|2007-07-30||Order Order Order|
If I was Vijay Shekhar I would prefer to go to jail than apologise to the Supreme Court for a purely journalistic work that was carried out with utmost honesty. Shekhar, a senior journalist and currently Bureau Chief of Zee Business in Mumbai did the "Warrants For Sale" story which has very obviously rubbed the respectable judges of the Supreme Court the wrong way. One of CNN-IBN's journalist, Jency Jacob, whose reportage on the immediate aftermath of Mumbai 7/11 brought the terrorist inflicted carnage of that day into millions of living room across the world, was associated with the "Warrants For Sale" Investigation. Jency sent an email to me describing how the "Warrants For Sale" investigation was conceived and executed. Here's the email in verbatim. "It all started in 2004 when a man named Manohar Geelani staying in Ulhasnagar approached me and Vijay Shekhar with his sad story. He works with Central bank of India and was fighting some goons in Ulhasnagar who were harassing him for the last ten years. This guy and his mother had some dispute with a local politician there. The dispute became so dangerous that fake warrants were issued against Manohar's name by magistrates from Gujarat and other states under fictitious charges like dacoity, rape, attempt to murder just to name a few. Manohar was a strong willed man and fought all the cases but it took a toll on his life and career. He was in hiding for six years and also lost his job with central bank(which he got back later on through court cases and after his case was highlighted on Zee news)." "To cut the story short, Vijay went to Meghani Nagar in Gujarat, near Ahmedabad. The modus operandi is very simple. There are agents and lawyers who sit outside these lower courts. You have to approach them and tell them that you need warrants against so and so persons under these charges. Money is charged on the basis of seriousness of charges. These lawyers then make all the papers and also bring witnesses (either fake or real) to testify. Vijay gave four names: Former President of India Abdul Kalam Former Chief justice of India V N Khare Supreme Court Judge R K Jain Supreme Court Judge BP Singh He paid 40,000 rupees for all these four warrants. Though we could not reach till the magistrate or his subordinates due to the ineffectiveness of the hidden cam, the lawyers went inside and got the warrants in no time. That means the above mentioned four persons could be hounded by the police since a warrant was issued on their names." Clearly, the Supreme Court is setting a bad precedent by muzzling the press and grievously damaging the independence of journalists in exposing the failures of India's judicial system.
|2007-07-22||Courier firm misplaces 60,000 property documents |
If information received by an Ulhasnagar resident is true, more than 50,000 property purchase registration papers have gone missing from a courier firm. The courier firm was entrusted with the job of delivering the registration documents to the concerned parties by the Ulhasnagar sub-registrar. The sub-registrar too has confirmed the information that several documents have gone missing.
The incident has come to light after Kumar Makhija, a 61-year old resident of Ulhasnagar failed to get his registration papers despite consistent follow-up in the past 15 years.
Makhija bought a property at Camp 5 in 1991. He registered the deed with the sub-registrar office. As per the procedure, the registered deed is sent to Pune office of the registrar for clearance. The clearance normally comes in 10 years and all these while Makhija waited for the clearance to come from Pune.
Since 2002, he started making regular visits to the sub-registrar office. "Always the answer was no," he says. However, the man got a positive response in last June. "They told me that the office has received the clearance from Pune. They also informed me that the document was handed over to a courier company in Thane some weeks ago," he says.
Makhija then waited for a few days and tried to contact the courier company TNS Solutions at their Thane office. "After no replies from them, I learned that the company had misplaced several documents," he narrates.
Makhija is not the only one who has been facing this ordeal. Several others have also been making rounds to the sub-registrar office for the past few years, for the same purpose.
When contacted, sub-registrar S Thorat said that indeed some documents have gone missing. "The property purchase deeds that were registered with this office between 1985 to 1995 were cleared by the Pune registrar’s office in 2004," she says.
However, in the past two years many people failed to come and collect their documents. "So we appointed a courier firm as per the government order to distribute around 60,000 documents that were lying with us. After two months, the courier firm representatives got back last week and told us that they have delivered only 9,000 documents so far." However, she declined to say if any action would be taken against the courier company for the unpardonable error on their part.
|2007-07-22||Men who caught thief ends up in lockup|
Doing good work has turned out to be hell of a problem for three roadside hawkers from Ulhasnagar. Their ordeal started on July 9, after they gave a chase and caught a pickpocket from the railway station area. The three, namely Salim Ahmed, Nag Bhushan and Angar, are now making rounds to the police station, as the police have registered a case on them based on the allegations by the thief. All the three have been doing business near the station premises.
