SUDA begins work on master plan for peripheral areas TNN | Feb 9, 2018, 04:00 IST
Surat: Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) is preparing an urban development strategy to cover 985 sq km of SUDA areas and 135 villages of Choriyasi, Palsana, Kamrej and Olpad talukas and three nagarpalikas in the district.

Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, which has been appointed consultants for the urban development strategy, will conceive basic infrastructural facilities for the areas that will be later brought within Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) limits.

"We would be giving priority to 10 km area near municipal limits to set up the infrastructure facilities," SUDA chief executive officer M Nagrajan said. The state government has turned its focus on SUDA areas where many mega projects like high speed rail, dedicated freight corridor, national expressway extension from Vadodara to Surat, Surat metro rail, outer ring road, and dream city will be coming up.

"New town planning schemes would be made for Sachin, Icchapore, Haripura and others areas for regulated urban development. We envisage a tri-city of Surat-Bardoli and Navsari in the years to come. This area could have a population of about 1.10 crore by 2035," Nagrajan added.

At present, this area, including those of SUDA, has a population of about 50 lakh people and is already undergoing the change. Senior town planner of SUDA P N Datta said, "This strategy will help identify priority areas for development and also ensure that there is complete harmony between planning and design for massive infrastructure development in the region. Urban development strategy will also focus on proper planning of road junctions and the financial models that are required."

SUDA and SMC officials said the urban development strategy would trigger development of residential and commercial projects in the peripheral areas of the city.









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  • BJP rejects property tax hike, slashes charges by 75% TNN | Updated: Feb 8, 2018, 13:57 IST
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    SURAT: The standing committee of Surat Municipal Corporation(SMC) on Wednesday rejected the property tax hike proposed by the civic body administration for the year 2018-19, besides slashing hikes proposed in various charges by almost 75%.

    The committee comprising of all ruling BJP members turned down the Rs 207 crore property tax hike and slashed the proposed Rs 330 crore user charges to Rs 107 crore.

    Against the total proposed tax hike of Rs 543 crore, the ruling BJP approved only Rs 107 crore user charge increase. It also brought down the capital budget from Rs 2,406 crore to Rs 2,138 crore reducing Rs 268 crore from capital projects.

    As a result, a 100 sqm house owner in Vesu, who last year paid Rs 3,120 as property taxes and user charge will now have pay up Rs 3,500-Rs 3,600 against the Rs 6,300 as proposed in the draft budget by the SMC administration.

    Rajesh Desai, chairman of the SMC standing committee, told TOI, "We have tried to give people-oriented budget and taken care that people are not burdened with taxes. We will be concentrating on basic infrastructure facilities and ensure that implementation is on time and in a proper manner."

    Under BJP rule, over the last one decade, capital works worth Rs 12,000 crore have been undertaken while the city's population has shot up from 41 lakh in 2008-9 to 57 lakh in 2017-18. The number of households has also increased to 18 lakh from 12.5 lakh during the same period.

    "At present, operation and maintenance expenses of the projects in the city is about Rs 1,200 crore per annum but we will try and bring it down to Rs 800 crore," claimed Desai.

    BJP also announced continuation of rebate on advance tax payment. People who pay full advance tax will be given 15% rebate in April and 10% in May. Further, 10% rebate for senior citizens will also continue.

    Now, the budget with cuts and amendments will be put up before SMC general board for final approval. In 116-strong board, BJP has 79 councillors while opposition Congress has 36. One elected BJP councillor has extended support to the Congress.












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  • Fostta opposes Surat Municipal Corporation ’s commercial tax hike TNN | Feb 9, 2018, 09:43 IST


    SURAT: While the ruling BJP in Surat Municipal Corporation(SMC) has drastically trimmed the tax and user charge hike proposed by urban planners, the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (Fostta) stated that the traders' community was against paying even half a per cent hike in property tax.

    In a letter to mayor Asmita Shiroya, Fostta office-bearers have stated that the wholesale textile market in the city is passing through a tough phase post-GST and business turnover has fallen by almost 40%.

    Many small traders have shut shop in the last seven months after the GST was implemented in July 2017. The rest of the traders' community is finding it very difficult to operate their businesses due to technical glitches in the GST portal and state governments' decision to implement e-way bill provisions.

