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AC local: WR may install barricades to separate ladies coach

The air-conditioned (AC) local train inaugurated by the Western Railway (WR) will soon have barricades between general coaches and coaches reserved for ladies. The WR has planned to introduce this on the lines of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor.As the coaches of the AC local train are interconnected, the WR said that it may install barricades to help commuters in identifying coaches reserved for ladies. Currently, coaches for ladies and seats earmarked for senior citizens and divyangs are different from the arrangement in the non-AC local trains. The first and 12th coaches at the Churchgate end are earmarked as ladies coaches and seven seats in the second and 11th coach at the Churchgate end are earmarked for senior citizens, and fourth and seventh coach from Churchgate end for divyangs.A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway, said, “We are constantly getting feedback for the recently launched AC local train, and a decision will be taken on a particular that has maximum feedback. One of it is that we may install Metro train like barricades for ladies coaches.”The WR has also said that they are are planning to have sun blinders on the windows of the AC local. DNA had reported on Thursday that the railway officials spoke to commuters travelling inside the AC local who shared that the sunlight filtering in was an issue as it warmed up the atmosphere inside the train.The AC train is currently being operated on a trial period between Churchgate and Borivli.

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Western Railway to deploy 232 MSSC staff for women’s safety

In the backdrop of the Elphinstone stampede killing 23 commuters and injuring to nearly 40, the Western Railways (WR) on Thursday said that it will deploy 232 Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) personnel and 97 female home guards for strengthening security and managing crowds of suburban commuters especially women commuters.This will be in addition to the existing manpower of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway (WR), said, “Security in trains and on platforms has always been the requirement. We hope that deployment of the additional security staff will help the RPF to monitor security more efficiently.”Gupta added, “Prior to this, we installed CCTV cameras. We also have a dedicated application and a 24-hour helpline for the safety of commuters, especially women commuters. With the additional security arrangements, we are going to increase our security by nearly 33 per cent.The additional security force was given a two-day induction by the RPF before their deployment. The additional security force will also control and monitor crowds during morning and evening peak hours, apart from guarding isolated spots on the western line.The WR said that it has identified around 37 vulnerable stations. The stations where additional security force will be deployed include Churchgate, Grant Road, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Santacruz, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, Borivali, Bhayandar, Nalasopara and Virar.SAFE COMMUTE PLANThe additional security force was given a two-day induction by the RPF before their deployment. The WR has identified 37 vulnerable stations. Some of them incude Churchgate, Grant Road, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
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Mumbai: Indian Railways flags off first AC local train, curious commuters throng station to get a glimpse

The first maiden run of AC local was witnessed by a huge crowd of curious commuters who had come to witness history being written in front of them. People hooted and whistled as the AC local arrived from Mahalaxmi car shed on to platform 8-9 of Borivali station on Monday.Many people were seen clicking pictures. There was a small function that was organised by the Western Railway at the station premises. People were seen buying tickets from the booking clerk for this AC rake. The train left sharp at 10.30 am from platform 8/9 of Borivali station in its maiden run for Churchgate. The train operated on the fast corridor between Borivali and Churchgate. The train which was packed with media personnel’s, commuters and Western railway officials and reached its destination at 11.15 am. Also readThis is how much travelling from Mumbai’s first AC local train will cost you monthlyDNA travelled in the AC locals maiden journey and spoke to commuters who were thrilled to travel on the first journey. P Jain resident of Borivali was excited to be on board the AC train. “The AC local train will be a boon for passengers. The fares are priced properly if you see private cab aggregators hefty fares. AC local train will be a good alternative”.Also readSpoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local in MumbaiGuardian minister Vinod Tawde also took the ride till Churchgate. It reached Churchgate at 11.15am after which it left for Borivali again as 11.21 am fast local.

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Mumbai’s first AC local train to begin operations tomorrow

The first Air Conditioned local train will depart on its historical introductory run on Monday from Borivali station at 10.30 am for the Churchgate station. After the introduction, the AC local train will be operated on an experimental basis between Churchgate and Borivali stations till December 29 wherein only 6 services shall ply per day.After reaching Churchgate, the train will depart for Borivali again within 5 minutes of its arrival. This train will follow a schedule of 6 services – 3 services each towards Churchgate and Borivali – until December 29.The train service will have halts at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri. It will then be monitored during the weekend. From January 1, it will have 12 services each day. Those having existing first class tickets and season passes wouldn’t be allowed to travel in AC rake but those with AC ticket/passes can travel in regular first class.People have been given option of buying daily tickets — for instance a journey between Churchgate to Borivali will cost Rs 165 which is Rs 15 more than the daily ticket price of regular first class.It will cost more to travel shorter distances. For instance, a Churchgate-Dadar/Bandra would cost Rs 85 (Rs 30 more than the regular first class). There is also an option of buying weekly, fortnightly and monthly passes.The Churchgate-Borivali weekly pass will cost Rs 855 as compared to Rs 755 for monthly pass for a regular first class on the same route. The fortnightly pass will cost Rs 1245 and monthly will be Rs 1640 for the same route of this AC rake. For those on Churchgate-Andheri route, AC passes will cost Rs 655, Rs 945, Rs 1240 for weekly, fortnightly and monthly respectively. In comparison, it costs Rs 670 for monthly first class pass on same route. The Churchgate-Dadar/Bandra would cost the same at Rs 445, Rs 630 and Rs 820 for weekly, fortnightly and monthly respectively.The coaches reserved for Ladies and Seats earmarked for Senior Citizens/Divyangs are different from Standard Configuration. 1st and 12th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked as Ladies coaches and 7 seats in 2nd and 11th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked for Senior citizens while 10 seats in 4th and 7th coach from Churchgate end are earmarked for Divyangs.

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Western Railway set to run city’s first air-conditioned train

In all likelihood, the Western Railways (WR) will run the much-awaited air-conditioned (AC) local train from December 25, as promised by Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal. On December 19, the WR received permission from the Railway Board to run the 12-car AC local between Churchgate and Dahanu Road.”The dates have not come from the Railway Board, but we are ready to run on any day,” said AK Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway.The Railway Board, in a letter submitted to the WR, have set out a few directives that need to be followed while operating the AC local trains, which are expected to run at maximum speed of 100kmph. Sources said that as the coaches are different from a regular Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) or local trains, the Board has asked the WR to ensure that height of platforms from rail level should not exceed 900mm, Provide CCTVs in every coach of the AC train within a year, install fire alarms, smoke detection system and at least two fire extinguishers in each coach”Technicians have been asked to educate the commuters, apart from standing inside the coaches; to open the doors at the time of emergency,” said a WR official.

