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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  • NMC gets Rs125cr for new cement road project; Rs175cr grants likely Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Nov 1, 2018, 03:43 IST

    Nagpur: In what could be a pre-Diwali gift, the cash-strapped Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has received Rs125 crore for cement concrete road project phase-III. More special grants of Rs175 crore are expected by November end.

    Approved by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the cement concrete road project phase-III has received Rs62.50 crore from the state government and an equal amount from the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT).

    Total approved cost of the project is Rs300 crore, of which the government, NIT and the NMC will contribute Rs100 crore each. Under the project, 42 roads, total length of 42km, will be concretized under 10 packages at the cost of Rs237.28 crore. Remaining Rs62.72 crore will be spent on development of squares, road-dividers and beautification works.

    Standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja, in a press conference held on Wednesday, said the NMC can now begin execution of the project. “While approving the project, the government laid a condition that it would release funds equivalent to that contributed by the NMC. I requested Fadnavis who relaxed the condition and issued notification for the funds on October 29,” he said.

    The CM had approved the project in May 2016. But the NMC delayed planning due to lack of funds to contribute its share.

    NMC official told TOI preliminary works like survey, inspection of utilities under the road, marking of two sides of the road etc are underway.

    Under phase-III, the number of cement concrete roads in the city will increase to a great extent. Union minister Nitin Gadkari had concretized seven major roads during his tenure as guardian minister between 1994 and 1999. Under phase-I, the NMC is concretizing 30 roads along 26km at the cost of Rs123 crore.

    Similarly, 51 roads covering 68km are being concretized at the cost of Rs324 crore under phase-II. The state’s public works department is concretizing Inner Ring Road along 45km for Rs205 crore.

    Kukreja added the NMC will get more special grants of Rs175 crore by November end. “CM sanctioned special grants of Rs150 crore. CM, Gadkari and guardian minister Chandrashekar Bawankule ensured that NMC got the funds,” he said.

    Kukreja said bills of civil contractors will be cleared, along with some other works, from Rs150 crore special grant. “A special meeting of standing committee will be held on Thursday to decide spending of Rs150 crore,” he said.

    Kukreja sounded confident about achieving the revenue target of Rs2,946 crore set by the standing committee. “We are taking all efforts to increase revenue from own sources like property tax,” he said.

  • Jolt to NIT as HC stays plots’ regularization under Gunthewari Act Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Nov 1, 2018, 03:47 IST
    Nagpur: In an important order that would have far reaching consequences, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday, granted a stay on any regularization of plots under the Gunthewari Act by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT).

    Expressing concern over rampant regularization of illegal layouts and buildings on public utility (PU) lands and open spaces by the civic bodies, a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Shreeram Modak also asked the NIT on whether it could explore prohibiting registration of sale deeds on such plots till proper sanction plan is submitted.

    When it was pointed out that civic bodies are charging huge amount for utilizing extra floor space index (FSI) from the residents, the court told them to bring entire collection and expenditure on record and deposit the collected amount in a separate account. Before adjourning the hearing till November 28, the judges sternly directed respondents to file a compliance report by Monday.

    The directives came while hearing a bunch of PILs including three suo motu ones and those filed by Kailassinh Chowhan (WP No 7439/2017) and Ajay Tiwari (PIL No 88/2018) through counsels Anand Parchure and M Anilkumar respectively.

    Earlier, NIT superintendent engineer Sunil Gujjalwar tendered an unconditional apology for regularizing a plot at Jaitala. In his affidavit, he informed the court that he had cancelled the plot’s regularization.

    In his PIL, Tiwari attached several TOI reports stating that since 1987, the civic body is legalizing encroachments under the pretext of policy decision at the cost of general public. Initially, there were just 572 layouts which jumped to 1,900 over the years, due to NIT’s inaction. Now, that number has touched 4,500.

    The petitioner further contended that open land or those earmarked for public amenity as per the provisions of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966, was reduced at the cost of public who paid for it. The HC then restrained the NIT from regularizing any structure on open and PU lands till further orders.

  • NIT demolishes 11 illegal religious structures Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Nov 1, 2018, 05:31 IST

    All the structures were in Wathoda
    Nagpur: The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) on Wednesday demolished 11 illegal religious structures in East Nagpur.

    As per an order of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, the NIT and NMC are demolishing illegal religious structures on roads, footpaths and government-owned lands. While the NIT has continued with the drive, there has been no action by the Nagpur Municipal Corpoartion (NMC) since last few days.