    Fostta president Manoj Agarwal told TOI, "We are yet to get details of the property tax hike in the commercial properties by the civic body. However, the traders are against even half a per cent increase. If this happens, then the entire traders' community will come out in opposition." He added, "The GST and e-way bill provisions have hit the traders hard. The textile goods transporters have informed that they will not be taking delivery of fabrics to other states without e-way bill."

    A textile trader Rajesh Jalan said, "It has become very difficult to operate business since the past seven months. The demand for polyester fabric has decreased and that we are facing many problems filing the GST return and generating e-way bills. We can't tolerate the civic body increasing property tax."
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  • Nearly 400 old apartments to benefit in Surat with new GDCR SURAT: Nearly 400 apartmentsin different areas of Surat under the old General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) are likely to benefit with the provisions made by the state government in the new GDCR. Now, these apartments will be able to get permission to rebuild their homes with increased FSI(floor space index) and will also be able to get benefit of raising height of the structure till 25 metre on any road starting from nine metre.

    According to an estimate, at least 250 30-40 year old apartments have sought permission for redevelopment from the state government, which is pending. However, with the new GDCR rules, people will be able to get development permission from local authorities itself.

    Redevelopment of old buildings, specially built in the 1980’s and even before that in Surat city, has been a major issue for the civic authorities. The major obstacle for these buildings weather they are in the old city area, Athwalines or in Adajan, Rander, Pal were the existing rules of the old GDCR.

    “Under the old GDCR rules, to increase the height of a building from 15 metre to 30 metre, there were restrictions with regard to plot size and adjoining road width. It requires 1,500 yard plot and at least 18 metre wide road to reconstruct a 10 floor apartment block. Even for this permission was not granted at local level. Hence, all the developers had to rush to state government’s town planning department to get redevelopment sanctioned,” an official from the town planning department in Surat said.

    However, under the new GDCR, process has been made simpler. Under new law, the height of the apartment could be increased up to 25 metre even if they have 12 metre road and will have to just leave the margin space of 4 metre on all sides.

    In addition to that, provision allows floor space index (FSI) up to 2.7 on any type of road against earlier 1.8 FSI. The most important provision is all the redevelopment projects can now be approved at local level.

    “There are over 400 apartments in the city that need to be redeveloped under this new law. They would be immensely benefited and would be able to do redevelop their homes according to modern needs,” deputy commissioner, Surat Municipal Corporation, Ketan Patel said.

    Source: https://realty.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/regulatory/nearly-400-old-apartments-to-benefit-in-surat-with-new-gdcr/62848077
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  • Airport terminal expansion under detailed estimation stage: AAI tnn | Feb 10, 2018, 04:00 IST
    From just 30,000 passengers per month in April 2017, the passenger traffic at Surat airport has seen a sharp i... Read More

    Surat: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has stated that the scope of work for expansion of terminal building at Surat airport has been approved and it is under detailed estimation stage at the central headquarters.

    Following a report in TOI highlighting the inordinate delay in the expansion of the existing terminal building at Surat airport on February 8, an aware citizen wrote to AAI regarding the issue and he got a reply, which stated that the scope of work for expansion of the terminal building has been approved by the competent authorities, and was under detailed estimation stage at the central headquarters.

    RTI activist Rajesh Modi told TOI, "Surat airport is operating 22 scheduled flights and 10 non-scheduled flights with monthly passenger capacity of 63,000. The AAI has taken a long time for calculating detailed estimates of the terminal building."

    Modi added, "I was surprised the way AAI replied to my query. If it is exact copy of the old building, then time required for estimation should not be more than two months. The scope of work was approved last year in February then why the inordinate delay in executing the work?"

    From just 30,000 passengers per month in April 2017, the passenger traffic at Surat airport has seen a sharp increase at 63,000 passengers per month. The average monthly flight movements have increased from 647 in April 2017 to almost 1,000 per month in January 2018.

    At present, the terminal building has peak hour passenger handling capacity of 250 passengers - 125 arrivals and 125 departures - as against the required capacity of 2,500 passengers per day.

    As per a rough estimate, the present capacity to handle passengers at the terminal building is 2 lakh per annum. At present, there are around 8 lakh passengers travelling to and from Surat airport per annum in 21 flights operated by SpiceJet and Air India, private operator Ventura Airconnect and Non-Schedule Operator Permit (NSOP).







