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Corporator pitches converting junked buses into mobile toilets

Convert discarded BEST buses into mobile toilets and let it be used at highways and other places in the city, including the crowded streets of Mumbai, a notice of motion by a Corporator in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. The motion was filed by Shiv Sena Corporator Sachin Padwal from ward number 206 in the BMC. The proposal will be discussed in the House of the BMC on January 5. If passed and later on approved, the discarded BEST buses may soon be used as toilets in the city. BEST keeps on discarding buses as they get old or if they are not required. Recently, it stopped using air-conditioned bus services in its fleet. BMC, on the other hand, uses mobile toilets excessively, especially on roads, near highways, slums and even during large gatherings in the city. The proposal by the Corporator reads, “Converting buses, which according to the BEST undertaking has been discarded as scrap, into well equipped mobile toilets, and then making them available on highways, major roads and small-big crowded streets in Mumbai.”Padwal claims that he has spoken to the BEST committee chairperson seeking details on the number of discarded buses and is getting the response soon. He also says that instead of hiring mobile toilets for big events, these toilets can be used, saving a lot of revenue.

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MU asks colleges to provide supplements after Bombay HC’s order

A day after the Bombay High Court directed the university to give supplements to undergraduate and postgraduate students, the University of Mumbai came up with a fresh circular on Saturday asking colleges and exam centres to provide supplements to the students.On Friday, the court had passed an interim order while hearing a writ petition filed by Manasi Bhushan a final year law student at GLC college opposing an circular of the varsity that barred students from asking for supplements released on October 9. While the varsity did release a circular asking colleges to abide by the court order on Saturday, several colleges still did not issue supplements to students on Saturday morning as they had still not received the circular.Also readBombay High Court dismisses PIL to restart AC buses, cites BEST’s discretion”Despite asking for a supplement the supervisor denied giving it to me. While I mentioned the recent HC order, the supervisor said that the new circular had not reached them yet” said a law student at one of the suburban colleges.

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Civic details to be on your phone soon

Mumbaikars may no longer have to make several trips to their local ward office for civic-related information, as the civic body plans to provide information such as property details, building permissions, water lines, drainage system, nearby gardens, plots reservations and more on a single platform — a mobile app — in the next two weeks. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has worked on a geographic information system (GIS) portal, using which one can access details on utilities, property tax, roads, trees and development plan reservations of a particular location on their phone.The GIS portal called ‘One MCGM’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis but the BMC will take the next 10 to 15 days to upload filtered data from various civic departments before making the app available to citizens.”We are now gathering filtered data from departments like hydraulic engineering, stormwater drains, sewage department, gardens, assession and collection for property taxes, etc. We are also trying to get data from service providers like BEST, Tata, Reliance and others which will take some time,” said a senior civic officer.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Diff-abled should get equal benefits: Prez

Giving the examples of Stephen Hawking and Vedic sage Ashtavakra, President Ramnath Kovind on Sunday said only a country that respects and empowered the differently-abled can claim to be developed in the true sense. The President was conferring the National Awards for the Disabled to over 52 individuals and organisations that have shown exemplary performance this year.”Britain resident Stephen Hawking’s name is an exemplary one among the differently-abled all over the world for being a person who overcame his physical disabilities and know today as one of the greatest scientists of the world. Save for his brain, no part of Hawking’s body can function on its own and yet with his determination and the help of technology, Hawkins has contributed immensely to the field of science,” said the President. He also spoke about the life and times of the Vedic sage Ashtavakra whose body was bent in eight places.President Kovind said that the future of the country depends on ensuring all citizens have the capacity to realise their full potential. “To achieve this goal, we have to create a sensitive and harmonious society, where every person feels empowered – and a society of empathy, where one person feels the pain of another. Only when the disabled people in a country can avail equal benefits, a country can claim to be truly developed,” said the president.Among the 52 categories of awards that were presented by the President, awards were given to people with blindness, cured leprosy, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, mental illness, autism and multiple disabilities for excelling in various fields and for being role models. Awards were also given to organisations for being ideal employers.While Madurai won the award for the best district in providing rehabilitation care, not a single made the cut to be adjudged as the best and the award was not handed out to anyone. Similarly, not a single government organisation, public sector undertaking (PSU) or autonomous and local government body won any award for in the best employer category as well as the category for the best accessible website.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Law on EVs must change

The Electricity Act 2003 needs to be amended before electric vehicles can be manufactured in large scale. This is what the transport, power experts and incumbent and former government officials were of the view at a closed door meeting held on December 1 in Mumbai. The need has arose as the existing charging stations meant for electric vehicles (EVs) are levying around Rs 14 per unit which these experts feel that it should ideally be Rs 6-7 per unit. This comes at a time when air pollution has become a big issue — Delhi is the perfect example of what air pollution has done to the city. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has introduced four electric buses which are operational in its fleet since November 11. On Friday, a closed door meeting to study the future of EVs took place at Ruia College in Matunga. “There is a need to create a new slab in the tariff structure especially for charging EVs. At present commercial rates are being charged, which is proving costly. The rates can easily be around Rs 6-7 per unit. For this amendment in the Electricity Act is needed and being thought about,” said V Sonavane, former Member, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.
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Yogi Adityanath


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BMC to reimburse Rs 164 crore every year to BEST for free passes to students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A proposal to reimburse Rs 164 crore for free passes for students studying in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools for travelling in Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply And Trust (BEST) will come up for discussion during civic general body on Wednesday.BMC has decided to provide free commuting to students in BEST buses from their home to school. Last month, bus passes to travel in the Best bus was distributed for free to students of BMC schools. At least three lakh school students would be benefitted from the move.Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar distributed the passes at Dadar bus depot on October 31. The parent body BMC has decided to re-imburse the amount to the bus utility.From financial year 2017-2018 to every year, the civic body will reimburse BEST for free passes to students. Around 3.3 lakh students studying in 1048 primary and 147 secondary schools will get benefited.

BMC won’t share 1% of property tax with BEST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the one hand the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked its sister concern, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking, to come out with ways to increase revenue and cut cost, and on the other the civic body has shot down their proposal of allowing the Undertaking to have a minuscule share of the property tax earned by BMC. The BEST had proposed that the BMC share 1 per cent of the total revenue earned by it through property taxes annually.The approximate amount earned by the civic body in 2016-17 was over Rs 5,000 crore and the BEST would have got a mere Rs 50 crore out of it. The BEST wanted the civic body to create a new bracket on the basis of which property tax is determined. The BMC currently has a capital value-based property tax system in which property tax is calculated on five factors — price of property, area, age of the building, nature of property and type of construction.This came to light on November 21, when the first meeting over the BEST budget for 2018-19 was discussed by the BEST committee and they were intimated by the administration that the BMC has refused to clear the proposal of allowing sharing of revenue generated out of property tax. The Committee also passed the budget for 2016-17 where they faced a surplus of Rs 242 crore and in 2017-18, there was a deficit of Rs 880 crore.”The BMC is suggesting cost reduction measures but now they have rejected the our proposal to earn a mere one percent from property tax. We were not even informed either by the BEST or BMC,” said Sunil Ganacharya, member, BEST Committee. The administration on the other hand said that the BMC refused their permission almost a year ago.In 2013, the BEST first sent this proposal to BMC which was approved and sent to the government. Sources said that the government suggested some changes which was done by the BEST and resent to the BMC for approval. If it would have been approved then it would have meant that every Mumbaikar owning a house in the city would have paid for sustenance of BEST.HIT HARDWith deficit hitting Rs 880 crore for the year 2018-19, the BEST cut down the procurement of 303 new buses to 185. This curtailment was due to the heavy cost of Rs 100 crore which was being paid by the BMC. The BEST recently added six electric buses at cost the of Rs 10 crore to their fleet.

362 buses to go off roads soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Do not be surprised if you find lesser buses on road in the coming days. The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will scrap 362 buses in 2017-18 which shall curtail the total fleet to 3,337 by March 2018 from the existing 3,750. The BEST is already under financial trouble with heavy losses on its heads, plus the total number of daily passengers has dropped to 30 lakh and the undertaking is finding it difficult to attract people who are using share-taxis and autorickshaws.With deficit hitting Rs 880 crore for the year 2018-19, the BEST cut down the procurement of 303 new buses from Tata to 185. This curtailment was due to the heavy cost of Rs 100 crore which was being paid by the BMC. The BEST recently added six electric buses at cost the of Rs 10 crore to their fleet which is running on short routes.”The turnout of buses has dropped considerably and the fleet is unable to complete 22-24 per cent of the daily kilometres. The main reasons are absenteeism of drivers and conductors and traffic jams wherein buses get stuck on road and thus these buses are stuck inside depots,” said S Kavtankar, member, BEST committee.Another reason why existing buses are stuck inside depots is because the electronic ticket issuing machines are not working. Several machines out of the 9,000 are lying in depots as they have reached their codal lives. The demand for buses have dropped with Metro and Monorail coming up.

