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Red tape holds up revamp of 100-yr-old SoBo bridges

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 30 November 2014 | 22.23

A tussle between the civic body and Central Railway (CR) has stalled the reconstruction of Hancock and Carnac Bunder bridges, which are more than a century old.

Both bridges have been declared unsafe and need to be reconstructed. Currently, the authorities have barred heavy vehicles from using the bridges by installing girders but experts say it is, at best, a stopgap measure.

The 135-year-old Hancock Bridge lies near Sandhurst Road station and Carnac Bunder Bridge, which is 147 years old, is located between CST and Masjid Bunder station.

The blockage of Carnac Bunder Bridge has severely disrupted traffic in south Mumbai from CST to the mouth of Eastern Express Freeway. Transporters say heavy vehicles carrying goods from the docks and proceeding towards their godowns at Sandhurst Road, Pydhonie and Masjid Bunder have to take a diversion at the northern side of Masjid Bunder. Daily commuters dread using Carnac Bunder Bridge. "Motorists are putting their lives in danger by using Carnac Bunder bridge. The authorities must look at ways of expediting the repair work," said Kartar Singh, a Sion resident who uses the link.

Officials from the BMC and CR, who have been meeting regularly since 2012, are unable to resolve the matter. The civic body has agreed to foot the bill for rebuilding the links but the design put forward by the BMC has not got clearance from the Railways. While the onus is on the Railways to raze the existing bridges. During a meeting held last week at the BMC headquarters, CR sought to increase the bridges' height. "We have submitted the design that the Railways shot down as they want to raise the height of the proposed links by 3m. It is not feasible to tinker with the height," said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas, who attended the meeting.

"Increasing the bridges' height will pose a problem as we will have to match it with the connecting roads. It could lead to waterlogging in neighbouring housing colonies during monsoon. Some societies could also face a problem of access and even the fire brigade will be unable to enter," he added.

A CR official said, "The BMC officials are still preparing the drawings. Until then we will look for a solution that does not affect the DC-AC switchover project and or create traffic hassles."

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Winter session may go on for 3 weeks

MUMBAI: After its controversial "voice-vote" victory in trust vote, the new BJP government is set for a tight-rope walk in the coming winter session where important Bills are likely to be discussed.

The winter session is proposed to be continued for three weeks till December 26. The legislature's advisory committee has finalized the agenda for the session, which will be held from December 8 to 19 in Nagpur. "The agenda for the remaining days will be decided in a meeting on December 18," a source close to the business advisory committee of the legislature told TOI. The three-week winter session will be the longest in recent past.

Sources said the Opposition, if the alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP does not take shape, may demand voting on certain issues to make it a challenge for the Fadnavis government, which has already disqualified five Opposition members over an alleged scuffle with the governor.

Three Bills are slated to be tabled at the session for approval. Besides, debates will be held on the governor's recent address to the joint session of the legislature.

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Cong hijacks Sena’s Bandra talao plan

MUMBAI: The Congress on Saturday hijacked the Shiv Sena's plan to hold a stone-laying ceremony in the first week of December for beautification of Swami Vivekanand lake, popularly known as Bandra talao. On Saturday, the Congress organized a coconut-breaking ceremony with former MP Priya Dutt as chief guest.

Former MLA Baba Siddique and opposition leader in the BMC Devendra Amberkar were present. Amberkar said that the BMC agreed to beautify the lake due to persistent follow-up by Dutt and Siddique.

The BMC has allotted Rs 5 crore for beautification of the 7.5-acre lake. It plans to build a path way, amphitheatre and benches besides lighting up the lake and starting boat services. Work is expected to start in December and completed by April 2015. The BMC has changed its original plan and reduced the amphitheatre size.

Residents are not happy with the amphitheatre plan. "The lake does not need an amphitheatre for tamasha by citizens," said a local ALM member. Sena leader Trushna Vishwasrao and standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse were not available for comments.

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Mumbai-Pune traffic hit as gas tanker overturns

Traffic on the Pune-Mumbai highway was severely hit after a gas tanker overturned and developed a leak at Chakan phata in Talegaon Dabhade around 2.45am on Saturday.

Police diverted the traffic coming from Pune and Mumbai through the Expressway via Valvan bridge in Lonavla. Traffic movement returned to normal only around 9.10am, after the leak was plugged and the tanker moved to the side of the road.

"The tanker was on its way to Sangli. The driver lost control while overtaking," said sub-inspector Santosh Vairagade of the highway safety patrol in Vadgaon Maval. "We summoned four cranes, four fire brigade units and chemical experts," he said. The gas did not pose any danger, he said.

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BMC films to teach kids about diabetes

MUMBAI: The civic administration will soon release two short films, including an animation film targeted at schoolchildren, in order to highlight the problem of diabetes and obesity in society.

As a part of its anti-diabetes drive, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation recently tested 12,695 Mumbaikars at 92 camps to check blood sugar across the city. "At these camps which were conducted on November 14 and 15, we found that 773 people had abnormal sugar levels," said Dr Daksha Shah, who is in charge of the municipal corporation's non-communicable diseases programme. "We've asked them to undergo further tests."

Although the civic body's drive showed a 6% prevalence of diabetes in the city, other studies have pegged it at 10% along with another 15% who are in the pre-diabetes stage. "As statistics show that 60% of the deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases, it is important to educate people about the problems of obesity and diabetes," said Dr Shah. The BMC increased its diabetes clinics from 55 to 80 this year.

The BMC has tied up with a non-governmental organization, Little More, to make a two-minute film highlighting how women ignore their health and develop lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. "People should at least exercise 150 minutes a week while children should play an hour every day to stay fit," said Dr Shah, explaining the reason for focusing the second film on children.

Through the year, BMC will carry out a campaign, 'Swasthya Main Hai Swaad' focusing on twin themes of healthy eating and exercise to keep diabetes away. BMC's health department has also sent a booklet with 20 health recipes to all city schools. Other plans include introduction of yoga sessions for diabetes patients, street plays to highlight problems like hypertension and obesity.

People should at least exercise 150 minutes a week while children should play an hour every day to stay fit

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Give pension to illegitimate kids of all govt employees: PIL

MUMBAI: Bombay high court has asked for a Central government circular to be produced which provides for giving pension to the illegitimate children of class one officers.

A division bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Nitin Jamdar passed the direction after they heard a public interest litigation filed in September 2013 by activist Ketan Tirodkar relying on a report in The Times of India. His petition said the news report stated that the Centre has amended the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules 1958 to provide for a share in the pension to children of illegally wedded wives of the officers of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Forests Service. Tirodkar urged the court to direct that the amended rules be made applicable to such children of government employees at all levels of the Centre and state.

When the matter came up for hearing on November 27, the judges questioned the advocates of the Centre and state whether the scheme is implemented. The advocates replied that they are not aware and will have to take instructions.

Tirodkar submitted that pension has already started flowing under the scheme.

However the judges said they cannot rely on media reports.

They directed Tirodkar to place on record the circular in question as the petition is based upon media report only. Granting him time to amend the petition, they posted the next hearing on December 11.

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PIL says over Rs 650 crore due as stamp duty, Bombay HC seeks state reply

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday issued notice to the state government and called for its reply to a public interest litigation that highlights lack of stamp duty recovery in over 35,000 cases in three decades between 1970 and 2000. The PIL by RTI activist Sunil Kaushik points at lack of government action against defaulter including prominent builders, actors, leading companies, even the civic administration and state corporations.

The activist's lawyer Vedchetan Patil said that the reports by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) between 2001-12 reveal stamp duty evasion of over Rs 675 crore over the years. Air India, The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, State financial corporation, oil companies and banks are among those who haven't paid stamp duty for over two decades for properties they purchased, said the PIL relying on data posted on the government deparment's website. Kaushik seeks a probe into the government's inaction.

The plea is also for digitisation of stamp duty records. It also said the losses to the state exchequer could be higher, even over Rs 5,000 crore, if pending cases and possible undervaluation is considered.

The registration and stamps department website showed most defaulters belonged to Borivli and Andheri areas.

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Petition in high court for proper safety arrangements at Kumbh Mela

MUMBAI: A petition has been filed in the Bombay high court by the Hindu Janajagruti Samit with regards to ensure that there are proper safety features at the grand Kumbh Mela which will be held in Nashik in July 2015. In the earlier Kumbh Mela held in 2003, 29 devotees had lost their lives while 118 were injured in a stampede.

Matter came up for hearing on November 7 before the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Burgess Colabawalla. The bench ordered Central Government, State Government and Nashik Municipal Corporation to file their say in this regard. Next hearing will be held on December 15.

Due to lack of advanced preparations and pre-planning, the tragic stampede had occurred in 2003 at the Nashik venue. Nearly 50 lakh devotees had visited Kumbh Mela in 2003. This number may well be much higher in 2015, since the religious event is held only once in 12 years.

A press release of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti stated that for the advance preparation for Kumbh Mela in the year 2003, government had planned to acquire about 300 acres of land for the accommodating sages, saints, akhadas and devotees, and process to reserve the land around Nashik area for this purpose was in progress. However, only 58 acres of land could be acquired.

The Government has taken no action in this misappropriation nor initiated any steps to acquire the necessary land. While the administrative budget to conduct Kumbh Mela in the appropriate manner was for Rs 4,105 crores, not a single rupee was allotted by the union government,'' said a Samiti spokesperson.

He added that Hindu Janajagruti Samiti was forced to file petition in the high court in order to pressurize Central and State Governments to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure that Kumbh Mela is conducted properly.

