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- ‘Gadkari should become mayor or replace NMC with MahaMetro’ Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Sep 30, 2018, 03:25 IST
Nagpur: Congress corporator Praful Gudadhe said either union minister Nitin Gadkari should become mayor or replace the NMC with MahaMetro. He said Gadkari takes decisions and announces projects and the NMC then implements them despite the latter being a local self governing body.
Gudadhe, while addressing a press conference after the general body meeting, said BJP-ruled NMC has lost its value. “General body is decision-making authority in the NMC. Gadkari announced demolition of flyover in front of railway station, approved funds for new project and also appointed MahaMetro for execution of the project. Now, general body is passing resolution in this regard.
“Also, NMC is giving all its properties, especially market areas to MahaMetro, also on directives of Gadkari. It seems MahaMetro has become planning authority of the city,” he said.
Later, at another press conference, ruling party leader Sandip Joshi said Gudadhe aspires to contest Lok Sabha election, so making such statements about Gadkari. “State governments and NMC bodies led by Congress did nothing for the city while Gadkari has approved projects of Rs40,000 crore. Therefore, Congress is felling insecure. Gadkari’s vision for the city is vast and there is nothing wrong in him taking decisions and we implementing it in public interest and for transforming Nagpur into Smart City,” he said.
- Against HC order, NMC officer stalls demolition of two dargahs Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Sep 30, 2018, 03:26 IST
NMC could not demolish Hazrat Baba Haider Ali Shah Bahadur dargah on Old Bhandara Road
Nagpur: In a blatant violation of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court’s orders to raze all illegal structures from roads and footpaths, assistant municipal commissioner of Lakadganj zone Rajesh Karade on Saturday reportedly stalled the demolition drive and granted two more days to two dargahs blocking traffic on Old Bhandara Road and Central Avenue.
On June 22, 2016, Karade was suspended for ignoring an illegal pandal in the middle of the road at Meetha Neem Dargah.
Additional municipal commissioner Ravindra Thakre on Friday had submitted an affidavit in the high court about the plan to demolish nine religious structures, including the two dargahs, on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the adjoining Gandhibagh zone led by assistant municipal commissioner Ashok Patil razed two dargahs and a couple of temples on Central Avenue.
Following high court directives, under the guidance of Thakre, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) estate department had planned to demolish one dargah and two temples on Old Bhandara Road. On Central Avenue, plan was to demolish one temple and four mazaars from footpath and roads.
As per schedule, the NMC anti-encroachment squad, armed with excavators and trucks, and officials from National Highways Authorities of India reached Old Bhandara road on Saturday morning. To prevent any law and order situation, a huge posse of policemen led by deputy commissioner of police Rahul Maknikar was deployed.
The office-bearers of two Bangaramna temples readily agreed to cooperate with the NMC. One of the office-bearers Mukund Adewar claimed that both temples were constructed in 1915 on private land. “We have documents to prove our ownership,” he claimed and added that recently they had deposited Rs60,000 with the high court.
“How can NMC team demolish the temples,” they asked. When anti-encroachment department officials refused to entertain them, the office-bearers agreed to extend support to the drive and started dismantling the temple on their own.
However, the office-bearers of Hazrat Baba Haider Ali Dargah protested the drive. Initially, Karade was in no mood to give any relaxation. But the representatives from the minority community informed him that they need time to remove remnants inside the dargah and sought two days’ time.
Terming their demand as genuine and “not wanting to hurt their religious sentiments”, Karade said, “we gave time to remove the structures by Sunday evening”, and added that if they fail to keep their word, the NMC will raze the structures on Monday.
Karade also gave time to shift the remnants from Hazrat Baba Sayyad Saheb near Al Zam Zam Hotel on Central Avenue, which falls under Gandhibagh zone.
However, the squad razed one Hanuman temple near Rahate Hospital, two dargahs and one Mahakal temple on Central Avenue. The Hanuman Nagar zone too razed two structures.
Interestingly, NMC in its affidavit on August 29 had assured the HC to raze all illegal structures on roads and footpaths by August 31. The HC had then asked both NMC and NIT to complete the formalities. Almost a month later, both agencies have failed to remove all structures till date, in clear contempt of HC directives.
- Futala Lake redevelopment project gets heritage panel nod
Nagpur: The heritage conservation committee on Saturday approved MahaMetro’s Futala lake redevelopment project and kept pending a proposal to include 300-year-old Gujar Wada on Kelibagh Road in the heritage list.
The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting presided over by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) deputy municipal commissioner Rajesh Mohite in the absence of retired Neeri director Tapan Chakrabarti and architect Ashok Mokha.
The committee approved MahaMetro’s proposal to demolish the road opposite Futala Lake for constructing a tunnel, 4,000-seat viewers gallery over the tunnel, restaurants and other beautification works. The committee’s nod was necessary as Futala Lake and its bund is a grade-I heritage precinct.
MahaMetro has reportedly assured the committee that the lake and the bund won’t be damaged.
City MP and Union minister Nitin Gadkari had assured Rs112 crore for the project under Central Road Fund.
Mohite said, “As per Supreme Court’s order, the committee completed entire process and decided not to include 49 structures, including Gujar Wada, in the list. A legal view is needed on Gujar Wada proposal as the application seeking its inclusion in the heritage list was received a few days ago.”
NMC sources told TOI that the committee would reject the proposal. Member of one of the city’s royal families - Pratibha Mane — has submitted the proposal in a bid to save the historical structure from demolition for Kelibagh Road widening and concretizing project.
Gadkari and former mayor and BJP corporator Pravin Datke are trying their best to get Kelibagh Road project executed.
In the Grand Post Office (GPO) and RBI case, the committee has reportedly softened its stand on their violations. The committee had directed the GPO in its last meeting to demolish a structure constructed on its premises without NOC.
The committee constituted a three-member sub committee to verify documents and submit a report. “GPO has submitted plans to get sanction from town planning department for the structure,” the committee said.
Similarly, the committee did not act against constructions done on RBI premises without NOC.
Mohite said that decision on RBI’s case would be taken after consulting Mokha. “RBI had got the building plan sanctioned for the structure in 2006. It submitted all documents to the committee,” he said.
The committee approved National Softball Association’s proposal to conduct a tournament between December 21 and 26 on Kasturchand Park (KP).
The committee, however, reportedly rejected four other proposals to hold events on KP, including NMC’s women entrepreneur convention and exhibition, India Handicraft Board’s exhibition, Gurdwara Shri Gurusingh Sabha’s Gurunanak Jayanti programme and Bahujan Aghadi’s public meet.
- Dry Totladoh bodes ill for city water supply
Nagpur: If 2017 was tough, water scarcity is expected to be worse this year. The overall rains in Vidarbha have been better than the previous year, but rains have been below average in the catchment area of dams like Totladoh and Kamptee Khairi on Pench river, which meet the city’s needs. The Pench river comes from Madhya Pradesh side.
Last year, Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) was not able to spare water for the paddy crop grown in the kharif season. This year, after farmers protested, water has been released for two rounds of irrigation this season. Low rains in the areas feeding the dam, and the irrigation, has reduced the availability for city’s drinking water needs.
Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) submits its annual requirement to VIDC every October 15, when the dry season has finally set in. Even as NMC is yet to estimate the current year’s needs, sources in VIDC say the civic body will have to either observe cuts or increase dependence on sources other than the dams. The other sources include water from Gorewada and Kanhan, on which NMC mainly relies.
Last year itself, NMC drew more water than its quota set by VIDC, and paid a penalty. This time, even if the civic body is ready to pay more, there may not be water to spare, said a senior official working under the water resources department (WRD).
The water quota is fixed as per norms set by Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA). Sources said VIDC would prefer to stick to the quota this time. In July last year itself VIDC had written to NMC to look for sources other than the dam.
The current water level at Totladoh dam stands at 31% as against 42% as on September 30, 2017. Kamptee Khairi on the other hand has 35% level this year as against 64% last year. In terms of million cubic meters (MCM), both dams are left with around 430 MCM of water. The dams should have at least 300 MCM of water at any given point of time for drinking water requirement, said sources.
