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Mumbai fog delays Central Railway services; commuters stage rail roko at Vasinad station

Commuters staged a rail roko at Vasind, a railway station on the outskirts of Mumbai that falls under the jurisdiction of the Central Railways. Vasind is on the Mumbai-CST to Kasara route and is the station before Asangaon.At 7 am on Saturday, angry commuters staged the protests over services getting delayed for over 45 minutes. The railway police managed to disperse the crowd by 8.15am or so and rail traffic resumed by 8.22am.The administration has blamed the dense fog for the delays. Sources said that the fog was so thick that visibility was less than 100 meters for the motormen manuerving these 270 meter long local trains.Also readSmog grips Mumbai; air quality reaches hazardous levels”If technical failures weren’t enough to hurt train services, now natural causes like fog are causing problems in train running. But in the end it is the common man who is suffering,” said Lata Argade, a resident of Dombivali.Since early morning when the trains first resumed, trains were running at slow speeds. People complained that between 6-7am barely two or three locals went by which were crowded as they were coming from Asangaon or Kasara stations. Moreover the commuters claimed that long distance trains were given first precedence over local trains.

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Rail fracture between Sion and Matunga disrupts services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaos struck the Central Railway on Saturday after a rail between Sion and Matunga on the north-bound fast line developed a fracture. The problem was reported at 9.56 am and disrupted services on the line for nearly two hours. CR authorities said the fracture was repaired by 10.12 am.”Three local trains were delayed due to this. Such rail fractures do happen when there is wide fluctuations in day and night temperatures during winters. Such things are duly detected digitally and manually by patrolling personnel,” said Sunil Udasi, CPRO, Central Railway.While railways claim that they repaired the fracture within few minutes, commuters claim that it took them more than two hours to complete a journey that they normally finish in an hour. Jayesh Vora took a fast train from Dombivali at 9.13 am, but reached Parel at 11.30 am. “My train halted between Vidyavihar and Kurla and I could see a line of trains on the fast line towards CST waiting in queue. I got down, walked on the track and reached Kurla station. From there I took a slow train, the slow trains were over crowded. I finally reached Parel at 11.30 am, normally I would have reached by 10.15 or 10.30 am.”Lacchu Singh, who was travelling towards Thane also got delayed for the wedding he was to attend. “I had a wedding to attend in Thane and when I reached Byculla around 11.30 am and reached Thane in a fast train around 12.30 pm normally by 12 noon I should have reached. The train even on my way back halted for a long time at Vikhroli station.”

Thane: Mob of 100 tie up mentally unstable man, beat him to death as cops look on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A macabre video showing a mentally unstable man being tied up and beaten to death has gone viral.The incident took place five days ago in Thane where a mob of 100 people tied up the victim and brutally thrashed him for alleged vandalism. What’s more bizarre is the fact that there were two constables present at the spot. But instead of helping the victim or intervening, they simply watched it silently.The 28-year-old victim, who was said to be from Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, kept on screaming for help but nobody came forward. Soon, he died.According to the Mirror Now report, the victim was travelling in a truck. When the vehicle stopped at a village in Dombivali East area, the victim started ransacking a kirana store.Eknath Patil, the store owner objected to it. Things turned ugly when the victim bit two people. Soon the mob overpowered him, tied him up and thrashed him till he stopped moving.The two policemen identified as constables HN Garud and SV Kanchave claimed that the victim snatched their walkie talkie. However, the cops version has not been proven so far. The accused policemen been suspended.Amit Patil, Sagar Patil and Balaram Furad, the residents of the Khoni village have also been arrested.

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.

Maha govt okays hike in honorarium for corporators in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government today approved a hike in the monthly honorariums given to corporators in the 27 municipal corporations. The urban development department today issued a GR with details of the amount of honorarium and grades of the local governing bodies. For instance, the corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have got a 150 per cent hike in their monthly payout. As per the GR, the monthly honorarium of BMC corporators is increased to Rs 25,000 from the current Rs 10,000. Corporations in the state are classified as A+, A , B, C and D on the basis of population, its revenue generation and other basic infrastructure. BMC has been classified as A+. There are 232 corporators in BMC and their honorarium was finalised in 2010 and there has been a regular demand to hike it, the latest demand was made at the mayors conference in 2016, based on which the government has taken this decision, said officials from the UD department. On the basis of rough calculations, the increased monthly outgo on honorarium will be nearly Rs 32 crore in the BMC. The hike in the honorarium of corporators in the A class municipal corporations (Pune and Nagpur) has been hiked to Rs 20,000 from the existing Rs 7,500, this is a 166 per cent increase, while the payment of corporators of B class corporations (Thane, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad) has been increased to Rs 15,000, up from Rs 7,500. The hike for these corporations is 100 per cent. The C and D (Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Aurangabad and Vasai- Virar ) will get a hike of 33 per cent in the honorarium, the corporator’s salary in these corporation have been increased to Rs 10,000 from Rs 7500. In all the 27 municipal corporations in the state, there are in all more than 2,700 corporators.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rains force railways to cancel Ambernath-Badlapur route for rebuilding bridge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Central Railways on Sunday cancelled train on the stretch between Ambernath and Vangani from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for rebuilding a bridge on the Ambernath-Badlapur section. Special suburban services will run between CST-Dombivali-CST, CST-Thane-CST, Kalyan-Kasara/Asangaon/ Titwala-Kalyan, Kalyan-Ambernath- Kalyan and Karjat-Khopoli section. Central Railways also planned a traffic and power block on six lines between Dombivali and Kalyan for around six hours to complete construction of a road over bridge at Thakurli. Railway has cancelled over 120 local trains plying in this route between 9:10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. to enable laying girders on the bridge coming up between Kalyan and Dombivali stations.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