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Dengue claims Mumbai’s 5th victim in 7 days

MUMBAI: The ravaging dengue crisis in the city claimed its fifth victim within a span of just seven days taking the death toll to 12. The latest casualty is a four-month-old child who died at Parel's KEM Hospital, which has emerged as a hotspot for the looming viral epidemic.

Kurla girl Samiya Shaikh's death was both intriguing and sudden, said KEM doctors. The toddler was rushed to the hospital with myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle), fever and breathing difficulty but none of the classical dengue symptoms. Her platelet or white blood cell count remained normal, giving away little that dengue could be at the root of her condition. Doctors still carried out the dengue rapid test which came positive.

Her breathing difficulty was attributed to a congenital heart condition. "It looked like a cardiac condition at the beginning but then she tested positive for dengue," said Dr Shubhangi Parkar, dean, KEM Hospital. The child was brought to the hospital's cardio-vascular thoracic surgery department on November 2 and was later shifted to the pediatric intensive care. She passed away early on Thursday. Doctors stated her cause of death as 'cardio-respiratory failure in a clinical case of dengue fever'.

Shaikh is the second child to die of dengue since Thursday when three-year-old Manasvi Devrukhakar from Andheri east also succumbed to the viral infection at the Holy Spirit Hospital. The civic authorities said that they were yet to access the complete medical records pertaining to Shaikh's case and therefore could not attribute her death to the city's dengue toll as yet. Shaikh's death though has brought the city's toll to that of 2013 when Mumbai's dengue menace became a national talking point.

A senior doctor from KEM Hospital said babies too should be adequately protected from mosquito bite as the immunity they get from their mothers may not be enough. "If a mother got dengue very recently, she as well as the baby may have antibodies. That may extend the child some immunity from that particular strain but not the other three strains that cause dengue," the doctor added.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met health authorities on Friday to review dengue prevention and control plans. BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte briefed Fadnavis about the efforts being taken by the city administration. The civic administration has the mammoth task of checking and fogging areas involving 10.50 lakh houses.

Fadnavis said awareness should be created by roping in celebrities and social media, besides radio and TV. A senior official who attended the meeting said the awareness campaign would mainly focus on replacing, removing or treating stagnant water with anti-mosquito sprays in and around the residential areas.

So far, 26 people have succumbed to dengue in the state. The disease has infected nearly 5,400 people across the state, including 2,700 people in corporation areas.

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Targeting entrenched Gujaratis in Mumbai not easy, netas only venting frustration

MUMBAI: "Wanna take part in Swacha Bharat abhiyan n start from mumbai!! Wanna start cleaning up all the Marathi hating gujjus from there once for all."

With this infamous tweet earlier this week, first-time MLA Nitesh Rane not only exposed himself as a political novice with bad grammar, he also took the regressive, rabble-rousing route that Marathi netas have taken whenever it suited them.

But Gujaratis in Mumbai are scarcely like the impoverished south Indians migrants of a few decades ago or the north Indians now who can be beaten into submission. Gujaratis have been associated with Mumbai from the beginning, they form the backbone of trade and commerce in the city, speak Marathi and finance many Marathi politicians.

"I wouldn't take these comments against Gujaratis too seriously. This is posturing to retain Marathi constituencies," said Suhas Palshikar, political science professor at Savitribai Phule Pune University.

Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had attacked Gujaratis in the past, but they were weak attacks. "Otherwise, the attacks were always on south Indians and later, north Indians."

Of late, the attacks have been coming faster. The coincidence with a significant election year cannot be dismissed. A few months ago, Sena mouthpiece Saamna slammed Gujaratis for being opportunists who made their money in Mumbai and left the "original residents" impoverished.

MNS's Raj Thackeray said Maharashtra's Gujaratis did nothing during the Marathwada quake.

Nitesh's father Narayan Rane, a senior Congress leader, recently cautioned against key institutions being shifted out of Mumbai.

Morarji Desai had tried to isolate Mumbai and connect it with Gujarat, and the new PM would do so too, he added.

"Gujaratis are attacked as they are largely a community of traders and money lenders under whom many Maharashtrians work. A similar phenomenon was seen in Europe from the 13th to the 20th century with Jews, who were also a trading community," said Vibhuti Patel, head of economics at SNDT University.

The grudge that Maharashtrians bear Gujaratis is an old one. "The Shiv Sena refused to call former PM Morarji Desai anything other than Moru. When Bal Thackeray was asked to comment on him during his funeral, he said: 'He lived to be 100. That's all'," said historian and senior journalist Aroon Tikekar.

But after Narendra Modi and the BJP's victories at the Centre and state, many believe politicians trying to play the Marathi manoos card are on a sticky wicket. "A new generation of Maharashtrians knows that it will have to compete in the modern economy to succeed in life. The Marathi manoos card will not work for them," said Tikekar.

Patel believes Maharashtra's neo middle-class wants more than vada pav and zunka bhakhar. "Maharashtrians have long prided themselves on a spartan lifestyle and looked down on the ostentatious Gujaratis. But with upward mobility, they want just that. The BJP, backed by large industrialists, promises just such a life," she added.

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Maharashtra frees no-development zones with FSI of four

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra urban development department has taken the first step to throw open no-development zones in Mumbai, allowing 10-20 times the construction currently permitted.

The move has raised suspicions that it could be tailor-made for a clutch of builders. Several control large swathes of NDZs in Oshiwara, Malad and Powai, but are unable to utilize their development potential because of restrictions. Building activity has always been severely restricted on NDZs because of environmental concerns.

The UDD, through a notification, has proposed an FSI of four for developers wishing to construct exhibition-cum-convention centres and support services like hotels, food courts and convenience stores on plots of a minimum area of 25 acres. FSI is 0.2-0.4 at present on NDZs, mainly for ancillary services like golf clubs, amusement parks and IT parks.

The UDD notification was issued by the previous government a couple of weeks before the poll code of conduct came into force in September. But it was published a few days ago, leading many to believe that clearance has also been given by the new government. The UDD portfolio is with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

As per the notification, exhibition-cum-convention centres can be permitted on plots marked for residential and industrial purposes. It has invited the public to offer objections and suggestions before the government modifies the development control rules.

"At present, there is no world-class convention-cum-exhibition centre in Mumbai. The government permitted additional FSI for such a centre in the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport notified area, but there is no provision for granting additional FSI and other concessions elsewhere in Mumbai," says the notification, adding that the "government is satisfied" that the move is in "public interest". Currently, the Reliance Group is building a convention-cum-exhibition centre at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

According to an estimate, around 40% of Greater Mumbai's 457 sq km land area is believed to comprise NDZs, which includes salt pan lands, Aarey Milk colony and areas around creeks and mangroves. In 2005, the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh publicly commented that reservations pertaining to NDZs are not sacrosanct. "No-development zone does not mean it is a never-development zone," he had said. Over the last decade, the government used its authority to convert large tracts of NDZ land into residential zones. One of the first to be "de-reserved" was a 20-acre lush green NDZ plot near Fantasy Land in Andheri (East); it was converted to residential zone plot.

Environmentalists say planning decisions need to be taken very carefully since decisions concerning the environment and public health have to be taken into account, especially in a city that has the lowest ratio of open spaces per 1,000 people. NDZs are vacant lands and thus are necessary for absorbing rainwater and re-circulating air.

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Dance trainer’s dog-bite selfie blows up into ‘rape’ allegation against him

MUMBAI: Merely sharing a selfie on a mobile messenger group has turned out to be nightmare for dance instructor Piyush Sen.

The well-known trainer, whose students have won several television dance shows, last Thursday shared a picture of his face with a bloody gash after his Saint Bernard accidentally bit him. Less than a week later, Sen got the shock of his life to find the same selfie, which he had shared only with his doctor and a closed group of friends, doing the rounds with the message that the injury was caused when he was caught trying to rape a student.

The message added that this was the third time something like this has happened to Sen.

By Thursday evening, the message was all over social networking sites and messenger groups. Over 700 parents, whose children learn dance at his various academies, had called him to check the veracity of the messages.

Sen, who was recuperating at a Kalyan hospital after getting 63 stitches on his face, had to plead with doctors to discharge him so he could go out and quell the rumours. By Friday evening, Piyush had personally met over 200 parents to tell them it was just a rumour.

"I was bombarded with calls on Wednesday," said Sen, who is on painkillers and speaks with difficulty. "Everybody wanted to know if I had committed the crime. I did not even understand what they were talking about until a parent came to meet me at the hospital and showed me the message."

Sen has filed a complaint with the Mahatma Phule police station in Kalyan, under whose jurisdiction his residence lies. Senior Inspector Dinesh Katke said, "We have started working on the complaint. We will seek the Cyber Cell's help and once they get to the bottom of things, we will register an offence."

While the perils of sharing intimate photos or text messages over phone are well known, this is one of those incidents where a simple act like seeking help in an emergency has been misused to malign a person. The incident occurred last Thursday night when Piyush accidentally stepped over Bravo, his two-year-old Saint Bernard, while walking towards the bathroom in the dark at his Kalyan home. "I didn't see him sleeping on the floor," said Sen, who shot to fame 15 years ago when he won the solo title in the dance show Boogie Woogie. "When I tripped, Bravo lunged and bit me on the face. I started bleeding and called up my doctor."

Sen also shot a selfie of his bloodied face and sent it to his doctor to check if he needed immediate medical attention. He also posted the picture on a Whatsapp group that has 30-odd members he knows from his dance classes.

