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Over 4.5K towers aren’t fire safe

None of the high-rises inspected by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) over the last two years was found to have adhered to fire safety norms. They only complied after legal notices were sent to them.As per the data accessed by DNA, the MFB inspected 4647 buildings over the last couple of years — residential and commercial – and all of them were found without fire safety compliance. They have issued notices under Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 and given 120 days to comply with the fire safety norms. After the warning, 4637 toed the line, while 10 buildings are now being prosecuted as per law.Two incidents of fire are fresh in minds of Mumbaikars – the Bhanu Farsan shop fire in Saki Naka which claimed 12; and Monday’s fire on the 17thfloor of a high-rise at Walkeshwar, the Legend Tower. Bhanu Farsan shop was not fire-safety compliant, while the fire at Legend Tower was easily controlled as the building had functioning fire safety installations.Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said, “Residents are not serious about fire safety and only install fire safety equipment after we send notices. It is out of fear of prosecution and not safety concerns.” “During inspection, we found that buildings flout basic safety norms such as encroachment on common passage, doors to staircases are closed, water from fire tank is used for domestic purposes,” said a senior MFB officer.Turn to “Some buildings do not have designated entry and exit gates, and while many buildings have firefighting equipment, it is not in working conditions. There will be a faulty or missing knob, rusted pipes or just an inability to operate the equipment,” he added However, residents feel that the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade fail to create awareness about fire safety and are lenient while granting permissions. Nita Bajpai, general Secretary of Juhu-Vile Parle Residents Association said, “It is true that most residents do not take fire safety seriously, but it also the work of the Municipal Corporation and Fire Brigade to create awareness through campaigns. Buildings should have fire-fighting installations and do regular servicing to keep it operational. It also cannot be rejected that authorities sanction building permissions when the locality does not provide sufficient space for fire brigade in case of emergency.”

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No permission for commercial activity at Cross Maidan: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court came to the rescue of Mumbaikars on Wednesday on the issue of commercial activity at Cross Maidan. It has restrained the city collector and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation from issuing permits for commercial activity on the over 19,230 sq mts land without prior permission from the court. A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak gave the order while hearing a petition filed by Organization For Verdant Ambience And Land (oval) trust, which maintains Cross Maidan and the Oval Maidan. The two open spaces in Churchgate area are used by citizens for recreational purpose. Advocate Shreya Parikh, appearing for the trust, argued that by way of a Government Resolution (GR) issued on November 6, 2017, the ownership of the land has been transferred from the government to the BMC. Parikh said that Cross Maidan is a deemed recreational ground and no commercial activity can be allowed there. It was further pointed out that the Collector has, even after the issuance of the GR, granted permission to the French Consulate from December 5 to January 2, to use the ground. However, the court noted that since the order of the Collector is not under challenge, it cannot pass any orders against the organisers of the event. Moreover, since, by the issuance of the GR, the state is not in possession and cannot grant permission to third parties. Similarly, the corporation, which has not yet received possession of the ground, cannot issue permits to third parties. There cannot be a grant of any interim relief except that authorities will not grant permissions for any event after January 2, 2018. Posting the matter for further hearing on January 16, 2018, the court asked the state and corporation to file their detailed replies.THE ARGUMENTAdvocate Shreya Parikh, appearing for the trust, argued that by way of a GR, ownership of the land has been transferred from the government to the BMC. Parikh said that Cross Maidan is a deemed recreational ground and no commercial activity can be allowed there.

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Use scientific ways for interrogation

The cops, however, claimed that the youth had fled from custody. After much hue and cry the five cops were suspended, and the state government transferred the senior cops out of Sangli district to avoid further flak. Five policemen were booked and arrested later on charges of murder and the case is being probed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). We have clearly told all the Police Station In-charge officers to shun use of third-degree on accused," said a senior police officer.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written BySomendranath Sharma <!–end of artlbotbor–>Wednesday 13 December 2017 2:03 ISTMust readLeopard’s day out at Andheri preschoolDNA EXCLUSIVE: Flooding may affect underground Metro<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Following the death of a 26-year-old-youth in police custody last month in Sangli district, the Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) office has issued a circular recently advising police officers to use scientific and forensic methods for interrogation and has urged the force to shun the use of third-degree torture in police custody. So far 12 cases of custodial deaths have been reported in the state this year.On November 8, Aniket Ashok Kothale, who was arrested on charges of robbery by Sangli district police, was allegedly beaten to death while in custody by five policemen including a police sub-inspector (PSI). Reports suggest that his body was burnt in Amboli Ghat to destroy evidence in Amboli Ghat. The cops, however, claimed that the youth had fled from custody. After much hue and cry the five cops were suspended, and the state government transferred the senior cops out of Sangli district to avoid further flak. Five policemen were booked and arrested later on charges of murder and the case is being probed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). We have clearly told all the Police Station In-charge officers to shun use of third-degree on accused,” said a senior police officer.

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Mumbaikars prefer 2 BHK houses over 1 BHK, says report

A report by international real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) shows that as per data from MahaRERA, in Mumbai more 2BHKs were sold than 1 BHK and also the supply of flats is almost double than the demand.In the report, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is divided into three areas- Mumbai City, its suburbs, and Thane. An analysis of the residential market reflects that of the 3,465 residential projects registered under RERA, maximum sales were recorded in Mumbai City (24,681 apartments sold out of the 50,329 units available), followed by Thane (86,479 apartments sold out of 1,80,071 units available) and Mumbai Suburbs (87,126 apartments sold out of 1,81,155 available). A distinct observation is that supply is double and clearly outstripping demand.The report further states that, Mumbai prefers living small, as the numbers reflect 2 BHKs to be the configuration of choice. Thane sold the maximum 2 BHKs (61,145 units) as compared to Mumbai Suburbs which sold marginally lower (60,728 units) with Mumbai city selling the least (11,142 units).According to the report, 1 BHKs were the second preference amongst Mumbaikars, with Thane selling most 1BHKs at a count of 29,551 units, while Mumbai City sold 5,295 units and Suburbs sold 19,803 units. However, supply far exceeded demand in Thane with 62,000 1 BHK units available for sale and only 47 per cent recording sales.The report states that, the luxury housing market performed better in Mumbai’s suburbs as compared to the city.While almost 49 per cent of the supply of 4 BHKs and 4 BHK+ sold in the suburbs, the city saw sales at 42 per cent of the total supply in this category for the region.”Post RERA, apartment details are provided only on the basis of carpet area, making it easier to compare one against the other. This ensures that home buyers don’t get tangled up in the confusing and misleading jargon of ‘built-up ‘ and ‘super built-up’ area and have a standard area comparison.REGISTER TO SELLThe confusion of selecting an appropriate real estate agent has also been resolved to a certain extent. Only agents who are registered on the MahaRERA site against a specific project are allowed to sell units of the respective projects.

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Western Railway move can promote solar energy in Mumbai: Experts

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

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Fishes costlier after Ockhi leaves

Following Cyclone Ockhi, the fishing community has incurred severe losses as they couldn’t venture into the sea, and fishermen also fear that catch in the sea could reduce.Fishing unions claim that the overall losses incurred by 10 lakh people directly involved in fishing across Maharashtra is pegged at around Rs 1,000 crore. Akhil Maharashtra Machimar Kriti Samiti President Damodar Tandel said that they will soon meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and seek a relief package.”During the cyclone, the fishing community could not venture into the sea and even lost boats and nets. Those who still dared to venture into the sea for an eight- to ten-day fishing trip came back empty handed. For the next one month, the catch will dwindle as the fishes would move to deeper sea,” said Tandel, adding that unfortunately the ministry supposed to take care of fishermen in Maharashtra was least bothered about their plight. Tandel added that Mumbaikars will have to brace for a price hike in the days to come.Bernard D’mello of Pali Macchimar Society from Uttan said that fishermen are not treated on par with farmers. “In Uttan, we are estimating a loss of Rs 60 to 80 lakh as several families involved in the drying of Bombay duck fish lost all the stock as well as the scaffolding on which fishes are dried.” Dileep Mathak, from the Vasai Fishermen society, added that the fishing villages in Uttan and Arnala have borne the maximum brunt.A marine expert working with the government body explained, “The cyclone churns the sea and the shallow area, as well as the substrate, is completely disturbed and become muddy, so fishes who come towards the coast to breed or lay eggs move deeper due to which the catch dwindles,” said the expert.Maharashtra has 23,000 fishing boats out of which 13,000 boats are mechanised, and the annual catch of around 3.5 lakh metric tonnes is worth Rs 4,000 crore of which Rs 2,000 crore is from exports.
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Speak up Mumbai | Aesthetics over safety: Smart choice by BMC?

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

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Newer trains can be expected by Mumbaikars starting January next year. Orders have been placed for getting more trains that would ply both on Central and Western Railways. This was one of the subjects which were discussed at the meeting between Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and railway officers when he visited Mumbai on November 27.To begin with, the Central Railway (CR) will get 20 new Bombardier rakes in phases, which is already being manufactured. “Orders have already been placed and we shall start getting them from January 2018. Once they arrive, they will be available for plying and would replace the existing old lot of rakes that are part of our fleet,” said a senior CR official. They are getting the new rakes for the purpose of operating on the Rs 1,700 crore Seawoods-Uran rail line.The CR has 14 old rakes of BHEL make which are always a cause of concern for the authorities as these incur technical failures frequently.

