Hi folks,

Can somebody tell me developments on the infrastructure and the real estate front in the city of Nasik? Is Nasik part of the JNNURM? If so what are the projects that are under planning for excecution over the next 2 yrs? Are there any big time builders (Bombay based or North India based) who have acquired land banks in the city? If yes what areas?

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  • Credai eyes Rs 500 cr business next year

    NASHIK: After a year of bad luck in the real estate market, Credai Nashik is expecting Rs 500 crore business in the next few months. The four-day real estate exhibition Shelter 2014, which got underway in the city from Thursday, is drawing good response from citizens.

    The exhibition got underway on Thursday at the Dongre Hostel ground in the city. The exhibition will be open between 11am and 9pm.

    Jayesh Thakkar, president of Credai Nashik, said, "The industry has been facing recession for the past one-and-a-half years. But now, we are gradually coming out of recession. The exhibition will definitely help us to get good business and we are expecting business worth Rs 500 crore in the coming few months."

    He said the builders are also giving some good schemes to the consumers, who have a good opportunity to select the home of their choice at a single platform. Over 120 builders have showcased over 500 residential projects at the exhibition.

    "Our objective is to help consumers buy properties at the location they want with various options at single place within their budget. The prices of the properties put on display in the exhibition are in the range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore," he said.

    This is the seventh edition of the Shelter, the largest real estate exhibition in North Maharashtra. The exhibition has 328 stalls, including 180 stalls of builders, 40 stalls from banking and financial institutes and rest of the stalls from the building and material suppliers.

    Credai eyes Rs 500 cr business next year - The Times of India
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  • How would you invoke new land act: HC to officials

    NASHIK: Land owners of Pimpalgaon Khamb, whose lands are to be acquired to construct sewage treatment plant, claimed on Thursday that the hearing of their objections did not take place at all. They had filed a petition in the Bombay high court.

    The land owners said section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act and section 4 would be quashed due to the new land act and also since there had been a gap of over a year between the issuance of the two notices under the two sections. Section 6 includes publishing a declaration of acquisition while section 4 includes the preliminary notification that the land is to be acquired.

    The divisional bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice AP Bhangale were hearing the matter on Thursday. The HC asked the officials to seek the help of the divisional commissioner and also let them know how they would initiate the new land act to acquire the lands.

    "We challenged the government officials that the hearing was not conducted by the special land acquisition officer (SLO). Without that notice under section 6 cannot be given and hence section 6 should be quashed. Also, the period between notices served under section 4 and section 6 should not be more than a year. But it is more than a year in this case," said lawyer of the petitioners Anil Ahuja.

    Ahuja added that section 4 is also automatically quashed with section 6 being quashed. "The court now asked the civic body and the SLO to take instructions from the revenue commissioner if fresh section 4 can be issued but the entire Act has lapsed due to the new LA Act 2014. So, whatever decision is taken has to be taken as per the new Act and hence the entire proceeding will be quashed," the lawyer said.

    The final order is expected on Tuesday and the officials are required to make a statement how they would ensure the initiation of the acquisition as per the new Act.

    SLO Bhimrao Shinde said, "It is an administrative lapse. The hearing was conducted by my predecessor. We made a report later as per the objections. We gave the report to the government. The record of the report was not made. It is an administrative mistake. We will discuss with the district collector about what can be done."

    How would you invoke new land act: HC to officials - The Times of India
  • 3rd list to auction properties of 40 tax defaulters released

    NASHIK: The Nashik Municipal Corporation has announced third list for auctioning properties of 40 tax defaulters.

    The defaulters' properties will be auctioned at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan — the headquarters of the municipal corporation at 4 pm on April 28.

    The NMC had confiscated properties of these tax evaders and had given them a 21-day deadline to pay tax dues and release their properties, which they failed to do. Finally, the civic body issued a public notice for auctioning their properties on February 28.

    Speaking to TOI, an official from the NMC said, "We have decided to continue our property tax recovery drive by confiscating and auctioning properties of the tax defaulters. This is the third list for auctioning properties of 40 tax defaulters, who did not pay their tax dues despite warrants. Finally, we confiscated their properties, giving them an ultimatum of 21 days to pay dues and release their properties, which they did not. Finally, we decided to their auction properties. These 40 defaulters have tax dues worth Rs 13.5 lakh."

