Housing ministry secretary satisfied with pace of Ludhiana smart city’s work – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: Secretary of ministry of housing and urban authority Durga Shanker Mishra was satisfied with the ongoing Smart City works during his visit to the city to review the projects on Friday.

Mishra, while talking to the mediapersons, said, “Earlier, the pace of projects was a bit slow, but now it’s going on well.” Regarding parameters for the works, he said, “There is a technical team for checking specifications.”

Earlier in the morning, he reviewed the works going on under the Smart City mission in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and other cities. Some of the officers had come to the city for this meeting, while others joined virtually.

After the closed-door meeting, he went to have a look at the ongoing works at sewerage treatment plant in Jamalpur under the Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project, Mini Rose Garden, Animal Birth Control Centre at Hambran Road, Sidhwan Canal Waterfront, Malhar Road and ROB/RUB at Pakhowal Road railway crossing.

He reviewed PM Swainidhi Scheme from a fruit vendor in Sarabha Nagar market to find if he was registered with the scheme and was getting its benefits.

Stray dogs removed

While complaints of residents about stray dogs had always fallen on deaf ears of the officials, on Friday, a team of dog catchers reached the Sarabha Nagar market for taking away the animals. Officials were in the field early morning and catching of stray dogs went on at full tilt. Senior vet officer Dr Harban Dhalla told the secretary they had sterilised 3,480 dogs from April 1 to September 16.

As heavy rainfall left roads submerged, officials were on their toes in some areas draining out rainwater.

Engineers’ body: Nothing smart about city

Council of Engineers president Kapil Arora handed over a memorandum to the secretary about certain issues related with the Smart City. The memorandum said even after five years, smart city citizens’ forum has not been constituted by the special purpose vehicle (SPV), so there was no residents’ participation in the projects. He said projects were being executed without involvement of various representatives, thus violating the Smart City Act.

The width of Malhar Road has been decreased and the bases of trees have been covered with interlocking concrete tiles against the directions of the NGT and the environment norms, it said. The memorandum said no parking space was left for four-wheelers, so cars were being parked on the so-called smart road.

Besides, the LED lights project was a complete failure as most remained off during the night and Sarabha Nagar market project was still incomplete as wires were yet to be laid underground. The construction of ROB/RUB at Pakhowal Road railway crossing misappropriated Smart City funds and there was nothing “smart” in it as it was just a flyover with a simple design, the memo said.

The installation of static compactor was going at a snail’s pace and there was no segregation of dry and wet waste, the council said, adding that the solid waste at Tajpur dump was increasing by the day and there was no proper planning for solid waste management.

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Ludhiana: Construction & demolition waste piles up, recycling project in deep abyss – ET RealEstate

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LUDHIANA: Construction and demolition waste has piled up across the city because the municipal corporation has failed to find an alternative to dumping, while the contractor concerned has not put work in motion on the site of a processing plant.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the MC to start operatiing this C&D waste processing plant in three months or pay a penalty of Rs 2 lakh. The civic body issued the work order to the contractor in July and now it has served him with a notice to come and meet its officials this week. Until a plant starts working, the C&D waste will continue to be dumped in the vacant plots or abandoned green belts, ending up as not only an eyesore but also an air pollutant.

The project was under discussion for a long time. The plant is to come up in Dhandhari Kalan under the Smart City mission. Officials claim that the project will be one of its kind, while the contractor is supposed to look after supply, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance for five years. The contractor will restore the C&D waste into sand and gravel that the MC can use in road construction or some other civil works.

The superintending engineer of the MC’s bridges and road department, Rahul Gagneja, said: “We have given a notice to the contractor and he had promised to come and see us this week. We are hopeful that the work will now begin in the next few days.”

Recently, a few MC officials and councillors had visited a C&D waste plant in Indore to study how debris was crushed and converted into paver tiles for roads. The delegation had advised mayor Balkar Sandhu that Ludhiana should do something like this to get rid of its construction and demolition waste.

Officials in dilemma

Sources in the municipal corporation said its officials were in a dilemma over building a plant to deal with the construction and demolition waste because, in the past, the carcass-processing plant and modern slaughterhouse built under the Smart City mission could not be used optimally. The carcass-processing plant is yet to start, while the slaughterhouse had a poor response.