Around 6.30 pm that day, they saw a mob chasing a youngster. "The mob was shouting chor ko pakdo. We were standing in the vicinity. So, we gave a chase and caught the man," says Ahmed. The thief (Sunit S Das 25) was then handed over to the beat marshals of the Central Police Station who came on a bike.
However, on July 11, the police took the trio into custody. "We were called to the station and the policemen told that we have been booked for causing grievous injuries to the man. The thief told the police that we attacked him with blades," says Ahmed. The three had to spend that night in the lockup.
On the next day Ahmed and Bushan got bail of Rs 5,000 each. However, Angar was sent to police custody.
Says PI Banger, in-charge at the Central Police Station: "The woman who lost purse never complained. We have registered a NC against the alleged thief. Das had cuts on his body and he said the three attacked him. So we have registered case under section 324 of the IPC against them." Interestingly, Das was released on bail on the same day.
The Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) is continuing to violate provisions in the BPMC Act of 1949, which is applicable to all the civic corporations across the state. The most recent violation came when the UMC commissioner on July 13 put forward a resolution before the general body of the corporation for clearance. Through the new resolution, the commissioner sought clearance from the House for allotting office rooms to individual political in the premises of the UMC.
As per the BPMC Act, the corporation can allot space to mayor, deputy mayor, chairmen of various committees of the corporation and leader of the opposition, apart from the administration. There is no provision for allotting rooms to political parties and its leaders.
Despite no provision in the act, the UMC has been providing facility to political group leaders of the house ever since 1997. During the last house, they even allotted the facility to a party, which had only one member in the house.
In June 2007, due to an infighting and subsequent drama by members of two political parties, then commissioner in-charge R D Shinde had issued an order to seal the cabins of mayor and commissioner. However, very next day, the charge of the UMC was handed over to Samir Unhale, an IAS officer.
The new commissioner appointed a four-member committee for conducting survey and allotting cabins to the administration, mayor, deputy mayor, chairmen of committees and group leaders.
After receiving the report from of said committee, the commissioner prepared a resolution presented it before the house on July 13 to get sanction. In the headquarter building, there are 134 offices available. And as per the resolution, in violation of the act, the commissioner wants to allot office to Shiv Sena, NCP, Lok Bharti, Congress (I), MNS and RPI (A).
As per the letter issued by UMC secretary to a alert citizen, there is no provision for office rooms to political parties and group leaders.
As per available data, the corporation spends around Rs one lakh per cabin in a year. So, in five years, the corporation will be spending around Rs three crores on these illegal office spaces.
|2007-07-18||Ulhasnagar girls stunning performance on StarONE|
Star One's The Great Indian Laughter Challenge 3 is gearing up for its final stages with a bang. With loads of fresh comic talent, this Friday's episode will have the audiences in splits as the contestants put their best foot forward to showcase their wit and characteristic humour! The show will air on 20 July at 9.00pm. Watch the wonder-duo Shekhar Suman & Navjot Singh Sidhu judge the competition in their trademark style! Catch the stunning Parizaad Kolah and Shonali Nagrani as they sizzle through the show and crack up during the performances.
On TGILC 3 this Friday, a lady contestant from Mumbai, Seema Mothwani, will be one of the challengers. Seema is Mumbai girl who hails from Ulhasnagar, a suburb in Mumbai city. She is a specialist in mimicking Hema Malini and her Basanti act from Sholay is mind blowing! She has been in the field of mimicry for quite sometime and has also indulged in small time acting on television, but her forte surely lies in what she does the best… mimicking!
|2007-07-14||UMC facing suspension!|
The Ulhasnagar Muncipal Corporation (UMC) is perhaps on the verge of suspension. Some controversial decisions taken by the ruling side has put the UMC in a fix. These decisions were either rejected by the state government or the High Court. Further, the HC has ordered a probe into one of the matters. All these indicate the possible suspension of the UMC according to experts.
The UMC was in the news recently after some members charged the administration with corruption in appointing a company to employ tankers for water distribution. According to available information, last week the state urban development ministry has appointed an IAS officer to probe the charges.
