|2008-06-28||Harried applicants lock ration office|
Last week an irate mob of around 100 residents barged into the main office of the rationing department and locked the office premises. The agitators were protesting against the delay in issuing of ration cards from the office.
According to bystanders and officials from the rationing department, a mob of irate residents gathered outside the office in Kalyan and forcibly locked the main door of the office. The mob was frustrated after the evasive attitude of the rationing officers over issuing of ration cards. "There have been several cases wherein the applicants have been making futile rounds of the office for several years. This agitation was the outburst of their pent up anger towards the lethargy shown by the department," says an eye-witness to the incident.
Says S Murthy (name changed), a senior citizen who shifted to Kalyan from Ulhasnagar two years back is still to receive his ration card. In his e-mail sent to DK Plus, Murthy says, "After I moved out of Ulhasnagar I submitted the old card at the Ulhasnagar rationing office that promptly gave me a form (no-1 bearing the serial number G 2161589).
They asked me to submit the same at the Kalyan office. When I visited the rationing office on June 11, they asked me to get the form stamped and signed from the local police station who sent me back to the rationing office stating that it wasn't their concern. The on-duty rationing officer again refused to accept my form to have a ration card with new address. As a senior citizen I cannot run around every time and feel harassed," laments the retired ATS officer.
Similarly B Sonawane, a resident of Kolsewadi employed with the police department says that he has been visiting the office to get his ration card for ten years after he shifted from Ghatkopar in 1998. "Every time they give a lame excuse and delay the procedure. We are greatly inconvenienced by their apathetic attitude," he says.
While many like Murthy after being frustrated by the procedure have approached agents who promise to source ration cards within a fortnight after accepting a premium there are others like Sulabha K (name changed) who find it difficult to shell out money for this supposed graft. "We shifted from Wardha nine months back and since then we couldn't get a landline or mobile phone as it requires a ration card. This lethargic and non-cooperative attitude of the officials is hitting us hard," she complains.
Despite repeated efforts, no one from the ration office was available for comment.
|2008-06-19||Illegal construction: Deputy Secy files Affidavit|
Following the Bombay High Court?s directive seeking details of demolitions and regularisations of illegal constructions in Ulhasnagar, the Deputy Secretary, Urban Development Department, has filed an affidavit in this regard.
The affidavit filed by Sudhakar Nangnure, states that for the regularisation of unauthorised buildings, the applications are first sent to expert committees of respective wards.
?The expert committee consists of town planner, fire officer and a structural engineer. The expert committee scrutinises these applications and sends it to the Deputy Municipal Commissioner for co-ordination purpose. He then sends it to the sub-divisional officer for deciding the land premium. Sub-divisional officer forwards it to the Municipal Commissioner who in turn forwards it to the designated authority, the collector for decision in the matter. The designated authority after considering the views of the expert committee and after payment of the premium regularises the building and issues regularization certificate,? said Nangnure.
According to the affidavit, so far, 136 structures of the 2001 proposals have been regularised and 1,865 cases are pending for payment of premium. The affidavit states that 3,054 proposals of illegal buildings are still pending for scrutiny. It further states that after scrutiny 522 cases were pending which could not be regularised. Of the 522 cases of rejections 235 appeals have been filed against the decision of the Collector. The court has been informed that these appeals are being decided now.
The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice S S Shinde was hearing a PIL filed by Ulhasnagar resident Hari Tanwani, regarding illegal buildings that he alleges came up between January 2000 to March 2003. Tanwani also alleged that the court?s directions are not being executed by the state government. The court has asked him to make a note of his allegations and present it during the next hearing after two weeks. In 2005, another bench of High Court had ordered demolition of thousands of unauthorised buildings there. To get around the order, the government came up with this law, which provided protection to almost all unauthorised structures, barring 855 buildings.
|2008-06-14||Andolan to save Waldhuni|
On June 6, the World Environment Day, people of Kalyan came together under the banner of Prem Seva Mahila Mandal (PSMM) to start an andolan to save the highly polluted river, Waldhuni.
Due to continued negligence of the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) the river has been converted into a nallah over the years.
"Waldhuni had been a river with crystal clear water and passed through Ambernath, Ulhasnagar and Kalyan," said Stella Morais of the Prem Seva Mahila Mandal. The river had been one of the main sources of water to the cities situated on its banks.
"Waldhuni is merely a polluted nallah where waste from all the nearby factories and drains are emptied into," Stella lamented. She added, "We speak of global warming and world environment only on the particular day and forget thereafter." She stressed on the need to stop blaming nature and start taking care of it if we want to overcome water shortages.
Adbin Anthony an activist from Sacred Heart School, Varap, complained, "We had approached the MPCB officer Nimberthe to apprise him of the situation but he simply neglected the issue and defended the industrialists, saying that factories neutralize the effluents before dumping them in the river."
The PSMM has also written to Purandare Jadhav, Member Secretary of Environment Department, of the government of Maharashtra and have filed a PIL against all the authorities who have neglected the river and converted it into a nallah.
"We hope soon the MMRDA will take up the project to clean this river as it is very important to save it before it is totally choked. The KDMC blames the UMC and AMC for the pollution and dumping waste in the river. It's a blame game they are playing but we the people of Kalyan, will never rest till the river is fully cleaned," concludes Stella with confidence.
The andolan however, has shown results as Chief Planning Officer Umay Adusumali of MMRDA has taken up the cause seriously and also promised funds to clean the river. Professor Suhas Karvelkar of Birla college Botany department has been asked to do research on the river right from its origin and present an up-to-date report to the MMRDA before July 1.
|2008-06-14||Four-year-old dies trying to save kitten|
Four-year-old Siddharth Suradkar was killed in a road accident on Khemani road in Ulhasnagar 3 last Wednesday morning.
