The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 24-09-2022 | 12:35 am
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) ruled by the BJP decided to whitewash public walls painted with election symbols of lotus, hand and broom, six months after party state president CR Paatil launched a campaign to paint lotus symbol on public walls, leading to the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) following suit and painting almost all public walls, pillars of the metro rail and public toilets with party graffiti.The campaign was launched by the BJP leaders on March 13 from Ahmedabad and Surat, but rapidly taken up in all citiesacross the state. After a public outrage on social media over the defacement of public properties, the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) was the first to paint over the symbols on metro pillars.The AMC also decided to impose a penalty on those defacing walls repeatedly. AMC standing committee chairman Hitesh Barot stated that “removal” of these symbols has been initiated across all 48 wards of Ahmedabad city.“After the Metro Rail Corporation removed these political party symbols, the AMC, too, started whitewashing the walls in all wards,” Barot told The Indian Express. However, this has resulted in white patches on the red brick boundary wall of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. After the launch of the BJP’s lotus campaign, where every symbol was numbered, the Congress responded initially by painting LPG cylinders with its rates, alongside the lotuses in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, and Himmatnagar (in Sabarkantha district). In Ahmedabad, the BJP launched the wall painting campaign from the Airport Circle in Shahibaug where Paatil and party vice-president Gordhan Zadaphia and general secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela, wrote, “Modi nu Gujarat and Gujarat na Modi (Modi’s Gujarat and Gujarat’s Modi)”, “Gujarat chhe makkam, BJP sathe adikham (Gujarat is firmly with BJP)” and“Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas, Sauno Prayas, Sauno Vishwas (everyone’s collaboration, development, effort and trust)” along with the lotus symbol, on the walls.The Congress then painted its hand symbol next to the BJP symbol on public walls near Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, Shahibaug, Ellis Bridge and other areas in Ahmedabad. The AAP followed suit soon and painted brooms in a yellow backdrop with the slogan “Ek Mauko Kejriwalne (One chance to Kejriwal)”.Barot told The Indian Express that the AMC did not have a record nor was it conducting a survey of how many walls were covered with such political symbols. “How many walls have been painted with these symbols is not surveyed. So, the cost for removal is not estimated. Neither have we allocated any amount for this,” he said adding that political party painting the symbol again will be served a notice followed by a fine.“We have not decided the amount of fine yet. First they (the offenders) will be served a notice,” he said.Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “Congress was not in favour of painting the walls with party symbols but were forced by the BJP that started defacing public walls and even government premises. In response to BJP’s misusing of power, Congress workers demanded to give them a befitting reply. But we did not paint any government wall.” BJP’s campaign to paint its symbol on public walls also met with criticism from the Mission Smart City Trust, an NGO, in Rajkot that has been painting walls in the city since 2015. They took objection to the BJP painting over its artwork at the city’s Kisanpara Chowk. After the organisation complained to the city mayor, municipal commissioner, and the BJP’s city presidents, the ruling party whitewashed the walls where the lotus symbols had been painted over the NGO’s artwork.
AHMEDABAD: The city civic body's cattle nuisance control department (CNCD) has slowed down on impounding stray cattle from city roads as two animal shelters are now full. At the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) health and solid waste management committee's meeting on Wednesday, officials admitted that their teams are now impounding about 50 heads of stray cattle a day, about half the number from earlier. Prakash Gurjar, deputy chairman of the health and solid waste management committee, said that the AMC's Danilimda shelter has around 3,300 heads of stray cattle while the Bakrol shelter has around 1,500 animals. Both facilities are full now. We are in the process of setting up new shelters but that will take time. Impounding of stray animals has been affected due to this," Gurjar said. The committee members said that they had slowed down on impounding stray cattle for a while as they were concerned about the spead of the lumpy skin disease (LSD) virus. At the meeting, it was also decided that food inspectors will have to sit at zonal offices and their jurisdictions will be those zones only.
AHMEDABAD: The city civic body has relaxed the rule for calculating property tax for office spaces located within factory premises. Property tax on factories used to be low compared to that on office spaces within the factories. According to the modified rule, owners of factories which have office space up to 1,615 sq ft will pay property tax in the same slab as the rest of the factory premises. However, if the office space is bigger than 1,615 sq ft, the factory owner will have to pay property tax which falls in the office space slab. The decision was taken in the AMC revenue committee's meeting held on Wednesday. "We used to calculate office spaces using Factor 7 which is the office-space parameter for property tax calculation. For factory premises, we used Factor 2 which is the parameter for calculating industrial properties," said Jainik Vakil, the chairman of the AMC's revenue committee. "The Factor 7 tax slab is higher than the Factor 2 tax slab. The owners of many small and medium factories used to default on taxes." Vakil said that the AMC decided to modify the rule and made it more acceptable to the owners of such factories.
