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Rahman to perform concert tour in India after 20 years

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 30 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: It is commonly known that India's film stars, singers and musicians seldom do live shows on home ground as often as they do abroad. The sole Lata Mangeshkar concert hosted by a political party around 15-20 years ago was a rare treat for Mumbaikars even though the singer lives in the megapolis. Now for the first time in almost 20 years composer A R Rahman will perform a series of four concerts in Indian cities in October. Albeit the first concert of his 'RahmanIshq' schedule later this year is slated for August 24 at the All Phones Arena in Sydney, Australia. After a gap of a few weeks on October 1, the India leg of the tour gets under way at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. October 12 Rahman will perform at the Indira Priyadarshini Stadium in Vishakhapatnam. This will be followed by a show at the Bhawani Niketan Education Trust, Jaipur, on October 20. Rahman has chosen to round off his tour with a finale performance in Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Stadium October 27. True to form the latest technology, sound and visual effects and a dance ensemble will play an important role in his live acts just as they do in his displays of recorded music. Ranjit Barot, Sukhwinder Singh, Javed Ali, Neeti Muhan, Shweta Pandit, Harshdeep Kaur, Vijay Prakash and Mano are the other artistes who will perform. =


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Mira-Bhayander civic school students yet to get free books, uniforms

MUMBAI: Municipal school students in Mira-Bhayander will have to wait for another month to get their free books, uniforms, bags and water bottles. Though the new academic year 2013-14 commenced in June, students are attending class in plain clothes.

They do not have text books and are dependent on teachers who scribble notes on the blackboard. Tenders for supplying notebooks and other school materials was invited by the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in May. As only one agency responded, the civic administration extended the date of tender. The MBMC standing committee recently approved tenders to supply free uniforms and books to the 9,687 students studying in the 35 civic schools in the region.

Students may get their study materials by end August. There is already murmurs of a fraud in the tenders awarded. Corporators have alleged that exorbitant rates are being quoted by the contractors to supply books and uniforms. A 100 page notebook has been quoted to cost Rs 15 to 19. The same book is available in the market for Rs 10 to Rs 12. An amount of Rs 29.60 lakhs will be spend on books this academic year. Uniforms for students will cost the MBMC Rs 86.90 lakhs. Shoes and socks will cost Rs 36.28 lakhs.


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MSRTC announces monthly pass of Rs 2,080 on EFW route

MUMBAI: The MSRTC has announced a monthly pass of Rs 2,080 on the Mantralaya-Panvel new bus route which was flagged off on Monday.

MSRTC managing director Deepak Kapoor said that the response to the new service was "phenomenal". "We got 16 passengers from Panvel and there was a huge crowd waiting for the bus at the next stop -- Kamothe. It was nearly packed when it entered the Eastern Freeway from where it zoomed to south Mumbai and saved nearly 23 minutes of travel time for commuter,'' he stated.

Eight bus services will ply on this route daily. It will ensure fast connectivity between south Mumbai and the far flung suburbs of Navi Mumbai. The buses will be of great benefit not only to government staffers, but to residents of far flung areas like Nerul, Belapur and Kamothe/Kharghar. "It will also help those stranded in monsoon due to train disruptions,'' said MSRTC managing director Deepak Kapoor.

The first bus will leave Panvel at 8 am on Monday. The buses will have halts at Mantralaya, CST (near station), Vashi, Nerul, CBD Belapur, Kamothe and Panvel in both directions. Two brand new buses, with specially created double doors (first time in MSRTC), were deployed on the route on Monday.

The total distance covered between Mantralaya and Panvel is 50.1 km for which the end-to-end fare is Rs 52. The minimum fare has been kept at Rs 6. The buses have 2 X 2 comfortable seating arrangement. The total seating capacity is 44 and the buses will also allow 11 standees.

Commuters have welcomed the new bus service. The service has also raised eyebrows in BEST circles. Sources said that due to competition, BEST is likely to augment the services on its Expressway routes and double the number of bus services. At present, BEST runs two bus services in morning and evening hours, between Cuffe Parade and Vashi and another from south Mumbai to Chembur.


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Western Naval Command undertakes SCUBA diving camp for NCC cadets

MUMBAI: The Western Naval Command completed a SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving camp for the NCC cadets from July 11 to 31. It was undertaken at the Western Naval Command Swimming pool.

Defence Chief PRO N Vispute said the Navy, Army and Air Wing Cadets from all the seven Groups of Maharashtra Mumbai 'A', 'B', Pune, Amravati, Kolhapur, Nagpur and Aurangabad participated in the camp. The cadets demonstrated Scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with fins, underwater diving, night diving, familiarization and entry/ exit from life Raft drills.

The Diving camp was organized by 1 Maharashtra Naval Unit NCC Mumbai, under the aegis of the Maharashtra NCC Directorate and it is being conducted with professional expertise drawn from the Navy's Command Clearance Diving team (CCDT) of the Western Naval Command, Mumbai.

The Camp was conducted in two phases. During Phase one preliminary screening and selection of cadets was undertaken, which included swimming, medical and physical fitness tests. 50 cadets including girls underwent a preliminary screening of which 20 boys and 10 girls qualified for phase two training from 18 Jul.

This Camp has given an opportunity to the cadets to understand the sport of Snorkeling and Underwater Diving, which in the long run, will provide them another career option in underwater operations or to pursue it as an adventure sport.

This annual activity of SCUBA diving has caught the fancy and imagination of the NCC cadets of the state in a big way. Inspite of inherent dangers and difficulties to withstand higher atmospheric and underwater pressure, the cadets have shown tremendous enthusiasm, zeal and competitive spirit to learn the basics of underwater diving.


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Vasai-Virar municipality acts on dilapidated buildings

MUMBAI: The Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has woken up to the dangers of living in dilapidated structures.

The civic administration has issued notices to 12 residential buildings in Virar which are very dangerous. The municipality had drawn up a list of 338 dilapidated structures. However, it is only now that the municipality is issuing notices and evacuating occupants.

The VVMC woke up after the portion of a Nalasopara building collapsed killing one and injuring a teenager on July 14. The building was on the dangerous list.

In 'A' ward alone there are 36 dilapidated structures. Of these 11 are extremely dangerous to reside. While six buildings have been evacuated and demolished, the rest have been issued notices to vacate.

In Vasai around 150 structures are dilapidated, with 14 dangerous to reside. The VVMC, however, does not have a panel of structural auditors to carry out the fitness test of the buildings.


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7/11 accused seeks court permission to use laptop in jail

MUMBAI: Ehtesham Siddiqui, one of the 7/11 accused who has been shown as a bomb planter, on Tuesday filed an application before the MCOCA court asking permission to use a laptop in the jail premises "to study his case for argument."

Siddiqui, who is in jail since his arrest in 2006, has argued in the court and challenged several police claims. The basis for his argument was some RTI replies that he got from the state government run institutions. Siddiqui's counsel advocate Sharif Shaikh filed the application which read: "It is the settled law and prosecution and defense will be given equal opportunity for putting their case. However, the prosecution has opportunities to collect the documents even at the last stage of the trial among the other opportunities." Shaikh said, "We are busy in more than 15 cases. It is possible that the accused may search some citation of any important judgment which could help him in the trial."

Siddiqui, who is accused of planting an RDX bomb at Churchgate station in a Virar train. He filed several RTI applications and sought details about the witnesses against him in the case, the panchas, and even asked the court to summon them in the court. One such witness had in his statement said that he was going to meet his friend at a hospital where the later wroks. The witness in his police statement said that he had seen Siddiqui at Chuchgate station on the day of the blasts. However, an RTI reply stated that the witness' friend about whom he mentioned did not work at any hospital and that the hospital had no employee with that name.


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Awaaz Foundation protests IAS officer's transfer

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 29 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: NGO Awaaz Foundation has strongly protested the transfer of Durga Shakti Nagpal.

Nagpal had cracked down on illegal sand mining in Uttar Pradesh.

In a letter to Jayanthi Natarajan, union minister for environment and forests, Sumaira Abdulali, convenor Awaaz Foundation said, "Sand mining is a serious environmental disaster, threatening coastal and riverine ecology; it was brought to national attention when a series of assaults on activists (including myself), journalists and government officers were perpetrated by politically controlled sand mafias."

She has also enclosed a booklet 'The links between politicians and sand mining in and around Mumbai' published by Awaaz Foundation in 2012. The booklet was presented at the Convention of Biodiversity, Conference of Parties, where the issue of coastal sand mining was discussed for the first time in an International Convention through an NGO side event.

Abdulali said the international threat to biodiversity, water security and land security from sand mining is now an Internationally recognized issue, highlighted after the film 'Sand Wars', documenting sand mining all over the world, was released in Paris in May 2013.

"India is custodian of the International Convention on Biodiversity until October 2014. We have requested the MoEF that that sand mining should find a place in the agenda of the next convention on bio-diversity, and India should lead the way by cracking down against illegal sand mining," said Abdulali.


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Two held for killing Nalasopara landlady

MUMBAI: Two men have been arrested from Uttar Pradesh in connection with the murder of their Nalasopara based landlady in March this year.

Hikmat Sherkhan (26) and Shamat Khan (25) were staying in a rental apartment in Alkapuri of Nalasopara (east).

On March 9, the landlady Parveen Dulani (38) was found in a bleeding condition in her flat located in the same locality.

The victim was taken to Bhagwati hospital in Borivli where she died on March 18 of serious head injuries.

The Nalasopara police launched a search for the tenants who were traced to their native town in UP.

The accused told the police that Dulani had an argument with them over non-payment of rent. Dulani allegedly slapped Sherkhan, which angered Khan. He barged into the victim's kitchen smashed her head with a boulder lying there. They even stabbed her in the abdomen with a sharp weapon.

The victim's sister Salma saw the two men leave Dulani's house. She reached the flat to find Dulani in a pool of blood.

The two have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 352 (house trespass) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code.


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Police stations to tackle illegal construction menace

MUMBAI: Chief minister PrithvirajChavan has announced to set up three police stations to curb illegal construction menace in Mumbai.

"Besides 64 designated officials in the BMC, three new police stations will be in place to categorically deal with the illegal construction subject," Chavan said in the state legislative assembly last week during the debate on the Mumbai issue. The debate on Mumbai's problem was raised by Eknath Khadse, leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly.

