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Man cons live-in partner of Rs 50 lakh gold with DJ’s help

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 29 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: An unemployed man, who was in a live-in relationship with a woman, and his friend, who is a disc jockey, were arrested on Sunday for stealing gold worth Rs 50 lakh from the girlfriend's flat.

The accused, Avinash Kale, was financially dependent on his partner. In the incident, which took place on Saturday, Kale convinced his girlfriend to go out for a movie without him as he had to take care of urgent work. Kale then stole the ornaments from the woman's flat in Mahim that he also resided in.

The theft came to light after the woman returned home and found it had been ransackled. Kale's friend, Vishnu Kamble, who assisted Kale in the crime admitted to the theft after he was interrogated by the crime branch. Kamble told cops Kale had been routinely stealing from the home and cleaned out the entire booty on April 26. Police have recovered 550g of gold from the duo.

The victim lodged a complaint with the Mahim police who scanned Kale's call reports and found he had been in Kapad Bazaar itself that day. Cops also noticed that many calls had been made between Kale and Kamble that day.


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Removal of ‘VIP benches’ now may damage Five Gardens’ costly turf

MUMBAI: In clear violation of heritage laws, six park benches which are not in accordance with the heritage committee recommendations, were installed earlier this month at the D garden of the 90-year-old Five Gardens in Dadar.

This was done as per the wish of local councillor Nayana Sheth, alleged local municipal officials. They added that since the purchase was made from the corporator's fund, the wish could not be turned down. Sheth, however, denied any role in the shift in the benches' installation. "The contractor must have got confused as the two gardens are close to each other. There is nothing more," Sheth said.

The mix-up may prove costly. The benches have been installed into an astro turf and their removal may damage the expensive turf, said the Five Gardens' contractor.

The heritage violation came to light when activist Nikhil Desai filed a query under the Right to Information Act, asking for the details of the benches installed in the gardens of F-North ward. The reply noted that the BMC had paid a contractor Rs 3 lakh to install six benches in Palamkot Garden. But at the site, he noticed, there was none.

"At the BMC ward office, I was told that the benches meant for Palamkot Garden had been installed in the children's garden of Five Gardens. This is not in accordance with the plans approved for the latter by the city's heritage committee," said Desai.

The biggest open space in south-central Mumbai, Five Gardens is currently getting a makeover of its own from the BMC at a cost of Rs 5 crore. The civic body is expected to install 45 benches (each costing Rs 37,695) that complement the grade III heritage precinct. They were ordered in 2013, reportedly from the same supplier who later provided the park benches for Palamkot Garden.

After TOI spoke to several officials in the BMC's garden cell, benches meant for Five Gardens were seen being installed in Palamkot. "This is clearly a violation of the civic body's tender conditions. You cannot pick stuff meant for one garden and install it in another. More so, when there is a price difference," said Desai.

Additional municipal commissioner S V R Srinivas said he was unaware about the issue and will seek a report from the garden cell, which is implementing the project.


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Man cons live-in partner of 50 lakh gold with DJ’s help

MUMBAI: An unemployed man, who was in a live-in relationship with a woman, and his friend, who is a disc jockey, were arrested on Sunday for stealing gold worth Rs 50 lakh from the girlfriend's flat.

The accused, Avinash Kale, was financially dependent on his partner. In the incident, which took place on Saturday, Kale convinced his girlfriend to go out for a movie without him as he had to take care of urgent work. Kale then stole the ornaments from the woman's flat in Mahim that he also resided in.

The theft came to light after the woman returned home and found it had been ransackled. Kale's friend, Vishnu Kamble, who assisted Kale in the crime admitted to the theft after he was interrogated by the crime branch. Kamble told cops Kale had been routinely stealing from the home and cleaned out the entire booty on April 26. Police have recovered 550g of gold from the duo.

The victim lodged a complaint with the Mahim police who scanned Kale's call reports and found he had been in Kapad Bazaar itself that day. Cops also noticed that many calls had been made between Kale and Kamble that day.


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Commuter anger rises over Mumbai's deadly trains

MUMBAI: Cricket-mad teenager Dhaval Lodaya was on his way to a temple when his Mumbai train derailed and he bled to death, becoming one of the ten people who die every day on the city's rail network.

Known as the lifeline of financial capital Mumbai, the low-fare trains have become a dangerous gamble for the millions of commuters who use them daily, with 3,506 deaths recorded last year alone.

In a city that has grown around its rail system, built by the British 160 years ago, many today are killed crossing the tracks, some have heart attacks in the overcrowded carriages, or fall from doors of moving trains and hit trackside poles.

On journeys ferrying commuters from outlying suburbs to the business districts, scores are charred to death each year while travelling on coach roofs as high-voltage electricity courses through overhead wires, say activists.

So although 17-year-old Lodaya's death on March 20 was far from rare, it was a tipping point for some Mumbai residents who, spurred on by his family and friends, marched in their hundreds to nearby train stations in anger at railway authorities.

"We lost the light of our family. We told the authorities that they had forced us to protest and they should remedy the situation," Lodaya's father told AFP at his modest family apartment in Mumbai, where the teenager's picture sits on a small television.

'Justice for Dhaval'

When Lodaya's train derailed north of the city, an ambulance took more than an hour to reach the spot and railway police failed to move the boy to safety, his father alleges. Rail officials told him traffic-clogged roads caused the delays.

A Facebook page titled "Justice for Dhaval Lodaya", set up by friends to keep a tab on the promised investigation into his death, has received nearly 30,000 "likes" pledging support.

Despite the dangers facing passengers, a leading activist says lucrative returns from the Mumbai rail network, which carries 7.5 million passengers daily, offer little incentive for reform by the state-owned Indian Railways.

Samir Zaveri, who became a rail safety campaigner after losing both his legs in a fall from a Mumbai train two decades ago, said corruption and mismanagement are main reasons for the current state of the rail system.

"Mumbai is the cash cow of Indian Railways. So even though the authorities may cry about the paucity of funds, the fact is that Mumbai is a lucrative posting" for Indian Railways officials, he said.

Zaveri accused officials of bribing their way into posts in Mumbai and shaking down station vendors.

"Indulging in corruption and not improvement of services is the focus," he told AFP.

A senior Mumbai railway official, declining to be named, said approval had been given for automatic doors on all local coaches to prevent people falling, but that these would be difficult to fit while keeping trains on schedule.

"The (safety) problem is known, but the solution is problematic," he said, declining to say whether his colleagues were involved in corruption.

Improving India's notoriously bad infrastructure, from its roads and railways to its unreliable power supply, is seen as key to kickstarting slowing economic growth. Both major parties currently contesting national elections have pledged to tackle the problem.

But complex politics and constraints on land in Mumbai have led to ambitious past projects being delayed by years and failing to significantly combat congestion.

Transport experts have criticized a partly-finished monorail project, so far only stretching for 8.8 kilometres (5.5 miles) in the city's east, for overshooting its deadline and budget, while a long-awaited and expensive Metro rail project is yet to open.

Mumbai 'out of focus'

Despite Mumbai's wealth, the city is part of the much larger, mostly rural, Maharashtra state, whose legislators are mostly more interested in their hinterland constituencies, said Uttara Sahasrabuddhe, professor in civics and politics at the Mumbai University.

"Issues of Mumbai remain out of focus," she said.

The Congress party, which has dominated Maharashtra for most of its history, created new agencies to wrest control of spending after it lost power over Mumbai's municipal corporation to a local rival in the 1990s, Sahasrabuddhe explained.

Hence Mumbai's own representatives "can do little more than plead with the Congress-led state government about city spending," she added.

One such agency, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority or MMRDA, points to other factors causing delays.

"The biggest issue in Mumbai is securing land rights to start building your project. Land is so scarce that nobody budges even an inch," Dilip Kawathkar, MMRDA spokesman, told AFP.

Mumbai has two recent transport success stories: a swanky new international airport terminal and a "Sea Link" toll bridge connecting the city's north and south, but critics say they benefit just a wealthy fraction of the city.

As public transport options for the masses fail to improve, more and more residents are piling on to the roads on motorbikes and in cars.

"In a city which is so short on space, the focus should be on stopping more cars from getting on to the road. We seem to be consciously doing the opposite," said local transport expert Ashok Datar.

"It is like we are planning for disaster."


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Jitendra to receive Dada Saheb Phalke Ratna award

MUMBAI: Actor Jitendra will be presented the Dada Saheb Phalke Ratna award for 2014 on April 30 on the occasion of the 145th Dada Saheb Phalke jayanti celebrations. Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan will present the awards at Bhaidas auditorium, Vile Parle.
Actors Amitabh Bacchhan, singer Asha Bhosale, late Yash Chopra are some of the past recipients of the award. The governor will also present the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy awards to Juhi Chawla, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kapil Sharma, Farhan Akhtar and others.
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Woman held in the Rs 1.3 crore jewellery heist

MUMBAI: A woman is the latest to be arrested in the month old Rs 1.3 crore gold jewellery heist from a Malad store. Vidya Walve, 45, alias Bayo, purchased some stolen gold ornaments from the thieves. Three men Ganesh Kadam, Praful Jadhav and Amit Tiwari were arrested earlier in the case by MHB Colony police.
Walve lives in a slum in Dahisar East. She works as a housemaid and used to run a savings scheme in the slums with other residents. She was acquainted with one of the accused and purchased stolen gold ornaments worth Rs 2 lakh. Initially, she wasn't aware that the jewellery was stolen. Subsequently, she learnt of the fact and stopped buying. But she did not alert the cops.

"Two of the accused Kadam and Tiwari had stolen gold ornaments weighing 4.5 kg from Rajshri Jewellers in Malad on March 1. They were finding it tough to sell the stolen gold and roped in Kadam's friend, Jadhav. We are probing if they managed to sell ornaments to anyone else like Walve," said an officer.

On March 1, Kadam and Tiwari had barged into Rajshri Jewellers and threatened the owner, Nilesh Rathod, who resisted. . They then attacked him on his hands with a knife, tied him and dumped him in the store room injured. Their faces were covered with handkerchiefs. Later, an employee entered the shop and found Rathod. He untied him and rushed him to the Siddharth Hospital at Goregaon.

On Saturday night, while patrolling outside Dahisar West station, the police found Kadam and Jadhav moving suspiciously. They were taken into custody and questioned. They admitted to their involvement and revealed the whereabouts of Tiwari. CCTV footage from the jewellery store corroborated their involvement in the crime.


