#Mumbai- Municipal Corporation adds to woes of Homeless


Published: Saturday, Dec 15, 2012, 2:05 IST
By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Diana Joseph, 22, will spend Christmas with her husband Ganesh and two children on the street close to where their 20-year-old home was demolished on October 12.

“Like every year, we will cook daal chawal and cut a cake with the rest of the people who have lost their homes,” said the south Mumbai resident, cuddling her infant in her arms.

The Joseph family, along with 100 other residents, including 25 children, have made the street their home with their belongings stacked up along the street. As if razing their homes was not enough, the civic authorities took all their
belongings on Friday.

The BMC took the action after the high court dismissed a petition by NGO Alternative Realities, that works for the rights of the homeless. The NGO had filed a PIL on October 30 after 15 families in Ballad Estate lost their homes in a demolition by the MbPT.

The residents, who lived on the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land, are mainly daily wage earners and domestic help employed in the same vicinity.

The residents claimed that the MbPT had not issued notices as per rules and that they had proof of residence as most of them had been born there.

Masleen Dave, 38, was in tears and was unable to get to her job as house help. Lamenting the loss of all her belongings, she clinged to the only thing she could salvage – her handbag. “We lost everything we had. The BMC said they will not let us stay here at night. Where do we go?”

Four-year-old Angela Pushpa Raj Velangani, who suffered from food poisoning and had to be rushed to hospital after her home was demolished, missed school along with other children on Friday.

Arun Gowandkar, 29, a labourer, said he was going to the A Ward office to get their belongings released. “They’ve asked us to pay money to get our things back,” he added.

 

Man with bright idea saves 50m gallons of drinking water a day #Goodnews


 

Overflowing Modak Sagar water redirected to Tansa
Man with bright idea saves 50m gallons of drinking water a day
Yogesh.Naik @timesgroup.com, Mumbai Mirror

If the city gets through the next 12 months without suffering a severe water crisis despite what has been an extremely poor monsoon, citizens will have a retired civic engineer to thank.
Prakash Limaye, who retired from the BMC‘s Waterworks department earlier this year, is based 100 km from Mumbai and is single-handedly saving nearly 50 million gallons of potable water — enough for 1 million people daily — from flowing into the Arabian Sea every day. On an average, Mumbai consumes 750 million gallons of water a day.
The idea itself is a combination of simplicity and common sense — terms not easily associated with the civic body.
Located 22 kms apart, Tansa and Modak Sagar dams are chief sources of drinking water to Mumbai. With below average rainfall this season, the water level at the 19-sq-km Tansa lake on Tansa river has stayed well below the desired level.
On the other hand, the eight-sq-km Modak Sagar, situated on the banks of Vaitarna river, started overflowing last week, and the city would have lost millions of gallons of drinking water to the sea had it not been for Limaye’s plan.
The pipeline connecting Modak Sagar to Mumbai passes through the periphery of Tansa. Limaye’s plan involves opening up valves on the pipelines at points closest to Tansa, thereby enabling the excess water to flow into Tansa instead of being wasted.
There are 30 scour valves passing through Tansa, each capable of releasing an average of 10 million gallons of water into the lake. At the moment, the BMC is opening 5-8 valves a day — saving close to 50 million gallons of drinking water in the process every day. In all, 400 million gallons of water have been banked over the last eight days.
Limaye, who has built his retirement home just 2 km from Tansa, is helping sub-engineer Vilas Aher in the operation. These valves need to be opened and shut manually — in fact, with a wrench — every day.
“Modak Sagar fills up quickly and overflows when there is a consistent rainfall of 900 mm, while Tansa requires around 1300-1400 mm of rainfall to fill to the brim. This year, we realised that it would be difficult to fill Tansa, so we proposed that the valves of the pipes that pass on its periphery be opened up,” Limaye said.
“We have opened up five scours of the pipe coming from Modak Sagar towards Tansa and also stopped the water supply (daily share of 100 million gallons) from Tansa. As a result, the level of Tansa goes up by a foot (0.33 metres) daily. Each day, nearly 50 million gallons of water gets transferred from Modak Sagar to Tansa,” Aher said.
Limaye, incidentally, had drawn up this blueprint in 2009, but a delay in getting the required approvals ensured that it was too late by the time the idea was implemented. That year, the city had to face acute water shortage, with the BMC imposing 15 per cent cuts on residential consumers.
With adequate rainfall in the next two years, the idea was as good as shelved. But with the monsoons barely registering, Limaye was at hand to prevent the taps from running dry.

