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Mumbai High Court allows New Year's eve party to continue till 5am

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 31 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Bombay HC has allowed New Year's eve parties to continue till 5am to usher in 2014. The HC came to the rescue of party revelers and more than 8,000 small hotels and restaurants as it set aside the dictat of the Mumbai police which placed a 1.30am curfew on December 31st partying.

"What's the logic?" Vacation judge Justice Gautam Patel asked. He said, "in my opinion no valid reason to clamp down on what little is left of this city's once thriving social and night life."


22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

MoU signed for research in health sciences

MUMBAI: The Venus Medicine Research Centre (VMRC), the research wing of Venus Remedies Ltd in Baddi which has been accredited for laboratory practices (GLP), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot to undertake collaborative research projects and academic programmes.

Dr Manu Chaudhary, Director, Research, VMRC, signed the MoU with BFUHS Vice-Chancellor Dr SS Gill in the presence of Dr Praveen Bansal, Director, Research, BFUHS, Satpal Singh, Joint Registrar, BFUHS, and Dr Renu Bansal, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, a constituent of BFUHS.

Speaking about the scope of the new agreement, Chaudhary said, "We have found just the right partner in BFUHS to take our research work forward. Together, the VMRC and BFUHS will open new frontiers for high-end research in India, particularly in the fields of oncology, anti-infectives and pain management."

The VMRC already has research collaborations with University of Illinois, Chicago; Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh; Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh; the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali; Guru Jambeshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar; Procdane Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hyderabad; Sri Ram Medical College, Chennai; Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad; King George Medical College, Lucknow and Amity University, Noida.


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6-day cultural treat from Jan 3

MUMBAI: A six-day cultural festival will capture the city's spirit with a variety of programmes, from popular Bollywood tunes to classical music and soulful Sufi concerts.

The state government's 'Saptarang 2014' will start at Gateway of India on January 3 with performances by singer Shankar Mahadevan and south Indian percussionists A Selvaganesh, Vikku Vinayakram and A Sivamani. Next day, singer Roopkumar Rathod will be there with sufi music while Bhupinder and Mitali Singh will sing ghazals. The Gateway show will end with performances of Hindustani musician Kishori Amonkar and composers Salim-Sulaiman on January 5.

The show, which will move to Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium in Navi Mumbai on January 6 and 7, will have a 'tamasha' programme after honouring artist Prabha Shivanekar. A cultural programme called 'My Marathi' will depict Maharashtra's cultural diversity.

At the grand finale at Thane's Kashinat Ghanekar Natyagriha on January 8 and 9, there will be Naman Natawara programme. Theatre personalities Aroon Kakade and Ramdas Kamat will be honoured. The show will end with 'Tu Sur Ka Sagar Hai', a tribute concert featuring the popular songs of the late Manna Dey. The show, to be inaugurated by the CM, is open to all, said Ashutosh Ghorpade, director of cultural affairs. Free passes will be available at Rhythm House, Fort; Maharashtra Watch Company, Dadar; Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi; Gadkari Rangayatan, Thane, and Vishnudas Bhave Natyagriha, Vashi. For details, log onto www.saptarang.info


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Actor Farooque Shaikh laid to rest

MUMBAI: A colourful world turned to monochrome as the sun went down on Monday. Farooque Shaikh, one of the finest actors and human beings in the entertainment industry, was laid to rest, two days after he passed away of cardiac arrest in Dubai.

Grave no. 175 in the Four Bungalows Muslim Kabrastan became the final resting place. Shaikh was buried in the shadow of his mother Farida's grave. Poet Kaifi Azmi rests in the adjacent plot.

The ambulance bearing his remains arrived home to Highland Park in Lokhandwala Complex at 5.40 pm. Around 5,000 people, some of whom mirrored his taste for white, kept a respectful distance.

Every mourner was there to celebrate the life of a man who had lived up to his name. 'Farooque' means 'the discerning one'. It is the title of Hazrat Umar, the second caliph of Islam.

Shaikh's wife Roopa (Ayesha) and daughters Shaista and Sanaa stood with folded palms as they accepted condolences. They were comforted by Shaikh's siblings. Not a single camera was allowed to enter the hall, not a single hand raised a mobile phone to take pictures.

Scores of artistes from the 70s and 80s filed past his remains. Shabana Azmi, Deepti Naval, Satish Shah, Javed Akhtar, Supriya Pathak, Govind Nihalani, the teams of 'Tumhari Amrita', 'Noorie' and 'Saath Saath', all came. From Uday Chandra to Lilliput, Madan Jain to Ram Sethi, they all came.

There were politicians, neighbours and servants. The congregation later offered the 'namaz-e-janaza' (burial prayer) at Millat Nagar Masjid before heading to the graveyard.

Around 75 villagers had arrived from his native Hansot and Amroli in Gujarat. Each heart ached from having lost the smiling figure dressed in familiar kurta-pyjama, wearing a simple watch with black strap and grasping two mobile phones in one hand. Shaikh was an avid texter, he seldom called.

Deepti Naval and Shabana Azmi received an equal number of condolences as the family. Deepti often joked how Shaikh was never romantic towards her in real life -- he merely teased her to death. Now even that consolation prize was gone.

Shaikh's Hansotia clan of uncles, cousins and nephews recalled his monthly visits to the village. Nephew Mohammed Tariq said, "The reason that his old aunt who cannot walk without support, women in purdah and respected community leaders have arrived in strength is a testimony to Shaikh Sahab's golden character.

He owned paternal property spread over vast lands, farmyards and stables. But never did he raise an eyebrow in arrogance or anger." Shaikh's old uncle simply said, "Kya kahoon? Aisa koi hai hi nahin." The past tense did not apply. Hundreds of obituaries that continue to stream in within the real and virtual world have been praying that Allah grant Farooque Shaikh a place in 'Jannah' (paradise). Heaven's own angel will hardly be denied.


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Mumbai can party till 5am on New Year, high court rules

MUMBAI: Dubbing Mumbai police's directive of 1.30am deadline for eateries, hotels and restaurants in the metropolis on the New Year eve as illogical, the Bombay high court on Tuesday extended the revelry time to 5am.

Justice Gautam Patel was hearing a petition filed by Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) challenging the police directive setting 1.30am as the cut-off citing concerns of law and order, security and women safety.

Public prosecutor D A Nalavade pointed out to the court, recent reports regarding Indian Mujahideen terrorist Yasin Bhatkal's statement on the terror outfit planning nuclear bomb attacks in the country. The prosecutor also informed the court about seven alleged terrorists absconding from a jail in Madhya Pradesh, while arguing in support of the deadline.

The court, however, dismissed these reasons and said, "Threat perception to the city will be there all the time. Not just on December 31."

The court also refused to accept the women safety concern and said, "The Shakti Mills gang rape incident did not happen on December 31. It happened in a normal day. If proper precautions are taken, such incidents would not occur."

Petitioner's counsel Veena Thadani pointed out that the state home department in its circular dated December 19 had permitted hotels to continue the party till 5am.

"If the home department under which the police comes has no problem with the celebrations going on till 5am then why is the police setting deadline of 1.30am. This is without logic," Justice Patel said.

The court while extending the deadline to 5am said the hotels will have to give an undertaking that security inside the premises would be their responsibility.

The court has also allowed hotels to have indoor music on till 5am.

AHAR in its petition had also said that the 1.30am deadline was not imposed on five star hotels and pubs. "They are allowed to remain open till 3am. Why this discrimination? This is a very elitist outlook. Are only the rich allowed to party and celebrate ?" Thadani questioned.


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Borivali railway station escalator to get operational tomorrow

MUMBAI: In a New Year gift to the suburban commuters, the Western Railways said on Tuesday it will throw open the newly installed escalator at Borivali station for the public on Wednesday.

The new escalator facility on the Borivili station will provide comfort and convenience to the commuters, especially to senior citizens and differently abled, WR said in a release here.

This is the third escalator on suburban section and the third on Western Railway.

Built at a cost of approximately Rs 60 lakh, the escalator has a carrying capacity of 9,000 persons per hour with a speed of 0.5 mtr per second, the release said.

It has been installed on platform no 6-A on east side of Borivali station connecting the north end foot over bridge, the release said.


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Reckless drivers empty BEST coffers

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 30 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The carelessness of some BEST drivers is emptying the coffers of the undertaking. This year, the BEST forked out a huge compensation of Rs 26.5 lakh to a pedestrian who was crippled for life in 2010 when a BEST bus hit him in Chembur. Data provided by the BEST show that fatal accidents went up by 15% in 2012-13 (30 cases) as compared to the previous fiscal year. Between April and November this year, there have been 23 fatalities, while four more months' data are yet to be added.

The figures for 2011-12 showed that there was a drop of nearly 50% in fatal accident cases. But subsequently, the number of accidents shot up. The compensation amount also rose from Rs 1.8 lakh (paid to families of two victims of 2006) to Rs 38.89 lakh paid to 10 families for accidents in 2010.

Said former BEST committee member Ravi Raja, "What's the point in paying huge compensation when it is not a deterrent to the administration or bus drivers?"

He said earlier, there was a special vigilance squad keeping tabs on drivers incognito. "There were live checks and drivers involved in breaking traffic rules or overspeeding were issued memos. If required, they were taken off duty for counselling. But these days, there is cost cutting and the vigilance squads are not on the road any more. As a result, drivers are having a free run," he alleged.

Citizen activist G R Vora said bus drivers often drove recklessly, presuming they were the "kings" on the road. "Earlier, most drivers used to wait at the signal. But these days, we find almost every bus jumping the signal and ignoring the safety of pedestrians and fellow motorists. Often pedestrians are at the receiving end," he pointed out.

Sources said drivers were involved in various offences such as overspeeding, lane cutting and overtaking. Commuters have also complained of buses not halting properly at the scheduled stops.

Said BEST commuter rights activist Irfan Machiwala, "There is an incentive bonus for drivers to take the bus out of the depot on time and punctually return to the depot in the evening. For this bonus, drivers are always in a hurry and this is a key cause for mishaps. The BEST should stop giving such incentives which may cost human lives," he stated.

BEST spokesperson A S Tamboli said, "We have decided to scrutinize the records of all drivers. BEST will give incentives to drivers with zero accident records for a significant period of time."

