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Kamala Mills fire continues to singe ‘illegal’ city restos

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) hammer continued for a second day in a bid to crackdown on illegal construction of restaurants across the city. A part of Smaaash, a well known destination for various games and food arena in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower, was also demolished on Sunday as part of the drive.On day two, all three additional municipal commissioners (City, Western Suburbs and Eastern Suburbs) supervised the demolition drive.Two rooftop illegal structures of Smaaash were demolished during the two hour-long drive. Devendra Kumar Jain, Assistant Commissioner of G South ward, said that the structures were illegal, and were spread across 5,000 square feet area. He added that a total of five illegal structures in Kamala Mills Compound, including a Cafeteria on the open terrace of Welspun House, were razed.Sheesha Restaurant in Raghuvanshi Mill Compound in Lower Parel under the G South ward of BMC also faced the same fate.The kitchen and shed spread were also demolished.The BMC also took action against Bar Stock Exchange in Chembur.Two after a massive fire at 1 Above and Mojo’s Bistro restaurants killed 14 and injured several others, a total of 355 hotels and restaurants came under BMC’s hammer on Sunday.During the day-long drive, the BMC also sealed 30 hotels and restaurants across the city. While some were partially shut, others were sealed completely. Some hotels which were sealed were Orange Mint, Pramila Bar in Chembur, Mumbai King in Saki Naka, Hotel Spice, and Jai Bhawani restaurant in Phoenix Mall in Kurla, among others.Of the total 30 hotels and restaurants which were sealed, 22 were in L ward (Kurla) and three each in R North and S Wards (Bhandup), while one each in M West (Chembur) and D ward of BMC. Most of the hotels sealed were found flouting fire safety norms and had illegal extensions, among others. Some hookah parlours were also sealed by the BMC.The civic administration did not spare clubs and the Gymkhana in H West ward as well. Other clubs where the action was taken included Khar Gymkhana. In all, the BMC removed illegal extensions either on rooftops or at the front of the structures. The BMC also seized 426 cylinders during the drive.

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3 more held in car theft case

The Mumbai Crime Branch sleuths on Tuesday arrested three more persons who were instrumental in altering parts of a stolen vehicle from Mumbai, which was used to ferry cache of arms by a criminal gang. The said gang had looted an arms godown in UP and had ferried the arms in the said vehicle which was intercepted by the Nashik police this month.The accused have been identified as Mehtab Khan (50), Mohamed Abdul Shaikh(49) and Shehzad Ali Shaikh (23) all residents of Sewree area.The police had on Tuesday also arrested a thief Sanjay Salukhe, 22, a resident of Chembur for allegedly stealing a Bolero jeep which was parked opposite Lashkariya Building in Andheri (w) on December 05. The case was being probed by Amboli police station, after there was a delay in registering the case.According to the police, the accused would run a garage and after stealing the vehicle the Salunkhe had taken the car to the accuse’s garage to alter the parts of the jeep after which it was used in ferrying in the arms.”After the arrest of Salunkhe, names of the three accused cropped up and we traced arrested them from Sewree area,” said a crime branch officer.

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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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Tree fall death: No FIR filed yet

The mother and three kids of Sharda Ghodeswar, 45, who died on Thursday after a tree fell upon her were inconsolable, as her body was brought home after the postmortem. Ghodeswar, who was the only bread earner of the family died instantly when a 40 feet tree fell upon the garden bench that she was sitting on.Following the incident, the Ghodeswar family and residents of Chembur have been demanding FIR against the gardens department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for their negligence. However, the police and BMC have both brushed away their responsibilities. The Chembur Resident’s Group (CRG) met officials of the Govandi police station and urged to file an FIR against BMC’s Superintendent of Gardens for criminal negligence.However, the police refused to file an FIR saying that the investigation was still on. Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Bharat Marathe said, “The death is due to natural calamity and garden’s department has promised Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the family of deceased in ten days time.”Chembur citizens have urged BMC in a written correspondence that it does not have any mechanism to check the health of the tree and the officers just leave at a cursory survey of the trees.”How can the officer know if the tree is healthy by just looking at it. In July, after the death of another Chembur resident Kanchan Nath, who died after a tree fell on her, the Gardens officer promised to inspect the trees in Chembur.This is still pending,” said Manish Gangurde from CRG.

