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Scandal stirrers of 2016_Tabloid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twas a year for scandal, with fatal acts of passion, messy divorces, public spats and corporate soap-operas. All of India’s well-known faces decided to rumble with each other. And we had front row seats to the biggest shows of the year…Twist of the yearDecember 2016 threw in a twist in the Sheena Bora case: that her step-father, media baron Peter Mukerjea was allegedly a co-conspirator in her abduction and subsequent murder.The Sheena Bora murder case broke in August 2015, when her mother Indrani Mukerjea, stepfather Sanjeev Khanna and Mukerjea’s driver Shyamvar Pinturam Rai were arrested by the Mumbai Police for allegedly abducting and killing her and subsequently burning and dumping her corpse; and the case got murkier over the course of 2016.Mukerjea, whose son Rahul’s engagement to Sheena was supposed to have enraged Indrani, was assumed to be an innocent bystander. But public prosecutor Bharat Badami said Mukerjea played a “very crucial role” in the murder. He presented the long list of emails and messages exchanged within the family, especially between Peter and his son Rahul, and his calls to Indrani. Badami pointed out a pattern in the calls and messages between Indrani and Peter. “After a call to Sheena, Indrani immediately called Peter and they spoke. They spoke even when she reached and found a spot to dispose of the body. Similarly, she had exchanged messages at every step with Peter,” Badami told the court.A few months in prison seems to have served as a spiritual and personality cleanse. While Peter has already started penning his memoir, Indrani has been transformed by the suffering of her fellow inmates, and has plans to donate her organs and 75 per cent of her property. She has also said to have translated 700 shlokas from the Gita, while we hope for a good kiss-and-tell bestseller.Creative divorcesAshima and LeenaIn February, designer duo Ashima (above left) and Leena (above right), who wove magic for over 20 years for their eponymous label ‘Ashima Leena’, decided to part ways. While Ashima Singh was the creative force, Leena Singh handled the brand’s business and management of production cycle. However, the ladies managed the creative divorce with the elegance one associates with their clothes. Leena Singh retains and continues to work under the brand name ‘Ashima Leena’, while Ashima launched her own label, Ashima Singh. She chose a different retail route, to make sure her new label did not clash with her old one, launching her store at Visaya Hotel in Panchsheel Park in Delhi.Armaan-AimanIn March, another designer duo’s creative partnership hit the rocks. Fresh flavour of the indie-crowd, designers Armaan Randhawa (below left) and Aiman Agha (below right), who designed under Armaan Aiman, went kaput. The duo had only been together for barely three years, showing first at GenNext at Lakmé Fashion Week (Winter/Festive) in 2013. They soon gained entry into the cool and quirky crowd, and announced their split the millennial way—through social media.On March 1, their Facebook page announced that the label was now simply called ‘Aiman.’ Agha refused to comment on her departure, while Randhawa said the reasons were personal and they remain good friends. When Lakme Fashion Week came around in August, Randhawa was back with his solo collection, EKAM.Art arrestIn 2015, artist Chintan Upadhyay was arrested for murdering his estranged wife and her lawyer Haresh Bhambhani. He allegedly even dumped their bodies in a Kandivli drain. Understandably, the art world dropped a few fine brushes over the news.The arrest only enhanced the price of Chintan’s work outside prison. In May, one of Hema’s friends, Sanchu Menon, wrote to prison authorities questioning why Chintan was getting unwarranted privileges in jail. Apparently, not only was the artist getting home-cooked khana, he was also allowed to paint in his cell and then sell those paintings for a handsome sum outside. Menon alleged that not only was this illegal, but Chintan was using this money to help the main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar to stay in hiding.It was in Rajbhar’s art workshop that Hema and Bhambhani were allgedly murdered on December 11, 2015, and Vidyadhar, aka Gotu, remains an essential link in the case. It was reported in June 2016 that Rajbhar was working in a Chennai suburb.In August 2016, a 13-page confession was made before a magistrate by Pradeep Rajbhar, who used to work and live at the art workshop, Bansraj Art Company, where Hema and Harish were allegedly murdered. In his confession, Pradeep said he lured Hema at Chintan’s behest to the workshop with the promise of giving her a sex tape of Chintan with another woman. It was all allegedly part of a ruse to finish her off for filing a false complaint against him in court. In November, a sessions court in Dindoshi rejected Chintan’s second bail application.End of an affairFarhan Akhtar and Adhuna BhabaniMore than a little faith was shaken when Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna Bhabani parted ways after 16 years together. There were whispers that his co-star Aditi Rao Hydari’s presence could have caused a crack in the marriage as they grew close on the sets of Wazir.Their cool and unconventional marriage (Adhuna was older and more successful of the duo, and always maintained a non-star-wife identity) was surpassed only by the camaraderie with which they conducted their divorce.They filed for divorce on October 19, and both are attending the mandatory counselling sessions before it is finalised. There has been no mudslinging, allegation of affairs or fighting over their children (they have two girls together).They’ve concentrated on their careers. Adhuna’s B:Blunt launched a line of hair products and a funky ad promoting them using only bloggers; while Farhan starred in Wazir, Dil Dhadakne Do and Rock On 2.Farhan is also said to have moved on with Rock On co-actor (co-stars seems to be his dating pool. How’s that for minimal effort?) Shraddha Kapoor, with her allegedly moving into his bachelor pad in Bandra (until papa Shakti Kapoor apparently pulled her out and told her to take it slow).Though Adhuna still works on movie assignments, there seems to be an unwritten agreement that neither she nor anyone from her team will style Farhan for a while. In October, she apparently refused to style Farhan for a chat show after spotting his name on the guest list and requested that none from her team be asked to do so either.Jaidev Shroff and Poonam BhagatA couple that is not being elegant over the end of their association is art patron Poonam Bhagat (left) and industrialist husband Jaidev Shroff (inset). The two have hurled serious, criminal and even fantastical allegations at each other each other as they speed towards divorce.Shroff met Bhagat in 2000, when he was in the midst of divorce proceedings with first wife Romila, because of her alleged involvement with a Dubai-based businessman.The Shroff-Bhagat union was solemnised in 2005 and in October 2015, Shroff filed for divorce on grounds of “cruelty” towards him and his two daughters with Romila.In April, 2016, Shroff filed an FIR at Khar police station alleging that Bhagat performed black magic on him by administering a ‘magic potion’ in a glass of orange juice, allegedly obtained from a Bengali baba.In her application, Bhagat accused Shroff of domestic abuse for eleven years. She said he started hitting her within six months of their marriage and “giving her a black eye, and (breaking) her tooth by stuffing a mobile phone down her throat.” In 2008, Bhagat — then, pregnant — said she confronted Shroff about taking a former girlfriend to a family event.Bhagat says Shroff then slapped, pushed her to the ground and kicked her, which resulted in a miscarriage.If we were handing out an award for the messiest divorce of 2016, the Bhagat-Shroff saga would win hands down.Arbaaz-Malaika AroraThe Malaika Arora-Arbaaz Khan (impending) divorce has gained traction as the year ends. It served as a classic case of ‘are they-aren’t they’? Hints of the divorce started doing the rounds after Malaika dropped ‘Khan’ from her name at a dance reality show. Then they were spotted at the Bandra family court with their lawyers.Slowly, we heard of Malaika moving out of the house with son Arhaan and Salman trying to play ‘fixer’. But apparently bhai wasn’t able to forge a reunion, because they don’t share a close bond. Salman allegedly did not approve of her work, her clothes and her close circle of friends.The reasons for their split are supposedly more material than emotional. Sources say Malaika was not happy with Arbaaz’s unsuccessful career and did not like the fact that her husband “lived in the shadow of his superstar brother”. She is also said to have always felt like an outsider in the Khan family.Why do we feel this celebrity divorce may continue to make headlines in 2017?Best story spinnerIf Priyanka Chopra sneezed on the sets of Baywatch, we’d hear about it. The PR machinery for our export to Hollywood worked itself to exhaustion this year. When she had dinner with Gerard Butler, we heard they were dating. When she presented an award with actor Tom Hiddleston (above), she was said to have helped him get over his break-up with Taylor Swift. We hear Priyanka’s press agent has unrealistic expectations of her team, demanding a story about the star in the media every day. So don’t expect PeeCee, and her team, to slow down in 2017.Meltdown of the yearVikram Chatwal, a New York hotelier, came back on our gossip radar after he was accused of setting two dogs on fire outside his Manhattan home. Forty-four-year-old Chatwal, whose family owns a chain of hotels, has had a long turbulent history with drug abuse. He was admitted to rehab at Masina Hospital in Mumbai in 2009. In October 2016, Chatwal allegedly rushed out of his New York home to the street and attacked the two pups belonging to a passer-by saying, “They must die!” He then tried to set them on fire using a lighter and aerosol can.

As Modi-Uddhav shares stage, BJP-Sena strains comes to fore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Strains in relations between BJP and Shiv Sena came to the fore during a public meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray’s speech was interrupted for a while,apparently by BJP supporters present among the audience.The reaction of BJP workers was in response to Shiv Sena activists causing disturbance during the speech of state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil. Uddhav shared the dais with PM Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the MMRDA ground in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here, after laying foundation of various big ticket infrastructure projects.Thackeray’s speech was interrupted for a while after some of the BJP supporters started chanting “Modi, Modi,” which made the Shiv Sena chief to stop for a while. Earlier, when Patil’s speech was disturbed, Devendra Fadnavis personally intervened and controlled the crowd.Earlier this week, during the inauguration of Ram Mandir station here, Shiv Sena and BJP workers had sparred over by indulging in sloganeering and interrupting the speeches of senior leaders. Shiv Sena has been criticising various decisions of Prime Minister Modi as well as those taken by the Fadnavis government from time-to-time.

Sanjay Nirupam alleges ‘house arrest’ ahead of Cong’s ‘silent’ morcha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who was supposed to lead a ‘silent’ morcha of his party workers at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting, on Friday claimed that he has been placed under “house arrest” by police.”The area outside my house is under heavy police bandobast and I am being prevented from stepping out,” Nirupam said alleging that “in the present democratic set up Opposition leaders are being virtually kept under house-arrest.”However, Mumbai Police denied the claims made by Nirupam and said the force deployed outside his residence was only part of the security arrangements made across the city in view of the PM’s visit.Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said, “We have deployed policemen across the city especially on the route of PM’s convoy to maintain law and order as well as to avoid any untoward incident during his visit.” Nirupam also said that the Congress morcha will take place as per schedule and we have time till this afternoon to decide on our strategy.”We have a lot of questions for the PM. He should answer to graft allegations made by our Vice President Rahul gandhi instead of mocking him. Modi should also answer when the people will get back their right to deposit and withdraw their own hard earned money from banks. Its more than a month.Since demonetization citizens are still suffering due to cash crunch,” he said.AICC General Secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, Mohan Prakash also condemned the decision of Mumbai Police to curb democratic rights of political rivals which he charged was done at the behest of the government.”Earlier government put restrictions on citizens’ rights to access their money and now there are restrictions on freedom of expression as well,” he said.He said the Congress workers were to display only placards in the morcha and were not to hold any protests.”The government does not want to see people’s hardships. If they don’t want to see the placards people will show them the mirror in which they will see their failures,” he added.The Mumbai unit of Congress is scheduled to hold a ‘silent’ morcha near the venue where Modi will address a public function in the afternoon to highlight demonetization troubles and a host of other issues.