The incident happened when the little boy was trying to rescue a kitten that had strayed on the road from the passing vehicles.
Siddharth picked up the kitten and tried to keep him at safer place, when a speeding auto-rickshaw knocked him down. The impact of the collision was such that Siddharth sustained severe injuries on his head. An injured Siddharth was taken to Central hospital where he declared dead on admission.
The driver of the rickshaw Rameshwar Yadav fled from the spot to the police station to save himself from the mob. Later on an irate mob of residents from the area marched to the police station and damaged his rickshaw.
A case was registered at Central Police station, Ulhasnagar and Yadav was arrested under section 304 (A), 337, 338 of Indian Penal Code.
|2008-06-12||UK-returned team gives suggestions on education re|
A delegation of college principals, which visited premier institutions and universities in United Kingdom recently, has made several recommendations on educational reforms to the state.
Its key suggestions include one year’s masters programmes, replacing State Eligibility Test (SET) examination for teachers with post-graduate certificate courses, introduction of certificate courses on global warming and environment protection, among others.
The delegation presented its recommendations to the Minister for Higher Education Dilip Walse Patil on Wednesday, who according to the leader of the delegation and Mumbai Sheriff Dr Indu Shahani, had sought a detail proposal on the matter from the Mumbai University.
Dr Shahani said the delegation, which included 13 principals along with the Mumbai University (MU) vice chancellor Dr Vijay Khole, was impressed with the approach of the UK educational institutions in constantly improving their system. It has recommended intensive one year’s masters programme in emerging academic areas such as economics, finance, accounting, banking, insurance, management, media, humanities and sciences. Dr Khole suggested that, once the idea is accepted, the delegation can ready the curriculum for the master programmes within one month. The delegation has sought state’s approval in this regard.
Recommendations have also been made to introduce post-graduate (PG) certificate courses as an alternative to State Eligibility Test (SET) examination for recruiting teachers, with a duration of either one year for full time students or two years for part timers. “We have observed that in most universities a PG course was considered as an eligibility criterion to teach in the higher education institutions. We found the concept of one-year programme very useful,” said Dr Shahani.
Another delegation member Dr Dinesh Panjwani, principal of Smt C H M College at Ulhasnagar, observed that the universities in the UK did not have merely teaching posts and research was a part of it. “We should do away with only teaching posts and make research mandatory along with it,” said Panjwani. The delegation has further suggested to the state to consider forming a ‘company’ in the MU on the patterns of one set up by the Imperial College of UK that could support curriculum, research and funding for the university and provide excellence in higher education. The delegation has also sought the state’s nod in introduction of certificate courses on global warming and environment protection. Following the visit, the delegation has realised that the MU would stand to gain if a collaborative research with the UK universities is promoted. “Finally we would encourage all the colleges in the state to develop exchange programmes between students and faculty of leading universities in the UK with Government support, which will enhance the global experience in higher education for students and teachers from both the countries.
The delegation was scheduled to make a presentation in this regard to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at Varsha on Thursday.
|2008-06-08||British education system is inspiring: Suburban pr|
A 15-member delegation of senior academic heads of leading colleges led by the Vice-Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Dr Vijay Khole, and Dr Indu Shahani, Sheriff of Mumbai who also happens to be the principal of H R College were in the UK last week to get a hands-on experience about the functioning of the British higher education system.
Dr Naresh Chandra, principal, Birla College, Kalyan, Dinesh Panjwani, principal, CHM College, Ulhasnagar and Dr A P Mahajan, principal, Pragati College, Dombivli were part of the delegation.
The participants visited the iconic Oxford, Cambridge, Westminster and City universities, Imperial, King's Colleges and the London School of Economics-all powerhouses of ideas and talents that have left their mark on the sands of time.
The main motive of the endeavour that was the brainchild of Dr Khole and the Sheriff was to see the best institutional practices of the top global institutes and ideate at the vertical as well as horizontal levels. The exchange of academic ideas proved to be very rewarding. All of the attendees benefited from this highly-intensive programme, the first of its kind in the history of the University of Mumbai.
Speaking about their experiences, the three administrative heads spoke of the insights and practical gains made during the visit from May 17-25 that was sponsored by an international accounting firm and the British Council.
"They have the best available infrastructure. The motivational levels of the faculty and learners are high and they have prioritized research. I will put it like this. We teach knowledge, while they create knowledge and this is the main difference between them and us. I feel that these features make the British education system distinctive from ours. We are still not as research-oriented as they are. This Indian academic mindset needs to be altered, if we want to compete in a challenging global environment," said Panjwani.
Dr Mahajan, was all praises for the optimum use of the intellectual resources made there. "They maximize their teaching-learning resources and do that in a productive way. Their classrooms, libraries and computer labs are state-of-the-art. The entire environment is totally different from our traditional pedagogical practices. Apart from that, the industry and academic interface is very strong. The whole thing is quite flexible and learner-centered there."
Summing up the experience, Dr Chandra says, "The interdisciplinary approach, horizontal mobility of learners and clustering of the best colleges are some of the outstanding advantages of their educational system that can be introduced here also. Research activities need to be taken up more by the faculty and the students alike and the two-year PG programme ought to be revamped. Some of these suggestions are to be submitted to the University in a report soon."
Visibly impressed by their visit, the principals are confident of replicating several endeavours for the benefit of the average suburban student. Panjwani has already activated his Research Forum, after coming home, by constituting a 20-member core group in his multi-faculty college. The forum will work on many projects.
The Alumni Meet of the University of Mumbai that was attended by 110 former students in London on May 22 was another landmark of this visit. The principals are all in praises for Dr Shahani and Dr Khole for the venture and hope they plan to visit more countries and invite their delegates here in Mumbai and extended suburbs as well.