Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Towards a green city
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had this year launched the ‘Eco City Cell’ for encouraging green construction across the city.

Now with that concept in mind the civic body in collaboration with Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has invited city-based building professionals, architects, engineers, developers, and policy-makers to hold a discussion on the knowledge of green buildings and sustainable practices.

The three-day programme, which began yesterday, includes discussions on site planning, building design, waste water management, artificial lighting, renewable energy utilisation, construction materials and other techniques.

Mohan Dagoankar, Chief City Engineer at NMMC, said, “The intention is to make developers and policy-makers aware about the importance of green building and the techniques through which they can develop eco-friendly structures in the city.”

Bhajji bats for anti-human trafficking
It's tough to keep a cool head if there’s chaos all around. But Mumbai Indians’ off-spinner Harbajan Singh sure knows how to do so. Yesterday, as the team prepared to leave the hotel for their IPL-8 Qualifier-1 against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede, there was a decent fan turn-out outside the team hotel.

Mumbai indians’ off-spinner Harbhajan Singh with Anson Thomas and the anti-human trafficking sign at a city hotel on Tuesday
Mumbai Indians’ off-spinner Harbhajan Singh with Anson Thomas and the anti-human trafficking sign at a city hotel on Tuesday

However, Bhajji still managed to spot anti-human trafficking campaigner Anson Thomas in the crowd. Thomas (43), a former Customs officer and hockey goalkeeper, quit his job five years ago to dedicate his life to fighting human trafficking at all levels.

He began Sports Mission, an initiative through which he uses sports and sportspersons to promote the fight against human trafficking and child slavery. Harbhajan along with former India spinner Murali Karthik accompanied Thomas to Kamathipura in 2007 to learn about the ills of human trafficking.

On Tuesday, he immediately went up to Thomas and agreed to hold up his banner propagating the message: Stop Human Trafficking. “I have previously associated Indian and international sports stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Waugh, Joel Garner, Ian Bishop, etc with my projects. There is no money involved.

It is purely a social initiative and they’ve all been gracious enough to help by simply sending out a message. Harbhajan too is a kind soul,” said Thomas.

MPs, the last resort for the desperate?
He went literally from pillar to post - the pillars at Ghatkopar station, that is - in an attempt to seek help for his daughter who is suffering from a rare deformity in her leg.

Hussain with his daughter at Ghatkopar station. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Hussain with his daughter at Ghatkopar station. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Hussain Ali, originally from West Bengal, has been living in Mumbai at Asalpha and working as a tailor for the past eight years. His daughter, Hussaina Yasmin, is afflicted with a n unusual condition known as Leg Length Deformity, and the father and daughter were on their way to Wadia Hospital for a pre-surgery test on Tuesday, when Ali heard that some politicians had arrived at Ghatkopar station.

He jumped at the chance to seek the help that he needs. “I was on my way to Parel when I heard that a few politicians were at Ghatkopar station. In my desperate need to get help for my daughter I decided to approach them,” said Ali.

Hussaina Yasmin’s right leg is one and a half inches longer than the other one with excess mass collection around the lower part of the limb. “Doctors say she will need a few operations to rectify this defect. The first of all her operations is going to be conducted on June 4 at Wadia Hospital,” said Ali, who added that the surgeries were going to be carried out in parts over a period of time.

The total cost of the surgeries along with the medication is estimated at Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000. “As of now I don’t know for how long my daughter’s ailment will last, so the exact cost of the total treatment is still unknown. But the estimated amount that the doctors have told me, could be anything up to Rs 60,000. I don’t earn that much and so I have to ask for help,” said Ali.

On Tuesday morning, when MP Kirit Somaiya along with 15 other Members of Parliament visited Bhandup and Ghatkopar stations, Ali made the most of the opportunity and approached them with his daughter by his side as well as a photograph of his daughter’s condition. “Dinesh Trivedi was the first person I asked, but he just asked me to come to Delhi and meet him,” said a depressed Ali.

Ali then caught sight of Kirit Somaiya and asked him for help. “Somaiya gave me his card and told me I can come to his office at Mulund to meet him,” said Ali, who is running out of time as the dates of operation are nearing. Ali is determined to get help from all possible sources for his daughter. “I will do everything in my stride to save my daughter. I will meet anyone who is ready to help me with my doctors operation and expenses,” said Ali.

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