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Mumbai: Parts of western suburbs to grapple with low water pressure today

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that certain regions within the H East, H West and K West divisions in the city will experience low water pressure on Friday, December 1, morning. The issue arose from a primary water line near Seepz Gate no 3 after the main pipeline was damaged on Thursday, November 30.  According to the BMC, a leakage was identified in the main pipeline near Seepz gate no 3 and near the Indian Oil petrol pump and the civic agency has undertaken its repair work which will affect the water supply pressure in the aforementioned areas.   According to information received by BMC, one of the Vyasa's inlets began leaking into the main pipeline near Seepz, causing a disruption in the water supply system. The municipal corporation's repair work is being completed on an urgent basis in order to repair the leak and restore normal water flow. Santacruz East in H East (including Vakola and Prabhat Colony), Santacruz West in H West, Khar West, Bandra West, and Andheri West in K West (including Char Bangla, Juhu Koliwada, and SV Road) are all affected. Recognising the inconvenience caused by low water pressure, the BMC has asked citizens to help by using water sparingly until the repair work is completed. Residents were urged by the municipal administration to be mindful of this temporary setback and to support ongoing efforts to resolve the water supply issue. BMC also announced the same on X (formerly Twitter) and wrote, "A main water pipeline, 1800 mm in diameter, has sprung a leak near the Seepz Entrance in Andheri East during drilling for the Mumbai Metro project. Repair work is underway urgently. Anticipate low water pressure in parts of H East, H West, and K West Wards tomorrow morning, 1st December 2023, due to ongoing water line repairs. Affected areas include Santacruz East (Vakola, Prabhat Colony, etc.) in H East; Santacruz West, Khar West, Bandra West in H West; and Andheri West (Four Bungalow, Juhu Koliwada, SV Road, etc.) in K West. We kindly urge residents to use water judiciously and cooperate with the BMC administration during this time." 🚧 A main water pipeline, 1800 mm in diameter, has sprung a leak near the Seepz Entrance in Andheri East during drilling for the Mumbai Metro project. Repair work is underway urgently.🔧💧 Anticipate low water pressure in parts of H East, H West, and K West Wards tomorrow… pic.twitter.com/lvSn1x7cJN — माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC (@mybmc) November 30, 2023

01 December,2023 10:22 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representative Image

Mumbai's air quality dips to 'moderate' after minor relief

A thick blanket of haze hovered over Mumbai on Friday affecting the visibility while the air quality dipped to 'moderate' again after a minor relief. The city's Air Quality Index (AQI) on Friday morning was at 112 around 9 am, according to the data collated SAMEER App. Several areas across the city, too, reported 'moderate' air quality with a handful of exceptions that still reported 'satisfactory' air quality. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Powai, Vile Parle, Borivali, Worli, Colaba, Chakala, Bhandup, Mulund, Bandra Kurla Complex, Kherwadi and Byculla reported 'satisfactory' air quality. Both Mulund and BKC recorded an AQI of 96 while Kherwadi was at 95. Bhandup and Powai's AQI stood at 90. Vile Parle recorded an AQI of 93 and Chakala's AQI stood at 91. The air quality in Thane also dipped on Friday. The city recorded an AQI of 148 putting its air quality in 'moderate' category. Meanwhile, Navi Mumbai recorded an AQI of 160. While Nerul node's air quality was 'satisfactory', Taloja, Mahape and Vashi recorded 'moderate' air quality. However, Kalamboli recorded 'poor' air quality with an AQI of 215. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', 401 and 450 'severe' and above 450 'severe-plus'. Meanwhile, the state government is still mulling over lasting solutions to the persistent air pollution issue after this year's post-monsoon spike. Mumbai Weather On Friday, as per the forecast by the India Meteorological Department, the city will see a partly cloudy sky. The maximum & minimum temperatures are very likely to be around 31 degrees Celcius and 20 degrees Celcius respectively, the weather department added. The weather department stated that by 8.30 on Friday, the Colaba observatory had recorded a minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celcius while the maximum temperature was 30.2. The Santacruz observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 19.7 and a maximum temperature hovered around 31.

