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- PMC to launch website on Saturday
TNN | Jul 5, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) will launch its new citizen-centric website this Saturday.
“We are replacing the old website with a new one which will be more informative and give regular updates about the projects being taken up by the civic body. The IT coordination cell of the PMC, which will be active 24X7, will upload the status of all the developmental works to the website,” Patna mayor Sita Sahu told this newspaper on Wednesday.
According to the mayor, it was realized that most complaints regarding routine civic issues like waste collection and waterlogging in different areas were not being acknowledged well.
“Now, once a complaint is registered on the website, a number will be generated to help people keep track of the problem. A message will also be sent to the official concerned till the issue is resolved. People can pay their sanitation charges or building permission fee online and also apply for no-objection certificate,” Sahu said and added the new website would efficiently address the problems of the local people.
However, there are some technical hitches that are being faced at the moment, according to the mayor. “A final meeting will be held on July 6 before the launch of the website to discuss other formalities,” she said.
- Traffic police declare 82 no-parking zones in Patna
TNN | Updated: Jul 5, 2018, 08:40 IST
No Parking zone at IT roundabout in Patna on Wednesday
PATNA: The Patna traffic police has declared 82 no-parking zones since July 2 on pilot basis. After one month of its successful implementation, more spaces will be declared as no-parking zones.
Few of the no-parking zones include Mithapur bus stand, Mithapur sabzi mandi, GPO roundabout, income-tax roundabout, near Hotel Maurya, Dak Bungalow crossing, Kargil Chowk, Children’s Park (Gandhi Maidan), St Xavier’s School, Dinkar roundabout, Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir, near residential area of the Patna high court, Exhibition Road crossing, Rajapur Pul, Kurji Mor, at 2-3 spots on Boring Canal Road, Swami Nandan roundabout, Hartali Mor, Dhanki Mor roundabout at Kankerbagh, Jagdeo Path, Sheikhpura Mor, Hartali Mor, Lalit Bhavan bus stop and Punaichak crossing on Bailey Road.
The traffic police will also impose congestion charges on the vehicles found parked in the no-parking zones for obstructing vehicular movement. “Illegal parking is one of the major challenges for the traffic cops. The owners of commercial establishments have made inadequate off-street parking spaces, leading to congestion on the road. We will charge Rs600 as fine from both the four-wheelers as well as two-wheelers for parking their vehicles in the no-parking zones. Initially, we have charted out 82 busiest locations where illegal parking is witnessed the most,” traffic SP Prakash Nath Mishra told this newspaper on Wednesday.
Clarifying that the implementation of the pilot project is for one month, Mishra said, “On the divisional commissioner’s directive, we conducted a monthlong survey to identify no-parking zones across the city. Following the implementation of parking restrictions in July, the divisional commissioner will make some changes in the number of spots by either increasing the number or changing the locations.”
He said the residents could also raise their grievances and make suggestions which would be considered during the review meeting at the end of July. “However, we have also discussed the issue of availability of less parking spaces with higher authorities,” Mishra said.
- HC: Why do encroachments resurface
TNN | Jul 6, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Annoyed by resurfacing of encroachments within hours of anti-encroachment drives in the city, the Patna high court on Thursday asked the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner and Patna police to file counter affidavits within a week, listing harshest possible measures which could be taken against the errant roadside vendors.
A division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad of Patna high court passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by Public Interest Litigation Forum. The forum was represented by advocate Shashi Bhushan Kumar in the court.
“From the replies filed by the state government, it is evident that authorities concerned are initiating measures to remove roadside encroachments in the city. However, it is a matter of deep concern that the encroachments resurface within hours of anti-encroachment drives,” the court observed.
“The PMC commissioner and police should apprise the court about the maximum fine that could be imposed on the encroachers. The authorities concerned should also inform the court if there is any provision to initiate criminal proceedings against the encroachers and if the items used by them for encroachments could be seized under the provisions of the law,” the court said.
- Realtors to build 25,000 affordable houses by 2022
Faryal Rumi | TNN | Jul 6, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday invited the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), the apex body of private real estate developers representing over 12,000 members across India, to work for the development of real estate sector in Bihar and assured the state government’s full support to it.
Addressing a meeting of CREDAI’s executive committee and governing council in Patna on Thursday, SuMo said Bihar has witnessed tremendous development in past 12 years under the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in almost all sectors, including road, infrastructure, power supply and credit schemes.
“Not a single habitation in the state is without electrification now. The electricity is supplied 24 hours a day in Patna; 22 hours a day in other urban areas and 18 hours a day in rural areas,” Modi said.
