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Mumbai: 5 houses collapse following gas explosion in Chembur; 11 rescued

A gas cylinder explosion in a house in Mumbai's Chembur area triggered the collapse of five houses on Wednesday morning, officials said. According to a report in PTI, 11 persons were reduced by the officials at the site.  The report further stated that the civic officials without specifying the number said that some persons sustained injuries during the incident. The incident happened at Old Barrack near the Golf Club in Chembur around 7.50 am on Wednesday.  A civic official told PTI that the explosion had caused significant damage with resulted in the collapse of nearly four to five two-storey structures.  Among the 11 people rescued from the debris, four individuals have been admitted to the civic-run Shatabdi Hospital in Govandi for medical attention, the official further told. The fire brigade, police, civic personnel, ambulance services, and other agencies were mobilised to manage the aftermath of the gas cylinder explosion and subsequent house collapses. Further details awaited

29 November,2023 09:38 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
One of the suspects in custody of the police

Mumbai: Naigaon cops crack brutal murder of man

The Naigaon police cracked a heinous murder case involving unknown assailants who took the life of a man and left the victim's body mutilated. The gruesome discovery was made on a farm adjacent to the Baafane Bridge. Pankaj Atmaram More and his friend Vikram Bhandari stumbled upon the disturbing scene while attempting to explore a vacant plot near the bridge. They encountered the body of a man, estimated to be between 25-30 years old, with injury marks that suggested a brutal assault. The duo reported the matter to the Baafane police station, after which an accidental death report was initially filed while the Naigaon cops swung into action.  Medical authorities at J J Hospital conducted a post-mortem, revealing that the victim, identified as Mayur, succumbed to severe injuries and trauma. Footwear used by the cops to identify the victim. Pics/Hanif Patel According to the police, they distributed pamphlets which displayed a photograph of the footwear the victim had worn, wherein other clothes were visible. It played a crucial role as a relative of the victim identified him as Mayur based on the footwear. Meanwhile, police investigations unveiled a trail of clues leading to three potential suspects. They were identified as auto-rickshaw driver Suraj Singh, 30, a resident of the Chandrapada area in Naigaon; Anand Sajne, 30, from the eastern part of Naigaon; and a juvenile referred to as Kashmira who was involved in a scuffle with Mayur. There were no clear details on Kashmira. Following diligent efforts, the police tracked down Singh near Chandrapada. He named Sajne and Kashmira as his accomplices during questioning. The suspects face charges related to the murder and destruction of evidence. The police have also detained a witness, Ishopadeem, who was with More at the time of his arrest. Further investigations are underway. The Naigaon police Crime Branch Unit 2 in Vasai, conducted thorough searches in the Naigaon and neighbouring areas during the investigation. The relentless efforts of the police force involved various units, including the Cyber Crime Unit and the Missing Persons Unit. 25-30 yrsAge of victim

29 November,2023 07:58 AM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
Navy doctors confirmed her death, and the local Malvani police were informed. Representation pic

Mumbai: Agniveer trainee from Kerala dies by suicide at navy hostel in Malad

A 20-year-old woman, undergoing Agniveer training in the Indian Navy, reportedly took her own life by hanging with a bedsheet in INS Hamla quarters at Malad West, Mumbai, on Monday morning. The woman from Kerala joined the navy under the Agniveer scheme in June this year. After finishing initial training, she arrived at INS Hamla near Aksa Village, Malad West, on November 8 for further training. Staying in the navy hostel with other trainees, she was alone in the room when her roommate left for some work. When the roommate returned, finding the door locked and sensing trouble, she alerted navy officials and colleagues. They broke open the door and found her lifeless body hanging from the ceiling fan, tied with a bedsheet around her neck. Navy doctors confirmed her death, and the local Malvani police were informed. The body was sent for autopsy at Bhagwati hospital. During the investigation, it came to light that the woman was in a relationship with someone from her hometown. He had called her on a video call the previous night, expressing a desire to harm himself by cutting his veins. Distressed, she tried to stop him. After the call ended, she was visibly upset and crying. Her roommate stayed with her and comforted her throughout the night. The next morning, the roommate found the door locked from the inside. The woman, who hailed from Kerala, dreamed of joining the army and got selected for the Agniveer scheme in June. Her maternal uncle, a retired Indian forces member, came to Mumbai, and the body was handed over to him. An Accidental Death Report (ADR) was filed, and police questioned relatives about any complaints against anyone, but no complaints were reported. They assured they would proceed according to the law. Nov 8Day the woman arrived at INS Hamla in Mumbai

29 November,2023 07:55 AM IST | Mumbai | Samiullah Khan
A woman receives her phone from Ghatkopar police on Tuesday. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Mumbai: Ghatkopar police recover 165 lost and stolen phones