    He further said, "Initially, we had put on auction properties of 76 tax defaulters on April 10, but we did not receive any response from the bidders during auction. In the meantime, 28 defaulters released their properties by paying their dues. Finally, we decided to take over properties of the remaining 48 defaulters. Now, we have started the legal process for taking ownership of these properties. We recently released the second list for auctioning properties of 41 tax defaulters, which will be auctioned on April 22."

    The NMC has also introduced an incentive scheme to attract prompt response from property tax payers wherein a rebate of 5% will be given to the tax payers if they paid their annual property tax in April, 3% in case they paid the due in May, and 2% if they paid in June. Around 5,480 tax payers paid their annual tax amounting to Rs 2.4 crore in first fortnight of April.

    3rd list to auction properties of 40 tax defaulters released - The Times of India
  • Tender process for property survey to begin soon

    NASHIK: The civic administration has decided to soon start the tender process for appointing agencies to conduct property survey in the city.

    Earlier, the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) had decided to defer the survey till October in the backdrop of the Kumbh mela beginning from July 14. But after receiving directives from city mayor Ashok Murtadak to conduct property tax survey to avoid tax leakages and increase revenue, the civic administration has decided to carry out the tender process and appoint agencies before the mega event so that work could start immediately after Shahi parvanis in September.

    Speaking to TOI, an official of the NMC's property tax department said, "Earlier, we had decided to start the process for property survey in October. However, the mayor has given fresh directives to conduct it at the earliest. We will soon start the tender process to appoint the agencies for executing the task. We are planning to appoint four agencies for six divisions of the municipal corporation. We are expecting to appoint them before the commencement of Kumbh mela by June-end. In doing so, they will be able to commence the survey after three Shahi parvanis by mid-September."

    As per norms, it is mandatory on the part of civic bodies to conduct such a survey after every four years. However, no such survey has been conducted in the limits of the NMC since 1999. Property tax is charged on the basis of total construction of the structures. But, there are no records of additional constructions by the property holders, which is causing loss of property tax revenue. Moreover, there are properties without building completion certificates (BCCs) being used for residential purposes. The survey will help find out such properties and levy tax on them.

    In 2007, the NMC appointed an agency for conducting the survey, but the company concerned did not complete the task even after extending the deadline twice. Thereafter, the civic administration had blacklisted the company. Now, the NMC has moved the district court against the private firm and claimed compensation of Rs 70 crore for the losses.

    Tender process for property survey to begin soon - The Times of India
  • Police appeal landlords to give info on tenants

    NASHIK: As a step to control the crimes in the city, the police have appealed to the people to provide information of their tenants to the police if they are renting out their properties.

    Senior police officials said many criminals live in rented places in the city. While there are needy people who have to take rooms or flats on rent, criminals take advantage of the situation to carry out their illegal activities.

    With lakhs of tourists and pilgrims expected in the city during the Kumbh Mela, there is a possibility of pickpockets and burglars targeting them. Besides, anti-national elements also may take the advantage of the situation, the officials said.

    The police said that they were taking action against landlords who had not furnished details about their tenants to the police. The action is taken under section 188 of the IPC for disobeying the order issued by a public servant.

    Property owners have to furnish the name of the tenant, age, date of birth, address, phone number, his antecedents, permanent address, a description of the property, police station under which the property comes, tenure of the lease contract, amount of rent and photo copies of the tenant's identity card, ration card, election card, PAN card and driving licence, among others.

    The police said that they had taken action against the erring landlords in the past after which a large number of people had come forward to provide information about their tenants. However, for the past one year, the action had lost steam following which the response from the landlords has also become lukewarm.

    Sheikh Lalbaba Farid, alias Bilal, an LeT member who had carried out a reccee of the Nashik police commissionerate and the Deolali army camp before he was arrested by the ATS from Satpur in September 2010, had taken a room on rent in the Satpur area.

    Police appeal landlords to give info on tenants - The Times of India
  • Builders seek addl FSI on roads with widths less than 9m

    NASHIK: The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI), Nashik and the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Nashik branch have welcomed the new proposed policy of the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), but have asked that the state either continue the existing TDR untilisation limit on small roads with widths below 9m or increase the basic Floor Space Index (FSI) there from the existing 1 to 1.35.