 

Poster purge: Mumbai targets Jism 2 #Censorship #Moralpolicing


 

 

 

 

 

MUMBAI: An NCP MLC has succeeded in goading the city’s mayor into playing the moral police. The latest victim is the film Jism 2, starring Sunny Leone, whose posters will now have to be removed from all BEST buses.

NCP MLC Vidya Chavan knocked on the doorsof chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, state home minister R R Patil, the special branch of Mumbai police, BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte and ultimately city mayor Sunil Prabhu over the last couple of days, finally eliciting the response she was looking for from Prabhu.

The mayor took up the matter with the BEST and the BMC administrations and, by Wednesday evening, every “objectionable” poster was removed from 75 BEST buses and 25 depots, besides electricity poles and bus shelters.

The strange alacrity with which the BMC and the BEST responded drew sharp protests from legal experts and Bollywood fraternity and even other politicians.

IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh found the entire exercise a violation of personal freedom. “There are specific laws to deal with this. People having objections should have approached a court of law and it was for the court to give whatever directives it deemed fit,” he added.

A Congress MLA from the western suburbs thought it was unfair to judge the film by its posters. “Aren’t we jumping the gun and infringing on someone else’s freedom?” he asked.

Legal expert Mihir Desai felt it was completely unjustified. “The level of tolerance is going down in Mumbai and, instead of focusing on law and order, the administration wants to impose its own morality on the city,” he added.

Filmmaker and writer Mahesh Bhatt, whose daughter Pooja was the producer of the film, said he had decided to remove the posters from all over Mumbai as “it was a battle not worth fighting”. He said he had decided to replace the old posters with new ones.

“Censoring images created by the human mind has been going on since the dark ages. In recent times, I remember Qurban’s posters were pulled down by the moral police. I guess the more things change, the more they remain the same. Individual freedom has always been trampled upon under the name of larger good by the political class,” Bhatt said.

But will all this affect the film’s business? Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “This will not affect the box-office business of the film.” Another trade pundit said there was a lot of curiosity about the film.

The moral brigade, however, saw things differently. “What is the film industry’s definition ofentertainment these days? Is making money their only motto? We talk about sexual harassment of women and the next thing we see nude posters on BEST buses and electric poles. What is the message we are giving to the youth? The Jism 2 posters are downright vulgar. Even school-going kids get to see them on roads,” was Chavan’s logic. Chavan was actively involved in closing of dance bars in the past.

Prabhu said instructions were issued to the BEST general manger to issue notices to advertising contractors to remove the posters immediately. BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said, “We received a message from BMC officials that the posters were objectionable and I immediately advised the contractors to remove them.”

A representative from Rakesh Advertising that handles the advertising rights for BEST buses, told TOI: “We had overlooked the posters and it was not done intentionally. I personally received a request from Gupta and ordered my men to go to all 25 depots and remove posters from 75 buses within an hour.” The posters were also removed from other areas including bus stops and electricity police subsequently.

Civic chief Sitaram Kunte said the BMC was “concerned only with properties belonging to the BMC”. “There was a complaint from Chavan and I asked the BEST general manager to check for violations in obscenity clauses and take the necessary corrective action on BEST stands, buses and electric poles. We have nothing against the movie. We shall verify about the obscenity,” he added.

(With inputs from Rebecca Sammerval)

 

160 sorties failed but BMC to go for #cloudseeding again


 

This image explaining cloud seeding shows the ...

This image explaining cloud seeding shows the chemical either silver iodine or dry ice being dumped onto the cloud which then becomes a rain shower. The process shown in the upper right is what is happening in the cloud and the process of condensation to the introduced chemicals. Sources for image: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Linah Baliga, TNN Aug 1, 2012,

MUMBAI: Having failed to make artificial rains despite 160 attempts in 2009, the civic body will resort to the same technique this year to make for the shortfall. On Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will hold a video conference with officials from India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Israeli firm Mekorot to decide on cloud seeding methods in catchment areas of lakes supplying water to the city. Mekorot will assist BMC with technological infrastructure like radar and aircraft.

Though civic officials admitted that last time they were unsuccessful, they said this year they are trying to correct the past mistakes. “This time we are doing it under expert guidance, as we had not sought help from agencies like IMD and IITM earlier. After discussing it with IITM they have come to a conclusion that cloud seeding is now a well established science. It’s a proven thing that cloud seeding makes inefficient clouds efficient,” additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said.

 

IITM has told BMC that Israel has extensively developed its technology on cloud seeding and has been using it for over 50 years. “Fortunately, we had a MoU with Israel’s water and energy department in June, last year. Since the past 15 days, we have been in touch with Israel’s national water company Mekorot to undertake this experiment,” he said.

