Archive for the ‘City’ Category

Road May Eat into Farmhouse Land

Posted by rajat On June - 3 - 2013

New Delhi: As many as 200 south Delhi farmhouses may soon have to give up a part of their land for the expansion of proposed eight-lane Mandi Road. The project, connecting south Delhi to Gurgaon and Faridabad, requires acquisition of around 45 hectares of land and farmhouses along the Mandi Road stretch — on Chattarpur, Sultanpur, Gadiapur and Jonapur — are likely to be affected. Union urban minister Kamal Nath gave in-principal approval for the project on Monday and asked PWD and DDA to expedite the process.



Confirming this, PWD minister Rajkumar Chauhan said the acquisition is inevitable and the landowners will be compensated as per the government rate of Rs 75 lakh per acre. Experts however, say this rate is several times less than the market rate. “Mandi Road has to be constructed for which the land acquisition (of the farmhouses) has to take place. The department has already started work like lying of sewer lines. We are only waiting for the final alignment of the project to start the construction,” added Chauhan.


The acquisition process however, is expected to start in a few months after DDA issues the land acquisition notification. At present, the project alignment that received a go-ahead from the lieutenant governor on May 10 has been put up on the UTTIPEC website for suggestions. The final meeting to pass the alignment is scheduled on June 10.


Interestingly, the current alignment has been designed in a way that will cause minimal disturbance to the surrounding villages. “Initial alignment proposed for the road was disturbing some part of Jaunpur village which would have involved removing built up structure like house of villagers. Therefore a new plan was proposed ensuring minimal disturbance to the village,” said an official. The official, however, accepted that acquiring farmhouse land is going to be a big challenge. On Monday Nath had held a review meeting of the project that was attended by PWD secretary Arun Baroka and Chattarpur MLA Balram Tanwar.


The 9.05 kilometre corridor is expected to help commuters from Mehrauli, Greater Kailash, Chhattarpur, Saket etc to avoid jams at NH-8 and NH-2. At present, the road exists as a two-lane road riddled with potholes and is without a central verge. The proposed project will start at Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, go via Gwala Pahari and terminate at Gurgaon-Faridabad road — the shortest connect to Faridabad from south Delhi. The road will start with 45m right of way and widen it to 60m. The width of the carriageway is proposed to be 7.5 metres on each side.


Source: Times of India

Master plan: Govt Wants Norms Eased

Posted by rajat On May - 28 - 2013

1,639 Colonies Don’t Meet Regularization Terms

New Delhi: In a bid to deliver on its promises to residents of unauthorized colonies, the Delhi government is seeking relaxation in Master Plan 2021 and building control norms so that regularization becomes possible for the 1,639 colonies that do not meet town planning and fire safety criteria.

The state’s urban development department has sought relaxations in MPD-2021 in an official mail to the union urban development ministry to enable regularization on an “as is where is” basis.

The letter from Delhi urban development secretary RK Srivastava to Sudhir Krishna, his central counterpart, written over a fortnight ago, reveals how the state wants changes in the norms under MPD 2021 to facilitate the making of layout plans by the municipal corporations in colonies which fail to qualify as per current norms.

The state informs that local bodies are of the view there is a marked change in the number of plots submitted by RWAs at the time of application in 2007-08 when compared to the present ground
reality. The boundaries for these colonies have been fixed based on aerial survey images and 50% built-up area in 2007.

There are plots in these colonies of less than 32 sq metres as against the provisions of MPD-2021. Besides, the existing width of roads in many colonies may be less than six metres which is contrary to fire safety norms.

Existing ground realities cannot be ignored. Hence the MPD norms may require relaxation,” the department has written.

The local bodies have reported that it would be difficult to strictly adhere to existing norms of town planning and fire safety in these colonies. In this case, the department feels that the layout plans of these colonies may not be approved.

In view of this, the department has now suggested to the ministry that the “only way forward could be to regularize the colony on as is where is basis by relaxing MPD-2021 and building control norms subject to certification of structural safety by a qualified architect or engineer”.

To justify the relaxations, the department says that the norms of MPD-2021 may be made applicable to unauthorized colonies while undertaking incentivized redevelopment.