It will deploy drivers who have zero accident record for two decades to train other drivers follow traffic rules. Another major step would be to deploy only drivers with five years experience to ply buses on busy routes. Officials said the BEST was also expediting installation of speed governors in all buses. "Paying huge compensation is a major embarrassment for the BEST," said Shiv Sena's committee member Sunil Ganacharya.


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Opposition demands special session on Adarsh report

MUMBAI: A debate has begun in the state over the possible revision of the cabinet's decision on the Adarsh probe panel's report. Leader of opposition (assembly) Eknath Khadse has demanded a special legislative session to consider the panel and action-taken reports. "It was beyond the powers of the cabinet to take a decision on the panel's recommendations. Only the legislature has the powers to consider the panel and action-taken reports," said Khadse.

But MPCC president Manikrao Thakre said there was no need to convene a special session of the legislature, since the cabinet has the powers to decide on the recommendations.

"The decision to reject the recommendations was taken by the state cabinet and conveyed to the legislature. Now it is for the cabinet to reconsider its decision and submit a fresh report to the legislature. Both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have expressed concerns over the cabinet's decision. I am sure their sentiments will be honoured."


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Database of traffic offences will help implementation of e-challan system

MUMBAI: The city's traffic police plan to set up a central database of traffic violations. "The database will help when the electronic challan system, currently under state consideration, is eventually approved," said a traffic police officer. It has been suggested that the mobile number and email ID of every licence-holder be compulsorily registered while issuing a licence, so that an electronic challan can be emailed or texted when required.

Meanwhile, the force has set up a working group to explore the possibility of bank accounts for traffic divisions for collection of fines.

"A motorist will continue to have the option to pay fines in cash, which will be deposited by our personnel into the bank account. If he or she doesn't have the necessary cash, the motorist could swipe a credit or debit card. At present, cash fines are collected at each traffic division and taken to the Worli headquarters and then to the government treasury. This laborious process will be replaced by a simple bank transfer," said Phansalkar.

To help regulate and streamline traffic at key junctions, the state government has sanctioned funds for purchasing traffic barricades and traffic cones. The traffic department's campaign on road safety, featuring Amitabh Bachchan, will go on the floor in 2014 and will consist of a series of documentaries along the lines of his anti-polio campaign messages.


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Mumbai hotels challenge 1.30am deadline for New Year parties

MUMBAI: The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) approached the Bombay high court on Monday challenging the city police's 1.30am deadline for eateries and restaurants on New Year's eve.

After Mumbai police commissioner issued the directive, the police commissioners of Thane and Navi Mumbai followed suit citing concerns of 'serious crimes' and 'law and order disruptions'.

Aggrieved by the directive, AHAR petitioned the high court seeking a direction to police to recall its deadline.

According to the petition, the Maharashtra home department and excise department had in circulars dated December 19 and December 24, respectively, granted permission to hotels and restaurants to remain open till 5am. The circular, however, said each hotel owner should get permission from the police commissioner.

"But the commissioner issued a blanket order saying no eatery, hotel or restaurant should be opened beyond 1.30am. Such a deadline is not imposed on five-star hotels and pubs.

"They are allowed to remain open till 3 in the morning. Why this discrimination? This is a very elitist outlook. Are only the rich allowed to party and celebrate?" petitioner's advocate Veena Thadani questioned.

The petition also mentioned that the hotels and restaurants have already spent a huge amount, arranged parties and sold tickets.

The matter was mentioned before the vacation bench of the high court which has posted it for hearing on Tuesday.


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More special Konkan Railway trains this winter season

MUMBAI: There is some good news for passengers on the Konkan Railway route. It has been decided to run special trains between Bhagat ki Kothi and Ernakulam during winter season to clear extra rush of passengers. Details of train services are as under.

04823/04824 Bhagat ki Kothi- Ernakulam - Bhagat ki Kothi. Train number 04823 will leave from Bhagat ki Kothi on 30.12.2013 (Monday) at 5am and reach Ernakulam on the third day (Panvel at 0610 hrs on second day).

Train No. 04824 will leave from Ernakulam on 02.01.02014 ( Wednesday) at 23.00hrs. and will reach Bhagat ki Kothi at 05.20hrs. on fourth day (Panvel at 0200 hrs on third day). The train will have 22 coaches.

Train will halt at Jodhpur, Gotan, Merta Rd. Jn., Degana Jn., Makrana Jn., Kuchaman City, Phulera Jn., Kanakpura, Jaipur, Durgapura, Bansthali Niwai, Sawai Madhopur, Kota, Nagda Jn., Ratlam, Dahod, Godhra Jn, Vadodara Jn, Surat, Vapi, Vasai Road, Panvel, Roha, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankawali, Kudal, Thivim, Madgaon, Karwar, Kumta, Bhatkal, Kundapura, Udupi, Thokur, Mangalore Jn., Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozikode, Tirur, Shoranur Jn., Thrisur and Aluva.


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Debate over ban on plastic bottles for medicines

MUMBAI: Plastic manufacturers are up in arms against the union health ministry's diktat of banning the use of plastic / PET containers in liquid oral formulations for primary packaging of formulations for paediatric, geriatrics, women in reproductive age group and pregnant women. The ministry's Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recommended that it should be phased out and eventually banned.

The pharmaceutical industry is likely to be given an adequate time of six months for the switch over. The decision came in the wake of concerns raised by Him Jagriti, Uttaranchal Welfare Society, Dehradun the use of plastic as primary packaging material in pharmaceutical liquid orals, suspensions and dry syrups can cause severe adverse effects on human health due to the presence of endocrine disruptors.

Their representation to the union health ministry stated, "Leaching takes place under varying storage-temperature conditions and the age of the packaging (leaching becomes faster in hot/warm conditions, and also as the packaging becomes old). The leached elements can cause several diseases including cancer and physical infirmities. Many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties have grave negative environmental and human health effects." The representation of HIM Jagriti was deliberated by DTAB in May this. They had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Dr YK Gupta, prof & HOD, department of Pharmacology, AIIMS.

The committee had concluded that the information provided in the representation of HIM JAGRITI and according to the available literature, is not sufficient enough to establish a definite correlation of causality of plastic container for pharmaceutical products and adverse health effects. The committee observed that scientific evidence needs to be generated in a time bound manner to find out the extent of leachbility, type of toxicants leached and health hazard due to exposure of the leached toxicant.

The PET Container Manufacturers Associations also represented to the Director General Health Services stating that PET packaging with its inherent strength such as product safety, eco-friendliness and recyclability will continue to be used in food, beverage and pharmaceuticals packaging. The PET is universally safe and environment friendly packaging material. The literature attached to the representation, however, did not address the issues raised by HIM Jagriti.

The pharma industry was earlier using glass bottles only as primary packaging material for pharmaceuticals. "The switch over to packing in plastic / PET bottles by the industry is not based on any scientific studies to show that packing of drug formulations in plastic/PET bottles does not have any harmful effect on the drug formulations and there are no releases of endocrine disruptors due to leaching," stated the committee.


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Zoroastrian diaspora differs in language, food habits, rituals

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 29 Desember 2013 | 22.23

Though it is well known that a group of Parsis fled to India to escape religious persecution at the hands of Arab invaders, few know that Iran is still home to approximately 30,000 practicing Zoroastrians. "We have two fire temples in Tehran. The oldest one is in Yazd, it is over a 1000 years old," says Mehran Sepehri, a Zoroastrian resident of Tehran and a delegate at the ongoing World Zoroastrian Congress. Saturday was Day 2 of the conference being held at the NSCI auditorium in Worli.

However, the community is quite different from the Parsis of India. "We use Farsi language and the food is very different," says Sepehri. "We also have some Iranian functions like 'Tirgan' ('Tir' means water). So in the middle of summer, we gather at a public place and throw water at each other."

While many religious ceremonies like 'jashans' remain the same, the Iranian community is less rigid about issues like inter-faith marriage. In fact, the co-founder of the World Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce in Iran, Parviz Varjavand's American wife got her 'navjote' ceremony done along with her 15-year-old daughter. "She was received in every village and town in Iran," says Varjavand. "In Iran, our priesthood is pro-conversion but the law of the land forbids it. Here it is the reverse," he added. Varjavand also dismissed the notion of preserving a distinct Parsi ethnicity. "Have we all sprung from (the prophet) Zarathustra's seed?" he quipped.

In Iran, women are also allowed to study the religion and become assistants to priests or 'mobedyars'. One such mobedyar, Rashin Jehangiri, addressed the conclave while wearing a flowing white gown and headscarf. She spoke on 'Proposed Educational Methods for the Consolidation of Religious Knowledge'.

In the US, the Zoroastrian diaspora has diverse views on how to preserve the faith. While one Iranian group in California is stridently reformist and allows conversion, another in Houston plans to open a fire temple, which will be open only to people who have two Parsi parents. However despite the existence of such orthodox groups, there are fears that the community won't survive. "My greatest concern is that in three generations, the community will lose its Parsi identity," said Sarosh Manekshaw, a member of the Zoroastrian Association of Houston.

In Pakistan, the 1,500-strong Zoroastrian community practises its faith just like Mumbai's Parsis. The religion is passed down through the male line and spouses of inter-faith marriages are not accepted into the fold. "We are such a small community that we keep to ourselves," said 21-year-old Sohrab Noshirwani from Karachi. "Our security is guaranteed as long as we don't allow conversion. As soon as we start converting people, we will be seen as a threat."

The Parsis in the United Kingdom do welcome non-Zoroastrians into their prayer hall — for instance, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince Philip have visited — but have traditionally, like in India, passed on the religion through the male line. However this is changing because priests in India have started performing 'navjotes' of children with Parsi mothers and non-Parsi fathers.

"Change will occur as and when the community is happy with it," said Malcolm Deboo, president of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe. "At the end of the day we want to maintain harmony within the community," he added.


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Customs catch six smugglers, seize Rs 78 lakh gold in 24 hours

MUMBAI: Customs officials at Mumbai airport have made a neat Rs 78-lakh gold haul over a period of 24 hours. Six different cases of gold smuggling—starting from Friday night and continuing on Saturday—involved Indian passengers who had flown in from Thailand and the Middle East.