Despite crackdown, vexed hawkers’ issue refuses to die

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the stampede at Elphinstone Road station in which 23 persons died, the BMC launched a massive crackdown against hawkers operating around railway stations. Political parties have been quick to seize on the issue and have drawn battle lines, leading to confrontations and arrests by the police. While the Bombay High Court has now made it clear that hawkers will only be allowed in designated hawking zones, the Town Vending Committee (TVC) which will mark out these zones is yet to be formed as the BMC awaits state government approval on the names it has recommended for the TVC.While safety and security is indeed paramount, there are around 90,000 licensed hawkers in Mumbai, and they provide a host of services on which thousands of Mumbaikars rely on a daily basis for their convenience.The hawkers’ union, which has been demanding implementation of the Street Vendors (Protection Of Livelihood And Regulation Of Street Vending) Act, will meet BMC official on Monday to push for the TVC to be set up, and will also ask for fresh licences to be renewed.

Parties’ clash puts Rlys in a spot over hawker ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ever since the hawkers’ issue took a political turn, the Railways are hesitant to stop vendors and traders carrying huge sacks and luggage during peak hours. These include flower and vegetable vendors who added to the crowd at the Elphinstone Road station stampede on September 29, which claimed the lives of 23 people.The multi-disciplinary audit teams on both Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) had suggested disallowing these vendors from carrying their wares, gunny bags, and luggage into the rail premises especially during peak hours. However, the rail authorities have not been able to take a stand on the implementation of the ban.At stations like Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Byculla, and Andheri, vendors carry huge sacks while commuting, which causes a lot of inconvenience to the commuters on the foot-overbridges (FOBs).Sources in the Railways said that they cannot have a blanket ban on the vendors and that this would also mean preventing dabbawalas from travelling in trains during peak hours. The dabbawalas cater to lakhs of Mumbaikars daily, and they travel in the goods compartment but alighting from the FOBs is a tough task as thousands of commuters rush up and down the bridges.”We will need views from people, rail passengers and their associations on whether these vendors should be stopped from using the rail premises during peak hours,” said AK Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway.Hawkers are being driven away by political goons, and in retaliation, the political supporters are getting trashed by hawkers.In the past few days, the MNS party members have been driving away hawkers and destroying their businesses, while the Congress has come in support of the same hawkers and vendors.FUTURE PLANThe authorities have proposed to reduce the weight of luggage carried by commuters from 50kg to 15kg inside First Class compartment of suburban trains
They have also proposed to reduce the weight from 35kg to 10kg in second class compartment

Tulsi Vivah celebrations mark the end of Diwali festivities today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping up with the spirit of the festive season, Mumbaikars will on Wednesday celebrate Tulsi Vivah, a wedding ceremony of​ the​ tulsi plant. Tulsi Vivah is celebrated on the last day of Diwali every year.This is a day when families and societies get together to celebrate the last day of the festival by performing Maharashtrian wedding rituals for the tulsi plant.“Two days before the Tulsi Vivah, we shop for all the wedding materials for the festival. For the last few decades, my family has been celebrating Tulsi Vivah. This day is considered as the beginning of the wedding season, according to Hindu calendar,” said Priyanka Jadhav, a resident of Vile Parle.For over 15 years, the Harharwalal society located opposite Ganesh Talkies in Lalbaug has been celebrating this festival. The residents start preparing for it a month in advance. Akshay Pange, a resident of Lalbaug society, said,“Over 250 families come together for the wedding. Every year, on the first day of Diwali we have a tradition to put up a poster of the wedding invitation card outside the society compound to invite people. We also organise Haldi ceremony a day before the wedding. By celebrating it in a traditional way, we want the families in the society to unite and celebrate our culture.”Subhangi Rane, a resident of Dadar, said, “We decorate the peripherals of the tulsi plant with colourful rangoli and other decorative items before starting the wedding ceremony. A human figure is decorated as a bride and is attached to the plant. We invite neighbours for the celebration and serve food after the wedding.”

IMD declares monsoon withdrawal from state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday declared the withdrawal of monsoon from Maharashtra including the Mumbai region. “The change in wind and rainfall patterns delayed the withdrawal of monsoon in the state by around 15 days. However, the delay has resulted in a good quantum of rainfall in the state, especially, the interiors”, an officer from IMD Mumbai said. Rainfall in the city was better this monsoon compared to the last two years. This has resulted in a good storage of water in reservoirs. This means Mumbai has sufficient drinking water for this year and there will be no water cuts.However, the transition from monsoon to winter has risen the humidity levels and thus Mumbaikars are suffering from the heat.If the current wind pattern continues, Mumbai is expected to feel winter from mid-November. The city is now expected to have dry weather until Wednesday. However, isolated parts of Maharashtra may have rains or thunderstorm from October 26 to 28, according to IMD.

Sachin Tendulkar sanctions Rs 2 crore from MP fund to fix bridges in Mumbai’s railway stations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cricket icon and Rajya Sabha member Sachin Tendulkar has sanctioned Rs 2 crore from his Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund for revamp of rail foot overbridges in Mumbai here in the backdrop of the Elphinstone Road station stampede.On September 29, 23 people were killed in the rush-hour stampede on a narrow foot overbridge (FOBs) linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain.Tendulkar, in a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, said he is requesting the Mumbai suburban district collector to authorise Rs 2 crore for constructions.He said Rs 1 crore each be alloted to Western Railway and Central Railway from his MPLADS fund “towards immediate revamp and construction of FOBs in as many high density, single bridge stations on the Western, Central (Main) and Central (Harbour) lines” that the official may deem urgent.”The recent incident at the Elphinstone Road station on Western Railway where innocent lives were lost in a stampede was devastating and I am moved to offer immediate support for the improvement of services for our Mumbaikars,” he wrote.”For the families RPT families of those affected, it is not a happy Diwali in any sense, we must do all we can as responsible citizens to ensure this never happens again on any network in India,” Tendulkar said in the letter dated October 16.In the letter, also sent to the Mumbai suburban district collector, Tendulkar said he has asked the Railway Ministry, Railway Board and zonal heads “to study the possibility of creating two separate independent zones for the suburban services, a request that has been made by several experts, passenger and civil society groups.””I think there is a merit in this request as it will bring dedicated manpower, funds and focus on the suburban network which ferries millions every single day,” he wrote.Every year, MPs are allotted Rs 5 crore under the MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme, primarily to take up development projects in their respective constituencies.The fund has been increased over time, starting from Rs 5 lakh in 1993-94 to Rs 5 crore at present.

Civic body claims to have fixed 90% pothole plaints this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday praised themselves for receiving only 1,463 over pothole-related complaints in the last six months. BMC also informed the media that of the 1,463 complaints it managed to resolve 90.70 per cent of the complaints.However, Mumbaikars have questioned this figure as many of the city roads are still pothole-ridden.A resident of Chembur, Ajay Shete said, “I wonder which are the areas where the BMC has filled potholes. Even if they have there is no need of taking credit and feeling proud of filling potholes. BMC is a public service provider and it is their duty to provide good roads.””If the BMC is claiming that it received less pothole complaints than last year, then less people might have registered complaints and BMC has not done its field work. In an area like Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, one will find 1,000 potholes,” the resident said expressing his anger.Civic activist, ALM Rajkumar Sharma said, “It is a shameful act that BMC is taking credit of having 1,463 pothole complaints. BMC should publicly describe its definition of a pothole. Let people know if a bad patch has to be as big as 2 inches or 6 inches to count as a pothole. Even if BMC is claiming that it has filled 90 per cent of the potholes, then what about the bad patches and uneven roads. Roads with paver blocks have worsened the situation? People want levelled roads without bad patches.””I would appreciate if the BMC takes credit after there are no potholes in the city, no traffic problems, no water logging and enough parking space for everopne.”In a press release, the civic body also informed that it had received 5,000 pothole complaints in the year 2015-16 and 4,000 potholes complaints in 2016-17.

Need to continuously improve railway infrastructure: President Kovind on Mumbai stampede tragedy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his birthday, which fell on Sunday, Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, stressed on continuously improving every aspect of the Indian Railways, days after a stampede killed 23 people in Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai.President Kovind made these remarks in Shidi where he was inaugurating an airport, as well as the first Air India flight from Mumbai to the temple town.”The railway service is an important part of the everyday life of Mumbaikars. Every aspect related to railway services should be continuously improved,” he tweeted.Kovind had earlier expressed his condolences soon after the rail station tragedy on September 29.”Anguished by the loss of lives in the stampede in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families; prayers with injured,” he had tweeted.Twenty-three people died and over 30 were injured in the stampede that took place on a narrow foot over-bridge that connects Elphinstone Road and Parel stations in Mumbai.With PTI Inputs

Monsoon withdrawal in city to begin by October second week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as monsoons have begun withdrawing from the northwest part of India, officials from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that Mumbaikars too could be bidding adieu to monsoons by second week of October, but not before experiencing some more rains.”The withdrawal of monsoons from northwest areas like the Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Kutch was delayed and started only from September 27. We expect the same to happen with Maharashtra where the rains normally begin withdrawing by September 30,” said an IMD official.As per IMD, in 2015, the monsoon withdrew on October 15, and in 2016 it was on October 14 that IMD declared the end of monsoon. “It’s due to the cyclonic circulation that it has been delayed, this will result in a few good spells of rain in central India including central Maharashtra, south Konkan and Goa. However, there might thunderstorm today and tomorrow. Apart from receiving a few spells of rain there won’t be much rainfall in Mumbai, and there will be rise in the temperatures too,” said another official from IMD adding that Mumbai witnessed a good monsoon this year.From June 1 to September 28, the Colaba observatory of IMD has witnessed 2224.2 mm of rains while the Santacruz observatory has received 2943.1mm of rains. Infact on September 19 Mumbai recorded the highest 24 hour rains in a decade as it received 303.7 mm of rainfall, meanwhile the highest rainfall of this season was also recorded on August 29 when Santacruz recorded 331.4 mm of rains.

