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Three Mumbra commuters fell off a running CST-bound local train at Thane

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 27 Februari 2015 | 22.23

THANE: Three commuters had a narrow escape after they fell off a crowded CST-bound local train during the morning peak hours at Thane on Friday. While two escaped with suffered minor injuries, the third commuter suffered fracture to his limbs.

The incident happened a day after the railway budget failed to allocate a single new service for the Mumbai suburban sector that is already reeling under tremendous pressure.

The commuters T Siddiqui (22) and two other commuters had boarded the last coach of a CST-bound slow train from Mumbra around 10am. As there was heavy rush in the train as usual, the trio had to travel footboard. The train had left Kalwa and was reaching Thane station when Siddiqui who was unable to hold his balance fell off.

The two others who were standing behind Siddiqui also lost balance and fell on the tracks. They suffered minor injuries and were discharged after treatment while Siddiqui who suffered fractures to his left leg and arm was admitted to the Civil hospital.

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‘How did Salem’s early days slip past Mumbai cops?’

MUMBAI: The special TADA (P) judge who convicted extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1995 murder of builder Pradeep Jain, has lamented the inability of the city's "committed police force" to curb underworld dons and terrorist gangs. Special Judge G A Sanap made the comments in the 499-page judgement copy reasoning Salem's conviction and sentencing to life on Wednesday.

Referring to Salem, an Azamgarh native, the judge said, "A village boy from Uttar Pradesh came with his apparels to Mumbai with a hope to earn his livelihood, grew to such a stature and it went unnoticed by the Mumbai Police force, which draws comparisons with the Scotland Yard Police is unfathomable, mind boggling and very disturbing..." the judge noted.

One of the key witnesses in the case was accused-turned-approver Naeem Khan who was Salem's conduit. Referring to the defence's query as to why he did not surrender before Salem's arrest in 2005, the judge pointed to Khan's statement where he expressed his inability as until then the don was still at large. "The witness has deposed that he had started repenting over the crime after the murder. He had deposed that the reasons for his repentance were that by meeting Pradeep Jain, he had become close to him and secondly he had not expected the episode would end in his death," the judge said.

The judge said facts would suggest that Salem's decision to confess was due to sheer remorse, repentance and contrition. "A hardened criminal is not a demon..." the judge said.

The judge also alluded to a "brave decision" made by the preceding judge who, despite receiving flak, enquired with Salem in chamber about his advocate's allegations that he was being tortured. The TADA judge said despite being provided such a free and comfortable enviroment, Salem denied any such grievance against the police. "He could not have missed an opportunity to ventilate his grievance against the ATS officers."

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HC to hear PIL to remove "illegal" party offices in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Bombay High Court today is slated to hear a public interest litigation challenging encroachments near Nehru Garden at Nariman Point by offices of political parties.

A division bench of Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice CV Bhadang will hear petitions by three residents association urging removal of political parties like BJP and Janata Dal and State bodies like Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Employment Exchange and Zunkha Bhakar Kendra. On August 20, 2013 HC restrained BJP from carrying out further renovation of its office and directed a status quo in all respects in he garden.

At a previous hearing last year, the advocate for the residents had told court that despite the stay construction was carried out. BJP's advocate submitted that the structure was part of the barracks built in 1914 and hence exempted since they existed before the development control regulation and development plan (DP) coming into force. BJP was allotted the place by the government in 1978. State's advocate also told the court that structures prior to DP of 1991 are allowed to continue.

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BJP's Geeta Jain is mayor of Mira-Bhayander

MUMBAI: The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has for the first time got its mayor and deputy mayor in the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC).

Geeta Jain of the BJP was elected as the mayor with 48 votes on Friday. She defeated NCP's candidate and outgoing mayor Cathleen Pereira who got 41 votes. The mayor's post was reserved for woman from the general category.

Shiv Sena's Praveen Patil won the deputy mayor post with 48 votes. He defeated Congress's Hansukumar Pandey who got 41 votes. The outgoing deputy mayor Noorjahan Hussain is from the Congress. Two NCP corporators remained absent during the voting.

This is the first time the BJP-Sena has got its mayor and deputy mayor. So far, it was the Congress and the NCP who got the mayor post.

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SBI debit card to double up as metro smart card in Mumbai

MUMBAI: State Bank of India account holders can now use their debit cards to get through the Mumbai Metro turnstiles with bank launching a combo card comprising of the Mumbai Metro smart card and the bank's debit card.

The card acts as a payment-cum-access card at Mumbai Metro stations and also as a standard shopping-cum-ATM Debit Card. Customers can get immediate access to the entry gate for travel on Mumbai Metro by just tapping the combo card at the AFC gates.

Customers of the bank can avail of the State Bank Mumbai Metro Combo Card for Rs 100.00 out of which also Rs 50/- would be given back pre-loaded in the Metro travel card.

The Combo Card will have an in-built functionality of auto reload, wherein as soon as the AFC system reads that the balance in the card is equal to or less than Rs 50/-, it will reload the Card automatically with Rs 200/-. The amount reloaded will be deducted from the bank account linked with the Debit Card at the back end.

Speaking on the launch, Neeraj Vyas chief general manger, SBI said "The State Bank Mumbai Metro Card offers the convenience of travelling on Mumbai Metro, shopping at merchant locations across India and making bill payments all bundled into a single card."

The request for the card may be placed at any of the State Bank of India Branches in Mumbai. The customer can experience seamless travel in metro by using this Card directly at AFC gates.

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Teacher arrested for molesting 19-year-old mentally challenged girl

MUMBAI: The Azad Maidan police station arrested a physical therapy teacher for allegedly molesting a 19-year-old mentally retarded girl at a south Mumbai school.

Police identified the arrester teacher as Sharad Sarmakhi. "The alleged incident took place on February 23. The teacher is alleged to have taken the girl's hand and then put it in his innerwear. On that day, the girl left for home and did not say anything to her mother. However, it again happened the next day and the girl's mother suspected something foul. She took the girl in her confidence and the victim narrated the incident to her. The mother later approached the police and filed an FIR," said a senior police officer.

After the FIR was registered, the police arrested Sarmakhi on charges of molestation.

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Forum for Improving Life In Mumbai asks CM to review Slum Rehabilitation Scheme

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 26 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Forum for Improving Life In Mumbai/Suburb submitted a list of demands to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis early this week including reviewing the controversial Slum Rehabilitation Scheme or SRA.

''We would like to bring to your notice that the SRA scheme, launched by your erstwhile government in 1995, has completed 20 years since inception. As per our information, no comprehensive research/data has been collected by the government to ascertain if the scheme has succeeded or failed,'' it said. Forum chairperson Leena Prabhoo said the CM assured the delegation that he would look into this issue.

According to the forum, the scheme has perpetuated incorrect methodology whilst implementation. ''Due to the lack of clear directive to stop further encroachment, slums have grown many fold in subsequent years with the hope that each slum dweller will be eligible for free housing. The free housing for slum dwellers philosophy used by Maharashtra Government has attracted homeless people even from other states to come to Mumbai not only for jobs but also for a free ownership home. Law abiding Tax payers, who themselves find it impossible to buy homes for themselves in Mumbai, are pained to note that the taxes which they pay each year are used to give Free houses to lawbreakers.

Furthermore, no provision has been made to construct Low Cost Rental housing,'' it said.

Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) or Shiv Shahi Prakalpa was established in 1995 for the rehabilitation of of 40 lakh people living in slums and its immediate suburbs.
''It is now 2015 and we would like a study to be undertaken on the impact of SRA in the last 20 years,'' it added.

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Ahead of mayor election in Mira-Bhayander on Friday, NCP corporator joins BJP

MUMBAI: Ahead of the mayor and deputy mayor election of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The mayor and deputy mayor election will be held on Friday. The opposition BJP-Shiv Sena combine have a upper hand in the election. The BJP has fielded a mayoral candidate while the Sena has fielded a deputy mayor candidate.

NCP corporator Ashok Tiwari has joined the BJP, helping the party get closer to victory. In December 2013, Tiwari was caught red-handed accepting a Rs 1.50 lakh bribe.

Both the BJP and Sena have packed off their corporators to Goa since Sunday to prevent horse trading ahead of the election. The ruling NCP-Congress combine has been trying to keep together their corporators before the election. Earlier, another NCP corporator Vandana Patil joined the BJP.

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2 hours of TV a day increases BP risk in children

MUMBAI: Children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen could have a 30% higher risk of suffering from high blood pressure later in life, according to a new European study.

The risk could increase to 50% if the child performs no physical activity or is active for less than an hour a day, added the study jointly done by the Universities of Zaragoza and Sao Paulo.

''The study shows the number of new high blood pressure cases and the connection between physical activity and different sedentary behaviours with the risk of high blood pressure in European children,'' the study's lead author Augusto Cesar F de Moraes said in a press release issued by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

The scientists based their conclusion on data from a study titled 'Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-induced Health Effects in Children and Infants' (IDEFICS)', that was carried out simultaneously carried out in Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Cyprus, Estonia, Sweden and Belgium. The study, which was conducted over two years, looked at 5,221 children aged between 2 and 10 years old.