Demonetisation aftermath: Free rides over, be prepared to pay up at toll nakas from midnight

Planning to take the highway while travelling over the weekend? Be prepared to pay toll. The government had abolished toll at all national highways and state toll points following demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. But 23 days after the decision was taken, toll collection is set to resume from Saturday. All toll booths have been equipped with card swiping machines, so there might be long queues, as people pay toll using credit or debit cards.

In Mumbai, there are five toll booths for entry into the city. The toll booths, run by MEP Infrastructure Limited (MEPL), are located on the Sion Panvel highway at Vashi, Airoli Bridge in Airoli, Lalbahadur Shastri Marg and the Eastern Express Highway in Mulund, and the Western Express Highway in Dahisar. The minimum toll at all five booths is Rs 35, and motorists will have to pay this from midnight of 2 December. Moreover, there is also a toll naka on the Bandra-Worli sea-link, and this too shall carry a Rs 60 toll.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Highest toll collection in the state of Maharashtra takes place on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Toll for the 95-kilometre road is Rs 99 for a one-way journey for a car.

Following the centre’s decision of demonetising old notes, Road and Surface Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced all national highways will waive off their respective tolls. Following this announcement, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also declared that toll nakas in the state, run by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the Public Works Department (PWD) or by private companies, will all waive toll collection until 2 December.

According to the transport corporation of India and a study by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the average waiting time at a toll naka is three minutes. Going by this average, said RTI activist Sanjay Shirodkar, thousands of minutes and crores of rupees in the form of fuel, have been saved across the country.

However, toll free travelling is unlikely to become a reality any time soon. Talking to Firstpost, PWD minister Chandrakant Patil said it is just not possible to do so. “We are preparing a new transparent policy, to make small vehicles exempt from paying toll. There is an option of buy back in the agreement, which is what the Congress-NCP government had done before. The new government, which has been in power for two years, has shut 12 toll nakas permanently, while 53 others have exempted small vehicles from paying toll. The government has paid Rs 798 crore on account of this,” Patil said.

He added that the state will follow the Centre’s directives to National Highways; if the latter will become toll free, roads in Maharashtra will follow suit. “Over the last 23 days, the five toll nakas in Mumbai — each earning an average daily collection of Rs 1.97 crore — have all incurred losses. If the extension is to continue, the period of toll collection will also increase,” he pointed out.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 20:20 IST

Mumbai: Minor fire at hospital in BKC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fire broke out in the basement of Asian Heart Institute hospital in Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai last night but no one was injured.The hospital authorities described it as “minor”.Fire brigade control room received the call at 9.45 pm and four fire engines and as many water tankers were pressed into service, a fire brigade official said.Chief fire officer P S Rahangdale said it was a ‘Level II’ fire call and the fire was confined to two small basement areas. Situation was under control and no evacuation of patients was necessitated, he said.Hospital sources said late in the night that there was a “minor fire” in the basement which was picked up by the fire alarm system.It was immediately controlled by the staff and fire brigade was called, they said, adding there was no harm to the patients, patient care and all hospital functions are continuing normally.

Mumbai: Five-storey building collapses in Bandra, two girls feared trapped inside

Mumbai: Five-storey building collapses in Bandra, two girls feared trapped inside

Updated: Oct 13, 2016 16:00 IST

#Bandra #Building collapse #India #Mumbai #NewsTracker


Mumbai: A five-storey building collapsed in suburban Bandra on Thursday afternoon with two girls feared trapped inside, fire brigade sources said.

There are no reports of any casualties so far, they said.

The building is located on Anant Kanekar Marg, Behrampada, near National School in Bandra East.

First floor to 4th floor portion of the building collapsed, thereby trapping two girls as learnt from people around, fire brigade sources said.

Efforts were underway to clear the rubble, they said. Further details were awaited.

Mumbai: Six dead, two feared trapped after five-storey building collapses in Bandra

Mumbai: Six dead, two feared trapped after five-storey building collapses in Bandra

Updated: Oct 13, 2016 16:00 IST

#Bandra #Building collapse #India #Mumbai #NewsTracker


A five-storey building collapsed in suburban Bandra on Thursday afternoon with two girls feared trapped inside, fire brigade sources said.

The death toll has now risen to six, reported ANI.

According to an NDTV report, the fire department received the call around 1.30 pm.

The building is located on Anant Kanekar Marg, Behrampada, near National School in Bandra East. Five fire engines and two ambulances rushed to the site of the collapse.

First floor to 4th floor portion of the building collapsed, thereby trapping two girls as learnt from people around, fire brigade sources said.

Officials said four families were staying in the building and they fear some more could be trapped inside. Search and rescue was underway in full swing, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.

Efforts were underway to clear the rubble, they said. Further details were awaited.

With inputs from PTI.

Strike One

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday rejected claims by the Congress party that the Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes inside Pakistan in the past. He added that while the credit for the strikes goes to the armed forces and the people of India, the government should be “cheered” for its “bold” decision.”In about two years as the Defence Minister, I have not learnt about any surgical strikes any time earlier,” said Parrikar, while speaking at an event organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) in Bandra.”What probably they are referring to is the action taken by border action teams. These are common practices across the globe and also in the Indian Army. The local commander takes punitive action against the opponent who has been troubling him to settle scores. It is not official action approved by the government,” he added, stating that these reports were sent to the government subsequently.Parrikar said the decision for surgical strikes was taken by the government. “This was announced by the army itself. If we were to take political credit, the Defence Minister would have announced it,” he said, calling the action a “one-time operation”.The minister added that “there was a burden of helplessness among the 127 crore citizens and 13.5 lakh army personnel of growing frustration that the enemy is continuously bleeding us through thousand cuts. The enemy does not even bother that there is a hue and cry internationally”. He noted that the steam accumulated over 30 years was vented out after the strikes across the Line of Control (LoC).”The hand of friendship,” Parrikar said, “was probably construed as weakness” when India had tried to patch up with Pakistan, “The country has never thought that strength itself can be a defining force for peace,” he admitted.Referring to threats about unleashing tactical nuclear weapons on India, Parrikar said “we should strengthen ourselves to a level that no one dares challenge us for conventional or non-conventional war”.

Western Railways: New timetable, additional halts, speeded-up trains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the New West Zone Railway Time Table which comes in force from October 1, 2016, Western Railway has decided to run some new trains including Antyodya Trains, Uday Train and Hamsafar trains. Speed of some of the trains will be improved and the route of some trains will be extended. This timetable comprise of four zones- Western Railway, Central Railway, North Western Railway and West Central Railway.Salient Features of Western Railway- 124 WR trains will be speeded up ranging from 5 minutes to 170 minutes.- 26 WR trains will be renumbered after converting it into Superfast train.- 7 Pairs of DEMU services have been introduced between Indore – Mhow in the newly commissioned Broad Gauge section w.e.f. June 28, 2016. One pair of DEMU service running between Ratlam – Laxminagar has been extended upto Indore.- 14 MEMU trains on Dadar – Dahanu sections Trains converted into EMU Trains.- 26 WR trains (13 pairs) will be given experimental halts or their operational halt will be converted into commercial halts.New TrainsAntyodaya Trains- 22921/22 Bandra (T) – Gorakhpur Superfast Antyodaya- 15563/64 Udhna – Jaynagar AntyodayaUday Trains – 22923/24 Bandra(T) – Jamnagar Superfast UdayHamsafar Trains- 22913/14 Bandra (T) – Patna Superfast HUMSAFAR- 14715/16 Shri Ganganagar – Tiruchchirappalli HUMSAFAR via Vasai Road- 19424/23 Ahmedabad – Chennai HUMSAFARSankalp Trains- 59549/50 Vadodara-Ahmedabad Sankalp Fast PassengerOther New Trains- 19332/31 Indore-Kochuvelli Weekly Express- 19312/11 Indore-Pune Bi-Weekly Express- 22414/13 Nizamuddin- Madgaon Bi-Weekly Rajdhani Superfast Express- 11125/26 Indore – Gwalior – Jhansi Link Express- 79311/12 Ratlam – Laxminagar DEMU- 79313/14 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79315/16 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79317/18 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79319/20 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79321/22 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79323/24 Indore – Mhow DEMU- 79325/26 Indore – Mhow DEMUAdditional Halts- 12951/52 Mumbai Central – New Delhi Rajdhani Express has been given additional halt at Nagda station.- 12283/84 Ernakulam – Nizamuddin Duronto Express has been given additional halt at Vasai Road.- 12297/98 Pune – Ahmedabad Duronto Express has been given additional halt at Vasai Road.- 12927/28 Mumbai Central – Vadodara Express has been given additional halt at Valsad.- 19568/67 Okha – Tirunellveli Express has been given additional halt at Hapa.- 19569/70 Porbandar – Muzaffarpur Express has been given additional halt at Hapa.- 22971/72 Jaipur – MDU Express has been given additional halts at Nagda & Ujjain.Change of Days- 14312 Bhuj – Bareilly Ala Hazrat Express will now run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday instead of Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday w.e.f. December 5, 2016.- 14322 Bhuj – Bareilly Express will now run on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday instead of Monday,Wednesday, Friday and Saturday w.e.f. December 4, 2016.Extension of Trains- 79311/12 Ratlam – Laxminagar DEMU extended up to Indore w.e.f. June 28, 2016- 17203/04 Bhavnagar – Kakinada Express extended up to Kakinada Port w.e.f. October 1, 2016.Diversion of Trains- 19061/62 Bandra (T)– Ramnagar Express is now running on diverted route via Kasgang, Bareilly Izzatnagar, Lalkuan and Kashipur stations.Change in Timings- Train no 19005 Mumbai Central – Okha Saurastra Mail will depart at more convenient time of 21.35 hrs instead of existing 20.25 hrs i.e. delayed by 1 hrs 10 minutes from Mumbai Central station. This train has been converted into Superfast Express & renumbered as 22945.- Train no 22903 Bandra Terminus – Bhuj Tri – weekly AC Express will arrive at 12.30 hrs at Bhuj instead of existing 13.15 hrs.- Train no 19131 Bandra Terminus – Bhuj Kutch Express will depart at 17.45 hrs instead of existing 17.10 hrs and will also arrive Bhuj at 08.50 hrs instead of 9.25 hrs. Also this train had been converted into Superfast and renumbered as 22955.- Train no 19017 Bandra Terminus – Jamnagar Saurastra Janta Express will arrive Jamnagar at 8.50 hrs instead of existing 9.30 hrs .- Train no 19203 Bandra Terminus – Bhavnagar Weekly Express will now depart at 15.25 hrs instead of 13.15 hrs i.e. delayed by 2 hrs 10 minutes for passenger’s convenience. The train has been speed up by 2 hrs 50 minutes and made into Superfast & renumbered as 22963.- Train no 19451 Bandra Terminus – Gandhidham Weekly Express will arrive Gandhidham at 15.30 hrs instead of 17.20 hrs i.e. speed up by 1 hrs 50 minutes. Also the train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22951. – Train no 19059 Surat – Jamnagar Intercity Express will arrive Jamnagar at 23.40 hrs instead of 00.20 hrs. The train has been converted as Superfast & renumbered as 22959. – Train no 19053 Surat – Muzaffarpur Weekly Express will depart at 6.10 hrs instead of existing 5.30 hrs Ex Surat. This train has been speeded up by 40 minutes.- Train no 19453 Gandhidham – Puri Weekly Express will depart Ex Gandhidham at 21.55 hrs instead of 20.20 hrs. This train has been speed up by 1.35 hrs.- Train no 15046 Okha – Gorakhpur Weekly Express will depart at 21.00 hrs Ex Okha instead of existing 19.15 hrs. Late departure will help pilgrims attend late evening Aarti in Dwarkadheesh temple.- Train no 19132 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus Kutch Express will depart Ex Bhuj at 20.15 hrs instead of 19.50 hrs. The train will leave at 21.45 hrs Ex Gandhidham instead of 21.15 hrs. Also this train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22956.- Train no 22904 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus Tri-Weekly AC Express will depart at 16.00hrs Ex Bhuj instead of existing 15.05 hrs. The timing will be more convenient for passengers boarding Ex Gandhidham at 17.20 hrs instead of existing 16.25 hrs. It will arrive Bandra Terminus at 5.15 hrs instead of 4.55 hrs.- Train no 19222 Veraval – Ahmedabad Express will depart at 21.35 hrs instead of existing 19.35 hrs Ex Veraval and will arrive Ahmedabad at 5.25 hrs instead of existing 4.25 hrs thereby benefitting pilgrims of Somnath Temple who will be able to attend late Aarti. Also this train has been made Superfast & renumbered as 22958.- Train no 19311 Pune – Indore Bi-Weekly Express will arrive at 11.45 hrs instead of existing 13.45 hrs i.e. 2 hrs early.- Train no 19418 Allahabad – Ahmedabad Weekly Express arrive at 00.05 hrs instead of existing 1.10 hrs. Early arrival at Ahmedabad will be more convenient for passengers.

