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Sejal and her daughter Viha/ Screengrab

Inspiring journey of fighter mother who overcame odds to raise her special child

Mummy, Maa, Aai, Ammi- these words evoke a certain warmth in one’s heart as reminiscence peaks when they utter them. From memories of crying while bidding adieu on the first day of school to fighting with her and convincing her to do away with anger- everyone has a plethora of such instances with their mother figures. This is precisely why celebrating these supermoms isn't limited to Mother’s Day, they are celebrated for life. One such superhero is Sejal. Sejal’s daughter Viha is a child with special needs. “Due to some issues in my pregnancy, I just got a premature baby, and they were a pair of twins, so one could not make it. And since I feel Viha is a fighter, she was in the NICU for 100 days. And after 100 days, when she was held with us, they told us to check all the parameters. And then we came to know that Viha has lost her vision because of retinal detachment due to excess oxygen.” she said. Parenting is a full-time 24x7 non paying job. But if the child is specially-abled, it becomes even harder. When asked about her journey with her daughter she said, “At the age of five or six years, I felt like taking her to the play school. So then I started going to the Helen Keller Institute and I went there for five years. When Viha was nine years old, they told me that now we needed to move out from this and go to a bigger school where they could help her with vocational training. In South Bombay, I tried one or two centres, but Viha was a challenging kid. Not only because of the vision issue, but she also had other milestones that needed to be achieved. We never found such a school in our area which could help Viha with her daily routine.” When she couldn't find an appropriate school for her specially challenged daughter, it motivated her to create one. That is how the Mariposa Foundation Centre for multiple disabled children was born. Gradually, Mariposa grew into not only a learning haven for Sejal's daughter Viha but also for other specially challenged kids. Mariposa not only helps her daughter but other children too with multiple disabilities and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Now, Mariposa is almost 14 years old, and we currently have 14 such challenging kids. So basically, we work on their functional skills like eating, dressing, fine motor, and gross motor. We have physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and these kids, you know, they lack sensory integration, where all our five senses work together, they have this coordination lacking in them. So we give a lot of sensory stimulation for them, and we do have other recreations like art and music. Whatever the kids like to do, we are ready to help them.” says Sejal. When asked to share her memories with her daughter Viha, she gleefully said, “One of my happiest memories with her is when she started saying her first word ‘Papa’. I felt that we were able to finally connect with her as she has partial vision, and we did not know what she was able to understand. But when she said "Papa", I was really happy. That was the best time of my life. Every day, I hope that she will come talk to me, hug me, speak to me, chat with me like a normal kid. It's just like you have hope each day, and it's what makes you go on.” Sejal also expressed her take on accepting differently-abled people. “I think a mother is a mother; she can handle everything. Accepting a specially challenged kid, for anyone, is tough. Like, you know, Viha is not one to look at you and greet you. From inside, we have a lot of challenges. But frankly speaking, I accepted it very soon. Because I had a positive thought that I just had to keep on doing things. But that hope, that one day she will walk, she will run, and she will see, that was the only thing at the beginning of my life. And now, literally, when I'm growing up, I have accepted who she is, I'm accepting it. But I want her to be happy and healthy for the rest of her life.” Sejal reflects on her personal growth and learnings in the process of raising Viha and starting Mariposa. She states, “I see a lot of learning at my centre. It feels like I am learning every day when looking at the kids coming, and when each different kid comes, I feel like doing a lot of research for different kids and trying to make all different programs to help them go ahead. For me, even my growing is there in this, my knowledge, and that keeps me passionate, like, you know, I'm learning through experience.” While this supermom has successfully overcome major adversities on her parenting journey with her positivity, there's also a fear, which seems to be hovering over her optimism. “As a mother especially for a challenging kid, the biggest fear is, what if the mother is no more? Who will take care of my child? It's a very common fear. But, again, that is what makes you weak, that fear and overthinking. So a change of thought process is a must. My faith in God helps me out here. Even if I think and worry, nothing is going to change. I would rather just live and make my life cherished with happy moments. So it's better to think positive and move forward. When life gets tough, you get tougher. As a mother, Sejal turned her love into inspiration and challenges into motivation to help not only the special kids at her home but also the ones who have no appropriate means to learn. They say love can move mountains. For Sejal, the love for her daughter showed her a purpose for life- moving mountains for specially-abled kids.

