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- Sugar and distillery most polluting industries in state, reveals data Manka Behl | TNN | Aug 25, 2018, 03:16 IST
Nagpur: Sugar and distillery is the most polluting industrial sector in the state, reveals the latest data of Maharashtra’s star-rating programme which is jointly run by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and few other institutes.
The programme, which is the first-of-its-kind in the country, was launched in the state in June last year. It is monitoring industrial air pollution of ten clusters including Mumbai, Pune, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and pockets of Gadchiroli. The programme gives star-ratings to the industries based on the median concentration of their latest stack samples for particulate matter which is a widespread air pollutant which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and also lead to mortality.
Maharashtra, which according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) reports is touted to be the country’s most polluted state after Uttar Pradesh, has around 100 industries which are emitting highly toxic pollutants, the latest statistics say.
Of the 253 industries monitored in the state’s 29 districts, 52 have got one-star rating, implying that the particulate matter emissions from their stack is 250 milligrams per normal metric cube (mg/NM3) or more. The highest number of such hazardous industries are in Thane, which include six from chemical sector and one from paper and metal works each.
Apart from this, 45 industries in the state have been rated two-stars. These units emit particulate matter between 150-250 mg/NM3. Most of these industries are situated in Aurangabad, Raigad and Satara.
In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), almost half of the monitored industries are highly polluting. Statistics reveal that out of 55, 19 industries in MMR have got one-star rating while 8 got two-star. Of the 21 industries in Pune, six are identified as the worst polluting.
Out of 62 monitored sugar and distillery industries across the state, 29 are found to be highly polluting. The next worst polluting sector is the chemical in which 24 industries out of 65 have got one and two-star rating.
Around 72 industries in the state are pumping out particulate matter less than 50 mg/NM3 and have bagged five-star rating. With 14, Kolhapur has the highest number of such industries.
On Friday, TOI reported that none of the 17 most polluted cities in the state have a mitigation plan in place. The Central Pollution Control Board has identified industrial pollution as one of the major sources of air pollution in these cities which are consistently violating air pollution standards.
“Though at a development stage, the data shows that industries are the biggest violators of environmental norms. Being the most industrialized state, Maharashtra needs to formulate action plans which go beyond urban areas and take into account tackling pollution from industrial sources,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India.
- NMC demolishes old bridge even before new bridge’s design is ready Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Aug 25, 2018, 03:14 IST
Nagpur: The citizens of Kachipura and New Ramdaspeth are facing the brunt of improper planning and negligence of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). An old bridge on Nag river, which used to act as a shortcut for thousands of residents of Kachipura and New Ramdaspeth for crossing over to North Ambazari Road, was demolished partly six months ago even before the design for construction of a new one was finalized. Now, the citizens, particularly students who used the bridge to go to schools situated on North Ambazari Road, are left without the old bridge and there’s no hope for new one soon.
The bridge behind Kusumtai Wankhede hall, with a length of around 18 metres and width of 3 metres, was partly demolished by a private contractor after the NMC issued work order. NMC’s Dharampeth Zone had even performed bhoomipuja for a new bridge in February. Since then, none from the NMC turned up to the site leaving the bridge users in dark for last six months.
NMC’s retired deputy engineer Arun Mogarkar told TOI that it was sheer negligence on the part of the civic body to demolish old bridge even before finalizing the design for a new one. “I inquired with the engineers of Dharampeth Zone who told me that the design would be finalized followed by approval of revised estimate from the standing committee. Once approved, demolition of the remaining part of the bridge and construction of new one would begin,” he said. “It is a basic practice to finalize design of the bridge even before issuing tender for appointment of private contractor,” Mogarkar said.
Engineers from Dharampeth Zone said they were revising the design as corporators raised objections over the old one. “Earlier, we proposed to construct the bridge on single pier. Corporators suggested to build the new bridge on two piers so that machines or boats can move easily in future. Therefore, we submitted the revised design and also cost estimate for approval,” they said.
Interestingly, the NMC had also appointed a consultant for the project that comprises bridge with length of just 18 metres and width of 4.5 metres.
Activist and a resident of New Ramdaspeth, Anil Wadpalliwar, demanded stringent action against all engineers and consultant related to the project. “It is a common practice that the project is prepared only after consultation with corporators and local residents. Giving more weightage to corporators’ suggestion than the opinion of NMC engineers and consultant is simply making a mockery of the experts,” he said.