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Medical exam candidates in a sweat over distant exam centres

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 28 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Ranjita Jadhav (name changed), a student from a junior college in Sangli, will be travelling all the way to Mumbai this weekend to appear for her medical entrance exam.

Her centre for the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT), which is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), is at one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas in Colaba. Jadhav will travel to Mumbai a day before
the test.

While filling out the forms for AIPMT, students are expected to mention three city codes according to their convenience.

Options available for aspirants in the state include Mumbai, Panaji, and Bangalore.

"I chose Mumbai as it was the closest to Sangli. I would have preferred a centre in my town to avoid travelling," she said. To make matters worse, Jadhav has to return to her hometown for another medical entrance exam, the one conducted by the state on May 8. Most of her friends are travelling to Mumbai
for the exam, but at different centres.

The father of a Pune student, Sohail Lakdawala (name changed), says his son has been allotted a centre at Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir school in Bhayander. "It was tough to locate the school, which is near Gorai beach. I had to spend last Sunday in Mumbai to find the centre before the exam. I do not want my son to get hassled on the exam day," said Sohail's father.

"His classmates have got centres in Navi Mumbai, which is still better than having a centre in Bhayander. Most students plan to either stay in a hotel or with relatives or friends for a day," he added.

In Mumbai, the students claim that there has been "random" allotment of exam centres. A student living in Dombivli got a centre in Powai. "Though I do not have to travel a lot, some of my friends have been
randomly given centres," Amit Kothari (name changed) said.

"Another friend from Dombivli has got a centre at Goregaon, another classmate was allotted a Panvel centre. There are centres in Dombivli too, but we do not know how the centres were finalized," he added.

A circular on the AIPMT website states: "Though every effort will be made to allot a centre in one of the places selected by the candidate, the board reserves its discretion to allot a centre." The website mentions that centre allotment is made by "computer and there is no human intervention".


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Retrial of Salman's hit-and-run case begins, first witness deposes

MUMBAI: Eleven years after Bollywood actor Salman Khan allegedly rammed his car into a shop killing one person and injuring four, the retrial in this case began on Monday with a witness deposing before a sessions court.

Samba Gowda, who was the first witness to depose in the court, said he had drawn panchnama of the articles seized by police on the day of the incident on September 28, 2002.

The witness told prosecutor Jagannath Kenjalkar that it a big car was involved in the accident and said that police had reached the spot along with him. He further said that the car had rammed into a laundry and its bumper had hit the shutter of the shop.

The witness said he saw glass pieces, the number plate of the car and bumper parts lying on the spot. These articles were seized by police and a panchnama was drawn by him.

"I can identify the articles collected by police from the place of accident," said Gowda, who hails from Karnataka.

Two more witnesses were discharged as they had admitted the panchnamas drawn by them.

Although the prosecution has submitted a list of 64 witnesses, it would not examine all of them, according to the public prosecutor.

Salman is facing the charge of running over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002 — killing one and injuring four others.

On December 5 last year, the court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that the witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide, which was invoked against the actor midway through the case.

The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence. The actor had earlier been tried by a magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence, which entailed an imprisonment of two years.

The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist earlier this year when the magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court, as cases under this offence are tried by a higher court.


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Registered car before 2006 at RTO in Andheri? Shift data to new office in Dahisar

MUMBAI: The driving licence and vehicular databases of people residing between Goregaon and Dahisar will be transferred to the new RTO (MH-47) in Kandarpada, Dahisar, after the Andheri RTO's bifurcation.

The shifting will entail that those residing in the Goregaon-Dahisar stretch, who got their vehicles or two-wheelers registered before 2006 (manual records), will have to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Andheri RTO to register their cars and two-wheelers at the RTO in Dahisar. The process of obtaining NOCs will begin once the operations at the new RTO commences in June.

RTO staffers have decided to transfer all the digital data "internally".

"People whose records are stored manually will have to secure an NOC from Andheri and submit it at the new RTO. The records of vehicles registered after 2006 have been digitized and these vehicle / two-wheeler or licence holders need not worry," said an official. "We have made the process to obtain the NOC easy and it will take only a day to get the certificate at Andheri and tender it in Dahisar," said deputy RTO Bharat Kalaskar.

By June, cars and two-wheelers with the MH-47 number plates will hit the road. "Motorists won't have to change the MH-02 registration number, but they will have to transfer their records from Andheri to the new RTO," said an RTO staffer.

"The Goregaon-Dahisar belt has the highest density of vehicles. There will be approximately 2 lakh cars and more than 4 lakh two-wheelers in the area," said a transport expert. The work of installing furniture and equipment at the new RTO will begin from Monday and it will be headed by Kalaskar. He is credited with introducing online registration system for learner's licence in Maharashtra.

The RTO's relocation had been on the paper but it did not materialize as the department had been unable to find land for office space.


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Medical hopefuls in a sweat over distant exam centres

MUMBAI: Ranjita Jadhav (name changed), a student from a junior college in Sangli, will be travelling all the way to Mumbai this weekend to appear for her medical entrance exam.

Her centre for the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT), which is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), is at one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas in Colaba. Jadhav will travel to Mumbai a day before
the test.

While filling out the forms for AIPMT, students are expected to mention three city codes according to their convenience.

Options available for aspirants in the state include Mumbai, Panaji, and Bangalore.

"I chose Mumbai as it was the closest to Sangli. I would have preferred a centre in my town to avoid travelling," she said. To make matters worse, Jadhav has to return to her hometown for another medical entrance exam, the one conducted by the state on May 8. Most of her friends are travelling to Mumbai
for the exam, but at different centres.

The father of a Pune student, Sohail Lakdawala (name changed), says his son has been allotted a centre at Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir school in Bhayander. "It was tough to locate the school, which is near Gorai beach. I had to spend last Sunday in Mumbai to find the centre before the exam. I do not want my son to get hassled on the exam day," said Sohail's father.

"His classmates have got centres in Navi Mumbai, which is still better than having a centre in Bhayander. Most students plan to either stay in a hotel or with relatives or friends for a day," he added.

In Mumbai, the students claim that there has been "random" allotment of exam centres. A student living in Dombivli got a centre in Powai. "Though I do not have to travel a lot, some of my friends have been
randomly given centres," Amit Kothari (name changed) said.

"Another friend from Dombivli has got a centre at Goregaon, another classmate was allotted a Panvel centre. There are centres in Dombivli too, but we do not know how the centres were finalized," he added.

A circular on the AIPMT website states: "Though every effort will be made to allot a centre in one of the places selected by the candidate, the board reserves its discretion to allot a centre." The website mentions that centre allotment is made by "computer and there is no human intervention".


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Poll duty takes its toll: Unwell teacher denied leave, dies

MUMBAI: A teacher from Ulhasnagar collapsed while on poll duty on April 23 and died in hospital the next day, after being reportedly asked to continue working in the sweltering heat despite complaining of unease. Anant Sawale's (45) family and colleagues said his 15-year-old daughter was forced to stand in for him on poll duty even as he lay dying in hospital. She came to know of his death only late in the evening when she reached home.

Sawale's death comes days after Vaishali Bhale, the principal of New Bombay City High School at Koparkhairne, collapsed and died of a heart attack on April 24 during poll duty.

Sawale, an assistant teacher in the primary section of Takshashila Vidyalaya in Ulhasnagar, and colleague Siddharth Bhoir were assigned to distribute voter slips to Ulhasnagar residents on April 21.

Sawale complained of uneasiness and requested the officials concerned that he be taken off the duty, said another colleague Devidas Narwade. But the request was denied. Around noon on April 23, he collapsed and was rushed to a local hospital in Ulhasnagar by Bhoir. He was later referred to another private hospital in the town and then shifted to JJ Hospital, where he died the following day around 4pm.

Meanwhile, Sawale's daughter Jyoti, a class IX student, approached an election official on April 23 seeking exemption for her father but was asked to report at the polling booth in his place the next day. "My father wasn't keeping well the last few days. So when asked, I went to the polling station in his place on Election Day. I had no idea of his death until I reached home in the evening," she said from their native village near Dhule where Sawale's last rites were held on Sunday. The election officer even cleared a payment of Rs 400 to Jyoti for her work, Bhoir said, adding that Jyoti feared penal action on her father for not reporting for election duty.

Apart from Jyoti, Sawale is survived by his wife Ratna, elder daughter Savina and son Swapnil.

Madhavi Sardeshmukh, deputy election officer for Thane, said she had no information on the incident. "I have not heard of such a case yet. I will nevertheless ask the assistant returning officer to look into it. If such a thing has happened, then we will extend our full support to the family."

Sawale's colleagues said they too were busy with election duty and learnt of his death only late on Friday. They could not lodge a complaint as Saturday was a holiday. They are now demanding action against the election officer and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family. Bhoir said they will register a complaint with the Special Development Officer on Monday.


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'Body hack' app by math researchers shortcuts jet lag recovery

MUMBAI: A different kind of jet lag mobile app released on Monday by University of Michigan mathematicians reveals previously unknown shortcuts that can help travelers snap their internal clocks to new time zones as efficiently as possible.

"Overcoming jet lag is fundamentally a math problem and we've calculated the optimal way of doing it," said Danny Forger, a professor of mathematics at the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. "We're certainly not the first people to offer advice about this, but our predictions show the best and quickest ways to adjust across time zones."

The new iPhone app, called Entrain, is believed to be the first to take a numbers-based approach to "entrainment," the scientific term for synchronizing circadian rhythms with the outside hour. It's based on new findings by Forger and Kirill Serkh, a doctoral student at Yale University who worked on the project while an undergraduate at U-M.

Entrain is built around the premise that light, particularly from the sun and in wavelengths that appear to our eyes as the color blue, is the strongest signal to regulate circadian rhythms. These fluctuations in behaviors and bodily functions, tied to the planet's 24-hour day, do more than guide us to eat and sleep. They govern processes in each one of our cells.

Short disruptions such as jet lag and its symptoms of fatigue and insomnia can affect mood and performance. And scientists have linked regular disturbances and disorders of the system to depression, certain cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Pilots, flight attendants and shift workers, which make up more than 10 percent of the American workforce, are particularly susceptible.

The shortcuts the app offers are custom schedules of light and darkness depending on the itinerary. The schedules boil down to one block of time each day when you should seek the brightest light possible and another when you should put yourself in the dark, or at least in dim light. You don't even have to be asleep.

