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​CA student falls off building terrace, dies

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

MUMBAI: A 23-year-old final-year chartered accountancy student, Tarika Singh, died after allegedly falling off the terrace of her building in Bhayander (east).

Singh, resided with her parents and younger sister Tanushree in the A wing of Sai Aaradhana building, Jesal Park, Bhayander (east), said the Navghar police. Her parents had rented a flat in the B wing for Singh to study. Singh would spend most of the time in the B wing house and used the terrace to go from one flat to another.

On Friday, she called up her mother and informed her that she would come to the A wing flat for tea and snacks at 5pm. At 4.45pm, there was a massive thud and building residents rushed out. Tanushree went down and found a blood-soaked Singh.

She was taken to a nearby hospital where, hours later, she died of head injuries. The police have registered an accidental death case. The cops are investigating how Singh fell off the terrace. They are awaiting the autopsy report.


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​Officials are guilty of laxity, negligence: Civic chief

MUMBAI: The BMC has suspended seven officials for failing to act against illegal alterations in the five-storeyed civic building located on Brahmadev Khot Marg near Dockyard Road railway station, which collapsed on Friday morning.

Three officials from the P&D department and four from the markets department were suspended. A departmental inquiry will be initiated against 10 other officials, five each from the P&D and markets departments. Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, told TOI that the BMC will impose penalties on all 18 officials, but those suspended will not be able to resume duty until the enquiries are completed.

"In our preliminary enquiries, we have identified officials who were aware that crucial alterations were made in the ground-floor godown. They should have taken corrective steps. There has been laxity and negligence on their part," said civic chief Sitaram Kunte.

Asked if the designated officer (DO) of E ward in Byculla will also be held responsible, Kunte said, "Techincally, DOs are held accountable as they have to take action on illegal alterations. But in this case the P&D and markets department officials were aware of the alterations in 2011 and overlooked them. No action will be taken against the DO, as he was only appointed in April this year."

The 48-hour rescue operations, was the longest so far and went till 6.30am on Sunday.

Kunte said survivors will be given an alternate accommodation in a Ghatkopar tenement. "The families of those who died will be compensated Rs 5 lakh and next of kin will be given a job in the BMC," said Kunte.

Incidentally, the same two-member technical committee that gave a clean chit to a showroom owner for alleged illegal alterations in the basement of Altaf Mansion in Mahim that crashed on June 10, has been appointed to inquire into the cause of the Mazgaon building collapse.


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​Mhada to review Rs 10,000cr Mumbai redevelopment project

MUMBAI: A redevelopment project in Kandivli (east), conservatively estimated to be worth Rs 10,000 crore, is under review by the state housing authority following complaints by a section of the residents.

Considered one of Mumbai's largest redevelopment projects, the Samata Nagar colony is spread over 56 acres and comprises 80 housing societies. But trouble erupted when 31 of these societies complained that they were included in the project by the builder, S D Corporation, without their consent. Maharashtra housing and area development authority (Mhada), which built this residential enclave of 165 buildings three decades ago, recently formed a six-member committee to inquiry into these complaints.

The Mhada no-objection certificate to the builder was for 84,000 sq metres. But the developer's agreement with the societies showed an area of 2.17 lakh sq m.

Amit Thacker, director of S D Corporation, refuted the charge. "Mhada issued various NOCs and offer letters in excess of two lakh sq m. However, the figure 2.17 lakh sq m comprises the entire layout of land for which the government has sanctioned an integrated layout. This has been done on the recommendations of Mhada itself for better infrastructure planning. Hence the issue of land cannot be correlated with the NOC and offer letters.''

S D Corporation was appointed for the project by 49 societies, including low-income to high-income residents, six years ago. Property experts said the land has a development potential in excess of one crore sq ft. Old residents will be shifted into brand new buildings free of cost by the developer on a portion of the land. The remaining area will be exploited by the builder to recover costs and make profits.

But local MLA Praveen Darekar alleged that the builder included its own name in the property card and mortgaged the land to private banks despite Mhada being the owner.

In June, the deputy registrar of cooperatives said that only eight of the 80 societies held general body meetings to approve the redevelopment. Another 20 societies held these meetings, but did not have the redevelopment issue on their agenda. Video shooting of these meetings, which is mandatory while approving redevelopment projects, was also not done. However, the developer filed an appeal and procured a stay against the deputy registrar's report from state cooperatives minister Harshvardhan Patil in July last. The builder said it had already paid a Rs 200 crore premium to Mhada and another Rs 150 crore towards rent for residents, who will be moved out of their old houses during redevelopment.

Mhada's six-member committee, headed by chief officer Niranjan Sudhansu, will ascertain how many societies have given their consent to the developer. The Mumbai Board of Mhada, before granting NOC, failed to demarcate the land for redevelopment. The committee will now consider and decide how much area will be demarcated for the project.

S D Corporation's reaction

* All societies part of the Samata Nagar Co-operative Housing Union have given their consent towards redevelopment

* Nine societies resigned from the federation and opted out; however the court found these resignations to be unlawful and stayed them

* These societies have entered into consent terms with us as developers in court and have now rejoined the development

* Denied that Mhada objected to the builder's name on the property card

* Have complied with all NOC conditions.


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​Mazgaon building crash toll 61, BMC suspends 7-8 officials

MUMBAI: Eighteen civic officials will face the BMC heat for being negligent and not taking timely action against illegal alterations in the ground floor decorator's establishment that, prima facie, led to the Mazgaon building crash on Friday.

Out of the 18 civic officials against whom a departmental inquiry has been initiated by the BMC, seven officials were suspended on Sunday. The final toll in the BMC's Babu Genu building collapse climbed to 61 on Sunday, with three people among the 30 injured being treated at JJ and Nair hospitals turning critical.

Admitting to the civic body's laxity and negligence in taking timely action in 2011 over the illegal alterations carried out by the decorator on the ground floor, who built an additional mezzanine floor that led to the collapse, civic chief Sitaram Kunte said that the suspended civic officials—mainly identified from the markets and planning and design (P&D) departments—will also come into the loop of police investigations for criminal negligence.

The three suspended civic officials from the P&D department are M N Patel (executive engineer), M K Redekar (assistant engineer) and S N Yele (assistant engineer); the four suspended officials from the markets department are N S Ghadge (assistant engineer), Rahul Jadhav (assistant engineer), Dr B C Chavan (deputy superintendent) and Jamal Kazi (inspector).

Further, a departmental inquiry will also be initiated against ten other civic officials—five from the P&D department: B K Sanglekar (retired deputy chief engineer), A D Kulkarni (retired deputy chief engineer), S Dande (executive engineer), Sandip Salunke (sub engineer) and Nasir Khan (sub engineer). The other four officials from the markets departments are R M Dange (assistant engineer), Kiran Kiran Badgujar (sub engineer), V R Solanki, A K Seth and Ibrahim Sheikh (chief inspectors). An inquiry will also be initiated against Chandrashekhar Chore, assistant commissioner (markets), and if he is found guilty, further action will be initiated against him. Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, told TOI that the BMC will impose penalties on all 18 officials, but the seven suspended will not be able to resume duty until the enquiries are completed.

"In our preliminary enquiries, we have identified the officials who were aware that crucial alterations were made in the ground-floor godown. They should have taken corrective steps. There has been laxity and negligence on part of these officials," said Kunte.

Asked if the designated officer (DO) of E ward in Byculla will also be held responsible, Kunte said, "Techincally, DOs are held accountable as they have to take timely action on illegal alterations. But in this case the P&D and markets department officials were aware of the alterations in 2011 and overlooked them. No action will be taken against the DO, as he was only appointed in April this year."

Besides the civic officials, corporators at the general body meeting on Saturday, had demanded suspension of a resident medical officer (RMO) from Nair hospital, after corporator Dhananjay Pisal produced a receipt stating that the RMO had demanded money for blood donation from a building collapse victim.

The 48-hour rescue operations, was the longest so far and went till 6.30am on Sunday. "593 trips were made by 24 dumpers, using six Poclain machines and 20 JCB machines. The solid waste management department deployed a robotic excavator to remove the debris," said Sanjog Kabare, assistant municipal commissioner, E ward.

Kunte said that the rescued victims will be given an alternate accommodation in a Ghatkopar tenement.

"The BMC is planning to give Rs 2 lakh to the injured victims and the state government will give Rs 1 lakh as compensation. The families of those who died will be compensated Rs 5 lakh and the next of kin will be given a job in the BMC," said Kunte.

All valuables of affected victims from the collapsed building were sent to the Sewri police station.

Incidentally, the same two-member technical committee that had given a clean chit to a showroom owner for allegedly carrying out illegal alterations in the basement of Altaf Mansion in Mahim that crashed on June 10, killing 10 people, has been appointed to inquire into the cause of the Mazgaon building collapse. "The technical committee will look into aspects like the steel and quality of cement used during building construction. We will see if the load-bearing capacity of the steel was good or not," said L S Vhatkar, director, engineering services.

Another committee has been formed under Ramesh Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone III), to conduct an administrative inquiry into the incident. A two-member team comprising additional municipal commissioners Mohan Adtani and Rajiv Jalota will also inquire into the cause of the collapse.

The five-storey building, owned by the BMC itself and located on Brahmadev Khot Marg near the Dockyard Road railway station, collapsed around 6am on Friday morning. It had received a notice and was declared as Class C-II dilapidated, in need of urgent repairs in November 2012.


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​Building terrace must be open to all residents: Bombay high court

MUMBAI: No resident can be allowed to obstruct the BMC's move to ensure access to the building's terrace to all residents and for emergencies, the Bombay high court has ruled.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel dismissed a petition filed by a resident of a building in Grant Road who had challenged the notices issued by the municipal corporation.

The judges also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the flat owner for making false statements and misleading the court that the builder had sold the terrace attached to the seventh floor flat to her.

"Such parties cannot be given any discretionary and equitable relief, much less [allowed] to obstruct a public body from performing the statutory duties and ensuring that there is free access to all persons to an area called terrace and, particularly, to take care of any emergent situation," said the judges, adding, "the petitioner wants to usurp this area in the garb of challenging this notice when she has failed to point out her entitlement to the terrace".

The court was irked over what it called a "suppression of material and facts" and termed it a "gross abuse of the process of the court".

