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- Air pollution can cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases: Experts Manka Behl | TNN | Mar 9, 2019, 12:01 IST
India’s first-of-its-kind dialogue series on ‘Clean Air: Healthy Cities’ was held by global organization Clean... Read More
NAGPUR: Not just respiratory diseases, the rising air pollution is responsible for many severe health ailments like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases too.
The revelation took place during the country’s first-of-its-kind dialogue series on ‘Clean Air: Healthy Cities’, which was held by global organization Clean Air Asia in the city on Friday. The discussions at the event, which saw national as well as local experts including doctors, scientists, civic authorities and environmentalists participating, aimed at highlighting a road map for tackling health crisis emerging due to pollution.
Stating that its menace was not restricted to lungs, former assistant director of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute Dr Manas Ranjan Ray stated that air pollution is causing various mental health problems. “After being deposited in the lungs, the inhaled pollutants can enter the bloodstream and attack the brain, which consumes almost 50% of the oxygen we breathe. This can lead to depression, anxiety, dementia and other neurological diseases,” he said.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are on a rise due to pollution, stated city pulmonologist Dr Sameer Arbat. “Enough evidences suggest that pollution is also leading to various heart-related diseases,” he said.
Presenting latest data from Chandrapur, one of the country’s most toxic city, environment activist Yogesh Dudhpachare said that out of 5,540 deaths (2016-17), 1.046 were caused due to respiratory diseases. “Residents of Chandrapur have been suffering miserably due to pollution from last 15 years. The action plans to combat air pollution are not being implemented at the government level,” said Suresh Chopane, founder of NGO Green Planet Society.
He added that the ambient air quality monitoring stations are not installed at the right places, considering the wind direction.
Another critical issue that triggered a debate was the new coal-fired units coming up at Koradi Thermal Power Station (KTPS) and its effect on public health. TOI recently reported that the state cabinet cleared Mahagenco’s proposal to set-up two 660 megawatt units at KTPS. Questioning the move, members of Green Vigil Foundation stated that the project will add to the already-high emission levels of the city.
KV George, senior scientist at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, explained the effects of pollution generated from thermal power sector. “During post monsoon and winters, the wind from Koradi and Khaparkheda power stations is flowing pre-dominantly towards Nagpur while in summers, its direction is towards Kamptee. To assess the pollution, air quality monitoring stations should be set-up in Kamptee during summers and in the main city during winters,” he said.
The consultation concluded with recognizing a need to consider public health as a key factor when framing policies related to air quality improvement. “It is crucial to discuss health implications as central topic when we talk about air pollution. It is the link which will motivate people to rise up for their right to clean air as well as will help institutions and organizations be more aggressive in taking appropriate actions,” said Prarthana Borah, India director of Clean Air Asia.
- 11,000 people ride metro on first day Ashish Roy | TNN | Updated: Mar 9, 2019, 12:08 IST
NAGPUR: There was a mad rush for riding the Metro on the first day of operation on the Sitabuldi to Khapri stretch. Approximately around 11,000 citizens enjoyed the free ride in seven to and fro trips. Metro officials expect the rush to continue for some more days as the fare is very nominal.
The first train departed from Sitabuldi at 8am as scheduled. There was a decent crowd at the interchange station but most people could get a seat. Nobody boarded the train at Airport station but there were some passengers at Airport South.
One hundred schoolchildren and some other citizens got inside the train at Khapri station. The journey from Khapri to Sitabuldi had around 400 passengers.
Nagpurians crowded the 9.30am train from Sitabuldi. According to Metro officials the number swelled to over 650. There was even more rush for the 11am train.
MahaMetro had planned a Women’s Day special only for women at 5pm. Mayor Nanda Jichkar had been invited to enjoy a ride. All senior IAS and IPS officers too had been invited. Jichkar turned up but most others did not as it was during office hours.
However, many passengers who had boarded the train from Khapri refused to get down at Sitabuldi. Metro officials repeatedly announced that the train had been cancelled. Some of the passengers believed the announcement and got down. However, the majority refused to alight. Then the officials announced that the train was going only up to Airport South. This too did not have the desired effect.
Finally, senior Metro officials asked the male passengers to occupy half of the first carriage and reserved the remaining space for women. The train finally departed at 5.45pm, some 45 minutes late. This delayed the evening train operations by 45 minutes.
A Metro official admitted that the agency had not expected large number of people the train from Khapri.
“We were expecting that most people would get in at Sitabuldi and come back after enjoying a to and fro ride,” he said.
Many male passengers had turned up at Sitabuldi to board the 5pm train. They were angry at being refused entry. They slammed the Metro officials for not informing them beforehand.
MahaMetro is fully geared for ticketed rides. Friday evening witnessed even more crowd as Metro was as packed as Mumbai locals. Because of the rush, many could not board the Metro and had to return disappointed.
MahaMetro managing director Brijesh Dixit said, “Every ticket purchased by passengers will be accounted for as the system is computerized. There is no possibility of misappropriation of cash.”