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In Chembur, again, a falling tree kills woman

On Thursday, a 45-year-old woman lost her life after a gulmohar tree fell on her in Chembur. Sharda Sahdev Godeshwar was sitting on a bench when the incident occurred, and she was rushed to Shatabdi Hospital but was declared dead before admission. The Govandi police have registered a case of accidental death.Less than five month ago, again in Chembur, 57-year-old Kanchan Nath died after a coconut tree fell on her on 22 July. Nath, a former anchor with Doordarshan, was out for a morning walk when the mishap occurred.Godeshwar, a resident of Gautam Nagar in Chembur, was a maid and was on her way to work. “Few locals saw her sitting on a bench in the garden with her earphones on,” said police sub-inspector Anil Shelke of Govandi police station.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) denied receiving any complaints about the tree, and assistant commissioner of M West ward Harshad Kale said it was found to be in perfect condition during the last tree survey conducted before the monsoons.He blamed the fungus caused by excess underground water. “The roots of the tree did not penetrate deep as water from a nearby well had seeped in. This led to its fall,” Kale said. He added that there is provision of compensation of Rs 1 lakh for such incidents, however the Gardens Department is the final deciding authority on it.The 45-year-old was a single parent and is survived by her three children who are now being taken care of by neighbours. Sangeeta Iyer, one of her employers at Soares Road, said, “Sharda was very helpful and never left any work incomplete. She had been with us for two years.”
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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.

Gold worth Rs 3L missing from woman’s bank locker

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 57-year-old woman allegedly lost her gold ornaments worth Rs 2,65,000 kept in the bank locker of a Matunga branch. The woman in her complaint has alleged that while most of the gold ornaments were intact inside the locker but she found some of them missing. The Matunga police have registered a case of theft in this regard.According to police, Auxilia Bhaskaran, 57, a resident of Tulsi Pride in Chembur alleged that she found her bank locker of the State Bank of India open and her gold jewellery was missing. The police are checking CCTV camera footages to ascertain the statement of the complainant, and to check whether the ornaments were stolen by an employee of the bank.”The CCTV cameras are not installed inside the locker section of the bank and the victim had checked the locker last year to check her belongings,” said a Matunga police officer.N Ambika, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 4, said, “We have registered a case under section 380(theft) of the Indian Penal Code against an unknown person. The woman has also claimed that most of the gold ornaments are intact inside the locker and we are probing as to how the ornaments went missing.”

Mumbai: Despite open-defecation free tag, women from Chembur forced to go outside due to poor state of toilets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Women from M ward of BMC along with Right To Pee activists had conducted a survey of over 100 toilets in different areas of the ward in order to check the toilet facilities provided by the civic authority to the residents. According to the women, majority of the toilets lack basic facilities due to which the residents have to do open defecation at night or early morning.”Once the door of the community toilet fell on my head. While we go inside the toilet, we have to hold the door in one hand since it is not attach to the toilet,” said Usha Deshmukh, a resident of Chembur while speaking about the issues faced by the residents. Deshmukh, added, “The floorings are in poor condition too. We have been raising the voice with the local corporator as well but they say they don’t have enough funds.”Like Deshmukh few other women also shared their experience. Shabanam Shaikh, said, “We also suffer from eve-teasing a lot. Due to lack of toilets, children sit on the nullah.”Anjum Shaikh, resident of Baiganwadi, added, “We don’t have a single toilet facility in our area. Everyday the residents have to walk over 10 minutes for the nearest toilet while does not have light and water facilities and is near a dumping ground.”On October 2, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had congratulated the city and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as the city was certified open-defecation free (ODF) by the Quality Council of India (QCI), a government regulator.The women along with Right To Pee activists will be meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in two days regarding the issue on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The survey was conducted after the government started ‘Mi Labharti (beneficiary)’ ads regarding open defecation free India.The women have also made a song on the issues making an appeal to the government.

Homes only for eligible PAPs, Bombay High Court directs BMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court has restrained BMC from allotting tenements at Mahul near Chembur to any other project affected persons (PAPs) other than those eligible to be relocated for the implementation of BRIMSTOWAD project.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonaka directed the corporation to seek the court’s permission before allotting the tenements. Around 58 buildings have been constructed for housing the affected persons.The direction came during the hearing of a plea filed by Bhavna Shah who has claimed that in a decision taken by the government in 2009, the tenements are supposed to be given only to those shifted due to the project’s implementation.Last week, the state housing department issued a notification that gave the BMC full authority to survey and decide on the eligibility of slum dwellers as PAPs.The plea states that around 22,000 families are likely to be affected by the project therefore sufficient housing has to be made available at Mahul.