The first interception was around 11.30pm on Friday when the check-in bag of a Thai Airways passenger flying in from Bangkok was searched and a particularly heavy purse was found. "The purse, the kind used by women, looked normal except that its chain was unusually heavy, suggesting the use of a different metal," said an official from the air intelligence unit. The buckle of the belt worn by the passenger was also made of gold and was coated with a silver-coloured metal to hoodwink the Customs. The chain was inspected, scratched and the aluminium-coloured chain gave way to reveal gold weighing 820 gm.

The next case in which gold was hidden inside a passernger's body was detected around 1am on Saturday. The IndiGo passenger, identified as Mohammed Ahmed who had arrived on its flight from Dubai, could not clear the doorframe screening machine as it blared a warning to indicate metal on his body. "He himself confessed that he had 580 gm of gold concealed in his rectum," said the Customs official. The gold cost about Rs 15 lakh and he had spent only six days in Dubai, which meant he would have had to pay a higher duty on the half kg of gold he brought in.

In the next three cases, gold bars were hidden in the usual places. Like for instance, a Gulf Air passenger who had hidden about 450 gm of gold inside a stereo, the kind installed in cars. Then there was a flyer with gold bars hidden inside the battery cavity of an emergency light and another who had gold hidden in LED lights.

The last catch of the day turned out to be the most sensational with a flyer from Dubai trying to smuggle in 628 gm of gold broken into 46 pieces worth nearly Rs 16 lakh. It was hidden in capacitors of speakers, laptop chargers, transistors, LED lights and radio.


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Politician booked on charge of rape

MUMBAI: A housewife has lodged a complaint against a 50-year-old politician from Latur, alleging he had raped her after making false promises of marriage. The 32-year-old complainant told the Charkop police that he had also shot a video of her in a compromising position.

The two met on a social networking site in May last year. A few conversations later, he reportedly asked her to marry him and she accepted his proposal. "The politician got intimate with the woman after promising to marry her. Till April 2013, he sent her obscene texts and also had shot an obscene video of her," a senior police officer said. The accused would travel from Latur to Mumbai to meet the woman whenever her husband would be away, the police said. But gradually, he started to ignore her and even stopped answering her calls. On December 23, the woman lodged the complaint on December 23. In her complaint, she claimed that that she had been raped four times. "We have not made any arrest so far," the officer said.


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How out of the box thinking shaped Mumbai Metro

MUMBAI: Metro rail is all set to make its commercial run in the New Year, but the project has been a mammoth task involving out-of-the-box thinking to execute plans along the elevated corridor.

The corridor criss-crosses above the suburban railway tracks and narrow stretches of road where traffic, even on regular days, is a nightmarish experience. An official from Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd said, "Despite hurdles, the pace of work we have achieved is testimony to ingenious planning and hard work."

Take the case of laying the bridge above the tracks at Andheri, which took 15 months to complete. It was for the first time in India that a Metro corridor would intersect a railway corridor spanning across six lines. The official explained, "We only had four hours to undertake the work post-midnight to ensure traffic was not disturbed."

Around 300 people were deployed to manually remove the soil for construction of piers. The official said, "Girders were transported at night to prevent traffic jams. The workers had to enter the site after 12am and move out soon after the block period ended."

"Three huge concrete mixers were kept at the station. Concrete was pushed at high pressure during these four hours to build the piers."

The right-of-way was a major problem. "In Andheri, the roof of Castro, an old one-storey building, was about 200 mm from where the base of the Metro steel bridge had to be laid. We convinced the owner to let us carry out the work on condition that we will re-build the roof in its original shape with renewed life-span. A similar solution was replicated near a mosque, whose minarets were coming in the way."

At Ghatkopar, the Metro station's approved design could not be implemented as all foundations were touching shops or adjacent properties. As residents were inconvenienced, the work could be done only between 5 and 8am. The official said, "We had to change the design, carry out traffic management and ensure strict safety measures as it is a crowded place."

"At Navrang Cinema, we changed the design, shifted the sewer and conducted a mock-drill to ensure that the girders don't get stuck when the actual movement of material starts along the narrow route."


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Mumbai's Borivli to get sports stadium

MUMBAI: In a move that will bring cheer to Mumbai's budding sportspersons, the BMC plans to construct a state-of-the-art stadium on a par with international standards in Borivli (east).

The civic body has shortlisted a plot, measuring 10-15 acres, in Chickoowadi for the stadium. Experts and professionals may be summoned to suggest designs and help the BMC with the project.

"Provisions will be made for both indoor and outdoor games. Children who do not have open spaces to play can get professional training here," said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas. The construction of the stadium, which would house a swimming pool, club house and library, would cost nearly Rs 20 crore, said a civic official. The construction will begin as soon as the designs are finalized and is expected to be completed in two years. "It will be the only such stadium in the western suburbs," said another official.

The BMC this year has set aside over Rs 300 crore for the development of open spaces with respect to sports activities. For the development of other grounds, the BMC is in talks with the Sports Authority of India. "In Borivli, we plan to instal iron bars and also set up running and walking tracks," said an official.


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History-sheeter who fled cop custody re-arrested

Kalyan/MUMBAI: A 28-year-old man, with 27 cases of robberies registered against him and who had managed to give a slip to two cops escorting him to Nashik jail, was nabbed from his Girgaum home on Thursday.

The accused, Tausif Khan, had jumped off the Panchvati Express near Thakurli station, said the V P Road police.

Constables Naik and Pokle had escorted Khan to a court for a hearing and were taking him back to the jail. "On the train, Khan told the cops he wanted to go to toilet. Naik accompanied the accused to the toilet, but when they reached the train door, Khan pushed him and jumped out," said Kalyan railway police sub-inspector N B Vaze. Naik alerted Pokle and the duo too jumped off the train, but in vain. On reaching Kalyan, the cops lodged a complaint and alerted all police stations in Thane and Mumbai.


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New Audi bought with own money: Aston Martin mishap complainant

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 27 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Phorum Ruparel, the complainant in the Pedder Road accident case involving an Aston Martin earlier this month, denied receiving any compensation as she replaced her damaged Audi 4 with the latest model, the Audi 6, worth at least Rs 40 lakh.

The licence plate of the new car sporting a fancy number (MH03 BJ 6666) triggered a controversy with the RTO saying it was "illegal" as it had not been registered with the transport department. It issued a showcause notice on Thursday.

"There was no compensation involved. My car was declared a total loss and the insurance company was ready to replace my old Audi 4 with a new one. But I put in some more money and I upgraded it to the Audi 6," said Phorum, a 25-year-old student. If she appeared a bit cagey, her mother was categorical. "The new car has been purchased from our own money. Nobody from Reliance approached us," she said.

Sources said the new Audi 6 is worth at least Rs 40 lakh and the tax would amount to about Rs 4 lakh. For the fancy number, they would have had to pay at least Rs 70,000.

TOI enquiries in the RTO revealed that the number MH03 BJ 6666—as captured in photographs of the Audi 6 published on Thursday—had not yet been allotted to Phorum Ruparel by the Wadala RTO. The car owner had paid the "reserve price" for the special number 6666 and this amount (Rs 70,000) was deposited with the RTO on Monday. "The taxes may be paid through the dealer, but the car is not yet registered on that number," a senior official said.

"We have paid all taxes and asked the RTO to register the vehicle in the new year (January 4). We are not taking the car out till then, so there should be no problem," said Phorum. When told that fixing a number plate before registration was deemed illegal, she said she would abide by the rules once the RTO notice arrives. "As of now, we have not received any notice. If required, we will remove the number plate," she said.

Ruparel has identified Reliance Ports driver Bansilal Joshi, or a person resembling Joshi, as the one at the wheel of the Aston Martin that rammed into her Audi and an Elantra on December 9. Joshi, 55, had approached the police later that day and "confessed" to driving the car. There were reports earlier of witnesses initially telling the police that they had seen a portly young man get out of the car after the accident.

"I don't wish to pursue the case further because, according to police investigation, Bansilal Joshi was the accused," she said.

When TOI visited Ruparel's flat on Thursday afternoon, the new car with the number plate was found parked near the stilt area. Wadala regional transport officer B I Ajri confirmed a notice had been sent to the car owner for "unauthorized use" and the flying squad of the Wadala RTO was being alerted. "If the car owner does not comply, we can refer the matter to the local police station, which can prosecute the person under section 420 of IPC," another senior officer said.

The number 6666 was the same one in Ruparel's old car (MH14 DN 6666). "We sought the same VIP number for the new car as it is our preferred number and have paid a premium amount for it," Ruparel said. An RTO official said the money was received to "reserve" the number and it had not been allotted to the person till Thursday.

Joining her daughter in dismissing talk of compensation, Ruparel's mother said they belonged to an affluent family and were able to afford an expensive car. "So it should not surprise the media and one cannot jump to wrong conclusions that we are being compensated by Reliance. The new car has been purchased from our own money. Nobody from Reliance approached us," she said.

(With inputs by Mateen Hafeez)


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KEM hospital case: ‘Technician not guilty of sexual harassment’

MUMBAI: A 57-year-old technician from KEM Hospital's biochemistry department has been absolved of sexual harassment charges levelled against him by 12 women colleagues. But the panel investigating the allegations clarified that though not sexual, there was some amount of harassment involved.

The hospital's panel submitted its report to dean Dr Shubhangi Parkar on Thursday.

Ashok Bhokare's colleagues had alleged that he had clicked their pictures without their knowledge or consent. They lodged a complaint after he allegedly started making comments with innuendoes. Bhokare was transferred to the pathology department from biochemistry.

A senior hospital official told TOI that Bhokare was not found guilty of sexual harassment. "But there is some harassment though not sexual. He will continue to be in pathology department," said the official.

Bhokare could not be contacted on Thursday.


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Bahrain will look into conduct of diplomat accused of molestation

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India has discussed the molestation case allegedly involving a Bahraini diplomat in Mumbai with his government, which has assured it will look into his conduct after he returns to the country once his tenure is over.

The diplomat, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, was booked in Mumbai earlier this week for allegedly molesting the woman manager of his housing society but was not arrested due to the diplomatic immunity enjoyed by him.

Sources said the matter was referred by the external affairs ministry, which discussed the case with Bahraini authorities keeping in view the immunity to consular officials under the Vienna Convention. Bahrain said it would look into the conduct of the diplomat.

