Free wi-fi zones in Ranchi from November


As many as 10 busy areas of the state capital, including places like Main Road, Morabadi and Doranda, will have free wi-fi zones from November.

The private agency hired by telecom major BSNL is about to complete a survey of the areas after which the City Wi-fi project of the state IT and e-governance department will rollout.

According to sources in the district administration, hotspots would be set up at Sadar Hospital (on Main Road), State Guest house (Morabadi), Collectorate Building A-block and Collectorate Building B-block (near Kutchery Chowk), registry office (Hinoo), Government Bus Stand (Birsa Chowk), RIMS Campus (Bariatu), Birsa Munda Bus Terminus (Kantatoli), Ranchi Municipal Corporation office (Ratu Road), SSP Residence (Ratu Road) and Hatia Guest House (Doranda).

A senior BSNL official said users would have to login in to a specified webpage using his/her name and mobile number, and then enter the OTP he/she would be sent to enjoy free high-speed wi-fi for half an hour.

“After half-an-hour users would have to recharge online from the webpage to continue the service. We will unveil the the webpage before the launch of the project later this year,” said a senior BSNL official.

Recharge amounts would vary between Rs 9 and Rs 69 to provide data between 1 GB per day to 30 GB for 30 days.

State IT director U.P. Sah said that the Ranchi district informatics centre officer was coordinating with the private agency for selecting the strategic points. “As per the agreement with BSNL the project will roll out in Ranchi by November,” he told The Telegraph.

City Wi-fi will also be launched in Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Deoghar, Palamau and Gumla, but later.

“The Ranchi landmarks (for setting up hotspots) have been identified, keeping in view footfall and importance. In the first phase we have selected 10 spots for high-speed internet data service as a part of the City Wi-fi project. The private agency hired by BSNL has almost completed the survey at all locations,” said Ranchi district informatics centre officer Shiv Bannerjee.

BSNL chief general manager (Jharkhand circle) K. K. Thakur said they had integrated the City Wi-fi project with their mobile data offloading (MDO) service.

“The private agency, Go IP Global Services, is currently conducting a survey. We will be launching the City Wi-fi project first in Ranchi by November. Surveys are also on in six other cities where the project will also be launched soon,” said Thakur.

Ranchi to turn herbal health city


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


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.

7 lakh in Ranchi face dry taps


Over seven lakh people of the capital who get water from Getalsud (Rukka) Dam in Ormanjhi had to spend Wednesday with dry taps owing to pipe-interconnectivity and maintenance work taken up by the state drinking water and sanitation department.

Executive engineer of drinking water and sanitation (Rukka division) Prabhat Kumar Singh said they had to announce a shutdown of water supply from 10am on Wednesday to 10am on Thursday.

“The inconvenience is regretted but the shutdown is necessary for maintenance and operational work,” Singh said.

He added: “We have two supply units where pipe interconnecting work has been undertaken. The old unit supplies 30 million gallon per day and the newly commissioned unit 8 million gallon per day. Both the units are being interconnected keeping people’s needs in mind. The old unit requires maintenance on a large scale, which will take time. So, in order to maintain a balanced water supply, both the units are being interconnected.”

Located on river Subernarekha, Rukka dam has a total catchment area of 717sqkm.

A source however said that water supply would be resumed only late Thursday evening.

The two supply lines that originate from Rukka dam — Booty and Hatia — distribute water across areas of the capital such as Namkum, Kantatoli, Bahu Bazaar, Chutia, Samlong, Tatisilwai, Hotwar, Bariatu, RIMS, Morabadi, Dipatoli, Ratu road, a part of Kanke Road, Upper Bazaar, Main Road, Hindpiri, Pepee Compound, Lalpur, Doranda, Kusai and many others.

Though the department had informed people about the maintenance work through its field officers and staff, many people were caught unprepared.

Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Ratu Road, said some of his relatives from Bihar had come to Ranchi to stay with him for a week “The water problem was just too acute. Ultimately, I bought water from a local supplier,” he said. Chutia resident Manoj Kumar said he was worried as he had invited guests on Wednesday evening to celebrate his son’s birthday. “This (water-supply halt) had to happen today of all days,” he rued. “I don’t know how I will manage without water but I can’t postpone the party.”

An RMC official said they were doing their best to come of use to people. “We deputed our ward supervisors at our deep boring installations to help people get water. Our water tankers moved across the capital to supply water. We also received 20 requisitions for bulk supply of water today (Wednesday),” the official said.

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


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


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.

Sorry, children, you live in a capital whose guardians can’t keep dirty water off roads


Nine-year-old Anushka Kumari, who was returning home from school on Thursday, stumbled and fell on the waterlogged stretch of Gandhinagar-Vidyapati Road of Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s ward 2. When she got up, she vomited many times as she had gulped drain water, and had blood oozing out of her knee.

The Class I student of Gyanodaya Public School in Gandhinagar on Kanke Road has to walk 1km to her Misirgonda residence. That would have been no sweat for the girl if she did not have to cross the low-lying stretch flooded with drain water by stepping on small boulders.

Like thousands of pedestrians, Anuskha manages to do that every day, but on Thursday she tripped. But the child, despite vomiting and hurting her knee badly, was more scared of what her mother would say for dropping her schoolbag in the dirty water and spoiling her textbooks.

Those who use the Gandhinagar-Vidyapati Road — a low-lying stretch of Kanke Road — every day are forced to step on boulders for some 15 metres to avoid ankle-deep drain water. Reason: the dirty water has nowhere to go.

Earlier, drain water used to flow out to a low-lying disputed stretch of land. But in the past month, some people blocked the drain’s exit point. Now, water from the drain spills on to the road.

“Despite reminders, the RMC is silent. Senior officials of the RMC say residents are at fault as they built houses without approval of the building map. That’s a complete lie,” Sanjay Kumar; a local resident, said.

He said the road got flooded even after the “slightest bit of rain”. “You can imagine our dread this season,” he said.

A few months ago, RMC had prepared a database of existing drains aided by 50 students from Ranchi University’s geography department. Ranchi municipal commissioner Manoj Kumar also visited affected localities.

But, residents and even ward councillors feel that the corporation simply does not do enough for Ranchi’s drainage.

A resident of Edalhatu, Shyam Bahadur, said: “RMC’s monsoon plan is meant for certain VIP pockets only. People like us live with choked drains. RMC only collects taxes.”

Ward 7 councillor Sujata Kacchap said she herself was a victim of the “RMC’s mismanagement”. “My house is at lane 2 at Khorhatoli. Two years back, during underground electric cabling work, drainage there was destroyed by (outsourced company) Polycab. The company said they would rebuild the drainage and asked me to submit a detailed project report through the RMC. Unfortunately, the RMC is sitting on the report. I’ve raised this matter at least thrice at board meetings.

The entire stretch near my house gets flooded, but the RMC doesn’t even send safai workers.”

Councillor of ward 4 Husna Ara agreed. “There are certain pockets in my ward with perennial flooding. Harihar Singh Road is the worst affected.

Drain water has no place to flow out. Instead of working out a permanent solution, RMC elevated the road. Now, the slightest shower floods the road.”

RMC health officer Kiran Kumari said they held a special meeting on waterlogging and drainage. “We are taking account of all individual cases of waterlogging due to choked drains. Every ward supervisor has been asked to send reports. We are looking at preventing vector-borne diseases, and permanent solutions.”