21 May,2024 01:27 PM IST | Mumbai | Tanishka Desai
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FIR against woman for creating nuisance at polling booth in Thane district

Police have registered an FIR against a 39-year-old woman for allegedly creating nuisance at a polling booth in Bhiwandi area of Maharashtra's Thane district, an official said on Tuesday, reported PTI. Polling of India General Elections 2024 was held on Monday in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies of Maharashtra, including Bhiwandi and Thane. The woman entered the polling booth set up at a zilla parishad school at Govegaon in Bhiwandi at around 8.15 am, the official from Kongaon police station said, reported PTI. She allegedly violated the instructions displayed outside the polling booth and created nuisance there. The woman, resident of Bhiwandi area, shouted loudly and posed hurdles in the work of the polling staff, he said, reported PTI. Based on a complaint by a poll staffer, an FIR was registered on Monday against the woman under Indian Penal Code sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), and provisions of the Representation of the People Act-1951, the official said, reported PTI. The FIR did not specify if the accused was a voter. The police have issued a notice to the woman who has not been arrested so far, the official said. Meanwhile, an average voter turnout of 54.33 per cent has been recorded in 13 Lok Sabha seats of Maharashtra during the fifth phase of India General Elections 2024, as per latest data available with the office of the state's Chief Electoral Officer. The final figures will be declared later, an official from the CEO's office said on Tuesday. During the voting held in the 13 seats on Monday, six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai recorded an average turnout of 52.27 per cent, compared to 55.38 per cent in the 2019 general elections. The ST-reserved Dindori constituency (in Nashik district) recorded the highest turnout at 62.66 per cent while Kalyan saw the lowest polling at 47.08 per cent. The BJP fielded Union minister Bharati Pawar in Dindori where she was pitted against Bhaskar Bhagare of the NCP (SP). Palghar, another tribal-dominated constituency, recorded the second highest turnout at 61.65 per cent. At many polling stations in various constituencies, people were standing in queues to cast vote even after the scheduled concluding time of 6 pm. (With inputs from PTI)

21 May,2024 01:22 PM IST | Thane | mid-day online correspondent
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Mumbai: 30 flamingos found dead in Ghatkopar

Around 30-35 flamingos have been found dead at different locations in Ghatkopar’s Laxmi Nagar area. According to the Pantnagar police, the incident took place at around 9 pm on May 20. “Around 30 flamingos were found dead in Laxmi Nagar area and Andheri Link Road. Prima facie we suspect that the group of flamingos might have collided with the airplane in the sky. We had called forest officials and they will conduct a postmortem on the flamingo’s. We are investigating the matter,” said a police officer.

21 May,2024 12:45 PM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
Uddhav Thackeray. File Pic

BJP files complaint with EC against Uddhav Thackeray's press conference

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday wrote to the Election Commission of India alleging that Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray violated the model code of conduct by holding a press conference here even as voting for the fifth phase of the India general elections 2024 was underway in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra, reported news agency PTI. Thackeray spoke to reporters about 5 pm, alleging that the polling process was facing delays at several places in Mumbai and the Election Commission was doing this deliberately at the behest of the Narendra Modi government. Voting was slow especially in the areas where the opposition was strong, he claimed. Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar stated in his letter to the ECI that Thackeray's press conference was in violation of the model code of conduct as voting was taking place all over Mumbai when he spoke, reported PTI. Thackeray made baseless allegations against PM Modi and tried to mislead the electorate into believing that the government or the ruling party was influencing the ECI, Shelar said, reported PTI. "Such statements are blatantly false, mischievous and defamatory in nature," he added, reported PTI. Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray alleged on Monday afternoon that voting was delayed at several places in Mumbai and the Election Commission of India was doing this deliberately at the behest of the Narendra Modi government. Delay was taking place at the polling booths in areas where his party expects more votes, he said at a press conference here while urging electors to stand in queues as long as early morning if the process was slow. "Dirty games are being played through the Election Commission. There is a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the Election Commission is acting in a partisan manner. There is a delay by EC's representatives in certain areas," Thackeray alleged. Officials were cross-checking names several times, and women and senior citizens were facing problems at polling booths, the former Maharashtra chief minister said. There was no drinking water at many places, he claimed. "The Modi government is using the EC as its handmaiden due to its fear of losing. This is a ploy of the Modi government to ensure that voting against it is minimized," Thackeray alleged. Mumbai recorded a turnout of 52.27 percent, lower than that in 2019, in the India general elections 2024 on Monday amid sultry weather and complaints of delays in the polling process. The constituency of Mumbai South, home to industrialists as well as high-ranking government officials, fared the worst with 47.7 percent voting. In 2019, the polling percentage across the six Lok Sabha constituencies in the city was 55.38 per cent. Mumbai North constituency witnessed 55.21 percent polling on Monday, Mumbai North Central 51.42 percent, Mumbai North East 53.75 percent, Mumbai North West 53.67 percent, Mumbai South 47.70 percent and Mumbai South Central 51.88 percent, as per the Election Commission's data. (With inputs from PTI)

