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December 31, 2012

TOI: UTTIPEC Prepares Action Points For Women’s Security

Planners mull safety agenda
UTTIPEC Prepares Action Points For Women’s Security
Indrani Basu TNN



New Delhi: A team of urban designers from planning body Unified Traffic & Transportation (Planning & Engineering) Centre have submitted a draft for action points on women’s safety and sent it to the lieutenant governor and chief secretary. These action points include urban development, educational and enforcement measures for the city and a detailed technical report with guidelines and conceptualization plans for physical interventions is expected to be put up in the LG’s next governing body meeting scheduled in January.
The 10-page document provides pointers and action points for various government agencies. These are divided into broad categories of immediate, mid-term and long-term measures. One of the immediate measures includes street lighting in major areas. The team has recommended lighting according to requirement. 

The team has recommended introduction of hawking zones and street markets in Dhaula Kuan, Dwarka, NH-8 and all arterials as they are ‘unwatched streets’. 
“We have suggested the creation of Multi-Utility Zone for street vendors by simple markings and bollards a la New York, especially where roads are wider than 45m. This increases ‘eyes on streets’ and makes these areas more active,” said a senior UTTIPEC official.
The team suggested making transport safer by lighting bus stops, removing the barrier advertisement panel which may conceal criminals and locating hawkers next to bus stops to ensure they don’t become deserted. 

Urging civic agencies to stop proposing flyovers and grade separator projects, the team has called them “nothing but rape dens which don’t relieve traffic congestion in the long term”The team has asked for slowing of vehicles on signal-free roads at night to reduce chances of criminals whizzing away after committing a crime. 

Mid- and long- term steps were also proposed. The suggestions include a revision in resettlement policy, saying that poor should be provided housing in the city and not outside. 

Planners are recommending that women’s safety issues should be incorporated in Local Area Plans, transportation infrastructure projects and influence area plans, as suggested by studies by women’s rights groups.

DRAFT GUIDELINES

QUICK FIXES
  • Illumination of all streets Letting vendors set up shop in deserted areas Safer bus stops with increased bus frequency, and removal of panel advertisements that can conceal criminals Increased patrolling in vulnerable areas 
GRADUAL CHANGES
  • GPS in autos and taxis Centralized autorickshaws like Radio Tuk-Tuk (Gurgaon) and G-Auto (Gujarat) for increased safety Redefinition of sexual crimes 
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS
  • Redesign of roads as per UTTIPEC guidelines; more toilets for women 
  • Make the whole city vibrant so that there’s round-the-clock activity 
  • Revision in resettlement policy so that poor are housed in the city & local area plans incorporate women’s safety issues 
  • Police should be trained to respect women and handle sexual offences better; policing infrastructure should be upgraded 
  • Awareness about women’s safety should be generated in slums

See Also:  ACTION POINTS FOR "HOW TO MAKE DELHI SAFER FOR WOMEN"

December 30, 2012

Media Suggestions: Ways to make WOMEN Safe







































Source: Economic Times, Delhi, 30 Dec 2012, page 08.




THE TIPPING POINT : MAKE CITIES OF WOMEN, FOR WOMEN

Rape has to be seen as an issue of masculinities, of how our societies are raising men. The rapist isn’t a mythical figure — he lives next door.
: : Jasmeen Patheja : : 


The Delhi gang-rape survivor — I am calling her a survivor though she is dead because I pledge to stay outraged, to not forget a few months later, to follow this through. She is going to remind us of the way forward in combating sexual violence. 

Yes, for once, the media made a shift in the way they shared her story — by respecting her and her family’s right to remain anonymous. 

The incident jolted citizens’ conscience. Apart from the gravity of the assault (now murder), we are shocked by the familiarity of the circumstances — the cinema hall, the 9.30 pm bus, returning home with a friend, etc. She really could have been any one of us. 
There was, without doubt, an outpouring of emotions like never witnessed before. The government, too, after a long spell of silence, lathis and water cannons, finally expressed “empathy” with the survivor and her family. The anger, outrage and protests — which continue — represent the tipping point. We are saying enough is enough. Our cities need to be made safe. 

EMPATHY ISN’T ENOUGH.
 Our cities will be safer when we acknowledge women as citizens. We must ask, “Whose city?” Can we imagine a city of women? A city for women? We need to start looking at/ designing/ building the city as a place of women instead of focusing on protecting women — without perpetuating victimhood. 

In the first place, all stakeholders — from bystanders to urban planners to women and men — must take a pledge on what they could do individually to make our cities and 
towns safer. Pledge your role in making your city safe. 
To the filmmakers: How do you construct masculinity? 
To the parents: Will you ask daughters to play football? 


Make that pledge, the Safe City Pledge. 
We, as women, are brought up around warnings: be careful; don’t attract attention to yourself. We are taught to have a fear-based relationship with our city. Public places are not for leisure and pleasure. In my ideal city I want to be in a park and take a nap without feeling threatened. Sometimes we just love to sit, stand, walk and talk without looking available. What makes a group of boys play football on a field and not girls? 

SAFETY AS TOP PRIORITY. 

For the government and all other stakeholders, building safe cities has to be a priority issue and they have to factor it in even while designing our cities — mere surveillance cameras, untinted windows and fear of punishment are not enough. Some of our elected heads have attributed crimes against women in cities to the floating population from villages who have migrated in search of jobs. Such stereotyping is worrying because men rape from across socio-economic backgrounds. This means the issue of safer cities and towns has to be addressed in a holistic way from multiple perspectives. 

The usual refrain is: “Zamana kharab hai (times have changed for the worse). Don’t go out at night. You are in danger of being molested and raped and mistreated.” Such warnings that women grow up with alienate them from our streets and we end up living forever in fear of becoming a victim. What we need instead is the creation of visibility for women in our cities which will in turn result in a lot more of familiarity and, therefore, safety. So ask what makes a place unsafe and tackle that. 
This incident has brought focus to the issue of sexual violence that makes it to the news and creates empathy. As I write, there is a rape going on somewhere — unprotested, even unreported. I hope that the Delhi gang rape is an example in our memory that makes us as citizens pledge to make a change. 

NO RITUALISTIC MEASURES, PLEASE.

The Centre and state governments have to actively involve themselves in the process of making cities safe and share ownership in the issue of building safe cities. 
They can no longer afford to deal with the issue in a simplistic/ tokenistic way it has often done — like untinted windows, 11 pm shut down, questioning the character of the survivor, etc. 
Statements of political leaders have been discouraging, flippant, dismissive, even lacking genuine empathy — be it that of lawmaker Abhijit Mukherjee who called protesters “dented and painted” women or that of home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who compared anti-gang rape protesters to Maoists. 
We are asking you to make a pledge. Contribute and make our cities and towns safer. What is actually in order is an attitudinal change and that comes only thanks to sustained dialogue and campaigning. It is true the death of the 23-yearold has put the spotlight on crimes committed against women in India in a far sharper way than any other incident has done before, but what is key is to sustain the momentum and not let this incident slip into short-term public memory. 
I am really glad that the response of the people in our cities has been tremendous to the extent that the government of this country had to take note of the situation. I often meet people from other countries — there is a resonance in conversations. There are conversations of rejecting an ingrained sense of blame and guilt in tackling violence against women. The idea that there is “no such thing as asking for it”. No woman of any age, colour or character ever deserves to be sexually violated or what some might lightly call “eve-teased”. Rape and sexual violence have to be seen as an issue of masculinities, of how our societies are raising men. The rapist isn’t a mythical figure — or a faraway demon. He lives here in this very society. 
    
Make it happen. 
(As told to Ullekh NP)

The writer is the founder of Blank Noise, an art project that campaigns against harassment of women.
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/delhi-gang-rape-need-to-question-how-societies-are-raising-men/articleshow/17811926.cms

December 29, 2012

Rs1400 crore to PWD to revamp Transferred Roads - Will New Roads being Constructed be "Safe" for All?

Rs.1400 crore to PWD's kitty to revamp Transferred Roads from MCD.

Will these roads follow the UTTIPEC Street Design Guidelines (issued in 2009) so that they are safe and user friendly to all road users such as street vendors, pedestrians, women and children?
Time will Tell.

NOTE: In 2009, the UTTIPEC had issued Street Design Guidelines to be followed on all city’s roads to make them safe and user friendly to all road users such as street vendors, pedestrians, women and children. The guidelines also provide ways in which persons with disabilities could be made to feel safe in negotiating a street.


See Also:ACTION POINTS FOR "HOW TO MAKE DELHI SAFER FOR WOMEN"

दैनिक जागरण - सिग्नल-फ्री रोड का साइड इफेक्ट है अपराध में इजाफा!








राजू सजवान, नई दिल्ली

पिछले कुछ सालों से दिल्ली की सड़कों को सिग्नल फ्री बनाने पर करोड़ों रुपये खर्च किए जा चुके हैं, लेकिन ये सिग्नल फ्री रोड हाल ही में हुए सामूहिक दुष्कर्म जैसे अपराधों का कारण बनते जा रहे हैं। यह किसी निजी या स्वयंसेवी संगठन की राय नहीं है, बल्कि दिल्ली के यातायात एवं परिवहन की योजना बनाने वाली एकीकृत एजेंसी यूटीपैक का मानना है कि फ्लाइओवर और सिग्नल न होने के कारण चलती गाड़ियों में बलात्कार जैसी घटनाएं होती हैं।

यूटीपैक द्वारा सार्वजनिक स्थलों पर महिलाओं की सुरक्षा को लेकर गाइडलाइंस बनाई जा रही हैं। इस कवायद के दौरान यह तथ्य यूटीपैक के समक्ष आया है। यूटीपैक के सदस्यों ने एक अध्ययन में पाया कि तेज रफ्तार से चलती गाड़ियों के भीतर हो रही घटनाओं को साथ चलते वाहन चालक देख नहीं पाते। दिल्ली के राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग आठ या दोनों रिंग रोड पर इस तरह की आपराधिक वारदातें भी पिछले कुछ सालों में रिपोर्ट की गई हैं।

यूटीपैक ने सार्वजनिक स्थलों पर महिलाओं की सुरक्षा को लेकर बन रही गाइडलाइंस के ड्राफ्ट में इसे शामिल किया है और प्रस्ताव रखा है कि दिल्ली के प्रमुख चौराहों पर जहां सिग्नल हटा दिए गए हैं, वहां सिग्नल लगाए जाएं, ताकि गाड़ियों की रफ्तार थम सके। सिग्नल पर गाड़ी रुकने के कारण साथ खड़े वाहन चालक अंदर हो रही घटना को देख कर रोक सकें या पुलिस को सूचित कर सकें।

अपने ड्राफ्ट में यूटीपैक ने अब दिल्ली में फ्लाइओवर बनाने या सिग्नल फ्री रोड बनाने पर रोक लगाने का प्रस्ताव रखा है। इसके अलावा रात के समय फ्लाइओवर बंद कर गाड़ियों को नीचे से गुजरने का प्रस्ताव रखा है, ताकि नीचे भीड़भाड़ होने पर ऐसी वारदात को देखा जा सके। इसके अलावा सड़क के किनारे एक व्यवस्थित तरीके से रेहड़ी पटरी वालों को जगह देने की भी वकालत की गई है, ताकि सड़क पर चहलपहल रहे या ये रेहड़ी पटरी वाले ऐसी घटनाओं को रोकने में मददगार साबित हो सकें। यूटीपैक ने दिल्ली की सुनसान सड़कों पर चहल-पहल बढ़ाने के लिए अर्बन प्लानिंग में सुधार की गुंजाइश बताई है। सड़कों के किनारे रेहड़ी, पटरी के अलावा छोटी-छोटी दुकानें होनी चाहिए, जिन्हें रात को बंद करने जैसी बाध्यता नहीं होनी चाहिए। रात के वक्त इन दुकानों को खोलने के लिए प्रेरित करना चाहिए। ऐसे इलाकों में रैन बसेरा या सेमी हॉकिंग जोन बनाने होंगे।

यूटीपैक के एक अधिकारी ने बताया कि अभी जागौरी जैसे संगठनों की मदद से यह ड्राफ्ट तैयार किया जा रहा है, इस पर अलग-अलग संगठनों और लोगों से राय ली जाएगी और बाद में सरकार की ओर से अधिसूचना जारी की जाएगी और दिल्ली की सभी एजेंसियों को महिला सेफ्टी गाइडलाइंस की पालना करनी होगी।
http://epaper.jagran.com/story1.aspx?id=24024&boxid=108224832&ed_date=28-dec-2012&ed_code=4&ed_page=6

See Also:

ACTION POINTS FOR "HOW TO MAKE DELHI SAFER FOR WOMEN"

December 28, 2012

FIRSTPOST - Why urban planning will make cities safer for women

by  Dec 28, 2012
Why urban planning will make cities safer for women
The movement has sought to highlight the violence and sexual harassment that women face on a daily basis. But the biggest question that has perhaps got drowned out in the cacophony of demands for castrations and death penalty is how can we ensure the safety of women in urban areas. Reuters









The recent gangrape and assault of a 23-year-old woman in the city of New Delhi has turned into a watershed moment of sorts for India. New Delhi has been rocked by massive protests with college students, housewives, working women taking to the streets, braving policelathi-charge, water cannons.

The movement has sought to highlight the violence and sexual harassment that women face on a daily basis. But the biggest question that has perhaps got drowned out in the cacophony of demands for castrations and death penalty is how can we ensure the safety of women in urban areas. Is it possible to imagine cities in India where women can roam the streets without fear for their safety, free from the risk of being ‘eve-teased’ ?

Firstpost spoke to Sameera Khan who is one of the co-authors, of the book Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets which looks at why women need to claim public spaces and how urban planning can go a long way in ensuring the safety of women in the streets. Excerpts from an email interview.

First what is your reaction to the protests in Delhi and some of the more vitriolic demands being made by the protesters?

The volley of public protests in Delhi have been absolutely marvellous and quite heartening. Even after facing an inconsiderate and inhumane government (and parlimentarians referring to the protesters as “dented and painted women”) and a hostile police force (that dealt with them so harshly), the protesters just did not give up. I suspect that this has probably been one of the largest ever demonstrations seen anywhere in the world against rape and sexual violence.

Women hold placards as they shout slogans from a flag post near the Rashtrapati Bhavan. AP
I agree that some of the demands made by the protesters particularly regarding death penalty and chemical castration have been extreme — and I doubt that will help stop rape (it might I fear, in fact, push rapists to make sure they kill their victims) and I do feel stronger laws, impartial investigation, speedier processes and higher conviction rates is what we need, not the death penalty.What is needed now is to broaden that protest to include other rape survivors, justice for them as well, and also rape survivors who are not urban or middle class but from tribal, low caste, distant parts of the country. It should also focus on all other types of violence against women (such as domestic violence) and violence against other minorities and marginalised groups. We should also focus on changing the general attitude to women in this country – both within families and communities and also to women in public – an attitude that thinks of women as inferior beings, as property, as bearers of community and family honour and shame.

The protests bring attention to sexual violence and rape that is much needed. We can only hope it provides a momentum to much needed changes in law, justice delivery and attitudes.


In this particular case, the one term we’ve seen thrown around a lot is Rape Capital as far as Delhi is concerned. Do you feel this is a fair term to use for a city, especially when rape is not just a Delhi problem?

Rape is not just a Delhi problem. It’s a problem all over. By labelling a city as ‘rape capital’ we are using language rather carelessly and loosely and this can have larger implications.

One, that it undermines a deeper examination of the problem (why does this happen here, who are the perpetrators, what can we do about it etc – it all gets diminished to ‘rape capital’ hain nah, toh aisa hi hoga yahan) And two, it makes it very difficult for all other women to then actively access the city and its public spaces at all times. The term ‘rape capital’ then starts policing the movements of all women and that is the real danger when we reduce such an event to one glib sound-byte label/phrase.

Some argue that Bombay is safe for women. In the course of your research for Why Loiterwould you say that you found this perception to be true? Or does Bombay also suffer from similar problems as far as Delhi is concerned?

Bombay city is relatively friendlier to women than Delhi but this doesn’t mean there are no crimes against women in Bombay – in fact that crime graph seems to be only rising. So things are changing. More importantly what Shilpa Phadke, Shilpa Ranade and I tried to point out in our book Why Loiter: Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin Books, 2011) is that even in a city like Bombay, women are at best commuters through public space – moving from point A to point B – they cannot lay claim to the city as citizens. Bombay women too have to actively strategise when they access public space – in where they go, what time they are out, who they are with, what they wear etc – and constantly establish a sense of purpose when accessing public space and always manufacture an image of being respectable women.

As far as urban planning in India is concerned, what do you think are some of the biggest problems when it comes to women’s safety? How is it even possible to plan cities that are safe for women?

While doing research over three years for the Gender and Space project – the research which finally led to our book – and as we continue to interact and talk to young women at workshops that we do on gender and public space all over, we ask women what makes them feel unsafe in the city. Sometimes we even ask them to draw maps of areas, streets, neighbourhoods where they feel unsafe and safe.

And what they tell us is really a simple and practical checklist: bad/poor/low lighting in public spaces makes women feel unsafe and vulnerable; so too things that make them feel caged such as tall fencing in a park or fencing on a long stretch of pavement where they have no clear sight lines and cannot escape in case of an attack. Also no public toilets or closed public toilets makes women feel unwanted in public space (“they don’t care enough for our presence or they don’t expect us to be there , so they don’t provide for it”)

Women want to be able to see bodies on the street – ideally crowds which are mixed with men and women; empty streets and closed shops are perceived as being scary; they want some activity to take place on the streets constantly such as hawkers selling chai, book sellers on the pavements, vegetable vendors, men, women, children walking on the street, etc. Neighbourhoods that are mixed zoning — residential and commercial with shop activity — where the streets are always alive even till late night with some action are preferred. So politicians and cops who say that if everyone is home and we close down all activities in public by a certain hour and that will make things safe are totally wrong in their understanding.

Does a more sensitive police force help in stopping violence against women?

What we need is a responsive and sensitive police force who takes even complaints of everyday street harassment seriously. If they respond promptly and take the right action on all incidents of violence against women — whether it is a small or a big incident — then they make a larger statement that they do not tolerate this kind of behaviour/ this type of crime and that they will investigate it and get it tried and push for better conviction rates. That can help a great deal – for perpetrators to know they will be dealt with severely and for women to know that when they approach the police, they will help them get justice.

Last in light of this particular rape case, a sense of paranoia has spread for women thanks to the constant media coverage. What would you say women need to do to reclaim public spaces?

Women in this country by law have a right to be in public space. When incidents like this happen and are publicised on a large scale, they unfortunately make victims of all women. All women are then told directly or indirectly that they are in danger and need to be indoors. It is shaming and policing the survivors while the perpetrators roam free. What a terrible message to give both the perpetrators and the survivors.

Women need to be out there. They need to reclaim public spaces with their bodies. We need more women in public space (not less) to make all women feel safer and more comfortable. We must demand and lobby for changes in the city/country that make us feel safer but we must not stop ourselves from being out there.

A city is full of stimulating things and great opportunities and women have every right to enjoy them. At anytime of the day or night. In any sort of clothing. With anyone they want. No questions asked.

Source: http://www.firstpost.com/living/why-urban-planning-will-make-cities-safer-for-women-571176.html

New York Times - Untamed Motorization’ Wraps an Indian City in Smog

NEW DELHI JOURNAL
Altaf Qadri/Associated Press
The presidential palace was enveloped in smog on Nov. 3. New Delhi’s antipollution efforts have failed to keep up with growth. 
By NIHARIKA MANDHANA 
Published: December 26, 2012

NEW DELHI — When an acrid blanket of gray smog settled over India’s capital last month, environmentalists warned of health hazards, India’s Supreme Court promised action and state officials struggled to understand why the air had suddenly gone so bad.
The heavy smog has dissipated for the moment, but it has left behind a troubling reality for one of India’s most important cities: Despite measures to improve air quality, pollution is steadily worsening here, without any simple solutions in sight.
“This is like a ding-dong battle,” said Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of the State of Delhi, moving her fingers like the flippers of a pinball machine. “We catch up with something; the pressures catch up more than that.”
Delhi, a growing metropolis of nearly 20 million people, has struggled to reconcile its rapid economic growth with environmental safeguards. Over a decade ago, the city introduced a host of policies that raised emission standards, closed polluting industries and expanded green spaces. It made a costly investment to convert the city’s buses and auto rickshaws to compressed natural gas. For a time, air quality visibly improved.
But those gains have been overwhelmed in recent years. “We have already plucked the low-hanging fruits, so to speak,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of the Center for Science and Environment here. “Now it’s time for aggressive, second-generation reforms.”
Ms. Roychowdhury and other environmentalists say the government must now concentrate on slowing the rising number of vehicles on New Delhi’s roads. Each day, about 1,400 new vehicles hit the roads of the city, already home to over seven million registered vehicles, a 65 percent jump from 2003. As a result, fine-particle pollution has risen by 47 percent in the last decade. Nitrogen dioxide levels have increased by 57 percent.
Environmentalists recommend a hefty tax on diesel vehicles, a steep increase in parking charges and a rapid upgrade of the public transportation system to ensure more timely bus service and a better integration of buses and the metro rail system.
“These strategies can be implemented immediately and will have an immediate impact on the numbers of vehicles,” Ms. Roychowdhury said. “We have to stop this untamed motorization now.”
But government officials say that a mere crackdown on vehicles ignores other aspects of the problem. They note that New Delhi is landlocked and lacks the coastal breezes that flush polluted air out of other major Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Ms. Dikshit said New Delhi’s rapidly growing population and prosperity add to the pollution.
“It’s an epicenter of trade, of commerce, of governance for this entire northern area,” she said. As a consequence, Delhi “bears a much bigger burden.”
Officials say much of the pollution comes from neighboring areas, where emissions standards are lower and environmental policies virtually nonexistent. For days after November’s smog spell, many Delhi officials responded by blaming a coincidence of factors, including agricultural burnings in the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana and the impact of a cyclone off the southern coast.
Weather conditions played a role, environmentalists agree, but that is no excuse for ignoring the underlying problems.
“The government cannot say that the smog was solely because of bad weather,” saidMukesh Khare, a professor of environmental engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. “They are making excuses to avoid facing the fact that Delhi has a pollution problem once again.”
Until two years ago, environmentalists and city officials in New Delhi lacked monitoring equipment to determine air pollution levels, and scientists and policy makers were dependent on ad hoc surveys conducted manually or on data from the national pollution body that often were incomplete or arrived too late.
In 2010, the Delhi government posted six state-of-the-art monitoring machines around the capital that now constantly measure a host of pollutants, sending real-time data to a publicly accessible Web site.
“We didn’t really understand the situation before,” said Mohan George, a scientist at theDelhi Pollution Control Committee. “Now we have authentic, continuous and reliable data.”
In November, the machines recorded pollution levels at least six or seven times greater than the national standard for safe air. On Nov. 9, for instance, the levels of particulate matter called PM10 near the University of Delhi measured 908 micrograms per cubic meter, against the standard limit of 100, falling into the “very unhealthy” category.
The city’s doctors are worried. Dr. Randeep Guleria, who runs the pulmonary medicine department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said the number of emergency visits relating to respiratory and heart problems had risen sharply this winter.
What is going on in New Delhi reflects a larger trend. A recent study published in the medical journal Lancet shows air pollution has become a major health risk in developing countries, contributing to about 3.2 million premature deaths worldwide. South Asian countries are particularly vulnerable, the study found.
The local government has commissioned a study to understand what exactly caused the smog, and is working on an “air action plan” that would expand the subway system, introduce a network of bike lanes and make the city’s roadways more friendly to pedestrians.
The Supreme Court, which has played the role of environmental watchdog in Delhi for more than a decade, has recommended a more politically delicate measure: imposing an “environment compensation charge” of 25 percent on new diesel vehicles and requiring a much smaller fee for existing gasoline- and diesel-powered cars.
Ms. Dikshit, Delhi’s chief minister, has agreed to consider such a “green tax” and welcomed other solutions, even as she denied that the city’s pollution was reaching alarming levels.
“What is alarming is the impact that Delhi’s prosperity and its comfortable living is having on attracting more and more people to come here,” Ms. Dikshit said. “How much we will be able to sustain that impact of people coming and never going out is a big question.”
A version of this article appeared in print on December 27, 2012, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Untamed Motorization’ Wraps an Indian City in Smog.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/world/asia/indian-city-overwhelmed-by-air-pollution-new-delhi-journal.html?ref=global-home&_r=0

December 27, 2012

ACTION POINTS FOR "HOW TO MAKE DELHI SAFER FOR WOMEN"

DOWNLOAD FROM:
http://uttipec.nic.in/writereaddata/linkimages/9533624611.pdf
OR
http://www.slideshare.net/UTTIPECworks/women-safety-action-points-27-dec-2012



UTTIPEC in consultation with Jagori & ITrans, has compiled the attached 10-page Document to provide some helpful pointers & Action points for various Govt Agencies on what & how to take up Actions on priority basis, to make Delhi Safer for Women!! The same has been forwarded to few top officials of the city.

Do Share, Download and Use....And provide us your suggestions also!!

Inviting suggestions on amendments to Criminal Laws Relating to Safety and Security of Women


More night buses with guards for Capital


NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: More night buses with Home Guards on board in Delhi, rightsizing of VIP security in Maharashtra and a probe by a panel if lapses on part of the Delhi Police led to the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman — authorities Wednesday sought to address the issue of security of women, which has pitted them against the public.
The Delhi government will double the number of buses plying in the night to 85 with Home Guards on board — a move aimed at securing women who are at their most vulnerable while moving around in the Capital.
“The routes will touch all important junctions in the city. We may also consider deployment of Home Guards during evening hours at a later stage,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said. The physiotherapist was raped on board a chartered bus that was plying illegally.
The CM has asked Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which operates a fleet of around 6,000 buses, to improve services with focus on security and safety. Though a time-frame has not been given, the transport department has been asked to ready a plan as soon as possible.
The government will wrote to the Delhi Police to intensify action against buses with tinted glasses. Auto-rickshaw drivers refusing passengers could lose permit, the CM said.
During the day, the union cabinet approved the setting up of a commission of inquiry, led by former Delhi high court judge Usha Mehra, to probe whether lapses on the part of the Delhi Police led to the gangrape, and fix responsibility.
"The commission will also suggest measures to enhance safety and security of women in Delhi/ National Capital Region," finance minister P Chidambaram said. The report, expected in three months, will be tabled in Parliament along with the one on action taken by the government.
The announcement of the commission -- reported first by HT on Tuesday -- came on a day when a separate jurists' committee, headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma, held its first meeting.
The Verma panel has received 6,100 emails within three days, suggesting changes in the criminal law for faster trials and enchanced punishment for sexual assault against women.
To get more boots on the ground to ensure safety of women, Maharashtra has decided to trim the security cover of VIPs, which include industrialists and Bollywood actors. It will free up around 487 personnel.
The state plans to recruit more women constables and have special cells in each police station to help women in distress.

Source: Hindustan Time, Delhi Edition, 27.12.2012

December 25, 2012

Cash Transfer: MP plan shows the way forward

18 Dec 2012
Hindustan Times (Delhi)
Prasad Nichenametla prasad.n@hindustantimes.com
GOOD WORK: A bank expansion model in Gwalior has brought financial institutions to the doorsteps of beneficiaries receiving funds under various schemes

GWALIOR (MADHYA PRADESH): The central government plans to convert all welfare schemes into direct cash transfer format, but limited access to banking is a severe limitation, pilot studies have proved. Targets of these welfare schemes, mostly the poor, find it difficult to access banks.HT PHOTONow, 50-year-old Budhia Dhakad receives her disability pension of R150 at her home in Badagaon Jagir village, Gwalior.

The Ultra Small Branch (USB) model of banking expansion—being run in Gwalior by Madhya Pradesh government and Central Bank of India — provides a possible way forward.

Suman Yadav (in her 40s), a widow, receives a pension of R150 per month. To get this meagre amount, she had to spend R30 and go to a bank situated 15 km from her home. “I had to wait at the bank for hours. If the pension was not delivered that day, I was forced to return the next day,” she says. Yadav used to lose R300 to 400 that she earned in two days as a construction worker. Her woes ended in July. Now, the pension amount is credited to her bank account by fifth of each month. Yadav walks to the one-room USB located in the Panchayat building of her village Girwai. She inserts the smart card, punches fingerprints into a GPRS enabled hand held device and gets her money. This takes her less than two minutes. In simple terms, the model has brought the banks closer to the beneficiaries.

“The modification is setting geographical distance from the banks as criteria for coverage, instead of the population norm,” says Aruna Sharma, additional chief secretary, MP.


A mapping exercise in 2011 identified 14,767 villages as lacking any financial institution within a five km radius. Four thousand places were then identified as being suitable for opening of financial institution covering the shadow villages. A year later, 7,580 of the 14,767 villages are availing banking services within walking distance.

In Badagaon Jagir, Hakim Singh Dhakad (22), working as a business correspondent (a resource person delivering bank services), visits house of Budhia Dhakad (50) to deliver her R150 disabled person pension. The hand held device vocally confirms the withdrawal of the money from the illiterate, blind woman.

The village of 300 households boasts of total financial coverage with over 1,200 accounts. More importantly, “The financial inclusion model has put a full stop to corruption,” says V Kishan, Lead District Manager, Central Bank of India, which opened 18 USBs in the district.

The villagers can over draw up to R500 and are eligible for a loan of R10,000. “The accounts encourage the villagers to save money. Remittances were also received from places like Surat,” says Irfan Khan of Synapse Solutions providing technical support to Central Bank in the project.

Madhya Pradesh has set the ball rolling by transferring all monetary entitlements — over 30 such as NREGA, pensions etc — of R200 crore monthly, through individual accounts. The state says every village would be covered by the end of December.

Pollution level rising, govt turns a blind eye

Study finds three-fold increase in air pollution across world in 10 years; in Delhi, toxic elements rise by up to 57%.



The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has expressed "deep shock" at the findings of the new Global Burden of Disease (GBD) count. The findings say air pollution has become one of the top 10 killers in the world — a threefold increase in the last 10 years.

A CSE analysis says as much as 65 per cent of total air pollution deaths occur in Asia and close to quarter of this in India.

A global initiative involving the World Health Organisation (WHO), the GBD tracks deaths and illnesses from all causes across the world. Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE's executive director-research and advocacy and head of its air pollution unit, said: "We need aggressive and most stringent action to protect public health."

In Delhi, the level of particulate matter less than 10 micron in size (PM10) has increased by 47 per cent between 2000 and 2011, while the level of nitrogen dioxide has gone up by 57 per cent.

The level of particulate matter less than 2.5 micron in size (PM2.5) is also exceeding the standard by 4-6 times. “High levels of carbon monoxide, ozone and benzene levels are also playing havoc,” said Roychowdhury.

Despite all this, the Delhi government has not been quick in implementing immediate winter measures — part of a fiveyear plan to improve the Capital's air quality — which it had announced more than a month ago.

By now, the government should have put in place the immediate measures and submitted a status report.

Referring to the GBD data, Roychowdhury said: “Days of complacency are over. We must act urgently to reduce public health risks, especially for children, elderly and poor.”

The Delhi government and the CSE have prepared a 10 point draft action plan to meet the desired air quality in the Capital by 2017.

“We have discussed the 20-page draft and almost finalized it. After minor correction, this will go to the Cabinet for approval. The plan will be implemented soon,” said a senior government official.

Mind of a Rapist: It’s not mental, but CRIMINAL

Malathy Iyer TNN


Mumbai: Why do men commit rape? Friends and family of Ram Singh, the 33-year-old Delhi driver who is the main accused in the gang rape of a physiotherapist, have used words such as ‘mental’ and ‘volatile’ to describe the moment he transgressed all legal and social limits. But experts are clear: rapists are criminals who believe they can get away with the crime.
Padma Deosthali of NGO Cehat that works with rape victims said, “It is important to make a point that rape is an act of violence, and the intention is to humiliate, hurt, put down or get back or teach a lesson to a girl/woman.’’
Do rapists have psychological or personality disorders? Far from it, she said, adding, “They know that they can get away with it.’’
Psychological profiling of rapists done in North America and South Africa say rapists were possibly exposed to violence early in childhood. Rape is an experience of power over women (see box).
Closer home, a five-yearlong study done by Swanchetan, an NGO that works in the field of mental health, among 242 inmates of Delhi’s Tihar Jail showed that 70% of the accused were repeat offenders. The study said the offenders had a certain level of confidence when he/they attacked the women. Moreover, Swanchetan said the rapists had committed multiple rapes — “on an average at least four” — before they were caught.
Dr B N Gangadhar, professor of psychiatry from NIMHANS, Bangalore, is against using psychological or sociological labels for rapists. “There is nothing psychiatric about a rapist. In fact, a person with a psychiatric illness will never commit a rape. It is clearly a criminal mind that has decided to gratify oneself despite the norms of society.’’
Dr Sunil Mittal from the Delhi Psychiatry Centre said rapist are perverted people who revel in the fact that they get away with it. “Thrill for them is violence and aggression along with sex. He feels powerful with sexual assault,’’ said Dr Mittal. He added that rapists are possibly people who cannot have a normal sexual relationship. “He cannot make any intellectual contribution to a relationship, choosing sexual aggression instead,’’ he added.
Mumbai-based psychiatrist Dr H Shetty sees the increasing trend of violence against women as being a part of a larger societal problem. “India suffers from chronic disaster syndrome. There are rising costs of living, insecurity at the workplace, loss of faith in the system, etc. At the same time, people see personalities getting away with big crimes. A malnourished body gets attacked by various mircrobes. A society that is malnourished will see rise in such crimes against women.’’
towards partners and having transactional sex (paying for sex). This is rooted in men viewing women as sexual objects, who should be conquered.
(Source: Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes or Cehat)

Source: Times of India Dec 20 2012.

Chartered buses thrive as DTC disappears at night

Rumu Banerjee TNN

New Delhi: Flagging a chartered bus in the evening is a necessity in many parts of Delhi due to inadequate DTC and cluster bus services, transport officials say.
In fact, Munirka, Dwarka, Nehru Place, Vasant Kunj, Dhaula Kuan, Badarpur and Malviya Nagar are lucrative areas for unauthorized chartered buses that make school runs during the day and ferry passengers at night. As the bus frequency dips late in the evening, chartered buses are the only ride home for many commuters.
A senior government official said, “There are 6,455 DTC buses on 517 routes, working in shifts. During the evenings, though, especially late nights, bus schedules are not maintained and the waiting period gets longer.” Lack of information on schedules adds to the problem.

Complaints of DTC and cluster buses not plying on routes late at night, especially where chartered buses are to be found in large numbers, have been filed time and again but the authorities are yet to take action. 

“The lack of any information on the bus schedule, so that the commuter can make an informed decision, is a major problem for those travelling by DTC or cluster buses,” said Radha Krishnan, a daily commuter.
The Delhi government had last year promised to install passenger information systems (PIS) in all its bus
shelters. The project is still pending. In the first phase, 500 bus shelters in the NDMC area were to get the PIS. So far, only around 100 shelters have got the system. Sources in the transport department said work on the project had almost come to a standstill.
The project, taken up by DIMTS (Delhi integrated multi-modal transit system), was implemented in September last year. The idea was to use GPS information from DTC and cluster buses, and make it available to commuters.
Electronic boards are meant to provide information on the arrival time of buses. Coordinating arrival and departure times with bus routes from the numerous depots in the city and passing on correct information to passengers is imperative for the proper functioning of this system.
So far, PIS display boards have been installed at the Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT between Delhi Gate and Ambedkar Nagar Terminal, along the route taken by buses 419, 423, 521 and 522. But even these few boards are not fully functional.
DIMTS claims DTC hasn’t provided them with the information, so only cluster bus data is flashed in the PIS, but DTC claims that it will give the required information soon. “While boards have been installed, the information from all bus depots is not available all the time,” said the official.


(Source: Times of India, 20 Dec 2012; pg 4)

Delhi groundwater will run dry in 3-5 yrs


HIGH AND DRY
Delhi groundwater will run dry in 3-5 yrs: Study

Situation In Other Metros Also Alarming, Says NGRI

Bappa Majumdar & Sunil Mungara TNN 

Hyderabad: This is sounds like crisis. Scientists at the premier National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) have said groundwater in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, along with several other northern cities, are declining at such a rapid pace that in three years the Andhra Pradesh capital will be almost bone dry.
“History shows us civilizations have vanished once water is also gone. Water carries people and we need to wake up now and do something before it is too late,” Mrinal Kanti Sen, director of NGRI told TOI on Tuesday.
Staring at an acute crisis, NGRI has been asked by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the ministry of water resources to trace new aquifers using heliborne electromagnetic techniques in the states of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar and Rajasthan.
“The government is concerned and we are gearing up to find new aquifers all over the country as this is the only way out,” says Sen.
In Hyderabad, despite a very good 2011 monsoon, water levels in places like Sanjeevareddy Nagar and Maredpally were at a depth of just about 18 metres; the situation in other observatory zones are equally bad.
Hydrogeologists at NGRI and government water board officials say that with cities turning into concrete jungles very little rain water is getting infiltrated into the earth for conversion into groundwater.
“In an ideal scenario, at least 16% of total rainfall must seep into the earth to get recharged as groundwater, but in cities such as Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai barely half of it does. This is very alarming,” says Dr SN Rai, a top scientist at NGRI.
“It is going to go down further, and at this rate Hyderabad will the first to run dry in three years time. Delhi will be next and may run dry in three to five years. There is a bleak future in store for other metros,” adds Rai, also the vice president of International Association of Hydrogeologists.
NGRI scientists say the scenario in Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan are very bad with groundwater in 20 out of 27 tehsils in Delhi receding rapidly.
A two-year CGWB study shows that groundwater use in Delhi was upto 12,569 hectare metres (HM) against an extremely poor recharge of 2,652- 4,172 hm per tehsil.
Vasant Vihar, Hauz Khas, Chankayapuri, along with Karol Bagh, Kotwali, Kalakji, Rajouri Garden and Paharganj, are among the worst exploited areas, officials say. Rampant digging of bore wells and poor water recharge areas due to construction of buildings are the reasons, they offer.
In Mumbai, civic bodies are resorting to artificial rains as the city’s water collection and storage is nearly 30 percent deficient; water needs can be handled only till February 2013.
CGWB officials say they have plans to revive 8000-10,000 old wells and hundreds of ring wells instead of the current trend of bore wells which does not help in water recharge.The only bright spot in Mumbai is that water levels in the lakes are higher than what it was last time, scientists say.
The scenario in the southern metro of Chennai isn’t happy either, with hydrogeologists saying that the already declining groundwater level has been contaminated due to over exploitation. In fact, CGWB says that 247 out of 451 water samples taken from all districts of Tamil Nadu showed high levels of chloride, fluoride and nitrate — all very harmful for humans.
The situation looked dangerous in towns like Perambalur, Namakkal, Salem and Vellore, officials say. In some of the areas, officials are using air compressors instead of pumps to draw groundwater.
“If Hyderabad is the worst, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai have huge water worries of their own. Unless local governments and people learn to conserve water and think about our next generation, it’s all downhill from here,” says Dr Rai.
Scientists say every big household in the city needs a minimum 3 x 10 feet pit to collect rain water from the roof and divert it to the pits for recharge. Ramesh Kumar, deputy director at the Andhra Pradesh groundwater department, says that indiscriminate digging of bore wells, and encroachment of lakes and water tanks are the prime culprits. The city has only 300-odd lakes remaining out of 900 plus in the late 1960s.
“As a result we are forced to get water from Nagarjunasagar, about 140 km away from the city, to meet water demand,” says Kumar. “Hyderabad will run dry and there is no doubt about it if this trend continues.”
(Source: Times of India, Dec 19 2012)

