One of the fastest growing Tier III cities in India -Future IT and Aviation city - Companies like Boeing, Satyam computers, HCL, Dell, Hexaware, DLF, Ascendas etc. has already finalized their projects. Adjacent to IT SEZ(Wardha Road – NH7) is Proposed International Cargo HUB(MIHAN – Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur, ( ), which is first and only such kind of project in the country being developed in Nagpur by a joint venture between Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI). Second Capital and third big city in Maharashtra. Nearby is the new VCA cricket stadium.
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  • HC nod to temple demolition in Shukrawari Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Sep 4, 2018, 03:13 IST

    Nagpur: Continuing its crackdown on illegal religious structures, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday refused any leniency to an objector who filed a civil application requesting grant of hearing for their temple at Shingada Market in New Shukrawari.

    It was filed by Shri Nagraj Maharaj and Maa Ambey Charitable Trust’s president Pramila Sawarkar through counsel JK Matale. She approached HC on August 23 with a request to allow them to deposit Rs60,000 through a cheque and also filed a pursis. While rejecting their both pleas, HC asked her to remain present in Monday’s hearing.

    Sawarkar, who was present in the court, requested that their temple was on the private land and therefore, it shouldn’t be demolished.

    A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Murlidhar Giratkar then asked her to submit temple’s sanctioned map and building permit, which she couldn’t do. The judges then asked Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) counsel to confirm about status of the land. He revealed that it was indeed a government land. Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) counsel Sudhir Puranik pointed out that the land was allotted for the garden and they had erected a compound wall around it.

    While rejecting trust’s application, the judges made it clear that no stay is granted to their demolition orders of illegal structures, as those directives came directly from the Supreme Court.

    The trust’s application was filed in a plea (WP No 6177/2006) by Dr Gajanan Zade and Manohar Khorgade, through counsel Firdos Mirza, praying for removal of encroachments, including religious structures, pandals, stages, statues and others from roads, pavements and public utility places.

    NMC officials told TOI that though they assured to raze all illegal structures on roads and footpaths by August 31, one couldn’t be demolish due to inadequate police protection. The claimed that even NIT failed to raze many such structures for similar reasons.

    In last hearing, senior counsel Chandrashekhar Kaptan explained that list of objectors depositing amount was received and after its scrutiny, the structures which failed to comply with HC’s orders would be identified and action for their removal would commence immediately. He pointed out that the NMC squad visited some such structures, but due to filing of objections and subsequent developments, the action couldn’t be completed.

    “NMC prepared list (of illegal structures) way back in 2014. Though HC allowed it to look into belated objections, it’s clear that the persons who raised them aren’t ready and willing to take advantage of that opportunity. The directives issued earlier, therefore, need to be executed. We direct NMC and NIT to place on record the names and addresses of persons who filed objections, but preferred not to deposit money or opposing the execution of HC’s orders, which are in force since last several years,” the judges tersely noted.

  • With deadline 7 months away, Pardi flyover only 20% complete Ashish Roy | tnn | Sep 4, 2018, 05:52 IST

    Nagpur: Pardi flyover, which is being built by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), has no chance of meeting its deadline of March 2019.

    Officials say that it might be completed by March 2020 if there are no further hitches. Work on the project started in May 2016 and is only 20% complete as of now. There is a fair chance of the cost escalating beyond the initial estimate of Rs 665 crore.

    The main reason for the delay is failure of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to acquire land. NHAI needs about 4 hectares for a parking plaza and some more land on the roadside for the flyover itself.

    NHAI project officer NL Yeotkar said that problems of land acquisition had been sorted out and the work will pick up speed after monsoon. “Municipal commissioner Virendra Singh held a meeting on Monday on this issue. He assured to hand over the land as soon as possible. Acquiring land in urban areas is quite difficult and we don’t blame NMC,” he added.

    For the plaza, NMC was supposed to acquire forest department’s 1.614 hectare zudpi jungle land, 0.42 nazul hectare land and two private lands admeasuring 1.96 hectares. The process to acquire forest department land is almost complete. Here, the delay was on account of the forest department seeking land for afforestation. NHAI has given consent to provide 3.5 hectares in mouza Kautha for afforestation.

    The process to acquire nazul land is almost complete and for other two private lands, the civic body is providing transfer of development rights (TDR) to the owners.

    “We will apply for deletion in forest reservation after the joint measurement is completed,” said Yeotkar.

    The acquisition of roadside land is, however, more problematic as private owners are reluctant to part with their possession. According to the official, there was an issue with MahaMetro but it has been finally sorted out.

    TOI repeatedly tried to contact NMC estate officer RS Bhute, but his mobile phone was switched off.

