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Fail to treat wet waste? No water, power for you: MPCB

Housing societies in the city that have not yet started treating wet waste at source or set up facilities for the purpose in their premises can now prepare to face the music as the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) threatens to cut power and water supply to these residential units.The MPCB has sent notices to 76 large housing societies that have not yet established facilities to treat wet waste in their premises. From the original deadline of October 2, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) extended it to January 2, 2018 for the around 3,200 bulk generators of waste in the city. Once the deadline is passed, the civic body has stated that it will stop collecting untreated waste from the premises of these bulk generators.”We have issued notices to 76 societies for flouting the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. This list was given to us by the BMC… (in case of further default) we will submit a proposal to the Board asking for the power and water supply to be disconnected,” said Madhukar Lad, Regional Officer (Mumbai), MPCB, adding that the notices were sent in the third week of December. Lad noted that these bulk generators must establish facilities like Organic Waste Composters (OWC) for treating wet waste which aims to reduce the burden of solid waste that is dumped at the three dumping grounds in the city. He added that these societies will be given a hearing following which a period of 15 days to a month will be offered to take the necessary measures.The MPCB is in the process of sending show cause notices to more societies, many of which are in areas like Mahim, Dadar and Parel, according to MPCB officials. “These entities must segregate their waste at source and establish vermicomposting or OWC facilities to treat wet waste,” stressed Lad.Meanwhile, a senior BMC official said that the number of bulk waste generators treating their wet waste was gradually increasing. “Some have established OWCs or are doing so. Some societies have already taken permissions from their managing committees,” he explained, adding that an extension for the deadline for not lifting wet waste would be granted based on this progress. The official admitted that the 100kg average was decided on a thumb-rule basis after considering the number of size of families and average garbage generation of 450 to 500gm per head.The Mulund, Deonar and Kanjurmarg dumping grounds see around 7,300 metric tons of garbage being dumped there daily.The official said building projects of an over 20,000 square meter area needed environment clearances with a condition that all solid waste would be processed in the premises. The state had issued guidelines under which premises over 5,000 square meters are to treat their own wet waste. Though this was a condition for granting the occupation certificate, it was breached later with these spaces being used for purposes like parking, he admitted, adding that they would propose action against these violators.MATTER OF WASTEUnder the SWM Rules, 2016, all gated communities and institutions with an area of over 5,000 square meters shall segregate, process and treat waste at source. It defines bulk generators as buildings occupied by the central and state government or local body departments or undertakings, public sector undertakings, private companies, hospitals, educational institutions, hotels, commercial establishments, markets, places of worship, stadiums and sports complexes with an average daily waste generation rate exceeding 100kg.

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Kamala Mills Fire: BMC bulldozes into eateries’ violations

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) went on a razing rampage on illegal extensions in hotel and restaurants across the city. However, it took action only after 14 people lost their lives. The civic administration delayed its action just to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) against illegal use of open spaces on terraces.The BMC in full swing started pulling down illegal extensions in restaurants and shopping malls across Mumbai on Saturday morning and took action on 314 restaurants. It inspected a 624 eateries. BMC also seized more than 417 cylinders from the restaurants which were stored without permissions.In Raghuwanshi compound, four restaurants that faced action were Sheesha, P22, Hotel Payaana and Hotel Fumes.Prashant Sapkale, assistant commissioner of G South ward, who has now been transferred to K East ward said that he had taken action against Mojo’s Bistro in August and September following complaints of violation of open space on the terrace. “We had given three inspection reports to the owner of Mojo’s Bistro as part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) for violation of open space on the terrace and took action on August 2 and September 22,” said Sapkale. He added that he had no other option but to follow the SOP before taking action.Shockingly, the G South ward office forgot to follow the SoP and demolished illegal extension without even serving a notice. “Did the civic body follow SOP while action against these eateries,” said Dinesh Vaghela, a Right to Information Activist (RTI).“At any place where hookah is being served, no food item can be served,” said Vaghela. He added that the civic body violated rules and regulations while granting licence under section 394 of Mumbai Municipal Act.

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BMC files police complaint against Mojo, 1 Above and Kamla Mills for illegal construction

The Mumbai civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Saturday filed police complaints against Kamala Mills ,’1 Above’ pub and Mojo’s Bistro for illegal construction, a day after 14 people were killed in a fire in a building at the compound. The BMC has also filed a complaint at NM Joshi Marg Police Station against P22, a food joint in Raghuvanshi Mills. Three separate FIRs are being registered under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act for allegedly making illegal construction, police said. The said FIRs are in addition to the earlier FIR registered against 1 Above.Also readMumbai fire: BMC carries out demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area”We have received complaint from BMC officials after they found violation of MRTP act. We are registering three separate cases and work be naming the directors of the establishments,”said S. Jaykumar, Additional commissioner of police, central region.The accused include Ramesh Govani of Kamala Mills, Yug Pathak, son of former Commissioner of police KK Pathak and Duke Tullip of Mojo, and Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the 1Above. Yesterday, the police had booked the Sanghvi brothers of 1 Above pub, another co-owner Abhijeet Manka and others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Also readKamala Mills fire: Probe on to ascertain what caused Mumbai pub blazeThe police said that lookout notices were today issued against Sanghvi brothers. The police said they were in the process of issuing lookout notices against other accused as well.A birthday bash at ‘1 Above pub ended in a tragedy as 14 people, including 11 women, were killed after a blaze broke out shortly after midnight on Thursday. Most of the victims died of suffocation. 21people were injured in the fire, which broke out at the terrace on the third floor of the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound at Lower Parel area.The pub had yesterday claimed that it had all the necessary approvals and safety norms in place. It had also blamed Mojo’s Bistro on the floor below for not having an emergency exit, leading to overcrowding of ‘1 Above’s’ escape avenues.Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Meanwhile, the BMC today launched a crackdown on restaurants and started razing unauthorised constructions.(With PTI inputs)

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Mumbai fire: BMC’s demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area

A day after 14 people including 11 women died in a midnight blaze in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) carried out demolition drive against illegal structures in the area on Saturday. BMC officials have made a list of restaurants which appear to have flouted the rules and appropriate action will be taken against these restaurants. Now, after the Kamala Mills fire, BMC officers have sprung into action. But earlier, despite BMC administration being aware that the restaurants were running illegally in Kamla Mills compound, it delayed action in the name of following standard operating procedure. While F South ward of BMC delayed action against Mojo’s Bistro and 1 Above, it took action against four such pub and bars in its jurisdiction on Friday soon after the huge fire reported on the midnight of Friday.In view of December 31 gathering in various restaurants, all concerned departments have been directed by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to form teams which should include fire staff to inspect all restaurants. The teams must ensure that the restaurants are fire compliant. All the fire escape routes, staircases, and open spaces should be encroachment-free. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already ordered an inquiry into the incident. The police on Saturday issued a lookout notice against all the accused in the case. Also, as a preventive measure, airports across the country have been put on high-alert and five teams of the Mumbai Police have been formed to search for the accused.Related Photos
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In Pics: The day after Kamala Mills blaze, families mournChief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday took a stock of the situation and ordered a BMC commissioner to conduct an inquiry. Five BMC officials were suspended and the Mumbai Police booked the owner of the pub for negligence, besides other charges.

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Kamala Mills Fire: Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam demands CBI probe or Judicial inquiry

Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Sanjay Nirupam has demanded that the government should conduct an inquiry into Kamla Mills fire incident under the Judicial Commission Inquiry Act or through Central Bureau of investigation. He alleged that the government’s decision asking the BrihanMumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to hold inquiry would turn out to be a farce especially when the civic body has failed to take any action against restaurants and pubs operating there in violation of stipulated norms. Besides, Nirupam said the inquiry should reveal how unholy nexus between the civic officials and restaurant operators led serious lapses in adherence to fire safety norms.Nirupam questioned how 96 restaurants were given license to operate by BMC in the Kamla Mills, an erstwhile textile mill spread over 37 acres of prime property in Central Mumbai’s Lower Parel area. He has squarely blamed the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for according permission and not taking due action against such restaurants for violations.Nirupam criticized the civic body for lack of periodical fire audit of these restaurants situated there. Further, he said there were insufficient fife safety safeguards including extinguishers.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Cops say no, but patrons say there were hookahsThe city Congress chief said there was violation of rules with regard to open space. ‘’Due to tiny open space, the fire brigade personnel had to struggle to reach to the spot and douse the fire. The Supreme Court in one of its judgment has directed that six meters of space should be available all around the building so that fire tenders can easily go and carry out their job. BMC failed to take any action despite repeated reminders,’’ he noted.Related Photos
7 Pics
In Pics: The day after Kamala Mills blaze, families mourn
8 Pics
In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 14; many restaurants gutted He has criticised the BMC Commissioner’s move to suspend five officers and demanded that the government has to immediately transfer Mehta.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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5 factors that show Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire was a tragedy waiting to happen

The fire that engulfed a rooftop restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel area of Mumbai, killing 14 people, most of them women, was a tragedy waiting to happen, an activist has alleged. Activist Mangesh Kalaskar said he he had warned the BMC about illegal structures in the Kamala Mills premises but Mumbai civic body ignored the warning saying “nothing wrong here”. “I made several complaints regarding illegal structures in Kamala Mills’ premises, but the BMC replied that there is nothing wrong here,” Kalaskar, who is also a member of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said. Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral According to initial reports several fire safety rules were violated by the “1 Above” restaurant at the Kamala Mills complex. Here are 5 facts that could have led to the tragedy on Thursday night: Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come back1- No fire extinguishers:Early reports suggest that there were no fire extinguishers in the restaurant when the fire broke out. Also readMumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit Somaiya2- Illegal construction (Dry bamboo ceiling):The restaurant had a false ceiling made of dry bamboo, which is known to easily catch fire. The Munbai Fire Brigade in its initial assessment found that illegal constructions exacerbated the fire. 3- Gas cylinder:There were nearly half a dozen LPG cylinders stored by the restaurant. 4- No emergency exits:There were also no emergency exits in the restaurant which led to people being stuck in the fire. 5- Clearance despite violations: The restaurant was given NOC (No Objection Certificate) despite fire safety violations, BJP MP Kirit Somaiaya said. He alleged that “the place where fire took place was illegal.”

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

New TDR policy to way to more high rises in Island city

There will be more high-rises in South Mumbai as developers are now permitted to use the transferable development rights (TDR) in Island city that will make redevelopment projects viable there.According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) circular, developers had sought clarifications over the use of TDR from the state. “State government informed that the developers/promoters can use TDR in Island city up to 0.67 TDR against road set back, heritage, slum TDR,” a senior BMC official said.As per the circular, TDR has been given in proportion of returning land for widening road width. In cases of redevelopment, if the developer proposes to keep 9 metre and above, and less than 12.20 metre of road width, then the permissible TDR is 0.17 in the city and 0.50 TDR in suburban district. If road width is 12.20 metre and above and less than 18.30 metre, then allowed TDR is 0.37 here and 0.70 in suburbs. The cap is 0.67 TDR is in the Island city and 1.00 in Suburb if the road width is proposed 30 metre and above.Milind Samel, senior architect said the new TDR policy is a win-win for both developers and residents. “In Mumbai, there are more than 16,000 old buildings that urgently need to be redeveloped. With the additional TDR, more developers will take up projects. Now, undertaking redevelopment project in Island city will be more feasible for developers,” Samel said.Boman Irani, CMD at Rustomjee Group welcomed the state government decision. He said that the government should provide maximum incentives so that the redevelopment of the old and dilapidated buildings can takes place. “In South Mumbai, the sizes of plots are quite small so that the developers do not offer bigger size of houses to existing tenants/residences. And that became the deadlock for the redevelopment. Now, with the higher TDR, uploading in Island city will able to put the more floors in buildings,” Irani said.