The petitioner Tasneem Dhariwala, who resided on the seventh floor of Amrutulla Lane at Grant Road, had challenged the notice issued by the BMC under section 54 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. The corporation had said that the grill that barred access to the terrace was unauthorized and sought its removal.

The petitioner claimed that the developer who had constructed the building in 2004, had sold the terrace flat to her in 2005 and furnished allotment letters. Advocate Trupti Puranik, counsel for the BMC, denied her claim and said that as per the plans the terrace was not meant for the exclusive use of the flat owner.

The court pointed to the sale agreement between the developer and the flat purchaser which did not mention any sale of the terrace area. The petitioner's lawyers then relied on the consent terms in the court case against the builder to show that they were entitled to exclusive access to the terrace.

The judges however said that mere consent terms were not enough in the absence of any sale agreement. "We do not find any document or deeds executed conferring any title in the terrace as claimed by the petitioners," the judges said. "We find that while challenging the notices (issued by the BMC) parties like the petitioner are bold enough to make false statements," the court said while slapping a fine on the petitioner.


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Civil society demands more transparency in government budgets

MUMBAI: A coalition of 400 civil society organizations across the country have launched a movement demanding that the government, be it the Centre, state-level administrators or district administration, brings in transparency in their respective budgets. Such openness would help citizens understand policymaking and government decisions and bridget the trust deficit between the public and the government machinery.

The citizens' groups demand basic measures that would herald transparency such as uploading all demand for grants over the last decade up on department websites. "The outcome budgets for the last five years for all the union ministries and state government departments should be made available in the public domain," they believe. They seek that the union government should provide information on break up of the Centre's allocations and expenditures under various schemes to individual states. States in turn should make public their allocations at the level of individual districts.

Launched under the aegis of People's Budget Initiative and Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation, the campaign was launched on International 'Right to Know' Day on September 28. The PBI is headquartered in the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability ( CBGA) in Delhi.

"Transparency in budgets can help enhance responsible and just decision making by the government machinery, bring in better insights and strategies, encourage timely and effective implementation of budgetary policies, and create public confidence in the willingness as well as the ability of the government to work for people," stated the people's coalition in a press note.


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Now, special halt at Uruli for Bangalore-bound Udyan Express

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

MUMBAI: The Central Railway has decided to provide a halt at Uruli station for the 11301/11032 Udyan Express on an experimental basis.

Said a CR spokesperson, "The Udyan Express ferries passengers from Mumbai CST to Bangalore. We have decided to give a halt at Uruli station for a period of six months, with effect from October 1. This will be on an experimental basis."

The train number 11301 Mumbai CST-Bangalore Udyan Express will arrive Uruli station at 12.14pm and leave at 12.15pm. The halt will be only for a minute and is being done after requests from several passengers who want to alight/board from this station.

The train number 11302 Bangalore-Mumbai CST Udyan Express will arrive Uruli station at 3.04pm and leave at 3.05pm, the officials said.


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Bookings for special AC trains to Delhi begins on Monday

MUMBAI: The bookings for the special air-conditioned trains from Mumbai to Delhi will open from Monday.

To cater to the rush of passengers during the Divali holidays, the Western Railway will run bi-weekly Rajdhani-type AC superfast special trains from Mumbai Central to New Delhi from October 16 to November 27.

Said a WR spokesperson, "The train no 09005 Mumbai Central-New Delhi bi-weekly Rajdhani type AC train will depart from Mumbai Central at 7.45 pm on every Sunday and Wednesday and reach New Delhi at 5.35 pm the next day.""

Similarly, train no 09006 New Delhi-Mumbai Central bi-weekly AC superfast special train will depart from New Delhi at 11.40 pm on every Monday and Thursday and reach Mumbai Central at 9.15 pm the next day. This train will run from October 17 to November 28, the official said.

The train will halt at Borivali, Surat, Vadodara, Ratlam, Bhavani Mandi, Ramgunj Mandi, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Gangapur city, Hindaun City, Bharatpur and Mathura Jn stations on both the directions.


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Special trains from Mumbai to Bhavnagar during Diwaali

MUMBAI: To cater to the rush of passengers during Diwali holidays, the Western Railway will run 12 special weekly services between Bandra Terminus and Bhavnagar in Gujarat from October 21.

Said a WR spokesperson, "The train number 09231 Bandra Terminus - Bhavnagar weekly special train will depart at 1.15pm on every Monday from Bandra Terminus and reach Bhavnagar at 6am the next day. This train will run from October 21 to November 25."

Similarly, in the return direction, the train number 09232 Bhavnagar - Bandra Terminus weekly special will leave from Bhavnagar on every Sunday at 5.30pm and will arrive Bandra Terminus at 7.35am the next day. This train will run from October 20 to November 24.

The train will halt at Borivali, Vapi, Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Nadiad, Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Joravarnagar, Botad, Dhola and Songadh stations in both directions. The train will have AC III Tier, Sleeper Class and II class General Coaches.


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Mumbai school bus safety panel to meet on Monday

MUMBAI: Police commissioner Satyapal Singh will chair the meeting of the Mumbai District School Bus Safety Committee on Monday afternoon.

Officials from RTO, traffic police and state education department will participate in the meeting, which will be organised in the city police headquarters. RTO sources said that officials will brief the police chief about the increasing cases of violations by school bus operators. "We will also provide a list of names of schools and bus operators who have failed to strictly implement the new School Bus policy,'' said a senior RTO official.

He further said that the RTO officials will also alert the local police in near future about gross violations of the new policy - such as absence of a woman attendant in a bus ferrying girls. "We will also get the background checks of some of the cleaners and drivers done by the cops in near future,'' a RTO official said.

Anil Garg of the School Bus Owners' Association said that every member belonging to the association has adhered to the new school bus policy and made amendments/modifications in the buses. "But there are some unscrupulous operators and also those (vans and private cars) who operate without permit. The RTO should crack a whip on such errant operators,'' he demanded. The Tardeo RTO prosecuted 15 errant operators in the past one month in the island city.


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Surrogacy case: Shah Rukh Khan seeks dismissal of plea

MUMBAI: Actor Shah Rukh Khan has sought dismissal of a petition filed by social activist Varsha Deshpande seeking early hearing of the complaint filed by her in a magistrate court. The activist seeks action against the actor for sex determination of their third surrogate child.

Shah Rukh's lawyer Pranav Badhekar on September 26 requested the Bombay high court to dismiss the petition on the ground that neither Deshpande nor her lawyers were present in the magistrate court when the matter was posted for arguments on September 24.

Deshpande had filed a complaint in the magistrate court seeking action against Shah Rukh Khan, his wife Gauri, Jaslok hospital and its doctor and officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

Deshpande had alleged that the star couple had conducted pre-birth sex determination tests of their surrogate son AbRam.

Deshpande had approached the high court seeking an early hearing into her complaint on the ground that the Supreme Court had said that all cases under the PCPNDT Act should be heard and decided within six months.

"In the magistrate court all the respondents filed their replies on September 20 and the matter was kept for arguments on September 24. However, on that day no one was present on behalf of the complainant and the matter was adjourned," Shahrukh's lawyer Badhekar told the court.

Seeking dismissal of the petition, Badhekar and BMC lawyer M P S Rao said that the petition has become infructuous and need not be entertained.

Justice Jadhav directed Badhekar to file a short affidavit by September 30 bringing this on record and also the order passed by the magistrate court on September 24 adjourning the hearing.

The civic body had earlier told the court that it had conducted an inquiry into the allegations of sex determination and found it baseless.


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Epic ride: These auto drivers get hired to play god every Dussehra

MUMBAI: Opposite a banquet hall in Mulund, a few unlikely gods are sipping roadside tea. There's lord Ram, who is a bachelor, Kumbhakaran, who is wide awake, king Janaka, who is diabetic and Kaikeyi in the form of aman in a tight T-shirt and middle parting. Soon, they all take a couple of rickshaws to a tiny LIC office where they meet Raavan, a thin, dusky man in a green chequered shirt to whom they owe a lot.

The scene is as if Ramanand Sagar had decided to pull an Anurag Kashyap but this is just another workday for the 15-odd rickshaw drivers from Mulund who form a Ramlila committee called Adarsh Chattra Sangh (Ideal Students Union). It was formed in 1992, when they were all idealistic students in Allahabad's Handiya village which gave them nothing much to do but study. "As a kid, my mother would not even allow me to go to weddings or social functions," says part-time rickshaw driver and LIC agent Subhash Yadav. "That's when I decided to gather a bunch of friends with a plan to stage the Ramlila," says Subhash, who not only directs these performances but also plays Raavan.

The group had no precedents, not even a classical concert by way of stage shows. "We did our own make-up, arranged costumes and even doubled up as women characters in the village that found the stage corrupting," says Subhash, who rewrote the Awadhi verses of Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas in chaste Hindi that the group quickly committed to memory.
While Ramlila performances can take many forms, Adarsh Chattra Sangh's style incorporated song, narration, recital and dialogue. The hardest part, says Sharadaprasad Yadav -a smiling, moustachioed man who reminds you of a Tamil comedian - was getting on stage. He plays Manthara, Kaikeyi's evil maid. "Though I knew all the lines, the first time I got on stage, words refused to come out," says Sharadaprasad, partly because his elder brother was on the same stage as Kumbhakaran. "Back home nobody speaks in front of elders," says Sharadaprasad, who is known in the group as Kumar Sanu for his gifted voice.

Over the course of 20 years, the verses have become so involuntary, they are a reflex. "We can play anyone at a moment's notice," says Krishna Yadav, who calls this kind of an emergency, "Tatkaal". While financial reasons brought them to Mumbai, the group would take ten days off every year to put up Ramlila shows back home, where sometimes, neighbourhood squabbles are also resolved onstage. "I cast the warring parties in the roles of siblings," says Subhash.

Then, there are other quirks. As a rule, the role of Ram is always played by a bachelor. "We want the man who plays Him to be pure," says Krishna. Goof-ups, that are a trademark of Ramlila performances, are covered up using improvisational skills. "Instead of verses, we convey the meaning in dialogue," says Sangam.

They may not fit Valmiki's vision in appearance but their transformation onstage can be dramatic. For instance, Subhash who loves to play Raavan looks puny but derives personality from a foot-long crown, a thick body suit and an emphatic voice. "In fact, during the scene where Raavan kidnaps Sita, his voice scared me so much that I forgot my lines," says Sangam Yadav, who usually plays King Janaka but has portrayed Sita on "Tatkaal".