    Meanwhile, work on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) stretch from Jamtha (on Wardha Road) to Gondkhairi (on Amravati Road) to Pawangaon (on Bhandara Road) is 42% complete. The deadline for completion is July 2019. “The project will gather pace after monsoon,” said Yeotkar.
  • With better monitoring, vulture no. rises in Gadchiroli Vijay Pinjarkar | tnn | Sep 4, 2018, 05:54 IST

    Nagpur: Over a decade ago, 99% population of most of the nine vulture species found in India had declined. But in tribal Gadchiroli district, their numbers have been steadily rising and as per monitoring surveys during the last six months, their population is estimated to be between 450-500.

    To a question whether this figure is exaggerated, Gadchiroli chief conservator of forest (CCF) WI Yatbon says, “There is certainly rise in their numbers. There may be slight duplicity as the birds have a range of 100km.”

    As reported by TOI, in 2015 vulture population in the tribal district was between 150-200. Gadchiroli and Pench Tiger Reserve in Nagpur are the only two areas in the state where there is sizeable population of vultures.

    A joint survey conducted of roosting trees and nesting sites by the forest department and Conservation Research & Nature Education Society (CRANES) between February-July 2018 revealed that there are nearly 200 vultures in Chamorshi, Dhanora, Kurkheda, Navegaon, Kunghada in Gadchiroli forest division alone.

    Sironcha deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) Tushar Chavan said, “Regular surveys and monitoring conducted by forest staff and ‘Gidhad Mitra’ (vulture friends) in our division showed presence of over 300 vultures. The birds were also recorded during direct sightings.”

    CRANES project researchers Milind Umre and Amit Sethiya said, “For the first time, our survey has revealed presence of two more vulture species — griffon and slender-billed — in Gadchiroli division. Till now, there was record of only two species — long-billed and white-rumped vultures. These newly recorded species may be residents but were never recorded. The survey report will be submitted to CCF soon.”

    Umre said in January this year, volunteers sighted a flock of 150 vultures, followed by 94 birds in March and 40 in April. “Even at conservative estimates, there may be 200 individuals in Gadchiroli division alone,” he added.

    CCF Yatbon attributed the rise in population of vultures to better monitoring efforts in Sironcha and Gadchiroli divisions. “We have opened 27 vulture restaurants in the district through which we feed cattle carcasses after procuring them from locals for Rs500 per animal,” he said.

    Sethiya admits that even if banned diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug effective for treating pain and inflammation in cattle, is said to be the prime reason for decline in vulture population, farmers in Gadchiroli don’t use this drug.

    “The concern in Gadchiroli is about non-availability of food. However, attempts to feed the birds through restaurants are yielding results and hence, there is increase in their numbers. Yet, this is not enough and we need to set up ‘gaushalas’ (cow shelters) to increase their numbers,” said Sethiya.

    The researcher said many old and unproductive cattle are still being smuggled to slaughterhouses. If this livestock is procured from farmers at a price and kept in shelters, vultures can get more food in case of death of these cattle. “We will work to develop such a network here,” Sethiya added.

    DyCF Chavan said in Sironcha division, there are four species of vultures — Egyptian, white-rumped, slender-billed, and long-billed. “In 2016, there was a record of 170 vultures in the division but now it is more than 300. Now, we will take up work on their enumeration,” said Chavan.

    On the contrary, raptor expert Dr Ajay Poharkar, who was the first to launch vulture research in Gadchiroli in 2002, said, “Sighting of more vultures is not an indication of rising population. You need to count their nests and cannot rule out birds coming from neighbouring Telangana and Chhattisgarh.”

  • CM releases Rs 75cr for works in own constituency

    Anjaya Anparthi | tnn | Sep 5, 2018, 03:00 IST

    Nagpur: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has released Rs 75 crore special funds to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) for executing various works suggested by corporators in his assembly constituency Nagpur South-West. Considering the near bankrupt civic body, Fadnavis has started sanctioning works suggested by corporators of his constituency out of CM’s fund. Works worth Rs 375 crore more are pending for approval with the CM.

    With the latest funds, total special funds sanctioned by Fadnavis for works in his constituency have increased to Rs 343 crore.

    Last year, Fadnavis had told corporators in his constituency to submit a list of works to be done. They had submitted works worth Rs 450 crore of which Rs 75 crore has been released now.

    NMC had assigned its district planning committee department to plan and execute the works sanctioned by the CM for completion in prescribed time period.

    Of Rs 75 crore, 13 works costing Rs 8 crore will be approved in the standing committee meeting on Thursday. These include asphalting, concretization of roads, compound/retaining wall at playgrounds, gardens, temples, and nullahs at Gajanan Nagar, Bhagwan Nagar, Jaiprakash Nagar, Thakre layout, Dhantoli, Congress Nagar, Cosmoplitan Society, Laxmi Nagar, Verma layout, Daga layout, Shastri layout, Surendra Nagar, LIC colony, Jaywant Nagar, Fulmati Thakur layout and Pawanbhoomi area.