The agency has purchased cash chests for all stations and the fare money will be stored in them. “When the shift changes the person leaving will count the cash in presence of the one joining. It will be entered into a register. We have an agreement with SBI. It will collect cash on Monday morning from all our stations,” said the MD.
As QR code tickets are being used for the first time in the city people may have problems in using them. Dixit assured that the station staff will help passengers if they are unable to properly place the ticket on the gate sensor.
- A guaranteed recipe for environmental catastrophe TNN | Updated: Mar 9, 2019, 12:17 IST
The nightmare scenario imagined by the poet may come alive much sooner than we had anticipated. Millennials, in their headlong pursuit of unplanned and self-defeating urbanization, are on a kamikaze mission to severe their umbilical cord with the mother planet.
Destruction of the ozone layer, uncontrolled deforestation, indiscriminate developmental projects, drying up of water bodies and pollution of the very air we breathe, are making earth's doomsday clock tick-tock ominously louder than ever before in our short history.
Nagpur, which is my hometown, always used to remind me of a low-profile, sweet and yet bubbly and confident teenager. Abruptly this wannabe youngster has decided on an image makeover by aping the swish set in its class. In its pathetic efforts to turn into an overnight sensation, Nagpur is flexing fake muscles and obscuring its natural beauty under tons of garish make-up!
The cityscape is now mutilated by an ugly spider web of flyovers, Metro pillars and tracks which are destroying its aesthetics (apparently, our decision makers have never heard of underground subways nor Metros); eco-hazardous concrete roads, lanes and even bylanes (spare a thought for the depleting groundwater); and the massacre, authorized or otherwise, of thousands of evergreens!
The consequences of this myopic pursuit of electoral optics have been swift and brutal. All the water reservoirs are already drying up (less than 10% left and summer yet to set in). While the Kanhan river is now little more than a wide expanse of sand; among the lakes, the Futala is slowly being reduced to a tasteless eyesore and noises are being made about the Ambazari having outlived its utility!
Open spaces are being grabbed with impunity and handed over to dubious projects which do nothing but consume enormous resources and fill anonymous pockets. Cases of respiratory diseases have increased manifold — especially among the maximum-risk category, our inheritors, our ill-fated children.
Unbridled ambition, rapacious greed and ad hocism in planning is a guaranteed recipe of environmental catastrophe. The proposed Bharat Nagar road is a perfect case in point. Hundreds of trees have been condemned to death just to build a road which is entirely redundant and, moreover, which could have been easily planned along an alternative route. In fact, had the brave residents not resisted and the High Court not intervened, the outrageous felling would have been well under way by now.
Let this act of citizen pushback not be read as an act of defiance nor disobedience. Let it be seen as a clarion call of entreaty to our city fathers — forget votebank politics for once, remember who you used to be before you were empowered, work not to win headlines but hearts, save the Bharat Nagar forestland, save this once beautiful city of ours (now a dismal 58th in the cleanliness rankings), save us, save yourselves, save humanity!
(The writer is associate professor & director PG English, Hislop College)
- Widening Ravi Nagar roads will be cost-saving and alternative routes too: Expert Manka Behl | tnn | Mar 12, 2019, 05:34 IST
Does the city need a 500-meter-long road in a lush green residential area which witnesses sparse traffic? More so when ample alternate options are available?
Ever since the public movement against the road started, these questions have been on everyone’s mind. While initially the need of this road was justified as the stretch along Futala lake “was to be closed for redevelopment”, the reason no longer remains valid with MahaMetro changing its mind.
As per the revised plan, MahaMetro has dropped the idea of constructing a road tunnel at Futala stretch and clarified that the stretch will not be closed during construction.
When hundreds of age-old trees and rich biodiversity is at stake, is the road called for?
To get an objective perspective on the issue, TOI visited the spot along with Anil Bobde, retired assistant commissioner of police (traffic). Agreeing with the public opinion that the road is not needed, the traffic expert stated the decision of constructing it was not “need-based” but “political stubbornness”.
The descending road connecting Nagpur University campus square to Futala lake offers best connectivity to the motorists coming from Amravati Road side. “If the authorities are foreseeing heavy traffic flow in near future, they can widen and develop this road. Another option is to widen the road which connects Ravi Nagar Square to the government quarters. This will be a money-saving exercise too,” said Bobde.
He further analysed the after-effects of road construction. “Mahametro has assured to design the road in a manner which will save big trees, which clearly means that rather than being a complete straight stretch, it would be in a zigzag shape. This will make the route very accident-prone,” he said.
The expert also clarified that just because the road is in the city’s development plan (DP) of 2001, it is not mandatory to make it. “There are numerous such DP roads which remain unconstructed in the city. Besides, there are provisions with which the plan can be revised,” said Bobde.