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Visually-impaired girl tops Masters in Arts History course

In a commendable feat, 23-year-old Payal Bhattad, a visually impaired student at the University of Mumbai topped Masters in Arts (MA) in history this year.Bhattad, who hails from Deoli, a small village in Vidarbha has scored an overall 78% in her final MA exams, topping the batch of over 90 students at the university. Sources said she might be the first student from any university department to achieve this feat.”I was confident of getting a very good score in the exams and always hoped to top. This is like a dream come true” said an elated Payal. She is now pursuing a BEd at the Xaviers Institute of Education in Churchgate and wants to take up teaching.Payal, who has been visually impaired from birth did her early schooling from Amravati and later landed in Mumbai after passing her class X. She completed her BA in History from Wilson College and topped the college at the final exams with 84%. She later went on to do her MA in History at the University of Mumbai. A national swimmer, a good writer and a poet, she has been an all-rounder with several accolades in her credit.Despite being a bright student throughout topping the exams did not come easy. “I am not someone who can study with the help of audio notes. For me, the whole learning process would involve several stages- downloading PDF copies of reference books, reading them with a screen reader, type it in my computer and then putting it in braille for reference. After all this, I would prepare my own answers,”added Payal.Manjiri Kamat, head, Department of History said that it was indeed a proud moment for to see Payal excelling at the subject with her sheer dedication. “Payal has been an extremely sincere and confident student from the first day.She has never let her impairment come in the way of her learning and has never expected any concessions from anyone. For a student who is visually impaired, excelling in this manner is a very commendable feat” added Kamat.

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Indian Railways ups crowd management game as Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s followers flock to city

Two months after Elphinstone Road stampede; the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar and cyclone Ockhi is testing the lessons learnt by the Indian Railways post the tragedy. Though the dangers of cyclone Ockhi causing any damage to city’s infrastructure or lives seem to have ceased, handling lakhs of followers of Dr Ambedkar is surely a huge task at hand for the Indian Railways.Wednesday is the 61st death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar — social reformist, economist and jurist — for which lakhs of people come to Shivaji Park to pay homage. These people are coming in large numbers from various parts of the state and neighbouring states too for whom, long distance and suburban local trains are the best mode of transportation.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rain spoils Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar followers visit”Ever since the stampede occurred, we have also decided to include crowd management to be vital for commuter’s safety. This is the reason foot overbridges have now become a matter of safety than a passenger amenity and so more FOBs have been planned,” said a senior railway official.Since the past two days, the presence of RPF staff at prominent stations like Dadar, Malad, Borivali, Kurla LTT, Churchgate, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus has increased. The Maharashtra Security Force too is helping with 250 personnel coming in for assisting the railway police.Also readPrime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to BR AmbedkarThe followers are seen sitting, sleeping or staying back on station premises along with their luggage. They are also blocking the pathway to staircases of FOBs. So continuous announcements are being made urging people not to wait at the station premises and move towards Shivaji Park. The BEST Undertaking is running shuttle services from various stations to Shivaji Park as well. Posters and banners indicating directions to the followers are also seen. The ticket checkers are barely seen while trains are halting for more time at selective stations to assist people. No doubt, a lot has improved in terms of managing over crowded stations since the tragedy at Elphinstone Road struck. But sadly it took 23 people to lose their lives for the railways to take crowd management seriously.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Raj Thackeray-led MNS to fight illegal hawkers around stations through Whatsapp

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Raj Thackeray-led MNS has a new weapon in its fight against illegal hawking around Railway stations, religious places, hospitals and educational institutions.MNS functionaries across Mumbai have created helplines and WhatsApp groups for citizens to complain about such illegal vendors. These complaints are then forwarded to the police and BMC for action. In case these agencies drag their feet, activists of the party take “appropriate action.”Yashwant Killedar, who heads the MNS unit in the Mahim assembly segment, said they had created a WhatsApp helpline for citizens to complain against illegal hawking in these no-go areas in the constituency. “If people see any hawking here, they can click photosand send them to the helpline. We get many complaints at the rate of around 15 to 20 per day… The purpose is to create awareness in the people,” added Killedar.The Mahim assembly seat covers Railway stations like Dadar, Mahim and Matunga.Akhil Chitre, MNS leader from Santacruz, said the party unit had started “Feriwale Hatao” (Drive hawkers away) WhatsApp groups which consisted of both, MNS office bearers and local residents who were not affiliated to any political party.”This covers an area of 150 meters around Railway stations, hospitals, and educational institutions and foot over bridges in Bandra, Santacruz and Khar,” added Chitre, stating that citizens could send photos of any illegal vending in these areas instead of taking “individual action.”The photos are then sent to the police and BMC for action. In case these agencies drag their feet, MNS leaders said their activists visited the spots to chase the encroachers away. “Each WhatsApp group sees around five to six complaints daily, mostly in the morning or evening,” said Chitre.The Bombay High Court had said hawking would be permitted only in 221 designated hawking zones and disallowed near schools, hospitals, religious places, railway stations and on foot overbridges (FOBs).After the stampede at the Elphinstone Road Railway station on September 29 which killed 23 people, Raj, who had organised a morcha on the Western Railway headquarters at Churchgate from the Metro Cinema had given the Railways a 15-day deadline to remove hawkers at stations, foot over bridges and premises. This would make stationssafer and easier to access for commuters.

First edition of Open Art Gallery starts at Kala Ghoda, Aditya Thackeray to visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray will visit the Talent Street for Artists at the first edition of Open Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda on Sunday evening along with some renowned artists.The open art gallery at Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai which was closed a month after it was started last year, reopened today at 9 am. However, this time, the art gallery has a number attractions that will keep visitors busy.“There are a total 21 stalls where visitors will get something new,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of A ward (CST, Colaba and Churchgate).He added that cartoons of Vikas Sabnis will be another attraction at the open art gallery.From this Sunday, the open art gallery will be open from 9 am to 7 pm every Sunday. “Every week, visitors will get something new and different,” said Dighavkar. Pottery painting from Dharavi will also be part of the first Sunday.The BMC had started the art gallery in October last year. However, it was closed due to poor response. This time, the civic body has come up with fresh ideas and promotion techniques in collaboration with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).AL Jadhav, Additional Municipal Commissioner of City said that this platform will be available for budding as well as struggling artists who don’t get the opportunity to showcase their talent.