Mumbaikars can soon use one card for any mode of transport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first step towards a single travel card for all modes of transport, starting with the lifeline, — the local trains of Mumbai — has been taken. In the first phase, railways will issue smart cards, which can operate in local trains and BEST buses, to at least 49 lakh season pass holders in the city. Around 75 lakh commuters use the Mumbai suburban system daily.This is the second attempt of the government to provide single smart cards for all modes of transport; it was first conceived in 2006 and implemented in 2007 as ‘Go Mumbai’ card. But the scheme was scrapped in 2010.At a November 14 meeting to discuss the modalities of the project, with the World Bank sought the details of the Integrated Transport System from the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). “We are also having a series of meeting with the Railway Board as well. If they approve it, we shall call for tenders within two months,” said an MRVC official, on condition of anonymity.The series of meetings are important for the approval of the new form of ticketing that will cover all modes of public transport catering to over 1.25 crore Mumbaikars everyday. These are the people who use local trains, BEST buses, Metro and Monorails and mobile aggregator taxis. Those travelling by suburban trains will be the first to adapt to this new system.On August 2, DNA had reported about the plan. Senior railway officials said that they were looking at linking these Smart Cards with Aadhar card so that all details of the person using it were in place. This will also link these Smart Cards to bank accounts via Aadhar.”We are thinking of levying a refundable security deposit of Rs 50 against each card. There will not be any charge for the card,” said another official.At the same time, authorities also intend to target 10 lakh commuters who form around 15 per cent of the total lot who buy daily tickets. Initially, the ticket checking staff – close to 700 TCs on both Western and Central Railways – will be given hand-held devices to check the validity of smart cards. The checking system will be the same, but unlike checking physical printed season pass now, they will check the validity on the device.If a user wants to use the same card on routes that are not part of the Season passes, then more money needs to be added to the card. This way, not only can a commuter use it to travel on other routes on the suburban system but also use it on Metro rail and BEST buses. At present, there are ATVM smart cards that people use to get a physical copy of railway ticket from machines, while bus conductors inside BEST tap the smart card to check the balance available inside it. On the Metro rail, a passenger is allowed to travel on negative balance the first time, but before starting the next journey, money needs to be added into the card.Meanwhile, in the second phase, card-tapping devices shall be placed at the stations, which will taken almost 8-10 years for it to come. Gradually by then, they will also want daily users to switch over to this Integrated Transport System. “Around the same time, we will begin gating the entrance and exit points at stations,” said the official.This system will be such that people need to tap on the card reading machine at the entrance and move forward. The entry and exit points will be bifurcated for each platform. When a commuter enters the station premises, he simply needs to tap the Smart Card. The gate shall remain open all the while and shall close only if there is insufficient balance in the card or has been wrongly swiped. The railways wants to ensure that every gate that leads to the platform is thoroughly covered and there is single entry and exit points that will be used.TRAVEL SMARTMumbai Rail Vikas Corporation is taking the single card project forward along with MMRDA and BEST.
In the first phase, MRVC will target 65% season pass holders of suburban trains.

BEST’s gift to kids: Pay more for season passes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an ironic blow to students on Children’s Day, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses’ daily commute just got more expensive, as the undertaking approved a proposal on Tuesday to increase fares of daily and season passes of students. The hikes range between 16 to 66 percent. On Tuesday, the BEST Committee approved the proposal that hikes monthly bus passes for students up to Class 5 from Rs 150 to Rs 200, quarterly from Rs 450 to Rs 600 and six-monthly from Rs 750 to Rs 1000. These fares were earlier for students in Class 6 to 10, which too, has been increased to Rs 250, Rs 750 and Rs 1,250 respectively.Sources in the BEST said that as per their rough estimates, they give subsidies of Rs 41.7 crore to school and college students. This amount stood at Rs 20.13 crore in 2015-16, and over the last two years, the number of students using this provision has gone up. The BEST officials said that this is part of rationalising and cost cutting measures taken up by them to reduce losses. The BEST Undertaking’s 3,700 bus fleet is used to transport 30 lakh people daily. “These are cost reduction measures that are needed to bring down losses,” said Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.On Tuesday, the BEST Committee also passed a proposal for fare hike in long-distance fares and bus passes. It scrapped the proposal of getting buses on wet-lease basis, wherein the Undertaking would have reduced cost by Rs 260 crore annually. However, this would have meant that they would get 100 buses from private operators while the BEST would use their drivers and conductors. They would not be involved in maintenance of these buses, and hiring them would have cost Rs 37 per km. This is taking into account buses which ply for a maximum of 180 km a day.The BEST is also mulling rationalising their bus routes. It operates 504 bus routes daily, of which 150 routes fall under Grade C – they generate only 40 paise for every rupee spent per kilometre.Subsidies speakThey give subsidies of Rs 41.7 crore to school and college students. It also gives subsidies to freedom fighters, physically challenged, senior citizens, press to the tune of Rs 45.34 crore It also passed hike for long-distance fares and bus passes

Keep smaller and simple goals: Shreyas Iyer’s advice to kids

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Who was your inspiration while growing up?Obviously, it was Sachin Tendulkar. He is called the God of cricket, and everyone who grew up watching him play has followed him. I was also one of them. So he was my inspiration as a child.Is there anyone else you look up to outside the cricketing world?Yes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden footballer currently playing for Manchester United). I just finished reading his book. I love his attitude, his way of answering questions that can be uncomfortable. I love the way the speaks and carries himself around. He is so confident about himself and in whatever he does. That is something that I want to follow as well. I want to be as natural as possible in everything. I don’t like restrict my actions. I like to speak my mind, and that is what Zlatan does too.What is your dream as a cricketer?For any cricketer, the ultimate dream is to be a World Cup champion. My dream is to win the World Cup for India. I want to be part of a World Cup-winning squad. I want to see to it that I lift the trophy for my country.Can you describe the experience of being part of the Indian team in the recent T20I series against New Zealand, when you made your international debut?At first, I was really nervous when I was selected in the team. At the same time, I knew I deserved to be there. But the atmosphere of being part of the Indian team is totally different from any other team. People start looking at you in a different way. But the senior players and support staff really helped me in ease into the team. So yes, I really enjoyed the seven days that I was part of Team India.Is there any one particular team you enjoy playing against?Well, I have so far only played against New Zealand (at international level). But I enjoyed playing in South Africa when we went for the ‘A’ tour there earlier this year. They play their cricket really hard, try to sledge you. And that somehow gets the best out of me. They try to bully you. But we are Indians, so we gave it back.How different is your behaviour on the field compared to when you are off the field?See, on the field, you have to act like you are a champion. There is a famous quote by the great Muhammad Ali: “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” So that’s what I believe in.How important is focussing on diet when you play cricket?That’s a good question. Diet is really important. Nowadays, there are many fitness tests if you want to be part of the Indian team. There are Yo-Yo tests and many other things like that, in which every player has to cross a particular mark. But as for me diet and fitness, I am a natural athlete. Now, with so much competition around, you have to be in your best shape in order to give your best performance every single time. So unlike in my younger days, I have to watch what I eat, and maintain a strict diet.Do you play any other sport than cricket?Yes, I love playing table tennis and badminton. I was also a footballer in school. Following and playing other sports is something I believe it. It challenges you to look at sports from a different point of view. I strongly believe in playing multiple sports.Who would you love to face or bowl to in international cricket?I liked facing Dale Steyn (South Africa fast bowler) and Mitchell Starc (Australian fast bowler). They are both so quick, that when I faced them for the first time, I couldn’t see the ball. But eventually, I got used to the pace and starting enjoying the challenge and contest.
Who are the biggest pranksters in the teams you play in: Mumbai and India?In Mumbai, all of us are. We all grew up playing cricket together, so all of us are really close. We all play pranks against each other. But Siddhesh Lad and Shardul Thakur are the biggest ones. As for Team India, everyone has a lot of fun together.What is your goal in life?Look, I am someone who does not believe in setting long-term goals, because then you start looking too far ahead. I always set short-term goals. I like to stay in the present. So my goal right now is to travel to Andhra Pradesh (for next Ranji Trophy game) and do well for Mumbai there. Obviously, my ultimate goal was to play for India, which I have already achieved.Which is your favourite match that you have watched?The 2011 World Cup final (at the Wankhede in Mumbai). I was there watching the game from the stands. It was such an amazing feeling.How do you switch off from cricket?I like going out with friends and watching movies with them. Apart from that, I like to play football. Also, I love playing cricket on the street with the tennis ball with my colony friends. In front of my house, we have a big space to play. So that is a lot of fun.Have you changed since you played for India?Not at all. Like I said, even now I play street cricket with my friends. That is something I do even now every Sunday if I get a chance. So I have not changed, and neither have the people who play with me. They are all of different age groups, some are older than me and some younger. But all of them still look at me the same way.What was your daily routine when you were in school?I used to practice from 7am-9am. From there, I used to go to school, which would start at 9.30am. I was allowed to leave one hour early so that I could practice, because by then I had started playing for Mumbai in different age groups. From there, I used to attend my tuition. I was an average student in school.How important was your parents’ role in shaping up your career?My parents were really supportive. During times when I wasn’t doing so well as a kid in cricket, my parents wanted me to shift to studies and leave cricket. But I wanted to prove them wrong, and that got me really motivated to take up cricket fully and make a name in that. But you should always respect your parents.What is your advice to kids growing up?My advice is to keep smaller goals. Stick to whatever is your goal. If you lose your focus, you will lose your confidence as well. So keep things as simple as possible.