21 May,2024 11:37 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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More than 1.13 lakh passengers avail of election-day discount on Metro fare

Maha Mumbai Metro Operation Corporation Limited (MMMOCL) on Monday said more than 1.13 lakh people availed of the special 10 percent discount on ticket fare it had announced for the election day. Polling for the fifth and final phase of India general elections 2024 in Maharashtra took place on Monday. A spokesperson of MMMOCL said a total of 1,13,414 passengers travelled on Metro line 2A and Metro line 7 till 5 pm. Six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai went to polls on Monday. MMMOCL operates Metro Lines 2A between Andheri West and Dahisar East and 7 between Dahisar East to Andheri East. The discount was aimed at boosting voter turnout, it said. Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded a turnout of 52.27 percent, lower than that in 2019, in the India general elections 2024 on Monday amid sultry weather and complaints of delays in the polling process. The constituency of Mumbai South, home to industrialists as well as high-ranking government officials, fared the worst with 47.7 percent voting. In 2019, the polling percentage across the six Lok Sabha constituencies in the city was 55.38 per cent. Mumbai North constituency witnessed 55.21 percent polling on Monday, Mumbai North Central 51.42 percent, Mumbai North East 53.75 percent, Mumbai North West 53.67 percent, Mumbai South 47.70 percent and Mumbai South Central 51.88 percent, as per the Election Commission's data. While at some places people who had turned up at polling booths early in the morning left without casting their vote after waiting in the line for a long time, Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the process was slowed down deliberately. Voters at many polling booths complained that they had to wait for more than an hour in the line to cast the vote. High levels of humidity and a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius added to the voters' discomfort. Union minister Piyush Goyal is pitted against Bhushan Patil of Congress in Mumbai North, Sanjay Dina Patil of Shiv sena (UBT) is in contest against Mihir Kotecha of the BJP in Mumbai North East, and Advocate Ujjwal Nikam of the BJP is pitted against Varsha Gaikwad of Congress in Mumbai North central. Amol Kirtikar of the Shiv Sena (UBT) is fighting against Ravindra Waikar of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai North West, Anil Desai of Shiv sena (UBT) is facing off against Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai South Central and Arvind Sawant of Sena (UBT) is pitted against Yamini Jadhav of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai South. (With inputs from Agencies)

21 May,2024 11:20 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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54.22 pc turnout in Maharashtra in 5th phase of LS polls