Tunneling work for Metro-3 to begin soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tunneling work for the construction of the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-3 underground corridor will soon begin in south Mumbai from Cuffe Parade, passing through Colaba, Azad Maidan, Churchgate, Grant Road up to the Science Museum in Worli. The tunneling work first began last week between Mahim and Dadar.The work is being launched from shafts at three locations — Colaba Woods in Cuffe Parade, another one at Azad Maidan in CST and one at Mumbai Central. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) said that a total of 17 tunnel boring machines (TBM) will be used for the entire underground corridor’s construction. Of these, four have arrived in India and the remaining are expected to reach the country by February 2018.”Tunneling work between Mahim and Dadar has already started. At Azad Maidan, lowering of the TBM has begun and once they are lowered in their respective shafts, the tunneling work will begin in south Mumbai,” said an official from MMRC.

E-buses hit the road in SoBo on 3 routes, fourth to begin soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking failed to roll out its four electric buses on Sunday, which were inaugurated amid much fanfare on November 10, three of the buses hit the road on Monday while the last of them is yet under maintenance.The electric buses, purchased at Rs 1.65 crore each, plied on three routes on Monday — Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to World Trade Centre, Churchgate to NCPA, and CSMT to Backbay Depot — however their frequency was low as the officials are rolling out the services in a gradual manner.”Our engineering staff is currently being trained on using the fourth bus which too will be on the road soon,” said Hanumant Gophane, spokesperson, BEST Undertaking. The remaining two electric buses will join the fleet before December-end.These environment-friendly electric buses are fitted with lithium ion batteries of 160 Kwh that reach full charge within four hours, and are said to be more economical as fuel cost for them is Rs 8/km as opposed to Rs 15/km for a CNG bus and Rs 20/km for a diesel bus. This is the first time that the BEST buses will be gear less and will run on auto-transmission.Rs 10 crore for the six electric buses is being funded by the BMC. The BEST Undertaking is hoping to receive another Rs 20 crore from the Centre for the purchase of more electric buses. The floor height of these buses is 650 mm keeping the needs of differently-abled commuters in mind. The buses will also have six mobile charging points.ECO-FRIENDLYEach of the buses can run for 200 kms on a single charge.
The Backbay Depot has six charging points.
Each bus costs Rs 1.65 crore, as opposed to the regular single-decker bus which costs Rs 60-65 lakh.

E-buses to roll out on Nov 11

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

MNS chief meets Fadnavis over illegal hawking issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid his party’s confrontation with the Congress over illegal hawking in the city, MNS chief Raj Thackeray met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday.The meeting comes after the Congress and MNS workers clashed over a morcha organised by the former at Dadar in support of hawkers on Wednesday.After the one-and-half-hour-long meeting, MNS leaders said Raj, who was accompanied by son Amit and party functionaries Bala Nandgaonkar, Shirish Sawant and Abhijit Panse, had not discussed the hawking issue. However, an MNS leader said the two had met one-on-one after the meeting.Nandgaonkar said they had raised the issue of redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings which had been constructed on the collector’s land in Kalyan and Dombivli, and the need for Maharashtra to have its own “start-up” policy which will create a favourable investment climate for young entrepreneurs.An MNS leader pointed to how the Bombay High Court had said hawking would be permitted only in 221 designated hawking zones but not near schools, hospitals, religious places, railway stations and on foot overbridges (FOBs).”For us, the issue of illegal hawking has ended. We have taken the agitation to a logical end. Lakhs of railway commuters will get relief,” he added.Activists of the MNS, which is known for its anti-migrant stance, had attacked and chased away hawkers from outside suburban railway stations after the Railway administration did not heed their party chief’s “ultimatum” to evict these encroachers.After the stampede at the Elphinstone Road Railway station on September 29 which killed 23 people, Raj, who had organised a morcha on the Western Railway headquarters at Churchgate from the Metro Cinema had given the Railways a 15-day deadline to remove hawkers at stations, foot over bridges and premises. This would make stations safer and easier to access for commuters.TAKING A STANDMNS activists had attacked and chased away hawkers from outside railway stations after the Railways did not heed their party chief’s “ultimatum” to evict these encroachers. After the stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station, The MNS had given the Railways a 15-day deadline to remove hawkers at stations, FOBs and rail premises.

BMC fails to identify Hsg societies without waste pits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Housing societies who have been issued Intimation of Disapproval (IoD) and Commencement Certificates (CC) since 2007 were mandatorily meant to have a dedicated waste treatment facility on their premises.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had warned of strict penal action against such societies if they fail to start composting soon, but have so far not identified a single housing society that came up after 2007 in three wards in south Mumbai.As per figures available with the solid waste management (SWM) department of BMC, they have identified a total of 2,389 housing societies that have come up after 2007, and areas where setting up a vermicomposting facility is a must.“Housing societies and bulk generators, who have been issued IoDs and CCs since 2007, are supposed to have a dedicated waste treatment facility,” said an official from SWM.In ward A (CST, Churchgate, Colaba), B (Sandhrust Road, Dongri, Mohhamad Ali Road) and C (Grant, Chandanwadi, Marine Drive Vasudeo Balvant Phadke Chowk), the BMC could not identify a single building which has come up after 2007.“We are still in the process of identifying buildings which have come up after 2007. When we do, we will ask them to process waste within their premises. If they fail to do so, an FIR will be lodged against these housing societies,” the official said.Earlier in October, the BMC had also sent out a circular to Assistant Commissioners of all wards to prepare a list of willful violators for further action. The BMC had initially set a deadline of October 2 for mandatory waste segregation and composting by housing societies.With apprehensions voiced by housing societies on meeting the deadline due to lack of space for composting, the civic body extended it to three months, provided societies submit a detailed plan to the corporation.THE ACTStates that if, during an inspection by ward officials, the pit is not found, and the place is being used for other purposes such as parking, action can be initiated against the society or commercial units under the MRTP Act, and face legal action, including prison term of up to three years and fine ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000.

