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Arvind Kejriwal led government cracks down on polluting hotels in Delhi

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pollution

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Friday cracked down on 77 hotels for violating pollution norms in the national capital, sending closure notice to all of them.

“The Delhi Pollution Control Committee found that 77 hotels were operating without license from municipal corporation and Delhi Police and Delhi Pollution Control Committee. They did not have pollution checking devices either,” Delhi’s Environment Minister Asim Ahmed Khan said.

The hotels were located in south Delhi’s Mahipalpur area near Indira Gandhi International Airport.

“The government issued a closure notice to them,” the minister said, adding that 27 hotels were sealed.

Khan said the government has also directed the authorities to cut water and electricity connections of the 77 hotels.

The crackdown came after a direction from the National Green Tribunal.

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Con man in Delhi Duped Amazon for over Rs. 50 Lakh; Arrested by Delhi Police for Fraud

Shivam, a resident of north-west Delhi’s Tri Nagar, holds a degree in hotel management. However, he chose to use all his management skills to con the commercial giant, Amazon

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Amazon logo. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 11, 2017 : Leading e-commerce portal Amazon was taken for a ride by a 21-year-old youth who is said to have duped the company for over 50 lakh.

As per the police, the accused, identified as Shivam Chopra, bought over 166 expensive mobile phones via the online e-commerce store Amazon and consequently demanded refunds claiming he had received an empty box.

Shivam, a resident of north-west Delhi’s Tri Nagar, holds a degree in hotel management. However, he chose to use all his management skills to con the commercial giant, Amazon.

A complaint registered this year on behalf of Amazon Seller Services Private Limited first raised eyebrows in June when it was revealed that refunds had been claimed for as many as 166 mobile phones that had been ordered between April and May, on the claims that the delivery packages were empty. Suspicion gathered momentum when it was further revealed that payments for all these 166 mobiles were made through gift cards.

Allegedly, Shivam would use different customer accounts (reports suggest he used 48 different accounts) to place orders of expensive phones on Amazon and would provide the portal with a false address. He would then speak with the delivery associate and collect his order at a mutually decided place within the locality. Consequently, Shivam would then place complaints with Amazon, claiming that he had received an empty package and would demand a refund.

Subsequently, refunds were initiated in the form on gift cards.

ALSO READ Indian-origin Magician charged with multiple counts of helping others to fraudulently obtain money in Singapore

Following an enquiry, a case was registered with the Delhi Police in August.

The accused was then identified with the help of Amazon’s delivery persons, and the locals and by tracing the multiple numbers that were used to place the orders and Shivam was arrested on October 6.

According to the police, Shivam allegedly also purchased 150 pre-activated SIM cards to place the orders from different numbers. His accomplice in the con, Sachin Jain, has also been arrested, who helped provide him the SIM cards.

As per a report by PTI, upon investigation, the Delhi Police recovered 19 mobile phones from Shivam’s house. It was revealed that he had sold all other devices to buyers in the notorious Gaffar Market, or on the online marketplace OLX. The police also recovered Rs 12 lakh in cash, 40 bank passbooks and cheques from his house.

An Amazon India spokesperson later thanks ed the Delhi police for their services in an official statement and added, “We continue to work closely with the Delhi Police and thank them for all their efforts in the investigation.”

An ordinary guy who duped an e-commerce website and claimed refunds running into lakhs of rupees – the case is not a first of its kind. Previously, con-men had been arrested for duping rival e-commerce website FlipKart. However, what is peculiar is how no action has been taken to keep such frauds at bay and these cases continue to suffer.

 

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Holy Dip in Garbage Floating Ganges River: A big Cause of Concern for Hindus

The pristine waters of the Ganges river as it gushes down the Himalayas have long turned into a toxic sludge due to garbage, untreated sewage and industrial waste dumped into it

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A pile of garbage lies on the riverbank along the Ganges riverfront known as "Har ki Pauri," the most sacred spot in the Hindu holy town of Haridwar where devotees throng. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

On a gray monsoon morning, Darshana Kapoor picks her way gingerly through the slush on the riverbank after taking a dip in the Ganges River in Haridwar town, one of the most revered spots for Hindus.