State government holds back RR rate hike for open lands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government has stayed the hike in ready reckoner (RR) rates for open land in the municipal corporations and councils in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to enable construction of affordable housing projects.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state legislative assembly on Monday that the stay had been given on hike in RR rates for land in Mumbai. “The municipal corporation levies charges based on RR rates,” he said, adding that this affected affordable housing projects with the fees having a cascading effect of around 90 per cent.”To prevent this cascading effect, we have imposed a stay for one month,” said Fadnavis.A senior revenue department official said the stay imposed on May 19 will be in force in nine municipal corporations (Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Mira Bhayander, Bhiwandi Nizampur, Vasai Virar, Panvel and Navi Mumbai) and eight municipal councils in the MMR. These eight councils include Kulgaon-Badlapur, Ambernath, Karjat, Alibag, Pen, Uran, Matheran and Khopoli.The old RR rates for 2016-17 will apply for transactions on open lands in these areas as against the new RR rates which came into force on April 1. The RR rates for open lands had been hiked by an average of around 5-7 per cent for 2017-18.”This stay will only cover open lands and not the RR rates for flats, commercial property and industries,” the official said, adding that the department of registration and stamps will come out with fresh rates within a month.The official said that the decision had come after representations by stakeholders like developers and construction industry bodies. “Municipal corporations levy charges like premium on fungible FSI based on the prevailing RR rates,” he explained, adding that however, there was little open land available for construction and development in cities like Mumbai and Thane….and analysisThough sops have been granted by governments to the construction industry in the past, these have not translated into affordable housing. Authorities need to ensure that middle, lower middle class get adequate housing in MMR.

Thane collector rescued after boat hits rock, stucks in creek

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thane district collector Mahendra Kalyankar, who was inspecting sites of illegal sand dredging in a speed boat, was rescued after the vessel hit a rock and got stuck in the middle of Kalyan creek this afternoon. The collector was accompanied by 15 others in the boat, confirmed an official. Kalyankar has undertaken a drive to clear the Kalyan creek of illegal dredging and has seized equipment worth over Rs 100 crores and illegally excavated sand worth around Rs 90 lakhs in last two-days. In continuation of the drive, the collector went for the inspection of the site at around 3 PM. He was accompanied by around 15 persons in the speed boat which included the local Prant (revenue department official) and the tehsildar, said the official. Around 3.30 PM the boat hit a rock due to the high tide and got stuck. Soon an emergency message was sent following which the personnel from Kalyan Dombivali fire brigade reached the spot and rescued the occupants of the speed boat to safety. Sub-officer of Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) Namdeo Chowdhary who confirmed the incident said that they rescued all the occupants of the boat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Assembly Elections 2017: After crushing defeat, AAP resolves to fight back

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mood was sombre and some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers were even apprehensive of going all the way to campaign in other states for in future elections. As the state assembly elections results trickled out on Saturday, for AAP and its volunteers gathered at Punjabi Colony in GTB Nagar to “celebrate”, the results were well short of expectations.The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party had expected a clear majority in Punjab, hoping to touch up to a 70-80 seat mark in the state while being a crucial player in Goa with double-digits figures. By 9:30 – 10:00 am, however, the mood changed with disappointment thick in the air – the leads and feedback gave a clear indication that the party was nowhere close to where it thought it would be. The party eventually got 20 seats in Punjab and zero in Goa.”The results are certainly not what we expected. We will go back to the drawing board,” Satish Jain ​said as results were clearly opposite to the banner the party had put up in anticipation of a win. Unfurled on the way leading to the party’s office, the banner read, “AAP salutes all those who made victory possible in Punjab and Goa. Thank you”, Kejriwal portrayed on it with folded hands. That the party was third in the lead in Punjab was a bigger revelation. The party, however, took the loss in its stride and put up a brave face. As the results became clearer in Punjab and party hopped to the second position, it took heart from the loss and asked volunteers to celebrate whatever it had won. “Satta mili nahi wapas maidan main utarna hai. (We did not get power, it is time to get on to the ground. We started from zero, it is time for celebrations,” said one volunteer who asking people gathered in the room to come and celebrate emerging as the number two party in Punjab and leaving behind their apprehensions of not going to other states. “We have nothing to loose. For us, even this is victory. At the end, we are a four-year-old party with no base to start with. Parties like MNS do not have such presence even after years. We are ruling in one state and are the Opposition in another. The Congress seems to have gained ground towards the end,” said Narpat Devasi, resident of Cotton Green who had been to Punjab to campaign.”We have fought till now and will continue to fight. This result may not be as per our expectations but we will continue to fight. We are working for people,” said Vinod Gupta, an AAP volunteer from Dombivali. The party has now turned its sight to the fight in New Delhi and Gujarat elections.