01 December,2023 10:11 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
A police officer monitors motorists in south Mumbai on December 24, 2022. File Pic/Atul Kamble

Mumbai: Assaults on on-duty traffic policemen reports surge in 2023

This year has witnessed a disconcerting surge in assaults on on-duty traffic policemen. According to recent data, the number of such incidents has risen from 19 in 2022 to 29 by November 28, 2023, prompting growing concerns about the safety of those tasked with managing traffic on our streets. Law enforcement officials play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of pedestrians and motorists. However, the escalating trend is alarming, reflecting a concerning disregard for authority and public safety. Authorities are grappling with the question of what might be fueling this surge in violence. Possible contributing factors include increased stress levels, frustration among the public or a broader erosion of respect for authority figures. Traffic officials speak Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Pravinkumar Padwal said, “Such offenders are booked under section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and are sentenced to two years of imprisonment.” Another senior official from the traffic division said, “The number of incidents recorded this year is 29 but can even be higher as many minor incidents of verbal abuse, also considered violence, may go unreported.” Constable Vilas Shinde died after being assaulted at Khar in 2016 A traffic constable stationed in Borivli said, “Every traffic cop faces the risk of being assaulted. We need to be cautious and vigilant. Many realise their mistakes and pay the fine for their offence but there are people who often verbally abuse us for stopping them. Some even threaten us by boasting about their connections with powerful people or politicians. What they don’t understand is that the rules are made for their safety as well as that of others on the roads.” Another traffic constable stationed in Bandra said it has become difficult for his peers to perform their duty when such things happen. “After all, even we are human beings. We are not there to create problems for the already frustrated populace. The issue is that people violate the traffic rules and when we stop them for doing so, they think that we are doing it on purpose,” he said. Level of injuries inflicted The level of offences in such cases ranges from verbal abuse to physical attacks on traffic policemen attempting to enforce traffic regulations. Some injuries are even fatal in such offences. Such incidents not only jeopardise the safety of the officers but also undermine the overall effectiveness of traffic management efforts. One such incident happened in 2016 at Khar where A 24-year-old man along with his teenage brother assaulted on-duty traffic constable Vilas Shinde after the traffic policeman stopped the teenager for riding without a helmet and driving licence. The accused, who was convicted, battered Constable Shinde with a bamboo stick and repeatedly kicked him in the stomach even after the latter collapsed on the spot. Shinde had suffered a severe fracture to his skull and died three days later while being treated at a hospital. Safety measures incorporated by the traffic division include a body-worn camera in order to record such incidents and help debunk false accusations. Experts speak Senior advocate Kishor Joshi said, “Most incidents where an on-duty traffic constable is assaulted involve those in the age group of 18 to 30. The problem is their upbringing as the generation seems to have not been disciplined at home. The younger generation usually feels offended when a traffic constable stops them for many reasons, a major one of which is not wearing a helmet. This issue is very much more serious than it seems to be. The police force is already understaffed and with such assaults, the number of policemen serving on the ground keeps reducing, increasing the load on the already overburdened department.” Asked about what safety measures should be taken in order to reduce such assaults, Joshi said, “What I suggest is that each on-duty traffic constable should be issued with a baton for self-defence purposes. Also, reflective waistcoats should be issued day and night so that the traffic official is spotted at least half a kilometre away. This will reduce the number of traffic rule violations by 50-60 per cent.” Human rights activist Priti Patkar provided insights into the causes of the rise in aggression among the general public saying, “Anger is a natural emotion. Not just now but even years back, it has been a cause of many offences. Usually in the cases of youngsters, it keeps piling up as they have no one to share what they feel either because of the generation gap between their parents or the fear of being mocked by their peers. A simple traffic stop can make the person feel humiliated leading to the outburst of this piled-up emotion. Another factor is the fear of what they are going to tell their parents or how are they going to arrange the fine amount which can lead to youngsters taking such steps in a panic situation.” As the year draws to a close, local authorities are closely monitoring the situation and working towards implementing measures to address this disturbing trend. It is suspected that the number of offences will increase till the year-end. 29No of traffic cops assaulted in ’23