    In May, Fadnavis had sanctioned Rs 60 crore for concretization and development of London Street road connecting Wardha road with Jaitala T-point. NMC has started tender process for executing the project. The road is in a very bad condition despite being used by thousands of people every day.

    Fadnavis also approved special funds for projects for entire city. Prominent among these are Rs 520 crore Smart and Safe City project comprising CCTVs, WiFi, display boards etc, Rs 200 crore for cement road project Phase-II and III, Rs 60 crore for completion of Suresh Bhat auditorium etc.

    Other Proposals Before the Standing Committee

    * Work order to M/s Abrar Ahmed for construction of bridge at the cost of Rs 3.39 crore on newly widened road from North Ambazari road to Maharajbagh Zoo. The road was widened last year but not the bridge

    * Laying of storm water drain costing Rs 62.24 lakh between Rajapeth to Pipla phata in Hudkeshwar

    * Green Gyms at Telangipura, Mattipura, Siraspeth, Gadikhana, Nandaji Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and Khirulalwadi at the cost of Rs 49.99 lakh

  • NIT to build 56-car parking plaza on Central Avenue Anjaya Anparthi | tnn | Sep 5, 2018, 03:58 IST

    Nagpur: The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) board of trustees on Tuesday decided to develop multi-level parking plaza for 56 cars on Central Avenue (CA) with its own funds. The board also cleared Sea Plane Project at four locations — Ambazari, Tadoba, Pench tiger reserve, and Paras barrage, with city as nodal centre.

    NIT board of trustees headed by Ashwin Mudgal, also collector, held a meeting on Tuesday. Mudgal told TOI the 20 restaurants situated at Telangkhedi lake will not be given any priority in the new project planned by MahaMetro. “NIT will demolish all restaurants soon,” he said.

    TOI had on August 27 reported about CM Devendra Fadnavis and union minister Nitin Gadkari approving design for proposed Telangkhedi Lake Redevelopment Project of Rs162 crore. All restaurants situated in front of the lake will be demolished, as their permission had lapsed two years ago. MahaMetro will construct 5-meter high tunnel over which 4,000 seating capacity viewers gallery will come up with restaurants and parking, instead of existing road and restaurants, at the cost of Rs112 crore. NIT will develop musical fountain and execute beautification works at a cost of Rs50 crore inside and outside the lake.

    About the sea plane project, Mudgal said NIT will give viability gap fund to private operator in case booking is below 30 hours in a month. “Project will be executed in association with the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). I think NIT will not have to give any viability gap fund as project will get good response,” he said.

    NIT trustee Virendra Kukreja suggested NIT should develop parking plaza for 56 cars on CA. “NIT had prepared designs and also detailed project report for developing four parking plazas on PPP model on CA in 2010. Project did not get response from private operators. NIT had given a plot to MahaMetro, and another for a police station, but still owns remaining two plots. CA badly requires parking spaces. Therefore, board decided to build parking plaza with its own funds,” he said.

    If this materializes, it will be NIT’s second parking plaza with first constructed adjacent to Eternity Mall for 72 cars at Sitabuldi. Kukreja said Sitabuldi parking plaza will start soon as NIT has issued work order to a private agency.

    Kukreja also said NIT board has confirmed its earlier decision to waive off 2% ground rent for slum-dwellers.

    Kukreja said NIT will regularize unauthorized constructions on reservation lands by deleting reservations under section 50 of MRTP Act. “NOC from concerned government department will be taken. It is taking a long time to delete reservations under section 37 of MRTP Act,” he said.

    NIT Board Decisions

    * Reservation on Reshimbagh playground to be revised to playground, cultural, social, recreational and exhibitions. HC had passed strictures for utilizing Reshimbagh playground for activities other than sports. Also, corporator Bunty Shelke is staging agitation regularly alleging misuse

    * Consultants on NIT’s panel for tourism projects will be asked to submit plans for new tourism projects. Also, consultants for horticulture will be appointed soon. Approval given for panel of consultants for civil, water, tourism and residential projects

    * Final approval to Smart City Project proposed in Pardi, Bharatwada, Bhandewadi and Punapur in East Nagpur. Few months ago, NIT trustees cleared it on emergency basis and submitted it to state government for final approval

    * NIT will acquire 1.02 hectare reserved for Housing For Dishoused at mouza Somalwada by giving only TDR. Land cost is estimated at Rs41 crore

    * Rs10,000 fee for amalgamation and division of plots as against earlier charges of 2% of ready reckoner value

    * Builders can pay building plan charges of over Rs1 crore in instalments in six months with interest of 15%, and 24% if over six months

    * Change of reservation on sprawling 22,354.64 sq m land at Babulkheda from City Transport to Residential

  • NMC attaches Central Mall over Rs9.89 cr property tax dues Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Sep 5, 2018, 03:26 IST

    Nagpur: The Laxmi Nagar zone headed by assistant municipal commissioner Suvarna Dakhane on Tuesday attached five properties, including shopping destination Central Mall, for defaulting on Rs11.66 crore tax.