The CM further elaborating on the subject said that plans to set up special police stations has emt some hurdle with the home department. "The home department wants to know who will pay to the police personnel posted on deputation with the BMC. It is not a major issue. A solution to the queries will soon be sorted out," Chavan said.

Chavan's move comes close on heels of house collapse cases in Thane, Mumbra and Mumbai.


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Bill to curb unauthorized courses and institutes approved

MUMBAI: The Bill to curb unauthorized courses and institutes in Maharashtra which has been approved by the state legislative assembly is likely to be tabled before the legislative council for its approval this week. The monsoon session of the state legislature end on Friday.

Last week, the state legislative assembly had approved the Bill tabled by Rajesh Tope, higher and technical education minister. The Bill empowers the state government to take action against the institute or person for establishing or introducing unauthorized institutes of courses in Maharashtra.

According to the provision laid in the Bill, owners, management, and proprietors of institutions offering professional courses of study in agriculture, health, sciences, higher and technical and vocational education and animal and fishery sciences without the approval from All India Council for Technical (AICTE) will invite fine between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh and maximum prison term of one year.


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MLA slams BMC chief over road potholes

MUMBAI: Congress MLA Krishna Hegde has strongly criticized municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte at the Congress Legislative Party meet recently.

Calling the commissioner ineffective, Hegde said that he should be replaced immediately. Hegde stated that the MCGM budget is around Rs 27,000 crore a year.

Thousands of crores are spent on road repairs and pot hole filling; but one downpour of monsoon makes the condition of city roads very bad and shocking.

Over Rs 130 crore are spent on the desilting of 200 km of major nullahs but no effective work is done, pointed the MLA.

"Entire Mumbai gets flooded and it becomes difficult for citizens and motorists. Water gets accumulated not only in low lying areas but also in peoples houses in the slums," he said.

"The BMC disaster management cell is non operational and Mumbaikars are suffering," added Hegde.

He also informed that the Commissioner's juniors officers are not even following his instructions.

Work on Badminton Court at Swatantraveer Savarkar Kendra, renovation of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Natyagruh, approval for Welfare Centre at Santacruz (E), removal of encroachments at PG Plot-Andheri East and permission to hold Dandiya Raas in Vile Parle is all pending for over a year.

Moreover, Cooper Hospital completion has been delayed.

Hegde was supported by Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambhkar.

In the Vidhan Parishad the Municipal Commsioner received flak from MLCs Deepak Sawant and Diwakar Raote.


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Irrigation irregularities debate likely in Maharashtra legislature

MUMBAI: The alleged 70,000 crore irrigation scam is likely to be debated in the state legislative council on Tuesday.

Leader of the Opposition in the council-VinodTawde (BJP) speaking to media person in the assembly premises Tawde said, "Initially our demand to discuss the irrigation irregularities was discarded on the grounds that the issue is subjudice. But, we brought to the notice of the chairman that there is nothing wrong in discussing the issue. In fact we cited examples of several such matters including the controversial Adarsh housing scam. Finally the ruling DF has agreed for the debate on Tuesday."

The irrigation controversy was kicked off following the economic survey for 2011-12 mentioning that the state's irrigation area has shown a negligible rise of 0.1 per cent despite funds amounting to Rs 70,000 crore being spent in last few decades.


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Hepatitis Day: Know it, confront it

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 28 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The theme for World Hepatitis Day celebrated on July 28th is "This is hepatitis. Know it. Confront it".

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide have been infected with hepatitis-B virus and about 500,000 thousand people die every year as a result of hepatitis-B infection. Studies reveal that 90%-100% of the population acquires anti-HAV (Hepatitis-A Virus) antibody and becomes immune by adolescence.

Many epidemics of HEV (Hepatitis-E Virus) have been reported from India. India has intermediate HBV (Hepatitis-B Virus) endemicity; with a carrier frequency of 2%-4%. India is home to 11% of the world's people with chronic hepatitis B and the number of deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma or cirrhosis each year is between 100,000 and 200,000.

Dr Samir Shah, hepatology director, Global Hospitals said, "Hepatitis is often referred to as 'silent killer' because liver damage can gradually occur over many years before being discovered and can be a sign of Liver failure. Hepatitis is far more easily transmitted than HIV and injury in health care. The need of the hour is strong proactive steps taken by Government which can help in prevention of Hepatitis B and making the next generation Hepatitis free."

The hospital has also launched the campaign "I promise to love my liver", through which they are reaching out to employees of different corporate houses and housing societies across the city and organize health check up camps, health sessions and lectures to raise awareness about Hepatitis.


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Nigerian teen jumps back to life after rare hip surgery

MUMBAI: City doctors performed a very unusual surgery where both hips of a fourteen-year-old Nigerian boy were reconstructed saving him from disability. Chisom probably became the only patient in the world to undergo such a procedure.

It all started with a slight pain in his thighs after returning from school one day. However, over a period of a few weeks, Chisom's pain and limp got progressively worse. It reached a stage where he was unable to get out of bed or walk.

His worried parents consulted several doctors in Nigeria but were unable to come to a diagnosis. Finally, a local orthopaedist took a hip X ray and diagnosed him with bilateral slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). It is an uncommon condition seen in adolescents, wherein the ball begins to separate from the rest of the thigh bone due to a weak growth plate. It is more common in adolescent boys. Untreated, this condition can disrupt the blood supply to the ball of the hip joint and result in a lifetime of pain and disability.

The patient to the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, where Dr Alaric Aroojis, consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon quickly stabilized and sent the boy for an emergency xray and CT scan. The diagnosis revealed that he had suffered a severe displacement of the ball of both hip joints.

According to Aroojis, "This is the first time a patient has undergone this complex procedure on both hips. To the best of my knowledge and after a detailed search of scientific literature, I have been unable to find a similar case performed elsewhere in the world and certainly not in India. It goes to show that with the proper infrastructure, we in India, are on par with the best in the world."

Dr Wudbhav Sankar, assistant professor at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who recently reported on the largest multicentre series of treating severe unstable SCFE with this complex procedure in the reputed American volume of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery too said, "In my experience, I have not encountered a single case where this procedure was performed on both hips."


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Live robotic workshop for sleep apnea

MUMBAI: In a first,the Bandra based Asian Heart Institute is hosting a live robotic surgery course where doctors are participating from across the globe. The workshop is dedicated to base tongue surgery for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is scheduled on July 30. Doctors from across the world will be able to view the surgery real time.

Prof Dr Claudio Vicini and Dr Filippo Montevecchi from Italy, both pioneers in this field, will be the main speakers. They will reveal the different aspects of this new surgical technique called Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) of the base of tongue for treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. With a rapid increase in the incidence of obesity in the population, doctors are seeing more and more cases of sleep apnea. Many cases are also being reported from the adolescent section of the population.

Dr Vikas Agrawal, who is credited with performing TORS for the first time in India for the base of tongue for treatment OSA at Asian Heart Institute recently, will operate on three patients and talk about the different issues pertaining to obstructive sleep apnea in Indian population. OSA is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night, perhaps hundreds of times. These gaps in breathing are called apneas. The disorder occurs when tissues in the upper throat collapse at different times during sleep, thereby blocking the passage of air. In extreme and rare cases, it can be life-threatening. The interaction is likely to take place between 12- 1 pm.


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Pay stamp duty and registration fees online in maharashtra

MUMBAI: Paying stamp duty and registration fees to the state government has become less cumbersome with the Maharashtra government launching electronic secured bank treasury receipt (eSBTR) — an online payment service which is available round the clock.

Speaking at the launch in Mumbai on Friday, Prithviraj Chavan CM of Maharashtra said that IDBI Bank was the first in the country to be associated with this innovative project adding that other banks will follow suit.

"Maharashtra with Rs 16,000 crore leads all other states in revenue collection through stamp and registration. It is also the richest state in the country in GDP terms ahead of the second state by over 40%. Even during recession the revenue collection through stamp duty and registration witnessed healthy growth," he said.

With launch of eSTBR the customer can log onto the website of the authorized bank, click the link for payment of stamp duty/registration fees, entering the necessary details and paying the duty through the internet banking account. With the printout of proof of payment for eSBTR for online payment, the customer can walk into the nominated branches of the bank to get the eSBTR. The eSBTR is a receipt of duty (evidencing payment into the government account), printed on Secure Stationery to be issued by the banks. ISP, Nasik has designed such secure stationery with inherent security features for printing of eSBTR.

There is also a facility to make the data entry online and make the payment in bank branches. The eSBTR project was conceived by IGR, Maharashtra, S Chokalingam, about three years ago and implemented with the help of various agencies including IDBI Bank.
"The launch of the eSBTR (Electronic Secure Bank Receipt) today, is another e-governance initiative being taken by the government of Maharashtra for improving the governance structure by leveraging advances in the field of technology. The eSBTR initiative benefits our customers by extending ease of operation and convenience on account of single window payment of stamp duty and registration fee," said MS Raghavan, CMD, IDBI Bank.


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Indian Coast Guard rescues crew members of fishing boat

MUMBAI: The Indian Coast Guard ship once again was pressed into action and successfully rescued crew members of a fishing boat MFB Najiya, stranded about 35 nautical miles off the kerala coast in healthy condition.

The crews with boat had left Androth, Lakshadweep Islands at 0530 hours on July 13 and was missing since then. Coast guard assistance was sought by the local administration.

The ICG official said extensive search was carried out in the area surrounding androth island including its north and north east sector, the likely fishing ground/area of drift due to prevailing weather condition from July 24 to 26, despite inclement weather.

Five air sorties by dornier aircraft were undertaken in and around androth island for locating missing boat from July 24. Simultaneously, maritime rescue and coordination centre (MRCC), Mumbai activated an international safety net (ISN) with the details of the missing boat and continuously transmitted to all sea farers transiting through the area for locating and assisting the missing boat.

The official said the boat was finally sighted by MV Morning Glory-5 at about 1530 hrs on July 26. Thereafter, unbroken air surveillance was maintained by CG Dornier aircraft till the arrival of ICG ship Lakshmibai. "The ICG ship undertook the life saving mission in hostile weather conditions. The ship sailed from Kochi late night on July 26 and rescued the boat. The rescued crews were provided medical assistance and succour on board ICGS Lakshmibai, while the boat was taken under tow and the ship set course for beypore," said the official.


