The unseasonal rains may have created some chill in the air, reduced Mumbaikars’ envy for Delhi and even prompted many tipplers to go for those rum-wala nights. But, they brought bad news on mango front. First the winter, so important for mango foliage, has set in late. Then came the rains causing enough concern among mango growers in the neighbouring Konkan. The concern is about the destruction of the crop. It may always be easy to blame the government for everything that goes wrong. But there is little that any government can do when the nature pays havoc. But the Fadnavis government has yet another challenge coming with farmers from Konkan too knocking his doors for financial help as the initial estimates say the loss to mango cultivation could be in the range of Rs 750 crores. The issue is bound to be raised in the winter session of the legislature.
Another piece of disturbing news from the neighbourhood is that the Expressway has some unsafe points where highway robbers pounce on unsuspecting motorists. Some private vehicle drivers who pick up passengers also seem to falling into the trap of robbers. For instance, a group of four got into an SUV and Kalamboli and they asked the driver to halt on the roadside near Khopoli on the pretext of answering nature’s call. Then they looted the driver, threw him out of the vehicle and sped away. Reports of looting have come in from the Pune end of the Expressway, too. Motorists themselves need to be extra watchful since one cannot expect the highway police to escort each and every vehicle.
RFID for garbage bins: The bad news about the mounting garbage in the streets of Navi Mumbai may soon be a thing of the past, or at least the NMMC hopes so. In a first, the civic body has decided to use high-tech to monitor garbage disposal by contractors by installing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) chips on garbage bins. This will help the NMMC control room to check if the bins are being cleared at 8-hour intervals. NMMC Standing Committee has also cleared the enhanced budget of Rs 54.79 crore for garbage disposal after much delay and dispute. The garbage will be used for a landfill site at Turbhe.
The much promised and delayed proposal for granting an enhanced FSI for redevelopment of 30-year old buildings in Vashi and Nerul is being revived now by BJP MLA Manda Mhatre. Since the BJP-Shiv Sena government is ruling the State, Manda is quite confident of finding a solution to the issue of dilapidated buildings – something the Congress-NCP alliance could not do. Families living under dangerous conditions are now fed up of series of promises and they expect some quick action. Remember, NCP MLA Sandeep Naik has also requested Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to address the issue on an urgent basis?
Manda, a former corporator, has also raised several civic issues with NMMC Commissioner Abasaheb Jarhad, and complained against the appalling quality of ‘khichdi’ being served to at civic schools as mid-day meals. What is even more interesting is that she promised keep monitoring the issues that she raises.
Down with nigh gown? Moral policing by a women’s forum at Gothivli near Airoli by banning night gowns has caused quite a flutter in the area and media. Indrayani Mahila Mandal has last week put up sign boards sating that wearing of maxis amounts to indecent behaviour and warned of a penalty of Rs 500 for violation of this fatwa which was subsequently withdrawn. But the migrant women here say they live in fear as some miscreants may misuse the dictat. Police on their part removed the boards that cause nuisance and held peace meetings to infuse confidence among women.
Adivashi has recently raised an alarm against the rising number of deaths on the railway tracks due to the people recklessly crisp-crossing. Now the police tell us that as many as 59 bodies of the 194 deaths reported on the tracks have not yet been identified.
As per the laid down procedures, the police perform the last rites on bodies after waiting for ten days for the kin to claim. Many may not be aware that the police post the photographs of the bodies on www.cr.indianrailways.gov.in. Most accidents have been reported along tracks, parallel to the Thane-Belapur road, as people tend to cross the rails. Doesn’t this call for foot-over bridges at prominent points? Hope the MP and MLA are listening.
This is the 97th in a series on Navi Mumbai by veteran media professional B N Kumar, a long time resident of Mumbai’s twin city. He can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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