E-buses to roll out on Nov 11

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbaikars can soon travel in environment-friendly zero-emission noiseless electric buses. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) plans to start services for its first four electric buses that will have routes in south Mumbai. These single decker buses will ferry passengers on ring routes from Churchgate, Backbay, CSMT, and NCPA starting November 11. The remaining two electric buses will join the fleet before December end.The bus routes will primarily be for office-goers in south Mumbai. The buses will be parked at Backbay depot where six charging stations have been installed. These charging stations will have a capacity to charge 10 buses in one go. This will be the first time that the BEST buses will be gearless and it would run on auto-transmission. The cost of these buses is Rs 1.65 crore each, unlike a regular single decker bus that costs Rs 60-65 lakh.”Initially, we will operate these electric buses in south Mumbai. These shall not only be environment-friendly but we will also cut down on operational and maintenance cost by at least 50-60 per cent. We want to convert the entire fleet to electric buses but for that, the manufacturing cost should be brought down,” said Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.This bus has a lithium-ion battery capacity of 160 Kwh that can run 200 km with a single charge. The battery can be charged fully within three-and-half hours. The batteries are on the rear end of the bus along with the charging unit. The BEST officials said that in the long run, a fleet of electric buses is more economical as fuel cost is barely Rs 8 per km which for a CNG bus is Rs 15 per km and diesel bus is Rs 20 per km.”Union Cabinet minister Anant Geete has promised to provide Rs 20 crore more for procuring electric buses in future,” said Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.These six electric buses are being funded by the BMC who gave Rs 10 crore for the same. The floor height is 650mm keeping the needs of the physically challenged in mind. The E-buses will also have six mobile charging points.Going greenThe electric buses will be parked at Backbay depot The depot has six charging stations installedThese charging stations can charge 10 buses in one goThe cost of these buses is Rs 1.65 crore each, unlike a regular single decker bus that costs Rs 60-65 lakh

Are China made electric buses for BEST acceptable to Shiv Sena now?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just a couple of months after Shivsena’s Punjab unit chief called for a ban on Chinese products in the country, Aditya Thackeray, Chief of Yuva Sena will preside over handing event of pure-electric buses to BEST on Friday afternoon which happens to have been made by a Chinese company.Interestingly, the bus manufactured by Hyderabad-based Goldstone group is being made in association with China’s BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd which is the largest maker of pure-electric vehicles in the world. The company walked away with two contracts recently outbidding major Indian players including Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. Goldstone will be supplying 25 fully built electric buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and 6 buses to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) in Maharashtra’s state capital Mumbai. The electric buses or EV which it is casually called is fast gaining traction as a mode of public transport in the major metropolis of the world as it not only controls air pollution but is also silent on ears.According to political observers, it is very common for the political parties to raise demand for ban whenever it suits them and then revoke it at other times. The demand for the ban on Chinese products erupts every time whenever the tension between the two neighbours rises.Talking to reporters in the first week of August during the Doklam border issue, Sena’s Punjab state vice president Inderjit Karwal had urged the central government to ban the sale of Chinese products in the Indian markets. He claimed that the public was already “wary of buying” China-made products and the central government should initiate measures to ban them to hit China’s economy. “On one hand, China is provoking Pakistan to foment trouble in India, while on the other hand, it was vetoing in the UN in the matter of declaring Masood Azhar a global terrorist” Karwal was reported as saying.

Driving licence tests to be held at bus depots

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Transport Department is looking at bus depots to train motorists applying for driving licenses. This comes after the Khatua Committee asked the transport department to ensure proper training of people applying for driving licences.The transport department on behalf of Borivali Regional Transport Office (RTO) has sought temporary land from the BEST at Dahisar. This will be mainly used as a test track for motorists coming in to procure learners and permanent driving licenses. At this point of time, the two RTOs of Wadala and Borivali don’t have designated test track; tests are conducted on busy roads where regular vehicles ply.The remaining two RTOs at Tardeo and Andheri have badly damaged test tracks. Sources in Borivali RTO — that caters to vehicles falling between Goregaon and Dahisar — said that they have asked the BEST Undertaking to let them use almost over 3,000 sq ms of plot lying unused inside Kandarpada depot.The total land space of this depot is 6,050 sq m, which can accommodate 70 buses easily. “The transport department asked us to give land for a period of four months,” said Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.BEST will get Rs 1 lakh per month as rent from the RTO for using this space. Sources said that initially they had asked for this plot for two hours but then they decided to take it for a period of 4months in totality. The RTOs are looking at acquiring a 250-metre stretch of land to set up driving test tracks.Presently, driving schools are also taking their students to RTOs where they are asked to drive in front of RTO officers. “It becomes risky as there are pedestrians and other regular vehicles plying on the same road where we conduct the tests,” said an RTO official.The Wadala RTO, too, is in bad shape. It doesn’t have a dedicated testing track and learners end up driving near Wadala truck terminal. The Andheri RTO has not maintained the driving track well, which is nothing but a bumpy stone-filled ground.The BC Khatua Committee, in its recently submitted report to the Maharashtra government, asked the transport department to setup driving institutes and also provide refresher courses to people from time to time. The committee has pointed out that the quality of driving needs improvement for which steps have to be taken.

50% BEST ticket vending machines are non-functional

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The electronic ticket issuing machines (ETIMs) of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) are in an abysmal condition. Almost 50 per cent of their 9,500 ETIMs is under repairs.The BEST was supposed to take full charge of its maintenance and operations from November 1 from Trimex IT Infrastructure. But with the state government planning a single card for all modes of transport, the BEST has failed to improve the existing lot of ETIMs, as they are waiting for the upgraded ones.”The condition is so bad that of the 27 depots, at least nine depots are facing problems with their ETIMs. Every morning conductors stand in long queues to get a working ETIM as almost 50 per cent of them are non-functioning,” said Suhas Samant, BEST Committee member.The faulty ETIMs at the Santacruz, Gorai, Oshiwara, Goregaon, Worli, Shivaji Nagar, Ghatkopar and Mulund depots are of no use as many of them are beyond their shelf life of five years.”The administration should have accepted the proposal of getting 3,000 new ETIMs rather than refusing only because they need an upgraded one,” said Anil Kokil, Chairman, BEST Committee. Currently, the per ticket cost issued through ETIM costs 11 paisa per ticket, while in the new system the same would be 16 paisa per ticket, excluding paper cost.A few months back, the BEST was supposed to get 3,000 new ETIMs — similar to the existing lot minus the upgrade of accepting the proposed single card or debit/credit card – but the BEST Undertaking refused toaccept it.Now the administration has called for open tenders for these upgraded version of ETIMs at a total cost of Rs 108 crore.The committee members claim that due to this the absentiseem among the conductors has increased thus affecting the turnout of buses. Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST said, “These existing ETIMs are unsuitable for the proposed single card and so we require new hardware and system”. The batteries of these ETIMs are also very poor and need frequent charging. Many ETIMs shut down in the middle of the journey which also troubles passengers.BUDGET APPROVALOn November 2, the BEST Committee approved the Rs 590 crore deficit budget of 2017-18. The BEST wants the BMC to convert the Rs 25 crore given as advance to the Undertaking’s employees for Diwali bonus into grant.

Churchgate taxi traffic issue solved

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The taxi menace outside Churchgate station has been taken care of by traffic police. They have regulated the movement of taxis and even BEST buses, which, for long, has been causing congestion outside the rail premises. Over the last few days, there have been red colour barricades placed on the road, meant to segregate flow of traffic.The presence of barricades might sound negligible, but in the morning and evening, when people rush to Churchgate station, this has brought respite. There is proper segregation of vehicular traffic unlike previously when traffic jams and chaos prevailed. The black and yellow taxis would park haphazardly on road, creating two or three parking lines.These cabs don’t move until they get a passenger, which causes a traffic nightmare. There is also a share-a-taxi stand which augments the problem on road. Drivers queue up till the bus stops, which make it difficult for the BEST buses.”We have been doing whatever possible to ease traffic on the roads,” said Ashok Dudhe, DCP Traffic (City).Now, ever since these barricades have been placed, the black and yellow taxis have been asked to drop passengers and move ahead without stopping. Buses find it easier to come all the way till the bus stops there and move forward towards Marine Lines.Sources from Western Railways said that this is part of the whole plan to ease congestion outside railway stations. The multi-disciplinary audit teams have suggested this to create space outside stations for free movement of people. “It has been found that people are forced to unnecessarily wait at bus stops, which creates more crowd at station premises,” said a WR official.NEW FOBMeanwhile, the Army and Railway authorities began preliminary work at Elphinstone Road. They began taking measurements for the new foot over-bridge (FOB) that will be extended from the existing Parel FOB. This 3.5-m wide FOB will have to cross seven rail lines and is expected to be ready by January 31.

