City Buzz: Hathras protests | Unlock 5 guidelines released | COVID vaccine updates… and more

From Hathras Protests to Unlock 5, catch what's making news in our cities in this edition of our Buzz.

Hathras protests spread far and wide; sanitation workers’ unrest creates crisis in Agra

The horrific murder and suspected rape of a young Dalit woman by four upper-caste men in Hathras of Uttar Pradesh has led to widespread protests and condemnation across cities, with politicians, activists and even lay civil society members joining these.

Hundreds gathered at Jantar Mantar to condemn the deterioration of law and order in the state under the leadership of CM Yogi Adityanath and expressed their outrage not only over the crime but also over the human rights violation by the state police in the days following it. The protest initially slated to be held at India Gate was moved to Jantar Mantar in view of prohibitory orders around the former.

At the protest, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called for strictest punishment of the perpetrators and calling upon the UP government to hang the guilty. Actor Swara Bhaskar, Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, Left leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury also made appearances at the protest.

In Agra, protests by the Valmiki community have led to a sanitation crisis in the city. Sanitation workers belonging to the community have been on strike and there have been sporadic reports of stone-pelting, damage to garbage collection vehicles and even dumping of garbage at major road intersections in the city.

Additional municipal commissioner KB Singh told media that five contractual sanitation workers were suspended from service on charges of disrupting cleanliness work. Provincial armed constabulary (PAC) has been deployed in the Kothi Meena Bazaar locality.

Source: The Times of India | NDTV

Centre issues Unlock 5 guidelines; to be implemented from October 15 

The Union Home Ministry issued guidelines for the fifth phase of easing COVID-related restrictions, or Unlock 5 on October 1 2020. According to the new guidelines,

  • Cinema halls can open at 50% capacity from 15 October onwards
  • State governments can take a call on the opening of schools in a graded manner from the same date
  • There are no more restrictions on outdoor gatherings (happening outside the containment zones), while 50% limitation to apply on indoor gatherings. 

The guidelines have also allowed the opening of labs for PhD and postgraduate students in consultation with the Home Ministry of the respective state. Swimming pools and entertainment parks are also allowed to open subject to implementation of due Standards of Protocol from 15th October onwards. 

The guidelines empower the state to impose local lockdowns and also extend the lockdown in containment zones to October 21st 2020. There remains no restriction on inter and intra state movement. 

Source: The Indian Express 

Unlock 5: National capital orders maintenance of status quo

Even as the Union Government issued Unlock 5 guidelines, the Delhi government has issued an order to maintain the status quo of activities. The order from Delhi’s Chief Secretary came after the guidelines published by the Union Home Ministry were released, calling for for graded opening of public places. The Delhi order stated that after reviewing the COVID-19 situation, the government had decided to maintain status quo on activities in the national capital. 

The government further clarified that the decision on resuming the activities will be done in a graded manner and not in a single meeting. 

However, as per the new order, the Delhi government has allowed the opening of two weekly markets per day per zone in the three municipal corporations, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Cantt. The order further stated that any kind of public gatherings like rallies or protests will be prohibited until further orders. 

Source: Hindustan Times 

Govt announces ambitious vaccination targets; Niti Aayog asks for Delhi-NCR plans

According to plans disclosed by the Union Health Minister, some 20-25 crore Indians could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by July 2021, and the government is drawing up a list of groups who would be on the priority list, such as doctors, all frontline health workers, sanitation staff and others. States have been asked to prepare a list of cold chain facilities that would be required for storage and distribution of vaccine doses down to the block level.

At present, three vaccines are undergoing human trials in the country, with the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine trials being in phase 2, and another two indigenously developed vaccines being in phase 1 of trials. Serum Institute is also expected to start the second phase of trials for Novavax’s vaccine candidate later in October.

Earlier in the week, the government’s think tank Niti Aayog asked the Delhi Government to share a plan highlighting information on all the human resources, infrastructure, support services, cold storage facilities, supply chains that the national capital can mobilize for vaccinating people in Delhi-NCR region. 

The commission has also asked the government to identify the priority groups and present the report in the next meeting. 

Source: The Times of India | Livemint

More than 47000 people killed in hit and run cases in 2019

According to a new report released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), out of the total 1.37 lakh people who lost their lives due to road accidents, 47,530 people died to illegal hit and run cases. Moreover, in more than one-third of cases, police did not have any instant record of the offending vehicle. 

Delhi accounted for the maximum number of hit and run cases followed by Lucknow and Jaipur. 

Source: The Times of India 

Mumbai tops list of environmental crimes in the country 

As per NCRB data, Mumbai has topped the list in terms of most number of ecological offences under the Environment Protection Act, consecutively for the second year. In 2018, the city recorded 10 crimes and in 2019 it registered 8 crimes. These violations are regarding illegal cutting of trees, illegal encroachment on wetlands, coasts, mining activities and water pollution. 

Mumbai was followed by Hyderabad, Nagpur and Chennai. 

The data shared by Mumbai’s revenue department showed a larger number of environmental crimes being committed in Mumbai. As per date from the office of Mumbai’s suburban collector, more than 200 crimes were committed in the area. The reason for the difference between the NCRB data and the revenue department’s data was because Mumbai Police records less data as compared to the revenue department. 

Source: Hindustan Times

Indore airport witnesses a decline of 84% in passenger footfall 

Comparing its figure to last year, Indore airport recorded a fall of 84% in the flyer count in the month of August. Last year in August 2.29 lakh people passengers had traveled from Indore airport while this year (same month), it has been 37020. However, Airports Authority of India revealed that the footfall in Indore is higher than airports in Goa, Trichy, Surat and Madurai. 

Indore airport workers and officials are hopeful that numbers will increase soon as the country moves closer to unlocking all its activities. 

Source: The Times of India 

Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava

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