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‘Culture centres must be part of devpt plan’

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 21 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Emphasizing on the need to significantly enhance the city's cultural vibrancy, and place it on the global map, city activists met on Saturday to discuss a culture policy for Mumbai. Activists spoke of ways in which the city's cultural heritage could be promoted and maintained, at the discussion organized by Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

A draft resolution was placed for the consideration of participants, considering that Mumbai, one of the first cities of India, occupies a special place in the cultural life of India, said activists.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of ORF, Mumbai, said that they plan to seek a meeting with the minister for cultural affairs once they receive inputs from various activists. "We plan to sensitize the minister of problems that the city faces vis-a-vis art and culture. A proper documentation of whatever is discussed today will be presented before him," said Kulkarni.

Activists discussed the deficiency of open air theatres in the city, and about open spaces, like Cross Maidan, which cannot be explored completely.

Activists said that as Mumbai's development plan for the next 20 years is being finalized, this was the time for making adequate provisioning for infrastructure for various cultural purposes and amenities.

Valsa Nair Singh, secretary, department of tourism and culture, Government of Maharashtra also provided inputs.

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20 BMC workers found infected with tuberculosis

MUMBAI: As many as 20 staff members of Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been found infected with tuberculosis at a health camp here.

During the health camps held on Saturday in suburban Mumbai to mark the death anniversary of Sant Gadgebaba Maharaj, the original proponent of cleanliness for good health, 20 conservancy staff members (safai kamgars) out of nearly 400 examined by doctors were found infected with tuberculosis, according to an NGO which organized the camp.

The health camps were organized at the solid waste management outpost at Kamani junction in Kurla and at the outpost located in Mhada colony, Chandivili, by a group of NGOs like Panchsheel Mahila Mandal, Athak Seva Sangh and Mahatma Gandhi community centre.

"Recently, the BMC corporators had discussed the health situation of its conservancy staff and the rising cases of deaths of its workers. In the backdrop of this concern, 20 conservancy staff infected with TB at various stages being found at the health camp is serious," said RTI activist Anil Galgali, who heads the Athak Seva Sangh.

Two serious cases have been recommended to Sion Hospital for further treatment, he said.

"These conservancy staff work hard for the cleanliness of Mumbai, hence their health should be of prime importance," Galgali said.

Unless and until the importance of cleanliness is explained to every individual, the goal of complete cleanliness cannot be achieved, said Sudheendra Kulkarni, of Mahatma Gandhi community centre.

Mumbai L-ward's assistant municipal commissioner Prashant Sapkale said he would ensure health check of all staff members in his civic ward.

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For these Nerul students, there is no controversy over learning Sanskrit

While the government toys with the idea of making Sanskrit a compulsory subject in schools, the 25 boarders of the Ved Pathshala located on the SIES College campus in Nerul, are oblivious to controversy. Guided by Sunder Sharma, principal of the Ved Institute, the boys that reside in a hostel on the campus, spend a good three hours a day, in two shifts, mastering the hymns and texts of the rigveda, yajurveda and samarveda.

Irrespective of whether Sanskrit is obligatory or not, these boarders start learning it from the time they enrol. Anand Iyer, a Class X student from Tamil Nadu, can read, write and speak Sanskrit. "As an ancient Indian language, we take pride in learning it. What is the fuss about," he asks. Sunder admits that Sanskrit is difficult to master, especially speaking as impeccable Sanskrit speech comes only with regular practice. He said learning Sanskrit should not be forced, the quest should come from within. "Sanskrit is our culture, and if we don't try to keep it alive, it will be forgotten," he added.

The Ved Pathshala, which was set up in 2003, is part of curriculum for the students, who study at the nearby State Bank Public School. Every day, they gather on the third-floor of their residence, a bare but large and airy room, with Sunder, who guides them with diction and pronunciation. "The boys come from all over—Nashik, Pune, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but share a uniform love for Sanskrit. At the end of each academic year, ved examinations are held before they return home for a 40-day summer break," explained Sunder. "The subject controversy doesn't affect these boys as they have accepted that learning Sanskrit is part of their curriculum, so, in a way, they are quite indifferent to it," he said.

"I enjoy learning Sanskrit, since it is culturally significant," said Alok Utpat, a Class III student from Pune. Likewise, a Class I student, Vedant Joshi, from Pune said he is just beginning to learn the vedas, but hopefully, in a few years, he should be able to master them. "Since I am new to the language, it is a bit tough, but that is the case with most of the younger boys. As time passes, we get better," he said. Sanokar Kulkarni, also a class I student from Pune, has never dabbled in Sanskrit before, but the eagerness shown by the older boys is encouraging for him.