Mumbai’s housing crisis: Redevelopment of clusters to affect city’s ‘livability’, reveals study

Recycling land to create housing stock is one way to solve the housing crisis in Mumbai. With high prices that show no sign of dipping, recycling is all that Mumbai has, being a city constrained by the sea, creeks and other cities bordering them.

Historically Mumbai has been recycling land — from swamps in the past to now demolition of old structures — to put up new towers. In the process, sea has been reclaimed, slums uprooted, and mill lands converted to prime real estate properties. Salt pans are now being eyed. Yet, housing remains scarce and out of reach.

Suburbs like Mulund, once the lowest in per acre population densities, now has malls and residential complexes where the engineering industry has flourished. It’s the same for Thane as well. These areas are as crowded as other parts of Mumbai. The city is bound to keep changing its contours over time. One could hardly complain about it.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

However, what should trouble the city is the manner in which Mumbai has failed to address the housing crisis. Housing has always been an issue because it has grown – not geographically but in population – without let or hindrance. It has grown in population beyond its holding capacity as estimated by the civic body and that had happened in 1991.

No doubt, different ways were tried. There was the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) which enabled Floor Space Index (FSI) to be transferred from one plot to another up to the north, and then allowed across Greater Mumbai. Then there has been frequent tweaking of FSI limits, originally 1 for island Mumbai and 1.5 for suburban Mumbai. Now, it is an FSI of up to 4 that is being considered.

The FSI tweaks has made it possible to rebuild old buildings, since the tenants had the right of occupation and the landlords couldn’t evict them, the lure of enhanced FSI was thought of. It applies for slums too, for without which the real estate developers wouldn’t even look at the prospect of redevelopment. Not profits, but profiteering is their objective.

The FSI, which is actually the space as a multiple of the plot which is allowed to be built, has been tweaked over two dozen times since 1990, and yet enough has not been built to accommodate the shelter-hungry.

A report by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has warned its client, the Mumbai’s municipality, against a high FSI of 4 for redevelopment of clusters.

An impact study, following a high court directive, that was done by NEERI has cautioned that the ‘livability’ of Mumbai would be jeopardised. My contention is that Mumbai never had a ‘livability’ factor – it is more a place of choice for livelihoods than living. Living is just putting up with whatever comes your way, never mind if it was far away from the place of work.

The Indian Express quoted parts of the report, the significant part being, “The suburbs in Mumbai do not fit the classical model of suburbs and are fairly dense habitations. The additional FSI and the mode of its application mean that the areas will increase in density by three times at least. There is a considerable debate on the impact of densification and overcrowding on the social and mental life.”

A lower FSI of 3 has been suggested but that does not preclude the possibility of what the report says is the ‘verticalisation’ of the city where the clusters of buildings are to be redeveloped. The redevelopment is under the Urban Renewal Scheme (URS) brought to the table in 2014. The suburbs which ought to have been low density, low rise, are not that at all. Even some parts of Bandra — ‘the queen of suburbs’ — could be getting close to Kalbadevi in flavour.

The nub is not mere densification of locations, where large-scale redevelopment would take place, which NEERI says could mean addition of up to a third of the existing population, but absence of infrastructure. Roads, drains, water pipelines are the three essentials which are lacking, and even in Mumbai’s most crowded areas like Girgaum, several individual buildings have been redeveloped, adding much to the problems there.

The stress they bring to the area by increased demand for the facilities without adding much to it has to be felt than described. Unlike clusters under URS, these individual redeveloped buildings are on narrow roads which are unlikely to be enlarged anytime soon. The city’s one characteristic has been to speak of providing for the demand without exactly delivering them. It is not clear if in clusters, the infrastructure to bear the additional population would be laid first.

Given the city’s planning and management, it can be taken as a given that the supply of infrastructure would arrive, if it did, at a pace that means nothing to the residents of the redeveloped areas. To the statist bodies, a proposal is equal to something done, not actual delivery on the promises in time. Every Mumbai resident knows it, thanks to their personal experience. And yet, the real estate lobby will push for extra FSI’s, never mind what it means to the city.

Maha Governor, CM Devendra Fadnavis join in International Yoga Day celebrations

The second International Yoga Day was celebrated in Maharashtra on Tuesday with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis leading programmes in Mumbai. The Governor participated in a yoga programme at Raj Bhavan early this morning and also in a programme organised by Mumbai University. The chief minister took part in a programme organised at the Bandra Reclamation. Over 200 Mantralaya employees performed yoga at Mantralaya. The BMC conducted Upa Yoga programme across the city’s 390 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation schools with participation of over one lakh children below the age of 14. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upa Yoga teacher training for 800 teachers was also conducted. Upa Yoga involves practising a set of seven five-minute modules of exercise. Over 10,000 people, including Navy personnel and their families, took part in yoga camps organised by Western Naval Command in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, and Karnataka. Defence personnel and their families participated at programmes at the Colaba Military Station and on board aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Visually-impaired students from Victoria Memorial School for Blind, Tardeo, and Kamla Mehta Blind School, Dadar, also celebrated Yoga Day. A programme called ‘Yoga by the Bay’ was also held in the city.

Vijay Mallya loan part 2: BoB freezes a/c with Rs 93 in quest for Rs 550 crore!

How-to-build-NPAs-300x75How-to-build-NPAs-300x75At the annual review meeting of the finance minister with heads of public sector banks on 6 May, Arun Jaitley said the government will protect from scrutiny of investigative agencies banks that enter into “commercially prudent” settlements to clean up bad loans. The fact that PSUs have run up more than Rs 4 lakh crore of non-performing assets (NPAs) is a crying indictment of the fact that banks have been anything but “commercially prudent” in lending to big corporates. The recent snafu by Bank of Baroda in freezing the accounts of Manmohan Singh, a Uttar Pradesh farmer, for being a “guarantor” for Vijay Mallya’s loan, goes to prove that the imprudence in lending is matched and compounded by the shoddy, casual approach in recovering the same bad loans. This case was dismissed as a technical error by BoB. Firstpost dug deep to understand how this ‘technical error’ might have occurred. This series of reports, which attempts to give you a peep into why and how these NPAs are created in the first place, will also demonstrate why the finance minister’s offer of constitutional protection for banks from “commercially prudent” settlements should be extended extremely prudently.

On to the second part:


Radheshyam Gupta Building exteriors

Building where Subhash R Gupte lives

Flat number 506 in a Slum Redevelopment Authority building in Vile Parle East, Mumbai, is hardly the place you would expect a director of Kingfisher Airlines to live.

But if you were an officer of Bank of Baroda, trying to salvage whatever you can from a Rs 550 crore loan to Vijay Mallya that has gone horribly bad, this is perhaps where you would have ended up looking for Subhash R Gupte, former acting chairman and managing director of Air India. Gupte, a seasoned aviation professional, was till recently on the board of Kingfisher Airlines and is, according to the bank, a guarantor to the loan. (Gupte resigned from the Airline board on 2 April 2014.)

Perhaps, we have overstated the bank’s inclination for due diligence. It is more likely that you would have landed up at this address if you were a reporter. For Bank of Baroda there was the easier option of freezing the bank account of Subhash R Gupta, 24 — who lives in this flat and earns his living as a security guard at a Kandivli facility — assuming he could be Subhash R Gupte, 76, director of Kingfisher Airlines!

Ganesh R Gupta in the foreground. Younger brother Subhash, whose account with Rs 93 balance was put on the freeze-list by the BoB is partly visible.

Ganesh R Gupta in the foreground. Younger brother Subhash, whose account with Rs 93 balance was put on the freeze-list by the BoB is partly visible.

Just like in the case of Manmohan Singh, the farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Khajuria Naviram village whose account was frozen assuming he was Manmohan Singh Kapur, another independent director on Kingfisher Airlines board, in this case, too, the bank exercised the easier option. It just put a lien on his account.