    As soon as the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) pasted the attachment notice, security guards deployed at Central Mall removed it. An enraged civic body will now lodge an FIR against the mall, said Dakhane.

    The ground plus three storey mall owned by M/s N Kumar Projects and Infrastructure has not paid annual property tax of over Rs1.66 crore to the civic body since 2013-14. It comes to around Rs9.89 crore property tax, including Rs92.90 lakh penalty.

    When several reminders failed to elicit any response, the civic body finally issued the attachment notice on Tuesday, said Dakhane. She said the civic body couldn’t seal the property following a court order. “So, to recover the tax dues, we will start the process to auction the property,” she said.

    The zone also attached four other properties, including those of Rashtrabhasha Sabha, Dr Jeswani, Subhash Kasulkar and Sunil Makhinkar. Their outstanding tax is of Rs1.77 crore.

    These are not the only property owners who have defaulted on NMC’s property tax. There are around 4,25,705 property owners who have defaulted tax, from Re1 to above Rs1 lakh.

    The cash-strapped NMC has prepared a list of 1,576 property tax defaulters who owe more than Rs1 lakh each, with their collective outstanding amount pegged at Rs107.47 crore. This amount is sufficient for NMC to run city bus operations for a year without hassles over non-payment to three Red Bus operators.

    Laxmi Nagar zone has the highest number of such high-value property tax defaulters. The data of NMC’s property tax department shows that the zone has 403 big defaulters, who collectively owe Rs35.23 crore to the civic body.

    Zone number two (Dharampeth) has 237 property owners with Rs13.65 crore dues, followed by 204 high-value defaulters in Dhantoli zone with Rs16.08 crore dues. Lakadganj zone has 116 defaulters with collective outstanding property tax of Rs26.64 crore.

    The list of defaulters prepared by NMC’s tax department shows that there are 3,887 property owners who owe above Rs50,000 and below Rs1 lakh tax each. The outstanding amount from them is pegged at around Rs123.01 crore.

    Even the list of tax defaulters, who have not paid their dues between between Rs5,000 and Rs50,000, is also huge. As many as 81,048 property owners collectively owe Rs98.53lakh.

    “We have a target of collecting Rs509 crore as property tax this year. For this, we need complete cooperation from tax payers,” said an official from tax department.

    Standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja said directions have been issued to assistant municipal commissioners of all 10 zones to aim for 40% recovery of property tax by September end. Sources, however, claimed that NMC is going slow in recovering dues from big defaulters.

  • NIT razes two illegal shrines Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Updated: Sep 5, 2018, 13:16 IST

    The two temples razed were very famous among the devotees and large in size.

    NAGPUR: The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) on Tuesday demolished two illegal religious structures in South Nagpur. The two temples razed were very famous among the devotees and large in size.

    Following orders of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, the NIT has continued demolition of illegal religious structures identified by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

    Under the guidance of NIT chairman Ashwin Mudgal and superintending engineer Sunil Gujjelwar, the NIT team led by divisional officer of South division Sanjay Chimurkar, Avinash Badge, Sandip Raut, Manohar Patil and others demolished Jagrut Hanuman mandir at Sanjay Gandhi Nagar, Chikhli (khurd) and Santoshi Mata Mandir at Rameshwari square, Babulkheda.

    Till date, the NIT has demolished over 195 illegal religious structures. The NMC has razed around 256 for a total of around 451.
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  • TDR not applicable for Sonegaon lake: Govt Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:46 IST

    NAGPUR: A state government affidavit submitted to the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has said that transferable development rights (TDR) cannot be granted for Sonegaon lake’s acquisition. The HC later on Wednesday continued stay on any final decision regrading change of reservation of the water body.

    The HC was hearing a PIL filed by activists Prashant Pawar and TH Naiduthrough advocate Avdesh Kesari, praying for acquisition and conservation of Sonegaon lake. Following HC’s directives of February 7, the state’s urban development department (UDD) filed the affidavit after conducting hearing of petitioners, NMC, and owners of the lake.