The results, published in the International Journal of Cardiology recently, showed that the cumulative incidence of high blood pressure in this population during the two years analysed is high: 110 in 1,000. "High blood pressure can cause cardiovascular problems later in life," said F de Moraes.

The authors state that children who are sedentary for more than two hours a day, in front of the television, computers or video consoles, run a 30% greater risk of developing high blood pressure. "The figures are worrying, given that sedentary behaviours are common in infancy and subsequently, later in life".

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Bariatric surgery has positive & negative effects on pregnancy

MUMBAI: In recent years, bariatric or weight-loss surgeries have emerged as an alternative treatment for patients with hypertension, diabetes and infertility. But little has been found about its effect on pregnancies: does it ensure safe pregnancy and a healthy baby?

Now, a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday suggests that bariatric surgery has both a positive and negative influence on the risk of complications during subsequent pregnancy and delivery. Conducted by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the study suggests that such pregnancies should be viewed as ``risky'' and the mother-to-be be watched closely.

It is known that some women with obesity find it difficult to get pregnant, and, if they do, they have a higher risk of developing complications. The Swedish study found that there is a sharp rise in the number of women becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery; in 2013 almost 8,000 such operations were performed in Sweden, 80 % of which were on women.

The study's lead author Kari Johansson used data from Swedish health registries and identified 596 pregnancies to women who had given birth after bariatric surgery between 2006 and 2011. ``These pregnancies were then compared with 2,356 pregnancies to women who had not been operated upon but who had the same body mass index (BMI, weight divided by height squared) as the first group prior to surgery,'' said the study.

Johansson found was that the women who had undergone surgery were much less likely to develop gestational diabetes (2% compared to 7%) and give birth to large babies. On the other hand, the operated women were twice as likely to give birth to babies who were small for gestational age, and the pregnancies were also of shorter duration. She concluded that women who undergo bariatric surgery should be given special care during pregnancy.

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NGO Jan Manch files a complaint against irregularities in Vidarbha Irrigation Development projects

MUMBAI: NGO Jan Manch on Thursday filed a complaint before the Superintendent of Police, Anti Corruption Bureau, Nagpur, pertaining to corruption and irregularities in irrigation projects of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.

The group said it submitted 3134 pages in 12 volumes in relation to single tender contract.

The first complaint is a 'case study' of irregularities in awarding of tender. The NGO said it scrutinized tender documents and found ''massive irregularities''. ''This indicates conspiracy, cheating and collusion between officials and contractors,'' it said. Based on this case study, the NGO urged the police to conduct an investigation.

Some of the prominent observations made by Jan Manch are -

a) The tender estimates are exorbitant.

Tender authorities manipulated the original cost estimate after receiving bids in such a way that the quote was restricted within 5%. If the bid would have been over 5% then approval of Finance Department was necessary. In order to avoid the scrutiny from Finance Department in Mantralaya and sanction at level of VIDC in Nagpur the cost estimates were inflated.

Illustration:

Original Estimates- Rs 100
Contractor's Quote- Rs 125
Percentage terms- above 25% of the Original Estimates
Original Estimates escalated on frivolous grounds to Rs 120
Comparing Contractor's quote with Revised Estimates i.e. Rs 120 & Rs 125
Final Quote of Contractor to Revised Estimates in Percentage terms- 4.16%

b) The bidders did not have adequate experience to comply the minimum quantity criteria of various construction items viz. excavation, embankment. Despite this fact found in tender documents submitted, evaluation committee chose to turn blind eye. Instead it deviated from the stipulated conditions to benefit favored contractors'

c) The successful bidders of contract did not have adequate bid capacity to be eligible for quoting the tender. The bidders had concealed the actual facts and misled VIDC.
d) There was no merit in the bidding process instead it was severely rigged process. The bid participants had formed cartel amongst themselves. It also involved participation of shadow firms, which eliminated the 'element of secrecy' and 'competition'. The letter pads of various shadow companies had similar details.

''These instances are acts of cheating, fraud, and criminal conspiracy by bidding companies and officials of VIDC. At this stage, the Complainant can share no specific details, as there is a possibility that evidences may be tampered,'' it said.

The Maharashtra irrigation scam was first exposed by TOI in 2012. Whistle-blower Vijay Pandhare, who worked in the irrigation department, had claimed that half the Rs 70,000 crore spent over the last decade was either wasted on dud projects or siphoned off by the politician-contractor nexus.

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Conservancy staff stumbles upon skeleton of youth in gutter at Bhayander

MUMBAI: A skeleton, believed to be that of a youth, wrapped in a cloth was found by the conservancy staff while cleaning a gutter in Bhayander on Thursday morning. The skeleton has been send for forensic analysis.

The conservancy staff of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation got down to clean the gutter located on the main road near Sai Pooja building, Shirdi Nagar, Navghar in Bhayander (east) at around 9 am. They pulled out a skeleton wrapped in a cloth. Pieces of a shirt and jeans were also found inside the gutter. A footwear was also lying near the skeleton.

The Navghar police reached the spot and video graphed the find before sending the skeleton for forensic analysis. Police suspect that the body may have been dumped in the gutter. The police are baffled as the gutter is located on a busy road buzzing with people. The police are looking for details of missing persons since the last few months.

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Four-year-old boy electrocuted after touching electric pole in Nalasopara

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 25 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A four-year-old boy died of electrocution after he touched an electric pole while playing outside his house in Nalasopara on Wednesday.

At around 9.30 am, Sahil Khan along with other children were playing in Om Sai Nagar chawl, Santosh Bhuvan, Nalasopara (east). Khan touched a Maharashra State Board Electricity Supply (MSEB) electric pole. He was thrown away to a distance due to the impact of the current. Khan was taken to the Alliance hospital but declared dead on admission.

The Nalasopara police registered a accidental death case. Residents said that a case of negligence should be made against the MSEB.

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India's private healthcare sector 'treats patients as revenue generators'

MUMBAI: A new article in the British Medical Journal highlights how India's private healthcare sector "treats patients as revenue generators".

The article is a compilation by gynaecologist Dr Arun Gadre after interviewing 78 doctors across India on ethical topics that dog the Indian medical map-ranging from irrational drug prescribing, kickbacks for referrals, and unnecessary investigations and surgical procedures.

The article included an example from a general practitioner in Maharashtra who said that doctors get Rs 30,000 to 40,000 for referring patients for angioplasty. A pathologist said that only three out of 150 doctors contacted were willing to refer patients for investigations without kickbacks. Another doctor said gynaecologists performed ultrasounds without indications in pregnant women who complained of trivial abdominal pain and fabricated false reports of cervical abnormalities and advised the women to have cervical stitches to prevent miscarriage''.

Dr Gadre's article also mentions the "sink test." The referring doctor advises a battery of laboratory tests despite no suspicion of pathology. Only a few of the tests are performed, and the extra blood collected is dumped in the sink. Fabricated results are then given in the normal range for all tests that were not performed. The patient pays a large sum, which is shared by the referring doctor and the pathologist,'' said the article.

Dr Gadre believes that these interviews indicate the alarming extent of the deterioration of rationality and ethics in India's private medical sector. He champions for the need for stringent, transparent, and mandatory regulation.

The interviews also threw up requests to restructure institutions such as the Medical Council of India, which is meant to perform as a watchdog of the medical profession and medical education. Paying money does not guarantee good healthcare,'' wrote Dr Gadre, adding, The private healthcare system largely treats patients as revenue generators, without rationality or medical logic.''

A solution would be to combine social insurance and a tax-based system for universal healthcare, he concluded.

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Court expresses dissatisfaction at lack of inverters at exam centres

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday expressing its dissatisfaction with the lack of inverters at 231 SSC board examination centres directed the state to inspect all centres and supply the emergency power equipment at all centres immediately.

The secondary school examination (SSC) for standard X commences on March 3. The HC warned the state that it would take contempt action if the directive is not complied with.

An HC bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon was hearing a petition filed by activist Vishnu Gawli against the lack of preparation by the state for any power outage during the ensuing SSC and HSC examinations, keeping in mind that temperatures had already risen in the city. The HC directed the government to depute officers of the education department to all the centres to inspect whether generators and inverters have been provided at the centres.

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Abu Salem sentenced to life imprisonment in builder Pradeep Jain murder case

MUMBAI: A special Tada court on Wednesday sentenced gangster Abu Salem to life imprisonment for the murder of builder Pradip Jain in 1995.

His former driver Mehendi Hasan was also sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sentencing comes more that a week after the duo were convicted in the 1995 murder of city builder Pradeep Jain. Builder V K Jhamb (86) will not be taken into custody as his jail term has been set off against the time already spent in prison. Wheelchair-bound Jhamb, who has been out on bail, was present in court.