Glass-roof trains to start Goa service from Sept 18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Starting Monday, Mumbaikars will be able to take a special ‘Vistadome’ AC coach to Goa. The new coaches will be part of the Dadar-Madgaon Jan Shatabdi Express, Central Railway (CR) officials said. With large glass windows, passengers will enjoy the scenic view of the famous Konkan route.Besides a transparent glass roof, these coaches will be equipped with multi-tier luggage racks and the seats will be 180-degrees rotatable with comfy pushback chairs.According to CR officials, the Railway Board members had given its nod to the coaches, recently. The train will leave Dadar at 5.25am, and reach Madgaon at 4pm. This 40-seater coach was built at a cost of Rs 3.38 crore.”The Vista Dome will be attached to Jan Shatabdi Express that would run thrice a week till October 31. Later, another timetable will be introduced. The train will run six days a week from November,” Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway said.The fare is expected to be around Rs 2235, which is equivalent to Executive Class in Shatabdi Express, excluding charges for catering, reservation, GST and any other taxes on the base fare. The cost of a ticket on the Jan Shatabdi would be Rs 945. Ordering of food is an optional facility, sources said, adding the passenger has to travel at least 50 kms if ne wants to board the new coaches.The Vista Dome has been manufactured at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, and was first launched in April on the Vishakhapatnam-Araku Valley section.Other features1) 40 chairs (180 degress rotating)2) Wide window glasses.3) 12 no hanging LCDs.4) 1 small fridge & one freezer.5) 1 oven.6) 1 juicer grinder.7) Hot case.8) Transparent glass roof.9) Connecting doors with finger touch automatic open & close system.10) 20% observation area in one end.11) New design luggage rack area.12) Tea 10Fares of VistaDadar-Panvel- Rs 630Dadar-Ratnagiri- Rs 1480Dadar-Kankavali- Rs 1870Dadar-Thivim- Rs 2120Dadar-Madgaon- Rs 2235

204 MHADA homes most expensive till date

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Mumbaikars gear up for the MHADA lottery which will be held on November 10, a total of 204 homes of the total 819 homes are priced at Rs 1 crore or above.This may come as a rude shock to hopeful homebuyers who opt for MHADA due to its affordable pricing. The costliest flat is being sold in Lower Parel at Rs 1.95 crore.Also, the number of homes for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) is only eight as compared to the 338 homes slotted for the Higher Income Group. The lottery is scheduled for November 10 and applications will be accepted from September 16.In Lower Parel, there are two types of MHADA homes. First, a flat measuring 44.21 square meters (sqm) will be sold at Rs 1.95 crore. Second, 34 flats measuring 33.80 sqm will be sold at Rs 1.42 crore. In terms of pricing, Powai’s Tunga flat is priced at Rs 1.39 crore for an area of 68.69 sqm.Meanwhile, an online search shows that the current cost of flats in Lower Parel area are lower than what the housing authority is quoting. Milind Mhaiskar, VP and CEO of MHADA, said, “Trust in MHADA among the public is much higher than any online portal.”

Mumbai: Heavy rains overnight sees a 5 degree drop in temperature

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing sweltering heat and humidity for the past couple of days, Mumbaikars woke up on Wednesday to not only thunders and heavy rains but also saw the day temperatures in the city dropping by almost five degrees.As per officials from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the city witnessed a massive rainfall between 3 am and 5 am. “Santacruz recorded 103mm of rainfall while Colaba recorded 59mm of rains,” said the official adding that these weather conditions left the city weather pleasant.On Tuesday, the maximum temperature at Santacruz was recorded as 35.9 degree Celsius, but Wednesday the mercury dipped by 5.2 degree Celsius as the maximum temperature was recorded 30.7 degree Celsius. Similarly, Colaba on Tuesday recorded a temperature of 33.5 degree Celsius, which reduced to 29.8 degree Celsius on Wednesday.As per Skymet Weather portal, these weather conditions have been attributed to the presence of a trough which is extending from the North Madhya Maharashtra region to Southeast Arabian Sea across Konkan and Goa in proximity of Mumbai more rains are likely to be expected in the city.Senior IMD officials said that Mumbaikars needs not worry as monsoon is still very much.

Bizman challenges decision to scrap AC buses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking to scrap 259 air-conditioned (AC) buses from its fleet has not gone well with Mumbaikars. A businessman with an office at Nepeansea Road, Firoz Khan along with others has challenged the decision in Bombay High Court.The plea has been filed through advocate VP Patil. “We have prayed for directions from the court to stay the decision of the BEST Undertaking to scrap AC Buses,” he said.The petition also opposes the BEST’s plans to lease out their properties to raise capital and instead convert them into playgrounds.”BEST had procured its first batch of 45 air-conditioned buses in 2008-09 at a cost of Rs 55.53 lakh each. In the next financial year, 200 AC buses, purchased at Rs 65.56 lakh each, were added to the fleet. In the last phase of procurement in 2010, the Undertaking procured 14 AC buses at cost of Rs 67.04 lakh each. However, the buses suffered many problems like regular breakdowns, non-functional ACs and rusting bodies.Patil is likely to mention the plea before a bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur on Tuesday, seeking for urgent hearing. He has also attached a report that appeared in DNA on September 8, titled “BEST to finally scrap 259 King Long AC buses,” along with his application.JUDICIAL INQUIRYThe petition also states that from 2012 to 2016, the total losses accumulated by the BEST undertaking are more than Rs 33,000 crore. “A judicial inquiry should be conducted into the matter,” Patil said.

Speak up Mumbai: Is forcible eviction the only escape route?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On August 31, 33 people lost their lives after Hussaini Building in Bhendi Bazaar collapsed. This building was issued notices for vacating the premises in 2011, yet residents continued to stay.Of the 16,000 cessed buildings in south Mumbai, there are about 3,000 which are dilapidated, unsafe and dangerous. State Housing Minister Prakash Mehta has said the government will first target such crumbling structures for forcible eviction.Many residents do not vacate dilapidated buildings despite MHADA issuing them a notice, because they fear that they will not return to their original homes once they are shifted to transit camps. These buildings are dangerous, and notices are issued to them from authorities, yet residents do not vacate them. There are provisions under the MHADA Act for forcible eviction, and section 95A talks about it in detail.DNA spoke to Mumbaikars on whether sections of the MHADA Act should be invoked to forcibly evict residents of dilapidated buildings to avoid further tragedies.PEOPLE SPEAKIf MHADA wants to forcefully evict tenants it should also ensure that the developer, who is appointed to redevelop the building, does so in time. In my case, we were forcefully evicted from Sewri in 2000 and have been staying in a transit camp since. If MHADA can’t ensure that, it shouldn’t forcefully evict tenants.—Manoj Sawant, resident of a transit camp in SewriNot in all cases, but if someone is refusing to relent, then I believe, the only option will be forced eviction, for their own safety. But, MHADA and BMC should also ensure that they get proper transit accommodation. The authorities should also ensure that the reconstruction is done on time.—Hamja Mohammad Usman Ansari, resident of Mumbai CentralThe authorities can use force to evacuate residents from a dilapidated building. But, they must ensure that every resident gets immediate accommodation. The civic body has also looked upon timely redevelopment of the dilapidated buildings. And, in case there is delay in redevelopment of the buildings, the developer should be punished.—Anshu Dokania, resident of GhatkoparI do not think anyone should be forced out of their homes just because their building is declared dilapidated. The government should provide them with alternate accommodation nearby. People who have lived in an area all their life, will want to continue to live there for several reasons. Some have invested their entire savings to acquire those houses. Anyway, if they refuse to move out despite the authorities following all procedures duly, force must be used.—Rohit Naik, resident of Vile ParleThe government must ensure that residents of dilapidated buildings are treated well, and put up at proper rehabilitation centres. The use of force will only make people question the efficiency of the government. I hope that the government takes the issue seriously and rehabilitate people in good buildings rather than in transit camps, which are in a shabby state.—Poorva Kamat, resident of VikhroliIf people are not moving out of dilapidated buildings even after the civic body issues them a notice, it is high time the authorities, with the help of police, forcefully evict such people. However, it is the duty of the authorities to arrange for immediate, alternate places of residence to them.—Shekhar Bhandari, resident of BhandupIf the building is in extremely poor condition, then compulsory eviction is justified, as a person’s life is more important than the house. However, a written assurance of time-bound construction of the flats is something the government and the developers are legally bound to provide. If the developer/government convinces the tenants that they will get back their homes in time, the tenants will definitely evacuate their dilapidated homes.—Manda Shete, resident of ChemburEXPERT SPEAKThe government, before forcibly evicting any resident, should make arrangements for their stay. If right to life is a constitutional right, then right to shelter should be followed by every government. Residents do not wish to leave fearing that they will be sent to transit camps that are far from their place of residence. Location is an important factor when it comes to moving to a new place.—Advocate Shirish Deshpande, Chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.MHADA has a special repair board. The work of this board is to evict residents of dilapidated buildings and shift them to transit camps. They collect cess and their work is to construct transit camps. Remove residents forcibly, but then, where will they stay? Are there enough transit camps to accommodate all?—Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, Executive Editor, Accommodation Times