Mumbai to get its first local AC train by New Year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The wait for air-conditioned train will finally end for passengers of Mumbai’s suburban railway service, with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today saying that the first such train will be introduced on January one.The local train network, considered Mumbai’s lifeline, is heavily congested and carries over 65 lakh passengers very day, with the Western Line alone accounting for 35 lakh passengers. Officials said the plan to introduce AC trains has been on the anvil for over a year.For starters, one AC train with around seven services daily will run on the Western Line.”The AC trains have been tried and tested and will be introduced on January 1,” Goyal told reporters here.Officials said that the fares on the AC train will be like the Delhi Metro or around 1.5 times the cost of first class tickets in the existing local trains.The railways has procured nine more electrical multiple unit (EMU) AC rakes for Mumbai so that such services can be operated both on the Western railway (WR) and Central railway (CR) lines, officials said.The first such train was scheduled to run this month but there were some operational issues which delayed it. However, senior officials of the railway board said that the issues have been sorted out.”This will be the first commercial run. It is just the beginning and eventually the idea is to keep adding to the number of such trains,” Member Traffic Md Jamshed told PTI.The Western line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway consists of 37 stations from Dahanu Road to Churchgate railway station.It is operated by Western Railways (WR) and runs the most services each day 1,201.Goyal also mooted passenger augmentation on the suburban line by beginning elevated train services in the city area.”I have already requested teams in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to do a preliminary assessment of its technical feasibility then we can get down to preparing its financial feasibility.”Similarly, in Mumbai there were two elevated tracks already planned in Western and Central lines but we are having a re-look at that because some of the costs were extremely high,” he said.They were trying to use only the traditional rail “in an elevated fashion so that cost becomes reasonable” and it can implemented in a fast-track mode, said Goyal.The minister also said that he has already approved 370 escalators for Mumbai, and CCTVs are to be installed in all the trains and stations in Mumbai for better security.

Civic body orders removal of hawkers outside rly stations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To tighten the ongoing drive to evict hawkers outside railway stations, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has doubled the fine against the illegal hawkers. For the last four days, the roads immediately outside many railway stations in Mumbai have become spacious as BMC has removed all illegal hawkers. However, considering that the hawkers pay fines and put up their stalls the next day, BMC has not only increased their mobile vans but doubled the fines to discourage the hawkers.Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta gave his nod for the proposal a couple days ago but the decision was communicated to railway officials in a joint meeting of BMC and railway officials on Monday on the course of action on removal of all hawkers up to a 150-metre area outside railway stations under BMC jurisdiction.An officer from BMC licence department said, “The fine has been doubled to discourage hawkers to put up their stalls again. For instance, if previously the removal charges was Rs 240, now it’s Rs 480; and if penalty was Rs 1000, it will now be R s2000. The fine increases according to the type of stalls like eatables, garments and others.”In the joint meeting, the BMC chief also announced that all the Assistant Municipal Commissioners (known as ward officers) of all 24 civic wards will be nodal officers in removal of hawkers outside railway stations. The railway stations from Churchgate to Dahisar on Western Railway, CST to Mulund on Central Railway and CST to Mankhurd on Harbour line fall under BMC jurisdiction.Ajoy Mehta confirmed the decisions announced on Monday and said, “It will be applied for roads outside railway stations only in BMC areas.”

Need more police stns, chowkies: Government Railway Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Government Railway Police (GRP) during the audit of railway stations on the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) has pointed out to the Railways the need for more police stations and chowkies. The GRP will suggest the location of the infrastructure to the railways.The WR has seven police stations to monitor 37 railway stations from Churchgate to Bordi while CR has 10 police stations to monitor 85 railway stations including the Harbour and Trans-Harbour lines.Apart from the infrastructure for better policing, the GRP has mentioned important points for putting up fences and developing boundary walls along the tracks. Officers in the survey team have also noted points at which the Railways should provide better illumination lights for monitoring situations at railway platforms.”Due to lack of chowkies and police stations, it becomes difficult to control any situation immediately. The need for better infrastructure in terms of increasing the number of police stations and chowkies will enable our policemen to enhance the response time and control any untoward incident,” said a senior GRP officer.”During the inspection of railway platforms, we also found that the lights of a few railway platforms were dim and CCTV cameras were unable to provide proper footage of the railway platforms. Few spots were in complete darkness which is a security issue, especially for women,” said the officer.The Deputy Commissioners of Police from Central Zone and West Zone will submit a detailed report on safety measures required and the need for infrastructure at railway stations. A senior officer on condition of anonymity said, “With the increase in commuters, maintaining law and order situation is a challenging task.”Niket Kaushik, Commissioner of Railway Police, said, “We will submit our findings to the Railways and a joint discussion will be held soon.”AUDIT REPORTApart from infrastructure for better policing, officers in the survey team have noted points at which the Railways should provide better illumination lights for monitoring situations at railway platforms.

MNS tears down stalls at Thane, Vasai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Activists of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) attacked and chased away hawkers from outside suburban Railway stations on Saturday after the Railway administration did not heed their party chief’s “ultimatum” to evict them. MNS leaders warned that in case authorities were not stirred into action, this protest would continue with the party visiting other stations on Sunday to check whether the hawkers have been evicted. If not, MNS has threatened to take the necessary “action” against them.After the stampede at the Elphinstone Road Railway station on September 29, which killed 23 people, Thackeray organised a morcha to the Western Railway headquarters at Churchgate from the Metro Cinema and gave the Railways a 15-day deadline to remove hawkers at stations, foot-over-bridges and railway premises. This would make stations safer and easier to access for commuters.Thackeray, whose party is at an ebb after successive electoral defeats and desertions from the rank-and-file, had threatened that in case this deadline, which ended on Friday, was not adhered to by the authorities, his party workers would do the needful.On Saturday, slogan-shouting MNS workers threatened hawkers outside Thane, Kalyan, Vasai Road and Nalasopara Railway stations, manhandled some vendors and broke stalls.”We had given them a memorandum 15 days ago,” said former MNS legislator from Mahim, Nitin Sardesai.”Since they did not listen to this, we had no option. If the (Railway) administration had performed their duty well, we would not have been forced to act.” Avinash Jadhav, the MNS city unit chief in Thane, who evicted hawkers at Thane West, said these protests had made vendors disappear from many railway stations on the Mumbai suburban network.”A case of rioting and vandalism has been registered against the accused in three different police stations in Thane city and we have identified the accused, who would be arrested soon,” said Sukhada Narkar, Thane police spokesperson. Sources said the arrests are likely to take place till late on Saturday night.In 2008, Raj had begun his anti-migrant, anti-outsider campaign by targeting hawkers from northern states and his party workers had also assaulted students from other states visiting Mumbai for a Railway recruitment examination. Raj alleged that the influx of outsiders deprived local Maharashtrian youth of employment opportunities and that the Railway recruitment process was biased in favour of candidates from north India.However, MNS leaders said they were demanding action against hawkers regardless of whether they were Maharashtrians or non-Maharashtrians.Meanwhile, Union minister of state for social justice and Republican Party of India (RPI-A) leader Ramdas Athavale criticised the MNS violence and warned of retaliation by his cadre in case “poor hawkers were attacked.”