Wadpalliwar added that such lackadaisical attitude of the civic authorities has led to ministers like Nitin Gadkari preferring to hand over several civic projects to other agencies like MahaMetro, NHAI, NIT etc. “It is a small work and proposed two years ago yet nothing has moved. The bridge on Nag river in front of the mall at Alankar Square too is in a shambles and its repairs is pending for the last two years. Similarly, bridge on Nag river near Mokshadham took four years for completion,” he said.
A senior citizen of Kachipura, Ravindra Das Gupta, said it seems CM Devendra Fadnavis will have to personally look after this small work from the beginning to completion. “I am residing in this area since 1954. The bridge was constructed in 1964 and was being used by thousands daily. Students from this area and also those coming for tuitions and coaching classes from other areas were using the bridge. Students from poor families of Kachipura slum used to cross this bridge on way to their schools on North Ambazari road. The bridge was acting as a shortcut for those coming to Kachipura from Bhagwagar Layout, Khare Town, Gokulpeth, Dharampeth etc. Senior citizens who used the bridge for a daily stroll too have left with no option,” he said.
- Not enough water in MP’s Chaurai dam to share with Ngp Shishir Arya | TNN | Aug 25, 2018, 03:16 IST
Nagpur: As the Chaurai dam on Madhya Pradesh (MP) side of Pench river is yet to collect enough water, it may be a tight rope walk for Nagpur district on the other side. Despite better rains as compared to last year, there are chances that water may fall short for irrigating the fields under the Pench complex of dams located in Nagpur district. This includes three major dams — Totladoh, Navegaon Khairi and Khindsi — from where the drinking water needs of the Nagpur city are also fulfilled.
The Chaurai dam built two yeas ago has led to a major cut in the water availability to the state. According to the water sharing treaty, MP will only release water to Maharashtra side if it gets 35 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water. As against this, it has received only 10 TMC of water till August end.
The situation is better as compared to last year, but there are doubts that MP may be having enough water to be shared with Maharashtra, said sources in Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC).
TMC is further broken down to million cubic meter (MCM) when it comes to supply down the line. Currently, the Pench complex has 329 MCM of water, which is 23% of the total level. Last year, it was 202 MCM (16%). Even last year, water could not be spared for irrigation.
The level has increased this year because of rainfall and not due to release of water from MP which is also essential, said sources. Now, much hopes are on September rains to fill up the water in Pench complex.
The Pench complex of dams mainly has paddy fields within its range. After farmers complained that paddy crop was at risk due to less rains, 70 MCM was released a few days ago. That left 282 MCM in the dams which has now replenished to 329 MCM due to last week’s rains.
For another round of irrigation the level has to be at 450 MCM at least else storage would be only enough to cater to drinking water needs of the city during coming months, said a source in the state government. Rains can be expected for another month during which the situation will hopefully improve, the source said.
If the level goes below 30%, water is reserved for drinking purposes with irrigation taking a back seat.
Meanwhile, the overall picture has improved in Nagpur division which covers eastern Vidarbha. The level in major dams of the division stands at 51% as against 22% during the same period last year. In Amravati division too it is over 55% as compared to 31% last year.
- MSEDCL fails to meet even half of solar farm pump target Ashish Roy | TNN | Aug 25, 2018, 03:19 IST
Nagpur: Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule wants to convert all farm pumps to solar by 2025. However, MSEDCL does not seem to take his vision seriously. It has so far installed only 5,637 pumps against 12,957 applications, which translates into 43.5%.
This is the figure for July end. In February end, the figure was 5,237. This means that in five months MSEDCL has installed only 400 pumps.
Bawankule had launched a pilot project last year to provide 10,000 solar pumps to farmers by December 2017. MSEDCL has been unable to meet even this target let alone cater to the new applications after December.
A discom spokesperson admitted that the company had failed to meet the target but promised better performance under a new scheme.
Under the project, 30% of the cost of the pump will be borne by the central government and 5% each by the state government and the beneficiary farmers. The remaining 60% would be sanctioned by the way of bank loan which will be later repaid by MSEDCL in equal instalments. The state government, under the scheme, pays a subsidy of Rs2 per unit to keep farmers’ power tariff low at Rs3 per unit. If farmers switch over to solar, the government will not have to pay it anymore, sources said.
