Railways told to pay for lost bike

Some things can be pretty shocking. Imagine having bought a new bike, and then getting transferred to a new city. New bike owners are paranoid about the maintenance of their bikes and spend time taking care of them. Depending on somebody else to care for them, even for a few hours, is something that seems odd; but if you have got a transfer, you have to depend on somebody else to transfer the bike for you. Nowadays a lot of people depend on packers and movers for the same, but the railways also have a good service to carry cargo, and ensuring the movement of cars and bikes through the railways service is something that a lot of people depend upon. However, once in a while, if something goes wrong, there is a lot of effort that needs to be taken to find out what has gone wrong, and to get redressal for the same.
In this case, the person who had booked his bike had also got insurance to cover the movement, and had to call upon both the railways and the insurance company to make good for his loss. However, he was in for a bigger shock, with the railways disclaiming any responsibility for the same, and even claiming that his receipt issued by the railways was not authentic. The loss of a new bike or any such vehicle can be painful, and having to make a lot of efforts to find out what has happened and to file claims in the insurance forum for the same takes effort and legwork, especially when the opposing party refuses to accept any responsibility.
There was a long effort for the same, with the insurance company giving in a bit early and deciding to settle in the consumer forum, but the railways refused to accept, and had to be taken to 2 different levels in the consumer forums in order to get a settlement that the person was willing to accept, and it took a period of 5 years for the same (link to article):

A brand new motorcycle of Ambarish Chandrayan was stolen from Pune railway station premises. Chandrayan had purchased the two-wheeler and insured it with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company by paying a premium of Rs 1,133 on March 15, 2010, under package policy.
Due to transfer Chandrayan on June 30, 2010, booked his bike for Rs 680 including packaging charges. The complainant was also issued receipt to that effect and was informed that the motorcycle would be delivered at Nagpur station within 10 days but it didn’t reach.
When inquired, the complainant was informed that the receipt itself was not authentic. Chandrayan lodged a FIR at Pune railway station on July 24, 2010. As the two wheeler motor cycle vehicle was insured, the complainant submitted insurance claim on August 17, 2010, with the company but the insurance company repudiated the claim as not being theft. The railway police too washed its hand of the matter.

Fining vehicles parked on the road in Delhi

This issue rose out of a dispute, but the basic point is a point that really cannot be disputed. When roads are not wide, and when there is a probability of high congestion, then the availability of parking on the road is something that needs to be decided by the traffic authorities and the municipal authorities. It is basic common sense that when the road in an area is not really wide enough for both traffic to pass through and for parking on the side of the road, something has to give and the smooth movement of traffic is a priority.
In this case, there was a dispute over making a divider on the middle of the road (and sometimes making a divider is necessary to ensure the segregation of traffic moving on both sides of the road, since it is seen that in many Indian cities, motorists will easily move on the wrong side of the road in order to move ahead); with the regular motorists and locals objecting while the traffic police firm in its proposal to make the divider. And once the divider was made, it was clear that there were 2 lanes on either side, and if vehicle parking took 1 lane, the transit lane would not be enough for traffic. And so, soon after, the traffic police starting putting parking fines on the vehicles parked on the road. In earlier decisions, the National Green Tribunal has already made it clear that roads are meant for transit, not for vehicle parking; and this is what the traffic police have now started implementing on this stretch of the road (link to article):

Challans of Rs 100 were found fixed on the windshields of the vehicles parked outside Godavari and Narmada apartments on Wednesday afternoon when the road was crowded with school buses. The one foot-wide divider leaves a two-lane space on either side, one of which is used for parking cars, leaving just one lane for vehicles to pass.
“We are forced to park on the road as the colony roads are crowded with vehicles. The traffic police were aware of this, they had even promised to discuss an alternative with us,” said Harish Nagpal, a resident of Godavari Apartments and a member of the local traders association.

Of course, there are many other problems that need to be handled; the roads of these areas are not really geared to handle the kind of traffic flowing through them, and the number of vehicles moving in this area. There needs to be more provision of public vehicles in these areas, as well as more of encouraging walking rather than taking vehicles everywhere.

Mumbai High Court asks corporation to explain heavy flooding

Last month, in June 2015, there was an incidence of heavy flooding in Mumbai, after a long spell of rain. As usual, the recrimination game blame started, with the corporation and the government both claiming that they are doing the best they can, but with the huge amount of rain, it was just impossible to prevent flooding. The critics however claimed that the corporations had really not done anything after all the promises made during the disaster of the 2005 flooding, and with construction activities going on all over the city, there was localized flooding in many parts, spread all over the cities. The river was over-flooded and not really cleaned to make it capable of accepting this large amount of water, and so on.
This blame game occurred for a few days, but was forgotten after that, to be repeated the next time there will be heavy rain. However, with the increasing presence of the judiciary in civil issues and taking up the rights of citizens, there is a new angle involved now. The courts are showing an increased feel of getting involved in how the corporations are doing their work, and are not hesitant to strike out if they feel that the government bodies are not really doing their work. In this case, the query before the court is about the flooding, but if the people of Mumbai are lucky, the court will get involved in some more detail, questioning the amount of work done and the money spent (link to article):

The Bombay High Court, hearing a PIL, on Thursday told the BMC that everybody was blaming the civic body for the waterlogging during the recent rains, that brought Mumbai to a halt. It also allowed the IMD to be made a party to the PIL.
“What is this? Everybody has been complaining about you,” said a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anil Menon while hearing the public interest litigation by advocate Atal Bihari Dubey, seeking that the corporation hold an inquiry against persons responsible for it.

