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Broken TV, gold jewellery replaced after consumer body intervenes

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 30 Juli 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The city-based Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), whose legal arm takes up consumer grievances on a weekly basis, solved four major disputes involving high profile companies and service providers in its latest session.

Dr M S Kamath, honorary secretary of CGSI, said, "The first complaint was from a consumer who had purchased a 40-inch Samsung LED television set from the e-commerce site eBay. He did not receive the physical warranty card despite a long wait. After six months the TV stopped working. When he complained, he was told that the set would be replaced. The replacement package arrived through Blue Dart Courier, but when the buyer opened it, he found the TV set broken. He wrote to eBay asking for a proper replacement but repeated letters drew no response. The company made the consumer undergo an interminable wait after which he requested a refund. That too fell on deaf ears. The complaint was brought to CGSI and with our intervention he got relief. eBay refunded his money."

Another consumer had purchased 24-carat gold biscuits from a jeweller and handed them over to him for making 22-carat gold jewellery. However, when the ornaments were delivered, he discovered a discrepancy in the rate of gold and the weight of the jewellery. Repeat complaints went unheard and he approached the consumer body. The matter was resolved at a meeting between both parties at the CGSI office.

"In the third case, a consumer used a credit card of ICICI Bank on a regular basis and diligently paid his bills. However, he was shocked to receive bills charging a late fee and penalty on interest although no bills had been received for that period. He kept requesting for the 'missing' bills but none were provided. Meanwhile, recovery agents started calling and hounding him. CGSI was brought into the picture and through mediation with the bank the matter has been solved," Kamath said.

The fourth matter involved post office deposits. The head of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) invested a fairly large amount of money to buy Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP). The post office accepted the money and issued the KVP although HUFs are not allowed to invest in this scheme. At the time of maturity, though, he was informed about this loophole and the post office denied his claim. He made several visits to the office of the Postmaster General and wrote letters to no avail. Hoping for a fair resolution he approached CGSI. The consumer body intervened and the investor shall receive his dues shortly.

CGSI is a leading consumer organisation that was founded in 1966 and has acquired a reputation for working to protect consumer interest. Its consumer complaints redressal wing receives several complaints which the legal aid cell processes. "We first write a letter to the goods and service provider to resolve the matter amicably with the complainant. If this fails, our legal arm guides the complainant to move forward with legal remedies. Each complaint is addressed personally and we charge a nominal fee of Rs 150-250 per case," Dr Kamath said.

CGSI also conducts consumer education drives, seminars and exhibitions to spread consumer awareness among urban poor and rural areas. It carries out testing of consumer products and publishes a bi-monthly magazine named 'Keemat'.

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Awareness on waste management for 2 lakh students

MUMBAI: Tata Power's Club Enerji has announced the launch of "waste management module" as part of its resource conservation programme.

The module will lay emphasis on saving water, fuel, paper, and electricity. It will also involve imparting knowledge on fuel conservation, water management and energy conservation to thousands of students.

"The objective of the waste management module is to educate students about the repercussions of waste dumping on the environment, and its impact on the quality of soil, air and the ecosystem as a whole. The module aims to provide a platform to more than 2 lakh students to share and expand their understanding, thereby, bringing about a chain-reaction that can significantly reduce generation of waste and increase efficient waste management in the country," said a Tata Power official.

Speaking on this initiative, Tata Power managing director Anil Sardana said: "Today's youth are tomorrow's decision makers, and it is vital to mobilise and educate them with the knowledge that will help bring about an important change. Club Enerji aims to spread the message further to their families and reach out to the communities at large. The module also encourages students to form their own mini clubs in their societies to reach out to more citizens."

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Central Railway train services affected due to heavy rain

MUMBAI: Long distance and suburban trains services on the Central Railway were disrupted due to heavy rain for the past two days.

Suburban trains were running late by 20 to 30 minutes early Wednesday.

Boulders fell between the towns of Kasara and Igatpuri and held up long distance services coming to Mumbai.

A CR spokesperson said, "Due to heavy rain, a boulder fell around 4km from Igatpuri resulting in an overhead breakdown on up line at 8.30am. This has resulted in delay."

He added that 12262 Howrah-Mumbai Duranto and 13201 Patna-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express were held up since 8.30am.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Heavy rain in Maharashtra,Central Railway train services,central railway

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13/7 Mumbai blasts: Arrested hawala operator's custody extended

MUMBAI: A special MCOCA court extended the police custody of alleged 13/7 Mumbai blasts financer Abdul Mateen Damada who was nabbed in Goa last week.