MSEDCL is installing six type of solar pumps. “We are providing pumps of 3 horse power (HP), 5 HP and 7.5 HP capacity, respectively. We have both AC and DC pumps for all these capacities. The farmers have to choose the type of pump he wants and pay their 5% share accordingly. The share ranges from Rs15,000 to Rs22,000,” an official said.
Bawankule has been talking about replacing lakhs of conventional agricultural pumps by solar ones as it is a win-win situation for farmers, MSEDCL and state government. At a time, sources said, when many farmers do not pay electricity bills to MSEDCL, taking it to as many as Rs17,000 crore, the shift from conventional pumps to solar ones will make power company all the more profitmaking unit.
“Moreover, farmers do not get power supply during day time everyday. As the demand goes down at night, they are provided power at night. This is a major cause of resentment among them. Solar pumps will enable them to get the necessary power during the day,” the sources said.
- Did not have powers to allot land: Gautam to HC tnn | Aug 25, 2018, 07:50 IST
Nagpur: Former deputy collector SG Gautam told the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, which was hearing a PIL on illegal allotment of land under the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation 1976) Act, that he did not have the final word when it came to alloting land.
In an affidavit submitted to the court, Gautam said that he was just one of many officials who recommended allotment but the final decision was always taken by the state government. Gautam added that the recommendation was made by a committee which included officials from various departments and hence the allegations made against him were completely false.
The PIL had been filed by ex-MLA Sunil Shinde through advocate Anand Parchure, alleging that alotment of surplus land under ULCA was done in an arbitrary manner. Last March the court had found Gautam and ex-deputy collector EZ Khobragade prima facie guilty of allotting land to influential people without following due procedure.
Even Justice RK Bhatta Commission indicted them for blatant use of power, flagrant breach of ULC norms, and government guidelines for favouring politicians.
- Dug-up roads pose threat to motorists Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Aug 26, 2018, 03:03 IST
Nagpur: At least 18 people had a miraculous escape on Saturday morning after an Aapli Bus tilted after its tyre got stuck in a dug-up portion along the busy Godhani-Zingabai Takli Road. “No one was injured as we managed to vacate the bus immediately,” said the conductor.
If a motorist is unfamiliar with the road (or whatever is left of it) at Zingabai Talki leading to Godhani, chances of him meeting with an accident are quite high these days.
An almost 2km patch along the road has been dug-up for laying cables. Sans any precautionary measure in place, the poorly lit road is one of the many badly managed construction spots in the city.
TOI toured the stretch and found that work on the Zingabai Takli-Godhani Road has been going on for last couple of days. Though it is mandatory to put a board displaying nature of the work, name of the contractor, contact persons and other details at the work site, none is present. At night, in the absence of street lights, motorists are caught unaware of the trenches or unrepaired roads. It results in accidents or skidding.
According to the NMC’s hotmix department and city traffic police, no permission was obtained by the agency engaged in laying cables for MSEDCL. NMC commissioner Virendra Singh had issued directive not to dig up any roads during monsoon. Despite this, road cutting work to lay underground cable is going on unabated.
Piyush Janbandhi, a resident of Govind City, wants reflective stickers installed along the work area. “Since traffic personnel cannot be posted at all the work areas, precautionary measures should be in place to protect the commuters,” he said.
However, TOI also brought this ‘illegal’ work to the notice of deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Raj Tilak Roushan. He instructed senior police inspector Atul Sabnis to look into the matter. Though Sabnis said no permission was sought from the traffic police department, he defended the private contractor stating he has been instructed to ensure restoration be done immediately. Neither the contractor is following the mandatory guidelines nor are the traffic police taking any action against the contractor, said motorists.
So far, the private agency has also damaged many roads connecting to this main carriageway. “Like any other areas, the contractor will not restore the damaged roads and it will pose further problems to the motorists,” said Ghanshyam Pande, a resident of Zingabai Takli.
- ‘Denying water, power to illegal buildings inhuman’ Ashish Roy | TNN | Aug 26, 2018, 03:47 IST
The fire department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has issued directives to MSEDCL, SNDL and OCW to disconnect power and water supplies of illegal buildings. In many cases, reconnection was done after fire safety equipments were installed. However, no relief was given to illegal buildings like Empress City.
