Ranchi to host 6km promotional on cycling

Source: telegraphindia.com

This Independence Day residents of the capital are being urged to be a part of “Cyclothon”, a rally to promote the use of the cycle given its credentials as a pollution-free, noise-free and environment friendly mode of commute.

“This is a promotional effort to increase awareness on the app-based public bicycle sharing system that has been introduced in the capital as a part of the Ranchi Smart City project. Cyclists will use promotional banners painted in the colours of the Indian flag, sporting slogans in Hindi to encourage people to opt for cycling,” said state urban development department spokesperson Amit Kumar.

According to a 2014 survey by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), use of shared autos (diesel and battery operated) in Ranchi was at 28 per cent, while operation of buses constitutes a meagre 5 per cent of the share of public transport.

On an average, 800 people are using the app-based public bicycle sharing platform a day, said Shashi Ranjan, manager of Chartered Bike, the Ahmedabad-based firm that launched the initiative in Ranchi.

“Earlier, 1,500 people would use the bicycles a day. But due to the monsoon, usage has slipped to 800 per day. However, with more awareness people’s interest will increase,” he said, explaining the rational behind an event like Cyclothon.

At the event, cyclists will display Hindi slogans like, “Azadi pradushan se, azadi traffic jam se, sankalp le cycle chalane ka, desh ko swachh evam pradyushan mukt banana ka (Freedom from pollution, freedom from traffic jams, take the pledge to opt for cycle and make the country clean and pollution free).”

Ranjan said they were organising such an event for the first time. “So far, we have got confirmation from 15 cyclists. They will be provided with T-shirts and the banners. Since it is a promotional event, the rides will be free,” he said.

The Cyclothon, of 6km, will commence at 7am from Albert Ekka Square (on Main Road) and traverse through major intersections like Lalpur, Dangratoli, St Xavier’s College square, Iqra Masjid and culminate at Big Bazaar (opposite Ranchi Club).

The first phase of the app-based initiative was launched in March with 600 German-made cycles. As many as 60 docking stations were set up along two routes, namely, Kanke Road-Chandni Chowk-Suchana Bhawan-Main Road and Kokar-Lalpur-Circular Road-Kutchery Chowk-Morabadi.

Chartered Bike is ready to launch the second phase with 600 more bicycles and is currently carrying out a survey to set up more docking stations.

“The second phase will have cycles on routes between Karamtoli Chowk to Kokar via Booty More, Ratu Road to Project Bhawan via Shahjanand Chowk, Argora Chowk and Birsa Chowk, Birsa Chowk to Main Road and Shahjanand Chowk to Main Road via Kadru. We are ready with the bicycles and will soon start construction of docking stations after completing the survey,” said a company official.

Ranjan referred to the initial hiccups they faced when people began parked their motorbikes at docking stations, thereby defeating the very purpose of the cycle-sharing initiative.

“Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) had deputed guards to ensure that people do not park their bikes at our docking stations. But we would like more stringent measures to prevent illegal parking at our docking stations,” Ranjan noted.

The Chartered Bike app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. There is a subscription fee, Rs 35.40 a day, Rs 236 a month and Rs 1,180 a year. There is a nominal user charge of Rs 5, but the first 30 minutes are free.

Those who do not have access to smartphones can buy tickets and use the cycles.

RMC, cops fight for footpath

Source: telegraphindia.com

pring posts with iron and plastic chains will be used along the footpath area on the Ranchi Main Road to prevent illegal parking and give pedestrians space to walk.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) and city traffic police have jointly decided to install spring posts — road safety products that bend when hit and bounce back, preventing vehicles from damage — fitted with iron and plastic chains along the footpath area.

“We have procured most of the spring posts along with iron and plastic chains and their installation would be done in a couple of months. This, we hope, will prevent illegal parking of bikes and other vehicles on spaces reserved for pedestrians,” said Ranchi traffic SP Ajit Peter Dungdung.

A dedicated footpath is sorely needed along the capital’s artery. According to a survey by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (an NGO focusing on rapid mass transit system in cities), Ranchi Main Road during peak hours has over 3,300 pedestrians walking and 572 vehicles crossing it every hour.

RMC had last week demarcated a 4-metre wide area along the 400-metre stretch between Albert Ekka Chowk and Sarjana Chowk on Main Road for pedestrians on a trial basis, marking the area with white line. The RMC installed sliding road barriers. But the two-wheelers managed to squeeze into the gaps of the sliding barriers and parked their vehicles on the dedicated footpath causing inconvenience to pedestrians.

