Supreme Court slams city governments, Delhi LG for urban crisis
Referring in particular to the garbage woes in Delhi and the drainage mess in Mumbai, the top court of the country pulled up urban governments over their inaction and ineffectiveness to stem the growing crisis in Indian cities. A two-judge bench took strong exception to the fact that around 13 states and several Union Territories had not yet formulated their policy for solid waste management strategy, well beyond two years since the central Solid Waste Management Rules came into force in April 2016. 10 states and two union territories were asked to pay penalties for not filing affidavits on their policies for solid waste management.
The Supreme Court also strongly censured the office of the Lieutenant-Governor (LG) of Delhi for failing to tackle the garbage crisis in the capital despite claiming authority to pass directions to the municipal authorities. The court adjourned the hearing to July 16 and asked the LG to file an affidavit by that time, explaining the timeframe by which the three garbage landfills in the capital – at Okhla, Bhalswa and Gazipur – will be cleared.
Source: Hindustan Times | The Telegraph
Rain fury in Mumbai
Monsoon ravages are an annual affair in Mumbai now and this year has been no exception. According to the Meteorological Department, in just 10 days over the last couple of weeks, the city received 864.5 mm rain, nearly equal to its usual rainfall quota for an entire month. The city’s suburban rail services took a huge hit and the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF, police and fire brigade personnel had to be called in to rescue passengers from stranded express trains including Shatabdi Express and Vadodara Express.
Monsoon fury has been particularly bad in the northern suburbs of Vasai, Virar and Nallasopara, where many areas continue to be waterlogged; the Navghar industrial area in Vasai, which houses around 2,500 industrial units employing around 25,000 people, has been hit hard and is staring at an estimated total loss of Rs 150 crore, due to wastage of raw material and equipment.
Meanwhile BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has reportedly said that various ongoing infrastructure and mega housing projects were drastically transforming the Mumbai urbanscape and creating new flooding spots. In view of that, he hinted that civic officials may now have to look beyond the recommendations of the Madhav Chitale committee after the 2005 floods, which centred around the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (Brimstowad) project.
Source: NDTV | The Times of India | Indian Express
Delhi air pollution: Three new projects in the anvil
Filters on buses, dust separation chemical sprays and equipment to suck in particulate matters – these will be at the centre of three pilot projects to be launched by the Environment Ministry and managed in association with the Delhi government, with an eye on tackling air pollution in the capital. The pilot involving installation of equipment to suck in particulate matter will be run by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
The Environment Ministry has also said that the draft National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that it has drawn up will most likely be finalised by the end of this month, and sent to states so that they can make their own plans accordingly to curb air pollution.
Smart City Internship and Fellowship programmes launched along with new central schemes for 25 cities
25 cities — Greater Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Vadodara, Indore, Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Warangal, Pune, Varanasi, Jaipur, Amritsar, Patna, Faridabad, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Raipur, Panaji, Shimla, New Kolkata, Srinagar, Dehradun, Aizawl, Gangtok and Imphal – have been chosen to receive a central assistance of Rs 2 crore each for area-based urban infrastructure expansion under a new scheme launched by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. The funding under this Local Area Plan (LAP) and Town Plan Schemes (TPS) will be released in three installments: 20 percent at the time of submission of preliminary proposal, 40 percent during submission of draft plan and remaining 40 percent during submission of final plan.
The Minister also launched the Smart Cities Fellowship and Internship programmes, to provide the youth of the country with an opportunity to experience various aspects of urban planning and governance. The Fellowship programme would engage, for a period of one to three years, 30 young graduates, postgraduates and Ph.D-holders in the fields of urban planning, urban design, engineering, information and technology, urban mobility, finance, social sector, and environmental issues. Fellows would be working with the Mission Director, Smart Cities in the ministry or with CEOs of selected smart cities. For the Internship programme, students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate degrees would be selected as interns (unpaid) for a period of 6 to 12 weeks, to help implementation of smart city projects at various states of implementation.
Source: Moneycontrol | Financial Express
No takers for low-cost housing in cities?
According to figures released by real estate consultancy firm Anarock Property Consultants, 2.37 lakh budget housing units (priced less than Rs 40 lakh) were left unsold as of the second quarter of 2018. These flats are spread across seven cities – Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), National Capital Region (NCR), Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. These units are all properties developed by organized private players and do not include government housing schemes. The report attributes the lack of demand for these houses to basic gaps – lack of infrastructure, connectivity, bad construction and no proper approvals.