Evening digest: HC raps MCD, says Delhi is suffering due to sanitation workers' strike

GN Bureau | February 5, 2016



Delhi High Court on Friday slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) over the ongoing workers' strike in the national capital and observed that it has led to lots of suffering to the common people. The MCD workers' strike entered its eleventh day on Friday as they continued their agitation against non-payment of salaries, pending arrears and medical benefits. The strike by sanitation workers has resulted in tons of garbage piling up at roadside and residential neighbourhoods in the city. The court observed that due to the rift between the BJP-ruled MCD and AAP-led Delhi government, common people are suffering and are facing inconvenience. The court further maintained that cleaning the city is the prime responsibility of MCD, which cannot be neglected.

SC asks Delhi govt to shift Millennium Bus Depot or amend plan
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Delhi government and DTC to either shift out Millennium Bus Depot on the banks of Yamuna within a year or get the master plan amended to legalise its existence. A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi gave the direction while deciding separate appeals of the Delhi government and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) on the issue. The appeals were filed against a Delhi High Court order refusing to extend the time to the authorities to shift out the bus depot which was allowed to be constructed on temporary basis to park buses during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The apex court had earlier rapped the Delhi government for its stand on shifting of the depot, saying the Chief Minister has been "on record" that the site would be vacated. On January 27, it had reserved the verdict on two appeals filed by the city government and DTC against the high court decision. The apex court had said that for augmenting the public transport system, DTC cannot be allowed to continue with its depot, which was meant for only two weeks during the Commonwealth Games has been admittedly built on the river bed. Justice Sikri had referred to his judgement passed as a high court judge and said it was an admitted position that no construction would be allowed on the flood plain of the river and it was also submitted that parks, on the lines of those in Paris and London, would be developed.

Modi targets Gandhis and Rahul retorts
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today signaled the beginning of the BJP's election campaign in Assam and in a rally at Dibrughar lashed out at the Congress' Gandhis. Without naming them, the prime minister said "one family" was responsible for the disruptions in Parliament that have stalled important legislative business and reforms and said he wondered if they were exacting "revenge" for their defeat in the national election of 2014. "There are leaders in opposition parties who want Parliament to run even as they oppose me, but one family is too rigid to allow the Rajya Sabha to function," PM Modi said, asking Assam to give his BJP a chance in elections due by April. On the other hand, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that his party would not let Modi run a government that acts only in the interests of three or four industrialists.

"We will put pressure on the government so that they pay attention to poor people and the farmers," the Congress VP said. Rahul accused PM Modi of "making excuses" for not being able to deliver on his promises. "PM has been making excuses for last one-and-a-half years for not being able to deliver. The job of the Prime Minister is to run the country and not make excuses," he said. The budget session of parliament begins later this month and the government hopes to push through important reforms like the Goods and Services Tax Bill, stalled repeatedly in the Rajya Sabha by the Congress which has a majority in the Upper House.

Karnataka suspends three cops in Tanzanian student's case
Three Bengaluru policemen have been suspended and nine people arrested over the mob attack on Sunday on a Tanzanian woman who was beaten and stripped on a road. The Tanzanian envoy, who has called it a "racist attack", is in the city along with senior Indian foreign ministry officials. Bengaluru police chief N Megharik has said that two of the policemen have been suspended for not "doing their duty" at the scene of the crime. The policemen allegedly did nothing to stop the mob and help the woman. The third policeman allegedly did not try to look for the woman or her friends after the incident. Meanwhile, the BJP distanced itself on Friday from one of the accused in the mob attack on a young Tanzanian woman in Bengaluru after reports emerged that he was a member of the party.

Lokesh Bangari, a sitting member of the Chikkabanavara Gram Panchayat, was among the five suspects arrested by the police in the incident that has triggered widespread revulsion with many on social media calling it “racial assault”. His colleague and a member of the same panchayat, Kabeer Ahmed, confirmed that Bangari was a member of the saffron party but BJP spokesperson S Prakash dismissed it, saying political allegiances of panchayat members was not permanent as local body polls weren’t fought on party symbols. “There are more than 30 lakh members in our party. As far as we know he is not a member. People claiming that he belongs to our party should produce his membership number,” he said.

Major reservoirs at 38% of capacity: Government data
The country's major reservoirs are at 38% of total capacity, latest government data shows. At 59.335 BCM, the available water in these reservoirs, as recorded on February 4, was about half the average capacity a year ago (78%) and the 10-year average of 76%. The total capacity of the country's 91 major reservoirs is 157.799 BCM, which is about 62% of the total storage capacity estimated to have been created in the country. Of these 91 reservoirs, 37 have hydropower plants which can together generate more than 60 MW of power.

Have some dignity and vacate govt bungalow: SC to Congress MP
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a Congress MP from West Bengal, challenging a Delhi High Court order refusing to stay his eviction from bungalow at New Moti Bagh in New Delhi. In an unusual order, the apex court rejected the plea of Chowdhury when his counsel mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said that it is not going to list it and rather dismissed it at the threshold. “Taken on board and dismissed,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said, adding, “You are an MP and you want to stay in a bungalow to which you are not entitled. What kind of petition is this. You just vacate.” The bench, also comprising justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, took a strong note of the submission that Chowdhury was earlier never asked to vacate the premises and has been paying the market rent to the government. “Do you mean to say that you will vacate only when they ask you to do so,” the bench said. The high court had on February 3 rejected Chowdhury’s plea, saying he will have to vacate the property forthwith.

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