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Praful Patel seeks state funeral, chief minister calls for tougher laws

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 30 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Union heavy industries minister and senior NCP leader Praful Patel demanded that the Delhi government accord a state funeral to the Delhi gangrape victim who passed away in a Singapore hospital.

Patel in his condolence message said the Delhi government should give a state funeral to the 23-year-old who passed away in the wee hours of Saturday. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik confirmed the demand made by Patel. The girl, who was gang-raped by six men in the capital on December 16, died after fighting for life for 13 days.

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan too expressed concerned over rising cases of crime against women. "While education is spreading across the country there is also a rise in cases of crime against women. Such inhuman acts are especially worrisome," Chavan said in his condolence message. He also demanded rigorous punishment for the Delhi gangrape accused and said stringent laws translated effectively into action to tackle cases of heinous crime against women would be the real tribute to the brave-heart girl. "Public outcry after such an incident is natural. But while condemning such incidents, GenNext and other citizens should ensure that protests are peaceful and do not create law and order problems," the chief minister appealed in his message.

The Maharashtra CM's statement assumes significance as Chavan disapproves Congress MP Abhijeet Mukherjee's controversial remark on the Delhi gangrape protest, calling the agitators "pretty pretty women, highly dented and painted". Abhijeet is President Pranab Mukherjee's son and Congress MP from Jangipur.


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Candidates to presidents' office must also file affidavits

MUMBAI: The National Election Watch which has been at the forefront of organizations demanding electoral reforms in India on Sunday put forth a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI) stating that candidates who contest for the offices of President and Vice-President should be made to file sworn affidavits on the lines of those made mandatory for elected reprentatives.

The step could go a long way in bringing about transparency from the top. "The office of the President is one of the most important positions in our country and is right now the only elections to a public office where the candidates are not required to submit self sworn affidavits on their background details at the time of filing their nominations," stated a release issued by the National Election Watch urging the ECI to take the lead and issue appropriate orders for its implementation.

The idea has received the support of two former election commissioners Gopalaswami N and T S Krishnamurthy. It has also been endorsed by various prominent citizens associated with the NEW including economist Ajit Ranade, IIM professor Trilochan Sastry and right to information activist Nikhil Dey.

A similar mechanism has already been initiated for electoral candidates contesting Parliament or Legislative Assembly Elections requiring candidates to provide an affidavit with their background information on criminal records, assets, liabilities, education etc. Most states have also extended this procedure to local bodies such as panchayats and municipal elections.

Measures like this could go a long way in instilling public confidence in our offices of power.


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High Court upholds life sentence as teen's evidence nails dad's murderer

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently upheld the conviction and life sentence of a man accused of murder based on evidence given by a 13-year-old eye-witness.

The HC rejected the convict's plea made through his court appointed lawyer Arfan Sait that he was falsely implicated by a "got up witness''.

"In our view there is nothing to entertain doubt that Public Witness 1 Prabhu Muttaya is a gotup witness and had falsely implicated the appellant,'' said a bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and A R Joshi while dismissing an appeal filed by Raju @ Rajan Kartaiya Harijan from Nasik Road Cenral prison where he is serving out his sentence against his conviction order of October 2004.

A sessions court in Mumbai had convicted him for a 2002 murder of

Muttayya a resident of Dharavi, Asia's largest slum in Mumbai.

The case was that Muttayya lived in Dharavi along with his family members including his eldest daughter Chandrika, his son then aged about 13 years one Prabhu Muttayya who became the public witness 1, another daughter and his wife. The accused was Raju Harijan who lived nearby. The prosecution case was that the accused used to tease Chandrika. She rejected his advances and told him she would teach him a lesson by slapping him with her footwear.

An enraged accused one night at 9 pm in Janaury 2002 accosted Muttaya who had shut his vada-pav and tea stall and was walking home accompanied by his two daughters and son Prabhu. Muttaya had earlier that day reprimanded Harijan and told him to leave his daughter alone or he would be taught a lesson. The accused and Muttaya had an altercation. Harijan pulled out a chopper he was carrying and assaulted Muttaya on his chest and other parts killing him, probably on the spot. The defence lawyer said the main witness was a young boy who 'had concocted the story'' and wondered why the two daughters had not been examined as witnesses too.

The HC however, noted that the young boy seemed to be matured enough and had infact rushed to the police station immediately after the assault and narrated the details. His deposition in Tamil even in court with help of an interpreter was corroborated by another witness and matched the FIR details, the court said, thus upholding the murder conviction and life sentence.


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Matheran 'man mountain meet' event successful

NAVI MUMBAI: The 10 kilometer run organised in Matheran on Sunday was succussful, with over 100 adults and children participating in it. It was held to create awareness about the grave issues being faced by this small but picturesque hill station, and hence try to save it from further degradation.

Conceptualized by Ecofolks -- an environment group from Mumbai -- the run was an open event for all those who love Matheran and wanted to participate for the cause titled 'Mathe-Run' . the start-point was Dasturi Naka and was a good challenge for the distance runners as well as for those looking forward to a 'Rocky mountain dirt track running'.
Paresh Pimpale of Ecofolks informed that the event was organized keeping in mind that the year 2012 marks a 'Decade of International Mountain's Day'which aims at highlighting the importance of mountains for humans.

"We always thought that despite Matheran being declared an eco sensitive zone, it's still under threat and a lot of things need to be done to create awareness about this place which is a bio diversity hot spot. I recently came across a quote by William Blake that said 'Great Things Are Done When Man and Mountain Meet'and we decided that we will have a series of events under the main event titled 'Man and Mountain Meet'to not only promote Matheran but also save it," added Pimpale.

Apart from the run, there was a photography exhibition on Matheran showcasing its rich bio diversity and heritage. Ajay Sawant, President of Matheran Hill Station Municipal Council stated, "We have offered our full support to Man and Mountain Meet event. Matheran is a beautiful hill station and only place where no vehicles are allowed and it's the duty to safe guard this eco fragile hill station by promoting green tourism."

Avinash Kubal, Dy Director, Maharashtra Nature Park Society, said that ecological heritage of Matheran must be preserved by all means and men and mountain meet is a starting step towards it.Sanjay Bhuskute, PRO of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said We fully support such initiatives as mountains have played a major role in overall Indian ecology and economy.''


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Bombay HC restrains release of Kannada film titled "Dirty Picture' till Jan 4, 2013

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently restrained Akshaya Productions from releasing their Kannada movie titled 'Dirty Picture' under any other name till January 4, 2013. The order was passed in a copyright tussle going on before the HC between Balaji Films and Akshaya Productions over the name "Dirty Picture' which the Bollywood production house which made the Vidya Balan starring 2011 hit film says it alone has the intellectual copyright over the title.

Justice S J Kathawalla passed the order after the lawyer for the Southern film production firm informed him that his client would be " changing the name of their
movie and not name it ' Dirty Picture '. The lawyer also said they would make the script
of their movie available to Balaji Films on or before January 3, 2013.

The judge accepted, the statements made by the counsel and posted the matter for further hearing and order to January 4.

Balaji Films said it had produced a film titled, "The Dirty Picture" starring the leading actress Vidya Balan in 2011, and it alone is the owner of all the intellectual property rights in the said underlying literary work and also in the title of the film.

Their application against Akshaya productions said that the production must be restrained from using words "Dirty Picture" in the title of its film as the words were being used allegedly with the sole intent of associating the film with the Balan film.

Balaji Films which filed its suit through law firm Naik, Naik & Co said it had "serious apprehension that in view of all the media reports, the story of the new film was also likely to infringe its copyrights in the literary work."

The public associated the trade mark "dity picture" with the film Balan starrer, said Balaji Films and also that the name of the leading character of the film i.e. "Silk" was clearly and firmly entrenched in the public mind as associated with the movie. Balaji Films said its reputation would be tarnished and diluted by the use of the name of its film, illegally.


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GOI officials attend training in smart grid technology in USA

MUMBAI: Over 15 Indian government officials attended a training and study tour organised by the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID) on the use of Smart Grid technology in the power sector to reduce power loss, manage peak load and integrate renewable energy to meet the growing demand for power.

Smart Grid refers to the use of state-of-the-art information and communication technology to improve the efficiency, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity and 17 senior officials of government of India participated in the study tour, a release issued said. The group of officials from the Ministry of Power, Power Grid Corporation, Renewable Energy Corporation, and several state utilities in India attended classroom sessions and visited American power utilities. The delegation also observed the simulation of an entire grid operation in a Smart Grid-enabled environment and learned about real-time digital simulation of power systems, Direct Current distribution, and home energy management and efficiency. Throughout the tour, the officers gained first-hand experience in the operation of Smart Grid technology in a large and diverse country and a competitive market environment.

Smart Grid training is a part of the Ministry of Power, Government of India and USAID's Distribution Reforms, Upgrades, and Management (DRUM) program. The program aims to improve energy efficiency by showcasing best practices and technologies through three Centers of Excellence and by building a cadre of trained distribution professionals and technicians. Since 2005, the DRUM program has trained 37,125 professionals and created a network of 20 Indian training institutes. The Centre for Power Efficiency in Distribution (CENPEID), a Tata Power training institute, and the U.S. based Quanta Technology jointly designed and conducted the Smart Grid pilot training.


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Opposition parties in Mumbai civic body demand CID inquiry into revenue loss pointed out by CAG

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 29 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The opposition parties in the Brihanmimbai Municipal Corporation have came down heavily on the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP allaince and the civic administration over the strictures passed in the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report over various discrepancies in cost variations in road contracts. They have demanded a CID inquiry into allegations of BMC spending an additional Rs 702 crore into the road projects.

The CAG report states that though the permissible cost variation is only 15 per cent, the norms were violated in 59 of the total 88 road contracts leading to the costs going up by nearly `702 crore. The report further says that variations in the cost of cement concrete roads went up by 62 per cent, while that of asphalt roads saw an increase of 57 per cent. The increase in the project cost due to the variation has resulted in the civic body spending Rs 469.09 crore for cement concrete and Rs 233.22 crore for asphalt roads. Calling it a waste of taxpayer's money, the opposition parties have demanded that an inquiry should be held by the CID into the matter.