Last year, the group landed a chance to perform in a cultural hall in Mulund. It was the first time they had women actors and also the first time they showed the beheading of Raavan onstage - something that happens at an open ground on the last day.

"The response was so overwhelming, there were people sitting on the stairs," recalls Sangam, adding that the group is now preparing to catch a train to Allahabad next week. They are still figuring out the possibility of Mumbai shows. "We earn up to Rs 500 a day so we are looking to be adequately compensated," says Subhash.

The epic has a lot to offer to the next generation, members believe. "It is seen as a corrupting influence back home but I believe it has important lessons on character-building," says Baladeen. Thus marinated in the lessons of the Ramayana, it is only natural that the outside world of Mumbai where they are rickshaw drivers, is a bit of a shock for them. "This city is the only place where I have seen women slapping men," says Krishna.


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Tata Power to develop 28.8 MW solar power project

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 28 September 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Tata Power Company (TPC), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL), is developing one of its largest photovoltaic based solar power plants with an installed capacity of 28.8 MW in the Satara district in Maharashtra.

The plant will be spread over 130 acres of land. The latest state of the art technology in photovoltaic based solar generation will be utilized for the plant, a spokesperson said.

Tata Power-Distribution, the distribution arm of Tata Power, has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 25 years in order to purchase power from this solar plant, thereby meeting its solar renewable purchase obligations.

The power generated will be routed through Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Limited (MSETCL)'s network. Speaking on the initiative, TPC managing director Anil Sardana said, "Tata Power is committed to generating 20-25 % of its total generation capacity from clean energy sources and is proud to be developing one of the largest solar projects in the country. TPC strives to reduce its carbon footprint."


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Two new AC bus routes for Pune launched

MUMBAI: The MSRTC launched its direct AC bus service from Vashi to Pune and from Panvel to Pune on Saturday.

"We expect a good response on these routes and depending on demand, we will increase the frequency of buses and also ply them on weekdays,'' said a MSRTC spokesperson. He said that at present, the buses will run only on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The first route from Vashi to Swargate (Pune) will have stops at Nerul and Kharghar among few other halts in Navi Mumbai. The bus leaves Vashi at 8 am and covers a distance of 130 kms in two and a half hours. It reaches Swargate in Pune at 10.30 am. The fare for this route is Rs 259.

The return bus will be available from Swargate to Dadar via Vashi and will leave Swargate at 11 am, reaching Dadar at 2.25 pm. The fare on this route will be Rs 292.

The second bus will leave Panvel at 3.50 pm and reach Swargate in Pune at 5.45 pm. The fare will be Rs 216. The return from Swargate will be at 6.15 pm and the bus will go via Panvel and reach Dadar at 9.30 pm.

The MSRTC had recently conducted a survey of commuters in Navi Mumbai area. It was found that a large number of passengers from Vashi, Nerul and Panvel preferred heading for Pune during the weekends and on holidays.


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Kalyan RTO books 25 errant auto drivers

MUMBAI: The Kalyan RTO conducted surprise checks outside the railway station for the past four days and prosecuted 25 errant autorickshaw drivers. The RTO has now cleared the entire station area (main road) West of unscrupulous auto drivers and also removed some of the encroachment.

"We want only authorised autos to stand at the designated stands. They need to maintain discipline. We will discourage drivers from breaking rules and picking up passengers randomly,'' said deputy RTO V R Gujrathi. He has also put up ten notice boards, warning errant auto drivers and appealing to citizen to lodge complaints on his personal mobile number.

"I have offered my mobilephone for receiving complaints from citizens. They can sms the complaint to me and I will look into them on a priority,'' he stated. The number is displayed on the boards put up at Kalyan, Dombivli, Shahad and a few other stations.

The RTO here also plans to organise the stands meant for share routes and also introduce a new stand exclusively for autos plying by the e-meters. "It will take some time to change the lawlessness by drivers at Kalyan and beyond. We will make a presentation to the transport commissioner on what steps can be incorporated to provide a citizen-friendly auto service in Dombivli-Kalyan and other areas upto Badlapur,'' another official, who did not wish to be named said.

An auto union leader alleged that the RTO too harassed rickshaw drivers.


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Tardeo RTO forms 2 squads to check school vehicles without permit

MUMBAI : Apart from forming 12 teams of officials who will inspect school buses in island city, the Tardeo RTO has also created two dedicated squads of officers who will keep a vigil on illegal vehicles ferrying children to school.

"There are lot of vans and private cars who double up as vehicles for transporting students to schools daily. This is unauthorised and they dont have the permits to ferry school children,'' pointed out Tardeo regional transport officer K T Golani. He stated that the department on Friday formed two special squads whose job will be to conduct surprise checks from Monday and keep tabs on vehicles without permits to transport students.

The RTO officials will liaison with senior police officers, traffic cops and officials from the education department on Monday during the Mumbai District School bus safety committee meeting, which will be chaired by police commissioner Satyapal Singh.

"We are leaving no stone unturned to implement the School bus policy and to ensure that every child - from a three-year-old to a teenager - feels safe when he or she travels in a bus to school," Golani added.


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Mumbai building collapse: Death toll rises to 42, several still feared trapped

MUMBAI: The death toll in Mumbai building collapse on Friday has risen to 42 with 32 others injured, Times Now reported on Saturday. Rescue operations are still under way as several people are still feared to be trapped under the debris of the collapsed building.

Police arrested the owner of a decoration firm who illegally carried out renovation works at his rented office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the ill-fated structure.

It is suspected that the renovation and alteration works carried out on the ground floor led to the collapse of the four-storey building owned by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mazgaon area, police said. Part of the ground floor had been leased out for commercial activities.

"Ashok Mehta, the owner of Mamamiya Decorators, was arrested for renovating his office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the building, thus causing the collapse," said an officer at Sewree police station, where a complaint has been registered.

Mehta had taken the office space on lease from BMC. According to the complaint by a deputy superintendent of BMC, Mehta had carried out alteration and renovation works without prior permission from the civic body and this had triggered the tragic incident, said additional police commissioner Krishna Prakash.

Mehta and his associates were booked under IPC Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), among others.

Around 21 families, which were BMC's tenants, lived in the 30-year-old structure which caved in yesterday morning. It was categorized as a C-2 building, which meant it was in need of urgent repairs.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Mumbai building collapse: Death toll rises to 43, several still feared trapped

MUMBAI: The death toll in the Mazgaon building collapse on Saturday rose to 43 even as rescuers scoured the massive rubble looking for survivors and bodies.

The owner of a decoration firm who illegally carried out "faulty" renovation at his rented office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the ill-fated building has been arrested in connection with the incident.

"The death toll in the collapse has risen to 43 and 32 people are injured," civic body sources told and added that more people were still believed to trapped under the debris.

The injured have been admitted to state-run JJ Hospital and Nair Hospital.

The five-storey building on the Brahmadev Khot Marg, close to Dockyard Road railway station, was owned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. It had collapsed on Friday morning.

As hopes of pulling out survivors receded fast, anxious relatives of those missing were thronging the scene of the tragedy.

Cranes and other heavy machinery have been pressed into service to lift large slabs of concrete and mangled steel.

Around 21 families of BMC's tenants lived in the 30-year-old structure categorised as a C-2 building which was in need of urgent repairs.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised strict action against those found responsible for the tragedy. The BMC has formed two committees to probe into the incident and ordered audit of similar buildings in the city.

Steps are being made to provide alternative accommodation to the affected families in the vicinity. The civic body has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of every deceased person, besides bearing the cost of treatment of those injured.

"Ashok Mehta, the owner of Mamamiya Decorators, has been arrested for renovating his office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the building, thus causing the collapse," said an officer at Sewree police station, where a complaint has been registered.


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1 dead, 5 injured, 50 feared trapped in 5-storey building collapse in Mumbai

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

MUMBAI: Six persons, including three of a family, were killed and 19 injured after a five-storey Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) residential building collapsed in Mazgaon area here on Friday.

"The death toll in the collapse has risen to six," civic officials said, adding that many more people are believed to be trapped in the debris, even as rescue operations are under way.

Four of the deceased have been identified as Lakhoji Devji Chawda (60), Jamuna Chawda (30) Anil Chawda (19) and Santosh (44), they said.

The injured have been admitted to state-run JJ Hospital and Nair Hospital, civic sources said.

Chaos and confusion prevailed at the mishap site as kin of the victims failed to ascertain as to where they have been admitted.

About 21 families, who were primarily BMC's tenants lived in the 30-year-old structure, which was categorised as a "C-2" building, which meant that it was in need of urgent repairs.

The residential building was located on the Brahmadev Khot Marg near Babu Genu market in the Mazgaon area, which is close to the Dockyard Road railway station on the suburban harbour railway line.

The fire brigade has sent 12 fire engines, four ambulances and two rescue vans to initiate rescue operations.

A 10-year-old boy is among those rescued by the fire brigade, sources said.

Names of those rescued so far are Anish Kadam (10), Diptesh Kadam (16), Habib Shaikh (22), Tauqeer Shaikh (22), Haroon Shaikh (24) and Ajay Chendvankar (40).

A fire fighter, D S Patil, was also injured during rescue operations.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan convened a meeting of senior officials on Friday and asked them to ensure effective relief and rescue operations.

This happens to be the second major building collapse in Mumbai this year, after Aftab Mansion, a residential building in Mahim West collapsed in June, killing ten people.


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Mira-Bhayander municipality seeks 100 buses from Centre

MUMBAI: The Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has submitted a proposal to the Centre for the procurement of 100 buses.

The civic administration has submitted the proposal to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM). A total of 50 buses were earlier procured under the JNNURN scheme. Though the MBMC needs around 70 more buses to meet the demand of passengers, they have asked for 100 buses in keeping with the growing population of the region.

The private operators Kestrel Infrastructure Limited runs the MBMC buses.

As of now 55 of the 65 civic buses are on the road. Of the 33 routes that the municipality operates, 12 have been discontinued. The operators have been finding it difficult to run the buses due to rising fuel prices. The municipality recently hiked the fares of the buses.


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Six killed, 19 injured in 5-storey building collapse in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Six persons, including three of a family, were killed and 19 injured after a five-storey Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) residential building collapsed in Mazgaon area here on Friday.

"The death toll in the collapse has risen to six," civic officials said, adding that many more people are believed to be trapped in the debris, even as rescue operations are under way.