Some friends came over and rushed Sen to a private hospital in Kalyan from where he was shifted to an Andheri hospital, where he was administered 63 stitches. He was then sent to the Kalyan hospital to recuperate. Unknown to him, the malicious message had started doing the rounds by then. Over the next six days, the message reached thousands of his students, their parents, school mates and even his friends in Bollywood.

"I was shocked to the core and insisted on getting discharged immediately," said Sen, sitting in his 5,000 sq feet dance academy in Kalyan. "Most people who know me have reposed faith in me, but there are those who are finding it difficult to believe that this is nothing but mischief. Several parents have approached me and said that if the allegations are proven they will stop sending their children. My reputation built over 16 years is at stake.

The stream of visitors at his home is never ending. As group after group of parents come visiting, Sen pops a painkiller and patiently explains the sequence of events.

"I have learned my lesson," said Sen, who graduated in IT engineering. "Social networking sites and chat applications may be great to communicate but it is also very important what you send out or say. I would appeal to others that they must very careful before posting anything personal as it can be misused."

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Dengue brings an entire family to hospital, robs others of support

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 07 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Dengue has left many families in the city crippled, as several members of the same family have been admitted to hospital at the same time. Among the worst hit is an eight-member family from Kalina, seven of whose members suffered from dengue and were admitted to a private hospital in Vakola between October 14 to 29.

The Sheikh family, which lives in a chawl in Kalina gaothan, described their fortnight-long experience as 'traumatic'.

Irfat Sheikh (44), said the first to fall ill was her sister's son Tehsin (30), who lives with her. "I would get severe headaches and a day before being admitted to hospital I felt like my head would burst. The pain was unbearable so I was taken to the hospital where tests indicated that I was positive for the dengue NSI antigen," Tehsin said.

Immediately the next day, his aunt Irfat fell ill with the same symptoms and was taken to hospital. She was followed in quick succession by her son and daughter who also had to be admitted. Next to be taken to hospital was Tehsin's sister Nafisa. The siblings live with Irfat and her children since their mother passed away.

Finally, Irfat's sister in law was the last victim. "As a family we were troubled. In fact we believe that many of the old homes in our area which are lying lie vacant could be breeding spots for the mosquitoes. I hope that the authorities step up their efforts to curb this menace," said Irfat's daughter Aqsa, who recently recovered from the disease.

The only person in the family left unscathed by the disease was Mansur Sheikh (65), Irfat's brother.

The Sheikhs are not alone. Two families from Khar were hit hard by the disease last month.

A 51-year-old man and his 58-year-old elder sister were admitted to a private nursing home in Khar after they tested positive for dengue. "It was around Diwali. Initially the throat pain did not feel severe, however the fever was very high and doctors asked me to take a blood test. I tested positive for dengue. The next day my sister started vomiting and had high fever. She too tested positive for dengue. We both ended up being admitted to the same hospital," said the man. They even had trouble initially finding a bed in any private hospital, as most of them were occupied.

He said the disease hit the family hard as he and his elder sister were the only support for other family members. Their father suffers from dementia and their mother too is very old. "Although we have a full-time maid at home, we would not otherwise be out of home for so long. While checking the premises for possible breeding spots all we could recollect was some water below the lift area, considering we had cleaned the place recently," he said.

Another family of four in Khar was hit by dengue as two of its members tested positive for the disease. The two 29-year-old women, who were diagnosed with dengue were reluctant to take admission in hospital, and their parents weren't amenable to the idea too, so they set up a temporary care facility at home, including intravenous drips. "Although my daughters have recovered now, we had a really anxious time. We got them treated at home itself," said the father of the two women.

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Most schools can’t afford to spend week on cleanup

MUMBAI: While schools across the city have welcomed the government's Bal Swachchta programme, most will not be able to follow the prescribed five-day plan as it would interfere with their celebrations and the academic calendar.

On November 5, the school state education department issued a letter to state board schools asking them to implement the Bal Swachchta programme between November 14 and 19. Schools have to undertake activities such as a clean-up drive, visit a health centre and a water purification centre, hold competitions on the theme of cleanliness, and make presentations on maintaining personal hygiene, keeping toilets clean and the importance of clean food.

Schools said emphasizing on cleanliness is a good idea, but they may not be able to spend an entire week on it. "We like the idea that the government wants to inculcate the virtue of cleanliness among children and wants them to learn through site visits, but it might not be practically possible to implement all the guidelines suggested," said Rajesh Pandya, teacher, Fatima Devi High School, Malad. He added that students might miss out on class work due to the week-long celebration. "We will not be able to involve all the children and hence those who are part of the activities will miss out on what is taught in class."

Some teachers, though, said the government is trying to leave an impression on young minds through these activities. "Activities such as personal hygiene and cleanliness have always been a part of school activities. By taking an initiative and sending circulars, the government wants to create a good image for the future vote bank," said a teacher of a Dadar school. Many are yet to receive the circular as they are on a Diwali vacation.

Principals said schools should be given the freedom to celebrate important days in their own way. "The situation in rural and city schools is very different from each other so blanket orders for all schools don't work well. Schools best know the issues that are important for them and must be allowed to decide on their own," said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Castelino High School, Kandivli.

Schools affiliated to CBSE and CISCE are yet to get any instructions. "We haven't received any circular yet but we have already planned that the teachers will put up a performance for students," said Avnita Bir, principal, R N Podar School.

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Builder held for duping 425 people in Kalyan

KALYAN: The Mahatma Phule police in Kalyan have arrested a builder who duped more than 425 people and swindle Rs 4.25 crore from them by booking flats in Ambernath. The builder who had promised to handover possession by Diwali, shut offices in Kalyan and disappeared one day before the diwali.

The police said arrested builder Rakesh Singh along with some more partners were running firm named Akruti builders and Developers in Kalyan and hunt for other partners is also on.

The cop have also sent notices to four nationalised banks to freeze company's bank accounts so the money cannot be withdrawn. The police said Akruti builders and developer's office was situated near Oakbuag area in Kalyan. For the past two years builder were showing some sample flats constructed by them to people in Nevali Naka situated in Ambernath Taluka and were taking money from them with promise to give them possession by end of Diwali festival however when people found office was shut after Diwali on Monday around 325 people approached to local Mahatma Phule police and lodge case with them. However till Tuesday the numbers of cheated people reached up to 425.

Deepak Katke, senior police inspector of Mahatma Phule police station said, "We are also probing role of gram panchayat as primary probe suggest that entire project was illegal and land belongs to the gram panchayat".

Police are also checking if it's officials were involved in to scam.

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BMC yet to get reports of dengue’s latest casualty

MUMBAI: ManasviMangeshDevrukhakar, the three-year-old girl from Andheri, who died of dengue on Thursday, is yet to be confirmed as the city's latest dengue victim by the BMC.

She was taken to Holy Spirit Hospital on Wednesday and immediately transferred to the pediatric ICU. However, she passed away on Thursday afternoon. Tests done in the PICU established the dengue diagnosis, which was conveyed to the local BMC office late in the evening. However, BMC epidemiology officer Dr Mangala Gomare said her office had not received any report from the hospital despite personally calling up for information.

BMC's doctors say that dengue's sting has been worse this year because of the delayed winter—the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes do not breed or fare too well in cooler climates. This, combined with the fact that people allow fresh water accumulation, which helps these mosquitoes breed, has lengthened dengue's assault on Mumbai. BMC's ward offices are carrying out awareness programmes and holding rallies asking people to be aware about breeding in their potted and feng shui plants and balconies. In fact, a BMC survey of seven lakh houses each month has revealed 51% of the breeding spots are located in high rises, 10% in slums and remaining in slum-like or chawls.

On October 27, KEM Hospital resident doctor Shruti Khobragade died in Hinduja Hospital, while a civic official's husband, S Gaikwad, died in Nair Hospital on November 1. Shubham Tiwari (20) and new mother Nisha Chavan (26) passed away in KEM Hospital, Parel, and Dalvie Hospital, Peddar Road on Sunday and Monday respectively. Meanwhile, seven resident doctors from KEM Hospital who have been living on the campus have been hospitalized with the disease. One, Dr Vruj Dhruve, was transferred to Hinduja Hospital.

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Want to first clean Mumbai off Gujaratis: Nitesh Rane

MUMBAI: Congress MLA NiteshRane has stoked a controversy by saying that he wants to begin Prime Minister NarendraModi's 'Clean India' campaign from Mumbai by cleaning the city of all the Gujaratis who hate Marathis.

"Wanna take part in SwachaBharatabhiyan n start from mumbai!! Wanna start cleaning up all the Marathi hating gujjus from there once for all," Rane posted on Twitter yesterday.

Nitesh, the son of senior Congress leader NarayanRane, had earlier also courted controversy by alleging that the Gujarati community was trying to take control over Mumbai.

"We are not against Gujaratis who want to remain in harmony, but are against those who want to take control of the city," Nitesh had then tweeted.

Defending his anti-Gujarati tweet posted yesterday, Rane today said attention should also be drawn towards the hate statements made (by Gujaratis) almost everyday.

"So much ho ha abt my statement on the Marathi hating gujjus but no 1 is focussing on the hate statements passed by them almost everyday," he tweeted.

However, senior Congress leader ManikraoThakre said the party disapproves of such remarks.

"Congress disapproves such comments. I will speak to Nitesh, but this is not the party view," Thakre told reporters when asked to comment on Rane's remarks.

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Teen held with fake currency in Virar

MUMBAI: A teenager was held with fake Rs 1,000 notes while making purchases in Virar. The currency was allegedly given to him by a friend after being promised money.