Mumbai: Wadala-Chembur Monorail services shut as coach catches fire

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The services of Wadala-Chembur Monorail services were shut on Thursday morning after a fire broke out inside a coach.The incident took place at the Mysore Colony Monorail station at 5.15am.Though the exact reason is not known yet, the MMRDA said that the electric fault could be a cause of the fire.“Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot at 5.30 am and immediately fire was doused off. The reason for the fire is not known yet,” said a fire official.However, the fire did not cause any injuries or loss of life as the Monorail was being taken from Wadala Monorail Depot to Chembur and it was empty.Dilip Kawathkar, Spokesperson, MMRDA, said, “Exact cause of the fire is not known but it is due to some electrical fault. Currently, the process of taking the stuck Monorail train from Mysore Colony Monorail station is ongoing. The services of Monorail will be operational by afternoon.”Ever since the first phase of the monorail was commissioned between Wadala and Chembur, it has been in the news for constant breakdowns in the rakes. The first phase of Monorail between Wadala and Chembur was made operational in 2014 and the second phase is expected to be made operational in December.

Tender floated for 39-km cycling track along pipeline

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has floated a Rs. 137.28 crore tender for the proposed 39-km long cycling track and walkway along the Tansa water pipeline – which will extend from the outer limits of Mulund to Sahar Road in Andheri East.The Rs 137.28 crore project includes not only a cycling track and walkway but also has service road in asphalt, developing landscape, construction of garden with horticulture and earthwork, electrification work and modification of existing stormwater drains. However, trees affected by the alignment of the project will have to be removed by the contractor by obtaining permissions from the Tree Authority.The project was proposed in 2016 on the space holding encroachments on the 10-metre buffer zone along the Tansa pipeline. The Bombay High Court, in 2009, had ordered the BMC to remove all encroachments along the pipeline.However, removal of encroachments is a challenge for BMC as over 16,000 structures were to be demolished. Of these, around 30 per cent were done until June 2017 with latest being the demolition at the Garib Nagar slums in Bandra East.PASSING THROUGHThe 39-km Tansa water pipeline — in two parts from Mulund to Dharavi and Ghatkopar to Sion — passes through ten administration wards including Sion, Mahim, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Chembur, Bandra East and Andheri East.

Awareness drives help animals this Diwali in city

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to veterinarians and animal rescue workers in the city, there were fewer cases of injured animals reported this Diwali. It is believed the shift is due to the anti-cracker awareness drives that have been conducted in schools and pre-schools for many years.Dr Deepa Katyal, a veterinary doctor from Chembur, said, “Last year, my clinic saw 12 injured animals and birds during Diwali. This time the number has reduced by half. I did not see a single case of cruelty this year either. I believe many children preferred celebrating a safe Diwali this year due to the awareness among them. It could be why cases of injured animals and birds have come down.”Omkar Rane of Animal Rescue Squad said, “This year, I found three cases of injured stray dogs during Diwali. Last year it was almost 13. Awareness has definitely increased among children but it needs to be spread to economically weaker sections too.”The fewer cases were noticed by the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) in Parel as well. Dr Mayur Dangar, Manager, SPCA Hospital, said, “We organised several awareness programmes for many school students. The students were educated about not bursting firecrackers below trees as that scares away birds, and on how firecrackers are harmful to animals. This year we got two burn cases of stray dogs and one stray dog came with an asthma complaint.”

Civic body asks ALMs to submit action plan by Oct 16

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking stern steps for implementing the rule of compulsory waste segregation and composting for bulk generators, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked all Advanced Locality Management (ALM) members to submit their plan before October 16.The civic body wants to know how ALMs plan to encourage and help the bulk waste generators for segregation and composting of waste. The BMC officials said that after the registration of ALMs, which fail to submit the plan after October 16, will be cancelled.The BMC has started issuing extension of three months to societies and commercial establishments which are bulk generators of waste, and have not yet started segregation and composting.However, the ALMs are not happy with the BMC’s rule. Rajkumar Sharma, an active ALM from M-East and West ward (Govandi-Chembur), who has been fighting against the overloading of Deonar dumping ground said, “The BMC should get all ALMs registered before sending a warning to cancel registration. The BMC never cared for the ALM members in all these years. Now, when they need help they are forcing ALMs to work towards civic issues. This is not an encouraging attitude.” RESISTING RULESThe BMC has issued 5,304 bulk generators notices to start segregation and composting but only four per cent of bulk generators have started composting.
The ALMs are not happy with the BMC’s rule

