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May 1, dusted and done

Early morning walkers and joggers at the nursery of Indian cricket, Shivaji Park, were not greeted with the familiar sight of cricket in the numerous nets on the ground. Instead, the ground was taken over by the May Day parade, yesterday. So, we have speeches and we have speeches. The cynical may sigh at politician’s promises and call them platitudes. Others may turn a deaf ear to the blah blah. Yet, The Maharashtra Day Speech delivered by Governor K Sankaranarayanan to mark the occasion touched upon some city-specific issues.


The heat is on: The Mumbai sun sears through at Shivaji Park as the Governor takes some combat-the-mercury measures Pics/Sandeep Mahankal

Governor Sankaranarayanan said, “Let us all pay our solemn tributes to the martyrs who dreamt of creating Samyukta Maharashtra and worked towards its fulfillment.” Besides celebrating International Labour Day, the Governor also said, “We are celebrating the Birth Centenary of the first Chief Minister and the Architect of Modern Maharashtra the late Shri Yashwantraoji Chavan.” Even while talking about water scarcity and steps being taken to alleviate the problems, what the Governor said about housing will be of special interest to Mumbaikars, considering that the big ‘H’ is a hot topic in the city.


Biker boys: Two wheelers in formation as they whizz past at the 52nd Maharashtra Day celebrations at Shivaji Park 

“To protect the interests of the flat purchasers, the Government has introduced a new comprehensive law titled as Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development), Act 2012. The proposed Act provides for establishing a Housing Regulatory Authority and the Housing Appellate Tribunal. This will remove information asymmetry by ensuring full disclosure by promoters or developers and also ensure compliance of agreed terms and conditions, between developer and buyers. This will usher in transparency and discipline in the transactions of flats and put a check on abuses and malpractices.”


Marchers on the move: The Shivaji Park resounds to the click of heels as the parade passes  

On the contentious mill worker issue the Governor said that, “My Government has decided to provide houses to mill workers at reduced and affordable rates. In all, 6,948 houses are constructed by MHADA for the mill workers. The cost of each tenement in multistoried buildings has been reduced from the earlier price of Rs 8.34 lakh to Rs 7.50 lakh. These houses will be allotted through the computerized lottery system of MHADA.

The Government has also decided to give free houses to the next kin of the mill workers who lost their lives in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.” The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, roughly translated as United Maharashtra Committee, was an organization that spearheaded the demand in the 1950s for the creation of a separate Marathi-speaking state out of the (then bilingual) State of Bombay in western India, with the city of Bombay (now known as Mumbai) as its capital.

In this age of email, a letter is still better. At least, that is the credo of the postal department. The Governor also inaugurated a philatelic exhibition titled ‘Maharashtra Through Postage Stamps’ held by the Maharashtra Postal Circle on the occasion of Maharashtra Day at General Post Office (GPO) complex in South Mumbai. The Governor released a Special Cover on Maharashtra and a calendar on heritage buildings of Mumbai through postage stamps on what was a very busy day for him. This philatelics need to head there as the exhibition will remain open for the public till May 7, 2012.  

International eye: Some May Day images from around the world


Canine sign: Lyon, Rhône, France: A woman takes part in a march with her dog as part of the annual May Day workers' events on May 1, 2012 in Lyon, Central Eastern France. Both candidates for the French presidential election final round on May 6, 2012, Socialist Francois Hollande and France’s incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, still campaign that day and have a number of major rallies planned for the final week of campaigning. The messages on her board refer to Sarkozy's “affairs” as presented by the demonstrator, on the dog's board, the slogan refers to 'Casse-toi pauvre con' (Get lost you, stupid bas….rd) as Sarkozy replied to a man who refused to shake hands with him during the 2008 Paris agricultural fair. Pics/AFP


Greece grouse: Athens, Greece: Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in central Athens to mark the May Day celebrations on May 1, 2012


Red signal: Moscow, Russian Federation: Russian communist party supporters hold red flags and posters as they walk past the Kremlin during the May Labour Day rally of the Russian Communist Party in Moscow on May 1, 2012.


Salary soup: Taipei, Taiwan : A foreign student displays a placard during a May Day rally in Taipei on May 1, 2012. Local and foreign labourers took part in the event, to demand the government helps to raise their salary and enhance their working environment safety

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