But the ritual bath that Hindus believe absolves a lifetime of sins was not an uplifting experience for her. “My faith brought me here, but when I see the garbage floating in the river, I felt so bad. I had to scrub myself,” she said.

Haridwar, India

She was not exaggerating. The Central Pollution Control Board has said that the water of the Ganges at Haridwar is not fit for bathing.

The murky condition of the mighty Ganges is a letdown for thousands of devotees who flock daily to the pilgrim town, some for a ritual dip, some to immerse the ashes of their loved ones or to take part in a colorful prayer ceremony held every evening to celebrate the Ganges, which devotees call “Maa” or mother.

Hundreds of Hindus take a ritual dip in the Ganges at Haridwar believing it absolves a lifetime of sins. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Hundreds of Hindus take a ritual dip in the Ganges at Haridwar believing it absolves a lifetime of sins. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

These devotees were hoping to see results from a flagship $3 billion initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the river, particularly in Hinduism’s holiest towns such as Haridwar and Varanasi.

The pristine waters of the river as it gushes down the Himalayas have long turned into a toxic sludge due to garbage, untreated sewage and industrial waste dumped into it as it courses through booming pilgrim and industrial towns along the vast, populous plains of North India. It is a huge concern because the river is a water source for some 400 million people.

After his victory in 2014, Modi had acknowledged the failure of an expensive three-decade long effort to rejuvenate the Ganges, and vowed to succeed where his predecessors did not.

But three years after the Hindu nationalist leader’s pledge, the once-mighty river is still dying, say environmental activists.

India’s top environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, slammed the government in July, saying “the status of river Ganga has not improved in terms of quality and it continues to be a serious environmental issue.”

The court prohibited dumping waste within 500 meters of the river and said that no development should be allowed within 100 meters of the river as it flows along a 500-kilometer stretch from Haridwar to the town of Unnao.

Hundreds gather to witness a colourful prayer ceremony held along the Ganges River in Haridwar every evening. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Hundreds gather to witness a colourful prayer ceremony held along the Ganges River in Haridwar every evening. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

That is crucial to revive not just the river, but also the banks or “ghats” in pilgrim towns where visitors throng.

However, in a country with abysmally poor enforcement, environmentalists point out court orders do not always translate into action on the ground.

“The basic problem in this country and this case also is compliance,” says M.C. Mehta, an environmentalist who has been leading a campaign to get rid of the pollution. “No monitoring mechanism is there, so it is very difficult to say how much directions have been complied with.”

The main challenge is the slow pace of setting up treatment plants – about three-quarters of the sewage generated in the towns and cities in the northern plains flows untreated into the Ganges.

Sewage treatment plants in Haridwar, for example, can only cope with half the sewage. New ones have been planned, but none have been built yet.

In fact, some fear the river is becoming dirtier as India’s growing population and economic boom has meant an ever growing influx into towns like Haridwar.

Shopkeeper Ganesh Singh in Haridwar says efforts are being made to educate people about not throwing plastic and other waste in the river or along its banks. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Shopkeeper Ganesh Singh in Haridwar says efforts are being made to educate people about not throwing plastic and other waste in the river or along its banks. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

Ganesh Singh owns a shop at the famed “Har ki Pauri,” the most revered spot along the riverbank where people gather to attend the evening prayer, where the poor line up for free meals offered by devotees and where pavement sellers hawk flowers.

He said there have been efforts to educate the people about not dumping waste into the river. “Many polythene bags, bottles, garbage used to be thrown into the river earlier. It is better now,” he said, gazing at the river, happy that it helps draw in more tourists who bring more business.