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Financial crisis drives Mulund resident to end life

MUMBAI: Dead body of a 33-year-old man was found washed towards the shore at Worli on Friday. Mulund resident Akhilesh Agrahari had gone missing from Mulund on Thursday night. The police are suspecting the incident a case of suicide but are waiting for post mortem report.

The Worli police said the deceased family told there was a recent financial loss due to which he was upset. Police registered a case of accidental death. The body was handed over to the family on Friday.

A Worli police officer said that they found the body that was floating in the sea near Venus apartment in Worli. There were no external injuries on the body. Agrahari use to sell bathroom cleaning products in Mulund.

Agrahari was survived by his mother, wife and two sons.


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BEST begins repairing defective LED indicators

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 27 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The BEST plans to repair all defective LED display indicators (of route numbers and names) in buses attached to 25 depots across the city.

"We have begun the pilot project of repairing 91 buses at Goregaon and Oshivara depots and are keeping these buses under observation during the monsoon,'' said a senior official. "Usually, the LED indicators develop faults during monsoon, when water seeps into the electrical units. After we achieve success at these two depots, we will begin the repairs of all the other defective indicators at 23 other depots,'' he stated.

Commuters have been complaining about the front and back display of LED indicators being defective. The BEST staffers have been using chalk to write the route numbers and name, and this is not visible during the night or from a distance, commuters said.

Said regular commuter Smita Tatke, "We are living in a modern age and the BEST still uses chalk and board to display the routes. This is uncalled for. They should repair all the defective LED indicators on a priority. It is very difficult for elderly persons to read the bus numbers/routes written by chalk."


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BEST panel want to encourage women self-employed groups

MUMBAI: BEST committee member SrinivasTripathi has demanded that local (Marathi) self-employed women should be given priority when it came to procuring non-technical items for the transport undertaking.

"We need to encourage the self-employed women from the Bachat gats in the state. If BEST needs to procure small items at the depots like towels, brooms, etc, we should procure them from the Bachat gats,'' he demanded at the committee meeting.

He further stated that encouraging the women, who were from low-income group, would mean giving them a hope to stand on their own feet. "We can give them contracts on a permanent basis,'' he said.

Shiv Sena member Sunil Ganacharya said that inviting tenders and getting bids from big companies (for small items) was a lengthy process. "I agree that local women co-operatives should be given a priority. They should be appointed by the BEST through a simple procedure,'' he added.


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Depot manager should be held responsible for bad condition of buses, BEST committee members say

MUMBAI: The BEST committee members have demanded that a depot manager should be held responsible for any filthy condition in a bus.

At this week's committee meeting, BJP member Srinivas Tripathi pointed out that he had witnessed water leaking from the roof of bus No 545 at Bhandup. "When I pointed this out to the conductor, he said he too had informed the depot manager, but in vain. We demand that depot managers should be pulled up for bad condition of buses on roads,'' he said.

Former committee chairman Ashok Patil too blamed the depot manager for deploying bad quality buses on roads. "Some of them are arrogant and refuse to listen to subordinates. If buses are in bad shape and have bad seats, they still direct the drivers/conductors to take the buses on the roads,'' he informed the panel.

Congress member Shivji Singh said he had come across complaints of soiled seats, torn seats in AC buses. "Recently, there was a picture of a commuter holding an umbrella inside an AC bus. This is shocking. Somebody has to take the responsibility,'' he demanded.

BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said these were isolated cases. "In a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles, almost all buses, including the AC vehicles, are in good condition. There could be one or two cases and these complaints will be looked into,'' he added.


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Depot manager should be held responsible for bad condition of buses, BEST committee members say

MUMBAI: The BEST committee members have demanded that a depot manager should be held responsible for any filthy condition in a bus.

At this week's committee meeting, BJP member Srinivas Tripathi pointed out that he had witnessed water leaking from the roof of bus No 545 at Bhandup. "When I pointed this out to the conductor, he said he too had informed the depot manager, but in vain. We demand that depot managers should be pulled up for bad condition of buses on roads,'' he said.

Former committee chairman Ashok Patil too blamed the depot manager for deploying bad quality buses on roads. "Some of them are arrogant and refuse to listen to subordinates. If buses are in bad shape and have bad seats, they still direct the drivers/conductors to take the buses on the roads,'' he informed the panel.

Congress member Shivji Singh said he had come across complaints of soiled seats, torn seats in AC buses. "Recently, there was a picture of a commuter holding an umbrella inside an AC bus. This is shocking. Somebody has to take the responsibility,'' he demanded.

BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said these were isolated cases. "In a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles, almost all buses, including the AC vehicles, are in good condition. There could be one or two cases and these complaints will be looked into,'' he added.


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BEST to save environment by reducing use of paper

MUMBAI: The BEST has decided to save on paper and thereby save the environment.

BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said that the budget copy of the transport and electricity undertaking would run into as many as 150 pages. "This was wastage of paper as most of the contents were repetitive. From this financial year, we have decided to cut down on paper, reducing number of pages and thereby save costs. We will also be protecting the environment by saving paper,'' he said at the recent committee meeting.

The budget book, which is circulated among the committee members from Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress, NCP, MNS and Samajwadi Party, is also given to corporators, members of the media besides BEST, BMC and other government officials. "It is a huge circulation and we spend lakhs of rupees in printing the budget copies. Besides, tonnes of paper is used and this will be saved in near future,'' said a BEST spokesperson.

A budget supplement, which runs into 40 pages, will now be reduced to just eight pages, sources said. "We plan to make the budget copies paperless in near future,'' a senior BEST official added.


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Woman molested on Mumbai train; accused arrested

MUMBAI: A 23-year-old woman was attacked in the ladies compartment of a local train on Saturday morning by a man who tried to strangulate her when she resisted a rape attempt.

The 28-year-old man was arrested by the Government Railway Police (GRP) on charges of molesting and attempting to murder the woman after she cried out for help when the train stopped at a station.

According to GRP, the victim had boarded the train at 5.41 this morning from Mumbai Central station and was headed towards Dadar for work. The victim was in the second class ladies compartment.

"The accused got into the compartment at Mahalaxmi station and after seeing the victim alone misbehaved with her and attempted to rape her. When the victim removed her mobile to call for help, the accused tried to strangulate her," senior inspector GRP Rajendra Trivedi said.

When the train pulled into the next station, Lower Parel, the victim cried out for help after which commuters standing on the platform and GRP personnel nabbed the accused.

"The accused identified as Devraj Hanumant Kanapa was inebriated at the time of the incident. He is a resident of suburban Kurla and is a mason. The accused has been taken for medical tests after which he would be produced before a magistrate court for remand," Trivedi said.

He has been charged under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 354 (outraging modesty of a woman).

Asked as to why there was no police official present in the ladies compartment which is mandatory as per rules, Trivedi said inquiry is being conducted. "A constable attached with GRP Borivili, who was supposed to be on duty in the train, has been suspended for dereliction of duty," he said.

Preliminary investigation has also revealed that Devraj has two cases of chain snatching registered against him in Kalyan.


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Lok Satta Party organizes tea party at Aditi restaurant as mark of protest

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 26 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Lok Satta Party invited members and general public in the "luxury" of Aditi Restaurant for a tea party to examine how a common small business person's grudge on AC restaurants coming under the ambit of luxury tax could lead to a police case and endless harassment.

"How is it an offence for an Indian citizen to legitimately and peacefully express anger at paying luxury tax when these taxes are being blatantly looted out of state coffers through numerous scams," asked Lok Satta Party president for Maharashtra, Dr Kedar Diwan, as he expressed dismay and outrage at the recent incident of Youth Congress members closing down Aditi Restaurant in Mumbai.

Media reports indicate that Youth Congress workers intimidated the restaurant owner to shut-shop or face dire consequences for printing restaurant bills with a statement against luxury tax being levied on airconditioned restaurants.

Maharashtra general secretary of Lok Satta Party, Mr Rajesh Jogani added that the statement in the restaurant bills aimed at highlighting a citizen's frustration of not getting his tax money's worth.


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Vasai killer pothole road was corporation’s responsibility

MUMBAI: It is official. Maintenance of the killer pothole road in Vasai was the VasaiVirar Municipal Corporation (VVMC)'s responsibility. Manikpur police , though, are yet to book the road contractor and the concerned civic official for the pothole-related death.

Asha Damdare (48), a two-wheeler rider, fell and lost her life while dodging a pothole on Vasai railway bridge on July 19. She died of head injuries on July 21. VVMC washed its hands of the case, claiming the road was maintained by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

TOI is in possession of an MMRDA letter dated February 20, which says MMRDA had given the road to VVMC. MMRDA undertook widening of the road from March 31, 2012. The VVMC had to maintain it till May 2014—the defect liability period (DLP)—after which it was to be handed over to the public works department. Sources said all VVMC had to do was ensure the contractor fixed the potholes during the DLP. The police are awaiting details from MMRDA before booking the contractor.


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HC to hear Johnson & Johnson's plea against factory closure

MUMBAI: Bombay high court is slated to hear today John & Johnson's plea against the order of the Food and Drugs Administration directing closure of its Mulund factory on the allegation that the ethylene oxide treatment applied to its batches of baby talcum powder in 2007 is carcinogenic.

A division bench of Justice S J Vazifdar and Justice M S Sonak will hear petition by the company challenging the FDA's April 30, 2013 order for closure effective from June 24, 2013. Their appeal before the appellate authority was also rejected. At the previous hearing on July 24, 2013 FDA's advocates Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Ashutosh Gavnekar opposed the petition. It is simply shocking. Ethyl oxide treatment is carcinogenic and results into cancer. It is a mutagen,'' said Kumbhakoni.

Senior counsel Rafiq Dada argued that in 2009 the company subjected samples of 3 out of 15 batches of 2007 for testing as part of an internal audit requirement. We wanted to check if there is any residue left after the ethyl oxide treatment. We found none,'' said Dada, adding that a year and half later a show cause notice was issued in March 31, 2012 stating that FDA was kept in the dark. . The penalty is we are closed forever,'' said Dada, adding that the ethyl oxide treatment is also carried in cases of foodgrains, spices and medical devices.