In his speech, state urban development and housing department minister Suresh Kumar Sharma said his department would provide all possible support to the CREDAI if it came with good ideas and proposal. “The state government has set a target to provide affordable housing to the urban poor by 2022,” he said.
CREDAI’s national president Jaxay Shah announced they would build 25,000 affordable housing units in Bihar to help the central government achieve its mission of ‘Housing for all by 2022’.
He also demanded reduction in circle rate in Bihar by at least 25% to aid the growth of real estate sector. “The current circle rate in many areas exceeds market rates,” Shah said and also listed certain other challenges facing the real estate sector in the state.
Labor and resources minister Vijay Kumar Sinha, UDHD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad and CREDAI national chairman Getamber Anand and Bihar president Narendra Kumar as well as 100-odd developers from various parts of the country attended the meeting.
- Government asked to stop constructions
Debashish Karmakar | TNN | Jul 6, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Patna high court on Thursday directed the state government to stop ongoing illegal constructions, if any, on the 7.78 acre government land in northern part of East Patel Nagar in Patna, and asked it to reply within four weeks what action was taken so far on the issue.
A PIL, filed by Akhilesh Kumar, has sought the court’s intervention to stop the illegal constructions and remove the existing constructions and encroachments. Counsel Dinu Kumar appeared on behalf of the petitioner before the division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad.
According to the documents procured through RTI and submitted to the court, the land was originally the Ganga riverbed which dried up over time. The then Patna deputy collector land reforms (DCLR) on February 19, 2015 and August 11, 2015 had written to the then DIG (central range) and additional collector (Patna) that the land was worth several crores in open market.
The DCLR, in his letter to the additional collector, had named Devraj Thakur and Madheswar Sharma, saying they were trying to occupy the government land. The letter also said the land was wrongly sold by individuals to several people who later got mutation done through fraudulent means.
The letter said the then DM had in 1983-1984 cancelled all registrations over the land, but the DM’s order was set aside by the Patna high court on November 18, 1994 as the provisions of Bihar Bhumi Sudhar Adhiniyam were not followed while cancelling the registrations.
The DCLR and the circle officer concerned had recommended to the DM to cancel all the registrations on the land afresh, but the matter was pending in the DM’s court.
- RoBs planned to ease traffic at Chhapra
H K Verma | TNN | Jul 7, 2018, 01:00 IST
CHHAPRA: Though the July 5 function at which CM Nitish Kumar was to lay the stone of Bihar’s first double-decker flyover at Chhapra was deferred, residents of the Saran district HQ are set to get quite a few railway overbridges soon.
Groundwork is underway for new rail overbridges between Daroga Rai roundabout and Jagdam college and at Brahampur railway crossing, Shyam Chak and Bhikhari Thakur roundabout.
North Eastern Railway’s Varanasi division PRO Ashok Kumar told this correspondent recently that the land for construction of a railway overbridge from Daroga Rai roundabout to Jagdam College was being cleared of encroachments.
The cabin situated on the eastern side of the yard at Chhapra Junction has also been removed to pave the way for proposed overbridge. “A construction firm will soon be roped in for the project execution,” Kumar said.
According to sources, technical experts gave their go-ahead for the overbridge at the site after a series of discussions with district and railways officials. Few private houses as well as railway buildings coming in the way of the proposed overbridge may be partially dismantled during the execution of the project, the sources said, adding the new overbridge would ease vehicular connectivity between northern and southern ends of Chhapra town.
Officials said work was also underway for the other porposed railway overbridges.
Meanwhile, reports said the stone-laying ceremony for the double-decker flyover was now likely to be held on July 11. District officials, however, did not confirm it.
- Rain triggers flash floods in Araria, Supaul
Abhay Singh | TNN | Updated: Jul 7, 2018, 08:00 IST
PATNA/ARARIA: Moderate rainfall in the catchment areas of the rivers flowing through north Bihar for the last three days has caused flash floods in Araria district, resulting in minor damages to road infrastructure.
Floodwaters also entered some villages in Supaul district on Thursday and damaged the diversion made on the road near eastern efflux bund of the Kosi barrage at Birpur.
In Araria district, the Noona river inundated several wards of Dahgama village under Sikty block on Friday, forcing the affected people to take shelter in local community hall, sheds and the middle school. Ten houses situated on the bank of the Bakra rive at Kowakoh village under the same block were washed away.