01 December,2023 08:15 AM IST | Mumbai | Prasun Choudhari
Restoration work going on at WR headquarters

Mumbai: Westen Railway celebrates 125 years with restoration of its HQ

As the iconic Churchgate headquarters building completes 125 years in January 2024, the Western Railway has begun an intensive restoration process worth R7 crore and also lined up month-long celebrations. The work on the original building commenced in May 1894 and was completed in January 1899 and was designed by the legendary 19th century architect F W Stevens. The offices of the Bombay, Baroda & Central India (BB&CI) Railway, now called Western Railway, complete 125 years and have a fascinating story. “Initially after incorporation of BB&CI Railway, Surat was made its headquarters. In 1863, the headquarters were shifted to Bombay and located at Lalbaug, Parel. An increased workforce necessitated a larger office and BB&CI HQ was shifted first to Dhanji Street, Grant Road and later to Meadows Street in Fort. Before finally constructing its own headquarters building in 1899, the BB&CI HQ moved to a building in the Fort area now called Brady House,” a senior official said. “We have taken up comprehensive restoration of the heritage building to take it back to the glorious era. The works lined up include dome cleaning of the west facade, window-door restoration, cleaning of the main dome, the replacement of rafters in the passage, polishing of wood work and doors and setting up thematic lighting,” a senior official said. “Besides this, we are also upgrading the existing heritage gallery on the ground floor, setting up a new one on the third floor and creating a path for a heritage walk inside the building,” he added. Restoration work >> Dome cleaning of the west facade>> Window-door restoration>> Cleaning of the main dome>> Replacement of rafters in the passage>> Polishing of all woodwork>> Setting up thematic lighting

01 December,2023 08:09 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
Dr Pushpak Bhattacharya, IIT-B

IIT-Bombay teams up with Meta, NLSIU for AI-based project

The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) and the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, have teamed up with Meta to explore the digital transformation of India’s consumer grievance redressal system through Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI). Dr Pushpak Bhattacharya of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, who is leading the project for IIT-B, said the technology will ease the working of consumer courts. Meta is an industry leader in GenAI research and is partnering to build a robust AI ecosystem in India. This initiative aims to evaluate the applicability of large language models (LLMs) in developing public solutions to enhance efficiency. According to Meta, the project is integral to its commitment to cultivating a responsible ecosystem for AI innovation and addressing challenges in the real world. To be executed in partnership with IIT-B, the project is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) as a knowledgeable partner. “Our collective efforts seek to leverage cutting-edge technology and expertise to optimise India’s consumer grievance redressal processes, contributing to a more streamlined and effective system,” said Bhattacharya, a well-known natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) expert. Meta said in a statement, “The research initiative will explore the feasibility of leveraging Llama2 in creating and evaluating a proof of concept of a citizen-centric chatbot and a decision-assist tool in the area of consumer law.” ‘The first in India’ Dr Bhattacharya told mid-day, “This project will answer questions regarding consumer grievances and data extraction and make operations more efficient. While conventional AI agents have been in existence for a long time globally, this project is the first of its kind in India.” He added, “We are expected to submit an intermediate proof of concept in the next six months, and the final project is to be completed in a year’s time. It is a challenging task made interesting by the kind of collaboration we have.  Leveraging our extensive and profound expertise in NLP, ML, and LLMs, we are enthusiastic about collaborating with Meta, NLSIU, and DoCA to address the highly impactful challenge of question-answering and search within the consumer law domain.” NLSIU and IIT-B will release a white paper explaining their risk mitigation approaches and how responsible design principles have been deployed at every layer of the stack. 