However just a few meters down from his shop, piles of rubbish dumped along the riverbank are getting slowly washed into the water with the rain.

That is why Mehta remains skeptical and worries the political will for the gigantic task is missing. “I am not talking about this leadership – it is for the last 32 years the same thing is going on,” he said. “It should not be just lip service that we are the sons and daughters of mother Ganga, without doing something.”

In a signal that he is aware the Ganges cleanup is flagging, Modi this month handed charge of the campaign to a senior cabinet minister, Nitin Gadkari, who has a reputation for getting the job done.

Devotees and environmentalists are hoping that will happen. (VOA)

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Aam Aadmi Party’s Mohalla Clinics come under scanner: Vigilance Department exposes, Ministers faked the rent amount

Top highlights from findings of Vigilance Report

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Delegation from University of Southern California visits Mohalla Clinic
Delegation from University of Southern California visits Mohalla Clinic. Delhi Govt. Website
  • There are currently 110 Mohalla Clinics in Delhi with 106 doctors working
  • The Vigilance Report stated that the doctors were allegedly treating around 533 patients a day
  • The doctors were paid Rs. 30 for attending each patient per day

New Delhi, September 1, 2017: The Delhi Government’s Vigilance Department has submitted a report on the functioning of Aam Aadmi Party’s Mohalla Clinics to Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor. Anil Baijal suspected blunders in the functioning of all the Mohalla Clinics, the probe is going on.

Mohalla Clinics were introduced by AAP Government so that free healthcare could be provided to people of Delhi in the vicinity of their homes.

Also Read: Rankings of Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLAs Drop due to Poor Performance. Praja Foundation publishes Latest Government Performance Report

There was a conflict between Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal over the clearance of pending files regarding the Mohalla Clinic Project. After 45 MLA’s of AAP protested at his office, he had a meeting with AAP Party leader and said that the decision on it will be taken soon.

Top 10 points on the issues highlighted in the Vigilance Report:

  • It all started when the Vigilance Department received complaints on “irregularities” in the running of Mohalla Clinics after which it asked details of it from Chief District Medical Officers (CDMO) and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
  • There are currently 110 Mohalla Clinics in Delhi with 106 doctors working.
  • The complaint was based on issues like total salaries being paid to private doctors who worked in Mohalla Clinics and on rent for few of the clinics
  • The doctors were paid Rs. 30 for attending each patient per day, they allegedly played with the number of patients (they increased the number of patients to take more money home).
  • The report stated (as per probed complaints) that the doctors were allegedly treating around 533 patients a day (9 am- 1 pm) which is practically impossible considering they were told to give 7-10 minutes time for each patient. So, it means that they violated the rules and fudged the numbers.
  • The data of patients are evaluated by an NGO called Wish Foundation and its role was questioned. The Vigilance department wrote in its report, “The data needs to be strictly under the control of the Health and Family Welfare department to ensure its reliability and integrity. The payment to doctors was made without requisite audit and verification of the patient footfall.”
  • Some Aam Aadmi Party leaders have been hugely benefited from the opening of Mohalla Clinics. According to ABP report, “Some of the Mohalla Clinic’s rent being paid is more than the average rent for that place. It was the case with areas like Vikas Vihar, Todapur, Paschim Vihar and Indra Park.”
  • In the Vikas Vihar area of Delhi, the average rent of two rooms for Mohalla Clinic is Rs.5500 but Rs.12500 more rent is being paid from the actual rent.
  • In Todapur, the average rent of 2 rooms is Rs.7500 but the Delhi Government is paying as much as 15000 for it.
  • A Mohalla Clinic in Paschim Vihar was found in the house of AAP’s Trade Wing leader Sanjay Aggarwal where the average rent is Rs.8000 but the Government is paying Rs.20,000 for it. Whereas In Indra Park, Secretary of AAP, Umesh Sharma’s house has a Mohalla Clinic the average rent of which is Rs.6000 but Rs.15000 is being paid for it.

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