“The road has been divided into two, with 6 metres left for vehicles and 4 metres for walkers. By and large, vehicle-owners have cooperated but at some points manual rickshaws and bikes do cross (the white line) and tend to park illegally, admitted RMC city manager (transport), Saurav Verma. “However, the police have completed tender for the spring posts and chains and we will soon start installing them. After that, it would be very difficult to park vehicles on the dedicated footpath,” Verma added.

The spring posts would be placed at a gap of every metre and chain links tied on the top of the posts along the entire stretch of the nearly 3km Main Road.

“Vehicles should be parked on the 12 dedicated parking bays and not along the footpath at any cost. Violators will be prosecuted by the RMC and police,” Saurav added.

In July, the flanks of the Main Road were cleared of vendors who were allotted shops at Atal Smriti vendor market in Kutchery Road. But, the place left vacant by them immediately started being used as illegal parking spots. That’s when RMC and police decided to make them into dedicated footpaths.

Ranchi to turn herbal health city

Source: telegraphindia.com

The capital will be developed as a herbal healthy city with focus on planting over 1,000 medicinal plants at parks and community centres, an ambitious initiative of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) that is relying on experts for guidance.

“We have taken a decision to this effect at a board meeting held recently to develop the capital as a herbal healthy city. Ayurveda expert Dr Suresh Agarwal has agreed to provide us with the required number of medicinal/herbal plants,” said RMC deputy director Sanjeev Vijayvargiya, adding that that RMC had zeroed in on Amrita or giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), Vasaka (Justicia adhatoda), Sendwar (Vitex negundo) and Harsingar (name Parijat) across all wards.

According to RMC sources, a decision has been taken to plant five saplings of each of the four types of medicinal plants in all each ward.

“We have decided to plant at least five saplings of each of the four medicinal plants. The number can go higher (a total of 20 saplings in each of the 53 wards which means a total of 1,060 saplings),” said the deputy mayor.

Once all saplings were planted, Ranchi, he added, would be the first city of India to have undertaken such an initiative. “We hope to complete plantation in the next few months with the help of various ward members in the first phase,” said Vijayvargiya.

According to Agarwal, they have decided on four medicinal plants as these were helpful in fighting common ailments.

“We have selected plants keeping in mind common diseases like cold and cough infection, stomach ailments, arthritis etc. Few saplings have already been planted. I have suggested to RMC officials to ensure that herbal plants are planted near temples, mosques, churches, sarna sthals (tribal worship), parks, schools and community halls and open spaces so that there is a sense of ownership among people who will then prevent their damage,” said Agarwal, who had given a 10 minute presentation before RMC officials last month.

“I am glad RMC has accepted the idea,” said Agarwal who has done extensive research in herbal medicines for over two decades.

RMC gauges footpath benefit

Source: telegraphindia.com

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) on Thursday demarcated a four-metre wide area along the 400-metre stretch between Albert Ekka Chowk and Sarjana Chowk on Main Road for pedestrians on a trial basis to determine the benefit of a permanent footpath there.

Around 4 in the evening, The Telegraph witnessed pedestrians walking on the stretch demarcated by sliding road barriers without any hassle though some two-wheelers were parked there.

“Unlike other days, I did not have to negotiate moving vehicles on the stretch,” said Deepa Pradhan, a resident of Doranda, while entering in the Shastri Market.

Santosh Kumar, a resident of Kadru, agreed.

“It will be good if it continues like this,” Kumar said.

E-rickshaw operators were, however, not happy with the system.

“I will have problem parking my e-rickshaw at Albert Ekka Chowk as the width of the main road has been reduced to six metres from 10 metres,” e-rickshaw driver Samsher Ahmed said.

Deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said very soon the stretch would be converted into a permanent footpath for the benefit of pedestrians.

“If it doesn’t rain tonight (Thursday), the stretch will be painted with colours to ensure that people recognise it a pedestrian path from far. Later, a four-metre wide footpath will be constructed at that place, which will be beautified with plants,” Vijayvargiya said.

Municipal commissioner Manoj Kumar said the entire exercise was aimed at ensurring hassle-free movement on Main Road. “We have declared the stretch between Kutchery to Sarjana Chowk as no-vending zone from July 1 and want to ensure that there is no unauthorised parking in the stretch. During the trial period, traffic personnel will help people understand the new system,” Kumar said.

