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Delhi News Highlights: Cabinet nod to bill to merge Delhi’s 3 MCD; DU UG admission through CUET for next academic year – The Indian Express

Delhi News Highlights: The Union Cabinet Tuesday gave its nod to a bill that aims to merge the three municipal corporations in Delhi, officials aware of the development said. The amendment act provides for a unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi by subsuming the existing three corporations. The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, is likely to be scheduled in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament. Meanwhile, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party hit out at the BJP saying the saffron party is “scared of AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal after its loss in the Punjab elections”.
Delhi University’s Academic Council Tuesday approved undergraduate admission on the basis of the Central Universities Entrance Test (CUET) for the academic session 2022-23. The agenda item was passed with nine dissents. The UGC had on Monday decided that the first-ever mandatory common entrance test for undergraduate admissions in all the 45 Central universities will be held in the first week of July.
According to the 2021 World Air Quality Report, Delhi has topped the list of capital cities with the highest average annual PM2.5 concentration, as per the 2021 World Air Quality Report. This is out of a list of 107 cities in the world.
The family members of the Pulitzer-winning photojournalist, Danish Siddiqui, who was killed in Afghanistan in July last year, filed a complaint against the Taliban at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Danish’s parents, Prof Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida Siddiqui, approached the ICC prosecutor to investigate the killing of their son and take action against leaders and high-level commanders of the Taliban.
On July 16 last year, Danish was attacked in Afghanistan’s Spin Boldak while he was on an assignment for Reuters. He and other Afghan commandoes were taken to a nearby mosque for treatment but he was then illegally detained, tortured and killed by the Taliban, said his family. His body was found mutilated with multiple bullet injuries. Read More
Granted bail on March 14 in a Northeast Delhi riots case, former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan says her faith in the judiciary remains strong and that she will continue to oppose the citizenship amendment act (CAA).
Ishrat is an accused in the main conspiracy case where the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been invoked by police. While granting bail, the court had noted that she was not the one who gave the idea of a chakka jam, nor was she physically present in Northeast Delhi during the riots or part of any group or organisation.
Ishrat, who got married on June 12, 2020 when she was briefly released on interim bail for 10 days, said: “My mehendi was still etched on my hands when I returned after my interim bail was over. Most couples go on vacations together but I spent my time back in prison, in isolation. I have not even seen my in-laws’ house properly and I am glad I get to do that now. My husband’s family has fully supported me through this ordeal. I still find it unbelievable that I have been released. My faith in the judiciary is strong.” Read More
With the Centre likely to introduce a bill in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament to reunify the three municipal corporations in Delhi, many serving and former mayors on Tuesday said a unified civic body will be “stronger”, development projects will get “fast-tracked” and the position of mayor will “receive a boost”.
Senior BJP leader and former South Delhi mayor Subhash Arya, 77, welcomed the proposed unification and said it would lead to further streamlining civic services.
“The new unified civic body will be a stronger one and the position of mayor will rise significantly, and it will be equivalent to that of a CM, as it was when we had a unified MCD. Also, we are hopeful that financial condition would also be enhanced through appropriate measures,” he told PTI.
With the Centre planning to bring a bill in parliament for the unification of three municipal corporations of Delhi, the Resident Welfare Associations here called for an audit of the performance of municipal departments and more involvement of civil society in the unification process.
In a letter to Delhi Lt Governor Ani Baijal on Monday, the United Resident Joint Action of Delhi (URJA) welcomed the announcement of unification of the three municipalities, but expressed concerns over the methodology “with which the process of unification of municipality is undergoing”.
“The municipal corporation was trifurcated in 2012 without any consultation from civil societies, including Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs). There is no accountability in the municipal cooperations. We are short of funds and there is no trust in the bodies. MCDs’ performance should be audited to understand the problem and people should be apprised of the issues,” URJA president Atul Goel told PTI.
Reacting to the Union Cabinet’s decision, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said “The people of Delhi, the RWAs and we at Delhi BJP are happy to know that the Union Cabinet has approved the draft of the bill for Unification of the 3 Municipal Corporations.”