A reinforced concrete cement bridge on the western side of Dahgama was also washed away on Thursday. The water levels in rivers like the Barjan, the Bhaluwa and the Bakra were showing rising trend. Many villages of Siktia and Sourgaon gram panchayats had knee deep water in the courtyards of houses.
Unconfirmed reports said floodwaters entered 60 villages of Sikti, Kursakanta, Palasi, Narpatganj and Forbesganj blocks of Araria district. Araria DM Himanshu Sharma said the administration was on high alert.
Meanwhile, the water discharge through the Birpur barrage in the Kosi, which had increased to 1.53 lakh cusecs by the evening on Thursday, came down to 1.20 lakh cusecs on Friday. While Nepal is likely to receive rainfall over the next two days, the plains in Bihar may witness light rainfall, said water resources department.
- New bylaws: No bar on building height on 40ft wide roads
TNN | Jul 7, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: There will be no bar on the height of houses to be built on 30ft wide old roads and 40ft wide new roads as per the new building bylaws formulated for regulating building construction activities in the state.
The new bylaws also stipulate immediate approval of map for carrying out construction on a plot measuring 300 square metres with building height of up to ten metres.
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi told a meeting of realtors in Patna on Thursday that the new bylaws were likely to be approved by the state cabinet by the end of this month.
Urban development and housing minister Suresh Kumar Sharma told this reporter on Friday blueprints of the buildings would be passed online through a single- window system as per the new bylaws.
The minister said the new bylaws would facilitate construction of grand buildings in Bihar like other developed states. “We took suggestions and approval of several departments and opinion of builders before drafting the new building bylaws,” he said and added the new bylaws would benefit the builders as well as investors.
Under the new bylaws, new buildings will have to spare 50% area for parking and open space whereas the existing law stipulated sparing minimum 25% and maximum 35% of the area for parking.
“Provisions have also been made to boost construction of affordable housing on government and municipal lands in public-private partnership,” said the minister.
- Pitrapaksha Mela: Sanitation work to be outsourced
Abdul Qadir | TNN | Jul 8, 2018, 01:00 IST
GAYA: Preparations for the Pitrapaksha Mela, slated to begin from September 23, are underway in Gaya. The sanitation work, which was jointly being looked after by the Gaya Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the Lodging House Committee till now, will be outsourced during the fortnight-long event this year.
According to district magistrate (DM) Abhishek Singh, the private agency will have to do the work in three shifts a day. An estimated 1.25 lakh pilgrims are expected to visit Gaya to perform rituals for salvation of their ancestors.
“With the help of a new Pitrapaksha app, which will be launched next week, pilgrims will have access to information regarding priests, altars, rituals, lodging arrangements and local conveyance,” Singh, who recently conducted a site inspection, told this reporter on Saturday.
When asked about the mega dharmshala with a capacity to accommodate 10,000 pilgrims, the DM said the proposal had hit a roadblock on the issue of land.
“The dharmshala is likely to be built on a 3.5 acre plot where the Infectious Disease (ID) Hospital is located at present. There is a proposal to relocate the hospital to the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMMCH) and construct the multi-storey dharamshala at a cost of Rs 50 crore in its place. However, the ANMMCH authorities do not want the ID Hospital to be relocated on their premises,” Singh claimed.
Besides, physical verification of all buildings, where the pilgrims will stay is being done. “Dilapidated and vulnerable buildings will be de-listed. Strict implementation of the terms of the housing licence given to the ‘pandas’, including the cap on number of pilgrims to be accommodated in the ‘panda’ establishment, will be ensured,” said the DM.
According to ‘panda’ leader Mahesh Lal Guput, underground drains in the Pitrapaksha Mela area mostly remain choked, roads are in bad shape and reckless sand mining in the Falgu has blocked water flow to the ritual points. An important ‘pindadan’ ritual is conducted on the Falgu bed.
- Pollution-related deaths in Bihar alarming: Study
TNN | Updated: Jul 8, 2018, 07:15 IST
PATNA: Deaths due to different kinds of pollution account for 33.23% of total deaths in Bihar against the national average of 26.88%, according to a recent study published in the international science journal ‘The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health’.
The study has also found that 21.81% of total cases of disabilities in state are due to pollution of different kinds.
Findings of the study jointly conducted by Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Mount Sinai Heart and Department of Environmental Medicine and Global Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, were deliberated at a consultation workshop organized here on Saturday by Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED). Several organisations, including IIT-Kanpur and Public Health Foundation of India (PFHI), provided India specific data for the study.
The study has also found that against the national average of 16.48% of total deaths due to air pollution – ambient as well as indoor – the corresponding figure for Bihar stood at 19.05%. Air pollution also led to 11.63% of total cases of disability in the state.