Medicine-garden push in Ranchi

Source: telegraphindia.com

Ranchi Municipal Corporation is working on a proposal to grow medicinal plants at selected spaces in all 53 wards of the state capital.

The suggestion, deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya said on Friday, had come from a city doctor.

“Surgeon Suresh Agrawal, who is also working in the field of ayurveda, had formally submitted a proposal to promote planting of medicinal plants for residents to get natural home remedies. A few days ago he had made a presentation before the RMC and the idea was found worth implementing,” Vijayvargiya said.

“Initially, we have decided to dedicate a portion of each ward office premises for planting and in the next phase selected medicinal plants will be planted at parks,” he said.

The deputy mayor said that the next meeting will be convened very soon to work out the plan.

“Agrawal has assured all support; we will also invite experts of the forest department and Birsa Agricultural University to execute the project. They can identify different kinds of medicinal plants and how to grow these. We will also be able to preserve those medicinal plants which are on verge of extinction,” Vijayvargiya said.

Nakshatra Van in front of the Raj Bhavan and the Bio Diversity Park in Tupudana are the only parks in Ranchi with some rare plants of medicinal value. Agrawal, 67, said for the past one year he was meeting ward councillors requesting them to promote medicinal plants.

“I am a surgeon and run my private clinic. But for the past two-and-half decades I am simultaneously involved in clinical and ayurveda research. I have identified four medicinal plants, Amrita, Harsinghar, Sedwar and Vasak, which can cure 15 types of diseases. Amrita increases immunity and has been declared as the national medicinal plant. The other three plants are quite useful in body and joint pain, cough, fever, hair fall, bleeding, and irregular menstrual cycle. I also grow these plants at my clinic and prescribe to patients and the results are quite encouraging. Sedwar is a typical Jharkhandi plant which I use to cure pain,” said Agrawal.

Part of Jharkhand’s biggest dump yard to turn eco-park soon

Source: hindustantimes.com

Think of an eco-friendly park on a pile of garbage giving breather to people living in and around the area.

This imagination will soon turn into reality at Ranchi’s Jhiri, one of the biggest dump yard in Jharkhand, spread across 41 acres of land where more than 600 tonnes of garbage is dumped every day since past two decades.

The board of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has approved the proposal of an eco-park on a portion of the dump yard with an aim to reduce environmental hazard to people living nearby, clear dumping land and improve soil quality which has deteriorated drastically. RMC executive engineer Umeshwar Nath Tiwary said a detailed project report (DPR) in this regard was being prepared by a private agency. “The concept is to accumulate garbage spread across 41 acres of land in three to four acres through capping work and develop a park on it,” he said, adding, “Grass would be sown, varieties of flowers and trees suitable for such land would be planted there.”

Tiwary said the project would help improve the environment of the locality by reducing garbage pollution, prevent water and soil pollution, besides, it would help to reclaim large portion of the dumping site for scientific solid waste management.

It was a brainchild of Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya who said that he saw such eco-park in Chennai. “It gave me an idea to develop a similar park in Ranchi’s Jhiri under green project initiative. It will give a breather to people living nearby,” Vijayvargiya said.

A stinking kitchen dustbin can unsettle one’s day. Imagine living in Anand Nagar, a colony of 200 families near Jhiri, that has to cope with over 20 lakh tonnes of garbage accumulated in past two decades.

Most residents of the colony are forced to live inside mosquito nets even in day time. “Flies make our lives miserable during the day while mosquitoes at night. We cannot eat in the open because of the flies,” said Lalti Devi (35).

“Since there is no waste recycling process here, flies and mosquitoes menace have increased seriously,” she said. A large number of residents are now planning to shift to other places after selling their properties.

A recent study conducted by the environment experts of Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, found unscientific garbage dumping turning the soils in and around Jhiri poisonous spreading cancerous agents. The environment experts have found concentration of heavy metals like Chromium, Copper and Zinc in the soil.

Kirti Avishek, assistant professor at department of civil and environmental engineering at BIT, said, “Any vegetable or plant uptake the nutrition from the top soil. It means vegetable or any plant will absorb the heavy metals. When we eat such vegetables, it will enter our body, which could lead to several health hazards including cancer.”

RMC had hired two agencies — A2Z in 2011 and Essel Infra in 2015 — to collect and dispose city’s garbage and set up a waste processing plant at Jhiri for making fertilizers, eco-bricks and electricity out of the dumped garbage. However, RMC terminated both the companies for allegedly falling on their given tasks.

