Hotel fire kills 17 in Delhi, serious lapses found
A fire that broke out in the five-storey Arpit Palace hotel in Karol Bagh on February 11 took a toll of 17 lives, including that of one child. The origin of the blaze is uncertain but it spread to the upper floors, trapping the guests. This is the highest death toll in a fire since the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy in 1997 that left 59 dead.
The blaze broke out in the early hours on Tuesday, February 12th. Twenty five fire tenders were rushed to the spot to battle the fire and bring it under control. Three dozen guests were rescued and four of them have been admitted with injuries of varying degrees. Several safety lapses, including the unauthorised construction of a kitchen on the top floor of the hotel, is believed to have caused the tragedy.
There was also a delay in action, as the fire department was alerted by hotel authorities only after 45 minutes. The owner of the hotel is on the run and according to one report, may be hiding in Qatar. The incident has prompted a review of fire safety in hotels in Karol Bagh with the fire department cancelling the No Objection Certificate issued to 30 hotels in the area.
Source: The Telegraph | Times Now | Hindustan Times
Three months for Hyderabad master plan
A draft master plan for Hyderabad is set to be prepared in the next three months by the Administrative Staff College of India officials. The master plan is expected to divide Hyderabad into three regions, areas within Outer Ring Road, beyond Outer Ring Road and within proposed regional ring roads. The move was announced by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on February 10th. The focus of the master plan will be on drinking water, sewerage, drainage, transport, traffic and power.
The Chief Minister added that special bodies will be formed for the implementation of the master plan. The bodies will aid the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority. The bodies will be constituted by experts who are handpicked based on their domain knowledge. The master plan will address the needs of a growing city, with the focus on migration that sees an influx of six lakh people in the city every year. Shifting polluting industries and developing forest blocks will also be focus.
Source: The New Indian Express | The Times of India
Parel to get outstation terminus
Central Railways has upgraded the plan for a long distance terminus in Parel with an increase in budget from Rs 193 crore to Rs 700 crore. The station will have ten platforms and can handle 50 long distance trains. A three lane elevated road has also been planned as part of the terminus with a special lane for pedestrians and emergency vehicles. The terminus is expected to improve connectivity and reduce congestion at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The plan also covers a 150-metre deck which will facilitate smooth passenger movement. A food court is also proposed at the entrance to the terminus. The detailed plan will include foot over bridges that will connect the terminus to the suburban station. Multi-level parking for two wheelers and four wheelers and special facilities for differently-abled passengers is part of the proposal. The Parel suburban railway terminus is set to be opened next month, easing the congestion in Dadar and Kurla stations.
Source: Hindustan Times
Filtered water supply for Kolkata houses
Kolkata Municipal Corporation has undertaken a comprehensive water augmentation scheme to ensure 100% households get filtered water supply. The civic body is expected to reach this target in the next year. The total budget for the project is Rs 406 crore. The project will aim to create the necessary infrastructure to deliver filtered water to households currently dependent on groundwater.
The current reliance on groundwater has seen the drop in water table and also the outbreak of diseases and arsenic contamination. The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had directed the civic body to address the water crisis in areas such as Tollygunge, Jadavpur and those near the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. A water reservoir with a capacity of 3 million gallons is set to be constructed as the first step in the plan.
Source: The Times of India
Pune looks to bolster water supply
The Pune Municipal Corporation looks to improve the water supply in the city and ensure uninterrupted supply through a slew of measures. As part of the plan to provide 24×7 supply, the civic body has planned for the construction of 82 overhead tanks for storage. The tanks are expected to be constructed by the end of the year and will help the city prepare for the summer. Construction is currently underway in 62 sites, with 51 tanks to be ready by June. The tanks will also ensure adequate water pressure.
The water department has also demanded an increase in quota for the city from the existing 13 TMC to 17 TMC. The water quota contract is to be renewed in March and the demand for an increase in quota appears justified in view of the increased population in the city. The current population of the city stands at 52.52 lakh as per estimates of the civic body, up from 22 lakh at the time that the water contract was initially formulated.
Source: The Times of India
[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]