If you must go outside, you can wear pink-tinted glasses to block blue wavelength light, the researchers say. And if the app prescribes "bright outdoor light" in the middle of the night, a therapeutic lightbox can do the job—yes, its shortcuts sometimes require odd hours.

The study, published on April 10 in Public Library of Science Computational Biology, relies on two leading mathematical models, or sets of equations, that have been shown to accurately describe human circadian rhythms. The researchers used these equations and a technique called optimal control theory to calculate ideal adjustment schedules for more than 1,000 possible trips.

The app gives users access to these schedules. Start by entering your typical hours of light and darkness in your current time zone, then choose the time zone you're traveling to and when, as well as the brightest light you expect to spend the most time in during your trip (indoor or outdoor.) The app offers a specialized plan and predicts how long it will take you to adjust.

Say you're traveling from Detroit to London, five hours ahead. Your flight leaves at 10 pm (Eastern time) and arrives at 11:05 am (London time) the next day. It's a work trip and you'll have to spend most of your time in indoor lighting. Under those circumstances, the app says it can adjust you in about three days. That's less than the rule-of-thumb one day per hour outside the starting time zone.

The entrainment clock for any trip starts at the beginning of the first light cycle in the new time zone. So for the London trip, on the day after your arrival, you'd want to get light from 7:40 am until around 9 pm, and not after. Rise earlier on the second day at 6:20 am and lights out at 7:40 p.m. You may feel like going for an evening walk, but being in the light at a time when the app prescribes darkness would lengthen the adjustment period, the researchers say.

On the third day, get up before sunrise, around 5 am and stay in light until 7:20 pm. Your body will be synched the following morning. If you veer from schedule, you can tell the app and it will recalculate going forward.

To show how this new method is different, the researchers illustrate circadian rhythms as a clock with a point at the hour when your body temperature is lowest. This usually occurs about two hours before you wake up. If the point is usually at 5 am and you travel overseas, it could abruptly swing over to, say, 3 pm in your destination. You're likely to experience jet lag until your system adjusts and your body is once again at its lowest temperature just a few hours before your alarm goes off.

"The way other approaches get these points to line up again is by inching along on the outside of the circle, sometimes pushing you towards and sometimes pulling you away from the target. But our schedules can just cut through the middle," said Olivia Walch, a mathematics doctoral student who built the app. "This is almost like a body hack to get yourself entrained faster."


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Railway coupon hoarder enters record book

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 27 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: This bathroom floor in Thane has never tasted paper. Every day, before scrubbing her husband's shirts and trousers over its tiles, Sangeeta Gaikwad takes careful inventory of his pockets. This is not to find loose change or currency so much as used tickets and railway coupons. Those precious bits of paper must promptly travel back to the palms of her husband, who will thank her inwardly and make another entry in his little diary. To the world, Shivnath Gaikwad may be a mechanical fitter at an oil rig or a part-time Marathi junior artiste perhaps, but at heart, Sangeeta knows that he really is an incorrigible paper hoarder. She now has a certificate to prove it.

Recently, 50-year-old Shivnath Gaikwad entered the Limca Book of Records for having collected 1.55 lakh railway coupons. Neatly sorted by denomination and secured by rubberbands, these used railway coupons are currently staring from a cot like a stash of illicit notes. Next to them, is the Limca Book certificate—a piece of paper that is as much vindication for Gaikwad as it is validation. "Everyone used to think I was crazy at first, even my family," says the Thane resident, whose affair with tickets started several years ago, on a 70-paise bus ride from Vadibandar to Girgaon when he thought to himself, "People collect stamps and coins. Why can't I collects tickets?"

He was 18 then. At 42, he had amassed enough tickets and passes to hold an exhibition in Thane in 2007. Today, at 50, Gaikwad is sitting next to the precious collection of 1.55 lakh railway coupons and speaking of reaching a figure of 2 lakh. It is a collection that took six years and several deliberate detours to Andheri, Borivli, Kandivli and Goregaon stations to build. "I had observed that at these platforms, you tend to find a lot of discarded coupons," says the Thane resident, whose job at Butcher island (around one hour from Gateway of India) would take up 15 hours of each day and entailed various modes of commute including the train, bus and ferry.

As revenge against the melancholy of this commute, Gaikwad decided to travel some more. Since 2008, he made it a point to travel to Andheri, where he would head straight for the ticket counter. Here his treasure would be waiting under the row of red CRVM machines. "I would quickly scoop up the punched coupons, stuff them in a plastic bag and head for the next station," says Gaikwad. Sometimes, amid the used coupons, he has even found unused ones, mostly rupee-one coupons which he would promptly gift to women standing in the nearby ticket queue.

On two occasions, though, the station master and a railway cop at Andheri asked him what he was up to. "They feared misuse but I showed them my file," says Gaikwad, referring to the plastic file bearing photos of his 2007 exhibition of bus tickets which he carries everywhere. "I told them it was a hobby. They understood," says Gaikwad, who used to sort his treasure by denominations 1, 2, 4 and 5, record the total number for the day in a notebook and celebrate when he reached round figures. "Even colleagues, who used to laugh at me, would help me sort at work sometimes," he smiles.

Besides a keen eye that notices changes such as "rupee-one coupon has changed from yellow to blue", the hobby has also equipped him with spontaneous insights into the workings of Indian Railways. "All the coupons found on the western railway stations bear electronic punched numbers while the ones at Thane, Bhandup and Mulund stations, bear manual stamps," says Gaikwad.

Throughout our conversation, every time a kid came up the narrow metal stairs to fetch a plastic ball from his first-floor balcony, Gaikwad would ask them not to touch the coupons. The hobbyist has become a stickler for maintenance. At home, he keeps his collection covered with plastic at all times and even dusts them from time to time. "I have to protect them from ants, water and rats," says Gaikwad. Recently, while applying for the Limca Record, the part-time actor who has played a cop on TV several times, had to get a character certificate from the cops. Gaikwad's friend Mukim Khan, standing nearby, volunteers his own version. "He has become more caring," says Khan. Besides, for what it's worth, Gaikwad has also never travelled without a ticket.


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350 trees to be cut for development projects

MUMBAI: In yet another incident of green cover being sacrificed for developmental projects, about 350 trees will be hacked by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in western suburbs mostly to felicitate housing projects.

The civic body on Friday has issued a public notice saying that civic tree authority has received proposals for its permission to remove 349 trees in western suburbs of Bandra, Santacruz and Andheri. Majority of the proposal are for the housing projects under the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA).

The maximum 194 trees will be chopped for the redevelopment project of MIG Group at Gandhi Nagar, Bandra to set up a basement at the project. In addition to this, 47 trees will be removed for the proposed construction of Indian Packaging Industry in Marol Industrial Area, Andheri. Two proposed SRA projects at Andheri East have also asked for permission to hack 32 trees each.

"The cutting of trees cannot be avoided for these projects. But we will make sure that minimum number of trees would be cut for this project," said a senior civic official.

The civic body has asked for suggestions and objections from people within seven days of the issuance of notice. The proposal will then be tabled for approval before the civic tree authority in its next meeting.

According to the rules, if a tree has hacked for the developmental projects, at least two trees in lieu of this have to be planted at other places. However, once permission to axe trees was given, the developer ignores it and does not plant trees, say civic officials.


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Actor ensnared by model, says wife

MUMBAI: Actor Inder Kumar, who was arrested on Friday for allegedly raping and assaulting his girlfriend, who is a model, was produced before a holiday magistrate court in Bandra on Saturday. He has been remanded in police custody till Wednesday.

Kumar's wife told the media that her husband was innocent and the complainant had trapped him. She added that the girlfriend was pressuring Kumar for a relationship after threatening to harm herself.

Denying allegations leveled by his girlfriend, Kumar told the police he had had consensual sex with her. The girl- friend said the attack took place after Kumar, who is in a troubled relationship with his wife, was summoned by the police following his wife's complaint for torture and his affair.

The actor allegedly raped his girlfriend, hit her with beer bottles, kicked her in the stomach, bit her and burnt her with cigarettes at his Versova flat on Wednesday. The woman also alledged that Kumar had locked her up. His lawyer, Amarendra Padgaonkar, told the court Kumar and the model had fought with each other after which the actor, his wife and girlfriend went to the cops. But the girlfriend reportedly didn't mention the harassment at that time. "There was no rape. They were in a consensual relationship. The woman willingly lived in his house. The actor had not locked her up," said Padgaonkar.


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Mumbai's civic body to buy Rs 2.7 crore gear to bolster safety on city's beaches

MUMBAI: After a delay of over five years, the BMC has decided to buy high-tech beach safety equipment to prevent drownings this monsoon.

The tools, worth Rs 2.69 crore, include advanced gear like jet skis, rescue boats, surfboards, rescue tubes and gear for lifeguards. Civic officials said the safety gear would reinforce the strength of the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) towards beach safety measures.

The fire brigade mans six beaches, many of which are frequented during the rains and often at high-tide time. With people entering the sea at such time, they often get swept away into the water.

According to the proposal, the BMC will buy six semi-inflatable rescue boats worth Rs 16 lakh each and seven jet skis worth Rs 16.74 lakh each. It will also procure equipment like jet ski operator helmets (18), spine boards (9), rescue boards/surf boards (9), rescue tubes (18), beach chairs for lifeguards (7), nylon ropes (18), buoys (18), life support kits (9), life jackets (27) and rechargeable torches (9). The proposal will be tabled before the civic standing committee for approval on Tuesday.

BMC data shows there were 14 drowning deaths last year. The figures were 19 and 20 for 2012 and 2011. Last week, BJP group leader Dilip Patel raised concerns over the unsafe shoreline saying there is a dearth of safety gear.


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Project tracks changing face of defunct mill district

MUMBAI: When artist Meera Devidayal happened to walk past the crumbling Shakti Mills structure three years ago, she was taken aback at how much it had changed. It had been over a decade since the mill had first made its way into her work, juxtaposed against images of swanky housing projects. "I had spent a lot of time photographing Shakti Mills back then, when it was much easier to get inside," she recalls. Now, the structure was unrecognizable and resembled a jungle. Struck by the metamorphosis, Devidayal picked up her camera again.