The Ghatkopar police on Tuesday returned 165 recovered mobile phones to their owners. The mobiles were either stolen or lost. The Ghatkopar police have arrested 25 people for stealing phones this year. The police used the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) portal—set up by the Department of Telecommunications, union Ministry of Communications—to track the missing phones. The CEIR portal helps citizens track phones and block the number in use on a stolen phone. “I lost my phone in December 2022. I was terribly worried as it had my data and photos. I informed the police then that I lost my phone. It was a long wait but the police got my phone back. Throughout the process, the police had a positive attitude and were cooperative,” said Rajesh Padekar, 33. Police Inspector (PI) Deepali Kulkarni, Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) Rafique Mujawar, PSI Dyaneshwar Kharmate and PSI Padmakar Patil worked on recovering the phones under the guidance of Ghatkopar senior PI Balwant Deshmukh.  “Distressed people reach out to us when they lose their phones. With the help of the CEIR portal, we could trace the phones. We also use other technologies to help us. Since January, we have apprehended 25 people for stealing phones. However, we suspect that the number will increase,” said an officer. The police did not face difficulties in determining the owners of the phones as they had approached the police to register complaints. “We worked hard to trace the 165 phones. Registered complaints on the CEIR portal and IMEI numbers help us trace the phones successfully,” the officer said. 25People arrested for stealing phones

29 November,2023 07:49 AM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Mumbai: 200 BEST buses across city to be fitted with air filters

Following the announcement of air filters for buses to improve air quality, they are now being installed on Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses. The first filter was added to bus route number 60, running between Mazgaon and Kurla. An additional seven filters were installed on Monday, with a plan to fit 200 filters on buses to clean city air as they navigate roads. Despite the recent rain cleaning the city air, the state government seeks a lasting solution to the persistent air pollution issue after this year’s post-monsoon spike. The strategy involves fitting air filters on buses, effectively turning them into mobile air purifiers. An official from BEST said, "Currently, one bus from Anik depot, on route number 60, has been equipped with air filter. Seven more buses had filters installed on Monday night, and 13 more are set for installation in the coming days." Bus number 60 starts from Maharana Pratap Chowk Mazgaon, covering 41 stops with a 30-minute travel time and a distance of 15.4 km to reach Kurla Bus Station East (Last Stop). These High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can clean up to 15,000 cubic metres of air per hour, capturing 12-15 grams of suspended particulate matter. Operating on velocity, they won’t need extra power. Although each filter costs around R50,000, they’re being procured through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Eventually, 200 buses will feature detachable rooftop air filters, along with 150 vehicle-mounted filters. Minesh Pimpale, deputy municipal commissioner (Environment), said, “The MPCB is arranging the filters through CSR. We act as a coordinator between MPCB and BEST to fit the filters.” During a technical committee meeting in September chaired by the principal secretary of the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Maharashtra government, potential solutions like virtual chimneys at busy places, vehicle-mounted air purifiers, filter-less air purification technology machines, and wind augmentation and purifying machines were discussed alongside industry and technology experts’ representatives. 200No of filters to be installed

29 November,2023 07:44 AM IST | Mumbai | Prajakta Kasale
While under arrest, Patil had been admitted to Sassoon hospital for treatment. File pic

Sassoon hospital employee arrested for abetting outings of drug lord Lalit Patil

The crime branch of Pune police has apprehended an employee of Sassoon Hospital over suspicions that he had helped drug lord Lalit Patil get out of the hospital for a brief period of time. The police are now investigating how the employee Mahindra Shevte helped Patil leave the hospital. According to the police, Shevte helped Patil in leaving the hospital grounds for a duration of 2-3 hours. It is also alleged that Shevte provided other amenities to Patil while he was receiving treatment for his health alignments in the hospital. Lalit Patil. File pic “We have arrested Shevte but it’s premature to ascertain the reasons behind his actions. Our investigation is ongoing,” said a police officer. The Pune crime branch continues its inquiry into Patil’s escape from the hospital. Additionally, nine officers have been suspended, while police constables Nataram Kale and Amit Jadhav were arrested in connection with his escape.

29 November,2023 07:38 AM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
BMC visited 300 shops in Colaba and Fort, finding three shops without compliant signboards. Pics/Atul Kamble