A voter turnout of 54.22 per cent was recorded in Maharashtra, where polling was held in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies, including half a dozen in Mumbai, in the fifth and final phase of India general elections 2024 in the state amid tight security on Monday, officials said, as actors, corporate leaders and prominent politicians came out to exercise their franchise. The state Chief Electoral Officer's (CEO) office revised voting figure at 10.45 pm and put the approximate turnout at 54.22 per cent as the India general elections 2024 passed off peacefully, reported PTI. Of the 13 constituencies spread across the Mumbai region and North Maharashtra, the highest turnout was in Dindori in Nashik district at 62.66 per cent, while the lowest was in Kalyan in Thane district, the political turf of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, at 47.08 per cent. Among the other seats, Palghar recorded 61.18 per cent polling, Bhiwandi 56.41 per cent, Dhule 56.61 per cent, Mumbai North 55.21 per cent, Mumbai North Central 51.42 per cent, Mumbai North East 53.75 per cent, Mumbai North West 53.67 per cent, Mumbai South 47.70 per cent, Mumbai South Central 51.88 per cent, Nashik 56.25 per cent and Thane 49.81 per cent, according to data provided by the CEO office. As per the data, Mumbai witnessed a turnout of 52.27 per cent with voters braving severe humidity and heat to cast their ballot. In 2019, the poll percentage in the metropolis was higher at 55.38. With this, voting for all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra has concluded. Bollywood actors, corporate leaders, cricketers and prominent politicians queued up along with common citizens to exercise their franchise. Chief Minister Shinde voted along with his family members at a booth in Thane. Shinde later told reporters that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is a stronghold of the Shiv Sena-BJP where the ruling alliance will win all the 10 seats - six in Mumbai, three in Thane district and the Palghar seat. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former CM Uddhav Thackeray and his wife Rashmi Thackeray exercised their franchise at a polling booth in Bandra area of Mumbai. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and his wife Sharmila Thackeray voted at a booth in Mumbai's Dadar area. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Milind Deora exercised his franchise at a polling booth in south Mumbai. Several prominent persons, including Union minister Piyush Goyal, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, industrialists Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, N Chandrasekaran, Anand Mahindra, Kumar Mangalam Birla, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, superstar Akshay Kumar, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, cricketers Ajinkya Rahane and Suryakumar Yadav, exercised their franchise in the metropolis. Former Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik, actors and film personalities Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Janhvi Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Anil Kapoor, Ashok Saraf and Prashant Damle also exercised their right to vote in Mumbai. Voters queued up at some polling booths before start of voting at 7 am with some saying they wanted to avoid the heat later in the day while some wanted to exercise their franchise before going for their work. Mumbai recorded a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius during the day. In adjoining Thane city, EVMs malfunctioned at a couple of booths in the morning, but the problem was rectified, district poll officials said. No serious offence or incident of violence was reported in Mumbai though a few complaints of Modern Code of Conduct (MCC) violation were received, a senior police official said, reported PTI. More than 30,000 police personnel and officers were deployed on election duty. As many as 36 units of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), three of the Riot Control Police and 6,200 Home Guards along with senior officers were engaged in poll duty, he said, reported PTI. Besides maintaining law and order, Mumbai police officials also helped people and senior citizens to cast their votes across the city, the official said, reported PTI. Non-cognizable offences were registered at Bhandup and Navghar Police Stations in Mumbai's eastern suburbs against two Shiv Sena (UBT) supporters for demonstrating dummy EVM s to voters, an official said. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray claimed there were a lot of complaints from electors about lack of facilities outside polling booths. "A lot of complaints from voters about the facilities outside the booths @ECISVEEP Atleast having the voter lines in shade/ fans could help. They don't want much, just basics to stay cool. Please look into it," the former state minister said in a post on X. Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray alleged in the afternoon that voting was delayed at several places in Mumbai and the Election Commission of India was doing this deliberately at the behest of the Modi government. "Dirty games are being played through the Election Commission. There is a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the Election Commission is acting in a partisan manner ," Thackeray alleged. There was no incident of crowding outside polling stations in Mumbai city district due to slow voting process, said Mumbai city collector Sanjay Yadav, reported PTI. In the morning, voters in large numbers assembled outside booths in Sewri, Sion Koliwada and one more place, but additional manpower was used to clear the rush and the polling process was conducted swiftly, the senior bureaucrat said, reported PTI. (With inputs from PTI)

21 May,2024 11:12 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Pic/AFP

Mid-Day Premium Increasing women's representation in Maharashtra's electoral battles