    The state has proposed a rise in TDR utilisation limit from the present 0.40 to up to 1.50 on roads with widths above 9m. This would help accommodate the TDR that would be generated due to higher TDR of up to 2.5 in civic limits in the state while acquiring the land from land-affected persons. But the state has removed small roads with a width of below 9m from the ambit of utilisation of TDR there. This means TDR utilisation would not be allowed on small roads with widths 6, 6.5 or even 7 (below 9m). But CREDAI Nashik and IIA Nashik have urged the state to continue the existing TDR utilisation limit on small roads below 9m.

    Speaking to TOI, CREDAI Nashik president Jayesh Thakkar said, "Small roads with widths below 9m have been omitted from TDR utilisation facilities as per the new TDR policy proposed by the state. We are of the view that the state should at least continue existing the TDR utilisation limit of 0.40 on small roads. We are still studying the details of the new TDR policy and will file suggestions and objections in this regard thereafter."

    He added, "Prima facie, the new TDR policy is good except one or two points and we welcome it. The state has increased the TDR generation limit up to 2.5 from the present 1 TDR. The move will definitely help the civic bodies to acquire the land free of cost and the land-holders will also surrender their land for civic projects due to an attractive TDR. We will soon hold a meeting of CREDAI members on the TDR policy and will decide the issues we have to raise."

    President of IIA, Nashik Nilesh Chavan said, "The new TDR policy is really good and will promote vertical development of the city due to rise in TDR utilisation limit. The civic bodies will also get the land free of cost as land-holders will surrender their land for higher TDR. But the state has not applied TDR utilisation on small roads below 9m. Hence, the government should at least increase the basic FSI from the present 1 to 1.35 on small roads. Moreover, norms for parking should me made stricter. Overall, the new TDR policy as proposed by the state has been welcomed by us."

    The government has proposed a rise in TDR limit up to 2.5 from the present 1 TDR in residential zones and 0.40 TDR in agricultural zones across the state (excluding Mumbai). The higher 2.5 TDR will be permissible in gaothan (congested areas) areas only, while 2 TDR will be permissible across the municipal corporation limits (in non-congested areas) apart from the gaothan areas, while acquiring the land against TDR. The state government has also proposed close to four times rise in TDR utilisation limit from the present 0.40 to up to 1.50 as per road widths for roads above 9m. Moreover, utilisation of TDR has been linked with the ready reckoner (RR) rates. Suggestions and objections are to be invited from the public on the issue. The final notification will be issued following hearing on these suggestions.

  • ‘Get copies of approved building plans’

    NASHIK: The civic body has urged citizens to get copies of approved building plans from it while purchasing properties to ensure that they are not duped by the builders.

    The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) made the appeal after it found that the builders indulged in constructions other than the ones approved by the civic administration.

    Following the municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam's orders, additional director of the NMC's town planning department Vijay Shende circulated a letter to the media asking people to get approved plans from the civic body. Accordingly, the building plans would be made available to the applicants within seven days. The minister concerned, builders and civic officials will hold a meeting on May 13 to discuss the matter.

    "In many cases, we noted that the builders had done constructions other than what we had approved. Moreover, the NMC had not given completion certificates to the builders in several cases. The customers/buyers of the property do not have an idea about the kind of construction permission. The customers could be duped in such cases. Therefore, the municipal commissioner has urged citizens to ask for the plan approved by the NMC's town planning department to get an idea about the kind of construction permissions," said an NMC official.

    He said the applicants will get photocopies of the building plan in seven days. They will have to bear only the charges of photocopies, he added.

    The built-up and carpet areas presented by the builders while taking construction permission and the ones shown during sale deed differ a lot. Hence, they take permission for less area but sell more. Besidesm the NMC has also noticed certain discrepancies such as excluding cupboard space while seeking construction permission and including it when selling the property. According to the NMC, the builders were earning crores of rupees by doing so.

    "There should be space below the window and cupboards should be constructed as well. However, covering balconies and terraces and making cupboard space part of habitable rooms are few of the violations. After noticing such violation, we brought it to the notice of the municipal commissioner. The builders now want to get the discrepancies regularised by paying penalty," the official said.