The 49-year-old manager of Silver Arch, a 24-storey building at Nepean Sea road, had complained against Khaja, saying he had created ruckus after a building lift was shut for repairs and even ransacked her office and pushed her. "This was the third incident of such misbehaviour by Khaja," the complainant said. Khaja has been booked for molestation, word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace of the IPC.


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'Upgraded facilities will attract more students towards government schools'

MUMBAI: The upgraded Government Vocational Higher Secondary School (GVHSS) for girls in Nadakkavu, Kozhikode was inaugurated on Thursday.

Faizal and Shabana Foundation used the time and cost efficient, pre-cast construction method to construct classrooms, toilets, science labs, indoor gymnasium, atrium, dining hall, astro turf stadium and landscaping. Overall, more than 1,32,000 sq ft have been built and upgraded by the foundation with phase one being completed in a record 95 days time. The entire project took less than 10 months to complete.

The foundation is also the driving force behind PRISM (promoting regional schools to international standards through multiple interventions) initiative that was conceptualised by the local MLA in Calicut, Pradeep Kumar to upgrade schools across Kerala, making them a model to the entire country. PRISM aimed at not only improving the physical infrastructure and environment of the school but also increasing the quality of the overall education and enhancement of creativity and innovation, teaching and leadership skills. Rabb in his inaugural speech said that the PRISM project, by upgrading facilities at the school to world standards, would attract more students to government schools where student strength had been gradually declining.

"The project proposal for PRISM was developed with the help of the Social Service Group (SSG) of IIM Kozhikode. The idea of PRISM was developed as a solution to the situation faced by School education system in Kerala, wherein despite the presence of high quality teachers, government schools in general failed to attract good students to their fold resulting in a paradoxical mismatch of student-teacher mix in schools," said Saji Gopinath the Dean of IIM-Kozhikode.

The foundation was initiated by the promoters of UAE based KEF Holdings, Faizal Kottikollon and Shabana Faizal, inspired by their desire to give back, the commitment to sustain and the passion to excel while valuing the potential of each human being.


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IIT-Bombay's techfest to have supercars exhibition

MUMBAI: Techfest, IIT Bombay's annual science and technology festival to promote technology, scientific thinking and innovation, which has been creating a visual spectacle year after year, will be held this year from January 3-5.

Every year, the footfall of more than 1,00,000 people comprising mainly of the youth from across the nation and an outreach of over 2,300 colleges across India and over 500 overseas colleges participate in the event.

Exhibits on display are coming from US, Japan, Berlin, Switzerland and many more countries. These exhibits include the most advanced social robot, BINA-48. Other exhibits include humanoids playing football, dancing, singing. The event will also see exhibits from Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). There will be a supercars exhibition too where cars like Ferrari F430, Porsche 911 and Mercedes E Cabriolet will not only be present but roam around the campus too.

Another major highlight of the fest is the Robowars. This year the level will again increase as two robots will fight in an arena. Lecture series will see recently awarded Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao, Kiran Bedi, World famous Indian Computer Engineer, Pranav Mistry, Rajendra Pachauri and 15 other eminent personalities from all over the world.

The show stopper of each day in Techfest is Technoholix where we serve to an audience of 10,000 people an inspiring blend of science, technology and entertainment.


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Man gets life term for raping Spanish woman in Mumbai flat

MUMBAI: A sessions court in Mumbai on Friday awarded life imprisonment to a man in the rape case of a 27-year-old Spanish musician.

The foreign national had alleged that she was was raped at her rented apartment in Bandra at knife point on November 5 2012 by the convict Mohammed Badsha Ansari.

As per the prosecution, Ansari sneaked into the flat of the woman, who was staying alone, through an open window and allegedly raped her after robbing her at knife point. He was arrested on November 6, 2012.

Police had filed a chargesheet in January this year against the accused for allegedly raping and robbing the Spanish national.

He was arrested last November. He was charged under sections 452 (house trespass), 392 (robbery), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.


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No complaint against mob which attacked Nigerian citizen

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 26 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: While the 28-year-old Nigerian, Onouha William Lucky, was sent to 14-day custody on Tuesday for assaulting a cobbler in Vashi, police have not registered any complaint against the mob of over 100 people who had attacked the Nigerian.

It was practically a free-for-all outside Vashi railway station on Monday afternoon as the mob had surrounded Lucky and started slapping and punching him after his initial fight with the cobbler, Sheshrao Purbe, over Rs 5.

Vashi police have only registered the complaint of Purbe against the Nigerian under sections 325 (causing grievous hurt), 323 (causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code. However, some of the independent lawyers that TOI spoke to opined that a counter complaint of the Nigerian against unidentified persons in the mob should also have been.

It is a poor reflection of the law and order situation as an angry mob continued to beat a foreigner for over 15 minutes and also tore off his clothes. The police only arrived after 15 minutes to take away the Nigerian and the cobbler,'' said an eyewitness and Navi Mumbai based builder, Nitin Kandhari.

RTI activist and lawyer, Vinod Gangwal, commented: Although it was wrong on part of the Nigerian to hit the cobbler, it was equally wrong on part of the mob to badly beat up the Nigerian and tear his clothes. Therefore, he too has the right to lodge a complaint against the mob, but Vashi police has not done so.''

Gangwal added that it is strange why the police did not immediately reach the spot, since the police beat chowky is only a stone's throw away, opposite Centre One mall.

Had the police not delayed by 15 minutes, there would not have been any mob attack on the Nigerian, and subsequently on the TOI photographer who was simply clicking photos of the mob violence. It is a shame that in such a developed and busy location of Vashi, law and order went for a toss,'' added Gangwal.

TOI photographer, K K Choudhary, was attacked by a few persons from the same mob which was hitting the Nigerian, as they were afraid that their illegal act will be caught on camera and published in the newspaper.

The senior inspector of Vashi police, Laxman Kale, merely said: Only the Nigerian has been made an accused for first assaulting the cobbler; that's why he has been sent to judicial remand. With regards to the assault on photographer, an NC (non-cognizable complaint) has been registered.''

When contacted, the deputy commissioner of police (zone 1) Purushottam Karad, said that he will inquire into the matter with Vashi police.

Meanwhile, the cobbler, Purbe, told TOI that the municipal hospital at Vashi have recommended an x-ray of his three front teeth which were affected after he was punched by the Nigerian. Purbe's medical report states that his front teeth are showing 'Grade 1 mobility' (slight loosening due to the fight).


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Man shot at for resisting chain-snatchers

MUMBAI: A 42-year-old Bhandup resident was waylaid by four youths and shot in the ribs when he resisted their robbery attempt on Wednesday morning. Doctors described the victim's condition as critical and added that the bullet pierced his stomach, liver and colon.

The Bhandup police said they have identified the four accused, all of whom are aged between 18 and 25. They believe the four were involved in at least three recent crimes: the looting of a Vikhroli jewellery store, the firing at a commuter aboard a train, and a robbery in Vikhroli on Tuesday.

Around 7.30am on Wednesday, Umesh Rane, a cashier with Reliance Energy, left his first-floor flat at Usha Complex in Bhandup (West) for his workplace in Kurla. Like always, Rane took a shortcut path along train tracks to walk to Bhandup station instead of using the longer main road. The path is usually busy during morning office hours, but was deserted on Wednesday on account of the Christmas holiday. On the way, four youths waylaid Rane. "They snatched his two gold chains (worth Rs 55,000) at gunpoint. One of them fired when Rane resisted giving away his gold bracelet," said a police officer.

Moments after the gun was fired, the four youths ran across the railway tracks into Bhandup (East). Feeling a "burning sensation" in his abdomen, Rane darted back to his building. "The building watchman helped Rane reach his flat. Rane's wife Uma (who is a nurse) called us on seeing blood on his shirt. He narrated the whole incident and he was immediately rushed to Fortis Hospital in Mulund," said Rane's neighbour Kadam in the police complaint. Senior inspector Shrirang Nadgauda of Bhandup police confirmed the incident.

Senior surgeon at Fortis Hospital Dr Ramesh Punjani said Rane's condition remained critical. "The bullet injured his liver, stomach and colon. It entered from the left side of the chest, went through the diaphragm, passing through the stomach and colon before piercing the liver. The bullet was lodged below the right chest and had to be surgically removed," Dr Punjani said. He added that Rane's condition may remain serious for another two days; "he is on ventilator. He may need another surgery if the bleeding resumes".

The police have booked the four accused for attempt to murder and robbery. "One member of the gang hails from Kanjurmarg and the others from Vikhroli. They have committed four serious offences in the last 10 days, including two robberies," said an investigator. "We have identified them and are hunting for them."


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Sena, BJP can act in Adarsh case using town law: MNS

MUMBAI: Questioning the high-decibel rhetoric of the Shiv Sena and the BJP on the state government's partial rejection of the Adarsh inquiry report, the MNS has said that both parties, which run the BMC in coalition, can initiate action against the scam accused under the Maharashtra Regional & Town Planning (MRTP) Act.

Sandeep Deshpande, the leader of the MNS in the BMC house, has written a letter to mayor Sunil Prabhu detailing how the ruling BMC combine has the powers to slap charges under the law.

"The inquiry report has said that the Adarsh accused can invite action under section 50 of the MRTP Act. But the state government is unwilling to go ahead and prosecute them. Nonetheless, the ruling combine in the BMC can very well do the needful as the violations have been committed in an area under the jurisdiction of the BMC," said Deshpande,

The Dadar corporator has urged the mayor to take up the matter with the municipal commissioner. "If the Sena-BJP combine really intends to ensure that justice is done in the Adarsh case and the wrongdoers punished, it must proceed with the MRTP Act, which it can use as the BMC is a local self-governing body. Let the state government take a different view," a senior political observer said. "But if the ruckus over the issue is just political posturing, the Sena-BJP combine, too, is liable to invite public criticism of playing to the gallery when it can do more than that."

Responding to the MNS letter, Sena leader Rahul Narekar said the civic body will not spare anyone who indulged in irregularities or was negligent in performing duties. "The Adarsh issue was subjudice. Hence, like everyone, we too were waiting for the findings of the judicial inquiry into the high-profile case. The report was tabled last week in the legislative assembly. So, it is too early to jump to the conclusion that the Sena-BJP alliance just wants to make it into a political issue and not take the matter to its logical end," he said. "Our legal experts will examine the report and the alliance will accordingly take action."