BMC seeks suggestions for cycle track

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to make the proposed cycle track along Tansa pipeline a world-standard tourist destination, the BMC has sought suggestions from residents.While the civic body has planned to make a part of the cycle track ready by Diwali, BMC wants Mumbaikars to take an interest in the project during its planning stage itself.Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects), BMC said that suggestions can be sent to [email protected], and added, “The project will bring down pollution and ease pressure on existing roads.”Mukherjee held a meeting with civic officials on Monday to discuss the project. It was decided that a small segment of around 1.15 km from Mulund Boundary to Silver Bell Housing Society, and NITIE Gate (Powai) to Vijay Nagar bridge near Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road would be turned into a track for the public.”People will be able to hire and leave cycles at entry and exit points within the track,” said a senior official attached to the project.The project will be developed in three stages and the track will be ready by November 30, 2019.3-WAY PLANThe cycle track will connect to roads, railway stations and the Metro

BMC’s Diwali gift to Mumbaikars, mini cycle track will ready

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This Diwali, Mumbaikars will be able to enjoy a cycle ride along the Tansa pipeline as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set the ball rolling for the proposed jogging and cycling track along the 39-kilometre Tansa pipeline.Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner of BMC held meeting with civic officials on Monday to discuss the ambitious project. It was decided that a small segment of around 1.15km from Mulund Boundary to Silver Bell Housing Society and NITIE Gate (Powai) to Vijay Nagar bridge near Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road would be made into the track for the public. It falls under the S and N ward of BMC.The features of the proposed cycle track is that it connects to roads, railway stations and the Metro. “People will be able to hire cycles at the entry and exit points within the track, and take a train or Metro as per their requirement. They can also leave the bicycle at the exit points, from where they will be connected to roads, trains and the Metro,” said a senior official attached to the project.The project will be developed in three stages and the track will be ready by November 30, 2019. “The cost of the project is Rs300 crore and it will change the people commute within the city,” added the official.According to official, 10m on both sides of the pipeline will be developed and it will have a Bollywood walk route, Mumbai Books route, the Biodiversity Corridor, canvas route, relief walls, elevated cycle track (dismantable) in Mahim, Cocoon track within Bhandup Complex, and cycle parking at entry and exit points.The jogging and cycling track is being touted as the longest in the country. However, the has just removed only 50 per cent of the unauthorised structures along the pipeline. According to BMC’s water hydraulic department, around 8,000 unauthorised structures along the pipeline, that fall in 10 different administrative wards of BMC, still need to be removed. The slums along the pipeline were removed under the supervision of the Bombay High Court.The civic body started removing illegal structures following a high court order in May 2009 to prevent water theft and leaks.

Speak up: Is notifying silence zones need of the hour?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anti-noise pollution activists were in for a rude shock earlier this month when the city’s silence zones lost their tag. They protested against the high-handedness by the state government which had informed the Bombay High Court, after an amendment, that there will be no “silence zones” in the entire state as it was yet to begin the process of notifying them. DNA speaks to a cross section of Mumbaikars on whether there is an urgent need to notify silence zones in the city.Residents’ speakIt is very important for the state government to allocate silence zones to ensure peace. Patients and senior citizens will be affected the most while people will continue to violate noise pollution norms. Lack of such precautionary measures will further worsen the quality of life in the city.—Rekha Daswani, resident of ThaneThe court’s earlier stance was correct. Noisepollution is increasing day-by- day and is only causing problems. There should be certain spots in the city which are completely void of any noise pollution. Silence zones need to be notified at the earliest.—Suraj Shinde, resident of KandivliSilence zones need to be brought in, they are the need of the hour. However, I do think music should be allowed post 10 pm during fetisvals. There should be a balance. Silence zones near hospitals, schools and other places should be reinstated by the state government.—Advocate Tushar Mahale, resident of WorliThe festival season has just begun. Despite knowing the elaborate manner in which Mumbaikars like to celebrate the festival, how can we not have silence zones or decibel restrictions? This means loud noise would certainly hamper our sleep and will lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations this year. Without a good night sleep, it may cause health problems especially among the elderly.—Nidhi Pant, resident of ChemburState government needs to notify the silence zones again at the earliest. This situation emerged because of the high-handedness by the state government. However, even before the court’s decision, the sound pollution norm was hardly being implemented across the city.—Asit Singh, resident of BorivliThe government should definitely notify silence zones near schools, hospitals and other such places. Over the years, with festivals becoming bigger, loud music is played which has a huge impact on children, senior citizens and pregnant women. Strict rules regarding noise can only be made if silence zones are identified and notified.—Durga Gudilu, city-based activistI live in a Gaothan area and we face issues during processions. The noise is so much that it disturbs our peace all the time. Last year, if a procession would pass through a silence zone, people adhered to the rules. Now, that the ban is out, it will be back to square one. It will affect children’s studying, hospitals and lives of people in general. Past few days everyone has been talking about it. People are not happy. May be those who are happy are not ordinary citizens.—Anita Shetty, resident of KurlaWhat constitutes a silence zone, itself, is an ambiguity for a regular citizen. There needs to be an awareness campaign through various mediums about its meaning, rules and regulations. But yes, in the light of frequent changes in the urban development rules and construction density of various establishments around there needs to be a silence zone. There is definitely an urgent requirement of notifying the silence zones again and certainly the deemed ones.—Advocate Ranjeet Sangle, resident of Byculla

MMRC steps up publicity blitz, says Metro 3 car depot site at Aarey Colony outside eco sensitive zone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even when Shiv Sena and various non-government organizations plan to step up opposition for the proposed car depot in Aarey Colony for the Colaba—Bandra—​SEEPZ Metro 3 rail corridor, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has resorted to a media blitzkrieg saying that it is outside the eco sensitive zone around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park notified in December 2016 and most of the activities are open to sky. Besides, the land is neither a forest nor a tribal land as per the government land records, says MMRC. MMRC further stated that the depot will have 35 stabling lines for night parking of trains, operation control system, administrative building and inspection and maintenance workshop. MMRC also said that no real estate development will be carried out in the car depot which will be spread over 25 hectare of the total area of 1,287 hectare of the Aarey Colony. A total of 30 hectare was handed over by the state government to MMRC for the car depot, of which 5 hectare of green cover is retained at the proposed site.MMRC’s move to release advertisements in print media coincides with Shiv Sena’s call to go in for tree plantation at the proposed car depot site.
ALSO READ MMRC spends nearly Rs 1 crore on publicity blitz to revamp imageMMRC said the car depot site has been selected on technical grounds after thoroughly examining all other alternatives. Moreover, MMRC said that there are no restraining orders by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the car depot. Instead, the NGT has permitted temporary work in the adjoining 3 hectare area. The contractor appointed by MMRC has undertaken shifting of water pipelines, storm water drains which fall under civic amenities permitted in no development zone.MMRC also strongly justified the requirement of a car depot for smooth operation of any metro system with an appeal to Mumbaikars to extend their cooperation. According to MMRC, the activities undertaken at Aarey are legally permitted and are aimed at providing comfortable, safe and eco-friendly public transport to the city. Incidentally, the car depot plot is surrounded by the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road, Marol Maroshi road and Goregaon Powai Link Road with substantial vehicular traffic.

Soon, BMC to roll out new online parking app

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon, Mumbaikars will be able to book parking lot spaces online using a mobile app. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has almost finalised the tenders which will be floated soon.At present, officials from A ward, where the online system will start, are going through it.“The tender documents for the mobile app for booking space in parking lots have already been prepared. We are going through it to check if any changes are required,” said a senior civic official, adding that the tender to hire a software company to develop the mobile app as per BMC’s requirement will be floated soon.The mobile app will be similar to ticket-booking apps, and this will help citizens check the availability of space in parking lots in a couple of seconds. “It is very difficult to find parking space in Mumbai especially during office hours,” the official said. Now motorists can check for available slots, book and then go there to park their vehicles, he said ruling out the possibility of having to drive around looking for a space to park.According to another civic official, the app will be helpful as the user can book available parking space at any time for more than an hour and even make payments online.Initially, the civic body will provide parking through online booking at 12 South Mumbai parking lots and later look other areas of the city to implement the same.

Police carry out campaign in city against gang of laptop thieves

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai police is carrying out an awareness drive alerting Mumbaikars to be careful about a gang of thieves targeting car drivers, who steal valuables from cars. Police stations across the city are putting up advisory boards on the streets including at Nariman Point, Andheri and Dadar, advising people to keep their valuables in the trunk of their cars. The modes operandi of the thieves is to target unsuspecting car drivers and steal bags containing laptops from the backseat of the car.Such incidents have also been reported from parking zones where thieves have broken the car window and have stolen valuables.

