Mumbai

Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde urges 5-year jail for those who harm trees

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In the past few years the state government have planted 19 crore trees across Maharashtra through various plantation drives. But there have been instances where these trees were destroyed or damaged at several places by anti-social elements. To prohibit such activities, Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde has tabled a private member bill in Loksabha. In this bill he has demanded five months to five years imprisonment to those who harm trees.

“To combat rising levels of pollution, the government has undertaken massive tree plantation drives. But there is no legal provision to ensure that the offenders are punished and these trees are taken care of,” said Shinde. As per the Paris climate change agreement of the UN in 2015, India agreed to do reforestation on 33 per cent of land. “But as per the report the forest cover in India has grown only by 0.21 per cent between 2015-2017,” says Shinde. For instance, On July 6, 2017 Shinde organised a massive tree plantation drive in Mangrool village of Ambernath, where 20,000 people came together and planted 1 lakh trees in a day. He ensured that these trees were watered and provided for a borewell, water tank and pipeline. However, in November 2018, these trees were set on fire in two separate incidents by miscreants. The fire damaged 50 per cent of these trees.

“Miscreants should be punished with six months to five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 to Rs 5 lakh. Moreover, even man-made jungles should be covered under Indian forest act, 1980. Central government’s permission should be made mandatory before taking up projects on jungles,” he said.

Nisha Shiwani has worked in many companies in various capacities and in her free time loves to express herself through her articles. She is based out of the pink city Jaipur.

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Mumbai: Faster, waterproof locals with Train 18 technology soon

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The Indian Railways have created the first prototype of EMU (local train) rake having electrics, transformers, and motors in the underslung. It has already reached Central Railway (CR) and its trials shall be carried out soon. These trains are similar to ‘Train 18’ as far as its electrics and mechanical systems are concerned.

Having motors and transformers in the underslung would mean the creation of additional capacity by 10-15 percent. Currently, a 12-car local train carries 6000-6500 commuters as against its actual capacity of 2250 commuters. When the bulky transformers and electrics go in the space between wheels and coaches, it will increase its carrying capacity by at least 600-900 people, depending on the time of day. Currently, 78 lakh people travel on both CR and WR every day, with an average annual growth of 1-2 per cent.

At present, every third coach of a 12-car train has transformers and other equipment, which connects to the pantograph on the roof. “The first non-AC EMU train having transformers in the underslung has already reached Mumbai. Its trials will be carried out once the Commissioner of Railway Safety gives clearance,” said a senior Railway official on condition of anonymity.

The trials will be carried out on the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara section. Another railway official said that despite the machines and electric systems being underneath, they will not be affected during heavy rains, especially when tracks are flooded. “These machines are waterproof. These advanced electric systems can chug through 400 mm of water depth, but at a slow speed,” he added.

Also, it will help increase the speed of train up to 130kmph.

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61 people died of swine flu across Maharashtra this year

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As per the state’s public health department, 61 patients have died in Maharashtra of swine flu this year till Monday. Due to a change in climate, more citizens are suffering from H1N1 since January, officials said.

According to a Right to Information (RTI) reply received from civic-run Kasturba Hospital, the number of cases from outside Mumbai are rising this year.

This year, two cases each from around Mumbai, Vasai, Virar and Bhayandar were admitted in Kasturba Hospital, followed by one case each from cities like Nashik, Dhule, Badlapur and Navi Mumbai to name a few, the RTI data reveals.

Of the 30 cases at the facility, 18 were from outside Mumbai. No cases were admitted from outside the state.

The state public health department stated after a meeting that the number of deaths reported till March 18 in the state is 61. The highest number has been reported in Nashik district (15) followed by Nagpur (14) and Pune (six).

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IMC Ladies’ Wing honours ‘women impacting women’

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The Ladies’ Wing of the IMC Chamber of Commerce gave away its IMPACT 2019 awards to ‘Women Impacting Women’, that is women who have made a difference to many lives.
Dr Anagha Amte, medical officer, Lok Biradari Prakalp, which works with adivasi women in remote areas, said she was surprised at first. “Most awards rightfully go the way of my in-laws, Prakash and Mandakini Amte. My work is comparatively smaller. I work largely in the area of maternal and child healthcare and try to bring these services to the marginalised communities.”
Well-known athlete Anju Bobby George thanked the IMC for recognising her work with youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds. “Recognition like this is a pat on the back for me. Many of these children are already competing and doing well. In a few years, many of them will go on to bring honour to the country at the world stage.”