READ ALSO: Abu Salem will be in high-security jail, Maharashtra govt tells Bombay HC
Abu Salem convicted in 1995 murder of builder

The sentencing comes after both the prosecution and defence presented extensive arguments over the last week. While initially Nikam sought the death sentence against both Salem and Hasan, he later conceded that the penalty could not be sought against the extradited gangster in light of the treaty signed between India and Portugal. Alternatively he asked the court to award a sentence of life imprisonment until the end of Salem's natural life.

However, defence advocate Sudeep Pasbola argued that the treaty stipulates that he can be given only a total of 25 years' imprisonment under all nine cases in which he was charged.

With respect to Hasan, Pasbola iterated that the driver, who helped the sharpshooters with arms, was only a fringe player. He argued that on basis of parity, he could not be given the death sentence as the sharpshooters convicted earlier were only awarded life imprisonment.

Salem is likely to move the apex court as appeals against convictions under Tada cannot be filed in the high court. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had earlier said, "This judgment will give a strong jolt to the Dawood Ibrahim gang because it has now been judicially proved that Abu Salem, along with Anees Ibrahim (Kaskar), had hatched a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in India."

For the convictions, the court had relied on the retracted confessions of Salem and Hasan and said it was corroborative evidence to the proof provided by accused-turned-approver Naeem Khan. The had judge said, "The evidence adduced by the prosecution is concrete, cogent and reliable." He said it was proved that the conspiracy was hatched in Dubai in October/November 1994 by Salem, Khan, Hasan, and wanted accused Anees Kaskar and Shaukat Mistry. Sent from my iPhone

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NAREDCO Conclave to focus on Housing for All by 2022

MUMBAI: Realtors apex body NAREDCO (National Real Estate Development Council) and its knowledge partner KPMG will host a day-long conclave on March 4 in Mumbai focusing on issues of mass and affordable housing in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will inaugurate the conclave - 'Vision Maharashtra - Housing for All by 2022' , which will also be addressed by ministers of Housing, Revenues, Finance, Industries, Environment & Forest and Public Works Department.

The conclave will address various issues in order to overcome the housing deficit in the State and strategies and action plan to augment supply of housing stock especially targeting the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG) segments where the shortage is as high as 96%. Creating a sustainable frame work and mechanism to take care of mis-match between demand and supply in future will also come under sharp focus at the conclave. Chintan Patel - Partner, Real Estate & Hospitality at KPMG stated, "Maharashtra is leading the nation's urban growth. However, the state is today facing critical challenges with respect to housing especially "affordable" housing. As per our preliminary estimate, the state would require a minimum of about 50 lakh new housing units by 2022 to meet urbanisation. To achieve the vision of "Housing for All", the Government needs to accelerate implementation of policy reforms such as ease of approval process, enhance transport and utility infrastructure, increase FSI, and develop satellite cities to augment development and rejuvenation of the existing cities (smart city), especially Mumbai."

NAREDCO is under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

About 600 delegates from all over the country are expected to participate in the conclave and they include representatives of the Central and State governments, State Development authorities and Housing Boards, besides real estate promoters, developers, banking and housing finance institutions, foreign direct investors, private equity players and town planners. NAREDCO vice president Rajan Bandelkar said the topics for discussion include smart cities, affordable housing, industry hurdles and way forward, Maharashtra Housing Regulatory Act, speedy approvals, revenue, environment, and issues related to BMC, CIDCO and MMRDA.

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Virar jewellery showroom looted of over Rs 2.5 crore valuables

MUMBAI: Unidentified men rented a shop only to loot an adjoining jewellery showroom in Virar of valuables worth over Rs 2.50 crores on Wednesday.

According to the Virar police, the men, whose identity has not been revealed, had recently taken the shop number 11 in Gokul Kshitij building, Gokul Township in Virar (west) on rent. They had kept a watch on the adjoining Omkar Jewellers, located in shop number 12. On Wednesday morning, when the jeweller opened his showroom he found the valuables missing. The showroom was ransacked and there was a hole drilled from shop number 11 to gain entry into shop number 12.

Police is questioning the owner of shop who rented out his premises. Police said that they have vital clues on the thieves who had knew where ornaments of high value was kept in the showroom. The theft is believed to have taken place in the wee hours of Wednesday.The police has not ruled out the involvement of someone from the jewellery showroom.

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Night duty staff in ladies coach to undergo sobriety check

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 24 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The Government Railway Police (GRP) commissioner has issued instructions that all personnel escorting ladies compartments at night be checked before they leave for duty. This check will be done to ensure that they are not drunk. This comes in the wake of a home guard, Kailash More, getting sloshed and using abusive language in a Western Railway local train last Wednesday.

The checks will be conducted when personnel mark their attendance at GRP outposts before boarding their first escorting trip for the night. It will likely be a brief face-to-face interaction to spot tell-tale signs of drunken behaviour, said officials.

TOI has found at least two other instances of night escort staffers reporting drunk on duty last year.

A mix of GRP constables and home guards escort the 24-hour ladies compartments on all rakes between 8.30 pm and 6 am. An official said that around 500 home guards have been assigned to the GRP but less than half of them turn up for duty on weekends. "The training they are provided is basic and their pay is modest. Home guards do not have the power to make arrests and are instructed to haul offenders to the nearest GRP outpost," said this official.

An inquiry was instituted into last week's episode involving More, and statements of witnesses were recorded. More was packed off to the home guards headquarters. But top GRP officials do not rule out the possibility of an FIR being filed against him if an aggrieved commuter comes forward with a serious complaint.

"We now intend to brief home guards and sensitize them. Checks will be conducted on all personnel to find out if any of them is inebriated before reporting for escorting duty," said GRP commissioner Ravinder Singal.

In October 2014, GRP constable Prakash Sakpal faced an inquiry after he got into a local train headed to the yard and left his weapons inside. Sakpal, who was reportedly sloshed, mistook the train to be a Panvel local. On realizing that he was in the yard, he got off onto the tracks and left. On learning that his weapons were missing, the GRP had to later send a team to the yard to retrieve them. Then, in November 2014, GRP constable Ramesh Deore was suspended after he dropped his rifle on the tracks while standing on the footboard of a local train between Khardi and Kasara stations. Deore was reportedly drunk. Several GRP teams hunted for the rifle and found it few days later. Both, Sakpal and Deore, were on night escort duty.

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HC: Can single mum’s kid be denied passport?

MUMBAI: Bombay High Court on Monday questioned whether a single mother could be denied a passport for her child at a time when live-in relationships are legally accepted.

The query came from a bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice A R Joshi when told that the 4-year-old child of an unwed mother was yet to receive her passport. She was among three who challenged the passport authority's insistence to include the biological father's name.

The bench was told that two of the petitioners who are major have received their passports. The authority's advocate said the passport manual, which acts as a guide to the staff, was being revised keeping in mind the HC's various orders. The bench said the "manual is old" and does not take into consideration new developments and other judgments. The bench sought a list from a petitioner's advocate Raju Moray on "common problems faced" so that it can formulate questions for the Centre at the next hearing.

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Salem’s fate to be decided tomorrow

MUMBAI: A special TADA court will pronounce on Wednesday the quantum of sentence for extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1995 murder of builder Pradeep Jain. This comes a week after the prosecution and defence advanced arguments regarding the extradition treaty under which Salem cannot be awarded the death sentence.

Even as the prosecution has sought a life sentence lasting till the end of Salem's natural life, the treaty stipulates that he can be given only a total of 25 years' imprisonment under all nine cases in which he was charged.

The court will also pronounce the sentence against co-convict Mehendi Hasan for whom special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam sought the death sentence. Defence advocate Sudeep Pasbola iterated that the driver, who helped the sharpshooters with arms, was only a fringe player. He argued that on basis of parity, he could not be given the death sentence as the sharpshooters convicted earlier were only awarded life imprisonment. He also said that Salem's sentence should be set off against the time spent in jail.

A probation officer has submitted a confidential report on V K Jhamb (86) who was found guilty on an extortion charge. He has sought relief from a jail term on health grounds.

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Green signal for MU-Rlys tech courses

MUMBAI: The University of Mumbai is collaborating with the Indian Railways to set up a 'Rail Innovation and Technology Centre' to offer specialized courses to students.

With a budget of Rs 143 crore set aside for the project, the centre aims to develop cutting-edge technologies in the rail-wheel interface, noise and vibration control, in the signal system, and also in building high-speed railway networks.

The project was approved by the management council of the university on Monday. It is a first-of-its-kind collaboration, said a university official.

Specialized courses related to railroad technology at the post-graduate level and sustained research at higher level was proposed in the agreement. Along with research and innovation, the centre will offer PG courses in railway mechanical, civil and electrical engineering along with several diploma courses.

"The courses will be designed as per the needs of the railways. The centre will train the engineers dedicated for expertise in railway engineering. Students at the centre will also have assured jobs in the railways," registrar of the university M A Khan said.

He said collaboration talks were initiated when railway minister Suresh Prabhu came visiting for the Indian Science Congress last month. The railways will disburse funds over five years, starting with Rs 25 crore in the first year.

