City Buzz : Fani hits Odisha and W Bengal | BMC’s plastic headache | Charminar suffers damage…and more

WEEKLY URBAN NEWS ROUND UP

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Fani ravages Odisha towns and cities, goes soft on Bengal

Cities in the east coast braced themselves for heavy rainfall and winds as severe cyclonic storm Fani was to cross Odisha and West Bengal. Bhubaneswar went into lockdown with the cancellation of flights and train services as well as suspension of road transport as the storm battered the city. The category 4 cyclone made landfall on May 3 at the seaside town of Puri and left a trail of destruction in the district. Bhubaneshwar airport too sustained damages to key equipment. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences building also suffered damage with the roof destroyed in the winds. Exams were cancelled on account of the cyclone.

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Kolkata too bore a deserted look as the cyclone moved up after impacting Odisha, enroute to Bangadesh. Shops, offices and schools were shut by midday as the city braced for the storm. Flight services were suspended for the duration of the cyclone before being resumed after 17-hours. Unlike Bhubaneswar, however, the Kolkata airport did not suffer any major damage due to the wind and rain. In fact, the impact on towns and cities in West Bengal was much less lethal than feared.

Source: DNA | LiveMint | India Today | The Statesman | Newsmen

Iconic Charminar damaged, chunks falls off minaret

Hyderabad’s landmark Charminar’s structure suffered damage due to rain that resulted in a big chunk of lime plaster falling off the south-west minaret, one of the four minarets part of the monument. The chunk broke off and fell to the ground after a spell of rain on May 1. No injuries were reported due to the incident.

The officials of the Archaeological Survey of India said that the damage caused was a result of erosion suffered by the monument over time. The plaster work that suffered damage was work that had been done on the monument in 1924. The officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) had been asked to not use heavy equipment in the areas surrounding the monument, but had in fact employed them to demolish a building earlier this week. The repair work on the monument is set to be undertaken by the ASI after a complete assessment of the extent of damage caused.

Source: India Today | The Hindu

BMC faces storage woes for seized plastic

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is grappling with the problem of shortage of space to store the plastic that has been seized as part of the plastic ban in the state. The BMC godowns are filled with seized plastic that has added up to close to 60,000 kgs so far. The ban on single use plastic had been enforced state-wide in June 2018. Since then, the city’s blue squad has conducted inspections and seizures of banned plastic that has since been stored in godowns in each ward.

The BMC put out a tender for contractors to dispose of the seized plastic, but it did not receive any bidders the first time. As plastic piled on and space was found to be short, a fresh tender was issued but it received only one bidder. The plastic seized cannot be used in road laying as the works department does not have the resources for the same. The situation has become dire in places where the BMC will soon be unable to seize more plastic without the disposal of existing stock of materials.

Source: Mumbai Mirror | Indian Express

Street parking rates hiked to free space

In a bid to decongest the popular Karol Bagh area, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation increased the surface parking rates from Arya Samaj Road to Ajmal Khan Road. The charges for parking cars will now be Rs 40 from the previous rate of Rs 20. Rates will be Rs 50 for the second hour, Rs 60 for the their hour, Rs 70 between four and five hours and Rs 300 over five hours. The monthly charges have also been hiked to Rs 3000, from Rs 1500.

Officials said that the hike was a means to discourage parking in the congested streets and use off-street parking in the nearby areas. Two more sites have been identified for off-street parking for the visitors. The officials are also exploring changes in parking patterns on key roads in the area and trying to find means to discourage double parking and encroachment. Ajmal Khan Road will now be pedestrian only, with no vehicles allowed. The area is a shopping hub that sees high footfall on festivals and weekends.

Source: The Times of India | Hindustan Times

Pune spared water cuts till June end

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided that the city will not see any water cuts till the end of June, in a meeting held on May 3rd. The meeting was chaired by district guardian minister Girish Bapat. The officials of the local body and the irrigation department were in attendance.

The city’s four dams that supply water have seen a dip in the reserves when compared to last year. Despite that, the decision to not impose cuts was taken with a view that the monsoon will offset the shortage.

The water level in the four dams is 2 TMC less than the levels around the same time last year. The PMC will monitor the water levels in the dams every ten days to take stock of availability. The irrigation department simultaneously appealed to residents to use less water and undertake conservation measures wherever possible. The supply of water has been an issue after the city’s quota was reduced to 1150 MLD from 1350 MLD last year.

Source: Times of India | Hindustan Times

[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]

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