Here is how it happened. In December 2015, when it became clear that Vijay Mallya was unwilling to pay up the Rs 9,000 crore he owned to a consortium of 17 banks led by the State Bank of India, BoB which had lent him Rs 550 crore, put out a list of nine names and directed various branches in India to put a lien on their accounts (freeze).

At item number 5 on the list was Manmohan Singh. The savings account number listed against this name was 164101000xxxx7, account balance Rs 1,277 and branch Nand, Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh). It was frozen on 15 December 2015. Manmohan Singh’s name corresponded with that of Manmohan Singh Kapur and that’s how, BoB explained, the goof up occurred: “The accounts under reference were erroneously lien marked by the bank, owing to similarity of name and few credentials with the guarantors of Kingfisher Airlines. However on realising this, the bank took swift action to reverse the lien on these accounts and funds are made available to the customer immediately.”

Technical errors can and do happen, but what followed on item number 9 on the list would make it difficult to cut BoB any slack. At item number 9 was the name of Subhash R Gupta. His savings account number in BoB’s Bandra branch, Mumbai, was listed as 038401000xxxx1 with a balance of Rs 93. Yes, all of rupees nine….three…. ninety-three! His name, as already pointed out, corresponded with Subhash R Gupte, a member of Kingfisher Airline board.

That’s not all, at item number 6 was the name of Subhash Ramdulare Gupta, at item number 7 was another Subhash R Gupta and at item number 8 yet another Subhash R Gupta, all of them with savings accounts/fixed deposits with the Khar branch of BoB. The balances in their accounts are way healthier than the earlier two accounts cited, but nothing to suggest that they may have the capacity or the audacity to stand guarantee for a loan of Rs 550 crore to Vijay Mallya.

Here is the document, showing all the names, including that of Vijay Mallya and three of his kin:

Manmohan-Singh-Document (1)

That is one “technical error” too many for one letter to be riddled with. And this was no ordinary case. This was about recovering a Rs 550 crore loan to Mallya at a time he was making national headlines. The stink was too strong for us to ignore.

So, we set out to find the real identities of all the Guptas named in the bank’s freeze-list. We first landed up at the bank’s Bandra branch where Subhash R Gupta, 24, had his account (038401000xxxx1). That the bank would cite client privilege to deny us information about him, was a no-brainer. So we spun a story. We claimed we had stood guarantee for Subhash R Gupta in a loan he had defaulted on. We requested the bank to give us his contact details so that we could pursue the matter with him. After being denied any help for about an hour, we ran into a person who knew Gupta. He reluctantly gave us Gupta’s mobile number.

We called Subhash R Gupta. A young voice answered the phone. He said he was Subhash R Gupta, a security guard in a Kandivali facility. Upon being told that his name had appeared on a list of director/guarantors of Vijay Mallya’s humungous loan, he was confused more than shocked. He did not know Vijay Mallya, much less about his loans or being guarantor for one of them. He confirmed he had an account in BoB’s Bandra branch, he also confirmed the account number as his. Bingo!

We told him we would like to meet him to clarify this matter. We reassured him — because we knew that was the reality — that he had nothing to worry about. It was a mistake on the part of the bank and it could be easily rectified.

The entry door to Subhash Gupta's father Radheshyam Gupta's flat.

The entry door to Subhash Gupta’s father Radheshyam Gupta’s flat.

Early next morning we landed up at his Vile Parle house. Subhash R Gupta’s elder brother Ganesh R Gupta spoke to us from a half-open door. He was extremely unwilling to talk to the media. He did not wish to be photographed either. Cameraman Jonathan kept his camera rolling and we could catch glimpses of Subhash Gupta behind Ganesh. He peeped out only once to tell us excitedly, “Wait a minute. There is no signature of mine on this paper. How did my name appear on this then?”

Ganesh Gupta told us exactly what we had anticipated to hear from him. Subhash Gupta opened the account in August 2014 to avail of the insurance scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. Subhash has not operated the account or visited the branch in a long time. The bank did not inform him about the freeze order on his account. And, of course, they had no idea who in the heavens was Vijay Mallya.

Listen to what Ganesh R Gupta and Subhash R Gupta told Firstpost:

That only solves the mystery of one Gupta out of the four named in the list. If Subhash R Gupta, 24, security guard and resident of Flat no 506 was mistaken for Subhash R Gupte, the director on the board of Kingfisher Airlines, where was the need to repeat the mistake three times over? Three other Guptas — Subhash Ramdulare ( SB a/c 039901000xxxx8), Subhash R Gupta (FD a/c 039903000xxxx2) and Subhash R Gupta (FD a/c 039903000xxxx1), all have their accounts in Khar. We were told at the branch that these three accounts were held by three different individuals (as opposed to three accounts held by one person). That may or may not be accurate, it is for the bank to clarify, but the fact remains that on a list ordering the freezing of accounts for a Rs 550 crore loan default, the bank mixed up the names of very important persons with very regular persons. And did that many times over.

Can this be passed off as a regular technical error? What is the import of this string of errors? What does it say of the processes and procedures for giving big loans to big corporates?

We will examine all this in the following part of this series on the great Vijay Mallya loan puzzle of BoB.

Disclosure: For some portions of the investigation, Firstpost correspondents withheld their identities and used sting cameras. Since the purpose was to gather facts that expose lack of due diligence at the top echelons of the bank rather than compromise officials at the lower end of the systemic chain, we are playing only the audio of key conversations and using just one freeze-frame of Subhash R Gupta.

Mumbai: Students, parents march against partial roll back of NEET

On Sunday, a crowd of city’s medical aspirants along with their parents headed a peaceful candle march, from Otters Club gate to CCD in Bandra, protesting against the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) ordinance, a partial roll back of NEET exam, according to which, MHT-CET is applicable only for the state government-aided colleges.The parents showed their disappointment to the current NEET ordinance approved by the president, Pranab Mukherjee on May 24, 2016, which aimed at “partially” overturning the Supreme Court’s order. Out of 6,205 seats in Maharashtra, only 2,810 seats are in government colleges and admissions to these will be done through MHT-CET scores. Many students who haven’t scored well in Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MHT-CET) examination are now completely despondent as the admission to private medical colleges will be based upon the marks they have scored in NEET.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many parents gathered to urge the government about the same, as they see that the ordinance is being unjust to their children. They demanded that MHT-CET must be considered as only one way door to get in to private as well as government colleges this year.Parents feel that their voice has been half heard by the government despite pleas made at different levels and to the apex court. The medical aspirants are still deprived of their right to get admission in the private medical colleges of the state through single window exam MHT-CET alongside NEET. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray has called these disappointed parents for a meeting at his office on Monday at 11am to discuss the issue.”It’s unfair! Of the 2,810 seats in state, only 1,100 seats are available for the general category in government medical colleges. Where will the rest of the students go? MHT-CET should be considered for all the state medical colleges other than deemed colleges which has their own entrance exams altogether,” said Anagha Patil, a parent.”MHT-CET must be accepted with its norm. Don’t treat our children like robots and stick to what was promised while filling the CET forms,” said Ruhi Kapoor, an active member of the protest.Priya Shah, another parent, said, “though our children have started preparing for NEET phase-II, it’s impossible to complete such a vast new syllabus within 2 months. We are happy with the ordinance which is being implemented, but the condition which is imposed is a turning point and has left little scope for change. We will still strive hard so that the our kids would not face anxiety and stress.”

Mumbai: Western Railway resumes services, all four lines up and running

The train derailment between Lower Parel and Elphinstone stations in Mumbai that wrecked havoc on commuters on Tuesday morning has been cleared. Both up and down slow services were restored at around 11am as per reports. Fast services also continue to run as per schedule.Earlier in the day, services were terminated along the slow up- and down-side track along Elphinstone, Lower Parel and Mahalaxmi stations. Lower Parel station was also shut for commuters for some time and they were directed to use BEST services which operated 23 extra services in the morning hours in the affected South Mumbai stretch.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to Western Railway DRM, Mumbai, about 60-70 of the 270 odd morning hour services were affected due to the derailment of an empty rake that happened post midnight around 2.30am. The DRM said, “Certain services were terminated at Bandra, however fast services remained functional throughout. Commuters were informed about the delay in the train services via announcements at several stations.”
ALSO READ Mumbai: Empty coach derails, affects services on Western line; locals running late by an hourMany commuters also took the Central Railway trains and alighted at Parel station instead of Elphinstone, resulting in a stampede-like situation at the Parel foot overbridge.

Will expose mafia in MCGM, take on their ‘godfather’: Kirit Somaiya

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on Wednesday said he will expose “mafia” in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and also take on their “godfather”. “First, I would expose and eradicate mafia and then will take on their godfather. Have patience,” Somaiya said.The leader had recently said MCGM was in “the grip of a powerful mafia” controlled by “a Saheb from Bandra and his PA” and there is widespread corruption in it. Asked why he did not reveal who are the “Saheb from Bandra and his PA”, Somaiya said, “Please wait for the right time.” On the Opposition Congress demanding registration of an FIR against unnamed persons over “corruption” in MCGM, the MP from Mumbai North East said, “Anyone who is raking up this issue is helping me serve my cause of fighting mafia-raj and corruption in MCGM and I welcome all of them.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the BJP wants support of all parties, including the Shiv Sena, to wipe out the “mafia-raj” and “corruption” from the civic body in Mumbai.
ALSO READ SRA projects row: Kirit Somaiya to send legal notice to Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’Later week, Congress Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam had said that Somaiya’s remarks validated his (Nirupam) party’s allegation that the Shiv Sena-BJP ruled MCGM was “mired in corruption” and there was a fit case for registering an FIR.Meanwhile, Somaiya also said a recent article in Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ to “defame” him (Somaiya) will backfire.
ALSO READ After BJP’s Kirit Somaiya targets ‘Bandra Sahib’ over ‘corruption’, Shiv Sena ‘unearths’ SRA scamThe Shiv Sena had recently come down heavily on Somaiya in connection with an alleged Slum Redevelopment Authority scam.”I have undertaken a mission to eliminate mafia raj from the MCGM and few people’s high-staked interests are being severely hurt. I sympathise with them but I am sorry to say that I am going to intensify my crusade against mafia-raj and corruption and will continue till it is eradicated,” Somaiya said.The BJP leader on Tuesday lodged a complaint with Mhada Mulund East Police station against self-proclaimed activist Kalpana Inamdar who had accused Somaiya of being involved in the alleged SRA scam. “This so-called activist has levelled allegations against me which are not only baseless but also ridiculous. I have demanded police and court to act against me if I am found guilty or else punish Kalpana for making defamatory allegations against me and my family,” he said.