    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/airport-terminal-expansion-under-detailed-estimation-stage-aai/articleshow/62856515.cms

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  • Inland waterways’ conference todayin country tnn | Feb 10, 2018, 04:00 IST
    At least five rivers out of the total 106 in the country, including Mahi, Narmada, Sabarmati, Jawai-Luni and T... Read More

    Surat: The central government intends to take up development of rivers Narmada and Tapi in south Gujarat for inland water transport under National Waterways Act, 2016, on a priority basis.

    A stakeholders' conference will be held in the Diamond City on Saturday for brainstorming on the development of national waterways in Gujarat in line with the government of India's efforts to create an environment friendly, cost effective, seamless and sustainable mode of transportation.

    Union minister of state for road transport, fertilizer and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya is expected to attend it. The conference would be addressed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) vice-chairman & CEO Ajay Bhadoo, chairman of Deendayal Port Trust Ravi Parmar, member technical at Inland Waterways Authority of India S K Gangwar and hydrographic chief, IWAI, Asish Arya.

    Official sources said at least five rivers out of the total 106 in the country, including Mahi, Narmada, Sabarmati, Jawai-Luni and Tapi, will have national waterways (NW) for inland water transport under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

    River Narmada, which has a length of 227km from Pandhariya to the Arabian Sea at the Gulf of Khambhat, constitutes the NW-73. The projected cargo to be transported through it includes naphtha, polymers and chemical products and wide range of industrial export and import material.










    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/inland-waterways-conference-todayin-country/articleshow/62856551.cms


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  • SUDA begins work on master plan for peripheral areas TNN | Feb 9, 2018, 09:44 IST
    SURAT: Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) is preparing an urban development strategy to cover 985 sq km of SUDA areas and 135 villages of Choriyasi, Palsana, Kamrej and Olpad talukas and three nagarpalikas in the district.

    Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, which has been appointed consultants for the urban development strategy, will conceive basic infrastructural facilities for the areas that will be later brought within Surat Municipal Corporation(SMC) limits.

    "We would be giving priority to 10 km area near municipal limits to set up the infrastructure facilities," SUDA chief executive officer M Nagrajan said. The state government has turned its focus on SUDA areas where many mega projects like high speed rail, dedicated freight corridor, national expressway extension from Vadodara to Surat, Surat metro rail, outer ring road, and dream city will be coming up.

    "New town planning schemes would be made for Sachin, Icchapore, Haripura and others areas for regulated urban development. We envisage a tri-city of Surat-Bardoli and Navsari in the years to come. This area could have a population of about 1.10 crore by 2035," Nagrajan added.

    At present, this area, including those of SUDA, has a population of about 50 lakh people and is already undergoing the change. Senior town planner of SUDA P N Datta said, "This strategy will help identify priority areas for development and also ensure that there is complete harmony between planning and design for massive infrastructure development in the region. Urban development strategy will also focus on proper planning of road junctions and the financial models that are required."

    SUDA and SMC officials said the urban development strategy would trigger development of residential and commercial projects in the peripheral areas of the city.





    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/suda-begins-work-on-master-plan-for-peripheral-areas/articleshow/62841688.cms
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  • After years, Chowpaty walkway cleaned upafter many years tnn | Feb 10, 2018, 04:00 IST
    BJP MLA Harsh Sanghvi had alleged in MLA coordination meeting with SMC officials that the walkway had become u... Read More

    Surat: A 3 km walkway constructed for the people to also feel energized by morning and evening walks from Athwalines Chowpaty to Taj Hotel at Parle Point along river Tapi was cleaned up in many years by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) staffers on Friday.

    BJP MLA Harsh Sanghvi had alleged in MLA coordination meeting with SMC officials that the walkway had become unusable because of the filth and in the absence of streetlights.

    He alleged that anti-social elements had usurped the walkway. He demanded that either SMC conduct daily cleaning or destroy the walkway so that anti-social elements don't convert it into their adda.

    "People are prepared to spend money to maintain this walkway. We would make it beautiful. However, we can't let it become a den of anti-social elements," Sanghvi said.

    The walkway, which was constructed in 2012 at a cost of Rs 3 crore, can benefit at least 50,000 citizens of Athwalines, Parle Point and Umra village. They can spend their morning and evening time here by walking and energizing themselves.

    Municipal commissioner M Thennarasan said, "We have got the walkway cleaned up today itself. We will look for a private partner to maintain it."








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  • Airport terminal expansion under detailed estimation stage: AAI tnn | Feb 10, 2018, 15:04 IST
    From just 30,000 passengers per month in April 2017, the passenger traffic at Surat airport has seen a sharp i... Read More

    SURAT: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has stated that the scope of work for expansion of terminal building at Surat airport has been approved and it is under detailed estimation stage at the central headquarters.