The innovation centre will function from the specialized school of engineering to be set up at the university sub-campus in Kalyan.

The courses will be offered at Kalina, and the sub-campuses at Kalyan and Ratnagiri.

The university budget was also presented in the council meeting on Monday.

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Two constables held for taking bribe inside Virar police station

MUMBAI: Two constables were caught red-handed accepting a bribe from a lottery agent inside the Virar police station on Monday. They were out to make money from the agent against whom a non-cognisable offence was registered.

On February 18, the agent had an argument with a woman who approached the Virar police station. A non-cognisable offence (NC) was then registered against the agent. Police constables Ganesh Tasgaonkar (54) and Sanjay Gotarane (44) approached the agent and allegedly demanded Rs 10,000. They threatened to register an FIR against him if he did not pay the money. The complainant alleged that the constables even assaulted him.

The agent approached the Thane Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) after settling to pay Rs 5,000 to the constables. On Monday, the constables called the agent to the police station where the cash was received. The ACB sleuths registered an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the constables. They have been remanded to police custody by the ACB court in Thane.

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BEST team raids hutments, 21 cases of power thefts

MUMBAI: The BEST vigilance team recently conducted a massive raid at some of the hutments along the Victoria bridge near Reay Road railway station and booked 29 persons in a electricity pilferage case.

Officials said that during the raid, it was found out that the hutment dwellers were illegally getting the power connection. The officials recovered 750 metres of direct supply wire from the area. "A total 21 cases (hutments) were registered for power theft under section 135 of the Electricity Act. The Byculla police has also registered a police case and will prosecute those involved," an official said.

Sources said that the hutment dwellers were illegally getting power supply and a total consumption of 17,883 units (of electricity) was recorded. It had caused losses to the tune of Rs 2.14 lakh to the undertaking. Of this, the undertaking has already recovered Rs 1.92 lakh from the accused persons, sources added.

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HC to hear PIL on ban on women at Haji Ali

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 23 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Bombay high court will hear on Monday a public interest litigation challenging the ban on the entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah which houses the mazaar (tomb) of the saint and has millions of visitors every year.

A new bench of justice V M Kanade and justice A R Joshi will hear the PIL filed by activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, who experienced "first hand the restriction which was imposed somewhere between March 2011-June 2012." They said right from their childhood they were allowed unimpeded access to the inner sanctum (mazaar) but now there is a barricade.

A division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari at the preliminary hearing on January 28 had framed questions for the petitioners to respond and had adjourned the matter till today. However, instead, the matter came up for directions on February 11 before the bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice B P Colabawalla.

Advocate Raju Moray, appearing for the PIL petitioners, submitted that an order passed on January 28 by the regular bench was recalled by a full bench on February 6. This was regarding strictures passed against the HC's original side registry and directions for disciplinary action against the staff. Moray said a second order was passed on the same day framing constitutional questions. "It was kept today to deal with it on merits," he said. After perusing the order, Justice Shah said the matter will come up before the division bench headed by justice Kanade.

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International artist Parama to hold an exhibition in the city

He is a foreign artist but grew up in a Hindu community not far from Florence, Italy and that reflects in this work too. Parama (Paolo Libralesso) fuses European classicism with Oriental philosophies.

The location of the place where he grew up in Italy was an important XVI century mansion, called the Villa Vrindavana. The building housed a collection of symbols and elements from the Vedic culture, embedded in the spatial severity of the Italian Renaissance.

His childhood was spent in the absolute Hindu universe as his days passed praying in Sanskrit and having as heroes, Indian mythological models, such as Hanuman as Arjuna.

Such a voyage was instrumental to his growth and through the roots of his childhood they forever keep resonating within him. This particular environment generated a dramatic effect on his imagination, and forged the imprint of his inner world. He lived in a bubble whose reflections revealed fragments of a distant and ancient culture.

Parama graduated with a classical Italian art training in Florence, Italy. After which, he moved to Venice where he mastered the traditional techniques of oil painting. From there on, Parama has been working as a fine artist. In an exclusive chat, the artist spoke to us about his work and India connect.

His India Connect

Parama Libralesso's connection with India began at the age of 6 when he entered a Hare Krishna community situated in the Chianti region of Italy. By the age of 7, he was renamed Parama Isvara-Dasa. His days were spent surrounded by the walls of a XVI century Italian Villa, amongst a community fully converted to Vaishnavism. There he attended a full time Gurukula; his studies concentrated on the great hindu texts such as the Vedas, Puranas and Bhagavad Gita.

The bridge thus formed between an Italian environnement and a Hindu culture. As he recalls - "A multitude of figures dressed in saris and lungis speckled the Italian gardens of the Villa, just as the scent of ghee and spices infused the air among the vineyards and century-old olive trees."

"My life is the illustration of what has happened, inserting a drop of India in a Italian," he says.

Parama's work

"I lived inside a bubble whose reflections revealed fragments of a distant and ancient culture...this particular condition in which I was raised generated a dramatic effect on my imagination," he says. His work illustrates this cultural melting pot of worlds mixing and melting into one another. With the precision and quality of an Italian he stirs the Indian mythology to form masterpieces based on extensive research on the subjects as he demonstrates the vast Indian heritage.

Breath of Creation - Inspiration

Shiva, the Lord of integration. Amalgamating opposing aspects, He is the Protector, as well the Destructor; He is the most passionate lover such as He is also, the perfect Yogi. He teaches us, through rhythm that there lies a right moment for each circumstance. A breath for inhalation, a moment for exhalation. The breath of creation is thus his own rhythm, an expansion and a contraction.

Future Projects

Ideas are not a problem for me, which to choose is generally the question ... currently, bigger permanent projects and installations are in the process for India, none of which I may reveal at the moment. What I may say is, my next gathering will be found on the other side of the world, in the Big Apple of New York.

Art scene in India

India is an extremely dynamic and powerful country, and this is highly reflected through its art scene. A lot happens and much more can happen, as there is still so much space for creativity. I have met extraordinary intellectual honesty amongst the Indian artists. All of this, based upon the solid foundations of tradition within the country.

The exhibition 'The Breath of Creation', will be on at Gallery Art & Soul on Feb 17 - Mar 1, Mon - Sat 10am to 7.30pm, Sun 11am - 4pm at 1 Madhuli, Shivsagar Estate, Worli.

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HC fixes final hearing date on Haji Ali's women ban

MUMBAI: Bombay High Court on Monday fixed March 16 as date for the final hearing of a public interest litigation challenging the ban on the entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah which houses the mazaar (tomb) of the saint and has millions of visitors every year.

A new bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice A R Joshi heard PIL filed by activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, who experienced "first hand the restriction which was imposed somewhere between March 2011-June 2012." They said right from their childhood they were allowed unimpeded access to the inner sanctum (mazaar) but now there is a barricade.

Another bench at the preliminary hearing on January 28 had framed constitutional questions for the petitioners to respond. Advocate Raju Moray, appearing for the PIL petitioners, submitted their response and told the court that the prayers are innocuous and could be worked out. Advocate for the Haji Ali Dargah Trust said the ban was imposed to avoid sexual harassment of women and he would rely on two Supreme Court judgments. The judges then said they shall hear the matter and decide it finally.

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Pujari module busted

MUMBAI: After a small lull fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari is again trying to raise its ugly head. The city crime branch have on Monday have picked up yet another module of three members of Pujari from outskirts of the city with three weapons.

If sources are to be believed the module was planning to bump off a target in Mumbai. Crime branch officials are maintaining a silence stating that they are now trying to nab Pujari's handler who had recruited these new faces in the gang. A handler is middleman who secretly works for the gang like Khar Gymkhana member Ravi Punjbai who was arrested in 2010 and was recently convicted for aiding and abetting Pujari.

Pujari trying to reorganize his gang assumes significance as the the city crime branch since September/ October last year have arrested around two dozen members in four separate cases and invoked the stringent act of MCOCA.

While one module was planning to bump off film producer Mahesh Bhatt, another wanted to target the set of film actors and producer including Shah Rukh Khan, Farah Khan and Salim Moranis over the issue of overseas rights of the movie Happy New year

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Officials of Maharashtra's tiger reserves get lessons in site security

MUMBAI: Officers of the Special Tiger Protection Task Force (STPF) who keep vigil at tiger reserves in Maharashtra are receiving lessons in site security training from international experts in law enforcement. The force is employed at the Pench and Tadoba-Andhari reserves.

The course began Monday, February 23 and will end March 3. Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) in association with Panthera has invited experts to conduct the seminar which it claims is the first of its kind.

Twenty four STPF officials, 12 from each reserve, have been handpicked for the course by their field directors. The sessions cover various aspects of patrolling, including patrol tasking and planning, camouflage, concealment and crossing obstacles. The staff is being trained in basic self-defence and will learn to communicate properly while working in a team.