Ramleela, a dying art, loses its community connect

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s that time of the year when Ramleela troupes across the city retell the epic Ramayana to keen audiences through various performances. But over the years, the art of traditional storytelling and the Ramleela performances are losing its community connect. ‘Less audiences, lack of promotion and awareness is reducing the importance of this art,’ says Suresh Mishra, one of the Ramleela organisers. Several mandals which organise Ramleela rue that it is a dying art. Like earlier, not many are interested in watching the performance.Celebrating its 40th year, the Shree Maharashtra Ramleela Mandal will be performing the act for five hours on the day of Dussehra at Azad Maidan. According to Suresh Mishra, who is from the third generation of his family to organise Ramleela, “I am not sure if my next generation will take care of the mandal the way the previous three generations of my family did. For the last seven years we have been bringing in professionals — 35-member troupes — from Ayodhya to perform on all 10 days. While previously the locals like taxi drivers, students, paanwallahs would practice and perform, gradually the seniors started retiring and the younger generation did not show any interest due to which professionals from other states were arranged to perform.”The Aadarsh Ramleela Samiti, an all-male artist group travels from Mathura every year. This year they will perform at Cotton Green. Radheshyam Mishra, general secretary of Aadarsh Ramleela Samiti, said, “The uniqueness about Ramleela is the artist’s voice. We don’t use any mic while narrating dialogues. But due to the restriction of silent zone we had to shut down the performance in Dadar, Chembur and Wadala a few years ago due to which the number of audience reduced further,” added Radheshyam Mishra.

Historic Stage 1 of RK Studio gutted

The electric wiring, installation, and decoration equipment across about 4,000 sq ft area were gutted. Jayram More, assistant commissioner of police of Zone 6, said there were no casualties <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major fire that broke out at the iconic RK Studio in Chembur on Saturday engulfed the historic place’s ground floor. The studio was founded by legendary actor-director-producer Raj Kapoor.The electric wiring, installation, and decoration equipment across about 4,000 sq ft area were gutted. Jayram More, assistant commissioner of police of Zone 6, said there were no casualties. “The fire broke out in a set and spread to adjoining areas,”he said.He said the reason would be ascertained once the probe advances. It is claimed that the set that burnt down was used for recording television dance shows.The fire reportedly broke out at 2.22 pm on Set 1 and spread to Set 2. “Six fire tenders, five water tankers, ambulances were rushed to the site,” Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire officer, said. The fire was brought under control by 6.16 pm.

Include tree-cutting in Right to Service Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A BJP Corporator from Juhu, Aneesh Makwaney, has moved a notice of motion to include ‘tree cutting and trimming’ under the Right to Service Act. If the service is included, it will make it mandatory for the civic ward to either grant permission for tree cutting/trimming in a stipulated time, or give in writing that the permission is denied.Considering the fatal incident in Chembur in August, where a 54-year-old Kanchan Nath died after a coconut tree fell on her, Makwaney said, “In Nath’s case, the society had sought permission to cut the coconut tree two months ago, but it was denied by the civic ward’s tree officer. To avoid such fatal incidents and damage of property due to tree falling, if tree cutting/trimming is included under Right to Service Act, it will become mandatory for the ward’s tree officer to either grant permission to cut the tree or deny it by giving an explanation in writing within 14 days”.However, civic activist and President of Diamond Garden Residents Forum in Chembur, Rajkumar Sharma said, “The concept of including the permissions for tree cutting under Right to Service Act is appreciated. But, I feel that in the case of dangerous trees, if cutting permissions are not given in 14 days, it should be considered a ‘Yes’. This will only reduce the number of unfortunate incidences of big trees falling causing damage not only to property but also human life.””But there are high chances of misuse of the service. People who wish to cut a particular tree for their selfish purposes, can influence the tree officer to grant permission for it in spite of the tree being healthy. The concept of including tree cutting under the service act is a good concept, but there should be a stringent watch that no corruption takes place,” added Sharma.The notice of motion will be moved in BMC’s next general body meeting scheduled for September 15.

