Predictably, our cities have been preoccupied with little other than the health emergency created by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Please see our complete coverage of COVID-19 for daily updates, reportage and information resources pertaining to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, here are some other urban news this week:
Four-lane express-way to come up between Mumbai And Goa
A 500-km long expressway along the lines of Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway will be built between Mumbai to Goa as announced by Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister Eknath Shinde. The expressway will open up tourism opportunities in the Konkan region and will also generate jobs, he added.
ICRA has pointed out that 90% of hybrid annuity road projects are witnessing execution delays because of land acquisition and tight liquidity, whereas the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said that the direct transfers have speeded up the land notification process as around 37,078 hectares of land has been notified in 21 months since 1 April 2018 against 33,005 hectares in the previous four years.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Water in Malwa region of Punjab not suitable for drinking
A study conducted by Central University Punjab at Bathinda pointed out that the chemical contamination of groundwater in Bathinda, Ludhiana and Barnala is posing great health risk to people residing there. A total of 450 samples were collected from these three districts during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon season and it was found that 80% of samples from Bathinda had fluoride content exceeding WHO Limit, whereas around 50% of samples of Ludhiana had higher fluoride concentration.
Moreover, 85%, 75% and 10% samples from Bathinda, Barnala and Ludhiana respectively were found to exceed the uranium concentration as per norms. The study shows that the groundwater in these three Malwa districts is not fit for drinking due to reasons like less rainfall, high evaporation rate and alkaline environment.
Source: The Times of India
Coronavirus outbreak: Bengal civic polls deferred
Civic polls in more than 100 civic bodies in West Bengal have been deferred by the State Election Commission in an all-party meeting held to avoid political campaigns at present, preventing the spread of COVID-19. Both Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) had appealed to SEC to defer the polls. “In fighting this pandemic, political parties must stand shoulder to shoulder with the people we represent,” TMC said in its statement. On Sunday BJP’s national president J P Nadda issued instructions to suspend all other activities and conduct public awareness programmes on the novel coronavirus.
Source: Hindustan Times
New air quality monitors installed in NCR region
Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has installed 5 new air quality monitors in Gurugram and Faridabad. Gurugram has got two new air quality monitors, one at The Energy Research Institute (TERI) and the other in sector 51. Faridabad also received three new air quality monitors in sector 11, sector 30 and at VK Chowk in the New Industrial Township area.
Both Faridabad and Gurugram now have four air quality screens, every information from which will be utilized while computing their daily air quality index (AQI) values. Data from all are being transmitted to the Central Pollution Control Board’s central server.
Source: Hindustan Times
New guidelines issued on bio-medical waste by CPCB
Amidst the growing cases of Coronavirus, CPCB has come out with guidelines on handling the bio-medical waste being generated from the isolation wards, clinics, hospitals and other health care units handling COVID-19 cases. The guidelines were officially notified on March 18 2020 and will be applicable to all the state and central isolation wards, quarantine centers, sample collection centers and labs dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. The additional guidelines issued by CPCB talk about proper segregation of the bio-medical waste as per the color codes enshrined under the Bio-medical Waste Management Rules 2016.
Source: CPCB[Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava]