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India does not need more Smart Cities, says Urban Affairs Secy

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New Delhi, Sep 29 : Even as work is underway on building 100 Smart Cities across the country, there is no need for more as learnings from the ongoing mission can be replicated for other cities and towns in the country, a top official of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said on Tuesday.

“Learnings from 100 Smart Cities Mission is very important… people often ask me about the next round of Smart Cities and I tell them that it is not required because we can utilise the learnings from our ongoing mission, replicate the same and move ahead,” Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary D.S. Mishra said at a webinar on “Digital Transformation of Smart Cities in India and path ahead”.

Quoting examples of various smart cities – Indore, Bhopal, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and others, he said: “We have learnt a lot of things that can be replicated in shoring up infrastructure in other cities to achieve our goal of improving our citizens’ lives and promote ease of living, be it in terms of health, education, public transport, safety and surveillance and other such aspects.”

Highlighting the three main goals of Smart Cities Mission, Mishra said: “It is about improving liveability, economic ability and sustainability… for this we are conducting all sorts of new experiments in our smart cities – building basic infrastructure using technology to provide better facilities and sustainable solutions to people.”

“We are focusing on capturing the data and using it as an open source to further improve the living standard of people and how we can make our cities climate resilient,” he added.

Mishra also informed that work is likely to be soon completed on 33 of the 49 Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCC) that were turned into Covid-19 war rooms.

“In cities where the infection was rapidly spreading, the ICCCs helped track movement of each and every patient, tracing their contacts, supplying things to their homes, ensuring cleanliness and overall logistics together with predicting requirement of number of beds, masks, sanitisers and others,” he said.

“All this information was smoothly compiled with the help of our integrated command and control centres and has been documented. We have also uploaded it on our ministry’s website.”

The Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary also gave examples of proper management using technology in case of recent floods in Vadodra, cyclone in Vizag and holding the Kumbh Mela with the help of ICCC.

About digital transformation in the recent years, he said: “There is a new thinking which has introduced the concept of Smart Cities in India which is all about further improving the lives of our citizens, leading to quality of life and promoting ease of living through optimal use of all resources available at our disposal.”

Mishra further said that the Prime Minister, while giving a call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, talked about three things – healthy individual, healthy society and healthy economy, and to accomplish all these three, it is needed to optimally utilise all the resources available. “For this we need to use technology in a big way and so Smart Cities concept can help us learn a lot in this behalf.”

He also said that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is documenting most information – be it related to smart road construction, water supply, sanitation, mobility etc.

Terming digital transformation as a positive aspect of Covid-19, the Secretary said: “It is during the lockdown that we realised that life has to go on and for that it was only due to digital medium that we contacted people be it for sanitation, logistics, tracking patients and others… such exercises were possible only via digital medium.”

He also said that the pandemic has also brought a lot of challenges, and one big challenge is about how to make public transport in such a way that people can be saved from infectious diseases like Covid-19.

In his address, Pradeep Aggarwal, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Real Estate, Housing and Urban Development, said: “The epidemic of Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to think once again on the Smart City Mission and build sustainable cities which can fight such epidemic like situations. It has made us realize that we will need to strengthen the health and education facilities of such cities.”

Cities

Govt overturns DU’s pro-VC’s removal, calls it invalid

Soon after her appointment, Bhatt took out an order cancelling the appointment order by Joshi terming him “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority”.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, Oct 23 : The chaos at Delhi University has intensified following a Central government move. A late night order by the Department of Education of Union Education Ministry issued has reversed the order by Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Delhi University Yogesh Tyagi to remove the pro-VC P.C. Joshi, stating that the latter will “act as a vice-chancellor and all the orders to be issued under the statutes with the approval of Vice-Chancellor should be issued with the approval of Pro-Vice Chancellor P.C. Joshi”.

The ministry’s order also said that since Tyagi is “absent” on medical grounds, orders issued by him are not “officially valid and should not be acted upon by the university functionary”.

“In future, if the Vice Chancellor wants to join the office, proper medical fitness certificate issued by the competent authority,” the letter signed by deputy secretary Birendra Kumar Singh at the union education ministry stated.