01 December,2023 08:06 AM IST | Mumbai | Dipti Singh
The victim Pintya Sawar, his wife Sangeeta and children. Pic/Hanif Patel

Kalyan-based brick kiln owner, aide held for kidnapping bonded worker

A Kalyan-based brick kiln owner and his accomplice have been arrested for kidnapping and assaulting a 28-year-old bonded labourer. The case was registered at the Wada police station in Palghar district on Wednesday night and the duo, Sachin Patil and Manohar Bhagwan Hilim, were subsequently placed under arrest. This is the third FIR registered under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act in the district in November. The incident took place in the middle of the night of November 27 when the victim Pintya Sawar and his wife Sangeeta, 22, were sleeping inside their hut in Wada taluka’s Jambhulpada village. Patil and his a few accomplices allegedly entered their shanty, abducted Pintya, bundled him into their car and drove to Kalyan in Thane district. Wife’s prompt actions Sangeeta contacted her relatives in Bhiwandi where she came in contact with a few social activists who helped her register an FIR at Wada police station. In her statement to the police, Sangeeta said, “We would work at a brick kiln owned by Sachin Patil, who would give us a weekly wage to run our household. After the brick-making season was over, we calculated the amount remunerated and my husband revealed that he had taken an advance of Rs 9,000 in 2019.” The accused (centre) Sachin Patil, a Kalyan-based brick kiln owner, and (right) his accomplice Manohar Bhagwan Hilim. Pics/Hanif Patel “During Dussehra, Patil and others had come to our house and forcibly took Pintya in their car to work for him. Before Diwali, my husband wanted to come back home, but Patil was not sending him back. So, my husband somehow ran away from Kalyan and reunited with us to celebrate the festival of lights,” the statement read. The Sawar family went to Bhiwandi in search of work after Diwali. “We had spent eight days there and then came back to Jambhulpada on November 27 to get rations,” Sangeeta said in her statement. ‘They forced open main door’ “After having dinner on November 27, we were sleeping when Patil and his accomplices forced open the main door and entered my house. After grabbing Pintya, the brick kiln owner told him, ‘You have taken advance from me, how can you not come to work’ and then took him away in his car,” added Sangeeta. The social activist told mid-day that after Diwali was over, Patil and his accomplices would visit Jambhulpada in search of Pintya. “But would always return emptyhanded as the Sawar family had already left for Bhiwandi,” said social activist Bharat Patil, who helped Sangeeta approach the police. Pintya Sawar, who was abducted by the trio on November 27; (right) Sangeeta Sawar, the victim’s wife, who approached the Wada police “After we approached the Wada police, the on-duty officer immediately called Patil and asked if he had abducted Pintya. The brick kiln owner then owned up and the officer asked him to return the labourer to the village and report to the Wada police station immediately,” he said. “On Wednesday night, Patil brought Pintya back and reached Wada police station,” he added. Cop Speak Balasaheb Patil, superintendent of police, Palghar, said, “We have registered an FIR under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and arrested two accused in this case. Investigations are underway.” Asked what the accused had to say during their interrogation, Patil said, “Mostly, they confessed sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) of Jawhar division, Shailesh Kale said, “Pintya was given advance of Rs 9,000 by Patil. The latter’s brick kiln was shut during the pandemic and Patil needed workers. Hence, he forced Pintya to work at the kiln. Though he worked there for a few days after Dussehra, he returned home before Diwali. When the victim did not report to work after the festival, Patil reached his village and the offence took place.” “Three people committed the offence. Patil and Hilim were produced before a court that remanded them in two-day police custody. The hunt is on to trace the third accused,” he added. Past instances mid-day has been highlighting the pathetic conditions of tribals in Maharashtra. On November 5, 19-year-old Sainath Tumbda registered a case at Manor police station after he was held captive for 53 hours in Karmala taluka in Solapur where he was allegedly subjected to physical assault and torture while being forced to work in a sugarcane field to harvest the cash crop in lieu of his Rs 5,000 advance. Later that month, a case was registered at Wada police station in connection with the caning of a labourer who had gone to work in the field of a landlord’s rival to earn some money for Diwali. In July, a 28-year-old tribal woman bonded labourer, a native of Raigad district, was allegedly gang-raped by her employers in Satara district where she had gone to work in a charcoal manufacturing plant along with her children and husband. The accused had tied the hands and legs of her husband while allegedly committing the offence. Nov 27Day the abduction occurred