Mumbai corruption row: Amid Congress-Sena fight, Priya Dutt meets Uddhav Thackeray

Former Congress MP Priya Dutt on Sunday called on Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, a day after suspected Sena workers pelted stones at a meeting organised by the Opposition party here. Dutt arrived at ‘Matoshree’ (residence of Uddhav) in suburban Bandra in the afternoon and had about half an hour long meeting with the Sena chief, a source said. The meeting comes in the backdrop of last night’s event in which a group of workers, allegedly belonging to Shiv Sena, pelted stones at a public gathering organised by Congress, where Mumbai unit chief of the party Sanjay Nirupam was also present. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nirupam had organised the conclave in suburban Kandivali to highlight alleged corruption in Shiv Sena-BJP-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as part of Congress’ “pol khol” (expose) campaign ahead of the next year’s civic elections. Dutt, however, claimed she did not discuss anything political with Uddhav. “There was nothing political in our meeting. I met him owing to personal relation,” the former Congress MP said.Asked about the Dutt-Uddhav meeting, Nirupam said he was not aware of it. “I was not aware about the meeting though she has every right to meet anyone in personal capacity. Still, I will speak to her on the issue (the meeting).”Political observers think in the coming days Congress- Shiv Sena fight may turn ugly in the wake of the latter’s “pol khol” campaign. Opposition Congress is targeting the saffron party by repeatedly referring to BJP Lok Sabha MP Kirit Somaiya’s remark about prevailing corruption in the country’s richest civic body. Last week, Somaiya had said “there was widespread corruption in the BMC and it was in the grip of a powerful mafia controlled by a saheb from Bandra, his brother-in-law and his PA.” Latching on the remark, Mumbai Congress yesterday filed a police complaint demanding registration of an FIR against unnamed persons, including “a saheb from Bandra”, over alleged graft in the BMC.

After BJP’s Kirit Somaiya targets ‘Bandra Sahib’ over ‘corruption’, Shiv Sena ‘unearths’ SRA scam

Days after BJP MP Kirit Somaiya accused a ‘Bandra Sahib’ of corruption in the civic department, the Shiv Sena on Sunday came down heavily on its ally’s party leader by seemingly unearthing an SRA scam.Leaving no stone unturned to corner its ally, Sena in its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ published a news report accusing him of acquiring the SRA project in Santacruz under the name of ‘Medha Builders and Developers’ registered in his wife’s name.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The move by Sena comes after Somaiya last week alleged that there was ‘a ‘ghotala’ (corruption) in every (civic) department and the BMC was in the ‘grip of a powerful mafia’ being controlled by a ‘sahib from Bandra and his PA’. The BJP Parliamentarian from Mumbai did not identify the persons he was referring to but his comment was seen as a veiled criticism of the Shiv Sena.
ALSO READ Maharashtra: Now, Shiv Sena-BJP cross swords over ward council pollsThe Saamna report also said that the BJP MP had bought the project from some other company at Rs 15 crore. When the owner of the land passed away, Somaiya presented an affidavit in the court and misguided it to get the verdict in his favour.The allegation and counter allegations by both the party leaders are being seen as an opportunity to defame each other ahead of civic body polls, which they are likely to fight separately.
ALSO READ Shiv Sena’s alliance with BJP is for Hindutva, not power, says Uddhav ThackerayAmid the severe drought faced by the state, BJP has accused the Shiv Sena of sheltering water mafias while the Shiv Sena has alleged that BJP was trying to control the administration of BMC using municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections are due early 2017. The country’s richest civic body has been run by saffron allies for over two decades now.
ALSO READ Uddhav Thackeray targets BJP government over Kanhaiya Kumar and Hardik PatelThe allies are putting up an aggressive front in Mumbai after the bitterly fought KDMC polls. While they had put behind the rancour of the KDMC elections and the Sena and BJP struck a deal to share power in the civic body, it is unlikely to happen in upcoming civic polls in Mumbai.

Kirit Somaiya comment vindicates our ‘graft in BMC’ stand: Congress

Mumbai Congress on Friday said BJP MP Kirit Somaiya’s “Bandra sahib” comment has validated the party’s charge that the Shiv Sena-BJP-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is riddled with corruption and demanded police probe into the matter. Last week Somaiya had alleged that there was “a ‘ghotala’ (corruption) in every (civic) department and the BMC was in the “grip of a powerful mafia” being controlled by a “sahib from Bandra and his PA”. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the BJP Parliamentarian from Mumbai did not identify the persons he was referring to but his comment was seen as a veiled criticism of the Shiv Sena. Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam latched on Somaiya’s comment and demanded filing of an FIR against “the sahib of Bandra and his PA”.”We have launched a series of initiatives that have exposed the murky world of corruption prevailing in the civic body. Now ruling party MP Kirit Somaiya has also corroborated our stand by saying BMC was in the ‘grip of a powerful mafia’,” he said. “There is scam everywhere (in BMC). Nullah desilting scam, road repairing scam, dumping ground scam, fire brigade scam, tablet scam, waste management scam etc,” the former Congress MP said, adding “there is a perfect case for police to book the duo.” Nirupam said he along with party workers would soon visit Azad Maidan Police Station in South Mumbai and press for filing of an FIR. Police should ask Somaiya to identify the persons he was referring to, the Congress leader said.”If Azad Maidan Police does not register an FIR, we would approach Police Commissioner. If he also snubs us, we would go to Anti-Corruption Bureau, to Governor or to Lokayukta. We are not going to let the issue of large scale corruption prevailing in BMC die down,” said the former MP from North Mumbai. On May 11, Nirupam dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking dissolution of the civic body due to the prevailing “graft”. The country’s richest civic body, ruled by saffron allies for over two decades, will go to the polls in early 2017.

Drought-displaced farmers should be given accomodation in camps: MNS

Farmers from drought-affected areas in the state have been migrating to the city, hoping to earn alternative livelihood and seeking shelter under bridges or on pavements in areas such as Thane and Navi Mumbai. Now, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has demanded that these farmers be given temporary accommodation in unused and vacant transit camps at Bandra Reclaimation.Tushar Aphale, the party’s vibhag adhyaksh from Bandra, has written a letter to the chief executive officer of MHADA urging the housing authority to allow the farmers to take shelter in the transit camp. “These farmers have come to the city along with their family hoping to find some job and earn a livelihood. They are living on the streets in the city and in neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai at present. They have young daughters and women folk with them. They are from respectable backgrounds but cannot afford rented homes even in slums. If they are given temporary accommodation in these transit camps, they will at least have shelter,” Aphale said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that even though the letter has already been written to the MHADA CEO, he will personally meet the authority’s officials and request them to consider his demands. “It has been nine years and the transit camp is still lying vacant and unused. No one has ever been given accommodation in this camp. The farmers and their family can stay here until they find work in the city and earn, and they can vacate the camp when they want to go back,” Aphale said.

Panama Papers: Congress demands removal of Amitabh Bachchan as ‘Save Tiger Project’ ambassador

With actor Amitabh Bachchan’s name figuring in the Panama Papers leaks, the opposition Congress in Maharashtra Thursday sought his ouster as state’s ambassador for the ‘Save Tiger project’ even as a BJP MLA objected to the ‘vilification campaign’ against the Bollywood megastar.”Till Bachchan gets a clean chit in the Panama Papers case, he should be removed as tiger brand ambassador as well as from advisory panel on the development of part of the Bandra Kurla Complex as International Finance and Services Centre,” the Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said while raising the issue in Lower House.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Bachchan visited Mantralaya on Thursday to attend a meeting of the panel.”It would be improper if Bachchan continues to occupy the two posts especially when his name has allegedly figured in the Panama Papers,” the opposition leader said.The Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by corporate services provider Mossack Fonseca.”Bachchan should be removed from the two posts till the inquiry launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard is complete,” the opposition leader said.BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar objected to the ‘vilification campaign’ against a star of Bachchan’s repute.Bachchan, whose name figured in the leaks as allegedly having links with offshore entities in two tax havens, had already denied any connection with those companies, saying his name may have been “misused”.”I do not know any of the companies referred to by Indian Express – Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd, and Tramp Shipping Ltd. I have never been a director of any of the above stated companies. It is possible that my name has been misused,” he had stated after the Indian Express newspaper broke the story.

2002 hit and run case: Supreme Court to hear appeal against Salman Khan

The Supreme Court will next week hear an appeal which seeks to sett aside to Bombay High Court order in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan on ground of legal lacunae.The appeal has been filed by lawyer named Parmanand Katara. In the appeal, Katara has alleged that Salman has approached the high court in the wrong legal way”He should challenge the trial court order through a revision petition in the high court (not file appeal as Salman did),” he said in his appeal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 50-year-old actor had earlier moved the apex court, saying he should be heard before any hearing on the Maharashtra Government’s petition challenging his acquittal in the case.The Maharashtra Government had on January 22 filed a petition in the apex court against the Bombay High Court’s judgement acquitting Salman of ‘all charges’, overturning the trial court’s order sentencing him for five years.Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that his government would challenge the high court’s verdict on merit.On December 10 last year, Salman was given a clean chit in the case with the court observing that the main witness was ‘wholly unreliable’ and that there were discrepancies in the case.The actor is accused of driving a car under the influence of alcohol and killing one and injuring four others in Bandra, Mumbai, in 2002.

BJP-Shiv Sena bickering hauling Metro-3 to a dead end

Bickering between the ruling partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, is proving too costly for Mumbaikars, who are commuting like in holocaust trains of Germany. In a fresh development, Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has rejected the proposal to temporarily hand over 17 plots in Mumbai to construct 33.5-km-long Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground metro line.This has come as a shocker for the Mumbaikars, as it could delay the project by a minimum of 3-4 months. Interestingly, ‘anticipating’ such a fallout, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has kept an alternate plan ready. And, this has the backing of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, the metro-3 project faced a major road block as the demand of Pravin Chheda, Congress leader in the BMC, to record the proposal to drop allotment of 17 land parcels for the metro was accepted by mayor Snehal Ambekar. BJP’s floor leader Manoj Kotak was not then present in the house. Before Improvement Committee chairman Prakash Gangadhare could realise the situation, the mayor declared that the proposal is rejected and the same was recorded in the minutes of the meeting unanimously.Now if the civic administration wants the proposal to be tabled afresh, it can be done only after 90 days.Ironically, the Congress had backed the BJP last month to clear the same proposal in the Improvement Committee meeting, when Shiv Sena was opposing it. However, Shiv Sena, this time, sought the help of the same Congress to stall the proposal in the general body meeting.The project will take over 17 plots of land from the prominent areas like Hutatma Chowk, Bhatia Baug in Fort, near Institute of Science, parking space of Eros, near Vidhan Bhavan, Azad Maidan, Girgaum, Siddhivinyak Temple, Oval Maidan and major chunks of lands along Bandra-SEEPZ (Andheri).Chheda demanded that BMC and MMRC should come clean over the issues of compensation of 17 plots, and trees to be chopped for Aarey Car Shed. He said the Congress did initially support it in Improvement Committee, but had insisted on certain suggestions. “But to our dismay, none of our suggestions were included in the proposal tabled in the general body meeting. We felt cheated and decided to refer back the proposal so that a new one is tabled with better clarity,” said Chheda.