Illegal buildings are bane of Nagpur. Very few builders follow the building plan and NMC does nothing to ensure compliance. TOI talked to noted architect Ashok Mokha to find out a solution.
Excerpts from an interview...
Q. The fire department has issued directives for disconnection of water and power supplies of illegal buildings. Do you think this is justified?
A. It is absolutely inhuman and a knee-jerk reaction, which won’t solve any problem. How can you deprive people of water and power? What is the fault of the occupants? You buy a property presuming that everything is in order. People are not aware of the documents they need to check before buying a property. What was NMC doing when the buildings were being constructed? Why didn’t it paste a notice that the building is illegal? Nobody would have bought flats, shops and offices in such constructions.
I would also like to ask NMC as to how many buildings have occupancy certificates (OCs). Even government buildings don’t have it.
Q. Should action be taken against NMC officials for turning a blind eye to illegal buildings?
A. Absolutely. A committee of experts should be set up and an enquiry should be conducted. All the guilty parties, be it the officers or the builder, should be penalized.
Q. What is the solution to illegal buildings?
A. Demolishing them is not a solution. It will be an injustice to common people. An amnesty scheme should be declared for such buildings. When other departments can declare such schemes, why can’t the NMC. It will also help government generate much needed extra revenue.
Q. How can we prevent illegalities in new constructions?
A. Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has addressed some of the problems but more needs to be done. Government should make OC compulsory for registration of a property. This will discourage builders from violating the building plan. Secondly, a heavy penalty must be imposed on errant builders. The fine should be so high that it outbids the profit earned out of illegal extra constructions. NMC should upload a list of illegal constructions on its website so that buyers don’t purchase property in them.
However, NMC needs to streamline its working too. You need no objection certificate (NOC) from 13 agencies for obtaining an OC. There should be a single window system. Architects, structural engineers and fire consultants should be empowered to issue an interim OC as the process takes months. If anything goes wrong the blame can be pinned on these people.
The builder of Kamala Mills building in Mumbai, which caught fire, is saying that he had applied for OC six years ago but is yet to get it. How can you blame only the builders if they don’t have OCs?
Q. Are you satisfied with the existing building bylaws?
A. They ought to be thrown into a dustbin. They are outdated and not in consonance with needs of today’s society. You can’t build high-rises following them. No architect can design a decent building if they are adhered to.
There should be different bylaws for different zones of NMC. You can’t have the same set of laws for Itwari and an upcoming locality.
Even the transit oriented development (TOD) policy has lot of flaws. You can consume extra floor to space index (FSI) only if you amalgamate plots, which is easier said than done. They are not allowing balconies in the side margins, which is idiotic.
- MahaMetro to plant 6,000 more saplings tnn | Aug 26, 2018, 04:12 IST
MahaMetro MD Brijesh Dixit inaugurated the plantation drive held at Little Wood Extension on Saturday
Nagpur: After successfully planting 5,000 saplings in the first phase, the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (MahaMetro) launched its second phase of plantation drive at Little Wood Extension, off Amravati Road, on Saturday. MahaMetro is set to plant 6,000 saplings within a week in 130 acres. Various types of medicinal, ornamental, flower and fruits saplings will be planted.
MahaMetro MD Brijesh Dixit inaugurated the plantation drive on Saturday in the presence of director (project) Mahesh Kumar, director (rolling stock) Sunil Mathur, director (finance) Shiv Mathan and general manager (administration) Anil Kokate.
This is MahaMetro’s second project. The first area called Little Wood, off Hingna Road, houses over 5,000 saplings. Plans for a safety park to teach traffic rules at Hingna facility are also underway. The Hingna area also sees a lot of footfall of children, senior citizens and youths who visit at all hours.
For the Metro Rail work, MahaMetro has felled 1,100 trees till date. They have paid around Rs1.50 crore to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) as security deposit. But, MahaMetro is in the process of planting 10 times more trees than it felled. Hence, it is confident of getting back the security deposit from NMC.
The Little Wood Extension land has been leased to MahaMetro for seven years by the forest department during which period they are set to take care of the saplings. The planting has been done according to the forest department guidelines with the smaller sapling planted at a distance of six metres and the bigger ones with a nine metre gap between them.