After Raj Thackeray’s tirade against PM, MNS booked for not taking police permission for rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An offence was registered against organisers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) rally in the city today for not taking a prior permission of the police.The MNS held the rally from Metro Cinema to the Churchgate railway station in south Mumbai to protest the deaths of 23 people in a stampede on a foot over bridge linking Parel and Elphinstone Road railway stations on September 29.Party president Raj Thackeray addressed the gathering of thousands outside the railway station.”As no official permission was taken for organising the rally, a case was registered at the Azad Maidan police station under section 37(1) (E) and section 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act,” a senior official said tonight.When asked if police have named Thackeray, the official replied in negative.Police have not given the exact number of organisers booked by them.MNS activists who participated in the rally had raised slogans against the railway administration and obstructed vehicular movement too, he said.”This was an act of disobedience of Commissioner of Police’s orders against unauthorised gathering,” the official added.

Stampede at Elphinstone Road: A first person account of what happened

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When I boarded the 10:23 Churchgate slow local from Bandra this morning, the rain pressed hard against the moving train forcing people to move in faster and shut the doors.By the time I entered the train, every seat in the compartment was occupied and so I stood guard at the door. As the rain became incessant, I held the door shut and stood that way for the next four stations.Before reaching Elphinstone Road station, there was chaos in the air. Distressed cries were heard even before we pulled into platform number 2. I only registered the severity of the situation after the train slowed down while entering the station.People had fallen down on the stairs of the Foot over Bridge (FoB) but commuters were climbing over them – literally walking over horizontal human sandwiches – to move up the bridge.The narrow bridge at Elphinstone Road station connects west and east Parel, as well as the Western Railway and Central Railway platforms. Like most railway bridges, it has a ticket counter on the west side. The width of the bridge is narrow and the ticket counter cannot boast of ample space either.People were hanging out of the stairs leading to the Foot-over-Bridge (FoB), and some had even climbed over the railing and were climbing the stairs slowly from the outside. Others were screeching and screaming at each other, urging everyone to move ahead.A lot more were still pouring in from both sides of the bridge, and the discipline of ‘Keep to your left’ was long-forgotten as commuters tried to board incoming trains.I made my way up the second bridge, which runs alongside Jagannath Bhatnakar Marg — it took me nearly 15-20 minutes to make it up one flight of stairs and out of the station. As a five-foot woman, I gasped for breath, while being pushed from one side to another. Some good Samaritans steadied those like me who kept losing their balance. We could not see where we were placing our feet and the fear of tripping over gripped me.Less than half way up the stairs I realised I probably should have waited it out on the platform and let those who were in a bigger hurry than me proceed. But how long could the platform be safe? As crowds swelled with each incoming train, we ran the risk of being pushed on to the tracks.Then, someone from the ascending traffic whispered, “Three women have been hurt”. Others said something about a short circuit, but were unaware of where it erupted or what caused it. Others kept mumbling about the burgeoning crowd.As I got to my office, which overlooks the station, the crowd looked like more than the station could handle. Soon, we heard multiple sirens roaring close by. We rushed out on to the office balcony to see ambulances zooming in.And the news broke that a stampede at Elphinstone station had cost us three lives, while 25 have been injured at 11:30 am.This article originally appeared in Zeebiz.com

Polluted water irks residents of Churchgate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After noise pollution, the residents of Churchgate and Cuffe Parade are irked with the supply of contaminated water to their houses. Residents of Moti Mahal building at J Tata Road in Churchgate were shocked to know that the water which is supplied to their building is unfit for human consumption. They claim that since work on the underground Metro-3 project has begun, they are getting contaminated water. DNA had reported on September 19 that BMC’s A ward, which comprises Churchgate and Cuffe Parade, has consistently been receiving poor quality water.Ashwin Nagpal, a resident of Moti Mahal, last week collected a sample of water supplied to his home, boiled it and sent to a private lab in Churchgate for testing. The lab released its report on Monday stating that the water sample contains bacteria not fit for human consumption. Nagpal said, “MMRC damaged the water pipe line in front of our building, They repaired it in a month and BMC restored our supply. But still many of the residents started falling ill.”An MMRC spokesperson said, “We are examining the cause. Temporarily, alternative supply has been ensured and attempts are on to get the issue resolved with the help of the BMC.” When Nagpal contacted the civic administration, the civic officials told him to re-test the water samples through procedure adopted by the BMC.

A-ward tops list of poor quality water

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) A-ward, which comprises areas like Colaba, Churchgate and Cuffe Parade, has consistently been receiving poor quality water. While in May, the highest number of contaminated water samples collected by the BMC for tests belonged to the A-ward, in June and August, the ward had the second highest number, and in July the third.Civic officials blame the ongoing underground Metro work for the water contamination in this ward, alleging that the work damaged water lines. Ashok Tawadia, hydraulic engineer, BMC, said, “There were two incidents of water line bursts due to Metro work which not only caused water contamination but also cuts in local water supply.” Meanwhile a spokesperson from MMRC said, “In both such incidents brought to our notice, our contractors promptly took remedial measures.”The monthly water quality reports for May to August, accessed by DNA, show that A-ward has consistently been among the bottom three wards in terms of pure water supply during this period. As many as 10.14 per cent of the water samples collected from the ward were declared “unfit” in June. The figure stood at 8.59 per cent in May, and 5.47 per cent of the samples were detected with E-coli bacteria. In July and August, A-ward recorded 7.09 per cent and 4.96 per cent unfit water samples respectively.Assistant Commissioner of A-ward, Kiran Dighavkar, said, “I accept that the area tops in water contamination but there was a lapse by the officer in the manner in which the samples were collected. Strict action has been taken against him.”Robin Jaisinghani, a Cuffe Parade resident said, “In the last couple of months, a few buildings have been receiving contaminated water while in Cuffe Parade just a few days ago we were receiving impure water. In addition to noise pollution, we are now also facing water contamination due to Metro work.”