    "Builders indulged in such irregularities and there was no check on them. We found these irregularities after inspection. The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) has accused Shende of not functioning properly and complained to the municipal commissioner about it. It was Shinde who discovered the illegalities in buildings," he said.

    He added that the builders and some corporators were putting pressure by demanding that the municipal commissioner should regularize the discrepancies in the constructions by charging penalty.

    Speaking to TOI, Gedam said, "Builders and architects are aware that it is not within the powers of the municipal commissioner to give relaxation in floor space index (FSI). They are also aware that for doing so, changes need to be made in building code rules, for which they should approach the government. However, they are pressurising the local officers to do illegal things. Instances of past illegalities cannot be mentioned as precedent to continue with illegalities. Builders are legally bound to take money for the carpet area, for which approval is granted to them. It has come to our notice that they are selling more area than the approved plan, which amounts to cheating".

    About the accusations against Shende, he said, "I have written to Credai demanding exact allegations against Shende in writing. However, it is yet to do so."

    A city-based builder said on the condition of anonymity, "Our people want the business to go on but the municipal commissioner thinks that anyone working in this field is a criminal. In many cases, builders may have taken the approval but the construction work has not been started due to legal issues. There are a very few cases of cupboard space being included in the FSI."

    Meanwhile, Shende, who was instrumental in discovering the discrepancies, is being transferred. A senior NMC official said on the condition of anonymity, "Seniors at the topmost level have told us about Shende's transfer. We are awaiting the transfer order, which is expected any moment."

    ‘Get copies of approved building plans’ - The Times of India
  • 'Giving building plans to consumer not illegal'

    NASHIK: Municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam said there was nothing wrong in disclosing the building plan to the buyer and it was in the larger interest of the public. This was in response to the builders' dissatisfaction over the civic body's move to give plans to the consumers without consulting the former.

    A day after municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam on May 13 urged the citizens to seek a copy of the building plan to avoid getting duped, builders came down heavily on the Nashik Municipal Corporation's decision.

    "It is wrong to give the building plan to the consumer without seeking our approval," said a renowned city builder on conditions of anonymity.

    "When a person is applying for loan approved by a financial organisation, the plan has to be submitted to the bank. Why should the plan be given to the consumer after the construction? All the builders are of the opinion that the plan should not be given to the customer without our consent," said another builder, who did not wish to be named.

    An official of the NMC said that as per Sections 8 and 11 of the Development Control rules, there was nothing wrong in disclosing the plan to the citizens.

    Gedam, in turn, said, "We are not disclosing any information regarding individual private houses. In any case, the builder himself discloses the map on flats and apartment schemes by way of brochures or by showing it to the potential customer. The builders themselves have made plans public by inviting offers to enter into a sale agreement with interested consumers. We are only allowing the consumer to cross verify them. If a builder raises objection on a consumer tallying the map shown by him to the actual map, the builder must fear discrepancy in the two. We have discussed the matter with the Right to Information experts before issuing the order and in our opinion the ultimate test whether the document is made public is 'in larger public interest'. In case of private houses, public interest is not solved by disclosing their plans. But in case of apartments which are offered for sale, larger public interest is served by disclosing them."

    A consumer, on condition of anonymity, said, "The observations of the ADTP are right. Plans sanctioned by municipal engineers must have carpet area on the sanctioned plan without which they cannot be passed.

    But the plans are nonetheless passed in collusion with the builders, the architect and the civic official and completion letters are also given. Is the municipal commissioner going to file criminal cases against such builders, architects and the NMC official since the plans do not follow the 2008 GR? The licenses of the architect and the builder should be cancelled by the municipal commissioner. Even those buildings which have got completion letters are not as per sanctioned plan — cupboard projections are enclosed, flats are shown smaller in the plan, the ground floor flat is constructed, less number/space of parking is given against the DC rules.

    The flat on the ground floor is sold along with the compulsory open area, which the builders are not supposed to sell. Even if the buyer complains, the NMC officials turn a blind eye. Taking a legal course will take years of litigation and hence many consumers don't come forward."

    As per the revised rules in the 2008 GR, property is to be sold as per the carpet space.

    The GR also states that the total carpet space has to be mentioned in the building plan or else it cannot be sanctioned.