The goal of course is to reduce the incidence of poaching. Dr Anish Andheria, WCT president, said, ""We are here to support the forest department. Each STPF personnel who undergoes this training will be equipped to pass on his learning to other staffers in the department.''

The training programme is expected to achieve four-pronged results. Law enforcement in reserves will improve and staff will be able to respond to emergencies in a timely and effective manner. WCT says this is particularly important in conflict situations where staffers need to ensure that neither human beings nor animals are killed. STPF staff will become proficient in self-defence techniques and can train other members. Recently, an STPF guard suffered grievous bullet wounds during a hand-to-hand battle with poachers in the Pench Tiger Reserve. Panthera says properly trained frontline staff will be able to minimise injuries to themselves during hostile situations.

Both Pench and Tadoba-Andhari are part of the central Indian landscape which is reportedly home to 688 tigers as per the All India Tiger Estimation report. This is approximately 31% of the tiger population of India, making it one of the most important tiger conservation units in the world. Pench and Tadoba are the only two tiger reserves in central India to have taken the initiative to constitute the STPF dedicated to protecting wildlife and mitigating human-animal conflict.

WCT has also donated patrolling vehicles and equipped anti-poaching camps. Its wildlife crime prevention training programme is part of the core curriculum in forest training institutes in Maharashtra and MP. This workshop has benefited over 4,000 guards in protected areas across the country. Similar seminars will be held in other reserves as well, and the first batch of trainees will be involved as training assistants in future programmes. A follow-up session will conducted for these 24 officials in October-November 2015 to assess and reinforce their skills.

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Four thousand runners join weekend race at BKC

MUMBAI: Over 4,000 runners from the financial services industry participated in a weekend race at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) Sunday. The sprint marked the finale of the IL&FS Fun Run which is now in its third year.

Fifteen youngsters joined a separate event for wheelchair-bound children.

Races were held in two categories, one 5km the other 10km. Winners in each category were "felicitated''. Sachin Patil won the open category for men while Jayashri Boragi won the ladies' event. Sunil Shetty led the veteran's category of men while Nina Hamre won among women. Another slot was devised, clumsily called the senior veteran's category, where Ashok Someshwar and Lata Alimchandani were declared winners.

The run was organised in association with Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. It hopes to help "desk-bound executives incorporate fitness into their daily routine".

First held in 2013, the event is gaining popularity, its organisers claim. Around 4,000 running enthusiasts turned out this year, including officials from sponsor banks. Fitness guru Mickey Mehta, who has also been training Mumbai's police officials, partnered with the run.

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Tata Power Company event for women to get justice against atrocities

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 22 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Tata Power Company has extended support to women to help them achieve justice against atrocities through case registration centres (CRCs).

It recently organised a 'Mahila Melava' to promote women empowerment and self-sustenance and organised a day long event to train the women. Said a TPC spokesperson, "Tata Power created awareness about the CRCs operated by the company for women in association with CORO at a special event, 'Mahila Melava' for the women self-help groups in Trombay. The CRCs assist and provides support to women to achieve justice against the atrocities being committed towards them. The daylong programme witnessed the attendance of close to 250 women."

The programme kicked off with a training session aimed at providing a platform to the women to share their experiences. They were informed about the women self help groups, the various government schemes and programmes related to women issues. The session also provided information about enterprise development and motivated the women to tart businesses as per their interest area.

"TPC is committed to empowering women, motivating them to achieve their dreams and be independent. It is imperative that this change in attitude spreads across the nation, and we are committed to the cause," said Pradeep Manjrekar, chief-Trombay Station, Tata Power.

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Harbour line passengers inconvenienced today

MUMBAI: The train services on the Harbour line between Kurla and Vashi will be suspended from 11 am to 4 pm today. This could inconvenience several commuters. The rail block is undertaken to carry out repair and maintenance of tracks and overhead equipment. Said an official, "The Down harbour line services to Panvel, Belapur and Vashi leaving CST from 10.23 am to 3.37 pm and Up harbour line services towards CST leaving from Panvel, Belapur and Vashi from 10.20 am to 3.27 pm will remain suspended." The special trains will be run on CST- Kurla and Vashi-Panvel sections during the block period. "Harbour line passengers are permitted to travel via Transharbour Line/ Main Line from 10 am to 4 pm," an official added.

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Few trains cancelled on Western Railway due to jumbo block today

MUMBAI: Some of the suburban trains on the Western Railway have been cancelled today, thereby affecting the frequency of train services this afternoon.

This is due to a jumbo rail block between Borivali and Goregaon stations, which will go on till 2.35 pm.

The block is being undertaken to carry out maintenance work of tracks, signalling and overhead equipment, an official said. It will be carried out on the Up and Down slow lines. During the block period, all Up and Down slow line trains will run on fast lines between Borivali and Goregaon stations. Due to the block, some suburban trains will remain cancelled.

"All fast line trains of Borivali, Bhayander, Vasai and Virar including Dahanu local will stop at all stations between Andheri and Borivali in both the directions,'' said an official, adding,"Detailed information to this effect is available with concerned station masters."

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Megablock on Central Railway main line slows rail traffic

MUMBAI: The ongoing megablock on the Central Railway main line has slowed down the running of trains. The block is being carried out between Mulund and Matunga till 4.15 pm. The block is mainly on the Up fast line. The Up fast services leaving Thane till 4.13 pm will be diverted on UP slow line between Mulund and Parel stations halting at all stations upto Parel and further re-diverted on Up fast line proper at Parel station.

These trains will arrive destination 20 minutes behind schedule. The Down fast line services leaving CST till 2.54 pm will halt at Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Bhandup and Mulund stations in addition to their respective scheduled halts and will arrive destination 10 minutes behind schedule. All slow locals arriving and leaving CST till 5 pm will arrive destination 10 minutes behind schedule. "Due to these blocks, suburban trains are likely to be more crowded than usual. Passengers are requested not to take any risks while travelling. They are also requested to avoid travelling on foot board, roof top of locals and not to board extremely over crowded trains," an official added.

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2,091 missing children traced in Mumbai

MUMBAI: The city police have traced 2, 091 children out of 2,527 children who went missing in 2014 in the special drive to trace the missing children.

Interestingly out of this 2,091 traced children 1,249 are girls alone and rest are boys in the age group of 2 to 15 and 16 years old. According to the statistics the 2013 there were 2,979 children including girls and boys went missing and out of which police traced 2,243 out of which while 968 of them were boys and 1275 were girls. Police said that around 10 percent of children are still missing and they are doing their best to trace them. Many of these children were found begging outside religious places and some of them were push into child labour.

Police said that this year in last two months they have traced 137 children. The tracing children began in November after Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria announced the special drive to trace missing persons. "We have started the special drive to trace missing girls and boys under the age of 18. I have asked our teams to go back to 10 years and track each missing child," Maria had said.

Now every police station there are atleast three to four policemen who are dedicated only to trace the missing children. Maria has also announced a cash rewards for the police team which traces a child.

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Meow drugs comes under NDPS ambit

MUMBAI: Several parents and security agencies across the country heave a sigh of relief after the Central government recently included drug mephedrone or meow as psychotropic substance under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, deeming it illegal.

Now, sources said those caught with meow will be booked under the NDPS act which is non bailable, mephedrone is being declared as a psychotropic substance, thereby bringing the said drug under the schedule 1 category, wherein production, transportation, storage and consumption of the same would be treated as an offence and cognisance is taken under the NDPS Act.

The central government which cleared the proposal on February 12, is likely to issue notification in this regards in this week. We have heard that the meow drug has come under the ambit of NDPS but we are yet to get the notification. We are happy that now we will be able to book those peddlers caught under this act which will to some extend deter the racket.''said Dhananjay Kulkarni, official spokesperson of Mumbai police.

Mumbai, particularly, the south Mumbai and Muslim pockets like Dongri, Mohammed Ali road, Chor bazaar, Mahim and Kurla have maximum victims as the drug has a big market among youth and people looking for an alternative to anxiety drugs.

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Aspiring model drugged, raped; boyfriend held

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 20 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A 24-year-old aspiring model has accused her boyfriend of drugging and raping her at her Oshiwara residence a fortnight ago. Her boyfriend has been arrested.

The woman's complaint states that the accused had injected her with a sedative when he dropped by at her house on February 6 when her family was away. She has also accused him of taking nude pictures of her.

The woman said that she was initially hesitant to inform her family as she was too disturbed. She told them about the incident a couple of days ago, after which they approached the police.

The woman had met the accused at a gym in Oshiwara a few months ago.

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Proposal to shift MAT at "infant" stage: Maha to HC

MUMBAI: State government told the Bombay High Court on Friday that the proposal to shift the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai, to make way for Metro III is at an "infant" stage. MAT is located in the barracks near Mantralaya.

The court heard a PIL for filling vacants posts at Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad but expanded to include deficiencies in infrastructure. When MAT, Mumbai sought more space, the government replied that it would have to be shifted as the space is required for expansion of the Metro.

The government's advocate Molina Thakur also informed a bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon that METRO III "is only a proposal" "That was the excuse given by you (government). Address us on the allotment of additional area," said the bench.