Mumbai Speak Up: As the city falls apart, corporators get a pay hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been under fire for its inability to tackle the issue of pothole-ridden roads across the city; and its failure to ensure that dangerous tree fall incidents in the monsoon do not continue to pose a threat the pedestrians and motorists.The nexus between corrupt local politicians and civic officials, that has allowed illegal constructions and structural alterations in buildings to go unchecked, has also been under the scanner after the collapse of a four-storey building in Sai Siddhi Cooperative Housing Society in Ghatkopar which claimed 17 lives, and left the bereaved survivors homeless.A fortnight ago, the state government approved a hike in the monthly honorarium of corporators in municipal corporations across the state. BMC corporators received a 150 per cent hike in their monthly honorarium, which has now increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.DNA spoke to a cross section of Mumbaikars to find out whether a hike in salary is justified, whether it will ensure better and more qualified persons took up the mantle of representing them in the local body, or if the hike was wholly undeserved given the current state of affairs in the city.VOICESCorporators are not debarred from carrying on with their businesses or professions. They really don’t need salaries or hikes. They amass huge assets anyway. But if they still desire a hike it must be linked to performance, and non-performance should be punished. For instance, Rs 100 per pothole in their ward should be deducted per month from their salaries. Also, any misuse of corporator funds resulting in loss to the public exchequer must be recoverable from their salaries.—Raju Moray, Bandra resident”I am against any hike given in salary to our corporators because I feel it is not justified. We common people are not getting anything, and they just keep raising their salary. Why should their salary increase in any case. Whatever work they have to do for the area, they get a package for that. Where are they any way putting anything from their pocket. They do not even meet or call as many people for their telephone bills to be high. We lay persons have to call more people and many number of times for anything to get done. In this era, I do not think there is someone who is a full-time politician. They have two to three sources of income and just being a corporator. They should do a survey and see how many corporators are full-time corporators and have no other income. As corporators they keep taking money from people anyway.”—Mary D’Souza, resident of VakolaIt is good for the corporators if their salary has been increased. They should get increase in their salary so that they can work more hard for their ward. But they should not overlook their duties. It is the duty of the local corporator to be aware of any constructions in his constituency. So, yes they should look into such cases. The Ghatkopar building collapse incident must be a learning point for all the corporators in the city.—Surabhi Rathod, Andheri residentI think there should not be any problem if corporators are getting a hike in their salary, but as their salary has been increased, they should also put more effort into solving the problems of citizens and should not show their face only before the election. It’s their responsibility to look after their particular constituency.—Sonu Singh, resident of DahisarIt is surprising that the monthly allowance has been increased by 150 per cent, and there has been no opposition. We know that the state government will also justify the decision by citing inflation as the main reason. However, the government should have fixed the responsibility for ensuring civic works are executed in the city in time and that common persons’ issues are raised at the right platform.—Rahul Tomar, AndheriThere is no issue in giving a corporator a hike in salary, but then they should also do the work properly. They should see to it that the pothole menace is tackled, and that garbage collection is done on time, nullahs are cleaned and local problems related to BMC are solved. They should be available in times of need.—Rashmi Worlikar, Resident of Worli.EXPERT SPEAKThe salaries should be increased in proportion, just as it is in the case of pay commission. Corporators should be made accountable for the work entrusted to them. If any illegal construction takes place in their ward, in that case, the BMC as well as the local corporator should be held responsible for the wrong doings. The increase in salary should act as a positive gesture so that they actually work in the direction of eliminating civic issues, which if ignored become lethal.—Advocate Abha Singh”The salary hike of corporators is not related to their effectiveness as public representatives. They have to be good leaders, available whenever the public approaches them for any redressal, should be present for corporation meetings, and should keep their promises regarding redressal of civic issues regardless of what they get paid by the corporation. The salary hike does not matter; what matters is their performance as public representatives”—D M Sukthankar, retired Chief Secretary of Government of Maharashtra and former BMC Commissioner

After dry spell, rains return; forecast: to stay

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbaikars breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday, after light to moderate rainfall graced different parts of the city and suburbs ending a week-long dry spell.While no thunderstorms have been forecasted in the coming week, Mumbaikars should brace themselves for intermittent showers in the city and the suburbs, with heavy to very heavy rainfalls at isolated places.”The formation of offshore monsoon troughs has allowed for us to predict rains in the near future”, said Krishnachand Hosalikar, the Deputy General of the Indian Meteorological Department.The formation of a low pressure belt over Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Konkan is likely to influence the rains for the next 24 hours and an improved rain activity has been recorded in parts of Mumbai for the first time since the first week of July.The humidity levels on Thursday were well over 85 per cent in the city. Colaba recorded 22 mm rainfall, and Santa Cruz, 14.8 mm, as a result of the Westerly winds along the coast.

Dadar gets India’s first solar-powered AC toilet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first environment-friendly air-conditioned (AC) toilet was inaugurated in the city on Saturday in Dadar. The solar panels installed in the toilet complex will provide electricity to run the air conditioner and other electric equipment like sanitary napkin vending machine.Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray inaugurated the AC toilet, which is claimed to be the first in the country to run on electricity generated by solar panels installed in the complex. He said that the toilet complex has been developed as a part of CSR activity and the initiative aims to keep the city clean.”The civic body will construct such toilets at other locations also,” said Thackeray. However, he added, that the contribution of Mumbaikars will also be required to maintain cleanliness in the city.Amey Ghole, a Shiv Sena Corporator, has been instrumental in making the initiative possible. “We had promised before the civic polls to provide sanitary pads for women public toilets, which will be now available in the new AC toilets,” he said. Women will have to feed a Rs 5 coin to the vending machine to avail the napkins. The toilet is located near the Fire Brigade building along the Mumbai-Pune state transport bus stand in Dadar (east).Apart from the solar panel, the roof is made of toughened glass to allow save electricity costs in the day time. “All arrangements to save electricity have been incorporated and the model will be replicated across the city under the CSR,” said Ghole.BMC Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who was also present at the inaugural function, said that the city can be made with the help of citizens.

With onset of monsoon, prices of staple vegetables see a rise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rise in vegetable prices in markets across the city have started giving an extra pinch to Mumbaikars’ wallets. Prices of staple vegetables have seen nearly a 10 per cent spike in the past fortnight, and an average 25-50 per cent jump over the past month. The highest jump was of tomatoes and coriander which were sold at Rs 30-40 per kg/ bunch two weeks ago, and are now being sold in the range of Rs 60 to 100 per kg/ bunch respectively. Vendors attributed the price rise to excessive rains in Latur, Pune and Satara districts of Maharashtra, from where most of the vegetable produce is sourced.Harilal Sahu, a vegetable vendor in Cuffe Parade said, “Vegetable prices keep fluctuating anyway. Excessive rains cause the price of vegetables like tomatoes and coriander to spike. From a week or two ago, prices of tomatoes and coriander have increased steeply and almost doubled.”Pankaj Singh, vegetable vendor from Colaba Market said, “Prices of other vegetables, even with fluctuations, are not beyond five to 10 per cent from the prices of the past fortnight.”Ramdas Vare, a vegetable vendor near Grant Road station said, “Tomatoes, if not stored properly, are prone to damage. Excessive rain in the interiors of Maharashtra has only added to our dilemma. We usually buy produce from Vashi’s Plaza market and Dadar’s Kohinoor market, but it is difficult to obtain good stock even from here. This leaves the customers disappointed.”Another vendor added, “Customers are visiting less often ever since the price of tomatoes has doubled. This dip in sales is bound to continue until the prices go back to normal.” What adds to the rise in prices is vendors being forced to throw a minimum of 5 kg from every 50 kg of vegetables purchased in June-July, as the rains spoil most of the produce.Meanwhile,consumers have also voiced their concerns over the price rise and the poor quality of the vegetables.”I run a catering business and have no other option but to buy vegetables daily, neither can I cut down on my usage, since tomatoes and coriander form staple ingredients of the Indian cuisine”, said Deepali Lagad, a resident of Tardeo.

Mhada sets lottery date for 800 houses in August

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There’s good news in store for Mumbai’s home buyers. Milind Mhaiskar, the newly-appointed Mhada CEO and VP, has confirmed that there will be a lottery for 800 houses in August. The advertisements for the same are expected to be out by the first half of July.Mhada has been coming out with an annual lottery for Mumbai on May 31 every year but failed to do so this time. This lead to speculations that there might not be a lottery this year at all. However, Mhada has finally closed in on the details and will be making the list public soon.The houses will be located in Tunga-Powai, Charkop, Vikhroli, Kandivli, Goregaon, and Mulund. “We are working on it in detail. We are about to complete the formalities and will announce the lottery soon,” said Subhash Lakhe, Chief Officer, Mumbai board.Until recently, the Mhada wasn’t very sure about whether they will be able to carry out the lottery due to a scarcity of houses. However, they managed to get nearly 500 houses for the same. “We looked at other projects and somehow managed to get all those houses that are still under construction. We even got them registered with MahaRERA to meet all the criteria before commencing the lottery,” said a senior official.Meanwhile, Mhada is planning to reserve most of these 800 houses for the economically weaker sections, that is, people who earn below Rs 25,000 per month. When asked, Mhaiksar confirmed the development. According to sources, the prices of the houses are being finalised, after which they will start advertising them for people to apply for these….& ANALYSISAffordable homes are a scarcity in the city and most Mumbaikars depend on Mhada lotteries to avail them. After this year’s delay, the Mhada managed to finally arrange for the lottery where 800 houses will be up for sale. However, it still lags far behind in meeting the rising demand for affordable housing in the city due to the perpetual urban sprawling and increased purchasing power.