Proposal to merge BEST budget with that of civic body cleared

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The general body of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday cleared a proposal to merge the budget of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking with the annual civic budget. The proposal was cleared without any discussion in the House, however, it requires the civic chief’s approval.It is believed that the merger would, in the coming years, bring financial stability to the undertaking, which has been reeling under massive financial strain. At present, the transport undertaking has been dealing with losses of more than Rs 2,000 crores, which needs to be addressed immediately. The merger will be similar to the Railways budget with the Union Budget.Both the Shiv Sena and the Congress have claimed that the merger of the BEST with the BMC’s budget would save the sinking transport undertaking. “The cash-rich BMC can tide over the BEST’s losses and pay salaries to around 42,000 BEST employees,” said Congress corporator Ravi Raja, leader of Opposition in the BMC.The merger of the budgets had been cleared by a majority of members of the BEST committee on August 14. The move had come after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray assured unions of the bus service, who had staged a one-day strike, that the budget would be merged to ensure smooth operations of the undertaking. The unions had staged a protest following the delay in payment of their salaries.The proposal to merge the BEST budget with civic annual budget was tabled for approval at the BMC’s general body meeting on Friday (Friday? What date?) and it was cleared as no members opposed it. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said that as no members were opposing it, the proposal stood cleared.According to civic officials, over the last one decade, the BEST has accumulated losses of about Rs 2,000 crore, and this has resulted in delays in salary payments, and has forced the undertaking to take overdrafts to pay them. “Merging the BEST budget with that of the BMC can help it tide over the loses as the BMC has fixed deposits of over Rs 61,000 crore,”said Raja.Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had stated in the past that the merger of the budgets would be possible only if BEST accepts certain conditions, such as allowing private buses in its fleet and reducing remunerations paid to BEST employees.”As the merger will increase financial burden on the BMC, the civic chief will not go ahead unless terms and conditions set by the civic chief are followed,” said a senior civic official, requesting anonymity.HOW BEST STANDSAdditional burden on BMC after mergerRs 2,100 cr (BEST losses in past 20 yrs) and Rs 500 cr annual expense Rs 880 cr deficit annual budget3,700 buses ply42,000 number of employeesRs 2,100 cr present loss

BEST officials seek mayor’s help to resolve bonus issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to resolve the indefinite strike called by BEST unions from October 21, top officials from the BEST Committee will soon meet Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and will also initiate a dialogue with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.”We will be meeting the Mayor and then also seek an appointment with Uddhav ji in this matter,” said Anil Kokil, Chairman, BEST Committee who represents Shiv Sena. The BEST has been trying to get an appointment from the Mayor since BEST Workers Union, headed by Shashank Rao, threatened to go on an indefinite strike from October 21. However, the committee has not managed to get one. Now, they will meet the mayor on October 16 and plan to work out a strategy to address the issue.The unions have been stating that the BEST administration has refused to give Diwali bonus to their 44,000 employees this year due to financial crunch. However, its parent organisation, BMC, has distributed Diwali bonus among their employees to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore.”When the BMC can give a bonus to their employees, then why not to their sister concern. Our decision to go on protest from October 21 remains until the BEST staff get their Diwali bonus,” said Shashank Rao, president, BEST Workers Union. This will be an indefinite agitation and workers will not report to work voluntarily from October 21. Last time, the BEST workers had gone on strike was during Raksha Bandhan this year to demand timely payment of salaries.At loggerheadsThe unions have been stating that the BEST administration has refused to give Diwali bonus to their 44,000 employees this year due to financial crunch. However, its parent organisation, BMC, has given Diwali bonus to their employees to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore.

BMC employees to get Rs 14,500 as Diwali bonus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will spend more than Rs 160 crore as Diwali bonus for its employees this Diwali. The decision to give a bonus ranging from Rs 2,250- Rs 14,500 was taken on Wednesday. The BMC has approximately 1.25 lakh employees.The unions demanded a bonus of Rs 40,000 this year, however, after several meetings of all political parties, and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, on Wednesday it was decided to give bonus. However, the 42,000 BEST employees are not getting any bonus this year. As the BEST Undertaking is reeling under tremendous losses, BMC did not accept BEST union’s demand to give any bonus to its employees.

No more lights out this Diwali for locals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 4.2 million electricity consumers in Greater Mumbai will not face load-shedding during Diwali and in the coming month’s, thanks to the islanding system and adequate power supply being planned by the distribution companies including Tata Power Distribution, Reliance Infrastructure and BrihanMUmbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST).The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars especially when the state distribution utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours in different parts of the state following a dip in generation due to inadequate coal supply.Mumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies. Tata Power runs its Trombay plant on an imported coal and therefore does not rely on Coal India or other domestic suppliers. Tata Power generation supplies power to Tata Power Distribution with a consumer base of over 4 lakh.In case of Reliance Infrastructure, it has tied up about 60 per cent imported coal and the balance 40 per cent from domestic suppliers for its 500 MW plant at Dahanu. However, Reliance Infrastructure’s arm Vidarbha Industries Power Limited with 500 MW receives coal from Coal India and through E auction. These two companies supply power to Reliance Infrastructure distribution with a consumer base of over 2.4 million.This apart, Reliance Infrastructure distribution and Tata Power distribution draw a total of 700 MW from outside. BEST, which is not a generator, draws 800 MW power from Tata Power and supplies to 9 lakh consumers in the island city. Reliance Energy spokesperson said, “Despite coal shortage and high power demand during the peak season of October, we have been able to effectively mitigate the problem by optimising our Dahanu power plant operations to ensure continuity of power supply to our customers.”An officer at the energy department told DNA, “The islanding system was designed to intentionally isolate Mumbai’s network during widespread external grid disturbance, enabling supply to continue for essential category consumers, avoiding a tripping of thermal generators and quick restoration. The city won’t witness load shedding,” he said.CITY’S ELECTRICITY NEEDSMumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies
The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars
The state distribution utility, MahaVitaran, is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours following a dip in electricity generation due to inadequate coal supply.

Mumbai rains: Commuters struggle with delay in bus, train services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Train services on both Central and Western Railways are struggling but still running on Wednesday morning. The services on Borivali-Churchgate and Thane-CSMT are running with a delay of 20-30 minutes.Rail officials said that on CR there was water logging mainly at Sion and Chunabhatti due to which trains were running at slow speeds. At these locations the rakes were getting stranded and were moving forward with caution. Surprisingly, there wasn’t waterlogging at Matunga, Kurla, Vikhroli, Byculla, Currey Road, Mankhurd and other rail stretches known to get affected during heavy rains.”Trains on Main and Harbour lines are running with lesser frequency due to water logging at low lying areas,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway.On the Western Railway, in the early morning hours, the trains – both long distance and suburban were stuck between Dahanu and Nallasopara due to water logging above rail levels. Sources said that Vaitarna river too was flowing dangerously due to which they had to suspend services. After 7am, the situation normalised and trains resumed at a snail speed. Both WR and CR have cancelled a few long distance trains due to heavy rains. More than 200 water pumps on both CR and WR are functional but rail officials said that it’s difficult to clear water from tracks in case of high tides. A high tide of over 4.2 meters is expected after 12 noon.The BEST buses too were affected by the rains as many were stuck inside bus depot. There were 82 bus breakdowns, 13 of them stranded in water logged areas last night due to which their turnout on Wednesday morning was less. WR trains cancelled on Sept 20:1) 22953(BCT-ADI) Gujarat EXP2) 19215(BCT-PBR)- Saurashtra Exp3) 12935(BDTS-ST)- BDTS-ST Exp.4) 59024( BL- BCT)- Fast passenger5) 12009(BCT-ADI)- Shatabdi expCR trains cancelled on Sept 20:1) Manmad-CSMT Rajyarani2) Manmad-LTT Godavari3) CSMT-Pune Deccan Express4) Pune-CSMT Sinhagad Express

BEST launches three new feeder routes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Buoyed by the success of the two feeder routes it started in south Mumbai to ferry commuters to and from Churchgate and CSMT, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport has initiated three more, one each in the central, eastern and western suburbs. The three routes, which became operational earlier this month, will benefit commuters in Wadala, Ghatkopar and Kandivili.Sources from the undertaking said that they started running the new new bus routes after noticing there was a growing demand from the passengers. The route numbers are: 110 for the Wadala-Sangam Nagar-Barni Naka-Wadala; 406 for Ramabai Nagar-Ghatkopar station; and 279 for Kandivili-Poisar depot-Kandivili stretches. “We started these feeder routes earlier this month after we got a good response on the first two routes,” said H Gophane, spokesperson for BEST.The feeder buses, smaller in size than the average buses, will directly compete with auto rickshaws and taxis ferrying passengers on a sharing basis in the respective areas. “The BEST want to compete with share-autos and share-taxis, so they are keeping the fares to a minimum of Rs 8,” a BEST official said. The BEST launched the feeder buses on Churchgate-Nariman Point and Churchgate-CSMT-Crawford market routes earlier in June. These buses ply on route numbers 99 (Churchgate-Nariman Point) and 113 (Churchgate-CSMT-Crawford Market). Sources said that they have seen reverse migration of commuters from taxis to buses, and on an average, at least 2,000-plus commuters are using each of these routes every day. The frequency on the feeder routes would be every 10-15 minutes. Since each bus is capable of carrying the number of passengers that would otherwise be accommodated by eight to ten taxis, they will help cut down congestion, pollution as well fuel consumption, BEST officials said. Some reliefNew routes to ferry commuters to suburban rail stations in Wadala, Ghatkopar and Kandivili. The buses would show up every 15 minutes at the stops.