Source: Times of India

City Roads to be Repainted by July

Posted by rajat On May - 25 - 2013

New Delhi: Come July, all roads in the city will sport a new look. In a Rs 20-crores project, the PWD will repaint 1,250 kilometres of roads across Delhi with thermoplastic paint, which has glass beads and glows in the dark. According to the plan, each road will have designated lanes, arrows, lanechanging zones, bus lanes, said an official. Though a basic requirement for city roads, these are rarely followed on ground.

 delhi roads repainting

“While the work has already begun in some stretches, other stretches will be looked after as soon as dense carpeting is completed in those areas. The paint that will be used will be similar to the one used during the CWG,” said PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan.


The contractor will be responsible for maintenance of the paint along these stretches for the next two years. If the paint fades at any place, they’ll have to repaint it at no additional cost to the government, said a senior PWD engineer.


Thermoplastic paint is four times costlier than a regular paint, said an official. “Regular paint lasts about two months after which it begins to fade. Thermoplastic paint is much more durable and lasts 2 years. It also shines better, making it more visible for road users,” added the engineer.


At present, no real lanes have been marked in the city and the markings are not uniform. The PWD has drawn up a list of basic rules for all lane and intersection markings, which have to be uniformly followed. “We have circulated drawings of how each road lane and intersection have to be marked, complete with demarcated lanes, arrow markings, stop lines and lane changing zones. Bus lanes will also be marked,” said the engineer.


Source: Times of India

Alternative Plan for Barapullah Loop

Posted by rajat On May - 5 - 2013

PWD Submits Three Options To UTTIPEC But Traffic Still Poses Problem

New Delhi: The public works department (PWD) has submitted a fresh plan to the planning body UTTIPEC for the termination of Barapullah phase II on Aurobindo Marg. The traffic police had objected to the initial plan of constructing three loops on Aurobindo Marg as it would have caused a traffic nightmare on the arterial road.


However, UTTIPEC officials foresee many difficulties with the new plan, which suggests three alternatives. The plan, which is based on a traffic study of the stretch, does not take into account rapid development in the area, including an upcoming Metro station and a central government scheme to develop Kidwai Nagar, and would eventually cause a traffic mess in front of Dilli Haat, said officials.


Any such proposal has to take into account the future development of the area. The matter will be discussed with the traffic police and other stakeholders before a decision is made,” said UTTIPEC director Ashok Bhattacharjee.


PWD has submitted three alternatives to the earlier proposal. The first is an elevated road for traffic descending from Barapullah to take a right turn towards Jor Bagh. The second alternative, an elevated road, caters to traffic coming from the AIIMS flyover and headed towards Barapullah or Jor Bagh. The road will split into two directions: one for traffic continuing straight towards Jor Bagh and the other will allow traffic to take a right turn to climb the Barapullah elevated road. Commuters will be able to proceed on Barapullah towards Mayur Vihar or use any of the six upcoming loops in the Rs 385-crore phase II to exit the elevated road, added officials. “We prefer this alternative as it takes care of most needs based on the traffic study,” said a senior PWD official.


The third alternative proposes a long elevated U-turn from the Dilli Haat side to cross over to the other side and climb Barapullah towards Mayur Vihar.


However, while Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is already constructing a Metro station for the Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar line that will connect Sarojini Nagar, INA, South Extension and Lajpat Nagar, a special pilot project is being done at Kidwai Nagar under the central government scheme of General Pool Residential Accommodation.


The Kidwai Nagar project is part of a scheme to develop low-height residential areas. If the elevated road comes up in this fashion, the colony will be fractured from INA. Plans are being worked out for traffic outflow from Kidwai Nagar,” said a government official.


The Metro extension is also expected to increase pedestrian footfall in the area, and the agency will be developing the area with transit-oriented-development (TOD) principles which takes into account at least a kilometre area of the Metro influence zone.

Source: Times of India

Delhi Fails to Draw Upon Green Energy

Posted by rajat On May - 5 - 2013

City Not Utilizing Full Potential, Says Report

New Delhi: When it comes to meeting renewable energy targets, the capital is among the worst performers. A report released by Greenpeace and Infraline Energy on Monday — which compares the strides made by 29 states to increase the share of renewable power in the total supply — shows Delhi’s lack of ambition on this front. This is despite having a per capita consumption almost twice the national average.