Housing dept grants SRA builders loan to ensure completion of work

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government’s housing department has come up with a new idea of inclusive housing. The government’s housing arm claims that it went through various aspects of housing and realised that many slum redevelopment projects are in limbo because of lack of funds.To overcome this aspect, the government has already held talks with the State Bank of India, and asked them to provide loans to the builders facing trouble. Banks normally do not lend to builders, however, the government has kept a condition that builders will be provided with loan, only if they construct houses in the saleable building not above 30 sqm (1 BHK).The reason behind the smaller homes is to accommodate those Mumbaikars who cannot afford a house in the city. Debashish Chakravarthy, senior IAS officer and the brain behind this proposal confirmed the development.According to Chakravarthy, they have already spoken to the bank and talks have moved ahead from the initial stage. “Normally banks do not fund builders, but then after affordable housing was given industry status, we asked the SBI to step in and they have agreed,” he said.The plan is that many builders working on SRA projects are facing a major financial problem. Via this scheme, the government plans to help builders complete projects, rehabilitate slum dwellers and then even the sale component will have houses that are smaller in size and affordable.”Apart from providing loans, these houses will be linked to the PM’s pet project Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, and will be given to people who cannot afford expensive homes. This is the kind of inclusiveness that we are trying to bring in,” said Chakravarthy.Builders after building homes for slum dwellers, construct luxurious homes for buyers and there exists a stark difference. With this, the government claims it’s trying to overcome it….& ANALYSISWith the implementation of inclusive housing the government aims to kick-start projects that have been on hold so far.
It also aims to construct affordable homes within city limits for those who cannot afford the ever-increasing real estate prices.

Farmers’ stir enters 2nd day, vegetable shortage looms over

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shortage of vegetables and spike in its prices looms over the people of Mumbai as farmers in Maharashtra continued their stir for various demands on the second consecutive day today. According to sources in Navi Mumbai Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), though milk supply to the state capital largely remained unaffected, the number of vehicles transporting vegetables went down in fear of backlash from farmers. Yesterday, the agitating farmers had tried to disrupt vegetable and milk supply to the metropolis. On an average, every day 7,000 tonnes of vegetables reach Navi Mumbai APMC, the main supplier to Mumbai. Some incidents of stopping of vehicles carrying milk and vegetables were reported in Nashik district today. Farmers from many parts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts have joined the agitation which is mainly spearheaded by activists, though parties like Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, an ally of the ruling BJP, have extended moral support to the stir. The demands raised by agitating farmers include waiving farm loans and ensuring a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for their produce. Farmers in Nashik district are opposing acquisition of land for the proposed Super Communication Expressway which will connect Mumbai and Nagpur. According to sources, Mumbaikars may start feeling the pinch due to shortage of vegetables in a day or two while vendors in the suburbs and in Navi Mumbai have already hiked the prices. According to sources, many operators refused to transport vegetables to Mumbai fearing protests by farmers while in Nashik district, all the 15 APMC markets remained shut today as no farmers turned up to sell their produce. People in Nashik city and the district faced hardships due to shortage of vegetables while most milk kiosks also remained closed. Farmers blocked parts of Mumbai-Agra highway near Nashik. They also tried to stop vehicles carrying vegetables to Pune and Gujarat, police said. The agitators also stopped a milk tanker headed towards Gujarat from Nashik at Siddha Pimpri village late last night and emptied it on the road. Meanwhile, the curfew imposed in Yeola town, around 70 km from Nashik, remained in force on the second day as well even as the situation was under control since this morning and no untoward incident has been reported so far, police said. The curfew was imposed yesterday after 14 policemen were injured in stone pelting and police resorted to firing in the air. So far, 50 people have been detained, including some farmers, for their alleged role in yesterday’s incidents of stone pelting and ransacking of trucks carrying vegetables and fruits. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday had accused the opposition NCP and the Congress of instigating farmers while expressing willingness to hold talks with the agitators. A committee has been set up which will suggest measures to resolve farmers’ issues, he had said. On Wednesday night, protesters in Satara, Kolhapur and Nashik districts tried to disrupt supply of vegetables and milk to Mumbai.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Now, adults pay more to visit Byculla zoo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid chaos, the civic standing committee of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cleared a proposal for hike in the entry charge to Byculla Zoo on Friday with an amendment in the proposal. The amendment proposal was mooted by Yashwant Jadhav, leader of House during the meeting for entry charge to the zoo by 50 per cent. According to Jadhav, the entry charge for an adult will be brought down to Rs 50 from the proposed Rs 100, which was accepted. However, there have been no changes for entry fee of families or people visiting the zoo for morning walks.The BJP and Samajwadi Party, however, boycotted the meeting as they sought a discussion on the matter. BJP group leader Manoj Kotak said, “We are not opposing the proposal but the entry charge should be increased only after development of zoo is completed,” adding there must be clarity on why the entry charge is being hiked and what kind of facilities visitors will get. He further said, “The entry charge should not be hiked in order to restrict number of visitors to the zoo.”Raees Shaikh, however, refuted Jadhav’s claim stating that no such proposal was tabled in the group leader meet held in April. “The matter was brought up administration as a general discussion and everyone shared their views and this cannot be taken as their stand,” Shaikh said.AnalysisPenguins have given a new lease of life to Byculla Zoo. While the hike in entry charge may be a subject of discussion for political parties, the renovated zoo has attracted many visitors. Since Mumbaikars will have to shell out more money to visit the zoo, they can expect more animal enclosures.

New CCTVs will help us keep track of the city: Mahesh Narvekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Disaster Management team of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) works hard to ensure that the city is accident-free during monsoons. DNA speaks with BMC’s Chief Officer (Disaster Management) Mahesh Narvekar to understand what precautionary measures have been taken by the department. Excerpts from the interview:What steps has the department taken to ensure the safety of Mumbaikars for monsoon?We start the preparations two months in advance. There are various agencies we have to co-ordinate with and prepare plan accordingly. We conduct meetings with various stakeholders like Army, Navy MMRDA, MHADA, Railways, BEST and others to appraise them about our problems and seek suggestion to be rain-ready. We also share updates on the standard operation procedures about the on the role a particular agency will play if any disaster.How can citizens reach to your department?We have 60 automatic weather stations across the city, which give weather information on different parameters every 15 minutes. From June 1, we are launching an updated mobile application— ‘Disaster Management MCGM’— and a website www.dm.mcgm.gov.in where the citizens can get latest updates on the rainfall, high tide, rail disruptions, traffic diversions, dos and donts and other information. The mobile application also has an SOS feature, which, during any distress will connect users to your family members at the click of a button. It also has emergency tab for fire stations, nearby hospitals, ward offices with an auto dialer facility. The disaster management helpline ‘1916’ is active 24/7.If city faces severe water logging, what steps are taken?The civic body has already set up 313 de-watering pumps. There is an operator at these spots 24/7. We are in constant touch with the operators and take live update from them. We have total 51 hot lines including those for 24 civic wards, plus wireless and radio connections for emergencies. We have 13 officers working at a time in disaster management office at the BMC headquarters, which is active 24/7. Every civic ward office also has a disaster management section. We co-ordinate with the wards and stakeholders during any disaster, and accordingly action is taken. During emergency situation, for instance during water logging, traffic diversions or power failures, a representative from the agency is present in our office at the headquarter for better co-ordination. In case of any major disaster, we have three National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in position.Till last year, we had only 250 to 300 CCTVs to monitor the city. But this year, we have a total of 5,038 CCTVs across the city under the Mumbai City Surveillance project, through which we get real-time updates. Although the main control is with the Mumbai Police, our officers monitor the screens 24/7. This will help in quick response to incidents like tree falls, landslides, building collapses, traffic congestion, etc.How many calls do you get on an average on the helpline?We get around 300 calls in a day on our helpline number. However, during monsoon, we get more than 1,000 calls every day. Maximum calls we get are for tree or branch falling, and then water logging. We also get calls for fires, drowning incidents on beaches, and other civic complaints. In fact, we train our officers who attend calls to keep calm and answer calls patiently. The people calling on the disaster helpline are quite irate and want immediate action. However, we have to explain that the action will be taken by the concerned department.

Suresh Prabhu flags off first Tejas, promises another one soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu flagged off India’s first Tejas Express, which will run between Mumbai CST to Karmali, on Monday, he assured that Mumbaikars can soon expect another Tejas Express running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.Prabhu not only flagged off the train but also inaugurated several passenger amenities, including emergency medical rooms at Kurla, Ghatkopar and Vadala Road; a Foot Over Bridge (FOB) at Kalyan; dedicated FOBs at Dadar, Vadala Road, Chembur and Kurla and an FOB with high walks and links and escalators at Kurla and Dadar; lifts at Dombivli and Ghatkopar.In fact, the minister emphasised that there has already been a demand, and very soon the railways will be running a Tejas train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Incidentally, as per earlier plans, the train was supposed to run between Mumbai and Surat; but given the shorter distance, railway officials feel that Mumbai-Ahmedabad would be perfect. At the same time, the host of facilities offered by the train would become quite popular on the route. The minister also announced that around 40,000 coaches would be retrofitted in the next five years to safer LHB coaches.Meanwhile, MP Arvind Sawant demanded that the Mumbai-Karmali Tejas Express be given a halt at Kankavali as this stop will benefit several people travelling towards the Konkan belt.

