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- CM ayes land, funds for defence manufacturing hub in Mihan Ashish Roy | TNN | Aug 11, 2018, 03:15 IST
Anil Ambani chairman Reliance Group along with family, Eric Trappier Ceo Dassault Aviation France, Ms Florence... Read More
Nagpur: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has sanctioned land and funds for setting up a defence and aerospace manufacturing training centre and defence manufacturing common facility centre in Mihan.
The facilities are part of Vidarbha Defense Industries Hub (VDIH), a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative. TOI had reported about plans to set up the hub in its edition dated February 8, 2018.
Reliance has decided to set up a Rs6,500 crore aerospace park in Mihan in collaboration with French aviation giant Dassault. It plans to manufacture fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. It has already started manufacturing of Falcon - the business jet made by Dassault. Local industrialists hope that the plant and its ancillary industries will create thousands of jobs. Vidarbha’s youths need to be trained and manufacturing equipments need to be made available to local industries.
A source in Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), which manages Mihan, said that 20 acre land has been sanctioned for the training centre, common facility centre and for defence manufacturing units. Divisional commissioner Anup Kumar said Rs53 crore had been ayed for the facilities and its progress would be monitored by Vidarbha Statutory Development Board (VSDB).
The Hub is the brainchild of Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) and senior retired defence officers from the region. A non-profit organization Vidarbha Defense Industries Association (VDIA) has been formed for implementing the project. Lt Gen Ravindra Thodge (retd) is the chairman of the organization.
VDIA director Dushyant Deshpande said that his organization had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata Technologies Ltd for imparting training and setting up the manufacturing facility centre. “Tata has faculty and training infrastructure for the job. They will train youths in reverse engineering, prototype and product development. They will run the centre for facility for three years and then hand it over to governing council constituted by state government. The manufacturing common facility will also be set up by Tata,” he added.
“We will start the training centre in rented premises in Mihan. We will begin construction of the building immediately and shift into in March 2019,” said Deshpande.
The MADC source further said that state government will try to attract defence manufacturing companies to Mihan and they will be given land in the 20 acre sanctioned for the purpose. “This is apart from the Reliance aerospace park,” he added.
Vidarbha Defense Industrial Hub envisages an investment of Rs217 crore of which Rs146 crore has been sought from state government while Tata will pump in Rs66 crore. Remaining Rs5 crore will be contributed by local industries. The training centre needs Rs99 crore.
- HC to donate illegal structures’ deposits to child shelter homes Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Aug 11, 2018, 03:15 IST
Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Friday, decided that the money collected from objectors of illegal structures will be donated to government shelter homes for children in Vidarbha.
Denying any leniency to the objectors who approached late for depositing 50,000 seeking similar benefits, the high court asked them to now deposit 60,000 with its registrar before August 21 and adjourned the hearing till August 23.
Earlier, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) informed that since last hearing on August 2, it received as many as 864 more objections from those who constructed illegal structures in city without requisite sanctioned plans and building permit.
These are in addition to 677 objections received till July 18, which took total number of objectors to over 1,500.
A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Zaka Haq then appointed a panel comprising government pleader Sumant Deopujari, High Court Bar Association (HCBA) vice President Gauri Venkatraman and assistant government pleader Kalyani Marpakwar Deshpande.
The panel would receive applications from various shelter-cum-observation homes, which according to the judges are in very poor conditions and need urgent financial aid for sustaining. “The members would find out priorities, after scrutinizing applications and then decide on terms and conditions to release the funds,” the judges said.
When hearing begin at about 11am, senior counsel Chandrashekhar Kaptan and Sudhir Puranik appearing for the civic body, informed that about 254 out of 677 illegal structures had deposited Rs50,000 each with the registry as directed by the HC on August 2.
When those who missed the court’s deadline approached to pay the amount like these 254 structures, the judges asked them to shell out Rs1 lakh each. When their counsels protested, the judges sternly told them to submit demand drafts and relevant documents by 2.30pm.
“This is the concession extended by NMC and court to you. Those defaulted should now pay Rs60,000. This amount would be used for welfare of destitute children, as we found that the government wasn’t in a position to feed them properly. Those living in shelter homes lack even the basic things,” the judges tersely observed, before reducing the deposit amount to Rs60,000.
‘We find it appropriate to make funds available for betterment of living conditions and education of the children in shelter/observation homes opened under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000,” they added, while taking on record the number of 864 new objectors as informed by the corporation.