The snapshots and footage of the city's mill district, pieced together over three years, are part of the artist's latest project, 'A Terrible Beauty'. Slated to open at Fort's Chemould Prescott Road gallery from Tuesday April 29, the exhibition features mixed-media artworks, photographs and videos, each highlighting the changing role of mills in the city.

The videos are the project's centrepiece, taking audiences across the old-world mill district and modern-day Mumbai. Urban staples like escalators, fast-food outlets inside malls, and massive screens beaming a cricket match merge with shots of children playing cricket across a loomshed. Workers draw water from the baoris or wells inside, while an audience listens to a classical music concert on a mill's refashioned premises. A board outside a trendy cafe on the Todi Mills premises lists the day's specials.

"When they were first built, people expected the mills to be around for ever," Devidayal says. "They thought they'd be like permanent cathedrals in a sense, but today, they are gone. For me, that was the story." With the abandoned mill areas seen as largely unsafe today, particularly after the Shakti Mills gangrapes, Devidayal's work is a comment on both their place in history, and the recent evolution.

The fact that her father had owned a mill in Orissa lent a personal association to the project. "It wasn't on the same scale as say, India United, but was a household name there," she recalls. Set up in 1946, it was eventually taken over by the state government and shut down. Devidayal visited it recently, and while the mill hadn't inspired her project, it lent a boost to the idea, she says.

The works also point to the "life cycle" of other familiar structures in the city. "When they were built, the mills were an expression of a dream. The same can be said for the high-rises around us now," explains Devidayal. "What we think of as great and permanent now, who knows what kind of life cycle those structures will have?"


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12-year-old boy kidnapped, body chopped into pieces in Kalyan

KALYAN: Bazarpeth police in Kalyan has arrested four people for allegedly kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old boy for ransom of Rs 50 lakh in Kalyan.

The boy was the son of a goldsmith and he was living in the posh locality of Sundar Nagar complex I Kalyan.

The accused, identified as Nilesh Salve, Imtiyaz Abdul and Ishaq Sayyed, Ganesh Patil are in the age group of 30 to 40 and reside in different areas in Kalyan west.

Police sources said that out of the four accused, the one who is known to the victim's family, on April, 17 kidnapped victim Rahul Guchait from his building compound and kept the boy captive at Servoday Park building in Kalyan west.

Later, the accused called the victim's family demanding money of Rs 50 lakh. Later, the family approached local Bazarpeth police complaining about the kidnapping.

Meanwhile, the accused learned that the family had filed a complaint with police.

The accused got scared of being arrested in the case and later they chopped the victim and packed the dead body in a gunny bag. They dumped the bag near an isolated place in APMC market.

The police said they are probing the matter.


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Police recover fisherwomen’s stolen Rs 1cr gold

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 26 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Jewellery worth Rs 1 crore that was stolen by jeweller Uttamkumar Malla alias Rajubhai by duping over 87 fisherwomen at Mahul in Chembur last year has been recovered. Rajubhai, who is the mastermind of the gang that committed the crime, was arrested on Saturday.

Rajubhai had gathered gold ornaments and some money collectively worth nearly Rs 2 crore from the victims on the promise of adding more gold to them. He had been on the run since and was arrested from Midnapur in West Bengal. He is the third person to be arrested in the scam.Rs 25 lakh," said inspector Sripad Kale.


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Rape case: Actor Inder Kumar remanded in custody till April 30

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Inder Kumar Saraf, arrested for allegedly raping a 23-year-old model on pretext of getting roles in movies, was today produced before a court which remanded him in police custody for four days.
The 40-year-old actor was produced before a Bandra magisterial court that remanded him in police custody till April 30.

Saraf was arrested yesterday after the victim, who is his girlfriend, alleged that the actor had sexually assaulted her since Wednesday night at his suburban Andheri apartment before she escaped from his flat on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday after being held captive, police said.

The victim also claimed she had been thrashed and hit with a beer bottle by Saraf. She had burn wounds on her body indicating that the actor burnt her with his cigarettes, Versova police said.

The actor has worked in Bollywood movies 'Wanted', 'Maa Tujhhe Salaam', 'Baaghi', 'Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi' and 'Masoom', among others.

During the interrogation, Saraf, however, claimed he had consensual sex with the woman, police said.

As per the complaint from the victim yesterday, the actor was booked under sections 376 (Punishment for Rape), 324 (causing grievous hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (2)(criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the police said.

The actor has a troubled relationship with his wife due to which the couple are living separately in the same building.

According to police, the actor and his wife had heated arguments over several issues earlier following which she had been to police station also complaining against Saraf.


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Axis Bank Q4 profit rises 18% to Rs1.8k crore

MUMBAI: Axis Bank has reported a net profit of Rs 1,842 crore for the quarter ended March 2014 - an increase of 18% over Rs 1,555 crore in the same period last year. The annual net profit of the bank crossed the equivalent of a billion dollars for the first time in FY14 to touch Rs 6,218 crore - an increase of from Rs 5,179 crore in FY13.

In their meeting, the board of directors approved a split of the bank's equity shares following which each share with a face value of Rs 10 will be exchanged into five equity shares with a face value of Rs 2 each. "The split is primarily to make the stock more liquid and increase retail participation in the stock," said Somnath Sengupta, ED, Axis Bank.

The bank's advances grew 17% year-on-year to Rs 2,30,097 crore on the back of strong retail growth. Domestic retail advances grew by 31% to Rs 70,745 crore and accounted for 36% of net domestic advances compared to 32% last year. Agriculture advances recorded a healthy growth of 20% and stood at Rs 17,836 crore, while SME advances grew by 19% and stood at Rs 35,502 crore.

Sengupta said that the bank was changing focus from corporate to retail given the economic environment and as a result corporate loans grew by only 4%. Despite an adverse economic environment, the bank managed to contain its net non-performing assets at 0.4%. The bank's total capital adequacy ratio stood at 16.07% of which tier I capital was 12.62%.

Sengupta said that he did not expect any significant change in the economic environment during the current financial year and the level of bad loans would be the same as FY13.

The bank's net interest income (NII) rose by 19% to Rs 3,166 crore from Rs 2,665 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal, Axis Bank said in a statement. The bank's Net Interest Margin widened to 3.89% at the end of March as compared to 3.70% in the same period of 2012-13.


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Exams on counting day to be held on May 24

MUMBAI: Exams to be conducted by University of Mumbai on May 16 have been postponed until May 24.

After the senate members sought rescheduling of the exams on May 16—when the counting for the general election takes
place—the university decided to postpone the exams.

The announcement was made on Friday. The members claimed that there could be disruption in the city on the counting day. Arts and engineering exams were scheduled on May 16.


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Bombay HC denies Bajaj union interim relief

PUNE: The Bombay high court on Friday rejected the plea of Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sanghatana (VKKS), the recognized employees' union at the Chakan factory of Bajaj Auto, for a grant of Rs 10,000 per month per worker as an interim relief.

The HC also rejected the company management's plea challenging the order of the deputy commissioner of labour, Pune

to refer new demands of the union to the industrial tribunal. The company had pleaded that in spite of the fact that the settlement between the company and the union, dated May 21, 2010, is valid till March 31, 2019, the new demands of the union were referred to the tribunal.

The HC directed that the issue of unlawful reference of charter of demands submitted by the union be decided first by the tribunal before deciding on the interim relief demand made by the union.

Industrial relations at Chakan plant of the company have been strained since May last year when VKKS stopped work demanding, among other things, 500 shares of the company for every employee for a nominal consideration of one rupee.

During the prolonged agitation, the company had moved some of the production to its Waluj plant, near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, and said the entire production would move to Waluj if the agitation continued. The employees eventually returned to the shop floor after an understanding that the management would settle their various demands amicably.

VKKS, however, sent a notice to the company on April 14 that it intended to stop work again from April 28. The union has claimed in the notice that their demands were never discussed and that the company's management was not serious about them. The union has revived the demand for 500 shares of the company and also said the management should allocate 50% of the company's budget on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for education and welfare of employees' children.

Terming the union's demands as "insane", Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj had earlier said: "It seems to me that with some of the irresponsible union leaders and members, the management is guilty of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. We will be certain not to repeat that error while taking all possible care to ensure the safety of the majority of our colleagues who wish to continue to work."


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Turnout increase higher in city’s tony areas 

MUMBAI: The metropolis saw an overall jump in voter turnout on Thursday, but the jump was far more marked in the city's posher areas than in slum-dominated pockets even though the latter too witnessed an increase in voting percentages.

So the Bandra West assembly segment, part of the Mumbai North-Central seat, saw a rise in turnout from 41.2% in 2009 to 54.1%, and Vile Parle in the same constituency recorded a 57.5% turnout as against 46.2% the last time. The jump in Malabar Hill, part of Mumbai South, was 53.6% in comparison with 43.2% in 2009. In Borivli, part of Mumbai North, the figure went up from 45% to 57.3%.

Though, of the slum areas, Dharavi showed a remarkable spike from 33.3% to 49.7%, other pockets such as Anushakti Nagar and Mankhurd did not witness a dramatic increase compared to affluent pockets such as Worli, Kandivli, Mahim and Mulund. In Anushakti Nagar, the turnout rose from 39.1% to 46.6% and in Mankhurd from 36.2% to 40.8%.

The turnout in the island city was greater (53%) than that in the suburbs (51%).

Political leaders said turnouts were low in nine out of 36 assembly segments in the city because thousands of names were missing from the voters' list.


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‘Custody death victim died of contusions’

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 25 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The key to the mystery in Kandivli youth Akash Kharade's death in police custody lies in a medical examination that was done soon after his arrest. An autopsy done at the state-run JJ Hospital on Thursday has established that he died of multiple contusions.

Kharade (23) and three of his aides were arrested for allegedly killing a neighbour, Balkrishna Nikhare. He was taken to a public hospital soon after his arrest for a mandatory medical examination on April 19. On Tuesday, Kharade "suddenly collapsed" outside the lavatory of the Borivali general lock-up, where he was lodged. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The autposy report states that Kharade had blunt trauma on several parts of the body, including hands, legs, shoulder and buttocks. "We have preserved his viscera. It will be sent to FSL," a doctor said. Kharade's body was handed over to his kin after the autopsy. They cremated him on Thursday.


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Actor Inder Kumar allegedly assaults girlfriend

MUMBAI: Police on Friday detained actor Inder Kumar after his girlfriend alleged that he assaulted her at his Versova residence.

The police have sent the woman for medical examination and will decide on the further course of action after the results.

