The power tariff promise by AAP in Delhi has truly rattled the ‘veteran’ Congress Party, even though they may profess otherwise. So much so that Maharashtra government declared a 15-20% cut in power tariff for industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic (less than 300 units per month) purposes. There were protests, which went unheard I guess, in September 2013 when the rates were hiked. Now the government has decided to bear a burden of Rs 606 crore per month (total burden is 706 crore) to facilitate this relief. However, this bonus does not include Mumbai yet, which may only be a matter of time considering elections are also only a matter-of-time away. In any case, Kejriwal who was last night freezing on Delhi roads in winter must be feeling warm and fuzzy. After all imitation is the best form of flattery no?
Anuhya Esther, a sprightly girl all of 23, who worked at Tata Consultancy services in Mumbai far away from home in Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh went missing on January 4. She had boarded a train from Vishakhapatanam for Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kurla. Twelve days after she went missing from the station, her half burnt and decomposed body was found in nearby suburb. While the distraught family is upset with the Mumbai police because they had filed a missing complaint on January 5 itself, the cops are trying to trace her cell phone locations. Last found at Kamathipura on January 9, speculation about an autodriver’s involvement is rife. A city that continues to get more unsafe by the day has lost another girl, once again.
Routine No More?
Accidents on railway track are the most common in Mumbai. Stories about not getting treatment on time are common too. However, a recent case where a young college girl Monica More lost both her hands after she fell into the gap between platform and train seems to have stirred the officials and the citizens. Heart-wrenching accounts of Monica not getting help in time, that would have helped the doctors to stitch back her arms, and how two strangers took her to a hospital in an auto rickshaw, has created furore among people. Unfortunately, there were two more cases (one resulting in death) following Monica’s mishap and the Bombay High Court took suo motu cognizance of the matter and asked the railway authorities to reply to a notice that asks them why nothing has been done to prevent such accidents. The chief minister also declared a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Monica. However, as she recuperates in KEM Hospital, nothing can console her about the loss of both her hands.
Back to Classroom
This diary last week reported on how professor Neeraj Hatekar and his students refused to give up their fight against his arbitrary suspension. The university finally buckled under the pressure and revoked the suspension. However, revocation came only after the governor himself intervened and asked the defiant vice chancellor Rajan Velukar to solve the matter amicably. Shiv Sena’s youth leader Aditya Thackeray too met Hatekar Sir, upping the pressure on the other side. However, Hatekar himself is rather understated about it all and told the media that he will continue to raise issues about everything that is not right with the university. His 16-point fight continues with the officials and so does a departmental enquiry.
Stampede and Scrutiny
What can be more tragic than 18 people, a child included, losing their lives for paying tribute to their beloved religion head? But within couple of days after 52nd Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin passed away at ripe age of 102 at Saifee Mahal in Malabar Hills, where thousands and lakhs turned up for his deedar and funeral procession, the blame game has started. Many people, who participated in the procession, blame the mosque officials and the police, who failed to anticipate the crowd and the police in turn blame a text message that was circulated. The message apparently said that the body was to be kept for the last glimpse till the following morning, resulting in crowds making their way to his palatial house. Now the crime branch of Mumbai police is to look into the case and investigate if the disaster could have been averted at all. The officials from the Raudat Tahera Mausoleum are hoping to avert another disaster in the making. After announcing Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as the 53rd Dai, Syedna Burhanuddin’s younger brother Syedna Qutbuddin staked claim to the seat/position and said he is the real 53rd Syedna. Swift action of boycott is expected but that will still leave the million-strong close knit community at least a little divided and largely disappointed.
The Pune police, under fire for several months for not being able to crack the murder of anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar may just have something to smile about. They have arrested two persons, Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwal, for illegally supplying fire arms. Dabholkar was killed in August 2013 when he was out on his morning walk. His family and the Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti activists and social activists across Maharashtra have been demanding investigation and prosecution in the case. However, whether the arrest of these two, who are already booked for several other cases, will actually help trace the mastermind and the attacker, we do not know. In the meanwhile, the anti-superstition ordinance that was passed in the winter session in December 2013 is now being used to catch tantriks and babas indulging in human sacrifice etc.
Reminding us of the horror of INS Sindhurakshak, another kilo-class submarine ran aground near naval headquarters in Mumbai. However, there was no loss of life or damage to property. After few hours the submarine was successfully re-floated and taken to its anchor. Initial reports indicate that the submarine, which was returning from a mission, ran aground because of low tide and high accumulation of silt near the harbour. There may be issues related to dredging but experts are relieved that it turned out to be a minor affair as opposed to the INS Sindhurakshak tragedy that claimed 18 lives in August last year. Defence minister A K Antony will soon receive a report of enquiry.
Mumbai Marathon, an increasingly popular event on city’s calendar had many things to cheer about. A record 39000 plus participated with Kenyan runners leading the pack, as usual. However, nearly 3000 landed in hospital because of several health scares ranging from minor cramps, exhaustion to heart attacks. Two remain critical and are under observation. A city where the work-life pace barely leaves any time (or space) to practise and train for a gruelling event like this, it is still encouraging to see so many give it their best shot for causes that are dear to them. Clearly, pushing your limit is a great cause too.