Major plants are locally sourced variety, with a lot of them falling in endangered categories. Variety’s like Rudraksh, kusum, gulmohar, amaltash, wad, sitafal, mango etc will be seen around with a board affixed detailing their information.
Dixit hoped that the people of the surrounding area will visit the Little Wood Extension and enjoy the greenery and tranquillity of the place.
(Reporting by Ritika Gupta)
- 3 lakes will be saved but Futala to bear immersion brunt Manka Behl | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 03:16 IST
Nagpur: While the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) plans to cordon-off three lakes of the city during Ganesh idol immersions, Futala Lake will be bearing the brunt just like last year.
The civic body has envisaged zero-immersion target at Gandhisagar, Sakkardara and Sonegaon lakes. “Like last year, we will be completely barricading the three lakes. This time, we have also increased the number of artificial tanks to 250 so that there is no shortage during immersions,” said NMC’s health officer (sanitation) Dr Pradip Dasarwar.
Last year, the civic body was successful in achieving zero immersion at the three lakes. It, however, failed in saving Futala where over 700 huge idols went inside the lake.
With no alternate in place to immerse big idols, the entire burden will be on Futala which is already running low on dissolved oxygen level. According to civic officials, NMC attempted but could not find an alternate place “big enough” to immerse hundreds of big idols.
Contesting this claim, environmentalist Vijay Ghuge said that there were at least five big abandoned quarries which NMC could have utilized for immersing tall idols. “Situated in different directions, these quarries are easily accessible and at least 10-15 feet deep,” he said.
This time, NMC appealed to Ganesh mandals not to go for tall idols but activists said that the plea went unheard at most of the mandals.
According to them, the only option left with NMC is to start cleaning Futala soon after immersions. “Since NMC will not have to clean the rest of the lakes, it should use the entire force at Futala. To ensure minimize damage to the lake, the corporation should hire an agency for its in-depth cleaning,” said Kaustav Chatterjee, founder of Green Vigil.
During a post-immersion water monitoring programme last year, the organization had found that after the immersions, the lake’s turbidity rose to 90 Jackson Turbidity Unit (JTU) and its dissolved oxygen had declined to a dangerous 2.5 milligrams per litre. While turbidity is the presence of suspended solids in a water body, dissolved oxygen refers to microscopic bubbles of gaseous oxygen that are mixed in water and available to aquatic organisms for respiration. According to experts, it is the most important indicator of the health of a water body and should ideally be around 6 mg/l. At present, its level at Futala is 4.5 mg/l.
- At no cost to Maha, 2,841 TMC water storage capacity created Ramu Bhagwat | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 03:16 IST
Nagpur: A pilot project in Buldhana district synchronizing National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) work with water conservation activities has yielded excellent results. At no cost to the state, 2,841 TMC water storage capacity has been created as soil/gravel extracted from 38 ponds, tanks and 30 riverbeds, nullahs has been used for building embankments of national highways passing through the district.
Earth/ murum is required in large quantities for laying of highways. The contractors/concessionaires engaged in highways work buy it from suppliers as per the provisions of the state government concerned or from nearby farmers where projects are being executed. Last year on August 31, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had, vide letter RW/NH-34066/2017-S&R(B), issued instructions to all states in this context. Many parts of the country face drought and water crisis. Creating water bodies, recharging and revival of tanks, ponds, check dams were essential to solve the crisis. He had suggested that highway construction could be linked with such conservation activities.
Maharashtra government was the first to implement the idea of marrying water conservation with highway-building. On November 29, 2017, the state issued a government resolution specifying guidelines for allowing use of soil /stones dug from ponds, rivers, nullahs. The GR is applicable only for national highways and the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi super-highway to be built by the state.
Buldhana was chosen to implement the concept on pilot basis. Under the plan, NHAI officials, district collector, irrigation officials and contractors have to work in coordination. Once the spots are identified and material to be extracted is tested, agreement is signed. The contractors get the minor mineral free as the state waives royalty and any other cess. The contractor, in lieu, has to bear the cost of excavation, transportation and incidentals in creating or recharging a water body.
As per masterplan drawn for Buldhana in April this year, 12 works were sanctioned involving NHAI, state PWD, and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. In all 133 tanks/ponds and 69 nullahs/ riverbeds were selected for excavation.