According to the report, Powering Ahead on Renewables: Leaders and Laggards, Delhi met 0% of its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) in 2012, while Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Karnataka overshot their targets. RPO is a government regulation that makes it obligatory for state electricity regulatory commissions to buy a certain percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources. The targets were set by different states in 2010 to achieve the National Action Plan on Climate Change requirement of 15% renewable energy supply in India by 2020.


Delhi’s installed capacity of solar energy is about 2.53MW and that of bioenergy is 16MW, which makes up 0.3% of the city’s energy supply. This is a meagre share compared to the pace at which other states are harnessing renewable energy and reducing dependence on coal. “As the national capital, Delhi should have been a trendsetter. But the city doesn’t even have a policy on renewable energy, ” said author of the report, Abhishek Pratap.


While some projects, including a 5MW solar power plant at Dadri and a 54kW solar grid connected power plant at Bawana, are in the pipeline, their contribution will be miniscule as Delhi has not invested in offgrid solar projects, says Pratap. “Delhi has tremendous potential for creating solar rooftops and generating biomass energy from surrounding rural areas. It may generate up to 300MW of renewable energy, but that needs to be assessed. It has huge open spaces and Metro stations that can tap solar energy,” added Pratap.


The report recommends that RPO directives be made mandatory by the power ministry with provision for a penalty. It finds the RPO targets extremely ‘conservative’ as the assessment of renewable energy potential is not proper.


Renewable energy is not costly. The report projects that a higher target should have marginal effect on tariff from 2013 to 2020, with an increase of 15-30 paise nationally.

Source: Times of India

Additional Year May Turn an Expensive Affair

Posted by rajat On May - 5 - 2013

To Cost Extra 1.07L For Hosteler, 2.27L For Those Staying As Paying Guests

New Delhi: An extra year in Delhi University, as envisaged in the new four-year undergraduate programme, from the new session, may come at an additional cost of up to Rs 1.07 lakh if one is staying in a college or university hostel.


And in case of a private paying guest accommodation, the entire affair can be dearer by as much as Rs 2.27 lakh. The additional year in the new programme, many fear, will put a considerable financial strain on students. Outstation candidates will be the affected the most. “We’ve travelled 2,000km to study because we don’t have such institutes back home and some families have to spend half their monthly income on a DU education,” says Chinglen Khumukcham who just graduated from DU with a BA Honours in History.


“My father has a very small business and earns Rs 15,000 a month. He was sending a large chunk of it to me.” Accommodation is expensive. He says rent for a single room is Rs 6,000 at least without food and utilities. For students staying at a distance from their colleges, the commuting expenditure has also to be accounted for. “Many families can afford to send only one child but with the new structure they’ll have to think twice even about that,” he says.


Girls prefer to stay in the same area as their college. The rates for college hostels vary with the old ones being far more economical. Those which have been newly-constructed or the ones that were renovated for Commonwealth Games are considerably more expensive. An extra year in one of those amounts to an extra expense of Rs 80,000 – Rs 90,000. Private arrangements – typically in the form of paying guest accommodations and flat or roomshares —aren’t any cheaper.


Deepak Sethi, a final year student at Kirori Mal College, says “even a bad PG in a bad area will charge Rs. 5,000 per month. The demand for PGs is higher from girls than for boys and security is also an issue for them. A good PG can cost as much as Rs 12,000,” he says, fearing that the cost of an extra year of study will deter students from financially weak backgrounds. And these rates are not fixed. Maya John of Centre for Struggling Women adds that the slightest change in the regular schedule of DU results in an increase in rent. “It increased when the Metro touched DU and again during CWG,” she recalled.


Then there are books, stationary, cost of travel and tuition fee. Students and teachers wonder what kind of increase the new elements, including the foundation and value-education courses, in the 4-year programme will translate into. Fee structures are not available yet, but if that of the Cluster Innovation Centre, which runs four-year programmes of ‘innovative’ courses, is any indication, the new programme won’t come cheap.

Source: Times of India

Great news for both shopkeepers as well as shoppers in Chandni Chowk as  the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Wednesday inaugurated a 1,020-car capacity underground multi-level parking lot making parking much hassle free for all. Mayor Rajni Abbi dedicated the parking located at Parade ground, Subhash Marg near Red Fort to the residents of the thickly populated walled city.

The construction for this multi level parking lot took two years to complete and cost around Rupees 52.83 crore. The parking is of multi-level and the three underground level is designed to fit more than 720 cars will the surface parking area will cater some 300 cars. Just within a few days, this facility will be open for the public to use.

