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No more new diesel vehicles would be registered in Delhi: NGT

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday said that no more new diesel vehicles would be registered in the national capital

This would be an interim step till the next date of hearing on January 6, the tribunal said.

According to experts, there are about five lakh diesel cars in Delhi.

The tribunal also questioned the Delhi government’s odd-even formula for vehicles to check air pollution and said the move may not achieve the desired results. The NGT also said that the odd-even formula may force people to buy two cars.

The Delhi government had announced that private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers will ply on odd and even days of the week from January 1, with no such restrictions on Sundays.

In view of serious contribution of vehicular pollution to the air quality of National Capital Region of Delhi, it is important that the government should take a serious view and a decision on whether any diesel vehicle, old or new, should be registered in Delhi,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

As an interim measure till the next date of posting subject to hearing of all the concerned parties, we direct that diesel vehicles of more than 10 years of age as already directed, as well as new diesel vehicle would not be registered in NCR Delhi,

The tribunal directed the Centre and state governments to consider not to buy diesel vehicles for use.

We direct all public authorities, corporation, Delhi Development Authority, police and other public departments to prepare an action plan for phasing out diesel vehicles, particularly trucks, used by all these bodies,

It also directed that the action plan must be placed before the tribunal on the next date of hearing.

Although diesel vehicles pollute more than petrol cars, you cannot stop people from buying them. The demand for petrol cars will go up,” Vikram Tongad, founder-president of a non-governmental organisation, Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), told.

“It is a short-term measure,” he added.

A government official said they will take appropriate action after going through the order.

On the issue of waste-burning in the open, the tribunal said: “We direct all the corporations, DDA, cantonments and SHOs of police stations concerned that they would ensure that no waste is burnt in the open and none is disobeying the directions.

The penalty for burning waste in the open is Rs.5,000.

We also direct that builders who keep their dust, sand, cement, bricks and other construction materials on public place and roads, as per the directions of the tribunal already issued, would not be permitted to do so,

Besides seizure of such materials under the provision of the Municipal Corporation Act of Delhi, they would be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs.50,000 for each violation, the tribunal added.

Delhi has close to 90 lakh registered vehicles, of which almost a third are cars. Around 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

In April, the tribunal banned diesel vehicles of over 10 years old in the capital city.

In November 2014, the bench banned all vehicles that were more than 15 years old. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:www.livemint.com)

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The Displaced Artists of Kathputli Colony have already become Kathputlis (Puppets) at the hands of DDA, what next? Kathputli Colony Demolition Drive and its Loopholes

The road leading to Kathputli Colony is now populated with tv sets, air coolers, brooms, buckets, chairs and clothes stacked in a messy manner that previously filled the over 500 houses that were razed by the DDA authorities.

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Kathputli Colony
Just ahead of the ‘wedding season’, when these street performers earn the maximum throughout the year, the demolition drive has not only uprooted their houses, it has also snatched potential livelihood opportunities from the artists of Kathputli Colony. (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 3, 2017 : On an ideal evening, one would have found newly made dolls resting on large beds on the terraces here, artists rehearsing to the beats of the dhol, and freshly carved wooden artifacts decorated along the walls as the smell of fresh paint would fill a densely populated neighborhood.

Welcome to Kathputli Colony – the hub of artists who perform at international events and travel across sees with diplomats; the ambassadors of traditional Indian art forms. The place, brimming with the rustic charm of the rich Indian arts, has been home to the world’s largest community of street performers- they have been a family of over 3,500 artists.

Kathputli Colony
An artist from Kathputli Colony with his puppet during happier times. Wikimedia

Kathputli Colony, which translates to ‘puppet’, brings together a myriad of craftspeople and performing artists – magicians, artists, puppeteers, acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, and singers.

This neighborhood now, however, is a victim of urbanization.

A walk into West Delhi’s Kathputli Colony on any normal day would have exposed you to the myriad of colors and art forms brimming in the neighborhood. But on October 31, you would have only found four backhoe loaders (diggers) bringing several houses down to rubble, as the residents stood as spectators or scouted for belongings before their house was completely shattered. Fallen electricity poles and sewage water now lined the streets that were previously populated with newly made puppets as demolitions by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials were carried out with full force.

Ten months after the DDA had started demolishing houses at the Kathputli Colony for a redevelopment project aimed at providing concrete settlement to the artists, more people were forcibly evicted from their houses on October 31.

The in-situ redevelopment project at Kathputli Colony had been announced in 2009 under a public private partnership between the DDA and Raheja Developers Limited.

The residents of the colony had stood united against the demolitions; however, the DDA has finally succeeded in evicting these artists from their settlement.

Kathputli Colony Redevelopment Plan

The redevelopment project is a partnership between the DDA and Raheja Developers Limited, a real estate firm, under which flats have been stipulated to be built in place of the slums at Kathputli Colony.

For the construction period, the residents of the slum are to be shifted to makeshift arrangements made at a camp in Anand Parbat and Narela.

As per the plan, the residents will be able to shift to the flats after they are ready within a period of two years.

According to official reports, this project is touted to be the first step towards building and ensuring a slum-free Delhi.

According to a press statement released by the DDA, it was revealed that the demolition activities are being carried out in compliance with the High Court’s orders. It was also revealed that the DDA is shifting residents of the colony to the transit camps in Anand Parbat and Pocket G-7, G-8, Narela, as per the orders of the High Court. “Accordingly, arrangements have been made by DDA to provide transportation to transit camp at Anand Parbat, and Narela; ambulance for medical care and ample supply of food and drinking water at all the three sites,” the statement read.

A Look At The Reality

Previously brimming with colors and talent, the Kathputli Colony now stands deserted amid rubble. Outside broken houses and closed shutters of shops that remain, sit people surrounded by furniture, utensils, trunks and mattresses.