    A team comprising NIT executive engineer Sanjay Chimurkar, divisional officer Bharat Mundle, junior engineer Dipak Dakhate, CD Kangane, head of enforcement department Manohar Patil, with the help of Nandavan police, demolished Durga temple, Santoshi Mata temple, Annapurna temple, two Nagoba temples, two Hanuman temples, Nageshwar temple, Ganpati mandir, Panchsheel Dwaj-Buddha Vihar and a Durga temple, all at Wathoda.

  • Air pollution may decrease monsoon rainfall: UN report Manka Behl
    Rising air pollution in India is likely to impact rainfall patterns in the country and decrease the monsoon in the long term, which can cause extensive financial losses, warns a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

    | TNN | Nov 1, 2018, 08:55 IST

    The largest impact of air pollution on the Indian monsoon will be a decrease in the amount of rainfall. (File Photo)

    NAGPUR: Rising air pollution in India is likely to impact rainfall patterns in the country and decrease the monsoon in the long term, which can cause extensive financial losses, warns a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

    'Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based Solutions' presents a comprehensive scientific assessment of air pollution in Asia and the Pacific. Released in the World Health Organization's (WHO) first global conference on air pollution and health in Geneva, the report covers various pollution aspects which India is grappling with.

    The largest impact of air pollution on the Indian monsoon will be a decrease in the amount of rainfall, the report warns. "However, some parts can also witness high precipitation depending on the topography. Pollution will also impact the duration and distribution of rainfall," said Nathan Borgford-Parnell, science affairs adviser at Climate and Clean Air Coalition who co-authored the report.

    Highlighting the effects of air pollution on Asian monsoon, the report states that the presence of particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), a deadly tiny pollutant, can affect precipitation patterns during the monsoon season in India. "A weaker trend in the Indian monsoon precipitation and has been linked to changes in the emissions of particles and other pollutants from within and outside Asia," the report says.

    The report also has a word of praise for several mitigation measures taken by the government.

    Recognizing indoor air pollution as a major health crisis in India, the report reveals that it is contributing as much as 22-52% to the country's ambient air pollution. Speaking exclusively to TOI, Andy Haines, member of the scientific advisory panel of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, said from Geneva, "The much-needed mitigation measure that India needs to ensure is provision of clean household energy. Burning of fossil fuels in households is a big health threat, especially for women and children who live in proximity to the source of pollution."

    UN claims that if the suggested measures are implemented, annual premature mortality associated with indoor air pollution can decline by 75%.

  • Trees planted now will lose height, die early due to cement roads: HC Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Nov 2, 2018, 02:59 IST

    Nagpur: Expressing concern over dwindling number of big trees in the city due to road concretization, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court constituted a panel under Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) garden superintendent to look into the matter.

    “The number of big trees is dwindling and the type of plantation adopted reveals that those will not reach the height or age achieved by old trees. We request the authorities to bring on record necessary material by next date,” a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Shreeram Modak said, before adjourning the hearing till November 21.

    The directives came while hearing a suo motu PIL (no. 107/2018) regarding proposed felling of big banyan tree near Ghate Dugdha Mandir restaurant at Ambazari T-point, where Kalyani Deshpande was appointed as amicus curiae.

    Deshpande, along with Ganesh Temple Advisory Committee and former chairman of Nagpur University’s Mass Communication Sunil Mishra, will also be members of the panel.

    The HC further directed temple counsel Sumit Joshi to ensure that their members should also find out trees which are ailing or are being damaged, and attempt to rejuvenate them should be made. “This court also noticed that in many cases, cementing or pavement actually touch tree stem. It’s contended that even in private residence, there is no soil now as the entire surface is either tiled or cemented,” it stated.

    Earlier, Mishra moved an intervention application contending that due to ongoing cement roads network, any scope of plantation has virtually ended. He also pointed out that due to concretization, trees have become prone to termite attacks and more number of them is dying a slow death.

    Both these aspects were neglected by the civic body. He also brought to fore the corporation’s public notification regarding plans to fell 271 trees.

    Former garden superintendent NB Shrikhande sent a letter on preservation of trees to HC, which also came up for discussion. The HC then requested him to appear in person or with legal aid so that those can be preserved. “We direct the corporation to place on record details of application and granting permission to cut trees in the last six months,” the HC said.