Taking a dig at the MNS for "politicizing the issue", Narvekar said, "Instead of writing a letter to the mayor, Deshpande or his party could have filed a complaint with the police."


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Snatcher swallows gold chain

KALYAN: A 28-year-old chain-snatcher, who swallowed a gold chain which he stole from a doctor travelling on a train, was arrested by the GRP on Wednesday.

Though the accused, Damu Gupta (28), refused to confess that he had swallowed the chain to avoid suspicion, the police conducted a digital x-ray, which showed the chain lodged in his abdomen. The police are now forcing him to have bananas and medicines to get the chain out.

The incident took place on December 22 when Dr Sheetal Kamble, a resident of Bandra, was travelling on Vidharbha Express. She was in the S7 compartment when Gupta snatched the 11gm chain she was wearing and made to escape. The ornament is valued at Rs 30,000.

Alarmed by Kamble's cries for help, her fellow passengers chased Gupta and caught him. To evade thrashing, Gupta vehemently claimed that he was innocent and the passengers, too, could not find any chain on him, the police said. But one traveller said he had noticed Gupta swallowing something and assumed that it must have been the chain, the police added.

Gupta has been handed over to the Kalyan GRP. "The accused did not confess to the crime. Initially, we conducted a regular X-ray but nothing was found. So on Wednesday, we conducted a digital X-ray which revealed the chain in Gupta's abdomen," said GRP inspector Sampat Nirmal.

N B Vaze of the GRP added, "From the way the accused refused to confess, we suspect that he is a habitual offender."


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Stolen SIM snares thieving auto driver

MUMBAI: An autorickshaw driver who ferried commuters about during daytime and burgled shops at night was busted after he got involved in an accident and unwittingly led the victim to his lair.

The driver, Prakash Gujjar (24), stays in Aarey Colony and is also an electrician. Between December 8 and 18, he and two others burgled two shops in Goregaon. They stole electric switches and sockets worth Rs 48,000 from Mahavir Stores and a smartphone and cash totalling Rs 12,000 from Adinath Traders. Later, Gujjar swapped the SIM card of his own handset with that of the stolen smartphone.

"On December 18, while driving his auto near Mahakali Caves in Andheri (East), he knocked down a motorcyclist Santosh. The motorcycle was damaged and Santosh demanded that Gujjar compensate him. But Gujjar did not have cash on him. So he offered to mortgage his old handset," said investigating officer S M Nimbalkar. "Before pulling out the SIM card from the device, he gave Santosh a missed call. The arrangement was that Santosh would call up on the number later to collect cash from Gujjar and return the phone."

Since the SIM belonged to the owner of Adinath Traders, Gujjar's plan was to destroy it and thwart Santosh's attempts of reaching him. But Adinath's owner went on to deactivate the stolen SIM and acquire a new one. So, when Santosh dialled the number given by Gujjar, he was connected to the shopkeeper.

"Santosh realized that the person on the other end of the line wasn't Gujjar. The shopkeeper told him his establishment had been burgled a few days ago and his smartphone had vanished. Santosh told him about the accident in Andheri (East) and that he had clicked a photo of Gujjar's auto. Santosh sent the photo to the shopkeeper on WhatsApp," said Nimbalkar. The photo had the auto's registration number.

The shopkeeper approached the Goregaon police, who contacted the regional transport office (RTO) and got Gujjar's address. But the address was vague and Gujjar's home could not be traced. A police team also combed a slum in Vile Parle on suspicion that Gujjar had moved there. At last, the police laid a trap outside Aarey Colony at a place where auto drivers usually pick up commuters. Gujjar was nabbed on Tuesday evening. A search of his auto revealed a tool used to commit burglaries. "We are trying to trace his two aides," said senior inspector Arun Jadhav.


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Isha Yoga meditation as a stress buster

MUMBAI: The free introductory session of Isha Yoga Inner Engineering Programme being held at Mewar Bhavan, Sector 14 in Vashi, from December 18 to 24, is being attended by several working class professionals seeking relief and resolve from every day stress.

At present, there are 40 participants, including doctors, engineers, chartered accountants among others at this meditative workshop.
The Isha Yoga - Inner Engineering Programs teach powerful Kriyas, which can enhance, invigorate and re-engineer one's life in a positive and even unimaginable way. `Isha' means, that which is the source of Creation. `Kriya' means, an inward action towards that.

So Isha Kriya is an extremely simple process, but a powerful tool to move from untruth to truth.

Rajesh Shetty, 43, CEO of a company in Vashi, said: ``Isha Yoga I'd heard is an opportunity for introspection. As a CEO, I am under a lot of pressure in business, with targets to achieve. There is hardly any time for me to be able to "talk to myself" I ponder so much about the past and the future, that I find I always forget the present. What I am doing is of huge significance. I am otherwise physically healthy.''
Another participant, Tripti Rathore (23), who is a Chartered Accountant, said: ``I joined Isha Yoga for peace of mind. I am an easy going person, but a bit sensitive. I am the kind of person who gets tensed by what colleagues in office say. I get tensed with what I think that they are thinking about me.''
She further added: ``I think this is the right time for me to be doing Isha Yoga and to seek peace of mind.''
Isha Foundation is a non-religious, not-for-profit, public service organization, which addresses all aspects of human well being. From its powerful yoga programs for inner transformation to its inspiring projects for society and environment, Isha activities are designed to create an inclusive culture that is the basis for global harmony and progress. This approach has gained worldwide recognition and reflects in Isha Foundation's special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.

Sadhguru, founder of Isha Foundation is a yogi, mystic and visionary humanitarian. Marking a clear departure from mere customs and rituals, Sadhguru's scientific methods for self-transformation are both direct and powerful.


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Bombay HC stays appointment of 4 trustees of Vajreshwari temple trust

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 25 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Hearing a petition, the Bombay high court has temporarily stayed appointment of four trustees of Shree Vajreshwari Yoginidevi Sansthan, a prominent temple trust in nearby Thane district which has properties worth several crores of rupees.

The order, granting a stay on the appointment of these trustees, was delivered by Justice R V More in view of allegations made in the petition that the respondents were interested in the properties of the trust in question. "In view of these submissions (alleging that the respondents were interested in properties of the trust), notice is being issued to the respondents, returnable on January 20," the judge noted in his order on December 21.

Till the next date, the impugned order about the appointment of respondents is stayed, the judge further said. The four trustees of the temple trust, namely Kalpesh Patil (33), Avinash Raut(30), Manoj Pradhan(41), and Jeevan Vasudev Patgaonkar(60), were appointed by an order issued by Principal District Judge K K Sonawane on December 9, 2013.

They were selected from among 80 aspirants which included advocates, doctors, chartered accountants, architects, educationists and engineers. The appointment of the trustees was challenged by three persons -- Parasram Sawant, Jagannath Patil and Rajaram Patil -- who aspired to be trustees and were not selected. In the petition, they challenged the selection procedure of trustees alleging that only those who have political affiliations and vested interests in the properties of the trust were being appointed as trustees.

The petition alleged that the principal district judge had not followed the procedure prescribed for the appointment of trustees and that the method employed by him was improper. Besides, some of the trustees appointed had criminal antecedents, the petitioners alleged and urged the High Court to call for the records to verify this aspect.

The petition said the judge had erred in saying that no guidelines were laid down for appointment of trustees. In fact, the petition said, guidelines had been laid down by an order of the High Court dated July 31, 2006 in a petition suggesting that qualities for a trustee were clean record, educational qualifications and past experience.


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45 people held in bar raids in Mumbai; three girls rescued

MUMBAI: As many as 45 people, including eight bar girls, were arrested and three girls rescued during separate raids on bars for alleged involvement in obscene activities.

Acting on a tip off, a raid was conducted at Lakshdeep bar and restaurant on Gajdarbhandh road in Santa Cruz at around 11.40pm on Tuesday by social service branch of city police.

Forty three people, including the bar owner, staff, 21 customers and eight bar girls were arrested from there, police said today.

The bar girls and customers were found to be allegedly involved in obscene acts when the raid was conducted, police said, adding that all the accused were arrested under IPC sections 294 (indulging in obscene acts and songs) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

In another case, police carried out raid in a one-storey premises at Ganesh Nagar in suburban Chembur last evening and arrested two persons for allegedly pushing girls into prostitution.

The two were arrested under relevant sections of Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, police said.

Further probe was on in both the cases, they added.


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BEST appeals to consumers to raise ECS limits

MUMBAI: BEST officials on Tuesday said due to the bi-monthly billing in January, consumers will not have to pay any additional charges. The bill is being generated for two months due to a major problem in the main server, which is shut for the past 15 days.

"Consumers who have opted for payment of electricity bills directly through their bank account by ECS are requested to increase the upper limit of ECS mandate at their respective banks. Alternatively, they may pay the bills at our cash collection centre," a BEST press note stated. "Inconvenience caused to our consumers is deeply regretted. For any clarifications in this matter, consumers are requested to contact on 22843939," it added.

"Due to technical reasons, there's a delay in processing BEST electricity bills for November and December 2013. The consumers will get the slab benefits in the bi-monthly bill," the note added.


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4-month camp to control strays

VASHI: Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation's (NMMC) health department has decided to speed up the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme by starting a four-month temporary camp in the city.

The department will put forth the proposal for the same in the general body meeting on January 6 to resolve the stray dog population issue. As per the 19th livestock census conducted in 2012 , the stray dog population in the city stands at 29,864.

"On an average, 2,000 stray dogs have to be sterilized in a month. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of the population should be operated on in a year. But, the civic sterilization centre is barely managing to operate on 500 dogs due to the lack of space and medical facilities," said veterinary officer Dr Vaibhav V Zunjare. A team of doctors and staff from veterinary colleges in Mumbai will be part of the camp, he added.

The corporation has already identified 2,000 sq m area of a non-utilized Ghansoli hospital. Tentatively, 7,000 dogs have been targeted to be sterilized and the estimated cost to be incurred is Rs 1.5 crore.