    The UDD attached a copy of its order along with the affidavit. “Heritage TDR is not at all permissible. Reservation of public project is not applicable for this area. Municipal corporation cannot grant TDR unless area is acquired. It is mandatory for the municipal corporation to give compensation or other means while acquiring the area. Also, all conditions related to TDR will have to be ensured while issuing TDR. Area and owner of the property will have to be verified. During the hearing, demand was not made to grant TDR. Therefore, the municipal corporation should take cognisance of all the issues,” the UDD said.

    The UDD’s reply also made it clear that NMC cannot impose reservation of public project on Sonegaon lake and grant TDR.

    Delaying acquisition of the lake, NMC had started the process to change the reservation of the lake from water body to “Beautification and Rejuvenation of Sonegaon Tank”, which is a public project. This was being done to grant TDR to the lake’s owners.

    The petitioners had registered an objection to NMC’s process, following which HC had granted stay on taking any final decision. NMC has continued the process, though, and will hold hearing of those submitting suggestions and objections in the coming days.

    Kesari told TOI the HC has continued its stay till further orders. “We were given copy of UDD’s reply on Wednesday. We will file reply to UDD’s affidavit in the HC. The next hearing is in three weeks,” he said.

    NMC had spent Rs3.24 crore, and also some share from the government for rejuvenation of the lake in 2013 and 2014, even though the water body is owned by private parties.

    In 2012, the civic body had started the process to acquire the lake spread over 16.42 hectare by giving compensation to its owners. But the process was sidelined for unknown reasons. Then, NMC started the process to change the reservation, with the plan to offer TDR to owners, from 2015.

    Some months ago, the government had given in-principle approval to spend another Rs18.25 crore on the lake following NMC’s demands.

  • Can pet tax be levied on owners: HC Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:53 IST

    NAGPUR: A poser by Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday is sure to increase creases on the foreheads of pet lovers.

    A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Murlidhar Giratkar asked Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on whether it can levy tax on citizens for keeping domestic animals at their homes. The bench stated that those funds then could be used for maintaining the corporation’s animal shelter at Bhandewadi.

    The poser came while hearing two PILs related to dogs. The first (CRPIL No 4/2016) was filed by lawyer Ankita Shah highlighting the unhygienic conditions of stray animals at the shelter home.

    Second was a sou Motu plea (No 93/2016) based on TOI report of June 22, 2017, exposing absence of measures for rehabilitation of canines serving in the bomb disposal and detection units, where Ravi Sanyal was appointed as amicus curiae. TOI report highlighted the plight of one such canine named ‘Reno’ and lack of rehabilitation plans or services rendered to such sniffer dogs serving in the Railway Protection Force.

    Earlier, when Shah pleaded for closing down the shelter home citing inept handling of the animals, the judges orally asked her on whether she would take care of its animals. She however relied that it was corporation’s duty to look after them and she wasn’t in position to do that.

    In her plea, she pointed out that many dogs in shelter home were found to be in burnt condition on April 28, 2016, due to negligence of concerned authorities. She contended that the shelter is surrounded by a slaughter house and a dumping yard. She pointed out that the flies and other insects keep hovering over the entire area that led to deteriorating of health conditions of the injured and sick animals.

    Sanyal prayed for directives to the centre to inform about rehabilitation measures of dogs after their retirement from armed forces. He also called on respondents to formulate a rehabilitation policy for such animals on their retirement, preferably with their own handlers, instead of euthanizing them. He also demanded to declare that Section 27 of the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960’, being detrimental to welfare of animals, the exemption granted to armed forces should be cancelled.

    In suo motu PIL, union ministries of railways and defence, Railways Ministry, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), general manager of Central Railway (Mumbai), RPF director general and senior divisional commissioner, National Training Centre for Dogs and Animals through its director (Gwalior), and Society for Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (Nagpur), besides ABWI, are made respondents in the case.

  • HC asks NMC, police commissioners & collector to inform on illegal tree felling Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:48 IST

    NAGPUR: Expressing concern over failure of government and civic authorities to save trees from illegal felling, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday, asked municipal and police commissioners along with collector to file their affidavits on steps taken in this regard within three weeks.

    The orders came after HC received another letter from Arya Pratinidhi Sabha complaining about illegal felling of three big banyan trees at Mangalwari in Sadar, about a year ago. The complainant had earlier lodged a complaint with NMC and Sadar Police Station, but no cognisance was taken. He subsequently, sent that letter with photographs stating that now, even remnants of those big trees are not seen

    Last week, the HC received a letter from devotees — Girdhar Sharma and others — where they informed about the tree, which was over 100 years old, lying in uprooted condition inside Tekdi Ganesh temple premises. They attached many photographs of the uprooted tree, claiming that contractor deliberately cut its roots to weaken it.