Police are in the process of recording the complaint and will then arrest the actor.

Kumar and his wife have been living separately. He is yet to get a divorce.


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Mumbai sees 85% drop in malaria cases in three years

MUMBAI: The city registered a drop of 85% in incidence of malaria over the last three years, with only 10,000 cases registered in 2013.

"Around 76,500 malaria cases were recorded in 2010, but the number has reduced drastically," said BMC's executive health officer Dr Arun Bamne. Since January, the city has registered 1,622 cases. Deaths too have reduced from 198 in 2009 to 145 in 2010, 69 in 2011, 45 in 2012 and 30 in 2013.

On the occasion of World Malaria Day on Friday, BMC officials said work on mosquito-control ahead of monsoon has already begun. "We have begun holding meetings with various land-owning government organizations to carry out mosquito control measures," said Dr Bamne.

A meeting with representatives of 59 organizations was held recently. Another meet will be held in May to review the measures carried out by the organizations.


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Fire at office in Maker Chambers

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Actor Inder Kumar accused of rape

In a shocking turn of events, Bollywood actor Inder Kumar has been reportedly detained by Versova police station on the charges of raping a 23-year-old woman.

Quoting police sources, a Mid-Day report says the victim, who was known to the actor, has registered a case against him after which an FIR has been registered with Versova police station. The police have sent the woman for medical examination and will decide on the further course of action after the results. Currently the police have booked the actor under section 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The report has further quoted the actor and said that the girl was of no significance to him and is a struggler. While he claims that she had a fight with his wife Pallavi, there are reports that suggest that the actor is already divorced.

Inder Kumar, who was last seen in the Salman Khan starrer Wanted: Dead or Alive, is Ishaa Koppikar's former lover. They were reportedly together for over a decade. After Ishaa moved on and married Timmy Narang in 2009, Inder married a non-industry girl Kamaljeet Kaur. The marriage, however, ended within two months.


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Narrow escape for commuters as BEST bus's engine catches fire

MUMBAI: Bus commuters had a narrow escape as a BEST bus caught fire on the busy LBS Marg in Mulund on Friday afternoon.

The fire, which occurred due to the over-heating of the engine of the bus, spread to the driver's cabin, but was contained. Apart from the driver, who sustained minor injuries, no passenger was hurt, officials said.

BEST spokesperson Hanumanta Gophane said that the incident occurred at around 12.45 pm on bus plying on route No 409. "The bus belongs to Mulund depot and was ferrying passengers from Maharana Pratap Chowk in Mulund West to Sahar cargo. When it reached the Veena Nagar bus stop at around 12.45 pm, the driver saw smoke emanating from the engine compartment. He stopped the vehicle and raised an alarm. The conductor ensured that the bus was immediately evacuated. The fire spread to the driver cabin and also resulted in the breaking of a glass on the window,'' he said.

The fire brigade, which is situated nearby, rushed to the rescue and doused the fire. The bus service was terminated and the vehicle was towed to the Mulund depot. The officials will ascertain the cause of the fire, although preliminary probe reveals that it was due to over-heating of the engine.


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Fire breaks out in Nariman Point building in Mumbai

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 24 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A major fire broke out on the seventh floor of the 13-storey Jolly Maker building at Nariman Point in south Mumbai.

The fire broke around 6 pm at building number 6 in the complex. It was a 'level 2' fire, which means a major one, the official said.

The fire brigade is at the spot.

Two firemen were injured after a glass pane fell on them during the rescue operations.

Details are awaited.


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State mantris, netas’ relatives in fray today

MUMBAI: Public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, controversial water resources minister Sunil Tatkare, veteran Congress MP Manikrao Gavit, former medical education minister Vijaykumar Gavit's daughter Heena and leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse's daughter-in-law Raksha are among the prominent candidates in the fray for the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state on Thursday.

Predictably, both the Congress and the BJP claimed they would emerge the winners in this round. State Congress president Manikrao Thakre said the outcome of the polls will show up the pre-poll surveys as pro-BJP and false while Khadse said the BJP will emerge a clear winner in all the 19 seats going to the polls on Thursday. "It will be the biggest-ever setback for the Congress-NCP front,'' Khadse said.

Thakre countered by saying that prominent saffron combine candidates will bite the dust.

Bhujbal is locked a quadrangular contest in Nashik. Pitted against him are Shiv Sena's Hemant Godse, who joined the organization recently; Pradeep Pawar of the MNS, and AAP's anti-corruption crusader Vijay Pandhare. The campaign in Nashik was marked by allegations and counter-allegations levelled by the various parties. While the Shiv Sena and MNS targeted Bhujbal over the properties he owned, the NCP leader hit back saying senior Shiv Sena and MNS leaders did not have a clean record either.

In adjoining tribal Nandurbar district, Manikrao Gavit is contesting against Heena. If elected, Gavit will become the senior-most Lok Sabha member. However, the octogenarian leader himself is doubtful of his success against Heena, who has given up a career in medical education to contest the polls.

In Raver in Jalgaon district, Khadse's daughter-in-law Raksha is in the fray against NCP's Manish Jain and independent nominee Ulhas Patil. In coastal Raigad, the NCP has fielded Tatkare against the Shiv Sena's sitting MP Anant Geete, former police officer and AAP nominee Sanjay Apranti, and Peasants and Workers Party nominee Ramesh Kadam. It will be a litmus test for Tatkare who himself had volunteered to contest against Geete, a third term Lok Sabha member. In Aurangabad, Shiv Sena has fielded veteran MP Chandrakant Khaire against Congress nominee Nitin Patil, who has stepped in for state education minister Rajendra Darda who declined to contest. Along with Nandurbar, Nashik, Raver, Aurangabad, Dhule, Jalgaon, Jalna, Dindori, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane and six Mumbai constituencies are also going to the polls on Thursday.


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Will city make up for lowest turnout in 2009? 

In 2009, Mumbai hit rock-bottom when it came to engaging with electoral democracy. At 41.4%, not only was the city's voter turnout in the previous Lok Sabha election well below any other metropolitan city in India, it was also the worst voting percentage in Mumbai's history. However, given the unprecedented voter turnout across much of India this year, there is hope that Mumbaikars will cast the ballot in larger numbers on Thursday morning.

From 1991 to 2009, the voting percentage in Mumbai has largely remained under 50%, barely topping the half-way mark on only one occasion. Before 1991 the voter turnout never fell below 50%, and from 1962 to 1977, it crossed 60% for every election.

A look at the voting percentages for the city over the years (see box), shows that before 2009, the low point in Mumbai's electoral history was 1991. In emphasis, Mumbai South constituency clocked the lowest voter turnout for any constituency in Mumbai's history that year, falling below 40%.

On the bright side, the highest turnout in Mumbai was in 1967, when over 68% of the city's electorate came out to vote. That year, Mumbai's (then) Central South constituency recorded the highest voter turnout for any constituency in Mumbai's history, with over 70% of the population getting inked. The seat was won by veteran socialist S A Dange of the Communist Party of India. Trade union leader George Fernandes won from the Mumbai South constituency that year on a ticket from the Samyukta Socialist Party. Over 67% of South Mumbai came out to vote that year.

If Mumbai had such a high voter turnout in the first couple of decades after independence, why has one of India's most important cities stopped voting in the last 20 years?

Political analysts and social scientists believe this may have to do with the impact of economic liberalization on the country's financial capital, a decline in working class movements and the collapse of Mumbai's mills.

Jose George, political scientist at Mumbai University, pointed at the decimation of the communist party in Mumbai at the hands of the right-wing Shiv Sena and its brand of identity politics which leaves little space for dialogue as a factor in Mumbai's progressively declining engagement with electoral democracy. "Genuine grassroots politics was replaced by communal, identity politics," said George.

"Economic liberalization has seen the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in Mumbai. The institutions of governance work for the rich irrespective of which government is in power, and so they do not feel the need to cast their vote. The poor, for whom the government matters most, find themselves ignored by the government, and so increasingly do not feel the need to vote, particularly during a general election. Their engagement is more with municipal elections," said S Parasuraman, director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

As for the healthy voter turnout in 1967, Parasuraman points to the massive working class movement around the time that voted for leaders with a strong ideology who fought for the rights of their electorate. He talks of the decimation of the organized sector in Mumbai, with people flung towards caste- and class-based voting.

Mumbai's progressively low voter turnout may also have to do with the death of the city's student unions, once vibrant in the 1960s and '70s. Student politics was banned after the murder of a student on a Mumbai campus in the 1990s.


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Cop injured as Shiv Sena, MNS supporters clash in Mumbai

MUMBAI: A police constable sustained serious injury here on Thursday as Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena supporters clashed at Trombay as polling started.

The Shiv Sena supporters alleged that a local MNS worker was distributing money among the people who were casting their votes which led to the incident.

The constable sustained serious injury on his neck and is critical said the police.

The police registered an attempt to murder case along with other relevant sections against 18 political activist, including Shiv Sena candidate Rahul Shewale's wife.

The police arrested three Shiv Sena supporters in the case.

They are inquiring about Shewale's wife. Shewale is contesting Lok Sabha election from Mumbai south central constituency.

The police stated that on early Thursday, the MNS local officer bearer was moving in her car when Shewale's wife along with her supporters had stopped the car.

The Shiv Sena activists alleged that the the office bearer was distributing money among the voters and attacked her. They demanded the office bearer's car with the help of stones and also assaulted the police constable who was present there. The policemen from nearby area rushed to the spot and control the situation. They took both the party supporters to the police station and after inquiring the details they booked Shiv Sena supporters.


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Voting percentage for 19 constituencies of Maharashtra till 11am

MUMBAI: Following is the detail the polling percentage in 19 constituencies of Maharashtra, that went to polls on Thursday.
Time: 11am

Nandurbar (ST): 20.60%

Dhule: 16%

Jalna: 16.27%

Aurangabad: 13.69%

Dindori (ST): 19%

Nashik - 18.40%

Palghar (ST): 9.32%

Bhiwandi: 10.25%

Kalyan: 9.50%

Thane: 9.13%

Mumbai North: 18%

Mumbai North-West: 16.70%

Mumbai North-East: 15.20%

Mumbai North-Central: 15.50%

Mumbai South-Central: 12.50%

Mumbai South: 13.20%

Raigad: 19%


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Mumbaikars cast off some poll-time sloth, 53% vote

MUMBAI: Mumbaikars on Thursday shed some of their infamous polling-day sloth with 53 per cent turning up to vote in the six constituencies of the city in the third and last phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Overall, around 56 per cent of 3.18 crore voters exercised their franchise to decide the fate of 338 candidates in 19 seats across Maharashtra, including Union minister Milind Deora, sitting MPs Priya Dutt and Sanjay Nirupam of Congress, social activist Medha Patkar and ministers in Prithviraj Chavan government Chhagan Bhujbal and Sunil Tatkare.