Mumbai rains: Apocalyptic rain holds city ransom, political mud-slinging ensues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rain-hit suburban train services in Mumbai are slowly limping back to normalcy with the first train chugging out of the Churchgate station around midnight. Traffic on the Western Railway suburban network had come to a grinding halt earlier today due to torrential downpour. The first train left Churchgate in south Mumbai for Virar at 2358 hrs, the Western Railway tweeted.”Evacuation of all stranded passengers is priority and trains will be run throughout the night, if required,” it said.Mumbai’s suburban train network, which carries over 65 lakh passengers a day, is the lifeline of the financial capital and halting of the services had led to inconvenience to many office-goers who had braved the heavy rains to make it to their offices.
ALSO READ Watch: Mumbai’s iconic KEM hospital flooded during heavy downpourThere was, however, no clarity over the fate of the trains of the Central Railway, which originates from the Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.The CR tweeted around 11:30 pm that services on the Thane-Kalyan line, which is a section on the main line, had resumed.
ALSO READ Navy provides shelter to Mumbaikars stranded after heavy rainsTwo minors dead in VikhroliThree persons, including two minors, were today killed in two house collapse incidents in suburban Vikroli in the wake of torrential rains that lashed the megapolis, police said.In the first incident in the hilly Suryanagar area, a house at a higher level collapsed on one below, trapping a one-and-a-half-year-old infant, Nikhil, 40-year-old Suresh Arjun Prasad Mourya and Kiran Baby Pal (25), a senior police official said.
ALSO READ Mumbai rains: Torrential rainfall cripples maximum city, PM assures Devendra Fadnavis of all helpThey were taken to a nearby civic hospital where Nikhil and Mourya were declared dead before admission, the official said.At Varshanagar hill area of Vikroli Parksite, a protective wall collapsed on a house, killing two-year-old Kalyani Jangam on the spot, he said. Her parents Gopal Jangam (36) and Chhaya Jangam (30) suffered injuries.Parties sling mudThe BJP, the Shiv Sena and the NCP came out with their own views on the situation in the metropolis.While Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis advised offices to let employees leave early and issued similar orders for government staffers, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray said there was no need to evacuate offices.”We have advised (private) offices to allow their employees to leave for their homes early today. We have issued similar orders for government employees,” Fadnavis said after taking a stock of the situation at the State Disaster Management Control (SDMC) room at the state secretariat.”Since we can monitor the whole city through CCTV cameras, we have got to know that there is heavy waterlogging in the city. I appeal to the people to venture out of their homes only if it is of utmost necessity. Those who are stuck in offices should see the alerts we are periodically sending out and leave only when the situation is favourable,” he said.Fadnavis added that due to diversion of traffic along various routes, there were traffic snarls at several places.Thackeray, who heads the Sena’s youth wing, meanwhile, tweeted that there was no need to evacuate offices.”Traffic build up is heavy due to over load of vehicles. Please stay put safely where you are,” Thackeray tweeted.He said 26 pumps installed after 2005 deluge were pumping out 6,000 litres of water per second.Thackeray, whose party rules the BMC, said the civic body personnel have been out on the streets helping people and dealing with the situation arising out of the downpour.He said “288 smaller pumps have been active the whole day. As many as 30,000 BMC staffers are out on the streets helping Mumbaikars directly, indirectly.” The Opposition NCP criticised the BJP-led government over its “failure” to aptly handle the situation.NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said the administration did nothing despite receiving a warning of heavy rainfall two days in advance.

Boy taking Blue Whale Challenge rescued

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 16-year-old student from Jaipur was rescued by the police from going through with the Blue Whale Challenge on Friday.The child had completed five tasks and was set to take on another when the police found out about it. They had been looking for the boy since August 21, when he fled to Mumbai to complete a challenge.During investigation the team questioned the school administration and the child’s friends. “It was then that the cops learnt about the child’s involvement in the Blue Whale Challenge. His mobile location was found to be in Mumbai. We found him at Churchgate,” officials said.The minor left the house for school in the morning. “When he did not return , the parents lodged a missing complaint was registered. The child is being brought to Jaipur now.

Save our ears this festival, Nariman Point residents urge BMC, CP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Association (NPCCA) has written a letter to the commissioner of police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), asking them to review relaxation of silence zones in the area.The letter, signed by the president of the Association Swarn Kohli, reads: “As we approach the festive season, it has come to our notice that silence zones will not be observed and use of loudspeakers permitted during the Ganpati festival, can continue for all other festivals, during Navratri / Christmas etc. Sir, as you are aware, this is a hazard to health and well being of senior citizens and the sick, and a disturbance to work and students (sic).”Residents of the area added that quality of life is also determined by the sound and environment one lives in. “At any given time the sound is 60, 80 or even 100 decibels. During the festival period, it goes out of control. What we are asking for is only enforcement of permissible decibel levels,” said Atul Kumar, vice president of the association.He added, “Celebration does not have to be correlated with the noise produced. It can be silent and peaceful. Diwali is an outstanding example of a festival that is becoming increasingly environment-friendly. It has gotten quieter and prettier every year. There are crackers with less noise and there is also a significant reduction in smoke pollution. Crackers also tend to harm birds and animals. Only permissible decibel levels should be followed. There is a reason why decibel levels are set.”Despite repeated messages, the commissioner of police and BMC’s municipal commissioner did not respond to queries from DNA.AT A GLANCERecently, the government informed the High Court that it is relaxing noise pollution norms for festivals
Residents have written to the BMC and the Commissioner of Police for enforcement of permissible decibel levels

Soon, ‘one rupee clinics’ at WR stations too

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The cost-effective ‘one rupee clinic’ initiative, which has been successfully operating on the Central line railway stations for more than three months, will soon be functional on the Western Railway by the end of August.Authorities have planned to open the clinic at 10 railway stations on the Western line, and later cover all 24 railway station on this route.Till date, the ‘one rupee clinic’ initiative at the Central and Harbour line stations saw a footfall of over 17,000 visitors within three months in eight of these clinics. The first clinic was opened at Ghatkopar railway station on May 10, 2017. According to authorities, the initiative is benefitting daily commuters during emergencies.Work on the 10 clinics for the Western line has already started. In the first phase, major stations like Andheri, Churchgate, Mumbai Central and Bandra will be getting the clinic and slowly the initiative will expand across all the stations on Western Line.Speaking about the clinics set to be opened, Dr Rahul Ghule said, “We have been in talks with the Western line railway authority for few months. Our objective is to give affordable health service to the commuters. Due to our success in running cost effective medical services at various railway stations on the Central and Harbour line, we will be happy to help commuters travelling on the Western line as well.”Apart from railway and metro stations in Mumbai, authorities will be expanding the initiative in other cities like Pune. On August 15, the first one rupee clinic will be opened. “In Pune rather than making it functional on railway stations, it will be located in five different areas in the city,” added Dr Ghule.