    One of the consumers, who got the building plan from the NMC last year through RTI and has been fighting with the builder of his apartment, said, "The cupboard projections have been included in rooms, the top floor terrace is enclosed, ground floor and the open space cannot be sold yet. As per the GR, plans should mention the carpet area; otherwise, the NMC should not pass them. The approved plan and the completion letter should match. After getting the completion letter, the building society should be formed within four months. The builder does not form it as he wants to sell the open space."

    'Giving building plans to consumer not illegal' - The Times of India
  • Reservations halved in revised draft DP of Nashik

    NASHIK: The new draft development plan (DP) of the city has done away with the large number of reservations for civic amenities introduced in the earlier DP of 2013, which had run into opposition from farmers. The acquisition of these reservations will cost the civic body Rs 5,174 crore but the introduction of higher Transfer Development of Rights (TDR) will reduce the burden on the civic coffers.

    The new draft DP, released on Saturday, has reduced the number of reservations for various civic amenities by a whopping 59.39%. From the 1,187 reservations proposed in the earlier DP, the number has been reduced to 482. Moreover, 115 of these reservations are new and the remaining 367 have been carried forward from the old DP approved by the state government in 1993. The government has cancelled 100 reservations from the earlier DP.

    The new draft DP allows up to 2 TDR and accommodation reservation, both of which will help the civic body reduce its financial burden by 60.82% or approximately Rs 3,147 crore. The NMC will get land reservations worth Rs 3,147 crore free of cost. The NMC will have to raise only Rs 2,027 crore in 10 years, by making provision of Rs 200 crore every year.

    The draft DP has been revised by joint director (Nashik division) Prakash Bhukte of the state town planning department. The new draft DP has been planned for the period of next 20 years from 2016 to 2036. It projects the future population of the city of 24.50 lakh by 2026 and 34 lakh by 2036. Suggestions and objections have been invited for the new draft DP within next 60 days.

    Speaking to TOI, Bhukte said, "I had promised that there would be minimum reservations in the draft DP of the city. Accordingly, I have reduced the number of reservations by 59%. Moreover, we have made some changes in reservation system. We have proposed reservations those can be acquired in 10 years only."

    The earlier DP drafted in 2013 was cancelled by the state government after corporators alleged that it favoured builders and was unjust to farmers as maximum reservations were put up on their land. It had proposed as many as 1,187 reservations, but the draft DP was cancelled.

    The row over the exact area of the city has been settled in the new draft DP, which states that the exact area under the NMC is 267.47 sq km. The civic body records total area of 259.12 sq km, while the 2013 DP had mentioned the area of 268.22 sq km. This had led to a furore in the civic body with corporators from all parties claiming that the area shown in the 2013 draft DP was wrong.

    Reservations halved in revised draft DP of Nashik - The Times of India
  • MPCB to set up online water checking facility at Godavari

    NASHIK: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is planning to set up an online water checking facility at the Godavari soon in a bid to control pollution in the river. MPCB's member secretary P Anbalagan, who was in the city on Thursday, said besides the Godavari, a similar project will be undertaken at the Krishna-Koyna.

    It will be a pilot project and the MPCB is planning to do a trial run during the forthcoming Kumbh Mela.

    "The project is in the planning stage, but we will implement this year on pilot basis. The water quality of the river will be analysed. Besides the Godavari, we will be implementing it at Krishna-Koyna at its confluence, that is in Karad. For the project, the river flow should be of 12 months. Krishna-Koyna river has such a flow, but the Godavari is not a perennial river and hence, its natural flow is only of six months. For the remaining eight months, we will have to think of something. We are planning to have a trial run during Kumbh Mela," Anbalagan said.

    He said the MPCB will collect water samples from 12 locations in the Godavari at Nashik and from two Trimbakeshwar for the purpose.

    "Altogether 16 water samples will be collected for monitoring the quality online. The analysis using the manual process requires 12-16 hours. In the online system, the device will directly be connected to the website. The process is not based on physical or chemical lab testing. We can monitor the water quality 24x7. The flow of sewage, the correct picture of the river, etc., will be seen first. We are planning online monitoring of 4-5 rivers in the state in future," he said.

    Anbalagan said he has asked the industries to connect with the MPCB's online monitoring system by June-end.

    "The major polluting factor is sewage in the urban areas. Around 80% of the problem is due to the sewage and 20% because of industrial effluents. Nashik has at least tackled 80% of the problem. Small water bodies have also been taken care of here," said the MPCB's member secretary.