Four of the deceased have been identified as Lakhoji Devji Chawda (60), Jamuna Chawda (30) Anil Chawda (19) and Santosh (44), they said.

The injured have been admitted to state-run JJ Hospital and Nair Hospital, civic sources said.

Chaos and confusion prevailed at the mishap site as kin of the victims failed to ascertain as to where they have been admitted.

About 21 families, who were primarily BMC's tenants lived in the 30-year-old structure, which was categorised as a "C-2" building, which meant that it was in need of urgent repairs.

The residential building was located on the Brahmadev Khot Marg near Babu Genu market in the Mazgaon area, which is close to the Dockyard Road railway station on the suburban harbour railway line.

The fire brigade has sent 12 fire engines, four ambulances and two rescue vans to initiate rescue operations.

A 10-year-old boy is among those rescued by the fire brigade, sources said.

Names of those rescued so far are Anish Kadam (10), Diptesh Kadam (16), Habib Shaikh (22), Tauqeer Shaikh (22), Haroon Shaikh (24) and Ajay Chendvankar (40).

A fire fighter, D S Patil, was also injured during rescue operations.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan convened a meeting of senior officials on Friday and asked them to ensure effective relief and rescue operations.

This happens to be the second major building collapse in Mumbai this year, after Aftab Mansion, a residential building in Mahim West collapsed in June, killing ten people.


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Delhi cine conversations

Many of those present at the do, hosted by Amit Bansal and Sandiip Kapoor, were either from Delhi, or have made films on Delhi, or both. No One Killed Jessica director Rajkumar Gupta stayed in one corner, while actresses Vishakha Singh and Usha Jadhav bonded with each other, as did BA Pass director Ajay Bahl and his heroine Shilpa Shukla. Said Vishakha, "After the session this morning, I was too tired to get ready for a party, otherwise I would've dressed up better." Director Aanand L Rai walked in with friends at the fag end, after having savoured a sumptuous meal in Chandni Chowk!

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Six armed men held while planning dacoity

MUMBAI: Six men, armed with choppers, were arrested by the Malad police early on Thursday when they were planning a dacoity. All the accused have past criminal records, in fact two of them have been convicted for murder.

"Our personnel were patrolling at Malad West around 4.30 am when they saw a truck halt at Goraswadi. A man, later identified as Dashrath Shinde, was moving suspiciously around the vehicle. Our personnel made inquiries with him and recognized him as a history sheeter," said a senior official from Malad police. Shinde was quizzed about the purpose of his presence in the area pre-daybreak. He started giving evasive answers, arousing the police's suspicion. When cops checked the truck, five men were found seated inside. They were carrying choppers and later admitted to having planned a dacoity.

The five men were identified as Laxman Dasha, Dilip Shinde, Sunil Shinde, Ambadas Shinde and Santosh Shinde. Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused would leave behind lemons, chilli and turmeric powder at the crime scene, as part of a ritual they followed. Laxman and Dilip had committed a murder in Borivali East and had been arrested by the Kasturba Marg police at that time.

Dashrath has several criminal cases registered against him at the Khar police station while Ambadas has past cases of robbery and dacoity lodged at Palghar. Santosh too is a history sheeter. The police have seized the truck and are in the process of tracing the vehicle's owner. All six accused were booked under relevant provisions of IPC.


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2011 Mumbai blasts: IM may have planted four bombs

MUMBAI: Did the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives plant four bombs on July 13, 2011 and one of them did not explode? Asadullah Akhtar, an arrested IM member, allegedly told the NIA that the fourth device, an explosive-filled pressure cooker, was also planted under the foot overbridge near Dadar flower market. However, the Maharashtra ATS said they were unaware about any fourth device and that they would question Akhtar once they get his custody.

Three bombs planted at Zaveri Bazar, Operat House and atop a bus stop near Dadar railway station went off killing 27 and leaving 126 injured. The police found that the bombs contained RDX. Five persons have been arrested so far for these blasts. The alleged fourth bomb had not been recovered. There are chances that Akhtar would be taken to the place to identify where he claimed to have planted the fourth bomb. He is likely to be taken into ATS custody within the next few weeks along with his mentor, Yasin Bhatkal.

"We will verify the reports once we take him into custody. We don't want to say anything more than this at his juncture," said an ATS officer.


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Lax security in Mumbai malls worries cops

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

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police's audits in the recent past have revealed that private security at most malls in the city are ineffectual at detecting weapons even with metal detectors. This discovery, along with the deadly Nairobi attack, has prompted the police to conduct fresh audits of malls.

In the past few months, the police's protection and security branch sent 220 "armed decoys" to various places to appraise their preparedness. Most decoys were sent to malls and multiplexes. In 70% of the cases, officers said, the decoys succeeded in entering the premises with weapons.

One such 'dummy run' was carried out at a popular mall in Andheri (West). A police officer concealed a revolver in his shoes and visited the place in plain clothes and managed to enter.

The doorframe metal detector at the entrance alerted the mall guards "with specific signal" that the officer was carrying a weapon.

"But the private guard did not bother. I was frisked manually, but perfunctorily," said the officer. "I faced no hurdles in entering. We later informed the mall's security team about their lapses."

The police conceded that many Mumbai malls are vulnerable terror targets. "We are checking their vulnerability with a fresh perspective after the Nairobi attack. We are also evaluating our response mechanism," said additional commissioner of police (protection and security) Madhukar Pandey.

Officers complained that despite the police's exhortations many malls refuse to take security more seriously. "Thousands of people visit malls on weekends, so we increase patrolling there on those days. But the malls themselves take security lightly," said an officer. "After the Nairobi attack, I hope their attitude will change."

The police held a meeting on September 12 with the security heads of malls and multiplexes where an open discussion was held, an orientation programme conducted and feedback collected. Most security heads, in response, requested the police to train their staff.

"We have given suggestions related to frisking, CCTV positioning and checking vehicles. We expect them to follow our advice," said deputy commissioner of police (zone-9) Chhering Dorje.


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Security increased at Maharashtra synagogues

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) recently conducted security drills - using 'mock terrorists' - at 35 places belonging to the Jewish community to appraise their vulnerability. The exercise happened after the ATS issued a terror alert warning of possible attacks on Jewish places of worship by the Indian Mujahideen (IM). "At all 35 places, the mock terrorists, who were armed with fake weapons and bombs, got caught and were detained," said a senior ATS officer.

Another officer explained that following the arrest of IM terrorist Yasin Bhatkal the ATS had received "inputs" from security agencies in New Delhi. The ATS subsequently issued an alert and identified for security audits 35 places belonging to the Jewish community. Of these, 29 are in Mumbai - 10 synagogues, five Chabad houses, four business and 10 educational establishments. The rest six, all synagogues, are in other parts of Maharashtra.

"After the audit, we briefed the guards posted at each place on how to identify suspicious people," said an officer. "At most places, we have stepped up security. Policemen have been ordered to create makeshift posts on the premises of synagogues and stay on alert."


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Mumbai photojournalist gang-rape case: One accused goes missing

MUMBAI: Siraj Rahman Khan, an accused in the gang rape of a photojournalist at Shakti Mills in Mumbai, is untraceable, prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told a local court on Thursday.

Accused Siraj Rehman was last known to have been in Thane jail, TV channels reported.

Thane jail authorities informed crime branch officials on Thursday that accused Siraj Rehman was in their custody.

A few days back, Afzal Usmani, an Indian Mujahideen operative accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings, escaped from a special MCOCA court when he was brought there for framing of charges.


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Family assaulted for feeding strays in Kalyan, attackers held after 3 weeks

MUMBAI: A Kalyan-based woman who along with her family members was beaten up by society members for the simple act of feeding stray dogs, is now glad that police has finally arrested three of her assaulters.

The incident actually took place on August 29 when animal lover Lalitha Madidi (57), her son Anand (23) and daughter Mridula (27) were attacked and threatened by the residents of Sanghvi Estates housing complex in Chikanghar Naka, Kalyan (west).

While the Mahatma Phule police station had filed the FIR two days later, on August 31, it surprisingly took the cops over three weeks to finally arrest three attackers on September 23, after animal rights group People For Animals (PFA) approached senior officers to help the victimised woman and her family.

"I am thankful to the animal activists for helping me take action against my society residents who beat us. Their arrests should put the fear of law into the hearts of all those who cruelly attack animals and also humans who feed them,'' said Madidi.

However, Sanghvi Estates residents defended themselves saying that they too love animals, but were objecting to the fact that Madidi family was feeding chicken pieces to strays, which allegedly made them aggressive.

The victim's daughter, Mridula, countered, "The society members would instruct the watchman to hit the dogs using a heavy bamboo stick. In some instances the injury was so severe that it took months to recover; a few dogs also succumbed. My entire family has been abused, threatened and beaten up for feedings strays. The dogs were always there in the complex all we did was cater to their medical needs and feed them."

"People who feed animals should be protected not beaten up. This case is particularly gory as women (a mother and daughter) were ruthlessly beaten up by the society members as they were feedings dogs. The Delhi High Court has passed an order clearly stating that animals can and should be fed within society premises however not in common areas,'' said Poonam Mahajan of PFA.

On the day of incident, Anand was reportedly slapped, kicked and abused by the residents in the society compound while he was escorting a dog out.

The society members also beat up Lalitha but she managed to close the flat door and save herself from being dragged out in the compound.

After Mridula reached home from office she along with her friend immediately rushed to the society office and tried to get her brother out of the office. While doing so, they were also attacked by the people of the complex.

Madidi stated that only after the intervention of PFA, did the police lodge a formal complaint against certain society members.

On September 23, police arrested three persons -- Shreerang Rajule, Ashutosh Daware and Pranay Lende. They were later released on bail.

Vithoba Gawde, secretary of Sanghvi Estate, said, The Madidi family feeds dogs in the complex, due to which the dog numbers have increased here, and these strays attack others in the area.''

However, activist Poonam Mahajan said that while people must be compassionate to animals, sterilization is the best and only solution in such a scenario.


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Family assaulted for feeding mongrels in Kalyan, attackers held after 3 weeks

MUMBAI: A Kalyan-based woman who along with her family members was beaten up by society members for the simple act of feeding stray dogs, is now glad that police has finally arrested three of her assaulters.