Six sites, umpteen dumps

Six sites were fixed for dumping the C&D waste but it’s deposited wide acorss the city. This debris from the new construction or renovation of houses or commercial units ends up in the city parks and green belts, besides on the canal banks. The dumping sites are on the Chandigarh, Dhandhari Kalan, Rahon, Barewal, Jugiana, and Kanganwal roads but mountains of this waste can also be seen around the Buddha Nullah, abandoned green belts, Model Town Extension, and Dugri.

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Ludhiana: List of 55 illegal colonies released, no FIR despite recommendation – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: With the issue of illegal colonies hogging limelight following opposition’s attack during the MC general house meeting recently, officials of the building branch have submitted a list of 55 illegal colonies under zone C. List of such colonies in four other zones is yet to be released.

Notably, despite recommendation of registration of FIRs, no action has been taken so far against the developers of these colonies under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA).

In the list, around 20 colonies, set up in around 95 acres, are under vigilance radar as there are allegations against an MC building inspector of illegally helping the developers. Under the regularization policy of 2018 too, not many developers had come forward to get themselves registered. And out of those, very less colonies were declared regularized.

The matter of illegal colonies had been raised by RTI activist Kuldeep Khaira who had even lodged a complaint with MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal claiming that colonies had been coming up in different areas across the city, and officials had failed to take action against the same. Afterwards, a survey of such colonies was marked and officials were told to come out with a report and certify that they would be held responsible if any other colony is found after submitting the list. Officials took almost 6 months to submit the list that too only for just one zone.

Khaira said the officials are very well aware of the illegal colonies in their areas, but are not taking action intentionally. He said, “I gathered the information under the RTI Act from the police. I had also sought information about FIRs against developers since 2018. Surprisingly, action was taken just against eight developers that too by Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority and not by the MC.” He said the officials though recommend FIRs, they never bother to follow up the matter. And despite their letters to the revenue department, the registration of properties continue in the illegal colonies.

Municipal town planner S S Bindra said a regular drive is being carried out against illegal colonies and those which are coming up now will be removed immediately. Asked about FIRs, he said the ATPs concerned are there to follow up the matter with police.

No action in the past as well

After a survey, the civic officials had traced around 150-200 illegal colonies in MC limits in 2019. But despite serving notices to the developers, nobody came forward to apply under the regularization policy. The then MC Commissioner K P Brar had also asked the officials to go ahead with FIR against such developers. The MC had recommended police action against 78 developers in 2018 too, but no FIR was not registered against any of them.

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Ludhiana: Model town residents allege of illegal commercialisation of residential properties – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: Residents of city’s Model Town area complain of illegal conversion of residential properties into commercial, specially those in the inside lanes. On Wednesday, the residents lodged a complaint with deputy commissioner of Ludhiana as well as chief secretary of Punjab government and other senior officials regarding the same and alleged that municipal corporation (MC) officers are turning blind eye to this problem.

Rohit Anand, resident of the area, said, “Cases of illegal and non-compoundable change of land use in blatant violation of all regulations and bylaws from purely residential to commercial are mushrooming in Model Town. Our area from house number 10 to house number 40 is purely residential area. But due to the turning of blind eye by MC officials, in our locality alone there are multiple cases of illegal change of land use from residential to commercial. In latest case, owner of a house in our locality has illegally converted his residential property into commercial and has started repairing cars in his property.”

Anand also added, “This is in clear violation of law as the change of land use of the residential properties of Model Town, except the couple of roads approved by MC Ludhiana for commercial activity, is strictly prohibited according to bylaws of Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 and according to the master plan of Ludhiana, which came into force in 2008.”

According to Raj Kamal, another resident of the area,”People of our area are suffering hugely due to the apathy of the authorities. Already, a couple of residential properties have been converted to large-scale office-cum-godown, where commercial vehicles and heavy vehicles conduct loading and unloading of goods during day time and even at odd hours. This is not only resulting in noise pollution and air pollution, but also posing hazard to safety of area residents. The lackadaisical attitude of officials concerned of MC Ludhiana towards illegal change of land use from residential to commercial is taking away our mental peace and comfort.”

Another area resident, on condition of anonymity, said “Due to illegal commercialisation of properties in our area, the traffic in the inside lanes has increased manifold. Moreover, the people who conduct work of car accessories encroach upon road and execute their work on road due to which there are traffic jams and danger of accident.

Littering is another big problem. Also, from morning to evening, encroachments on roadside have became a usual affair, as vehicles of people visiting the commercial places remain parked on road sides. The illegal conversion of residential property to commercial, including godown, is against the rights of residents guaranteed to them by Indian Constitution as Right to Life. It is our request to the deputy commissioner to get these properties sealed immediately.”

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