The judges were submitted by petitioner's advocate Uday Warunjikar, a list of nearly 20 proposals pending with government. They said the "government should come out with solutions," as MAT is created by the State for its employees and its "obligation" to provide proper infrastructure.

Thakur said the General Administrative Department has requested the advocate general to appear in the matter. Adjourning the hearing, the judges hoped that with his intervention all issues of infrastructure will be resolved.

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Work piles up at Mumbai’s 3 RTOs after ban on entry of agents

MUMBAI: Even as citizens have welcomed the ban on agents at RTOs, there are widespread complaints of files not being cleared on time at the city's three RTOs.

As of now, 55,000 new vehicle registration certificates, licences, car transfer papers and other documents are pending at the RTOs. Each RTO witnesses at least 200 people waiting with applications in hand.

On their part, officials blame the delays on poor infrastructure, acute staff shortage and time being spent in assisting applicants instead of processing applications.

A senior RTO official said that the entry banning agents' on RTO premises should have been done with proper planning. He said that earlier most of the paperwork which was handled by agents is now left to officers. "When will they finish other duties?" said the official.

Sources said that earlier there were people who ran errands for which RTO staffers paid tips. "This has stopped now with the ban on entry of outsiders," said a source.

Transport commissioner Mahesh Zagade has, however, warned officers of disciplinary action if they encouraged agents or supported them. "Officers should pull up their socks and work efficiently. There has to be optimum utilization of manpower and a single-window system to clear applications at RTOs," he said.

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State electricity distribution firm told to better services

MUMBAI: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed the state power utility firm, which has proposed a tariff hike for residential users, to be more efficient and transparent in its service. "The power utility should not compromise on customer service," he said. "Mahavitran's image should be improved and there should be a proper consumer redressal mechanism. We also want to increase the efficiency of Mahagenco to ensure it has a high generation capacity and the tariffs come down."

The CM indicated rationalization of coal linkages to power plants so that coal can be made available from the nearest available sources. "If we reduce the distances, we can cut down transportation costs," he said. This could have an impact on tariff. He also assured that the tariff for industry will be reduced, without the state offering any fresh subsidy. "We have explored several options and I have gone through a presentation made by MSEDCL. In future, industries can expect a dip in tariff and we will also try to protect the interests of low-end residential consumers (up to 100 units consumption)."

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All eyes now on new Tata Power tariffs

MUMBAI: With Reliance Energy announcing a tariff hike and BEST too keen on increasing tariff by 15-16% for residential users, all eyes are now on Tata Power Company (TPC). Sources said TPC may emerge as the cheapest power distributor.

TPC may file in its mid-term review petition on tariff hikes for 2015-16 in the next few days, while the 10.5 lakh BEST consumers in island city may have to wait till the first week of March.

A Reliance spokesperson on Thursday said the slab hike coule be 16-45%, according to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) chart, but on calculating the telescopic slab benefits, the hike for consumers may reduce to 9-28%.

"There is a likelihood of TPC emerging as a cheaper alternative in the near future. But if consumers choose to migrate to TPC, they may have to bear some additional costs, such as wheeling charges, cross-subsidy surcharge and regulatory assets charges as fixed by the other power utility firm," said Ashok Pendse, a power expert.

He also suggested that TPC needs to improve infrastructure and the network rollout in some parts of the city. "Till this happens, consumers will have to depend on the existing robust network of Reliance to draw power from TPC," he said. "Unless there is a big impact due to TPC's new tariff revision, one cannot expect large-scale migration."

But sources in the energy department said consumers will soon opt for "competitive rates" and this could influence users to switch from one power utility firm to another.

In the past, over 2.6 lakh consumers had opted for TPC in the low-end residential segment. However, Reliance still boasts of having over 18 lakh consumers in the same category. "TPC will continue to supply power in south Mumbai where it has its own distribution network. Across the city, it has been successful in setting up 333km of HT network and 437 of LT network and has invested Rs 1,000 crore. Laying of network in a congested city like Mumbai is a great challenge for any utility. We will continue work towards expanding network in the entire licence area," said a TPC official. "A past survey had shown that those switching from R Infra to TPC saved up to 46% in monthly bills."

Former MP Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday tweeted a letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis demanding that he intervene and prevent a "huge hike" in Reliance Energy rates. He also threatened an agitation. "It will be a shock for those living in the suburbs. I have asked the CM to request to the MERC to avoid this hike," Nirupam said.

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Huge asset found from excise officers

MUMBAI: The Anti Corruption Bureau, which on Wednesday arrested Thane excise superintendent Manohar Anchule and excise inspector Ramesh Dhanshetty while accepting a bribe of Rs 18 lakh from a subordinate, have found huge assets in their house searches.

ACB sources said that while from Dhanshetty's office search sleuths found Rs 1.20 lakhs cash, search of his house in Hiranandani Medows in Thane police found a lodging and boarding building in his wife's name at Godbunder in Thane, Rs 23.96 lakhs worth insurance policies, Rs 16.5 lakhs savings in his bank account and 12 acres worth property in his native place in Osmanabad.

ACB also carried a search of Anchule's office from where they recovered a cash of Rs 48,800, house search resulted in recovery of Rs 8.21 lakhs, 380 grams of gold ornaments, 300 grams of silver, a 900 square feet flat in Hiranandani Medows, a flat in Oshiwara, 1.200 square feet flat in Pune, 1,200 Square feet flat in Seawood in Navi Mumbai, a flat in osmanabad a petrol pump in his wife's name in Osmanabad and Rs 14.70 lakhs in his saving accounts.

``The assets in both the cases are found to be beyond their means and hence we are in the process of registering a disproportionate asset case against the officers as well their wives.'' said an ACB officer.

On Wednesday the ACB had caught Dhanshetty and Achule while accepting a bribe of Rs 18 lakhs. The Thane ACB had registered a case against an excise sub-inspector under the Prevention of Corruption Act on January 22. The complainant sub-inspector feared that since a criminal case had been registered against him, he would be denied a promotion as excise inspector, suspended and a departmental probe may be initiated against him.

He approached Anchule and Dhanshetty to ensure his promotion and that a departmental probe is not conducted against him for which duo demanded a bribe.

The sub-inspector then complained to the ACB's Mumbai office. Anchule and Dhanshetty were caught while accepting the bribe in the excise department's Koliwada office in Thane district. An offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the duo.

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Tragedy averted as reversing truck hits local train, flips over

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 19 Februari 2015 | 22.23

KALYAN: A major tragedy was averted near Shahad railway station on Wednesday afternoon after a local train hit a truck that had moved close to the railway tracks.

Truck driver Shantaram Ovhal was backing up when he felt a sudden jolt which rattled his heavy vehicle. The next moment, the truck landed on its side with a huge thud as the train hit the truck.

Ovhal (55) was lucky to escape with minor injuries. No one on the Aasangaon-CST train was injured, said railway officials. The railway police said that a major tragedy had been averted.

Around 3.50 pm on Wednesday, Ovhal was at the wheel of the truck laden with railway track maintenance paraphernalia. To reverse the vehicle, he moved it close to the first track, not realizing that a train was fast approaching. The train hit the rear of the truck and dragged it a few metres. The motorman applied the emergency brakes, said railway police officials, thus saving the day for train commuters and the truck driver.

A local resident, Ganesh Jadhav, said that the truck had not moved too close to the tracks. "If not, it could have been tragic," said Jadhav. A few local residents extricated Ovhal and took him to Kalyan railway hospital.

A police official said the truck driver seems to be at fault. The railway police has not yet registered a case.

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‘Treaty does not allow death penalty for Salem’

MUMBAI: The defence in the 1995 murder of builder Pradeep Jain murder, told a special Tada court on Wednesday that brutality, diabolical and grotesque nature of a crime, are not circumstances based on which, death penalty can be given. Defence advocate Sudip Pasbola opposed the prosecution's plea seeking the death penalty against extradited gangster Abu Salem and his driver, Mehendi Hasan, found guilty in the murder, earlier this week.

"Every murder is brutal, so heinousness or brutalities are not indicators. There is nothing to show the execution was carried out in a diabolical manner or something that repulsed the mind," Pasbola told special Tada judge G A Sanap.

Pasobla reiterated that Salem could not be awarded the death penalty as it was against the guarantees in the treaty signed between India and Portugal in 2002. Special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam will present his arguments on this aspect on Friday. The quantum of sentence will be pronounced only after all arguments are completed.

Pasbola argued that the object of the criminal conspiracy was to gain property from the Jain brothers and murder was was incidental. Referring to Hasan as just a fringe player, he argued that if the assailants had previously been awarded life imprisonment, then he could not be awarded death. He further pointed out that the accused had been in jail for 10 years and was never an absconding accused.

Nikam had sought seven years' imprisonment for wheelchair-bound V K Jhamb (86), who was convicted only on extortion charges. He is on bail granted on health grounds. Defence advocate Srikant Shivde told the court that even a month's jail would seem like a life term and he, at the most, be sentenced to the nine months already spent in incarceration along with a fine.