The 16-year-old, a resident of Dhaniv Baug, Nalla Sopara (E) went to a grocery shop on Veer Savarkar Road in Virar (east) to make some purchases on Thursday. He produced a Rs 1,000 note. The shopkeeper found the currency fake and informed the Virar police.

The police recovered nine Rs 1,000 notes from the teen, all of which turned out to be fake.

The teen told the police that the currencies were handed over to him by his friend, who had come from West Bengal. The teen was asked to circulate the notes and was promised a good amount.

The police booked the teen under sections 489 (tampering) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. The Vasai sessions court on Friday send him to the Bhiwandi Children Remand Home.

The notes are believed to have been procured from Bangladesh and brought to Malda in WB. It was later distributed across the country.

Police have launched a search for the suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed.

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Parliamentary Standing Committee visits defence installations in Mumbai

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 06 November 2014 | 22.23

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence (SCOD) headed by Major General BC Khanduri (Retd) and comprising Members of Parliament (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) visited defence installations at Mumbai last week on Friday. The Committee was received by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief and other senior officers.

In Mumbai the Committee visited the Head Quarters, Western Naval Command and were briefed on the role and functions of the Command and other wide-ranging issues such as operational preparedness, state of equipment, coastal security, personnel, land, infrastructure and accommodation.

They were also briefed on the Coast Guard and Canteen Stores Department matters, as also welfare measures for serving and retired defence personnel and their families.

The Committee also visited Mazagaon Dockyard Limited (MDL) where the members were briefed on the progress of ongoing ship-building projects and the Scorpene submarine construction programme.

Later in the day, they visited the newly commissioned warship, INS Kolkata at Naval Dockyard.

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New Zealand defence officials meet Indian Navy in Mumbai today

MUMBAI: The New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College will be meeting the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy on Thursday as part of the two countries' defence cooperation programme to strengthen their ties. The 65-members delegation is on an overseas study tour to India to enhance their military and strategic understanding of the region. Apart from the relation building between the two countries, the delegation core idea is to share the defence education platform where in highly ranked officers each from 12 countries are selected and are provided with nine month advance defence education in New Zealand.

They landed in India on November 2 and after completing their Delhi visit reached Mumbai on Tuesday night. In India, they will travel to five Indian cities (Delhi, Agra, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru) where they will visit some of India's leading defence-related institutions, industries and think tanks. "This visit will deepen India-New Zealand defence ties with members of this delegation having a privileged perspective on India's military and strategic priorities," leader of the delegation, Commodore Wayne Burroughs of the Royal New Zealand Navy told TOI on Wednesday.

The study programme is restricted to officers enrolled for a nine-month course at the Staff College. The touring group includes 12 Officers of the equivalent rank of Major or Lieutenant Colonel and four Warrant Officers from international military forces. This includes the first Indian defence officials selected for the programme. Major Malay Mishra of the Indian National Army, who is currently studying at theNew Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College. "Interactions during this visit will impart more than the theoretical lessons in class about strategy, culture and strategic-culture and also will provide a different perspective of dynamics within Asia-Pacific," adds Mishra, who lauds the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College's "competent multinational and intellectual environment".

Air Commodore Shaun Clarke said that the piracy at sea was one of the major problem. But now it has come down and it is due to the effective patrolling carried out by Navies of different countries. He said offering study programmes to defence personnel, the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College shares a great deal in common with India's National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi (which offers development to full Colonels and General rank officers). As a new initiative, one New Zealand Army Officer will be attending the year-long NDC course in January 2015.

Commander Nigel Edward Philpott said their previous overseas study tours by have been to China, the US, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Visit destinations are chosen by the Chief of Defence Force and show New Zealand's deep interest in the Asia-Pacific region. The last visit by a NZDF Command and Staff College group to India was in 2009.

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Death rites get the professional touch

When Neeta Bhalchandra Tavade, 72, died at her Andheri home recently , her son Shailesh made some ur gent calls. There were the friends and relatives who had to be informed of her demise. The last call went to a funeral service company -Shailesh needed help with the last rites and the cremation. A team from Antim Samskar Seva arrived with a bamboo bier, garlands and the small earthen pot for Hindu death rituals, arranged for a priest, took the body to the crematorium and helped the family perform the last rites. This was a first death in the family in 30 years and Tavade needed the extra hands. "I was not in a position to take quick decisions and didn't want to get stressed out by relatives bossing me around," he says.

A growing number of people like Tavade in cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai prefer saying a hasslefree and dignified goodbye to their loved ones. The services are arranged by specialist companies or funeral undertakers who keep their phone lines open to people of all communities who are hard-pressed for time and reliable support.

"We started with one air-conditioned hearse and a team of four men headed by a social worker in 2008. We now assist over 100 bereaved families every month from Colaba up to Borivali and Vashi in north Mumbai," says Dr Ramnik Parekh, a general physician and the founder of the Mumbai-based Antim Samskar Seva. In New Delhi, Indian Funeral Service handles two-three funerals a day while Chennai-based Vincent Parker deals with up to six ceremonies. The Delhi and Chennai companies are family-run and started by arranging burials for Christians and expats, and have now expanded to organizing cremations.

"We started doing cremations because many don't want to deal with the headache of making the arrangements, especially in a big city or a new neighbourhood," says Elroy Noronha of Indian Funeral Service. He says the transition was gradual: "Earlier, Hindus would not delay a cremation to wait for a family member." But once they got used to the idea of renting freezer boxes to keep the remains intact for relatives to fly in from other parts of the country and abroad, they also started outsourc ing other arrangements, says Noronha.

Vishal Doshi from Mumbai was alone when his father-in-law died and had to make a quick call about making the arrangements.

"What if my friends couldn't reach on time? Also, how can I hassle people to leave work and help me?" say Doshi, who got Antim San skar Seva to help him with the arrangements.

Awareness of these services is spreading mostly by word of mouth.

Mumbaiker Deviyanka Bedi says she opted for Indian Funeral Service because she finds people "cold-hearted" about death. "Eve ryone is insensitive -from morgues, ambu lances, government officials to crematoriums.

It makes the process so disrespectful to the dead," says Bedi, who used professionals to arrange the funeral of her housekeeper. "She was like a grandmother to us but being Hindus we had no idea about Catholic funeral rites."

The beginnings of Dr Parekh's enterprise go back to a personal tragedy .

He had watched his father's body being transferred from one tattered ambulance to another am (the first one had broke down in the middle of the road). "He was an accident vic tim. I realized that we exhibit scant dignity and respect to the dead in our funeral ceremonies as we run helter-skelter to make the arrange ments for the last journey and I wanted to change that," says Dr Parekh. Also, with youngsters moving out of family homes, many have no idea about the last rites. "We have a manual of 24 permutations and combinations of rituals suitable for various communities and religions," he says.

To get the nuances right, most organiza tions tie up with local vendors and furnish their vehicles with community-specific kits.

They also arrange for death certificates from the local authorities. The basic cremation packages range between Rs 3,000 and Rs 8,000.

Elaborate floral decorations cost more. And priests have to be paid separately . Burials can cost upto Rs 1 lakh for embalming, flowers, refreshments, and videography . Many Chris tians, especially from Kerala with NRI links, spend around Rs 20,000 on webcasting the serv ice live to relatives abroad. "Fifteen years ago, people said `you tell me the rituals, I will do it'," says NS Bhat, founder of PS Ambulance Services in New Delhi. "Now, it has more or less changed to `you do it, I will pay'."

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Guard held for stealing cash from hospital safe

MUMBAI: The Bhoiwada police arrested a 26-year-old security guard for stealing Rs9.77 lakhs cash from safe locker of Global hospital at Parel on October 25. Ganesh Palekar committed the offence in order to get medical treatment for his ailing mother and wife. Palekar was employed with the hospital as security guard for the year and a half. Police recovered Rs9.74 lakhs out of the stolen money which Palekar has hidden in his home.

He planned the offence after he learnt the daily flow of money into the bank received through fees from patients. "Palekar handled escorting the staff to keep the money in safe room in the hospital. He knew the room where the keys to unlock he safe is kept. He committed the offence when the hospital staff left after keeping the money in safe late on October 25," said Bhoiwada police senior inspector Sunil Tondwalkar.

Palekar did a proper planning and was aware that there is no CCTV camera in the room where the safe is kept. "He was arrested after suspicion raised on him and confessed of committing the offence. After the staff left he sneaked into the room where the keys was kept in a cupboard. With power he managed to open the cupboard and removed the keys and used to steal money from locker later he kept the keys in the same place so that no one would doubt his hand in the theft," said Tondwalkar.

Palekar has been booked under the Indian Penal Code section 380 (theft).

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Mumbai woman who sold 'mangalsutra' to build toilet honoured

MUMBAI: Maharashtra rural development minister Pankaja Munde on Thursday honoured Sangita Awhale, a woman from Saikheda village in Washim district, who sold her 'mangalsutra' to build a toilet.

"Toilet is a basic necessity, compared to ornaments. I sold all my ornaments and decided to build the toilet," Sangita told reporters at Munde's office here.

"Toilets are not there in many places in the state and country. As a result, women face problems," Munde said.

"During my first term as a legislator, I used to allocate 25 per cent of my funds for building toilets," the minister said.

"Our target is to build maximum number of toilets and ensure that women don't have to face any inconvenience on this count," she said.

The minister lauded Sangita's initiative and presented her with a new 'mangalsutra' (a sacred necklace worn by married Hindu women), as a token of appreciation for taking forward the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create awareness about the need for toilets.