The embarrassment for the ruling Ganga Jal Front has not ended there. Now the Bombay High Court has stayed one more resolution of the UMC. In the General Body meeting of June 2007 the ruling side passed a resolution to remove the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the UMC. But the PRO challenged it in the HC and the court has issued a stay order in his favor till the final disposal of the petition.
Yuvraj Bhadane was appointed as PRO in the UMC on 22 Dec, 2003 after completing all the necessary procedures. After appointment he was on probation for about two-and-a-half years. The period of probation got over in Dec 2006. Upon completion of the probation, then commissioner Sadashiv Kamble issued a letter of confirmation to him.
During the period, at time to time, the then commissioners deputed him as a ward officer. As a word officer he delivered tremendous performance. Under his leadership ward no 2 won the state government’s Sant Gadge Baba Award twice for cleanliness. He recovered maximum property tax, and also demolished dozens of unauthorised constructions.
Then commissioners Ramnath Sonawne and Sadashiv Kamble appreciated his performance. However, visibly he created some enemies in the political circle.
Now they have started a campaign to unseat him. In the last month’s General Body meeting they passed a resolution to terminate him from the service. Bhadane challenged the issue in the HC. The court then stayed the implementation of this resolution till final disposal of his petition. After this order Bhadane once again resumed on his job.
|2007-07-07||Only few areas flooded:Thanks to moderate rainfall|
The torrential showers that lashed the city and suburbs between June 28 and July 3 posed only little problems for the towns of Ulhasnagar, Ambernath and Badlapur. The drainage system of the three towns held up to the excessive rainfall but authorities removed more than 250 families from the banks of major water bodies in Ulhasnagar and Ambernath as a precautionary measure on July 3.
The towns of Ambernath and Badlapur witnessed collective rainfall of, between 22.4 mm to 26.4 mm daily during the period of torrential showers. The town of Ulhasnagar alone received minimum rainfall of 34 mm and maximum of 116.6 mm daily during the one-week period to finish way ahead of the two towns.
Even though the nallah system of the three towns held up to the challenge of the heavy showers several low lying areas in the three towns were flooded with rainwater particularly on July 3. Ramesh Wadi and Hendre Pada areas of Badlapur, BS Nagar and Suman Nagar localities of Ambernath as well as Meenatai Thackeray Nagar and Samrat Ashok Nagar areas of Ulhasnagar witnessed some extent of flooding during the period of heavy downpour.
Particularly affected were the residential areas very close to the Ulhas River and the Waldhuni creek in the three towns. The district administration had to evacuate around 150 families from Ulhasnagar that was on the banks of the river following the spell of heavy rains. Another 100 families were evacuated from the banks of the same river in the nearby Ambernath town.
Interestingly the civic authorities of the three areas are busy patting their backs for the nallah cleaning works they did before the monsoons. They claim that the effective nallahs cleaning prevented water logging in their respective towns during the heavy showers.
The fact however is just the opposite. The drainage cleaning work could not be completed before the scheduled arrival of the season on June 7 thereby speculating chances of major flooding during the heavy rains. The rains however arrived in their true fury only on June 28 thereby allowing the authorities to complete the work by then.
Ravi Katakdhond, the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the area informed that the floods do not take place solely due to the heavy rains in the three towns alone but there are other factors that decisively contribute to the situation. The district official pointed out the fact that flooding in the towns could take place only if the water level in the Ulhas River crosses the danger mark of 19.20 metres. The catchment areas of the river are based in Karjat and heavy rains there would result in the river crossing the danger mark to cause flooding.
Similarly heavy to very heavy showers in a short span of time in the catchment areas of Barvi and Murbadi rivers could also result in flooding of the three towns. The catchments areas of these two rivers also fall out of the jurisdiction of Ulhasnagarm Ambernath and Badlapur. Hence heavy rains in the three towns would not result in flooding on its own.
It is however too early to speculate whether the ongoing season of monsoons would not cause trouble for the citizens of the three areas. The situation depends upon the amount of rainfall and the period of time in which the rainfall takes place.
Danger levels of key dams in the area
Chikloli : 48 metres
Barvi : 65 metres
Barrage Dam : 19.20 metres
|2007-07-07||Workers ofclosed IDI Company want relief |
It's more than two-and-a-half years since the IDI company in Ulhasnagar was closed down. At the time of closure around 1600 persons were working with the company and almost of all of them are still unemployed. Many of the workers are under depression and worrying about their childrenâ€™s future. Under stress, two workers also committed suicide.