Opposition leader Dnyanraj Nikam from Congress said, "It is a big scam and needs to be probed thoroughly. We will rake up this issue in the civic house and want CID inquiry into it. It should also be probed under which corporators and MLAs pressure, the additional project works were taken."

MNS group leader Rais Shaikh alleged that the ruling Sena-BJP alliance is involved in corruption over these projects. "The CAG had procured this information a month before the civic elections. The CAG report has vindicated what we have been repeatedly saying over the irregularities in road projects. We have written a letter to the civic chief demanding a CID inquiry into the matter," said the Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Shaikh.

However, denying all allegations, Shiv Sena has said there are no discrepancies in the civic road projects. House leader Yashodhar Phanse said, "We are ready for any kind of inquiry. Had there been a corruption in the BMC, people would not have elected us for the consecutive forth term. Even the probes held earlier have not thrown up anything significant."


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Living legend Lata Mangeshkar launches her 'Humsafar' calendar 2013

MUMBAI: The new year brings with a sea of calenders and this week saw legendary play back singer Lata Mangeshkar launch hers for 2013. The calendar called 'humsafar' has a theme which captures memoirs and songs of her favourite film actresses from Madhubala to Madhuri Dixit.

Bharatratna Lata Mangeshkar has now beenperforming as a playback singer for over six decades. In her notable career the singer has lent her melodious voice to three generations of actresses. If one has to count the immortal renditions of each of these actresses, it would be as futile as counting the number of stars in the universe. But the legend decided to speak about some of her favourite Actresses which she shared a close bond with. This led to the creation of this theme calendar for 2013 - 'Humsafar'. The calendar is into its third year now.

The launch for 2013 was held in Mumbai at Prabhu Kunj, her residence.

"The calendar is in Black and White as itdepicts the era I have lived in, where in I have sung for versatile actresses in my 70-year long career. The Humsafar calendar is a tribute to the yesteryear actress from Madhubala, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman, Nanda to Dimple Kapadia and Madhuri Dixit," said Lata Mangeshkar.

It features 17 suchactresses in the form of anecdotes and pictorial tribute from Jan 2013 to May 2014 and promises to be a delight for any Hindi movie buff.


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Insurance company launches customer education campaign

MUMBAI: Intensifying its customer educational efforts, an insurance major has launched a multi-media educational advertising campaign. The consumer friendly campaign is launched by SBI Life to ensure through seven short audio visuals on television that society understands the need to pay attention to a few basics before buying any life insurance product.

Chandramohan Mehra, Head, Brand and Cross Sell, SBI Life said, "Indian consumers demonstrate evolution and high level of detailing when in shopping mode for other product categories. Unfortunately, there is high inertia towards understanding a few basics before subscribing to a life insurance product. Educating the prospective buyers of life insurance, the communication strengthens their trust in the brand as a category leader."

The educational initiative has been taken forward across social media platforms, SBI Life's Facebook Fan Page 'Celebrate Life', Twitter and YouTube. The Virtual CrossWords, E-life insurance dictionary, website in nine Indian Languages, Insurance Educational Points at branches, are all part of integrated communication efforts rolled out recently. The communication plan is to extend these initiatives in high traffic shopping malls, so as to bring alive the educational message when the customer is in the midst of their shopping experience for other products.

The brand has been rated as the "Most Trusted Private Life Insurance Brand, 2012" as per the latest ET-Nielsen Most Trusted Brand Survey.

SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between State Bank of India and BNP Paribas Cardif. SBI owns 74% of the total capital and BNP Paribas Cardif the remaining 26%. SBI Life Insurance has an authorized capital of Rs. 2,000 crore and a paid up capital of Rs 1,000 crores. State Bank of India is among the largest banking franchise in India.


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Latest in mobile technology to eliminate discrepancies in gas billings in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Discrepancies in the monthly billing to consumers of piped natural gas (PNG) in the city of Mumbai could be a thing of the past soon.

To overcome this problem, from September onwards, Mahanagar Gas Limited has started using mobile phones to track meter readings more effectively. It adopted a mobile application; mSales developed by leading technology company, Mobicule, which allows it to better manage the way the multitude of its meter readers, execute and report meter readings.

Since its introduction in India, piped gas has been hugely popular with households as not only is PNG cheaper than LPG, which results in huge cost savings but also it is more convenient and safer. Today, there are over 5.7 lakh PNG consumers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. However, in the past consumers have faced huge discrepancies in their bills, which, has acted as a deterrent for new consumers to sign up which is what MGL is looking to address via the adoption of mSales.

The spokesperson for MGL stated, "Earlier, meter readers were often unable to access houses to read meters or there were often mistakes with the reading. In some cases, customers refuted the charges even though the reading was accurate because they felt that their consumption could not have been so high. We felt the need of the hour was to address this issue at the earliest."

Siddharth Agarwal, CEO of Mobicule Technologies said, "Our technology allows Mahanagar Gas to assign specific houses to its readers. Through a hand held equipment known as the automated member reading (AMR) system, meter readers input the meter reading and take a photo of the reading before submitting it. Once submitted, the data is pushed into its enterprise resource planning (ERP system).

The solution facilitates the real time exchange of information between the corporate centre and the on-field staff. By sending a photo of the reading with the date/time it was taken, customers receive proof of their actual reading. It also enables meter readers to read many meters at a time and does not require the meter reader to physically visit the MGL offices to update the meter readings of customers," he added.

Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL), India's leading natural gas distribution companies has already connected over 5.7 lakh households and over 1600 small commercial and industrial establishments using this technology.


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Transporters association to conduct campaign against overloading

MUMBAI: The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) will conduct a 15-day campaign, beginning January 1, to create awareness and sensitize truckers against overloading of goods.

"Our campaign will be conducted from January 1 to 15 at the state and district level across the country. We will not only sensitize drivers but also tip off authorities about the menace on our highways." Said Bal Malkit Singh of AIMTC.

He further said, "Overloading must be shunned at all cost. Overloading in commercial vehicles is one of the potential causes of road accidents. The overloading of trucks is not in the interest of the trade, society, state or the nation. At times, major accidents have occurred and resulted in loss of precious lives and goods being carried in these vehicles."

Overloading of vehicles is not only a violation of Sections 113, 113 (3), 114, 199 and 194 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 but contempt of judgment of Supreme Court on overloading dated November 9, 2005, Singh said.

"At the ground level, perpetrators of overloading are allowed to move on the national highways freely while the fact is that genuine and law abiding transporters are being harassed as the field officers are not able to make quick money through them,'' Singh alleged. Officers in Maharashtra denied the charge, saying they too conducted a drive against overloading recently in which they apprehended 2,455 drivers and recovered fines to the tune of Rs 3 crore.

"Road safety awareness is an important agenda and as a major stakeholder of road transport Industry, AIMTC also espouses the cause of road safety which is why we are organising this campaign.''Said Singh.

The AIMTC will also conduct other programmes to foster road safety awareness and inculcate road discipline, he added.


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TCS leases largest IT office space

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 28 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In a dismal real estate market, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has signed an agreement with Neptune Developers to lease the largest IT office space in the city.

TCS will take over 3.5 lakh sq ft space in Neptune Element, an 11-storey IT building constructed by the developers in Thane's Wagle Industrial Estate. The two parties are learnt to have negotiated the deal for a lease amount of Rs 35 to Rs 40 per sq ft per month, which works out to an annual rent of close to Rs 16 crore. A formal agreement is expected to be sealed in a few weeks.

A TCS spokesperson said, "We have signed a letter of intent to lease the space. A final agreement will be signed only after due diligence of the property documents." About 3,000 staffers are expected to work on the new premises.

President (operations) of Neptune Group Nayan Shah declined to comment.

According to global property consultant Cushman and Wakefield (C&W), Mumbai, like other cities, has witnessed a significant addition to the IT/IT-enabled services (ITES) supply of approximately 5.4 million sq ft in 2012, while only 3.6 million sq ft got absorbed. "The oversupply has led to huge vacancy levels, more than 20% in the city and close to 30% in certain micro markets such as Thane. Rentals over the next two quarters are expected to remain stable with a downward bias," said Ravi Ahuja, executive director, C&W. "Given that limited new projects are being launched for office developments in Mumbai, vacancy levels in IT/ITES are expected to reduce from the second half of 2013. Today, markets offer a good investment opportunity in Grade A IT parks in strategic locations for investors looking at 9% to 10% per annum yields, with a three to five-year capital appreciation," Ahuja added.

A C&W report on the IT/ITES in the Thane and Thane-Belapur belt says the trend for such companies to move from suburban Mumbai to Navi Mumbai and Thane continues unabated as locations such as Malad and Goregaon are increasingly becoming unaffordable, particularly to third-party operators like TCS and local BPOs, who cannot pay more than a dollar (Rs 50 per sq ft per month) as rent.


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HC rejects bail plea of woman who helped husband rape 15-yr-old girl

MUMBAI: It is rare for a woman to be charged in a rape conspiracy, but the Bombay high court has refused to show sympathy to a married woman who is accused of helping her husband abduct and rape a 15-year-old girl.

The accused, Sushma Mohite, claimed she was terrorized by her husband Satish and sought bail on the grounds that she had to look after the couple's four children, who are aged 6-11 years. Rejecting her plea, Justice K U Chandiwal said that she showed no remorse and did not "protest against the illegal acts of Satish to anybody, including her relations or even the police. The track record of the accused also informs her conduct and criminal activities."

The court said that while Sushma's claim that she was under pressure from her husband might be true, "the record speaks against her as the witnesses and minor victim implicate the accused of consciously advising the victim to get married to her husband, knowing fully well the subsistence of her marriage with Satish and the liability of maintaining four minor children".

