City Buzz: Women’s wall of solidarity | Delhi water supply projects | Rent inflation in Mumbai…and more

The Sabarimala controversy has rocked the nation and created a stir across cities, especially among women; That and more news from our cities this week in this edition of City Buzz.

Women come together for show of solidarity on Sabarimala

A 35-lakh strong contingent of women formed a 620-km long wall across the state of Kerala to show solidarity with the women who defied tradition to enter the Sabarimala temple, and to demand the upholding of their constitutional right to do so as per the Supreme Court verdict in 2018. The participants of the wall pledged to uphold gender equality. The protest was organised by the Kerala government after the state saw a backlash for implementing the Supreme Court verdict that allowed the entry of all women into Sabarimala, which was previously open to only non-menstruating women.

Women came together in other parts of the country too, to show solidarity with the women wall in Kerala. In Mumbai, a 1000 women formed a human chain to show support. A kilometre-long human chain was formed by women from Dadar Chowpatty to Shivaji Park. Women from Chennai also extended their support to the women wall by forming a human chain in Mogappair. They read out a pledge of solidarity and vowed to fight for their rights.

Source: Huffington Post | NDTV | The New Indian Express

Four new projects for Delhi’s water supply

The Delhi Jal Board is all set to undertake four new projects to increase its water supply in view of the upcoming summer season. Water will be extracted from six locations in the Yamuna food plain between Okhla and Wazirabad that have the potential of yielding 383 million litres per day. The sites have been identified by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB). Two more projects are also under consideration.

The decision to extract more water came after a meeting between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Jal Board Vice Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya and MLAa from various parts of the capital. The deadline for completion of four of the six projects has been set for March.

Areas around Dwarka are in consideration for similar extraction as part of a second phase in order to meet the city’s water needs in the summer. A third measure of restarting closed Ranney wells and borewells has also been mooted. Additional bores will also be made in areas with a high water table.

Source: The Hindu | Business Standard

BMC allows for online tenancy rights transfer

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has enabled the transfer of tenancy rights online under its ease of doing business scheme. The order came into effect on January 1st, with transfers set to be completed within 33 days of issue. The BMC is the owner of around 3500 buildings occupied by close to 46,000 tenants. Most of them are located  in South Mumbai and built as part of affordable housing projects. The buildings are under use for residential and commercial purposes.

Till now, the transfer of rights have been taking place manually, with the tenant having to produce several documents when they wished to sell the property, including a No Objection Certificate from the BMC. Now the entire process can be accomplished under the online services offered by the BMC at their website Tenants will also be able to check the status of the application. The system has been decentralised, with rights of approval given to the respective ward officers.

Source: The Hindu | The Indian Express

Kolkata rings in New Year with severe air pollution

Kolkata continued to grapple with severe levels of air pollution even as all eyes stay trained on Delhi. The city welcomed the new year with PM2.5 levels in the ‘severe’ range. The city’s poor air quality has been attributed to automobile emissions, as stated in an NGT report to the government submitted in November last year. The AQI stood at 500 as on January 4th as opposed to the safe levels of 60 in the readings from the Rabindra Bharati University campus monitors.

The PM2.5 levels in what is considered to be green belt areas in Kolkata has been comparable to the commercial areas in Delhi over the last few months. Even with a third of the vehicular population of Delhi, Kolkata’s emission levels remain high due to the high presence of diesel vehicles. Garbage burning and coal stoves have also been found to be another cause of pollution. To combat this, the NGT banned the entry of commercial vehicles older than 15 years into Kolkata, Howrah, Bidhannagar and Barrackpore as on December 31, 2018.

Source: Financial Express | The Indian Express

Mumbai has highest rent inflation

As per the recently released India Rent Report, Mumbai Metropolitan Region had the highest rent inflation that stood at 18% in 2018. The report compared the rent levels in five cities in the country. The study covered Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune and Gurugram. Mumbai is followed by Chennai and Bengaluru with increases of 15% and 14% respectively. Pune saw the lowest inflation at 7% while Gurugram’s rent inflation stood at 11%.

The average rent in Mumbai increased to Rs 21,168 from the previous year’s average of Rs 17,912. The figure was arrived at based on records of 2.5 lakh properties in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Mumbai is however third behind Bengaluru and Chennai, in terms of figures for security deposits. While deposits in Bengaluru and Chennai stood at Rs 1.3 Lakhs and Rs 1 Lakh, Mumbai saw figures of Rs 89,850 on an average. Mumbaikars surveyed for the report stated their preferences for housing with steady water supply, lift, parking facilities and security.

Source: The Times of India

Hyderabad steps up drive against littering

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has stepped up its drive against public littering in the run up to Swachch Survekshan 2019. The civic body will impose a fine of Rs 100 for littering and Rs 1000 for dumping of garbage in public spaces and water bodies. Special weekly drives will be conducted on garbage disposal, disposal of construction debris and littering and dumping of garbage in nullahs. Bulk dumping of garbage on roads will attract a fine of Rs 2000. The GHMC is expected to collect Rs 50 lakh as fine in January.

Other measures taken include the termination of water supply to persons who have been found littering and causing damage to public property. Two such connections have been disconnected as on January 5, with a fine of Rs 7 lakh having been collected in the Khairatabad zone alone.

Source: The NewsMinute | The Times of India

[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]

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