It may appear that the present level may still be enough to meet all the needs. However, there is a catch, said sources involved in water management. Around 100 MCM will now go for irrigation, for which the second round was given recently.
Apart from this, 80 MCM will have to be written off as evaporation losses and over 40 MCM will have to be set aside for power plants. This leaves around 200 MCM as against the minimum level of benchmark of 300 MCM.
A senior official in NMC dealing with water supply said they are yet to calculate the city’s requirement. After it is done by October 15, it is up to VIDC to allot a quota. NMC will decide its further course of action mid-October.
- Railway station flyover’s approved design not in NMC’s records
Nagpur: Information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that approved designs for the flyover in front of railway station were not available in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) records. A RTI activist, who asked to see the records, alleged NMC’s Pench Project Cell constructed the flyover without approval of the design from senior officials and other competent authorities.
The activist had sought a set of documents related to the flyover under RTI Act from NMC in 2016. Documents provided by NMC did not include the approved design. The activist then filed an appeal with state information commissioner (SIC), who held a hearing on February 28.
The activist received a copy of SIC’s order on September 15. SIC Dilip Dharurkar had directed NMC to file an affidavit and provide a copy to the activist, informing that approved designs were not available on NMC’s records, within 15 days.
The activist told TOI that NMC’s Pench Project Cell apparently never got the design approved, but is saying that a copy is not available on its records. “One copy of design is available with the department. There is no stamp or signature of civic chief, chief engineer or superintending engineer or VNIT on the design. Even state government approval for construction of flyover, which is mandatory, is missing,” he said.
The activist said the civic body was supposed to get the design approved from the government, and technical experts like VNIT, or state’s public works department. “I think the contractor prepared the design and constructed the flyover without following procedure,” he said.
An NMC official said Pench Project Cell got the design approved from VNIT before construction. However, the activist claims the department took a certificate from VNIT only after construction of the flyover.
Reacting to VNIT’s technical opinion that a study should be conducted only after completion of Ramjhula’s second phase, consulting civil engineer Satish Salpekar said width of Ramjhula was not a reason for congestion at Jaistambh square. “Basic problem at Jaistambh Square is the criss crossing of traffic from three directions. Unless traffic crossing Ramjhula from east to west is controlled at Jaistambh Square, traffic coming from KP side can’t turn right towards the railway station. Similarly, traffic coming from flyover lands at Jaistambh Square, from where people take a U-turn to go to the railway station. Hence, the existing flyover is an hindrance to traffic at Jaistambh Square. It has also reduced width of railway station to half, and hence needs to be demolished,” he said.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has come up with a report alleging that flyover demolition was planned due to complaints of devotees going to Tekdi Ganesh temple. “One can reach railway station from Manas Square within a minute due to the flyover. Congestion at Jaistambh Square is due to huge traffic coming from Ramjhula towards KP and vice versa. Congestion is more at Manas Square. Only problem is for devotees going to the temple as devotees coming from Manas Square have to take flyover and then road in front of railway station to reach the temple. There is a solution to the problem. Collector should give an approach to the temple from Tekdi Road, and the problem will be resolved. Also, MP and MSRTC lands should be vacated,” the party said.
- Metro on a roll at 90km per hour!
Nagpur: MahaMetro conducted a successful trial run of Nagpur Metro at 90 kilometres per hour on the at grade section on Sunday. A eight member team from Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO), gave the green signal to the operation.
“The riding index, a measure of oscillation of a Metro train, should be less than 3 as per norms. Our figure was 2.2 in today’s trial,” said managing director Brijesh Dixit.
The earlier trial run was conducted at 25 kmph on September 30, 2017. Since then modifications have been done to the coaches to increase the speed. Communication based train control (CBTC) was also installed during these months. No changes were required on the track.
The six coaches being used by Nagpur Metro have been leased from Hyderabad. Its own coaches will reach the city in December. Trial run of those coaches too would be held in presence of RDSO officials that month.
The preparations for Sunday’s trial were being done since last few days. MahaMetro also arranged 2,500 sand bags to be kept in the train. “The maximum capacity of the three coaches is 970 people and assuming an average weight of 65 kilograms per person, the total weight will be 63 tonnes. The weight of the sand bags is also the same,” said Dixit.