Hi-tech watch to clock clean drive

Source: telegraphindia.com

Global Positioning System-enabled watches will keep tab on sanitary workers to ensure cleanliness in the state capital from September onward.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) will hold a pre-bid meeting on July 17 of leading GPS-enabled watch manufacturing companies to take stock of the options before starting the process of selecting a private firm for supplying 2,100 watches.

The photographs and phone numbers of each sanitary worker will be taken for creating an ID in the monitoring system at the control room of the RMC, a senior official explained. The ID will help in tracking every worker. Each watch will also have a pulse detector to ensure that it is worn by the sanitary worker. If a worker gets out of the working area during duty hours, the control room will get a notification and action will be initiated against the worker.

The watch will also have a panic button, by pressing which workers will be able to directly communicate with higher officials of the civic body.

“We have formulated beat plan and roster for sanitary workers in cleaning of drains and roadside, lifting of garbage and collection of door-to-door waste. But the compliance part is monitored manually and there is always scope of human error or laxity,” municipal commissioner Manoj Kumar said on Wednesday.

“We plan to procure the GPS-enabled watches to keep track of the staff through computers installed at our control room to ensure beat plan and roster is maintained and the sanitary staff concerned would be easily identified for any deviation or missing from the beat/roster. We hope to selected the agency in a month or so and start distribution of such watches from September onward,” he added.

There are around 2,100 sanitary workers for cleaning of drains, sweeping of roads, collection of roadside garbage, door-to-door collection of waste. The beat/roster plans are made for cleaning to be carried out between 6.30am and 2pm, 3pm and 9pm, and 9pm and 4am.

Sources in the civic body said that the decision to procure GPS-enabled watches was taken following numerous complaints by residents of laxity and negligence by these cleaning and sanitary workers.

“After the RMC took over cleaning and lifting of garbage in all the 53 wards last month, there have been complaints that the staff do not adhere to the beat plan and roster. While a few lanes and drains are cleaned almost daily, others are cleaned once or twice in a week,” a senior RMC official said under cover of anonymity.

“As of now, our control room operators call up residents to inquire if lanes and drains are cleaned or not and rely on the report presented by the supervisors. However, the computerised monitoring will ensure that any laxity on the part of the sanitary worker is detected immediately and action taken promptly,” the official added.

Ranchi ‘Smart City’ locality with mud roads and no drains

Source: telegraphindia.com

Over 1,000 residents of Jagatpuram, a new settlement on a flank of Kanke Road (Ranchi-Patratu Road) less than 5km from the chief minister’s residence, are forced to live without concrete roads and drainage.

A seven-minute drive from the CM’s residence, Jagatpuram mocks the tall claims of the central and state governments of working towards making Ranchi a Smart City.

The locality, which grew virtually from farmland in the past four years owing to the capital’s rapid urbanisation, now has around 200 households. Some of these are opulently built.

But, the first heavy hours have bared the non-existent civic facilities in the area that falls under Ward 1 of Ranchi Municipal Corporation.

The locality has only one cemented road, 200 feet of it, in a part of the colony built with Ranchi Zilla Parishad funds. The mud roads turn slushy streams. The low-lying area is virtually marooned.

Ramanand Raman, who lives here and works at a private pathological laboratory, said he was already regretting having bought land here for his house. “I purchased land here six months ago, I’m already repenting my decision. It rains, and everyone is trapped at home, children can’t go to school, there’s no road to walk on,” Raman said.

Another resident Pramod Kumar said it was a relatively new settlement, not more than four years old.

“Many influential persons bought land here, you can see their palatial buildings. In another season, it may even look like a posh locality. But on the ground, and in monsoon specially, things are a mess because we don’t have proper roads and drainage. These are basics,” he said.

He added that as the bulk of the area was flooded or slushy, sanitation workers had stopped coming. “Imagine, we have to dump garbage here and there. Perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed,” he added.

Contacted, Ranchi deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya admitted to the problem at Jagatpuram. “RMC is aware of the road and drainage problems there and has prepared a detailed project report worth Rs 5 crore to address them. Work will be done in phases. In the first phase, a Rs 1.5 crore road will be built, for which the tender will be floated very soon,” he said.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation asks for geotagged photos to aid anti-dengue mission

Source: telegraphindia.com

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has asked supervisors to upload GPS-tagged photographs of the ongoing cold fogging exercise to ensure better compliance of the anti-dengue measure that involves killing full-grown mosquitoes.