The road leading to Kathputli Colony is now populated with tv sets, air coolers, brooms, buckets, chairs and clothes stacked in a messy manner that previously filled the nearly 500 houses that were razed by the DDA authorities.

Along them stand displaced artists and their families, which include children as young as newborns, who have taken shelter on the roads and under the Shadipur Depot flyover.

Just ahead of the ‘wedding season’, when these street performers earn the maximum throughout the year, the demolition drive has not only uprooted their houses, it has also snatched potential livelihood opportunities from these artists.

The residents have been asked to relocate to Narela, an industrial area at a distance of 30 kms from the Kathputli Colony, where these artists are not hopeful to find any alternate opportunities. Additionally, travelling 30 kms back to West Delhi will not be affordable, which has further dampened their spirits.

Loopholes

1.  In 2014, when reports of demolitions first surfaced, DDA Vice-chairman Bavinder Kumar was quoted as saying in a report by The Indian Express that no force would be used to relocate the residents of the Kathputli Colony to the makeshift arrangement in Anand Parbat. The same argument was cited preceding the demolition drive on October 31.

However, DDA’s action was protested by local residents and activists, which resulted in police using force. Consequently, reports of a lathi-charge by the police were soon to surface immediately following the beginning of the drive around noon on October 31. Additionally, the slum area was also tear-gassed.

According to multiple reports, Annie Raja (secretary) and Philomina John (general secretary (Delhi)) of the National Federation of Indian Women backed by CPI, were also injured during the drive. Philomina Johan, aged 77, who fractured her leg due to coarse action by the police, told The Wire that the police force was primarily male.

The two were later admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

There are also reports of several people inhaling the tear gas, with reports of the death of a toddler upon gas inhalation published by The Telegraph among others.

According to DCP (Central Delhi) Mandeep Singh Randhawa, “mild force involving tear gas was used during the demolition process.”

The officer added that the locals pelted stones at the officers which left nine police personnel injured.

2. The DDA authorities maintained that regular announcements were being made through loud speakers about the demolition drive. Further, they asserted that a notice for eviction had been officially issued three months ago.

However, as per the DDA website, the most recent official notice is dated December 22, 2016.

Kathputli Colony
Interface of the DDA notices on their webpage. DDA Website

 The displaced artists of
Kathputli Colony have already
become kathputlis (puppets)
at the hands of DDA
as questions on their future
looms large. 

These loopholes in the demolition drive further shed light on the larger abnormalities in the issue –

  • Are the transit camps at Anand Parbat and Narela sufficient to accommodate all residents of Kathputli Colony?
  • Just ahead of winters, how safe will be the makeshift arrangement being provided to residents?
  • How does the DDA or the government plan to provide livelihood to the displaced artists?
  • Will the proposed EWS flats be ready in time?
  • What will be the procedure to allot the flats to the artists?
  • Will the displaced Kathputli Colony residents be able to afford the flats made under the PPP?

As these questions continue to haunt the minds of the displaced Kathputli Colony residents, they continue to struggle alongside roads and under flyovers in West Delhi.

 

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NGT tells Himachal Govt to take steps to reduce noise pollution

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Shimla: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Himachal Pradesh government to take a slew of steps aimed at reducing air and noise pollution in the state capital.

The state has been ordered to impose Rs.500 as “green tax” on each vehicle emitting pollution on Shimla’s restricted roads, including the Mall Road.

The tribunal asked the government to consider implementing one-way traffic on the Cart Road, the circular road in the state capital.

“Definite steps are required to be taken at the earliest. If not taken now, the day is not far when ambient air quality of Shimla would deteriorate to an undesirable level, causing health hazards,” the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar observed.

“It’s a matter of common knowledge that air and noise pollution, particularly in Shimla, is increasing by the day. Traffic congestion is one of the major contributors to such excessive pollution,” the bench said.

The state was ordered to declare “silence zones” and display sign boards at conspicuous places in Shimla and ensure that no noise was produced by any process, including horns, in such zones.

The tribunal also directed to ensure no parking was allowed on the sealed roads, besides smooth traffic movement on the Cart Road.

The NGT asked the Himachal government to revisit all vehicle permits for sealed and restricted roads within three months, completely prohibiting or restricting vehicular traffic on such roads.

The 13-page order asked that the state government take immediate steps to strictly comply with the directions.

It said authorities had not complied with its earlier orders.

Favouring the practice of automobile-free zones, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had also sought status reports from the state as to how many vehicles were allowed to ply on the sealed roads of Shimla.

It also sought replies on the steps taken to implement the Shimla Road Users and Pedestrians (Public Safety and Convenience) Act of 2007.

Shimla has several automobile-free zones to facilitate unrestricted movement of pedestrians.(IANS)

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Will clean Yamuna within three years: Delhi minister

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credit: www.thehindu.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

credit: static.dnaindia.com
credit: static.dnaindia.com

New Delhi: Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Wednesday asserted that the Yamuna river will be cleaned within the next three years.

While conducting a boat-inspection at Yamuna, Mishra claimed, “The Yamuna river which has now been reduced to a dark grey-coloured lifeless river, will be cleaned thoroughly within the next three years.”

He said, “The oxygen level in the river has also gone way below the required. We’ll make the river so clean that people will be able to bathe in it. Earlier their was a lack of political will to clean the river, but now we will make Yamuna’s cleaning a public movement.”

During the boat-ride for inspection from Wazirabad barrage to the ITO barrage, he was accompanied by officials of various departments such as Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Pollution Control Committee

“During this fact-finding session, I saw solid waste, dirty water and other pollutants being thrown into the river. This is the first time when somebody from the government has inspected the Yamuna. The changes will be visible within six months,” Mishra added.

With Inputs from IANS