"We installed 46 oscillation monitors on the three coaches and their average reading was taken for calculating the riding index,” the MD said.
Turning to the commercial operation of Sitabuldi-Khapri and Sitabuldi-Lokmanya Nagar sections, Dixit said that they would commence in March 2019. “After the Chinese coaches are tested in December, we will not need any more certification from RDSO. We will only need a green signal from Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS). We have already started the paperwork so that we get CMRS nod in March itself,” Dixit said.
Commenting on the progress of broad gauge metro, Sunil Mathur, director (rolling stock) said that it would be ready in two months. “After that we will arrange for funding and go for other necessary steps,” he said.
On Wardha Road double decker flyover, Mahesh Kumar, director (project), said that while the Metro viaduct would be ready by March, the flyover portion including Manish Nagar railway overbridge (ROB) will be complete only by July.
On expenditure so far, Dixit said that Rs4,500 crore had been spent so far and 69% of the work was complete in August end. He also said that twin towers will be constructed at Zero Mile of which one would be the Vidhan Bhavan annexe.
- Shrines gone but debris, trees still block Khamla Rd
Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) demolished two illegal religious structures — Shitala Mata and Hanuman temple — on Khamla Road a couple of days ago. But the road freed of encroachments cannot be used by vehicles, as trees near the shrines are still standing on the road.
NMC and NIT had demolished Hanuman temple on Thursday, followed by Shitala Mata temple on Friday.
The Hanuman temple was on one side of the road towards Khamla Market square, with a big peepal tree between the road and temple. After demolition of the temple, the tree is right in the middle of the road. Vehicles cannot use the entire road until the tree is removed.
Also, officials are yet to remove all the debris from the area. A huge quantity of debris is lying where the temple used to exist. If the debris is removed, at least pedestrians can use the space.
Former corporator Prakash Totwani told TOI that NMC and NIT should have removed the tree along with the temple since the tree is in the middle of the road. “High court had directed authorities to raze shrines as they were obstructing the roads. Why should the tree not be removed if the temple demolition is not helping anyone,” he asked.
Totwani also said the tree proves the temple was originally beside the road, and not on it. “Khamla Road used to be only 3m wide. NMC widened the road under IRDP in 2002. Due to widening, the temple constructed during Bhonsle period came on the road,” he said.
Assistant commissioner of NMC Laxmi Nagar Zone Suvarna Dakhane said the hotmix and garden departments have been told to inspect the tree and take a decision.
An official from NMC garden department said report from traffic police, and permission of civic chief, who is chairman of tree authority, will be required if the tree is to be removed. “Otherwise, we will have to transplant the tree if it is obstructing traffic,” he said.
At Shitala Mata temple, NMC and NIT uprooted one of the two trees. The tree standing between the road and the temple was cut down but the one on the roadside was left as it is. An electric pole between the road and temple was untouched on Friday, but was removed on Sunday.
Temple office bearer Panju Totwani threatened to take along residents of Khamla to lodge a complaint against NMC and NIT for uprooting the tree without permission. “Debris was left as it is at the temple. The space freed after temple demolition should be made available to the people,” he said.
NMC standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja on Saturday met CM Devendra Fadnavis and requested him to approve general body resolution to allow religious structures on PU lands and open spaces. “General body passed the resolution on August 10 and submitted it to the government,” he said.
Illegal religious structures on PU lands and open spaces can be regularized if the government approves the resolution.
- Rs35cr proposals to asphalt city roads, but NMC has no money Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Oct 2, 2018, 03:40 IST
Nagpur: Citizens will have to bear with bad roads for more days as the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has no funds for asphaltation.
Standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja on Monday claimed that corporators always raise the issue of poor roads and many have already submitted proposals for asphalting roads. According to Kukreja, proposals worth over Rs35 crore for asphaltation of roads are pending with the civic administration for want of funds.
To a query about poor quality of patchwork being carried out by the hotmix department, the standing panel chairman blamed the residents for poor civic sense. He pointed out that many residents wash their vehicles on roads thus damaging tar roads.