In second half, the hearing started very late at about 5pm, as the judges were busy with other assignments, for the day. Several prominent leaders from the NMC and those from temple trusts thronged the courtroom. Many of them then departed after the hearing didn't commence till 5pm.
(With inputs from Ritika Gupta)
- NMC House calls for regularizing shrines in open spaces, grounds Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Aug 11, 2018, 03:16 IST
Nagpur: To halt the ongoing demolition of illegal shrines on public utility (PU) land, playgrounds and recreational zones, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) general body on Friday passed a resolution seeking amendments in the city’s development control regulations (DCR). If the state government approves the move, NMC can regularize existing illegal religious structures. The amendment also seeks to make it mandatory to have religious structures in layouts larger than three hectare, just like amenities like schools, sub-post office, police stations etc.
Now, municipal commissioner Virendra Singh will submit the resolution to the state government, which will issue notification inviting suggestions and objections, followed by hearing of those responding, and then final notification. The government will also have to get it cleared from the state legislative assembly and council.
The only condition imposed for regularization, and for new religious structures also, is no-objection-certificate from concerned police station and collector.
Soon after commencement of the general body meeting, ruling party leader (BJP) Sandip Joshi tabled the proposal, which got support from leader of opposition Tanaji Wanve (Congress) and BSP group leader Mohammed Jamal. After the resolution was read out by municipal secretary Harish Dubey, the house passed it unanimously.
In the proposal, the three leaders stated religious structure were a day to day need of citizens for peace of mind, along with following religious and social activities in their nearby vicinity. “Religious structure is also a boon for the society as it facilitates a bond among people and also healthy conversation among them. But there is no clear provision for religious structures in city’s DCR. Therefore, the public is demanding provisions in DCR,” they said.
The proposal was not part of the meeting’s agenda. First, Joshi linked the proposal to the town planning department’s proposal on the agenda seeking change of reservation from Extension to Octroi Naka to public/semi-public land on the land situated on Hingna Road. Later, the proposal was tabled independently.
Congress corporator Praful Gudadhe demanded inclusion of a provision for reconstruction of religious structures where they were demolished during the ongoing demolition drive.
Joshi said corporators will get a chance to raise their demands on the proposal in the next general body meeting. “The civic chief will submit the resolution to the government soon, so that the process can commence. Then we will make amendments in the proposal and submit it to the government,” he said.
Joshi told TOI trusts or associations will be given the land on which existing illegal religious structures stand at nominal rate. “Also, provisions to exempt the trusts or associations from paying building plan charges will also be made in coming days,” he said.
Joshi added they will try their best to get approval for the amendments from the government as soon as possible, to avoid demolition of more illegal religious structures.
All political parties in NMC had planned to pass the resolution in a special meeting of general body on August 3, but the demand was rejected by the civic chief. Therefore, the monthly meeting was organized 10 days before schedule.
After passing the resolution, the general body adjourned sine die after paying tributes to veteran social activist Umesh Choube, and without taking up 10 general body questions and eight policy proposals on the agenda.
- Daily plastic waste generation has reduced by 50%, says Kadam Manka Behl | TNN | Updated: Aug 11, 2018, 08:28 IST
Around 50 days after the plastic ban came into force, state environment minister Ramdas Kadam claims that the daily generation of plastic waste in Maharashtra has reduced by 50%. Speaking exclusively to TOI, he stated that the ban is showing signs of success all over the state.
The minister however expressed concern about the plastic bags which are being smuggled into the state from Gujarat. According to Kadam, 70% of the plastic circulated in the state is coming from Gujarat. “Only 30% is produced here,” he said.
Blaming the manufacturers from Gujarat for continuing the send plastics to Maharashtra even after the ban, Kadam said that the state will now take up the matter with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani.
Three days back at Vasai near Mumbai, the authorities busted a vehicle which was transporting 16 tonnes of plastic bags from Gujarat. Six other similar vehicles reportedly managed to escape.
“We will write letters to Rupani and Gujarat’s home department, providing them a list of companies flooding supplies to Maharashtra. We will ask them to intervene and take urgent action against them,” said Kadam.
While the plastic industry is still enraged over the state’s ban, especially after the suicide of Nagpur-based trader Naresh Tolani, Kadam said that the decision did not mean to bring any harm to individuals. “The incident was very unfortunate but, before taking such extreme steps, those affected should realize that the revolutionary move was aimed at protecting their next generations from the perils of plastic,” said the Shiv Sena leader.
Reacting on the industry’s grievance of “not getting enough time” to adapt to the ban, Kadam said that the state had given ten months to look for alternatives. “The plastic bag makers could have explored other options like manufacturing cloth bags. The state had no intentions of snatching away livelihoods or paralysing an industry,” said Kadam.