    Meanwhile, a separate station will be set up in the Godavari to check the quality of river water online. Anbalagan said the key is also to create awareness regarding pollution among the students and volunteers in view of the Kumbh Mela.

    Moreover, the MPCB is also planning to introduce an auto licence renewal facility for the green industries across the state. At present, these industries have to renew their licences after every three years. The project is expected to be operationtal in a year. Altogether 25% of 45,000 industries in the state are tagged as green industries.

    Anbalagan said the MPCB is also planning to extend period of licence renewal from the existing three to 10 years.

    Talking about the online monitoring system, MPCB officials said the samples will be collected through an electronic instrument. There will be small pipe inside the river and continuous monitoring will go on. "The ph, biochemical oxygen demand, total organic carbon, dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, conductivity, turbidity, hardness, etc., can be measured. It will have to be a totally guarded machine. An engineer will also be there to monitor the progress. Regular calibration may be needed as well," said MPCB officials.

    MPCB to set up online water checking facility at Godavari - The Times of India
  • MIDC areas set to go green

    NASHIK: The Satpur and Ambad industrial estates of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) are set to go green soon. The Nashik Industries & Manufacturers' Association (NIMA), an apex body of industries with 4,500 members, has decided to launch a tree plantation drive in both the MIDC areas from next month.

    NIMA president Ravi Verma told TOI, "We have decided to launch the drive next month under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Our plan is to plant around 6,000 saplings in both the MIDC areas. They will be planted along the roads, around amenities and open spaces. We had urged the MIDC to fence its open spaces to protect these lands from encroachment. The MIDC has already decided to fence these spaces."

    "Besides the industrial estates, we are also planning to plant another 6,000 saplings in the city. We are already in talks with the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) for the purpose. We have urged the civic body to identify locations where we can plant saplings. The NIMA will plant as many as 12,000 trees during the monsoon season," he added.

    The Satpur and Ambad industrial estates of the MIDC have close to 3,000 micro, small, medium and large industries. The MIDC has a policy to reserve 10% of its total plots in the industrial estates, including 5% for amenities and the rest for open spaces. The total area of both the industrial estates is close to 1,150 hectares of which around 52.5 are open spaces. There are close to 30 open plots in both the MIDC estates, where the saplings will be planted.

    MIDC areas set to go green - The Times of India
  • Priests fume after demolition drive at Ramkund in Nashik

    NASHIK: The association of the priests in the city has sought action against officials involved in Monday's anti-encroachment drive at Ramkund, during which several constructions were brought down in the run-up to Kumbh Mela.

    The civic authorities had on Monday conducted an anti-encroachment drive and demolished some illegal structures around Ramkund, much to the chagrin of the priests, and some barbers, who claimed that they owned the properties along the banks of the Godavari. The priests' association had even filed a complaint with the Panchavati police seeking action against the officials involved in the drive.

    On Tuesday, members of the Ganga Godavari Panchkoti Purohit Sangh met additional district collector Mahesh Patil as the district collector was not available. They said against must be taken against the officials responsible for the demolition drive at Ramkund.

    "We told the additional collector that the place belonged to us and that the NMC began demolishing the structures without any notice. We narrated the entire episode to him and urged him to take necessary actions," Purohit Sangh president Satish Shukla said.

    "We had a meeting on Monday night and all our members said they would be united against the stand adopted by the civic administration and the police. Local corporator Kalpana Pandey (Shiv Sena) was also present at the meeting and she expressed her unhappiness with the officials," he claimed.

    Purohit Sangh mulls Kumbh flag hoisting

    Purohit Sangh, which is the official host of the Kumbh Mela, held a meeting on Monday night to plan the flag hoisting for Kumbh Mela on July 14. Around 250-300 people from various organisations attended for the meeting.

    "We are planning a grand procession early in the morning on July 14. The flag will be hoisted sharp at 6.16 am. The rituals will be performed which will take nearly two hours. We have to think about the lodging for the pilgrims," the Ganga Godavari Panchkoti Purohit Sangh president said. All office bearers of the Purohit Sangh, Dharma Sabha, Hindu Ekta Andolan and trustees of the Kalara Mandir attended the meeting.