Stating that the project will squander public money as well as biodiversity, the former cop said that the road will also be an invitation for criminal activities. “It will give an open access to anti-social elements inside a dense forest area. Moreover, it will also damage the leftover biodiversity as it happened earlier in areas like Deolapar and Totladoh. After roads were constructed, the wildlife in surrounding areas got disturbed and started dispersing,” said Bobde.
Agreeing with him, honorary wildlife warden of Nagpur Jaydeep Das said, “Residents of Bharat Nagar or people coming from Amravati Road can travel a few hundred meters extra till Ravi Nagar and then take the road towards Telangkhedi. Apart from this, there are enough routes available for motorists coming from other directions.”
- Mysterious disappearance of thousands of trees stumps green activists Manka Behl | TNN | Updated: Mar 13, 2019, 13:43 IST
The mini-forest Bharat Van has lost much more than what the residents of Bharat Nagar are trying to protect
The mini-forest Bharat Van has lost much more than what the residents of Bharat Nagar are trying to protect. While many of them have joined hands to save hundreds of age-old trees, thousands of uncounted trees may have mysteriously disappeared in the last few years.
These include around 4,000 bamboo and over 200 fully-grown trees of different species. Calling it an “alarming situation” with the matter being subjudice, activists have filed a complaint with the civic body.
After the last public meet held on March 10, wildlife veterinarian Dr Bahar Baviskar heard sounds of an axe striking a tree. Few days back, some residents of Bharat Nagar too had heard similar noises in the night.
Baviskar, along with few others, went deep inside the forest area which is owned by Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV). What they saw was shocking — countless remains of chopped off bamboo clusters and what were once huge trees.
On receiving this information, TOI along with members of environment NGO Green Vigil Foundation and Dr Baviskar visited the spot on Tuesday morning. As soon as one enters the land from Bharat Nagar side, traces of heavy tree chopping are visible.
After every few steps, huge tree stumps are scattered all over the PDKV land. “Some of these have been chopped off few years back, while some have been recently axed,” says Chatterjee. In every direction, one comes across many such stumps of axed trees.
A little ahead where the marking of proposed road starts, two chopped off teak trees can be seen. Teak are schedule trees and for felling them, mandatory permission needs to be taken under the Maharashtra Felling of Trees (Regulation) Act, 1964, is needed. “These trees did not get uprooted naturally, neither did they just dry up. They were deliberately cut, perhaps for commercial purpose,” said Baviskar.
About 12 years back, the land was “no less than a bamboo-van”, recalls Baviskar. “Our preliminary survey reveals that at least 4,000 bamboo trees have been axed. Apart from this, more than 400 age-old trees have been chopped off,” he says.
While it is not clear who has been illegally cutting the trees, activists are of the view that some local gang could be the culprit. “The large-scale tree felling has been taking place in a very systematic way. The timber is finely chopped in pieces and then taken away,” says Chatterjee.
When TOI had visited the area 12 days back with Green Vigil, some slum-dwellers were noticed taking away the chopped timber. Another evidence of trespassing are small mounds of stones and mud, covered with orange coloured powder and surrounded by scattered feathers of butchered birds. “These are traces of some superstitious practices. In absence of protection, the area is completely open for visitors,” says Baviskar.
Apart from this, empty liquor bottles and packets of cigarette are littered all over the place.
After conducting the spot survey, Green Vigil immediately filed a complaint with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) garden department, demanding stringent and urgent action. “This is a very alarming situation. In spite of public outcry and the matter of road construction being heard in the court, the trees are discreetly being cut. The PDKV officials should be directed to stop the trespassing and restricting of tree felling activities with immediate effect,” they stated.
Acting on their complaint, a team from the garden department conducted a spot panchnama of the area. “Trees which have been felled recently include Karanji, teak, arjun, subabul and some others. We will take appropriate action after taking statements from PDKV,” an official said.
- 20 areas identified to make Nagpur smart city After speaking with more than 2.35 lakh families, Smart City Development Corporation (SCDC) has identified 20 areas in and around the city which need to be worked upon for Nagpur to become smart, said its CEO Ramnath Sonawane on Tuesday.
TNN | Mar 13, 2019, 13:29 IST
Ramnath Sonawane delivers a lecture on ‘Nagpur as an emerging smart city: The concept, issues and governance’, on Tuesday
NAGPUR: After speaking with more than 2.35 lakh families, Smart CityDevelopment Corporation (SCDC) has identified 20 areas in and around the city which need to be worked upon for Nagpur to become smart, said its CEO Ramnath Sonawane on Tuesday.
Delivering the keynote address on ‘Nagpur as an emerging smart city: The concept, issues and governance’ at a programme organized by the local branch of Indian Institute of Public Administration at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar College of Law, Sonawane said these areas include Bhandewadi, Paratwada and adjoining areas of Hingna.
Nagpur University vice-chancellor SP Kane, principal Shrikant Komawar and secretary Nilima Deshmukh were present.
Sonawane laid down points of consideration which formed the backbone of the smart city proposal submitted to the government. “We want Nagpur to be mapped as an eco-friendly and all-inclusive smart city,” he said.