In 2009, attempts were made over Tansa and Modak Sagar lakes with the help of Hyderabad-based Agni Aviation and the civic body spent Rs 8 crore on the project. Civic officials from the hydraulic department claimed that the experiment failed as BMC was unable to calculate the difference in amount of rainfall in catchment areas after cloud seeding was carried out.

Jalota said that the last experiment in 2009 at Tansa and Modak Sagar was done with the help of an aircraft and also by burning silver iodide crystals.

This time around, the experiment will involve sprinkling of silver iodide on clouds over Tansa, Bhatsa, Upper Vaitarna and Modak Sagar lakes to induce precipitation and subsequently artificial rains. “The technicians will be sitting inside the aircraft to monitor every step. The cloud seeding will be done at the base of the cloud when the cloud is having an updraft and has a reflectivity between 30dbz and 35dbz. This is the time the cloud is best suited for cloud seeding. It takes half-an-hour for the clouds to be efficient and it rains. The average speed of the cloud will be 15 metres per second,” Jalota said.

He said the civic body is in touch with Mekorot’s Mumbai base in Bandra Kurla Complex. “The modalities will be worked out on Thursday, whether or not to use IMD’s radar. We will also decide on whether Mekorot will provide us with just the aircraft or even manpower to operate the aircraft,” said Jalota.

If all goes well, Mumbaikars will also get an additional 455 million litres per day, as gates of Middle Vaitarna dam will be opened and water from the dam will be released by September.

Don’t make water supply out to be rocket science

The BMC should stop looking at outlandish ideas for maintaining supply to taps. Statistics indicate that Mumbai would not have to go through water cuts had the BMC simply turned its attention to plugging the leaks in the distribution chain and the widespread pilferage. The BMC has managed to keep the level of water cut down to 10 per cent this year but some long-term planning and attention to basic details could have done away with even this bit of pain.

 

 

 

 

Private Organisations can now adopt BMC schools- FIRST STEP towards privatisation of Education in Mumbai


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
By Jai Maharashtra News | 26 Jul Thu, 2012

Mumbai: In a move that could be  MOST DISADVANTAGEOUS  ( orginal post says advantageous) to students of municipal schools as well as to the government, the ruling parties Shiv Sena and BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken the decision to let civic schools be run by private educational institutions.

The proposal for this decision was first put forward 2 weeks ago, on the 11th of July, and the final nod came from the standing committee of the BMC on Wednesday 25th July. This was seen as a welcome move to improve the quality of education in state run government schools.

According to the decision, a private Non Governmental Organization (NGO) can select one civic school, and after approval, it will be responsible for recruitment of teaching and non teaching staff, as well as the overall functioning of the school. However, all other matters of the administration, as well as student enrollment will still be handled by the BMC.

Although some members from the Opposition were against this move, stating that the BMC was attempting to shirk its responsibility, it was pointed out that by Vitthal Kharatmol, BJP councillor and education committee chief chairman, that the move would help the students from civic schools to come up on par with better educational institutions, and would remove the inferiority complex that is associated with civic schools. Additionally, since there was no more open land for building more schools, it was hoped that this move would help make most of the existing educational land.

Many members of the opposition reacted strongly to this proposed decision while it was still under discussion, including Congressman Asif Zakaria, who sarcastically inquired whether the next move by the BMC would be to outsource its roads too. Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Sheikh said that managing civis scolls was the sole responsibility of the BMC under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (MMC).

The additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani also promised that the civic schools would still be under the control of the BMC, and that despite the provision of better facilities by the NGO, the students would still be enrolled free of charge and not be asked to pay fees for their education. “Students will not be denied educational facilities,” he said. The ruling party asserted that far from trying to get out of their responsibility to provide free primary education to the poorer sections of society, the move would elevate the quality of teaching as well as the morale of students from civic schools.

There are currently more than 1,139 civic run schools in the state, and the attendance rates are not as good as the government would have wanted it to be.

Urgent Appeal : Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail of Residents of Sion Koliwada since 31st May

Write to Chief Minister Demand Immediate Release and Justice for the Fisherfolk and Original Dwellers of the Land

Mumbai, June 9th 2012: On May 31st, 25 (24 women and one man) residents of Sion Koliwada including activists Jameel Bhai and Madhuri Shivkar of Ghar Bachao and Ghar Banao Andolan were arrested while resisting the illegal demolition of their homes by the BMC in collusion with Builders. As we have reported in past these demolitions are illegal and fraught with fraud in the name of the redevelopment. The arrests and illegality have been reported widely in the mainstream dailies but even then the threat of demolitions continues and the Police has helped proactively and tried to break the morales of the movement. These dwellings are of the original inhabitants of Mumbai, Koliwada – fishing communities living in these houses for nearly seven decades now. See the story in the Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3506205.ece

Yesterday, those in jail were granted bail in the afternoon itself but then a senior advocate on behalf of th Builder in collusion with the police intervened and then demanded extsnion of their police custody. They interevened and delayed the proceeedings. Finally, the activists were granted bail after the dharna by the Basti Residents outside the court. However, by then police officials made sure that it is too late for the bail orders to reach to the jail. It is extremely unfortunate and condemnable. It further exposes and reconfirms the nexus between the BMC, Builder and the police.