Rename BEST buses name plate to CSMT

Vinod Mishra has moved a notice of motion, requesting to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s administration to look into his proposal, and present a report in a month. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hardly two months after the Central Railway renamed the iconic Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), a BJP corporator from Malad has demanded that the name plate of all BEST buses that originate or terminate at CSMT should be renamed to CSMT from CST.Vinod Mishra has moved a notice of motion, requesting to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s administration to look into his proposal, and present a report in a month. “Since the Central Railway changed the name of the terminus as a mark of respect to the Maratha king, the BEST also needs to follow the suit,” said Mishra. The proposal will come up for a discussion in general body of BMC on September 15.Prashant Saxena, a resident of Colaba appreciated BJP corporator’s move. However, he added that public representatives need to raise more serious issues rather renaming of bus name plate or a road.

Govt officials to visit 3 countries to study ‘integrated ticketing system’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of government officials will go for a week long ‘technical visit’ to London-Manchester-Dubai to study a system of using a single card across various modes of transport. The project has been proposed for more than 5 years now, but authorities have still not figured out a way to implement it.The officials from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Central and Western railways, BEST, MRVC and Urban Development Department are going between September 16-23 to study ‘integrated ticketing system’ at these cities. DNA had earlier reported about this plan on August 2, in the article, ‘City to get integrated ticketing system’.The MMRDA is working on a single card that can replace cash while travelling on various modes of public transport, be it local trains, buses, metro rail or monorail. “As of now, each of these public transport operators have their own ticketing system which makes the transition time consuming due to the requirement of buying tickets every time,” said a BEST official.This visit is meant to clear the nitty-gritty pertaining to operational and maintenance of this system covering various modes of transport. “Today, everything is available on the internet. Instead of taking all the officials to these international cities, the consultant could have made a presentation here as there is a lot of public money being spent,” said S Ganacharya, member, BEST Committee.In July this year, the government appointed private consultants to study the integrated ticketing. They are looking at gating all entry/exit points leading to platforms at railway stations. As per plans, people need to tap the card reading machine at the entrance and move forward. The entry and exit points will be bifurcated for each platform.

Eid al-Adha 2017: Top Facebook, Whatsapp messages and greetings to send on Bakrid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Millions of Muslims across the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the two most important festivals of the Muslim calendar on September 1-2. The festival which is also known as the ‘sacrifice feast’ or Greater Eid begins on the 10th day of the holiest month of the Islamic Lunar calendar.It falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah – September 1 this year and is referred to as ‘big Eid’ and is sometimes overlooked compared to ‘little Eid’ or Eid ul-Fitr.Also known as Bakri Eid or Bakrid, it honours the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his elder son Ismail as an act of submission to God. On this day, Muslims sacrifice goats, lambs, sheep and camels. Traditionally, one-third of the meet is consumed by family, one-third by friends and the remaining part by those in need.Here are some messages you can send to your loved ones on Eid ul-Adha.1) May Your Plate Of Life Be Always Full Of Sweet Siwaiyan Topped With The Nuts Of Happiness. With Best Eid Wishes, May You Have A Happy Eid2) May the magic of this EID bring lots of happiness in your life and may you celebrate it with your close friends and may it fill your heart with love. 3) On the canvas of life, we often go off colour, but as long as people like you are there to add the right shades, life goes on to be a rainbow! Eid Mubarak.4) In every shared smile and laughter; In every silent prayer answered; In every opportunity that comes your way – may Allah bless you immensely! Eid Mubarak5) The moon has been sighted, the samosas are ready .Here comes EID so just go steady Lots of duas is all I request and just wanted to wish you all the BEST!!! “Eid Mubarak”6) May Allah accept your good deeds, forgive your transgressions and ease the suffering of all peoples around the globe. Eid Mubarak…7) Jab kabi bin mange app par khushion ki bersaat ho, jub kabi app ka dil anjaani khushi se betaab ho, to samaj lena koi aap ko duaon main yaad ker raha hai. Happy Bakrid Day8) Sunhari Dhup Barsat ke Bad, thodi Si Hushi Har Bat ke Bad, Usi Tarah Ho Mubarak App Ko Ye Nayi Subah Kal rat Ke Baad, Happy BAKRID day9) When my arms can’t reach people close to my heart. I always hug them with my prayers. May Allah’s peace be with you. A very happy Bakrid Mubarak to you.10) Teri Jaan, Meri Jaan, Meri Jaan toh Tu Hi hai, Log Dekhein Eid ka Chand, mera Chand Toh Tu Hi Hai EID MUBARAK

Defence preparedness itself our best defence: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said owing to its geographical location, India had to always remain prepared to defend itself as “it is our best defence”.”It is a harsh reality in today’s world that India, due to its geographical location, has to remain prepared. Our defence preparedness itself is our best defence,” he said here. Jaitley added that even though the entire country had confidence in the armed forces, which represented some of the best traditions anywhere in the world, “as part of our preparedness, we obviously need to equip our forces with all the support system they require”.The Union minister was here to attend an event marking the handing over of a long range surface-to-air missile to the Indian Navy.On the occasion, Jaitley said Indians were now capable of offering services to other developed economies at a cheaper price. “There is hardly any country in the developed world, where the presence of Indian minds is not visible, be it in the field of medicine, science or technology. And therefore, not only do we have a large human resource pool, we have surplus resources which serve other countries too,” he added.The defence minister said India’s resources, compared to other economies in the world, were available at a very competitive price. “That being a reality, over the last few decades we have seen some of the best companies — be it pharmaceutical or IT — shifting their research and development bases to India,” he added. Jaitley also took part in a number of programmes, including the ground-breaking ceremony of the second phase of facility creation at the Bharat Dynamics Limited’s (BDL) Ibrahimpatnam unit and inauguration of the ASTRA weapon system production at the BDL’s Bhanur unit.

Police urge to avoid total blackout for laser show at Gateway of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The next generation projection mapping system at the iconic Gateway of India that was inaugurated on August by Chief minister Devendra Fadanvis as a 15-day trial project, is posing problems for the local police.According to the Colaba police, for an effective laser show there is a need for a complete blackout, and all the lights around the iconic structure are switched off by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) for almost an hour. A blackout for the duration of the show poses loopholes in security. Considering security concerns, the police have now asked the organisers and the BEST to keep a few surrounding spot lights on considering the security of the area.”BEST has agreed to our request. Further, we have also increased deployment of policemen as a precaution. Security has been tightened to avoid any untoward incident,” said a police officer.Meanwhile, visitors have welcomed the laser show spectacle. “It is amazing to see the story of Mumbai as the city of spirited fighters against terrorism,” said San Rodriques, a visitor.Fadnavis had inaugurated the next generation projection mapping system at the iconic Gateway of India. Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Nana Patekar have voiced the narration that is played at the arch monument against the backdrop of a laser and light show held.The department of tourism and information technology have worked on the project.

BEST’s Meals on Wheels in a bind due to hawkers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Illegal food stalls on the streets of South Mumbai have dealt a blow to the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking’s (BEST) Meals on Wheels initiative. The moving bus canteens are now on the verge of closure due to customers turning their backs to these canteens in favour of illegal street food joints. Colaba bus depot’s Meals on Wheels canteen has stopped serving food at night due to lack of response from employees and commuters.BEST started its Meals on Wheels initiative in 1994 by modifying five buses into moving canteens. Now, only two such canteens ply and that too only in South Mumbai. Due to illegal hawkers eating up its business, BEST has no plans to increase the number of these buses. They claim doing so entails a long procedure and involves a lot of money.“These days, people prefer to eat food from street hawkers. We ensure hygiene inside the buses and serve good quality food. Despite this, we are getting less response and so we have now stopped serving food at night,” said Raju Mane, chef at Colaba bus depot canteen.Hanumant Gophane, the spokesperson for BEST, said, “We had started with five such buses, of which three have been shut now. We have no plans to start any such buses in the future.”Meanwhile, BEST is trying ‘its best’ to revive the business by increasing the variety of food on offer.