The minister has appealed to all the manufacturers, traders, retailers and other stakeholders to cooperate with the government. “We didn’t enforce a ban overnight. If citizens can cooperate at the time of demonetization which was sudden, we expect their support for this move too. I, or any minister, had no vested interest behind the ban. Plastic is a global problem and we have taken a bold decision to eradicate it,” added Kadam.
- Taking the air pollution fight to the hinterlands
Manka Behl | TNN | Aug 13, 2018, 03:11 IST
Nagpur: Between 2011 and 2016, Nagpur witnessed 50% rise in the consumption of petrol. The number of diesel vehicles from 2011-17 increased by 40% while petrol ones saw a rise by 10%, indicating that vehicular emissions are a significant contributor to the worsening air quality in city.
The data was presented by Sunil Dahiya, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace India, during the first-of-its-kind workshop held in the city on Saturday. Organized by Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE), and Srushti Paryavaran Mandal, the daylong seminar felt the urgent need to address air pollution as a problem beyond Delhi. Attended by environment activists from Nagpur, including members of Green Vigil Foundation, Sudhir Paliwal, director of state governments flyash management company Mahagams, as well as experts from other cities, it saw debates on several ticklish issues like credibility of government data, monitoring methods, and ground reality as against the data presented by several organizations.
The data shows diesel consumption went up by 26% in Nagpur between 2011 to 2016, 44% in Gondia, 43% in Gadchiroli, 34% in Yavatmal and 26% in Akola. With a 52% rise, Washim witnessed the highest increase in use of diesel in the region.
Highlighting pollution caused by automobile sector, former assistant director of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute Dr Manas Ranjan Ray said diesel is the most polluting agent followed by petrol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Apart from vehicles, major sources for outdoor air pollution include industrial emissions, mining, construction, road repair and waste burning, said Ray.
Supporting the growing consensus that air pollution cant be capital-centric, noted environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta underlined the inefficacious monitoring of ambient air carried out across the country. Out of the 199 continuous air quality monitoring stations, 40 are in the National Capital Region, Delhi. Shockingly, there is not a single monitoring station in the entire North-East region, despite many areas being critically polluted there, said Dutta.
Some experts also gave prominence to the less-talked about pollution sources. Present housing patterns do not allow wind to blow inside the houses. Congested houses leave no scope for ventilation, which leads to build up of pollutants, said Padma Rao, head of Air Pollution Control Division at the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (Neeri).
On other contributors of indoor air pollution, Dr Ray cited the latest data, which shows that 72% of Indian households are still using biomass fuel for cooking. Biomass is the main culprit, it is more harmful than kerosene, he said.
Burning of incense sticks has recently come out as a significant contributor to indoor air pollution. Latest studies show that burning of an incense stick emits 45 milligrams of pollutants while burning of a cigarette emits 10 milligrams, Ray added.
- City ranks 31 on Ease of Living index, Amravati at 16 Barkha Mathur | TNN | Aug 14, 2018, 03:36 IST
Nagpur: The city was ranked 31 while Amravati was 16th among 111 cities in the country’s ‘Ease of Living Index’ launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), which was released on Monday. Three cities in the state, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai ranked first, second and third in the nation. Of the total 12 cities covered in the state, two were from Vidarbha, Amravati ranked fifth while Nagpur was ninth in the state.
MoHUA launched the ‘Ease of Living’ Index in January 2018 to help cities systematically assess themselves against global and national benchmarks. The exercise spread over four months also collected feedback from over 60,000 citizens to measure satisfaction on urban services.
The index captures the breadth of the quality of life in cities across four pillars and 15 categories, using 78 indicators, of which 56 are core indicators and 22 are supporting indicators. The core indicators measure those aspects of ease of living which are considered ‘essential’ urban services. The cities included are ones identified under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities, and a few more cities with population of over 1 million. This assessment is the first of its kind globally in terms of scale and coverage, and this is for the first time that it has been undertaken in the country.
Happy with the 16th position attained by Amravati, municipal commissioner Sanjay Nipane said, “Outside the Mumbai metropolitan region, Amravati is the only city in Maharashtra to have scored so high, but we would like to be in the first ten, and since this is a sustained process, we hope to do better next year.”