BEST strike: Commuters opt for alternative transport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the 30 lakh passengers ferrying in BEST buses were left in a lurch due to the strike; other modes of transport came to the rescue. To begin with, suburban local trains played an important role as many shifted to it. It was also a field day for auto rickshaw and taxi drivers who milked people in every way possible. Even fleet cabs like TabCab and Meru were seen on the road, whose presence for several months has been a lull.Every day, around 74 lakh people travel by the suburban system, but as it was Raksha Bandhan, quite a number of offices had declared a public holiday or people opted for leave. This compensated for those using the BEST buses for travel. Sources in the railways said all local train services were operational and they did not run the holiday schedule where 30 per cent fewer services ply.”We expect an additional 10 per cent rise in daily commuters inside local trains,” said a CR official on the condition of anonymity. Trains and platforms were crowded in the morning and evening peak hours but then gradually eased. The Western Railway ran four extra services between Churchgate and Virar stations between 10am-2pm.Anticipating the crowd, rail authorities also opened up a few more ticket windows, at Kandivli, Goregaon, Bhayander, apart from regular counters being operated in double shifts and without lunch breaks. “We deputed commercial inspectors at the railway stations to monitor the rush at ticket windows,” said Gajanan Mahatpurkar, PRO, Western Railway.The Central Railway too opened additional ticket windows at Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane, Ghatkopar, Dadar, Kurla and Bhandup stations. “These catered to the extra rush of daily ticket seekers likely to occur due to BEST bus strike,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway.People normally use buses to come not only as feeder routes to reach railway stations, but also as long distance routes along the highways on eastern and western suburbs, LBS Road, SV Road and various link roads. On August 7, due to the strike, few of the taxi and auto rickshaw drivers took advantage of the situation as they levied seat-wise charges instead of by the meter.”We had kept our officers from different RTOs outside railway stations and even at the BMC disaster control room to monitor the situation. We shall take action against those drivers who are overcharged,” said Praveen Gedam, Transport Commissioner.Even the fleet cabs TabCabs and Meru were seen plying. Over the past few months, the number of these fleet cabs on road have dropped. However, on Monday, the fleet cab companies claimed the demand spiked by 15-20 per cent. Meanwhile, the recurring problem of Uber and Ola, of surge pricing continued even on the day of the strike.

Locals want a permanent solution for footpath menace

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Association (NPCCA) has raised concerns about an increasing number of vagrants on the South Mumbai footpaths. Residents claimed that despite informing the civic body and police several times, their requests have fallen on deaf ears.Morning walkers are affected the most with filth strewn around the footpaths as local residents have to deal with regular brawls till late nights. “The vagrants indulge in drug abuse, and late night brawls, and petty thefts, which should be curbed,” said a Marine Drive resident.Swarn Kohli, President of NPCCA, said, “We have complained to the civic body and police department several times but we have not got any relief as vagrants come back on the streets and create nuisance. We need a permanent solution to these issue.””Footpaths are not meant to build homes and sleep but is used to walk for pedestrians. There is an urgent need for the government authorities to act against these people which have become a major nuisance in the locality”, said Atul Kumar, Vice President, NPCCA.Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner (A ward) of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, said, “We regularly conduct crackdown on vagrants but it becomes difficult to seize their belongings. We have formed a team with police department who controls the vagrant menace. We will look into the issue faced by the residents.”

The daily ‘pain’ for commuters on WUR’s Sahar Elevated Road stretch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commuters passing by the entrance to the Sahar Elevated Road on the Western Urban Road (WUR) have to face perennial traffic jams during peak hours. While many commuters try to avoid traffic by leaving home early, only a few check traffic online.One can see more than two traffic wardens deployed in and around the WUR.”As usual, WUR is congested during the morning peak hours. In the evening, we get traffic at the northbound side. It is a nightmare during monsoon. While the airport is nearby, and there is an elevated road for it, many private taxis and cars use this route to reach the airport faster,” said Akshay Kadam, 32, a daily commuter.Gaurav Nair, 26, a Jogeshwari resident who tries to carpool while coming back from office, said, “We started a group initiative to carpool while returning from the office. During peak hours, sometime it takes more than 20 minutes just to cross this part of the road. It is better we take up social responsibility at individual levels to reduce the traffic congestion.”Having to bear the traffic snarls, many commuters keep themselves updated through social media platforms like Twitter.”I leave my house 20 minutes earlier so that I can reach my office on time. Commuters keep on updating traffic details on Twitter which help other commuters to check the traffic situation in real time,” said Shravani Mehta, a daily commuter.According to commuters, the slowly moving traffic is an absolute pain. The vehicles coming from Andheri and going towards Churchgate make the vehicle movement during peak hours slow.On an average, it takes a minimum 15 to 20 minutes for the commuters to cross this stretch. Normally, it takes only two minutes for the same distance.

BMC spends Rs 13.5 crore to avoid waterlogging

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) struggles to complete de-silting of nullas before the monsoon sets in, it has identified 313 locations across the city where de-watering pumps will be installed to remove water during heavy rainfall. These pumps will be set up from May 25 till October 15.The de-watering pumps are being rented from private contractors for this monsoon for a total cost of Rs 13.5 crore. BMC has already identified 66 chronic flooding spots in the city.The wards where maximum de-watering pumps will be installed are F South and F North wards, G South and G North wards, H East and H West wards and L ward. A total of 100 de-watering pumps will be installed in these seven wards which have the maximum number of chronic water logging spots in the city. The areas includes Dadar, Mahim, Matunga, Sion, Lower Parel, Parel, Bandra, Khar, Santacruz Kurla and Sakinaka.Following these areas, N ward (Ghatkopar), S ward (Bhandup), T ward (Mulund) and M East and M West wards (Mankhurd, Govandi and Chembur), and E ward (Byculla) will have high number of de-watering pumps installed, with an average of 14 pumps in each of these wards to prevent flooding. A-ward (Colaba-Churchgate) will have 12 pumps.The de-watering pumps are operated even when half-a-feet water gets accumulated on road. “When there are heavy showers, water accumulates only at particular spots on the road, and not the whole road. Such spots are identified by wards and we set up pumps there. The pumps suck water from the spot and drains it out into a big drain hole, which is a minimum of 10 metres away. This way, water is drained out and flooding is avoided,” said an official from the BMC’s storm water drains department.The BMC’s Deputy Chief Engineer (Strom Water Drains), Pradeep Khedkar, “Installation of the pumps will begin from May 23. Operators will be on vigil 24/7 to operate the pumps whenever necessary”….& ANALYSISWater logging is a major problem in Mumbai each monsoon. De-watering pumps are the need of the hour to prevent water logging during heavy rains. However, for the de-watering pumps to be effective, the BMC must first ensure that de-silting work is completed at major nullahs where the pumps will empty out water. The BMC is yet to complete 37 per cent of this work on major nullahs.