According to the police, Satish eloped with the victim in May and married her. Her father lodged a criminal complaint of kidnap, abduction and rape of a minor.

The girl told the police later that Sushma had convinced her to get married to her husband and had even taken her to court in June. Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal said the victim was a minor, whose consent was immaterial. She said that not being in a position to take her own decisions, the girl succumbed to the "rosy picture" painted by Sushma.

The court ruled that sexual intercourse with a minor even with her consent is rape. "Due to her age, the victim cannot be said to be a consensual party," said the judge and held that prima facie, Sushma had abetted rape.


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Push-button system for pedestrians a flop

MUMBAI: In 2011, the BMC installed push-button-and-stop-traffic systems for pedestrians at 55 crossings in the city at a considerable expense. But a year later, all are defunct. The systems were installed to reduce waiting time for pedestrians, but combined with a lack of awareness and misuse, the concept did not take off.

To start with, not many people were using the systems. "But the ones who were, did so more out of amusement. People would press the button and interrupt vehicular traffic even if they were not going to cross the road. So, while the installations at some junctions were never used, a few were overused. Gradually, the traffic police made the systems unoperational," said a senior official from the civic roads department.

Traffic police officers said the concept was new to the city and people did not warm up to it. "Hence, there was either no use of it or there was rampant misuse," said an officer.
The telephone box-sized instruments on traffic signal poles were meant to let pedestrians save time by changing traffic lights with the push of a button. The button, once pressed, would trigger the system and after a duration of a few seconds to a few minutes, the signal for walking would turn green and remain so for at least 12 seconds; the signalling cycle at a typical big junction is 90 seconds.

The junctions with the installations include: Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo; Bandra-Worli Sea Link, AG Khan Road; Poddar Hospital, Worli; City Light Cinema junction, Mahim; Sitaladevi temple, Mahim; Taraporewala, Charni Road; Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Parkl; Villa Theresa School, Cumbala Hill.

The boxes cost the BMC Rs 6,000 apiece. They had been initially programmed to emit a loud 'hoot' when the signal changed. But this was disabled following complaints from people living near the junctions.

"The BMC plans to restart the systems in a month," said a senior civic official. But the traffic police have asked the BMC to put up awareness boards at all 55 spots before reactivation.


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Three more held in fake memory card racket.

MUMBAI: Three more persons were arrested by the Kurla Government Railway Police (GRP) in connection with the fake phone memory card racket. The trio, all dealers of fake cards, were picked up from Thane station on Thursday. The accused used a mixture of molten tar and bottle caps and wrapped it in plastic to resemble memory cards, peddling them on foot overbridges and outside railway stations.

"We have arrested Shahbaz Khan, 19, Imran Khan 19 and Mohammed Afsar Ali Khan, 19 on Thursday. Around 1000 fake memory cards and 10 fake pen drives were seized from them. A railway court has remanded the trio to police custody till December 29," a GRP official said. The total number of arrests in the case has now gone up to six__ the GRP had arrested three persons on Tuesday and seized 600 memory cards from them.

During investigation, the police found that original memory cards were sold in the market for Rs 400, while the accused peddled the fake memory cards for as low as Rs 20, attracting a large number of customers. The cost involved in manufacturing fake memory cards is only Rs 3.50. The accused would operate at one location only for an hour.


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Cops ask PCO operators to check caller identification

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 26 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Police has issued instructions to all STD and PCO operators in the city to check identity card proof of callers before allowing them to make phone calls.

This comes after carrying identity proof while travelling in train was made mandatory last year. This move is seen as a step to avoid threatening calls made from PCOs.

"There have been cases of threat calls from PCO and STD booths. Though police manage to track down the phone, in most of the cases the caller remains anonymous. This step will help to prevent such calls," police said. "Terror suspects or criminals use PCO phones, making it difficult to track them down," police added. There are over 60,000 public phone booths in Mumbai.

"We have issued instructions to maintain callers' records. It will help in avoiding many wrong things," deputy police commissioner and city police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli said.

The police said have issued instructions to the booth owners/care takers to note down the name, address of the caller and the number on which the call is being made.

"There are several PCO booths where the owner has more than five to six phones. Such booths may also be asked to install CCTV cameras to keep a record," police said.

However, some booth owners said they were yet to get any such guidelines.


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Mumbai students re-enact Delhi gang rape incident

MUMBAI:Rape and violence continue to dominate the mindscape of young Mumbaikars, it seems. At the 'Let's Act' drama festival held yesterday at Ravindra Natya Mandir Mini Theatre, the students of R D National College elaborately re-enacted the recent bus-rape incident, in a play titled "Is This Humanity?" This was one of the five plays that was selected for re-enactment in the finals of the drama festival, to be held at Sophia Auditorium on 5th January.

The other teams selected for the finals were, Pragati College, which enacted a humourous play "Adjustment" (about how one needs to make adjustment in all spheres of life), K C College (a play on communalism based on " Panchatantra"), Mumbai University's Dept. of Journalism & Communication ("The Darkest Desire", which talks about incest) and Swami Vivekanand College ("Wakt Nahin Hai" - a balletic satire about modern living.)

St. Andrew's Chorus, which re-enacted the Mumbai 7-11 Train Blasts, and St Xaviers College, which enacted the Greek tragedy of Achilles, provided some extremely kinetic and memorable scenes.

This drama competition is organized by Helen O'Grady International, in benefit of ADAPT (formerly Spastic Society of India). Helen O'Grady's Youth Theater workshops are enabling students to express themselves creatively.


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Kurla village cross renovated

MUMBAI: The renovated Kurla Villagers Cross was inaugurated today in the presence of around 250 east indian villagers. The inauguration was followed by prayers in the presence of an East indian brass Band and carol singing.

The cross was renovated by well-known Educationist, Moses Gomes. The kurla Village consists of four gaothans - old kurla, hall village, culbavor and naupada. The Villagers Cross(photo enclosed) is prominently located at the entrance of two gaothans - old kurla and hall village. The Cross stands atop a concrete platform at an height of around 8 feet. The cross was well decorated and opened in time for Christmas.

The Crosses have a special relevance and are a regular sight at all East indian gaothans, the east Indians are the original inhabitants of Bombay. The crosses were built around the 1900's to protect the villagers from plague. The presence of the Crosses at entrances and bylanes along the gaothans were believed to have saved the villagers from plague.


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Godrej Properties to be development manager for a new redevelopment project at Currey Road in Mumbai

MUMBAI:Godrej Properties Limited (GPL), the real estate development arm of the Godrej Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary Godrej Projects Development Private Limited (GPDPL), has entered into a Development Management Agreement with Ratnaraj Blessing Milestone, a partnership firm, to redevelop a private society, Kamgar Swa Sadan Cooperative Housing Society Limited, situated at Mahadeo Palav Marg, Currey Road, Mumbai.

Godrej Properties will act as development manager and will be responsible for the conceptualization, design, sales, and marketing of the project.

The project will offer approximately 120,000 sq. ft of saleable area and is proposed to be developed as a modern residential development with 2, 3, and 4 BHK apartments.

The site is strategically located close to Currey Road and Lower Parel Stations and will have easy access to the business hub of Lower Parel. It is well connected by road and rail to most important locations across Mumbai.

The upcoming Mono Rail network is also in close proximity. The project will offer panoramic views of the cityscape of Mumbai.

For its services as Development Manager, GPDPL shall be entitled to a development management fee from Ratnaraj Blessing Milestone over the duration of the project plus an upside promote based on sales realisations beyond a threshold.

The entire costs for design, construction, and development of the project will be borne by Ratnaraj Blessing Milestone in its role as developer, while the cost for marketing and supervision of the Project will be borne by Godrej Properties in its role as development manager.


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Nalasopara civic clerk caught taking bribe

MUMBAI: A lower division clerk of the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) was caught red-handed, accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a driver for dispersing his loan cheque.

The clerk, Dayanand Vathole, was trapped by the Thane Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday afternoon.

The complainant Jagannath Reddy, a Nalasopara resident had applied for a Rs 2 lakh loan under the state government's backward class category. The loan amount through cheque was to be dispersed by the VVMC.

When Reddy approached Vathole for the cheque at the VVMC's Nalasopara office, he demanded Rs 20,000 to release the cheque.

Reddy a driver by profession was told by Vathole that the cash would be shared by another VVMC employee and a bank officer of a nationalised bank which had issued the loan amount. Reddy was asked to come with the cash on Wednesday afternoon near a tea stall in Nalasopara.

Reddy complained to the ACB who laid a trap and caught Vathole red-handed while accepting the money.

The police were examining the records and computer of Vathole till late evening. He will be produced before the Vasai Sessions court on Thursday.


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Malad road widening and church land issue brought to the fore

MUMBAI: Save our Land Committee (SOUL) delegation along with Julio Rebeiro met with Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner on Wednesday to discuss the issues on Malwani Malad church land and Kandivali Poisar river.

A memorandum along with the first lot of 30,000 signatures was handed over to Kunte.

Rebeiro stated that normally he does not get involved in sectarian issues. However he stated that in these cases he sees gross injustice being done to the Christian community as they are normally considered as soft targets.

On the Kandivali Poisar river widening issue, the delegation apprised the Municipal Commissioner and other Senior Officials of the Corporation that MMRDA and BMC had appointed specialised Government Agencies namely Central Water Power Station, Pune and WAPCOS Ltd, Gurgaon to suggest remedial flood mitigation measures for the Poisar, Mithi and other rivers. And why those recommendations are not being implemented?.

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta shared the various points concerning the St Anthony's Church, Malwani,Malad Road Widening Issue. Please refer to the Memorandum on this subject.

The delegation once again apprised the commissioner and the senior officials that why environmental rules and regulations more particularly spelt out in the memorandum are being violated and development is being carried in a lopsided manner.