Shortage of trains derails MMRDA Phase 2 trial runs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After failing to operate the monorail efficiently, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has now expressed difficulty in carrying out trial runs for the second phase that will operate between Wadala and Jacob Circle. The agency on Saturday said a shortage of trains was the reason behind the hassle.Keeping aside the operations of the first phase, now the MMRDA is unable to run a minimum number of trains for trial runs. The MMRDA said since over a year only four out of its ten trains are functional. The trial runs are conducted by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) and the process would require at least four trains, officials said.”If we use the four trains for trial runs, the operation between Wadala and Chembur would have to be shut. Since it is not possible to close the services, we have requested Scomi Engineering, the Malaysian operator, to make two more trains available. This is to ensure that we get sufficient trains for trial runs,” said a senior MMRDA official. “Currently, we are conducting test runs for which the four trains are sufficient, but when we approach the CRS, we would need more trains for balancing operations and trial runs,” the official said.Of the 10 trains in the first phase, only four are functional. The rest are under maintenance. Scomi is yet to deliver the additional five rakes, as per contract with MMRDA. The MMRDA has put the blame on the Malaysian operator, Scomi Engineering for not making the trains available that are lying unused at the Monorail depot in Wadala.However, a detailed email sent to Scomi Engineering, in regards to the allegations by MMRDA, did not yield any response.Ever since the first phase of the monorail was commissioned between Wadala and Chembur, it has been in the news for constant breakdowns in the rakes. The first phase of Monorail between Wadala and Chembur was made operational in 2014 and the second phase is expected to be made operational in December.Meanwhile, the MMRDA floated bids to appoint a new operator for the Monorail corridor between Chembur and Jacob Circle.Off the tracksIn July 2017, Monorail halted halfway into the Chembur station due to power failure.Further, in 2016, services were disrupted thrice due to problems related to tyre bursts and tyre fall of the rolling stock. Services were also disrupted several times due doors opening or problems in electrification.In 2015, a rake was stuck midsection near Bhakti Park, Wadala.

MMRDA floats bids for new monorail operator

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing several problems in running monorail services for three years, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is now looking for a new operator. The authority on Thursday floated bids for the second time to find a new operator, who would operate and maintain the monorail for the next 10 years between Chembur and Jacob Circle.The MMRDA had floated bids in January this year but scrapped the same citing that the prospective bidders had few concerns with the tender process. “The contractors had requested us to decrease the amount of deposit that is the earnest money deposit. So in this case, we had to float new bids,” Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.According to MMRDA officials, the contract with Malaysian firm, Scomi Engineering was for three years, and now it was up to MMRDA to either stay with the same contractor or appoint a new one.The bid floated by MMRDA on Thursday, reads, “MMRDA invites bids for operation and maintenance for elevated Monorail for 10 years.”

Eateries show big heart: Eat today, pay tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Restaurant owners across the city followed one simple principle on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was: ‘Eat today, pay tomorrow’. A similar message was sent out by the hotel association to its members in the city to follow the same. Some restaurants had two types of arrangements, one included shelter, and the other was free takeaway.Niranjan Shetty, chairman of the BMC committee of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Ahar), apex body of city’s hoteliers said, “Normally, during times of distress and such calamities, we owners keep our restaurants open day and night and provide food at reasonable rates and also for free. Most hotel owners gave away free food to those customers who were stranded and couldn’t even pay.”He further added, “There are instances when owners cannot leave their hotels, so what we do is prepare food packets and give it to local politicians who, along with their volunteers, stay on the streets and distribute it the stranded people.”Many restaurants in the city had made several types of arrangements. Bineet Salian, who owns Harish Lunch Home in commercial hub Fort — where many people were stranded — claims that they used two techniques. “People who needed shelter stayed back and were accommodated, many even paid for the services. However, there were many who were on the move and couldn’t pay, we had made biryani in lots and packed them in containers. We distributed them for free to those who didn’t want to wait or where not in a position to pay.”Shetty claims that almost all hotels in Mumbai told their customers to not worry about money, and that they can eat today and pay on any other day they want.Adarsh Shetty, President of Ahar, said, “We tried sending an advisory to all our hotel owners in Mumbai, but couldn’t because of bad network. However, we spoke to many hoteliers, and asked them to do their bit, and were already distributing free food. Our focus was mostly on Fort, Chembur, and Parel area as these parts were severely affected. Our members provided free food to stranded Mumbaikars.”Do your bitAdarsh Shetty, President of Ahar, said though they couldn’t reach hotel owners with an advisory because of bad network, they told hoteliers to do their bit