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Floor for fitness: BMC grants 2% extra FSI to build gymnasiums

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Commission (BMC) has decided to allot an additional 2% Floor Space Index (FSI) against the total area of a plot or 200 sqmt, whichever is less, to allow for a fitness area for residents. “There are crunch of the open spaces in Mumbai,” said Sanjay Darade, chief engineer of BMC’s Development Planning (DP) department. “People need to exercise, therefore the BMC and the government has decided to allot the additional FSI.” Darade added that existing housing societies can also approach BMC to develop a fitness centre. “People want to live an integrated life with amenities and services within their ambit,” he said. “In a new complex, most amenities are already provided. However, a fitness centre has to be part of it; therefore, we are giving space, free of premium.”As per the BMC circular, a copy of which is with DNA), an NOC from the society is not necessary while approving a fitness centre. “In the plan, a designated area will be marked as the fitness centre and it will also be incorporated into the sale agreement.So while buying an apartment, people can insist that the developer build the fitness zone in their society. This will be mandatory,” said senior civic official.Senior architect Milind Samel welcomed the decision. “Architects always struggle to allot such space as the developer always hesitates to part with even an extra inch for non-profitable things, such as a fitness centre,” Samel said.”They want to exploit the maximum amount of space commercially. Additional FSI and designating the spot in the plan will compel the developer to develop these centres voluntarily.”Nayan Shah, CEO and MD of Mayfair Group, was also for the decisions. “Now, we can also show the fitness centre even to RERA. We will also provide the equipment,” Shah said.The move is an extension of Shiv Sena youth leader’s Aditya Thackeray’s pet project – promoting fitness across the city and in every housing complex. Thackeray junior had inaugurated an open gym at Marine Drive, but it ran into controversy given the area’s heritage precinct tag. BMC was then forced to remove it.FSI for FitnessThe additional floor space index will be provided against the total area of the plot or 200 sqmt, whichever is less. Developers are to mark this in the planning stage itself.

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Fingerprint, iris issues affect Aadhaar work, impact salaries

Hansa Jadhav from the B ward of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not receive her November salary as her fingerprints were of poor quality and could not mark her attendance in the biometric machine introduced by the BMC about two months ago.The BMC has made biometric attendance compulsory for all employees and even declared salary cut for those who fail to clock biometric attendance in their respective office.In December, the BMC administration decided to cut the salary of around 4,000 employees for not marking attendance in biometric systems. “I used to get my salary by first week of every month. But, till December 20, I did not receive my salary for November ,” said Jadhav.Udaykumar Shiroorkar, assistant commissioner of B ward took the matter to administrative department and Human Resource departments of the BMC.”Jadhav’s fingerprints are poor and it was not recorded when Aadhaar was being generated. So, she could not mark her attendance through the biometric machine,” said Shiroorkar. He added that she, however, had come to office all working days. Surprisingly, the BMC had stopped providing stationery for muster attendance soon after it introduced biometric attendance.In another case, Arun Karkhanis, 73, did not receive his pension for the last six months. The reason quoted was that the biometric machine couldn’t read his finger print. “Now, the bank has asked me to update my Aadhar as my finger prints do not come,” said Karkhanis. He added that the bank or his office from where he retired is unwilling to accept any other documents. “It is not possible to for me to go Aadhaar centre at 3 am to stand in queue to get my Aadhaar upadate,” said Karkhanis. He added that his office has agreed to pay pension till December but I have to submit my updated Aadhaar by January to continue to get pension.Sudhir Naik, deputy municipal commissioner said that there are around 140 employees in BMC who have such problems and now, the civic administration will not push them for biometric attendance.FOR THE RECORDAadhaar records finger prints, iris and face information while registering. However, if any person is having problem in finger print, it is mentioned in the acknowledgment copy whether the finger quality is good. In such cases, the Aadhaar operator mentions these while registering which appear in the acknowledgment copy.

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Andheri to get maximum hawking spots

As per the list prepared by the Removal of Encroachment department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), several areas in Andheri are set to get hawking spots.According to officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), K East ward (Andheri and Vile Parle) will get the maximum number of hawking pitches. “The K East ward will get around 8,529 pitches followed by F South with 5,588 pitches,” said a BMC official. He added that P North will get around 4,824 pitches.Around 89,000 hawkers out of the city’s 99,435 hawkers who were surveyed in 2014 by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will get designated hawking spots in the city in the next couple of months.The civic body has already put up around 24,000 pitches for objections and suggestions from citizens while another list of around 65,000 hawking pitches is also ready. These hawking pitches are spread across all wards in the city.In its crackdown on illegal hawkers over the past two months, the BMC evicted over 22,000 hawkers from across railway stations, foot-overbridges and skywalks following the fatal stampede at Elphinstone Road station.

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30,000 illegal shops still operational in Saki Naka

Even after an inferno in an illegal farsan manufacturing shop killed 12 people in Mumbai’s Saki Naka area, there are still thousands of shops running illegally in the area becoming virtual ticking tinderboxes for potential fires to happen. With population over 10 lakh and over 60,000 shops, officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) L ward are having a tough time keeping vigil on unlicensed shops. Officials are now demanding a split of the ward for effective management. Every month, the ward receives over 1500 fresh applications seeking permission to open a new shop. With limited number of staff available in the Shop and Establishment department, number of applications is always high. Additionally officials also have to visit to the site to verify documents. “We have only four employees in the Shop and Establishment department who have to look after all new applications they receive every month,” said Ajit Kumar Ambi, assistant commissioner of L ward.Though the civic administration have been pushing the online system as part of ease of doing business, it is mandatory for the officials to carry a site visit. “In the days to come, the pressure is likely to come down while registering new shops in the ward, but keeping a vigil on existing shops is a difficult task,” said an official from the Shop and Establishment department of L ward. “There is a consensus issue among the corporators on merging and splitting of wards in the city which is delaying it’s implementation,” said the official.However, following the fire incident the administration has sprung into action. “ Merging and splitting of L ward is under consideration and a decision will be taken in days to come,” said Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner(DMC) of BMC. Of around 60000 shops registered with the L ward, around 30,000 tiny small scale manufacturing units in the ward around the Khairane Road in Saki Naka are running illegally. According to senior civic officials, politicians have vested interest in flourishing such shops.RESOURCE CRUNCHPopulation of L ward: 10 lakh Corporators: 16 Vacant staffs in the ward: 45 Shop and Establishment: 5

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Will conduct inquiry on safety norms violation: BMC Chief Ajoy Mehta

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta visited the incident site on Monday and told DNA that an inquiry will be conducted to ascertain whether fire safety norms were violated.Did the fire break due to lapses in safety norms?It was a sad incident and I personally visited the site to take stock of the situation. It’s a very crowded area and we will conduct an inquiry to look into violations of safety norms if any. Thereafter we will take further action as needed. I strongly believe citizens must take the first step towards fire safety. Wherever you work or stay, you must ensure that the stipulated fire norms are complied with.Is BMC’s fire department fully equipped to effectively handle fires?Due credit must be given to our jawans and officers who quickly doused the fire and also prevented its spread in the densely populated area. In the past two years, the BMC has fortified its fire brigade with the latest in firefighting equipment, upgrading the training of personnel and increasing the human resources available.How can Mumbaikars be proactive in fire mitigation and control?Fire safety norms have to be fulfilled, it’s imperative. We must do away with the attitude that ‘it can’t happen to me’. One can very well be the victim to such a situation if one is not cautious.

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Khairani: Fire waiting to happen, claim locals

Members of Swachh Chandivali, a resident’s organisation, are irked by the fact that it took a fire, that claimed 12 lives, for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to finally inquire into the glaring irregularities in safety norms by a majority of the establishments — most of them running small scale industries from the slums — on Khairani Road in Saki Naka.The residents had been repeatedly warning the concerned authorities about a potential high-risk fire waiting to break in the slum area, and had written several letters to the BMC and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the same. In September, the residents escalated the matter by writing to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.Based on their complaints, the MPCB carried out a site visit in September and submitted a report in November, which clearly states the violations that some of the establishments were engaged in. The board found that the units were operating without any documents. In fact, MPCB officials stated that a majority of the small scale industries in the area were operating illegally.”The report asked BMC to take action and ordered closure of 18 such industries. If properly surveyed, all the units operating in these slums, which has turned into an industrial area over the years, will be found violating safety regulations as well as labour laws. These units are a ticking time bomb and are endangering the lives of people,” said Dr SL Dhingra, member, Swachh Chandivali.Lavita Powell, another member of the group, said that Monday’s fire only goes to prove that many more such disasters can occur in the area.Demanding action against the authorities, former Councillor Ishwar Tayade said, “We wrote to the civic body and the police to take action against the illegal activities taking place inside these industrial units but they kept turning a blind eye.””We had received complaints from local residents about air pollution from the small scale industries operating on Khairani Road. After a survey, several violations were observed based on which we directed the BMC to disconnect water and electricity supply for 18 of the units,” said MR Lad, Regional Officer (Mumbai), MPCB.

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Jogeshwari school scouts new midday meal contractor

Following an episode of food poisoning in Balvikas Vidya Mandir, Jogeshwari, on Wednesday, the school’s management met on Sunday to decide on the required arrangements for the students’ midday meal programme. The BMC’s Education Department has directed the school to discontinue its midday meal service from Chaphai Mahila Mandal that was appointed to serve the meals to the students. Whereas a couple of parents whose children fell victim to the food poisoning have demanded that the school stop the midday meal service for their children.Twenty seven students of class 5 and 7 felt nauseous, vomited and suffered from food poisoning after consuming khichdi served to them in the midday meal by Chaphai Mahila Mandal in the school on Wednesday. The students were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. None of the students faced any serious complications and were discharged from the hospital on the same day.Sahadev Sawant, Trustee, Balvikas Vidya Mandir, said, “The school’s management held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the arrangements that need to be made for the midday meals of secondary and primary students. On Monday we will reply to the notice served by BMC’s Education Department that has asked the management to make quick arrangements of midday meal for the students which is a government scheme. We are short listing some services and considering suggestions made by some parents. We will also asks the BMC’s education department to make some suggestions. The school has also arranged for a meeting on Tuesday with all the parents of students from class 1 to 8 to know their views on the midday meal.”Mahesh Palkar, education officer, BMC, said, “The BMC has served a notice to the school to stop the Mahila Bachat Gat.”

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Anti Corruption Bureau books BMC engineer in DA case

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Mumbai unit has booked former Assistant Engineer attached with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly amassing assets more than the known income of the accused. The ACB has also booked the wife and deceased mother of the engineer in the case.According to ACB, Anil Mistry, 51, assistant engineer who was attached with BMC from 26 March 1990 till 19 June 2017 was accused of possessing wealth 1307.18 per cent more than the known income. The ACB officials found the assets worth Rs 7,72,48,381 extra to the actual income. The ACB has also booked Akruti Mistry,43 in the case.”The accused engineer had purchased properties in the name of his wife and the mother and they were in know-how of the money which he acquired through corruption,” said the ACB officer.