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PETA founder squeezes into cage to highlight plight of chickens

MUMBAI: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India founder, Ingrid Newkirk, willfully caged herself in Bandra on Thursday outside the American chicken-meat restaurant chain KFC in order to bring a powerful message to Mumbai at the start of World Vegan Month — that chickens killed for food endure immense stress and deprivation in filthy, cramped cages or sheds long before they're shipped to a slaughterhouse, where they die painfully.

Newkirk sat in the cage surrounded by "chicken" props beside a sign that read, "Please Try to Relate to All Living Beings — Go Vegan" .

"What did a chicken ever do to us to deserve such abuse?" Newkirk asked. "These sensitive, intelligent animals have feelings, families and friendships, just as we do, and if we can't imagine sitting in a cage awaiting a painful death, we have no right to force any animal to die for our taste buds." Chickens are crowded by the tens of thousands into filthy sheds that reek of ammonia from their accumulated waste. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are sawn with a dull knife and their bodies are dunked into scalding-hot water to remove their feathers, often while they are still conscious. Other animals slaughtered for meat are crammed into vehicles in such large numbers that many are severely injured or die outright en route to the slaughterhouse. The animals are hit, dragged and cruelly handled and are often denied basic necessities, such as food and water.

PETA - whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat" - offers a wide variety of delicious and healthy vegan recipes on its website. Vegan meals help reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and cancer, and they also help the environment: raising animals for food is a leading cause of water pollution, land degradation and the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change.

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Trash bin crunch hits cleanliness drive

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 05 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The central government's Swachh Abhiyaan campaign may take a hit in Mumbai as the BMC is facing an acute shortage of community bins.

The BMC has hence decided to purchase 20,000 such green bins, fitted with wheels, at the cost of Rs 3.7 crore. These bins will be supplied over the year, as per requirement. The proposal has been tabled before the civic standing committee but it is yet to be cleared.

Two years ago, the BMC had ordered 20,000 two-wheeler community bins, which can hold 120 litre garbage, but most of them have been damaged and are out of use. The last contract expired in July. Conservancy staff in many wards too are facing the crunch.

"Yes, it is affecting the Swachh Abhiyaan drive," said Manoj Kotak (BJP), group leader in the BMC. Corporator Vinod Shelar (BJP) has used his fund to provide bins to societies in his ward (Malad).

Congress leaders too voiced their concerns. "Garbage is being dumped on roadsides due to the non-availability," said corporator Devendra Amberkar (Congress), who is the opposition leader in the BMC.

"While we purchase the bins, corporators should provide dustbins in societies using their funds," said Prakash Patil, deputy commissioner, who is incharge of solid waste management department.

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Media consultant arrested for cheating actor Sana Khan

MUMBAI: The Oshiwara police has arrested a media consultant, Poonam Khanna, on Wednesday evening in a case where she allegedly cheated actor Sana Khan of Rs 9 lakh.

The actress allegedly wanted to buy two shanties in a slum through Khanna.

On Friday, Khan had filed a cheating case stating that she wanted to buy two shanties in Malad and a SRA flat in Goregaon via Khanna. But later, Sana cancelled the deal and she demanded her money back from Khanna. There was dispute over the issue between Sana and Khanna.

On Wednesday morning, the Oshiwara police picked up Khanna for questioning. The Oshiwara police recorded Khanna's detailed statement before arresting her in the case. The police will produce Khanna before a court on Thursday.

Last month, the police had arrested Khan who allegedly assaulted Khanna. After releasing her on bail, Khan filed a case against Khanna.

In her assault complaint, Khanna told Amboli police that the actress and her boyfriend, Ismail Khan, and a servant misbehaved and threatened her. Sana suspected that Khanna leaked the actress' background details to media which landed her into a legal trouble. A few days after the incident, Khanna had filed assault and molestaion case against the trio. The Amboli police had arrested Sana, Ismail and the servant in the case. Subsequently a court released them on bail.

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26-year-old new mom is city’s 10th dengue victim this year

MUMBAI: A 26-year-old new mother became the fourth victim of dengue in a week in the city when she passed away at Dalvie Hospital, Pedder Road, on Monday night, even as three resident doctors from KEM Hospital, Parel, were admitted to the hospital with dengue. Incidentally, Nisha Chavan, a Tradeo resident who leaves behind a six-week-old daughter, delivered at KEM Hospital.

KEM Hospital seems to be emerging as the hotbed of the current dengue outbreak with two of last week's four deaths occurring in the hospital last —resident doctor Shruti Khobragade and 20-year-old Shubham Tiwari, on October 27 and November 2, respectively.

The toll in dengue this year is 10 so far, but the BMC acknowledges only seven. Two of the three resident doctors are admitted to KEM Hospital and one to a private hospital. "Nisha seems to have developed some heart complications that led to her death,'' said Dr Sanjay Godbole from Dalvie Hospital. While Nisha tested negative for dengue at KEM Hospital where she went for a check-up on Sunday morning, she tested positive for it at Dalvie Hospital 12 hours later.

Blame it on the combination of higher-than-usual November temperatures and poor civic hygiene and planning, but the high incidence of dengue—the mosquito-borne viral fever—has shocked the city's public health system that had just heaved a sigh of relief over the unusually low cases of malaria this year.

In fact, several high-ranking public health officials of the BMC had to work on Muharram despite it being a government holiday. The wake-up call was no doubt the deaths of four patients within a week (A civic employee's husband Sandeep Gaikwad passed away in Nair Hospital on Saturday). The mosquito-borne disease has claimed ten lives in Mumbai so far this year, inching towards last year's high of 12 deaths.

Dengue seemed relatively minor in the years prior with 5 deaths in 2012, and 3 each in 2011 and 2010.

But the unusually high temperatures in October seem to have triggered of a mini-outbreak. Dr Amol Manerkar, who consults in several in the Ghatkopar-Kurla belt—which has been identified as one of the high-risk zones for dengue this year—said that the "dengue assault'' this year has been unprecedented. "I was admitting 30 patients a day last week in the various hospitals I am attached to. The figure is a bit lower at 20 this week," he said, adding that "if this were in-patient statistics, then one can imagine how many patients came to the out-patient department for treatment."

In Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla, Dr Manerkar admitted a mother-son pair last week. "The son flew down from Goa where he lives and the mother lives in Pestom Sagar, Chembur. She was diagnosed with malaria and dengue while he has dengue. Clearly, dengue is rampant across this belt," he said.

It's not only adults, but even children who suffered this year. Dr Deepak Ugra, paediatrician from Bandra and former president of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, said that he had admitted a never-before number of children to various hospitals due to dengue. "In the September-October period, there were so many children who were affected by dengue that I was shocked," he said.

The BMC has consistently maintained that citizens are to blame for the dengue spurt. "In the KEM Hospital complex, people don't throw styrofoam cups after drinking tea or water into the dustbins. With a little bit of water accumulation, dengue mosquitoes can breed easily," said Dr Shubhangi Parker, dean of KEM Hospital

Meanwhile, Dr Mangala Gomare, BMC's chief epidemiology officer, said that Shubham Tiwari's death cannot be counted as a dengue death in Mumbai mainly because he lived in Mira Road. "He got fever and came to his brother's house in Elphinstone Road,'' she said, indicating that the transmission patterns would be different and BMC cannot carry out survellience drives in the satellite city.

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Plan for a Times Square in Mumbai stirs criticism

MUMBAI: It was a bold, if somewhat mystifying, proposal.

In an effort to bolster tourism, India's new central government laid out plans last month to transform parts of one of Mumbai's oldest and most charming neighborhoods into a "cultural hub." The inspiration: Times Square in New York City.

The details of the planned renewal of Kala Ghoda, which means "black horse" in Hindi, read like a blueprint for an ersatz replica. A massive video screen and a 15-foot Indian flag would loom over the neighborhood's maze of century-old buildings and the occasional historic monument. Tourists could snap selfies with costumed film and cartoon characters. The hubbub would be streamed live online.

"We'll have a fair. We'll have jugglers. It'll be an outing. It'll be buzzing," said Valsa Nair Singh, managing director of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, a state-level body that coordinates with the Ministry of Tourism, which released the plans.

The proposal hits all the right economic notes. Tourism figures high into the Indian government's plans for economic revival, and getting Mumbai's copious business travelers to stay an extra night would be a major boost to a lagging luxury sector. Last year, more than four million foreign tourists visited Mumbai and other sites in the state of Maharashtra, the highest rate in the country.

But locals aren't exactly thrilled with the idea, which may not even be legal. Preservation groups and residents associations have denounced the plans, citing the potential noise pollution and the lack of parking space. Urban planners and real estate lawyers say the proposal may violate India's stringent building codes in historic areas.

"The Times Square model is a nonstarter," said Maneck Davar, honorary chairman of the Kala Ghoda Association, a nonprofit that undertakes cultural preservation projects. "This is the first time the government has ever expressed interest in helping us develop Kala Ghoda, and we appreciate that, but we told them, 'Sorry, you cannot do this because the area is an official silent zone and heritage district that certainly cannot have full facade signage.' "

India's Supreme Court passed rulings in the early 2000s that bar large advertisements in designated heritage precincts like Kala Ghoda and prohibit construction projects that would disturb the relative silence around judicial, religious and educational institutions like the Bombay High Court, Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue and Elphinstone College, all dating to the colonial era. Changing the exteriors of such buildings, many of which would feature on any postcard from Mumbai, is also disallowed in India's heritage preservation laws.

Santosh Desai, a columnist and author who has written extensively about India's middle class and consumer culture, chalked up the proposal to a rushed charge to proclaim India's presence on the global map of modern urban sightseeing.