The order also mandated that the VC has to produce a fitness certificate from the centre he is being treated in if he wishes to rejoin the varsity in future.

“In future, if the VC wants to join the office, a proper medical fitness certificate issued by the competent authority who treated him, must be obtained,” the order read.

Earlier on Thursday, Joshi was removed from his position, just a day after he cleared the appointment of a new registrar even as Tyagi had appointed another person for the job.

Geeta Bhatt, a member of right-wing teachers’ group National Teachers’ Democratic Front (NDTF) has replaced Joshi. She’s also a leading member of the Group of Intellectuals and Academics (GIA), which said Delhi riots were a conspiracy of “Jihadis” and “Urban Naxals”.

Soon after her appointment, Bhatt took out an order cancelling the appointment order by Joshi terming him “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority”.

The chaos at the university began when the joint-registrar’s office issued a notification naming PC Jha as the director of the university’s south campus and as interim registrar from October 21.

“He has been appointed as Director South Campus in place of Prof. Suman Kundua with immediate effect till further orders. He will also act as Registrar, University of Delhi, as an interim arrangement, with immediate effect till further orders,” the notification had said.

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Cities

Heavy rainfall forecast in Odisha, districts put on alert

A depression formed over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours, the IMD said.

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Karnataka Rain

Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 : The Odisha government on Thursday said it has alerted all district Collectors to remain alert as several parts of the state are likely to receive heavy rainfall in the next two days.

Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Jena said that the districts under red, yellow and orange warning are required to make advanced planning and remain fully prepared to meet any eventuality arising out of flood, water-logging and possible landslides in hilly areas.

The Indin Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red warning for Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts, orange warning for Puri district, and yellow warning for Ganjam, Khurdha, Cuttack, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts for the next two days.

Meanwhile, several places in the state started receiving rainfall on Thursday.

A depression formed over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours, the IMD said.

The system is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts as a deep depression between Sagar islands (West Bengal) and Khepupara (Bangladesh) over Sundarbans by Friday afternoon, it said.

The Met Department said heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at isolated places over Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore. Squally weather with wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph and gusting to 50 kmph is likely along the coast in all the four districts, it said.

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India

Day after chaos, Delhi University’s pro-VC removed

Meanwhile, The DU Teachers’ Association condemned the series of events and termed them as “unprecedented chaos”.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, Oct 22 : The drama over the appointment of the new registrar has taken an ugly turn as Delhi University’s (DU) pro-Vice Chancellor, P.C. Joshi, has been removed from his position on Thursday.

The development came a day after he cleared the appointment of a new registrar, even as Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi had appointed another person for the same position.

Joshi will be replaced by Geeta Bhatt, a member of right-wing teachers’ group, National Teachers’ Democratic Front (NDTF).

Bhatt is also a leading member of the Group of Intellectuals and Academics (GIA), which had said that the Delhi riots of February were a conspiracy of “Jihadis” and “Urban Naxals”.

Soon after her appointment, Bhatt took out an order saying that Joshi is “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority”.

The chaos at the university began when the joint-registrar’s office issued a notification naming P.C. Jha as the Director of the university’s South Campus and as interim registrar from October 21.

“He has been appointed as Director of South Campus in place of Suman Kundua with immediate effect till further orders. He will also act as Registrar, University of Delhi, as an interim arrangement, with immediate effect till further orders,” the notification said.

According to university sources, the fight is between two factions, one backed by the Vice Chancellor, who backed Jha, and Joshi, who on the same day of Jha’a appointment, sent him a letter of “illegally occupying the office”.

“In case you are not vacating the office immediately, you will be forcibly moved out of office and action will be initiated against you,” Joshi said in the letter to Jha.

Meanwhile, professors and officials at the university have called the fiasco disturbing and humiliating for the university.

“The reputation of the university is built over decades and it can be lost within no time. Only one side can be right, but here both the sides are issuing letters, showing a situation of lawlessness. Those who are in power did not care about the reputation of the university, especially during admission time,” said a professor of the university.

Meanwhile, The DU Teachers’ Association condemned the series of events and termed them as “unprecedented chaos”.

Vice Chancellor Tyagi, who is on medical leave at the moment, did not respond to the reporter’s calls and messages.

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