BEST bus strike called off after 16 hours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sixteen hours after the BEST buses went off the city roads as employees of the transport body went on a strike, the stir was withdrawn this afternoon following Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s intervention. The BEST workers’ union had decided to go ahead with the bus strike from midnight to press for their demands, including timely payment of salaries. However, the stir was called off around 4 pm, after Thackeray, whose party is at the helm of affairs in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), assured that the budgets of the civic body and the BEST would be merged. Talking to reporters at his residence ‘Matoshree’ here after his meeting with the BEST union representatives, Thackeray said, “One of the main problems the BEST workers were facing was their salaries, which they did not get on time. I assure them that their dues would be paid to them by the 10th of every month.” He added that in order to solve other problems being faced by the BEST employees was that the budgets of the BMC and the transport body will have to be merged. “We will try to do it at the earliest. However, for that to happen, we have to approach the state government, move certain amendments in the law. Once it is done, automatically, all the problems faced by the workers will be addressed,” he said. Meanwhile, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray tweeted that the strike was called off after the unions met the party president for talks. “Uddhav Thackeray ji has assured the unions that all the BEST staffers will get their salaries on time, which was the main concern. Uddhav Thackeray ji also discussed and assured the restructuring of the BEST, along with the merger of BMC & BEST budgets soon,” he said in a tweet. “Measures to restructure the BEST with regard to the BMC are a Manifesto for @ShivSena and we will fulfil it,” he said in another tweet. A union representative, who was also present for the press briefing along with the Sena president, said that BEST decided to call off the strike after the Sena chief agreed to take responsibility of the public sector undertaking. “Strike was our last resort after all the other options failed. We are happy that the demands of workers who work tirelessly all year will be finally met,” the union representative said. BJP legislator Narendra Mehta took a dig at the Sena and said the party failed to meet the demands of BEST workers. “It is the Sena that is responsible for the BEST strike and Mumbaikars had to face problems commuting on the day of ‘Raksha Bandhan'” the BJP MLA told reporters. He added that while the BJP was fighting for real development, for the Sena, it was all about “its own development”. Nearly 36,000 BEST employees went on strike since midnight, putting lakhs of commuters to inconvenience, especially as ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is being celebrated today. The BEST operates around 3,700 buses on 483 routes, ferrying over 30 lakh passengers every day. Its transport wing is facing daily losses of over Rs 2 crore. The BEST employees and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been at loggerheads for the past few days over several issues, including irregular payment of salaries. In a bid to provide some relief to the commuters, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) ran additional 75 buses on major routes, while the Central Railway (CR) opened additional booking windows. The Western Railway (WR) also ran four more services between Churchgate and Virar. An MSRTC spokesperson said, “We operated 73 buses from Kurla to BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex), Thane to Mantralaya, Mantralaya to Panvel and Dadar to CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus), etc. But it is obvious that 73 buses can not do the job of 3700 buses.” Many autorickshaw drivers refused to ferry short-distance passengers, and aggrieved commuters took to social media to vent out their anger. “Not a single Ricksawala ready to ply to Veera Desai from Andheri West Railway Station #beststrike @MumbaiPolice #incredibleindia,” tweeted Siddhesh Sardesai. Vatsal Surotia reacted, “It is possibly THE worst day to travel by road in #Mumbai today. Rakshabandhan traffic plus BEST strike plus rains.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai: 3,700 BEST buses off the road as workers go on strike, commuters face the brunt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There was no sight of Mumbai’s red-hued buses operated by BEST on Monday morning. The entire fleet of 3700 buses were off the roads and have been parked inside bus depots since last night. More than 24,000 drivers, conductors and depot staff remained absent despite the administration’s threat of enforcing the Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act (MESMA). This is an internal notification that states that electricity and transport are essential services, so employees will render themselves liable for stern disciplinary action.There are 30 lakh daily bus commuters in the city who have been affected by this. Local trains seemed the obvious choice for many as they were more crowded than usual. Despite it being Raksha Bandhan, several offices are open, while later in the day many people would be visiting relatives for celebrating the occasion.In the morning hours, people were seen walking past bus stops, many were trying to hail cabs or auto rickshaws which were also running full and were over-charging passengers. Ola and Uber rides were also expensive due to surge pricing. “None of the buses are on the road, they were not refueled the previous night and are now parked in the bus depots,” said a BEST official.The BEST Workers Union, BEST Kamgar Sena and other unions across political party lines have decided to go on strike along with 36000 employees. They have demanded that BMC which is the parent organisation of BEST, gives them a written assurance that salaries would be paid by 10th of each month, as well as other demands. ALSO READ Mumbai: 36,000 BEST workers on strike; to affect around 30 lakh commuters “We will be having another round of meetings with the unions to resolve the matter,” said Anil Kokil, Chairman, BEST Committee. In the last two days, several meetings took place, but matters couldn’t be resolved.The state Transport department had asked private bus owners to operate their buses for ferrying people, apart from school buses and those used by companies for their employees.

Manpreet Badal invokes Socrates, Bhagat Singh in his budget

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An ardent fan of Urdu poetry, Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today invoked the renowned poet Allama Iqbal, Greek philosopher Socrates and legendary martyr Bhagat Singh during the course of his budget speech in the state Assembly here today. He also said that the budget he was presenting was dedicated to the 99 percent of the people, whose issues the richest “one percent” did not seem to understand. The 53-year-old finance minister used poetry and philosophy to bolster his analysis and arguments on the state’s fiscal health and what the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress government intends to do to take the state on a higher growth trajectory. Manpreet, the estranged nephew of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, presented the Congress government’s maiden budget today. He had earlier also served as finance minister in the erstwhile SAD-BJP government in 2007-12 before he quit the party. Manpreet had later on floated his own party, which he eventually merged with the Congress. In the assembly, the finance minister said that courageous Punjabis would bring the state out of dire financial straits. “In ancient Greece, Socrates had to consume hemlock to shake the Greek people out of their stupor. Nearly a century ago, Shaheed Bhagat Singh kissed martyrdom at a tender age as he wanted to shake the conscience of the people. The government of Capt Amarinder Singh finds inspiration in them and wants to stir the people of Punjab,” the finance minister said. He then moved to lines written by Urdu poet Allama Iqbal. “Pirona ek hee tasbi mein en bikhrey huye dano ka; gar mushkal hai toh is mushkal ko aasan karke chhodunga; dikha dunga jahan ko jo meri aakhon ne dekha hai, tujhey bhee ae surte aaina, hairan kar ke chhodunga.” (Stringing these scattered beads in one rosary is difficult though, surmounting odds I will ease it out; Will show to the world what my eyes have seen; O mirror to my face, I will leave you dazzled too.) He then recited another couplet from another unnamed poet also. Badal said that the top one per cent have the best houses, the best education, the best doctors and the best lifestyles, but they did not seem to understand that their fate is bound up with the other 99 per cent. “My budget is dedicated to those 99 per cent,” he said. Winding up his budget speech, he said, “By dreaming, flowers do not bloom in the desert. Mere hopes do not result in rivers of milk and honey. The road to prosperity is laden with sacrifice and hard work.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC asks if non-AC buses can take over AC routes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court asked BEST on Thursday whether it can start the non-ac buses on routes where it has now stopped plying AC buses, mainly between Oshiwara and Backbay Depot in Mumbai and between Thane and Mumbai.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar said, “AC buses should not have been discontinued in summer season.”Best argued before the court that it decided to stop the ac bus service because the undertaking is making huge losses. The court then asked whether the loss was due to running of two Ac buses. The Best counsel sought time till June 19, to file a detailed reply. The court granted the same and directed BEST to give details of buses that operate between Oshiwara and Colaba and Thane and Mumbai.The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by a senior citizen from Oshiwara, B B Shetty, seeking directions to BEST to re-start AC bus service in the city.Advocate V P Patil appearing for the petitioner said that due to stopping of buses, people are using private vehicles, thus adding to the traffic congestion. As per the petition, the bus services have been abruptly stopped without any prior notice to the public at large. Further, the sudden stoppage of the services has caused several hardships to senior citizens, women who were regular users of the services, the petition contends.Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation continues to ply their AC buses, and only in Mumbai which is called the financial capital of the country, citizens are being denied a comfortable journey, the petition states.PAIN POINTSThe bus services have been abruptly stopped due to which people have started using private vehicles, thus adding to traffic congestion
The sudden stoppage​ of the services has caused hardships to senior citizens and women who were regular users of the services

Nagaland CM seeks early solution of Naga political problem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nagaland Chief Minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu today sought an early solution of the Naga political problem saying that “Nagas have been suffering for too long” due to this. “Nagas have been suffering for too long and we want to see an early solution which is amicable and honourable,” Liezietsu said. He was addressing a gathering of Ao Naga and Angami Naga tribes in Mokokchung town on the occasion of Moatsu, a festival of Ao Naga community. “Let’s do our best to be in a position of a civilised state because fighting for supremacy in a family can never help a family move ahead,” he said hinting at fragmentation of Naga political groups into various factions. “Each one of us need to contribute our best to see that it (the Naga political issue) is solved once and for all. Each one of us has a role. If there is no peace, there cannot be progress and development,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BEST-run AC buses will not operate in Mumbai from April 17

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The civic-run BEST has decided to suspend the AC bus services in the megapolis from April 17. Hanumant Gofane, Public Relations Officer of BEST said this decision was taken considering a poor response from commuters. “We were facing significant losses by operating AC bus services. Therefore, it was decided to suspend the services,” he said. The decision to resume the services would be taken after considering all the aspects in due course of time, Gofane said. A statement issued by the transport body said those who have purchased passes for AC buses, will get a refund or can use them in non-AC buses. BEST has 266 AC buses which operate on 25 routes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