Chief public prosecutor Kalpana Chavan, while seeking the extension, told the court that it was needed to be ascertained if there were others who also helped finance the blasts. "The trail of the money needs to be found," she argued. The court granted custody till August 2.

Damada is suspected to have sent Rs 10 lakh through hawala to India.

The accused was detained at Goa airport when he arrived there from Dubai. He was going to his hometown, Bhatkal, after almost five years. Damada's name in the earlier chargesheet was mentioned as Mateen alias Farooque (wanted accused).

Till date, eight accused, including Damada, have been arrested in the 13/7 bomb blasts when 27 people were killed at Oepra House, Zaveri Bazar and near a bus stop at Dadar.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Abdul Mateen Damada,13/7 Mumbai blasts

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New buses for Metro Rail in Andheri go practically empty

MUMBAI: Over a month after BEST inaugurated a new bus service especially for Metro Rail users in Mumbai, residents have spotted the new route go practically empty, even during peak hour. Mumbai's first Metro Rail project from Versova to Ghatkopar was launched June 8.

Since June 25, spanking new buses have been plying along two feeder routes named 'Metro Pheri 1' and 'Metro Pheri 2' for passengers who wish to connect with the three Metro Rail stations along J P Road in Andheri (West).

"Particularly during this week when it has been raining so heavily, all other bus routes in Andheri are packed to capacity, except the Metro Pheri. You will barely see two or three passengers here because this ring route plies a short distance. It is a pity to see shiny new mini-buses operate unnecessarily when they could be pressed into service to ease passenger load on other crowded routes," said Sriram Shetty, a shopkeeper at Veera Desai Road.

Locals say there was no need to launch a special feeder bus route to the Metro rail stations. Ravi Jiandani, a resident of Lokhandwala Complex, said, "The Metro Rail line is located along the arterial JP Road where several buses already ply. Most passengers utilize routes with better frequency like 266, 249, 251, 252 and 254 to travel to Andheri station, and they alight along the Metro line if they wish. They can hardly be bothered to wait for the Metro Pheri which arrives only after 15-20 minutes."

He points out that a group of visually challenged youths, who board bus route 266 from Lokhandwala for Andheri station every afternoon, sometimes alight at Indian Oil junction and climb to the D N Nagar Metro station.

In fact residents of faraway suburbs like Goregaon and Borivli wish that special bus routes were started for them to join the Metro line in Andheri.

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Women lawyers face discrimination too, say legal eagles

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) organized a state-level conference of lawyers "with a view to ensure the dignity, safety, empowerment and freedom of women in Maharashtra". The gathering comprising leading lights of the judiciary met at Y B Chavan Auditorium in Mumbai on July 26.

Supreme Court justice Ranjana Desai, chief justice of the Bombay high court Mohit Shah, registrar of the Bombay high court Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi and advocate Susiieben Shah who is chairperson of the women's commission were present along with other dignitaries. Minister Varsha Gaikwad who heads the department for women and child development (WCD) as well as Fauzia Khan, state minister WCD, addressed the audience. Principal secretary, WCD, Ujjwal Uke, and Sangitrao Patil, secretary, law & judiciary, headed different sessions.

The seminar was divided into two segments and addressed topics like sexual violence against women and children, rights of women in NRI marriages and the formulation of a local complaints committee and an internal complaints committee. The laws may read well in principle but it is their implementation that often poses a problem. The panelists debated the difficulties that mar the effective enforcement of laws related to women, particularly the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005).

Property rights, social and economic issues as well as the hurdles that lawyers and public prosecutors are forced to overcome before they can successfully implement women-friendly laws were also a matter of concern.

Drawing attention to the extent of the malaise, Justice Desai pointed out that women lawyers themselves face various forms of discrimination as well as gender bias during the course of work. She urged that women must have a share in governance.

Justice Shah informed the gathering about his effort to build washrooms for women in lawcourts and also to ensure that women lawyers receive their due. Susiieben Shah meanwhile drew attention to an initiative named 'Ignore No More'. She invited all stakeholders to join hands to fight violence and improve the status and dignity of women.

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Aided schools get grant after 10 years

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 29 Juli 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In a major relief to the state's aided schools, the education department has finally disbursed non-salary grant, which was discontinued in 2004. While the decision to resume the grant was taken way back in October 2012, schools received the money only recently and many complained that the amount was not enough.

A committee set up to review the demands to resume the non-salary grant had fixed the amount at 5% of the salary grant according to the 2008-2009 pay scale. "We received the non-salary grant after over 10 years. As the fund is based on the 2008-2009 pay scale, it is only about 3% of the current pay scale based on the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations," said Najma Kazi, principal of Anjuman-I-Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls' High School, Byculla. The state has set aside over Rs 266 crore for the grant.