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Apollo Hospitals' head releases his biography

MUMBAI: President Pranab Mukherjee was presented a copy of the biography on Dr Prathap Chandra Reddy at Rastrapati Nilayam on Tuesday. The 600-page biography, "Healer: Dr. Prathap Chandra Reddy and the Transformation of India," is authored by Pranay Gupte, veteran international journalist and biographer.

The book's publication comes on the occasion of Dr. Reddy's 80th birthday, and the 30th anniversary of the founding of Apollo Hospitals. In presenting the book to Mukherjee, Dr Reddy, founder and chairman of Apollo Hospitals, noted that the president has long been associated with encouraging the growth of India's healthcare sector.

The biography traces Dr. Reddy's journey from Aragonda to medical school in Madras to a flourishing cardiology practice in the US. At the age of 50, Dr Reddy returned to India at the behest of his father in order to make a contribution to his homeland.

Recognizing that healthcare in India was delivered mainly by government hospitals and philanthropic institutions that lacked proper facilities; Dr Reddy started the Apollo Hospitals. He also persuaded several Indian doctors living abroad to come home again.

"Pranab Mukherjee recognized the urgent need to transform healthcare in our country," Dr. Reddy said. "The President-along with the late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi-has long believed that a society's health affects its productivity," Dr. Reddy said.


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In Mumbai, Bahrainian diplomat booked for molestation, verbal abuse

MUMBAI: A Bahrainian envoy has been booked here for allegedly molesting the woman manager of his housing society but not arrested due to the diplomatic immunity he enjoys, police said on Wednesday.

A case has been registered against consul general of Bahrain, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, for allegedly molesting and verbally abusing on December 9 the manager of the south Mumbai society, police said.

The incident came amid the row over Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade's arrest in the US on visa fraud charges.

In her complaint, the 49-year-old housing society manager alleged that Khaja had lost his cool after one of the elevators of the building was shut for repairs on December 9.

He was slamming the doors of the elevator when she saw him and requested him to maintain his cool as the elevator was under repair. However, Khaja did not stop and even ransacked her office in a fit of rage, police said quoting the complainant.

The victim also alleged that Khaja had touched her and used abusive language during the commotion, police said.

She approached the Malabar Hill police which conducted a preliminary inquiry and registered a complaint.

However, police did not rush to put Khaja behind bars as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Police said Khaja allegedly tried to create ruckus again on December 20 in the building.

The woman said she has been working in the society for the last 10 years. The Bahranian diplomat has been living there for the last five years.

Khaja has been booked under sections 354 (molestation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code, Malabar Hill police station senior inspector Vinay Bagade said, declining to divulge further details.


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CM addresses SNDT's convocation, talks about women's issues

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 24 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: SNDT Women's University celebrated its 63rd annual convocation at the Sir Sitaram and Lady Shantabai Patkar Deekshant Sabhagriha at Churchgate on December 23. At the 63rd convocation, the university awarded degrees and diplomas to, 17,077 students for its programmes on the completion of their Ph D, MPhil, masters and PG diplomas apart from bachelors and undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates. In all 57 PhD and 12 M.Phil. degrees were conferred during this convocation.

Dr Rohini Madhusudan Godbole was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) for her outstanding contribution in the field of public health, clinical research and social change. In her acceptance speech Dr Godbole remarked that this honorary degree conferred on me is recognition of the wind of change which has seen SNDT University expand its reach in the fields of Chemical Technology and Computer Science. The convocation address was delivered by chief guest, CM Prithviraj Chavan. He spoke at length about issues concerning State and women. He congratulated all the prize winners and their parents for withstanding challenges and remembered Shri Karve for his contribution to women's education. Elaborating on challenges of natural resources in Maharashtra he suggested the need to utilise human and knowledge resources. He committed to support SNDTWU in its forthcoming centenary celebrations.

The highlight of the 63rd convocation was the live webcasting of the convocation ceremony to six locations simultaneously: two campuses of located at Juhu and Pune and its four SNDTWU Colleges located at Amalner, Dhule, Nashik and Satara. This year two new programmes - PG diploma in Management of NGO's working with Excluded Communities and Master of Arts in Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy Studies were awarded for the first time.

Vice-Chancellor Vasudha Kamat on the occasion of 63rd convocation remarked that, 'the university is going through transformation, the entire purpose of bringing about change was to experience new pedagogy of constructivism, use information and communication technology in teaching-learning process as well as in administration, modernize examination processes, so that students of this university can acquire skills of the 21st Century and get empowered to become successful global citizens'.


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‘Import curbs to up gold smuggling’

MUMBAI: Gold smuggling into India will pick up if the import curbs continue for too long, the Reserve bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan said in an interview to a television channel on Monday.

India will keep a tight leash on gold imports despite a recent improvement in its trade deficit and lobbying by a bullion industry struggling with high premiums and a supply crunch.

Earlier this year, the government and the central bank issued a series of curbs on imports of gold — the second-most expensive item on India's import bill after petroleum, oil and lubricants — hoping to ease the pressure on the currency. The measures included hiking import duties on gold to a record 10%.


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India to strengthen fight against tropical diseases

MUMBAI: Leading the global fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), India is moving to strengthen efforts to eradicate the neglected tropical diseases such as dengue, visceral leishmaniasis (Kala azar), soil-transmitted helminths, among others that affect millions of Indians every year, especially children.

In a recently held meeting of experts on NTDs, the Global Health Progress, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), and International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) decided to join hands to eradicate NTDs from India.

The launch of this initiative, called 'Partnering for Success - Reducing India's Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases' was followed up with a landmark report, launched on Monday, on the current status and action plan to fight NTDs in India. The meeting and subsequent report, are global milestones that emphasized on the partnerships between the Government of India, research organizations, pharmaceutical companies, donors, health professionals and civil society that have contributed technical knowledge, delivery of services and drugs and research funding for NTDs in India.

Anshu Prakash, joint secretary, union health ministry said, "India has supported the London Declaration of 2012 and has joined other member nations at the World Health Assembly this year to adopt a resolution for controlling, eliminating and eradicating 17 identified NTDs. The India government is working with all stakeholders and the community towards meeting these objectives."

"For India to achieve its ambitious NTD goals, we must work with other sectors to ensure communities have access to clean water, sanitation, improved living conditions, vector control and stronger health systems in endemic areas. Pharmaceutical companies are already doing a lot to prevent and treat NTDs in India and it will be crucial to provide ongoing incentives to ensure production of new tools for the market. We must support R&D through partnerships and provision of funding to find next generation treatments and interventions for neglected diseases," said Ranjana Smetacek, director general, OPPI.


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College recovers cost of missing laptop from teacher

MUMBAI: The recovery of the cost of a laptop which went missing from a college premises in Pen, from the head of a department, has met opposition from several teachers from colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University. A delegation of around 20 teachers met the vice-chancellor recently to seek his intervention in the matter.

Around 14 laptops worth Rs 40,000 each was given to Bhausaheb Nene College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Pen, under a central government scheme by the University Grants Commission. The one given to the physics department, under the responsibility of the head of the department, went missing in March. The HoD claimed that the laptop went missing when it was being taken from the physics department to the exam department in the college. The police, in their complaint, also mentioned that the laptop was lost.

However, after several letters were exchanged between the HoD and the principal over the matter, the college started deducting the cost of the laptop from the teacher's salary. In the October's salary, disbursed in November, Rs 6,000 was deducted from the teacher's salary. Since the laptop cost Rs 40,000, the same amount will be deducted by the college for six months.

A member of the Bombay University and College Teachers' Union (BUCTU), claimed that the college failed to follow the appropriate procedure. "The college did not conduct a proper inquiry before holding the teacher responsible for the missing laptop. Every HoD in university's affiliated colleges will be in charge of several expensive items in their laboratories. How is it fair to recover the amount from the HoD?" Asked the member. Another teacher pointed out that electronic items have depreciating value, and the laptop was used for almost a year in the lab, before it went missing.

The principal of the college, also an academic council member, S B Dharap, said that the amount recovery is a normal routine procedure which is being blown out of proportion by the teachers. "If the complaint filed was for theft, we would have waited for an inquiry. But in this case, even the police complaint stated that the laptop was lost. Once a product is lost, how does the college recover the amount? The HoD had taken responsibility of the laptop in writing, when it was issued. If we do not take action, what if other laptops go missing in the same fashion?" Asked Dharap.

A delegation of teachers who met the vice-chancellor, Rajan Welukar, were assured that appropriate procedure will be followed by the grievances committee. However, teachers have alleged that the grievance committee would not be a recourse as the principal is also part of the committee.


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College fest METamorphosis provides industry exposure to media students

MUMBAI: METamorphosis, an initiative of MET Institute of Mass Media (IMM), the media festival provides aspiring media professionals a platform to showcase their talent and capabilities. The three-day fest commenced on December 19.

The theme this year 'between the mind' was all about the analytical and logical 'left brain thinkers' and the creative and artistic 'right brain thinkers', teaming up to find the right balance and strike the perfect formula.

The festival was inaugurated by the chief guest, Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd amidst the students, academicians and corporates at MET. With a platform of 16 diverse events, METamorphosis 2013 offered Mumbai's mass media students a taste of the working world.

The festival saw over 850 students from across 50 Mumbai colleges registering for various events. The entertainment, Marathi and advertising panel discussions were the highlights of the fest. Renowned Bollywood Directors, famous Marathi celebrities from the entertainment world and eminent advertising professionals enlightened the students with their knowledge and experience.

This media festival witnessed students competing in several activities such as art, theatre, advertising, script writing, journalism and many more, aiming to impress the judges with their talent and skills. The fest concluded with the grand finale in the presence of Chhagan Bhujbal Founder, chaiman, MET and Pankaj Bhujbal, trustee, MET.

Preparations for the festival started four months prior to the final days. Right from conceptualizing the fest, designing the decor, branding, planning the events, bringing in the sponsors, inviting the celebrities, managing the media and all the other details were taken care of by the MET IMM students. All in all, METamorphosis has grown in popularity and numbers and the student aspirants are looking forward to METamorphosis 2014.


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Avoid binge drinking this party season

MUMBAI: During the holiday season the intake of alcohol is much higher as compared to the remaining time of the year. Experts say, the liver is affected the most during this time of festivities when people indulge in binge drinking.