An MCD official said that, “Two floors with a capacity of about 250 cars each will be thrown open first. There is still some pending work on the other two floors which will take some time to be operational.“  Speaking on the occasion, Abbi said that the parking will help in easing parking problems. She also said that, “The old city is famous among tourists who come to visit Jama Masjid and Red Fort. The area is also being used as a commercial hub which leads to the movement of large volume of vehicle. However, the scant space for parking was worrisome and therefore, the need arose to go for multi-level underground parking.“  Abbi pointed that around 1000 new vehicle are added on Delhi roads on a daily basis and the problem of parking is a major cause of concern in Delhi. The Mayor said that by March end, as many as five parking projects will be completed. According MCD officials, the parking has been designed for optimum space utilisation and has been made earthquake resistant.

News Source : Hindustan Times

MCD Online Plan Crawls, People Say Reboot

Posted by rajat On April - 1 - 2012

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) ambitious project to sanction building plans online, which was aimed to simplifying the lengthy procedure and checking corruption, has ended up creating a roadblock.  In January, the civic agency started sanctioning building plans online for fresh constructions in authorized colonies in all its 12 zones, and since then the number of plans sanctioned has dwindled. The agency approved just 36 building plans online in January as against about 150 sanctioned manually in December 2011.

At present, MCD is sanctioning only fresh building plans in approved colonies online, under the new procedure. For alterations and any additional constructions, plans have to be submitted manually. Both architects and MCD officials admit that this project has the potential of checking graft and ensuring structurally safer buildings in the city but the decision to suddenly stop accepting applications manually has not been received very well by the general public.

Neeraj Dhingra, an architect empanelled with MCD said that “They should have allowed both manual and online submission initially. People, architects and, most importantly, MCD officials at the zonal level need to get used to the system. It is a big project and technical errors are bound to creep in. They stopped the manual system without streamlining the new system. It is a very time consuming process.’’

The maximum number of applications related to building plans was received from areas like the Shahdara (South), West, South, Central and Rohini  and these zones are the worst hit areas. An average of 40-45 applications we received under the simplified procedure, no plans were sanctioned in the month of January in Shahdara.

One of the reason why general public is not happy with the new system is because there are only 403 architects registered with MCD for online submission and people are having a hard time getting their plans approved. MCD officials say that these architects have hiked their charges arbitrarily.

An MCD official said “Earlier, people could get the building plan made from any architect, but now they have to get it made from the empanelled ones. People are facing a lot of inconvenience.’’ Why are a majority of architects fighting shy of the system? It’s a mix of old habits dying hard, lack of familiarity with the new system and scepticism.

Many architects are also complaining that they are facing serious problems related to the serves, especially while uploading the plans in the website. Munish Pandit, who is empanelled with MCD said that “One has to load and check the plan several times before all the errors are removed. MCD should have a software to check the errors in real time. We can download the software. A lot of time is wasted in uploading the documents several times. Often their server doesn’t work and the applications crash midway.”

Y S Mann, director, press and information, MCD stated that “is Monday, the server was down for three-four hours. “We were carrying out checking of the server to rectify the errors.’’ Officials admit that architects are taking a lot of time in rectifying errors. In some cases, they have had to upload the plan at least 12-15 times. An MCD official with the building department also said that “The software for sanctioning building plan online doesn’t accept any deviation from the building bylaws and Master Plan of Delhi-2021. Even a 0.1% change in any parameter will generate an error.’’

Mann also said that “Not many people would have opted for online had we kept the manual submission open. We are training architects in uploading the plans and rectifying errors.’’ While the plan has to be applied for online, the civic agency demands a hard copy of all the documents, including the plan, to be submitted at the zonal offices. “We can’t sanction the plan until the architect or owner has submitted a hard copy of all the relevant documents in our office,’’ said an MCD official.

News Source : Times of India

Coming soon, An Art Gallery at New Delhi Railway Station

Posted by rajat On March - 1 - 2012

New Delhi Railway Station won’t be just a place where you would get a train to travel, it will also be a place where art lovers can browse through various art works. New Delhi Railway Station is all set to open its own Art Gallery where one can enjoy glimpse of the history of the Indian Railways through exciting exhibits.