    Priests fume after demolition drive at Ramkund in Nashik - The Times of India
  • Revival hope floats on Peshwa-era ponds

    NASHIK: Three ponds in Trimbakeshwar dating back to the Peshwa era and now full of silt and hyacinth may once again meet the residents' requirement of water.

    Two trustees of the main Trimbakeshwar temple — Lalita Shinde and Satyapriya Shukla — have adopted Indrakund, Gautam Kund and Bilvateerth and taken up the task of cleaning up the ponds. To start with, Shinde and Shukla embarked on the cleaning up of Indrakund from June 5 with the help of the Trimbakeshwar Municipal Corporation.

    Water hyacinth, silt and other waste had covered up 15-20 feet of Indrakund and these are being cleaned with the help of 70-80 people. There are eight ghats around Indrakund that has a diameter of 75 metre.

    Environment activists and the trustees said these ponds used to be reservoirs and if rejuvenated could once again provide water to the entire town. There are 93 such ponds in the town but have been neglected over the years by successive civic authorities.

    "The ponds, right from Brahmagiri to Trimbakeshwar town, were built during the Peshwa era. We have adopted three of the big ancient ponds for cleaning those up. Once rejuvenated, these ponds can once again become the source of potable water for the entire town," said Shinde.

    On Monday, a group of environment activists and experts visited the ponds. They notice that Indrakund that has been sufficiently cleaned up, is now deep enough and can hold a lot of water. The water hyacinth has been cleared and the trustees are in the process of getting the silt cleared now.

    "During the visit to the ponds with expert Prajakta Baste, we found that Indrakund has 3.50 lakh cubic feet volume and is 75 feet in radius. Gautamteerth is five lakh cubic feet in volume and Bilvateerth has a 2.5 lakh cubic feet volume. As much as 11 lakh cubic feet water can be generated from these three ponds if they are rejuvenated. These are the actual jalyukta shivar (water reservoirs). If the ponds are rejuvenated, these can provide sufficient water to the entire town. Trimbakeshwar is a rocky terrain and water comes out only from some fractures," said environment activist Rajesh Pandit.

    Citing an example of how water in this terrain could not be extracted from anywhere, the activists and the trustees said a 400-feet well was constructed by the government near Shabri kund at Kojuli village. "But the well does not have any water. On the other hand, Shabri Kund has enough water for fishing even in May," an activist said.

    A Trimbakeshwar Municipal Council official said they were providing water to the town through a pipeline from Beje dam, which is about three km away.

    The activists and the trustees said rejuvenating these ponds could provide water to the entire town that has around 15,000-20,000 population and a floating population of around 20,000-30,000 every day.

    Revival hope floats on Peshwa-era ponds - The Times of India
  • Repair, eviction notices to buildings on river banks

    NASHIK: The civic administration has started issuing notices to over 400 dilapidated structures, including those in Kazigadi that was rattled by a major landslide in 2013, along the banks of the Godavari, an exercise in the run-up to monsoon.

    Owners of around 404 structures have so fare received the notices and 210 of these are in Kazigadi alone.

    The town planning department of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), along with the respective divisional offices, is supposed to issue the notices before the onset of monsoon. The dilapidated and dangerous structures should be ideally vacated or repaired, depending on the notices of the civic administration, before the rainy season sets in.

    The East, West and Panchavati divisions of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) have structures that are under more threat during monsoon and the civic body slaps the notices on their owners every year as a precautionary measure.

    "As many as 210 structures at Kazigadi have been the issued notices in the East division. Twenty-two other structures have been issued notices and the NMC is in the process of inspecting more such buildings. We will keep issuing the notices," superintendent of the East division L A Gaikwad said.

    Divisional officer (West) Jayashree Sonawane said notices have been issued to 78 wadas and more structures are being surveyed. In the Panchavati division, notices have been issued to 94 structures and more are in the offing.

    "We have started issuing the notices since the past 15 days. We have asked people living in these buildings have to vacate those. Most structures are into legal tangles with the tenants and landlords claiming ownership," said divisional officer (Panchavati) A P Wagh.

    An NMC official said, "We had started the survey in time but were late in issuing the notices because of Kumbh-related projects. We are now taking up both the work on a priority basis."

    Repair, eviction notices to buildings on river banks - The Times of India