The incident actually took place on August 29 when animal lover Lalitha Madidi (57), her son Anand (23) and daughter Mridula (27) were attacked and threatened by the residents of Sanghvi Estates housing complex in Chikanghar Naka, Kalyan (west).

While the Mahatma Phule police station had filed the FIR two days later, on August 31, it surprisingly took the cops over three weeks to finally arrest three attackers on September 23, after animal rights group People For Animals (PFA) approached senior officers to help the victimised woman and her family.

"I am thankful to the animal activists for helping me take action against my society residents who beat us. Their arrests should put the fear of law into the hearts of all those who cruelly attack animals and also humans who feed them,'' said Madidi.

However, Sanghvi Estates residents defended themselves saying that they too love animals, but were objecting to the fact that Madidi family was feeding chicken pieces to strays, which allegedly made them aggressive.

The victim's daughter, Mridula, countered, "The society members would instruct the watchman to hit the dogs using a heavy bamboo stick. In some instances the injury was so severe that it took months to recover; a few dogs also succumbed. My entire family has been abused, threatened and beaten up for feedings strays. The dogs were always there in the complex all we did was cater to their medical needs and feed them."

"People who feed animals should be protected not beaten up. This case is particularly gory as women (a mother and daughter) were ruthlessly beaten up by the society members as they were feedings dogs. The Delhi High Court has passed an order clearly stating that animals can and should be fed within society premises however not in common areas,'' said Poonam Mahajan of PFA.

On the day of incident, Anand was reportedly slapped, kicked and abused by the residents in the society compound while he was escorting a dog out.

The society members also beat up Lalitha but she managed to close the flat door and save herself from being dragged out in the compound.

After Mridula reached home from office she along with her friend immediately rushed to the society office and tried to get her brother out of the office. While doing so, they were also attacked by the people of the complex.

Madidi stated that only after the intervention of PFA, did the police lodge a formal complaint against certain society members.

On September 23, police arrested three persons -- Shreerang Rajule, Ashutosh Daware and Pranay Lende. They were later released on bail.

Vithoba Gawde, secretary of Sanghvi Estate, said, The Madidi family feeds dogs in the complex, due to which the dog numbers have increased here, and these strays attack others in the area.''

However, activist Poonam Mahajan said that while people must be compassionate to animals, sterilization is the best and only solution in such a scenario.


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Drunkard sets himself ablaze, hugs three girls

YAVATMAL, Maharashtra: In a bizarre incident, a drunkard allegedly set himself ablaze and then hugged three girls before jumping into a well to douse the fire.

Nana Wagarhande (40), a notorious drunkard of Varha village here, set himself ablaze in his house in a drunken state on Wednesday evening, a police official said.

Since he could not bear the pain of burning, he rushed on to the road and hugged Sumakshi Kinake (14), Shraddha Gore (14) and Gayatri Chukabotlawar (10), causing burns to them, the official said.

He then jumped into a well, but later got out and collapsed.

He was rushed to a government hospital at Pandharkawda from where he was sent to the Government Medical College at Yavatmal, where he is now struggling for his life after sustaining more than 80 per cent burns.

The three minor girls who were also rushed to the Pandharkawda hospital and they are recovering.

"The girls sustained more than 20 per cent burns and are now out of danger," the police said.

A criminal case has been registered against the drunkard and the police is investigating the matter.


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Four held for robbing electronic showroom in July

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

MUMBAI: Four men have been arrested for allegedly robbing cash and mobile phones worth over Rs 14 lakhs from an electronic showroom in Mira Road in July.

The closed circuit television (CCTV) installed in the Vijay Sales, a chain of electronic goods showroom, had captured the image of two masked men, who snapped the wires of the CCTV before decamping with 63 mobile phones and Rs 10,000.

The Thane rural crime branch arrested Sadab Shaikh (23), Shivam Chavan (26), Dharmesh Sharma (23), all residents of Nalasopara and Dharmendra Gupta (21), a resident of Mira Road. While Shaikh runs a hair salon in Nalasopara, the three others work as labourers.

They had hatched the plan to rob the showroom for some quick money. On July 7, the robbers gained access into the showroom located at Silver Park by drilling a hole on the rear wall of the third floor.

The accused have been remanded to police custody till September 26 by the Thane sessions court. The police recovered 24 mobile phones from them. The remaining mobiles were sold by the accused.


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25 train stuntmen held, one a robber on the run

MUMBAI: The government railway police (GRP) on Tuesday nabbed 25 people, 14 of them minors, for performing stunts on trains. The drive was conducted during 3-5 am. All 25 were found without ticket. Background checks revealed that one of them was a robber from Malwani, who had been on the run for three months.

"The crackdown was between Mahalaxmi and Dadar stations. A team of 22 constables, one sub-inspector and one inspector boarded general compartments of down locals. Some mingled with people on platforms," said senior inspector Rajendra Trivedi of the Mumbai Central GRP. "A majority of those caught are residents of Andheri, Vile Parle, Nalasopara and Borivli. Those above 18 were produced before a railway court. Three were sent to prison and eight made to pay fines of Rs 500 each. The parents of the 14 juvenile offenders were summoned and the youngsters counselled."

During questioning, one of the accused, Salman Shaikh (22), told the GRP that he had been booked by the Malwani police a long time ago but was now in the clear. Suspicious of his version, the GRP dialled the Malwani police and found that Shaikh was wanted for robbery.

A Malwani police team had laid a trap at Nalasopara recently to nab Shaikh, but he thwarted them with a sword and escaped (he did not manage to injure any cop). Three of his aides were caught. Shaikh was also found to be involved in two cases of assault at Malwani.

"Shaikh told us he had come to Bandra on Tuesday to buy drugs. We asked him what was he doing on a local train at Dadar, where our personnel caught him performing stunts. He couldn't come up with a satisfactory answer. We suspect he might have had plans to loot commuters," Trivedi said. Shaikh has a record of 18 months behind bars; his favourite hiding places after committing a crime are the mangroves of Malwani.

Viral videos

A video went viral on the internet in which youths are seen slapping railway poles, leaping onto the wall of a bridge and after running on it, leaping back into the train. The local was running between Cotton Green and Reay Road stations August 2013.

A video uploaded online showed a youth leaning out of a train between Thane and Dombivli and performing dangerous stunts on the footboard. Horrifyingly, he loses his footing after a while and the video shows him slipping off the local onto the tracks. He is believed to have died.

Journalist attacked

Three youngsters performing stunts threatened a woman journalist, Bhavna Sharma, with a knife after she asked them to stop their dangerous act. Sharma had boarded the first-class ladies' compartment of the 3.55pm CST-bound local from Wadala. At Cotton Green, the three got into the ladies' compartment and started performing stunts. When Sharma told them to get off the coach, one of the boys reportedly charged at her with a knife. As Sharma screamed, men on the other side of the partition rushed there, making the three jumped off at Masjid Bunder

Drive against stunts

For the past few weeks, the Mumbai Central GRP has conducted a drive against stunts on trains every Tuesday. The day after Ganesh Chaturthi was the only instance when no offenders were caught.

In the past, the RPF (Central line) has conducted such drives, including organizing lectures in schools and colleges explaining the dangers involved in performing stunts on train HELPLINE NUMBERS GRP | 98333 31111 RPF (WR) | 1311 RPF (CR) | 1275


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Power consumers in suburbs to witness 22% drop in bills

MUMBAI: With the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) giving a go-ahead to RInfra to rationalize power tariff for the next two years, one can expect power bills to drop by 22% in the suburbs. The Tata Power Company (TPC) already provides power in these areas at cheaper rates, with a recent survey showing that those who switched from RInfra to TPC saved up to 46% on monthly bills.

"It is a win-win situation for power consumers in the suburbs," said consumer rights activist Ashok Pendse.

Power expert Sandeep Ohri said he, along with several activists, had fought for the past five years to make power cheaper in the suburbs. "We encouraged competition and now electricity will be cheaper and services better."

RInfra spokesperson Vivek Devasthali said, "After the MERC's multi-year tariff order, our average billing rate will drop from Rs 7.98 a unit in 2013-14 to Rs 6.23 a unit in 2015-16. The MERC order has taken into account input costs such as transmission and distribution losses till 2016."

The TPC has announced that it has signed an MoU with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, a joint venture of public sector units under the power ministry.

Dadar-Matunga suffers 30 min outage T here was a power outage for half an hour in parts of Dadar, Matunga and Mahim on Tuesday night due to a cable fault. A BEST official said the feeder line was switched to an alternate cable after the tripping and electricity was restored. Meanwhile, industry associations have decided to go on a statewide demonstration on October 18 against the recent increases in power tariff by 22-25%. Representatives will burn copies of electricity bills and take a delegation to the government, said activist Pratap Hogade.


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Fire breaks out in Film City in Mumbai

MUMBAI: A fire broke out at a set in Goregaon Film city this morning.

The fire broke out at 8.15am and four fire engines, five tankers and an ambulance have been rushed to the spot, fire brigade officials said.

The fire has been brought under control and no casualties have been reported so far.

The extent of the damage and cause of the fire are yet to be ascertained.

Though officials did not confirm on which set the fire broke out on, a tweet said the fire broke out on the sets of TV show 'Comedy Nights with Kapil'.


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Mira Road to get HIV Anti Retroviral Test centre

MUMBAI: The Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has sought approval from the state government to set up an Anti Retroviral Test (ART) centre for HIV positive patients.

Statistics available with the civic administration shows the Mira-Bhayander region has 400 HIV positive patients. The number of HIV patients from Naigaon to Dahanu is 1,000. As of now, patients have to travel to ART centres in Dahanu and Talasari for treatment on a monthly basis. In Mumbai, ART centre has been set up at Siddharth hospital in Goregaon.

The ART helps in keeping the number of HIV viruses in the blood to undetectable levels, thereby stopping the deadly assault of HIV virus on the immune system of the patient.

At present, three or more ARV drugs are recommended worldwide for the treatment of people with HIV infection. As long as the HIV positive individual takes the medication on a regular basis he/she retains close-to-normal quality of life including working capacity. This has resulted in a dramatic decline in opportunistic infections (OI) and HIV-related deaths.

The MBMC plans to open the ART centre at their municipal hospital in Mira Road. The centre will start after receiving approval from the state.

HIV patients have to visit ART centres every month for the free treatment. Many stay away as they find travelling to the centres expensive.