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BMC to give 89K vendors hawking spots in city soon

Around 89,000 hawkers out of the city’s 99,435 hawkers who were surveyed in 2014 by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will get designated hawking spots in the city in the next couple of months.The civic body has already put up around 24,000 pitches for objections and suggestions from citizens while another list of around 65,000 hawking pitches is also ready. These hawking pitches are spread across all wards in the city. In its crackdown on illegal hawkers over the past two months, the BMC had driven out over 22,000 hawkers from across railway stations, foot-overbridges and skywalks following the fatal stampede at Elphinstone Road station.However, soon after the hawkers were removed, hawkers associations as well as political parties demanded their immediate rehabilitation.In 2007, the BMC had to declare ward-wise hawking zones following an order from the Bombay High Court. Around 23,950 pitches were declared in 222 roads across the city. However, over the period, many of roads have become no-hawking zones. Moreover, the civic body has put up the same list on a public domain to seek public opinion.“The additional 65,000 hawking pitches will be available for objections and suggestion on December 19,” said a civic official.FACTS OF THE MATTERHawking is not allowed within 150 metres of railway stations, hospitals, religious places and schools. The total number of hawkers in the city is around 3 lakh. Out of these, the number of licensed hawkers is 15,159 The BMC can allow two hawkers at the same place in an area provided they have different timings. The BMC has decided to issue identity cards to hawkers. The civic body has also planned for biometric registration of hawkers.

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Road works worth Rs 150 cr put on hold

The BMC administration scrapped more than 100 roads works despite the committee's approval. Members of the committee sought an enquiry against civic officials for scrapping mandatory road works from the priority list of monsoon preparation. 13 were tabled related to road works of which 3 were rejected.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 14 December 2017 2:01 ISTMust readMy husband was sleeping, says wife of ‘molester’Crammed planes a global norm; experts say focus on etiquette<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The standing committee of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday put several road works, worth over Rs 150 crore, on hold. The committee members opposed the administration’s move of scrapping several road works without consulting the committee.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The BMC administration scrapped more than 100 roads works despite the committee’s approval. Members of the committee sought an enquiry against civic officials for scrapping mandatory road works from the priority list of monsoon preparation. 13 were tabled related to road works of which 3 were rejected.

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Residential parking in South Mumbai now one step closer to reality

Residential parking in Churchgate, Colaba and CST in South Mumbai will soon be a reality. The civic body, which has already received the traffic department’s no objection certificates (NoC) for residential parking slots at around 30 areas, is awaiting the approval of the civic chief to begin.The efforts of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s to make additional parking space available in South Mumbai under the new parking policy will bring relief for residents. Residents can now park their vehicles in front of their society building by paying a requisite fee.The civic body had received an overwhelming response from housing societies and commercial units in Colaba, Churchgate and Nariman Point for reserved parking slots. However, the operation was delayed for almost five months due to a delay in issuing an NOC from the traffic department. The traffic department had raised a query on the timings of the parking. The residential parking slots are available from 8 pm to 8 am only. However, the civic body managed to get the NOC from the traffic department.The BMC had received around 28 applications for reserved/residential parking. Of the 28 applications, 19 were housing societies while nine commercial establishments sought reserved parking spaces.For reserved residential parking (8 pm to 8 am), societies have to pay the BMC monthly charges which vary from Rs 600 to Rs 1,800, depending on the location. Initially, the residents association of A-ward were not satisfied with the civic body citing non-clarity in the implementation of the new parking policy.However, with NOCs from traffic department, the residential parking in South Mumbai as a pilot project seems to be a reality. “We has received traffic department NOC and send it civic chief for final approval,” said a senior official from A-ward of the BMC.NO SPACE AT ALLA-ward has several commercial complexes, government buildings and plenty of cars. The area also falls under ‘A’ category, which has the highest parking rates. The BMC has a total of 91 on-street parking spaces of which 54 falls under A-ward.

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Pre-school anxious after leopard entry

The Junior Crafting Playschool where leopard entered on Sunday remains close for two days that is Monday and Tuesday. According to the pre-school and day care centre, the school is kept close to sanitize the area for the safety of the small children. On the other hand the suggestions came from the parents to cover the rooftop of the playschool, but the playschool officials refused to do it explaining that BMC wont allow them to do that.On Sunday a leopard entered the playschool named Junior Crafting a junior and senior kindergarten as well as a day care centre area in Andheri located in Sher-E-Punjab society, Andheri east. Thankfully there were no children because of the day being Sunday. It was easy for the forest department to catch the animal because of CCTV cameras being around the school and inside as well.Ruchi Sabharwal, one of the owner of Junior Crafting Playschool, said, “The school is kept close for two days because the forest officials requested us to sanitize it as the animal moved around and inside the school. The school is sanitized in the morning as well as we will do pesticide and keep the school closed.

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Western Railway move can promote solar energy in Mumbai: Experts

Even as experts on solar power cheered the move by Western Railways of going for solar rooftops by setting up solar panels on top of the platform sheds, they also said that this move could also end up becoming the biggest promotion for solar rooftops in Mumbai.”The solar rooftops at Lower Parel station are being viewed by lakhs of commuters daily and it will atleast provoke them to think or get more information about solar energy. Infact we would suggest that every station going for solar rooftop should display information on benefits of solar power,” said a senior official working with Government of India to promote solar rooftops.Infact officials as well as environmentalists who have been promoting solar energy said that despite so much awareness and having the facility of Net-metering’ ,which enables to send the unused or excess electricity generated by solar plant back into the grid of the energy supply and even earn credits still there was not much demand for solar rooftops and only very limited buildings or societies were coming forward.”There will have to be a policy making it mandatory for a building or a commercial space of a particular area and depending on their electricity usage pattern to compulsorily have solar rooftop installed and only then the rise in solar rooftops will see an increase,” said another solar expert working with a solar energy provider firm.Infact environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal who has been promoting solar rooftops said that it was strange that while Mumbaikars actively speak about reducing carbon footprints and search for means of reducing their electricity consumption yet there was not a sharp rise as expected in solar rooftops in the city. “BMC or the The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) needs to study what was the factor that was stopping people from going for solar rooftopsA study initiated in 2015 to assess the solar rooftop potential of Greater Mumbai had shown that Mumbai has a potential of generating 1720 megawatt (MW) of solar energy across rooftops including residences, educational institutions, government buildings and industry. Infact one of the key highlights of the study was that it provided a ready database of the solar capacity that can be generated on rooftops to BMC or any other Government organisation. The study listed out structures with good rooftop potential and it includes hospitals, commercial buildings, Government offices, railway stations and even industries. The rooftop solar generation was also presented wardwise.Unfortunately experts claim that BMC and government offices themselves are yet to go for solar rooftops despite being obligated to do so and those who have already done it were not bothered promoting it amongst those visiting these offices.WHAT IS NET-METERING:Under net-metering, customers who generate their own electricity using solar power can send the unused or excess electricity generated by their solar plant, back into the grid of the energy supply provider and even get compensated for it. However the compensation is not directally monetary but the energy provider simply reduces the units of power send to the grid, which helps reduce the energy costs. Net-metering was approved by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in 2016

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Garbage management in Mumbai: BMC to set up 35 dry waste processing centres

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to develop dry waste collection and processing centres across Mumbai. The centres will be developed at CST, Churchgate, Colaba, Grant Road, Malabar Hills, Nana Chowk among others. Each centre is expected to process around 5 tonnes of dry waste every day.Since the BMC has been promoting segregation of dry and wet waste and composting of wet waste at source, the present move will help citizens to manage their dry waste with ease. “There has always been a complaint that BMC does not lift dry and wet waste separately,” said a senior official from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department of BMC.The cost of each processing set up will vary owing to quantity it will process. “The machine will cost from Rs 2.2 lakh to 7 lakh as per capacity it will process,” said an official from SWM.Also readBMC to help pick spot for waste management“We are taking a number of measures to bring down the quantity of waste being dumped every day at dumping grounds. The question being raised by a section of society that the civic body is doing nothing in waste management does not stand,” added the official. In the last six months, the civic body has brought down daily waste generation to 7500 MT from 9400 MT.“Everyday, the processing centre will process around 5MT dry waste,” said the official.Also readMumbai: Check how much this Kandivali society shells out each month to maintain a waste segregation machineIn addition, the civic body is also buying around 350 new garbage compactors for its Solid Waste Management (SWM) department which will have separate sections for carrying dry, wet and e-waste. This will put an end to the contract system for carrying dry and wet waste separately. The new garbage compactors will have around 85 percent space for wet waste while 10 percent space for dry waste. The remaining space will be used for the for e-waste. “With an increase in the amount of waste, it is becoming difficult to manage e-waste. The new compactor will prevent it from mixing with other waste,” added the official.

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Speak up Mumbai: Is BMC apathy turning trees into safety issue?

On December 7, Sharda Ghodeswar, 45, lost her life after a 45-foot long Gulmohar tree fell on her when she was sitting on a bench in Chembur. The incident has given Mumbaikars a new reason to worry as they consider whether the trees in their areas are healthy and strong enough to not be a safety concern.Environmentalists believe that concretisation and haphazard tree pruning is a major reason behind the recent tree collapse incidents from across the city. Residents also blame Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not inspecting trees properly before cutting them and deem a tree healthy based on its appearance.Civic officials accept the fact that they only visually inspect a tree before declaring it healthy and do not have a mechanism in place to inspect its roots for a better idea of its health status. In the recent fatal incidents of tree falls, the BMC has shirked away responsibility by terming the deaths ‘accidental’.DNA spoke to citizens across the city to find out what they think about BMC’s approach towards tree cutting and whether the body is cutting the right trees.VOICESThe work is outsourced to contractors, there is no inspection by BMC which is why the right trees are not cut. I have seen contractors cutting trees that don’t need to be. Trees should be judicially trimmed and not hacked.—Dr Vijay Sangole, ChemburAt times a particular tree looks strong from outside but its roots could be weak. The BMC should appropriately identify which tree is more inclined and threatens to fall. An annual survey of trees is required for this.—Dattatray Gosavi, AndheriThe BMC should ideally take the help of experts who understand which trees need to be cut or which need attention. There are people studying this as well. Unless it is not done, more such incidents will keep occurring. People should also be careful while sitting or standing below a tree especially after heavy rain or cyclones like the recent one.—Dr Rita Savla, GoregaonThe BMC is not taking care of the city’s trees. The contractors it appoints for pruning are not qualified ecologists or environmentalists, they simply cut the trees as per the road’s requirement. At times, they ignore the trees whose roots are damaged due to which they pose potential dangers of falling. BMC should use aboriculture which deals in tree maintenance, especially in metro cities where lateral growth of roots is not possible due to concretisation.—AD Sawant, ElphinstoneThe BMC cannot be blamed for unforeseen situations like a natural or sudden calamity. But since our city has a terrific monsoon, the BMC needs to start doing a lot more inspection. They should go around looking for weak trees and trim them. A number of times, utilities dig roads and they too make the tree base weak. That needs to be checked often. BMC should also regularly check whether trees are growing properly or if they are becoming weak. Even if there is a big area, they need to check them.—Nikhil Banker, Marine DriveOften, trees are chopped to benefit some or the other developer, hotel owner or shop keeper as the trees obstruct their view, project or accessibility. Most trees do not fall because of rain and don’t need chopping, their roots are damaged because of concretising on every side because of which the roots don’t get adequate water and they become weak.—Shiva Malik, AndheriIt is the BMC’s responsibility to ensure that the branches of trees and the trees that are likely to fall, are chopped in time. Several incidents of tree falls have resulted in the death of citizens or damage to property which means there is something wrong on the BMC’s part. It is time the BMC identifies such trees that pose a threat and ensure they are chopped before they claim lives. The authorities should conduct a regular audit of such killer trees.—Robin Sharma, KalbadeviSuch incidents are not new to the city. After every monsoon season, we see hundreds of trees falling across the city. The BMC claims that they surveys trees before trimming them but such incidents continue to take place. The BMC is aware that Mumbai is situated in a coastal area and strong winds can uproot any tree. The civic body must ensure that at least weak trees are trimmed or cut. The BMC does not pay heed to these issues and are busy announcing ambitious infrastructure projects.—Nisha Sunil Ramakrishanan, BycullaEXPERT SPEAKBMC appoints contractors to decide which trees should be cut, who simply select trees based on which wood is commercially useful instead of the safety aspect. Trees like Gulmohar have soft wood and are not useful for burning thus many a times they are not cut. Gulmohar trees are always the first to fall after monsoon. The BMC works only on the contractor’s whims and fancies. It is the work of the garden department that never inspects the trees scientifically before deciding to cut or trim them.—Biju Auhustine, Environment activistEvery monsoon, Gulmohar and rain forest trees are the first to fall. These trees are not native trees for our soil and thus have a lesser life span as their roots are not deep enough and wood is also soft. To begin with, the BMC should only plant native trees. Besides, BMC haphazardly prunes the trees. Taking a lesson from the recent death of a woman, BMC needs to stop haphazard tree cutting and inspect the trees scientifically.—Sandeep Athalye, Environment activist