"The cash-strapped aided schools were largely affected as there wasn't enough money to invest in infrastructure. Some schools could not even appoint enough teachers owing to the lack of funds," said Fr Francis Swamy, joint secretary, Archdiocesan Board of Education, which governs over 150 schools across the city.

About institutes that have not received the grant yet, deputy director of education N B Chavan said, "Some schools might not have received the fund because they might have provided incorrect account details or are yet to fulfil RTE norms."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=state's aided schools,non-salary grant,Education department

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'Insurance cover for acid attack victims soon’

MUMBAI: Acid attacks victims may soon have help at hand, with an NGO pushing the Centre to frame a comprehensive insurance policy that covers their medical treatment. In addition, a psycho-social-cum-burn rehabilitation centre is being set up by the organization for the victims.

"Given the speed with which the current government is passing proposals, we are very hopeful of getting the insurance cover for these victims by the end of this year," said Rahul Varma, CEO and managing director, Acid Survivors Foundation, Kolkata. He said this in the sidelines of a campaign announcement in the city on Monday.

Maharashtra alone has seen around 35 cases of acid attacks, of which 25 have been registered in Mumbai alone in the past three years. More recently, two women from the outskirts of the city were the latest victims of acid attack.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=NGO,insurance policy,centre,Acid attacks victims

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Plan to lease out gyms, libraries under new caretaker policy

MUMBAI: In spite of multiple bad experiences of private parties misusing civic plots given to them for maintenance, the BMC yet again plans to lease out gymnasiums, community welfare centres and libraries on caretaker basis.

The BMC has framed a new policy to allot buildings for public purposes such as schools, dispensaries, libraries, welfare centres, gymnasiums and community welfare centres on caretaker basis for 10 years. Also, schools and sports complexes, built under the civic accommodation-reservation policy that offers an extra FSI to the owner of the plot for building the structures for the BMC, will be included in the scheme.

The policy will be tabled before the civic improvements committee on Wednesday. A seven-member panel, led by additional municipal commissioner, will be formed to take decisions on the allotments. Till now, the BMC has been leasing out its buildings for public purposes on caretaker basis but without a policy for it.

Under the proposed system, any institute with an annual turnover of above Rs 10 lakh, will be entitled to take a 500-sq-m-or-above building on lease. An institute, which has a turnover of over Rs 2 lakh, will be entitled for 100- to 500-sq-m structure, and those with a turnover of below Rs 50,000 will be entitled for a building less than 100 sq-m. Structures built with MP, MLA, state or Centre fund will also be part of the proposed policy.

The scheme mentions that preference will be given to the nearest social institute. And, if any private party does not fulfil the leave and license agreement, the municipal commissioner can cancel the deal prior to the usual 30-day notice.

The Congress has strongly opposed the policy. "Why would the BMC not take care of its own property and use it for public welfare?" said Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader in the BMC.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=private parties,gymnasiums,community welfare centres,civic plots,BMC

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HC: Govt acquired land for temple for public purpose

MUMBAI: A decade after the Maharashtra government acquired a plot of private land for the Siddhivinayak temple in order to create facilities for devotees, the Bombay high court ruled that the acquisition was for a "public purpose." A division bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Amjad Sayed settled a 14-year legal dispute and dismissed a petition challenging the acquisition proceedings by a firm who were tenants on the land adjacent to the temple.

The Siddhivinayak temple is one of Mumbai's most famous shrines. Around 55,000 devotees visit the temple every day, while on special days like Chaturthis, the numbers touch 20 lakh.

The judges said it could not be denied that the adjacent plots were being used for long for the public at large, including devotees of all communities. "The submission that the whole acquisition procedure is malafide and colourable exercise of powers and/or arbitrary, is unacceptable. We are inclined to observe that in the present facts and circumstances, the acquisition was for the public purpose and in the interest of public," said the judges. The HC said though the acquisition was not for the state or the BMC and was for a public charitable trust, "it is well within the framework of law, power and authority."

The dispute was over a 642-square metre plot which was tenanted to Sadanand Garages. There were talks between the temple trust and the owners of the land to purchase the property, but the talks ultimately did not go ahead. In 2002, on a request by the trust, the state government initiated proceedings to acquire the land for constructing a waiting hall and rest house for devotees. In 2004, the acquisition proceedings were finalised, with the owners being paid over Rs 1.38 crore, and the tenants were to be given around Rs 43 lakh. The owners accepted it but the tenants challenged the acquisition proceedings in court.

The HC said there were talks to transfer the property and the dispute had only been over the amount of compensation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Siddhivinayak Temple,private land,Maharashtra government,Devotees

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