    Mishra submitted photographs of people cutting trees rampantly without NMC’s permission on the stretch from Umred Road to Baidyanath Square. He urged that cement road is now destroying huge trees and in future, their plantation is impossible as the entire road surface is either cemented or paved.

    While allowing Mishra’s application, the judges directed him to file appropriate affidavit with necessary details to assist the court in the matter.

  • Green carnival and pop up parks inform, enlighten and entertain

    Barkha Mathur | tnn | Nov 2, 2018, 03:20 IST

    Nagpur: There was a bustle on the otherwise serene Walkers Street at Civil Lines on Thursday morning where a Green Carnival was in progress. Organized by Centre for Research and Innovation in Urban Planning and Architecture in association with The Times of India, the carnival was an effort to create awareness about sustainable mobility.

    Lining up the 600 metre stretch near the chief minister’s official residence were stalls selling green plants, health food and stations which demonstrated fitness activities like Zumba, aerobics and different variants of yoga and meditation. And for those who would not miss out on the selfie moment, there was a photo booth with accessories which seemed like a spillover from a Halloween party the previous night.

    Many morning walkers were taken by surprise as they came for their early morning ritual. “It was an unexpected treat to watch fitness activities like Zumba and cross fit stations,” said businessman Ujjwal Multani.

    The flash mob event on the theme of wearing a baby had many gathering around to watch. “It was a good way to tutor moms about how to handle infants. I hope the city gets more such sessions,” said Monica Bhojwani, a chartered accountant.

    For the early risers, the carnival offered multiple choices to pick from. “This activity is encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” said Prashant Bhutada, a doctor.

    The fun-filled environment also subtly addressed environmental concerns by students of CEPT University, Ahmadabad. “We have set up a game of snakes and ladder in which snakes are private mode of transport and ladders are non-motorized means like walking and cycling,” explained Denis Jose, a student of the university who is in city to set up a similar module at Traffic Park.

    In action were also members of the Nagpur chapter of Global Shapers who encouraged young and old alike to take a pledge to walk or use cycles when commuting within an area of 1km or less.

    Lauding the objectives and execution of the green carnival, businessman Kamlesh Samarth said, “Such events should be organized across the city. It’s good to see people coming out of their homes so early in the morning and engaging in such healthy exercises.”

    The action shifted to Abhyankar Nagar Road after 11am where three green pop up parks were set up. The idea was to reclaim part of the road, specially the sidewalks, for pedestrians. A carom board was set up at one such point which attracted students returning home after school.

    “This is fun, sitting on the roadside and playing carom,” said Sneha Dongre, a student of Paranjape School.

    “These small green patches attracted a lot of curious passers-by who stopped and tried out the activities happening here,” said Gargi Chati, member of CRIUPA. “I liked every station that was organized here. Foosball, carom and guitar were amazing. I wish Nagpur come up with such ideas more often,” said Arun Gupta, a businessman.

  • With Rs150cr state fund in kitty, NMC to pay its creditors Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Nov 2, 2018, 03:40 IST

    Nagpur: The cash-strapped Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has chalked out a plan to disburse Rs150 crore received from the state government as special fund.

    Keeping a Rs30 crore balance, the NMC will disburse rest of the amount to stakeholders, said standing committee chairman Virendra Kukreja.

    The decision to pay creditors was taken at the standing committee meeting on Thursday. Kukreja said the panel empowered officiating municipal commissioner Ravindra Thakre to utilize the fund. However, the civic administration will have to take approval of the chairman, he said.

    “The creditors will start getting their payments from Friday,” he said.

    Kukreja said payments will be made in accordance with the bills prepared by the accounts department.

    He added that the NMC is ensuring that all the stakeholders celebrate Diwali happily. However, contractors entrusted to maintain street lights have stopped work due to outstanding amount since April.

    Many areas were in the dark and even mayor Nanda Jichkar on Thursday convened a meeting with the electricity department and contractors. She assured to clear dues that have already crossed Rs18 crore. To this, Kukreja clarified that the civic body will not release any payments to electricity contractors as some cases were pending in the high court.

    Teachers from NMC-run schools have threatened to go on strike as the civic administration has failed to release arrears of 6 years. Kukreja said a meeting will be convened to address the issue.

    From the special grant, the NMC has also earmarked Rs10 crore for the waste-to-energy project at Bhandewadi and Rs10 crore for bio-mining.