“The experience of last almost 8 years tells that by stalling timely municipal funds release & creating administrative hurdles the Delhi Government with political bias did all it could to damage the image of municipal corporations. As a result people of Delhi including RWAs have raised their voice for Unification and streamlining of Municipal Corporations funds and working,” he said.
“Today, at last, the Centre Government has taken cognizance to unify the 3 Municipal Corporations. We the citizens of Delhi hope that Bill will ensure good economic health alongwith ensuring best administrative set up which will guarantee good quality civic services and basic development in the city, ” Kapoor added.
As the Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to a bill to merge the three municipal corporations in Delhi, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party hit out at the BJP saying the saffron party is “scared of AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal after its loss in the Punjab elections”.
“BJP has been in power in the municipal corporations for 15 years now. The party has been in power at the Centre for 7 years. All this time, they never did anything for unification, they did not take any steps. A day after the exit poll results, which showed that the AAP was sweeping Punjab, they made the state election commission postpone the announcement of the MCD election date saying they want to unify the three bodies? Why did they do it now? Because they are scared of AAP and of Arvind Kejriwal. They know that the people of Delhi will reject their politics of corruption,” the party said in a statement.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Tuesday the armed forces preparatory school, announced by his government last year, will be named after revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
“The cabinet had last year announced that we (Delhi government) will build a school where students will be trained for getting into armed forces. We have named it after Shaheed Bhagat as a tribute to the revolutionary on his 91st death anniversary. Students will be taught all the skills required to get into officer-level positions in armed forces such as the Army, Navy and Air Force,” Kejriwal said. Read more
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Delhi has the highest average annual PM2.5 concentration on a list of 107 capital cities in the world, as per the 2021 World Air Quality Report prepared by IQAir. 
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that a military-like school will open in the capital in memory of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, on martyrdom day. “On December 20 last year, we decided in the cabinet meeting that a defence preparatory school will be started in Delhi  The name of the school will be Shaheed Bhagat Singh Armed Forces Preparatory School” the CM said. 

“It will be a free residential school built on a 14-acre campus in Jharoda Kalan. The school will have all the modern facilities. Like youngsters are taught officer-like qualities in NDA, the same will be taught in this school as and children will be prepared for Army Navy and other defence forces.”

Kejriwal added, “Special faculty, especially retired defence take classes at the school. The school is for residents of Delhi. Admissions will take place for classes IX and XI. There are 100 seats in each class . The test for Class IX will be held on March 27 and that for Class XI will be on March 28. We have already received 18,000 applications so far. The first phase is the aptitude test while the second will be the interview.”

Over the ne=xt six days, the maximum and minimum temperature in Delhi is likely to remain above normal for this time of the year, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast. The forecast for Tuesday indicates that the maximum temperature is likely to be 36 degrees Celsius. Read more
Traffic on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is expected to be disrupted for several hours on Wednesday due to a proposed march by protestors demanding the creation of an ‘Ahir Regiment’ in the Indian Army, said the Gurgaon traffic police.
The protestors announced a march from Kherki Daula toll (Givo Cut) to Hero Honda chowk on National Highway 48 and the police said the six-kilometre stretch of the highway would be closed for traffic from 7 am to 5 pm. Read more 
With industrial and commercial activity back on track after Covid-19 lockdowns, Delhi’s peak power demand may touch the 8,000 MW mark for the first time this summer, officials said.
According to BSES, Delhi’s peak power demand so far was 7,409 MW which was recorded in 2019. It was 6,314 MW in 2020 and 7,323 MW in 2021. Read more 
In order to resolve the water crisis in slum clusters, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to provide a drinking water pipeline connection to all residents of JJ clusters in the New Delhi area. 
Officials said that New Delhi will be the first area to provide a tap water connection to JJ clusters in Delhi. The drinking water pipeline connection will be provided as part of the Centre’s ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme.  Read more 
The Delhi Police Special Cell has filed a chargesheet against a 47-year-old DRDO scientist, arrested last December for allegedly planting an IED and bombing a section of the Rohini court complex.
