Mumbai buzz: Temperatures on the rise again | Report on student’s death.. and more

More in this weekly Mumbai news recap: fudging of air quality data suspected; Maharashtra state budget released; Economic survey reveals delays.

Back to summer heat

After a respite from the scorching heat after Mumbai took the honour of being the hottest in the country on Monday (at 39.3 degrees Celsius), expect a very warm weekend. It is likely to reach between 36 and 39 degrees Celcius, which will be accompanied by poor air quality. Strong winds from the east are pushing back the sea breeze.

Post-March 12th, the temperature may slightly dip again.

Source: The Indian Express

Air quality data may be fudged

A leading scientist has expressed doubts over the air pollution data from most of the continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) in and around Mumbai. He noted that the PM2.5 values are always lower than PM10 values, which suggests a consistency too good to be true.

The intent behind the possible tampering is less to do with airbrushing the air quality levels, said the scientist, preferring anonymity, but to indicate that the monitors are in working condition. It could also be so if the monitors only measure one parameter, either PM2.5 or PM10 and the other is then calculated. The MPCB has not responded to the claims.

In other air pollution containment news, the BMC has announced it will add nine electric brooms to clean roads, 100 vehicles to spray water on them, 200 air purification vehicles and five air purification towers.

Source: Hindustan Times

Construction workers walking in front of a vacant building
Informal workers who work in the open are the most susceptible to the effects of the heat. Pic: Gopal MS, Mumbai Paused

Expect delays in infrastructure projects

The Economic Survey of Maharashtra, released on Wednesday, has revealed some expected yet unpleasant news: several infrastructure projects in the city are lagging behind and will miss their deadlines.

Among these is the Versova Bandra sea link, which was beset due to financial problems faced by the contractor and is now due to be completed in 2025-26. 2024 will see the completion of the missing link on the Mumbai Pune Expressway and a third bridge on Vashi creek. Phase 1 of the coastal road, up till Worli, is 70% done and will be completed at the end of this year. Most metro projects will end by 2026.

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is also lagging in constructing new housing stock, with only 6,935 houses built for economically weaker sections, 984 for lower-income groups, 659 for middle-income and only 14 for higher-income groups.

Source: Hindustan Times

Read more: Mumbai’s pollution: A huge health epidemic

Dalit students death report claims no caste discrimination

The death of 18 year old Dalit student at IIT-Bombay, Darshan Solanki, was not due to caste discrimination, claimed the interim report by the Institute. This was, however, refuted by the student body Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle.

The student body pointed out that the investigation was not impartial or competent, with no external member, fewer than 50% ST/SC representation, no right to dissent and a disregard of the deceased student’s sister. While the report blamed the student’s academic performance, but did not investigate its root in caste discrimination.

Source: The Hindu

Points from Maharashtra budget for Mumbai

The Maharashtra state budget was presented on Thursday. Some highlights follow:

It allocated Rs 1,729 crore for beautification projects in Mumbai, many of which are already underway. Over Rs 500 crore was proposed for water transportation, connecting Thane with the Vasai creek and near the Gateway of India. The deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also added that 50 km of metro lines would be added this year in the MMR. Special concessions for women include the continuation of a 1% rebate on stamp duty and 50% discount in state transport buses.

Source: Moneycontrol

Compiled by Sabah Virani.

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