“A city can be developed in two modules. One is area-based development in which different pockets of the city are developed according to its environment. The second is pan-city development where one module is implemented throughout the city.
The proposal made by us focus on development of 19 area-based projects and one pan-city solution. While planning, we focused on providing smart solutions for mobility of public, an environment-friendly neighbourhood, paperless governance and multiple business development centres which will increase the standard of living,” said Sonawane.
Sonawane highlighted key points of the proposal and said, “Minimum width of the road is marked nine and maximum 30 metres which is designed as per international guidelines. All the proposed public buildings will have to follow Green Building Council guidelines with proper relocation to be provided to the affected families.”
Kane spoke about the importance of using information intelligently and said, “For a smart city to function, it is imperative for the people to be smart enough to understand the features. Information needs to be backed by intellect for a smart city to thrive,” he added.
- Unsafe water, pesticides probablecauses of CKD in Vid, say experts Snehlata Shrivastav | TNN | Updated: Mar 14, 2019, 14:12 IST
NAGPUR: High blood pressure and diabetes are some of the known causes for chronic kidney disease (CKD), unsafe well water (naturally contaminated) and exposure to pesticides are also emerging as other causes of CKD affecting mainly farmers and farm labourers in Vidarbha.
Though no exact data is available yet, many nephrologists in the city claim the cause of CKD in about 25-30% of patients coming from Vidarbha is water and pesticides exposure.
Dr Dhananjay Ookalkar, nephrologist, told TOI that three new patients every week he gets appear to be suffering from CKD due to continuous drinking of unsafe water (well water which contains elements that are toxic to body) and exposure to insecticides. Vidarbha, he says, is unique in having more CKD patients probably due to drinking unsafe well water.
“We tried to do a study in Asola village in Yavatmal district, from where a large number of kidney ailment cases were reported, but people didn’t cooperate there. So, we are trying to identify villages where such studies can be done to prove this assumption. Among my patients, I found CKD more in Banjara community from Pusad, Yavatmal, Digras etc. We are also planning a registry for CKD patients in about a year and will then countercheck the reasons,” Dr Ookalkar said.
Dr Ookalkar said Indian Society of Nephrology (ISN) may take up the study soon. “Sri Lanka too has high incidence of CKD, but there too the reason is not known. A study conducted there has shown that giving RO water to these patients and other citizens has reduced the incidence of CKD,” he said.
Dr Shivnarayan Acharya, senior nephrologist, too admitted that unsafe water and insecticide exposure are the reasons for CKD. But in 30-40% cases, the actual reason is not known. “Farm labourers working in extreme temperatures without provision of proper drinking water are prone to CKD. Exposure to insecticides and hard water could also be one of the causes of kidney damage,” he said.
Dr Sameer Chaubey, president of Indian Society of Nephrology (Nagpur chapter) said according to a study in New Delhi, use of organo-chlorine pesticides like endosulphan, dieldrin, aldrin etc appears to be responsible for CKD. “The actual reason how pesticides cause CKD is not known yet, but it is believed that accumulated amounts of pesticides induce oxidative stress in kidneys which causes CKD,” he said.
A definitive example of unsafe water causing CKD is Buldhana district. Seven blocks — Sangrampur, Jalgaon-Jamod, Shegaon, Khamgaon, Nandura and Malkapur — are known to have high incidence of CKD due to naturally contaminated well water. The district health officer here Dr Balkrishna Kamble told TOI that a 200km belt in Buldhana and adjoining Amravati blocks is being supplied RO water at Re1 per litre to prevent people from using groundwater for drinking. Government has also set up seven dialysis units there. “‘The total dissolved solids here is as high as 1,600 as against a normal of 200 which is responsible for high CKD incidence here,” he said.
- Highlighting developments at Mihan on politicians’ mind Shishir Arya | tnn | Mar 15, 2019, 05:31 IST
Nagpur: In 2008, Nitin Gadkari had addressed a jam-packed Yeswhant stadium where he said that the Mihan project would generate jobs running into lakhs. The audience were mainly youngsters. Ten years down the line, BJP is expected to once again raise the Mihan issue in its election propaganda. Both Congress and BJP see political mileage in highlighting developments in the Mihan-SEZ.
The project was mooted in the late 90s. The idea was supported by Gadkari who was then the state PWD minister as well as his rival in last Lok Sabha elections Vilas Muttemwar — the MP from Nagpur at that time. The original plan was to have a logistics hub and SEZ side by side. Today, the SEZ is ready and partially occupied, but the logistics hub is yet to be developed.
The jobs which Gadkari talked about in 2008 could not be created. Rather, the global recession led to many investors putting their plans on hold. There are signs of revival in Mihan now. However, Mihan has been overtaken by Metro Rail project as symbol of development for Nagpur. The rail line was inaugurated just in time before the election code of conduct came into effect.
Sources in the BJP say that the Metro project would be projected as sign a of BJP keeping its promise and implementing it within five years.