Mumbai: Third plan emerges for Aarey car depot, state to take final call

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) now has one more plan for the car depot at Aarey Milk Colony. The first plan had attracted a lot of opposition from environmental groups, as it involved cutting and transplanting 2,298 trees.The next plan, for a double-deck depot, needed only 446 trees to be cut but there were tremendous operational challenges. The latest plan, for an at-grade depot spread over 24 hectares, will involve cutting fewer than 1,000 trees.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the earlier plan was to have a double-deck depot over an area of 20.82 hectares, the authorities are now considering a bigger depot spread over around 24 hectares.”Having a bigger car depot, but smaller than initially planned, spread over around 24 hectares, involves almost similar number of trees being transplanted. But if a double-deck is constructed, there are operational challenges, which will be faced once the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line is commissioned. It is wise to have an at-grade depot and do away with operational challenges,” said a source.The operational challenges include sharp curves to enter or exit from the depot, grade of the depot reaching the upper deck and so on. The Aarey Milk Colony is now an Eco-Sensitive Zone.As per the discussion held on Saturday, a final call on which plan to opt for will be taken by the state government later. Reportedly, MMRC authorities will not wait endlessly and are positive of having the structure at the colony.So, a fresh design spread over around 24 hectares will be prepared.Meanwhile, MMRC managing director Ashwini Bhide said: “Some discussions have happened on the Aarey Milk Colony car depot project, but I cannot share anything on the subject till the minutes of the board meeting are approved.”For over a year now, environmentalists have been opposing the car depot project at the colony, as it is Mumbai’s green lung. Even the National Green Tribunal is hearing a petition on the issue filed by an NGO.

Third plan emerges for Aarey car depot, state to take final call

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) now has one more plan for the car depot at Aarey Milk Colony. The first plan had attracted a lot of opposition from environmental groups, as it involved cutting and transplanting 2,298 trees. The next plan, for a double-deck depot, needed only 446 trees to be cut but there were tremendous operational challenges. The latest plan, for an at-grade depot spread over 24 hectares, will involve cutting fewer than 1,000 trees.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the earlier plan was to have a double-deck depot over an area of 20.82 hectares, the authorities are now considering a bigger depot spread over around 24 hectares.“Having a bigger car depot, but smaller than initially planned, spread over around 24 hectares, involves almost similar number of trees being transplanted. But if a double-deck is constructed, there are operational challenges, which will be faced once the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line is commissioned. It is wise to have an at-grade depot and do away with operational challenges,” said a source.The operational challenges include sharp curves to enter or exit from the depot, grade of the depot reaching the upper deck and so on. The Aarey Milk Colony is now an Eco-Sensitive Zone. As per the discussion held on Saturday, a final call on which plan to opt for will be taken by the state government later. Reportedly, MMRC authorities will not wait endlessly and are positive of having the structure at the colony. So, a fresh design spread over around 24 hectares will be prepared.Meanwhile, MMRC managing director Ashwini Bhide said: “Some discussions have happened on the Aarey Milk Colony car depot project, but I cannot share anything on the subject till the minutes of the board meeting are approved.”For over a year now, environmentalists have been opposing the car depot project at the colony, as it is Mumbai’s green lung. Even the National Green Tribunal is hearing a petition on the issue filed by an NGO.

Bullet train station at BKC gets thumbs down from MMRDA

Mumbai: The pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s of the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad appears to have hit a roadblock with the MMRDA opposing the location of the underground bullet train station at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had selected BKC for its proposed International Finance Centre (IFC).

Represeantative image. ReutersRepreseantative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

Principal Secretary, Urban Development–I (infrastructure projects), Nitin Kareer said the Ministry of Public Transport will be asking the Railway Ministry to either relocate the proposed station for the bullet train to its terminus stations at Bandra or Kurla.

Kareer said the site at BKC was selected by MMRDA for setting up IFC.

“Besides the area that the proposed IFC would cover, it will also include multi-level underground car parking. Apart from this, IFC could come up in a relative short duration, but it would take time for the bullet train to start generating revenue,” he said.

Comparing to other Metro stations, Kareer said, the underground bullet train station will require much bigger area. Hence, it was decided at a meeting of MMRDA, Transport and other senior officials that the Ministry of Railways be asked to consider an alternate site for the bullet train station.

Earlier in January this year, Railway Ministry fast tracked the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project.

The high speed rail corridor costing Rs 90,000 crore will also have equity participation from Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The top speed on this corridor will be 350 kmh. The halts on the route include Thane, Virar, Dahanu, Lonavala, Valsad, Vapi, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodra, Anand or Nadiad and Ahmedabad.

The state government had recommended including Belapur in Navi Mumbai in the proposed route.


Mumbai: Bank CEO held for harassing employee

The Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police have recently registered a case against the chief executive officer (CEO) of an international bank for allegedly harassing a female staffer. The police are yet to make any arrest in the case.According to the police, the 30-year old complainant works at a senior position in the bank, which has a branch in BKC. In her complaint, the woman has alleged that the CEO had been causing her constant mental harassment for the past few months.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The woman also alleged in her complaint that the man sent her obscene messages on WhatsApp. She claimed that she had initially ignored these messages, but when the messages became increasingly regular, she met the person and requested him not to send her such messages,” said an officer from BKC police station.He added that the woman, however, kept on receiving obscene messages. “After repeated harassment, the woman gave a written complaint against the man to the police a few days ago. After verifying her allegation, an FIR was registered in the matter under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code against the CEO. No arrest has been made yet,” the officer said.

Jat agitation: List of trains cancelled on Western Railways

Due to Jat agitation on various sections of Delhi Division of Northern Railway, several trains which run on Western Railway have been cancelled. Here is the list of trains cancelled.Cancellation of trains scheduled to depart on February 21, 201612951 Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani Express12953 Mumbai Central-H.Nizamuddin August Kranti Rajdhani Express12907 Bandra Terminus-Nizamuddin Sampark Kranti Express<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>19023 Mumbai Central-Firozpur Janta Express
ALSO READ Jat agitation: Section 144 imposed in Gurgaon for two days12471 Bandra Terminus – Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express12925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Paschim Express
ALSO READ Jat agitation: List of trains affected due to ongoing stir12216 Bandra Terminus – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Garib Rath Express12957 Ahmedabad- New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express19031 Ahmedabad-Haridwar Express12915 Ahmedabad- Delhi Ashram Express19415 Ahmedabad- Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra Express14312 Bhuj-Bareilly Express12919 Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa Express12415 Indore-Nizamuddin ExpressCancellation of trains scheduled to depart on February 22, 201619023 Mumbai Central-Firozpur Janta Express12471 Bandra Terminus – Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express12925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Paschim Express19019 Bandra Terminus-Dehradun Express12957 Ahmedabad- New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express19031 Ahmedabad-Haridwar Express12915 Ahmedabad- Delhi Ashram Express14312 Bhuj-Bareilly Express12919 Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa Express22941 Indore-Jammu Tawi Superfast ExpressCancellation of trains scheduled to depart on February 23, 201619023 Mumbai Central-Firozpur Janta Express12471 Bandra Terminus – Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express12925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Paschim Express12957 Ahmedabad- New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express19031 Ahmedabad-Haridwar Express19403 Ahmedabad-Sultanpur Express19263 Porbandar-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Express12477 Jamnagar-Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Express

Railways to be Make in India’s biggest participant: AK Mittal

Announcing that the Indian Railways would be the biggest participant in the Make in India initiative, Railway Board chairman AK Kittal on Sunday said the railways wants an underground station for the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed (Bullet) Train corridor at the Bandra-Kurla complex.Mittal, after the first meeting of the joint monitoring group for the project, told the media that even though there is no final decision from the state government on this, the railways was of the view that the station at BKC would increase the area’s land price. Vice chairman of Niti Aayog Arvind Panagariya was present for the meeting.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mittal said the state had cited the reason of giving land for the proposed ambitious finance centre at BKC when the issue was discussed. He assured that the three-storey underground station for the bullet train would not hamper the finance centre’s construction.Dadar, Bandra, Kurla and even Thane were explored for building stations for the bullet train, he said, adding that, after considering all options, BKC was decided on as the best one. Mittal informed that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed train project would commence from either 2017-end or early 2018 and would be completed in five years.

Dinner pe charcha? Following controversy, Aamir Khan attends dinner hosted by PM Modi

Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who was at the centre of a controversy over his comments on intolerance, attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on Saturday night.

Besides Aamir, actress Kangana Ranaut was also invited at the private dinner held in Turf Club where top politicians, diplomats from several countries and industry leaders were in attendance.

Aamir Khan. Getty ImagesAamir Khan. Getty Images

Aamir Khan. Getty Images

The high-profile event, which was a strict no-media affair, was organised after Modi launched the mega Make in India (MII) week here earlier on Saturday.

Wading into the “intolerance” debate, the Ghajini star had kicked up a controversy last year by saying he has been “alarmed” by a number of incidents and his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should probably leave India.

His comments evoked sharp criticism from ruling BJP and also the NDA government. Later, the 50-year-old actor’s contract as brand ambassador for the government’s Incredible India campaign was not renewed by the Tourism Ministry.

Kangana, 28, had recently said freedom of speech in the country does not mean one can insult anybody and stated that actors should be more careful with what they say.

The ‘Make in India’ event is aimed at attracting investments into the manufacturing sector and showcasing success stories at a specially-created venue at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai.


National Herald: 20-page probe report lists violations by AJL

A committee appointed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to probe alleged misuse of land allotted to Associated Journals Limited has said that the newspaper company is undertaking construction work in excess of what it was allowed.

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTIRahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

The Gautam Chatterjee committee submitted its 20-page report to the principal secretary of the revenue department Manukumar Srivastava.

Congress, which owns AJL and the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, was constructing a commercial building on a plot of 3,479 sq m in suburban Bandra, off the western Express Highway, instead of building a research centre dedicated to Jawaharlal Nehru for which it had been allotted the plot.

While the urban development department granted AJL permission to construct an 11-storey commercial building in 2003, building permissions were sought and received only in 2013, reports The Indian Express.

While AJL had said it would require 11,000 sq ft construction in basement and 9,000 sq ft on top of the building, it is in reality constructing on over 83,000 sq ft, a majority of which is for commercial usage, the report states.