The electoral battlefield in Maharashtra was charged as the remaining 13 constituencies voted to elect their representatives in the fifth and final phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2024 in the state. The electoral battle this year was interesting owing to the vertical splits in two major parties in the state. It is worth noting that in the battle for 48 seats in Maharashtra during Lok Sabha Elections, only Baramati in Pune district witnessed a direct fight between two women candidates—NCP (SP)’s Supriya Sule and her cousin Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar. In recent years, Maharashtra’s political landscape has seen a change with women’s representation increasing at a steady pace. In Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the two prominent alliances—Maha Vikas Aghadi and Mahayuti—have, in total, nominated only 15 women candidates of which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated six women. Numbers in previous years From Maharashtra, in Lok Sabha Elections 2024, out of nearly 900 candidates contesting, only 58 were women and only 5 had managed to win the elections. The number did slightly go up in the following general elections. According to the data available, in 2019, a total of 867 candidates contested the elections of which 80 were women. Prominent political parties—then undivided—had nominated only 11 candidates of which eight had secured a win including Sule who was fighting for a third term. Interestingly, the eight candidates all came from affluent families in the political arena. Also Read: Sanjay Nirupam joins Eknath Shinde-led Sena: Analysing the impact on Mumbai's political landscape Women’s representation Even though the numbers have increased, an expert noted that women in politics are not autonomous. Speaking to mid-day.com, political analyst and the Head of Politics dept of Mumbai University, Dr Deepak Pawar said that although more women are being fielded, the reins are however in the hands of the men. “After the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Indian Constitution, the women leadership in Maharashtra developed. Due to the statutory provision, the women received 33 per cent reservation in politics,” said Pawar. He added that in the initial years, the women leaders often came from affluent political families and once they were elected to power, especially in local politics, the reins remained in the hands of the men. This is what led to the coining of the term ‘Sarpanch-Pati’ (husband of the sarpanch), said Pawar. Citing the narrative surrounding Baramati’s battle, Dr Deepak said, “Even when a three-time MP (Supriya Sule) was taking on the wife of Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister (Sunetra Pawar), the narrative was that it is a battle between Sharad Pawar and nephew Ajit. Even when Devendra Fadnavis tried to spin the narrative, he said that it was a battle between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. This shows that the space of women in politics is not autonomous.” Elaborating further on the increase of the women leaders, Dr Deepak said that after reservation for women was detailed, more women supported movements like the women’s liberation movement began entering politics. “With the increasing participation, the women understood that they must be on panels of the local governance institutions like gram panchayat, zilla parishad, etc. It is now evident that there are at least 10 per cent of women elected representatives—who, if trained properly, execute their duties well,” he said. “The amount of women leadership in Maharashtra politics does not go over 10-15 per cent and most belong to political families in the state. A similar pattern is visible in national politics,” said Dr Deepak. Samya Korde, a young leader from Dharavi, echoed similar thoughts about women’s participation. Korde, who is campaigning for MVA candidates in Mumbai, highlighted it is crucial to promote women leaders. Hailing MVA candidate Varsha Gaikwad’s candidacy, she remarked, “Varsha Gaikwad, who has served as a cabinet minister in Maharashtra, is not just a woman leader but also a face of Dalit community. It is important that leaders like her contest the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 which will further give opportunities for other women to participate.” Elaborating on intersectional identities and their impact on women politicians, Korde opined, “If an organisation has inclusive policies, women leaders from Dalit Bahujan Adivasi communities get electoral space and the community gets representation.” When asked about how she believes public perception impacts women’s leadership, she said, “When political parties promote women's leadership in some constituencies, it makes space for the women voters to air their grievances without hesitation.” Korde added that seeing figures like them being represented also has a positive impact on voter turnout and women’s participation in politics. Pendency of implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill “Since representation has an affirmative effect on women’s participation, the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill and its implementation was crucial. Had it been implemented earlier, it would have made way for more women in politics to contest the Lok Sabha Elections 2024, thereby leading to increased representation of women,” Korde said while speaking on women's representation and the Women’s Reservation Bill. With the changes on a policy level, more women, who are not affiliated with affluent political parties, will get a chance to participate in politics including electoral politics. Dr Pawar, while speaking on the same, said that Indian men politicians do not want to forfeit their seats. “Even if they had to forfeit (their seat), they wish that the women from their family should be elected from the constituency. The inference was deduced from the delay in implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill,” he said. The political analyst added that the leaders, seemingly, want to limit the presence of independent women leaders, and if it's unavoidable, they look to marginalise or peripheralise the women. “Even if the number of women representatives in electoral politics has gone up, it has not had a major impact until now,” he added. Should political parties foster women's leadership? When asked about the political parties’ role in fostering women's leadership in Maharashtra, Dr Pawar said that the conditions have compelled them to look at women as a different constituent. “In the last decade, the parties have observed that women do not necessarily vote for the candidates as per the instructions of the men in their family. Additionally, increasing financial independence among women and discussions in the public domain on women’s issues has bound the parties to pay attention to women,” he noted and added that in case the parties do not take notice of it, they risk losing a voter base. Electoral space given to women will increase when the Women’s Reservation Bill is enacted as a law, he added. He added that if women don’t step out of proxy politics, their representation will not be meaningful, comprehensive, or sustained. Korde, when asked how political parties can contribute towards the development of more women political leaders, voiced that the parties should not limit their contribution to women’s wings. “The Women politicians should be given leadership positions in other party constituents apart from the women’s wing. The youth are also politically involved and express their opinions through social media. Such young women should be trained to create future leaders,” Korde said.