Chandan Goswami, in-charge of Vidarbha in BJP, said both Mihan and Metro will be included in the election propaganda. “Mihan has the potential to create as much as 50,000 jobs and the Metro rail will make commuting much easier,” he said.
A BJP source said that the party would be canvassing that the project was revived during its regime. Big companies like Patanjali Group and Dassault checked in and IT major HCL, which had remained dormant since it acquired land, started operations. Currently, the entire complex employs 12,000 people.
Mohan Dhoke, a businessman from Chhaoni locality, said that the inauguration event of the Metro lines will certainly have an impact on the voters’ psyche.
Muttemwar, who was also the strong advocate of the project, said there is enough to prove how the Metro rail is running for namesake and Mihan has been a non-starter during the BJP rule.
“The party was in a hurry to inaugurate the project before the elections. After the initial euphoria, there is hardly any traffic in the train. The viability of Metro depends on the number of jobs created in Mihan. At present, there a negligible traffic towards Mihan even as the Sitabuldi-Khapri route, which leads to Mihan, has become operational,” Muttemwar said.
“It’s easy to build the structure and hold an inaugural function. Making Metro viable is the real challenge,” he said. “There has been hardly any activity in Mihan during the last five years. Patanjali Group was granted land at a loss. The unit has not started yet. Even the Dassault unit has only generated a handful of jobs. Functional units like TCS had come during Congress rule,” he added.
“Mihan has been a big promise for the city when it came to providing jobs. The present development, including construction work on existing units, is expected to have a positive impact on voters. Now, the focus has to be on developing Nagpur airport for which GMR Airports Limited has been awarded the contract,” said Vilas Kale, former president of Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED), the NGO which had mooted the idea of Mihan.
- GRINNING WITH THE GREENS: Having good tree cover boosts mental and physical health Manka Behl | TNN | Mar 15, 2019, 05:19 IST
Nagpur: Waking up to the chirping of birds fluttering around a grove of trees in your backyard is utopian for many and which few get to savour.
Among the fortunate ones have been the residents of Bharat Nagar who enjoy the perks of a mini-forest situated right in their backyards. Fighting since months to save it from getting destructed by a proposed road, homeowners claim that living around trees enhances a positive mental effect that translates into physical health benefits.
And experts couldn’t agree more. According to adolescent psychologist Jaya Shiwalkar, urban neighbourhoods having a green canopy offer not just physical but cognitive benefits too. “Firstly, the green colour itself has a soothing impact on human mind. Also, an area with a thick green cover is less noisy which provides a peace of mind to residents. From cognitive point of view, this increases concentration levels and enhances mental growth among children,” says Shiwalkar.
Amid increasing pollution in urban areas, trees provide better quality of air which invariably leads to increased focus, decreased stress and higher happiness index, says Nakul Agrawal, founder of Renovatio. “Researches by University of Michigan have shown that having trees in your backyard lead to around 20% increase in your memory and attention span. Other studies have documented that urban vegetation can result in slower heartbeats, lower blood pressure and more relaxed brain wave patterns,” he adds.
In July 2015, a team of researchers from University of Chicago found that an increase of 11 trees per city block gave benefit equivalent of “increase in annual personal income of $20,000”. Considering that the GDP per person in USA is around $60,000, this amounts to nearly one-third of it.
With a GDP of about $2,000 per person, having 11 additional trees in the neighbourhood will similarly result in a benefit equivalent of about $650 or Rs45,000 annually. These benefits are in terms of demographic factors related to improved health, such as age and wealth.
For many, tall-standing trees act as great stress-busters too. Says socio-environment consultant Yogita Khan who stays in lush green Seminary Hills, “The moment I step out of my area, I start feeling the temperature difference. Trees not just control temperature and pollution but also provide a much-needed escape from the concrete. Just being around them is distressing.”
Craving for this escape, there are some who have recreated their own ‘green haven’. Industrialist Sukesh Gandhi and his wife Sudha have carried out massive plantations around their residence in Dongargaon (Butibori Road). “Living close to trees is a soothing experience, it takes you back to your roots. Having access to fresh air, bird sounds is refreshing. Unless one lives amid nature, one doesn’t release what an amazing experience he is missing out on,” they say.
Agrees green lover Nishat Sharma, whose love for trees drove her to create a lush green patch at her farmhouse in Pench. “Our residence is in Shankar Nagar where we miss this kind of greenery. Concretization is taking away a lot from us, children are completely disconnected from nature,” she says.
- Nagpur metro TOD brings only Rs 15 crore in 21 months
Across the city, floor space index (FSI) for residential is 1-1.25 and 2.5 for commercial. The TOD policy, which came into affect in June 2017, allowed more than 4 FSI and various other relaxations in building plans.Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | March 18, 2019, 15:58 IST
NAGPUR: Against the anticipated Rs 1,000 crore in two years, the Metro Rail transit oriented development (TOD) has fetched only Rs 15.02 crore in the last 21 months. The NIT, NMC and MahaMetro had expected that revenue from TOD would be Rs 10,000 crore in 20 years.