He said the shelf life was over three years from date of manufacture. Here the problem is they initiated action after everything is over,'' said Dada. He said also informed that the laboratory Microtoll , where the test was carried, was also served a three month suspension. He said FDA officer who passed order for closure had also appeared before the minister in appeal saying the company had not obtained a license to carry out the tests to check residue of ethyl oxide outside its manufacturing premises.

Dada said since the license was cancelled permanently in Mahrarashtra, the company recently conducted a simulation in Haryana and has found no residue. What is relevant is not whether there is a breach earlier or today, but if at all there is a breach,'' said Justice Vazifdar. The judges questioned what was the point in FDA barring the the company from producing. What is the point of closing down the whole factory? Why did your officer take a year and half (after show cause notice) to decide the issue,'' asked Justice Vazifdar.


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Political parties divided over reintroduction of student polls

MUMBAI: Political parties seem to be divided on whether to reintroduce elections in college campus. While the ruling Congress-NCP is in favour of reintroduction of campus poll, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS have opposed the elections. Even Shiv Sena is little sceptical about smoother implementation of the election process.

Student elections were banned in 1993 in Maharashtra following large-scale violence during campus polls.

Sharad Pawar led NCP party's working president in Maharashtra, Jitendra Awadh, strongly supported the move to reintroduce student election in colleges. "College elections have given several leaders who have made their footprint in national politics," Awadh said, adding, "Discontinuing the campus poll process has created vacuum in the political system." Congress too is of the opinion that college elections should be restarted in the state.

However, Raj Thackeray-led MNS has strongly opposed the proposal. "We have seen that election leads to quarrel among student fraternity. It is not good to have any system that creates law and order problem at college level," Bala Nandgaonkar, MNS legislator, remarked. Echoing similar views, Shiv Sena's Pratap Sarnaik said he is witness to several college elections which have actually lead to "gang-war". Before introducing any such system back in the society, the ruling government has to put in place a system that will ensure violence free campus poll.


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1400 families form a human chain to protest Mhada evictions

MUMBAI: Aam Aadmi Party led representatives of 14000 families to form a human chain to create awareness on their forceful evictions.

Over 2500 people from over 20 different transit camps queued up peacefully along with AAP volunteers led by Anjali Damania, on marine drive asking for a right to their homes. AAP has held various meetings with MHADA officials, with housing minister Sachin Ahir and the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan - all have assured that a policy can be made to accommodate these residents.

These people have been tenants of Mhada for years and years, in pitiful transit camps and now even these dilapidated homes are being snatched away to benefit a builder - who has got redevelopment contracts of all MHADA transit camps without any tendering process.

It is a gross violations of human rights to keep 70000 citizens of the city in these extreme circumstances and AAP demands that there should be no delay in making the policy. While some have been evicted, many others are living in the constant threat of being thrown out of their homes.The transit camps are in extreme dilapidated conditions - yesterday a slab fell on a child's head in Mulund.


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Matka king murder case: Six including wife, son convicted

MUMBAI: A sessions court on Friday convicted six accused in the murder case of matka-king Suresh Bhagat, including his wife and son.

According to prosecution, the motive behind the murder was that Bhagat's wife Jaya and son Hitesh wanted to usurp his property and take over his multi-crore gambling business.

Bhagat, along with five others, was killed, in pursuance to a conspiracy, on Alibaug-Pen road on June 13, 2008, when a truck collided with his Scorpio.

Later, police found that the accident had been orchestrated by his wife and others, for taking over the matka business, and they had hired Suhas Roge to do the job.

The Mumbai crime branch had arrested eight persons - Suhas Roge, Harish Mandvekar, Kiran Amle, Shaikh Azimuddin, Pravin Shetty, Jaya Bhagat, Hitesh Bhagat and Kiran Pujari - in connection with the case and booked them under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

However, in April 2009, the special MCOCA court dropped the stringent Act after the defence lawyers argued that there were no previous cases against their client - which is an important ingredient for applying MCOCA in the case.

Later, Kiran Pujari and Shaikh Azimuddin sought to become approvers in the case and the court directed a magistrate to record their confessions.

Pujari, in his confession, said that he had met Jaya at her residence and Roge had suggested eliminating Bhagat. He said that Jaya had allegedly said that Bhagat was going to destroy the matka business, and to this, Roge suggested that a more "permanent" arrangement should be made.

Chief public prosecutor Kalpana Chavan told the court that this was a cold blooded murder and examined 80 witnesses to prove the case.

However, what bolstered the prosecution case was the statement of confession by Pujari and Sheikh.

Sessions judge S G Shete convicted six accused for murder and criminal conspiracy and the quantum of sentence is likely to be handed over on July 29.

The two approvers were granted pardon.


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Heavy rain lashes Mumbai, people advised to stay home

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 24 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Heavy rain on Wednesday lashed Mumbai, Konkan and other areas of Maharashtra, prompting the civic agency in the financial capital to advise people to stay at home and schools to shut as a precautionary measure.

Rail and road traffic was also disrupted due to heavy rain, which has disrupted normal life in the metropolis.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday advised people not to undertake travel in the city unless essential. The civic body has also asked schools to shut following heavy rain as a precautionary measure.

The Met department has predicted more heavy rain in Mumbai and other areas in the next 48 hours.

The BMC said that in Mumbai, a high tide is expected this afternoon with forecast of 4.9 metre high waves.

Several low-lying areas in the city were inundated after the incessant heavy rain. Many private schools were shut and the authorities of some schools have also asked parents to collect those children, who had already left home for school.

Trains on Western, Central and Harbour lines were running late.

Till 8am (since Tuesday), Colaba recorded a rainfall of 158.6mm and Santacruz 168mm.


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#MumbaiRains: Live updates

Rain has left Mumbaikars drenched, frustrated and stranded on the road and much of elsewhere in the city.

According to the weather bureau, heavy rainfall is likely at a few places, while very heavy rainfall can be expected at isolated places over the Konkan and Goa region (including Greater Mumbai) in the next 60 hours.

Several schools also asked their students to stay home because of the heavy showers.

Twitter is abuzz with updates on the status of traffic in the city with people tweeting with hashtags like #Mumbairains #MumbaiRoads and #MumbaiTrains.

Gagan Holani ‏@gholani: Water logging due to high tide - understandable, but how did BMC manage to retain few good stretches of road among potholes? #mumbairains

Aditi Rajput ‏@adycted: 6.5 hr journey for a friend of mine frm Andheri to Pune.. which is 4hrs maxx! :O #MumbaiRains

Vishwajeet ‏@imvishwajeetb: Water is everywhere #mumbairains

Vishwajeet Rajwaday ‏@Vishfulthinking: Mira Rd this morning shared by Karan Nayak #MumbaiRains


(Picture courtesy: @Unpunjabimunda)

Vineet Arora ‏@Unpunjabimunda: I think we pay taxes for potholes..#mumbairains

Aniket @AdvanceDexter: BMC announces swimming tutorials. Says potholes have a purpose of their own. #MumbaiRains‏

Harpreet Singh ‏@GHarpreet: #mumbairains water logging at domestic airport. And Andheri East, parle east roads clear no water


(Picture courtesy:@GHarpreet)

Elite Moron @Ghunchakkar: Happy hours start early in Mumbai. Swim your way! #MumbaiRains

Saumya @ayewomaniya: Trains about 30 mins late on the Central line. But no flooding on the tracks. Extremely crowded though. #MumbaiRains

Akshay Nevrekar @Akshaye00: Trains on all 3 lines are running late by 20 mins... #mumbairains #mumbailocal

Ankeet ‏@ankeetd: #lbsroad #mumbairains jam from magnet mall to gandhi nagar. IIT road clear till powai #JVLR


(Picture courtesy: @ankeetd)

Rajiv Anand @rajivanand: Elphinstone Bridge flooded. Currey Road Bridge closed. Chinchpokli Bridge jammed. #mumbairains #mumbaitraffic

Sourya Sen @ayruos: Reached office in record time. No traffic between sion and lower parel via matunga and tulsi pipe. #mumbairains

Nomnombiar @RadhikaMohandas: Went from Prabhadevi to Mahalakshmi pretty smoothly. Took the Worli Naka route, in case anyone's heading that way #MumbaiRains

Rajendra B Aklekar ‏@rajtoday: Excessive flooding on tracks at Kurla on C Railway. Pic taken just now. #MumbaiLocal #MumbaiRains


(Picture courtesy:@rajtoday)

Mrs DSouza-Kent @TheScotchGirl: Use new Milan fly over - its empty to reach Bandra #mumbairains

Wandering Tea Lover @Candidafs: As predicted by the Met dept, it's not raining anymore, it's barely drizzling now. #Mumbairains


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Salman Khan charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, pleads not guilty

MUMBAI: A Mumbai court on Wednesday framed charges against actor Salman Khan for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the hit-and-run case for which he may face a jail term upto 10 years, setting the stage for trial.

Apart from section 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), the Bollywood superstar was also charged under sections 279 (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by an act), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 427 (causing damage or mischief to property) of IPC, and provisions of Motor Vehicles Act and Bombay Prohibition Act.

The actor, however, pleaded not guilty to all these charges.

Clad in a grey shirt and black trousers, Salman appeared before sessions Judge U B Hejib, who had on July 19 summoned him on Wednesday for framing of charges for starting afresh the trial in the 11-year-old case.

The actor moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance during the trial which was granted.

He was, however, directed to be present before the court whenever required.

At the beginning of the proceedings, the judge expressed his inability to take up the case for framing the charges as he has been transferred.

However, prosecutor Shankar Erande pleaded that charges should be framed today itself as the actor was going abroad for two months which could further delay the trial.

At his request, the judge read out the charges to Salman, who pleaded not guilty to all.

One person was killed and four others were injured when the Land Cruiser, allegedly driven by Salman Khan, crushed a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.

Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade urged the court to direct the media to observe restraint as too much publicity was being given to the case and also the proceedings were not correctly reported.

The judge asked the media to observe restraint in coverage and report correctly the proceedings of the case.

The sessions Court had on June 24 upheld a magistrate's order that the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made out against the 47-year-old superstar and dismissed his appeal against the verdict.

The actor had earlier been tried by a metropolitan magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence (Section 304 A of IPC), which provides for a maximum sentence of two years.

He will now stand trial under a law pertaining to culpable homicide that could attract a jail term up to ten years.