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HC asks bank to reply to bad assets’ PIL

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday gave Central Bank of India, a public sector bank, two weeks to file a reply in response to a PIL seeking action against public sector banks to ensure recovery of loans that have now become non-performing assets.

A bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawalla was hearing a PIL filed by leader of a union of Central Bank employees to contend that across India in various public sector banks loans running into thousands of crores of rupees have not been repaid.

Central Bank of India sought time to file a reply and the court granted it two weeks and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

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Russian ship shut electronic system to avoid surveillance

MUMBAI: The Russian flag cargo vessel, MV Sevastopol was brought back to Mumbai anchorage on Tuesday night. The ship was placed under arrest by the Madras HC on February 13, and on Tuesday, it was trying to flee to circumvent judicial proceedings.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) had to threaten to open fire at the ship if the crew attempted to escape through the north Gujarat route as the ship went on sailing even after being interdicted. The vessel was tracked down after a 11-hour search by an ICF aircraft and brought back with ICG ship Agrim following it.

The ship, which was anchored at Mumbai "Alpha Anchorage", which is 27-km north-west of Mumbai coast, tried to escape at 1am on Tuesday. The ICG, in a sea-air coordinated operation, interdicted the vessel at 11.45am while it was trying to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line and enter the UAE waters. "The ship switched off all its electronic gadgets to avoid of getting tracked by the surveillance system and sailed out of the anchorage," said an Indian defence official.

The ship was tracked down despite its electronic system being shut down and an aircraft found it sailing along with other merchant vessels on a channel which is 110 nautical miles (204 km) north of Gujarat, said the official. The aircraft then alerted ICG ship Agrim, commanded by Commandant (JG) Umed Singh's team, which interdicted the Russian flagged Cargo vessel.

"The ICG vessel pointed guns at the merchant vessel when it tried to continue its sailing. It was told to sail back else threatened to blow off the vessel. The ship reached the Mumbai anchorage at 10pm," said a Indian defence source.

An ICG official said that the ship will be under surveillance and can sail only after it amends with the Madras HC order. The shipping company is facing a litigation in the HC on a plea filed by M/s NTC Logistics (P) Limited, Chennai.

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Theatre celebrates pioneer playwright’s birth centenary

MUMBAI: Tuesday evening at NCPA, the students of Mumbai University's Academy of Theatre Arts performed 'Aazar Ka Khwab', an Urdu adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion'. Surleen Kaur as Eliza Doolittle melded fire and ice while perfecting her 'sheen qaaf' (diction). Young Niranjan Javir meanwhile seemed to have been possessed by the spirit of Prof Higgins.

Director Atul Tiwari appeared pleased as punch as the audience burst into applause.

Its playwright Qudsia Zaidi would have been proud too.

The world of theatre is celebrating the birth centenary of this playwright who is considered one of the earliest women pioneers in the field. The Begum Qudsia Zaidi Centenary Committee and Gillo Foundation are hosting a three-day festival of her plays at the NCPA from February 17-19. M S Sathyu is staging 'Mudrarakshas', Tiwari is directing 'Aazar...' and Sayeed Alam brings 'Chacha Chhakkan Ke Karnaame'.

Way back in 1954, Begum Zaidi founded a professional group named Hindustani Theatre with Habib Tanvir. The Delhi-based troupe nurtured the careers of M S Sathyu, Irshad Panjatan and Yunus Parwaiz among others. Zaidi was also a prolific writer of books for kids.

Among her well-known adaptations is 'Khalid Ki Khala', which is drawn from 'Charley's Aunt'. 'Aazar...' meanwhile was written well before 'My Fair Lady' made 'Pygmalion' popular. It has been staged by Balraj Sahni and Nitin Sethi before.

It was also the only play Farooque Shaikh directed, himself playing the central role of Aazar (Prof Higgins) while engaging Smita Jayakar for Hajra (Eliza Doolittle). "The 2002 production did well abroad but not in India. I was too old to play Hajra, and moreover, Shaikh declined to accept sponsorship from alcohol and cigarette firms," says Jayakar.

Zaidi's family is planning tributes through the year. Daughter Shama Zaidi, screenplay writer and costume designer of repute, is publishing ten plays "so people who cannot see them may at least read them". Shama's husband, Sathyu, recalls how Begum travelled with her plays through miners' towns in Bihar to the amazement of critics. Their daughter Shaili who does theatre for kids is adapting her grandmother's short stories. Begum Zaidi's promising career was cut short by early death at age 46.

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Actor Sanjay Dutt to spend four extra days in prison, Maharashtra home minister says

MUMBAI: Four more days of imprisonment would be added to actor Sanjay Dutt's prison term, as he spent extra days out jail when his furlough period ended and a decision on extension of his furlough was pending, Maharashtra minister of state for home Ram Shinde has said.

A departmental inquiry would ordered against erring prison officials and action would be taken against them for the delay in deciding the extension of furlough, Shinde told reporters.

He said that Dutt's furlough ended on January 8 and he was supposed to surrender before sunset, which he did.

The actor was sent back because a decision on extension of his furlough was pending.

"His furlough was rejected after two days but Dutt remained out of prison until then," Shinde said.

The minister said that there is need for clarity in the jail manual, adding that changes would be done accordingly during the next legislature session.

Shinde said that from December 20, 2014 to January 1 2015, 32 prisoners were granted leave.

Under normal circumstances it takes 45 days to take decisions about furloughs but in Dutt's case it took 113 days, he said.

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Vanzara granted bail in encounter case

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 18 Februari 2015 | 22.23

AHMEDABAD:DG Vanzara, accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh's and Ishrat Jahan's encounter case is all set to come out of Ahmedabad Central Jail at 12 pm today. After being granted bail by the court in Ishrat Jahan case, Vanzara will step out of the jail after eight long years. His supporters are planning a big celebration once he is out of the jail.

Vanzara was granted bail in Ishrat Jahan case about 10 days ago.His bail bonds in Sohrabuddin encounter case couldn't be furnished for a long time due to which he had to stay behind bars. However,the procedure of depositing the bail bond is now complete and he is all set to be released from jail. According to sources, Vanzara will fly to Mumbai today as he is under court instructions to stay in the city. Vanzara will have to mark his presence before the CBI twice a month.

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Jogeshwari college to be ‘forcibly possessed’?

MUMBAI: Opposing the state government's plan to develop Jogeshwari-based Ismail Yusuf College as an education hub, some Muslim groups have threatened "forcible possession" of the campus any day between last week of February and first week of March. Calling it the community's last resort, former Congress MLA and ex-MHADA chairman Yusuf Abrahni said on Monday that the BJP-Sena government had decided to set up a law university and other institutions at the college campus despite a high court's order to maintain the status quo.

"Our Dalit brothers have set an example. As the government was forced to build Dr Ambedkar memorial at the Indu Mills only after the Dalits forcibly occupied it, we have decided to follow the same method," said Abrahni. He, however, added that he would first approach CM Devendra Fadnavis, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS president Raj Thackeray and explain why the land should be handed over to a Muslim trust. "The college was established on over 120 acre land purchased with a donation of around Rs 10 lakh by philanthropist Sir Ismail Yusuf in 1914. The purpose was to impart higher education to Muslims though its doors were open for all," added Abrahni. He said that Social Educational and Welfare Association (SEWA), along with 30 other NGOs, had decided to launch a state-wide campaign to mobilize public opinion.

Congress MLA Amin Patel has petitioned the CM demanding formation of a committee of Muslim MLAs, headed by the CM, to resolve the issue amicably. "Assembly speaker in the Congress-led DF government Dilip Valse Patil, on the floor of the house, had suggested an out of court settlement between the Muslim NGos and the government. The land should be given to a Muslim trust to establish an international university for education of Muslim youth," said Patel.

Some Dalit leaders too lent support. "Like the Dalits, Muslims too are educationally and financially weak. The land belongs to Muslims, and the government should immediately give it to the community," said Dalit leader Ramesh Kamble. Amir Idrisi of Association of Muslim Professionals said a joint front of Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals, activists and professionals would be created to get the land back.

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Now 4G cells proposed on street light poles in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Close on the heels of citizens protesting against 4G towers in city gardens, there is now a proposal to install 4G cells on the streetlight poles in island city.

The BEST, which may soon approve the proposal for a pilot project in D ward, has added a note of caution though. It has put the onus on Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), saying the latter will have to deal with citizens' protests, if any, and "should not expect any help from BEST on that front".

The proposal, which will come up for clearance at the next BEST committee meeting, seeks approval for a "pilot project of installing the small cells (radiating 4G signals on voice and data) on 25 street light poles in D ward."

It is learnt that RJIL had requested permissions to commence the pilot project on 215 poles in D ward, but the BEST will allow the testing only on 25 poles -- which will be selected mutually in such a way that a pocket of area will be formed for 4G connectivity. "The BEST will check the feasibility of this project which will aid in future tendering process for such 4G installations in some of the other poles," an official said. The BEST owns a total 32,685 street light poles in the island city.

