City Buzz: Delhi burns | New list of most polluted cities | Delhi-Dehradun in 2.5 hours…and more

WEEKLY URBAN NEWS ROUND-UP

Ghaziabad tops the list of the world's most polluted cities in a latest ranking published by IQAir AirVisual. Pic: Flickr/CC BY 2.0

North East Delhi Riots: Death toll reaches 42; situation normal now

The death toll touched 42 in the violent North East Delhi riots that began on the night of  February 23rd in Jaffrabad and neighboring areas of North East Delhi. It was reported that more than 500 women were sitting on silent protests against the CAA-NRC on the Seelampur-Jaffrabad stretch blocking the entry and exit of Seelampur Metro Station. There had been incendiary comments by local political leader Kapil Mishra, urging the police to evict them, failing which things could get chaotic. Days later, communal clashes — labeled as clashes between pro- and anti-CAA citizens — broke out in pockets of north-east Delhi, which soon spiraled out of control and took on the proportions of violent rioting in the face of alleged police inaction. On February 25th, Delhi Police was finally given shoot at sight orders by the Home Ministry. 


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On 26th February, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited the riot-affected areas of North East Delhi and informed media that normalcy had been restored in all the areas. NDTV reported that it received 7,500 emergency calls on the night of 25th February, the highest in the week. Petitions were also filed in the SC, which the Apex Court refused to entertain as Delhi HC was already hearing the matter. 

On February 26th, the Delhi High Court ordered the Delhi Police to file cases against the political leaders involved in inciting the mob and spreading hate messages amongst the community. The order was delivered by Justices S Muralidhar and Talvant Singh. Delhi HC also expressed anguish over non-effectiveness and non-ability to take any action against the rioters. 

Currently, two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) under the leadership of DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo are investigating the matter.   

Source: NDTV | Firstpost 

21 out of 30 polluted cities are in India; Ghaziabad tops list

More than two thirds of the world’s most polluted cities in 2019 — 21 out of the top 30 to be precise — were in India according to a report published by IQAir AirVisual, a data forum on air pollution. Indian metropolitan cities continue to be the most polluted cities worldwide, with Ghaziabad at number one, followed by Delhi at number five and Noida at six. In terms of country-wise ranking India ranked fifth, with Bangladesh on top, followed by Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan. 

The report blames use of coal fired power plants, rising urbanization, increasing traffic and decreasing green patches for such an unprecedented rise in air pollution in the urban pockets of the country.  The report, however, also mentions the improvement made by Indian cities, indicating that “national air pollution decreased by 20 per cent from 2018 to 2019 with 98 per cent of the cities experiencing improvement.”

The efforts made by China in reducing air pollution, meanwhile, has generated deep interest among academics and experts all over the world. A report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has found Beijing and Shanghai in particular to have made  “major progress,” though PM2.5 had increased in other parts of the country. 

Source: The New Indian Express | Bloomberg 

Mohalla Clinics to be implemented in Raipur

After his recent visit to Delhi, Raipur Municipal Corporation’s Mayor Aijaz Dhebar has announced replication of Delhi’s mohalla clinics in all the 70 wards of the Raipur Municipal Corporation. As of now, 165 diseases have been identified that will be treated free of cost in the Mohalla Clinics. The first Mohalla Clinic is proposed to be launched near Gandhi Maidan in Raipur, which also happens to be the seat of the incumbent Mayor. 

Source: The New Indian Express

Kolkata all set to re-introduce double decker Buses

West Bengal Transport Corporation is all set to re-introduce double decker buses in the capital March 2020 onwards. These buses are designed inhouse by the transport department. Two buses are being readied to be launched for the service. The buses will be used for tourism purposes and will have open roofs. The bus will provide service from Newtown to EcoUrban Village. With a seating capacity of up to 50 members, the tourists will also be able to enjoy their snacks and drinks as it is fitted with dining tables too. In total 80 such buses will be plying on the road. 

Double deckers buses were first introduced by the Britishers in the year 1926. Shyambazar and Kalighat areas witnessed the plying of these double-decker buses for the first time in the capital city. The last trip of the double-decker was in 1998 from Dunlop to Shyambazar, after which it was discontinued. 

Source: Zee News || Down To Earth

Kolkata India’s cleanest airport, followed by Chennai and Jaipur

As per the Swachhata Awards 2019 announced by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Kolkata Airport was adjudged as the cleanest airport of India among the large state-owned airports. The upkeep and cleanliness of washrooms at Kolkata Airport were especially applauded. Earlier, the state of washrooms caught unwanted attention when travelers shared the horrible state of the washrooms on social media. After this, AAI decided to overhaul the washroom infrastructure at the airport. 

Other steps that helped Kolkata Airport score highly include the installation of plastic crushing bottles, reducing the use of single-use plastic and sensitizing employees and passengers. Chennai Airport and Jaipur achieved second and third rank respectively in the Swachhata Awards 2019 for Airports in India. 

Source: The Times of India

Delhi to Dehradun in 2.5 hrs, expressway approved by government

The central government has given in-principle approval to an expressway between Delhi and Dehradun, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat announced early last week. The expressway will reduce the travelling time between Delhi and Dehradun to 2.5 hours from 5 hours. The expressway will pass through Ganeshpur, Mohand, and Ashkrodi in Uttarkhand and Saharanpur, Baghpat and Loni in Uttar Pradesh. The estimated cost of the expressway will be around Rs. 1600 to 2000 crore. The announcement from CM came after he met the NHAI Chairman SS Sandhu in Dehradun. 

Source: Hindustan Times 

SC questions land reclaimed for Mumbai Coastal Road Project 

In response to a petition filed by activists over the Rs 14,000-crore Mumbai Coastal Road Project, the Supreme Court has asked the project proponent – L&T – to file an affidavit in response to why 75 hectares of the sea was being reclaimed, as the land requirement had been earlier pegged at 20 hectares.    The representation made by petitioners alleged  that Bombay Municipal Corporation was violating its order by claiming more land than originally approved. The coastal road will connect the Marine Drive area in the south to suburban Borivali in the north.

Earlier, Bombay HC had quashed all the coastal zone clearances granted to the project, to which SC put a stay in December 2019. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Maharashtra Government while senior advocate Shyam Diwan represented the petitioners. The court has listed the matter for final hearing in April. 

Source: The Times of India

[Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava]

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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.