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Bombay HC upholds conviction of man for stabbing the girl he loved

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 25 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of a 35-year-old businessman for stabbing a girl, who had rejected his proposal for marriage, saying that the five-years' rigorous imprisonment imposed on him was not "too harsh" as pleaded by him.

"Considering the genesis of the incident and the manner in which the appellant had inflicted multiple incised wounds on the victim, it cannot be said that the sentence imposed on him by the trial Judge is excessively harsh. Therefore, it does not call for any interference," said Justice RC Chavan.

Vijay Chavan, a resident of suburban Andheri, was found guilty of attempt to murder by the trial court. He ran a mobile telephone shop. The victim was working in his shop. He was attracted to her and proposed to her but she refused.

According to prosecution, it was an one-sided love. After some time, the victim left the job and took up another one at the airport. She was mostly on night duty. On March 25, 2009, when she was returning from work, the accused confronted her at her building's staircase. As she refused to talk to him, he got enraged and stabbed the victim with a sharp weapon.

The victim suffered multiple injuries and was shifted to a hospital nearby while the appellant ran away. During the trial, he pleaded not guilty and the prosecution examined six witnesses. He was convicted for offence of attempt to murder.

The appellant took the defence that they had an affair with the girl and both were in love. He further pleaded that on the day of the incident when she was talking to him, some unknown persons snatched her purse and while she was trying to save herself she got injured on neck and abdomen.

However, the High Court disbelieved his version saying in that case he should have been the first person to take the victim to the hospital and also try to catch the persons who had snatched her purse or go to police to report about it.

"Though the counsel for the appellant sought to suggest that the appellant was not involved in the attack, there would be obviously no reason for the victim to state about the complicity of the appellant if, according to the appellant, the victim was in love with him and if the appellant was only having an innocent chat with the victim," observed the Judge while dismissing his appeal.


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Mumbai girl stabbed by college mate dies

MUMBAI: A 19-year-old girl, who was critical after being repeatedly stabbed by her spurned lover at a college in suburban Bandra three days ago, succumbed to her injuries at a hospital here today, police said.

The victim died early this morning, Namdev Chavan Zonal Deputy Commissioner of police said.

The girl, who was admitted in a critical condition to the Gurunanak hospital in Bandra, was on ventilator since December 22 after she was attacked by her college mate Nikhil Bankar several times with a knife, injuring her seriously in different parts of the body.

The 22-year-old boy also committed suicide after the incident that day.

Nikhil and the victim were studying management at the college and recently had a break-up.

According to police, Nikhil had accosted the girl and three of her friends while they were on their way to the classroom in the morning, and during a heated argument between the two, Nikhil whipped out a knife from his bag and slashed her several times.

Later, Nikhil stabbed himself around 4-5 times and also slashed his neck. He had died during admission to the hospital that day itself, police added.


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BMC to hold special Maha Adalat for speedy disposal of pending court cases

MUMBAI:The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has arranged for a special Maha Adalat on Monday for speedy disposal of cases against the BMC or filed by the BMC against a person.

The adalat will be from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. at 39th Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Vile Parle and 41st & 42nd Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Shinde Wadi, Dadar (East) for pending cases filed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

The BMC has appealed to the interested litigants to attend the Special drive in person or through their advocate and get the cases disposed off appealed by civic administration.

There are over 80,000 court cases lying pending with the civic legal department.

"This drive has been taken to address the issue of high level of pendency. This will help in speedy disposal of cases,"said a civic official from the legal department.
According to the data obtained from the legal department till February this year, 56994, the highest number cases that are pending, are the ones that the civic body has filed in the metropolitan magistrate courts.

The cases that are pending include that of property tax, illegal construction, property related issues. These also include public interest litigation (PIL) filed by citizens in which the civic body is a party.

The pending cases cause a revenue loss of over Rs 70 crore to the BMC.


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Corporators demand more security for women

MUMBAI:The rising cases of crime against women got the women corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to express their concern over the issue in the civic general body meeting.

The police should provide additional security to women to ensure their safety, they demanded.

Raising the issue in the civic house, Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre said, "There is a growing sense of insecurity among women due to rising attacks against them. For their safety, police should deploy additional guards at public places like bus stops, subways and railway stations."

Women corporators cutting across all party lines supported the issue, with former mayor Shubha Raul demanding the adjournment of the house. Shiv Sena corporator Trishna Vishwasrao said, "At one end female foeticide cases are happening and now women are increasing finding it difficult to move out due to attacks against them."

It was also decided that group leaders of all civic parties will meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and demand increased security cover for women to prevent such incidents in the future.

Corporators cutting across party lines said that they will form a delegation who will meet the Chavan and discuss the security issues with him. Areas like roads, subways, theatres, skywalks should be fortified with more policemen.


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No increment to cop who offered rose to Raj Thackeray

MUMBAI: Four months after a police constable offered a rose to MNS chief Raj Thackeray at the latter's public rally here, Mumbai police has decided to stop his increment for the next three years, officials said.

Constable Pramod Tawade, who was apparently moved by Thackeray's speech expressing solidarity with the police personnel and media persons, attacked during the August 11 protests against violence in Assam, had greeted the latter with a rose flower.

The Police department, which had earlier served a show cause notice to him, has now stopped his increment for three years.

"His three years' increment has been stopped," they said. Tawade, who was not posted for arrangement duty at Azad Maidan for Thackeray's rally on August 21, had come to the venue without seeking permission of his superiors. On the occasion, he went up at the podium and offered a rose to the MNS chief.

The departmental inquiry into Tawade's case was conducted by Additional Commissioner of Police (armed forces) Madhu Chavan, who later submitted a report to the Mumbai Police Commissioner indicting him of "indiscipline."

According to sources, on August 21, Tawade had come to the office at 11 am and worked till noon, but was later seen greeting Thackeray with a flower.

In August 2010, Tawade had alleged that some CISF men had assaulted him in the traffic department at Colaba, south Mumbai.

In 2011, he had sent a wireless message saying some policemen were beaten up, which later turned out to be "false," they said.


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No increment to constable who offered rose to Raj Thackeray

MUMBAI: Four months after a police constable offered a rose to MNS chief Raj Thackeray at the latter's public rally here, Mumbai police has decided to stop his increment for the next three years, officials said.

Constable Pramod Tawade, who was apparently moved by Thackeray's speech expressing solidarity with the police personnel and media persons, attacked during the August 11 protests against violence in Assam, had greeted the latter with a rose flower.

The Police department, which had earlier served a show cause notice to him, has now stopped his increment for three years.

"His three years' increment has been stopped," they said. Tawade, who was not posted for arrangement duty at Azad Maidan for Thackeray's rally on August 21, had come to the venue without seeking permission of his superiors. On the occasion, he went up at the podium and offered a rose to the MNS chief.

The departmental inquiry into Tawade's case was conducted by Additional Commissioner of Police (armed forces) Madhu Chavan, who later submitted a report to the Mumbai Police Commissioner indicting him of "indiscipline."

According to sources, on August 21, Tawade had come to the office at 11 am and worked till noon, but was later seen greeting Thackeray with a flower.

In August 2010, Tawade had alleged that some CISF men had assaulted him in the traffic department at Colaba, south Mumbai.

In 2011, he had sent a wireless message saying some policemen were beaten up, which later turned out to be "false," they said.


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‘Low conviction rate spurring sexual assault cases in India’

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 24 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Sexual assaults on women across the country increased by 25% in the six years to 2011 and a significant contributory cause of the alarming trend, legal experts believe, was the low conviction rate in rape cases.

According to data collated by the National Crime Records Bureau, 19,348 instances of rape were recorded in India in 2006. By the year 2008, the figure rose to 21,467, and by the year 2011, it was 24,206. This 25% rise in six years, legal experts assert, assumes more disturbing shades, given the poor conviction rate in sexual assault cases.

Last year, across India, the police filed chargesheets in nearly 94% of the incidents of rape but, separately, convictions were achieved in just 25% of the rape cases pending before courts. Compared to this, the police filed chargesheets in 85% of murder cases and convictions were realized in 40% of such trials before the judiciary.

This considerable variation puzzles legal eagles. They point out that the filing of a chargesheet means the police have thoroughly investigated a crime; it also signifies that law-enforcers have a prima facie case, with strong evidence, to establish that the accused person committed the offence. Why is it then, lawyers ask, that the police case so often falls apart when the trial starts in court? How are teams of defence lawyers so frequently able to punch holes in police contentions, eventually securing freedom for their clients?

"The police must ensure that they file the chargesheet as far as possible within the stipulated time limit of 90 days. Equally importantly, they should ensure that the evidence, gathered scientifically, is incontestable," said human rights lawyer Mihir Desai.

In Mumbai, a Right to Information Act (RTI) query revealed that between 2001 and 2010 there were approximately 400 unsolved murder cases and around 115 unsolved cases of sexual assault.

Activist Jeetendra Ghadge, who filed the RTI application, said, "The main problem is that, due to the abysmal conviction rates, there is no fear of law among criminals. A recent example of this was the sexual assault on a Spanish expatriate in the city. The accused there was out on bail for 10 different crimes involving break-ins."

When cases are not solved over a prolonged period, Ghadge said, the police can close them by filing 'A' summary reports. But when they make such a decision in a rape case, he continued, cops forget that they are deepening the trauma of thevictim and leaving multitudes of women exposed to the unidentified sexual assaulter.

Women's activist and lawyer Flavia Agnes said her NGO Majlis has undertaken a study of rape cases in Mumbai and will soon compile data on convictions and acquittals. "The aim of the study is to examine actual cases that were tried, identifythe loopholes in the system and find ways to plug them. This would help the prosecution in conducting better trials in future," explained Agnes. "The data and material gathered so far shows a very low conviction rate in rape cases."

In Maharashtra, the overall conviction rate stood at less than 9% in 2011. For this too, legal experts blame the poor coordination between the police machinery and prosecutors.

In an effort to bring in some change, the state government set up a committee two years ago. The panel recommended weekly meetings between police officers and prosecutors during investigations and later monthly meetings between senior policemen and prosecutors. The idea, unfortunately for the state, is yet to take root.