21 May,2024 09:44 AM IST | Mumbai | Sanjana Deshpande
Residents of Mulund protest the government decision. File pic

Mid-Day Premium Why Mulund East residents oppose government's Dharavi rehab plan

Residents of Mulund East have united to oppose a massive rehabilitation program, fearing it will further strain the area's already limited resources. “Mulund currently houses 1.5 lakh people. With an influx of 3.5 lakh Dharavikars and 40,000 project-affected persons (PAPS), there will be little left for us locals,” informs Mulund-based real estate agent Deepak Date. While opposing the rehabilitation projects, the residents wrote emails, protested and even met Chief Minister Ekanath Shinde. Upon getting no response, Advocate Sagar Devre from the locality, in a writ PIL, has challenged the final notification of the Maharashtra Government to grant salt-pan lands for the creation of temporary shelters for Dharavi rehabilitation. In an interaction with Midday, Devre highlights that the locals are enraged as the state government has passed the final notification of land allotment without taking the residents’ of Mulund in confidence. Elaborating on the PAP relocation, he informs that a housing project is going on behind Maratha Mandal, Kelkar College, Mulund East where 7,439 house units are being constructed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for PAP. Those affected due to road winding and stormwater drainage fall under the PAP category and are eligible to avail housing in Mulund East. Devre expressed concerns over the potential ramifications of such a large-scale migration as It would strain the area's infrastructure, particularly its transportation networks and parking facilities.  “When can we finally breathe?”Gangadhar Tulsankar, a resident of Anutham Complex, Mulund East, tells Midday: “The way the construction is being carried out is problematic. From my window, I can see four 24-storeyed buildings coming up with little to no space in between them. The roads are so narrow that, in the event of a fire, fire brigades wouldn't be able to access the area to save people or conduct rehab work.” Tulsankar is also apprehensive about the socio-cultural and economic disparities between Mulund and Dharavi residents. “As middle-class, tax-paying citizens, we are not comfortable sharing space with those living in the slums. How will they, having lived in jhopdas all their life, maintain a high-speed lift or comply with our society's hygiene standards?” Date adds to the concern, noting that slum residents who receive free housing from the BMC often sell these flats at lower prices and return to the slums. Anticipating this trend in Mulund, he notes, “Housing rates are likely to drop as people start selling these flats cheaply. This is unfair to locals who have spent their life savings on expensive flats in the area.” In case of mishaps, the locals fear that they will suffer. Tulsankar’s society is at a distance of 90 ft from the PAP housing project leaving the residents with little scope of movement. “Instead of further congesting Mulund, why can’t the civic body build a petrol pump for us? We have to go to the West to get fuel. There are no open playgrounds, no theatre, no space for cultural activities - we are living in dire conditions,” he adds. Calls and messages sent to BMC officials regarding these allegations went unanswered till the time of going to press. Overcrowding in MulundWith only one access point from the Eastern Express Highway, Mulund is already grappling with intense traffic congestion throughout the day, leading to considerable delays for residents entering or exiting the locality. Tulsankar estimated that approximately 4,000 additional vehicles would only increase the traffic burden. Moreover, inadequate parking provisions under the project further compound the problem, with only 1000 parking spaces designated for a population surge of 40,000 individuals. The projected water consumption of 130 liters per person per day poses another challenge, especially since no additional infrastructure, such as pipelines, has been implemented to cater to this demand. The locals have questioned the government's decision to build rental housing near the Octroi Naka dumping ground in Mulund East, citing environmental and infrastructural concerns. Additionally, Tulsankar adds that excavation and dumping work is done by the locals. “Turning the dumping grounds into housing projects will cause many people to lose their livelihoods.” Contradictory statements by leadersTulsankar blames the deputy Chief minister for misleading the people of Mulund. “He indicated that he cannot undo the housing project but will instead relocate people with similar cultural backgrounds as ours. I ask, is this even possible? We've lost confidence in their objectives.”  Devre has also accused Mihir Kotecha, the BJP candidate for Mumbai North East Lok Sabha, of exploiting the issue solely for political gain during the Lok Sabha Elections. Referring to the contradictory statements by Kotecha, who voiced opposition to the project while simultaneously failing to address the current issues, Devre questioned the efficacy of their claims regarding illegal migrants. He challenged them to provide concrete evidence to law enforcement authorities if such claims were genuine. Despite ongoing protests by the locals, the state government proceeded with the project's notification on February 22, 2024, without heeding the concerns of the affected residents. Tulsankar and Date criticised this decision, arguing that the government should have taken into account the sentiments of the residents who have been opposing this move for months. Devre also highlighted the involvement of the central and state governments in the land transfer process for Dharavi's rehabilitation, questioning the rationale behind opposing a project that is supported by the state's chief secretary. He stressed upon the hypocritical statements of opposing the project on the campaign trail while being part of the same government that endorsed it through official channels. Knocking on the doors of the Bombay High CourtDate, coming from a housing background, proposes a more equitable distribution of housing units across Mumbai to alleviate the burden on Mulund. “People can be rehabilitated in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region which extends up to Kalyan and further.” He also suggested dispersing 1000 units to locations like Vikhroli, Bandra, Santacruz and other suburban localities. Regarding the timeline for the project's implementation, Devre indicated that surveys were underway in Dharavi, with the project expected to commence around mid-2025. Despite the lack of support from relevant departments, Devre is determined to pursue legal recourse, underscoring the necessity of his PIL in holding authorities accountable for their actions. The issue at hand (By Prasun Choudhari) The state government plans to rehabilitate Dharavi residents at the entry point of Mumbai city while the BMC plans to rehabilitate around 8,000 project-affected families in Mulund East. The state housing department had written a letter to BMC authorities asking to hand over 64 acres of land located in Mulund East to the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA). The DRA will develop a rental housing colony for residents of Dharavi who are not eligible for redevelopment. A total of 18 acres of land comes under the octroi naka while the remainder is part of the dumping ground which is now closed. The state government housing department had written to the civic chief on January 10 asking for 64 acres of land located at Mulund to be handed over to the DRA to develop rental housing for the rehabilitation of Dharavi families not eligible for the Dharavi Rehabilitation Project at Dharavi. The letter also cited a state cabinet decision in October 2022 in this regard. The civic body has decided to handover two plots amounting to a total of 64 acres to the state government for the rehab project.  Also Read: Outrage in Santacruz’s Khotwadi: Builder denying transit rent for 6 years, erected 50 illegal flats 