The chargesheet alleges he was “inspired” by the Rohini courtroom firing last September in which three gangsters were killed. Read more 
The bulk of Delhi’s healthcare budget this year is likely to be allocated mainly to three projects — expansion of infrastructure, emergency funds for Covid management, and providing cloud-based health cards to residents, according to officials in the know of the matter. The budget will also carry forward the 100 mahila mohalla clinics project announced last year for which work was held up amidst the pandemic. Read more 
North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Standing Committee chairman Jogi Ram Jain has said that the civic body has extended the last date of the amnesty scheme from February 28, 2022, to March 31, 2022.
Jain said under the amnesty scheme, a 100 per cent waiver of interest and penalty and a 15 per cent rebate on principal amount is being given to property taxpayers on lump sum payment of outstanding tax up to March 31. Read more
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre, Delhi government and the city police on a PIL seeking recovery of damages from persons who allegedly damaged public property during the protests related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in 2020.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla listed the case for further hearing on September 21. The petition, which was filed by advocate Hinu Mahajan and Amandeep Singh Gahlot in 2020, also seeks setting up an independent machinery for investigating the claims of damages and awarding compensation.
The petition cites a Supreme Court order in which guidelines have been laid down for assessment and recovery of damages in case of destruction to property during the protests. (Read More)
A viral video of a 19-year-old, who said he runs every day from his workplace to home so he can stay fit and join the Army one day, has caught the attention of a retired Lieutenant General, who is now trying to get him proper training.
The video of 19-year-old Pradeep Mehra was captured by filmmaker Vinod Kapri near Noida’s Sector 16. The boy works at a McDonald’s outlet there, and lives in Barola village. He completed schooling from his hometown in Almora, Uttarakhand, and joined the fast food chain, where his elder brother also works. He said he gets free after 11 pm, and runs home to get some exercise in.
A day after his video spread like wildfire, he said: “It might not be safe (at night) but I don’t get time in the morning. I have to cook for my brother, do household chores, and head to my job. At night, I am free and have no worries. I don’t know my speed or the distance but a few of the locals told me it is around 10 km. I am happy people are supporting me – the last two years have been tough for our family… Mehnat ke aage duniya jhukti hai (The world bows to hard work).” (Read More)
The Ashram underpass will be opened for traffic movement from Tuesday on a trial basis. The actual opening, however, might take a while longer as finishing work is yet to be completed by the Public Works Department (PWD). This will take another 10 days.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who took charge as PWD minister last month, had said the underpass will be opened to the public by March 22. A senior PWD official working on the project said: “The underpass is almost ready, and traffic movement will be allowed on the stretch partially between 6 am and 10 pm. In the night hours, we will complete work that remains. Construction is completely done, only roof, ramps and other work such as constructing footpaths, repairing roads damaged due to construction, and a safety audit is left.”
As per officials, the department is targeting to finish the work, including the safety audit, by March 31. “The project is already delayed and commuters are facing a lot of problems. So, we want to finish work on time. Once it is done, a final date for inauguration will be announced by the government end,” said an official.
“There might be some hiccups on the first day (tomorrow), but several commuters traveling from Faridabad, Badarpur, Ashram Chowk to Delhi and East Delhi areas such as India Gate, ITO and Laxmi Nagar will soon have a smooth commute,” added the official. (Read More)
The New Parliament building that has an ambitious target of completion by October this year is almost near the half-way mark with 44% work for the new building completed at a cost of Rs 480 crore incurred so far, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday.
The government’s aim is to conduct the winter session of the Parliament in the new building. 80% work for the re-developed Central Vista Avenue or the Rajpath has been completed at Rs 441 crore while the physical progress for the Vice President President’s enclave is at 3% and the three new Common secretariat buildings too are at 3% with Rs 243 crore spent so far, according to a response in Parliament by the ministry of housing and urban affairs.
With classes moving completely offline from April 1, Delhi government schools will devote two hours every day for the first quarter of the academic year to foundational reading, writing, numeracy and wellness for students up to class IX.
While schools opened on February 7 for class IX-XII and on February 14 for younger students, they have been operating in the hybrid mode — it has been optional for students to attend offline classes. However, from April 1, the option of attending classes remotely will be done away with and schools will go back to operating completely offline for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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