City Buzz: Delhi Airport roof collapse | Mumbai’s suburban railways slammed… and more

Other news of the week: Housing sales may decline, review of Smart Cities Mission and no funds from Centre for Punjab health and education.

Roof in Delhi Airport collapses due to downpour

One person was killed and at least eight were injured when the Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal-1 roof collapsed in Delhi. Flight operations at Terminal-1 were shut down till 2 pm, while the entire terminal was evacuated. An inquiry has been ordered. Delhi police, fire service, CISF and NDRF teams rushed to the spot after the shed outside the terminal caved in. According to official sources, the collapse happened because heavy rains pounded the roof.

It rained heavily over many parts of the capital on June 28. The southwest monsoons has arrived in Delhi unexpectedly early, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Several areas in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida faced waterlogging and traffic congestion. A 24X7 emergency control room has been set up.

In Jabalpur Airport too, a portion of a canopy of a new terminal building caved in and fell on a car after heavy rainfall on Thursday.

Mumbai also received heavy rains and the IMD has predicted more showers in the coming days with the advance of the southwest monsoons.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times

Read More: Surviving the monsoon: Life in Mumbai’s coastal settlements

HC: Mumbai suburbans carry people like cattle

The high rate of fatalities in Mumbai’s suburban railway system — the second busiest in the world — is unusually high, with 2,000 deaths every year. The Bombay High Court, on hearing a petition, charged that “human passengers are carried like cattle” and officers at the highest level should be held accountable. The Bench argued that railways disown deaths if the passengers stumble while crossing tracks, fall from the train or slip between platform-train gaps.

The general managers of the Western and Central Railways were asked to probe and submit affidavits on measures taken. A committee of commissioners and experts to seek solutions was mooted.

Although there has been a phenomenal growth in the number of local passengers in the past few years, infrastructure remained inadequate. Authorities maintain most deaths are caused by untoward incidents. The Bench said that the aim should be to reduce the fatality rate to the minimum like in cities such as London.

Source: Indian Express, The Times of India

AAP: No funds from Centre for Punjab’s health, education

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Centre of withholding funds meant to develop Punjab’s health, education and rural sectors. Sources said that the Centre is withholding the Rural Development Funds (RDF), National Health Mission (NHM) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds. Money allocated for education of children in primary schools has also been stopped.

The Centre is reluctant to release Rs 650 crore under the NHM and Rs 1,100 crore for special assistance to the Punjab government to turn around the Aam Aadmi Clinics. State government sources charge the Centre of wanting to brand the clinics based on design, according to the the Centre’s healthcare scheme. Named Ayushman Bharat Wellness Centres, these operate with 60:40 Centre-State contribution and have a set design on the facade, with tribal art or local folk art.

Earlier, Punjab Health Minister Dr Balbir Singh had stated that the Centre was paying only 60% of the amount and the state 40%. But he added that the state government should be allowed to have its own branding.

Source:, Indian Express

Housing sales may decline in 9 cities

Housing sales might decline 2% to nearly 120,000 units in the current quarter across nine major cities. This is attributed to the reduced demand in Hyderabad and Pune, says the real estate data analytic firm PropEquity. It released housing sales data for April-June, just 10 days before the end of the quarter. It estimates that housing sales in April-June are expected to reduce by 119,901 units as against 121,856 units last year.

Giving various figures for Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune, PropEquity said that sales in April-June are estimated to decline 18%, compared to the previous quarter, which saw sales of 1,46,1947 units.

Buildings stacked up close to each other in Mumbai
The sale of houses in cities has gone down. Pic: Adam Cohn, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Sources said that the January-March period was an extraordinary quarter with the highest absorption/ sales ever witnessed in India. But the April-June quarter is usually the slowest compared to other quarters, with respect to supply and absorption/sales.

Availability of new housing units is estimated to decline by 13% in this quarter across nine major cities, even as builders launched less number of projects due to the elections.

Source: Business Standard, Economic Times

Read More: Opinion: Nothing smart about Centre’s Smart Cities Mission

Centre’s review of Smart Cities Mission

Almost 7,160 projects worth Rs 1.43 trillion have been executed under the Smart Cities Mission, said the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Another 854 projects worth Rs 20,392 crore are expected to be completed soon, as the Centre has released Rs 46,387 crore to 100 cities, of which 93% have been utilised.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched on June 25, 2015, to promote cities with core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and a decent quality of life through ‘smart solutions.’

The main achievements under the mission include operation Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCC), setting up 76,000 CCTV across 100 cities, about 1,884 emergency call boxes and 3,000 public address systems. More than 6,800 kms of water supply systems are being monitored through SCADA, reducing the non-revenue water and leakages. More than 50 lakh solar/LED streetlights have been installed and over 89,000 kms of underground electricity cabling have been constructed.

Source: Business Standard

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