01 December,2023 08:00 AM IST | Mumbai | Diwakar Sharma
An official from the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society estimated city’s actual HIV-positive individuals to be 65,000. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Mumbai HIV+ numbers stagnate; experts say it’s misleading

Mumbai has 39,922 people living with HIV-AIDS (PLHIV), most of whom rely on Mumbai’s 20-odd Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centres to manage the disease. However, the number of PLHIV has been more or less stagnant for the last few years, prompting experts to call for caution while interpreting this data. Experts say even by conservative estimates, at least 25,000 individuals are missing out on the treatment. The Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) runs 50 standalone Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) in the city, along with frequent outreach testing programmes at the community level. However, a combination of data from these centres and private facilities shows a stagnation in the testing rate. “The more you test, the more accurate the picture,” said HIV-TB survivor and health activist Ganesh Acharya, who has been working with health officials, NGOs, and other patients for almost two decades to secure better treatment and care for PLHIV. People who test positive for HIV are referred to the nearest of the 20 ARTs for free-of-cost treatment in the city. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi In 2019-20, 4,75,540 people were tested in the city, and 4,473 were diagnosed with HIV. Testing was reduced as the pandemic hit. “A lot of our manpower was diverted to controlling COVID-19 then,” said MDACS assistant project director, Dr Vijay Karanjikar. Testing numbers dropped by half to 2,36,392 in 2020-21, with 1,927 new HIV patients brought under the ambit of free-of-cost medicines. These HIV medicines would otherwise cost at least R5,000 every month. In 2022-23, 4,55,779 people were tested and 3,116 connected to ART centres. In 2023-24, till October, 2,64,277 people have been tested so far and 1,803 positive patients have been connected to ART centres. In 2023-24, among those who were newly diagnosed, 75 per cent were in the group of 15-49 years while 31 per cent were women. Transmission potential While testing figures have again risen to about 4.5 lakh (in 2022-23), Acharya noted that it is not enough for a highly populated city like Mumbai, and estimated that there are at least 80,000 individuals with AIDS in the city. “Diagnosing more individuals will make sure HIV patients are put on life-saving treatment at the earliest and transmission is controlled,” he said. In 2022-23, viral load testing was conducted among 35,106 PLHIVs receiving treatment. Out of these, 34,094 patients (97.1 per cent) were found to be virally suppressed, reducing the likelihood of transmitting the disease to others. The discrepancy in data and the ground reality were acknowledged by MDACS’s Dr Karanjikar, too. He suggested the city has a total of 65,000 PLHIV. “We are not denying undiagnosed cases. All we are saying is that these are the number of people that we have been able to diagnose. Besides, private practitioners and doctors will also cover a large number of people, and not all provide us with prompt data,” he said. Acharya also noted that the achievements of MDACS cannot be discounted despite its limitations. “MDACS has managed to make it a democratic space with an inclusive approach by consultation and outreach from within the HIV community,” he said. “Politically and financially, it needs to be stronger.” Issues to address Health officials acknowledged certain challenges that need further work. For instance, not all who were diagnosed at ICTCs are covered by ART centres. Since 2019, less than 95 per cent have been linked to ART centres. “It is a loss in the follow-up rate which cannot be more than five per cent,” Acharya said. This was also noted by MDACS. “To end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, there needs to be a 95-95-95 treatment goal by 2025, which means 95 per cent of people living with HIV must know their HIV status, 95 per cent of people who know their status should be receiving treatment, and 95 per cent of people on HIV treatment need to have a suppressed viral load,” its statement ahead of World AIDS Day reads. On the other hand, excluding Mumbai, Maharashtra has a total of 2,26,025 PLHIV having ART as regular treatment; 18,321 (8.1 per cent) have dropped out of the treatment and are untraceable.  ‘Consider city’s context’ Dr Srikala Acharya, former MDACS project director and part of KEM Hospital’s community health department, said the city’s numbers need to be looked at in a context. “Mumbai has been able to control loss-to-follow with our health workers visiting patients’ houses to ensure they are linked to ART centres continuously. Earlier, the gap was wider as only 85 per cent of those diagnosed would make it to treatment centres,” she said. There are multiple reasons behind positive patients’ linkage to treatment centres being less than five per cent. “Often, deaths occur even before patients are linked to treatment centres due to other infections like TB,” Dr Srikala said, adding that the other is migration. At the time of Census 2011, the Urban Agglomeration of Mumbai—which includes city, suburbs, and Thane—had a population of 2.35 crore, of which 1.01 crore (43.02 per cent) were migrants. It is human nature that in the face of calamity, one runs home out of fear, she said. “It is a life-changing diagnosis, and sometimes people are often untraceable once their result is HIV positive,” Dr Srikala noted. While the AIDS control programme successfully brings high-risk individuals—transgenders, males who have sex with males, injecting drug users, and sex workers— under its ambit, it is still falling behind in bringing young adults and adolescents into its fold. The old strategies of HIV control are proving ineffective in the new generation even as MDACS routinely holds outreach programmes in schools and colleges. Despite multiple requests, MDACS could not provide data on AIDS mortality.