On Ram Navami, life lessons with Lord Ram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chaitra Navratra or the spring festival of Ram Navami is about celebrating the birth of Lord Ram, the King of Ayodhya. According to the Hindu calendar, the day falls on the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra.God or man, his life has been an inspiration that has stood the test of time. And as the day is also marked by Ram Katha recitals, reading the legendary stories of Ram — here are few life lessons from Lord Ram’s life much applicable in today’s time. AcceptanceLord Ram, who was the crowned prince of Ayodhya, was overnight banished to the forest for 14 years. From a king to a hermit, Ram goes with the flow of life and takes everything in his stride. He accepts his circumstances without falling to expectations and holding grudges. Acceptance and going with the flow of life is the mantra he lived by, which holds true even today.The epitome of dutyAs a dutiful son, he was ready to renounce his kingdom to honour his father’s promise, even though the kingdom belonged to him. As a dutiful warrior, he fought against evil (demons and the corrupt ruler Ravan) to restore peace in the land. As a dutiful King, he was forced to send his wife to the forest honouring his role firstly as the king of the land and so to keep his subjects happy. He is often called Ram ‘Dharma’ Raju for being a role model for doing one’s duty.Setting right relationshipsKing Dasharatha, Ram’s father keeps the promise he made to his wife Queen Kaikeyi and banishes Ram to the forest. In spite of this, Ram shows only love and respect to them and carries on the role of an obedient son. He is ready to give his kingdom to brother Bharat holding no ill feelings. He also plays a wonderful elder brother to his three brothers. He stands as a true friend to Sugriva and fights his battle. He also showers love and plays the perfect husband to bring his love Sita back from Lanka. In spite of being the king, he chooses to live a Spartan life, remains loyal to his wife and refuses to marry anyone else. His love and compassion towards everyone earned him love and respect from one and all.CourageA prince, having lived in palaces all his life, faces the hardships of the jungle with courage. He single-handedly wins battles against deadly giants and demons. A banished man in the jungle, he bravely faces the might of the Lankan empire with only the monkey army (Vanar sena) to help him. With the changing times, the challenges and fears have changed but Ram’s courage is an inspiration for us to come face to face with our challenges and give it our best shot.Stand for justiceListening to the story of evicted monkey prince Sugriva, Ram stands and fights for him to right the wrong done to Sugriva by his brother Vali. Ram defeats Vali and makes sure that justice prevails in spite the fact that he himself needed to gather up troops to march to Lanka. Though his fight with Ravan begins when his wife is abducted, he then fights for the larger cause of rescuing millions of people stuck under the tyranny of Ravan. In these times of injustice, standing for the justice of the deprived and desolate is a lesson appropriate for us.A wonderful leaderEven in those times, fighting a battle with a predominantly monkey army against the mammoth Lankan empire might have sounded foolhardy. But the inspirational and wonderful leader that he is, Ram inspired and brought out the best of the army to fight as a unit that could defeat even the mightiest of armies. His generosity and love brought even other animals in the forest to help him build the bridge to Lanka as well as fight the battle. Great leadership quality is one that brings out the best even from the weakest, which holds true even in our daily lives.CompassionSage Gautama cursed his wife Ahalya of infidelity and turned her into a stone. Lord Ram, in his compassion, liberated her for she had learnt her lesson. He also shows compassion and gives a second chance to Ravan to return his wife. Ramyana is replete with stories of Ram’s compassion towards all, giving an opportunity of second chance to learn from the mistakes made.Equal treatmentBe it the King of the land, foot soldier in the army or boatman like Kewat, Ram treated everyone with the same level of respect and dignity. His humility did not make anyone feel inferior. He also showed immense affection and cared for the animals in the forest by feeding them and including them in his family. Now, when discrimination based on colour and caste is prevalent all over the world, the lesson of equal treatment stands relevant to the time.Mantras for life We much accept our circumstances without falling to expectations and holding grudgesAccepting everything which comes in our way and going with the flow of lifeIn the times of injustice, standing for the justice of the deprived is a lesson to be learntGreat leadership quality is one that brings out the best even from the weakest

Mumbai: Navy official assaults doctor, grabs her breast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the posh Mumbai locality of Colaba, a 27-year-old doctor ended up having an unpleasant experience over the weekend.According to a Mid-Day report, a 32-year-old Indian Navy official assaulted the female doctor at a BEST junction where she waiting with a friend. The official, Sanjay Singh Chauhan, allegedly violently grabbed the woman’s breast.The woman, a native of Sindhudurg and a doctor at a south Mumbai hospital, was going out to for dinner with her friend to a restaurant in Colaba, but there was no table available for them. So they decided to make a booking and return later.At around 11.15 PM, when they decided to return to the restaurant, they stopped by a BEST junction so that her friend could call up the restaurant and confirm. While her friend was on the call, Chauhan assaulted the doctor and started walking away.But she would not let him go off the hook easily and created a ruckus, alerting her friend and passers-by, who caught Chauhan and handed him over to the Colaba police station. He was charged under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and will be produced in court on Sunday. The court further sent him to a judicial custody till April 7. But, his bail plea was later accepted at a surety of Rs 15,000.However, speaking to the tabloid, Chauhan’s advocate Sunil Pandey said, “The complainant and her friends were having a heated argument on the road. Seeing this, my client had just approached the woman to ask if there was any problem, since she was standing alone at night. The complainant, her friend and the public misunderstood it. He has been falsely implicated in the matter.”

Sena’s Korgaokar elected as BMC’s standing committee chairman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena corporator Ramesh Korgaokar was today elected unopposed as chairman of the all-important standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Likewise, Sena’s Shubhda Gudekar (66) was elected unopposed as chairman of the education committee of the civic body. The 56-year-old Korgaokar is a four-time corporator. The standing committee is the one which approves and allocates funds required for various projects or works carried out by the civic body. In the standing committee, Shiv Sena and BJP have 10 members each. Congress has 3 members while NCP and SP have a member each. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has not selected any of its seven corporators to represent the party in the standing committee. The chairman of the improvement committee and the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) committee, would be chosen in the next meeting of BMC.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai to have Shiv Sena Mayor after BJP withdraws

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Decks were cleared for the election of Shiv Sena candidate as the Mayor of Mumbai after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today announced that the BJP will not contest the March 8 Mayoral polls. He also made it clear that the decision of the BJP should not be read as a “surrender” to ensure stability of his government. “The people of Mumbai voted overwhelmingly for the BJP as they believed in our agenda of transparency in the civic administration. Shiv Sena emerged as the single largest party while we were two seats behind them. We did not get the numbers to have a Mayor of our own,” Fadnavis told reporters at his official bungalow here. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has 84 corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation while the BJP falls two short of the formers count in the cash-rich civic body. “BJP will also not contest elections for the post of Deputy Mayor and for the standing, improvement, education committees as well as for posts of chairpersons in the BEST committee,” the Chief Minister said. “We would have needed the support of other parties to have our Mayor,” he said. The BJP had two options, either to have a Mayor by taking outside support, which meant compromising on the issue of transparency, or justify the faith and trust given to us by the people, Fadnavis said. “We chose the second option,” he said. “The issue of Mumbai Mayor has nothing to do with the stability of my government. It is stable. Yesterday, Shiv Sena Ministers attended the cabinet meeting and we agreed on various issues,” he said. (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kansas shooting victim’s wife: ‘I am here to spread love’

The Indian man who survived a shooting in a bar which claimed the life of his best friend Srinivas Kutchibhotla, has been speaking about the ordeal for the first time.

Kamal Haasan urges R Madhavan to talk on Tamil Nadu crisis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>South superstar Kamal Haasan has urged fellow actor R Madhavan to raise his voice on the ongoing political crisis in Tamil Nadu. The 62-year-old actor took to Twitter to address his concern for the state, where he asked his “Manmadan Ambu” co-star to start a discussion regarding the current conflict of interest between the ruling party, AIADMK party secretary, VK Sasikala and former chief minister O Paneerselvam. “@ActorMadhavan Please. Talk on crisis in TN. We have a voice with decibel levels not conducive to bad politics, you can also disagree. But do it loud please,” tweeted Haasan. To this Madhavan replied in a series of tweets how the state needs to walk in the “right direction”. “Sir we have always discussed how TN should be the BEST state in the world leave alone India. With the talent and potential we have we are. “We should have been an example to the world. All it needs is the right intent and the right leadership to harness that volcanic expertise. This is the time to make sure that we nudge it in the right direction… the whole state needs to believe that and make themselves heard,” Madhavan wrote. The actors took to social media in wake of the current stand-off between the two AIADMK leaders, where Paneerselvam launched revolt against Sasikala alleging that he was forced to quit. Paneerselvam resigned as the CM on February 5.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BMC polls: NCP assures 700 ltr free water, cheap health