    Following a report in TOI highlighting the inordinate delay in the expansion of the existing terminal building at Surat airport on February 8, an aware citizen wrote to AAI regarding the issue and he got a reply, which stated that the scope of work for expansion of the terminal building has been approved by the competent authorities, and was under detailed estimation stage at the central headquarters.

    RTI activist Rajesh Modi told TOI, "Surat airport is operating 22 scheduled flights and 10 non-scheduled flights with monthly passenger capacity of 63,000. The AAI has taken a long time for calculating detailed estimates of the terminal building."

    Modi added, "I was surprised the way AAI replied to my query. If it is exact copy of the old building, then time required for estimation should not be more than two months. The scope of work was approved last year in February then why the inordinate delay in executing the work?"

    From just 30,000 passengers per month in April 2017, the passenger traffic at Surat airport has seen a sharp increase at 63,000 passengers per month. The average monthly flight movements have increased from 647 in April 2017 to almost 1,000 per month in January 2018. At present, the terminal building has peak hour passenger handling capacity of 250 passengers - 125 arrivals and 125 departures - as against the required capacity of 2,500 passengers per day.
    As per a rough estimate, the present capacity to handle passengers at the terminal building is 2 lakh per annum. At present, there are around 8 lakh passengers travelling to and from Surat airport per annum in 21 flights operated by SpiceJet and Air India, private operator Ventura Airconnect and Non-Schedule Operator Permit (NSOP).










    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/airport-terminal-expansion-under-detailed-estimation-stage-aai/articleshow/62856515.cms

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  • Ahead of PM’s visit, activists start campaign for international airport tnn | Updated: Feb 13, 2018, 09:29 IST


    SURAT: Airport activists have started a campaign on the official Twitter account of Prime Minister Narendra Modidemanding an international airport for the city. The campaign was launched on Monday and will run until February 25 when Modi is scheduled to attend the flag off ceremony of Surat night marathon being organized by a private group in the city.

    Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC) president Sanjay Ezhawa said, “The PM is visiting the Diamond City on February 25 and we want people to flood his official Twitter handle with messages demanding an international airport. We hope that tens of thousands of Twitter messages would inspire our PM to give the gift of an international airport to the city.”

    After BJP swept the assembly elections by winning all the 12 assembly seats in the Diamond City, the residents had flooded the Twitter handle of Modi and civil aviation minister for expediting the process for an international airport for the city. During one of his public meetings in the city ahead of the assembly elections, Modi had promised an international airport for the city.

    The PM’s statement on the international airport was criticized on social media and the users asked why there was a long delay in providing customs notified status and immigration staff to Surat when the central government was quick enough to declare an international airport for Rajkot. The TOI had recently highlighted the state government’s letter to the DGP asking for allotment of 68 staff for starting immigration facilities at Surat airport in the financial year 2018-19. This means that the staff will be allotted only after March 2018. “PM Modi has not spoken anything new. We are hearing about the international airport for the past two years, but can’t see the development on ground. It was poll season and we are all used to such stunts,” an RTI activist Rajesh Modi said.
    Increase in passenger numbers: Total passenger flying to and from Surat airport has increased to 5.63 lakh in 2017-18 till January 2018 as per the data published by Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Monday. The total flight movement in the year was recorded at 9,324 flights. In January month alone, 60,000 passengers had flown to and from Surat airport.







    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/ahead-of-pms-visit-activists-start-campaign-for-intl-airport/articleshow/62891764.cms

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  • Civic body to reduce offtake from Ukai dam by 120MLD TNN | Feb 15, 2018, 04:00 IST
    Surat: The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) plans to reduce its offtake from Ukai dam by 10% this summer from current supply of 1,150-1170 million litre per day (MLD). However, the civic body assured that there will be no water cut despite the decreased offtake from Ukai as it will be plugging in the water loss in various zones of the city.

    Hydraulic department of SMC said it will continue supply of 150 litre per capita per day (LPCD) water throughout the summer, but curtail users using very high amount of water.

    “Our single focus this year is on curtailing use of excess water. There are many areas where consumption is higher due to number of reasons like proximity to main line and other factors. Areas at the tail end of the network get less supply of water. Our focus will be on correcting the losses,” SMC commissioner M Thennarasan said.