01 December,2023 07:51 AM IST | Mumbai | Eshan Kalyanikar
The illegally parked vehicles that were confiscated by the forest authorities

Mumbai: Forest officials crack down on illegal parking at Aarey

In a recent initiative aimed at addressing the persistent problem of unauthorised parking at Aarey Milk Colony, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) authorities have initiated a stringent campaign to book offenders. During a targeted operation conducted this Tuesday, six vehicles that were allegedly illegally parked on forest land in the colony were confiscated. Additionally, strict directives have been issued to take decisive action against individuals trespassing on the protected forest area. Dr V Clement Ben, additional principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF), Western Wildlife Region Mumbai; SGNP Director and Conservator of Forest G Mallikarjun; Deputy Director of SGNP (South) Dr Revati Kulkarni Patil; Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Sudhir Sonawale; and Range Forest Officer (RFO) Narendra Muthe visited Aarey Milk Colony on Tuesday and night patrolling was conducted. RFO Muthe said, “On Tuesday, we conducted night patrolling in Aarey Milk Colony with senior officials, which was when we found some illegally parked vehicles on land belonging to the forest department opposite to Modern Bakery. We have registered offences against the owners of these vehicles and they have been taken in our custody.” The forest department has also appealed to locals to refrain from indulging in Illegal encroachment, trespassing or littering on forest land or else strict action would be taken against them. Dr Jalpesh Mehta, chairperson, Empower Foundation, said, “Aarey forest is a biodiversity hotspot of Mumbai and home to wildlife, including leopards. Besides nature enthusiasts, it also attracts trespassers who create a nuisance by drinking alcohol and playing loud music in the forest area. They leave behind garbage and broken glass bottles, which harms animals. The forest department taking action against such elements is a welcome move and a sustainable way of monitoring and managing this will help keep Aarey and its wildlife safe.”

01 December,2023 07:39 AM IST | Mumbai | Ranjeet Jadhav
Representation Pic

Mumbai: BMC fines 77 for open burning of waste in H-West

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation fined 77 people for open burning of waste. Most of the cases are from H West ward, which covers Bandra and Khar West. Civi chief I S Chahal has ordered BMC officials to strictly ban open burning in the city as it is a major contributor to pollution levels, mainly during the winter. Ever since Chahal put out the dust mitigation guidelines, on October 27, BMC fined 77 people for waste burning in the open. BMC received 84 complaints about open burning.  According to civic data, most complaints were received from the H West ward. “BMC took action on every complaint and collected Rs 100 in fine from each offender,” said the official. Ten complaints from G North ward which covers Dadar, Mahim and Dharavi, too, were received and BMC resolved 10 complaints. While in  E ward which covers Byculla and Mazgaon, there were 9 complaints about open burning, BMC collects fine in 7 cases,’ the official added. Meanwhile, till October 29, 2023, BMC issued a stop work notice to 774 construction sites. On Wednesday BMC issued 11 stop-work notices. Meanwhile, to date, BMC has filed an FIR against two constructions while, sealing six constructions, which did not follow dust mitigation rules and even after the stop work notice construction has not stopped. All these sites are located in the K East ward. On November 25, 2023, mid-day reported that most violators of dust mitigation guidelines are in K East ward. As per civic data, there are around 6,000 construction sites which include private construction, metro, coastal road and infrastructure projects.