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Plugging and stopping water leakage and pilferage, allocating 700 litre clean water per family free of cost, health insurance for Rs 101 are some of the promises made by the NCP in its manifesto for BMC polls released here today. “NCP’s priority will be to stop water leakage and theft which are at 35 per cent. Once we achieve this objective, we can provide 700-litre clean water to each family free of cost,” City unit NCP president Sachin Ahir told reporters after releasing the document. He said with the basic charge of Rs 101, all Mumbaikars will be covered under a health insurance scheme that includes free hospitalisation, OPD examination, diagnostic tests, and medical store purchases, premium for which will be paid by the civic body. The Sharad Pawar-led party also promised not to charge bill for consumption of electricity up to 100 units in Mumbai. Ahir said fare of BEST-run buses would be kept at minimum Rs 5 and capped at Rs 20. Other assurances include WIFI services, global tendering for road repairs, SMS and whatsapp services for complaints regarding garbage disposal, he said. NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said Sharad Pawar will launch the party’s campaign at Mankhurd in eastern Mumbai on February 4. The 227-member BMC goes to polls on February 21, along with nine other municipal corporations across state. Malik dismissed as “empty talks” the claims being made by Shiv Sena and MNS that a conspiracy was on to sever Mumbai from Maharashtra. “Such empty talk is an attempt to gain votes. Why were Sena and MNS quiet when (chief minister) Devendra Fadnavis suggested a CEO with executive powers for Mumbai at the first meeting of Niti Aayog. It was Sharad Pawar who protested with a letter to Prime Minister due to which Fadnavis’ move failed to materialise,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DRDO takes pride in ‘Make in India’ ATAGS, to be showcased at Republic Day parade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has always been under the scanner for not indigenously building artillery guns and looking to import essential parts from other countries.But the DRDO has this time gone ahead and in collaboration with private firms built the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), a 155-mm, 52-calibre towed artillery gun. The ATAGS will be showcased at this year’s Republic Day parade on January 26.Hailing the development, Praveen Kumar Mehta, Director General – Armaments and Combat Engineering Systems, DRDO, said they take pride in manufacturing guns in India and always strive to meet the international standards. “We take pride to do things in the country and even if it’s not at par with the international standards, we still strive to make it the best. Hence, this gun is a very good example of how the DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), along with the industry, can come out with a system within the country and compete with the best in the world. In fact, we look forward to the export of such systems in the time to come,” he said.
ALSO READ Republic Day 2017: 10 WhatsApp and Facebook patriotic messages to send to your loved ones and familyHe added, “This gun is an example that you can build the best guns in the country with the best possible specifications that can match the specifications of any contemporary gun in this class built in other countries.” Mehta enlisted the parameters where the ATAGS scores above all its competitors from other countries. He said, “Every gun is different in its class. In its class, it has got the maximum range. It has developed the highest pressure in the chamber. The range has been tested for 45 km and is the greatest amongst all guns in this category.”
ALSO READ Chinese officials, diplomats attend India’s Republic Day reception in Beijing”A gun is identified by its calibre. Bofors was a 39-calibre gun; ‘Dhanush’, which is an improved version of Bofors, is a 42-calibre gun. ATAGS is a 55-km calibre gun – the maximum calibre,” he added. Mehta also commented on the firing range of the ATAGS and said it’s the maximum if compared with others. “The Rate of Firing (RoF) is 30 rounds within 60 minutes, which is again at par with the best in the world,” he said.Clarifying that the DRDO manufactures its own guns wherever possible, Mehta said, “As far as certain areas are concerned where we didn’t have other options, we built those things in the country. The DRDO has built them. In areas where systems could be imported from outside, we have done that too.””We require a lot of guns of this type, along with ‘Dhanush’ and Bofors guns. Every gun serves a specific purpose and accordingly, each gun is used in varying numbers. And this gun will, in the time to come, prove to be great for the nation,” he added. Mehta also explained that though the gun is towed, it can still move on its own within short distances. He said, “It’s a towed gun, but has got a self-mobility also. So, in a limited area, it can move by itself and in a larger space, it will have to be towed with a vehicle in front of it.” “Also, it is air-transportable but that is yet to be tried,” he added. The benefits that come with being indigenous are that any modifications required, if need be, can be carried out in India only.”It’s designed and developed in India only. So, if there arises a need to amend its design or repair it, it can be done in the country only,” Mehta said. He added, “We have built these guns in collaboration with two companies – Tata Power ACD and Bharat Force. The first prototype has been built and a full-proof testing has also taken place. Now, we are in the process of developing an additional prototype which will be fielded for the user trial in a very short time.”Amit Bhatiwala from Armament Research and Development Establishment, Pune, who has been working as Scientist D at the DRDO, said that the calibre of the ATAGS should not be increased any further as it might increase the gun’s weight and affect its efficiency. “It’s a 52-calibre gun, which should not be increased any further. Otherwise, the weight might increase affecting the efficiency of the gun,” he said.Bhatiwala was all praises for the indigenous gun and said it is the most contemporaneous gun in the world right now.”We were given this project in the year 2012 and we were able to start the manufacture and design by 2014. The most difficult part under this was designing the specification. We wanted the gun to be at par with the guns of other countries or may be superior. And that we have accomplished. We have built the gun in such a way that this is the most contemporaneous gun in the world right now. All the parameters are either at par or superior if compared with those of other countries,” he added.Another indigenous gun that will be showcased at the parade this year is the long-range artillery gun ‘Dhanush’.Developed by OFB and manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), the 155-mm desi howitzer is a significantly improved version of Bofors 39-calibre field gun.Indigenously designed Medium Power Radar System ‘Arudhra’ will also make its debut at the R-Day parade. Arudhra has been developed by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bengaluru, a wing of DRDO.Stating that it one of the best radar systems manufactured, LRDE scientist Manoharan said, “Arudhra is a ground-based radar mounted on a mobile platform. It can be transported by road, rail or air. It has an antenna at the top which works on a new technology that’s introduced in India. In this, you can shift the beam. Earlier, beam movement was not possible. Its instrumental range is 400 km and has 360 degree coverage. It can cover 800 km area and 30 km height. It can detect 150 targets simultaneously.”He added, “It can even tell you whether the target is a friendly target or enemy target. In its capability, this is one of the best radar systems made.”Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates will be the guest of honour at this year’s R-Day parade.

Ahead of elections, Shiv Sena announces poll sops for Thane, Ulhasnagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Announcing poll sops eyeing BMC, Thane and Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation elections, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced that all the school children within BMC areas would be provided with free BEST passes.Addressing a press conference at his Matoshree bungalow, Thackeray said that the detailed manifesto for the BMC elections would be released soon.Thackeray said that after a school girl’s suicide for not having money to buy bus pass, he had asked transport minister Diwakar Raote to provide free passes for school girls. He said that on the same line all the school students in BMC areas would be given free BEST bus passes.He also stated that even though it was an old demand, the BEST employees would be provided with insurance cover. Announcing the poll sops for Thanekars, Thackeray said that the property tax waiver for 500 sq ft flat owners would be given in Thane if Shiv Sena is voted to power.He said that as announced before, for Mumbaikars, for flat owners with an area of more than 500 and less than 700 sq ft, concessions would be provided. For those with bigger flats, subsidies and concessions for various community projects like solid waste management would be provided. Thackeray said that Shiv Sena would build a separate dam for providing drinking water to Thane. He also announced a central park spread over 30 acres at Kolshet which would have theme park, play zone for children and a lake.Minister Eknath Shinde displayed the proposed plan and map for the central park at Kolshet. Thackeray announced that a beach would be created at Kharegaon on the lines of Singapore. He announced that the health insurance cover scheme would also be provided in these areas on the lines of those which he had announced last week.

BMC polls: Amid stand-off, Uddhav Thackeray declines to comment on alliance with BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid a stand-off with BJP over a pact for the BMC polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said unless he gets a concrete proposal from the saffron ally, he will not make any comment on the alliance.Uddhav, however, made a sarcastic remark when reporters persisted on the query of possibility of forging a front with BJP as the ‘deadline’ set by the two parties to clinch a deal has ended.”One must know that there have been many deadlines after the decision of demonetization,” he said on wrapping up the alliance talks for the February 21 polls.”Unless I get a proposal from BJP, I am not going to make any comment over it,” he further said.While he parried alliance queries, the Sena chief unveiled sops his party would implement if it secures a mandate for the country’s largest and richest civic body.This is the second time in four days that Uddhav held a press conference to unveil the Sena’s agenda for the BMC, which has been controlled by his party for nearly two decades.He said if Sena gets re-elected in the BMC, they would allow free travel in BEST buses to students in uniforms to their schools and back home.”We will implement it once we get re-elected. We will also provide healthcare facility to BEST employees,” he said.The Sena chief was accompanied by senior leader from Thane Eknath Shinde, who also made several promises, like developing a central park, a sports complex and construction of a dam only to cater to the water requirements of Thane Municipal Corporation, if the party wins the civic polls in the district adjoining Mumbai.”Central park will come up on 30 acre land near Kolshet, while sports complex will be developed near Ghodbunder road, if we get re-elected in Thane,” Shinde said.Thackeray also promised to replicate the property tax waiver offered in BMC, into Thane and Ulhasnagar municipal corporations.

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