Liver specialist with Global Hospitals Dr Hemant Vadeyar said, "The party season is just round the corner, a week away from the best time of the year when all we think about is eat, drink and be merry. During this time most of us get carried by the christmas cheer and get over indulgent in the alcohol department".

According to him, these 10 days of the season leave an ever-lasting impact on our liver, the largest organ in our body whose job is to filter the alcohol from our blood and breaking it down. Healthy functioning of liver is vital to ensure that our body is detoxing efficiently and processing any alcohol out of our system quickly and cleanly.

The international drinking guideline recommends, men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. And women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week. "But, these recommendations are seldom adhered to during this season. Sometimes continuous drinking leads to fatty liver, which can develop into hepatitis, when the liver becomes inflamed. This can then lead to cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver from continuous hepatitis," Vadeyar said.

He advises against binge drinking, and watching the quantity of alcohol being consumed over this period.


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‘Schools need qualified shadow teachers’

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 22 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Inclusive education has been a point of discussion ever since the Right to Education (RTE) Act was introduced more than three years ago. But effective implementation of this clause is far from achieved. Keeping in mind the increase in cases where parents have had disputes with school managements over the rights of children with special needs, S M Shetty High School held a workshop for schools, parents and special educators on the role and importance of shadow teachers.

"Inclusive education is still on paper in India. There is a misconception that shadow teachers are just 'extra help', but their roles are very intense," said professor Rubina Lal, expert in the field of special education. In her presentation at the workshop, she focused on the need for qualified teachers taking up this role and the need for schools to play an active role in finding such teachers. "The problem in our country is that people don't take the shadow teaching profession seriously. Many schools appoint parents for this role, which is not advised," added Lal.

Education officials present at the workshop said the problem existed because of the attitude of schools and parents. "We are leaving no stones unturned to ensure that no child is targeted by school managements," said Ajay Kakde of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA). He said SSA has taken effective action in several cases in the past where parents had lodged complaints.

"The focus should be on getting schools to include kids with special needs and a curriculum to train shadow teachers. We also need to help parents in getting admissions for their kids," said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. Many parents and schools shared problems and sought help from professionals at the workshop.


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Second day at IIT-B cultural fest draws in 28,000 students

MUMBAI: Day 2 at Mood Indigo, the annual cultural festival at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) opened to a footfall of 28,000 with an increase in registrations as well. So far, more than 2,800 colleges have registered for the festival.

Participants came in from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati and were seen preparing in the cold morning for the semi-finals of competitions lined up for the day. More than 2,000 people ran a distance of 4 km on the verdant campus alongside celebrity runners Gul Panag and Milind Soman. Chris Turner, a young stand-up comedian from England, entertained an audience of 500 to an hour of comic acts. A mini radio jockey hunt was organized as a surprise event; one student was chosen out of 250 and was taken on air as soon as the contest ended.

Speaker sessions featured former India hockey goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi, and Nishant Rao, head, Linkedin India. Workshops on whistling and eating with chopsticks were also held. Indian rock band Euphoria brought the day to a close.


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Artists, family remember majestic painter in a book

Had VS Gaitonde been alive today, the fact that his landscape sold for a whopping Rs 23.7 crores at the Christie's auction wouldn't have mattered to him in the slightest, said artist Prabhakar Kolte. "He knew the difference between price and value. He would rather have asked 'But did you understand the painting? Did you like it?'"

Kolte's recollections of the Padma Shri awardee, on whom he has written extensively, are of an introspective artist, who walked a path distinct from his contemporaries. "There is so much I have imbibed just from sitting with him," he said. "Gaitonde's paintings don't speak to you. Rather, you just look at them and they look back at you."

While many considered Gaitonde reclusive, Kolte maintained that people tended to mistake 'alone' for 'lonely'. "Back in the day, just catching a glimpse of Gaitonde was an experience in itself," he added. "Even the way he dressed, the way he cut his hair... He was barely five feet tall but we all thought he looked majestic."

Such other memories and impressions of Gaitonde, from his family, friends and students, are part of an upcoming book, compiled by magazine editor and former artist Satish Naik. From the time he was first entranced by a Gaitonde canvas in art school four decades ago, Naik has followed the painter's life and work through first-person accounts, newspaper clippings, and shows across the city's galleries. This near-obsession culminates in a massive hardbound book, titled simply Gaitonde, expected to be out early next year.

The book includes features by artists like Kolte, and Laxman Shreshtha who considered the veteran his guru. Gaitonde's youngest sister, Kishori Das, too put her memories of growing up with him on paper, as did gallerist Dadiba Pundole, to whom Gaitonde had given many of his works. Articles that had previously appeared in Chinha, the annual art magazine Naik edits, are also part of the book. The first edition is in Marathi, and there are plans to translate it into English.

The task of putting the tome together took almost seven years. Some contributors dropped out at the last minute, while others took months to track down. When Naik went looking for Kishori Das's home at Kudaldeshkar Wadi in Girgaum, a suspicious resident of the chawl fibbed that she was out of town. "Every time we went to meet her, this other lady kept telling us that she has gone to the US, or is out of Mumbai," he said. "When we were finally able to meet Gaitonde's sister after almost a year, she said she had never left town!"

With the artists though, Naik added, there was never a problem. Writings on what Gaitonde meant to them as a peer, a teacher or simply a friend, poured in.

"He definitely didn't like to be disturbed," said director Sunil Kaldate, laughing. Kaldate, who wrote about the 1995 film he had made on Gaitonde, recalled the regimented fashion in which the shoot progressed. "It was a silent film because Gaitonde said that he did not want to speak on camera, nor did he want his daily routine hindered," he said. "That was his strict instruction to us." Any retakes for the movie, which is currently being restored, had to be slotted for the next day.

The act of creating art acquired new meaning in the later years of Gaitonde's life. "Someone once asked him if he missed painting," said Kolte. "He answered that he didn't need a canvas or brushes to paint anymore. It had become much more than just a physical activity for him."


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‘No special counter for taxis driven by women’

MUMBAI: Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) told the Bombay high court on Saturday that there will be a common counter for all prepaid taxi services at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, including the one at the domestic terminal, 1 A.

Stree Shakti Kendra, one of three women taxi services, had moved court complaining that MIAL was not giving it bookings compared to black-andyellows and Cool Cabs. MIAL advocate Birendra Saraf said most of the Kendra's demands had been met except for one which asked that for every tenth booking of a prepaid Cool Cab, one be given to a taxi driven by a woman. He said the policy of first-in-first-out for all taxis will also apply to women.

While MIAL has agreed that bookings to women drivers will be given irrespective of the passenger's gender, it has refused to bear their security responsibility . The court said the matter would be reviewed in January .


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Nephew prime suspect in Bhayander woman murder

MUMBAI: An unemployed and alcoholic nephew is the prime suspect in the murder of a 59-year-old Bhayander woman on December 19.

The blood soaked body of Rosemary Chettiyar was found in her Niraj Park flat in Bhayander (west) by her daughter. Gold ornaments worn by the victim were missing. The victim's husband Anthony was also at work.

The Bhayander police have launched a manhunt for the victim's nephew John Chettiyar (34) who is absconding since the murder. John, who was temporarily residing in Naigaon, used to visit his aunt and borrow money. John's mother and sister stay in Malwani, Malad (west).

On December 19, he was seen at the victim's home at around 3 pm. The victim, who was alone at home, was assaulted with a sharp weapon on the head. The victim's daughter Monica has also named John as the prime suspect.


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Big firms bid for constructing pumping station

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received three bids for the construction of the Gazdarband pumping station at Khardanda.

According to the civic officials, three firms - Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Skyway Infraprojects Limited and Pratibha Industries, have submitted their bids for the project.. The Rs 13-crore pumping station is likely to ease the flooding problems in Khar and neighbouring areas.

Civic officials have expressed satisfaction over the positive response of infrastructure giant L&T for this project. Earlier BMC's several attempts to persuade the company for its road projects had not borne fruits.

The civic standing committee had recently passed a Rs 138-crore proposal of constructing a pumping station at Britannia at Reay Road. Work on Love Grove pumping station at Worli is expected to be complete by April next year.

Under the Rs 3,000 crore Brihanmumbai Storm Water Disposal System (Brimstowad) project, the BMC has decided to construct pumping stations at eight places - Haji Ali, Irla (Juhu), Lovegrove and Cleveland Bunder (both at Worli), Britannia (Reay Road), Gazdarbund (Khardanda), Mogra (Santacruz) and Mahul - where water logging takes place during monsoon. These stations are being built to prevent floods and stagnation of water in low-lying areas. However, so far only two pumping stations are operational, Haji Ali and Irla pumping station.


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KEM hospital to install new AC unit, surgeries to be affected

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 21 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI : Surgeries will be affected for three days as the BMC is undertaking work of installing air condition unit in the KEM hospital.

The work to install a chiller unit in the central AC plant will begin from Saturday, 21st December 2013and will be completed by Monday, 23rd December.

For these three days air conditioning facility will not be available in most of the operation theatres, Intensive Care Units & Laboratories of the hospital.

Civic officials have said that emergency patients and surgeries will be transferred to the Nair, Sion and JJ hospital.

KEM hospital has been always facing the problem of AC units malfunctioning on several occasions, while the BMC officials managed to repair it temporary, for a long term relief the unit needed to be installed again.

Doctors say that they have been delaying this work as the number of patients needing surgeries were high all rounder the year, this is the time when the patients can be managed by other hospitals


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Court to appoint amicus curiae in Shakti Mills rape case

MUMBAI: A sessions court hearing the Shakti Mills rape case has directed that an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to be appointed after four accused sought a transfer of the case to another court. The matter will now be heard on December 26.

The accused Siraj Khan, Vijay Jadhav, Ashfaq Shiekh and Salim Ansari had earlier made an application before the court, stating that they had no faith in the court. Principal judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi however, rejected the application and allowed the accused to file an appeal in the Bombay high court. During the hearing the accused did not allow their lawyers to cross examine the prosecution witness.

"After the accused denied the cross examination of the prosecution's witnesses, the court held that it would appoint an amicus curiae in the case, who would help the court, find a solution for the same," a lawyer said.


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Police tells HC about action in power theft cases in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Police has informed the Bombay high court that it cracks down on individuals or entities involved in stealing electricity amid increasing cases of power thefts in the city.