Disappointed with Nagpur’s ranking, Ramnath Sonawane, CEO of Smart City project and nodal officer for collecting and submitting the data, says, “We submitted realistic and factual data and I was hoping that Nagpur would rank at least among the first 10.” Analysing the report, Sonwane added, “What could have pulled down the city’s ranking is revenue collection, which is low in terms of demand and recovery. The water supply in the city is good in volume but non-revenue water supply is as high as 53%. Under the category of transport and mobility too we have abysmal score of 1.35 out of 5, and this is because our requirement of buses on the basis of our population, which is around 28 lakhs, should be ideally 1,000 buses. But only 230 buses are plying on the roads as of today.”
Terming the index as an ongoing assessment process, collector Ashwin Mudgal said, “This programme will continue for the next four to five years, and the progress on these parameters will be continuously assessed.” Hoping to improve the scores next year, mayor Nanda Jhichkar said, “We always hope to do well, so a bit of disappointment is there but in certain categories like solid waste management, reduced pollution and health, the city has scored well.”
However, the city scoring a dismal 0.88 on a score of 6.25 under the category of identity and culture has left many from the cultural sphere shocked. “Either correct data was not submitted or something is amiss,” says Vilas Kale, trustee of Chitnavis Centre. “If you compare the current scenario from what existed 20 years back, the city has quality cultural activities happening in abundance. This score should be corrected,” he adds.
What has also lowered the ranking for Nagpur is its score on housing and inclusiveness, which is 0.01 on 5, and Mixed land use and compactness which is 0.75 on 5. Terming statistical data based finding as a bit misleading, real estate developer Ashutosh Shewalkar said, “There are large tracts of land like those under the control of PKV agricultural university which lower the density in terms of human inhabited areas. I would say this is positive as the city has a lot of open space.”
But Shewalkar agrees that the score of Housing and inclusiveness is rightly low as the city does not offer affordable homes. “When it comes to housing schemes, the city has not spread horizontally. For the past 28 years, large tracts of land in the peripheral areas have been cornered by investors from outside due to speculative buying. Both Butibori, which was promoted as the largest industrial area in Asia, and Mihan have vacant lands, which have not come up for sale as the expected prices are not being offered. This reduces the land available for affordable housing schemes.”
- NIT’s STPs will make city lakes, rivers sewage-free Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Aug 14, 2018, 03:38 IST
Nagpur: Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has commissioned one of eight sewage treatment plants (STP) planned with a view to reduce pollution in three lakes and two rivers of the city. Ambazari and Sonegaon lakes are set to become sewage-free under the project.
The civic agency has commissioned STP of 1 million litres per day (MLD) capacity on a sewage line at Kachimet on Amravati road over a month ago. The sewage from this has been flowing into Nag river and Ambazari lake without treatment for years.
This is NIT’s first STP and also city’s first to protect a lake. STP has been constructed using continuous aerobic multistage soil bio technology (CAMUS-SBT) developed by IIT Bombay. The forest department in association with NEERI has planned to construct another 5 MLD STP on Nag river in under-construction biodiversity park adjacent to Ambazari lake. These two STPs will ensure no untreated sewage flows into Ambazari lake.
NIT assistant engineer PR Patil told TOI another STP was under-construction at Sonegaon lake. “It will be of 0.3 MLD and is being developed on NEERI’s phytorid technology. It will ensure no sewage flows into the lake without treatment,” he said.
Under the guidance of NIT chairman Ashwin Mudgal, NIT projects department team comprising superintending engineer RK Pimple and Patil had planned to construct eight STPs with total capacity of 61.30 MLD at an estimated cost of Rs 110 crore.
Of remaining six, two 40 MLD STPs are being constructed on Pora river at Somalwada, one with capacity of 3 MLD on Pili river at Nara, two on Hatti nullah at Hazari Pahad and Chamar nullah at Ittabutti area with capacity of 4 MLD and 9 MLD respectively (these two nullahs join Pili river) and one with capacity of 4 MLD on sewage line that joins Gorewada lake that is raw drinking water reservoir of the city.
NIT has entrusted the project to joint venture of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd and Ayyappa Infra Projects Pvt Ltd. NIT is hopeful to commission remaining seven STPs within a year. A salient feature of the project is that NIT has also given responsibility of operation and maintenance of the plants to the joint venture for five years.
- No CCTVs at sand ghats, depots:Bombay High Court issues notice Vijay Pinjarkar | TNN | Aug 14, 2018, 04:05 IST
Picture used for representational purpose
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court, comprising BP Dharmadhikari and ZA Haq, on Wednesday, issued show-cause notices to state principal secretary (revenue & forest) and others for not installing CCTVcameras at sand ghats to curb illegal mining.
