Even before Mumbaikars could rejoice the drop in temperatures and enjoy a few days of rains, tragedy has already struck the city cracking under bad governance, over population and perhaps truck load of shit luck. Ten people, including children, succumbed in the first building collapse of this monsoon. It has been a routine for people to stay on in dilapidated, cessed buildings primarily due to lack of any other options and brave each monsoon with a prayer in their hearts. Rain seems to have made its intentions clear—a record rainfall for the month of June already. Trains have stopped in their tracks, traffic has snarled and how. And we still don’t know of any significant rainwater harvesting that will help the city or state in a significant way. What we don’t want is any story on spirit of the city. You don’t call a daily fight for survival—in trains, in houses, on roads, a spirited existence, do you?
That Maharashtra, especially Marathwada, has been through the worst of droughts is pretty known. Now what is new is the Rs 60,000 crore plan to make Maharashtra drought-free. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced to the press earlier this week that the government has built more than1400 check dams as part of a three-phase project in districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Osmanabad. It is a three year long project and he has urged the centre to fund 50% of costs. Now that it has rained, one hopes that the plans are not washed away until the state faces water shortage next summer.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s reshuffle in the state cabinet is said to be a signal to his party workers—a signal that is loud and clear about who is the boss. While critics are wondering why the major tainted ministers have been retained, sympathisers are talking about how the new ministers will help a facelift. He may have done it with an eye on 2014 general elections. It's not just the NCP, every party is starting to prepare. The parties are trying to go solo, forge new alliances and maintain existing ones—all at the same time—analysts say it is very hard to tell if NCP’s reshuffle can actually have that kind of long term impact. Congress has clarified that they see no reason to go for a reshuffle just because their partner has.
Jiah Khan’s suicide case has taken a significant turn after a six-page letter, reportedly written by her detailing her decision to end her life, was submitted to the cops. The Mumbai police have arrested Suraj Pancholi, actor Aditya Pancholi’s son. They have questioned Aditya as well. Although reams were written about the harsh industry, her flagging career and work-related frustration, her family is keen to send out a message that it was not her failures in career that consumed her but her traumatic affair with Sooraj.
Friday the 7th, turned out to be a happy one for Class X students in Maharashtra. Compared to last year’s results, there was a whopping 27% increase in those scoring above 90%. One wonders if the higher percentage indicates better education and higher knowledge. Because Maharashtra also scored the worst/least in the first-ever National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical entrance. The exam which was held for the first time for medical admissions after Class XII, was said to be hard to crack. Although the state had highest number of applicants, less than 35% made the cut.
Sachin, for MARD
Many celebrities have voiced their opinions on violence against women but Farhan Akhtar, son of Javed Akhtar, who himself is vocal on several issues, has gone a step further. He has launched MARD, Men Against Rape and Discrimination and has roped none other than Sachin Tendulkar to lend his voice for a recitation of a poem. The poem, penned by Javed Akhtar, will be translated in multiple languages and Sachin will recite the Marathi translation. Since the objective of women’s equality seems like a real herculean task, any effort, big or small, is most welcome.