With regard to PM 2.5 levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns which invade human lungs and causes cancer, the report has stated that it led to 11.72% of total deaths in Bihar and 7.32% of total cases of disability.
A CEED representative said the Lancet study revealed that deaths due to indoor pollution, primarily due to usage of biomass for cooking food, account for 11.09% of total deaths in Bihar, against the corresponding national average of 7.99%.
Similarly, the Lancet study has stated that deaths due to water pollution, including poor sanitation, in Bihar account for 11.97% of total deaths against the national average of 7.65%. Water pollution leads to 7.91% of total disability cases in the state.
The only silver lining for Bihar is in the form of deaths due to chemical pollution, primarily lead. The report has stated that deaths due to chemical pollution in India account for 1.68% of total deaths in the country, while the figure in Bihar stands at 1.73%.
Dr Gagandeep Kaur Walia, research scientist and assistant professor, PHFI, said the study found that India had the highest percentage of pollution-related deaths globally. “The deaths because of pollution are three times more than HIV, TB and malaria put together. The cities in Bihar should be more cautious as the proportion of deaths because of air pollution is quite high here,” he added.
Ankita Jyoti, senior programme officer, CEED, said, “It is all the more imperative for Bihar government to prioritise prevention and control of air pollution. The government needs to expedite the execution on clean air action plan for Patna and make similar plans for Gaya and Muzaffarpur as well.”
- All PRDA leasehold properties to be converted into freehold: PMC
Faryal Rumi | TNN | Jul 8, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Saturday approved conversion of all leasehold properties of the erstwhile Patna Regional Development Authority (PRDA) into freehold.
A PMC official said the decision would benefit the lessee as they will become the actual owner of the land and get unlimited powers to treat their property on their own terms. “The owners of PRDA properties will have to pay one-time settlement of 25% of the current price to become sole owner of the property,” the official said.
He added the 25% amount collected from the landowners would be utilised for development works undertaken by the civic body. “People will also be benefitted as there will be no long queues to renew the lease of property,” a senior PMC official said.
The decision to convert leasehold property into freehold was earlier passed at the empowered standing committee of PMC in the last week of June.
Freehold properties apart, the implementation of recommendations of Seventh pay commission for PMC workers was also approved at the ninth general meeting of the civic body on Saturday.
Patna mayor Sita Sahu, who chaired the meeting, said the PMC workers who have been working for more than 10 years would be regularised and get benefits on a par with the permanent workers of the civic body.
“To bring more transparency and efficiency, the PMC will switch to Centre’s e-marketplace portal for purchase of goods and instruments. It will decrease the hassle of bidding process and delay in procurement of stationaries,” Sahu added.
She also reviewed the progress made in manhole desilting, sanitation, prevention of waterlogging and other ongoing development works.
The proposals approved at Saturday’s meeting will be tabled before the state cabinet for final approval.
PMC commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman asked the ward councillors to review the desilting work. “If the desilting work is not done properly, the workers will again have to do it under the surveillance of ward councillors. Action would be taken against workers and officials if discrepancies were found in desiltation works,” the municipal commissioner said.
He also directed the ward councillors to keep a tab on illegal hoardings and conduct drives to remove all such hoardings in the city.
- Patna circle of ASI set to redevelop Vikramshila site
TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Patna circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to redevelop the excavated site of Vikramshila University in Bhagalpur to seek the coveted tag of ‘Adarsh Smarak’. The site would have more facilities like CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi and cafeteria.
“ASI has instructed all its state units to choose one such site to develop on the lines of ‘Adarsh Smarak’ scheme. One hundred monuments across the country will be redeveloped. Based on the historical significance and the increased number of tourists, Patna ASI has decided to redevelop Vikaramshila University. People of the district were also demanding its renovation,” ASI’s Patna circle superintending archaeologist D N Sinha said.
Situated about 50km east of Bhagalpur, the Vikramshila site is spread over 100 acre. “There are more than 200 underground cells at the depth of 1.35 metres. Monks used to meditate there. The National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) under national cultural funds has been conserving 80 of the cells. The rest of the cells will be conserved by ASI under this scheme,” Sinha said.
“Funds for redevelopment work are being provided by the ASI in Delhi. The project focuses on strengthening the existing basic amenities for visitors, including installation of CCTV cameras, providing Wi-Fi connectivity, increasing the number of water kiosks, construction of toilets, litter bins, working on the artefacts kept ins the museum, upgrading the plantation and beautification. The site will also have an interpretation centre and a separate ticketing complex along with a cloak room for the visitors. There will be an orientation gallery and an audiovisual hall where documentaries related to the site would be screened,” Sinha added.