"Here," he said, "we have a strong desire to say 'We have arrived,' or 'We have caught up.' We want to communicate scale, but we are impatient with details. Building a simple road in this country is a nightmare, but our government is quick to trumpet projects like an expressway or a bullet train."

As a government representative, Singh said she, too, was troubled by the plans. "See, I wear two hats, one for tourism and the other for culture," she said. "True, it's not by aping another place that you attain the balance between the two. But we do want every traveler to spend an extra night here."

Anand Kumar, a former joint secretary in the Tourism Ministry who oversaw the drafting of the government's plans, said that it made sense to focus on heritage-rich areas like Kala Ghoda because it creates compact tourist districts. Luxury hotels and restaurants are already clustered in Kala Ghoda and neighboring Colaba. As for choosing New York as a model, Kumar said that his office wanted to communicate ambition, and that "everyone knows that Times Square is the center of the world."

In trying to connect Kala Ghoda to Times Square, the government has drawn upon a longstanding set of both real and imagined parallels between Mumbai and New York City.

Both cities' natural harbors lured colonial trading companies in the 1600s, which in turn attracted mass settlement of coastal areas. Now, the two cities are home to their countries' biggest urban populations, and they serve as their financial and entertainment capitals. Occasionally, Mumbai is even referred to as the Big Banana.

A number of tourist trappings already exist in Kala Ghoda. Street vendors, in a familiar organized pedestrian chaos, sell campy T-shirts, plastic cellphone accessories and fake pashmina shawls.

Yet a trip to Kala Ghoda, like most urban spaces in India, is a chance to encounter other, less tourist-friendly realities like homelessness and stray animals. Last month, beggars here slept on the pavement while a cacophonous stampede of office workers streamed out of the Bombay Stock Exchange and flies thronged the nearby remains of a dead cat.

Absent government intervention, the district seems to be developing its own style. Cafes and art galleries have sprouted up in the neighborhood and its periphery, coalescing around increasingly popular museums like the Jehangir Art Gallery and National Gallery of Modern Art.

Since 1999, the Kala Ghoda Association has also been putting on an annual nine-day arts festival, with hundreds of free musical, literary and other types of events. The festival's website says 150,000 people attended last year.

Rather than disrupt Kala Ghoda's transformation into a genuine arts district, said Abha Narain Lambah, a conservation architect and historic building consultant, there are plenty of other places in Mumbai on which the government could concentrate. In the areas around Lower Parel and the Bandra Kurla Complex, for instance, dozens of high-rise commercial and residential buildings have been built in the last decade.

"It would be better to convert existing spaces, particularly because when the government wants to force a particular land use, the question of compensation always becomes a problem," said Ashutosh Limaye, the head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle in India. "In Kala Ghoda, that's an even bigger challenge because businesses down there may have been situated there for more than 100 years. The neighborhood is actually an ecosystem."

Davar, of the Kala Ghoda Association, said he was confident his government would eventually come around to the idea that preserving heritage and supporting events like the arts festival would be best for the neighborhood, and the country.

"When you find art on the walls of caves, you don't rub it off and paint over it," Davar said. "Each age discovers its own idiom, and we define ourselves through that history. Future generations can't live in a timeless void. There has to be a reference point."

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Hit-and-run case: Salman Khan was not drunk, witness tells court

MUMBAI: A witness in the 2002 hit-and-run case involving superstar Salman Khan on Wednesday said the actor was not smelling of liquor when he met him at his place a few hours after the mishap.

The prosecution's case is that Salman's car had rammed into a bakery in suburban Bandra killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping outside on the pavement in the wee hours of September 28, 2002.

"I met Salman on the next day morning at 9am at his place (few hours after the mishap at around 3am) and hugged him, but he did not smell of alcohol," Chiky Pandey, brother of actor Chunky Pandey, told the court of sessions Judge DW Deshpande.

During cross-examination, Pandey told Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade that the junction near the American Express Bakery (where the accident had taken place) was always busy with slow vehicular traffic movement.

Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat re-examined him on this point asking him whether there was heavy traffic at this junction all the 24 hours, to which the witness replied: "Not always."

Significantly, the mishap had occurred in the early hours when there is hardly any traffic on road.

Pandey told the prosecutor during examination-in-chief that he had helped Salman buy an imported car for Rs 14 lakhs from Abdul Rehman through a customs clearing agent. (This question was asked as it was the same car which had met with an accident on the ill-fated day).

Pandey further said that Salman had given two cheques of Rs 12 lakhs and Rs 2 lakhs to car owner Abdul Rehman. At the time of mishap, the vehicle was in the name of its owner and had not yet been transferred in Salman's name, he said.

Another witness, Salim Patel, a customs clearing agent, who had helped the actor in getting the car cleared from the customs after it was imported from Dubai, explained to the court the import procedures.

Salman did not appear before the court today as he was busy with the wedding preparations of his sister Arpita.

The court asked him to appear on November 24 and 25 when other witnesses would be examined.

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Joggers find youth hanging from tree

MUMBAI: Early morning joggers on Wednesday found a youth hanging from a tree on the road in Vasai (west) on Wednesday.

Deepak Pawar (22) a resident of Dhabolpada,Vasaigaon, worked as a labourer and has a two-year-old son.

His body was found hanging from the tree on Dattani Square by early morning joggers. Though Pawar was hanging from a nylon rope his feet was touching the ground.

The Vasaigaon police believe it to be a case of suicide though no suicide note was found on him.

Family members said that Pawar did not return home in the night and they had gone looking for him.

The body has been send for autopsy. Police are ascertaining whether Pawar was drunk.

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Sailors freed by Somali pirates land in Mumbai

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 04 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: After a nine-hour fli ght from Mombasa, the seven Indian sailors who were held captive by Somali pirates for four years and set free on October 30 landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 2am on Monday.

Two of the sailors—Bahadur Singh and Manjeet Singh—are from the city while two others—George Joseph and Unnikrishnan Bhaskaran— are from Kerala. The remaining three, Bhim Sen Singh, Daniston Littan and Sohan Singh, are from Punjab, Tamil Nadu and UP respectively. The sailors, who are suffering from trauma and several other health issues, have checked into a suburban hotel.

The crew on Monday was sent for medical examinations and counselling sessions before reunions with families at the hotel. The reunion was organized by the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), which played a key role in getting the crew back. "The sailors were extremely weak when we got their custody on October 30. They were traumatized, had lost weight and were suffering from skin infections. They lived in the jungle under challenging weather conditions (extreme heat during daytime and very cold at night)," MPHRP regional director (south Asia) Chirag Bahri.

"The sailors said that when the pirated would run out of engine oil or other amenities, they would get angry and fire from near their ears. They were provided food occasionally, just enough to live. The water which they were given to drink was harvested rainwater, usually contaminated by wild creatures causing infections," said Bahri.

It is too early to say if they would resume work in the merchant navy, he said. "We, along with director general of shipping, the Seafarers Union and several other agencies, have taken care of their families too. The crew will undergo some more tests and is under government care," said a source.

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RJ who held QNet training in police custody

MUMBAI: Tarun Ratnani, a radio jockey, arrested for allegedly organizing a training camp to lure investors to join QNet, a marketing firm, was on Monday sent to police custody till November 10. The police said he conducted such events frequently in the city and had got Rs 50 lakh commission from the firm.

QNet is facing a criminal case under various Acts, including the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of depositors Act under which the prosecution can auction seized/attached properties and distribute this money among investors. "He has been involved in QNet promotion for the last couple of years. Our officers attended one such event on Sunday and arrested him," said an officer. A hunt is on for other promoters. Cops claim the firm cheated more than a lakh people and that the fraud is over Rs 400 crore.

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Chess silver for city boy in Cannes youth tournament

MUMBAI: A 14-year-old student from the city has bagged a silver medal in the under-16 category at the Cannes youth chess tournament in France recently.

Armaan Gala, a Class IX student of Oberoi International School in Goregaon, secured the second position in the tournament held in St Marguerite, France, from October 27 to November 1. With a FIDE rating of 1601, Gala scored four points at the tournament, while French boy Degeorges Hogo logged five to clinch the gold medal.

Gala was also awarded the best under-14 player in the Grand Europe Cup in Bulgaria in June.

"Apart from the international accolades, he has also been adjudged the best unrated and youngest performer in the several other Indian and international FIDE rating events," his coach, Nagesh Guttula, said. "Now Armaan plays a select few tournaments as he is in Class IX but he balances it well with academics."

Guttula has trained Gala since the was six years old. Gala picked up chess at five.

"I was fascinated by the game as I saw my father and grandfather play," Gala said. "Soon, I started playing with my grandfather and developed an interest."

His father, Jal, said it took him about six to eight months to persuade Guttula to start coaching the boy. "It has been a great journey since then," he said.

Gala loves football, has a knack for inventing gadgets and even likes humanities subjects and economics.

"I love working on projects based on physics," he said. "As part of school assignments, I have created various things such as a working windmill model."

His parents are willing to support his passion for chess. "We want to give him a platform and opportunities we never had," Jal said.

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Mumbai's November temperature hits 37-degrees celsius, only 3rd time in 63 years

MUMBAI: The city on Monday recorded its third hottest November day since 1951, with the maximum temperature in Santa Cruz touching 37-degrees celsius. The all-time record for the month is 37.4 degrees, recorded on the 4th in 1979 and 2003.

Colaba registered a maximum of 35.5 degrees on the day. Met officials attributed the soaring mercury to strong easterly winds.