    Though Kukreja has allocated Rs13.67 crore to clear dues of Aapli Bus operators, including three red bus operators and two ticketing agencies, the transport department will approach the civic administration to allocate more funds as outstanding dues of the latter have crossed over Rs40 crore.

  • FSI increased by 15% in Metro corridor

    Ashish Roy | TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 03:30 IST

    Nagpur: In order to boost development of the city in 500 metre area on both sides of the Metro lines, the state government has made several changes in Development Control Regulations (DCR). The most important ones are increase in Floor to Space Index (FSI) by 15% and relaxation in side margins.

    The original DCR for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) was issued in June 2017. City builders termed it impractical and requested chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to change some conditions. This process took over an year.

    The old as well as the new DCR increase the FSI within 500 metre of Metro corridors. The increased FSI is dependent on the plot area and width of the road on which it is located. Now, the builder can get 15% additional FSI over and above this FSI by paying premium as decided by government. This means that the maximum FSI can now be more than 4.

    Several changes have been made in side margins to be left in the plot along the building. Earlier, for a building of height between 15m and 18m, the rule was height of the building divided by 4 (H/4). The minimum side margin was 6m. Now, for buildings in this height range it is H/5. The minimum side margin is 4.5m for residential and commercial buildings, and 6m for special buildings.

    Some more changes have been introduced in the new DCR. If clear marginal distance is proposed from one side as per this DCR, then the other side marginal distance may be relaxed by 50%. Secondly, front margin relaxation to allow additional FSI may be granted subject to the condition that the minimum road width is 12m and above.

    Earlier, no projections were allowed in side margins so that minimum 6m margin remained free. Now, open balconies may be allowed in side margins where concession on these margins has been allowed after leaving minimum 3 metre distance from plot boundaries. This is, however, subject to obtaining a no objection certificate (NOC) from fire department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

    As per the old DCR no compound wall or fencing was permissible on the front boundary of the plot and 50% front margin distance subject to a minimum of 3m was to be kept accessible for use as a footpath. The compound wall was allowed after leaving this space. This was not applicable for plots situated on roads having width of 9m and 12m, and having 100% residential use. Now, this relaxation has been granted for plots on 15m wide roads too.

  • Broad gauge Metros to be promoted: Puri Ashish Roy | TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 03:37 IST

    Nagpur: Along with standard gauge Metros that run on separate tracks, high speed broad gauge Metros that run on railway tracks would be promoted to connect big cities with nearby towns, said Hardeep Singh Puri, union minister for housing and urban affairs.

    “In Delhi we already have drawn up plans to connect the capital with towns like Alwar, Meerut, Panipat, etc. The total length of the network will be 370km,” said the minister while addressing the inaugural session of Urban Mobility India conference in city on Friday.

    Puri further said that manufacturers were ready to invest in such systems and they would definitely succeed if fares were reasonable. Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has already initiated the process of connecting Nagpur with Ramtek, Katol, Wardha and Bhandara through broad gauge Metro.

    Turning to conventional Metros, Puri said, “State government can’t step in every time and provide funds. Local bodies have to raise their own finances through municipal bonds and securitizing their land.”

    Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had a share of 5% in Nagpur Metro. “However, its financial condition is poor and its share will be generated by commercial utilization of its land. If the entire NMC land in the city is commercially utilized it can generate Rs4,000 crore. This amount will be divided between NMC, MahaMetro and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT),” he added.

    Crude oil was a problem for India as its by-products created pollution and its purchased needed foreign exchange. “We will promote electric buses and cars. In the coming months 1,000 electric buses will be launched in the state,” said Gadkari.

    Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Maharashtra was on the forefront of developing Metros. “We have planned 570km Metro lines of which 400km have already been approved. Work has already started on 260km,” he added.

    “In Mumbai we are integrating modes of public transport. We have firmed up plans to start water transport. We will launch a mobile application in which a commuter will be able to see how to reach his destination using various modes of public transport,” he further said.

    Martin Ney, German ambassador to India, and Alexandre Ziegler, French ambassador to India, also expressed their views.

  • NIT gets 21 acres prime land after 29-year legal battle Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 03:32 IST

    Nagpur: After a legal battle of 29 years, the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) got a sprawling 20.61 acres land situated at prime location in mouza Godhni on Umred Road. The land is said to be in crores.