He, however, was quick to add, in coming days the financial situation will improve with more funds coming from the state government and also generation of revenue by way of property tax, town planning department etc.
In the coming days, potholes across the city will be repaired as the standing panel on Monday gave its nod to hotmix department’s proposal of Rs3.41 crore for procuring bitumen, tar and funds for labourers, he said.
With the panel’s nod, the department would be procuring bitumen worth Rs2.31 crore for carrying out pothole repair works. Similarly, the department will be purchasing tar worth Rs40.16 lakh. Apart from this, the standing committee also gave green signal to spend Rs43.36 lakh for hiring labourers to carry out the repairs.
Kukreja also reviewed the collections of property tax and market departments. He expressed concern over poor recoveries from both the departments and directed the officials to improve collections.
Meanwhile, the standing panel gave extension to the state government’s special scheme to regularize unauthorized constructions and plots for further six months as the civic body has received very low response.
NMC has received only 259 applications in six months. The last date for submission of applications is October 4 and hence NMC decided to extend the deadline by six more months. Now, the proposal will be tabled before the general body meeting for its nod, said Kukreja.
To a query over poor response to the NMC whereas NIT was getting good response from the property owners, Kukreja said the civic body has already approached the state government for reducing the compounding charges. He said the government has already entrusted the NMC to decide the rates by inviting suggestions and objections.
“The state government is all set to give its nod to the NMC’s proposal of revising development control rules for religious structures on open plots and public utility lands,” he added.
- Two dargahs move HC for stay on demolition
Vaibhav Ganjapure and Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Oct 2, 2018, 03:40 IST
Hazrat Baba Haider Ali Shah Bahadur Dargha infront of the Lakkadganj Police Station in Nagpur on Monday October 01st, 2018
Nagpur: Nagpur Municipal Corporations (NMC) blatant violation of high courts orders continues on third day as it failed to raze two dargahs on Old Bhandara Road and Central Avenue till Monday evening. Earlier, the corporation allegedly extended undue favours to both shrines by granting them two more days to remove their belongings, which was reported by TOI.
On Monday, trustees of Baba Haider Ali Shah dargah on Old Bhandara Road in Lakadganj knocked judiciarys doors through counsel Shreerang Bhandarkar praying for stopping NMC from carrying out its demolition. Dargah secretary Mehboob Ismail Sheikh also requested to stay any action against holy shrines controlled by the wakfs/trusts. He contended that its structure is located in small area of 15x15 sqft and was in existence from nearly 150 years.
Azam Shah Panch Committee located at Chandrashekhar Azad Chowk at Central Avenue Road is second petitioner, who contended that it is located on area of 10x15 sqft and its existence can be traced back to the year 1735, which indicates that the shrine is over 253 years old.
A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Murlidhar Giratkar, while refusing any immediate interim relief, adjourned the hearing till Wednesday and directed petitioner to inform on how it planned to relocate the dargahs, that are obstruction to smooth flow of traffic, according to NMC counsel Sudhir Puranik.
The petitioners contended that the NMC officials visited both dargahs and warned office-bearers of trust/wakfs that their demolition would take place on Monday as per the HC orders. Office-bearers of both the structures told TOI that their core committee agreed to extend full cooperation to the civic body.
Mohammed Jameel from Hazrat Baba Haider Ali dargah committee said they had already started removing the holy remnants of the saint from Dargah. Our religious guru from Bareilly, Maulana Sayyed Hussaini, would initiate the process, he said.
We have already razed the front portion. Even in our Sharia laws, it was mentioned to follow the legislations of the country where you are residing, pointed out Acchu Bhai.
Both claimed that they will shift the holy remnants to a nearby Muslim Kabrastan in Lakadganj. However, a section of the minority community pointed out that they wont allow any demolition.
The office-bearers of Dargah from Central Avenue too have started the process to remove the remnants and shift to Muslim Kabrastan.
Following HC orders, armed with excavators and huge police protection force, the NMC anti-encroachment squad on Saturday, planned razing of seven religious structures in both Lakadganj and Gandhibagh zones, but failed to remove these two.