Across the city, floor space index (FSI) for residential is 1-1.25 and 2.5 for commercial. The TOD policy, which came into affect in June 2017, allowed more than 4 FSI and various other relaxations in building plans. This was to encourage construction of high rises which would have raised extra revenue to help MahaMetro repay loans and bear some cost of operations.
Like in foreign countries, TOD was introduced to raise revenue from non-ticketing sources and also facilitate a hike in the number residents in the area who would use the Metro Rail. The planning authorities — NMC and NIT — were to get 50% and the balance to Metro Rail.
TOD could only be used on existing plots in 500 metres on either side of Metro Rail corridors (43.11 kms). Relaxations were permitted in side, rear, front margins, open balconies in side margins etc.
So far, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) have approved 11 and 1 building plans, respectively, under the TOD policy.
The NMC has approved 11 building plans — one in June 2018, two each in July and August 2018 and three each in January and February this year. Charges and premium of Rs15.02 crore were collected of which Rs7.51 crore each went to the NMC and MahaMetro.
Most of the 11 buildings are on internal roads. Three of the plans approved are in Dhantoli, two each in Ambazari and Jaitala, and one each in Pardi, Lendra, Narsala and Ajni.
The NIT has approved one building plan in Nari on Kamptee road. The amount from the plan is yet to be deposited with MahaMetro. The NIT and MahaMetro are likely to get Rs4 crore each from this plan. Engineers from the NMC town planning department expect demand for TOD to rise slowly. “We have received a few more plans and they are under scrutiny,” they told TOI.
President of CREDAI local chapter Anil Nair said charges of premium and relaxations are very high in ToD. “The estimation of one plot for Ramdaspeth came to Rs 22 crore. No scheme will be feasible if such high charges are levied. There is a need to reduce the TOD charges,” he said.
Architect Ashok Mokha said ToD policy is regressive. “The TOD area comprises many small plots. The policy is more favourable to big plots. The provisions should be uniform for all. Also, the policy has nothing to encourage green building concept. Though prepared on the lines of requirements in foreign countries, it does not take into account the city’s needs and geographic conditions,” he said.
“Parking and movement of vehicles need to be restricted in TOD area so that the resident use the Metro and feeder service. Will it be made possible in the city,” asked Mokha.
The architect added that the TOD policy needs to be re-examined. “The Metro Rail’s operation cannot be feasible without TOD. And, TOD will make areas within 500 meters of Metro Rail densely populated. The policy should ensure sustainability of TOD area in future,” said Mokha.
- Nagpur civic body chief says 'no' to regularizing structures on all playgrounds
Bangar told TOI that the general body’s resolution was implemented only for a particular case. “It is not possible to regularize structures on all playgrounds,” he said.Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | March 19, 2019, 15:30 IST
NAGPUR: Some playgrounds will be saved from falling prey to unauthorized plots and constructions. Municipal commissioner Abhijit Bangar has not implemented general body’s decision to regularize unauthorized plots and structures on all playgrounds.
Bangar told TOI that the general body’s resolution was implemented only for a particular case. “It is not possible to regularize structures on all playgrounds,” he said.
The NMC town planning department had tabled a proposal before the general body to regularize 17 residential buildings on land reserved for playground in Deo Nagar Co-operative Housing Society, mouza Ajni.
The general body, in the meeting held on January 29, approved the proposal. A resolution was also passed to regularize all unauthorized plots and constructions in playgrounds across the city.
The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court had imposed ban on regularization of unauthorized plots and constructions on playground. The NMC had take decisions in related to a few playgrounds in the past. The state government, too, has approved the NMC’s proposals.
Many feared that the government will approve the general body’s decision. But now, with the civic chief not implementing the decision, the proposal will not go to the government.
An official from NMC town planning department said the case of Deo Nagar Co-operative Housing Society was totally different. So, the decision has been implemented. “The sale deeds were done in 1980s. The constructions came up before implementation of existing development plan (DP). Still, reservation of DP was placed on the land in DP in 2001,” he said.
Despite aware of unauthorized constructions on some playgrounds, the NMC and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) are not taking any action. The lack of action is resulting in citizens and corporators demanding regularization of unauthorized constructions on playgrounds.
The NMC and NIT are also neglecting construction of compound wall and utilization of lands reserved for playgrounds. This is leading to unauthorized constructions and cropping up of slums in some parts of the city.
- Residents of Ravi Nagar PWD colony rue lack of amenities Proshun Chakraborty | TNN | Mar 20, 2019, 04:50 IST
Nagpur: Stench from sewage on a yard wafts through the air at state’s public works department (PWD) colony for class III and class IV state government employees in Ravi Nagar. The 462 quarters in the colony are practically devoid of basic amenities while the officers’ colony and adjoining bungalows, which are just a few metres away, are well maintained by the PWD.