There were 1500 permanent employees 400 temporary workers with the company. In 2001 the company declared that it was bankrupt and retrenched many workers. Many workers who were getting a salary of Rs 20,000 a month were cut short to monthly emolument of Rs 3,000.
The employees were not even receiving the reduced salaries in time. In 2005, the company was completely closed and the salaries were stopped. Soon, many workers living in the company quarters left in the look out of better prospects.
However, 60 of them who had no other shelter to go, continued to remain in the quarters. The electricity and water supply was cut off almost two years back. Ever since they are living without water and electricity supply and are waiting for their dues to be paid.
Dilip Wadkar, a worker says, "I worked with the company for 25 years as a electrician. I was drawing a salary of around Rs 20,000. After the closure of the company, my entire life has changed. Now I am working on a salary of Rs 1500 as a security guard. I am waiting for the company to pay my dues."
Gopal Shetty another worker says, "I worked as a helper of 22 years. I am just living for my children otherwise its not worth living." R K Bang, a worker from the Research and Development department of the defunct company says, "For 25 years I worked in the research and development department. But now I am in a pathetic state."
The children of these workers have left their education and have taken up jobs to support their families. Janaksingh, one of them studying for SSC has now taken up job in a company at Kurla. Darshana Wadekar, another student in her second year of graduation has taken up a part time job.
Prashant Shetty, is studying in 9th standard and recollects his old days. "We all are in trouble since the company shut down. Earlier every year we used to get new books, raincoats, and umbrellas at the time of school reopening. Now my parents are unable to afford the cost of our basi education. My father works at two different places to cope with the expenses."
|2007-07-01||Ghost Of Demolition Dogs Ulhasnagar Once Again|
Thousands of illegal buildings in Ulhasnagar are once again faced with the prospects of demolition by the UMC. The corporation has made its stand clear on the subject and the ball is now in the court of the citizens of such buildings who have been given little time to respond.
The ghost of demolition surfaced recently after the UMC issued notices in a section of the local media calling upon the occupants and owners of illegal structures to begin process for regularization of their structures. The notices have also called upon the building owners whose proposals have been rejected to file their objections within 40 days.
Similarly the UMC administration has also called upon the owners and occupants of illegal buildings whose proposals for regularization have been accepted, to pay the directed penalty amount to the competent authority within seven days. The respondents have been warned of initiation of suitable action if they failed to comply with the directives.
It may be noted that there are over 1.5 lakh illegal properties in UMC limits out of which only 20,764 property owners have applied for regularization under the special act of the corporation. Out of this only 1629 have successfully completed the process. These owners have been directed to pay the amount of penalty immediately and 94 of them have complied with the directives so far.
The competent authority has however rejected the applications of 286 illegal structure owners on various grounds.
The demolition fear of the occupants and owners of such structures has reached the sky after news of a high level meeting taking place between the state chief secretary, urban development department, the UMC commissioner and SDO Ulhasnagar in Mantralaya recently. The meeting reportedly reviewed the process of regularization of illegal structures of Ulhasnagar in the wake of the Mumbai High court directives and the UMC has been directed to act tough with those not using the last opportunity given to them.
The event is significant in the wake of the fact that the deadline of 18 months given by the High Court for the regularization of such structures is due to expire on July 15. The citizens for whom the rules have been relaxed have got the last chance to save their illegal buildings from UMC bull dozers but very few of them have realized the gravity of the situation.
|2007-07-01||All 3 floor on fire at Ulhasnagar 4 OT section|
The fire brigade personnel from the suburbs had to remain on their toes on Tuesday (June 26) late evening after a fire broke out in a market place at Kalyan and in a shop at Ulhasnagar. In Kalyan the fire broke out at ’Chirag Shoes’ at Mohammed Ali Chowk in Laxmi Market. According to fire officer Prabhakar Jagdale, the fire started around 10 pm. About 18 fire vans were pressed into service for several hours to quench the fire.
In Ulhasnagar the fire broke out at 11 pm, at Jai Mata Di electronics shop. This ground plus two storey shop caught fire when the firemen was busy dousing the fire in Kalyan. By 1.30 am, next morning, the fire brigade was able to bring the raging fire under control. Fire station officer R S Gite informed that three fire vans were used along with eight tankers of water to douse the fire.
(Inputs by Santosh Shinde)