    The court was hearing a suo motu cognisance of proposed felling of big banyan tree near popular Ghate Dugdha Mandir restaurant at Ambazari T-point, where Kalyani Deshpande was appointed as amicus curiae in the PIL (No 107/2018). The HC also pointed out that some idols of gods lying at base of tree were also removed for the purpose.

    Earlier, the temple trust filed an affidavit stating that they had restored the tree to its original position and making efforts to rejuvenate it. It added that help was sought from the NMC in this regard, as many of its roots are cut during renovation work. The judges tersely noted that their efforts were inadequate and sought names of contractors and engineers engaged in temple renovation works. They asked corporation counsel Gemini Kasat on why they shouldn’t be blacklisted for cutting down roots of big tree that led to its uprooting.

    In last hearing, the HC directed NMC’s tree officer to file appropriate affidavit pointing out the trees standing in front of such commercial premises or structures being constructed in city. It also permitted the citizens to place on record photograph of trees if some are cut illegally for appropriate consideration in the PIL.
  • NMC notice to raze Model Mills wall Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:47 IST

    A section of the dilapidated compound wall collapsed on Tuesday. NMC razed another 45 metres to avert any accident

    NAGPUR: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on Wednesday slapped notice on Goldbricks Infrastructure Private Ltd — developer of Anandam flat scheme — over collapse of a part of dilapidated compound wall on Tuesday. After developing the project on Model Mills land in Ganeshpeth, a densely populated area, Goldbricks allegedly retained the century-old wall instead of demolishing it and constructing a new one.

    Assistant commissioner from NMC Dhantoli Zone Smita Kale told TOI that Goldbricks has been given an ultimatum of three days to demolish the remaining portion of the wall. “The 20-foot wall is over 1.5km long. Around 35-metre section of wall collapsed on Tuesday while another 45 metres, which posed risked of collapsing, was demolished by us and the debris removed. A demand note has been sent to Goldbricks directing it to deposit Rs25,000 towards works executed by us,” she said.

    A part of the compound wall towards road connecting Model Mill Square with Ashoka Square which witnesses heavy traffic had caved in at 12 noon on Tuesday. Fortunately, no one was standing near the wall. It is learnt, three four-wheelers and one two-wheeler were reportedly damaged.

    NMC team led by Kale rushed to the spot and blocked the road. Traffic resumed after the debris was cleared.

    As per the NMC, the remaining portion of the wall on the road connecting Model Mills Square with Ashoka Square, on the road connecting Model Mills Square with ST Bus Stand Square and towards Nag River is in a dilapidated condition. As per the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, the NMC is supposed to direct demolition of any structure that is in dilapidated condition.

    NMC sources told TOI that letters were sent to Goldbricks earlier directing to demolish the wall. “NMC will register FIR with the police against Goldbricks in case of non-compliance of the latest notice,” sources said.

    Pratik Saraogi from Goldbricks told TOI that no vehicles should have been parked near the wall as it is a no-parking zone. “We got possession of the wall built by Model Mills. It will be demolished as we propose to build a commercial space on that location,” he said.
  • ‘Bitumen, not concrete, roads better for city’ Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Sep 6, 2018, 04:46 IST

    Vishrut Landge is head of department from civil engineering branch, VNIT

    Why are roads in the city in such a bad condition? Who is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the quality of roads?

    The construction agency and Nagpur Municipal Corporation are responsible for the poor state of roads. But, they are not the only ones to be blamed. They do not have sufficient manpower to ensure quality control. In such a situation, the NMC should ensure display of board that will ensure information dissemination. For quality you need manpower. The quality control team has to be headed by one who directly reports to the chief engineer to guard against nexus or pressure being exerted. Such a type practice is being followed in Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and has reaped dividends.

    In Nagpur city, roads are owned by multiple agencies like NMC, NIT, PWD and NHAI. It affects proper maintenance. Do you feel only one agency should maintain city roads?

    Only one agency should maintain the roads. Whosoever is the owner of the road should maintain the road in serviceable condition without accusing other party of failure.

    Are corruption and faulty designs the reasons for poor quality of existing roads?

    I can’t say about corruption but certainly poor quality is one of the reasons. Effective drains are very important for longevity of road. The NMC workers need to be trained for proactive maintenance of roads. Basically, NMC should use latest maintenance software like PMS (pavement management system) for road maintenance. Pune has already installed such a system and are reaping the benefit of it. Moreover, PMS is a pre-qualification for World Bank to fund any of the infrastructure project in a city. Design is not faulty.

    What should be done to make city roads pothole free?

    Periodic maintenance, strict supervision, ensuring quality of the materials being used and timely repairs. There can be yearly maintenance contract given to any agency just like you have yearly maintenance contract for AC, fridge, computer, printer etc and, yes, drainage is very important. There is a concept of smart drainage. Where the drain tells its flooding, enabling timely action beforehand.