Prabhu dedicates passenger amenities in Mumbai via video link

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today inaugurated 14 passenger amenities in Mumbai and its extended suburbs. Prabhu inaugurated these amenities, built in suburban corridor between Churchgate and Virar on the Western Railway, through video conferencing from New Delhi and dedicated them to passengers. Speaking on the occasion, he said, “We are upgrading several stations in Mumbai and are committed to raise the comfort level of the railway passengers. We want to transform a few stations and bring them at par with airports in terms of facilities.” The Railway Ministry is setting up a company with private sector participation to execute projects in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, he said. The new amenities included an elevated deck and lift on platform No. 1 at Borivali station, foot over bridges (FOBs) at Dadar, Matunga Road and Bhayandar, a skywalk connecting FOB to metro station at Andheri, escalators at Dadar, Bhayandar, Vasai Road and Nallsopara, booking offices at Borivali, Kandivali and Vasai Road and a passenger reservation centre at Nallsopara.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

WR raises height of 56 platforms for passenger safety

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Western Railway has raised the height of 56 platforms across 28 stations on the suburban local network here as part of its ongoing efforts to increase passenger safety during train travel. There are total of 144 platforms, whose height will be raised up to 920 mm from the current 840 mm for safety of passengers. Of these, height of 56 platforms at 28 stations was raised in the last fiscal, a senior official said today. Raising the height of platforms will help commuters alighting and boarding the suburban trains, he said, adding the remaining work of increasing the height of 88 platforms will be completed very soon. Meanwhile, WR recently celebrated 164th anniversary of the first train which ran between Bori Bunder and Thane on April 16, 1853. Highlights its achievements during the last fiscal on the occasion, WR Chief PRO Ravindra Bhakar said commissioning of new railway station ‘Ram Mandir’, building 10 Foot-Over-Bridges, 26 escalators and two lifts at different stations were some of the works undertaken by us. Also, under the Digital India Mission, free Wi-Fi for passengers was started at Mumbai Central station last year in partnership with Google for the first time in the country, he said. Such a facility has been in place at Churchgate, Dadar, Bandra, Khar Road, Bandra Terminus, Andheri, Borivali, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Ujjain stations. To provide a pleasant travel experience, 67 trains were covered under “On Board House Keeping Services” and 33 more are going to be covered shortly, said the officer. “36 stations were provided with retiring rooms. Of these, 16 stations are equipped with both retiring room and dormitory facilities,” Bhakar said. “We care for our special and differently-abled commuters and have provided low height booking windows, toilets for specially-abled, ramps, platform tiles and audio visual signages (beepers) for visually challenged passengers,” he added. WR also said it is committed to implement the schemes launched by the Centre.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Environment can’t be massacred for development: HC to Mum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Observing that environment cannot be massacred in name of development, the Bombay High Court today asked the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to prove it did not damage a children park while executing its Line III project. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni gave this order while hearing pleas of the Churchgate and Cuffe Parade residents of South Mumbai challenging the proposed felling of over 5,000 trees to execute the Seepz- Colaba Metro Line III project. The high court had earlier directed the MMRCL not to cut any tree till further orders. Asdvocates Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas, the counsel for the petitioners today told the court that the MMRCL had destroyed a children’s park in Cuffe Parade for digging work despite the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) refusing permission to them to carry out any work there since the area falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). Advocate Kiran Bagaria, appearing for the MMRCL, told the court that the park has not been damaged and that no work is being carried out in the park as part of the project. The court said the MMRCL will have to submit all documents, including its proposals and resolution of meetings, to substantiate its claim. “Submit all relevant documents before us. Just saying you (MMRCL) have not done anything wrong on affidavit is not enough. We want to see all relevant documents. No details are forthcoming in the affidavit regarding meetings held by MMRCL pertaining to CRZ obstacles,” the court said. “We understand that the Metro project is of utmost importance as it will ease the common man’s woes but you (MMRCL) cannot massacre environment in the name of development. There should not be callousness and recklessness in damaging something that cannot be restored,” Chief Justice Chellur said. The court has directed MMRDA and MMRCL to submit all the documents on April 24 when it will hear the petition. The line III Colaba Bandra-SEEPZ project is a part of the Metro system which will connect Cuffe Parade business district in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the north central suburb.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC extends by 2 weeks stay on felling of trees for Metro line

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today extended by two weeks the stay granted on felling of trees to pave the way for Seepz-Colaba Metro line project in the city on a plea alleging environmental damage. The stay was granted by a bench of Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni. Veena Verma and other residents of Churchgate had filed a petition against the cutting of over 5,000 trees to pave the way for the Metro line saying proper procedures were not followed in this regard. During the hearing, the bench asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to allow the petitioners to inspect the documents pertaining to permissions for tree felling. The matter was adjourned for two weeks to enable the parties to carry out the inspection. Earlier, the high court had granted a stay on felling of trees for the Metro Rail project until further orders. The HC had also on the previous hearing sought to know what survey had the MMRC and the BMC undertaken before deciding to cut over 5000 trees. The MMRC had informed the court that it had taken permission from the BMC’s Tree Authority department to cut the trees which existed on the Metro route. The court had earlier this month expressed concern over the issue and said that such “massive destruction to the environment” cannot be allowed. The bench had said that it may set up an independent committee to look into the matter. Jitendra Pardeshi, Tree Officer and Superintendent of Gardens, BMC, said in an affidavit that procedure had been duly followed while cutting down the trees. A total of 26 applications had been received and permissions were granted in 25 cases while one was pending. Pardeshi said that the ratio of 1:3 would be strictly followed — for every tree that was felled, three new ones would be planted.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rallies can’t be banned, come up with policy to regulate them: Bombay HC to Maha govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that public rallies and morchas cannot be banned as they are an inherent part of democracy, the Bombay High Court today ordered the Maharashtra government to bring a policy to regulate them so that they do not cause any hindrance to common people.A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P R Bora was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Nariman Point-Churchgate Citizens’ Association and others claiming they were affected due to the morchas held at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.Presently, all morchas and dharnas are terminated at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. This is pursuant to an order passed by the High Court on December 8, 1997, directing all morchas to terminate at Azad Maidan near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).The bench was today informed by the government that a committee has been set up to look into the issue, which would later prepare draft guidelines. The petitioners’ lawyer, S C Naidu, today told the court that the rallies start at different places across the state and city, which then results in heavy traffic jams everywhere.”Morchas and rallies are part of a democracy. We cannot ban them, but they can be regulated. The state government will have to do a comprehensive study of the issue and come up with a policy to regulate them,” Justice Kanade said. He even suggested that “the rallies can be held only on Saturdays and Sundays, so that it does not create traffic problems”.The court noted that apart from these morchas every second road in the city is dug by some or the other authority which causes more traffic jams. “But nowadays people have become very tolerant towards such problems,” Justice Kanade said. The court has posted the petition for further hearing after four weeks. The state-appointed committee comprises Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Police Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

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