Shobhaa De takes potshots at potholes, falling trees in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of death cases due to falling of trees and potholes, author Shobhaa De today took to Twitter to mock the administration in her style. “Mumbaikars are confused whether to look down for potholes or look up for falling trees,” De tweeted. The ‘journalist, columnist, social commentator, opinion-shaper and author of 18 books’, as her Twitter handle describes her, was referring to recent deaths involving a falling tree and potholes. Last week, former Doordarshan anchor and yoga instructor Kanchan Nath, while returning home from work in Chembur, became the third casualty of a tree collapse incident this year in the city. Kanchan, 58, died on Saturday, two days after a coconut tree snapped from its trunk and fell on her as she walked down the road. On Sunday, 34-year-old Jagruti Hogale was killed after she hit a pothole on a national highway near Mumbai and was crushed by a truck. Hogale, the mother of an eight-year-old boy, was a member of the women-only bikers’ club, “The Bikerni”. A day later, a senior Maharashtra minister had denied that she died due to potholes. “Potholes were not the reason for the death of the woman motorcycle-rider who died on Jawhar-Dahanu road in Palghar district near Mumbai,” Maharashtra Public Works Minister Chandrakant Patil had said. This is not the first time that De has taken to Twitter to express her views against the administration. In 2015, the Shiv Sena moved a breach of privilege motion in the Maharashtra Assembly against her for allegedly insulting the Legislative Assembly, Marathi language and people. De had criticised on Twitter the decision of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government to make it compulsory to screen Marathi films in multiplexes at prime time.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

4 booked for ‘duping’ people on pretext of giving MHADA houses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four persons have been booked for allegedly duping some people of over Rs two crore by giving “fake” allotment letters to them for MHADA houses in suburban Mankhurd, police said today. “On the direction of a local court, a case under sections 420 (cheating), 425 (dishonest or fraudulent removal or concealment of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code was registered on July 17 at the Mankhurd police station,” a senior police official said. “A complaint in this regard was registered by Balram Shirsathe (62), resident of suburban Chembur,” he said. “As per the complaint, the accused Sachin Siddhu, his wife Kiran, father Ranjeet and one Bansilal Gupta duped Shirsathe and four others of Rs 2.10 crore by promising them to give houses constructed by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA)”, the official said. “The complainant also claimed that the accused even gave them fake allotment letters”, he said, adding no arrests have been made so far and a probe was on.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Two monorail trains come face-to-face on same track in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hundreds of monorail commuters recently had a near miss in Mumbai when two trains came face-to-face on the same track at Chembur. On Saturday evening, the two trains, moving in opposite directions, came close to a collision after one of them stopped functioning due to a power failure. No casualties or injuries reported yet. The officials immediately came into action by sending another train from Wadala depot to rescue passengers. Since, monorail trains have no partitions, all passengers had to deboard at the platform from the rear gate. Passengers and the engine drivers were helped out of the train onto the platform of Chembur station. The maintenance work is underway and will be completed in another three hours. From tomorrow the monorail trains will run as per their schedules. Mumbai?s monorail has faced several disruptions due to technical failures in the past.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Passengers evacuated as power failure brings Monorail to halt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Power failure on Monorail track in the city led to emergency evacuation of coaches at Chembur station at around 9.30 pm today. According to an official of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), due to temporary power outage a train pulling into Chembur station had to be evacuated. Another rake was sent to tow it away, he said. The operations are expected to resume by tomorrow morning, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

1 in every 3 students in civic schools malnourished: Praja Foundation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what reflects a sorry state of provision of nutrition and health among children in the city, a report by civil society NGO Praja has found that one in every three students of municipal schools is malnourished. The children undergo annual medical screening and Praja obtained the data by filing RTIs.“This report reflects the state of nutrition among the poorest in the city. The government is spending money but is the programme effective?” questioned Nitai Mehta, founder trustee, Praja Foundation.Close to 3.83 lakh students study in city’s municipal schools of which 1.8 lakh were screened in 2015-16. Of these, 34 per cent children were found to be malnourished, according to the report. The M/E (Govandi) ward performed the worst with the most number of malnourished students followed by H/E (Santacruz) and M/W (Chembur) among the city’s 24 wards. “This does not come as a surprise as Govandi and Mankhurd have the worst socio-economic indicators,” said Milind Mhaske, project director at Praja. What does come as a surprise is that, even wards like A (Colaba), D (Malabar Hill, Grant Road) and K/E (Andheri east), have a significant number of malnourished children.”2015-16 REPORT3,83,485Total number of students1,89,809Total number of students screened64,681Malnourished students73%of students are malnourished from class 1 to 5 in municipal schools27%students are malnourished from class 6 to 9 in municipal schools

