City Buzz: Do you know how many cars hit Mumbai roads daily?

Mumbai's alarming vehicular explosion, plans for CCTV footage for govt school parents in Delhi, and new Metro projects in the horizon -- this and other news from urban India this week.

Mumbai’s vehicular explosion

Mumbai has seen an explosive growth in its vehicle population, jumping by 56% in just 5 years, with 32 lakh registered vehicles on its streets. These include all vehicles — private cars, buses, two-wheelers, app cabs, school transport and trucks. Close to 700 vehicles hit city roads daily (till Oct-Nov 2017).

Experts now fear that the gap between every extra 10 lakh vehicles on road is narrowing. Soon, it could take a mere two to three years to add another million vehicles in Mumbai and this could sound alarm bells for the city—where the road length has remained at 2,000km for years, they pointed out.

A study conducted by the Mumbai Environmental Social Network recently showed that the population of twowheelers, app-based taxis and school buses registered maximum growth in recent years.

The study indicates how the two-wheeler population is growing phenomenally. The number of two wheelers will soon be double the number of private cars on roads. At present, the private car population is close to 10 lakh while two-wheelers have crossed 18 lakh,” said transport expert Ashok Datar.

Source: The Times of India

BEST to counter app cabs with mini-buses?

As shared mobility becomes an imperative to reduce the stress on Mumbai roads, BEST plans to introduce 200 AC and non AC mini buses connecting suburbs with commercial hubs such as the Bandra-Kurla Complex, Lower Parel, Fort, Colaba and Nariman Point. The move is reportedly to convert those commuters who rely on app-based taxi services such as Ola and Uber.

The BEST management put up the proposal before the committee a few weeks ago, but it is pending for discussions. It has also proposed purchase of 25 Midi buses. BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said, “We want the proposal to be cleared by January end. The panel should expedite the procurement of AC Mini buses as we have a freeze on purchasing new buses and new vehicles will be taken only on wet-lease.”

He said the mini buses will have good turnaround time. “Since these are small buses, they can move faster and can pass through small lanes and bylanes,” he said.

Source: Mumbai Mirror

Smart cities: 82 SPVs and 42 foreign companies on the job

Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, gave out some interesting data on smart cities this week, while talking at various meets and forums.

Addressing the Smart Cities Summit organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry in the capital, the minister said that 82 Special Purpose Vehicles had been formed at the city level and there are about 3000 projects worth Rs.1,40,000 crores at various stages of implementation.

Tenders for projects worth Rs 16,000 crore have been called, and more than 1 lakh crore worth of projects are being readied for issuance of tenders.

Speaking at the ‘Raisina Dialogue’ — a multilateral conference hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs — Puri also said that 42 “world class companies” from 14 countries had either already received a contract or was in the process of being awarded one under the mission.

New Metro lines in the making

Agra, Meerut and Kanpur are set to start Metro rail services by 2024 at a total estimated cost of Rs. 43,800 crore according to state cabinet minister and spokesperson for the UP government, Sidharth Nath Singh.

Mr Singh said there would be two metro corridors in Agra, the Taj city, and the project will cost more than Rs. 13,000 crore. “The Kanpur project will have 31 stations and it will be 30-km-long costing over Rs. 17,000 crore, while Meerut metro project will be of 33 km costing over Rs. 13,800 crore,” he said. The decision comes close on the heels of the Adityanath government giving its approval for the setting up of the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation, which will be set up on the lines of the Maharashtra Rail Corporation.

Source: NDTV

CCTV classroom footage for Delhi parents?

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the parents of all students in government schools in the city will have real time access to CCTV footage of proceedings in their child’s classroom. The installation of these cameras is expected to begin in three months.

Each parent will be given a unique id to log into a mobile app the government is developing. CCTV footage will be live streamed on the app. …….The app will have a complaint feature. “If parents spot anything wrong and want to complain, then they can use the app to register it. The issue will be addressed by officials from the department concerned,” the official (from the education department) said.

Source: Hindustan Times

Much ado over food habits in IIT Bombay

A circular issued by the mess council of a hostel in IIT Bombay caused a furore and raised charges of discrimination and right-wing bias against those consuming non-vegetarian food. The email asked non-vegetarian students to use separate plates — “only the tray type plates, meant specially for non-veg dishes, for eating non-veg dinner” — purportedly in line with the wishes of other students who were strictly vegetarian.

Was it much ado about nothing? That is how the council looked at it, as they clarified that it was only reiterating a rule that already existed.

A statement by the mess council, few days after the email was sent, said the email was only sent to reiterate a rule which is already in place. “For years, non-vegetarian food has been served in a separate plate and we only asked students to maintain the rule. This was not meant to offend anyone,” said a student.

Source: Hindustan Times

Clearly, this was not convincing enough for many.

Dilip K Kainikkara, an IIT Madras alumnus, said that the explanation that the separate-plates rule has existed for years was the “funniest part of the article”. He quipped: “True that, Manusmriti has been around for centuries now.” He was referring to the Hindu legal text, known for its casteist and sexist verses.


Alumni from many other prestigious institutes, including IIT Rourkee, were not surprised, however, as they shared thoughts on social media, asserting that such segregation has been a routine thing in many campuses of the country. One person, commenting on Reddit, said that they had “separate floors for serving veg and non-veg foods.”

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