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Smart grid venture capital funding totalled $50 million in Q2 2013

MUMBAI: Smart grid venture capital (VC) funding in the second quarter of 2013, totalled $50 million in ten deals, according to Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm. Except for one quarter, the third quarter of 2012, VC funding has been stuck in the $50-$70 million range with 9-12 deals for almost two years, said Mercom.

"Even though the number of deals were consistent compared to the last few quarters, this is one of the lowest funding quarters in the last four years," said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

The top 5 deals were led by Enlighted, which raised $20 million in a series c round. New investor RockPort Capital led the round and was joined by new investor DFJ JAIC. Existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Intel Capital also participated in the round.

C3 Energy raised $15 million. Optimum Energy raised $12.2 million in a round led by new investor Navitas Capital (backed by a venture capital advisory relationship with Johnson Controls); the round also included existing investor Columbia Pacific Capital Management. Ecolibrium Energy, on the other hand, received $1.6 million from Infuse Ventures and International Finance Corporation. Rounding out the Top 5 was Integrated Energy Management Solutions, which raised $1 million.

Home and building automation companies totalled the most deals in the sector ($33 million in five deals), followed by grid optimization companies ($17 million in three deals) and advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) and security companies with one deal each.


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Speeding trailer crushed biker at Sion

MUMBAI: The Sion police arrested a trailer driver for rash driving and killed a 26-year-old biker on Tuesday. The victim Sushant Patil (26) died when the two wheeler on which he was riding slipped after was hit by a speeding trailer from behind in Sion.

Chunabhatti resident Patil, a music teacher by profession, was heading to a school in Parel where he teaches table when the incident occurred around 8.45am on the south bound stretch of the highway near Sion hospital. "The trailer was driven at a high speed. The trailer driver was trying to overtake Patil when the latter hit the biker. Due to heavy downpour Patil's bike skidded off the road after which his head was crushed under the rear wheels of the trailer," said Sion police senior inspector Baburao Gavit.

Patil was rushed to Sion hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival. The trailer driver left the vehicle on the spot and fled away. "We have brought the vehicle to police station and tracked down the driver with the help of the regional transport office (RTO)," said the officer.

The body was sent for post mortem after which it was handed over to the family. The Sion police have registered a case against unidentified driver under section 304A of the Indian Penal Code, for causing death due to negligence and other relevant sections of the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA).


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Maharashtra education minister emphasizes need for public private partnership to fight cyber attacks

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra education minister expressed his support to Quick Heal Technologies Pvt Ltd ("Quick Heal"), a leading IT security solution provider, and urged the company to fight against growing cyber crime during a meet on July 23.

Minister for Higher & Technical Education, Govt. of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope addressed the staff of Quick Heal during his visit to Quick Heal's Research and Development Lab. "The incidences of cyber crime have been increasing day by day. Reports of hacking of sites; cyber terrorism, state supported hacking, hacking activism; economic offences are on the rise. This highlights the crucial role that a company like Quick Heal with years of expertise has, in curbing these offences and spreading awareness," said Tope.

Emphasizing on the importance of education in this scenario, Tope also focused on the fact that the current academic syllabus needs to be upgraded to meet these challenges. Going forward industry participation is required to keep the students abreast of the latest developments.

The minister also invited Sanjay Katkar, CTO of Quick Heal to provide his expert advice on the syllabus for IT courses and degrees being offered by Universities. "The Vice Chancellors of Universities would be duly intimated about this so that a cohesive strategy towards implementing this education in the syllabus is taken at the earliest," he said.


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Five held for murdering Chhotu Mali in Rabale

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 23 Juli 2013 | 22.23

NAVI MUMBAI: Five persons have been arrested for the recent murder of a political worker and estate agent, Chhotu Mali alias Trimbak Khairnar (37), at Rabale. Among the five accused are two of Mali's old friends-turned-foes who had mainly conspired to kill him over certain past differences and business rivalries.

"Two rounds were fired at Mali outside Mamta Hotel in Rabale last Saturday night (July 20), killing him on the spot. The officials from Zone-1 police and crime branch worked round-the-clock to finally detect this case and arrest the five men," said the Additional Commissioner of Police, Fatehsingh Patil.

The two former associates of Mali -- Rammurthy Naidu and Pramod Deshmukh -- had hired three shooters, namely Uday Pujari, Shivraj Markala and Manish S Shambhu to fatally fire upon Mali in Rabale. One of the two bullets had pierced the victim's heart.

"The murder victim, Mali, has a previous crime record. In fact, he was jailed along with the accused Naidu and Deshmukh for the murder of one person last year. However, Mali managed to get bail quickly, and also became an estate agent for an upcoming building project in Airoli that was earlier looked after by his former friends," said the deputy commissioner of police (zone 1) Purushottam Karad.

Apart from this real estate business rivalry angle, police also came to know that Mali had earlier flirted and misbehaved with the wife of the second accused, Deshmukh. They therefore decided to eliminate Mali whose influence seemed to be growing after he joined a political party as a working member.

The three hired hitmen were provided with two country-made guns by the duo.

Acting on a tip-off, API Kishore Patil and API Vikram Bansode of Rabale police station managed to nab all the accused persons on Monday from Rabale. The two weapons used were also recovered.


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Raj Thackeray's men hold BMC officials captive over pothole menace

MUMBAI: The India Meteorological Department has warned that heavy to very heavy rains will hit Mumbai and coastal Konkan over the next 72 hours.

All agencies concerned with disaster management, relief and rescue operations have been put in a state of high alert and people have been warned against venturing outdoors unless absolutely essential.

IMD Mumbai director V.K. Rajeev said that entire Maharashtra is expected to get heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 12-72 hours.

"Heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur at many places in Konkan, central Maharashtra and Marathwada. Similarly, Mumbai will experience heavy to very heavy rains in the next 72 hours," Rajeev said.

He explained that heavy rains implied 7-14 cm and very heavy rains meant 14-25 cm within a 24-hour rain cycle.

Incessant rains have lashed Mumbai, Konkan, western Maharashtra and Vidarbha since early Tuesday.

Several parts of Mumbai have been waterlogged and flooded since Tuesday morning, severely restricting traffic movement and delaying local trains on Central Railway and Western Railway by 20-30 minutes.

Roads in south-central Mumbai areas of Dadar, Wadala, Sion, Parel, Byculla, Govandi, Kurla, Malad, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Dahisar, Bhandup and other suburbs were flooded at many places and traffic had to be diverted to alternative routes.

According to BMC disaster management cell, at 1pm, the city received 4.17 cm rain, eastern suburbs 4.32 cm and western suburbs 3.06 cm.

Many private offices in the affected areas allowed their employees to leave early in view of the constant downpour and disruption in road and rail services.

The situation was identical in adjoining Thane and Raigad districts with rains since Monday night severely disrupting road and rail communication with Mumbai.

Meanwhile, IMD officials have asked people to ignore any SMS warning of heavy floods in Mumbai, saying these are being circulated by rumour-mongers.

PTI reports from Mumbai

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists on Tuesday allegedly held BMC officials and engineers' captive at their office, warning that they would not be allowed to go until a written assurance was given to address the city's potholes menace.
MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande claimed that he along with his party workers went to G North ward office of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Dadar of central Mumbai with a demand that potholes in his Dadar area be fixed at the earliest and he needs written assurance.

Admitting that he held some senior officials and engineers captive, Deshpande told PTI, "People from my area ask me why potholes are not fixed. I sought a written assurance from the civic body officials."

However, no police complaint has been lodged in this connection.

"I had been to the Dadar civic body office but nobody complained to us in this regard. Deshpande is discussing potholes menace with the civic body officials," Shivaji Park police station senior inspector Parshuram Kakad said.


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Mumbai braces for torrential rain; Raj Thackeray's men hold officials captive over potholes

MUMBAI: The India Meteorological Department has warned that heavy to very heavy rains will hit Mumbai and coastal Konkan over the next 72 hours.

All agencies concerned with disaster management, relief and rescue operations have been put in a state of high alert and people have been warned against venturing outdoors unless absolutely essential.

IMD Mumbai director V.K. Rajeev said that entire Maharashtra is expected to get heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 12-72 hours.

"Heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur at many places in Konkan, central Maharashtra and Marathwada. Similarly, Mumbai will experience heavy to very heavy rains in the next 72 hours," Rajeev said.

He explained that heavy rains implied 7-14 cm and very heavy rains meant 14-25 cm within a 24-hour rain cycle.

Incessant rains have lashed Mumbai, Konkan, western Maharashtra and Vidarbha since early Tuesday.

Several parts of Mumbai have been waterlogged and flooded since Tuesday morning, severely restricting traffic movement and delaying local trains on Central Railway and Western Railway by 20-30 minutes.

Roads in south-central Mumbai areas of Dadar, Wadala, Sion, Parel, Byculla, Govandi, Kurla, Malad, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Dahisar, Bhandup and other suburbs were flooded at many places and traffic had to be diverted to alternative routes.

According to BMC disaster management cell, at 1pm, the city received 4.17 cm rain, eastern suburbs 4.32 cm and western suburbs 3.06 cm.

Many private offices in the affected areas allowed their employees to leave early in view of the constant downpour and disruption in road and rail services.

The situation was identical in adjoining Thane and Raigad districts with rains since Monday night severely disrupting road and rail communication with Mumbai.

Meanwhile, IMD officials have asked people to ignore any SMS warning of heavy floods in Mumbai, saying these are being circulated by rumour-mongers.

PTI reports from Mumbai

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists on Tuesday allegedly held BMC officials and engineers' captive at their office, warning that they would not be allowed to go until a written assurance was given to address the city's potholes menace.
MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande claimed that he along with his party workers went to G North ward office of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Dadar of central Mumbai with a demand that potholes in his Dadar area be fixed at the earliest and he needs written assurance.

Admitting that he held some senior officials and engineers captive, Deshpande told PTI, "People from my area ask me why potholes are not fixed. I sought a written assurance from the civic body officials."

However, no police complaint has been lodged in this connection.

"I had been to the Dadar civic body office but nobody complained to us in this regard. Deshpande is discussing potholes menace with the civic body officials," Shivaji Park police station senior inspector Parshuram Kakad said.


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Growth in domestic tourist visits in 2012 higher than foreign tourist visits

MUMBAI: The number of domestic tourist visits to states and union territories registered an increase of about 20% during the year 2012 over 2011 as compared to an increase of about 16% in the corresponding period last year.