The turnout in Mumbai saw a significant improvement from the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when only 41.43 per cent electorate exercised their franchise.

The Maximum City appeared ready to cast off its poll-day apathy since early morning with Bollywood celebrities and industry captains turning up at polling stations. As the day wore on and temperature rose, queues dwindled to a trickle. But voting picked up momentum towards the evening.

Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Dharmendra, Rekha, Vidya Balan, Sunny Deol, Sonam Kapoor, and Prasoon Joshi cast their votes; so did Adi Godrej, Anil Ambani, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya among others.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar cast his vote along with wife Anjali around noon at a polling booth near their residence in suburban Bandra.

The sports legend posted a selfie showing his inked finger on Twitter and said, "I have voted..Have U? A wonderful start to my birthday as a responsible citizen of our great nation."

"It's my responsibility to vote. To point fingers at others and (if) I face a problem, I need to have this on my finger," Balan said displaying her inked finger outside a booth in suburban Chembur.

Actor Aamir Khan, who voted in suburban Bandra, said, "Voting is an important process in democracy. It is my duty as an Indian to vote."

Actress Sonam Kapoor, who was among early-morning voters, said, "It is good to vote for those who make legitimate promises."

Among corporates, Anil Ambani walked into a polling booth at upscale Cuffe Parade locality, not far from his residence 'Sea Wind'.

However, many Bollywood celebrities including Anupam Kher, whose wife Kirron is BJP nominee from Chandigarh, script writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actress wife Shabana Azmi, known for their activism, kept away. So did Sonakshi Sinha, daughter of yesteryear actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, who is locked in an electoral tussle to retain his Patna Saheb seat.

Actor couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, besides Deepika Padukone too gave the polls a miss. All these actors were said to be attending IIFA awards in the US.

However, actor Arjun Rampal flew down from Dubai to cast his vote.

"Made it back on time from Dubai to cast my vote. Go vote and vote right. Every vote counts. Inked cast my vote now hope that we all can make sure the country moves in the right direction," he tweeted to his followers.

Multi-talented Farhan Akhtar, who has to host the IIFA awards ceremony, made it a point to exercise his franchise too and received praise for that.

"I am sure you are nominated in IIFA, but must appreciate you for voting 1st n then going for awards...good luck...The actual IIFA awards ceremony is on 26th April, stars cud hv voted n thn gone. Even ppl like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar didn't bother," actor Anup Soni tweeted.

Even as several Bollywood bigwigs preferred going to the US for IIFA awards, many people could not cast their ballots as their names had been struck off the electoral rolls and were seen voicing their anger in front of TV cameras. Among them was HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh.

"Every time I cast my vote at this booth but don't know why my name is not in the voters list this time. We made attempts to find out yesterday as well but in vain," a dejected Parekh said.

Tribal-dominated Nandurbar constituency recorded almost 62 per cent turnout despite mercury soaring 42 degrees Celsius.

Barring a stray incident of clash between Shiv Sena and MNS workers at suburban Trombay which left a constable injured polling was largely peaceful.


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Police assure safe poll with over 30k cops

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 23 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The police have said they are geared up for election bandobast and hope for a peaceful poll day. The deployment will include 19 companies of the state reserve police force, 38 deputy police commissioners, 46 assistant commissioners, 477 inspectors, 1,915 sub-inspectors, 30,025 constables, 5,275 home guards, 250 civil defense personnel and 108 flying squads.

Preventive action taken till now include detention and currency seizures. Since February 22, over 4,700 drug addicts and peddlers have been arrested, another 18,816 persons detained or arrested and Rs 5.36 crore in currency notes seized (the Election Commission is verifying if the money had any connection with the elections).

Also, 1,564 gun licenses have been deposited with the police and 50 illegal weapons seized. The number of non-bailable warrants issued is 4,401, normal warrants 5,571 and summons 10,226. In addition, 151 absconders and 301 wanted accused have been arrested.


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Boats too will ferry staff to poll booths

MUMBAI: In the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency, a section of poll officials and staff will undertake a gruelling boat ride to travel to polling stations.

From 11 am onwards on Wednesday, poll staff and police personnel assigned to centres in Arnala Fort and Panju village in the Vasai assembly segment and Vadhiv-Saravali villages in the Boisar assembly segment will be ferried by boat, the only means of transport there. Eight boats have been made pressed into service for carrying both people and poll material.

Two boats will travel from Vasai creek to Panju village, where 1,029 voters are registered. Two more will serve Arnala Fort, where 870 voters are registered. For booths in Vadhiv and Saravali, four boats have been arranged. Vadhiv has 516 registered voters, while Saravali has 1,061.


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‘Togadia tirade sign of dire times ahead’

MUMBAI: The Urdu press has used the provocative speeches of VHP leader Pravin Togadia as warning signals of "horrible" times for minorities, especially Muslims, if Narendra Modi becomes PM. Urdu dailies have told their readers to vote intelligently and defeat "divisive forces" if they want a peaceful existence in India.

In a front-page piece titled 'If Modi becomes PM, Togadia's threats can become reality', Urdu Times columnist Shakeel Rashid has said that Togadia and Giriraj Singh have only articulated the scenario that would surface under Modi raj. He said minorities, especially Muslims, might lose their rights as citizens. In its editorial, the Inquilab slammed the BJP for its "double standards". It also criticized the EC and the police for not acting swiftly and strongly against hate mongers.


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Togadia tirade sign of dire times ahead: Urdu dailies

MUMBAI: The Urdu press has used the provocative speeches of VHP leader Pravin Togadia as warning signals of "horrible" times for minorities, especially Muslims, if Narendra Modi becomes PM. Urdu dailies have told their readers to vote intelligently and defeat "divisive forces" if they want a peaceful existence in India.

In a front-page piece titled 'If Modi becomes PM, Togadia's threats can become reality', Urdu Times columnist Shakeel Rashid has said that Togadia and Giriraj Singh have only articulated the scenario that would surface under Modi raj. He said minorities, especially Muslims, might lose their rights as citizens. In its editorial, the Inquilab slammed the BJP for its "double standards". It also criticized the EC and the police for not acting swiftly and strongly against hate mongers.


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Arthur Road jail chief’s wealth touches Rs 2 crore

MUMBAI: An Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raid on Arthur Road jail superintendent Vasudev Barkule's ancestral home in Nanded on Tuesday resulted in the recovery of assets and cash that added Rs 55 lakh to his wealth.

The total haul from the ACB investigation into a bribery case against Barkule has been Rs 2 crore so far.

Barkule has been kept in an isolated cell which was earlier used by the security guards of executed Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab. The jail constables who used to be posted for security in different barracks on Barkule's order are now monitoring him.

ACB officials led by NV Deshmukh have been camping in Nanded since Barkule's arrest in the corruption case last week, but could not conduct the search operations earlier as a result of the election in Nanded.

In Barkule's house at Tajnagar in Nanded alone, the police found Rs 2.31 lakh in cash, fixed deposits of Rs 25 lakh, a fixed deposit of Rs 10.50 lakh in his wife's name and gold ornaments worth Rs 18 lakh.

"We are still searching and are yet to calculate the value of properties spread elsewhere," an officer said.

The officer said a case of disproportionate assets had been registered against Barkule.

Barkule and deputy superintendent Pradeep Pathrikar were caught accepting a bribe of Rs 35,000 from a candidate appearing for the jailor's exam early this month.

In the city, the police found Rs 40 lakh in cash from Barkule's jail residence, besides gold, savings and FDs in banks amounting to more than Rs 1 crore.

Now in jail, Barkule has refused to give an application for home-made food.

"He is saying the jail food is healthy and hygienic and he would prefer having the same food which is prepared by the inmates for prisoners. Barkule's official residence is just 100 metres from his cell," an officer said.

Barkule's wife and children live at his residence. "Even if his family want to meet him, they will have to go and register themselves outside the prison and come in the queue like common people and meet him for a few minutes," the officer said.


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Offbeat canvassing adds to AAPeal 

MUMBAI: How does a cash-strapped party that cannot afford space on hoardings campaign for a Lok Sabha election? That's a question Mumbaikars were placed to answer while commuting to work on Monday morning as they swerved past the likes of Bollywood actor Ranvir Shorey, who stood at a busy traffic signal with a placard that said, "I am not Ranvir Shorey, I am an aam aadmi." He was one of 20-odd celebrities, including Raj Zutshi and Tejaswini Kolhapure, who braved the scorching sun with banners of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

"We can't afford hoardings, so we used human banners instead," said Preeti Sharma Menon of AAP. The human banners were also seen outside mandirs, masjids and churches. The country's newest political outfit has grabbed the attention of Mumbaikars through innovative campaigns.

Autorickshaws doubled as campaign vehicles, as did refurbished trucks. Hordes of rickshawallahs, among AAP's support base, had posters of Arvind Kejriwal pasted on the rear of their vehicles and the party's signature jhadoo fitted on either side. These rickshaws, fitted with megaphones and speakers, weaved their way through mohallas, playing speeches by the likes of Kejriwal, as well as music composed for the party by Kailash Kher.

Brooms were never in short supply during AAP meetings across Mumbai, where volunteers swept the streets in support of a party that speaks of cleansing the system.

While mainstream parties have been accused of throwing money at the electorate, the reverse could be seen during AAP campaigns, where Mumbai's aam aadmi, from chaatwallahs to tea sellers, donated money from their savings. During jan sabhas held by the party, bedsheets were spread on the ground for people to donate.

Radhika Nair, involved in the party's campaigning, once put out her dupatta in Andheri. By the time the meeting drew to a close, the dupatta carried Rs 3,840, comprising "every possible denomination of the Indian rupee". Nair said this is an indication of the wide spectrum of people who support AAP.

The party has also launched social media campaigns to raise funds. AAP volunteers have networked with high net worth individuals in the city and have set up a system whereby those who wish to donate can have their cheques picked up from their homes.