“The work is to start this month and is estimated to be completed within six months. We are planning to outsource a company for upgrading basic amenities and ASI officials will look after the conservation of the site,” he told this newspaper.
- Cleanliness drive: Mayor, PMC commissioner wield brooms
TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Patna mayor Sita Sahu and municipal commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman on Sunday picked brooms and swept the “filthy” Boring Canal Road as part of a cleanliness campaign launched by the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC). The two were assisted by a group of volunteers.
Sahu said the drive would be organized every Sunday, covering various localities of the city.
On the first day, the civic body emphasized on cleanliness of streets, parks, community toilets and market areas. Over 200 sanitation workers of PMC removed heaps of garbage from Boring Road and Boring Canal Road. Three tripper trucks and two small trucks were used for loading garbage. The sanitation workers also cleared the debris, accumulated waste and litterbins filled with trash. The drive began at 6am and continued till 9am.
“To have clean Patna is the dream that we all share and in order to achieve that dream, we seek cooperation from the residents of the city. Under the campaign – Mission to clean Patna – we will sensitize people and spread awareness. Keeping the city clean is a huge task and should be a collaborative responsibility. We have also sought support from several organizations and colleges to make the campaign a success,” Sahu said.
- CM to open highway at Chhapra
TNN | Jul 10, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the 64km-long Chhapra-Gopalganj state highway and lay the foundation stone of a first-of-its-kind double-decker flyover in Bihar at Chhapra on Wednesday.
“The state road construction department, under ‘project highway-II’ has constructed state highway number 90 between Chhapra and Gopalganj. The 64km-long stretch from national highway-101 at Mohammadpur in Gopalganj district will connect NH-19 in Chhapra district. The project has cost Rs504.99 crore,” state road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav told this newspaper on Monday. He said a 2.5 metres wide footpath on both sides of the 7 metres wide road has also been constructed for pedestrians.
The new road will connect various blocks and villages of Chhapra, including Karan Kudariya, Rajapatti Gola, Dumarsan, Bangara, Chainpur, Mashrakh, Hanumanganj, Sarwara, Isuapur, Gaura, Nagara, Khaira, Chan Chaura, Mithivliya and Chhapra Basawat. Similarly, It will also connect various villages in Gopalganj like Mohammadpur, Kotwa Khas, Tekniwas, Kesho Gaura, Bahadura, Khaira Azam, Banakatti, Shankarpur, Mahua, Dighwa, Rajapatti Kothi and Mir Alipur.
Yadav said the new state highway would also connect national highway 28, 19 and 102, which will provide alternative connectivity to Uttar Pradesh.
Elaborating on the double-decker flyover, Yadav said, “The double-decker flyover between Gandhi Chowk and Nagar Palika Chowk at Chhapra will cost Rs411 crore. The project is estimated to get completed by June 2022. After its foundation laying, we will immediately start work on this project.”
- New PMC website soon for registering complaints
TNN | Jul 11, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: After the failure of Apna Patna mobile app launched three years ago, the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) is set to launch a new website this month for the residents to report their grievances and other civic issues, PMC deputy commissioner Vishal Anand said on Tuesday.
Anand also told this newspaper the PMC would launch a new toll-free number since maximum complaints were received through phone calls. He said the number of telephone lines in the control room would also be increased to 10 for people to register their civic problems.
“The aim of the website is to provide yet another platform to the public for registering their complaints. The website will not only maintain the data of the complaints registered online, but also those received through calls and text messages to keep a watch on the action taken on the complaints,” Anand said.
“Earlier, complaints were received directly by the person who was supposed to resolve the problem. Now, the data of all registered complaints will be made accessible to all the PMC officials so that senior officials can see keep a watch on their disposal,” he said.
“The Apna Patna app could not yield expected results due to a number of reasons. It was not accessible to a large section of our population, hence we did not receive proper feedback. We are working on the required technological changes so that the website does not get similar results,” Anand said and claimed that the PMC was making its control room technologically advanced for proper functioning of the website.
The Apna Patna app launched in December 2015 by the urban development and housing department (UDHD) received poor ratings (3.2/5) and criticism from people on the Google play store. One of the review comments read, “Can’t register. It is not functioning properly on my mobile phone. While registering complaint in the ‘complaint category’ step, the page becomes blank and I can’t register my complaint.”