BMC, Rlys continue blame game

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ajoy Mehta, Commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Thursday that he is satisfied with the de-silting being carried out between CST and Mankhurd by the Central Railway (CR) along the Harbour Line. Reality, however, has a different story to tell — forget satisfactory, many places still reel under crisis as de-silting in those areas remain to start.Mehta along with DK Sharma, General Manager, CR, went on a joint inspection of the de-silting work between CST to Mankhurd. Surprisingly, even as the inspection was on, trains passed through piles of garbage lining the drains at several locations. CR officials told BMC that most of the garbage came from the slums lining the railway tracks, which come under BMC jurisdiction.The stretches between CST and Mankhurd fall in three different wards of BMC and the railway track in these areas are surrounded by slums. While the civic body has coughed up Rs 2.79 crore for de-silting of the nullahs along the rail tracks, railway officials claim that continuous dumping of waste by slum dwellers has made their work difficult.A senior CR official said that even as they were inspecting the drains around Govandi area, the team saw people from slums throwing garbage over the wall. “We have been asking BMC to improve the waste management across these slums. The Municipal Commissioner asked BMC officials to look into the issue and start fining people for throwing garbage,” said the official.During inspection, BMC was informed that the drains and culverts will be cleaned manually, and trees along the area will be trimmed too.Another railway official said that plastic comprised a major part of this garbage, which was choking the drains at several locations. “We had even fenced the area and sent Railway Protection Force (PRF) staff inside the slums to warn them against throwing garbage, but they claimed that they had no other option. While BMC officials keep claiming that they pay us for cleaning these drains, it is also their duty to manage the waste that is generated,” he said….& ANALYSISMajority of Mumbaikars travel to work and back home on suburban trains. Choked nullahs could lead to water logging on the tracks, which can throw local services out of gear. The civic body is already behind schedule on monsoon preparation as mandatory road surfacing works and de-silting are going on at slow pace. If railway services are also disrupted due to water logging, it will cause massive commute issues.

Petrol pumps to stay open as strike deferred

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a huge respite for Mumbaikars and people across Maharashtra, the Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association (FAMPEDA) has decided to defer their agitation, which was supposed to begin from Sunday.The petrol dealers had last week announced a ‘Work to Rule’ agitation under which the fuel pumps including CNG dispensing stations would remain shut on Sundays beginning May 14. After this, the pumps were to be operational only in one shift (9 am to 6 pm).”We never wanted to cause any inconvenience to people but there was no choice left for us. However, seeing our stand, the three oil companies – Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum – decided to diffuse the situation and decided to call for a meeting with the dealers on May 17,” said Ravi Shinde, President of Petrol Dealers’ Association, adding that post which the dealers decided to defer their agitation.However, Shinde clarified that the next course of action by them will depend on the outcome of the meeting.The main grouse of the petrol dealers was the losses they had been incurring due to rising overheads and oil companies not revising the dealers’ commission despite promises and even signing an agreement.As per petrol dealers, based on the Apoorva Chandra Committee report, the hike in the dealer’s commission had already been approved as 75 paise per litre for petrol and 50 paise per litre for diesel by the oil companies but the companies had been delaying the hike.There are 223 petrol pumps in Mumbai and about 4,700 across Maharashtra that will now remain functional.Even the worried taxi and auto unions had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking his intervention in the matter stating that if the pumps would go on agitation it would leave Mumbai’s transport system paralysed as autos and cabs would have to go off the road.

JD(U) protests stopping of tur procurement in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra unit of Janata Dal (U) today protested against the state government’s decision to stop tur (pigeon pea) procurement. The move will adversely affect farmers, especially those from the suicide-prone regions, the party said. “Last year, the Centre had imported 57 lakh tonne tur dal at a rate of Rs 10,114 per quintal. Our farmers sell the same goods at a rate of Rs 5,050 per quintal. That too has been stopped now. Our farmers are being hoodwinked to benefit international traders,” Kapil Patil, state unit chief of JD(U), said in a statement here. He said to protest the government’s move, tur was brought from Amravati, Karmala and Pandharpur areas and sold outside the gates of Mantralaya (the state secretariat) here by party members. “In just about an hour, 100 kg of tur got sold. Mumbaikars gave a good response to our initiative,” Patil said. Recently, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had demanded increase in the import duty on tur from 10 to 25 per cent to ensure price stability. He had also requested the Centre to purchase tur that arrived at the procurement centres till April 22. The Centre had given an extension to tur procurement on the request of the state government but the final extension ended on April 22.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Respite from heat not far away: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The summer’s first heat wave that had vast regions of the country reeling is set to abate soon as rain showers, coupled with favourable winds, will bring the mercury down. While in the past week, clear skies and the absence of any significant weather system led to a rise in mercury, the impact of a Western Disturbance is going to bring down the mercury from the middle of this week, the Met Department said.The Western Disturbance will cause rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Even, Delhi-National Capital Region is likely to see rainfall due to change in winds, Met officials added.Over the past week, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh witnessed an early heat wave with day temperatures soaring 5-7 degrees Celsius above normal. Across cities like Akola, Jamshedpur, Nagpur, Gwalior and Ahmedabad, maximum temperatures were consistently above 40 degrees Celsius the past week. The early heat wave also led to three deaths in Maharashtra, a state that does not usually witness heat-related deaths. With the abatement of heat wave, temperatures are now expected to come back near normal.In Maharashtra, maximum temperatures in several cities across Vidarbha and central Maharashtra still remained over 40 degrees Celsius. On Sunday, however, the temperature in Mumbai reached 38.4 degrees Celsius.”Mumbaikars can be thankful to the change in wind direction as well as the sea breeze that helped temperatures to drop. On Sunday, the maximum temperature in Colaba was 33 degrees Celsius while Santa Cruz recorded 33.4 degrees Celsius,” said an official from the regional IMD office in Mumbai.Officials said that temperatures across Maharashtra in Vidarbha too will nosedive, but it might take a couple of days. On Sunday, Chandrapur saw a maximum temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, Wardha (43 degrees Celsius), Yavatmal (42.5 degrees Celsius) and Nagpur (42.5 degrees Celsius).

‘Exorbitant charges today!’ Mumbaikars bear the brunt of strike by Ola, Uber drivers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of Ola and Uber drivers are on strike in Mumbai ​on Friday to demand better monthly earnings, among other things. The token strike has been called by the Action Committee of Maharashtra (ACM) against Ola and Uber because the drivers feel that the two companies are not paying heed to their demands and that the business is no longer lucrative, reported Mid-Day.Due to their steadily reducing income, increasing penalties and a cut on the incentive policies at Ola and Uber, the cab drivers have staged this protest, reported Hindustan Times. The new rules under Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules 2017 have further added to the drivers’ grievances.The Indian Express reported that this strike is also in protest of the Maharashtra City Taxi scheme 2017 announced by the state transport department last week.
ALSO READ Forget today’s strike, future tense for Ola, UberRaju Patil of Sangharsh Tourist Chalakh Malak Sangh, which is spearheading the agitation, told The Times of India, “Drivers have been pushed to the wall, which is why they are agitating. Earnings have fallen by more than 50%, incentives have been reduced and many have EMIs for car loans to be repaid. It is a hand-to-mouth existence for many drivers. With thousands of cabs on the roads, it is difficult to survive and get more business. We are also demanding a cap on the number of cabs attached to Ola or Uber.”While talking to TOI, a driver said, “We were promised an income of up to Rs 1 lakh a month when we joined. But with incentives dipping and business affected due to addition of cars on roads, we don’t know what to do. Besides, we have huge car loans to repay.”The ACM claimed that in Mumbai there are 70,000 drivers who drive 30,000-plus cabs belonging to the mobile aggregators in shifts.If the government and the companies do not pay heed to drivers’ demand, they could even go on an indefinite strike from March 21, 2017.Ola or Uber has not made any official statement.The strike has however, inconvenienced several Mumbaikars, with most of them complaining about surge pricing.But a few commuters have found a silver lining; rejoicing less traffic and emptier roads.

Mumbai: Leopard dies after being knocked down by speeding vehicle at Vasai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An adult male leopard was knocked dead by a vehicle on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway near Vasai on Friday night. The incident yet again brings to focus the threat to wildlife from speeding vehicles on the highway, where several leopards have been victim to road accidents.Forest department officials said they received a phone call around 11 pm from Vasai about a leopard lying on the highway near Sativali area close to the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary(TWS). A team from Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was sent to the spot, but they found that the leopard was already dead.”It was an adult male and on examination it was found that the leopard had already died on the spot. It was evident that the vehicle must have been at a high speed and hit the leopard while it was trying to cross the road,” said an official. Dr Shailesh Pethe, veterinary officer SGNP who conducted the postmortem of the leopard revealed that the big cat had multiple fractures due to the impact. “The injuries clearly indicated that due to the severe impact of being hit by the vehicle, there was no chance of its survival,” he said adding that the leopard did not have any external wounds but suffered from severe internal injuries.Infact as per a study carried out under the Mumbaikars for SGNP project in 2012, around 40 leopards were killed in road accidents along SGNP including Vasai and Thane-Ghodbunder area between 1994 to 2011. Wildlife activists have been raising the issue of safe passage for wild animals on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway as well as Thane Ghodbunder area that passes though leopard habitat, asking forest department to study the pattern of leopard crossing and ensure speed restrictions can be applied for vehicles at certain crucial spots.