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BMC's standing committee clears proposal to appoint British Council to train teachers

MUMBAI: The civic standing committee on Wednesday cleared a proposal to appoint British Council to train teachers in English language.

The civic body will pay British Council Rs 3.5 crore for this exercise.

Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said that it was a good proposal and will help the teachers teach the children better.

According to the civic officials, English language training programme will be implemented phasewise. In the initial phase, 30 civic teachers will be selected. They will be trained by British Council experts for 60 days this year and another 60 days next year.

Selected master trainers from this first batch will be asked to train other 2400 teachers in English. The civic body has aimed to train 9600 teachers in next five years under this training programme.

"The training by British Council is basically for semi-English pattern, under which subjects like maths and science will be taught in English language after the eighth standard," said Manoj Kotak, chairman of civic education committee.

Amidst the rising clamour for education in English language, the BMC has decided to introduce semi English pattern in its civic schools. The civic body has planned to start this pattern in 250 classes of 177 schools by next year.

Civic officials say, all are making a beeline for English medium schools, due to which the number of English students was on rise. The number of students going to English medium schools in 2007 was 21,899. However, by 2012 it has risen to 52384.

The BMC's decision to start civic English medium schools, called Mumbai Public Schools, has also paid rich dividends by the huge response. The civic body has planned to start 84 English civic schools in the city.


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​Move over carpooling, chopper sharing is here

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 23 September 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Carpooling to reach your work place is passe, fasten your seat belts to pool a chopper ride. At least that's what dozens of Mumbai-based entrepreneurs with factories in places like Boisar, Vapi, Nasik, Aurangabad have been discovering since the past few months.

Varun Verma (name changed on request), a 45-year old chemical engineer, has been making a grueling weekly road trip from his Nepeansea Road home to Vapi where his chemical unit is based for past 12 years. But not anymore, he has discovered chopper pooling.

"It is a nine hour journey to and fro. I leave home by 6 am and return on the same day by 11 pm as the facilities for overnight stay in Vapi are not very good,'' said Verma. So when he had to ferry a German team from Mumbai to his factory he had to hire a helicopter. But the Rs 2 lakh bill told him flying to work can't become a habit.

The idea of chopper pooling took root a few months later when he attended a seminar where he realised he could buy a seat rather than book an entire chopper. And since May, Verma has been helicopter pooling a Bell 407 twice a month—all he had to do was knock on the doors of neighbouring factories and speak to their owners.

"Two of my helicopter partners live in Juhu, two in South Mumbai and so the helicopter picks up the suburban passengers from Juhu airport around 7.15 am and they reach Mahalaxmi helipad by 7.30 am where we three board and by the time we are done with sharing nuts, munchies we have landed at the private helipad in Vapi and its only 8.20 am yet," said Verma.

From there, in 10 minutes he is at his chemical unit in Vapi. The trip costs each passenger Rs 40,000 but for that amount they get rid of Mumbai's sadistic roads and traffic and saves them seven hours per return trip. Given that these entrepreneurs make the factory trip at least once a week, substituting car with a helicopter pool works out to Rs 19 lakh/passenger for twelve months and a saving of 336 hours or 14 days per year.

"Helicopter pool is value for money as now I get to spend six to seven hours in the factory per visit, when earlier I hardly got 2-3 hours. So I have cut down the frequency of my factory visits by half, to two times a month," said Verma.

The savings are bigger for Arun Sanghi (name changed), who owns a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit in Boisar, an industrial zone in Thane, as his flying time is less. His helicopter pool works out to Rs 20,000 per return trip. He and his brother travel from their Juhu home to their factory twice a week, and its only once in 7-10 days that they do the helicopter pool. "It works out to Rs 6-7 lakh per annum and we are a Rs 300 crore company, we can well afford it. And it is not even a capital expense," says Sanghi.

"There is this aura around the use of private aircraft, but from utility perspective, spending for directors Rs 7 lakh each a year is not much," he added.

But that is the mental block that many found hard to navigate. "Our target customer was anyone with a factory in a remote location, aged between 35-45, with a business volume of Rs 50-100 crore, we did not go for the ultra rich," says Rajiv Wadhwa, CEO, Baron Luxury and Lifestyles, the company which in co-ordination with licensed aircraft charter operators has been providing helicopters for pool for a year now. They had problems selling the concept of flying to work to many entrepreneurs.

"Azim Premji came as a huge hurdle. Entrepreneurs said when Premji does not fly business aircraft, why should we? We may have the money, but we want to be grounded. That was the popular sentiment," said Wadhwa. The fact that the pompous name of their aircraft charter company would have only entrenched these beliefs deeper is lost on him. "We had to do a cost-benefit analysis of their time," he added. Some decided to give it a try and so far, the company claims, they have done 250-300 hours of helicopter pool flights within Maharashtra in the past one year.

Capt Uday Gelli of Rotor Wing Society of India said: "The concept of helicopter pool has been tried in the past too, it failed as it was not possible to co-ordinate and synchronise the schedules of passengers." The current experiment seems to have worked so far as Verma pointed out that all of them were factory owners and so they make their own schedules.


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​Move over car pooling, chopper sharing is here

MUMBAI: Carpooling to reach your work place is passe, fasten your seat belts to pool a chopper ride. At least that's what dozens of Mumbai-based entrepreneurs with factories in places like Boisar, Vapi, Nasik, Aurangabad have been discovering since the past few months.

Varun Verma (name changed on request), a 45-year old chemical engineer, has been making a grueling weekly road trip from his Nepeansea Road home to Vapi where his chemical unit is based for past 12 years. But not anymore, he has discovered chopper pooling.

"It is a nine hour journey to and fro. I leave home by 6 am and return on the same day by 11 pm as the facilities for overnight stay in Vapi are not very good,'' said Verma. So when he had to ferry a German team from Mumbai to his factory he had to hire a helicopter. But the Rs 2 lakh bill told him flying to work can't become a habit.

The idea of chopper pooling took root a few months later when he attended a seminar where he realised he could buy a seat rather than book an entire chopper. And since May, Verma has been helicopter pooling a Bell 407 twice a month—all he had to do was knock on the doors of neighbouring factories and speak to their owners.

"Two of my helicopter partners live in Juhu, two in South Mumbai and so the helicopter picks up the suburban passengers from Juhu airport around 7.15 am and they reach Mahalaxmi helipad by 7.30 am where we three board and by the time we are done with sharing nuts, munchies we have landed at the private helipad in Vapi and its only 8.20 am yet," said Verma.

From there, in 10 minutes he is at his chemical unit in Vapi. The trip costs each passenger Rs 40,000 but for that amount they get rid of Mumbai's sadistic roads and traffic and saves them seven hours per return trip. Given that these entrepreneurs make the factory trip at least once a week, substituting car with a helicopter pool works out to Rs 19 lakh/passenger for twelve months and a saving of 336 hours or 14 days per year.

"Helicopter pool is value for money as now I get to spend six to seven hours in the factory per visit, when earlier I hardly got 2-3 hours. So I have cut down the frequency of my factory visits by half, to two times a month," said Verma.

The savings are bigger for Arun Sanghi (name changed), who owns a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit in Boisar, an industrial zone in Thane, as his flying time is less. His helicopter pool works out to Rs 20,000 per return trip. He and his brother travel from their Juhu home to their factory twice a week, and its only once in 7-10 days that they do the helicopter pool. "It works out to Rs 6-7 lakh per annum and we are a Rs 300 crore company, we can well afford it. And it is not even a capital expense," says Sanghi.

"There is this aura around the use of private aircraft, but from utility perspective, spending for directors Rs 7 lakh each a year is not much," he added.

But that is the mental block that many found hard to navigate. "Our target customer was anyone with a factory in a remote location, aged between 35-45, with a business volume of Rs 50-100 crore, we did not go for the ultra rich," says Rajiv Wadhwa, CEO, Baron Luxury and Lifestyles, the company which in co-ordination with licensed aircraft charter operators has been providing helicopters for pool for a year now. They had problems selling the concept of flying to work to many entrepreneurs.

"Azim Premji came as a huge hurdle. Entrepreneurs said when Premji does not fly business aircraft, why should we? We may have the money, but we want to be grounded. That was the popular sentiment," said Wadhwa. The fact that the pompous name of their aircraft charter company would have only entrenched these beliefs deeper is lost on him. "We had to do a cost-benefit analysis of their time," he added. Some decided to give it a try and so far, the company claims, they have done 250-300 hours of helicopter pool flights within Maharashtra in the past one year.

Capt Uday Gelli of Rotor Wing Society of India said: "The concept of helicopter pool has been tried in the past too, it failed as it was not possible to co-ordinate and synchronise the schedules of passengers." The current experiment seems to have worked so far as Verma pointed out that all of them were factory owners and so they make their own schedules.


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Mars Orbiter Mission launch on Oct 28

MUMBAI: Isro officials said on Sunday that the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will be launched on October 28 from Sriharikota between 3.30pm and 4pm.

A national committee of scientists chaired by former Isro chief U R Rao gave the go-ahead to the Rs 450-crore mission on Friday. "Right now we are continuously monitoring it," an official said.

The Mars orbiter has undergone extensive pre-launch tests at Isro's Satellite Centre in Bangalore and will be moved to Sriharikota on September 30 for integration with the advanced version of the four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), known as PSLV-XL.

The pre-shipment review will be held on September 26. With a large contingent of the international media expected to cover the launch, hotels in Chennai are flooded with inquiries about availability of rooms and rates. Sriharikota is about a two-and-a-half hours drive from Chennai.

Referring to the recent discovery by Nasa's Curiosity rover that there was no methane on Mars, Rao who played a major role in the selection of the five scientific instruments which will fly on MOM said that it did not mean much and was of little significance.

He emphasized that Nasa's announcement has in no way made the Indian mission to Mars irrelevant. His statement assumes significance in the context of MOM flying an instrument called the methane sensor, which is designed to measure methane in the Martian atmosphere and map its sources. It is one of the five instruments on board MOM, and was fabricated at Isro's Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre.

Rao said, "It had always been stated that the moon was bone dry and there was no water. But, our lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 attained a major breakthrough and found water on the moon. Similarly, our Mars mission will achieve something similar."

Rao's view was shared by Syed Maqbool Ahmed, the scientist behind Chandra Altitudinal Composition Explorer (Chace) on board Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe which discovered water on the moon. Ahmed who had a two-year stint at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, "Depending upon the prevailing conditions, the instruments of MOM which are a heritage class of Chandrayaan-1 may certainly give a chance to measure elusive methane."