"Statistically it may se8em surprising, but it's just the third day of November and, hench, should not be a worry. October heat generally is a phenome8n8on that is very peculiar to Mumbai. But the city did receive some pleasant days in October, thanks to Cyclone Nilofar looming ov8er the Arabian Sea. The cyclone had brought down the maxim8um temperatures. The current wind pattern is easterly to westerly, where the easterly winds are strong," said K S Hosalikar, deputy DG of meteorology.

As these are winds that come directly from the land, they are known to be hot," said K S Hosalikar, deputy director general of metrology at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Mumbai.

During October, the skies are known to be clear, leading to more sunlight. But the pattern is expected to change by December, officials said.

Meanwhile, the minimum temperatures recorded over the past few days have been low, with Colaba registering 24.8 degrees and Santa Cruz 21.2 degrees on Monday. "There is a diurnal variation that we are witnessing which relates to variation in temperatures from the highs and lows during the day. Therefore, while there is a lot of heating during the day, the night is cooler," Hosalikar explained. The humidity levels in Colaba was 76%, while it was 47% in Santa Cruz.

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BJP likely to defer berths for Sena

MUMBAI: There is a hardening of stance in the state BJP, reports Prafulla Marpakwar. Most partymen seem to be of the view that Shiv Sena needs to be shown its place and the best way to do it is to defer the induction of Sena ministers till after BJP wins the trust vote and not give Sena key portfolios.

Sena has been pressing BJP to induct its members in the cabinet before the vote of confidence motion on November 12. But BJP is unlikely to oblige Uddhav Thackeray, a senior state BJP leader told TOI.

"There is a feeling in the BJP that we should not succumb to their pressure. We have decided in principle to induct Sena legislators in the cabinet but we will oblige them only after the confidence motion is passed," the BJP leader said. The BJP leader also said Sena has agreed to drop the demand for the deputy chief minister's post.

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22-year-old dies of dengue, third fatality in a week

MUMBAI: The city witnessed its third dengue death in a week when a 22-year-old from Elphinstone Road, Shubham Tiwari, succumbed to the disease on Sunday. Dengue has claimed nine lives so far this year.

Shubham's father said he was rushed to KEM Hospital on Saturday afternoon after he developed high fever. "We went there at 3pm and they took his blood for tests at 8.30pm. Before the doctors returned with a confirmation of dengue, Shubham had to be put on respiratory support in the casualty ward itself. On Sunday, he bled in his brain and died."
Shubham, a graduate from Hinduja College near Charni Road, was going to start working on Monday.

KEM resident doctor Shruti Khobragade had died of the disease on October 27, while a civic employee's husband, Sandeep Gaikwad, passed away in Nair Hospital on Saturday. With Tiwari's death, the city has so far lost nine lives to dengue this year.

The BMC's epidemiology cell, however, refused to confirm the deaths as being due to dengue. This year, the civic body has reported over 700 cases of admissions of dengue patients to its hospitals.

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Merc rams into car in Santa Cruz

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 03 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A businessman, Pratik Gada, crashed his Mercedes into a Santro car that in turn rammed into three stationary autos near St Teresa's School at SV Road, Santacruz west on Sunday morning. No casualties were reported in the mishap.

"Gada said the crash occurred while he was trying to avoid a biker," said P Gadge, inspector of Santa Cruz police station. Gada, an imitation jewellery manufacturer, was let off as the "matter was sorted out".

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QNet promoter sent to police custody till November 10


MUMBAI: Tarun Ratnani, a radio jockey, who was arrested for allegedly organizing a training camp to lure investors to join QNet, a marketing firm, was on Monday sent to police custody till November 10. The police said that he had been conducting such programs in the city frequently and got Rs 50 lakh as commission from QNet.

QNet is facing a criminal case under various acts including the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of depositors (MPID) act. As per this act, prosecution can auction the seized/attached properties and distribute this money among the investors.

"He is involved in QNet promotion for the last couple of years. Our officers got the information that he conducted promotional programs and attended a function on Sunday along with 70 others. Later, we arrested Ratnani," said a police officer. The cops are hunting for other promoters and said more arrests are likely soon. The police claimed QNet has cheated more than a lakh people and the fraud goes beyond Rs 400 crore.

Some independent representatives, who are still working for the firm knowing a criminal case against the firm, are under the police radar. "We will arrest them soon. They are in various parts of the county and our probe is on," said a senior official.

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If pissing is allowed in public, why not kissing?

The Kiss of Love campaign, which originated in Kochi a couple of days ago, has gathered support from the student community across the country. The drive started last week, when a few students decided to protest against moral policing by kissing in public. But, they were met with strong opposition, with cops detaining organisers and several participants before they could reach the venue.

However, that didn't stop youngsters from other Indian cities from taking to the streets in support of the movement. Soon enough, students from IIT (Mumbai) and Delhi were showing solidarity by locking lips in public. At the city's IIT campus, over 300 students and 20 faculty members were seen championing the cause, all the while pecking, hugging and kissing each other. continued on page 3

Youngsters' point of view

People can piss in public, but if someone wants to kiss, it is labeled 'obscene'! If pissing is allowed in public why not kissing?" — Raman S, student

My sister is 18 and as an adult, she has every right to go ahead and kiss if she chooses to. As her brother, I support her right to freedom. — Bilal Majid, doctoral student

A kiss is an expression of affection. It is my right to do what I want to do. I am not doing anything obscene by kissing or hugging.

Arundhathi B, student

Who defines culture and how? Who assigned the moral police the 'job' that they are doing? — Agaja, MA student

Uddipta Chatterjee, one of the organisers of this rally, said, "We received calls from other students in the city and working professionals. Now we are contemplating taking the campaign outside the campus."

Meanwhile, the University of Hyderabad took the drive a notch ahead by giving it a new twist. They've created what is now being called the Lipstick Revolution, where young people smeared posters with lipsticks to voice their protest against moral policing this weekend. While the cops tried hard to keep them under control, nothing could deter the kissers. The students contended that a kiss is simply a gesture of affection and should not be seen otherwise. As the entire movement gathered tempo, the students, who had come from as far and wide as Delhi, the North-East, Maharashtra, UP, Kerala and Andhra Telangana, were seen leaving lipstick marks everywhere — from their faces to mouths and posters.

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Mercedes rams into car in Santa Cruz

MUMBAI: A businessman, Pratik Gada, crashed his Mercedes into a Santro car that in turn rammed into three stationary autos near St Teresa's School at SV Road, Santacruz west on Sunday morning. No casualties were reported in the mishap.

"Gada said the crash occurred while he was trying to avoid a biker," said P Gadge, inspector of Santa Cruz police station. Gada, an imitation jewellery manufacturer, was let off as the "matter was sorted out".

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Mercedes, Santro collide in Santa Cruz

MUMBAI: A businessman, Pratik Gada, crashed his Mercedes into a Santro car that in turn rammed into three stationary autos near St Teresa's School at SV Road, Santacruz west on Sunday morning. No casualties were reported in the mishap.

"Gada said the crash occurred while he was trying to avoid a biker," said P Gadge, inspector of Santa Cruz police station. Gada, an imitation jewellery manufacturer, was let off as the "matter was sorted out".

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Cops arrest woman who helped a fake IT officer in cheating

MUMBAI: The MRA Marg police on Monday afternoon with the help of a social activist arrested a 54-year-old woman on charges of cheating. The woman, Naina Dewan, had come to collect money on behalf of a fake income take officer, said police.

Ashok Patel, a businessman, said that a person, who introduced himself as an income tax officer claiming he was also part of some investigations into the Adarsh case, had been harassing him. "He first came to my office two months ago and said some of my IT returns were not proper while I file my IT returns regularly. Later, he visited me twice and demanded to hush the IT issue which did not exist. I refused to pay any money," said Patel. The accused fake IT officer had demanded Rs two lakh to settle the matter, "which never existed," said Patel.

The businessman activist further said that the fake income tax officer one day landed at one of his office and offered to sell some tickets for a show costing Rs 5,000 for each.

"On Monday morning I went to the MRA Marg police station and lodged a complaint. The fake officer did not turn up but sent the woman to collect money," he said. The police laid a trap and arrested the woman.

Patel had in the past with the help of anti corruption department trapped over two dozen corrupt government officials.

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Sena demands post of deputy chief minister, may be given 10 ministerial portfolios

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 02 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: With the BJP blinking and returning to the talking table, the Shiv Sena on Saturday once again took a stern stand in negotiations between the two parties to forge an alliance.

READ ALSO: Day after, BJP ministers squabble for plum posts

Sena sources said that the party now wants an equitable share in the government, including the post of deputy chief minister.

At this stage, while it is not clear if such a position will be created, word has it that the Sena's demand for at least 10 ministerial portfolios, including cabinet berths, will be met.

The Sena is eyeing portfolios with a public profile such as health, education, labour, transport and the PWD, through which they can ensure quick delivery of projects and schemes.

Party sources said that Sena MP Anil Desai was in talks with Union minister Arun Jaitley. The talks between the two parties, they said, will continue over the next two days.

READ ALSO: Devendra Fadnavis speaks to TOI: I'm nice but can be ruthless

The Sena has also asked the BJP to announce the party's entry into the government before the trust vote in the state assembly on November 12.

"Now that Uddhavji has attended the swearing-in ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis, the ball is in BJP's court, as far as reuniting is concerned. But it should happen before the trust vote," Bharatkumar Raut, former Shiv Sena MP, said.

Sena leaders also met at Matoshree on Saturday and held crucial discussions.