- NGO to paint Gandhisagar lake walls TNN | Oct 3, 2018, 03:34 IST
Non-starter Rs 80 L Khau Galli sheds in shambles: Even though the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has spent... Read More
Nagpur: NGO Yoga Dhanendra Multipurpose Charitable Society in association with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has launched a campaign to clean and paint walls along Gandhisagar lake. The paintings will be based on United National Sustainable Development’s 2030 goal.
Additional municipal commissioner Ram Joshi and assistant commissioner Smita Kale inaugurated the campaign on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti on Tuesday.
Tanu Varma, Anagha Chauhan and Somesh Bhatwalkar from the NGO provided the details of the project to be executed in eight phases.
The NGO started painting walls of Khau Galli from outer part. Similarly, walls around the lake will be painted. Also, the cleanliness drive will be undertaken on lake’s surroundings.
The NGO will make use of vehicles’ tyres, water bottles and pipes to beautify the water body’s surroundings.
Vice-president of United National Sustainable Development Goal Birendra Soni also provided details about their project.
Prabhan Chachodiya from Lions Club, Dipa Agrawal, Rajesh Jindal, Kusum Jindal, Vinod Gupta, Shilpa Khaiwale, Vijaya Waghmare and others were present.
- Central barricade sounding death knell to wildlife on NH44 Vijay Pinjarkar | TNN | Oct 3, 2018, 03:33 IST
Nagpur: Even as wildlife mitigation measures in 37km stretch between Mansar and Khawasa on NH44 (erstwhile NH7) are in final stages, conservationists have slammed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for installing steel barricades in the middle of the road making wild animals more prone to accidents.
In a memorandum to forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and senior forest officials, president of All India Forest Officers & RFOs Sangh Chandrakant Chimote has claimed barricades in the middle of the road on stretches near Ramtek, Chorbahuli, Paoni and Deolapar forest ranges where wildlife is abundant and frequently cross the road from both sides are contributing to more wildlife deaths.
“When animals attempt to cross the road, they run up against these barricades and are more likely to be hit by speeding vehicles. NHAI has also created zebra crossings that animals are not familiar with and get confused,” said Chimote, who is also a retired range forest officer (RFO).
Chimote said though NHAI was constructing underpasses, there is no let-up in death of wild animals. Two months ago, a leopard died in road hit near Chorbahuli while death of several herbivores like deer and sambar and small mammals have gone unnoticed. The road is vital link between Pench-Kanha-Navegaon-Nagzira and hence animal density is high.
Conservationist Udayan Patil, who is fighting for proper mitigation measures in place, said, “Though Indian Road Congress (IRC) recommends metal barricades on a central median, especially where two carriageways are constructed close by, there can certainly be angular spaces between them to allow animals to move across.”
NHAI is constructing nine underpasses of overall 2,200 metres length in 37km forested road patch. It includes two 750 metres and 300 metres, one 100 metres and remaining 50-75 metres.
Patil said, “There are many issues that needs to be resolved. Flow of water bodies and natural streams have been blocked around roads due to which water accumulates and attracts animals increasing chances of road hits.”
Patil added lot of garbage and debris were still lying under the mitigation structures and NHAI had not cleared them even as these structures are complete. Old tar road near Chorbahuli is still open. “We have already filed an affidavit in the matter which is pending before the High Court,” he added.
NHAI project director NK Yewatkar did not respond to TOI calls.
- Old Airport Road remains closed at night when needed most Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Oct 3, 2018, 03:27 IST
Nagpur: Closed for decades citing security reasons, the Old Airport Road was reopened for traffic three months ago as an alternate route when MahaMetro undertakes blocks to carry out its works on Wardha Road. However, Old Airport Road remains closed for traffic during night hours and motorists face a lot of inconvenience as MahaMetro too carries out its work on Wardha Road at the same time.
MahaMetro had widened, asphalted, installed street lights and two gates on the road that is under the possession of Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC). Traffic police department was reportedly asked to plan the traffic and diversion. Yet the motorists suffer and all three departments are passing the buck.