01 December,2023 07:36 AM IST | Mumbai | A Correspondent
GM of BEST undertaking Vijay Singhal with civic chief I S Chahal, on Tuesday

Mumbai: BEST seeks Rs 3,000 crore BMC aid for new buses

While presenting its budget estimates for the financial year 2024-25, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) has sought Rs 3,000 crore aid from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). As BEST is an undertaking of the BMC, budget estimates are presented to the BMC for final approval and for seeking funds. BEST general manager Vijay Singhal submitted the budget for 2024-25 to the municipal commissioner I S Chahal on Tuesday. A BEST official said there is no provision for a fare hike in the budget. BEST has presented a budget of Rs 6,872.76 crore with a deficit of Rs 2,513.94 crore. In last year’s budget, BEST had estimated a deficit of Rs 1,601.80 crore which was later offset with the R800 crore aid from BMC. Meanwhile, a BEST official said, “We have sought Rs 3,000 crore from BMC as financial aid. This money is mainly used to procure new buses. BEST has a plan to add 2,237 new buses to its fleet.” In March 2023, BEST had scrapped 1,696 old buses and by March 2024 BEST will have to scrap 541 buses. BEST has 2,978 buses of which 1,684 have been procured on rent basis while the remaining is owned by the undertaking. As per the memorandum of understanding between the BEST and its employee’s union, the undertaking needs to maintain 3,300 buses in its fleet. As the present condition doesn’t meet this stipulation, BEST GM Singhal wrote a letter to municipal commissioner Chahal seeking Rs 3,419 crore to purchase 2,237 buses in a “phased manner.” In 2019, BEST reduced the ticket fare, as per which, the ticket fare for non-AC buses is in the range of Rs 5 to Rs 20 and for AC buses the fare is in the range of Rs6 to Rs 25. Previously the minimum ticket for a non-AC bus was R8 and the minimum ticket for an AC bus was Rs 20. Rs 1,601.80 crEstimated deficit in BEST’s budget

01 December,2023 07:34 AM IST | Mumbai | Sameer Surve
Pedestrians will be able to cross the station without entering the platform

Mumbai: FOB to ease crowding at Kanjurmarg; to be ready in a month

A crucial connector between two foot-over-bridges of Kanjurmarg station, expected to be ready in a month, holds the promise to ease pedestrian connectivity between the northern and southern sides. The connector is expected to absorb commuters coming from Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) and LBS Road to eastern Kanjurmarg and beyond. With the Powai-Kanjurmarg-MIDC axis steadily growing as a residential and commercial hub, the connector could prove to be a crowd-buster. The connector links the skywalk on Kanjurmarg’s southern end and its railway foot-over-bridge (FOB) to the FOB on the northern end and the station’s entry-exit point on the eastern side. The connector will enable commuters and pedestrians coming from JVLR and LBS Road to directly walk to the other end of the station without having to enter the platform. The Powai-Kanjurmarg-MIDC axis has been witnessing steady growth over the past few years with growing office spaces and residential complexes. Daily average passengers at the small but strategic Kanjurmarg station have already reached 1,00,558. Kanjurmarg is the next intermodal hub of multiple metro lines, suburban railway and key bus stops, besides being a junction on the Eastern Express Highway, LBS Road and the JVLR via Powai. Three Metro lines will be converging around Karnjurmarg station in the next few years. The Pink Line 6 will be the key connector as it passes through the entire Kanjurmarg-Powai-Lokhandwala area, the Green Line 4 between Wadala and Thane intersects Line 6 at Kanjurmarg; and the underground Aqua Line 3 also intersects Line 6 near SEEPZ. The connector at the station was proposed a few years ago to link all bridges to reduce non-travellers on the platform. 1 lakhAverage no of daily passengers at Kanjur

01 December,2023 07:27 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
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