This is in contravention of a government resolution that states one can use no more than 15 per cent of the area for commercialisation to cross-subsidise the project, an RTI activist said.

Mumbai BJP secretary Vivekananda Gupta alleged that there was a violation of Maharashtra Land Revenue Code in the allotment and the use of the land given to AJL.

He termed the ongoing construction on the Bandra plot as mostly commercial in nature and illegal.

He demanded that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should immediately issue stop-work notice, and the government should take the land back.

Gupta also demanded that all the recreational grounds and open spaces allotted under the 2007 caretaker policy of the BMC should also be taken back where clubs have been constructed by trusts controlled by politicians.

“Open spaces belong to the public at large. But there is restricted entry to the public and unrestricted entry to those who have paid exorbitant fees as membership,” he said.

With PTI

Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow Pratiksha left out of Mumbai Metro II route

The state authorities have managed to bypass Juhu and even superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow Pratiksha while charting the route of Metro II. And, permission from the ministry of civil aviation is likely to come in for having an elevated Metro on SV Road next to Juhu Aerodrome.As per the meeting held on Friday between Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials on the second phase of the larger Dahisar-Charkop-DN Nagar-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro line, the corridor will not pass through NS Road Number 10, ie the road where the Bachchans once lived.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Draft of the Detailed Project Report was discussed on Friday with the DMRC for Metro 2-B (DN Nagar to Bandra). As per the discussions, the elevated Metro will be made on Gulmohar Road instead of NS Road Number 10,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner.The Metro line will start at the existing DN Nagar Metro station and head straight to JVPD Junction only to take left for Gulmohar Road. This means that the Juhu residents who have been opposing the elevated Metro line in favour of an underground one have been bypassed.Once it reaches Mithibai College or NM College, the earlier alignment will continue — snaking through SV Road up to Bandra. This second phase of the second Metro will be around 9km in length and is expected to be ready in three years from the date of commencement of construction.”Aviation officials too have been consulted by the DMRC for issues pertaining to the elevated Metro line infringing on the air funnel at Vile Parle-Santa Cruz; the issue has been resolved,” added Madan.The earlier version of the elevated Metro had several impediments, including non-availability of clearance from the ministry of environment and forests for car depot at Charkop and Mankhurd, partial clearance from the ministry of civil aviation as the alignment was infringing on the air funnel at Santa Cruz, impractical height of the Kurla Metro station, rehabilitation and resettlement issues at various locations, and land for the JVPD Metro station under litigation. The state government announced an underground version for the same, but in 2015, it went back to an elevated system.

Bandra’s iconic Sahitya Sahwas turns 50: This is where Sachin Tendulkar grew up

One of the first things that will come to your mind when you think of Bandra’s Sahitya Sahwas is cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who spent the formative years of his life in the society, but the complex is famous in history for housing some of the biggest stalwarts of Marathi literature. As the Kalanagar society completes its Golden Jubilee in January, iamin finds out more about Sahitya Sahwas and its culture, which makes it special to the citizens of Mumbai.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sachin setting out for an international match, with his father Ramesh Tendulkar by his side Built in 1966, the complex initially consisted of only three buildings, Abhang, Anandvan and Zapurza and today there are nine buildings with 84 flats. Some of the first residents were eminent personalities like Vinda Karandikar, Ashok Ranade, Gangadhar Gadgil, Dharmvir Bharti, Satyadev Dubey and Ramesh Tendulkar.Mitesh Majumdar, secretary of Sahitya Sahwas explains how Marathi culture is still the backbone of the complex and will always be. He says, “I came here when I was 8 and have seen this place change over the years. I fondly remember how our cricket team was the best compared to our contemporaries. Everyone has literature in their blood here and it was a standing joke that even if someone became an engineer here, they would end up writing textbooks at least.”Cricket was a passion among most kids in Sahitya Sahwas, even back then.Talking about Sachin, who is fondly referred to as ‘Little Master’ he adds, “I am elder to him and I never really played with him, but I am really proud that a Sahitya Sahwas boy made it so big. He moved out in 2003, but his roots are still here. His brother is still a resident here and his mother made it a point to attend our Golden Jubilee celebrations.”A slightly older Sachin with his friends at Sahitya Sahwas.The three-day Golden Jubilee celebrations witnessed all the residents coming together for events like music, drama and a special programme dedicated to Vinda Karandikar. The book launch of Kattya Varchya Gappa, penned by 13 senior authors was also carried out during the occasion.For more hyper-local stories visit www.iamin.in

Mumbai: DRTO Borivli enters Guinness World Records for holding largest road safety class

Deputy Regional Transport Office (DRTO), Borivli, now figures in the Guinness World Records for holding the largest road safety class.The DRTO broke this record on Sunday afternoon, 116 days after students from the Provincia de Santiago del Estero, Argentina, set a record.Borivli DRTO raced ahead of the Argentinian school with 2,168 participants against the latter’s 2,119.The class, focusing on the importance of wearing helmets by riders and pillion riders and seat belts while driving, also saw the participants take an oath on driving responsibly. It was held at the SRPF Parade Ground in Jogeshwari.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Approximately 3,000 people, including more than 500 children, are killed every day on roads. This amounts to 1.2 million deaths a year. More than eight out of 10 deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Many are disabled for life.”Pedestrians, cyclists and riders of motorised two-wheelers and pillion account for around half of the global road traffic deaths. Last year, around 20,000 died in Maharashtra due to road accidents,” Ravi Gaikwad, head of DRTO, Borivli, said.The precursor to the record attempt was a bicycle and motorbike rally that was flagged off from the Bandra-Kurla Complex, which culminated at the parade ground in Jogeshwari.The event, which was organised by DRTO, Borivli, along with Mahindra Rise and Brahma Kumaris, saw the participation of over 3,000 individuals. But some of them left midway, thereby not getting accounted for the official record attempt.Just before the class, an official from Guinness World Records briefed that there were around 100 stewards on the ground to keep an eye on participants and to see how many are attentive while the class is in session. Hence, there is a possibility of a few participants getting discounted.

Salman Khan moves Supreme Court in 2002 hit-and-run case

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court seeking to pre-empt any ex-parte order in the appeal filed by the Maharashtra government challenging Bombay High Court verdict acquitting him in the 2002 hit-and-run case.The actor, whose five-year jail term awarded by a trial court was overturned by the high court, said in his plea that no order should be passed in the matter without hearing his counsel.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government had on January 22 moved the apex court against Bombay High Court’s verdict freeing Salman Khan in the hit-and-run case in which one person was killed and four others were injured.The special leave petition (SLP) contained 47 grounds to assail the high court’s verdict and sought restoration of the trial court’s decision by which the 50-year-old actor was convicted and sentenced to five-year-jail term.The high court, in its verdict passed on December 10 last year, had held that the prosecution had failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the actor was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and was drunk.The judgement by the high court had come on an appeal by the superstar, seven months after he was pronounced guilty by trial court of running over five people sleeping on a pavement in suburban Bandra with his Toyota Land Cruiser, killing one and causing injury to four others on October 28, 2002.On May 6 last year, a sessions court had convicted Salman in the case in which one person was killed and four others were injured when his vehicle had crushed them when they were asleep on a pavement outside a laundry.

Mumbai: BMC to pay contractors for actual weight of silt and not bulk

After last year’s bitter experience of the de-silting scam which had indicated that the quantity of silt removed was far lesser than that shown on record, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would henceforth pay contractors based on the weight of silt they remove from drains, rather than on reimbursing the bulk quantity.The BMC would begin the cleaning of drains at several pockets in Mumbai soon as a part of the pre-monsoon clean-up of drains. A proposal with regards to this would be tabled before the civic standing committee proposal this week.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A proposal for cleaning of drains costing around Rs 21.28 crore would be tabled. Clean up of Vakola River along Santacruz Chembur Link Road to Bandra Kurla Complex, Mithi River and Prem Nagar Outfall to CST and CST bridge to Powai would be done. In all cases contractors have quoted 9-11% above estimated rates.A member of standing committee of the BMC said: “After last year’s de-silting scam there was a need to look at removal of silt to be done more scientifically.”Last week, the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police arrested five contractors involved in the civic body’s Rs 150 crore de-silting scam. This is the first time that civic contractors have been arrested for a scam in the BMC.According to the BMC’s report, all contractors involved in de-silting work duped the BMC. The BMC probe panel led by additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh examined the records of trips that the contractors’ trucks made from various drains in the city to the designated dumping grounds. The report claimed that there were irregularities in 65 to 70% of the work.

Watch: Redevelopment will be hard blow for Dharavi where enterprise has flourished despite state’s neglect

If you knew that the chakna you enjoy with your evening sip or the papad you roast, or the apparently wholesome dosa or idli dough taken out from shining steel containers for street food may have come from Dharavi, Mumbai’s huge slum, chances are you would squirm. However, these and other products manufactured there is what enterprise against all odds is all about.

It is precisely what Rahul Gandhi, probably in a rare flash of insight or a good briefing he stuck to, referred to when he said in Mumbai the other day that “Make in India will not succeed until Make in Dharavi is protected.” There is a strong fear even among the Dharavi residents and entrepreneurs that it is actually under threat because of redevelopment, now sought to be sped up.

A potter arranges earthen lamps at a workshop in Dharavi. AFPA potter arranges earthen lamps at a workshop in Dharavi. AFP

A potter arranges earthen lamps at a workshop in Dharavi. AFP

Instead, slum dwellers will be given free housing in poorly-built towering buildings that will replace the shanties. Close by, grand apartments for the well-heeled will come up and this will mess up the lives of Dharavi residents who wanted to redevelop their slum themselves. But politicians’ hunger for illicit money and builders’ greed for land came in the way. What is ultimately built in Dharavi may not be what the locals want.

As has often been said, by me and other commentators here and elsewhere, the slum redevelopment plan is designed to meet the requirements of the builders and developers rather than that of slum dwellers who, by law, are entitled to replacement housing. The builders are to subsidise the replacement costs by selling the extra spaces in the open market.

Dharavi is not the only large slum in the city or even in the continent. It is often mistakenly referred to as the largest in Asia, though Orangi Town in Northern Karachi, spread over some 40 sq km, is reputedly the largest. Even within Mumbai, other slums have grown and joined together to form settlements larger than Dharavi. Dharavi typifies what Mumbai has amid it but is often sidestepped: it has a lot going against it except for the hardiness and entrepreneurship of its residents.

To start with, it was an illegal shantytown, a sprawl that houses a million. Everyone living there is crushed for space. It has an ecosystem of its own in which outsiders would feel distinctly uncomfortable. It is the first place where the concept of rent-a-shanty and two-storied slum dwellings began.