Whenever Brihanmumbai Electric and State Transport (BEST) and such other power distribution companies, file a complaint under the Electricity Act, 2003, police immediately registers an offence and investigates it as per the provisions of law, said Ashok Jagdale, senior police inspector, MRA Marg police station in an affidavit.

The affidavit was submitted by additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamath-Pai yesterday before the HC which was hearing a PIL against power theft.

The PIL, filed by ex-scribe Ketan Tirodkar, alleged that during Ganesh and Navratri festivals, public mandals collect huge amounts as donations for organising celebrations and despite that, they are given heavy concessions in power usage by the state power utilities.

Since 2005, 10 cases have been registered in the MRA Marg police station alone. "In all these cases accused have been arrested and charge sheet filed before the magistrate," states the affidavit.

It says that whenever police help is sought by the BEST to raid or inspect suspicious places, adequate police bandobast is provided.

The power distribution companies suffer distribution losses to a tune of 15 per cent overall and 50 per cent in some pockets. These are mainly due to power thefts resorted by 'sarvajanik' (public) mandals during festivals, the PIL alleged.

Mumbai's power demand is around 2,600 MW and the power supply companies — Tata Power Company and Reliance Energy Ltd — are able to provide only 2,300 MW at present. Besides, the state is facing power shortage of around 3,000-3,500 MW during morning and evening peak hours.

The PIL demanded that special cells be set up by the state government to crack down on such electric thefts.

A division bench of justices P V Hardas and Sadhana Jadhav adjourned the PIL for hearing in January 2014.


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Police tell HC about action in power theft cases in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Police has informed the Bombay high court that it cracks down on individuals or entities involved in stealing electricity amid increasing cases of power thefts in the city.

Whenever Brihanmumbai Electric and State Transport (BEST) and such other power distribution companies, file a complaint under the Electricity Act, 2003, police immediately registers an offence and investigates it as per the provisions of law, said Ashok Jagdale, senior police inspector, MRA Marg police station in an affidavit.

The affidavit was submitted by additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamath-Pai yesterday before the HC which was hearing a PIL against power theft.

The PIL, filed by ex-scribe Ketan Tirodkar, alleged that during Ganesh and Navratri festivals, public mandals collect huge amounts as donations for organising celebrations and despite that, they are given heavy concessions in power usage by the state power utilities.

Since 2005, 10 cases have been registered in the MRA Marg police station alone. "In all these cases accused have been arrested and charge sheet filed before the magistrate," states the affidavit.

It says that whenever police help is sought by the BEST to raid or inspect suspicious places, adequate police bandobast is provided.

The power distribution companies suffer distribution losses to a tune of 15 per cent overall and 50 per cent in some pockets. These are mainly due to power thefts resorted by 'sarvajanik' (public) mandals during festivals, the PIL alleged.

Mumbai's power demand is around 2,600 MW and the power supply companies — Tata Power Company and Reliance Energy Ltd — are able to provide only 2,300 MW at present. Besides, the state is facing power shortage of around 3,000-3,500 MW during morning and evening peak hours.

The PIL demanded that special cells be set up by the state government to crack down on such electric thefts.

A division bench of justices P V Hardas and Sadhana Jadhav adjourned the PIL for hearing in January 2014.


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BMC calls for master plan designs for a bird park in Powai

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued tenders inviting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to draw up a master plan to set up a bird park at Powai.

The 25-acre plot in Powai has been allotted by the civic corporation to house the huge bird and reptile population.
The park will be an extension of the Byculla zoo and will house its huge bird and reptile population.
The lone zoo in the city at Byculla, has 355 birds of 31 species. These include exotic species like the Japanese Crane, Military Macaw and the African Parrot.
According to the BMC's tender document the Powai site once develop will help decongest the bird population in the zoo. The site will be developed with the view to make it as an eco-tourism spot in the city. The bird park is a replacement for the initial plan of constructing an avian walk-through in the existing zoo, which was scrapped.
BMC officials say that this time to avoid delays the consultant who bags the project will be responsible to get all the necessary permissions within four months of submission to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).


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BMC’s proposal to set up waste treatment plants in the city gets over whelming response

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations ( BMC) tender to manage and treat waste has received an over whelming response from international agencies.
22 foreign firms have responded to an expression of interest (EoI) issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's solid waste management (SWM) department for developing waste-to-energy and waste-processing technologies from the waste.
The EoI has received 31 responses, 19 of which are joint ventures and consortia proposals and 12 are single firm proposals. Companies from Israel, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, the US, China, South Korea, Japan and the UAE participated in the EoI.
The proposed waste processing plants will be set up at Mumbai's various transfer stations. The city generates nearly 6,500 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste and 2,000-2,500 metric tonnes of construction waste (debris and silt) daily. A provision of Rs 100.8 crores has been made in the civic budget for this project this year; additionally some components will be funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM).
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Acid attack case hearing today

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 20 Desember 2013 | 22.23

A sessions court is likely to hear film the acid attack case today. Film professional Jerrit John, accused for attempting murder of his ex girlfriend, had filed a discharge application on the charge in a sessions court. John (35) is currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, after being arrested for allegedly hurling a chemical on his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend, physiotherapist Aryanka Hosbetkar, at her Worli residence in November last year.
The court had earlier rejected John's second bail application. Earlier too he had filed the application but later withdrew it. John had alleged that he and Hosbetkar were in love and in a relationship. He also said that she was aware that he was married and despite that she continued with the relationship.
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Adarsh CHS neither ideal nor role model rather a bad precedent: Commission

MUMBAI: The case of the Adarsh CHS is neither ideal nor a role model but a bad precedent, states the Adarsh Commission in its epilogue. It said that its report running into over 670 pages needs a short but appropriate epilogue.

"The word 'Adarsh' means ideal or role model. However, the facts disclosed by this evidence clearly indicate that the case of the Adarsh CHS is neither ideal nor a role model but a bad precedent. Adarsh is a Sanskrit word which means a mirror. The mirror reflects the images of the objects which face it. But this Adarsh (society) has reflected the images of many persons who are in or behind it. Adarsh is not a saga of ideal co-operation but it is a shameless tale of blatant violations of statutory provisions, rules and regulations. It reflects greed, nepotism and favouritism on the part of some people who were in one way or the other associated with the Adarsh CHS. It is a sad story of unscrupulous greed of some persons closely connected with the said society."

"It is found that some persons not being satisfied with allotment of a single flat in the said society have tried and succeeded in securing flats for their dear and near one. For this purpose, they went even to the extent of making benami transactions in violation of the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988. That such an episode should take place in the progressive state of Maharashtra is a matter of deep regret."


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KEM hospital services to be affected

MUMBAI: Various operation theatres and laboratories at KEM hospital will be shut from Saturday, December 21 to Monday, December 23, said a BMC press release.

The civic body is undertaking the work of installation of a chiller unit in the central air-conditioning plant of the KEM hospital, Parel. The work is scheduled to be undertaken from December 21 to 23. "Hence air-conditioning facility will not be available in most of the operation theatres, intensive care units and laboratories of KEM hospital during this period," said the release.

During the shutdown period, emergency patients/cases will be transferred to Nair, Sion or J J hospital. The civic administration has requested patients and their relatives to co-operate.


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Adarsh housing society violates MRTP, environment law: Report

MUMBAI: The Adarsh Commission in its report has said the Adarsh building is in contravention of the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, Development Control Regulations 1967 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The Commission, however, refrained from making any suggestion in this context as the Bombay high court is already seized with the question whether the building should be allowed to stand or demolished.

The findings were, however, rejected by the state cabinet.

It has also said that the land on which the building stands belongs to the state government and not the ministry of defence. Also, neither the land nor membership was reserved for defence personnel or Kargil war heroes.

"The land falls in CRZ-II category. The power to deal with activities involving investment of Rs 5 crore or more is with the National Coastal Zone Management Authority or MoEF; the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority being only a recommendatory authority," said the Commission in its conclusions. It further states that the Adarsh CHS never applied to the MoEF for CRZ clearance through the MCZMA.

"The letter dated March 11, 2003 addressed by Senthil Vel, joint director MoEF to PV Deshmukh, deputy secretary, Urban Development Department did not amount to CRZ clearance by the MoEF under the 1991 Environment Notification."

"The letter dated March 15, 2003 adressed by P V Deshmukh to the Chief Engineer (DP), BMC has been erroneously treated and interpreted as CRZ clearance and wrongly acted upon as such by the MMRDA. The powers delegated by the MoEF to MCZMA under the order dated January 4, 2002, cannot be exercised by the urban development department," states the report.


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online: Cop caught by anti corruption bureau

MUMBAI: A police sub inspector attached to Juhu police station was caught by the Anti Corruption Bureau for accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a taxi driver on Friday afternoon.

The ACB have booked sub inspector Mithun Sawant under the prevention of corruption act and produced him before the special ACB court which remanded him to police custody. The complaint in the case was filed by a taxi driver who was caught under violation of traffic rule. The traffic police caught him and seized his taxi and handed over the investigations to Juhu police station.

Sub inspector Sawant who was probing the case demanded a sum of Rs 30,000 to release him and his taxi. Taxi driver pleaded that he did not have that much amount to pay and handed Rs 2,000 to Sawant. Court released driver. On December 16 when driver approached Sawant for release of his taxi, Sawant demanded Rs 10,000 and agreed for Rs 8,000. Driver who did not wish to pay bribe approached ACB and lodged a complaint.

The ACB officials verified the demand. On Friday morning Sawant asked the driver to hand over the money to his friend Prakash Kalegowda. No sooner did Kalegowda accepted the money, ACB caught Kalegowda as well Sawant from Juhu police station.


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National Students Union of India to boycott American goods

MUMBAI: If the US government does not withdraw charges against Devyani Khobragade and issue an apology the National Students Union of India (NSUI) will boycott American goods, said

NSUI Mumbai president Suraj Singh Thakur.

The NSUI which is a student body of the Congress party held a demonstration outside the US consulate at Bandra-Kurla Complex on Friday to protest the charges of visa fraud framed against IFS officer Khobragade.

Students tied black bands around their eyes in protest against her arrest and strip search.

Thakur said they expected the US to issue an apology within a week and if it failed to do so, they would ensure a boycott of all American goods by Indian students.


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