Sunder said the classes are structured and reciting vedas aloud helps the kids remember the sequence as well as the emphasis on certain words in the verses. Kaushik Kaveri from Sangli, a Class IV student, said regular practice is a must to gain better understanding of Sanskrit. "Three hours may seem like a long time, but it's basically recitals. Once we get used to it, the hours pass quickly," he said.

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Jumpstart Sunday with coffee art and capoeira

Equal Streets is back with a plethora of new workshops including charcoal and coffee powder art workshops, self-defence training, and a sport and fitness programme for kids. Those addicted to Zumba's high-energy workout can try their hand at Folka this week, a new group-dance fitness routine inspired by Indian folk music. Kids can practise their swing at a mini-tennis enclosure on SV Road, while adults introspect during a session on Chinese spiritual discipline Falun Dafa.

Last Sunday, over 50,000 Mumbaikars turned up to show their support for the Equal Streets initiative, which closes a 6.5km Bandra-Santacruz stretch to motorized vehicles from 7 to 11am. This will be the seventh Sunday of the movement, which is brought to Mumbai by NGOs, think tanks, citizens' associations and cycling groups and supported by the BMC, Mumbai police and the Times of India. The goal is to remind Mumbaikars that pedestrians and cyclists should have equal access to public roads, which are currently dominated by motorized vehicles.

Besides regular activities like yoga, aerobics nd street graffiti, there will be artists painting live and a blank canvas for people to pen their thoughts.

Both the charcoal art and coffee essence workshops will be conducted by artist Trishna Patnaik. International hockey player Edgar Mascarenhas will set up a sports conditioning and fitness training arena for tots and teens, while the Sport Gurukul will encourage both parents and kids to burn a few calories.

Last Sunday, a troupe of capoeiristas from Brazil traipsed down Linking Road playing instruments like the berimbau (a single-string percussion instrument) and doing cartwheels. This week, the Center of Capoeira India will conduct a special session for kids.

While parents make the most of the empty streets by teaching their kids to cycle and skate, enthusiastic grandparents — grandkids in tow — are also ubiquitous. Riddhima Sainani had attended the Yoga for Kids session a few weeks ago with her 1.5-year-old daughter. "She's too small to do yoga but it's a great way to introduce her to outdoor sports," said Sainani.

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Report abuse at Bhandup school, cops urge parents

MUMBAI: The police have put up posters outside the Bhandup school, where a junior KG (4) student had been sexually assaulted by one of its staffer, Kesari Upadhaya, on December 9, asking parents to come forward and register a complaint if any of their wards too had undergone similar trauma.

The sexual assault on the junior KG student came to light a week after the incident. Upadhaya, known as Chhota Sir among students, has been booked under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO). He has been remanded in police custody.

The posters were put up after reports in media stated that more children had been molested by Upadhaya at the school. "We are looking at all angles. We have requested parents to register complaints if their children had been sexually molested. It been two days, but no one has come forward," said Bhandup police senior inspector P Chavan. The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also taken up suo motu cognizance of the case.

The police are also if there is any illegality in the school. The BMC, which regulates primary schools in the city, said that the institute's secondary section had required permission for the primary section. "We regulate primary sections; the incident took place at the pre-primary section. So, we cannot initiate any action," said a BMC official.

Education inspector (north zone) Anil Sable said, "A field officer will visit the school on Monday and check if there has been any illegality. Though, the pre-primary section is not under us, we will investigate to avoid any more incidents."

Pre-schools do not need permissions or approvals from any authority. Experts said the government needs to look into the growing number of unregulated pre-schools. "Neither the education department nor the civic bodies takes the responsibility to ensure security measures or academic requirements at pre-schools. Safety of children is at risk," said Swati Popat Vats, president, Early Childhood Association.

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Mumbai cops to file FIR for negeligence

MUMBAI: Mumbai Police, probing the finger crushing accident of a 13-year-old boy in a chapati making machine at juvenile remand home, said it will file an FIR for negligence. Initially, the remand home authorities told police that the boy's fingers were crushed in a jammed door.

Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police, south region, said, "Our police team is busy in recording the statements and trying to understand the sequence of events. Till now we have found that it's a case of negeligence." There are more than 300 children at Dongri's remand home including those who commit criminal offence and the run away children. It has now transpired that the boy was cleaning a chapati making machine and four of his fingers got crushed into it last week. He was admitted to JJ Hospital where police was told about the jammed door story.

"We do not force children to make chapatis. We have a cook for making chapatis. We have suspended the cook, Vikram Khalambe, for his careless behavior. Sources said that while other boys were cleaning the machines, the victim also tried his hand. He put his hand inside the machine to clean it and all of a sudden his four fingers got crushed. Hearing his scream for help, he was immediately taken to the hospital. The cook was in another corner at the time of the incident," said a police source.

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Auto driver uses phone found in rick for extortion

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 20 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: An autorickshaw driver and his friend, were arrested on Friday for allegedly making extortion calls to a builder by posing as a gangster's aides. Ghatkopar residents Marrof Sayed Ali and Parvez Khan were caught while accepting Rs 5 lakh, said officials of the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai police.

The two allegedly made calls using a cellphone forgotten by a passenger in Ali's autorickshaw.

The builder, to whom the calls were made, approached joint commissioner of police (crime) Sadanand Date to complain about calls from a person called Shahid Lala. The callers demanded Rs 10 lakh. Senior inspector Vinayak Vast said the builder was told to strike a deal. The first instalment of Rs 5 lakh was to be paid in Ghatkopar on Friday when they were nabbed. advised.

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Sheru, stray dog hit by 26/11 terrorist's bullet, dies at animal hospital

MUMBAI: Sheru, the stray dog who was hit by a bullet in the 26/11 terror attack, died of a cardiac arrest at the animal hospital in Parel around 7.30 on Saturday morning. The ailing dog, believed to be around 14 years old, had also developed a leg injury recently, said Dr MayurDangar, manager at Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as SPCA. "While this leg injury was healing for quite a long time, it was not the cause of Sheru's death. He died of a cardiac arrest," said Dr Dangar.

The stray canine which lived on the streets outside CST, one of the spots targeted by the terrorists, had been admitted to the animal hospital soon after it was hit by a gunman's bullet in the 26/11 terror attack six years ago. Sheru had been hit by two bullets. One of the bullets in Sheru's back was extricated during a surgery conducted at the hospital while the other was still lodged in his neck.

This bullet, said Dr Dangar, had pierced the dog's respiratory tract. "Had we tried to remove this bullet, it would have damaged Sheru's respiratory tract," said Dr Dangar.

The dog was being sponsored by a benefactor, said an official at the hospital, adding that the sponsor's identity could not be revealed.

Sheru's funeral is slated to be held around noon at the animal hospital today.

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Bldr’s appeal seeking stay on razing Borivli tower to be heard on Jan 7

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday placed the matter for hearing for interim stay on demolition of Aditya Towers in Borivli (W) to January 7. The appeal for stay had been moved by developer Girish Patel.

The Dindoshi city civil court in its order last month had held that the permission granted by the BMC for use of additional floor space index and transfer of development rights of the entire plot was illegal. It had also pointed out that the developer did not have the informed and specific consent of the Nand Dham Society that was built earlier on the same plot to use the FSI and TDR.

Advocate Jitendra Damani said the petitioner had not submitted all the requisite documents. "Besides, the city civil court order execution is stayed till January 8," he said.

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New anti-pollution norms for ready-mix concrete plants soon

MUMBAI: Ready-mix concrete (RMC) plants in the city will not be allowed within 200m of schools, colleges, hospitals and courts and they must maintain a 100-m buffer zone from residential areas as well as arterial roads and highways. RMC plants will be allowed to function only during the day and the operator will have to file an affidavit stating that all conditions for operating the plant will be complied with.

These are some of the measures suggested by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in the draft guidelines for RMC plants in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The board has sought suggestions and objections to its guidelines within 30 days.

While RMC plants were earlier banned within municipal limits, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find space to set up such plants necessary for the construction industry. Hence, the MPCB has decided to frame guidelines to regulate them.

To prevent air pollution, the draft guidelines have recommended covering all material transfer points and tree plantation along the periphery of the RMC plant. The draft guidelines also suggested a separate drainage system and water treatment facility. The MPCB will give old plants one year to implement the norms. No consent to operate will be given unless these conditions are fulfilled by new plants too, said Rajiv Mital, member secretary, MPCB.

Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, said, "Air pollution is affecting the city badly; the health of citizens must be taken seriously. The building industry can afford to implement these measures in phases."

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