AAP supporters also recently raised Rs 18 lakh from an auction of paintings by well-known artists.


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Couple killed in bike mishap, father dies seeing bodies

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 22 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A newly married couple, Purshotam Badrikar (28) and Meeta (24), was killed in a motorbike accident on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway in Virar. Hours later, Meeta's father, on seeing the two bodies, suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

The accident took place on Sunday around 10.30am, said the Virar police, adding that they had received a call informing them of two injured persons lying on the road near Sakwar village. The police immediately reached the spot but the couple, who had suffered head injuries, had died by then. Their bike was lying at a distance, said the police. The Badrikars, both of whom were Vasai residents, had married on March 9 and had gone to visit a temple in Dahanu early on Sunday. The police said that a vehicle may have hit the two-wheeler.

The victims' families were informed and the bodies were brought to Pachubunder around 4 pm. Meeta's father Dyneshwar Harnekar (48), suffered a cardiac arrest on seeing the body. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead on admission. The three bodies were cremated on Sunday. A hunt it on for the vehicle that hit the victims' motorcycle.


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Women empowerment with or without HRT

MUMBAI: In Indian politics today, women's empowerment seems to be the code-word to success. Women have been, are and must be the focus of attention at any given time—more so 'Peri-Menopausally'.

Recently at The Indian Menopause Society, it was unequivocally agreed that around menopause (maybe a few years before, during and until about 7 years after the cessation of menstruation),women tend to experience a conundrum of symptoms that need special attention and careful analysis.

Hormonal imbalance, fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels, deranged metabolic activity and sudden transformation in physical characteristics are amongst the many changes that punctuate this delicate period. Besides outwardly manifesting as abnormal fat distribution (hips and stomach), alteration of skin and hair colour, varicosities in the legs etc, there are other initially subtle and later full blown symptoms, that need to be defined.

The exacerbation of hitherto controlled migraines, increased blood pressure, the association of water retention and consequential bloating accompanying delayed periods and the evaporation of these symptoms on its arrival, are other frequent complaints. Hot flushes comprise a spectrum of symptoms—the classical being the feeling of severe warmth searing through the chest and trunk in a wave form, recurring and passing off in short spells. Husbands reporting the inexplicable use of air conditioners in winter, patient's desire to shed tight garments and a craving for ice, are some variations.

These when associated with palpitations (feeling the heart beat),headache and giddiness, comprise the so called 'Vasomotor Symptoms'. The concomitant presentation of mood swings then leads to a very volatile and trying time for the patient and her family.

It is these very symptoms that harass the patient and send her from pillar to post i.e. from physician to cardiologist and neuro to psychiatrist. The treatment of this relentless suffering during this phase is Hormone Replacement therapy (HRT) and is a matter of much debate. HRT in the younger, menopausal patient with more symptsoms and less co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes etc) is seen to be safe and beneficial. They are able to tolerate therapy and even shrug off these handicapping tribulations with ease and merge into the fifties with grace. Their chances of developing blood clotting disorders and other complications is less.

Having said that I must add that HRT is NOT for all and can have serious side effects especially when started late or in older women or in women with coexisting medical conditions and obesity. Unsupervised HRT can lead to premalignant changes and complications, so the dictum is - consume only under STRICT medical surveillance.

Antagonists may argue that women over generations have aged effortlessly without medication. Science recommends that in the 'fairness' of things, every member of the 'fairer' sex should be offered the pros and cons of HRT and then allowed to 'fare' well with the decision.

The journey at that crossroad of life does not need a pharmacological prop alone, but a mental bridge, a metabolic boost and a psychological ladder to ascend the transition between the '2 States' with care, cure and comfort.


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Akhilesh blames Congress for Modi rise

Samajwadi Party leader and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav who was in the city on Tuesday to campaign for the party's four candidates in Mumbai blamed the Congress for for the rise of BJP and its PM candidate Narendra Modi. "Congress allowed the BJP to grow in MP, Gujarat and Rajasthan. But no one can dream to become India's PM without a strong mandate from UP. And UP has decided to support SP," said Yadav. Without naming MNS chief Raj Thackeray, he said that Modi had taken help from a "leader" who has repeatedly humiliated the north Indians.


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Jiah’s mom told to go to top cop with probe plaint

MUMBAI: The HC on Monday asked Rabia Khan to take her grievances of her daughter, actor Jiah Khan's death not being probed properly, to police chief Rakesh Maria. Rabia has claimed Jiah was murdered and had not committed suicide. A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai asked Rabia to approach the commissioner with her grievidences and asked Maria to take a decision on her complaint before the next hearing on May 8.

Actor Suraj Pancholi, who was in a relationship with Jiah, has been charged with abetting suicide. Rabia said private forensic experts had opined it was a murder. Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, Rabia's counsel, sought that the histopathology report and video-recording of the autopsy be provided. Additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia said that while the video-recording was part of trial records, the histopathology report was with J J Hospital. Jethmalani urged the court to keep the plea pending to raise the issue of a CBI or SIT probe at a later date.


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BMC inquiry against officer who allowed Big B’s Malad shoot

MUMBAI: Even as P-North ward officer Devendra Jain has been absolved of poll code of conduct violation, civic chief Sitaram Kunte has told the election commission (EC) that an administrative inquiry will be initiated by the BMC.

Last week, following a TOI report on how a Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) at the Malad ward office was kept closed on April 13, a Sunday, to allow shooting for a TV serial starring actors Amitabh Bachchan and Sarika, the EC had called for a report. Jain was served a show-cause notice and asked to reply in 24 hours. An inquiry was conducted by deputy civic commissioner V Balamwar.

Source said, the report mentions that the last application for poll-related activities at the single-window scheme was received at 2pm. The single-window system has to be open till 5pm daily. The report states that the last permission for poll-related activity was collected at 7pm. This is based on CCTV recordings. Around 13 permissions were granted that day,.

Sources said the administrative inquiry was on account of the ward officer letting out the ward office premises for commercial activity without clearance. Jain, defending himself, has submitted a circular that allows such permission to be given by the ward officer. But sources said the circular is with regard to roads and footpaths only.

The report mentions a letter from the Malad West assistant returning officer Ajinkya Padwal to Jain asking him to cancel permission for use of the central polling station—a civic school near the ward office—for the shoot. Sources said when Padwal visited the school on April 13 morning, his entry was blocked and he had to call the cops. "On entry, he found a film crew cooking near the strong room. Padwal also lodged a verbal complaint with additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, who ordered the permission to be revoked," said a source. Deshmukh was unavailable for comment.


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Labourer killed inside a residential building

MUMBAI: A labourer with the help of his son had killed another labourer inside a residential building at Vile Parle (East) on Monday night.

The accused, Mohammad Alim, suspected that his wife had an affair with the deceased, Shivchand Sharma. Alim called Sharma to discuss the issue at the building where his son Imran was working as a security guard.
Around 9 pm, Alim and Sharma had an argument during the discussion at the building premises after which earlier stabbed latter.
Sharma ran out of the building after he was stabbed and caught an auto. He went to V N Desai hospital and got himself admitted. He died during the treatment. Alim and his son fled from the building after the incident.
The Vile Parle police registered a murder case and inquiring about the accused. The police said that the accused and the victim lived in a vicinity where the incident took place.
Alim had four children, including Imran, from his first wife. He married second time and suspected that Sharma had affair with his second wife.
The police said that Sharma gave Rs 30000 to Alim and he was demanding it back. Alim was avoiding Sharma and both had argument over the issue recently. Afterwards, Alim learnt Sharma's relationship with his wife and out of anger he stabbed him to death said the police.


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Bar dancers in Maharashtra pin their hopes on BJP

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Imagine that there is the orchestra floor," she says, pointing to the centre of the McDonald's outlet at Andheri, "there is the beer bar," pointing to the cash counter, " and this is where the clients sit," pointing to her chair, which is about four feet away from both. "Do you think prostitution can happen in such a place?" asks Geeta Shetty. Clad in a dark green salwar kameez that hides a back support belt, this kohl-eyed, out-of-work bar girl wonders if politicians even viewthem as human beings.

"Bar girls vote, many even go to their villages and vote," says Shetty. "Can these parties hold a press conference asking every single bar girl in Maharashtra not to vote," challenges Shetty.

Five years ago, however, this sharp witted girl had campaigned for a party that made people like her cry. In 2009, to the chagrin of her friends, Shetty had manifested impromptu crowds and handed out numerous pamphlets in Dahisar for the NCP, whose leader R R Patil was responsible for the 2005 dance bar ban. "I had my reasons," says Shetty, a mother of two, who didn't hope to be complaining about the rising price of rice and MRI scans five years later but she is. "I am now hoping the BJP will come to power," says Shetty, referring to the party that many bar girls and owners seem to be banking on, to rearrange their fate.

"The Congress has done nothing for us in the last ten years," says Munmun, a waitress at a dance bar in Borivli. In June last year, when the Supreme Court lifted the 2005 ban on dance bars, Munmun had distributed pedhas, not knowing her happiness would last just as long as those sweets. The government was firm in its stand on dance bars remaining shut and nothing changed, she says. "We have not only lost our income but also respect. Customers tip us as low as Rs 10 now," says Munmun, who is banking on the BJP to help the industry return to its shimmering, currency showered pre-2005 avatar.

That rosy period, a decade ago, was also the time when the Congress used to be touted as "the businessman's party," recalls bar owner and secretary of Mumbai Hotels Association, Pravin Agarwal. "But the party is not that anymore," feels Agarwal, grousing that bars have not been allowed to start dance so far and that cops continue to extract their pound of flesh. "We are only allowed four artists per stage up to 1.30 am. Even if we replace an artist during a crisis, cops slap us with indecency or obscenity charges," says Agarwal, whose various trips to Gujarat have inspired his confidence in the economic policies of the BJP. "I think the party will provide stability and its policies will encourage business development in Mumbai," he says.

Not everyone is as hopeful though. "I don't believe any of the parties are here to help us. I am voting only as a formality," says Aziz Mansoori, whose tailor and garment shop in Vashi was one of many businesses on the fringes of the dance bar industry. Mansoori, who would get orders for zariladen lehengas and cholis costing at least Rs 4,000 each from the neighbourhood bar girls, was set back by Rs 7 to Rs 8 lakh in 2005. "When dance bars were in business, women in the city were safer as the crime rate was low," says the garment shop owner. "But some people refuse to note such statistics and feel they are above the law," he says.