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BMC, Central Railway seek IIT aid to check track-flooding

After they failed to finalise an amicable solution to widen drains at six chronic waterlogging locations on the Central Railway, the BMC and the CR have now sought the help of the Indian Institute of Technology to address technical difficulties.BMC’s stormwater drain department and the CR were wary of the method to be used for widening the drains at Currey road, Chinchpokli, Mulund and three locations between Sion and Kurla. These areas see severe waterlogging every monsoon which affects CR services.While the CR wants the civic body to widen the drains only through micro-tunneling, two metres below the tracks so that rail traffic is not affected, BMC says the method is technically unfeasible.”We have decided to take help of IIT to help us to find an amicable solution. We have already written to IIT’s civil engineering department and will hold a joint meeting soon”, said SWD department’s Chief Engineer V Khandkar.

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BMC to connect LBS Marg & Bhandup station

To avoid another Elphinstone Road railway station-like incident, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to connect Bhandup railway station (West) with LBS Road by constructing a missing link. The construction of a 300-m missing link will give a second exit on the western side of the station.The proposed road will have a direct connectivity to platform number 1 of the station from LBS road.”The proposed road will ease the pressure from the existing road and mitigate any possibility of Elphinstone Road-like stampede,” said an official from the Road Department.The proposed road is expected to be 13-metre wide and will connect the MVR Shinde road near Jayesh Industrial Estate which is also adjacent to the station.”After Elphinstone Road accident, the BMC has swung into action and working on all such missing links that can give a better connectivity to the station. We have identified a number of missing links in every railway stations to give a better access to the station. The proposal will soon be tabled in the general body of BMC to get approval,” said the official.

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BMC ignored NGT order on falling trees: Activists

Green activists are up in arms against BMC for failing to ensure tree safety as well as de-concretise the tree bases in the city, despite a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order.In its order the NGT had directed the civic body to clear all concrete, paving blocks and rubble around avenue trees (those lining roads) and construct tree basins. “Removal of concrete from the base was to be done in a scientific way but the BMC seems to have thought otherwise and ended up doing a shoddy work and simply cleared one feet area around the tree. NGT clearly said that the basins should be provided with nutrient rich soil, which was ignored,” said Stalin D, Director Projects, Vanashakti an NGO which took the matter of trees dying in Mumbai to NGT.He added that a majority of the trees in Mumbai were not de-concretised and where ever authorities removed concrete it made the trees even more vulnerable in the absence of soil support.“We expect the number of trees falling to only increase now due to this unscientific approach,” alleged Stalin. He added that the de-concretising work was carried out properly only in a few places in Mumbai like Dadar, Sion Panvel Highway and Matunga.Experts opine that the concretised base or paver block that is set all around the tree trunk deprives it of soil and moisture and due to it the roots also get damaged and it finally results in death of the trees. “The rigidity of the trunk on account of cementing also does not allow trees to be flexible to winds, making them prone to falling,” said an expert botanist who claimed to have given a detailed presentation to BMC’s Tree department. Meanwhile environmentalists also blamed the tree trimmings carried out as another major factor for tree falling. “Unfortunately despite so many tree falling cases, BMC has still not been able to get its act right when it comes to tree trimmings. The staff that cuts the tree seems to be more interested in chopping the bigger and thicker branches. Due to wrong method of pruning the tree becomes unstable and is prone to falling,” said Rajesh Jain a Dahisar based activist who had taken up the matter of unscientific trimming of trees with local elected representatives. CHOKING IN CONCRETEVanashakti had presented the BMC with a 14-month study in collaboration with Jhunjhunwala College’s botany department showing that one of the main causes behind deteriorating condition of trees was extensive concretisation of their critical root zone, which leads to the tree being depreived of water and falls prey to pests and fungus. It also prevents aeration of roots and interaction with the soil. Unscientific tree pruning on only one side causes it to lose its centre of gravity, making it vulnerable Concretised base or paver block set around the tree deprives it of soil and moisture damaging its roots PAST MISHAPSJuly 21, 2017 Kanchan Nath, 57, is seriously injured after a palm tree falls on her at Swastik Park in Chembur. She dies on July 22. June 6, 2017 Naval officer’s son dies after a Gulmohar tree falls on him, causing serious head injuries.July 29, 2016 48-year-old accountant loses his life after a huge tree falls on the car while he was travelling in Malad. July 27, 2015 Incessant rains lead to a tree falling on a wall which collapses on a hutment in Vakola, Santa Cruz, killing four.June 23, 2015 A 25-year-old man dies after a tree falls on him near Sahakari Bhandar at Agar Bazaar, DadarJune 23, 2015 A 60-year-old man dies on the spot after a tree falls on his cab opposite LT Marg police station. Three others injured. DNA – Research N Archives
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New contractor for beach-cleaning soon

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has floated a tender to appoint a new contractor for ‘comprehensive management of cleanliness’ of Versova beach.The BMC this time has decided to levy three times the fine slapped on a contractor if the beach is not found cleaned. “At present, the contractor is paid around Rs 4.5 lakh monthly for picking up garbage from Versova beach.However, out of that the civic body deducts 20 per cent as fine. We have asked for more machinery and manpower from the new contractor, and additional charges will be paid for cleaning during festivals. The beach has to be cleaned for 365 days without any holiday,” said K-West ward officer Prashant Gaikwad.The contractor will have to clean and maintain the 3-km Versova beach and the 1.5-km jetty round the clock for a period of seven years. According to BMC’s Solid Waste Management Deputy Chief Engineer Vikas Rajwadkar, “The present Trimurti Contractors JV has limit of collecting garbage up to 6 metric tonnes per day. But in reality, the Versova beach has 20 to 25 metric tonnes of garbage daily. Thus, the cleaning activity lacks. The new contractor will have to collect 20 to 25 metric tonnes garbage per day and the quantity will be more during monsoon and festivals”.Activist Afroz Shah, who with his volunteers started a citizen movement to clean up the beach, said, “This is the best decision BMC has taken.”TASK AT HANDThe contractor will have to clean and maintain the 3-km Versova beach and the 1.5-km jetty for a period of seven years. The BMC this time has decided to levy three times the fine slapped on a contractor if the beach is not found cleaned. At present, the contractor is paid around Rs 4.5 lakh monthly.
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Ockhi prompts safety steps at Chaityabhoomi in Dadar

The Chaityabhoomi near Dadar chowpatty every year sees lakhs of people across the state camping on December 6 to pay tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his death anniversary. Considering the Indian Meteorological department’s warning of Ockhi cyclone approaching the coast of Maharashtra, the authorities have deployed 45 National Defence Response Force (NDRF) personnel and 15 personnel of Mumbai Fire Brigade at Dadar chowpatty from Monday as a precautionary measure.Mumbai has already witnessed showers and may get more rains considering the movement of cyclone towards northwest India.Ambedkar followers from across the state and nation start gathering at Chaitybhoomi from December 5 itself. Considering the public gathering and their safety from the coast, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sounded a high alert. “We have written to NDRF to provide teams at Dadar chowpatty while Fire Bridage, Navy and Coast Guards have also been alerted. A team comprising 45 personnel of NDRF has already been deployed at Chairtyabhoomi-Dadar chowpatty on Monday,” informed Chief Officer of BMC’s Disaster Management Unit.PS Rahangdale, Chief Officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade, said: “We deploy personnel for security on December 6 ever year. But this year, considering the cyclone warning and weather conditions, we have already deployed 15 Fire Brigade personnel and 2 coast guards.”“As many Ambedkar followers, after paying tribute at Chaityabhoomi, visit the Juhu beach, we have already deployed fire brigade personnel at Juhu beach as well for their security,” Rahangdale added.MAHAPARINIRVAN DINDecember 6 is the 61st death anniversary, the ‘Mahaparinirvan Din’ of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Lakhs of people travel to Dadar’s Chaityabhoomi to pay tribute to Ambedkar’s memorial. The BMC and the police are put on high alert every year considering the huge number of people camping at the place.
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Colaba locals demand pay-and-park

Harrowed by the persistent parking problems in their area, Colaba residents have demanded that a plot of land on which a market is to be built but hasn’t yet be made into a pay-and-park facility until the new structure is built. The plot of land is near the fish market building in Colaba market.”We would first want a market to come up there because that is our demand. However, when we tried to get some details about it under RTI when it was stuck for too long, we realised that there are floor space index (FSI) and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) issues,” said Ajay Multani, honorary treasurer, Strand Marg Association, and added, “Since the BMC is not able to take a decision and the lot is lying as it is for the past 30 years, we feel they should allow a pay-and-park. That will help us tackle our parking issues.”Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, A ward said, “It is not possible because the plot is reserved for a market. Many people have different demands.”
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Speak up Mumbai | Aesthetics over safety: Smart choice by BMC?