Thanking the gathering for the award, artiste Brinda Miller, director, Studio Millernium Pvt Ltd said: “I have been lucky to have supportive men in my life who have always looked out for me. We need to sensitise more and more men so that they also similarly support the women in their lives.”
Author and co-founder of Kali for Women Ritu Menon also felt that the IMC had done what many other awards don’t: “As publishers my work is largely in the background and hence remains unnoticed. I am glad that IMC is changing that.”
Mohana Nair, president, IMC Ladies Wing, said it was a privilege and honour for the IMC to award the women achievers. “Each of them is an inspiration.”

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Disappointed with BEST, staffers turn to citizens with grievances

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What if you do not get salary even after working for an entire month? This is the question that the employees of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will put forward to Mumbaikars. Starting Friday, the BEST employees will stage a protest meet outside every important railway station near bus depots every day. This Friday, they will organise a protest at CSMT.

The decision was taken on Tuesday in a joint meeting between the employees and the Shashank Rao led BEST unions at Wadala depot.

“We will be holding a dharna outside railway stations and tell people about our plight, without inconveniencing the public. The BEST Undertaking is part of the civic body, yet its 42,000 employees are not getting salaries on time for past several months,” said Shashank Rao, general secretary of BEST Workers Union.

According to sources, every month around Rs 184 crore needs to be allocated to pay salaries and remunerations to BEST employees. For this, the undertaking takes a loan of Rs 225-250 crore each month, which also includes maintenance of its bus fleet among other works.

At present, the number of commuters ferrying daily has dropped from 42 lakh to 27 lakh. In January, the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS), went on a 9-day long strike to keep forward their demands in front of the government. The assurance to end the strike came after BEST and the BMC agreed to appoint a retired High Court judge who will look into the nitty-gritty of their demands.

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Mumbai: Re-inspection may lead to further delay in repair work of bridges

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Work of major and minor repairs of bridges, which was already sanctioned by the BMC, may be further delayed by a month due to a re-audit of bridges.

In addition, BMC will have to re-issue tenders if a great difference is found in the repair-work suggested by the latest audit. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday issued orders to structural auditing firms to re-inspect all bridges and review structural audits on bridges, which they had earlier audited.

The BMC had audited all 344 bridges in the city after the collapse of the footpath on Gokhale Bridge in Andheri. According to the structural report, 176 bridges need minor repair while 47 bridges need major repairing. Structural auditors suggested reconstruction of 14 bridges, of which, four bridges were already demolished by the BMC.

The civic body had called tenders for repair work and sanctioned repairs for over 110 bridges between December and March first week.

The repair work was supposed to start from this month but was stopped after the Himalaya Foot Over Bridge (FOB) at CST collapsed, killing six people and injuring 35. The inventory report of the said bridge states that it was in good condition.

If the auditor suggests changes in repair the work (minor or major), then the BMC will have to invite new tenders — a process which will take another six months.

“There is a possibility that auditors might suggest unnecessary major work to avoid responsibility, but we will check if the suggestions given in the next audit are too different than the previous ones. The work on bridges will start as soon as possible, without unnecessary re-tendering,” said a senior officer from the BMC. He added, “There shouldn’t be much difference in major works which were already suggested.”

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Mumbai: 174 food delivery agents booked for traffic violation

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In an attempt to bring down the number of offences pertaining from rash driving to jumping traffic signals, the Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) has started to penalise errant riders of food delivery applications. A day after executives of food delivery applications were summoned by senior traffic officials to make them adhere to traffic norms, the cops on Tuesday booked total 174 riders for violating rules. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) have also been requested to cancel the license of repeat offenders.

The traffic police have started issuing e-challans against the defaulters and are ready to take all possible action in order to reduce complaints that have been pouring in on social media as well as reported by consumers commenting on the feedback walls of app-based food delivery platforms. “The reckless food delivery boys have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Motor Vehicles Act for illegal parking, riding without helmets, jumping signals, speeding, rash driving, entering the wrong lane among others,” said a police officer.

Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic) said, “Action was long overdue after we received complaints of delivery boys riding on the footpaths to deliver the food within the deadline. Traffic police have already asked the food delivery companies to set a realistic deadline and not violate the laws to keep their unrealistic promises.”

Furthermore, the police asked food delivery apps to not hire these habitual traffic rule violators or agents involved in other offences, so that the menace was brought under control. Representatives of food-ordering apps were asked to educate their delivery agents on traffic rules and conduct regular counselling and training sessions for them. Moreover, police have also asked the owners to disconnect the apps of the riders who are habitual offenders and have e-challans served to them. A senior traffic police officer said licence of the habitual offenders, who are caught breaking traffic rules, will be cancelled.

Meanwhile, spokesperson of a food delivery application told DNA that the safety of delivery partners and other commuters and pedestrians was of utmost importance to them. “In Mumbai like in the rest of the country, we have an on-going Safety First program with the aim to make roads safer for both the delivery partners and citizens. The mandatory program enables extensive sensitization, awareness and training of its delivery partners on the various nuances of road safety including guidelines to ensure safer riding experience, emergency management, accident response, safety for self and emergency victims and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation techniques,” said the spokesperson. He added that efforts were being made to urge the delivery partners to strictly abide by the rules and any instance of traffic violation that is brought to their notice is dealt with immediate investigation followed by suspension.

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Maestro’s ageless voice to echo through time and nostalgia at 90

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Mumbaikars are in for a musical treat this Friday, as a special tribute event Golden Voice Golden Years (GVGY) dedicated to maestro Pt Jasraj is being organised.

Speaking exclusively to DNA, Pt Jasraj, belonging to Mewati gharana said, “I turned 90 on January 28, and my daughter Durga wanted to organise this event then. But logistics for what she had in mind was taking time. So concert will be held at Shanmukhananda Hall on March 15.” The event will present stages of Panditji’s life.

Recalling his childhood days when his father Pt Motiram called him to sing till he went to sleep, he shared, “Barely two, he’d make me sing Ustad Abdul Karim Khan saab’s sargam from Piya Bin Naahi Aawat Chayn. He would laugh at my mistakes, and I would think, I sang rather well.”

“I still try to find my mistakes,” the Sangeet Martand modestly added. Children from the Pt Jasraj School of Music Foundation, Mumbai will sing sargams, followed by Anup Jalota singing Begum Akhtar compositions. “I have never sung ghazals but Akhtari Bai’s Deewana Banana Hai Toh Deewana Bana De had bewitched me. Instead of going to school I would loiter on the footpath outside Yakubiya Restaurant since they would play the track on loop. That footpath was my music school where I got my first lessons.”

Pt Jasraj took started learning tabla at the age of four, after his fater’s demise. His mother Krishnabai encouraged him to learn tabla from elder brother, Pt Pratap Narayan – which he not only mastered by seven but also began accompanying with several greats. His childhood will be represented with a unique tabla symphony composed by Kedar Pandit.

He was humiliated by a senior artist over a rendition of a raga when he was just 14. He played on a “dead skin and knew nothing about the singing” he was told. An irate Jasraj decided to take singing lessons. In the later years he became so good that he was invited to teach music at Lahore’s Saraswati Music College.

Though he had been an ardent Hanuman devotee his music lessons began on the Nand Utsav (the next day after Janmashtami). “Perhaps this why my music is richly enveloped in both the Utsav aspect and devotion to Lord Krishna.” This aspect of his life will be represented by violin maestro Dr L Subramaniam.

This will be followed by the maestro himself taking on the stage. “I want audiences to tell me if I have been a good student of music. Ultimately it is not me but He who sings through me and He who listens through them,” he concluded.

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Mumbai: Light-&-sound show, low entry fee to push Gateway tourism

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The Gateway of India, one of the iconic monuments associated with Mumbai, may finally breathe a sigh of relief with the state government planning to implement a holistic plan to manage flow of tourists at the site. For the same, it has adopted a four-step process —physical conservation of the monument, a light-and-sound show, relocation of the anchorage and streamlined ticketed entry.