The gallery will exhibit the rich heritage of the Indian Railways which will include exhibits on stations, steam engines, the scenic beauty of hill railways and the royal rail salons used by the English princess and Indian royalty. The railway art gallery is coming up at Platform number 1 of the railway station and entry will be free for authorised railway passengers.

A senior northern railways officer, who did not wish to be named said, “The art gallery will have photographs, painting and prints of Indian Railways. We are hoping to throw it open for our travellers by February 29. “

Many countries such as the UK already have such railway art gallery and with New Delhi Railways Station opening its own, the gallery will bring artists and photographers, who specialize in making rail painting and prints, would be brought under one roof.

A official also said that “The photographs, paintings and prints in the art gallery will be the depiction of the railway scene in all its facets both past and present. The railways for more than 150 years have been a favourite subject among the artists. The gallery will put rail art on the forefront. ” The Delhi division of the northern railways also plans to organise rail art competitions regularly at the rail art gallery. A officer stated that “We will invite professional artists, school and college children to participate in the competition. The staging of railway art exhibitions will also assist in the historical research necessary for various subjects related to Indian railways.”

News Source : Hindustan Times

Vintage Beauty Back on Track, CHUGS ON STEAM

Posted by rajat On February - 5 - 2012

Meet Marc Bevan, whose grandfather was the loco-pilot for Winston Churchill, whenever he visited South Wales and though his living room in the UK is flooded with pictures of steam-engine trains but he has never boarded one. Now, Marc has persuaded 11 people including his family and friends to buy tickets for the commercial run of a heavy steam engine by the railways after a gap of 16 years.

When Marc Bevan dream of seeing the black beauties chug out of the station, Patram a 85-year-old could barely hold back his tears. Patram was once the senior technician who maintained steam engines at the Rewari loco shed which is now a museum. Retired some 25 years back, when the government decided to phase out steam locomotives, Patram on Saturdays was given the honour of flagging off the maiden commercial run of Steam Express from the Delhi Cantonment station to Alwar. The old man while waving the green flag zealously said, I feel so nostalgic, as if I was reborn today.”

On Saturday at 9.15am, some forty lucky people, including men, women and children enjoy the ride in the vintage steam-run train. Out of the 40, 32 passengers were foreigners—tourists and expatriates—each with their own reason for being on the train. Vikas Arya, senior divisional mechanical engineer (power), Northern Railway, the man behind the entire show said the engine for the run, too, was chosen after much deliberation. “It is a 1965-make WP class engine manufactured by Chittaranjan locomotives and decommissioned even before the Saharanpur loco shed shut down in 1987. A Pacific class model with a 4-6-2 wheel formation, it has 1,460 horsepower. It can touch 110kmph and was used to haul the fastest Express trains during its heyday.” He also said that the heritage run will take place “at least” twice a month for the next two months. “We will gauge the response before taking the run forward. At present, we are charging Rs 10, 200 per passenger for two days and one night that includes a return journey to Alwar, a stay at Hotel Tiger Den run by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, a Safari at Sariska, and sightseeing.”

Mac Bean, a UK national whose father was in the British Army and drove trains at Berlin and David Colenutt has been visiting India for over five times and has travelled in almost all the famous routes in the country and for them the trip is not so much for its novelty but getting in touch with their roots. “We are a team of rail enthusiasts from the UK, Australia, the US, and of course, India, who love train journeys and discovering the country. We have formed ourselves into the Darjeeling Tours and keep seeing each other when we come here,” said Colenutt.

The children’s traveling in that train, for them it was the sheer grandeur of the engine that has captured their imagination. “It’s my first journey on a steam engine-run train. I had heard a great deal about them, but will now ride one,” said Zoe a ten year old kid. Andrew Cartwright and Saowamas, a couple who arrived at the station almost 70 minutes ahead of departure—even before the railway officials showed up—for them the trip was to relive the “romance they had experienced while taking a similar heritage trip in Scotland five years ago”. Amartya Chowdhury and Saurabhi Das Chowdhury another couple also said that it was the “uniqueness” of the occasion that spurred them to spend thousands. “We hope it’s a weekend we will always remember.” The railways, too, hope such rides will become a permanent feature of their calendar. “You can now book the entire train for Rs 4 lakh. We hope the Rewari Steam Locomotive Shed & Rail Museum gets a good response through such runs,” added Arya.

News Source : Times of India