The MADC is keeping the road closed for traffic between 10pm and 6am every day since it was reopened. This came to fore during TOI’s visit for a couple of days last week. Security guards posted at the entrance and exit also confirmed about its closure during night hours.
An MADC official told TOI that MahaMetro had not requested to keep the road open 24 hours. “We are closing the road for traffic as there are no flights during the night,” he said.
In pre and post reopening the road, the officials of MahaMetro and MADC had told TOI that Old Airport Road was being re-developed as an alternate arrangement to divert traffic on Wardha Road. MahaMetro is constructing a flyover, Metro rail corridor over it and stations on third deck. Therefore, one side of Wardha Road remains closed, especially at night. As the works go on and the Old Airport Road too remains closed, traffic jams have become a regular feature, especially during night hours, as two-way traffic has to pass through one side only.
Even the MADC’s claim of having no flights during night is also wrong. Flight from Sharjah lands here at 2.30am every day.
MahaMetro official said traffic police and MADC were supposed to look after the traffic management on the two roads. “We have asked traffic police to plan diversions and utilization of Old Airport Road during blocks on Wardha Road,” he said.
Interestingly, an officer from traffic police, Sonegaon chamber, said that they had not received any communication from either MahaMetro or MADC in this regard.
Thus, the Old Airport Road linking Khamla Road with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport and Wardha Road has remained only for flyers and VVIP movements.
- Without safety gear, NMC sanitary staff remain vulnerable Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Oct 3, 2018, 03:14 IST
Nagpur: Tuesday’s incident of a sanitary worker Anand Lingayat sustaining serious injuries after being hit by a bus on Central Avenue has brought to fore how vulnerable city’s sanitary workers are.. The 7,000-odd sanitary workers of Nagpur Municipal Corporation engaged in sweeping roads do not have even basic safety gear like reflector jackets to warn motorists.
Citizens and activists pointed these sweepers were among the worst sufferers of traffic accidents as they do their job of cleaning the roads and junctions. Secretary of Vidarbha Taxpayers Association Tejinder Singh Renu said: “NMC workers sweeping roadside corners and dividers are a common sight. However, their not having any safety gear is a cause of concern. This doesn’t involve their safety alone, even the road user is at risk many times.”
In other countries, it is usually machines equipped with flasher warning lights that carry out cleaning. In Nagpur sanitary staff does the job manually. While doing so they should keep a warning sign at a considerable distance from where the traffic is approaching so drivers are well aware of their presence ahead.
Renu said: “Without any sign on road, at times workers come in front of vehicles suddenly which either results in sudden braking or steep steering to the side and in both cases, chances of accident increase.”
At least on fast traffic roads NMC should provide warning signs and bright neon jacket for immediate visibility to such workers, so that both workers and road users remain safe to some extent, he said.
Echoing Renu, director of city-based NGO Centre for Sustainable Development, Leena Budhe stated: “Sanitary workers should wear reflective jackets. Without them, it is difficult for drivers to know men are at work.”
According to her, NMC should not clean roads in commercial areas during peak traffic hours, instead do so during night or early morning hours. Budhe also pointed out that sanitary workers had also not been provided with equipment like masks, hand gloves and gumboots and were thus prone to health hazards too. It is one of the important components of Swachh Bharat, she said.
Sanitary workers at junctions should be utmost cautious as the driver taking a turn might not be able to notice them, said a senior traffic cop.
NMC’s health officer (sanitation) Dr Pradeep Dasarwar said most workers in commercial areas were provided with reflective jackets and other safety gear but nobody used them.
- State asks Metro to build twin towers at Zero Mile stn Ashish Roy | TNN | Oct 3, 2018, 03:05 IST
Nagpur: The city may have twin towers near Zero Mile if Maharashtra legislature secretariat gives the nod for Vidhan Bhavan annexe. Both the buildings will be 19 storeys high and Metro viaduct will pass through them. The distance between the two buildings — annexe and station — will be only 75 metre.
MahaMetro had been asked to construct the annexe by Anant Kalse, principal secretary (state legislature). Accordingly, the Metro officials prepared the basic design and estimate and submitted it to him. Kalse will visit the city in the first or second week of this month to further discuss the project.