After eight two-wheelers were destroyed in a fire in the parking lot of the colony in the wee hours of Monday, a delegation of housewives met chief engineer of state’s PWD Ulhas Debadwar and expressed anguish over lack of amenities. Debadwar, after visiting the colony, told TOI that it lacked amenities and assured to look into the demands of the residents.
The families also narrated their plight to TOI. “The PWD had promised all basic infrastructure to the residents staying since late 1980s but they have been left in the lurch. There are no basic amenities, internal roads are swept just once a month, and drinking water is suppled every alternate day,” said homemakers Anita Dongre, Suwarna Gawli and Roshni Sarode.
“Rs540 are deducted from our salaries every month towards basic amenities like road sweeping, door-to-door garbage collection, and maintenance of building and premises. But the PWD has not provided any facility, including water or sewage collection,” said homemaker Vandana Bansod.
Another resident Meena Walgaokar too complained about lack of door-to-door garbage collection and drinking water.
“Ironically, the PWD spends crores on maintenance of MLA Hostel and Ravi Bhavan premises every year though these are occupied only during the state legislature. Our colony is virtually orphaned,” said Gawali.
They added that the drinking water supply is very erratic. And when water is supplied, the pressure is so low they have to wait for hours to fill a pot, they said.
The water hardly reaches second and third floors due to low pressure. As a result, residents have to depend on a tap in the courtyard. However, the residents said they can’t carry buckets and pots filled with water to the upper floors.
Also, an picturesque open plot that was meant to be developed as a park is used for shady activities after the dark, alleged residents.
They also claimed that the street lights too are non-functioning. “It is unsafe for women to use the internal road in the locality. We cannot go even for early morning walks as many chain snatching incidents have happened around the locality due to non-functional street lights,” said Gawli.
Though PWD has an office to redress complaints, it never resolves issues, the residents said.
Vidya Lanjewar, PWD official and in-charge of the contact office, admitted that the colony lacked amenities but blamed occupants for poor maintenance of the premises due to their non-cooperation. To a query, Lanjewar claimed that annual maintenance contract for the colony has been awarded and all issues will be resolved.
No structural audit of buildings constructed in 1984
No sweeping of colony’s internal lanes and premises
Sewer line choked
Non-functional street lights
No CCTV cameras
Erratic water supply
- Neeri revives Raipur’s Telibandha Lake Manka Behl | tnn | Mar 21, 2019, 04:00 IST
Neeri used the patented technologies to bring the lake back to life
Nagpur: Using its patented wastewater treatment technology, Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) has purified the Telibandha Lake of Raipur, which had turned into a dumpsite for municipal solid waste.
The project was initiated in 2016 by Neeri director Rakesh Kumar. The institute, along with Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) jointly bagged an order from the Raipur Smart City Limited (RSCL) to revive the lake which is spread over 10 hectares.
The institute started the rejuvenation work in October 2017. “At that time, the lake was adversely polluted. It was completely covered in algae and had turned into a dumping site for the city’s solid waste. A sewage line was also discharging contaminated water into the lake,” said Ritesh Vijay, principal scientist and in charge of Neeri’s Mumbai zonal centre.
Neeri used two of its patented technologies to bring the lake back to life – phytorid wastewater treatment and phyto floating rafters. To ensure that only clean water enters the water body, the institute installed phytorid wastewater treatment plant at the drain.
An eco-friendly and cost-effective technology, phytorid involves a constructed wetland exclusively designed for treatment of municipal, urban, agricultural and industrial wastewater. The organic solution is removed by bacteria and the nutrients are absorbed by specific plants. “The plant treats the wastewater coming from drainage and releases treated water in the lake,” said Vijay.
At present, the plant set-up at Telibandha is treating 15 lakh litre water per day. Apart from this, over 100 floating rafters are ensuring that the lake remains clean. The rafters are wetland plants which float continuously on a water body. The roots of the plants decompose organic matter present in the sewage. As the nutrients from the sewage get absorbed, excessive growth of plants and algae in the lake can be prevented.
Both the technologies have successfully managed to purify the lake’s water. “The quality of the effluent, in terms of suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand is meeting the discharge standards prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board,” said Vijay.
Neeri has reportedly set up more than 200 phytorid plants across the country. Developed by Kumar, the first plant was set up at the Kalina campus of Mumbai University in 2006. The floating rafters have been set up inside Neeri headquarters in Nagpur and at Makhmali and Siddheshwar lake in Thane.
- Of Rs3,303cr Smart City cost, SPV eyes Rs2,427cr from citizens Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Mar 25, 2019, 04:24 IST
Nagpur: The special purpose vehicle (SPV) — Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) — is eyeing nearly 75% of the Smart City project cost, i.e. Rs2,427 crore, from plot owners which is contrary to the announcement of going for land pooling method. Besides, over 30% plot owners in Pardi, Bharatwada, Bhandewadi and Punapur in East Nagpur are set to lose 40% of their total plot area without any compensation.