Terrible shame for society damaging the cause

The low conviction rate in rape cases is owed to several reasons, primary among them being police ineptness. Lawyers say the men in khaki often fail to collect evidence properly, enfeebling the prosecution's case in court:

Forensic evidence is vital in rape trials. That is why rules unambiguously state the procedures for evidence collection and analysis. Police are mandated to follow a process for custody and storage of samples of vaginal swabs, skin and other agents—but they seldom do. This disregard of rules causes trouble for the prosecution and frequently leads to acquittal of the accused Police do not get the victim's medical examination conducted in time.

The delay leads to flawed results and erasure of cogent evidence, such as presence of semen.

Chargesheets are often filed late despite the 90-day deadline. To curb this trend, lawyers say, errant cops should be suspended and punished if they fail to provide suitable reasons for the delay.

Given the frequent bungling by cops, legal eagles suggest appointment of special prosecutors for rape trials to ensure that the evidence gathered by policemen in such cases is incontestable and incontrovertible.

Trial courts are occasionally faced with a peculiar situation. As the trial gets drawn out due to judicial backlog, the victim's statement at times slightly diverges from that recorded in the FIR or before a magistrate. Lawyers recommend fasttracking rape trials—even establishment of a 60-day deadline—to avert this setback and to ensure that the victim's trauma is not played out in court for a prolonged period.

A major requirement in cases of sexual assault is sensitivity. Victims have to recount the trauma in court (even in an in-camera trial) for the judge. That is why, experts insist, it is imperative that prosecutors handle the victims with extreme sensitivity.


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Low conviction rate spurring sexual assault cases in India: Legal experts

MUMBAI: Sexual assaults on women across the country increased by 25% in the six years to 2011 and a significant contributory cause of the alarming trend, legal experts believe, was the low conviction rate in rape cases.

According to data collated by the National Crime Records Bureau, 19,348 instances of rape were recorded in India in 2006. By the year 2008, the figure rose to 21,467, and by the year 2011, it was 24,206. This 25% rise in six years, legal experts assert, assumes more disturbing shades, given the poor conviction rate in sexual assault cases.

Last year, across India, the police filed chargesheets in nearly 94% of the incidents of rape but, separately, convictions were achieved in just 25% of the rape cases pending before courts. Compared to this, the police filed chargesheets in 85% of murder cases and convictions were realized in 40% of such trials before the judiciary.

This considerable variation puzzles legal eagles. They point out that the filing of a chargesheet means the police have thoroughly investigated a crime; it also signifies that law-enforcers have a prima facie case, with strong evidence, to establish that the accused person committed the offence. Why is it then, lawyers ask, that the police case so often falls apart when the trial starts in court? How are teams of defence lawyers so frequently able to punch holes in police contentions, eventually securing freedom for their clients?

"The police must ensure that they file the chargesheet as far as possible within the stipulated time limit of 90 days. Equally importantly, they should ensure that the evidence, gathered scientifically, is incontestable," said human rights lawyer Mihir Desai.

In Mumbai, a Right to Information Act (RTI) query revealed that between 2001 and 2010 there were approximately 400 unsolved murder cases and around 115 unsolved cases of sexual assault.

Activist Jeetendra Ghadge, who filed the RTI application, said, "The main problem is that, due to the abysmal conviction rates, there is no fear of law among criminals. A recent example of this was the sexual assault on a Spanish expatriate in the city. The accused there was out on bail for 10 different crimes involving break-ins."

When cases are not solved over a prolonged period, Ghadge said, the police can close them by filing 'A' summary reports. But when they make such a decision in a rape case, he continued, cops forget that they are deepening the trauma of thevictim and leaving multitudes of women exposed to the unidentified sexual assaulter.

Women's activist and lawyer Flavia Agnes said her NGO Majlis has undertaken a study of rape cases in Mumbai and will soon compile data on convictions and acquittals. "The aim of the study is to examine actual cases that were tried, identifythe loopholes in the system and find ways to plug them. This would help the prosecution in conducting better trials in future," explained Agnes. "The data and material gathered so far shows a very low conviction rate in rape cases."

In Maharashtra, the overall conviction rate stood at less than 9% in 2011. For this too, legal experts blame the poor coordination between the police machinery and prosecutors.

In an effort to bring in some change, the state government set up a committee two years ago. The panel recommended weekly meetings between police officers and prosecutors during investigations and later monthly meetings between senior policemen and prosecutors. The idea, unfortunately for the state, is yet to take root.

Terrible shame for society damaging the cause

The low conviction rate in rape cases is owed to several reasons, primary among them being police ineptness. Lawyers say the men in khaki often fail to collect evidence properly, enfeebling the prosecution's case in court:

Forensic evidence is vital in rape trials. That is why rules unambiguously state the procedures for evidence collection and analysis. Police are mandated to follow a process for custody and storage of samples of vaginal swabs, skin and other agents—but they seldom do. This disregard of rules causes trouble for the prosecution and frequently leads to acquittal of the accused Police do not get the victim's medical examination conducted in time.

The delay leads to flawed results and erasure of cogent evidence, such as presence of semen.

Chargesheets are often filed late despite the 90-day deadline. To curb this trend, lawyers say, errant cops should be suspended and punished if they fail to provide suitable reasons for the delay.

Given the frequent bungling by cops, legal eagles suggest appointment of special prosecutors for rape trials to ensure that the evidence gathered by policemen in such cases is incontestable and incontrovertible.

Trial courts are occasionally faced with a peculiar situation. As the trial gets drawn out due to judicial backlog, the victim's statement at times slightly diverges from that recorded in the FIR or before a magistrate. Lawyers recommend fasttracking rape trials—even establishment of a 60-day deadline—to avert this setback and to ensure that the victim's trauma is not played out in court for a prolonged period.

A major requirement in cases of sexual assault is sensitivity. Victims have to recount the trauma in court (even in an in-camera trial) for the judge. That is why, experts insist, it is imperative that prosecutors handle the victims with extreme sensitivity.


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Missing complaint helps cops detect murder case

MUMBAI: A missing complaint filed at the Vikrholi police station helped the Ghatkopar police to identify a 19-year-old murder victim's whereabouts and further helped in tracking down one of the two accused in the case. Arrested Riyaz Shaikh and the main accused Anees Shaikh (27) smashed the victim's eyes and strangled Kishore Mohite to snatch away Rs 5,000 salary that he had received on November 13, said the police.

The arrested accused, Riyaz, was a cleaner by profession and had aided Anees, a bus driver, to kill Mohite.

"They killed Mohite because they had lost over Rs 15,000 in gambling and was left with nothing. They were aware about Mohite who sleeps in the bus which they are employed with and knew about the salary he was having on the day of incident," said Ghatkopar police inspector Rajkumar Kothmire.

Initially the police had no clue about the victim's whereabouts whose body was found dumped outside a cinema hall in Ghatkopar (west) after killing him at Powai where the bus was parked on November 13. "We managed to get the victim's details on November 18 after we found a missing complaint lodged at Vikhroli police station. His family identified him. They gave information that Landge was addicted to wrong habits and used to sleep and gamble in a bus parked on roadside," said Kothmire.

Based on the tip-off, we found the private bus service providers in the city and found that the two accused had gone missing after November 14 and has not reported to work. "We managed to get the mobile network location of Riyaz and found him at West Bengal. We took help of his friend and asked him to come down to Mumbai for in important work and got him arrested when he got down from train at Dadar," said the investigators.

Police are searching for the main accused.


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Supervisor held for molesting co-worker

MUMBAI: The Bhandup police arrested a 35-year-old man for allegedly misbehaving with his 30-year-old deaf and dumb co-worker inside the company premise on Saturday morning. Accused Chandrashekar Bane, supervisor with a biscuit manufacturing unit in Bhandup, was caught by other workers after the victim brought the incident to their notice.

The incident occurred at Shangrilla Biscuit Manufacturing Unit at LBS Marg in Bhandup (West) when Bane walked to the victim where she was busy in preparing the biscuit. "The arrest was made late evening on the victim's complaint that was filed at 5pm. Investigations are on to get detailed information about the incident," said assistant commissioner of police (Bhandup division) Mahadev Gundewadi.

The complaint was lodged by victim's co-worker Sharda Lokhande after the victim approached her gesturing about Bane's act. Bane was caught by the workers and was thrashed before he was handed over to the police. "The victim informed that Bane approached her and touched her despite objecting him," said the Bhandup police.

Meanwhile Bane who was accused of misbehaving with the victim told the police that "he was made scapegoat by the company union" who was against him and wanted him to get removed from the company. "Police are investigating whether Bane was involved in similar offence in the past in the company premise. He booked under IPC section 354 (outrage modesty) and was released on bail," said the investigators.


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Youth bludgeoned to death for mobile phone

MUMBAI: The Sakinaka police last week arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly bludgeoning to death his friend under the influence of alcohol following a heated argument over a mobile phone handset in the Ghatkopar locality.

Police said that the accused Sudhir Raul (28) was nabbed from the spot where his friend Sharadkumar Gupta (28) was bludgeoned to death with a Kadappa stone by him at around 2am.

Raul and Gupta were drinking together at the Kulkarniwadi area in Asalfa village when the former inquired the latter about his mobile handset. "Raul wanted Gupta's phone and despite asking him twice, the victim did not respond which resulted in a heated argument between them. In a fit of rage, Raul lifted the stone and banged it on Gupta's head. He was found in a pool of blood with severe injuries," said the police.

Locals on hearing the victim's scream rushed to the spot and got him admitted in a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.


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Army sepoy denied physical relationship, commits suicide

MUMBAI: A 28-year-old army sepoy committed suicide at his lover's (a woman police constable) house in police quarters, Ghatkopar (West), after she refused to engage in a physical relation with him, said the Ghatkopar police.

