choked nullahs leading to floods. Plastic manufacturers had suggested to declare beaches and other tourist spots as no-plastic zones. That would have solved the problem to a great extent.
Q. Maharashtra is the first state to have imposed such a ban. Do you think plastic is not a problem in other states?
MJ: Plastic is not the problem, its littering is. The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules came into place in 2011. Before this, Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules were in existence. Plastic became a menace because these rules remained only on paper.
RB: In Nagpur, the civic body had roped in a private agency in 2008. It was the failure of this agency and the municipal corporation that plastic waste could not be managed. But today, we are suffering. A common man is being harassed if he is found with a small plastic item.
Q. Instead of a complete ban, what do you think the government should have done to tackle the plastic peril?
RB: We were and still are in complete support of the extended producer responsibility (EPR). We have started establishing plastic collection centres all over the state. The government should have held discussions with the manufacturers to find a way for ensuring maximum recycling.
AA: Rather than spending crores on advertising about the ban, the state should have invested in a hi-tech recycling plant like the one installed in Indore.
MJ: Look at states like Sikkim. They have only put a restriction on carry bags less than 50 microns but still are managing plastic waste very scientifically and systematically.