Mahul Road dug up for sewage work since 4 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While civic officials maintain that roads dug up in the city for pre-monsoon repairs will be motorable by May 31, these assurances ring hollow, going by the current status of repairs. Even if the work is completed before monsoon, shoddy work is likely to be delivered to meet the deadline.One such example of pre-monsoon road repair works that are far from completion is at RC Marg in Chembur, popularly known as Ghatkopar-Mahul road. This road beneath the Chembur-Wadala monorail is narrow compared to the heavy traffic flow the road sees due to the connectivity it offers. RC Marg is the only way for the commuters from Mahul to travel towards the eastern suburbs, while vehicles from Eastern Freeway exiting at Chembur’s Shivaji Chowk, and heading to Amar Mahal and Santacruz-Chembur link road lands here. However, the stretch in front of Navjivan Society is dug up from the past few months for micro-tunneling due to which the stretch from the society up till the Dr CD Road (Chembur camp) has traffic choked.The two-lane road has barricades, which occupy the footpath and the first lane. As the lane towards Ghatkopar has pillars of monorail, the motorists are left with just two lanes to use, with pedestrians walking on the road as well.Rajkumar Sharma, a Civic Activist said, “It has been more than four years that the micro-tunneling work has been underway. Due to the monorail, the road has become very narrow, plus this work has been causing inconvenience for the commuters. Neither do they have a footpath to walk on nor are there spacious road to drive. I have been raising this issues in the civic meetings, but the officials do not give any concrete answers.”The micro-tunneling work does not have any issues related to funds, then what is delaying the work, that too, for years?” Sharma said.However, M-West ward officer, Harshed Kale said, “While tunneling, we came across a rock underground due which we had to remodel. This caused the delay. The team is working extensively and the road will be motorable before monsoon.”The area is also prone to waterlogging causing more inconvenience to the commuters.”The road is dug up deep like a well and they are laying big pipes. Looking at the current status of work, it is practically impossible to complete the work before monsoon”, said Santosh Rajan, a resident of Chembur.& Analysis:The civic body is liable to make city roads motorable before monsoon. However, at present, hundreds of roads in Mumbai are dug up. Although, completion of some road works may be possible before monsoon, what about the roads which are extensively dug up?