To secure the iconic Marine Drive promenade from a possible Barcelona-style terror attack, in which a van ploughed into pedestrians on a busy boulevard, the Mumbai Police had proposed installing barriers between the road and promenade to ensure that cars and heavy vehicles do not veer onto the promenade.However the plan has been shelved after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) rejected the proposal to install bollards or raise the promenade’s height stating that this would damage the tourist spot’s aesthetics and obstruct its openness.Following the rejection, top police officers made a presentation to state chief secretary Sumit Mullick to point out the security gaps. The police spent three weeks conducting safety drills by simulating attacks, and a video demonstrated the consequences of a Barcelona-style van attack.DNA spoke to a cross section of Mumbaikars to find out whether security concerns should take precedence over issues of aesthetics and heritage.EXPERT SPEAKSecurity is more important in today’s era considering the Barcelona-style terror attacks that terrorists are committing across the world. Installing barriers at the Marine Drive promenade is the need of the hour as it is one of the most sensitive and crowded areas in the city. The Mumbai Police has taken the right step at the right time. Their measures would help prevent and secure the stretch from such attacks. Barriers would not be any damage.—Prem Kishan Jain, security expertMumbai is surrounded by the sea. You cannot fence Mumbai from all three sides. How can it be assured that after creating barriers there will be no attack? I think such a move would damage the heritage of Marine Drive. The police should find other measures for security such as increasing surveillance at the promenade. Installing bollards will create visual barriers at Marine Drive.—Abha Narain Lambah, conservation architectVOICESSecurity reasons should always take precedence. Other heritage sites of the world should be taken as examples to learn how beauty can be preserved while keeping security aspects in mind.—Sangeeta Srivastava, AndheriBarriers should be installed in such a way that they do not damage the heritage. Both aspects are equally important and cannot be ignored. We can come up with midway solution for the issue.—Gulshan Giri, AndheriIt is important to protect the city’s heritage structures but not at the cost of safety of its residents. BMC should ensure that tourists and local residents feel safe while visiting tourists spots such as Marine Drive. The police should go ahead and install structures in the restricted areas for the safety of locals and tourists. Safety and security of locals and tourists should not be compromised in the name of aesthetics and heritage structures.—Bhuvee Daswani, BandraImproving the police force’s intelligence is the basic need. If bollards are installed on the Marine Drive promenade then where will the pedestrians go?. You cannot block public space because it could be a security hazard. Placing physical obstructions won’t work every time as terrorists could find a loophole some way or the other. The government needs focus on improving the police force’s training.—Kamlakar Shenoy, MazgaonSecurity has to be given priority in this day and age. Human life is precious — it cannot be and should not be compromised at any cost. Of course aesthetics and heritage should be preserved too but they can only be appreciated if we exist. Recent attacks across the world indicate that attacks hereafter would be of higher impact than before and this is something we ought to prioritise as a security concern.—Pradeep Havnur, BandraInstalling barricades will not address security concerns. Authorities need to ensure security but also need to keep aesthetics in mind. Barricades that are used on footpaths are ugly. What they probably need is a four or six-inch elevation at the promenade’s periphery which will not block free movement of pedestrians and will also serve as a hindrance to vehicles. This might also regulate people crossing only from where they are supposed to.—Kaizad Todywalla, Marine DriveSecurity should be given priority. There is nothing wrong in protecting heritage but it should not be at the cost of human life. When there is a possibility of major issues, even then either the police or civic administration is being stopped from taking remedial measures. In the past we have seen rules being twisted to benefit certain corporate sections but when it comes to the safety of common people, rules are being given priority.—Prakash Kosy, WorliSecurity should always be given priority over issues such as aesthetics and heritage. Installing barricades between the promenade and road will not disturb the aesthetics of Marine Drive. It will just be an addition to the existing structure. Both the Mumbai Police and MHCC should arrive at a middle ground solution so that both concerns of security and heritage can be accommodated.—Abhishek Thakker, Mulund
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GD Somani to share neighbourhood with civic school

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Education department is set with its design plan to construct a two-storey school next to GD Somani Memorial School in Cuffe Parade.The civic body is now in process of obtaining clearances from the Coastal Regulatory Zone, the Defence and other concerned agencies before finalising the design plan.In 1985, the Somani Trust was given the 5736 sqm plot owned by the BMC, where the GD Somani school is currently located, to construct two school buildings of which one of the buildings constructed on the plot would be handed over to the BMC to run a municipal school. However, it never materialised, and the remaining area plot is now being used by GD Somani school for parking school buses.The local Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Arvind Sawant, however, alleges that the BMC school has not come up because of political pressures from the local Member of Legislative Assembly BJP’s Raj Purohit and his support for Somani trust.But the BMC was delayed in its plan to construct a municipal school in Cuffe Parade even after the 2011 Bombay High Court giving the BMC the go-ahead to construct the school building on the land.However, rejecting all allegations from the Shiv Sena, Purohit said, “A civic school should definitely come and there is no political pressure. It is just lack of willingness on the part of the BMC. If anyone approaches me, I will definitely help speed up the procedure to build a civic school there.”A senior civic official said, “I have sent the design plan of the two-storey school with including an auditorium. It is the BMC’s plot and a school will definitely come up there. It may take time to obtain required clearances but the school will be built.”However, DN Seymour, Principal of GD Somani school, said, “I only found out today that a civic school is proposed on the plot. The area has always been used to park school buses. I will talk to the trustee to find out more about the issue.”IN THE DARKWhen asked, DN Seymour, Principal of GD Somani school, said, “I only found out today that a civic school is proposed on the plot. The area has always been used to park school buses. I will talk to the trustee to find out more about the issue.”
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New road to connect Mulund Stn to Eastern Expressway

Residents of Mulund can expect decreased commute time to the area’s railway station as the BMC has started work to connect Mulund railway station and the Eastern Expressway with a new link road. Its construction is likely to be completed by the beginning of next year.According to an official from the BMC’s roads department, there is only one road — Navghar Road — at present, which can be used to go towards Mulund railway station from the Eastern Expressway.The new link road will ease traffic on Navghar Road and will also save time for motorists.The official added that the new link road will help vehicles to take a left turn before Navghar Road near Chindi Bazar and will connect Vidyalaya Road for Mulund Railway station. The length of the new link road will be around180 metre.”The work of the missing link will be completed by the start of the new year,” said Kishore Gandhi, assistant commissioner of BMC’s T ward.One more link will be connected with the Eastern Expressway however that still needs environment clearances. “The land for this falls under the salt pan and this will take time to get clearances,” said the official from the roads department.
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Mumbadevi teachers fund students’ commute to far-off school

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the past six months, school teachers and an NGO have been helping nearly 200 students reach a BMC-run Urdu school in Imambara in Mumbadevi from far-flung places such as Dharavi and Govandi. Their quiet benevolence came to the fore at a meeting held last week by the local MLA Amin Patel where he was meeting 17 principals of the Urdu schools located in his constituency. The teachers contributed around Rs 2.10 lakh out of their own pocket while the NGO donated an equal amount.Patel is now meeting the BMC additional commissioner so as to get proper funds for all the schools. If that is not possible from the BMC’s side then Patel plans to rope in NGOs that can help.”The number of students in vernacular schools is dwindling. I called for the meeting to understand the problem. It is then that I was told that students come from Dharavi and Govandi areas. And for them to be able to reach the school, the teachers have given Rs 2.10 lakh from their own salary so that the students can take the bus. Rs 1,500 was spent on each student over the six months. There are 17 schools in the area that are Urdu medium and the aim is to upgrade all of them,” said Patel.Patel, a Congress MLA, is seeking help from BMC to get digital classrooms and other facilities for the students in the schools. “I will talk to BMC and seek funds from them. If they cannot, then I will rope in NGOs so that the students can be provided with the best facilities. There was a college in my constituency which lacked the facility of computer rooms and we have got it for them,” added Patel.Some of the demands Patel plans to present to the BMC include technical facilities and that the students be provided with basic English and Marathi subjects to further their prospects in the future.ANGEL TEACHERSTeachers and an NGO helped nearly 200 students reach a BMC-run Urdu school in Imambara in Mumbadevi. The teachers contributed Rs 2.10 lakh out of their salary. The students come from areas such as Dharavi and Govandi.

Week after slums are razed, shanties return near garden

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after the demolition of illegal slums near the Bayview Marina Garden in Cuffe Parade, the encroachers have made a comeback and set up shanties again. The residents have slammed the government for failing to ensure that the land remains free of encroachments. The BMC has assured the residents that another demolition will be carried out in the area and the shanties will be demolished. The first demolition was conducted in the presence of the police on November 21.”The government agencies are failing to protect their own land. We have been complaining about the illegal slums in our locality since a long time. The slums were cleared partly but now they are back,” said Padmakar Nandekar, secretary general, Cuffe Parade Residents Association (CPRA). “Taxpayers’ money is used for demolition. Besides, machinery and power is wasted when the encroachers come back to the same place on which the demolition work was carried out,” added Nandekar.Another resident said, “The BMC should carry out swift demolition drives inorder to protect the city’s open spaces.”Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, A ward of BMC, said, “We will conduct the demolition drive again so that the slums are cleared. We will chalk out a permanent solution for the issue soon.”

BMC demolishes illegal construction in Anil Kapoor’s office

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday carried out a demolition drive in Bollywood actor office in Linking Road in Santa Cruz. The office cabin and a part of the office was removed.According to official from the H West ward of BMC, they had served notice to Kapoor’s office for alleged illegal extension in the office. The civic body had also given time to remove the same within a stipulated time. However, finding no action from Kapoor’s office, they removed the extension.“The outside cabin of the office was extended and even there was alteration inside the office,” said a civic official from the ward. He added that they had served notice earlier this month and given time till Saturday to remove. No one from Kapoor’s office confirmed about the illegal construction and BMC’s action.

BMC struggling to hire over 1,700 security guards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is facing acute shortage of security personnel. As a result, most of the civic-run hospitals, gardens and schools do not have enough security personnel deputed. The shortage of security guards at hospitals is despite a clear directive from the state government following Bombay High Court order.According to an official from the civic body’s security department, there is a provision of 6,000 security personnel in the BMC. But the corporation has around 4,300 personnel, including guards hired from private agency.According to BMC rules, nearly 4,000 posts are to be filled by its own security personnel, while the remaining is to be procured from private agencies. “Of BMC’s own 4,000 security personnel, there are around 1200 posts are vacant,” said an official from the security department. Similarly, only 1,500 private guards have been hired, leaving a shortfall of 500.Six months ago, civic doctors went on a mass strike following a number of attacks on medical staff in the city as well as across the state. The Bombay High Court had then directed the state to provide security to doctors. The BMC had then roped in around 400 security personnel from Maharashtra State Security Board for major civic hospitals and assured to deploy 300 more guards.However, the security personnel went on a strike due to their own issues with the MSCC. Currently, only 80 security personnel from MSCC are deputed at different civic hospitals. While the BMC has deputed its own security at hospital, the numbers are enough.”The BMC is not keen to take security personnel from private agency as the civic body had received several complaints in the past. Even private agencies security personnel are not fit upto the mark,” said the official. Nearly a month ago, the civic body removed around 200 private guards after they were found unfit. “Some of the security personnel were too old to be deputed in hospital or any other places.”The BMC has even asked its contractors maintaining civic gardens to depute their guards at the open spaces.A senior civic official said they trying to sort out the security issue. “We hope to get additional security from the MSSC soon.”