    Can holding contractors and engineers culpable for road mishaps improve the situation?

    Yes, it will definitely improve the quality if someone is made answerable for the performance. In PMGSY the contractor has to give performance guarantee of five years. Hence the contractor is encouraged to do quality job.

    Is switching to concrete roads from the conventional tar road the answer to free city motorists from pothole- ridden roads?

    No, we should go for only bitumen roads. Concrete roads are very costly to construct — almost 5 times more than the bitumen roads. They do not permit any service lines to be installed beneath later on. It calls for very strict quality control or may get damaged. It increases the ambient heat. It retains the day’s heat and releases in night. So your night becomes hot. It becomes slippery and causes accidents in rainy seasons. They require yearly maintenance. None of the foreign country prefers concrete roads over BT roads.

    (Vishrut Landge is head of department from civil engineering branch, VNIT)

  • Hopes almost submerged, but they won’t budge Shishir Arya and Vaibhav Ganjapure | tnn | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:49 IST

    PIMPRI MUNJE (KUHI TEHSIL): Those at Pimpri Munje, a village of around 50 homes, know that the countdown has begun but are hoping against hope. Surrounded by water since the last couple of months, leaking fishing boats sailing through swamps is the only approach to the village.

    The water can deepen with the level of Gosikhurd dam going up, but the locals are reluctant to shift at the rehabilitation site provided by the government. They struggle to hold on to the place which is now an island. Despite the hardships, living off the land which has been taken away for the project remains a source of income for many.

    The oustees find their comfort zone in the village which is getting marooned as compared to resettlement area where they claim that the facilities are poor.

    On Monday afternoon, the power connection was snapped on orders of district collector Ashwin Mudgal so that oustees are forced to leave. The supply was restored a few hours later. Last week, an attempt by the district administration to evict them failed. Officials are gearing up to clear the village in a week.

    Pimpri Munje, which TOI visited on Tuesday, is among five other pockets in the area where oustees are holding out despite rising water levels.

    With the government likely to knock their doors any day, the residents said they will protest any move to forcibly evict them. A resolution has been passed by the panchayat that they should be granted Rs25 lakh per family or a job.

    On this, Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) officials said that there was a provision to grant a job or cash compensation. The latter has been already paid. As the angry villagers threatened to jump into the river if they were forced, some of them meekly asked if they would be allowed to stay put till Diwali at least.

    The sub-divisional officer of Umred and in-charge of the case JP Londhe said that efforts are being made on a war footing and the villages may be cleared in a week.

    It’s is a story no different from many other project affected persons (PAPs) of Gosikhurd dam. The villagers whose farms have been acquired for the project have already exhausted the money received as compensation, a decade ago. For majority of them, the farmland which has been already acquired but still available as it did not submerge under the dam water, remains to be the source of income.

    The official side is that they have no choice but to leave. They have been allowed to use the acquired land on humanitarian basis on which the locals have no right as all their dues have been cleared.

    A majority say they could not buy new land with the compensation amount and are depending on the same holdings which have been taken over long ago. Being shifted to working as farm labourers would be the only option, though some also have milch cattle which earns a decent income.

    For last two years, VIDC could not increase the level due to a litigation by another village in Bhandara district. With a ruling in its favour, VIDC is going ahead with plans to hike the level, which will bring Pimpri Munje land under the Wainganga water, and locals will have to move.

    Vinod Bhoyar, a village elder and member of the block council, said, “Almost 80% of the land which was bought by VIDC has not submerged yet and continues to remain under the locals’ possession. Life would not be as comfortable once we move out of here. At least we can till our farms now,” he said.

    Bhoyar got around a couple of lakhs for his farms which is less than a hectare, apart from other assets like his home in 2007. It was not enough to buy a new farm. Even in those days, farmland in the nearby areas cost nothing more than Rs1.5 to 3 lakh an acre, he says. He will be left landless after shifting from Pimpri Munje.

    Many others came up with similar stories. Suresh Ramteke said his three-acre farm was acquired for Rs2 lakh, out of which one acre has been submerged. He continued to till the remaining patch. Sudhakar Sahare, who was better off than others with 28 acres, now stares at a loss as part of his field with standing crop was submerged some days ago.

    Bhaurau Kharkar, in his seventies, was an exception who moved the court and got his compensation doubled to Rs9 lakh. For that, he had to shell out a lakh to the lawyer. The family has purchased a land at Bhandara district. “Not all can afford the lawyers’ fee,” quipped others.

    Officials added that apart from the land cost, which may have been less, they eventually got an amount ranging up to Rs5 lakh a family under a special grant. It might have been enough to buy another land.