According to the latest statistics on tourism in India released by ministry of tourism, the number of domestic tourist visits to the states and union territories was 1,036 million in 2012 as compared to 865 million in 2011 and 748 million in 2010.

The top ten states in terms of number of domestic tourist visits during 2012, were Andhra Pradesh (about 207 million), Tamil Nadu (184 million), Uttar Pradesh (168 million), Karnataka (94 million), Maharashtra (66 million), Madhya Pradesh (53 million), Rajasthan (about 29 million), Uttarakhand (about 27 million), Gujarat (24 million) and West Bengal (23 million).

The contribution of these states was about 85% to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2012.

On the other hand, the number of foreign tourist visits to states and union territories registered a growth of 6% during the year 2012 over 2011 as compared to a growth of 8.9% in 2011 over 2010. The number of foreign tourist visits to the states/union territories was about 21 million in 2012 as compared to about 20 million in 2011 and 18 million in 2010.


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Open letter by prominent citizens urges MPs not to amend RTI act

MUMBAI: Prominent citizens from India have come together and addressed an open letter to the Members of Parliament urging them not to scuttle the Right to Information Act through an amendment. Reports of the RTI Act coming under scrutiny have been doing the rounds ever since the Chief Information Commissioner declared political parties as public authorities and directed that they should be subjected to transparency laws.

"If an order which is bad in law is issued by any statutory authority, the correct process is to challenge it at an appropriate forum. The CIC order can be challenged in a writ in the High Court, and there are many instances of these orders having been quashed in Courts," stated a letter forwarded by transparency activist Shailesh Gandhi and endorsed by several prominent citizens including Retd. Chief Justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah, former police commissioner of Mumbai,.Julio Ribeiro, architect Charles Corea, and former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian among others.

The letter urged MPs not to vote for this amendment, if it was introduced. It also stated that parties which were not going to vote for the amendment should state so publicly.

For the record, no political party has moved the courts regarding the CIC order. The citizens pointed out that an amendment would set a bad precedent.

The RTI act has been considered a widely used tool by citizens tobring transparency to the Indian democracy. Given the climate of distrust between citizens and their political leaders, transparency by political parties might help restore the faith in public bodies.


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Palghar Facebook row: HC asks Maharashtra if it plans penal action against cops

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday faced the ire of the Bombay high court which sought to know if the state plans to initiate criminal action against police officers responsible for the illegal arrest of two girls opposing the bandh enforced during Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's funeral in November 2012.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S B Shukre was hearing a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar seeking penal action for wrongful confinement and falsification of records to be taken against the "errant" cops.

The court was told by prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik that a departmental inquiry in under process against three police officials superintendent of police, Thane (Rural) Ravindra Shengaonkar, additional SP, Thane (Rural) Sangram Nishandar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle.

"Is the state of the opinion that they should face only a departmental inquiry? You (state) feel this is not a punishable offence?" Justice Dharmadhikari queried.

Observing that the law was equal for everyone, the court said "nobody should take law into their hands. If an ordinary citizen had done this, what would you (state) have done then? Why don't you set the law in motion when a police officer is involved. This is the impression drawn."

The court further noted that just because no member of public has come forward to give a complaint does not mean that the police force cannot take action against the errant personnel on its own.

The court has directed the government to revert within a week and inform it whether the case will be closed only with a departmental inquiry or the state desires to initiate steps under the criminal law.


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Govt to have better laws for mall workers

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 22 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government will make changes in the guidelines currently governing recruitment of labour in the malls and shopping complexes.

The labour laws for the Mathadi Kamgar and other workers is abysmally low and procedures for their recruitment are not being followed properly by employers, said state labour minister Hassan Mushrif. The minister was responding to a Calling Attention Motion in the state Legislative Council on Monday over lopsided hire-and-fire policies being put in place by several employers in the mall.

Raising the issue, legislator Naredra Patil said recently a batch of workers was thrown out without notice inside the Inorbit Mall in Malad. They were replaced by another batch of workers illegally. To this the minister said appropriate action has been initiated and the government will ensure a uniform code or law is put in place for all malls in Mumbai and other parts of the state.

"We agree that the whole process must undergo a change. We will soon call a meeting of all stakeholders and sort this issue out," said the minister.


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Maharashtra govt firm on dance bar ban, says R R Patil

MUMBAI: Notwithstanding the Supreme Court order, Maharashtra government is firm that dance bars remain shut, home minister R R Patil today told the assembly here.

He indicated that the government is mulling withdrawal of dance performance license to star hotels to remove any disparity.

Replying to a query by MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar in the House, Patil said if needed, the dance bar license issued to the star hotels (3 or 5 star hotels) will be withdrawn.

"The state government will take a decision in two days on the verdict of Supreme Court that upheld the Bombay High Court's decision to quash the ban on dance bars," Patil said.

Nandgaonkar and senior PWP legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh wanted to know the steps being taken by the state government on the Supreme Court ruling on dance bars.

"We have sought legal opinion from experts in Delhi and Mumbai. The state government is of the view that the ban on dance bars should continue," the home minister said.

The government has formed a committee of experts to decide further course of action, he said.

The apex court had last week lifted the ban on dance bars quashing the law approved by the state legislature.

"Within the next two days, the government will inform the House about its stand on the steps being taken on the Supreme Court ruling," Patil said.


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Mumbai BJP activist stabbed to death 28 times

MUMBAI: A BJP activist today died after he was stabbed as many as 28 times at his residence in suburban Bhandup here by a person from the same locality out of personal enmity, police said.BJP activist today died after he was stabbed as many as 28 times at his residence in suburban Bhandup here by a person from the same locality out of personal enmity, police said.

BJP ward 106 president Vasant Patil (55) was stabbed multiple times by accused Baban Tukaram Khopade (52) who claimed to be a member of Congress party, they said.

Patil was rushed to nearby civic body-run Rajawadi Hospital where he was declared dead before admission, police said.

According to police, Patil was at his house in Jai Bhavani Chawl at Bhandup when his wife went to attend nature's call at about 7.30am.

Khopade kept a watch on the house and as soon as Patil's wife went out, the accused rushed to the victim's house and began stabbing.

"There were about 28 stab wounds all over Patil," said Shrirang Nadgauda, senior inspector at Bhandup police station.

After the murder, the accused escaped from the spot, Nadgauda said. Acting on information, the accused was nabbed from his hideout, 200 meters away from the crime scene.

"The two had personal enmity since long but it was never brought to their notice of police. Since they stayed in the same locality for long, they had difference of opinion on several local issues, including water problem and garbage removal etc," the officer said.

Yesterday, Khopade was sitting outside in the locality when a heated argument had erupted between him and Patil.

"In a fit of rage, Patil spit on Khopade, following which the latter had developed strong grudges against Patil. He then conspired to kill Patil and this morning, he stabbed the victim repeatedly," the officer said.

"There may be involvement of one more person in the crime," Nadgauda said.


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Mumbai BJP activist fatally stabbed 28 times

MUMBAI: A BJP activist today died after he was stabbed as many as 28 times at his residence in suburban Bhandup here by a person from the same locality out of personal enmity, police said.BJP activist today died after he was stabbed as many as 28 times at his residence in suburban Bhandup here by a person from the same locality out of personal enmity, police said.

BJP ward 106 president Vasant Patil (55) was stabbed multiple times by accused Baban Tukaram Khopade (52) who claimed to be a member of Congress party, they said.

Patil was rushed to nearby civic body-run Rajawadi Hospital where he was declared dead before admission, police said.

According to police, Patil was at his house in Jai Bhavani Chawl at Bhandup when his wife went to attend nature's call at about 7.30am.

Khopade kept a watch on the house and as soon as Patil's wife went out, the accused rushed to the victim's house and began stabbing.

"There were about 28 stab wounds all over Patil," said Shrirang Nadgauda, senior inspector at Bhandup police station.

After the murder, the accused escaped from the spot, Nadgauda said. Acting on information, the accused was nabbed from his hideout, 200 meters away from the crime scene.

"The two had personal enmity since long but it was never brought to their notice of police. Since they stayed in the same locality for long, they had difference of opinion on several local issues, including water problem and garbage removal etc," the officer said.

Yesterday, Khopade was sitting outside in the locality when a heated argument had erupted between him and Patil.

"In a fit of rage, Patil spit on Khopade, following which the latter had developed strong grudges against Patil. He then conspired to kill Patil and this morning, he stabbed the victim repeatedly," the officer said.

"There may be involvement of one more person in the crime," Nadgauda said.


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'Faulty rifle magazine' case probe begins

MUMBAI: After the faulty bomb suit scam, there is another case of similar gravity in the state police. The city economic offences wing (EOW) is probing a case of faulty SLR magazines which was sold to the state government 13 years ago. The state police have given contract to a company for providing self loaded rifles' magazines. Off the total magazines given to the police, 26,200 were faulty and could not be used by the security forces in sensitive areas like Gadchiroli and in anti-naxal operations.

The EOW said that in July 1998, state police floated a tender to purchase SLR magazines. While many companies participated and submitted tenders, the contract was awarded to Jaison Industries Pvt Ltd. By March 2000, the firm supplied all the magazines which were distributed to various police agencies as per their requirement. "In 2000, the assistant superintendent of police in Gadchiroli for the first time reported to the director-general of police's office about the faulty magazines. He stated that the magazines were oversized and there was problem in fitting the magazines in the jackets. Last year, the EOW had registered a case against a businessman, Bimal Aggarwal, for supplying faulty bomb suits to the state police. He was released on bail later.

After receiving a complaint from Gadchiroli, the magaiznes were sent to Armament Research and Department Establishment (ARDE) in Pune for examination. The institute confirmed that the magazines were faulty and not of the actual size that was ordered. The director-general's office then asked all the police authorities to send magazines back to DG office. Later, the state police again negotiated with the firm that had supplied the magazines asking them to provide replacement. However, the firm refused to give replacement, causing the state police a loss of Rs 59.95 lakh. Twelve years after the incident the state police decided to lodge an official complaint against Jaison Industries. Tejsingh Chavan, an assistant inspector general of police lodged a complaint against Jayant Kulkarini (75). "We have not arrested Kulkarni yet. We are collecting all the relevant papers and making inquiries into the case," said an EOW officer.