“It’s not easy to convince big contractors, mainly corporates, that execute national highway projects. They are reluctant to spend time in government approvals and nitty-gritty. The role of NHAI officials and district administration comes into play here. Once they realize that all are playing important part in ecological conservation, it works wonders,” said Balasaheb Theng, superintending engineer of Nagpur National Highway Circle.
Theng was involved in propagating the concept and is happy that results are encouraging. The state has saved over Rs40 crore that would be the cost of creating water bodies with storage capacity of 2,841 TMC or 284.10 crore litres of water that could fill up 2.84 lakh water tankers of 10,000 litre capacity each. “Contractors have borne expenses of reviving these water bodies thanks to their proactive approach. The state and especially farmers of the district would benefit as it would improve irrigation of farms,” said Theng.
As per a report published by TOI on July 31, Friends International, a city-based biodiversity conservation NGO, had proposed this sustainable and environment-friendly model for highways development to Gadkari.
Biodiversity consultant DR Chinchmalatpure said the current practice of building highways involves excavation of hard strata to be used as bed material. “As a general practice, this material is extracted from nearby hillocks and highland ranges, which play crucial role in maintaining ecological balance,” says Chinchmalatpure. He says, “These hillocks and highlands are key sources to control climate change impacts. Free flow of water in rivers is only because of highland ranges, and hence we should avoid extraction of material for highways from here.”
Chinchmalatpure, who has also apprised roads and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on the issue, proposes extraction of roadside material at minimum distance of 8km from where soft strata may be used for filling pits for tree plantation and for median plantation, while hard strata beneath the upper soil can be used for road construction.
“The hollow land created this way will conserve rainwater and turn into ponds, thereby helping water harvesting. This will also help save hillocks. Water in tanks and ponds created can also be used by farmers for irrigation,” says Chinchmalatpure. He, however, regrets that similar action is not being replicated across the country despite the success in Buldhana.
- Dispute over parking slot leads to murder Soumitra Bose | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 03:19 IST
Nagpur: Arman Ansari, 25, was bludgeoned to death at Nayi Basti, Teka Naka, in the wee hours of Sunday by a senior citizen, his two politically connected sons and their accomplices who had also damaged Arman’s car during the attack. The incident in north Nagpur took place soon after Ansari and his rivals had stepped out of Jaripatka police station following intervention of a politician who wanted to get both parties to ‘compromise’.
In another incident, former murder accused Amit Ramteke was also killed by two persons, identified as Shailesh Gulhane and Dharmik Kartik, at Parvati Nagar chowk in east Nagpur on Friday. Ramteke’s face and head was smashed with a heavy concrete piece. It is learnt Ramteke was harassing pan kiosk owner Gulhane for ‘protection money’ on a regular basis and had also been demanding cash for purchasing liquor.
Ramteke was booked for murder in 2014. He was also charged for attempt to murder in the past when he had hurled a person into a well. Zonal DCP Nilesh Bharne’s team rounded up Gulhane and Kartik within a few hours of the murder.
Ansari, the sole breadwinner of the family, too was booked in the past for assaulting his rivals’ sister following a dispute over parking. The persons named in FIR by Ansari’s mother Shakeela have been identified as Naseem Shaikh (60), his sons Wasim (34) and Zuber (32). Sources claimed Wasim is NCP’s north Nagpur’s minority cell chief while younger brother Zuber is associated with Shreeram Sena floated by Ranjeet Sapelkar. Police said CCTV footage has confirmed presence of Zuber and three others involved in the attack.
The dispute between Ansari and Sheikh families, both residing at Mhada colony, had aggravated over the last few months. A space in front of Zuber’s married sister’s home had become the bone of contention between the two families. Ansari is learnt to have thrashed Zuber’s sister. An offence of assault was registered at Jaripatka police. Since the clash, there had been ongoing tussle between the family that once again snowballed on August 24 and also on Saturday.
It is learnt the Sheikh family along with their accomplices, carrying sharp weapons, rushed to Ansari’s home to teach him a lesson. As Ansari was trying to call control room, Zuber is learnt to already dialled 100 to claim he was being targeted. Later, Ansari and Sheikh family landed up at Jaripatka police station to lodge counter complaint. A politician from Indora Barakholi intervened to assure the cops he would ensure a compromise between the two on Monday.