Mumbai: BMC cracks down on shops without Marathi signboards

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking action against shops and establishments not displaying signboards in Marathi (Devanagari) script. During a visit to 3,269 shops, BMC found 176 without compliant signboards, violating the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act, 2018, amended in 2022. Non-compliant shops face a penalty of R2,000 per staffer, up to a maximum of Rs 1,00,000. In A ward, BMC visited 300 shops in Colaba and Fort, finding three shops without compliant signboards. Sanjay Sonar, senior inspector of Shop and Establishment, A ward, said, "We've notified these shops and will verify their licenses, imposing fines if needed. Non-payment could lead to court action. We have fined Nike retailer, Puma showroom and Inshaallah Mashaallah perfume and textile shop." Viren Shah, president of The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said that most shops comply but very few shops do not have the signboards as they need to change the full board. N Ward (Ghatkopar) tops the non-compliance list with 18 out of 89 shops not meeting regulations. S Ward (Bhandup, Vikhroli, Powai) has 14 out of 142 non-compliant shops, and H West (Bandra, Khar West) has 12 out of 142. The BMC plans to continue inspections. According to Rule 35 and Section 36C of the Act, establishment nameplates must be in bold Marathi Devanagari script. The Supreme Court set a two-month deadline, ending November 25, 2023, to change the signboards. BMC initiated verifications from Tuesday due to holidays. Rs 2,000Amount fined per staffer

29 November,2023 07:35 AM IST | Mumbai | Sameer Surve
Much-needed footpaths on the newly constructed Delisle Road bridge

Delisle Road bridge footpaths ready, await stairs, escalators for full access

After residents' complaints and demands, the much-needed footpaths on the newly constructed Delisle Road bridge at Lower Parel are ready over the railway section, while the rest is currently barricaded for pedestrians. However, they'll only be accessible once the construction of the staircases and escalators is completed. Furthermore, the restoration of bus routes on the bridge is relieving traffic pressure on smaller roads in south Mumbai, reinstating it as a crucial connector in the area. An engineer on-site said, “The footpath outside the girder is now paved and ready. However, it's complete over the railway stretches, with planned landings for staircases and escalators at the corners. The BMC is set to construct four staircases and install two escalators. This work will be completed soon.” For now, temporary walking spaces with barricades have been set up on the Currey Road side. The bridge had been closed since July 24, 2018, due to safety concerns. Siddhesh Kanse from the commuter rights body Aapli BEST Aaplyasathi said, “After a wait of over four years, the railway bridge at Lower Parel station has reopened for traffic today. During ongoing construction, all BEST bus routes, including route numbers 2 limited, 44, 52, 57, and 63, were diverted via the Curry Road bridge. We appealed to the BEST to restore the original routes as soon as the bridge was about to reopen.” Ongoing construction of the staircases and escalators “The BEST was quick to respond and all of them were promptly restored as the bridge opened to the public. We are thankful to the BEST for this. The old bus routes are back in place and it will help in a big way to decongest the alternative routes,” said Rupesh Shelatkar, president, Aapli BEST Aaplyasathi. Jul 24, 2018Year the bridge has been closed since

29 November,2023 07:29 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
Sanghvi said an internal inquiry by the airline might be biased. Pic/Instagram

Mumbai: Co-traveller comes forth to support writer Siddharth Sanghvi

A day after 'high' drama unfolded onboard Akasa Air flight QP 1395 (Goa to Mumbai), a fellow traveller has come forward in support of author Siddharth Sanghvi. After reading the news in mid-day, Mumbai-based senior oncologist and consultant cancer surgeon, Dr Ashok Mehta, on his official letterhead, provided a testimony mentioning that he was seated just a row ahead of Sanghvi and did not see anything as described by the crew. Mehta stated in his letter that Sanghvi's behaviour was not “unruly” as alleged by the crew. The letter dated November 28 read: “I Dr Ashok Mehta was travelling on flight Akasa Air QP 1395 from North Goa to Mumbai on November 27 at 13.00 hours. I can vouch for the fact that Mr Siddharth Sanghavi, also on the same flight and seated in the row behind me, did not commit any unruly conduct whatsoever. He was peaceful and well-mannered.” Mehta also attached his boarding pass with the letter as proof. A copy of the official statement obtained by mid-day When contacted, Mehta confirmed sending the letter in support of Sanghavi. He told mid-day that there was no way that Sanghvi was unruly. “I heard the talking but did not notice much. It was on Tuesday morning that I saw the article in mid-day and found out what happened. Sanghvi was sitting just a row behind me. My seat number was 5F and his seat was 7A. He was peaceful and well-mannered if you ask me,” said Mehta, who is also a former chief of the department of oncology at Dr B N Nanavati Hospital and chief of surgery at Tata Memorial Hospital. On Monday, Mumbai-based author Siddharth Dhanvant Sanghvi was held up at Mumbai Airport police station for four hours, following allegations by Akasa airline crew members, who accused him of referring to them as “stupid people”. Sanghvi then contended that the incident constituted a breach of his privacy, asserting that the crew claimed to have overheard his remarks while he was in the lavatory. While the Akasa staff filed a non-cognisable (NC) complaint in the matter, Sanghvi submitted a complaint to the airport police station against the staff, for sexual harassment and a violation of his privacy. Akasa Air’s official spokesperson on Monday told mid-day that they will only respond to the allegations after an internal inquiry into the matter, which they have already initiated. Meanwhile, Sanghavi said that this inquiry might be biased “…after all, the so-called witnesses are the co-workers of the accused. The former head of oncology at Tata Memorial (hospital) Dr Ashok Mehta was seated right ahead of me. He has written a letter of support after the article in mid-day. It’s shameful that although 24 hours have gone by there’s been zero response from Akasa. Even an unconditional apology would have gone a long way to abate the tension… basic human decency.”