    The locals admitted to having got another tranche ranging, claiming that it was still not enough to buy land against land.

    Other marooned villages face same fate

    The water level of Gosikhurd dam stands at nearly 243m with plans to take it to 245m by next year

    Like Pimpri Munje, there are five other villages where people are marooned and yet not leaving

    The five villages include Gond Pimpri, Umri, Damni, Pauni

    The areas need to be evicted entirely so that the water level is hiked and taken to the optimum level of 245m

    This will take the dam’s irrigation potential to 2.5 lakh hectares, which is the optimum level

    A week ago, Kharad a neighbouring village, was cleared with people being evicted on boats

    Such villages are surrounded by water by at least three sides

    However, the collector has issued orders to snap power in 51 villages so that the adamant PAPs leave

    Sources said with majority remaining in the five villages including there are small populations in 64 villages spread in Nagpur and Bhandara
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  • Modern 3-storey structure to replace colonial building of 1910-11 Vijay Pinjarkar | tnn | Updated: Sep 6, 2018, 05:45 IST

    NAGPUR: The over century-old building near Zero Miles in Civil Lines, which used to house multiple forest offices, will give way to a new structure at a cost of Rs 23 crore. It will be a sort of mini ‘Van Bhavan’ in the city.

    The old building was constructed in 1910-11 and it used to have South Zone Circle forest office, whose jurisdiction was spread over thousands of hectares of forests in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh under CP & Berar. The structure is not a heritage building. State forest department was functioning in it since 1955.

    It used to have offices of additional principal chief conservators of forests (APCCF) in charge of wildlife, Nagpur East, chief conservator (CCF) of Nagpur Circle, field director of Pench Tiger Reserve, working plan (Nagpur), and deputy conservator of forest (DyCF), Nagpur. All these offices have now been shifted on a rental basis to BSNL building opposite Kasturchand Park.

    “The old building, which looked strong from the outside, had started disintegrating from inside. Though the premises is huge, it did not have a meeting hall, security, toilets and proper facilities for people and guests who visited these offices from entire region. There were leakages within and lack of space for officers and staff,” said senior forest officials.

    Though there was no space for increased staff, forest officials spent lakhs of rupees in the last few years on renovation of individual offices. Now all this money has gone down the drain.

    “The new building will be a 3-storeyed structure and will incorporate green building concept. It will take around three years to complete,” said CCF Sanjeev Gaur.

    According to forest sources, construction of administrative buildings in respective forest headquarters was an old proposal. “As per old plan, the building at Zero Miles was to be a 7-storeyed structure and all offices in different rental premises all over the city were to be brought here. However, as it is very close to Vidhan Bhavan the plan was dropped,” said sources.

    In 2011, a fresh plan was made with a 3-storey structure. Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who also has finance department, gave a big push to construction of these administrative buildings. “The new building will also house social forestry offices presently functioning from rented premises in Civil Lines,” said Gaur.

  • Now, CR blames MahaMetro for ROB delay Ashish Roy | TNN | Sep 7, 2018, 02:12 IST

    Nagpur: Central Railway (CR) has blamed MahaMetro for delay in sanctioning railway overbridges (ROBs) at Gaddigodam and Anand Talkies (Sitabuldi). CR has claimed that MahaMetro did not submit certain documents on time, which delayed the process. MahaMetro has refused to comment on CR’s allegations.

    The general administrative drawing (GAD) of the two ROBs was submitted to CR over six months ago. It is yet to be sanctioned.

    According to CR, in case of Gaddigodam ROB, MahaMetro had expressed urgency and hence CR did the feasibility study along with Metro officials even though they failed to submit the detailed estimate and planning & estimate charges — a prerequisite for carrying out any feasibility study. These charges are yet to be deposited by Metro officials even after passage of three months.

    CR officials further said that after submission of GAD, the railway agency sent it back within two weeks due to various technical reasons. However, MahaMetro took almost a month to resubmit the drawing with necessary corrections. The revised drawing needed some corrections and same was sent back for minor modifications.

    In case of Anand Talkies ROB, MahaMetro had submitted the GAD in 2017 and it was approved by CR head office nine months ago. However, MahaMetro revised the approved drawing due to some technical issues and submitted an altogether different design.

    In addition to above, the in principle approval of alignment of Metro viaduct on railway land has been approved six months back. Thereafter, MahaMetro was supposed to submit a proposal for using railway land and deposit corresponding land charges. However, the Metro agency has deposited these charges for only one location — Ajni station as against seven locations. Even for submitting these charges for Ajni, MahaMetro has taken three months time.

    Not only this, proposals or drawings for operational rights at two locations — Khapri and Nagpur station — is being revised frequently by MahaMetro.