A MahaMetro source said that the cost of the annexe was Rs142 crore. “It includes everything from fire safety appliances, air conditioning, elevators, parking, etc,” he added. The two buildings will be 90 metre high and will be connected by a walk way. The only difference between the station and annexe building is that Metro viaduct will not exert any load on the columns and beams of the latter while it will do so in the case of the former.
The annexe will come up on a one acre land behind deputy commissioner of police (DCP) office. The land is at present in possession of police department. The state government will hand over the land to MahaMetro in case it decides to go ahead with the project.
In addition to the annexe, the legislature secretariat is expanding the Vidhan Bhavan at the cost of Rs10 crore. “Twelve big cabins for ministers will be built on the ground floor and a restaurant will be constructed on the first. The existing canteen in the old building will be razed,” said executive engineer JH Bhanuse of public works department (PWD).
The secretariat is also planning to purchase the vacant building opposite Vidhan Bhavan owned by builder N Kumar and start government offices used during legislature session. “We have started valuation of the building. VNIT has agreed to do a structural audit of the building. Further decision will be taken by the government,” said the EE.
Nobody in Nagpur is aware why the government is expanding the legislature infrastructure so much. TOI enquired with MahaMetro, PWD, chief minister’s office (CMO), etc but could not get any clue.
- Shoddy patchwork, loose gravel make riding on Amravati Road a daunting task Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Oct 4, 2018, 04:20 IST
Nagpur: Until recently, motorists would slow down on Amravati Road from Maharajbagh Square to University Campus and beyond, since the road surface was badly damaged due to lack of repairs over many years.
However, recent attempts by the National Highways Authorities of India’s public works department to repair the worst patches have left motorists facing an additional risk — the poor quality of patchwork has led to loose gravel spreading all over the road, especially in front of department of management near Ravi Nagar Square, posing a threat of two-wheelers skidding.
On being informed by some motorists, TOI visited the stretch and while interacting with passer-bys and roadside vendors, it was found that many minor accidents have already occurred due to loose gravel on the road.
The first accident took place when a teenage girl on a two-wheeler coming from Law College turned left towards Tilak Nagar, skidded due to loose gravel. Fortunately, she was not driving fast and narrowly escaped falling down. Barely a few minutes later, a middle-aged man on a motorcycle skidded and fell on the road. The man got up immediately, and fortunately, escaped unhurt. But both riders could have sustained serious injuries had it been a peak traffic hour.
Used by thousands of vehicles every day, this busy road was last asphalted in 2015. After protests from residents, the NHAI decided to undertake some patchwork using gravel mixed with tar earlier this week. But after the shoddy repair work, being carried out by PMA Constructions entrusted by NHAI, black metal has started peeling off, leaving gravel scattered on the road.
Motorist Rohit Deshpande pointed out that the worst patch is just 300 meters away from the residence of Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari and few meters away from the municipal commissioner’s residence.
Half of the road width is being re-carpeted again by the authorities but the bitumen gravel has started coming off within hours after being re-carpeted.
Deshpande also challenged the city’s ministers to drive across the city on a two wheeler and get a first-hand experience of the pain and suffering motorists face due to shabby road work. “It is dangerous for motorists. The poor quality of work compromises safety of road users,” said motorist Gajanan Nagare. “The NHAI should be held accountable for accidents on this stretch,” he demanded.
Many people have sustained injuries when two-wheelers slipped on gravel or stones were thrown up by other vehicles, said roadside shopkeepers. “The stones often ricochet when cars and other four-wheelers pass over them. These cause injuries to not only two-wheeler riders but pedestrians too,” said a roadside tea vendor.
Roads across the city have gone from bad to worse due to bad patchworks by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Nagpur Improvement Trust. At some places, the patchwork has started peeling off within days.
Despite repeated attempts, NHAI superintendent B D Thenge was not available for comments. An official from the office, however, assured to look into the matter. The officer said the department has already prepared a proposal to asphalt the Amravati road from Maharajbagh square to Wadi octroi post.