It is shocking to note that the police has not yet registered cases filed by the people over the past few days as FIRs, ever since the eviction drive began. Moreover, despite the people pointing out specifically as to how certain police officials / personnel are siding with the builders and have demanded suspension of such officers, no action has been taken in this regard. The only ‘assurance’ that the police has given so far is to protect the municipal officials who may face any ‘harm’, during the demolition process. We express our deep disdain towards this approach of the State and seek to challenge the illegal arrests and detentions being made by the police for questioning the unlawful demolitions.

Please do condemn the atrocities against the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Do Fax your letters ofprotest to the Chief Minister and Home Minister, demanding them to:

  • Immediately release arrested activists unconditionally and stop harassing the residents of the Si Koliwada

  • Halt demolitions in the basti of Sio Koliwada in the name of slum redevelopment.

  • Suspend the police officials, especially male police, who have used unjust force against the people and have abused the women and men in the name of ‘protesting the BMC officials’.

  • Lodge FIRs on the basis of complaints filed at various levels by Medha Patkar and others and initiate action against the erring officials and the builder lobby.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister

Fax: +91-22-22029214

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in

Shri R.R. Patil, Home Minister

Fax: 91 22 22027174 / 22 22029742

E-mail: Min_Home@maharashtra.gov.in

For details and update call: Madhuri Variyath 0982061917 / Madhuresh 9818905316

National Alliance of People’s Movements

 

National Office : 29-30, A Wing, First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014. Phone – 022 2415 0529 | 9969363065;

 

Delhi Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316

email : napmindia@gmail.com | Web : www.napm-india.org

 

Immediate Release-Medha Patkar and Seven Others Arrested While Opposing Evictions


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women and Children Beaten and Harassed by Mumbai Police Force

Demolitions Continue in Sion Koliwada and Ambujwadi and so does Resistance

Mumbai, May 29 : In a brazen violation of the traditional rights of
the fisherfolks in Sion Koliwada Mumbai police and BMC has started
demolishing homes of the people since morning today. Amid heavy police
presence they started demolishing the homes occupied by the Koli
community. There has been court cases going against the redevelopment
plan which is fraught with corruption and irregularities. False
consent has been shown by the community, signatures have been forged
of the people, who are not even alive and other such irregularities
abound in the project. Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan have been
opposing the plans for evictions and demolitions. The development
project is being implement by builder Sudhakar Reddy, who is a
prominent devotee of Baba Ramdev and are accused of colluding in the
illegality along with BMC.

In morning when the demolition squads arrived accompanied by a large
police force then residents came out in huge numbers led by Medha
Patkar and stood in front of the JCBs and Bulldozers. Police beat up
and harassed those resisting demolitions. Male police was involved in
beating and molesting women protesters too. As we write this the
demolitions continue and so does the resistance from people.
Meanwhile, Medha Patkar and seven others have been arrested by the
Mumbai police on charges of obstructing public officials.

At this time demolitions are also being fiercely resisted by people in
Ambujwadi, Malad where many homes of were demolished earlier as well.

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – NAPM have been leading the struggle
for a long time now in Mumbai and more specifically in these areas. We
are hopeful that the people’s struggle will resist fiercely the land
grab by the builders in connivance with the state machinery. We will
expose the irregularities as we have done in the case of Adarsh
Housing Society, Hiranandani Gardens, Golibar SRA by Shivalik Builders
and others.

We condemn the arrests of the activists of the GBGB-NAPM and assault
on the people by the police force who have been resisting peacefully
the demolitions and striving to save their habitat and home.

Background :

Koliwada, indigenous fisherfolk Community have been living in the area
from a long time on this patch of the land. In 1939 Britishers
constructed NSP sheds for their own security purposes and they were
asked to move to this. These NSP Sheds then were taken over by the
Municipal Corporation after Independence. Even though these fisher
people have lived on the land for more than a century they have been
denied their “right to land”, due to the policies of the Britishers as
well as BMC. BMC now in the name of development is evicting them and
giving away the prime property to the Builders.

For details and update call : Madhuri Shivkar             09892143242       / Madhuri
Variyath             09820619174

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