City Buzz: Shaheen Bagh updates | Underwater Metro in Kolkata | Hope for Delhi pollution hotspots…and more

Been busy during the week? Catch a recap of the most important news from our cities in our weekly round-up.

Shaheen Bagh: Mediation ends with Road 9 opened

Following talks between Supreme Court appointed interlocutors and anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh, road number 9, a one-way route connecting Noida with Kalindi Kunj, was opened to allow one-way traffic from the Shaheen Bagh-Jamia Nagar locality and Ashram towards Noida through the Kalindi Kunj bridge. While it may not completely resolve traffic problems, it’s being considered a positive start.

Hearing pleas against the blockade of roads for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh, on February 17th, a Supreme Court Bench had appointed Senior Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde, advocate Sadhana Ramachandran and former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah to talk to the protesters. The Court upheld their right to dissent but expressed concern over blocking of public roads for the protest. Three  rounds of discussion have been held so far, but little headway has been made.

On February 20th, Day 2 of the protest, interlocutors assured protesters that they were ‘safe in India’ and that they could continue to protest but that it was also important not to cause public inconvenience. “We stay together in India not to cause inconvenience to others but to grow together. What are you refusing? Do you fear if you move from here then no one will come to listen to you? I and many other lawyers will fight for you,” Advocate Hegde told them. However, towards the close of Round 2 talks, mediators had begun to express dissatisfaction over the conditions created at the venue by media presence and some protesters. They wanted to talk to groups of protesters at a different venue, away from media glare, to which the protesters did not agree.

On Day 3, Shaheen Bagh appeared to be open to the possibility of opening one of the lanes of the blocked thoroughfare, if the apex court passed an order ensuring their security. They also raised questions over why the police had barricaded the road parallel to their tent, besides two other roads that connect to the Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj road.

On the 22nd, when advocate Sadhana Ramachandran visited the site, the protesters handed her a charter of demands. They sought written assurance on security after opening of road, withdrawal of notices on some protesters and a fair probe into police brutality in Jamia, among other things.

Source: Outlook magazine | India Today | Firstpost | The Indian Express

CPCB orders DDA to remove construction debris from Yamuna floodplain 

The CPCB has ordered DDA to immediately clear the construction debris collected below the Nizamuddin Bridge and in the Yamuna Floodplain after the environmentalist collective South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) tweeted pictures about the piles of construction debris lying in the Yamuna Floodplain and beneath the Nizamuddin Bridge. Activists say these mountains of trash have risen to a height of 4 feet. This is mostly the construction debris that has been dumped there following the construction of five bridges in the last 10 years. Earlier, in 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued strict guidelines against the abuse of the river’s floodplain. DDA has assured CPCB that they will keep SANDRP updated about the ground situation.

Source: The New Indian Express

Country’s first underwater metro corridor launched in Kolkata

Union Rail Minister Piyush Goyal inaugurated the country’s first underwater metro corridor in Kolkata on February 13th. The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has designed a 5.8-km Kolkata East-West Metro corridor. The first metro rail was flagged off by the minister from Sector V. The total length of the corridor from Sector V to Howrah Ground is 16.55 km, out of which 10.81 km is an underwater stretch across the Hooghly river.

The underwater corridor aims to connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. Kolkata Metro is one of the oldest metro services in India, operating since 1984. The project cost of the East-West corridor is estimated to be around Rs 8574.98 cr. It is estimated that once the service is operational, the corridor will witness a daily commute of around one million people, a fifth of the city’s population.

Source: PIB

MP Gautam Gambhir takes stock of Ghazipur Landfill in Delhi

East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir visited the Ghazipur Landfill in Delhi on February 18th to review various works going on to manage the landfill site. However, the MP suggested his dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work being undertaken at the landfill site. As per media reports, Gambhir also raised concerns over the slow coordination between various government agencies and MCDs to decrease the height of the landfill, which threatens to cross the height of the landmark Taj Mahal.

Ghazipur landfill is one of the oldest and largest landfills in the country. In 2017, two people died in the landfill. Gambhir also complained about the deterioration in the quality of the water, which was visibly yellow in color. Later, Gambhir tweeted about the problem to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and asked him to work together (as a team) on the issue.

Source: The Indian Express

13 major hotspots in national capital witness reduction in air pollution

As per the data shared by Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai, 13 major hotspots in the national capital registered a significant reduction in air pollution in 2019 as compared to 2018. There has been a reduction in PM2.5 concentration between 6% to 21% and in PM10 between 5% and 24%.

The 13 city hotspots identified by the government for interventions are Anand Vihar, RK Puram, Jahangirpuri, Narela, Ashok Vihar, Dwarka, Rohini, Punjabi Bagh, Bawana, Okhla, Wazirpur, Mundka and Vivek Vihar. Implementation of odd-even policy, increase in green patches, 24X7 power supply were cited as some of the steps that resulted in decrease of air pollution in the capital. Rai also appreciated the Central Government’s initiative of opening up Outer Ring Roads that have resulted in decrease of traffic congestion in the city.

Source: Hindustan Times (HT)

Kochi Metro introduces feeder service between airport and Aluva Metro Station 

Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. (KMRL) launched two electric buses, named Pavan Doot, as a feeder service to ease the travel between Airport and Aluva Metro Station on Thursday. In total, both e-buses will make 44 trips between Airport and Metro Station. From Metro Station, the services will ply between 5 AM and 11 PM and from Airport it will be between 5:40 AM and 11:10 PM. ‘Kochi 1 Card’ holders can use the same for feeder service and except the starting and destination points, there will be no other stopping point. V J Kurien, Managing Director, Kochi Airport flagged off the bus from the Airport along with officials from KMRL on Thursday.

Source: The New Indian Express

Mumbai Airport houses world’s largest temperature-controlled airport facility

GVK-run Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) now hosts the world’s largest temperature controlled airport facility for the processing and storage of agriculture and pharmaceutical products. As per media reports, the facility is equipped to hold 700 tonnes at a time, along with features like truck docks, spacious acceptance and examination area, automated workstations, x-ray machines and much more.

Mumbai airport serves as a customer base for more than 60 airlines and over 500 cargo destinations spanned across 175 countries. One of the recent initiatives of Mumbai Airport was to launch the air cargo community portal, GMAX, which enables real-time tracking of the shipment through a mobile app. Earlier, the Airport introduced an indigenous temperature-controlled transport solution. ‘Cooltainer’ for pharmaceutical products on the airport tarmac region.

Source: The Hindu

New municipal Act to be introduced soon in Hyderabad

Telangana’s Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao announced a soon-to-be-launched GHMC act,which will ensure greater accountability and citizen convenience and ease the building plan approval method. The Act will also put more focus on sanitation and greenery. The new law is expected to be presented in the assembly during the Budget session in March this year and will incorporate all the major provisions from the Telangana Municipalities Act 2019. To monitor development works like junction redevelopment, maintenance of parks and public toilets, a special dashboard will also be constituted.

Source: Telangana Today

[Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava]

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