BMC to install escalators to avoid accident on Santacruz-Chembur link road near Kurla

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to prevent accident on Santacruz-Chembur link road near Buddha Colony in Kuala while crossing the road, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to set up escalators on both side of an existing foot-over-bridge. The existing bridge was transferred to BMC in 2015 by MMRDA.Santacruz-Chembur link road is around 46 metres wide at that stretch and there is huge vehicular movements most of the time. Since children as well as senior citizens face trouble to climb the foot-over-bridge, they tend cross the road even jumping the divider of the road. “We have found that several people especially children cross the road by jumping the divider. This is dangerous as they can meet with an accident,” said a senior engineer from the Bridge department of BMC.He added that to prevent accident, the civic body had decided to construct escalators on both end of the existing foot-over-bridge. The proposal will come up for discussion at the standing Committee meeting on Monday. As per the proposal, the escalators will be set up with an estimated cost of Rs 2.62 crores and in a six month time from the award of contract, the escalators will be set up.

Malabar Hill residents continue their fight to save PDP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum (MHCF) has been fighting to save the Priyadarshini Park on Napean Sea Road in Malabar Hill in South Mumbai, children of the area have come forward in a big number to support their seniors. Over 450 children participated in a painting competition held early this week to save the Priyadarshini Park.The Bombay High Court had given temporary thumps up to the Malabar Hill residents by directing the Mumbai Fire Brigade to remove fire engines parked inside the park. However, the residents under the banner of MHCF continue their fight.Susieben Shah, the secretary of MCHF, said the painting competition was a huge success as over 450 children participated in it. “The children showed how much they are concerned to save the Priyadarshini Park.”The theme of the painting competition was “Save PDP, Save the Environment and Open Spaces”. Paintings which received big applause was ‘My Life My Park’ and ‘PDP – Let it’.Shah said though they have received a temporary relief from the court, they shall continue with their fight. “It is more than three decades that the park has been developed and maintained by residents and, now, we can not allow anyone to ruin an open space,” Shah said.The Bombay High Court had come down heavily on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not complying with an earlier order directing that status quo be maintained. The civic body had set up a temporary shed for parking fire engines inside the park.The Malabar Hill Citizens’ Forum has not only been fighting a legal battle against the proposed fire station at the park, but also began a signature campaign and managed to garner the support of at least 17,500 citizens.However, the temporary fire station set by the BMC has received around 29 fire-related calls in just two and half months. According to BMC, as per the standing fire advisory council, for every area having a population of 50,000 people including a cluster of buildings, one fire appliance is required. The areas of Malabar Hill, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Napean Sea Road, Walkeshwar are densely populated.

BMC denies info to RTI applicant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An RTI applicant was denied information about the occupation certificate and ground floor plan of a ward office by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) stating that it will be a threat to security.While denying such information, it cited an order from former chief information commissioner which was itself corrected after much hue and cry as it blocked giving away details of buildings under RTI.Girish Mittal, Borivli resident, had filed an RTI application with the R/Central (Borivli) ward office, seeking details of reason along with file notings on why only one entry gate was open to the public for entry, reason for not allowing public to park in the ward’s premises, the DC rules on the two subject, the occupation certificate and the ground floor lay out.While replying to the information, the public information officer cited an order of former chief information commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad’s order which stated that due to security reasons the building plan not be provided. Often alleged to be the most corrupt department, Gaikwad’s order attracted sharp criticism and a clarification as activists said that terrorists did not need to file an RTI application to access building details.Gaikwad then issued a clarification which categorically stated that parking, cross section of building, occupancy certificate, and other relevant details be provided under RTI except internal details of the building.”It is a classic case of officers being well aware of all the negative orders that block transparency and little that promote it. There was a clarification on this order,” said Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner.”There is no question that such information cannot be provided. What they cannot provide is internal detailing. That is what was decided in the technical advisory committee of the BMC which decides what to give under RTI,” said Bhaskar Prabhu.

Congress, NCP seek changes in BEST budget 2018-19

Ravi Raja demanded that the minimum fares should be decreased to Rs 6 for a 2-kilometre distance, which is presently Rs 8, and also the BMC should grant funds of Rs 150 crore to the BEST Undertaking <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the second day of the discussion of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, the Congress and NCP raised issues that it should have necessary amendments so as to decrease the estimated deficit and make it commuter-friendly. The BEST management presented a budget estimate of Rs 880 crore.Opposition leader of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and BEST committee member, Congress corporator Ravi Raja, on Wednesday did not support the budget presented by the BEST management and demanded two amendments in it. He demanded that the minimum fares should be decreased to Rs 6 for a 2-kilometre distance, which is presently Rs 8, and also the BMC should grant funds of Rs 150 crore to the BEST Undertaking. The Congress and NCP later walked out from the BEST committee’s budget discussion meet.“BEST has already lost its commuters drastically. It should decrease the minimum fare of Rs 8 to Rs 6 so as to attract more commuters,” said Raja. The BEST management presented a Rs 880-crore deficit budget for 2018-19. The BEST had also presented a deficit budget of Rs 542 crore in 2017-18.

Demolition drive issue rocks civic meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The standing committee meeting of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was adjourned on Wednesday over civic administration’s action against residents near Tansa pipeline. Members demanded that the administration first provide alternative arrangement before evicting them.Shiv Sena corporator Mangesh Satamkar moved the adjournment motion which was supported by members across parties. Satamkar said that the civic administration has been evicting poor people on war footing without giving proper alternative. “BMC has been rehabilitating them in Mahul in Chembur where basic facilities are not available,” said Satamkar. He added that there is no school or hospital in the area. “Does the BMC think that poor people do not need education of medical facilities,” said Satamkar.The BMC administration has been clearing encroachments across the city, especially along the Tansa pipeline following a Bombay High Court order. As per the court order, the civic body has to remove all encroachments along the 39 km-long Tansa pipeline and construct a wall 10 metres away from both side of the pipeline to protect the it. The civic administration claims that it has been following the court order and it has no option but to clear the encroachments.Ravi Raja, a Congress corporator and leader of opposition in the House, accused the civic administration of being inhumane.

SoBo’s first cycle track to open on Dec 3

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proposed first cycle track in South Mumbai will become operational from the first week of December. The start point of 11-km long cycling track is the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) at Marine Drive, which will end near the Bandra-Worli Sealink.Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of A ward of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, “We have finalised December 3 to start the cycle track, and it will be open every Sunday initially.” He added that the common public can access the track every Sunday from 5.30 am to 10 am.”The BMC has received necessary permissions from concerned departments like Traffic and Heritage. “For a cycle track, the traffic department’s permission is necessary as traffic needs to be controlled as per the need,” said Dighavkar. Similarly, the Heritage department permission is also required as the area falls under Heritage department.The BMC chief Ajoy Mehta is keen to develop cycle tracks across the city. During his monthly meeting, Mehta had asked all the ward commissioners to enlist roads where a cycle track can be developed. “The cycle track will promote a healthier habit and also reduce the carbon footprint,” said another civic official from A ward.The BMC is also working to rope in Bollywood actor Salman Khan to encourage maximum people to use the cycle track. However, the final decision is yet to be taken.

Bombay High Court orders BMC to reallot space for public toilet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai police have won their case against Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which had allotted space outside the police staff quarters, on Mohammed Ali road, to a social group for constructing a public toilet. The Bombay High Court has directed the corporation to allot a different place to the group to build the toilet block.A division bench of Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice Riyaz Chagla said, “We direct the Corporation to permit the petitioner to construct a toilet facility at an appropriate site where toilet facility would not be easily available for the commuters and least inconvenience would be caused to the residents in the locality.”The court gave the direction while disposing of the petition filed by Lok Seva welfare association, which had sought directions to restrain senior police inspector Pydhonie, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the zone, from stopping the construction of the toilets on the footpath. The civic body had on November 5, 2015, granted permission to the petition to construct the toilet. However, the police had been opposing the same.

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.

Brace for more traffic snarls at Hindmata junction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hindmata in Parel is one of the most chronic waterlogging spots in Mumbai every monsoon. Even when there was severe water-logging in the city after heavy rains on August 29, Hindmata experienced water-logging for a much longer period than other areas where water had receded. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is finally going to carry out augmentation of the stormwater drains (SWD) at Hindmata junction to increase the rainwater draining capacity so that such flooding is not seen in the future.However, Hindmata Junction is already known for its traffic jams, and as road excavation by the stormwater drains department is expected to begin here next month, motorists will have to brace for even more traffic snarls in the area.The BMC will excavate road right from the B J Devrukhkar road at Hindmata to Madkebuwa chowk along Dr BA Road. The work includes converting the curved arc drain in the area to an RCC box drain, which will be around 800 meters long, to facilitate faster drainage of water. The drain will be widened from 1.5 x 1.2 meters to 3 x 1.5 metres which will increase its rainwater draining capacity and give relief from waterlogging at Hindmata.”However, traffic problems in the area due to work is unavoidable and we will carry out work in coordination with the Mumbai Traffic police”, chief engineer of SWD department, Vidyadhar Khandkar said.Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Amitesh Kumar said: “We will deploy more traffic police officers and additional traffic wardens in the area for traffic management”.Ajay Shete, a shop owner, said, “I travel every day to Hindmata market and take 30 minutes in an usual traffic at Hindmata junction. Now, when one lane will get shut for BMC work, it will take over an hour to cross the place. But as solving the severe waterlogging issue at Hindmata, there is no option but to bear the traffic woes”.The stormwater drain at Hindmata is at least 70 years old, curved and at certain locations has roots of the trees entered into the drains. “No work has happened at Hindmata junction since the British era. We have strengthened the SWD and did thorough desilting from Baristernath Pai Road to Britannia pumping station. It has eased the waterlogging in the areas nearby Hindmata junction. This is, however, the first time that work is carried at the exact water logging location”, an officer said.The work is expected to begin next month and will continue for the next 18 months. The proposal is expected to be tabled in Standing committee next week.ROAD RECOVERYBMC will excavate road right from the B J Devrukhkar road at Hindmata to Madkebuwa chowk along Dr BA Road. Drain will be widened from 1.5 x 1.2 meters to 3 x 1.5 mts which will increase its rainwater draining capacity and give relief from waterlogging.

BMC identifies link road, to connect Andheri Stn, WEH

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon connect Nagardas Road with Andheri Subway in Andheri (E) a month after it traced a missing link road connecting the two roads. This bodes well for motorists travelling from Andheri railway station to Western Express Highway throwing open more travel route options for them.The civic body had demolished around 10 to 15 structures last week to create a new road to improve road connectivity and reduce traffic from other roads.BMC’s K East ward that includes Andheri and Vile Parle had traced the missing link early this month.Devendra Jain, assistant commissioner of K/East ward said, “Nagardas Road and Andheri Subway could not be connected due to the existence of some shops. However, in order to release pressure from other roads leading to the highway from Andheri (E) railway station, the BMC decided to connect the missing link.”According to Jain, even the proposed Development Plan 2014-34 includes a provision of connecting Nagardas Road to Andheri Subway. Traffic coming from the Andheri Subway can enter Nagardas Road after taking a right turn near Amar Tarun building to reach the Western Express Highway.”The new link will help ease the traffic flow moving towards Kurla,” said Jain, adding that there is heavy traffic during peak hours due to unavailability of such link roads.The BMC has said that it will rehabilitate the people affected. “We will give alternate land to affected people as per the existing rehabilitation policy,” said Vinay More, another civic official of the K East ward.Jain said that the civic body will soon construct the patch after removing the structures. “The process of laying out the road will be completed in a fortnight,” added Jain.Pradip Waghmare, a resident of Kurla said, “This new link will help us to save at least 20 to 30 minutes during peak hours as we have to take a long route to enter Nagardas Road to move towards Western Express Highway.”