Cong, NCP allege poll code breach in ad on voting day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress and NCP have taken objection to an advertisement published on the day of civic poll voting here today in some newspapers, featuring actor Aamir Khan appealing to Mumbaikars to vote for transparency and good governance. The opposition parties have alleged that the ad is a violation of the model code of conduct. However, the State Election Commission said it will look into the matter only if someone files a complaint. Notably, the SEC has banned political parties and candidates from issuing advertisements in print and electronic media after end of the campaign. MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant claimed that ‘Mumbai First’, the organisation which gave the full-page ad in the newspapers today, is closely associated with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He alleged that the advertisement is a blatant violation of the code of conduct. “Maharashtra SEC must take action,” he demanded and said that he would meet State Election Commissioner J S Saharia tomorrow with a complaint. “Finding loopholes in law and side-stepping rules and regulations is a criminal mindset. The advertisement is low level politics of BJP,” Sawant charged. NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said as per the new notification of Election Commission, no advertisement can be published 48 hours prior to the polling day. “BJP has a role to play in today’s ads. They (ads) are violation of the code of conduct,” Malik alleged. He also said that NCP will take up the issue with the SEC and ensure an FIR is filed against those involved. Meanwhile, Saharia said his office will take action only if someone approaches it with a complaint. The advertisement, which has appeared in English, Marathi and Hindi dailies, prominently uses words like ‘transparency’, ‘change’, ‘pardarshita’ and ‘parivartan’. These words were used by a party during poll campaign. ‘Transparency’ was the ruling BJP’s main poll plank. Asked about it, Saharia said, “An appeal to voters is fine. If there is a direct campaign by a particular party then only it can be objectionable. If someone approaches SEC with a complaint, we will look into it.” A person in his or her personal capacity can communicate to others regarding exercising their voting right and there should not be a blanket objection to it, Saharia said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Let’s be proud of our Mumbai- Niranjan Hiranandani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In the wake of the ongoing BMC Polls in Mumbai, Niranjan Hiranandani, CMD, Hiranandani Communities has encouraged Mumbaikars to exercise their voting rights and feel proud of their city. Speaking to ANI at the polling booth here today, an elated Hiranandani stressed on the importance of casting votes. ?It feels terrific to vote. We must spread the word across Mumbai persuading people to come down and vote. Mumbai is ours and we should be proud of it,? urged Hiranandani. ?It is displeasing to see that people of Mumbai are not taking initiative to vote. I hope people become more conscious and this reflects in the voting numbers this year,? added Hiranandani. Meanwhile, police has tightened security across the city ahead of the ongoing Mumbai Municipal Corporations elections and are maintaining a strong vigil to avert any untoward incident across the 7,304 polling centres.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Winter still on, but temperatures soar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It may be over three weeks to Holi, but large parts of the country have already witnessed soaring temperatures. On Monday, much like last week, the Delhi-NCR region and other major cities in the northwest and plains continued to experience above-normal temperatures.At Safdarjung, the maximum temperature, 30.8 degrees Celsius, was six degrees above normal, and the minimum temperature, 16.4 degree Celsius, was five degrees above normal. The Ridge area was the hottest area in the capital on Monday, recording 31.5 degrees Celsius.In Mumbai, the maximum temperature was 34.6 degrees Celsius, four degrees above normal, on Monday. Even on the western coast, Mumbaikars are coping with sultry weather as daytime temperatures are above normal, hovering between 34 and 36 degrees Celsius.Weathermen explained that a western disturbance, currently passing over Jammu and Kashmir, has resulted in warm and dry conditions. A western disturbance is an extra tropical storm that originates in the Mediterranean Sea and travels eastwards carrying icy winds and heavy moisture.According to IMD, temperatures tend to rise whenever western disturbance approaches and passes over the upper reaches of the country. Once the western disturbance crosses past the Himalayas, the weather conditions tend to turn cooler. “There is an infusion of cold air after the passage of a western disturbance and we are expecting temperatures to fall by 2-4 degrees in the coming days. Subsequently, we have to see if the conditions stabilise,” said KJ Ramesh, Director General, IMD.Dip aheadThough there is a forecast for a marginal drop in temperature this week across the northwest and in the plains, the Met department said temperatures are not likely to drop below normal. “The temperatures are above normal due to the passage of a western disturbance. The warm easterly winds are also a cause for the rise in mercury. There has been snowfall and rainfall in parts of the Kashmir Valley and Punjab but that has not helped bring down temperatures in the capital,” said Sathi Devi, scientist, National Weather Forecasting Centre (NWFC).

Give solemn commitment of not joining hands: Cong to BJP, Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress today challenged BJP and Shiv Sena to give a solemn commitment to Mumbaikars of not joining hands post the February 21 election to the city’s civic body. “BJP and Shiv Sena are issuing ‘talaq’ in the morning, but they are sure to get married again in the evening,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here. “Give a solemn commitment to Mumbaikars of not joining hands post-elections to grab power and share spoils in the BMC,” he added. BJP and Shiv Sena are going solo in the BMC polls. Hitting out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ billboard campaign ‘It is my word’, Surjewala said “his words are only false promises”. “In 2015-16, why did the BJP allocate only Rs 3,380 crore for providing facilities in Mumbai when the Congress, several years ago in 2010-2011, had allocated Rs 6,143 crore?,” he asked. “Why audits of over Rs 1 lakh crore are still pending in the BMC,” the spokesperson questioned. He also slammed the Maharashtra government for “failing to appoint a Lokayukta despite over 4,500 pending cases”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP has realised mistake, but no post-poll pact in Mumbai:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Locked in a grim battle with BJP in the civic polls here, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today ruled out any post-poll pact with the estranged ally even as he claimed the saffron party, having “understood its mistake”, is eyeing a reconciliation. Keeping up its diatribe against BJP, Sena taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “rain coat” jibe against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and heaped praises on Congress for “leading the country in the path of development” after independence. “(BJP President) Amit Shah says it is a friendly match between them (in BMC polls). It only means that they have realised their mistake. They have understood that they have taken wrong steps and it will be difficult for them to fight the anger of Mumbaikars. Thus, they are now trying to get back to us,” Thackeray said in an interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. Shah had last Sunday said there were no differences with Sena and that he hoped its decision to contest the Maharashtra civic polls independently was not going to cause damage to the alliance. “But why should I compromise with them now? Why should I hug you once I have seen the evil thoughts in your mind. A compromise will never happen. It is not possible. I am firm now. Had I not been firm, I would not have announced that I am carving a new way for my party in future,” he asserted. On the question if his party would withdraw support to the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, he said, “I will have to think about it… If they are thinking of dividing the state by unscrupulous means, I will have to seriously think about giving them support,” he said, alluding to the BJP’s advocacy of smaller states. “They cannot become devotees of Shivaji Maharaj by merely doing ‘jal pujan’ for his memorial (off Mumbai coast),” Uddhav said. Shiv Sena is going it alone in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, targeting BJP as its main rival, despite the contest being multi-cornered with Congress and NCP are also in the fray. Needling the BJP further, an editorial in ‘Saamana’ hailed the development works done by Congress governments at the Centre and targeted Modi, saying he is not ready to admit the “chaos” created by demonetisation. About Modi’s “raincoat” barb against his predecessor Manmohan Singh, it said being in power with the corrupt is also corruption. “But for the work done by the Congress governments, Modi would be governing a backward nation in Africa,” the Sena publication asserted. (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP eyeing patch-up with Sena on realising ‘mistake’: Uddhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today claimed that the BJP was eyeing a reconciliation with it as they have “understood their mistake”, even as he ruled out any possibility of an alliance with it after the BMC elections. “(BJP president) Amit Shah says it is a friendly match between them (in BMC polls). It only means that they have realised their mistake. They have understood that they have taken wrong steps and it will be difficult for them to fight the anger of Mumbaikars. Thus, they are now trying to get back to us,” Thackeray said. He was responding to a question posed to him in an interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. Shah had last Sunday said there were no differences with the Sena and that he hoped its decision to contest the Maharashtra civic polls independently was not going to cause damage to the alliance. “But why should I compromise with them now? Why should I hug you once I have seen the evil thoughts in your mind. A compromise will never happen. It is not possible. I am firm now. Had I not been firm, I would not have announced that I am carving a new way for my party in future,” he said. Asked if he would withdraw support to BJP in Maharashtra, Thackeray said, “I will have to think about it… If they are thinking of dividing the state by unscrupulous means, I will have to seriously think about giving them support. They cannot become devotees of Shivaji Maharaj by merely doing jal pujan for his memorial.” Shiv Sena recently snapped ties with BJP in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country’s richest civic body, the elections for which are scheduled on February 21.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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

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

Delhi makes fun of Mumbai winter on Twitter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai winters are considered something of a joke to the rest of India. Well, let’s leave out Chennai over here because even at 20 degrees Celsius, you see people covering their heads. But for people living in central, east, northeast and north India, Mumbai winters are a joke.So when the temperature hit a 12.6 degrees minimum on Tuesday, Mumbaikars got their winter wear out. While it’s not like a trip to the Himalayas, there were people covering their heads, some were seen wearing mufflers and people at office were seen dressing up warmly because of the collective brain freeze from the temperatures outside and the blast of the air conditioner inside.Many people took to Twitter and Instagram to share their Mumbai winter experience. There were selfies of people in their winter best using hashtags #mumbaiwinter and #cold. By this time, residents of Delhi, who have been braving a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, had enough and began drawing parallels between the respective winters of the two metropolises.Here’s what Mumbaikars said,And this is how Delhi responded,

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