21 May,2024 09:29 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Pic/PTI

India General Elections 2024: Mumbai sees 52.2 percent turnout

Mumbai recorded a turnout of 52.27 percent, lower than that in 2019, in the India General Elections 2024 on Monday amid sultry weather and complaints of delays in the polling process, reported news agency PTI. The constituency of Mumbai South, home to industrialists as well as high-ranking government officials, fared the worst with 47.7 percent voting. In 2019, the polling percentage across the six Lok Sabha constituencies in the city was 55.38 per cent. Mumbai North constituency witnessed 55.21 percent polling on Monday, Mumbai North Central 51.42 percent, Mumbai North East 53.75 percent, Mumbai North West 53.67 percent, Mumbai South 47.70 percent and Mumbai South Central 51.88 percent, as per the Election Commission's data. While at some places people who had turned up at polling booths early in the morning left without casting their vote after waiting in the line for a long time, Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the process was slowed down deliberately. Voters at many polling booths complained that they had to wait for more than an hour in the line to cast the vote. A voter in Bimbisar Nagar in Goregaon East told PTI, "I came to vote around noon, but it took nearly one and a half hours. I am a senior citizen and still came to vote, but it took longer than it had taken in 2019." "There is a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the Election Commission is acting in a partial manner. There is a delay by EC's representatives in certain areas," Uddhav Thackeray alleged at a press conference in the afternoon, reported PTI. Priyanka Chaturvedi, Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha member who was standing in a queue at a polling centre in Malad area of Mumbai, said, "Nearly 2,000 voters are expected to vote at one booth. The EC should have provided two machines (EVMs) to increase the pace. It looks like the EC is discouraging people from voting. People who have been standing since 7.30 am are able to vote at 10 am," reported PTI. Congress candidate from Mumbai North Central constituency Varsha Gaikwad said, "I have received complaints from voters that they do not have enough facilities at polling booths. Long queues and exposure to the heat are testing their patience. Some people have returned home without exercising their franchise," reported PTI. High levels of humidity and a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius added to the voters' discomfort. Union minister Piyush Goyal is pitted against Bhushan Patil of Congress in Mumbai North, Sanjay Dina Patil of Shiv sena (UBT) is in contest against Mihir Kotecha of the BJP in Mumbai North East, and Advocate Ujjwal Nikam of the BJP is pitted against Varsha Gaikwad of Congress in Mumbai North central. Amol Kirtikar of the Shiv Sena (UBT) is fighting against Ravindra Waikar of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai North West, Anil Desai of Shiv sena (UBT) is facing off against Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai South Central and Arvind Sawant of Sena (UBT) is pitted against Yamini Jadhav of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai South. Industrialists Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Nana Patekar, Shreyas Talpade, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Ashok Saraf and Prashant Damle were prominent among those who cast their votes in Maharashtra's capital. Overall voting percentage in the 13 constituencies in Maharashtra where polling was held in the final phase of the India General Elections 2024 in the state on Monday stood at 54.22.  (With inputs from PTI)