    Under the guidance of NIT chairman Ashwin Mudgal, NIT officials including superintending engineer SS Gujjelwar, in charge of legal department AS Deshbhratar and other officials fought the battle for the land. Setting aside the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court’s order, the Supreme Court ruled the judgement in the NIT’s favour. Judges Ashok Bhushan and AK Sikri pronounced the order on October 31.

    The Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA) is likely to propose affordable housing scheme on the land situated adjacent to Octroi post.

    NIT had acquired 44.61 acres land from owner Sheela Ramchandra Tikhe for drainage and sewage scheme on December 31, 1962.

    The civic agency had paid compensation of Rs23,500 to owner Sheela Ramchandra Tikhe.

    The land was a part of various parcels that were declared surplus under the project. On May 3, 1968, NIT had decided to lease surplus lands to the respective owners by taking premium.

    On September 3, 1975, Tikhe had filed an application seeking lease of 44.61 acre land. The NIT board of trustees had decided to lease the land subject to payment of premium on October 6, 1975. Tikhe, on October 16, 1975, had asked NIT to lease out the land at the rate of 1.5 times the compensation paid to her.

    On November 11, 1982, NIT had executed lease for 24 acre of total 44.61 acres land with Tikhe as the latter had paid premium for only 24 acres land. Later, Tikhe had demanded the NIT to lease out the remaining 20.61 acres land at the amount paid to her by compensation.

    The NIT had denied Tikhe’s demand. Tikhe had challenged NIT’s decision in junior division of the district court in 1989. The judgement was in favour of Tikhe. NIT had challenged the order in senior division of the district court which had passed an order on NIT’s side on August 26, 2014.

    Tikhe had moved HC against the senior division court’s order in 2015. The HC’s judgement dated March 14, 2017 was in Tikhe’s favour. NIT had challenged the HC’s order in the apex court.

    The SC set aside HC’s order and restored the judgement pronounced by the senior division of the district court.

    NIT official told TOI, “Rules say NIT can lease out its land only by recovering premium at the rate of ready reckoner value. Therefore, Tikhe’s demand for giving the land at the rate of compensation was denied,” he said.

    The official added that the land was vacant and has no encroachments. “NMRDA will decide the project on its land in coming days,” he said.

  • HC flays NIT for sanctioning plots on playground Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | Nov 3, 2018, 03:31 IST

    Nagpur: Continuing its tough stance against regularization of illegal structures/plots on public utility lands and open spaces, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court flayed Nagpur Improvement Corporation (NIT) for carving out 24 plots on a playground.

    Taking cognizance of the issue, a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Shreeram Modak appointed M Anilkumar as amicus curiae and asked him to draft a comprehensive petition highlighting all the aspects.

    The bench asked NIT and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to file affidavits, and bring on record the names of officers/office-bearers responsible for sanctioning plots on playgrounds before the next hearing.

    The judges also prohibited petitioner Jagjitsingh Sardul Singh Saddal from withdrawing his plea (WP No 5699/2007) filed against NIT.

    “Prima facie it appears that NIT itself has carved about 24 plots on a playground and leased it out. We’re not permitting petitioner to withdraw. The construction, thereupon, is also sanctioned by planning authorities. This, therefore, shows use of power by them,” the judges tersely said, before adjourning the hearing till December 5.

    Sadal’s petition was clubbed with a bunch of cases including three two suo motu and those filed by Kailassinh Chowhan (WP No 7439/2017) and Ajay Tiwari (PIL No 88/2018) through counsels Anand Parchure and Anilkumar, respectively.

    Earlier, Anilkumar pointed out that though HC restrained regularization and allotment, the citizens are constructing on plots which are not demarcated, thus flouting all the directives. Praying for prohibiting such illegal constructions, he said civil or other disputes frequently took place due to inaction of civic authorities.

    The judges then observed that interim directives issued by it on July 11 and September 12 are clear. “The local authorities are duty bound to implement those orders in letter and spirit. If the orders are not being properly implemented, the petitioner can point out specific case so that cognizance of contempt, if any, can be looked into by this court,” they said.

    They said if transactions in relation to unauthorized plots can be curbed, the trouble faced by local bodies and law abiding citizens would be reduced.

    “However, before passing any such blanket order, we find it appropriate to issue a general notice to all to show cause as to why sub-registrars, who register such documents, should not insist upon production of a sanctioned plan of layout, and thereafter only proceed to register the sale deeds,” they added.