The deceased, Amol Landge, was under depression after the woman constable who was not keeping well, denied his approach for getting into a relationship. "The main reason was that the woman denied to have a relationship with him. He was addicted to alcohol after his parents had forced him to marry two years back after dismissing his affair with the woman constable," said a police officer.

The army also blacklisted Landge from the force due to his unprofessional way of working. He came to Mumbai two months ago and stayed at his lover's flat situated in the police quarters. "Landge hailed from Sangli and was in a relationship with the woman constable who lives at the Ghatkopar police quarters. However, Landge's parents got him married to another woman. He was depressed because his parents got him married against his wishes. He used to frequently visit his lover's residence for the past two months," said Ghatkopar police inspector, Rajkumar Kothmire.

Landge visited the cop's residence on Friday around 4.30pm and he directly went to the bathroom and hung himself from an iron rod of the window. "The woman constable said when Landge did not come out for a while she got suspicious. She knocked the bathroom door but there was no response. She broke open the door and found Landge hanging. He was rushed to the Rajawadi Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival," said Kothmire.

He added that Landge had not been reporting to work and had developed a drinking habit. No suicide note was found. The police have registered a case of accidental death. "The woman constable's statement has been recorded," he said.


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More neurologists needed for increasing needs of patients: Experts

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 23 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: With an increasing population falling prey to it, degenerative diseases, mostly neurological, stands as one of the biggest health threats in India. Experts in the city have stressed on the need for more neurologists in India to attend to the increasing needs of patients suffering from neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer's and dementia.

One of the premier medical journals in the country, 'Journal of Association of Physicians of India' (JAPI) stated earlier this year that there are only approximately 1,100 qualified clinical neurologists working in India.

Doctors say that frequent screening with the use of technology such as CT scan and MRI scans is making it possible to detect and diagnose these conditions early.

"There has been a steady increase in the number of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) in recent times. The numbers are rising apparently due to increased awareness or increased availability of imaging facilities such as MRI scans," said Dr Arun Shah, consultant, neurologist, Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai.

Several common neurological conditions have also been recognised as serious and need urgent attention. They include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson and Alzheimer among others.

MS is an auto-immune disease in which the body attacks its own cells and tissues hampering neurological signalling from the brain to nerves around the body. According to estimates, there are over one lakh MS patients in the country. Women are twice more likely to fall prey to MS than men.

Parkinson's disease is another common neurodegenerative disorder and is characterized by progressive loss of muscle control leading to loss of mobility. The disease is believed to affect about 7 million people in India.

Approximately 70% of all dementia cases can be attributed to Alzheimer's. There are around 3.7 million Indians who suffer from this dreaded disease accounting for almost a quarter of the global load. There is an acute lack of facilities to detect or treat patients with Alzheimer's, so patients get ignored. In the west, they are much better off.

Dr B S Singhal, director of neurology, Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences said, "These chronic neurological conditions cause long-term disability if left untreated. Also, such patients suffer severe pain and go through mental as well as physical trauma. It becomes crucial to treat such patients with high priority. We urge the government to pay heed to the situation. The burden of neurological disorders in our country is increasing, the awareness in the population is growing yet there is shortage of neurologists to care for them."


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Western Railway extends run of Ahmedabad-Madgaon special train upto Jan 2-3

MUMBAI: In order to cater to extra rush of passengers, Western Railway has decided to extend the run of Ahmedabad-Madgaon special train upto Jan 3.

WR's chief public relations officer Sharat Chandrayan said, "The special air conditioned super train runs via Vasai, thus benefitting passengers from Mumbai too. The train has AC First Class, AC II Tier and AC III Tier Coaches."

Train number 09414 Ahmedabad-Madgaon-Ahmedabad train will run up to January 2, 2013.

The date of booking of train no 09414 for extended trips will be open from December 23, 2012, he added.

Similarly Train no 09413 Madgaon - Ahmedabad ( Weekly ) Super fast AC special train will now also run on January 23, 2013.

Train no 09414 Ahmedabad - Madgaon ( Weekly ) departs from Ahmedabad at 4.35 pm on every Wednesday and reaches Madgaon
at 1.30 pm on the next day .

Similarly, Train no 09413 Madgaon - Ahmedabad ( Weekly ) Superfast AC special train departs from Madgaon at 4.30 pm on every Thursday and reaches Ahmedabad at 1.20 pm on the next day .

He further said the train halts at Nadiad, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Navsari, Valsad, Vapi, Vasai Road, Panvel, Roha, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankavali, Sawantwadi, Thivim & Karmali stations in both the directions.


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You need eye care more than eye glasses

MUMBAI: Healthy eyes are essential to your quality of life. So even if you don't wear glasses, you need to visit an eye healthcare professional regularly.

Preventive eye care and examination has a lot more to it than just vision correction. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye doctor and having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure of this.

Dr. Sanjay Dhawan, Additional Director, HOD Ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital says "there are many diseases having no symptoms, regular eye exams are the only way to catch those silent diseases in their early stages, when they're more easily treated." In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration are often asymptomatic in the early stages. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, especially because once the symptoms set in, the effects on vision are often irreversible.

Dr. Dhawan suggests Comprehensive eye exams allows the eye doctor to look directly at retinal blood vessels, thereby revealing potential warning signs of serious health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, even before the symptoms show up anywhere else in the body. In fact, examining the retinal blood vessels provides a real time report card of how these diseases are affecting blood vessels throughout the body. This information is valuable in medical management of these metabolic diseases.

A comprehensive eye examination includes the following:

Visual acuity test: This will require you to read letters on a chart in which the letters that get smaller as you read down each line. You cover each eye one after the other, and read aloud, going down the chart, until you can't read the letters anymore.

Examination of outer part of eye: This test requires the use of an instrument called Slit Lamp bio microscope. It provides a magnified view of the anterior part of the eye: namely the conjunctiva, cornea, lens and the anterior chamber. Your doctor also uses special lenses in conjunction with this apparatus to visualise your retina.

Examination of inner part of eye: This test is also performed on the slit lamp with specialised lenses. Additionally, your doctor may use a handheld instrument called the ophthalmoscope. The procedure is non invasive and does not hurt at all.

Measuring the pressures of eyes: This test uses an instrument called a Tonometer that measures the pressure inside eye. Patients with a family history of glaucoma in particular should be screened regularly with this because they are at an increased risk for this potentially blinding disease.

Assessment of color vision: This test is done to screen defects in color vision. Color deficiency affects the color of the things you see but not your vision. This is also hereditary in nature. Your doctor uses a colour chart called the Ishihara Chart to screen for this disease.

Measurement of cornea curvature: This test requires the use of an instrument called Keratometer. It is used to measure the curvature of the front surface of eye, called cornea. It helps to determine the correct size of the contact lenses.

Additional Director, HOD Ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital, Dr. Sanjay Dhawan informs it is important to have a routine eye examination regularly to not only detect any eye disease at an early stage but also to maintain good eye health.

Routine eye examination should be done as per following schedule:

o At Birth: to rule out any congenital eye disorders (e.g., cataract, glaucoma, etc).

o At 1 year: to rule out any developmental disorders of the eye (e.g., cataract, squint, retinoblastoma, etc.)

o At School Admission: to rule out refractive errors (need for spectacles), amblyopia (lazy eye), squint, etc.

o Then Every 3-5 years till the age of 40 years

o Every 1-2 years after the age of 40: to detect presbyopia, glaucoma, cataract, effects of any other disease of the body (e.g., Diabetes Mellitus), etc.

Tips for healthy eyes:

o Do not splash water into your eyes

o Get your eyes checked regularly

o Hold your reading material at least 40 cms away from your eyes

o For every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eye muscles to relax and refocus.

o To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, remember to blink frequently. The Think and Blink principle will keep your eyes comfortable.

o Always ensure you get adequate sleep.

Dr. Dhawan says "Naturally occurring food items are more effective than artificial vitamin sources. The most important foods for eye health are ones that are rich in the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fats. A basic rule of thumb is to make sure your food plate has all of these colours: red, green, yellow and brown. Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts should also be an integral part of your diet.
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94% Mumbaikars in favour of ban on gutkha, paan masala ban

MUMBAI: According to a recent survey conducted by NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation in Mumbai, 94% of the 2500 respondents are in favor of the ban on gutkha & paan masala in Maharashtra. One of the main reasons why citizens feel the ban is essential is because of the correlation between tobacco products and cancer related diseases. Equally revealing is the fact that 91% of the tobacco consumers in the sample group also felt that the ban is justified.

Speaking about this survey, Devika Chadha, Programme Director, Salaam Bombay Foundation said, "This survey reveals the public opinion on the issue of gutkha ban in the state. It can be very clearly deduced that the citizens - be they tobacco users or not - are also in favor of this ban."

Another important aspect of this report is the likeliness of gutkha & paan masala consumers to switch to other tobacco products. 85% of the total respondents and 90% of tobacco users feel that post-ban there is great chance of gutkha, paan masala users switching to alterate tobacco products like khaini, beedi, cigarettes. "We appeal to the government to put a blanket ban on all forms of tobacco products as the survey reveals how gutkha and paan masala users may switch to consumption of other tobacco products" Devika Chadha from Salaam Bombay Foundation said.

The concern over the harmful influence of tobacco on children and their health was another reason given by respondents to justify the ban. "We at Salaam Bombay believe that the children of this country have the right to a safe, healthy future. The well-being of children was at stake due to the free availability of tobacco products and the ban is a step towards a better future for the country's youth," said Ms. Chadha.

Apart from these major revelations, the survey also focuses on awareness about the ban on gutkha & paan masala. 95% of the respondents feel that there is enough awareness about the products being banned in the state.
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Public-private partnership to reduce maternity mortality rate in India

MUMBAI: The Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India has joined hands with the Maharashtra government, Rotary Club of Mumbai, the Indian Medical Association and NGO Pragati Pratishthan to help reducing the maternity mortality ratio in the country. The project begins with a pilot study by conducting medical camps across the tribal areas of Thane district in Maharashtra.