The notices were issued on a petition filed by Akot-based wildlife and environment lawyer Manish Jeswani against rampant illegal sand mining that was going on in Akola district in violation of revised Sand Mining Policy-2018 declared on January 3.
The revised policy makes installation of CCTVs at sand ghats and sand depots mandatory for auctioneers. This was introduced to remove flaws in earlier policy of 2013. The main intention behind the revised policy was to increase state’s revenue and ensure environment protection by curbing illegal sand mining in riverbeds.
The petitioner has prayed for direction to assess and calculate the exact quantity of extraction and transportation of sand by each auctioneer from the sand ghats of Akola and take action against them including recovery of fine for not installing CCTVs and submitting footages as per the revised policy.
The petition also sought high-level committee to investigate illegal extraction of sand and disciplinary action against the respondents and stay on extraction of sand.
In March, Akola collectorate had auctioned 58 sand ghats for Rs4.85 crore without a mandatory district survey report (DSR). The grant of environment clearance (EC) without DSR has already been challenged by the petitioner before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), principal bench, New Delhi, by filing an appeal. The appeal has been admitted and notices have been issued to the parties concerned.
Jeswani, through his lawyer AB Moon, stated that footages of CCTVs were required to be submitted by auctioneers with respective tahsildars who are duty-bound to verify the footages and if even for some period the CCTVs are found non-operational then entire excavation during that period has to be treated as illegal and fine has to be recovered from such auctioneers.
In Akola district, auctioneers did not install CCTVs either at place of extraction nor at sand depots (place from where the sand is transported). So there was no question of submission of footages. This fact was confirmed by district mining officer and tahsildars.
Interestingly, while issuing auction notice in Akola, the terms and conditions column mentioned about installation of CCTVs at the cost of auctioneers and submission of footages with respective tahsildars. The petitioner alleged that despite policy and auction condition, illegal extraction much below the permitted depth continued unabated with connivance of revenue department officials.
Jeswani had submitted representation to principal secretary, district collector and state environment impact assessment authority to stop sand mining in violation of revised policy apprising them about environment hazard. It was also requested to take action against erring officers including district mining officer and tahsildars, but no cognizance was taken forcing the petitioner to move high court.
- After 20 months, Green Buses go off roads as Scania sticks to stand Anjaya Anparthi | tnn | Aug 14, 2018, 05:37 IST
Nagpur: India’s first Green Bus project launched in the city 20 months ago has come to a halt. Despite request from city MP and union minister Nitin Gadkari, Swedish bus maker Scania stopped operating 25 ethanol-run buses from Monday morning sticking to its termination notice issued to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).
TOI was the first to report about Scania’s termination notice on June 15 over non-payment of its dues by NMC. NMC sources said Scania will not resume operations at least until August 23.
Gadkari has organized a meeting with Scania officials and also Swedish Ambassador on August 23 at New Delhi to resolve issues.
Pioneer of the project, Gadkari held two meetings, first on August 4 and second on August 12, to try to get Scania to continue operations. Following Gadkari’s orders, municipal commissioner Virendra Singh wrote to Scania on August 12 requesting them to postpone termination notice till August 23. NMC sources said Scania did not reply to the civic chief’s mail.
Scania has moved all 25 Green Buses to its parking and maintenance depot at MIDC Hingna.
Scania told TOI, “We regret to inform that the Green Bus Service will stop running from August 12. SST and its promoter Scania are proud that the Green Bus Service was a pioneering effort to run a sustainable and efficient public transport service in Nagpur. We continue to believe that sustainable transport solutions are required for mass public transport in growing cities like Nagpur and hopefully viable business models will be supported by the government in the near future for a clean and efficient public transport infrastructure in the city,” the company said.
SST Sustainable Transport Solutions is a company floated by Scania to operate the Green Bus project in the city. Scania refused to say whether it would run Green Buses in future or not. City transport committee chairman Bunty Kukde said NMC was hopeful of Green Bus project resuming after Gadkari’s meeting on August 23.
Scania had reportedly asked its 55 drivers to go on paid leave for one month.
NMC did not fulfil any of Scania’s demand on Monday too. The Volkswagen-owned company had cited three reasons for termination — non-payment of dues since July 1, 2017, including 18% GST in payment, handing over of land for depot and escrow account— that were part of the agreement.
The company had demanded NMC to release Rs 19.73 crore in the termination notice. After NMC’s failure to hand over the land, Scania had rented a piece of land for its depot. Scania was supposed to run 55 Green Buses but inducted only 25 in a phased manner. The company reportedly brought remaining 30 Green Buses to the city but did not put them in service.