Delhi's History of Rape

Ghastly rapes city’s undoing for long.
Dwaipayan Ghosh & Smriti Singh TNN


New Delhi: It was not the first time that Delhi woke up to a spine-chilling rape. The capital has had a long history of such crimes.
On October 6, 2003, a 17-year-old Delhi University student was gang-raped at Buddha Jayanti Park by four men of the President’s Bodyguard. Harpreet Singh and Satender Singh had raped the girl while Kuldeep Singh and Manish Kumar stood guard. A hue and cry led to the arrest of Harpreet and the others. Recently, all
four were convicted: Harpreet and Satender got life terms while Kuldeep and Manish got 10 years in jail.
The same year, another ghastly rape was reported from the Shanti Mukund Hospital in east Delhi. On September 7, a nurse on duty at the east Delhi hospital was raped in the middle of the night by a ward boy. He also gouged out her right eye and wounded the left one. The accused Bura was convicted and sentenced to life term.
Perhaps Delhi Police’s biggest failure till date has been its inability to solve the vexing Siri Fort rape case in which a Swiss national, a 35-year-old filmmaker, was abducted from outside Siri Fort Auditorium on October 3, 2003, and then raped in a moving car. The Delhi Police pressed over 10,000 of its men and the door-to-door investigation across south Delhi led to thousands being detained. Finally, a closure report was filed, with police claiming that they could not trace a single suspect.
After a lull of two years, the Dhaula Kuan gang rape case in 2005, in which a rape took place in a moving car, led policymakers to review security in the city.
On May 8, a 20-year-old DU student from Mizoram was abducted by four people in a car early in the morning. They finally dumped her near a gurdwara in south Delhi after raping her.
Five days later, one Ajit Singh Katiyar, a driver of a Noida-based call centre, was arrested amidst cries that cops were goofing up the case by failing to arrest the other accused. The court has convicted the lone accused and 14 years jail term was awarded to him. The cops though never arrested the three other accused.
In 2010, another gang rape, yet again of a girl from the northeast shocked Delhiites. The police came under scrutiny and it was alleged that a weak PCR positioning and weak understanding of English by men in the control room led to the message being flashed late.
On November 26, 2010, a young BPO employee was walking towards her home in Moti village near Dhaula Kuana early morning along with one of her colleagues after being dropped off on the main road by her cab when four persons in a vehicle abducted her and took turns to rape her. Two Haryana men, Shamshad and Usman, were arrested. The case is pending trial in a lower court. The incident had brought in a new set of guidelines for cabs.

UNSAFE ALWAYS: MAJOR RAPE CASES IN THE CAPITAL IN THE LAST DECADE

2003 BUDDHA JAYANTI PARK GANG RAPE Oct 6, 2003 | A 17-year-old DU student raped by four guards at a park near Rashtrapati Bhavan Oct 7 | Main accused Harpreet Singh, three more held STATUS | All four convicted. Harpreet and Satender Singh get life term, Kuldeep Singh and Munesh Kumar 10 years in jail.
SHANTI MUKUND HOSPITAL RAPE Sep 7, 2003 | A nurse on duty at an east Delhi hospital raped in the middle of the night by a ward boy. He also gouges out her right eye and wounds the left one STATUS | Man gets life term
SIRI FORT RAPE Oct 14, 2003 | A 35-year-old filmmaker abducted from outside Siri Fort Auditorium and raped in a moving car
STATUS | Closure report filed, with police failing to trace any suspect
2005 DHAULA KUAN GANG RAPE May 8, 2005 | A 20-year-old DU student from Mizoram abducted by four people in a car early in the morning. Dumped at a gurdwara in south Delhi after being raped May 13 | Ajit Singh Katiyar, a driver with a call centre inNoida, arrested
STATUS | Gets 14 years in jail
2010 DHAULA KUAN GANG RAPE Nov 26, 2010 | A BPO employee walking home in Moti village near Dhaula Kuan in the morning along with a colleague abducted by four people and raped Dec 2 | Shamshad and Usman held
STATUS | Case pending in trial court

Delhi consistentky tops rape tally among Metros, States

Supriya Sharma TNN

New Delhi: If you have lived in different cities, you don’t need statistics to tell you which is the most unsafe city for women in India. A look at the National Crime Records Bureau data confirms the worst fears about Delhi: 572 women were raped in the city last year as compared to 239 in Mumbai. To put it another way, despite having nearly two million more people than Delhi, Mumbai reported less than half the number of rape cases. Other metropolitan cities reported even fewer instances: 47 in Kolkata, 76 in Chennai, and 96 in Bangalore.

Higher instances of crime against women in Delhi are often attributed to the influence of its neighbours. And yet, even among its neighbours, Delhi emerges as the worst. While Delhi had seven rape victims among one lakh females in 2011, Haryana had six, Rajasthan five, and Uttar Pradesh two.

Among cities, taking into account the difference in population to arrive at the incidence of rape, the results remain as startling: for every one lakh women and girls, as compared to seven rape victims in Delhi, there were three in Mumbai and two in Bangalore and Chennai. Kolkata was the safest among the metropolitan cities with two rape victims for every three lakh women in 2011.