Earlier, with the BJP not responding to the Sena's lowest offer of swearing in at least two of its legislators as ministers at Friday's function, the Sena leadership conveyed to the BJP on Thursday night that if the BJP doesn't budge they would announce their leader of opposition soon after Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister.

With BJP realising that Sena had made up their mind to occupy the opposition benches in the Assembly, thus forcing BJP to bargain with independents and accept the NCP's `unconditional' support, the BJP leadership blinked and decided to reach out to the Sena.

READ ALSO: We will probe every scam, be it Adarsh or irrigation, Devendra Fadnavis says

Five phone calls were made to Matoshree in as many hours, including three by CM-designate Fadnavis, urging Uddhav to attend the swearing-in.Fadnavis reached out to Uddhav emotionally, asking him to attend since it was Balasaheb's dream to see their combined government rule Maharashtra once again. Delhi BJP leaders also sent positive signals to the Sena.
READ ALSO: Five calls in five hours: How Shiv Sena threat rattled BJP

"Since senior leaders reached out to us, we decided to respect their efforts.The alliance hasn't materialised yet, but we are now hoping that BJP will, for once, stay true to their word," a senior Sena leader told Mirror.

"We also wanted to show that we are not the ones who are egoistic. We have done our bit, now it is up to the BJP to honour their commitment and give us a respectable share in the government. If that doesn't happen, Novem ber 12 is not far away," he pointed out.

State BJP leaders confirmed that talks were on with the Sena. "After Sena president Uddhav Thackeray attended the oath-taking ceremony, talks with the Sena have been smooth so far," a senior BJP leader said. "The Sena is in touch with our central leadership, but things have yet to be finalised. We are expecting a positive outcome by next week," he added.

However, should the BJP still decide to keep the Sena out of the government, they will have to rely on NCP's support and also take along independents who have demanded ministerial posts and a host of seats on government corporations.

Earlier on Saturday, the new chief minister took a review of key government departments, including home, finance, power and agriculture. He chaired a five-hour Cabinet meeting, but deferred the allotment of portfolios to the newly sworn-in ministers.

In an unscheduled visit on Saturday afternoon, Fadnavis also paid respects to the late Sena supremo, Balasaheb Thackeray, at his garden memorial at Shivaji Park. However, no senior Sena leader was present during his visit to the site.

It is also learnt that the State Government will convene a special session of the legislature from November 10 to 12. The vote of confidence is likely to take place on November 12.

Fadnavis to redesign CMO on the lines of PMO

Appointing 1998 batch IAS officer Praveen Darade as secretary in his office, Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday revealed that he intends to redesign the Chief Minister's Office on the lines of the Prime Minister's Office .

"I am in the process of developing the chief minister's office on the lines of the Prime Minister's Office, wherein a set of select bureaucrats assist the ministers in case they are not able to carry out certain tasks," he said.

The strengthening of the CMO will remove bottlenecks and pendency of work would be reduced when bureau crats enter the scene to help ministers, Fadnavis added.

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Maharashtra cabinet portfolios announced; CM Devendra Fadnavis keeps home, housing

MUMBAI: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday allocated portfolios to his ten-member council of ministers while keeping the home, urban development, housing and health departments with himself.

READ ALSO: Devendra Fadnavis speaks to TOI: I'm nice but can be ruthless

As per the information provided by the CMO, the portfolios not specifically allocated to any minister will be with the chief minister.

Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse has been given revenue, minorities development and wakf, agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, and state excise.

Former state BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar has been given finance and planning, and forest departments.

READ ALSO: Five calls in five hours: How Shiv Sena threat rattled BJP

Vinod Tawde will hold charge of school education and sports, higher and technical education, medical education, Marathi Bhasha and cultural affairs.

Prakash Mehta, the MLA from Ghatkopar East seat in Mumbai, has been given industries and mining, and parliamentary affairs.

Chandrakant Patil, an MLC, has been given co-operation, marketing and textiles. He will also handle the public works (including public undertakings) department.

Pankaja Munde, who was made the state BJP core committee member after the death of her father Gopinath Munde, will be in charge of rural development and water conservation, and women and child development.

READ ALSO: Sena demands post of deputy chief minister, may be given 10 ministerial portfolios

Vishnu Savara, the MLA from Vikramgadh seat in Palghar district, will be in charge of tribal development, social justice and special assistance.

Minister of state Dilip Kamble has been allotted tribal development, social justice and special assistance departments.

Besides, Vidya Thakur will be MoS for rural development and water conservation, and women and child development departments.

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Check-in system crashes at Mumbai airport, flights delayed

MUMBAI: The check-in system at terminal 1B of the domestic airport here collapsed on Sunday due to crashing of the server resulting in flight delays for some time causing inconvenience to passengers.

However, the system has now been restored and operations at the terminal are normal, a Mumbai International Airport Limited official said.

"The system remained down for 50 minutes due to which check-in could not take place through the computers and it was being done manually," he said.

The number of flights which got delayed due to the crashing of the system is yet to be ascertained, the official said.

Private carriers Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo operate flights from terminal 1B while national carrier Air India and budget carrier GoAir operate from terminal 1A of the city's domestic airport.

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Fadnavis to seek trust vote on November 12

MUMBAI: A three-day session of the Maharashtra legislative assembly will be held from November 10 in which the Devendra Fadnavis-led government will seek a vote of confidence.

The trust vote will be sought on November 12 after all the newly elected MLAs take oath. The protem Speaker will be elected on November 10, according to sources in the chief minister's office.
Governor C Vidyasagar Rao has given chief minister Fadnavis 15 days from the day of swearing-in of his government to prove its majority in the 288-member House.
After the death of an MLA, BJP's strength in the assembly has come down to 121, but it has claimed support of all seven independents and six others from smaller parties.
NCP with 41 MLAs has declared outside support to the BJP government and said it will abstain from voting on the trust motion if the 63-member Shiv Sena was to sit in the opposition, helping it sail through.
If Sena comes on board, the BJP government will have no problem proving its majority in the House.

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Day after, BJP ministers squabble for plum posts

MUMBAI: More than 24 hours after Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister, seven others took oath as cabinet ministers and two as ministers of state, those at the helm of the new government had been unable to allocate portfolios because of intense wrangling over key ministries. No decision had been taken till the time of going to press Saturday night.

READ ALSO: Devendra Fadnavis speaks to TOI: I'm nice but can be ruthless

Sources said the BJP state unit's list, on which there had been no unanimity, was sent to the party's central leadership in New Delhi for approval. BJP chief Amit Shah is likely to resolve the imbroglio on Sunday, sources added.

Hectic consultations between Fadnavis and his senior cabinet colleagues went on till late Saturday evening, sources said, even as key Mantralaya bureaucrats waited for the portfolio list.

With his ministers vying for plum berths, it became difficult for Fadnavis to arrive at a final decision, sources said.

READ ALSO: We will probe every scam, be it Adarsh or irrigation: Devendra Fadnavis

Senior minister Eknath Khadse has been tipped for the crucial revenue or finance portfolio. He is also likely to get the agriculture ministry. Sources said the BJP is finding it difficult to fend off a man who, after the death of Gopinath Munde in June, is regarded as among the party's biggest state leaders and was a strong CM contender.

However, Fadnavis is keen on keeping the finance portfolio himself, given his deep interest in the subject. There are reports that the new CM is considering bringing out a white paper on the debt-ridden state's fiscal imbalance.

Vinod Tawde has been sounded out by the CM for education, tourism and the department of culture, it is learnt. Tawde may also get additional charge of the Marathi department.

Many ministers have set their sights upon the home department. Both Khadse and Tawde were keen on home, but Fadnavis is likely to keep that ministry with himself so that he has his finger on the law and order situation, said political analysts.

Pankaja Munde has been angling for the key energy and public works portfolios, sources said. The energy portfolio was with her father in the Sena-BJP government in the 1990s. It is also a delicate territory, given the recurrent power shortage in the state.

Sudhir Mungantiwar may get the co-operation portfolio which has added significance in Maharashtra's politics because of the Congress-NCP's clout in the co-operative sector, sources said.

READ ALSO: Five calls in five hours: How Shiv Sena threat rattled BJP

Vishnu Savra, the adivasi MLA from Vikramgad and a party veteran, is likely to get the tribal welfare department, which, sources said, has the largest budgetary allocation.

Chandrakant Patil is likely to be given rural development, while Prakash Mehta, also a party veteran, has been tipped for food and civil supplies.

There is a strong view within the BJP that the urban development department should be with the CM until the ministry is expanded.

Another view is that some important berths should be kept aside for the eventuality of Sena joining the government. BJP turned down Sena's demand for the speaker's post recognizing the trouble an "unfriendly" speaker can give a CM who does not have adequate numbers.

READ ALSO: Shiv Sena willing to give up demand for Speaker's post

But there is increasingly a realization in the BJP that the Sena will not settle for "peanuts," sources said.

Fadnavis's declaration in an exclusive interview to TOI that he would investigate the irrigation scam regardless of NCP support and Amit Shah's invitation to Uddhav over the phone for the swearing-in indicate that the BJP leadership is tilting towards letting the Sena in, sources pointed out.

Meanwhile, intense jockeying is on in the BJP for the cozy state-run corporations' chairmanships. Many senior BJP functionaries, including those who lost the recent assembly elections, have started lobbying for corporation captaincy.

The state has a slew of prestigious corporations such as the Maharashtra State Road Corporation, Maharashtra State Finance Corporation, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, CIDCO, Backward Class Commission and State Women's Commission, to name a few.

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