Plastic waste that turns into free fuel for villagers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What started as a dream for two Pune-based business-partners, has now become an environmental campaign spread across Maharashtra. Every month, housing societies and schools from Mumbai, Thane, Pune and a few other cities, collect plastic bags to convert it into poly-fuel that is then supplied free of cost to villagers in Jejuri, Darawali and Ramwadi near Pune to replace kerosene as the primary household fuel. This not only helps in recycling plastic that is difficult to naturally decompose, it also helps reduce pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels like kerosene. It also dissuades villagers from cutting trees for firewood.“It started in 2010 when my business partner Shirish Phadtare, and I decided that we needed to find a long term solution to India’s plastic problem. I had recently visited a national park where a deer had died from eating plastic. It was very traumatizing for me and I realised just awareness campaigns will not be enough,” recalls Dr Medha Tadpatrikar. The duo studied the science behind plastics, and came across the process of Catalytic Pyrolysis that can be used to make Polyfuel. “We designed our first machine with the help of some of our friends who had a background in engineering. We kept on working on the machine to make it more efficient and developed our second prototype in 2013. Finally in 2014 we perfected the design so that the machine would not only produce liquid polyfuel, which is a mix of methane, butane and propane, but also trap the gas released during production and use that as an energy source to run the machine itself,” says Dr Tadpatrikar.After this, Tadpatrikar and her devoted group of volunteers went around Pune collecting plastic and encouraging people to recycle plastic and polythene bags. While earlier they would use their own cars, with increasing volume of collections, the group purchased tempos for the purpose. Gradually, the word spread to Mumbai, Thane and the suburb of Dombivali. Minal Dixit and her ‘train friends’ Snehal Dixit and Vidya Paranjape got together with a dedicated group of 45 women from Thane and Dombivli, who are all a part of Urjaa Foundation, to step up efforts in their respective neighbourhoods. Members of Urjaa foundation conducted their first collection drive in December last year and are following it up with monthly collection initiatives.“While people have a culture of recycling, the raddi-wala only takes old newspapers, clothes and glass bottles. Plastic almost always ends up in landfills where it is burnt and ends up releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere. With our campaign we have successfully collected 250 kgs of plastic in Thane just in January this year and hope to increase our collections at our next drive on March 19,” says Dixit. The plastic is collected and sent to Dr Tadpatrikar in Pune.Today, Dr Tadpatrikar gets plastic from some other far flung cities like Bhima Shankar, Raigarh and even Visakhapatnam! “People collect the plastic and courier it to us here in Pune where we recycle it in our plant,” she says. This goes on to show that a few determined people are all it takes to bring about a change. “We hope our campaign will soon spread to other cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad and eventually become a national campaign,” says Dr Tadpatrikar.HOW IT WORKS?Total monthly plastic collected every month is about 10,000 kg. This includes polythene bags, milk pouches, bubble wraps, plastic containers and pet jarsThey have two plants in Pune, one in Hadapsar with a capacity of 1 tonne, and the Jejuri one can manage about 100 kg. The machines can convert 100 kg of plastic into approximately 55 litres of poly-fuel and 5 kg of gas.The plants run 20-25 days a month and electricity consumption is limited to 8-10 hp for the control panel. They have recently started selling smaller versions of their stainless steel machine to corporate clients.

Mumbai to have a mayor from general category this time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which goes to the polls later this month will have a mayor from the general category this time. Five years ago, the post was reserved for women. Apart from Mumbai, Latur, Dhule, Malegaon, Akola, Vasai-Virar, Bhiwandi and Ahmednagar too will have mayors from general category this time. The post would be reserved for women in 14 of the total of 27 municipal corporations in Maharashtra. Of these 14 mayoral posts reserved for women, two will be for scheduled castes and four for OBCs and eight for women from open category. Of the 13 general category mayor posts, one post each would be reserved for SC and ST, three for OBCs and eight would be unreserved. The lottery for reservation for the mayoral posts in 27 municipal corporations was announced today in Mantralaya. Nashik Municipal Corporation mayor’s post will be reserved for Scheduled Tribes. Amravati mayor’s post will be reserved for Scheduled Castes. Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Solapur, Parbhani, Kolhapur, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar will have women mayors from open category. Nanded and Panvel will have women mayors from SC category. Mira Bhyander, Jalgaon, Sangli, Chandrapur will have women mayors from OBC category. Pimpri-Chinchwad, Aurangabad, Navi Mumbai will have mayors from OBC category.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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