These trends have remained unchanged over the last five years. Delhi has consistently held the top spot in the rape tally.



Unsafe at any hour in big, bad city

Women Tell TOI Their Moments Of Horror When Predators Almost Got Them

Prerna Sodhi TNN

SCARY REALITY: Women say they are regular victims of gender bias and sexual harassment

New Delhi: Two years ago, a 25-year-old got off the Metro at Central Secretariat to hire an auto to Netaji Nagar. What happened after she left the Metro station made her decide she will never step out of her home alone again after 9pm.
“It was 8.30pm. I got off the train at Central Secretariat by mistake. I wanted to catch an auto to Netaji Nagar. While I was waiting for the auto, five men started harassing me. I tried walking away quickly but they ripped my sleeve. I boarded the nearest auto and paid him extra to drive me home,” said the woman who works for an online portal. What saved her from worse was an oncoming ambulance which the harassers mistook for a police van and left hurriedly.
Her predicament is not unique. TOI spoke to a few women in the capital who said they felt unsafe whenever they stepped out and whatever mode of transport they took.
Most faced gender and sexual harassment on a regular basis, be it in the form of stalking, eve-teasing or even chasing by a group of predatory men on wheels. Many of these instances took place in broad daylight and being in a crowded place never ensured security. For example, a 24-year-old freelance writer recalled an attempt to pick her up about 1.30pm on a busy road. “I was crossing the road at Moolchand flyover. A car braked in front of me. It had two men in it. Instead of walking ahead of the vehicle, I passed by its side and crossed the road from behind it. A few car drivers stopped. They were curious to find out what the hold-up was about. But no one protested,” she said.
Her observation of silence in the face of atrocity is corroborated by a 23-year-old management student.
“No one wants to help or get involved. When we tried asking staff at a toll booth, we got complacent responses. Ya h a n c h ale ja o , w a h a n c h ale ja o (Check out this place, try this other place). Instead of looking for help I’d rather use my own wits. Help does not arrive on time and the people around end up as onlookers,” she said.
She recounted how she and her three friends were chased by a Scorpio full of men on Delhi-Gurgaon road on their way to a wedding. When no one helped them, they “decided to take a u-turn and go home”.
A study conducted by Jagori and United Nations Women in the year 2010 reveals 54% women and 69% men who witness an incident of women’s harassment prefer to stay uninvolved. It also states that 70% of women are harassed by the roadside, 50% inside public transport and 42% while waiting for transport.
Another management professional, a 27-year-old, said she uses office transport in the evening in a bid to “avoid autos”. “Although I have never faced misbehaviour aboard public transport, I’ve heard of my friends falling victims to untoward happenings,” she said.
For a 21-year-old fashion student, it is not once that her bus-stop wait turned ugly. “What is frustrating is that verbal protests are often interpreted as more encouragement,” she said.
(Names have been withheld on request)

December 19, 2012

Dark stretches a haven for criminals



Police identify 1,300-odd roads in national Capital

NEW DELHI: Poorly-lit stretches in the Capital or those with defunct streetlights serve as a haven to anti-social elements who easily escape after committing such crimes. And Sunday’s gangrape of a 23-year-old girl has once again highlighted this very horrific fact.

The Delhi police had identified 1,300-odd stretches that were either poorly lit or had nonfunctional streetlights in May this year. In 2011, there were only 650 such roads. The Delhi police said crimes against women mostly take place in such areas.

The police are planning to send a list of such stretches to civic agencies once again, urging them to repair the streetlights. "We have decided to send a reminder to all agencies as they have failed to rectify the problems that we had highlighted earlier," said a police official.


According to the survey, some of such stretches are — M-block GK I, Aurobindo Marg, Chirag Delhi stretch, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Marg in Hauz Khas, etc.

The survey has identified stretches that come under the jurisdiction of PWD, the three municipal corporations, NDMC.

“We will issue a direction to all our all the districts in the city to carry out a survey in their respective areas. Many areas under the jurisdiction of a particular police station have dark stretches and a few in bordering areas don't even have a streetlight," said an officer.

Police said poorly-lit stretches were the reason for rising criminal activities.

Source: Hindustan Times, Delhi Edition, 19.12.2012


December 15, 2012

HC ropes in agencies to decongest Chandni Chowk

Who is congesting Chandni Chowk? Vehicles or human beings? Twelve cycle-rickshaws ferrying people around, or 23 huge parked cars serving only one shopkeeper a day??
[Photo courtesy Nipesh Narayan, Assistant Professor, Sushant School of Architecture]

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday expressed concern over congestion in the thickly populated Chandni Chowk area and roped in two agencies to chart a plan to solve the problem.

A Special Bench dealing with traffic problems turned its attention to Chandni Chowk and asked UTTIPEC and the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation to suggest ways in which the area can be decongested after carrying out a study.
Meanwhile, almost a month after being rapped for keeping the multi-level parking facility in Chandni Chowk closed, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Friday told the HC it will become functional next month.
Assuring a special bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice S Muralidhar that the parking will decongest the crowded area, the corporation said it plans to re-start the facility soon. It was answering HC's query on why the ready-to-use multilevel parking facility in the area is closed, though it had been inaugurated twice.
The court also refused to grant more than two weeks time to the corporation to start the process of registering over 7 lakh cycle rickshaws plying in the city. Rejecting the NDMC's plea to grant more time, the bench made it clear the process must start in next two weeks ort else the commissioner will be held accountable.
HC had earlier cleared the decks for smooth registration of cycle rickshaws and quashed a rule of the erstwhile MCD that insisted on an address/identification proof from the owners, after activists complained it had resulted in harassment of the poor.
Lifting its stay on the policy and operation of the civic agency for registration of cyclerickshaws HC had said it shouldn't insist on ID proof in the application form for issuing licences. The petitioners in the case, Manushi, argued that information sought in the form is irrelevant and objectionable.
Unhappy with the criteria established by the corporation for registration of the vehicle and issuance of licence, Manushi had also cited an example, "The application form for registration seeks whether the applicant is suffering from tuberculosis (TB) and for how many years he has been staying in the city."
The special bench constituted to monitor the capital's pilot project for non-motorised vehicles (NMV), including cycle rickshaws on city roads, had earlier stayed the policy and asked the corporation not to implement the policy till it incorporates certain changes. It had also asked the corporation to reconsider its decision of charging the annual fee of Rs 25 for renewal of the licence for cycle rickshaws.


Source: TOI, Delhi Edition, 15.12.2012