After Ansari drove out of police station, Sheikhs too left the place. Ansari, along with two of his friends, is learnt to have reached Nayi Basti to have some snacks and tea. Victim and his friends were seated when they were attacked. An injured Ansari was taken to Mayo hospital and then to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). He was declared dead at GMCH following which an offence of murder was registered at Pachpaoli police station.
- No space for trees on new cement roads Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 03:43 IST
Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) engineers have failed to ensure that space was left to plant trees between the footpath and newly-constructed cement roads — RPTS Road, South Ambazari Road, West High Court (WHC) Road, VIP Road, found a TOI survey. Such space is mandatory under the Rs324 crore cement road project phase II, but contractors have left space only where there are existing trees.
Activist Shrikant Deshpande said NMC should immediately make space for planting trees. “Initially, engineers had not made provisions for plantation space. In 2017, I met the then chief engineer Ulhas Debadwar, who acknowledged the error and issued a circular making such space mandatory on all roads. However, many of the newly-constructed cement roads still don’t have space for planting trees,” he said.
Deshpande said he had pointed out the error to NMC chief engineer Manoj Talewar and inspected, with NMC engineers, the stretch between Laxmi Bhuvan Square and Shankar Nagar Square, where a new cement road is being constructed. The engineers had also directed the contractor to leave the space for planting trees.
However, a few shopkeepers reportedly protested the move. “Shopkeepers are saying that plants would block the view of their shops,” an engineer said.
Talewar said that he would inspect the stretch with the engineers, the contractor and Deshpande on Monday and resolve the issue.
Deshpande added that he and NMC would plant saplings which won’t block the view of shops on WHC Road. “There were many plants on the stretch between Aath Rasta Square and Law College Square. Now, only a few trees are remaining on this stretch. Saplings like Nilgiri, which grow only vertically, can be planted on this stretch to contain air and noise pollution,” he said.
NMC has not even left space for greenery on road-dividers on the new cement roads. Talewar said there was no space for greenery on road dividers because watering in these spaces could damage the road. “We can plant trees in pots on new cement roads just like it was done on WHC Road,” he said.
- State forest dept defies SIC order over FRA encroachments Vijay Pinjarkar | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 04:47 IST
Nagpur: In utter disregard of state information commission (SIC), a statutory agency, forest department has failed to supply information on area encroached under Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. The activist, who sought this information, feels that this is to hide the failure of the department to free forest land from encroachments.
SIC after hearing the second appeal filed by RTI activist Avinash Prabhune had passed orders directing the department to supply relevant information to the applicant. The order was uploaded on its website in June.
However, the office of the additional principal chief conservator of forests (conservation) instead of supplying information wrote to Prabhune after a month that the required details might be available with district collectors and not with the department.
The original RTI application seeking information regarding FRA titles and other details dates back to July 17, 2017. Shockingly, even after a year the department, which is custodian of forest land, and tribal commissioner in Nashik, who is the nodal officer for FRA, failed to supply details on area under encroachments and that freed from it.
Both the departments are passing the buck. The tribal commissioner says data on encroachments and area under it is available with the forest department while latter says that the details are available with district collectors as they are head of the district-level committees rejecting or accepting the FRA claims.
However, Prabhune says even if committee on claims under FRA is headed by district collectors, a forest officer is also one of the members of this panel.
“Collectors merely reject or accept titles pertaining to forest land and hence forest department should supply the details. It seems forest officials are deliberately not giving information as no action might have been taken against encroachers,” said Prabhune.
FRA has two components — individual forest rights (IFRs) and community forest rights (CFRs). While there are negligible cases under CFRs, which pertains to extraction of forest produce by communities, FRA encroachments in individual category are very high.
Under FRA the individual titles for forest land that have been rejected are considered encroachments and should be cleared by forest officials. Till last year, since the implementation of FRA in 2010, 2.80 lakh individual claims have been rejected in 26 districts of the state.
“If the forest department and tribal commissioner have data on rejected titles, they should also have the same on area under it and subsequently on area freed from illegal possession,” says Prabhune.
Till now, 1,08,593 individuals have been granted titles over 2,59,579 acres of forest land, but both, forest and tribal department, don’t have any information regarding area encroached under the FRA.