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Get a free ride for last-minute cancellation of fleet taxi

MUMBAI: Easy Cabs, one of the well-known fleetcabs in Mumbai, has promised to offer a free ride to passengers to any destination (subject to maximum fare of Rs 500) in case there is a last-minute cancellation or unavailability of a taxi.

"Easy Cabs will give you a 24x7 assurance of a cab at doorstep with zero cancellations at the eleventh hour," said a company spokesperson. This may come as a relief to commuters, many of whom are unable to get fleetcabs whose bookings are cancelled at the last minute.

"In the rarest of rare case, if there is a cancellation or unavailability of a taxi, we will offer a free ride to the passenger to any destination of his or her choice, subject to maximum fare of Rs 500," said Easy Cabs CEO Rajiv Vij. "But in all probability, we will guarantee that a taxi reaches your doorstep on time and there are no last minute frustrations," he stated.

This comes close on the heels of Meru Cabs and TabCab offering "assured cab service" for its passengers.

TabCab promises cabs for all bookings accepted for departures between 8 pm and 8 am. "We want to ensure that our clients, specially those catching early morning flights are not stranded," said Prasenjeet Bagchi of TabCab. He stated that in coming months, the fleet taxi operator will provide assured cabs for any destination 24x7.

Meru Cab also assures cabs for airport from certain parts of the city round-the-clock. It also has assured taxi services for those staying in far flung suburbs in Kalyan and Navi Mumbai. In case of unforseen circumstances, it issues a privilege voucher of Rs 500 to customers for any last minute cancellations due to unavailability of cabs.

"We guarantee 100 % service delivery assurance to win the trust of our customers. To avail this benefit, the customer must book the cab for more than 10 kms and at least an hour in advance," said Vij.

A spokesperson from TABcab said the "nil cancellation" was possible because of a large on-road fleet strength, state-of-the-art technology enhancements like a new Cab Forecasting System (CFS) and digitally mapped bidding system (DMBS). He stated that other factors which made this possible were effective utilisation of manpower and special training for the "Saathis" (drivers).

Easy Cabs has a fleet of 600 to 700 taxis in Mumbai while TabCab and Meru have a fleet size of 2,100 and 2,050 respectively.

Meanwhile, fleetcab operators like Priyadarshini and Viira Cabs, which have women drivers, are demanding at least 100 new permits so that there can be more cabs exclusively for women commuters.


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Cellphone operators welcome Kerala high court judgment

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 20 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has welcomed the Kerala High Court order stating that there was no evidence of adverse effects on people's health due to EMF emissions from the antennas on mobile towers (mobile towers). The court, according to COAI had further stated that mobile telecommunication towers being harmful to people was a debatable subject across the world.

The landmark order was pronounced in response to a writ petition (WP 24569/2012) filed by Indus Towers Limited seeking police protection for erecting towers at Peringmala in Nedumangad, Kerala. The earlier full bench and division bench judgments held there is no proof that mobile towers cause health hazards and directed the police to provide police protection against the obstruction and interference caused by objectors.

In its order, the Kerala High Court has stated that telecom towers affecting the health of people was an issue still being debated across the world and prima facie there was no evidence linking any harmful effects of Telecom Towers on human health. According to Kerala HC if a company had obtained the necessary licences and permits, they could be obstructed from erecting and commissioning towers.

Commenting on the order, Rajan S Mathews, Director General COAI, said: "We welcome the decision of the Honourable High Court of Kerala. We are fully committed to the sensitivities and concerns of our customers and believe that this landmark order will debunk several myths propagated by certain groups. I am sure the verdict of the Kerala High Court will go a long way in the removal of fears about the safety of EMF emission from telecom towers all across India. He further added that citizens of India now enjoy safety limits on EMF emission lower than citizens in over 90 % of the countries of the world, post the Government of India lowering the safety limits by 90% last September, for "abundant caution".

India's mobile industry complies and conforms to norms mandated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) which lowered by 90%, the norms mandated by international regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). ICNIRP guidelines are regarded as the most credible and are followed by 95% of the countries across the world. It should also be noted that the DoT made such a reduction of the ICNIRP levels entirely as a measure of abundant precaution as there is no conclusive scientific evidence till date which links EMF emissions from mobile towers to health hazards.


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Maharashtra's urban development minister takes stock of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority

MUMBAI: The new State Urban Development Department UdaySamant, today, visited the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and an overview of the projects implemented by the Authority.

The all-project presentation was made to the State Minister by the Metropolitan Commissioner, UPS Madan. The presentation included on-going projects such as Metro Rail, Mono Rail, Sahar Elevated Road, Amar Mahal Junction flyover, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, Rental Housing, Extended Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project, Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Project, Surya Bulk Water Supply Project, Multi-Modal Corridor among others.

"The recently opened Eastern Freeway has been serving the Mumbaikars a great extent", said Samant. "The Authority has been implementing big-ticket projects which include resettlement and rehabilitation of the families affected by them. One will have to appreciate the work done by the Authority since it also included rehabilitation of religious structures which normally is a very sensitive issue", concluded the State UDD Minister.

The State Minister was also briefed on the new projects such as BKC-EEH connector which will connect BKC and Chunabhatti area near Eastern Express Highway and Kherwadi Junction flyover which is expected to complete by 2014. Very soon MMRDA is planning to initiate third metro rail project between COlaba and Seepz in Andheri which will be a 33 km route. Similarly it is likely to take Nhava-Sewri sea link, a 22 km bridge connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai towards Panvel.


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Maharashtra cable operators' federation formed

MUMBAI: More than 500 cable operators from Mumbai and neighbouring areas met at Rang Sharda auditorium in Bandra, Mumbai recently and established their federation in order to consolidate the strength and strongly take up their demand with higher authorities.

The meeting was called by Arvind Prabhu and Jagdish Joshi. The huge turnout and unanimous support from more than 500 cable operators was a pleasant surprise.

The aim of the federation is to create a collective voice for the large number of Last Mile Operators in Maharashtra. The federation will project the LCOs' view point in a collective voice to the I&B ministry, the TRAI, broadcasters & MSOs. The federation hopes to create a distinct identity for LCOs in Maharashtra state, voicing their long felt needs, expressing practical difficulties faced in operations and conveying to the public at large the services and achievements by LCOs.

Shakeel Shaikh, a cable operator from Chembur said that a Maharashtra federation is essential and was long overdue. Without it, cable operators will perish under pressure tactics by broadcasters, DTH platforms and MSOs.

Shailesh from Big Star Welfare at Worli pointed out that they were a cooperative of 60-70 small cable operators who have been able to address broadcasters and MSOs better, with a collective voice. A large federation such as one representing all cable operators in Maharashtra would go a long way.

Uday Salvi, an LCO from Worli cautioned that many associations had started in the past but they did not benefit LCOs. When the associations became powerful enough, the office bearers of the association turned into distributors, for their own personal gain. He hoped this would not happen again.

Federation's tasks

1. Enroll local cable operators from all over Maharashtra.

2. Seek clarification on whether the Maharashtra Entertainment Tax of Rs.45 is levied per home or per STB.

3. Express views and concerns to the TRAI from the LCO view point.

4. Strive to ensure that all Marathi channels are offered Free-To-Air, within the state.


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ACC 'Supercoat', a new solution to solve pothole menace

MUMBAI: The ACC Concrete, India's leading manufacturer of ready mix concrete, today introduced Supercoat,a high performance concrete with very high toughness and flexibility, a solution which plugs all potholes and allows roads to be trafficked within 24 hours. Supercoat gives a maintenance free solution, for road repairs both for bitumen and concrete roads.

Supercoata state-of-the-art product designed and developed by ACC Concrete, is a single integrated novel solution which comprises amorphous materials along with cement and fine special paste, modified polymers, mineral and chemical admixtures, that helps in quickly achieving desired properties under strict control and formulation. It is delivered in a controlled manner and craftsmanship on placing, finishing, curing etc. by specialists and experienced personnel.

Last year, ACC Concrete introduced two breakthrough solutions UTWT 24 and Speedcrete for instant road laying and repairing in India.

All these solutions can be put to multiple applications ranging from urban roads & highways repairs, road rehabilitations & repairs, air pavement repairs, bridge deck repairs to loading dock & ports repairs. These, solutions thus help in servicing the public and society at large with uninterrupted business through efficient road transport system.

Witnessing the burgeoning need for speedy pothole repairs, ACC Concrete launched Supercoatwhile organizing a live demonstration of overlaying this solution at L B S Marg, Teen Hath Naka, Thane,Mumbai. The demo showcased the process of how Supercoat,can speed-up the overlay of potholes within highly accelerated 'Time'. Distinguished customers of ACC and major builders across the city were witness to this demonstration.

Anil Banchhor, Chief Executive, Concrete Business, said, "Every year crores of rupees are spent on road maintenance and filling potholes across cities in India. Supercoat is a high performing novel solution from ACC Concrete for planned instant pothole repairs. A delivery of Supercoat is treated with utmost care and completed by experienced personnel with special techniques before trafficking in 24 hrs."

ACC Concrete is one of the largest manufacturers of Ready Mix Concrete in India with over 51 modern plants in major cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa, Chandigarh and Ahmadabad. The company has several landmark structures in India's metro cities to its credit.


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GAIL employees contribute one day's salary for relief work in Uttarakhand

MUMBAI: The employees of GAIL (India) Limited have voluntarily contributed one day's salary for relief and rehabilitation work in disaster-hit Uttarakhand. The contribution to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund was handed over to Union minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dr M VeerappaMoily by GAIL chairman and managing director B C Tripathi here today in the presence of Vivek Rae, secretary, petroleum and natural gas and senior officials of the Ministry, along with M. Ravindran, Director (Human Resources) and other officials of GAIL.

Apart from this, GAIL has contributed Rs 2 crore to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund as an immediate measure as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative for Uttarakhand where thousands lost their lives and many more were injured and rendered homeless by the flash floods last month. The GAIL employees contributed Rs 92.25 lakhs from their salaries to aid relief and rehabilitation work in the state.

GAIL (India) Limited, a Maharatna company, is India's principal Natural Gas Company with activities ranging from Gas Transmission and Marketing to Processing; transmission of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG); production and marketing of Petrochemicals like HDPE and LLDPE and leasing bandwidth in Telecommunications. The Company has extended its presence in Power, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) re-gasification, City Gas Distribution and Exploration & Production through equity and joint venture participations.