Congestion in Dharavi is worse than Mumbai’s population density. Most of the dwellings are not taller than two stories. It is so large that it had to find something to subsist on since employment within strolling distance – a reason why poor form such settlements – was not possible. It had, to start with, grown around the nucleus of tannery industry, and as it grew, had to find other ways. It called for enterprise.

Within its packed confines, enterprise has bloomed and at one time, the estimate was that its economy was worth US 1.6 bn. It is not who estimated it and related to which year, but Nandan Nilekani mentions the figure in his Imagining India. People made shirts for a Mumbai-based budget brand, as well as recycled plastic from garbage, and as a manager of a bank’s Dharavi branch had once cautioned me, the bottled ‘mineral water’ could well be a knock-off.

Dharavi grew into what it is because it was neglected, not nurtured. No law is applied there, and there is only one police station that deals with crime. The government has hardly been present and the only ban followed is the one on tanning.

It is a freewheeling economy without any licensing or controls, and anybody with a can-do attitude can thrive. No labour laws, no sanitation laws, no Factories Act apply to Dharavi which has one other thing going for it: location. Close to the Eastern and Western Express Highways, within easy reach of Bandra and Khar stations on the Western line, and Sion and Kurla on the Central Railway, its people can swiftly fan out in any direction.

The Asian Age says Dharavi business leaders estimate the size of the business at Rs 2,000 cr per annum, citing no study but quoting a local. It could well be that or even more. There are no accounts of any threat which Gandhi conjured up. If there was a threat, it is from the redevelopment which would rob the entrepreneurs the spaces they use for their businesses. None of them is going to get an equal area in return post-redevelopment.

This divestment of spaces and their reallocation in cement concrete towers is going to be a hard blow on enterprise. Ask the potters who would be on the fifth floor of a rehabilitation housing and wonder where to dry them, or locate the kiln. However, Gandhi has to know that the Shiv Sena-BJP’s idea of slum rehabilitation in the late 1990s, and later the Congress’ since 1999 are much the same.

Gandhi could have been more elaborate instead of limiting his main point to a slogan-like statement, which actually, funnily, sounds like Narendra Modi’s on a variety of subjects. Was Gandhi talking about the threat to enterprise from redevelopment? Dharavi’s redevelopment has never been opposed by the Congress and there are no indications that his party plans to oppose it in the future either.

It is not as if the BJP-led government has now stepped in with a policy and action plan to scupper all enterprise there. If anything, Devendra Fadnavis has only initiated a process to speed up the process of redevelopment with the attendant consequences. Rahul Gandhi’s “protection” suggestion thus turns out to be a jumla – a clever rhetoric, easily fitting into a slogan.

Bandra woman confesses to killing ‘mischievous’ son in 2013

“Aai maala maaru nako…mala tujha sobat rahaycha aahe” (Mom, please don’t kill me…I want to live with you). These were the last words of a nine-year-old, Amey Chougule, when the very woman, who gave him birth and nursed him, tried to eliminate him.Neha Chougule, 35, on Thursday, confessed to Kherwadi police that she alone killed Amey at their residence at government colony in Bandra (E) in 2013. She claimed that she was fed up with his mischievous behaviour and lost cool because of the complaints she received from society members and his school.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chougule recalled that she had served Amey food laced with poison before strangulating him. Her husband Gajanan, 39, and daughter Aishwarya was not at home when the incident happened two years back. A murder case was registered only on Thursday after the police received a detailed forensic report.According to the police, Chougule had earlier told the police that on March 30, 2013 after serving food to Amey, the boy started throwing up and later started spitting blood and became unconscious. Chougule and her brother-in-law Vijay then rushed Amey to three hospitals in Bandra and in all three, doctors declared him brought dead.A case of accidental death was then registered at Kherwadi police station and post-mortem of the body was conducted at Sion Hospital.Recently the police received the post-mortem report and viscera report which stated “shock due to throttling, associated with orgaophoshophorous chlorpyrefos (pyrene) poisoning (unnatural).Following the report, the police grilled Chougule on several occasions and finally she broke down on Thursday.Narrating the incident, senior police inspector Sujata Patil said, “Chougule said she had been receiving several complaints against Amey. She claimed that though she tried to counsel Amey, she saw no impact of her words on him and finally decided to take the extreme step.”On the fateful day, her husband and daughter were away when Amey came home from tuition. Chougule, who had already made up her mind, served a hungry Amey food laced with poison. When she realised that the poison was not showing much effect on Amey, she resorted to strangulating him repeatedly.”Shockingly, Chougule recalled that Amey had sought her pardon while being strangulated. He kept saying “Aai maala nako maar…mala tujha sobat rahaycha aahe” (Mom please don’t kill me…i want to live with you). “However, this did not melt Chougule and she went on to murder him. Chougule then threw the poison bottle from the window and tried to destroy evidences. Chougule was arrested on Thursday night and remanded in police custody on Friday,” Patil said.As per Patil, Gajanan was in a state of shock when he learnt about his wife’s involvement in Amey’s murder. “Gajanan loved his son a lot and is inconsolable after knowing about his wife’s role in the crime,” Patil said.Chougule has been booked under sections 302 (murder), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc. with intent to commit an offence) and 201 (destruction of evidences) of the Indian Penal Code.

Encounter specialist Daya Nayak reinstated in police force

The famed ‘encounter specialist’ police officer Daya Nayak had been reinstated in the state police department, a source said on Monday.Sub-inspector Nayak’s suspension had been cancelled, a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity. Nayak was suspended in June last year for not joining duty and being on sick leave for a very long time. At that time his posting was in Nagpur area. Before that, after being under suspension for around six years, Nayak was reinstated in June 2012.Also read: Suspended IPS officer Sunil Paraskar set to be reinstated shortly<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 1995-batch police officer, he was suspended in 2006 after the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested him on the charge of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. In 2010, the Supreme Court quashed the charges against him. He was reinstated in 2012 and posted in Local Arms wing of the department.After a brief stint there, he was transferred to the west region (Bandra to Andheri) of the city which is considered as a ‘high-profile’ zone in the police department.

Mumbai Selfie mishap: Body of Good Samaritan found floating in Mahim creek

The body of a 40-year-old man, who was swept away while trying to rescue three girls who fell into choppy sea near Bandra fort on Saturday while ‘clicking selfies’, was found floating in Mahim Creek on Monday.Nearly 48 hours after the mishap, locals spotted the body of Ramesh Walanju at the edge of the water body in the morning and informed Dharavi police, a senior police official said. The body was sent to Sion Hospital where it was identified after proper verification, he said.Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Monday visited Walanju’s home and expressed his condolences.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Walanju, a resident of Jaffer Baba colony, a slum pocket behind Bandra fort, had jumped into sea to save Tarannum Ansari (18) and her two friends – Anjum Khan (19) and Kasuri Khan (19) – who all had slipped off a rock jutting in sea while clicking selfie on Saturday.Though Walanju pulled Anjum and Kasuri out to the shores, he went missing after he re-entered into the water to save Tarannum, who remains untraced so far. Fire brigade officials, professional divers, two rescue boats of Mumbai Police and a helicopter of Indian Coast Guard had carried out search operations till Saturday night but could not trace either Walanju or Tarannum, police had said. The officer added that search for Tarannum is still on.Dharavi police have made a diary entry as Walanju’s body was found in their jurisdiction. The body will be soon handed over to his family members for last rites.Walanju, a natural swimmer, had reportedly saved a number of people from drowning from the same spot in the past.

Girls fall into sea clicking selfie, one goes missing with Good Samaritan

A selfie by the sea at Bandra Bandstand proved to be rather costly for three college-going girls from Govandi. In a freak incident of sorts, one teenager and a brave heart who tried rescuing them drowned in the sea at Bandra Bandstand on Saturday morning.While two girls have been rescued, one of them is undergoing treatment at the civic run Bhabha hospital. Eight hours after the incident, the Fire brigade, police and the Coast Guard could not trace the missing two. Rescue operations are still on as over 50 personnel have been pressed into action to trace them.According to police officials, the girls – Tarannum Ansari (18), Anjum Khan (17) and Mustareen Khan (18) – from Govandi’s Baiganwadi had come to the sea facing promenade near Bandra fort for the first time, after bunking college. However, their attempt to take a selfie proved dangerous and Tarannum and Anjum slipped into the water.A resident from a nearby chawl, Ramesh Walunje (38), jumped in to the waters and with his help Mustareen managed to pull Anujm out. Ramesh then swam to Tarannum, who by then had got washed away and was drowning. “The tide was too high and within minutes both of them disappeared,” Mustareen told dna.”It all happened in a second and Tarannum was gone,” Mustareen said adding Tarannum’s phone, with which the trio was taking the selfie, too got washed away and couldn’t be traced.While Tarannum studies in SNDT College, Ghatkopar, Mustareen and Anjum study at ST Mehta Women’s College in the same locality. All three are in FY B.Com. “Our exams are approaching. So we thought of an outing before we get into the thick of studies. We walked all the way into the sea stepping on a stone walkway. By the time we were done, the stones had disappeared and the sea had risen. Anjum held on to my hand but I could not pull her out. She was clinging onto my hand. We screamed for help when Ramesh came running,” Mustareen recalled.Doctors said Anjum is still in shock and is under observation.Ramesh’s uncle Suresh Sawant said Ramesh, who works as a driver, was on his way to work. “He was just leaving for work when he heard the screams. He did not think twice and jumped into the sea. He left his lunch box and wallet on the ground. We rescue many who drown here. Ramesh was a great swimmer. I wonder how he drowned. He might have hit the boulders. He has lost his life trying to save a total stranger,” Sawant said.Walunje, who stays in the Jaffar Buwa Colony is survived by three kids (one son and two daughters) and his wife. Ramesh’s friend and swimmer Subhash Tawade pointed out that Walunje might have lost stamina attempting to rescue two persons.Fire officials said that they began rescue operations within 30 minutes of being informed. “We got a call at around 9:50 am. Since the police were informed before us, they had begun the rescue operations. We also asked for help from the Coast Guard and they deployed a search helicopter too. However, we haven’t been able to find the missing duo,” said Harish Shettye, assistant divisional fire officer.Fire officials said the bodies might have floated away towards Worli with the tides. Tarannum’s brother Anwar Khan said the trio had not informed them about their visit to Bandra. “We are in shock and are hoping that she is alive. We hope that it doesn’t become a deadly outing,” Anwar said.Officials said that rescue operations would be called off at night. “We will resume the search on Sunday morning. We can’t expect one to be alive after 12 hours. We will have to fish out the bodies if they float to the shore or if the helicopter spots them,” said a fire official.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

While clicking selfie, Mumbai girl falls into sea near Bandra bandstand

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