City Buzz: Hyderabad floods | COVID-19 vaccine in a few months | The top biomedical waste generator….and more

Urban Weekly News Round-Up

A flooded street in Hyderabad. File pic from Wikimedia Commons

Hyderabad floods: 50 dead; damages worth thousands of crores

As the account of horrifying stories were circulated across social media, the death toll reached 50, following the heavy downpour which started on 13th October in Hyderabad. Relief operations were initialized across the city and some other parts in Telangana. More than 60 relief camps have been set up in the city.

The government also said that about 1.5 lakh food packets have been distributed to people so far. The government is also utilizing the Annapurna Subsidized Canteen services for people stuck in inundated areas. The Chief Minister has written to PM requesting sanction Rs 1350 crore as compensation for the loss due to floods.

City activists have blamed encroachments and illegal constructions for the flood situation. They shared the example of Nagaram lake which had no construction in the catchment area till 2015. However, post that, there has been a steep rise in concretisation. The activists also spoke of South Hyderabad, where the government has constructed apartments under the “Housing for Poor” scheme on land reclaimed from lakes. 

On 14th October, residents from the financial district, Gachibowli started hearing rumbling and felt the ground shaking. Fear gripped residents who took to Twitter to ask for help from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). However, later the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) clarified that there was no reason to worry and the region had recorded very minor earthquakes. 

Source: Deccan Chronicle | The Hindu | New Indian Express

GRAP implemented in Delhi, new measures announced to tackle air pollution 

The Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) mandated Graded Response Action (GRAP) for air pollution was implemented on 15th October by the AAP government. The plan was notified in 2017 for the first time.

As per the new plan, there will be a complete ban on diesel/petrol/kerosene run generator sets in the national capital, excluding those operating it in emergency situations. At the same time, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) also directed all the power companies to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers. 

GRAP is a systemic mechanism designed to address the challenge of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region. It includes provisions like increasing bus and metro services, ban on diesel/petrol/kerosene run generator sets, hike in parking fees, dust management, check on construction activities, deployment of anti-smog guns etc.  

When the situation is “severe”, GRAP recommends closing down of brick kilns and stone crushers, water sprinkling. In an “emergency” situation, GRAP advises the implementation of a ban on entry of trucks in the capital, ban on construction activities, introducing odd-even vehicle scheme etc. EPCA has also requested the neighbouring states of Haryana, UP and Punjab to make best efforts to contain the situation. 

Source: NDTV

India to have Coronavirus vaccine in a few months, says Health Minister

At the annual general meeting of the Indian Red Cross Society and St. John’s Ambulance, Dr. Harshvardhan informed that the country might get a vaccine in a few months and it will be in the process of delivering the vaccines in the next six months.

The minister also said that till the time we don’t have a vaccine, maintaining a distance of six feet and using masks would be our only vaccine. Dr Harshvardhan described this as a potent social vaccine and termed the process as ‘jan aandolan’ (public movement) against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Source: Hindustan Times 

Maharashtra top COVID-19 waste generator, reveals CPCB data

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, the country generated 18,006 tonnes of COVID-19 biomedical waste in the last four months. Out of this, 5,500 tonnes of biomedical waste was generated in the month of September alone. CPCB received this data from the state/UTs pollution control boards.

The data further revealed that the total waste was disposed of with the help of 198 common bio-medical waste treatment facilities. The highest COVID-19 biomedical waste generator was Maharashtra. Such waste primarily consisted of waste items like needles, human tissue, PPE kits, cotton swabs, blood bags, syringes etc. 

Source: Zee TV

Schools to remain closed in Chandigarh; cinemas open

The administration of Chandigarh has decided to keep schools closed till 30th October, after parents were consulted and they said they were not keen on sending their kids to schools. It has also been shared that after the government opened classes 9th to 12th for consultations, despite 25000 student registrations, only a handful of them came to schools.

At present, the UT will continue with online education for students. A fresh decision will be taken after the 30th in a war room meeting.

The Union Government had left it to states/UTs to decide whether they want to open schools or not after 15th October. Schools can resume classes only after consent has been obtained from parents.

 Meanwhile, as theatres and multiplexes in Chandigarh open at 50% capacity, cinema owners have been asked to ensure that all precautions are in place. From thermal scanning to providing sanitizers, owners are mindful of all the government advisories. They are also ensuring social distancing in food courts and corridors. 

Source: The Indian Express

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.