India’s first double-decker electric bus on the streets of Mumbai
India’s first air-conditioned double-decker electric bus was opened for public use on February 21st. It is one of 200 buses that Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has leased from Switch Mobility, a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland.
The bus operated on route number 115, running between CSMT and Nariman Point in South Mumbai at 8:45 am on Tuesday. Despite an overwhelming response from the public on its first day, news reports suggest that the bus schedule did not meet commuters’ expectations.
The bus was non-operational in the afternoon, and it did not resume at 4 pm as scheduled. Moreover, it was late by more than an hour.
Source: Mint, Hindustan Times
Temperatures rise in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra
On February 19th, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded a maximum temperature of 37.9 degrees Celsius—which is seven degrees above normal—at the Santacruz weather station. This was Mumbai’s hottest day of the season so far.
Meanwhile, South Mumbai recorded a maximum temperature of 35.3 degrees Celsius, six degrees above normal. With rising temperatures claiming several lives in Maharashtra in the past, the state government has chalked out an action plan to give respite to vulnerable people living mainly in regions that experience extreme heat such as Vidarbha and central and north Maharashtra.
The district administrations have been directed to change the timings of the schools as well as avoid load shedding (power cuts) during the afternoon. They have also been asked to reserve separate wards in government hospitals for the people affected by heat.
Source: Hindustan Times
BEST CNG bus on fire, 400 taken off the roads
After one of the 400 wet-leased CNG buses caught fire in Andheri, BEST announced on Wednesday that it would be taking all of these buses off Mumbai roads with immediate effect. Even though no one was injured, this is the third such incident this month.
On January 25th and February 11th, the TATA CNG buses operated by Mateshwari Limited caught fire in a similar fashion and no injuries were reported. The buses will be off the road till the original manufacturer and the operator take necessary corrective measures to ensure that such incidents do not happen in the future, BEST said in its statement to the press.
Under a wet-lease, the buses are owned, maintained and driven by contractors. As per the contract between the operator and BEST, the former is responsible for the maintenance of the buses and ensuring their safety.
Source: The Indian Express
BMC spent crores building an illegal cycling track, now it will spend Rs 66 lakh to break it
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will spend at least Rs 66 lakhs to dismantle the partial cycling track it built around Powai lake. The track was planned at a cost of around Rs 88 crore.
Environmentalists had approached the court last year, arguing that the construction endangers the natural habitat. The Bombay High Court ruled in favour of the environmentalists, deeming the construction “illegal” and ordered the BMC to restore the land to its original state.
The high cost of demolition is being questioned by citizens, while BMC officials have defended the move by stating that the civic body does not wish to be in contempt of court. The officials believe that the cost is justified as it involves the removal of heavy stones and the use of head loaders.
Source: Times of India
BMC vs citizens battle over parking lots at the cost of open spaces
A battle between citizens and the BMC is unfolding in Bandra, Khar, and Juhu over the construction of parking lots under two open spaces in the city—Patwardhan Park in Khar West and Pushpa Narsee Park in JVPD. It first started with Juhu residents, who started protesting soon after the announcement by the civic body.
While the residents of these areas believe there is a need for parking lots, they do not wish for any construction to take place at the cost of gardens. While the Juhu residents wrote a letter to the civic chief and started an online petition against the project with 3,500 signatures, the Bandra and Khar residents are waiting for more details before they put forth strong objections in writing.
Compiled by Sabah Virani.