NMC was incurring huge loss with the project as buses ran mostly empty. As per the NMC’s data, revenue of Rs 12 per km was coming from the project as against charge of Rs 85 per km to be paid to Scania. It meant occupancy in premium buses was mere 14.11%. Revenue was around Rs 60,000 per day and loss of around Rs 3.50 lakh per day. Average run of each bus in a day was 195km for a total of 4,875km per day for 25 buses.
- Choked sewage, stink irk Gandhi Layout residents tnn | Aug 14, 2018, 05:38 IST
Nagpur: For over a month now, residents in Gandhi Layout in Jaffar Nagar area are annoyed by the inundation of sewage water.
After being contacted by some readers, TOI visited the area and noticed the unhygienic conditions Gandhi layout residents were living under — sewage water overflowing from chambers, street filled with sewage water and the resultant stench making breathing difficult.
Due to heavy discharge of domestic sewerage, the drain often overflows and the adjoining open plot turns into a pond of sewage creating health hazard for the residents.
“It is giving a tough time to the residents and passersby. Besides keeping their windows and doors closed every time, even passersby have to hold their breath until they walk or drive past the area,” said Shaheed Khan, a resident. The water emanates foul smell and drinking water gets contaminated on a regular basis.
According to residents, NMC officials at Mangalwari zone were paying no heed to their regular complaints. “We also informed about the problems to corporators, but to no avail,” said Shoeb Syed, another resident.
The poorly maintained sewage system is also giving health scare to the residents. Recently, a senior citizen slipped and injured his leg. Another resident Javed Sheikh said the stagnant contaminated water attracts fleas and mosquitoes. “In the last one month, many residents have been hospitalized,” he claimed. Outbreak of diseases like malaria, cholera and dengue is common in the area, said residents.
They further alleged that the drinking water is also getting contaminated due to leakage in sewer lines. “The water has a foul smell and we have to boil it and add chlorine to purify it,” said Khan. “Groundwater of the area is highly polluted. We can’t use water of our wells,” he added.
“Not a day passes out without accidents taking place on this internal lane. The accidents were due to sewer overflow as it had also damaged the road patch which was asphalted last year,” said Shoeb.
Residents said during the past one month, the road was cut off for traffic. But this problem persists forever due to indifferent attitude of the civic body.
They alleged that no measures have been taken to address sewage overflow. Corporator of the area, Sandip Jadhav, admitted that the residents suffer due to the overflowing drain. He pointed out that the health department (sanitation) had made a few attempts to set right the problem, but failed to find a permanent solution.
- ‘Over half industries in state polluting’ Manka Behl | tnn | Aug 14, 2018, 05:40 IST
Nagpur: Over half of the 13,200 pollution tests from industries in Maharashtra were found to be “exceeding” the regulatory standards.
This fact was brought out in ‘A Roadmap Towards Cleaning India’s Air’ which was released in New Delhi on Monday during the national conference on Innovations in Pollution Regulation. It was organized by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and Tata Centre for Development at University of Chicago (TCD).
To help improve India’s air quality, researchers from the Chicago as well as Harvard universities laid out five key evidence-based policy recommendations. The roadmap states that the 13,200 tests were from September 2012-February this year and were digitized in collaboration with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).
In its recommendations, the report cited Maharashtra’s star-rating programme and stated that such measures are essential to provide information about polluters to public.
“Access to results of inspections and emission records are generally restricted to regulators. However, public disclosure of this information can lead to pressure from civil society groups as well as from investors. Also, transparency initiatives encourage regulators to improve the reliability of data,” the report stated.
Currently, hundreds of large industrial plants across the state are being rated under this programme based on the emissions of particulate matter.
The roadmap further recommends that the pollution control board should make the polluting industries compensate for the environmental damage they cause. “Though the board cannot levy penalties, it can ensure imposing monetary charges from polluting industries for excess emissions,” it added.
MPCB’s joint director for air pollution control Vidyadhar Motghare, who participated in the national conference, stated that the star-rating programme was changing the state’s fight against air pollution. “As the data is now transparent, people’s participation in the state is also increasing,” he said.
The other recommendations include improving the monitoring of industrial emissions by aligning incentives of auditors, provision of real-time data on emissions, providing the public with information about polluters and using markets to reduce abatement costs and pollution.
- Dates to submit bids for city airport extended, again Shishir Arya | tnn | Aug 15, 2018, 05:48 IST
Nagpur: Dates for submitting bids for Nagpur airport has been extended once again. The financial bids were supposed to be submitted by five private players shortlisted by Mihan India Limited (MIL) on Tuesday.