“All multi-purpose supervisers (MPS) will have to upload GPS tagged photographs (geotagged images) of the cold mist fogging exercises that is on in various lanes of all 53 wards to ensure strict adherence to the monthly roster that has been prepared to tackle the vector menace,” RMC additional municipal commissioner (AMC) Girja Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

As per a directive issued on Sunday evening, all 53 MPS will have to upload GPS tagged photographs of the fogging exercise in the RMC’s WhatsApp group in the morning and evening while monitoring the activities of 66 workers.

“From Monday onwards there will be cold mist fogging and anti-larvicidal spraying in mornings and evenings. While the morning exercise will be carried out between 5am and 7am, the evening exercise has been scheduled between 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm,” said RMC assistant medical officer Kiran Kumari.

RMC has three cold mist fogging machines and the roster has been made in such a way that fogging is repeated in each ward after a span of nine days, the time taken by larvae to develop into an adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoe, she said.

“Cold fogging machines are aimed at killing adult mosquitoes. There have been complaints earlier from residents that their wards are not being covered although supervisors show us log books to claim that they have covered all areas. GPS tagged photographs will remove such confusion and help us monitor the fogging exercise,” she added.

RMC efforts at controlling dengue come in the backdrop of last year’s outbreak with Ranchi recording 350 dengue positive cases. Unconfirmed reports claimed two casualties but the health department denied these were caused by dengue.

“Yes, there was a dengue outbreak in Ranchi last year but there was no casualty. Blood samples of two persons suspected to have died of dengue turned out negative in the Elisa test. This year, there have been no reports of any dengue positive cases,” said Ranchi civil surgeon Dr Vijay Prasad.

RMC has stopped its earlier practice of thermal fogging that was less effective. “The 10 thermal fogging machines will not be used anymore in any of the wards. Cold mist fogging machines will be using a chemical, insective Aqua K-Othrine, which can be mixed with water instead of diesel (as in thermal fogging machines) and will not harm the environment,” Kumari said.

Cold fogging is in the form of a mist and is more precise in hitting adult mosquitoes compared to earlier methods that led to smog and was not that effective. “We also plan to buy three more cold mist fogging machines later,” Kumari added.

The cold mist fogging machines will be deployed alongside the 600 hand-held machines that are used to spray larvicide in drains and other water accumulation points where mosquitoes breed.

“We have a roster for spraying larvicide too. MPS will also have to send GPS tagged photographs for that too. Two workers have been assigned in each of the 53 wards (106 in 53 wards) and the roster has been made in such a manner that larvicide spray is repeated in a particular drain every seven days,” Kumari said.

Hawkers’ hub in Ranchi to become no-vending zone

Source: hindustantimes.com

From Monday, vendors will not be allowed to put up stalls on 1.5-km stretch from Kutchery Chowk to Sarjana Chowk, known as hawkers’ hub, as Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has declared the stretch no-vending zone.

The vendors would be shifted to the newly-constructed Atal Smriti Vendors’ Market built at Kutchery.

The shop allotments process has already been completed. However, a section of vendors have decided to protest against the RMC’s move, alleging irregularities in the allotment process.

The stretch – comprising Kutchery Chowk, Saheed Chowk, Albert Ekka Chowk, Sarjana Chowk, part of main road — is a major hawkers’ zone in the city. More than 1,000 hawkers earn their livelihood in the stretch.

Deputy municipal commissioner Shankar Yadav said, “The notice has also been given to vendors. They will now put up their stalls at the newly constructed multi-storied building.”

Atal Smriti Vendors’ Market, a four-storied building, was built on 2.94 lakh sqft area at the cost of Rs 54 crore. The market has 472 kiosks for street vendors on ground and first floors. On the second floor, 108 shops have been built. Further, 23 offices are on the third floor and a banquet hall for marriage, anniversary and other purposes on the fourth floor.

Chief minister Raghubar Das had inaugurated the building on November 16 last year.

“A total 752 vendors had been identified on the stretch in a survey. However, 569 hawkers were found to be genuine. Around 150 vegetable or fruit sellers were excluded from the list of shop beneficiary, as perishable items such as vegetables and fruits were not allowed inside the market,” Yadav said. Cemented platforms were being constructed for them, he said.

However, Jharkhand Sikshit Footpath Dukandar Mahasangh (JSFDM) has cried foul in distribution of shop allotment. “Many hawkers who are not genuine got shops here,” said JSFDM central president Ishtiyak Ahmed.