    The judges directed to publish a show-cause notice in relation to supply of sanctioned layout plan while getting the sale deed of plot registered in leading Marathi and Hindi newspapers. They also directed all petitioners to contribute 40% of the expenditure required, while remaining 60 % would be contributed equally by NIT, NMC and state government.

    Anilkumar then pointed out that respondents have not yet replied to orders of July 11 passed by the HC till date. He said the revised FSI is being utilized by persons undertaking construction by paying premium to NIT and NMC.

    “In this situation, we direct NMC and NIT to separately preserve the amount of premium received by them on account of additional FSI till next date. The notice through proper publication is made returnable on December 12,” the HC said.

  • Air quality data goes missing from star-rating website Manka Behl | TNN | Nov 4, 2018, 02:31 IST

    Nagpur: Instead of acting on the alarming data on air pollution, it seems that the state has shot the messenger. The ambient air quality data of over 25 cities, which was recently made accessible to public, is conspicuously missing from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s (MPCB) website.

    About 20 days ago, the board, under its star-rating programme, made data of ambient air from almost 63 monitoring stations available on the website — The aim behind this was to “let citizens know the quality of air they breathe”.

    The feature ‘city rating’ enabled citizens to see the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels in different monitoring stations in urban centres. Users could also download last 30 readings from each ambient station.

    But two days ago, the feature ‘city rating’ was removed from the website. TOI could not contact senior board officials but sources in MPCB said that the data was removed to avoid any criticism on deteriorating air quality in this peak time.

    “Taking off the data from the website is a deliberate attempt by the board to keep a low profile. The board knows that the air quality would significantly drop during Diwali and winters and the officials did not want to face any criticism surrounding the recent Supreme Court’s observations on air pollution,” sources said.

    Even though air quality monitoring data is available on MPCB’s official website, it is difficult to comprehend for a common man.

    According to environment activists, the board’s move is not just “unethical” but also defeats the transparency agenda that MPCB has been touting under its star-rating programme.

    “Diwali is the peak time for deterioration of air quality and unless real-time data is available for public in a comprehensible manner, how will mass awareness happen on the ill-effects of bursting crackers?” said Kaustav Chatterjee, founder of Green Vigil.

    Looking at the health emergency, putting out excessive data in public domain is need of the hour, said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner at Greenpeace India. “There seems to be no will to reduce pollution levels. On the other hand, reducing transparency in public domain will only prove to be detrimental for building a momentum for clean air in the state,” he added.

    The star-rating programme was launched by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) in association with the MPCB and other institutions in June last year. The programme monitors industrial air pollution in ten clusters of the state, and gives ratings to the industries based on the median concentration of latest stack samples for particulate matter.

  • 50 of 83 NMC gardens across city without toilets, reveals RTI reply Proshun Chakraborty | tnn | Nov 4, 2018, 03:54 IST
    Nagpur: Of the 83 parks across the city owned by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), 50 have no public toilets and 43 have no drinking water facility. The NMC’s garden department revealed this in reply to a query raised under Right to Information Act (RTI) by activist Abhay Kolarkar.

    Even citizen activist KD Dabholkar has approached the Prime Minister’s Office about lack of basic facilities in NMC-run gardens. NMC has also received instructions from the Maharashtra Urban Development department regarding this.

    TOI visited 33 gardens that had toilet facilities and found that lack of maintenance has rendered these useless and amounted to sheer waste of public money.

    The Nagpur Municipal Corporation invested a sizeable amount to give a facelift to some of the parks like Traffic Park, Shivaji Nagar garden, Bhaji Page garden, Ambazari garden, etc and also developed gardens with landscaping and amusement facilities.

    But except a few like the garden at Deo Nagar, Shankar Nagar, Hivri Nagar Power House, Kapil Nagar, most of them are ill-maintained. The play equipments at many parks are either damaged or worn out. Broken iron rails and rusted steel edges pose a threat to children, say citizens.

    Traffic Park, a children’s amusement hotspot at Dharampeth, was set up by spending crores of rupees. Until recently, the park was a huge attraction. However, after end of the contract period, the NMC’s garden department has neither invited a fresh tender nor extended the contract of the ousted contractor.

    As a result, the park has been closed for public for last couple of months. Basic facilities in this park are being neglected and the toilets are unhygienic.

    “Anti-social elements take over the garden after sunset and hence citizens avoid going there,” claimed Rohit Bais, a resident of Gandhibagh, who cited the example of Bhauji Page garden.