“We are preparing a site management plan for the precinct that will conform to UNESCO norms for protected sites. This is necessary as the site involves multiple stakeholders like the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), state directorate of museums and archaeology and BMC, which leads to management issues,” said a senior official from the department of culture.

While the directorate has the monument in its ambit, the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) is vested with the land and the BMC controls the precinct.

The directorate has allocated work on preparing the site management plan to conservation architects. The document, which is expected to be ready in a month, will lay down a statement on what is to be done and not to be done at the site.

“Under this plan, we will undertake structural conservation of the monument. A sound-and-light show, which will portray the history of the city, will be launched. Entry will be based on nominal ticketing and the revenues will be used for conservation and management of the site. The professional photographers who swamp the site will be relocated to a separate photo-point,” the official said.

The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) will develop a jetty at the Radio club, where the existing anchorage at the site will be shifted. “Many of the people who come to the Gateway use it as a transit point to the mainland through the water transport vessels,” he added, stating that shifting the anchorage would decongest the precinct substantially.

Apart from the saline environment, the diesel fumes from these boats also affect the basalt structure. The structures at the site like the barricades put up by the police and shelters will also be removed or brought in tune with the aesthetics. The BMC will also undertake maintenance of the premises, statues and the landscaping of the garden.

Earlier, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had also held a meeting about the conservation of the Gateway of India.

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Driverless Monorail is an upgrade away, but not on cards: MMRDA

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While a futuristic Monorail system with driverless train cars — like the ones in Dubai, Thailand and China — is only an upgrade away, it is not on the cards anytime soon, claim Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials.

Right now, the authority wants to focus on troubleshooting issues to keep the project from becoming a boondoggle. Citing the fact that it needs to focus on primary issues pertaining to operation of the existing nine trains of which only four are operational and the remaining ones require repairs, the officials claimed that upgradation to driverless monorail is not likely as of now. The authority has plans to buy new Monorail coaches to increase its frequency.

Ever since the operations of Mumbai Monorail started in February 2014, there have been issues with the coaches of Monorail that were manufactured in Malaysia by Scomi Engineering.

After Scomi’s termination in December 2018, the MMRDA has now also rolled on to procure more at least five Monorail trains from other international companies and have floated bids for the same.

However, MMRDA officials informed that the focus is not of having driverless Monorail trains for now but to have more trains so that the frequency from the current 22 minutes can be brought down to 5 minutes in the next two years.

An MMRDA official said, “Currently, driverless Monorail trains are chugging in many countries around the world, but we are not toying with the idea as of now. In future if we want to have driverless trains, it will just be a matter of technological upgradation.”

Meanwhile, the authority is considering to make Mumbai Metro ‘driverless’, like the one in Delhi.

At present, in order to make the travel easier for commuters, MMRDA also plans to introduce a mobile application for mobile ticketing, providing timetable and other information related to Monorail, informed MMRDA officials

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Mumbai: Man held with fake notes of Rs 28,850, cops intensify probe

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A 37-year-old man was arrested by Mumbai City Crime Branch on Wednesday and fake Indian currency notes (FICN), worth Rs 28,850, were recovered from him. What’s worrying, police say, is that the counterfeits are now being produced in the lower denominations like Rs 200 and Rs 50.

The accused has been identified as Jayesh Khaire, a resident of MHB Colony in Borivali East. Responding to a lead that a man carrying fake notes would come to Charkop Market, officers of Kandivali Unit of Crime Branch reached the spot.

“On searching him, we found fake notes worth Rs 28,850. We also seized two mobile phones, a PAN Card and Aadhar Card from Khaire,” said a Crime Branch officer.

The police have found two notes of Rs 2,000 denomination, 20 notes of Rs 500 denomination, 15 notes of Rs 200 denomination, two notes of Rs 100 denomination and 33 notes of Rs 50 denomination.

“After prolonged questioning, Khaire confessed to his crime. This is a worrying sign as the counterfeiter used to pump in high denomination notes in the Indian markets, but now they have begun pumping in low denomination notes as well. We are probing the mastermind of the operation. Khaire’s mobile phones are being analysed,” said the officer.

Cases under Indian Penal Code sections 489A (counterfeiting currency-notes or bank-notes), 489B (using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes) and 489C (possession of forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank-notes) were registered at Charkop police station..

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