    Traditionally it is witnessed that areas like Varachha, central zone and even parts of Udhna zone consume more water than others zones. “We are working on an equitable water distribution system by which excess water supply can be curtailed. This will help reduce offtake from Ukai by at least 100 MLD,” additional city engineer, SMC, K H Khatwani said.

    Khatwani further said they plan to raid illegal water connections and closed them.

    Sources in SMC said apart from supplying 756 MLD of water to nearly 13 lakh households, SMC supplies 75 MLD to industry, 64 MLD to commercial and 55 MLD to its own establishments. The civic body estimates water losses to be 20% due to line loss and illegal connections.

    “By cutting off the excess water to certain excess supply areas we would be able to bring out requirement by 10%,” Khatwani said.






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  • CPCB team in city to monitor pollution TNN | Feb 16, 2018, 04:00 IST Samples of ambient air quality, surface water, groundwater and pollution level were collected from four places... Read More

    Surat: A team appointed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor environment situation, particularly in the industrial areas of the city, soon after its arrival collected data and samples of ambient air quality, surface water, groundwater and pollution level from four places in Pandesara and Sachin on Thursday.

    The team is from Kolkata and becomes first independent agency to be involved in categorization of critically polluted area identification process after 2009.

    Regional officer, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), Surat, M K Dasari told TOI, “This is a countrywide exercise by CPCB. This exercise would go on until February 18 in the city. Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Ankleshwar, Vapi, Bhavnagar and Junagadh in Gujarat, too, would witness this exercise.” The team members will send the samples for analysis to their office located in Kolkata. Once inspection and environmental monitoring exercise is over, a new list of critically polluted industrial areas would be declared by the central government.

    Surat industrial areas have never been classified as critically polluted because it mainly houses dyeing and printing houses, textile weaving, spinning and engineering units. Sachin, Palsana and Pandesara don’t house more than seven per cent of chemical or pharmaceutical industries unlike Vapi and Ankleshwar.

    There are 2,200 industrial units in Sachin industrial area, but the number of chemical units and dyeing printing mills is just 35 and 54 respectively. Sachin industrial area mostly has engineering and textile units that employ around 3 lakh people.








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  • ‘Nothing wrong in shopping malls charging for parking’ in basement: SMC tnn | Feb 17, 2018, 04:00 IST


    Surat: While citizens are building pressure on the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to ensure free basement parking in shopping malls, private hospitals and commercial complexes as per rules prescribed in the General Development Control Regulation (GDCR), the civic body officials did not find anything wrong if the mall management charged fees for parking.

    Citizens claimed that the shopping malls have been charging hefty parking fees ranging from Rs 30 to Rs 40 for the cars and two-wheelers and that the owners visiting the malls prefer to park their vehicles on the roadside, thereby obstructing traffic. Talking to TOI, additional city engineer, central town planning, Ketan Patel said, “The civic body cannot lawfully enforce free parking in shopping malls. I believe some shopping malls are doing wonderful job as they take fee for parking as they spend money to maintain the parking slots. Even civic body is giving contracts for parking on the public roads, so what is wrong if the shopping malls charge money for parking.”

    RTI activist Rajesh Modi has urged the civic body to follow the rules prescribed in the GDCR for providing free parking by commercial establishments. It is the duty of the shopping malls to provide free parking to visitors or the civic body has the right to cancel their building use certificate (BUC).

    Modi stated that most of the shopping malls have constructed barricades and cabins to collect parking charge at the entry and exit. Mall management have rented out the parking area to a contractor for commercial use and ultimately they are collecting money. So, it is deemed to be considered as commercial activity in parking, which is not allowed as per GDCR. Renting out a parking which is a part of commercial establishment and approved by SMC is considered as encroachment.

    “Does SMC allow any citizen to cover balcony, parking or back yard and use it for commercial or renting purpose? Malls have covered the parking areas and the visitors are forced to pay the charges. To avoid parking charges in the mall, people park their vehicles on the roadside, thereby creating the traffic issues,” Modi said.

    Another activist and president of Surat Airport Action Committee (SAAC) Sanjay Ezhawa has given an ultimatum to the civic body to act fast or else he will be forced to file a writ petition in the Gujarat high court against the illegal parking in the shopping malls.

    Ezhawa said, “A particular shopping mall in Piplod has the basement parking to accommodate 1,000 vehicles per day. If we calculate Rs 40,000 parking income per day, it comes to around Rs 1.20 crore a year. Even if you park your vehicle for 5 minutes, you have to pay Rs 40. All this is happening right under the nose of the civic body, which is not bothered to implement the GDCR norms.”