For the second time, the companies have asked for more time to weigh the proposal and calculate the bid amounts to be put up. The private companies shortlisted to bid for the airport include GVR, GVK, PNC Infrastructure, Essel Group and Tata Realty.
Initially, the bids were scheduled to be submitted on June 14, but the companies had sought an extension on the same grounds. One of the other major reasons for the delay is insistence by companies that MIL should do away with the requirement of building a second runway. If not so, then the timeline should be extended at least, say private players.
The private player bagging the airport deal is supposed to build the second runway within four years of taking over. MIL has ruled out any chance of deleting the clause on second runway.
However, a proposal to extend the time period to 6 years or so has been put up before the project monitoring and inspection committee (PMIC). PMIC is a state government panel overseeing the privatization process, said a source.
MIL will, however, have to also take the Indian Air Force (IAF) into confidence before taking a decision on the second runway. This is because the runway is primarily being built for the IAF base, which has been shifted around 2km away from its original site close to the existing runway. As the traffic increases, it is expected that the second runway will also be needed for the civilian aircraft.
The IAF earlier had a base which stationed IL-76 transport aircraft. The base was shifted to Chandigarh over five years ago and replaced by a helicopter unit. A new site of 400 hectares has been allotted to the IAF. As the site is away from the airport, a second runway will have to be made for IAF planes to land.
Sources say for the IAF, Nagpur is an ideal site in strategic terms to have a transport base. Delay in settling land affairs by the state government is also considered to be one of the reasons for IAF to shift its base up in the north.
Meanwhile, official sources said building of the second runway can be delayed as it would take time to set up the new IAF base also. The runway, if built early and left unused, can be damaged. Rather, it should be timed with coming up of the IAF base.
- NMC’s 360 view: Civic body surrounded by debt TNN | Updated: Aug 17, 2018, 06:02 IST
Picture used for representational purpose
NAGPUR: Even though Nagpur Municipal Corporation succeeded in ending the strike by the three Red bus operators, and the contractors’ sit-in protest, by releasing part payments and assurances, the civic body is facing over Rs360 crore debt burden, and appears to be at a loss in finding ways out of this by increasing revenues.
The actual outstanding amount of the civic body is more, as the accounts and finance section has received bills of around Rs260 crore only, with another Rs100 crore dues towards pension and provident fund of employees. Sources in accounts department said bills of many works are still pending with various departments, including public works, health and workshop departments. If all the dues are taken into consideration, NMC’s liabilities might cross Rs500 crore.
The main source of income for NMC is the tax collected from property owners in the city, other than minor sources like rent revenue from shops in market areas, from which it has managed to generate Rs138 crore in this financial year. NMC heaved a sigh of relief when it got the Goods and Services Tax grant of over Rs260 crore in the current fiscal.
However, NMC could only manage to pay a chunk of its committed expenditure of Rs95 crore with the GST grant.
“Though NMC succeeded in ending the bus operators strike and contractors agitation by assuring to clear their dues by the end of this month, it will not be an easy task for the civic body to overcome this crisis,” admitted a source in the accounts department.
NMC officials admit that the civic body is cash-strapped and is finding it tough to make payments to project contractors on time. Unable to clear dues, the civic body is depriving more than 25 lakh residents of various facilities.
It is hampering important works to be performed by the civic body pertaining to sanitation, waste management, malaria and dengue control, and health care. Many contractors entrusted to carry out works of laying sewer lines have not even started the work due to pending payments, claimed Nagpur Municipal Corporation Contractors’ Welfare Association (NMCCWA) president Vijay Nayudu. He said the contractors will intensify their agitation if the civic body fails to clear dues within a month.
Noting that there was a dire need to increase revenue, the civic administration had attempted many times to improve financial condition by introducing many revenue oriented reforms like levying charges for collecting door-to-door garbage, pay and park schemes, and increase in bus fares etc. The proposals, however, were rejected by the ruling BJP at NMC. The opposition Congress too has said it will oppose any attempt to ‘further burden the people of Nagpur’.
Though standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja was not available for comments, leaders of the ruling BJP feel that instead of increasing tax, NMC should focus on widening the tax base. “A lakh properties in the city are outside the tax ambit. Only five lakh are paying tax to us. We should try to bring more properties under the tax net,” said chairman of tax consultative committee and former standing committee chairman Sandeep Jadhav.
“There are a lakh new properties which have already been identified and it will definitely increase the property tax revenue for the civic body. We can get Rs300 crore if these properties are targeted,” said Jadhav.