Five months on, 1,200 BMC students still wait for their tabs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over five months after the new academic year has started, students of 1,200 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools are still awaiting tabs as the corporation is yet to complete the seeing process with a new seller. Despite a budgetary allocation of over Rs 7 crore, the civic body’s biggest e-learning initiative is in a shambles.As per an Right to Information (RTI) application response furnished to activist Prithviraj Mhaske, in 2015, the BMC bought 22,799 tablets for students of Class 8 and spent an amount of Rs 1.42 crore for the same. In 2016-17, the corporation spent Rs 12.99 crore to purchase a fresh bunch of tablets. In 2017, with a budgetary provision of 7.83 crore, the corporation decided to bring in a new service provider scrapping the earlier agency — Techno Electronics. However, till date the corporation is not able to find a new agency as a result of which fresh purchase has been hauled.”The corporation is not serious about its e-learning initiative. What is the point of giving away the tablets after half the year has gone by?” asked Mhaske. With the change in the Class 9 syllabus, earlier tablets became redundant as they did not have the revised syllabusMahesh Palkar, Education Officer, BMC said that the tendering process for the new set of tablets is still on. “Some of the applicants have quoted a very high price and negotiations with respect to prices are on. We want to ensure that students get tabs that are of good quality and at the same time worth their cost. The process will be completed soon and students will get their tablets after that,” added Palkar.Shubhada Gudekar, Chairperson of the BMC Education Committee, said that the process of acquiring and distributing tabs will happen in phases. “There are 1,200 schools of the corporation. We are working our best to procure new tabs as early as possible and as soon as the process is over, students will get them phasewise,” said Gudekar.Principals, meanwhile, said that with most students not havimg tabs, the initiative seems to have fizzled out. “Most students in our school do not have tablets. Some were sent for repairs and never came back and others are waiting as the corporation is yet to give a fresh batch with the new portion of the syllabus,” said the principal of a civic school.BackgroundIn August 2015, students of BMC schools had to wait until January to get their tabs as the civic body took time to get all the approvals.After tabs were distributed for the first time in 2015, schools started complaining about not having enough plug points to charge them in classrooms. The civic body then floated tenders for additional plug points in 2016.In 2016, with the government’s mandate of getting a battery certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the company Techno Electronics have the tabs after a delay of over two months.THE LONG WAITIn the 2015 academic year, BMC school students had to wait until Jan to get their tabs as the civic body took time to get approvals. Also, schools didn’t have enough power outlets

BMC makes new policy on dilapidated buildings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to streamline the process of declaring any building dilapidated, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is finalising a policy which will be based on guidelines provided by Bombay High Court on vacating a dilapidated building.The policy has provisions for making structural audits mandatory for a building before declaring it dilapidated, and for prosecution of the owner for not carrying out structural audit even after a notice is issued by the BMC.”The policy will protect the rights of tenants, and it will do away with the practice of arbitrary declaration of dilapidated building,” said a senior official from the civic body’s Building Proposal department.According to the official, who declined to be named, the need for a separate policy arose after tenants kept approaching courts for clarity on the way buildings are being declared dilapidated, claiming that owners had kept them in the dark even after those buildings had already been declared dilapidated.”Disputes between tenants and owners often lead to delays in vacating a dilapidated building,” said the official.While hearing a writ petition on the issue, the Bombay High Court order had laid down a standard operating process (SOP) for vacating a dilapidated building, based on which the BMC has formulated the new policy, this official added.The owner of a dilapidated building will also have to certify the area each tenant has to ensure that they get the correct amount of space during redevelopment. “If the owner does not certify the area, BMC officials will certify,” said the official.The policy also suggests formation of five new Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) to address disputes over the structural audit.NEW POLICYThe new policy will protect the rights of tenants as the owner cannot declare a building dilapidated simply to go in for redevelopment. As a copy of the structural audit report must be displayed in the building premises, tenants’ complaints of not being aware of the status of the building will also be addressed.

Residents-only parking near Taj Hotel if BMC approves: Traffic JCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The traffic police have told Colaba residents living near Taj Hotel that they will consider residents-only parking outside their buildings and in the bylanes only if the BMC gives a no-objection certificate. Colaba residents had met the joint commissioner of police (traffic) on Thursday day after they alleged vindictive behaviour by traffic cops, who they accused of not doing enough on traffic violations in the area but targeting them.DNA had reported about some residents complaining that their cars were towed away from the area where they were allowed to park. While doing so, traffic cops had told some residents they were doing so because some of them had been complaining and tweeting.”The residents had come to meet and all options to ease out traffic situation in the area were discussed. With respect to resident-only parking outside their buildings, they will have to apply to BMC for residents-only parking in the lanes. If the BMC gives a NOC, we will consider it. We have already given NOC to 30 odd buildings,” said Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic).Among the other issues that were raised were taking action on double parking, discouraging private vehicles and valet parking by hotels and restaurants. “He gave solutions to issues such as hassles of valet parking by Taj and commercial cabs in the area,” said Mehroo Kotval, a resident of Colaba who attended the meeting. “He was very positive about the issues. He had asked us to approach BMC, which we will be doing once some of the other members of our association are back,” said Pervez Cooper, vice-president of Clean Heritage Colaba Residents’s Association which met the officials.

Marine Drive divider gets civic body’s nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Wednesday approved the proposal of certain measures for the beautification of Marine Drive, residents of the area are rejoicing.For the Marine drive facelift, which is the favourite tourist destination of Mumbaikars, and also a heritage location, the Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Welfare Trust had sent a proposal last year to BMC which the local BJP corporator Harshita Narvekar took up this year.The beautification measures, which will be taken up are the restoration of fountain under Princess street flyover, renovation of Parsi gate in front of Taraporewala aquarium, trees plantation, refurbishing of a public toilet in front of Air India building and development of Tambe chowk near Girgaum chowpatty for recreational activities.However, the key measures that BMC has accepted at Marine drive is increasing the height of the divider by installing spikes and decorative in the new median. Indrani Malkahni from Citizens Action Network said, “This is the best decision as it is concerned not only for beautification but safety. When a person is not concerned about his or her safety and does acrobatics by climbing the divider to cross the road, it is only the civic authorities to take preventive measures to avoid major accidents.”

Take over public garden plot: Bombay High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Observing that the “public was kept in the dark and the civic body officials were working hand in glove to deprive locals of public space meant for them,” the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take over a garden plot, which was allegedly being used by a housing society in Cuffe Parade as private property.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak asked the civic body to post their security guards and maintain the garden plot adjoining the 32-storey DSK Durgamata luxurious apartments at Cuffe Parade.The court has also asked the BMC to reduce the internal road, which was developed by the society to reach the lobby of the building, from 12 feet to six feet and convert it into a pathway for walkers while along with the city surveyor and police, it has to ensure that the park is open to public all the times and a wall is constructed between the society and the garden.The direction was given during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by activist Sanjay Kokate who had alleged that the reserved plot of land has been taken over by the society which is using it as its private garden while locals are being denied entry.The court commissioner, in its report, had submitted that the society and developer posted private security guards, thereby denying entry to the general public. To this, the bench said, “The layout of the plot as seen in the report show gross violations.”On a claim made by the society that garden access be kept open for the society to aid easy access of emergency vehicles like fire tenders, the court said, “Don’t get the fire brigade into this issue. If you do so, then we will have to verify whether the building is fire compliant.”At the last hearing, the court had rapped the society for encroaching on public land. “The plot reserved for the garden has to be used for that purpose, it cannot be used by the residents of the building to park their cars or take access to their homes. Everyone likes to have a beautiful garden in front of their house but they should be entitled to it and people cannot encroach upon public spaces.”The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on November 24.About the caseA PIL was filed by activist Sanjay Kokate who had alleged that the reserved plot of land in Cuffe Parade has been taken over by the society which has been using it as its private garden The court commissioner, in its report, had submitted that the society and developer posted private security guards, thereby denying entry to the general public.

Mumbai: BMC corporators raise objections on delay of funds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Corporators from all parties on Wednesday raised an objection on the defunct System Application Product (SAP) of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is delaying the developmental work of the city. Mangesh Satamkar Standing Committee member and Shiv Sena corporator put forth the point of order in the standing committee and demanded six more months extension for spending the yearly funds given to the corporators.BMC corporators get Rs.60 lakh as corporator fund, another one crore rupees is sanctioned as budgetary funds and if the corporators is a member of some committees like a standing committee, improvements committee, etc he gets more Rs. 25 lakh and also some money they get from Mayors fund which brings the total to Rs.2 to 3 crores received by each corporator yearly. They are supposed to utilise the sanctioned money between the financial year April to March or otherwise, the budget will lapse.Satamkar said, “This time the budget is given to corporators in July month, as the allocation of budget delayed it will eventually further delay the expenditure. Also, the tenders are not being accepted by the SAP process, therefore, all developmental work has delayed. “He further remarked, “Being a public representative voters will question us regarding what work we have done? and due to defunct SAP process, the work cannot be started. Also, as SAP is not blocking the budget money for the work to be undertaken, the yearly funds sanctioned to all corporators will lapse and there will be allegations like corporators used only 10% of their funds etc.”In addition, he alleged due to the newly introduced Goods and Service Tax (GST) problems have increased like the civic officials are still confused how much percentage GST they should apply whether 5% is applicable or 18%, they are clueless for a particular project.

BMC to involve women self help group to promote cloth bags in civic market

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Market department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon involve self help group for cloth bags for its market. The civic body has already decided to stop using of plastic bags in all civic markets.“We are in touch with a number women self help group who will directly provide cloth or paper bags in civic market,“ said an official from the BMC’ Market Department. He added that the civic body will not buy or take bags from Women Self Help group, but will ask shop owner to buy. “It is not practical for BMC to buy cloth bags and distribute in the market. The BMC will provide a platform for both self help group and shops to promote cloth bags in the market,” said the official.Initially, this will be started in four BMC market located two in Dadar and one each in Borivali and Malad. “We have asked marker associations to start composting of wet waste that is generated in these markets everyday.Earlier, the BMC had decided to auction plastic bags which were seized in the last three to four years. However, before auctioning, the civic body will shred all the plastic bags to prevent from further reuse.Thousand of kilograms plastic bags that were seized by the BMC in the last three to four years are kept at the godown of the market department. As the state government is working on a complete ban on the use of plastic bags, the BMC has decided to auction plastic bags lying in the civic godown. However, the civic body will first shred the plastic bags so that it should not come in the market for reuse. “We will auction all plastic bags only after shredding,” said a senior official from the market department.According to official, the shredded plastic bags can only be recycled. “The step will prevent from plastic bags being dumped across the city specially in the sewage system,” said the official. Plastic bags were responsible for water logging during August 29 heavy rainfall as well as in 2005 deluge. “The city generates 7,300 metric tonnes of garbage everyday and a significant part of of which contains plastic. The drains were chocked due to plastic carry bags on August 29 rainfall,” added the official. Even after 2005 deluge in Mumbai, plastic carry bags under the thickness of 50 microns and size under 8×12 inches were banned by the State Government under the Maharashtra Non-biodegradable Garbage Control (MNBGC) Act.In the last four years, the civic body has also registered over 3300 cases of the use of illegal plastic carry bags. “We have also collected fines over Rs1.6 crore from shopkeepers across the city. However, this is not deterrent for them,” added the official.

