City Buzz: Panel for unauthorized Delhi colonies | Vaccination deaths in Hyderabad | Trivandrum airport privatisation…and more!

A plan for transfer of ownership to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies, reduction and waiver in property tax for small houses in Mumbai, and tragic deaths of two infants in Hyderabad in a case of medical negligence -- this and more news from across cities.

Unauthorized colonies to be legalised in Delhi

On March 7th, the central government gave its nod to the constitution of a panel to look into the process of transfer of rights or ownership to the residents of Delhi’s unauthorized colonies. The move will be applicable to around 1790 unauthorized colonies in the city that is home to a largely migrant population who moved in search of employment. The committee is to be headed by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal. The committee is expected to submit a feasibility report within the next three months.

The committee comprises ten members and is expected to recommend the roles and responsibilities of all agencies involved as part of the report, including the Delhi Development Authority, the largest land owning agency in the city. The committee includes the additional secretary of Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Chief Secretary of Delhi and the commissioners of all three Municipal Corporations. The transfer of rights and ownership is expected to pave the way for in situ redevelopment of the colonies and enforce urban planning and development control norms.

Source: NDTV | The Times of India

Property tax waiver for Mumbai residents

The Maharashtra government approved a waiver of property tax for houses up to 500 sq ft in a decision made by the cabinet on March 8th. The waiver will be applicable retroactively from January 1st, 2019. The decision was part of a poll promise that had been made by the Shiv Sena prior to civic polls in 2017. The proposal awaited clearance by the state government after being sent in July 2017.

The proposal also had other relief measures for larger homes. The waiver of property tax up to 60% applied to homes between 500 sq. ft to 700 sq.ft. This move did not require clearance from the state government as it was a reduction in tax rates and not an elimination. It is estimated that there are around 14.98 lakh homes in Mumbai that are less than 500 sq.ft and will benefit from the waiver. A revenue of Rs 350 lakh was received as property tax from these units. Concessions are also expected for stamp duty, GST and urban land ceiling.

Source: The Times of India | DNA

Vaccination tragedy in Hyderabad; two dead

A wrongly administered opioid is believed to be the cause of death of two infants at the Nampally urban health center on March 6th. Three children who were critical have stabilised, while 32 others aged between 1-6 are receiving treatment at the Niloufer Hospital. The health center had vaccinated a total of 92 infants as part of an immunisation programme. The health center had administered a pentavalent vaccine and given tramadol after.

The tramadol was administered by the parents when infants developed fever after the vaccination. In routine cases a paracetamol is prescribed for fever instead of tramadol. Doctors and staff at the urban health center have been booked under Section 304 of the IPC for causing death by negligence. The tramadol tablet given after the vaccination has been identified to have caused the complications post vaccination.

Source: NDTV | The Times of India

Amendment to tenancy laws relaxes curbs on construction in Kolkata

The amendment to the West Bengal Thika Tenancy (Acquisition and Regulation) Act by the West Bengal cabinet on March 7th will free up land in Kolkata and Howrah for redevelopment due to a change in terms. The thika tenancy law applied to thika land, the land that was owned by the government after the abolishment of the Zamindari system. The amendment paves way for those residing in the thika land to redevelop structures, free from the current rule that restricts construction to a two-storey building.

The move will benefit 50000 residents in 2000 acres of Kolkata and 517 acres of Howrah who can now construct structures based on the applicable rules of the local Corporation. The move will allow land owners and tenants to make alterations but no promoter can be involved in any construction, thus preventing commercialisation. No person is allowed to sell any portion of  the redeveloped building as the land belongs to the state. The move will allow for G + 4 construction leading to vertical expansion and increase the city’s open spaces.

Source: The Times of India | Business Standard

Mixed response to Trivandrum airport contract

The decision by the Airports Authority of India to award the Adani group the lease for running the Trivandrum airport has been met with mixed response. The state government which had vehemently opposed the awarding of the contract to a private entity has moved the Kerala High Court challenging the decision. The state argued that the move was against public interest and that the state stood to lose significantly as a result. It also pointed out that 635 acres of the land that the airport is situated on is owned by the state government. It argued that the centre must form a special projects vehicle (SPV) to allow the state to manage the airport.

The business community has however come out in support of the move to hand over operations to the private sector. The CII and G-Tech collectives came together to release a statement that privatisation is good for the state which sees a high influx of tourists and expats, who use the facilities often. They were of the view that this move will help keep Trivandrum airport competitive and at par with other privately run airports such as Mumbai and Delhi.

Source: The Times of India | Financial Express

[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]

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