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​Qateel Siddiqui family petition to be heard in HC today

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday will hear a petition filed by alleged Indian Mujahideen Qateel Siddiqui's family seeking an impartial probe by a central agency or a court-appointed special investigating team.

Siddiqui was arrested by the Delhi police's special cell and chargesheeted for various terror-related crimes including his alleged role in the 2010 German Bakery blast.

The Maharashtra ATS took him into custody on May 2, 2012, after he was accused of having planted a bomb in Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple on February 13, 2010, the day a blast outside the bakery killed 17 people, including foreigners.

Siddiqui was killed by two inmates inside the high security Yerawada Central Jail on June 8, 2012. "Prima facie the motive to kill Siddiqui lay with Maharashtra ATS as he was allegedly negating their theory that Himayat Baig (sentenced to death by Pune court in the German Bakery blast) was involved in the crime," said lawyer Mehmood Parcha who represents Siddiqui's family.

"We want a probe by a central agency like the CBI or NIA or a court-appointed SIT to probe the circumstances," he said.

The petition said the Delhi police special cell had kept Siddiqui in its remand for almost three months claiming that he was involved in various crimes.

"The Maharashtra ATS has framed the deceased Qateel Siddiqui not in the crime of 'German Bakery blast' as claimed by Delhi police special cell but in a freshly registered different crime for the so-called attempt to keep a bomb in Dagdudheth Halwai Ganapati Temple of which there was no record or mention till the arrest of the deceased," the petition said.

The family has alleged that "it is shocking to note the registration of crime for the offence of attempt to blast the Ganesh temple took place almost after 22 months. The role of ATS authorities requires to be scrutinized."

The family also alleged that Siddiqui was killed as an "outcome of a high-level conspiracy for saving the ATS sleuths who falsely framed Mirza Himayat Baig in German Bakery blast".

On the autopsy report, it said the opinion of medical experts contradicts the theory of strangulation as the explanation by the professor and head of forensic medicine department, categorically stated that "the deceased has consumed liquor (ethyl alcohol) prior to death".

"The exact time of consumption of ethyl alcohol cannot be opined. However, the time of his last meal was four to six hours prior to death," the medical report said. pti

While making it clear that Siddiqui was a pious Muslim and never consumed alcohol, the family still wanted to know "how it is possible in the High Security Egg Cell Central Prison to consume the same or who administered the same?"


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Telly beti- bahus party all night

Telly girls at a party are just the opposite of what they are on screen. At actress Munisha Khatwani's birthday party held in Mumbai recently, which saw a good turnout from the TV industry.

The betis and bahus were seen having a blast, letting their hair down, while their male colleagues preferred to spend time chatting away.


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Quick-thinking doctor uses mentor’s Whatsapp tips to save labourer’s hand

MUMBAI: Besides performing a microsurgery that could only be done in a super-speciality hospital, a Boisar-based orthopaedic surgeon used sheer presence of mind to save the nearly severed hand of a labourer after it was almost sliced off by a saw machine.

Since he had never handled such a case, Dr Jitendra Patil, who owns a hospital in Boisar, immediately called up his mentor. Dr Hemant Patankar, orthopaedic head of department at Ghatkopar's Rajawadi Hospital, directed him on how to go about the delicate operation going by photographs and details of the wound that Dr Patil sent him via smartphone messenger WhatsApp.

Tilak Ram, 20, a construction worker was cutting wooden planks with an electric saw machine on Wednesday afternoon, when his left hand accidentally came in contact with the blade. His colleagues were transfixed with horror as Ram shrieked with pain while his hand dangled by a strip of flesh from his wrist.

Not knowing what to do, some of the other workers tried to bandage Ram's hand, but the civil contractor present at the site told them to rush him to the nearest hospital.

Ram was taken to Dr Patil's Sai Leela Hospital. "I was shocked to find that nearly 90 per cent of the hand had been sliced off the wrist and there was only 10 per cent blood left in the hand. I have done scores of leg fractures and other routine surgeries, but hadn't repaired a severed hand before. Such operations are usually done in a big city hospital equipped with the necessary instruments," he said.

However, a three-hour trip to the city would have led in more blood loss and an inevitable amputation. Dr Patil tried to contact two Mumbai-based orthopaedic surgeons for the surgery, but they declined due to short notice.

Dr Patil then got in touch with Dr Patankar, who had mentored him during his initial years. "Dr Patankar first told me to send him images of the hand and a brief about the patient's condition. I did so, and in the meantime administered painkillers and medicines to stop the bleeding," he said.

Keeping his teacher's instructions in mind, Dr Patil began the crucial 10-hourlong surgery. "In our medical parlance, such an operation is called a Hand salvaging surgery. During such operations, the presence of plastic and vascular surgeons is most vital, and in Boisar, no such specialists are available. Despite this, Dr Patankar told me to carry on," said Dr Patil.

While the nursing staff wheeled Ram into the operation theatre, anaesthetist Dr Rajesh Trimukhe rushed to spot to prep the patient.

During the operation, Dr Patil slowly restructured the hand from vital median nerves, around 18 tendons (fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone), and the radial artery (a major artery which supplies blood), which had been severed. "I had to see to it that the 10 per cent blood flow must be maintained, or else there would have been clotting and the hand would have to be amputated," said Dr Patil.

Miraculously, after the ordeal, a pulse oximeter (which monitors a patient's pulse rate) indicated blood circulation in the restructured left hand, a healthy sign, said Dr Patil.

When Mirror contacted Dr Patankar, he said, "I am proud of my student, who did a magnificent job. Dr Patil was working under me as an orthopaedic registrar in Rajawadi Hospital a few years ago.

Thanks to his timely thinking and the use of cell phones, the patient's hand has been saved. I just guided Dr Patil. In such situations, it is only the doctor's skill that could have achieved this."

Ram needs to stay in the hospital for at least a week, but cannot believe that he has got not only his hand, but also his livelihood back. "I have not told my parents who stay in UP, I didn't want to scare them. I am grateful to Dr Patil for saving my hand, and my employer who has agreed to pay for my medical expenses."


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Onions from Egypt, Pakistan fail to cool 80 a kg prices, Mumbaikars blame hoarders

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

MUMBAI: The Centre's kneejerk move to import onions from Egypt, Afghanistan and now Pakistan has had no impact on retail prices that hit the season's high of Rs 80 a kg on Thursday.

Rather than procure tasteless, yellow onions from neighbouring countries at a premium, Mumbaikars wish the government would crack down on hoarders and profiteers who take cues from politicians' statements and hold stocks.

"The arrival of small quantities of onions from Egypt and Afghanistan in Navi Mumbai or Amritsar neither mitigates the woes of consumers nor poses a threat to hoarders. These bulbs are bland and soft, far inferior to the red Nashik variety. Yet people have to pay Rs 60 a kg for them. It is surprising to see the state seek international remedies for the homegrown scourge of hoarding . Why doesn't it force farmers and wholesalers to release stocks?" asked R Ganasekar, a resident of Navi Mumbai.

Twenty-one truckloads of Pakistani onions reached the market on Thursday, soon after 45 vehicles had arrived from Hubli, Karnataka. The wholesale rate in Vashi APMC was Rs 45 for new onion and Rs 60 for the preferred old variety.

Retail rates stood at Rs 70-80 a kg across Mumbai and Thane. "Each vendor claims his produce is of the best quality so it costs more. There is no visible shortage or rationing but prices are high," said Shareen Amin of Jogeshwari , where the bulb was priced at Rs 75 on Thursday over Rs 68 on Tuesday.

Retailers allege that wholesalers in APMC are mixing inferior onions while charging for premium quality produce. "Local distributors like us are shown samples of best produce for a high price, say, Rs 65-70 a kg. Once we place an order, though, low grade onions are mixed with it before our very eyes. We are not allowed to choose. If we protest, they start emptying the sacks asking us to take it or leave it," said a retailer from Bandra.

He alleged bulk buyers must pay a fee to get the consignment weighed, Rs 5 for the first bag and Rs 10 for every sack that follows. This additional cost is passed on to the consumer.

APMC director Ashok Walunj, though, said this fee is levied by mathadi workers as part of the loading process . "Do you not pay the porter at the railway station to carry luggage? Doesn't he weigh it in order to determine the fee?"

Walunj said wholesale rates would drop to Rs 40-42 with the arrival of around 25-30 tonne on Friday. "We convened a meeting of the 500-odd traders at APMC and advised them to source from Karnataka until the Lasalgaon crop comes," he said.

Times view

The public has seen through these cheap gimmicks. Mumbaikars are not really interested in knowing the origin of the onions in the market; they would rather buy them at a lower, more reasonable price. The government should do something to bring down the retail price instead of indulging in this tokenism.


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Onions from Egypt, Pakistan fail to bring prices below Rs 80/kg, Mumbaikars blame hoarders

MUMBAI: The Centre's kneejerk move to import onions from Egypt, Afghanistan and now Pakistan has had no impact on retail prices that hit the season's high of Rs 80 a kg on Thursday.

Rather than procure tasteless, yellow onions from neighbouring countries at a premium, Mumbaikars wish the government would crack down on hoarders and profiteers who take cues from politicians' statements and hold stocks.

"The arrival of small quantities of onions from Egypt and Afghanistan in Navi Mumbai or Amritsar neither mitigates the woes of consumers nor poses a threat to hoarders. These bulbs are bland and soft, far inferior to the red Nashik variety. Yet people have to pay Rs 60 a kg for them. It is surprising to see the state seek international remedies for the homegrown scourge of hoarding . Why doesn't it force farmers and wholesalers to release stocks?" asked R Ganasekar, a resident of Navi Mumbai.

Twenty-one truckloads of Pakistani onions reached the market on Thursday, soon after 45 vehicles had arrived from Hubli, Karnataka. The wholesale rate in Vashi APMC was Rs 45 for new onion and Rs 60 for the preferred old variety.

Retail rates stood at Rs 70-80 a kg across Mumbai and Thane. "Each vendor claims his produce is of the best quality so it costs more. There is no visible shortage or rationing but prices are high," said Shareen Amin of Jogeshwari , where the bulb was priced at Rs 75 on Thursday over Rs 68 on Tuesday.