The proposal copy mentions : "Any complaint or litigation against BEST for this installation from any individual, group, institute, NGO, etc shall be clarified and satisfied by RJIL at their own cost. BEST will in no way be answerable/liable for such complaints. If it is required by BEST's representatives to attend such court cases, RJIL shall compensate for manpower, advocate and court fee borne by the BEST."

The BEST will also have powers to remove the 4G communication equipment by giving 48 hours notice to RJIL. A RJIL spokesperson said all towers and 4G installations are 100% safe and built in conformity with approvals. India's standards have been kept much much higher than even WHO standards. "They are not hazardous to public health,'' he said.

A Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) official said : "The BMC recently authorised setting up of 4G towers. Instead of educating the masses on benefits of low-power and optical fibre connected towers, the BMC has remained silent. What is required is what the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has done. The DDA sought scientific clarifications on the 4G towers from the DoT and is now openly educating Delhi citizens on the harmlessness of the towers. The BMC should carry out similar campaigns." Anti-radiation activists, however, argued that 4G towers may pose a radiation risks and some of them coming up in gardens were "unwarranted."

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Ache din are back: Vanzara after release

AHMEDABAD: Moments after walking out of jail after almost eight years, former Gujarat deputy inspector general of police DG Vanzara, one of the accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan's encounter case, has said that the Gujarat Police were targeted for "extra political reasons".

"Ache din [Good days] for me and other police officers are back," Vanzara was quoted as saying by television channels after coming out of the Sabarmati Central Jail on Wednesday. He further added,"Gujarat Police were targeted for extra ploitical reasons." Ache din ayenge [Good days will come] was one of the poll slogans of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Vanzara was granted bail in Ishrat Jahan encounter case about 10 days ago. His bail bonds in Sohrabuddin encounter case couldn't be furnished for a long time due to which he had to stay behind bars. According to sources, Vanzara will fly to Mumbai today as he is under court instructions to stay in the city.

READ ALSO: Ishrat encounter: Suspended ADG Pandey gets bail

Vanzara will have to mark his presence before the CBI twice a month.

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DG Vanzara walks out of jail on bail

AHMEDABAD: Former Gujarat deputy inspector general of police DG Vanzara, accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh's and Ishrat Jahan's encounter case, today walked out of the Sabarmati Central Jail after being granted bail.

Vanzara was granted bail in Ishrat Jahan encounter case about 10 days ago.His bail bonds in Sohrabuddin encounter case couldn't be furnished for a long time due to which he had to stay behind bars. According to sources, Vanzara will fly to Mumbai today as he is under court instructions to stay in the city.

READ ALSO: Ishrat encounter: Suspended ADG Pandey gets bail

Vanzara will have to mark his presence before the CBI twice a month.

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Mumbai apartments in 'world's tallest residential building' on sale in UK

LONDON: Luxury apartments in a Mumbai skyscraper touted as the world's tallest residential building set to be completed next year have gone on sale in the British capital with a starting price tag of 1.4 million pounds.

The Giorgio Armani-designed apartments inside the under-construction World One Tower are primarily aimed at high net worth Indians who spend a few months in the year at posh second homes in London or Indian-origin millionaires based in London who often visit India.

"Since the London economy has recovered, developers are now starting to launch overseas projects in the capital in order to tap into the wealthy expatriate and other international people who are based in London either part or full time," said Peter Wetherell, chief executive of high-end London estate agents Wetherell which has started selling the flats in the exclusive property.

When completed in 2016, World One Tower will have 117 storeys, making it the world's tallest residential skyscraper.

A swimming pool, gym and health club come as standard with most of the luxury apartment blocks and the complex is also expected to have cricket pitches and a pavilion.

The 442-metre high tower has been built at a cost of more than 205 million pounds and will have more than 300 luxury apartments, many of them overlooking the Arabian Sea.

Each apartment is promised a "generously sized reception room, kitchen/breakfast room, luxurious bedroom suites and beautifully appointed bathrooms" and will have access to a leisure complex located in two vast podiums at the base of the tower.

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AAP could be healthy competition in Mumbai: Aditya Thackeray

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 17 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena's youth wing president Aditya Thackeray sees the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is considering to contest 2017 Mumbai civic polls, as a healthy competition.

Shiv Sena, in coalition with BJP, has been in power in Asia's richest civic body for the last two decades.

"Not in terms of the work we have done now and what we will achieve by then, but there must be healthy competition always," Aditya told NDTV in an interview on Tuesday when asked if he saw AAP as a competition.

READ ALSO: Delhi win may spur AAP to fight Mumbai civic polls

Mumbai nightlife: Aditya Thackeray meets CM

The 24-year old son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said his party had already congratulated AAP for its astounding victory in the Delhi assembly polls.

"We have already congratulated them as it is the vote of the people. The 95 percent victory margin is huge and as from any government, there are lots of hopes from them. Every state government should succeed well," he said.

Replying to a question on whether he had learnt anything from the stunning electoral success of India's youngest political party, Aditya said, "There is a lot to learn from every victory and defeat. Every party should learn from victories and defeats and that's what we are doing."

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Aaditya Thackeray discusses Mumbai nightlife plan with CM Devendra Fadnavis

MUMBAI: Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray said here he has discussed plans for revival of the vibrant Mumbai nightlife with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"I had a meeting with @CMOMaharashtra on my proposal for #MumbaiNightLife. I will tweet details soon, good news," he posted on Twitter on Monday.

"Necessary laws would be amended so that the financial capital can have a nightlife by the end of the year," Aditya Thackeray later told a TV channel.

The 1.30am deadline for restaurants and bars is likely to be discarded after the laws are amended, 24-year-old Aditya, the son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said.

"Malls, clubs could stay open 24X7, along with chemists and convenience stores," he tweeted earlier.

READ ALSO: Mumbai gives Delhi clubs new hope for hour-no-bar days

Non-residential areas like Kala Ghoda, Nariman Point, BKC can be special entertainment zones at night, he added.

"Eateries, Cafes, Milk Shops, Chemists and Malls and Mill-Malls (with all their establishments) can be given the option of staying open," he had said in a tweet.

Aditya had also recently on Twitter thanked Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria "for his nod to the proposal of nightlife".

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Aditya Thackeray discusses Mumbai nightlife plan with CM Devendra Fadnavis

MUMBAI: Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray said here he has discussed plans for revival of the vibrant Mumbai nightlife with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"I had a meeting with @CMOMaharashtra on my proposal for #MumbaiNightLife. I will tweet details soon, good news," he posted on Twitter on Monday.

"Necessary laws would be amended so that the financial capital can have a nightlife by the end of the year," Aditya Thackeray later told a TV channel.

The 1.30am deadline for restaurants and bars is likely to be discarded after the laws are amended, 24-year-old Aditya, the son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said.

"Malls, clubs could stay open 24X7, along with chemists and convenience stores," he tweeted earlier.

READ ALSO: Mumbai gives Delhi clubs new hope for hour-no-bar days

Non-residential areas like Kala Ghoda, Nariman Point, BKC can be special entertainment zones at night, he added.

"Eateries, Cafes, Milk Shops, Chemists and Malls and Mill-Malls (with all their establishments) can be given the option of staying open," he had said in a tweet.

Aditya had also recently on Twitter thanked Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria "for his nod to the proposal of nightlife".

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Gangster threatening case transferred to city crime branch

MUMBAI: Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has transferred the threatening case involving former NCP MP Sanjay Patil by gangster Nilesh Paradkar from Bhandup police station to city crime branch.

The crime branch are on Wednesday likely to oppose the interim bail granted to Paradkar by the session court last week. Paradkar had threatened Patil saying that his men should not take contract of any civil work in the eastern suburbs.

Patil who won the 2009 general elections from the north east suburban-Bhandup has lodged an FIR with the Bhandup police alleging that Paradkar and his associate Jaffri called him thrice on Wednesday and threatened to not to take any civil contracts or he will bump him off. Based on his complaint Bhandup police have registered an FIR under the IPC sections of 504, 506 and 506 (11) threatening, criminal intimidation and issuing death threat.

Paradkar a well known member of Chhota Rajan gang has around dozen cases of extortion and threatening. He was released in 2011 from Thane jail and recently he has joined a political wing of union. Paradkar was convicted in 2006 for attempt to murder film producer Bharat Shah in 2004.

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Coast guards rescue passengers stuck on ferry near Mumbai's Elephanta island

MUMBAI: Rescue operation was launched to save 54 people stuck onboard a ferry boat 'Navrang' which had run aground near Elephanta island around 3-4 nautical miles off Mumbai coast on Tuesday.

Coast guard launched a hovercraft H-194 and a helicopter from Belapur to rescue the stranded passengers after state govt requested them to launch a rescue operation.

The coast guards safely evacuated 40 men,20 women and 18 children. All the rescued persons were taken to Belapur.

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