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Supreme Court rejects former MLA Pappu Kalani's bail plea in murder case

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bail plea by former Ulhasnagar MLA Suresh (Pappu) Kalani who was convicted in a murder case.

A trial court in Kalyan had last November sentenced Kalani to life imprisonment for the 1990 murder of BJP activist Inder Bhatija. The court had held the former political strongman, whose family still holds considerable sway over local politics, guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy. The SC had last month stayed the bail granted to the former Congress politician by the Bombay high court recently.

Kalani had moved the HC in appeal and also sought bail and suspension of sentence. HC on March 7 admitted his appeal, suspended his sentence and granted bail. The state, which had opposed Kalani's bail plea in the high court, rushed to the SC in appeal when it lost. At the earlier hearing when the SC stayed grant of bail, the state's counsel shekhar Naphade and Aniruddha Mayee, said Kalani had been convicted for murder and conspiracy to kill. "How can the sentence be suspended?" Besides Kalani has several pending cases against him and his release on bail would be detrimental.

Kalani, represented by counsel Mariam Putham opposed the state's appeal and said he had been behind bars for almost a decade.

Maharashtra government's argument even in the high court had been that Kalani had allegedly been involved in several crimes while on bail granted by the apex court during trial. Kalani's counsel in the HC Niteen Pradhan had argued that there was no direct evidence to implicate Kalani and victim's father and wife, witnesses in the case, had turned hostile.

In the Bombay HC a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil had asked Kalani (63) to furnish a surety of Rs one lakh and report to Kalyan police once a fortnight last Friday while ordering his release on bail. The court however restrained Kalani from entering Ulhasnagar town.

Bhatija was shot dead in April 1990, two months after his brother Ghanshyam was gunned down. That year, Kalani was contesting the assembly elections from the Ulhasnagar constituency as a Congress candidate, while the Bhateja brothers were backing the BJP candidate, Sheetaldas Harchandani.

Kalani has been Congress MLA from Ulhasnagar twice and he later won as an independent candidate too.


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Insurance firm pays for violating policy terms

Several consumers have voiced grievances about LIC not paying benefits in accordance with the terms of its Bal Vidya policy. Here is a case of a consumer who fought for his rights.

Background: A child's education is a responsibility and a duty for every conscientious parent. The cost of education is high, and parents have to budget for this expense. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has a Bal Vidya policy whose objective is to help parents meet the increasing costs of education.

Case Study: Darshak Mahesh Shah had taken LIC's Bal Vidya policy (without profit) for the education expenses of his son, Dhrumil. The policy, with a sum insured of Rs 1 lakh, was taken on July 15, 2002, benefits under which were to become available from July 15, 2006 onwards , and continue for 18 years till July 15, 2024. An amount of 1% of the sum insured would be paid every month from July 15, 2006 to June 15, 2010; then 2% of the sum insured would be paid monthly from July 15, 2010 to June 15, 2018, and finally 4% of the sum insured would be paid every month for the last six years from July 15, 2018 to June 15, 2024.

Instead of paying 2% from July 15, 2010 onwards as per policy terms, LIC continued to remit payment at 1%. Shah immediately noticed the payment was not proper and returned the cheques for correction.

LIC claimed that the payment was correct, though not in accordance with the policy, as there had been a mistake in the dates while issuing the policy. LIC claimedthe policy ought to have been issued with 1% payable for the first four years, then at 2% for the next eight years, and finally at 4% for the last five years. Shah was asked to return the policy for the correction to be made. But he refused to do so, contending that the policy had been checked, examined and counter checked while issuing it, and terms could not be varied after 8 years of issue. He also said that by manipulating the period, the total benefit would be Rs4,92,000 instead of Rs 5,28,000. Since LIC was adamant , Shah approached the Insurance Ombudsman, who took up the matter with LIC, and then sent a cryptic reply that the grievance would not be processed as LIC's response was found to be satisfactory. The Ombudsman did not hear the grievance, nor cared to communicate LIC's response.

Shah, along with the Consumer Welfare Association, filed a complaint before the South Mumbai Consumer Forum. LIC contested the case, saying Shah was trying to take undue advantage of a typing mistake. Shah claimed that LIC can not unilaterally revise policy terms after eight years.

The Forum considered the SC judgment in United India Insurance Co Ltd v/s M K J Corporation , where it was held that the fundamental principle of insurance law requires utmost good faith to be observed by the insured and the insurance firm forbidding either party from concealment or non-disclosure . After completion of the contract , no material alteration can be made in its terms except by mutual consent. The materiality of a fact is judged by circumstances existing at the time when the contract is concluded.

The Forum accordingly held that after the contract was concluded, the terms could not be varied on the basis of an internal circular, and that too one which was issued after the policy commenced. The Forum ruled that unilateral change in policy terms without consent of the insured was illegal and constituted a deficiency in service.

The Forum directed LIC to make payment as per terms of the policy issued to Shah. Since the dispute took place on July 15, 2010, it also directed that payment in accordance with the policy terms would have to be made along with 9% interest from the due date of each instalment till actual payment. It also ordered LIC to pay Shah Rs 5,000 as compensation of Rs 5,000 and Rs 3,000 as costs. Conclusion: LIC makes short payment without intimation, taking advantage of the trust reposed by unsuspecting consumers . Consumers must check that they get benefits in accordance with the terms of contract embodied in the contract of insurance.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt. of India's National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His e-mail is jehangir.gai.articles@hotmail.com)


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Govt plans that got off to a bad start

MUMBAI: The authorities in Mumbai have consistently focused their energies on developing infrastructure for motorists while ignoring everyone else. Whatever few times they have tried to act differently in the last few years, their planning has been dreadful. So much so that the projects have either not got off the ground or been stillborn. Transportation experts and urban planners assert that for pedestrianization plans to really work in a crowded city like Mumbai, they need to be formulated better. Isolated attempts, they add, are less likely to achieve success. "We must think beyond cars. Bigger and wider roads will not solve the problem of traffic; they may even worsen it. We need to think of a concept whereby walking and cycling become a part of our daily life," says architect-activist P K Das

CYCLING TRACKS & RENT-A-BIKE AT BKC

Two years ago, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) laid a 13km-long cycling track in Bandra-Kurla Complex at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore. Rarely used by cyclists, the track fell into disrepair and soon enough became a de facto parking space for motorists. To resuscitate the original project, the MMRDA weighed another plan last year. It considered building nine bicycle stands in three blocks of the BKC and engaging a private company to provide cycles on rent. The idea was that people could pedal to the railway station, drop the cycle there and take a train to their final destination. The project is still to take off

THE PROBLEM

Transportation experts note that cycling tracks built in isolation are less likely to work, especially among cyclists. Few people are going to drive down to the BKC with their bikes, cycle there on designated tracks and then return in the car with their bikes

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

The MMRDA needs to plan better. It should fix the broken tracks, make available cycles at the earliest and provide place for their parking. Incentivizing the use of bicycles in the business district may also help

WALKER'S PLAZA AT CRAWFORD MARKET

Over four years ago, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) came up with a tentative plan to construct a walker's plaza around Crawford Market. It considered building an underpass around the heritage market, so that traffic could go underground and an exclusive pedestrian space could be freed right from Abdul Rehman Street to Kalbadevi. According to some media reports, the civic authorities even asked the Urban Mass Transit Company to study the possibilities. It expected the plan to be a big hit because of the junction's proximity to two markets and rows of hawkers. People, officials were quoted as saying, would 'like to stroll there'

THE PROBLEM

The project never went very far. Partly because of lack of will on the part of the authorities and partly because the cost of moving the underground utilities was calculated to be prohibitive

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

The BMC must rethink the plan. If required, it should be implemented in a less challenging and congested area


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Mumbai Patrol: Now is the time to pedestrianize Mumbai

MUMBAI: Lengthy walking tracks may appear unattainable in a space-starved city like Mumbai, but they are not. A plan presented to the municipality around two years ago shows that 500km of continuous walking and cycling space could be laid here stretching from the city's southern end to the far tips of the eastern and western suburbs. But for these to become reality, what is required is resoluteness on the part of the state and the public.

Architect-activist P K Das and his team together prepared the pedestrian-friendly Open Mumbai plan that seeks to make walking a mode of transport instead of the exercise form that it currently is. The proposal says that a remarkable 43%, or 208.2 sq km, of Mumbai includes green zones like gardens, playgrounds, encroached open spaces, no-development zones, lakes, wetlands and beaches. It suggests developing much of this as public spaces.

To give the city new and unobstructed walkways—and to link neighbourhoods in the process—the plan urges connecting natural assets like open spaces, beaches, nullahs and rivers. By linking waterways alone with walking paths, it says, the city would get around 150 sq km of open spaces. An additional 16km would be yielded by connecting beaches, 37km by linking planned nullahs and 28km by linking the four rivers.

The proposal was submitted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 2012 and has been taken up for discussion during the preparation of the 2014-34 development plan.

Das concedes that its implementation may not be straight-forward. Difficulties may arise with each structure found between any two open spaces. "Hiccups like these will come up when a plan of such a magnitude is executed. But problems can be sorted and the plan can be tweaked by the BMC to suit the conditions on the ground," says Das.

Complex the plan may be, but it is not unrealistic. Its achievability can be seen in the Juhu Vision Plan, which seeks to integrate the area's beach with playgrounds and walking and cycling tracks. Work on a 2km walkway alongside Irla Nullah is underway with MPLAD funds from Javed Akhtar and is expected to be over by this year's end.

"The walkway will stretch from Juhu PVR to the Millennium Club. The Juhu example is a simple, humble and pragmatic way of dealing with the lack of walking space," says Das. "It can be replicated by people in their own localities if they take up the issue with the civic body while the development plan is under revision."

Activists and experts note that now is perhaps the best time for Mumbaikars to push the authorities towards making the city pedestrian-friendly.

The municipal corporation, while drafting the amendments in the city's development plan, has agreed to create 151 microplanning units comprising citizens. These units—each covering 3-5 sq km—will be asked in meetings after the general elections to give inputs on what development they think is needed, and not needed, in their regions.

"Micro-planning units have been created to provide citizens a forum to express their requirements, so that they can be budgeted for in the development plan. Locals should deliberate on the plan and take it forward," says Aravind Unni, an urban planner with the voluntary development organisation Yuva.


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