To overcome mounting liabilities, some senior ruling party corporators have also approached the state government and urged it to provide some financial grants. “We hope the government acts fast since every passing day is leading to increase in liabilities,” said a senior corporator.
- ‘Circular economy is much more than waste mgmt’ TNN | Updated: Aug 17, 2018, 06:10 IST
P Ram Babu addresses the gathering
NAGPUR: CSIR- National environmental engineering research institute (Neeri) organized their annual Prof P Khanna memorial lecture at their auditorium, on Tuesday.
Paravastu Rambabu, chief executive office of RSM GC Advisory Services, Mumbai and former deputy director at Neeri, delivered the lecture on the topic ‘Can circular economy be the next renewable energy?’
J S Pandey, chief scientist and science secretary of institute was present among the dignitaries on dais.
Remembering the dynamic personality of Khanna, Rambabu said, “While conducting researches, focusing on the appropriate concept is more important that merely exploring the data. Khanna was a committed and disciplined researcher and wise enough to scrunitize things precisely.”
Citing some examples, he said that Khanna raised the status of the institute at the national and international level, and initiated vital R & D areas which brought revolutionary transformation.
Speaking about the recently emerging concept of circular economy he said, “It is slightly different from renewable energy. Here, we don’t focus on simply recycling the product but try to repair it or use its elements to their maximal capacity. This will extend the life of the product and slows its deterioration process.”
In the regenerative system of circular economy, we design a product in a fashion where waste can be recycle, its parts can be repaired and reassembled to make it function like before. It’s more than just waste management, he added.
PET bottles in mixed waters can be incinerated but economic pay off from the energy generate is quite low. But recovering the bottles material value through mixed recyclables or bottle to bottle recycling can generate high economic pay off.
He informed, “At present, PET bottles are among the easiest products to recycle, and it is no wonder that a large number of them are being recycled in India due to which it has grown to become a multi-crore industry.”
- Posh Laxmi Nagar zone on top for lack of civic sense, reveals report Proshun Chakraborty | tnn | Aug 18, 2018, 05:37 IST
Nagpur: It’s a common perception that the citizens living in West Nagpur area, particularly the Laxmi Nagar zone, are more educated as compared to those in other parts of the city. But a report by nuisance detection squad (NDS) put them on top for “lack of civic sense” among all ten zones of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).
The zone comes under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s southwest constituency.
Commencing their patrolling drive from December 11 last year, the NDS caught 1,631 residents and shopkeepers from this zone for creating civic nuisance and collected a fine of Rs 12.14 lakh from them. Most of the violators were caught for littering in public places, followed by encroachments on footpath and urinating in open spaces, as per the statistics compiled by the NMC.
After Laxmi Nagar zone, the squad caught 1,549 citizens from Mangalwari zone, which includes areas like Sadar, Chhaoni, Raj Nagar and collected fine of Rs 12.56 lakh from them. It was followed by Ashi Nagar, which includes areas such as Jaripatka, Nara Nari etc. Here, the civic cops caught 1,462 people and recovered Rs 15 lakh fine. The civic cops keep a close watch in areas like bus stops and railway stations for anyone littering and spitting, apart from committing other civic offences, said an officer from NMC’s sanitation department.
Retired defence personnel appointed as civic cops are doing their job well. Despite instances of interference by the political parties, 10,585 violators were fined Rs 97.32 lakh in the first eight months of NDS’ launch in December last year.
As per the report, dumping construction material on the roads and footpaths is one of the biggest nuisances. The squad had penalized 3,642 citizens and recovered Rs 51.52 lakh from them so far. It was followed by action on hawkers (1,799 cases and Rs 4.60 lakh fine), garbage dumping (908 cases and Rs 2.32 lakh fine) and 798 cases of open defecation and urinating (Rs 1.01 lakh fine).
NDS also penalized 257 traders for keeping banned plastic bags and utensils and collected a fine of Rs 12.17 lakh.
Till March 31 this year, 7,368 Nagpurians were fined over Rs 49.97 lakh. As citizens were not paying any heed to the restrictions imposed by the NMC and continued polluting the city’s environment, the fine amount was doubled from April 1.
As per the revised rules, civic cops started collecting Rs 100-10,000 fine for such acts. The fine for spitting has been revised from Rs 50 to Rs 100, while the penalty for open urination has been doubled from Rs 100 to Rs 200.
But it seems that the act has failed to deter citizens as civic cops continue to fine them for polluting the city, the officer said.