- NMC levying tax on 56,561 properties that no longer exist Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Aug 27, 2018, 03:47 IST
Nagpur: Nine zones of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) continue to levy tax on 56,561 index properties that no longer exist while the civic body’s tax portal has no data pertaining to 29,866 properties.
“These discrepancies in the NMC’s property tax records came to light during the ongoing assessment of properties in the city by two agencies — Cybertech and Ananta Technology — that helped the civic body to identify over 1.69 lakh new properties,” confirmed a senior official from the property tax department.
About the missing index properties, the officer pointed out many of these properties had been acquired for road widening under Integrated Road Development Project, however, the respected zones had failed to update their tax sheets.
In several cases where new apartments had come up on open plots, the property index was not updated. The zones issued new index numbers to the flat owners and also continue to levy taxes on open plots, the officer said.
The highest number of missing index properties have been identified in Hanuman Nagar zone where the assessment team shortlisted 15,743 such properties which no longer exist. It is followed by Ashi Nagar zone with 11,369 properties and Nehru Nagar zone with 10,693 properties, he said.
Assistant municipal commissioners of Dharampeth, Hanuman Nagar, Dhantoli, Nehru Nagar, Gandhibagh, Satranjipura, Lakadganj and Ashi Nagar have been asked to update the tax sheets by deleting the missing index properties from their respective zones.
In the ongoing assessment of properties, the civic body has failed to assess 20,812 properties in the city limits as their owners have refused the team to entertain. The assessment teams found other 7,691 properties locked.
The two private agencies have completed assessments of 3,57,024 properties, however, the civic body is already levying tax on 5,31,453 properties, including both commercial and residential. Both the agencies are yet to complete assessments of 1.74 lakh more properties, sources said.
- Though mostly empty, govt seeks to expand Mihan Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Aug 28, 2018, 03:10 IST
Nagpur: Launched 16 years ago, 92% of land in Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (Mihan)-Special Economic Zone (SEZ) stands allotted. Nodal agency Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) is getting demand for more land, especially in non-SEZ area so Mihan is likely to witness an expansion soon.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday directed the MADC officials and district collector to identify more land for Mihan expansion. Sources in these offices told TOI, expansion was possible only towards Sumthana situated behind Isasani. “There is sprawling land in mouza Sumthana. Also, Mihan-SEZ will get access from Outer Ring Road and proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Samdruddhi Corridor if it is expanded towards Sumthana. Major challenge will be acquisition of land and compensation. Industries will come only if land cost is low,” sources said.
MADC figures show only 331 of around 4,000 hectares in Mihan-SEZ has remained unallotted. Around 1,500 hectares has been transferred for new airport. Around 400 hectares is kept for Indian Air Force (IAF).
Under SEZ, 1,236 hectares land was available. MADC had allotted 905 hectares to 72 industries. In non-SEZ area, 515 of total 682 hectares has been allotted to 26 companies. Remaining, 167 hectares land is proposed for Nagpur International Convention and Exhibition (NICE) Centre, restaurants, hotels and rehabilitation of Khapri village. So, no space is available in non-SEZ area.
MADC sources said pharmaceutical companies were demanding land in non-SEZ area. “Only export oriented units are permissible in SEZ area. Demand for non-SEZ land is more. Small companies from other sectors too are interested to come in non-SEZ area. Fadnavis and Gadkari do not want to lose any industry as it will generate employment,” sources said.
Sources added over 30% of land in Mihan-SEZ was allotted due to initiatives by Fadnavis and Gadkari in last four years. “Major chunk of land in non-SEZ area went to All India Institute of Medial Sciences (AIIMS) and Indo-UK Institute of Health (IUIH) that got 150 and 153 acres respectively,” sources said.
This should mean Mihan is humming with industrial activity. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Only 17 of 72 proposed units have become operational in SEZ area. Similarly, only eight of 26 units have started operations in non-SEZ area. MIHAN India Limited (MIL) is yet to begin work on new airport. Bidding process for that is going on.
Congress corporator Praful Gudadhe said they would land acquisition for expansion. “Project is still a nonstarter. Relatives of officials and ministers have grabbed land and are doing nothing. Already, farmers of 15 villages have suffered loss. We will not allow destruction of more agriculture land. The government should cancel the lease of non-starters and give it to fresh applicants,” he said.