Locals plan #SavePDP event for Sunday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Children from the city will be gathering at Priyadarshini Park on Sunday morning participate in an art event with the theme of saving open spaces. While residents from Malabar Hills, Nepean Sea Road and nearby areas have been protesting to save the open space at Priyadarshini Park (PDP) for a few months, through the Children’s Day celebration, they want to highlight the issues of open spaces.”Earlier, there was encroachment of a fire engine which has now been taken away. But the temporary infrastructure made for the fire engine is still in the park. BMC still have a plan to set up a swimming pool inside. We want the park to be maintained as an open space. With the theme #savePDP, we want to highlight that with the help of children,” said Tejal Mehta, resident of Nepean Sea Road and member of #SavePDP campaign group.”The entries for the art competition can be done online and we are expecting participation of a huge number of children. Citizens forum groups are coming together to organise the event,” added Tejal.With a signature campaign that began on September 30, residents garnered thousands of signatures before presenting it to the Chief Minister.

SoBo locals allege vindictive reply by traffic cops to parking woes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Colaba residents living on Boman Behram Marg on Tuesday alleged that traffic cops had adopted a vindictive approach to complaints of traffic mismanagement and double parking in the area, as the cars of two residents were towed away from outside their homes. Residents said the cars were towed away despite the fact that they are permitted to park their cars outside their buildings in a single lane.”The traffic cop who was present when the cars were being towed away said – You guys are very fond of tweeting and putting articles in newspapers. Now, look at us doing our job,” alleged Rocky Lobo, one of the two residents whose cars were towed.DNA had earlier reported that residents of Colaba had been complaining about double parking and other traffic violations in the area which were allegedly being ignored by traffic police.”The officer said that they were towing because we were complaining and there is a No-Parking banner put up by BMC. When I told him we complain about no action on double parking, he said now see our work,” said Lobo.Residents said since their buildings do not have parking spots, they are allowed to park on the road. A BMC banner put up on a building in the lane states that only cars of local residents are allowed to be parked. However, on Tuesday, a ‘No Parking’ banner was put up by BMC.”Despite my visiting card being on the dashboard that states my address, they towed away my car” said Lobo.

Fire in Sun Mill compound, no injuries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire broke out at Lower Parel’s Sun Mill compound around 7.10pm on Tuesday. Five fire engines and five water tankers have been rushed to douse the fire. No injuries have been reported so far.According to an official from the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), the fire broke out on the third floor of a ground-plus-four storey building in the compound.The disaster control cell of BMC said the fire broke out at a closed godown and no one was reported injured. “A level-II fire was reported, which has been brought under control,” said an official from MFB. He added that the cooling process will continue for the next couple of hours. “The exact reason is not known. However, a short circuit might have caused the fire,” said the official.

Sena proposes bus fare cut, BEST admin disposes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unusual turn of events on Tuesday, a proposal to reduce BEST bus fares in the minimum slab by Re 1 was passed after discussions in the BEST committee meeting on Tuesday, only to be withdrawn after the BEST administration objected to the move.At the meeting on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena proposed a reduction in fares in the minimum slab by Re 1. Its alliance partner BJP maintained that there shouldn’t be any change in the existing fares. After a debate, the proposal was also passed at the BEST Committee. However, it was then objected by the administration and the proposal was then withdrawn by Shiv Sena members themselves who are at the helm of the BEST Committee.This is the first time that a proposal mooted by a committee member is approved and withdrawn within a matter of minutes. The BEST has proposed a hike in fares for travelling 6 km and beyond from the existing Rs 14 to Rs 15.Similarly, after every 2 km, the fare will go up by Re 1. Against this proposal, Shiv Sena member Rajesh Kusale mooted that the BEST should reduce the minimum fare slabs of 2-4 km by Re 1 so as to compete with share autos and taxis.This would ideally mean that the minimum fare would have been Rs 7 and the next slab would be Rs 9. When this proposal was mooted, it went for voting between the different Committee members belonging to various political parties. As no one from Congress were present, the five members of Shiv Sena went in to approve this, while the four members of BJP remained status quo; thus the proposal to reduce minimum fares by Re 1 got approved.This would have come as a big jolt for the loss making BEST as they have posted deficit of Rs 880 crore in 2018-19 while in the previous financial year of 2017-18 they showed deficit of Rs 590 crore. Their parent organisation — BMC — has already asked them to come out with cost reduction and revenue augmenting measures. For this, the BEST has also identified five major reforms that is expected to earn them Rs 653 crore per annum. However, this sudden approval of reduced fares would make matters worse for the Undertaking.This is when Surendra Bagde, General Manager of BEST appealed to withdraw this decision of the Committee members. “A reduction in minimum fare would not make much difference to people who have already accepted the Rs 8 as minimum fare. So I appeal to the members to withdraw this proposal as the BEST is already facing severe losses,” said Bagde at the meeting.Soon after, the chairman Anil Kokil, who is also from Shiv Sena stated that in order to save the BEST stern measures needs to be taken. What happened next was withdrawal of an approved proposal which until now has not happened at least in recent past. “I had proposed this (reduction in fare) so that it would attract more people; as it is fares for long distance was being hiked. But the Chairman and administration were apprehensive about it and so I withdrew the proposal,” said Kusale to DNA.The approved fare charts will now be sent to the BMC for final approvals after which it will be implemented.SERIES OF EVENTSAt the meeting on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena proposed a reduction in fares BJP maintained that there shouldn’t be any change. After a debate, the proposal was also passed at the BEST Committee. However, it was then objected by the administration and rejected by Sena.

26/11: 9 yrs on, no lessons learnt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the ninth anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks approaches, security measures at Badhwar Park jetty in Cuffe Parade — the entry point of Ajmal Kasab and nine other Pakistani terrorists — remains dismal. Illegal slums have cropped up near the jetty which is meant to be a parking area for boats. Time and again the local community of fishermen has raised the issue with the city collector, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Police, stating that the illegal slums pose a potential security threat. The jetty at Badhwar Park connects to the adjoining Machhimar Nagar, one of the largest colonies of fisher folk in the city.Damodar Tandel, president, Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), said, “We have complained to the city collector, BMC and also to the Mumbai police about the illegal slums connecting to the jetty but no action has been taken. Officials from the collector’s office work hand in glove with the slum mafias operating there. No security measures are in place and suspected Bangladeshi migrants have occupied the slums, who are involved in scrap dealings.Meanwhile city collector Sampada Mehta said, “I will have to examine the receipt of any such complaint.”Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of BMC’s A Ward said, “The land belongs to the collector and comes under the state government’s purview. Only if the collector asks us to carry out demolition work, we can take action in this regard. However, the BMC cannot carry out demolition work on the said land on its own although we have received complaints about the slums.”A senior Mumbai police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have installed CCTVs near the jetty to monitor suspicious activity. Policemen also conduct regular patrolling in the area. The fishermen have informed the police about the illegal slums and we have communicated the same to the collector’s office.”RECAP OF HORRORIt was a little after 8.30 pm on November 26, 2008, when Ajmal Kasab and his nine accomplices parked their inflated rubber dinghy off Bhai Bhandarkar Macchimar Colony opposite Badhwar Park at Cuffe Parade. They had set sail for the city from Pakistan, and took three days to reach the shore.

Now, get licenses on BMC’s MCGM 24X7 app

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon city residents will be able to get most of the services rendered by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on the civic body’s mobile app named MCGM 24X7. The civic body plans to bring its services under one platform and it will be called as M-Governance.The BMC has already started providing services like trade license for shops, water connection among others online. However, only a handful of these are available on the MCGM app while all of them are available on the website. “We want to introduce all BMC services to MCGM 24X7 App,” said a senior official from the IT department of BMC. Services which are currently available on the app are water bill, property tax, licenses, garden and trees and My Complaints section.A senior civic official said that the BMC renders over 120 different services which are being made available online gradually. “We will gradually add services on the app,” said the official from the IT department. He added that we are expecting that in the next one year, we will provide most of the services on the app.In a phase-wise manner, the BMC will make around 120 services online. “We have already started giving license for shops and gradually all other licenses will also be included in the online process,” said the official. Not only this, the license will also be mailed to the respective person.”We have planned to add one or two services every week and if required, in the later stage, we will add more depending on the need and feasibility,” said the official.According to the official, M-Governance will have a section in MCGM 24X7 App wherein all these services will be available. “We have to hold the process for a fortnight as the BMC data centre was migrating to a cloud-based system and the online system was down,” said the official. The Worli Data Centre of BMC has almost exhausted its capacity and addition of any new service or feature was not possible.

Mumbai: Starting 2018, forest officials to ban vehicles from SGNP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest department officials facing fire from environmentalists, nature lovers and officials from the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, are working towards banning entry into Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).The officials are now awaiting a go-ahead so that they can begin work on a parking area outside the park’s premises.The final hurdle in the path of the parking lot was cleared this month after BMC gave a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the proposal that will see a construction of a parking area to accommodate 300 cars just outside SGNP, in place of an existing garden.“Our proposal was lying with BMC for over a year now but it has been finally cleared and we have now submitted it for a final approval so that we can start the construction work by November end and complete it by early 2018. Once the parking area is ready all the vehicles will be parked outside and not allowed to enter the gate,” said Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) and Director of SGNP, Anwar Ahmed.“We are sure that by early 2018 SGNP will indeed be ‘car free’, visitors coming to SGNP can take a tour using electric buses, which will be run by MTDC that will be used inside the park. This will not only reduce pollution, but will also add to reducing congestion in the park premises,” a forest official told DNA. Sources in the Forest department said that due to the delay in getting permission for constructing the parking area where even these electric buses would be parked as well as bay would be created for charging them even the MTDC officials who had signed an MOU in 2015 to run these buses were losing patience. Meanwhile, nature lovers who have been long demanding SGNP be made free of private vehicles said that they hope that the project isn’t further delayed. “The project has been delayed by over two years now and several animals are being killed due to speeding vehicles inside the park. As per information under RTI we found out that four large mammals were killed between January to June this year and hence we want to ensure that forest department ensures that the parking lot is built as quickly as possible so that all private vehicles can be banned from entering,” said Gopal Jhaveri, a nature lover and member of morning walkers club in SGNP.

BMC may get rid of sweeping machines

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Piled up with complaints about litter lying unattended across Marine Drive, Colaba and Churchgate, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may soon end services of the contractor who is responsible for cleaning these roads, in South Mumbai, with the help of mechanised sweeping machines. Recently, the civic body officials did not find the contractor’s work up to the mark.Despite issuing repeated warnings to the contractor, the civic body continues to receive complaints from residents. Earlier this week, senior civic officials visited and found unattended litter in the area.”After the visit by civic officials, Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner held a meeting over the issue, and asked concerned officials to end the contractor’s service if the contractor does not provide quality service,” said a civic official.According to officials, the contractor does not have an adequate number of mechanised sweeping machines to clean all roads in due time. “The contractor is supposed to use four machines to clean around 200 km road every day. However, it was found that the contractor was sweeping using fewer sweeping machines and managed to clean only 110 to 120 km per day,” said the official. Each machine can clean around 50 km road per day.

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