29 November,2023 07:29 AM IST | Mumbai | Dipti Singh
Representation Pic

Plans to make concrete roads in Mumbai hits legal hurdle

The BMC is facing another hurdle to starting the concretisation of roads in the island city as the contractor whose contract was terminated has approached court. As the matter is now in the court, the BMC has decided to invite fresh tender after the court decision. BMC issued a termination letter to the contractor on October 13, 2023 as the contractor failed to start work eight months after the work order was issued. Meanwhile, following the termination of the contract, municipal commissioner I S Chahal promised that the fresh tender process will be completed in a month’s time. BMC officials said that they could only invite tender after the court’s decision. According to sources, the contractor has approached the court claiming that BMC took action without listening to the company’s view. BMC also issued a notice to impose a fine of Rs 10 crore on the contractor. Additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu confirmed that the case is pending in the court. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde assured citizens of pothole-free roads in two years. As per the chief minister’s order, BMC decided to convert 400 km of asphalt roads into concrete. BMC will be spending about Rs 6,050 crore on the concretization. In the island city around 26 km of roads are going to be concretised and the cost of the project is about Rs 1,200 crore.

29 November,2023 07:20 AM IST | Mumbai | A Correspondent
ICTCs provide testing and counselling to HIV-positive patients, and TB referrals to all citizens. Representation Pic

Maharashtra: 141 HIV testing centres in state facing closure

Around 141 of the total 515 HIV Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) in Maharashtra have been identified as ‘non-performing centres’ and are at risk of closing down due to low footfall, officials told mid-day ahead of the World Aids Day on December 1. “These 141 centres are spread across Maharashtra including in areas like Thane and Pune,” said Dr Prasad Bhandari, who was the additional project director with Maharashtra State Aids Control Society (MSACS) until last week. Approximately 31 ICTCs were rationalised in 2022 in the state. Similar closures have occurred in different parts of the country, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab. In 2021-22, it is estimated that Maharashtra had 2,13,995 men and 1,80,083 women living with HIV, with close to 5,410 new patients every year. Meanwhile, ICTCs in Mumbai may not face the risk of closure as the city still has a significant number of people, estimated to be 40,000, living with HIV-AIDS. Referrals for TB Owing to their weakened immune system, tuberculosis is prevalent among HIV patients. Apart from testing and counselling, the ICTCs also play an important role in referring people with TB symptoms, irrespective of their HIV status, to the closest government-run TB diagnostic facilities. In 2021-22, about 9,56,666 individuals were referred by ICTCs to TB centres nationwide. Of these, only 1.29 per cent of patients were positive for HIV. ‘Efforts on to close NACO’ Officials from Maharashtra’s public health department told mid-day that cutting down on ICTCs is a part of the union health ministry’s efforts to close the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) in the near future and transfer HIV control responsibilities to state governments. However, NACO Director Nidhi Keswani termed these to be only rumours. “These are routine activities as numbers have been going down; we are rationalising them,” Keswani said. However, several state health officials said that little by little, NACO has been cutting down funds allocated to the states. Dr Kamlakar Phand, who was the additional project director of MSACS in 2016, said that this has been happening since 2016. NACO supplies resources like testing kits and condoms to states, which distribute them to the ICTCs. State health officials said that there was a shortage of testing kits some time back, which has now been resolved. “But it has been almost a year that we have not received a supply of condoms from NACO,” officials said. Keswani acknowledged the shortage of condoms and said that the state officials were asked to procure them at the local level. She added that the supplies are expected to be dispatched by next week. Rationalising process Of the 141 ICTCs, the MSACS is trying to save as many as possible from rationalisation, said Dr Bhandari. “We are trying to increase testing and outreach programmes and I am certain that out of the 141, only 30 to 40 will be rationalised,” he said. The rationalisation is done to save resources as footfall is low. “Staff from ICTCs will likely be shifted to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centres,” Dr Bhandari said, adding that this is because the demand for HIV medicines has been increasing over the years as they have extended the lives of people living with HIV-AIDS. “We are liable to provide free-of-cost medicines to HIV patients till the end of their life and as the medications are making it possible for individuals to live longer, the demands at ART centres will only increase with time,” Dr Bhandari said. Another official said that the process of rationalisation may also mean that multiple centres located at short distances from each other and having low footfalls may be merged into one.

29 November,2023 07:17 AM IST | Mumbai | Eshan Kalyanikar
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