Retailers allege that wholesalers in APMC are mixing inferior onions while charging for premium quality produce. "Local distributors like us are shown samples of best produce for a high price, say, Rs 65-70 a kg. Once we place an order, though, low grade onions are mixed with it before our very eyes. We are not allowed to choose. If we protest, they start emptying the sacks asking us to take it or leave it," said a retailer from Bandra.

He alleged bulk buyers must pay a fee to get the consignment weighed, Rs 5 for the first bag and Rs 10 for every sack that follows. This additional cost is passed on to the consumer.

APMC director Ashok Walunj, though, said this fee is levied by mathadi workers as part of the loading process . "Do you not pay the porter at the railway station to carry luggage? Doesn't he weigh it in order to determine the fee?"

Walunj said wholesale rates would drop to Rs 40-42 with the arrival of around 25-30 tonne on Friday. "We convened a meeting of the 500-odd traders at APMC and advised them to source from Karnataka until the Lasalgaon crop comes," he said.

Times view

The public has seen through these cheap gimmicks. Mumbaikars are not really interested in knowing the origin of the onions in the market; they would rather buy them at a lower, more reasonable price. The government should do something to bring down the retail price instead of indulging in this tokenism.


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Rs 3.95 cr fine collected for traffic offences in 2013: Police

MUMBAI: Intensifying its drive against errant two-wheeler drivers and rash motorists, Mumbai traffic police have collected a fine of over Rs 3.95 crore since January this year.

The police have initiated strict action against rash-driving, signal-jumping, lane-cutting and over-speeding by vehicles, according to DCP (traffic) Pratap Dighavkar.

"We have collected a fine of Rs 3,95,63,800 in all of these cases since January to August this year. In 1,313 rash-driving cases, Rs 1.75 lakh has been collected as fine," the senior police official told reporters here on Thursday.

As many as 62,194 cases of signal jumping took place and a fine of Rs 54 lakh was collected, Dighavkar said.

"A fine of over Rs 4.50 lakhs has been collected in various incidents of lane-cutting (5,209) and dangerous driving (3,328 cases)," he said.

Expressing concern over the increasing number of drunk-driving cases, the official said two-wheeler drivers were more offenders in such cases. "6,584 two-wheeler drivers (65 per cent) were booked for drunken driving cases out of the total 10,167," he added.

Major spots in the metropolis where motorcyclists perform stunts during late night include Marine drive in south Mumbai, Worli sea face (central Mumbai), Carter road and Band Stand in suburban Bandra, Oshiwara back road, Western Express Highway (WEH), and Eastern Express Highway (EEH), he said.


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Soap queen Ekta Kapoor felicitated

Small screen czarina, director Ekta Kapoor, was in her favourite city, Kolkata, recently to recieve an award. She was felicitated for her exemplary work and outstanding contribution to the Indian entertainment industry.

Tollywood actor Debdut and directors Sekhar and Raja were also present at the do.


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BMC revises the mobile tower policy, makes it stricter

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has revised its mobile tower policy and have decided that only one mobile tower will be allowed atop one building.

The BMC has also said that only one antenna will be allowed on one tower.

The revised policy also says that there will be a citizen representative on the public grievance committee, which will have members from the BMC, TERM cell, state and health officials.

"We have finalized the policy, which will be soon sent to the standing committee for approval,"said a senior civic official.

Another important highlight of the policy is that it will be applied in retrospective effect and will be applicable to all buildings once the period for which their license is over.

70% consent of the residents of the building, mandatory no-objection certificates from all the residents of the top floor will be needed to install a mobile tower.


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140 Domino's Pizza employees come together for beach clean-up drive

MUMBAI: On International Coastal Clean-up Day, Domino's Pizza employees came together for a beach cleaning drive on Thursday. Beaches, rivers and lakes were cleaned of debris, waste, plastic bags by employees who came forth to volunteer for this drive. The activity took place in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Nasik and Aurangabad, a day after lakhs of worshippers celebrated Anant Chaturdashi by immersing Ganpati idols in the water bodies.


After Anant Chaturdashi, cleaning up beaches and other water bodies is a keen concern for local communities. The clean up initiated by Domino's Pizza was a collective effort of all employees to address this issue. At 6 am, over 140 employees from Domino's assembled to participate in the clean-up drive and be a part of the social cause.

On the coastal clean-up drive, Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant FoodWorks Limited said, "We have always believed that as a corporate, we have a very important social responsibility towards the society and the environment. We have always tried to inculcate and mentor each of our employees on the same lines. The coastal clean-up drive initiated by Domino's Pizza in western India is our sincere efforts to give back to the community. This is a collective effort which has been undertaken by our employees to contribute towards a cleaner and healthier environment in these particular regions."


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Zari worker held for raping minor with learning disabilities

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 19 September 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Agripada police recently arrested a 21-year-old man for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl with learning disabilities for the last nine months. Accused Kamal Khan, a worker at zari unit at Momenpura in south Mumbai, fled away to his native town Kolkata after he learned about the police complaint, but was arrested.

Khan targeted the girl at the residence of his employer whenever she visited the house. "The girl was acquainted to the family of Khan's employer and would frequently visit their house near the zari workshop. Taking advantage of nobody's presence, he began targeting the girl who never revealed about the incident to her parents," said a Agripada police officer

The incident came to light after the family learned of their daughter's eight months pregnancy. "The family avoided registering a complaint thinking they would convince Khan to marry their daughter. However, when he refused, the family approached the police and submitted an application on August 22. Khan came to know about the same and fled to Kolkata," said the officer.

Based on the complaint received from the victim's parents Khan was arrested after he was tracked down from his native place in Kolkata last week.


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Director general reviews training program for NCC

MUMBAI: Lieutenant General PS Bhalla, director general NCC was on a two-day visit to NCC Directorate Maharashtra. During his visit from September 5 to 6, the DG reviewed the training and other activities being conducted by the directorate.

Maharashtra has one of the largest NCC contingents of over 95,000 cadets. The directorate has a very enviable record of winning the All India Prime Minister's Banner for 17 years out of 22 and has been the winners for the last four years in succession. While talking to the additional directorate general NCC, Maharashtra, Major General S Sengupta, said that "it is a great honour for the directorate that the DG NCC is visiting us". Maharashtra directorate is a frontrunner and will continue to remain so.

Over the years, NCC has come a long way and today has over 14 lakh cadets from all over the country. Apart from military training, NCC also inculcates, in the cadets, national integration, social awareness, team spirit and spirit-de-corps. This year, NCC has taken two more pathbreaking initiatives for the betterment of the cadets.

First NCC has now become on elective subject in schools and colleges for which UGC and CBSE have given their concurrence. The matter has now been taken up with the state government for implementation. Second, in October 13, NCC will conduct its first National Games at New Delhi, where boy and girl cadets will compete with other state directorates. This is another major step towards national integration and building team spirit.


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Indian Navy holds workshop on roles and expectations of emerging navies

MUMBAI: Thirty nine delegates from 22 member nations converged in Mumbai to participate in the Operational Seminar and Preparatory Workshop - 2013 on the theme, 'Roles and Expectations of Emerging Navies in Cooperative Engagement for Peace and Stability in IOR'. The seminar and preparatory workshop, was conducted under the IONS construct is hosted by the Western Naval Command at Mumbai on September 11 and 12.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr C Raja Mohan, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, highlighted three important imperatives demanding greater maritime security cooperation in the IOR "First, the changing global distribution of power leading to deepened divisions amongst the world's leading nations thereby complicating management of the global maritime commons. Second, pressures on the defence budget compelling downsizing of armed forces thereby restricting maritime powers from delivering public goods in the maritime domain. Third, the growing stakes of the littoral states and the opportunity provided by the IONS construct for the region to reclaim its maritime destiny".

The changing geo-political situation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in the last decades, has acted as a stimulus for the littoral nations to look seaward. Inception of a maritime construct, linking the Indian Ocean littorals, in the form of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in 2008 was, therefore, viewed by the IOR littorals as an important milestone in the maritime security cooperation within the IOR. Since its inception, IONS has generated significant interest and contributed in immense measure towards providing a platform for all IOR littoral navies to periodically and regularly discuss issues that bear upon regional maritime security and cooperation. Whilst, the IOR is the 'centre of gravity' in the world's geopolitical stage, its littorals are primarily nations with developing maritime security forces that are still in different stages of capability enhancement and capability building.

With maritime security being the primary focus of IONS, it is imperative that the concerns of the emerging navies of the region are addressed comprehensively. For this to happen, it is essential that IOR littorals interact and cooperatively engage in all aspects of maritime security so as to ensure credible and lasting peace and stability in our combined area of interest, i.e., the Indian Ocean Region.

The IONS Sseminar leads on to the preparatory workshop on September 12 involving discussions on issues pertaining to furthering cooperation between the IONS member nations in the disciplines of anti-piracy, MDA (maritime domain awareness) and HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief). The forum would also be used to undertake deliberations on the IONS Charter of Business and framing agenda for the forthcoming IONS Conclave of Naval Chiefs, scheduled to be held in Perth, Australia in March 2014.


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Indian Coast Guard rescues 11 fishermen

MUMBAI: In another rescue operation off Kerala coast during the ongoing South West monsoon, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on September 13 rescued 11 Indian fishermen of fishing boat "Arbuda Matha". The fishing boat was sinking and timely help saved the lives of all 11 fishermen onboard.

The ICG personnel acted fast on distress call transmitted from the sinking fishing boat, 160nm west of Beypore, was first picked up by motor tanker Aquarius wing. The distress message was relayed to this headquarter late night on September 13. The ship was requested by this headquarter to proceed to datum with maximum speed to rescue the stranded fishermen. The MT Aquarius wing arrived on September 14 at 12.30am and rescued all fishermen.

ICG spokesperson said that despite prevailing inhospitable weather conditions, the ICG helicopter and ship c-134, were tasked to take over the rescued fisherman. The valiant efforts put in by the units resulted in successful recovery of the stranded fishermen 20nm off Kochi. Strong showers along with heavy swell, winds gusting up to 35 km/hr and poor visibility hampered the progress of the operation. Finally, after a six-hour operation by surface and air units, all fishermen were transferred to mainland in helicopter in three trips.

The fishermen were subsequently handed over to local police for further disposal. The rescue mission was coordinated by the MRCC Mumbai and coast guard district headquarters no.4, fort Kochi.


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