The medical causes of 'maternal mortality' include severe hemorrhage, infection, injury, anemia, raised blood pressure, and injuries during childbirth. More importantly, delay in diagnosis of urgent and serious medical problems, coupled with inadequate transport facilities with consequent delay in accessing expert care further contribute to the toll.

Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5A of the UN aims at three quarter reduction of Maternal Mortality Ratio ( MMR) between 1990 and 2015. Slow progress in achieving the goal of MDG 5A, is partly due to programmes aimed at improvements through specific single areas of remedial action such as training of professionals, building of infrastructure, or correction of deficient resources, some working at the grass root level. Major obstacles include lack of knowledge at the grass root level, about the benefits of modern medical practice and ways of accessing modern practice and resources - both medical and surgical.

The volunteers and professionals (Rotary and IMA) conducting these camps are being given vocational training and will travel to the target areas, offering hands on skills training, assistance with the time bound plan for correction of deficient resources.

"This exercise will also help encouraging local women's group to imbibe the principles of antenatal and postnatal care, family spacing, and child immunisation. Monitoring and evaluation against pre-agreed parameters will be the important components of this campaign," said OPPI director general, Tapan Ray.

In spite of focus on upgrading institutions to make Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) available, the proportion of institutional deliveries has shown a meager increase, from 26% to 39% between 1990s to early 2000s. During the same period, skilled birth attendance increased marginally from 33% to 47%, while women receiving the minimum three antenatal examinations rose from just 44% to 51%. As many as 61% of women in India still continue to give birth at home , implying that the majority of Indian women deliver away from an EmOC institution increasing the risk of maternal morbidity/mortality.


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Bombay Natural History Society organizes nature camps

MUMBAI: The Rann of Kutch and the rain forests of Borneo await nature enthusiasts. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has organized three nature camps which will enable nature lover's to come in close touch with the wild. The fact that winter is also the season to spot migratory birds is an added incentive.

The BNHS has rolled out plans for nature camp at the Rann of Kutch or the salt desert. In winter, the Rann is home to demoiselle and common crane. Flamingos, pelicans, storks, ibises, spoonbills, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl are also spotted in big numbers. The Rann is also the hunting ground of raptors like the Short-toed Eagle, buzzards, Aquila eagles, six species of falcons and three species of harriers. It is one of the few places where hundreds of harriers could be seen roosting on open-ground at night.The second camp will be organized at Chilka lake, where around 216 species of birds can be spotted. It is also famous for the only know population in India of the Vulnerable and rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. The Bottled-nose Dolphin can also be seen here.

The third nature camp will take the nature lovers to the rain forests in Borneo, Malaysia. Borneo island is also known as the Land of the Hornbills. It is the oldest rain forest in the world and is the only place in the world to see the endangered Borneo Orangutan. The camp will coverBako National Park, Gunung Gading National Park and Mulu National Park.


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Harassed on bus, students take boys to police station

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 21 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Aggrieved girls taught a different lesson to a group of boys who were harassing them in Karad, the hometown of Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. For over three months, the girls found that when they were travelling from Kale to Karad by bus, 13 boys were following them and passing indecent remarks.

The girls took the bus along with the boys to the Karad police station and narrated their plight to inspector Ramkrishna Muluk on Wednesday. The girls told him that travelling by bus from Kale to Karad to attend college was a nightmare and that it was high time that he took the boys to task.

"It was a shocking incident. The boys repeatedly harassed the girls. We have been booked under the Bombay Police Act but were let off after a warning as they were minors, he said.

"We were keen on a written complaint from the girls, but when they were reluctant, we took suo moto preventive action against the students. They have given us a bond of good behaviour. We are summoning their parents,'' Muluk said.

He said while stern action as per provisions of the law has been taken, vigil around educational institutions and the bus depot has been enhanced. "We have deployed cops in plainclothes at key places to ensure women are safe,'' he said.


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Woman struck with a chopper by neighbour

MUMBAI: In yet another attack on women, a 30-year-old homemaker was allegedly struck with a chopper by her neighbour at the Azad Nagar transit camp in Sewri late on Thursday evening. Preeti Jaiswal suffered injuries on her neck and hand after Vilas Chorge (35) attacked her in front of her nine-year-old son.

Preeti was on her scooter, ready to drop her son for tuitions, when the incident occurred.

The accused also tried to attack her husband, Suresh, when he intervened. A constable caught Chorge and took him to the RAK Marg police station. The accused also slapped the on-duty cop.

At 6.15 pm, when Chorge was standing near a roadside coconut vendor in an inebriated condition, he thought that Preeti was trying to run over him with her scooter after she lost her balance.

"The accused and the victim's family had a fight over a petty issue a few months ago. He had taken the matter seriously and it seems to be an act of revenge," said additional commissioner of police (central region) Praveen Salunke.

Chorge attacked her with a chopper that he got from the coconut vendor. "My sister and her son were on the scooter when she lost control while trying to enter the main road close to the Sewri bus-stop when a bus came in the same direction. Chorge, who was standing next to the bus-stop, thought that my sister tried to hit him with the scooter to take revenge," the victim's brother, Anil Jaiswal, told TOI.

KEM hospital said her condition was stable. Her son, who was standing in the front, also suffered bruises.

Chorge, who has been booked under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC, will be produced before court on Friday.


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19-year-old boy arrested for rape and molestation

MUMBAI: The Shivaji Nagar police arrested a 19-year-old boy for allegedly raping his neighbour's 10-year-old daughter and molesting another neighbour's nine-year-old daughter on Tuesday. Imran Shaikh convinced the two to come over to his hutment at Sanjay Nagar to play with him.

Senior inspector R S Agarwal said the offences occurred at different times and Shaikh was arrested after a complaint was lodged on Tuesday night.

The matter came to light after when the victims went home and complained.

The arrest was made after medical examination of the victims confirmed that one was raped.


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Air India to launch flights to Agra, Khajuraho

MUMBAI: For foreign tourists, air connectivity, or rather, the lack of it, has played spoilsport for years now, as quite a few destinations of interest in India are accessible only by road or rail. On that front there is some good news this winter, as Air India on Friday announced the launch of flights from the capital to three destinations that are high up on travel itineraries.

"From December 26 onwards, Air India flight AI405/406 from Delhi will connect Varanasi, Agra and Khajuraho,'' said a release issued by the airline. The only problem is that the national carrier has made the announcement a bit late in the day. Most of the foreign tourists who are scheduled to visit India this winter must have already planned their itinerary, booked flights, hotels, months ago. But domestic tourists can take advantage of the new air connections.

The flight AI 406 will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, on the route Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Khajuraho and the return flight, AI 405, will fly from Khajuraho to Varanasi and terminate at Delhi. Flight AI 406 from Delhi to Agra will depart Delhi at 1245 hours and reach Varanasi at 1400 noon, take off from Varanasi at 1435 hours and reach Agra at 1530 hours, leave Agra at 1605 hours to reach Khajuraho at 1645 hours. The return flight AI 405 will leave Khajuraho at 1720 hours and arrive in Varanasi at 1810 hours, depart from Varanasi at 1845 hours and reach Delhi at 1955 hours. The airline said that it has offered a slew of competitive fares on this sector.


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Credit card racketeer arrested

MUMBAI: The Crime Intelligence Unit ( CIU) of the Mumbai police on Friday arrested two person involved in the credit card cloning racket. The two accused have been identified as Mohammed Aslam Shaikh and Asad Ismail Sayyed. Sayyed is the main accused who used to pass on the secret information of the debit/credit cards to the gang members in Mumbai. The modus operandi of the gang is that they would simply fetch the credit and debit card details of the international card holders and than would make a duplicate card. Once the card is made the accused would than buy airline tickets and sell off.

Police arrested Sameer Kasim Shaikh and Tauffik Rajabali Mistry and seized 30 mobiles, around 25 SIM cards, four laptops, 20 international air tickets, 25 credit and debit cards and two data cards from their possession. Police have launched a manhunt for six people including two bank officials and a senior call centre employee who used to pass on the credit card information to the gang.


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Food distribution, not shortage to blame for India's food insecurity

If you are one of those who believe that the shortage of food is to blame for India's rampant malnutrition problem, it is time to do a rethink. Food and trade policy analyst Devinder Sharma who was in Mumbai on Friday carefully cut through the maze of data to explain the root of India's food security issues.

He explained that we live in paradoxical times, and that it wasn't the shortage of food but the lack of a proper food distribution network that was to blame. In America he pointed out, food was currently the biggest killer with 62% of people diagnosed as being clinically obese, while India lay at the other end of the spectrum with 62% of people remaining hungry. "There are more weight loss clinics in America than ration shops in India," he said.

Of India's 1.2 billion, an estimated 320 million people go to bed hungry. But this too isn't for the want of food, given that India produced a surplus of 82.3 million tonnes of crops as of June 2012. Bulk of this however lies rotting in warehouses run by the Food Corporation of India. "We are told that we need to increase production, but that's not where the problem lies," he pointed out.

Sharma criticised many of the government's food security policies in terms of putting a cap on produrement from farmers, pointing out that it would cause distress sales among farmers. He also explained that the government planned to trade food surplus in the forwards trading market which essentially means using food as a commercial product than using it to feed the poor.


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Man donates organs of son knocked down by railway pole

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 20 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: I am going to play," were the last words that Atanu Paul (17) uttered to his sister. His sister, a resident of Diva, had no idea how far her brother was going. On Monday morning, she received a call saying that Atanu had met with a train accident and sustained severe head injuries.

A student of Std XI in Kolkata, Atanu had come down to visit his sister for the vacations. On Monday, he left saying he was going to play, met up with two friends and headed to Mumbadevi temple in a CST-bound train. However, between Masjid Bunder and CST, a pole hit Atanu's head, as he was leaning out of the crowded train compartment.