One of the accusations laid on the BMC is that although it spends money on work, a lot of the money is siphoned off through corruption or on ineffective work.

Delhi MCD fines construction sites for causing pollution

Over a period of time, the National Green Tribunal and other bodies are getting more sensitive towards pollution and how to stop it. Ideally, one really does not expect courts and tribunals to be in the business of stopping pollution, but when Government bodies are turning a blind eye and not doing anything, and health of people is getting affected, courts do get involved since people have rights; if these are rights are getting affected due to inaction by the Government, then they have a right to go to court which will rule in their favor (and sometimes with penalties to various Government bodies if they do not do their work).
Building sites contribute in their own way to pollution levels, and across different levels. They release dust into the atmosphere, they pull ground water and reduce the water table, and the construction activity also caused noise construction which can be harmful to the immediate surrounding. For these cases, there are many different guidelines that have been given: They cannot store their construction material on the roads and block them, during construction they have to cover the sides of the under construction building with sheets so as to reduce the amount of dust they release into the atmosphere, and they have to control their noise pollution.
However, the tribunals and courts can only issue these guidelines, it is for the municipal authorities to actually implement, and their lax implementation has meant that courts have sent out fact finding teams to find the true picture of affairs and not depend on reports by the authorities. But they do admonish the corporations and government bodies from time to time, and this is probably why the corporation went into action to try and show that it has taken action on these orders (link to article):

East Delhi Municipal Corporation fined 33 under-construction commercial and residential properties in Shahdara zone for causing air pollution, violating the 2010 guidelines of ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). In April, National Green Tribunal ordered to stop all construction activity not following MoEF rules.
NGT had directed all owners and builders to put tarpaulin sheets around the area of construction so that no dust emanates from the site. Trucks and vehicles carrying construction material and debris were ordered to be fully covered and builders prohibited from dumping construction material, particularly sand, on roads or inside colonies. Those violating these orders will be fined Rs 50,000. “This is the first time a civic body has challaned builders. They will have to appear before NGT if they fail to pay up,” said an East Corporation official.

Delhi Metro will now provide more information about a snag ..

The Delhi Metro is now a lifeline for the city. It carries a huge number of passengers through some of the peak traffic areas of the city and covers large sections of the city in the current tracked area, and future expansions are meant to cover even more areas of the city. It seeks to replicate the underground network of many other cities of the world where these metro services provide a huge service in terms of reducing the amount of private transportation in the city, and carrying people efficiently and cheaply from one place to another.
Delhi’s metro network is already one of the largest networks in the world, not fully in terms of percentage of the city covered, but in terms of the number of people carried. More and more people are carried on this network, and the service has to keep on increasing the size of each train so as to bump up the carrying capacity, but even then, it would seem that the train network remains fully busy at peak times and with a high capacity even at non-peak hours. It’s only in the early morning and late morning that there is some breathing space in the trains.
Another problem that the Delhi Metro is facing and that is giving it a bad name is about increased breakdowns on the network. In most cases, it is claimed to be a cable problem or the pantograph that seems to be the problem. However, this is not so modern technology, the metro services run in a large number of countries and many of them also run in the open, not necessarily underground. When some breakdown happens, it can happen between stations, over the river or some drain, or underground. When such a problem does occur, the train comes to a stop and so does the air-conditioning, and with the crowd inside the train, it quickly becomes uncomfortable. The biggest problems in such a situation is that passengers have no information about the time it will take for repair, and hence when they become uncomfortable, they can exit the train so as to reach the next station. This is really not recommended, since these tracks are not meant for people to walk on them and it can be dangerous. However, when people do not have any information on the problem and resolution time, they will try to exit the train, hence the need to keep them informed (link to article):

The next time your Metro train stops suddenly and the air-conditioning goes off, don’t panic. Delhi Metro will not only inform you about the technical snag but will also tell you how long it wil take to resolve the problem.
Wednesday’s incident, in which 1,600 passengers got off a train stuck near Laxmi Nagar and walked down the tracks unmonitored, has prompted Delhi Metro to re-draw its lines of communication with commuters. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief, Mangu Singh, said, ” We are going to improve the channels of communication with passengers so that in emergency they know what is being and don’t panic.”
Usually, announcements are made to inform that a technical snag has occurred. But now DMRC is planning to announce the nature of the problem and the expected timeline for resolving it inside the train, informed Singh. This will be done for snags caused due to a power problem, like snapping of the overhead electrification (OHE) line. On Wednesday, the overhead electrical line snapped and all trains on that route came to a halt.