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  • Alert citizens save plantation from blaze at riverfront walkway tnn | Feb 17, 2018, 04:00 IST

    Surat: It seems the garden department officials of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and elected representatives need to wake up from their slumber.

    In a classic example, the volunteers of Nature Club Surat (NCS) had acted fast when they spotted fire in plantation and bushes along the Chowpaty walkway. Despite repeated calls to the garden in-charge and other staff, nobody could find the cause of fire or catch the culprit responsible for setting the fire.

    “At least 35 species of birds, reptiles and small animals like mongoose have been nesting on the trees and in the burrows near the Chowpaty walkway on the Ahtwalines riverfront. These species get disturbed due to such fire incidents. Hence, we were quick to respond when we got the message,” a volunteer of NCS said. He added, “After two days of keeping a watch along the walkway, we found a man identified as Durlabhbhai who had caused the fire. We caught him and asked about the reason for the fire and found that he was drunk. He was working in a nearby temple.”

    According to NCS volunteers, the fire has damaged underground water pipeline laid by the garden department.

    In-charge of Chowpaty garden Devanand Naik has assured that such mischievous elements damaging public property and destroying the eco-system will be dealt with strict action.








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  • Several illegal encroachments from parking spaces removed TNN | Updated: Feb 18, 2018, 14:49 IST Representative Image

    Surat: Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) officials have started a drive to remove encroachments from roads and parking areas by property owners in their ground floors of apartments in the city.

    SMC officials on Saturday removed illegal parking space of 3,305 sq feet occupied by a private company in its basement in Piplod area of the city. Similarly, 430 sq feet of space in Apple House in Central Zone was freed from illegal parking. They also freed 1,885 sq feet of space in Rituraj market of Limbayat. In Varachha, 3,228 sq feet of space in Sunrise Commercial Complex was freed while encroachment on 1,506 sq feet of area in South Zone at Rockford Market was removed.

    Municipal commissioner M Thennarasan said, “We plan to remove illegal constructions in parking area from across the city. Strict monitoring would be carried out on a monthly basis and repeat offenders would lose their development permission.”tnn







    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/several-illegal-encroachments-from-parking-spaces-removed/articleshow/62965301.cms





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  • Surat international airport inches towards reality TNN | Updated: Feb 21, 2018, 09:02 IST

    SURAT: The dream of local people to have an international airport in the Diamond Citymay come true with the state government allocating Rs 1 crore for setting up of immigration facilities at Surat airport.

    Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, while presenting the state budget in Gujarat assembly on Tuesday, stated that the government has earmarked Rs 1 crore for setting up of immigration facilities at Surat airport.

    It was on September 20, 2017, that the home department of Gujarat government had asked the director general of police to allot 68 immigration staff for Surat airport in the financial year 2018-19.

    The prime minister’s office (PMO), ministry of civil aviation and ministry of home affairs (MHA) had given clear directions to the state government to take over immigration functions at Surat airport.

    In the latest communication to Gujarat government, the MHA, government of India (a copy of which is with TOI) has stated that the process of declaration of Surat airport as an authorized immigration check post would be initiated only on receipt of positive response from the state government.

    The central government had clearly said that the state government needs to take over immigration functions at Surat airport. A reference was given of a letter dated June 7, 2017, addressed to the principal secretary, home department, government of Gujarat, requesting to make arrangements for providing required manpower and other infrastructure necessary for carrying out immigration functions at the airport.

    Airports Authority of India (AAI) had written to bureau of immigration for providing immigration facilities at Surat airport for commencement of international flights in May 2017. In its reply, the bureau of immigration conveyed its inability in providing requisite manpower and had asked the state government to provide it.

    ‘We Work For A Working Airport At Surat’ (WWWAS) member Sanjay Jain said, “Finally, the state government has approved immigration staff for Surat airport. This will pave way for an international airport in the next couple of months. Now, the ball is in the court of the central government to provide customs notified status to Surat airport for starting limited international operations.”

    Earlier, Air India Express, an undertaking of Air India, had announced its plan to operate direct flights between Surat and Dubai. Following pending approval for the customs notified status and appointment of immigration staff, the airline had not announced any concrete plans for the operations.







    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/surat-intl-airport-inches-towards-reality/articleshow/63004351.cms
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