Pre-monsoon showers in Mumbai suburbs hit train services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parts of Mumbai today received pre-monsoon showers in the evening, which brought a relief from the scorching heat, but affected the suburban train services, causing inconvenience to the commuters. The pre-monsoon showers lashed some suburbs of the metropolis and also parts of Thane and Navi Mumbai. An official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that light rains and drizzles were also reported in some districts like Sangli, Osmanabad and Kolhapur. “In the month of May, such pre-monsoon thunder showers are quite usual,” the official said. “Suburban Chembur witnessed mild rainfall, though it did not hit the road traffic,” an official from disaster management department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. However, the central and harbour lines of the Central Railway were affected by the unseasonal rains during the peak evening hours. “Suburban trains stopped at Chembur on the harbour line and at Ghatkopar on the main corridor of Central Railway after technical snag in overhead equipment were reported in the evening. Our team of engineers swung into action and rectified it soon,” CR’s senior spokesperson A K Jain said. “The services resumed on the harbour (up) line at 8.09 pm and at 8.14 at (down) line. Main line services between Matunga and Kurla were restored at 8.21 pm, while services near Ghatkopar were restored at 8.32 pm,” he said. Describing his experience, a commuter of central line said, “I took the 7.33 pm Kalyan local from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). When the local reached Ghatkopar, it was raining and suddenly I heard few explosions in the train’s overhead equipment and it stopped moving.” He, however, acknowledged that announcement system were in place and was rectified within time. In its forecast for tomorrow, the IMD has said rains and thundershowers are very likely in parts of Maharashtra tomorrow afternoon or in the evening.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"Kalam Library" inaugurated at two places in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao today inaugurated “Kalam Library” at two places, where reading materials will be available mainly for the underprivileged children and youths residing in slums. Kalam Library was inaugurated at Chembur in the suburbs and Colaba in South Mumbai on the occasion of Maharashtra Day, according to a senior associate of the Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Centre, an NGO which is managing these facilities. The NGO works to spread the mission and vision of the former President. “These two libraries have been set up with the association of Wockhardt Foundation and I Love Mumbai (both NGOs) in Colaba and Chembur for the underprivileged children and youth living in slums,” said a senior programme manager of the Abdul Kalam Centre. Besides Governor, Shaina NC from I Love Mumbai and Samina Khorakiwala from Wockhardt Foundation, among others, were present on the occasion. The governor also launched the Dreamathon Campaign in the city by welcoming the ‘Missile of Dreams’ van to Maharashtra. Highlighting the objective of the campaign, the senior programmer said the `Missile of Dreams’ will travel all over India, taking entries from one million youth on what is their dream for a better India and how do they see themselves fulfilling it. Srijan Pal Singh, CEO of the Abdul Kalam Centre said, “I am very happy to see our Dreamathon Campaign touching so many lives across the country. Through both these initiatives (the library and the campaign), we wish to provide opportunities to young Mumbaikars to make global connections, build bridges between communities through the world of books along with value-based recreational and educational activities.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shocking: Pictures of monkey tied to moving car in Mumbai sparks outrage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday evening, pictures of a monkey tied with a rope, struggling on the bonnet of a tourist car plying in Mumbai sparked outrage.Narrating the incident, 23-year-old Unnati Sinha who posted the pictures on social media, told DNA, “At 8 pm, I was near the Western Express Highway junction signal near Chembur, when a white car with a ‘T’ symbol on it stopped beside mine. I was stunned to see that a monkey was tied with a rope and was on the bonnet of the car. The monkey looked very scared, it could barely sit, as the minute the car moved a little, it would le balance. I tried talking to the three men in the car, telling them to take the monkey inside, but they just laughed at me. I couldn’t follow the car, but took down the car number and clicked pictures of them.Unnati later contacted Pawan Sharma, founder and president of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), an NGO that works for the welfare of animals. “Our Chembur team of volunteers tried to search the area, but couldn’t find the car or any trace of it,” Pawan said.“About 15 days ago, my friend Alban Amikat was traveling to Mulund via Eastern Express Highway, and spotted the same car but couldn’t get a photo of the people inside at that time.” Speaking about it, Alban added, “I saw this car at IIT Powai. When I pulled my car beside it, I saw that the monkey was tied to the bonnet. I tried following it, but couldn’t, so I just took a photo of the number plate and sent it to Pawan.”Speaking about what any further action they planned to take, Pawan said, “We will be approaching the police, RTO and the forest department on Tuesday and ensure that action is taken against them.”

Mumbai’s Tamils march again, now with bulls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Making sure that their protests are taken note of, Mumbai’s Tamil population walked along with a few bulls from Matunga to Chembur on Saturday morning. College students, BJP workers and Sion Koliwada MLA Tamil Selvan, gathered near the Eastern Express Highway during peak hours to show their support for Jallikattu by voicing anti-PETA slogans.MLA Tamil Selvan, who was part of the human chain, said, “PETA must be banned and thrown out because they don’t have any idea about the Jallikatttu culture. We will be protesting until the ordinance of performing Jallikattu is not passed.” According to few of the local NGO’s they have also mailed a letter to PETA expressing their opinion on Jallikattu.While the youngsters have not witnessed Jallikattu, they believe that their traditional culture must be followed. Rathi Paul, 24, a resident of Dharavi, said, “Every village has their own traditional way of celebrating Jallikattu. I have never seen Jallikattu but heard about it from my parents and grandparents. We are not harming the bulls but this is one of the ways to assess the strength of the bull. We love and take care of all our animals. Why will we want to hurt them?”Jallikattu is a cultural event which is conducted during the four days of Pongal celebration. The bull taming activity also helps in determining which bull is the strongest and can be used for further breeding.”During Jallikattu, people try to get hold of the hump of the bull and if no one manages, then the bull is considered to be the strongest. The bull is considered as our family member. It is a way to celebrate our festival, not some form of cruelty. During this activity, people may get hurt but not the bull. We are against PETA because they are misleading the activity and speaking against the culture,” said Chembur resident SA Anthony, 40, who has witnessed Jallikattu in his native.Earlier this week, few youngsters from Dharavi kick-started the protest to support Jallikattu by spreading awareness about the issue. The support soon caught attention of youngsters on social media and many Tamils from Dharavi, Matunga and Chembur area joined the cause.

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