City Buzz: Punjab burns stubble, Delhi acts on unfit vehicles | Kolkata to limit water extraction | Kochi to see cycles and walkways… and more

WEEKLY URBAN NEWS ROUND-UP

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Crop burning in Punjab. Pic: Flickr/Neil Palmer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Delhi ups ante on anti-pollution drive

An emissions study by the Pune-based System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR) under the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) has identified vehicles and industries as the biggest contributors to particulate matter (PM) 2.5 emissions in Delhi-NCR.

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Before the report was officially out, the Delhi government has already started a crackdown on unfit and polluting vehicles in Delhi, due to the onset of winter and impending Diwali festivities, to curb air pollution. Over 300 vehicles have come under the Transport Department’s scanner, for polluting emissions and  lack of emission  certificates. As many as 40 teams from the enforcement wing have been deployed to identify errant vehicles, which will be fined with amounts between Rs 1000 – Rs 2000. More vehicles are expected to come under the scanner as the drive will continue until Diwali.

The department will also turn its focus on to overloaded trucks. Another measure enforced involves confiscation, de-registration and scrapping of diesel vehicles that are more than 15 years old. This will be carried out under the provisions of the newly-notified “Delhi Scrapping of Vehicles Rules, 2018”. According to the rules, the vehicles seized will not be returned to the owners.

Source: The Hindu | Hindustan Times

Punjab and Haryana farmers defy orders to carry out stubble burning

Farmers who grow paddy in Punjab and Haryana continued the practice of stubble burning despite a ban on the same. Crop burning causes widespread air pollution in the winter in the two states and in the national capital region. But the farmers blame the government for not assisting them financially. They also cite scarcity of manpower and machinery as the reason for their actions.

Governments have attempted concerted efforts such as extensive awareness programs, placed video appeals against crop burning and have also supplied 50% of individual farmers with machinery to help curb the practice. Mobile apps have also been launched to check burning and spread the campaign. Despite these measures, the effects of crop burning are already being felt in the adjoining NCR region.

Source: NDTV | The Indian Express | Times of India | Zee News

KMRL to complete NMT projects in three months

The Kochi Metro Rail Limited is set to complete the non-motorised transport projects along the metro corridor in areas of Aluva, Edapally and Vyttila in the next three months. The projects include station-oriented development activities and the improvement of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in the corridor. Walkways under the smart city mission and bike-share facilities are a few of the projects in the pipeline.

Pedestrian loop, better lighting, multi-stakeholder integration and development of spaces under flyovers are set to be undertaken by the KMRL. Revamping of footpaths and walkways, plscemrny of disabled-friendly tactile tiles earmarking of parking areas are expected to be completed in the three locations. The initiatives were proposed over a year ago, but had hit various roadblocks such as delay in transfer of land, tussle with the local bodies, inadequate infrastructure for projects such as drains along the metro corridor.

Source: The Hindu | The Indian Express

Flexes come down in Hyderabad

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has cracked down on banners, flexes and hoardings of political parties in areas that fall under its jurisdiction. In a move to enforce the Model Code of Conduct for the upcoming Legislative assembly elections, around 80% of the hoardings were removed in an ongoing drive. The move saw the removal of not just hoardings related to political parties, but also those of government programmes.

As many as 191 banner and flex boards, 230 wall posters, 61 flags and 60 other related materials have been removed. Political parties have also been directed to remove any promotional material and directives have been issued to advertising agencies to also ensure the removal of any material that has been put up by them.

Source: The Hindu | Times of India

Legislation to check ground water use in Kolkata

The West Bengal state government is mulling the introduction of a ground water act to regulate the unchecked use of ground water in the state, especially in the capital city of Kolkata. The move comes as a reaction to the fall in ground water levels across the state due to over-extraction. Studies show the drop in the level from 5 m to 16 m in central Kolkata, prompting such measures.

The proposed legislation allows the Government to stop the extraction of ground water in a particular block if there is over-use. More hydrographic stations that measure the ground water levels of a certain area have also been proposed. Parts of Kolkata use as much as 600 litres of water per capita per day. Rapid urbanisation and increased construction activities are said to be the primary cause of ground water overuse.

Source: Times of India | International Business Times

(Compiled by Aruna Natarajan)