"His friends took him to Jaslok hospital, while we called his parents," said Prashanto Pasmal, Atanu's brother-in-law. According to doctors who treated Atanu, a major portion of his head was smashed. "When he was brought to the hospital, his head was smashed and he had suffered massive bleeding. We conducted a surgery, but Atanu was declared brain dead by neurosurgeons by evening," said Dr R R Pulgaonkar, chief executive officer, of Jaslok hospital.

When Atanu's father, a farmer in West Bengal, reached the hospital, he realized that his son could not be saved and took a conscious decision to save other lives. "His father realized that Atanu could not be brought back, but other people could be saved. Thus he decided to donate his son's organs," said Prashanto.

According to doctors, once a person has been established brain dead (irreversible end of brain activity, including involuntary action such as breathing), breathing and heartbeats are maintained by machines and the person will appear to be alive. However, the machines can help only up to 48 or 72 hours and the body 'crashes' thereafter.

According to the zonal transplantation coordination centre (ZTCC), while a kidney and liver were transplanted in Jaslok hospital itself, another kidney was sent to Parakh hospital in Ghatkopar on Monday night. Sujata Ashtekar, ZTCC's transplant coordinator, said this year there have been the highest organ transplants in the city.

"There have been 43 kidney, 18 liver and two lung transplants. The numbers have been highest for Mumbai. While better awareness among citizens can be attributed for the high numbers, there are still many more who are living in pain. They need transplants to live."


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Man gets 7 years in prison for raping teen daughter

MUMBAI: A 40-year-old man was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on Wednesday for raping his 14-year-old daughter several times over a year.

Sessions judge V M Mohite convicted the accused, John Sheri, and, apart from the jail term, fined him Rs 5,000. Sheri was booked under IPC sections 376 ( rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Sheri's crimes came to light in December 2011 after the daughter confided in her paternal uncle. The victim had reportedly complained to her mother on occasions, but no steps were taken to stop the crime.

According to the prosecution, Sheri lived with his wife, son and daughter at Seven Bungalows, Andheri (West). Mostly unemployed and an alcoholic, he first sexually assaulted his daughter in 2010 during Ganeshotsav. When the victim's mother and brother were out, Sheri forced himself on the 14-year-old and, when she screamed, almost strangulated her. He then raped the minor while smothering her. Later, threatening with a beating, he told her not to tell anyone about the incident.

The girl's ordeal continued for months. Once, Sheri even brought the teenager back from school just to sexually assault her. Unable to bear the trauma, the girl mustered up the courage to confide in her mother. But, when confronted, Sheri denied the assertion.

In October 2011, on the pretext of visiting family in Pune, Sheri took the victim along with him. En route, he checked into a hotel, where he repeatedly raped her. In Pune, the teen told her aunt about the repeated assault. On their return, the girl once again complained to her mother, but, when questioned, Sheri simply beat up the woman.

The girl eventually spoke of her trauma to her uncle, who helped her register a complaint with Versova police. The victim was taken to hospital where tests revealed injuries on her private parts. The girl's statements were recorded and Sheri was arrested immediately. Since then, he has been in jail. The victim was sent to a welfare home for children, where she still resides.

"In court, the victim supported the prosecution case. Her mother did not testify, but among the four witnesses were her uncle, aunt, the investigating officer and the medical officer who conducted the tests," said public prosecutor P S Tawde.


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Modern girl’s arsenal: Pepper spray, early deadlines, handy cellphone

MUMBAI: A series of kindred crimes, like the rapes and molestations we've been lately witnessing, are not isolated violations visited on single individuals, but elements that accrete to form a slow-building tsunami that eventually crashes down on a populace and submerges its social infrastructure. What's left behind is the thick silt of fear.

The women of Delhi have long known this fear; Mumbai's women are now getting acquainted with it. Women, particularly those who work long hours, have become doubly cautious about travelling alone past midnight, and have even started equipping themselves with that quintessential ammunition of the Delhi woman - pepper spray. Sheila Singh (name changed), is an unmarried media professional who never leaves home without it. "I sometimes work late, and even when I'm travelling home in an office car or private taxi, I'm always on guard," she says. Ken Lobo, editor of DJ Mag, also advises his girlfriend to carry a can. "She should be prepared for any eventuality," he says.

Their vigilance has been built bit-by-bit by regular reports they read of women being attacked at home and in public spaces. Preethi Pinto, 30, works for the non-profit Sneha and travels from her home in Santa Cruz to office in Dharavi. When she has to take a cab home past midnight, she follows a few ground rules: "I take a taxi driven by a seemingly older man, trying to gauge the reliability of the driver. I sit directly behind him, which would render it difficult for him to attack me should he try. I try to stay on the phone with someone and convey the taxi licence number."\

Pinto is one of many who now keeps a rule book to help her negotiate the city alone. Some who feel they need no such manual are made to memorize the safety drill by their parents, partners and friends. Sammy and Vinita Reuben, a couple in Andheri with two working daughters, recite the litany every morning: "Make sure no one else is in the rickshaw you board; be aware of the routes the driver takes; if you sense something wrong, act immediately." Vinita says, "The young today don't realize there's a risk and darker side to the city." Both believe Mumbai has become more unsafe; it's why they've set an 11.30pm deadline for their daughters, one 28, the other 32.

In Thane, Leela Surendran, has set a 9.30pm deadline for her 17-yearold daughter. "If she returns home after 9pm, I usually pick her up at the station," she says. "I can't imagine her coming home alone late. I reassigned her to a 6.30am tuition to avoid such hassles."

Some time back, the Reubens and Surendran may have been called overprotective, but now they're not the only ones to worry. "My mother wants me home by 9pm," says Priyanka Shetty, a 27-year-old PR professional. "It's impossible in my line. So if I'm late, my parents insist I'm dropped home by someone they know. If I take the train, they ensure I'm on the phone with them throughout. My mother won't sleep until I'm home. Their protectiveness used to annoy me, but now I understand," she admits.

Even women at hostels have been stood a session of Caution 101. Anuradha Tendulkar, warden at Aditya Birla Hostel for Working Women in Chembur (E), advises her 224 boarders, both students and working women, on public safety measures whenever she can. "I advise them not to travel in sparsely crowded trains; check if a policeman is in the compartment; keep their cell phone handy, and have a pre-dialled number ready to call in an emergency," she says.

But, some believe Mumbai is not half as bad as Delhi. "I'd rate Mumbai 10 on the threat-to-women scale, and Delhi 100," says Sunanda Chadha, 37, VP at Publicis, who migrated here 10 years ago because it was relatively safer. "The sense of security here has diminished, but not as much as we'd like to believe," she says. Chadha says India hasn't yet embraced the concept of the single woman, so cities here don't have the social and material infrastructure for it. "If as single women we've stepped into this realm of independence, we're aware of the risks - risks that measures like pepper sprays and early deadlines cannot comprehensively overcome."

With inputs from Namrata Singh & Clara Lewis


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Facebook arrests: Palghar girls leave for IIM Ahmedabad

MUMBAI: Palgar girls Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan who were caught in a Facebook controversy left for the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad on Thursday morning.

The girls, 21 years, who are travelling with their family members, took separate trains for Ahmedabad. They will be hosted at the residence of IIM Prof Anil Gupta.

Shaheen came under limelight for her Facebook post on the shutdown of Mumbai following the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on November 18.

Shaheen was arrested by the Palghar police after a FIR was filed by the local Shiv Sena President Bhushan Sankhe. Rinu was arrested for 'liking" Shaheen's post.

The girls are expected to speak about their experiences following the arrest and nationwide support they received. The two days stay in the campus will also be used to tour the prestigious institute.

Shaheen who is a Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) graduate is keen on interacting with the students as she hopes to pursue a post graduate management course in future.

Rinu who has set her goals on sound engineering at a Chennai college did not want to miss the opportunity of visiting one of the country's premier institute. Her elder brother Rahul, a singer by profession, is accompanying her.

The girls will return to Palghar on December 23.


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Leading climate change validator TUV SUD relocates from Munich to India

MUMBAI: TUV SUD, an international leading technical service organization catering to the industry, mobility and certification segment, has decided to manage the validation and verification of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects from India. In its 69th meeting, the executive board of the UNFCCC approved the relocation of TUV SUD from Munich to Pune. The DOE (designated operational entity) located at TUV SUD South Asia has already started operations.

``The relocation of the designated operational entity to India marks an important step which we are taking to cater to the significance of the newly industrialized countries and the Asia Pacific region for the clean development
mechanism,'' said Bratin Roy, assistant vice president of TUV SUD South Asia in Pune. The DOE is responsible for all CDM projects worldwide that are validated and verified by TUV SUD, which has been engaged in the area of climate change projects for over ten years and was amongst the first companies to be accredited as DOE for the CDM and as accredited independent entity for joint implementation projects on behalf of the UNFCCC.

While the CDM applies to climate-change projects in developing and newly industrialized countries, joint implementation projects are aimed at promoting climate-change measures in industrialized countries. TUV SUD has expanded its international presence, in particular continuously strengthening its position in Asia Pacific. While the accreditation for joint implementation will remain at TUV SUD Industrie Service GmbH in Munich, the move of CDM accreditation to India represents a further step towards the strategic goals of the international group of companies.

`Although our CDM auditors will remain located at our subsidiaries in the individual regions, the responsibility for, and management of all CDM projects will move to TUV SUD South Asia in the future,'' explains Boris Gehring, CEO of the industry service division of TUV SUD AG. The relocation of the DOE is also of symbolic importance, as ``it demonstrates that we do not see India, China and other Asian countries as an 'extended workbench', but as equal partners in our global networks.'' At TUV SUD, over 80 members of staff are involved in the validation and verification of climate change projects, roughly 60 of whom deal with the realization of CDM projects. Since the start of activities, the auditors have processed more than 1,600 CDM verifications and validations. In 2011, TUV SUD employed 17,000-plus staff at more than 800 locations worldwide.


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