City Buzz: Delhi skywalk controversy | #MeToo storm | Dharavi facelift | Swine flu in Hyderabad

WEEKLY URBAN NEWS ROUND-UP

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Dharavi slum in Mumbai. The Maharashtra government has recently approved a fresh plan for its redevelopment. Pic: Flickr/YGLVoices (CC BY 2.0)

ITO skywalk re-ignites Delhi-Centre tussle

The latest battle ground between the Union government and Delhi is the newly inaugurated 400-metre ITO skywalk in Central Delhi. The skywalk was opened to the public by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri last week. In his inaugural address he accused the Delhi state government for delaying the project by stalling the 20% contribution from the state for the project for over a year. The Rs 54.84-crore project was conceptualised as one that would be completed with 80% funding from the centre and the remaining from the state. The Delhi government in turn has accused the centre of hijacking its work and not inviting its minister for the inauguration.

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The ITO skywalk was built with the aim to reduce jaywalking and to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the busy ‘W’ junction. With many office buildings in the vicinity, it is estimated that 30,000 predestrians cross the road at various points. The skywalk is expected to reduce congestion and improve road safety.

Source: Hindustan Times | NDTV

#MeToo takes nation by storm, Union Minister MJ Akbar quits

Minister of State for External Affairs and veteran journalist MJ Akbar tendered his resignation in the wake of a slew of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the span of his journalistic career. Akbar was initially defiant in the face of allegations made by seven women in the wake of a larger movement, bringing stories of sexual harassment faced by women across the country in all spheres of life. Akbar even filed a defamation suit against one of the women, journalist Priya Ramani.

However, with mounting public pressure and countless allegations over ten days, Akbar was forced to quit office. In these ten days, a total of sixteen individual accounts of misbehaviour by Akbar came to light.

The allegations against the minister surfaced as part of a nationwide movement, #metoo, where women have come forward to recount sexual harassment faced by them and the perpetrators behind their trauma. The movement has gained widespread attention with several high profile accused having been forced to resign. The National Commission for Women has taken cognisance of the matter and has requested survivors who wish to pursue action to register a complaint. A dedicated email address has been created for the same.

Source: The Economic Times | Livemint | The Newsminute | Firstpost | The Times of India

Dharavi redevelopment project revived

The Maharashtra state cabinet has approved a fresh plan for the redevelopment of Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the country. The cabinet nod for the project comes after several failed attempts at redevelopment. The latest plan is to be executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) constituted exclusively for the project. The SPV will have 80% private and 20% government stake. The project is estimated to cost Rs 22,000 crores. This is the third tender issued for a redevelopment project in Dharavi after two precious failed attempts in 2011 and 2016.

The previous plans for redevelopment of the area had seen the division of Dharavi into five sectors but the current plan applies to the 535 acre slum in its entirety. Under the plan 59,160 residents who have been living in the slum for over 18 years will get free homes while the others will get homes at subsidised rates. The Indian Railways is expected to contribute 90 acres as part of the project.

The plan has come under criticism from residents and political opponents as an opportunistic move with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in mind.

Source: Times of India | Hindustan Times

Pune faces water crisis

The breach in the wall of Mutha canal a little less than a month ago has left a strong impact on the residents of Pune in the form of a water supply crisis that is yet to be resolved by the civic body. The incident led to disruption of water supply in the city in the aftermath. Residents of many parts of the city have faced issues with water pressure and contaminated supply ever since the breach. Some residents have raised complaints of water mixed with sewage. Water has also been in short supply in many parts, with areas such as Ganesh Peth and Bhavani Peth receiving water only for an hour a day.

The issue has seen protests by corporators from the Opposition who have called for speeding up of projects such as the Pavana dam – Nigdi water supply pipeline in order to improve the water pressure issue faced by residents. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has called for the irrigation department to increase water supply taking into account the growth in population in the city. The irrigation department has promised an increase of 250 MLD in supply if the PMC furnishes proof of increased population.

Source: The Times of India | Hindustan Times | Pune Mirror

Swine Flu sweeps Hyderabad

A change in weather has resulted in widespread influenza outbreak in Hyderabad. The state of Telangana has seen 145 cases reported in the month of October with children and women making up most of the affected. As the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu is highly contagious, patients have been quarantined in hospitals or in their respective homes to prevent further spread of the virus. The virus spreads through the air and can also be contracted through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Hyderabad alone reported six swine flu deaths as of last week. Government hospital and facilities have seen 600-650 cases of those affected by influenza since the beginning of October. The most prevalent symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and body pain. The outbreak has seen double the number of patients who visit hospital with the flu-like symptoms at this time of the year as the winter months of November and December are generally considered to be flu-season.

Source: The Times of India

[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]

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