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Uniform tariff in Mumbai is the need of hour, experts say

MUMBAI: Uniform tariff system in Mumbai is the need of hour, said experts in power sector. Mumbai Power Supply which is controlled by three distribution companies namely Tata Power Distribution , Reliance Distribution and BEST serves around 40 lakhs Residential, Industrial and Commercial consumers constitute around 2 % consumers of the overall 20 crores consumers is spread around 1000 Square Kilometrs . The total generating capacity of Tata Generating Plant is Mw and 500 Mw of Dahanu plant . The Power Supply to Mumbai is a lifeline with all activities including the bus transportation. Power Supply has got islanding mode also which means in case of failure of Entire country grid supply can be made with the local Generator and in case of local generator failing then imports can take place in milliseconds .

"The Tariff composition is also mixed with the tariff being the highest in the country . One of the reason as Tata Generation is dependent with Gas , Coal and Oil and also Coal logicstics is also very high . Very recently Tata has increased tariff by 25% and Reliance petition is at the verge of disposal with Tariff of residential consumers touching around Rs12 almost double than the other tariff of the country," said D Radhakrishnan, a power consultant. "The tariff which was almost Uniform in the year has multipllied as new capacities have not come and secondly even BEST which takes care of Transport was permitted by Apex Court to setoff the losses of Transport Sector from Electricity Business," he added.

A study was undertaken by PwC to bring uniformity of tariff and reports that in case if Tariff is to be brought at par with Tata Tariff then Government has to subsidize. In fact Mumbai does not get any central share which Maharatra gets and a part of this share can contribute relief to consumers . Mumbai is the only city which does not get central share . Secondly distribution companies can enter into a long term PPA with any of the merchant players who are selling power at as low as Rs 3/- . Thirdly there is no coal linkage of Tata Power and in fact Tata Power Generating Company can swap this linked coal with any of their plants and pass on the cost reduction to the consumers . In fact concept of Uniform Tariff will also relieve BEST to burden only select consumers to subsidize the transport losses . This will also end the on going tussle of Reliance and Tata where Tata is entering into Reliance consumers and consumers are asked to pay cross subsidy charges as high as Rs 2.


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5 five-stars want to give up dance bar licence: RR

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 19 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Five out of eight fivestar hotels have offered to surrender their dance bar licences to the state government, home minister R R Patil said on Thursday.

"No three-star hotels were given dance bar licences. In fact, of the total eight dance bar licences issued to five-star hotels , five have offered to return them," Patil said. "According to the [home] department's information , not a single five-star hotel made use of the licence issued to it," he added.

Asked which hotels were issued the licences and which of them had offered to return them, Patil said he didn't have off-hand information on the subject.

The home minster said he would not make any observation on the Supreme Court judgment on dance bars, but pointed out that it was a collective move by the ruling Democratic Front.

"The decision was not of any individual, it was the government's collective decision supported by the entire opposition ," he said.

This statement is seen as a veiled attack on those who hold Patil responsible for banning dance bars in the state.

Patil reiterated that there was nothing wrong in the state government's decision to ban dance bars in 2005.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was in Pandharpur on Thursday evening, said, "We are studying the honourable Supreme Court's judgment regarding the ban on dance bars. We are looking at all possible options and a decision will be taken by the cabinet."


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J&K pupils’ counselling pushed back

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday deferred the counselling session of Jammu and Kashmir candidates seeking admission to an architecture degree course following allegations that rules were tweaked. Instead of Friday, the counselling will take place on August 5.

A division bench of Justice S JVazifdar and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a petition filed by Ratik Verma challenging the final merit list published by the directorate of technical education, alleging irregularities in the selection method. His advocate Pooja Thorat said, "When the rules stipulated that the admissions will be given on the score obtained in MA-CAT , the DTE cannot admit students under NATA." DTE's advocate admitted there were errors in the regulations.


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Link workers in Mira-Bhayander get pay hike

MUMBAI: Link workers working in the Mira-Bhayander region have every reason to rejoice.

The civic administration has raised the salary of the 130 women link workers from Rs 700 a month to a monthly Rs 3,500. Congress corporator and former leader of the house in the MBMC, Prabhat Patil had proposed an hike under rule "J" of the MBMC bylaws. It was approved unanimously in the general body meeting of the civic house.

The link workers were appointed in 2007 by the municipality on a contract basis under the government funded Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme, a scheme aimed to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate.

They were paid Rs 500 each. The amount was hiked by Rs 200 in 2010. Since then link workers had been demanding a pay hike. The proposal for a hike was placed before the civic administration last year too. But it was rejected for lack of funds. The link workers assist women in pre and post pregnancy care.

They visit civic hospitals and help pregnant women to avail the benefits available to them from the municipality and government. They also conduct door-to-door survey for diseases like malaria, dengue, distribute medicines and provide polio doses to children.


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Succour to acid attack victims will depend on enforcement of SC decree

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court's decree standardizing the compensation to victims of acid attacks is a welcome step, but there are concerns about whether the directive will be effectively implemented in practice.

Acid attacks are one of the most violent forms of gender-based violence prevalent in India today. The Supreme Court on Thursday hiked the compensation to victims to Rs 3 lakh and directed that states should pay the victim Rs 1 lakh within a fortnight and the rest within two months of the assault.

Past experience shows that such directives and provisions have unfortunately often remained on paper, depriving victims of much-needed succour in times of crises. The need to establish a compensation fund for victims was in fact mandated by an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) way back in 2008. But the implementation of this provision has been ignored in many states. Such compensation was in fact payable even if the offender was missing.

The criminal justice system unfortunately veers all its energy towards bringing the accused to book. Without undermining the importance of that, it is equally important that measures for the welfare of victims also receive their rightful place.


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Maharashtra wants Centre to consider state tourist hubs in highway plan

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has demanded the Centre includes state's tourist hubs, hotspots and state highways in its 20-year plan for development national highways. The state's demands were presented by tourism minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the annual conference of all tourism ministers in New Delhi.

Speaking at the seminar, Bhujbal said Maharashtra has many world heritage sites; in an ideal scenario all of these must be visible from the national highways and connected for the tourists. He also invited Union tourism minister for inaugurating the tourism centre being constructed at Ajanta and Allora caves at Aurangabad.


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Tourism minister asks states to enact separate cadre for tourist police

MUMBAI: Union tourism minister K Chiranjeevi has urged the state governments and Union Territories to instate the cadre of tourist police in one form or other.

Speaking at the conference on of state tourism ministers in New Delhi, Chiranjeevi said, "This can be done either by borrowing some companies from the police department or hiring ex-servicemen or home guards. Tourist police can be deployed visibly in places where such incidents can happen."

The minister also demanded speedy trial of the accused to ensure faster justice to the victims. He said, "We must show our sensitivity towards the feelings of the victim and respect their dignity and privacy."

Referring to the recent incidents of assault on women tourists which has seriously damaged our image the minister said, "It is not only important that we provide security to the tourists but it is also important that we must instil a sense of confidence in them".

Chiranjeevi said the second important issue which has become a serious cause of concern and due to which we are losing business to other markets is cleanliness and hygiene. He said heaps of garbage at tourist destinations, open defecation at the beaches, morning soils on the railway tracks, etc, discourage the tourists.

All the states and UT administrations must declare various tourist destinations as plastic free, ensure regular removal of garbage, build proper toilets to check open defecation and sensitise the community about the need to keep the destinations clean, said Chiranjeevi.


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Lawsuits make companies go for CEO-director cover

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 18 Juli 2013 | 22.23

Mayur Shetty, TNN | Jul 18, 2013, 06.01AM IST
MUMBAI: Directors & Officers policy which started out as an exotic cover a decade ago is now drawing interest from mid- to large-sized companies as directors and CEO are being hit by lawsuits hard and fast. But a key cover that companies are looking for - against fines and penalties levied on the company - continues to remain elusive as underwriters are wary of the Indian market.

Industry officials say that the policy protecting directors and CEOs from being sued by employees, regulators, shareholders or customers for actions taken during the course of duty is growing by 35% annually. This is because a spate of high-profile cases such as iGate and Satyam are making top managements aware of the risk. Officials say that there are over 300 claim notifications every year but not all of them translate into claims.

Earlier, it was only companies with US listing that were keen on this cover. However, of late, even directors on board of public sector companies are asking if the company has D&O cover. Insurers say that this has happened after a leading foreign institutional investor, The Children's Institutional Fund (TCI), threatened to sue independent directors of Coal India for not protecting shareholder interest. In the telecom scam too, top executives were summoned and described by the court as an alter ego of their respective companies and said that the acts of the company could be attributed and imputed to the executives.

While many of the claim notifications are because of regulatory activism, there are also a large number of cases that come under employment-related practices liability. Most employers are now highly sensitized about pregnancy-related sackings, but there is an increased awareness among employees of their legal options. This is particularly true in the case of senior executives who have been deployed overseas in countries like the US.

"Some high-profile cases have brought into focus that the personal assets of independent directors can come into jeopardy for their action or inaction as directors. As a result, many directors had quit," said TA Ramalingam, head of underwriting at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Strangely, the cover has not risen because after the Tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand several reinsurers had decided to diversify their portfolio and increase the share of liability cover. Companies can even now get cover for up to $1million for equivalent of $1,000.

Some instances where directors faced liability include a case in Bangalore where the CEO of a tech company was prosecuted by the courts after a cab driver contracted by the company raped and murdered a female employee. Some years back, a large soft drinks company was forced to settle with a former beauty queen for Rs 1.45 crore over an alleged sexual harassment case against a senior executive.

According to Ramalingam, companies with overseas exposures buy covers up to $100 million, banks typically go for $25-30 million covers while small companies may settle for $2-5 million liability covers. "Penalties on companies are generally excluded. Insurers are reluctant because even a fine for not paying sales tax can be claimed as a penalty. However, fines on individuals are covered," said Ramalingam.

The claims that come into public domain under D&O policies are only tip of the iceberg. Even where insurers settle the claim, the presence of the cover if a deeply guarded secret. The reason behind this secrecy is the fear of a deep-pocket syndrome, which results in bigger lawsuits when claimants realize there is an insurance company standing behind.


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