Central government’s ambitious project, to be implemented in collaboration with state government, requires 1,743 acres land. As per NSSCDCL data, total cost of the project is Rs3,303 crore. The central government, state and NIT together will give only Rs876 crore. The remaining cost is to be recovered from the citizens.
NSSCDCL, through arbitrator Supriya Thool, has started issuing notices to plot owners in Pardi, Bharatwada, Bhandewadi and Punapur in East Nagpur. The notices are as per town planning scheme (TPS) approved by the state on October 6, 2018. In the notices, the plot owners are informed whether they have to give 40% of plot area for the project or not. Also, the plot owners are being informed about TPS charges to be paid by them.
As per information available from NSSCDCL, 30% of plot owners will have to surrender 40% of the total plot area free of cost. These plot owners will have to pay TPS charges for remaining 60% plot area. Those not losing any land will be required to pay TPS charges for entire plot area.
These charges are calculated as per a formula taking into account ready reckoner value. On an average, these charges are estimate to be around Rs850 per sq.mt. Earlier, it was assumed by many that no more charges will be required to be paid by plot owners.
NSSCDCL official told TOI that those owing unauthorized plots or houses will need to pay regularization charges of Rs56 per sq.ft. “Around 90% of total plots or houses in Smart City area are unauthorized. Also, they will have to pay building plan charges. These charges are not new as Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) used to recover these under Gunthewari Act,” he said.
The plot owners will also require to pay premium for availing extra floor space index (FSI). At present, basic FSI for residential category is 1 and 2.5 for commercial. The government has allowed FSI up to 4 for the project. The plot owners will have to pay a premium of 30% of the ready reckoner value for extra FSI.
Apart from all these, the SPV will generate revenue by selling some part of land to be acquired from plot owners either by carving out plots or constructing flat scheme. This way, the SPV estimates a revenue of Rs2,427 crore.
East Nagpur MLA Krishna Khopde said government will resolve the issues soon. “Plot owners will not be required to give 40% of the total plot area free of cost. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured to give compensation to plot owners and they will also not be asked to pay TPS charges. Regularization charges will be recovered from only those having unauthorized plots. We will get funds from the government for the total cost of the project,” he said.
Khopde said a decision will be taken after completion of the process by arbitrator. “At present, objections by plot owners are being registered. After arbitrator submits a report to the government, final decision will be taken,” he said.
* 1,743 acres in Pardi, Bharatwada, Bhandewadi and Punapur in East Nagpur proposed to be converted into Smart City
* Cost of project Rs3,303 crore; central, state governments and NIT together will give just Rs876 crore
* SPV eyeing remaining cost — Rs 2,427 crore — from plot owners
* 30% of plot owners will have to give 40% of their total plot area free of cost
* Plot owners will have to pay TPS charges also
* Regularization charges of Rs56 per sq.ft in case of unauthorized plots
* Premium of 30% of ready reckoner value for extra FSI
- Four-laning of Nagpur-Umred, Saoner-Gondkhairi roads soon Anjaya Anparthi | TNN | Mar 25, 2019, 04:28 IST
Nagpur: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is all set to widen Nagpur to Umrer and Gondkhairi to Kamleshwar to Dhapewada to Saoner national highways from existing single-lane to four-lane soon. The NHAI has completed tendering process and finalized companies for executing the two road projects.
NHAI official told TOI that the two projects with length of 70km will cost Rs900 crore and will not have toll tax as they are being executed on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model. “Central government’s ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has sanctioned funds for the two projects. A deadline of two years has been finalized for both the projects,” he said.
NHAI official added that the letter of acceptance (LOA) has been issued in both the projects. “DP Jain and Co Infrastructure Private Ltd will execute Nagpur to Umred four-laning with a length of 41km and cost of Rs420 crore. Dilip Buildcon obtained Gondkhairi to Kamleshwar to Dhapewada to Saoner four-laning project of 28.87km and cost of Rs480.06 crore,” he said.
Nagpur to Umred stretch is a part of national highway 353 which ends at Armori in Gadchiroli district. The road sees heavy traffic. The four-laning of this stretch will come as a huge relief for people going from Nagpur to Umrer and vice versa. Also, tourists going to two tiger reserves — Umred-Karhandla and Tadoba — will also benefit. The project will also bring some relief for those going to Nagbhid, Brahmapuri in Chandrapur district and Gadchiroli district respectively.
The NHAI has proposed to also widen stretch from Umred to Nagbhid to Brahmapuri to Armori to four-lane.
The stretch from Gondkhairi to Kamleshwar to Dhapewada to Saoner is a part of national highway 547 which connects Nagpur district with Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The stretch also links with national highway from Saoner to Ramtek to Bhandara.
The roads from Saoner to Ramtek to Bhandara and Mansar to Tumsar to Tiroda are also being widened and tarred. The NHAI has also proposed to widen Nagpur to Kalmeshwar to Katol road to four-lane. This road also sees heavy traffic. But the proposal is pending as land acquisition has not been completed yet. The collector office is still acquiring land for widening this stretch.