City Buzz: Cities gear up for elections | Mumbai foot over bridge collapse | PUBG ban in several cities…and more

From Ahmedabad to Kolkata, and from Mumbai to Hyderabad, get a quick recap of the latest news and developments in our cities this week.

Election commission announces dates for Lok Sabha polls

On March 10th, the Election Commission announced the schedule for the poll to elect the 17th Lok Sabha. The exercise is to be conducted across all states in seven phases. The polls will be held between April 11 and May 19. The current schedule makes this election cycle the longest so far, at 38 days. The results for all constituencies are to be announced on May 23rd.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) will be used in all polling stations for the elections to verify the integrity of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). The model code of conduct kicked in immediately after the announcement was made official.

Delhi goes to polls on May 12th. Mumbai will see elections on April 24th. Kolkata’s schedule is set for May 12th again. Bengaluruand Chennai will vote on April 18th and Hyderabad on April 11th.

Source: News18 | The Economic Times

Hoardings in Delhi removed in run-up to elections

With the enforcement of the model code of conduct for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the office of New Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has ordered for the removal of all public hoardings and banners in the city that are of political nature. In accordance with this, 63,449 hoardings, banners and posters have been removed from public places across the city. Out of the removed material, 33,533 was under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Council.

In the 72-hour drive, officials removed material in violation of the model code of conduct with North Corporation seeing removal of 4,945 items, the South Corporation 22,419 and East Corporation 3,141. A total of 137 FIRs have been registered against offenders violating the code. Unlicensed arms and weapons have also been seized from individuals and 7721 persons have been booked as a preventive measure.

Source: India Today | FirstPost

Mumbai foot over bridge collapse leaves 6 dead

A section of an overhead foot bridge opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus collapsed on March 14th, leaving six people dead and over 30 injured. The incident occurred at 7.30 pm in the evening when many commuters were returning from work. The bridge collapsed and fell on to the moving traffic below. Rescue and relief operations began immediately with many people trapped under the debris.

The Chief Minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the dead and Rs 50,000 for those injured. An investigation into the incident was ordered. The Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation were found passing the buck over maintenance of the bridge. A safety audit conducted last year had certified the bridge to be safe, raising questions about the audit process itself.

Source: The Times of India | NDTV

Hyderabad school children join global movement on climate change

Around 1000 school children from Hyderabad joined a growing global movement calling for immediate action on climate change through a gathering in the city on March 15. They were part of the “Fridays for Future” initiative spreading rapidly across countries where young people voice their concerns on inaction in the face of threats to the planet. Children from 13 schools came together near KBR Park to demand action on climate change. The students held up placards and raised slogans at the site.

Those gathered called for the government and citizens to be environmentally conscious in their choices and choose “green” over “greed”. The protests were organised by Citizens for Hyderabad, a group focused on saving the city’s green spaces, including KBR Park which is under threat from the construction of flyovers. The students also demanded that the government protect other ecosensitive zones such as the Mrugavani National Park and Pranahita Wildlife Sanctuary from development work and construction.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India

Indian cities rank poorly in quality of life: Mercer suvery

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2019 ranks Indian cities among the bottom based on poor performance on a range of parameters. The cities were surveyed and ranked based on aspects such as housing, air pollution, crime, education, economy, infrastructure, leisure, political stability and health. A new addition to the mix was the aspect of personal safety, including personal freedom and freedom of the press.

Out of the 231 cities surveyed, the highest ranked Indian cities are Hyderabad and Pune, coming in at 143 in the global list. The next city is Bengaluru placed at 149. Chennai ranks 151 while Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi bagged spots 154, 160 and 162 respectively. The top cities in the world according to the survey were Vienna emerging as the most livable, Zurich at second and Vancouver, Auckland and Munich tied third.

Source: TimesNow | Money Control

PUBG faces ban in several cities, players arrested

Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara banned the popular game PUBG over the past week. The ban was then also extended to Ahmedabad, Aravalli and Bhavnagar and Somnath districts in Gujarat. The move comes after the game came to be widely regarded as addictive and harmful to children. The action was initiated after fears that the game could incite violent behaviour among those who play it, with the game being most popular among school-going children.

A notification of the ban was issued and anyone who is found in contravention of it can be arrested under the provisions of Section 188 of the Indian penal code. The offence is bailable. So far, 10 people, including 6 college students have been arrested for playing the banned game in Rajkot. The ban is expected to continue until March 30, 2019.

Source: News18 | Bloomberg Quint

Kolkata civic body amps up anti-dengue drive

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation had upped its drive against dengue with the use of drones to detect puddles and through door-to-door awareness campaigns. The vector control and health team of the KMC visited complexes in South Kolkata to earn residents of the dangers of dengue and ways to protect against the diseases. The civic body has been using drones to identify stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that cause dengue.

Drones are also being used to detect garbage dumps and mounds across the city to take action and conduct clean up drives. Tangra, Park Circus, Convent Road, Raja Bazaar and Muraripukur are a few areas where KMC has identified potential triggers for spread of dengue. In addition, the KMC also plans to conduct social media campaigns spreading awareness about the disease through Facebook and WhatsApp to reach out to more citizens.

Source: The Times of India | Millennium Post

[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]

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