    Replying to another query in the RTI application, the NMC’s garden department stated that it felled five trees between January 2015 and October 2018. The department has received Rs6.50 crore funds for development and maintenance of gardens. Of the amount, it has spent Rs4.55 crore for upkeep of these gardens.

    “The security at these gardens too is inadequate and the socio-civic responsibility is not there. Often parents are seen enjoying the swings and play equipments meant for children,” admitted a senior official from NMC’s garden department.

    As a result, swings and other equipment like slides get damaged early, he claimed. Presently, the NMC has also deployed 91 security guards for 83 gardens.

    With the NMC spending crores every year on developing new facilities and Nagpur Improvement Trust too all set to handover its gardens to the former, it is time it starts taking care of what is already there.

  • Metro sets up safety park on Hingna Road

    Ashish Roy | TNN | Nov 5, 2018, 02:42 IST

    Nagpur: In order to train its workers and that of other infrastructure agencies, MahaMetro has set up a safety park on its plantation Little Woods’ premises on Hingna Road.

    Giving deatils about the park to the media, MahaMetro managing director Brijesh Dixit said, “It consists of three hexagonal structures of around 600 square feet each. The first structure will serve as training hall for Metro staffers, construction workers and visitors, especially those from schools and colleges. It is designed to accommodate around 30 persons at a time. New, used or damaged hand tools used in the project and their safety would be on display there.”

    “This hall is also equipped with display screen, projector and audio system. Posters of best practices followed in the project have been put up there. Mannequin displaying personal protective equipment (PPE) is also kept there. PPE is clothing and equipment designed to protect workers from physical hazards when at work,” said Dixit.

    “The second hexagon will have an excavation prototype, models using safety control measures during excavation, prototype of pile rig machine, pile winch machine, excavator, tower crane and safety control measures. A LED screen will show audio visuals of safety precautions and measures being taken,” said the MD.

    “Safety control measures and practices adopted during segment launching have been showcased by prototypes of launching girders and ground support structures, including display of traffic safety precautions in the third hexagon. Prototypes of tyre mounted crane, trailers and traffic cones, water barriers, caution tapes, baton lights and traffic flags have been displayed there,” he said.

  • Meet promises better public transportation

    tnn | Nov 5, 2018, 05:29 IST

    The concluding ceremony on UMI was held on Sunday

    Nagpur: No Metro project can be successful without a robust public transportation, and standing foremost in that line is the bus transit system which should be strengthened, said Nitin Karir, principal secretary to urban development department, on Sunday.

    “We talk a lot about public transport system being faulty and no pedestrian walkways being provided. It is high time we strengthened these systems, especially when the Metro is about to get operational,” he said.

    Karir was speaking at the concluding ceremony of Urban Mobility India Conference 2018, organized by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited at Chitnavis Centre. The three-day conference discussed various mobility issues that arose due to urbanization and gave ingenious solutions.

    One such solution that tackles the problem of unavailability of public transportation on time is e-scooter, bicycle and keyless scooter introduced by MahaMetro that will run by the start of 2019. These scooters and bicycles by a Bengaluru-based venture Bonus Share will be operational through a mobile application and aims to ease the problem of hailing a public transport.

    Talking to TOI, a company personnel said, “As of now, we have only signed MoU with MahaMetro and discussions with Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) are underway to finalize routes, focus areas and prices. We will introduce subscription-based scooters as well. A fully charged e-scooter can run up to 80km with 60km/hour as its top speed. The user can leave the scooter at the Metro station and can even take one home.”

    Also present at the function were mayor Nanda Jichkar, MP Dr Vikas Mahatme, MD of Nagpur Metro Brijesh Dixit and additional secretary MoHUA Sanjay Murthy.

    Citing necessity for a ‘green energy revolution’, Mahatme said, “There is a desperate need for end-to end solution for mobility, especially in a rapidly growing urban setting. Taking examples from metro cities like Mumbai, we must also start using green fuels and bring about a new energy revolution.”

    Drawing parallels with Mumbai locals, Jichkar said, “Public transportation is not only environment-friendly but it also strengthens social relationships.”

    Various national level prizes were given at the event. Among the many, Kochi Metro won the award for best non-motorized transportation project for its smooth pedestrian movement.

    Karnataka State Road Transport and Bangalore Metro Service bagged the title of best city service award. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation got the best city award for urban transport initiative.