Just 10 metres from the Navrangpura Metro station, a posh society has been battling waste dumped near their premises. A member of Saurabh Society alleged that solid waste was being dumped opposite their society for many months now. Society members claimed to have filed over 20 complaints in the past two months with the AMC, but the situation has not changed, they said.The society houses doctors, lawyers, architects and IAS officers. Another residential complex, Sahajanand Society, with 100 flats is also facing the same issue.Dr Aditya Misra, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon who lives in Saurabh Society told Mirror that they have complained about the accumulation of solid waste opposite their society several times. “I sent complaints on the Swachhata App 15 times in the past two months and have personally visited the AMC office several times for the same, but the problem has not been resolved,” said Dr Misra.He alleged that tractors and trolleys dump all kinds of solid waste including kitchen waste and construction debris through the day. He said the AMC deliberately closes the complaint without addressing them giving the impression that it is resolved. “We are thus forced to call and complain again to keep the complaint unresolved until it is resolved,” said Misra.Another society member said it is high time the civic body gets hold of the culprits dumping waste in front of society.They also complained of squatters on the footpath opposite their society and that they have been moved here due to the launch of the Metro. The waste is spread over 400 metres on the stretch and to hide the debris, it is covered with green waste, they alleged.Deputy Municipal Commissioner C R Kharsan, who has charge ofSolid Waste Management, promised to look into the matter and do the needful if Mirror shared the address with the civic body.
AHMEDABAD: The city is recording a worrying surge in dengue cases. A total of 1,070 cases of dengue have been reported in Ahmedabad between January 1 and September 24 this year. But of these, 662 dengue cases were registered in the first 24 days of September alone - which is nearly 62% of the cases. Also, of the total 1,070 cases, 565 were reported in the western parts of the city. Children are among the worst hit in September. AMC health officials said that 294 dengue cases were reported among children in September. These children are in the age group of 0 to 14 years. Since January, among the total dengue cases, children constituted 27.5%. "There is a rise of 1.5% cases among children over the previous week, which is worrying us," said a senior AMC official. In 31 cases, the affected children are between 0 and 1 year; 55 are between 1 and 4 years; 79 are between 5 and 8 years; and 129 are between 9 and 14 years. Apart from these dengue cases, there are 776 patients who are above 15 years of age. The highest number of dengue cases, 74, this month was reported from Ramol-Hathijan. In western areas, 72 cases were reported in Bodakdev, 53 in Jodhpur, 49 in Chandlodia, 60 in Gota, 64 in Thaltej, and 29 in Sarkhej. As far as other vector-borne diseases are concerned, in the first 24 days of September, 173 cases of malaria, 14 cases of falciparum, and 35 cases of chikungunya were reported in Ahmedabad city.
Hamza Khan grew up watching his father Balam Khan live the life of a criminal while living in the municipal staff quarters in Jamalpur. Six years ago, when Hamza was just 16 and his father went behind the bars for 18 months, something stirred inside him and he stabbed a person in a fit of rage. He was arrested for attempt to murder as a juvenile.Today, Hamza Khan is 22 but is on the top of the Most Wanted list of Ahmedabad police. He’s absconding and has 18 offences lodged against him including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion, criminal intimidation, illegal encroachment etc.Hamza, a drug addict, has taken over the gang run by his father and mostly it’s a family-only affair. Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone 2) Sushil Agarwal said, “Hamza Khan has become synonymous with ‘terror’ for Amdavadis. Two of his brothers Sharif and Azim are behind bars and police are leaving no stone unturned to arrest him. He has the full potential and dreadfulness to become the second ‘Latif’. Total 54 offences are registered against the gang.”The AMC recently razed 17 properties built by Hamza on government land. DCP Agarwal said a security cover was provided to AMC officials to carry out the razing operation. “All the shops were built on government land. The local residents and the people who had been targeted by Hamza and his gang are happy. Those who were afraid to speak against Hamza and his gang are now coming forward to record statements with police,” he added.Sources said Hamza bred on fear of law-abiding citizens. If anyone tried to lodge a complaint against him or his gang member, he approached them after getting out of jail and collected money spent after hiring the lawyer and “loss of business”.‘The Balam Tax’He once used to sit in the open plot of municipal quarters and whosoever as much as glanced up at him was beaten up. He collected hafta (protection money) not only from common citizens, shopkeepers and small traders, he even took cuts from illegal gambling dens. He once crashed into an illegal gambling den with a sword and demanded a cut from the proceeds. He extorted money even from those who got their houses painted. He called it “Balam Tax” after his father’s name.When asked what action is being taken against the gang and Hamza, DCP Agrawal said, “We have launched an operation to dismantle the gang and put Hamza behind bars.”