21 May,2024 09:06 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
CCTV footage of the accused and his friends drinking at the Pune bar. Pics/X

Pune: Cops to move court to try rash driving teen as an adult

The Pune police on Monday said they would seek a higher court’s permission to try as an adult a 17-year-old boy whose car allegedly knocked down and killed two people in the Kalyani Nagar area. The accident took place early Sunday morning. The Juvenile Justice Board’s decision to grant the youngster bail on the same day while asking him to write an essay on road accidents has drawn criticism. The youngster, son of a real estate developer, was drunk at the time of the accident, police claimed on Monday. A case has been registered against him under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Motor Vehicles Act. Ashwini Costa and Anis Awadhiya who were mowed down by the accused A group of friends was returning on motorbikes around 3.15 am on Sunday after a party when the speeding luxury car hit one of the motorcycles at Kalyani Nagar junction. The two riders — Anis Awadhiya and Ashwini Costa — died of their injuries. The youngster who was allegedly driving the car was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board which granted him bail. It also directed him to visit the Regional Transport Office and study all the rules and regulations, and submit a presentation to the Board within 15 days. “The CCL (Child in Conflict with Law) will write an essay of 300 words on the topic of road accidents and their solutions,” the order read. The board also directed the youth to assist RTO officers for 15 days and submit a report. He should be referred to an alcohol de-addiction centre for counselling, it said. “On Sunday itself we had moved an application before the court (board) seeking permission to try the juvenile as an adult and send him to an observation home as the crime is heinous, but the plea was rejected. We are now approaching the Sessions court with the same plea,” said Pune police commissioner Amitesh Kumar. The teenager’s blood report was yet to be received but a preliminary probe showed that the juvenile was drunk at the time of the accident, he said. “CCTV footage of the bar clearly shows that the juvenile was consuming alcohol. There is no doubt that the juvenile was driving the car after consuming alcohol. We will be submitting all these facts to the court,” commissioner Kumar said. “We have transferred the probe of these cases to the crime branch,” he further said. Police displayed professionalism while dealing with the case, Kumar claimed. “The case was transferred to an ACP-level officer and it is our endeavour to make a watertight case. We will appoint a special counsel in this case,” he added.  2No. of people killed in the mishap This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

21 May,2024 07:25 AM IST | Mumbai | Agencies
 BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis; (right) Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray

Fadnavis, Thackeray in a war of words over slow polling

A war of words broke out between Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray over a slow polling in Mumbai. Fadnavis said he was the first to lodge a complaint about the delay with both collectors while Thackeray alleged the BJP had prompted the Election Commission staff to ensure a slow process. In the afternoon, Fadnavis took to social media to state that he had received several complaints about the delay in polling. “I have requested the city and suburban collector to look into it. I have requested them to avoid any trouble to the voters,” he said in his post. Thackeray addressed a press conference after Fadnavis released his statement. “The Election Commission is partisan. The people are enthusiastic, but they are being denied their right. Election officers [posted at polling booths] are working as Narendra Modi’s domestic help. They are under pressure and scared. This red tape is unacceptable,” said Thackeray. The Sena president asked Mumbaikars to stay put in polling centres and assert their right. “Please go, stand there and don’t go away. Be there even if it is 5-6 in the morning. Don’t let these officers leave the booths,” he said, adding that his party would move court over the issue. “Give Sena shakhas the names of the officers responsible. I will announce the names of the officers who have harassed you,” he said. Fadnavis shot back immediately, saying that he was the first to take up the issue of delayed polling with officials. He said Thackeray was sulking because he was facing impending defeat.  “Because he foresees defeat, he is levelling allegations against Modi-ji. He is creating a background ahead of the defeat on June 4. I also learned that the election officers have been threatened,” he said, requesting Mumbaikars to go out and vote.

21 May,2024 07:23 AM IST | Mumbai | Dharmendra Jore
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