Mumbai:Building on forest land stayed


       No Constructions Will Be Allowed On The Plots, Advocate-General Informs High Court  

      TIMES NEWS NETWORK  Mumbai: The government on Wednesday informed the high court that it will not act on the issue of private forest land for 12 weeks. 
  

       Allaying fears of an immediate fallout of the high court judgment upholding the state government’s claim over huge swathes of private forest land in the city, the advocate-general on Wednesday informed the HC that it will “not act for 12 weeks’’ on the changed entries or notices that declared the land as private forest. But he also said no new constructions will be permitted on any of the said plots that are vested with the state.
          The builders and resident welfare associations, whose petitions were dismissed by the HC, have three months to move the Supreme Court in appeal. The developers had sought a stay on the HC order.
          Declining a stay, the bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari recorded the advocate-general’s statement that no action would be taken in the next three months.
         Though unspecified, this means that there will be no initiation of demolition proceedings, but no construction will be permitted either. So, projects that have been partially sanctioned by the BMC will also not be allowed to get off the ground.
         Senior counsel Janak Dwarakadas, who represented a builder, asked the court to allow construction to commence on projects where the BMC had given commencement certificates (CC). Not accepting the plea, the court said all CCs have been rendered void after the judgment.
   The HC order has declared nearly 900 acres of land in and around Mumbai as private forest land. As these are reserved forests, no construction can be carried out on them.
            All existing structures on the forest land have been declared “encroachments’’ by the HC order.
         While passing its landmark judgment on Monday, the court had significantly held that the “state cannot be prevented from taking further steps to safeguard and protect private forests.’’
         The court further said, “If the state desires not to allow any encroachment on reserve forests, then we cannot, in any manner, prevent it from doing so. As held by the Supreme Court, these are matters of larger public interest. If larger public interest is going to be subserved by protecting and safeguarding forest wealth, greenery and (the) environment, then the petitioner cannot complain.’’
         In its 155-page judgment, the court found no merit in the petitioners’ stand that the land, for which a showcause notice was served 50 years ago to declare them as private forests, can no longer be treated as forest land as the plots were subsequently declared fit for residential/industrial or commercial use.
         In a warning, the court also said, “The lapses, omissions or commissions on (the) part of government officers’’ would not affect the legal status of the private forests.

Andher Nagari : Mumbai Police & Judiciary


100 court hearings & 14 years later, man walks free in 1 hour  

      Rukmini Shrinivasan | TNN  Mumbai:

       The much-hyped but much-delayed special courts, which the government set up last year to try 1992-93 riots cases, disposed of the first case on Tuesday—a man accused of stealing two cans of groundnut oil 14 years ago was acquitted. Metropolitan magistrate R C Bapat Sarkar took a little over an hour to acquit Abdul Ghaffar, whose case was one of the “priority’’ cases especially chosen by the government to be tried in the new courts.
           Ghaffar (45), a sherbet seller on Mohammed Ali Road, was arrested by the Pydhonie police in May 1993 for “breaking into’’ and “stealing’’ two cans of oil from a godown near his house in December 1992, an offence registered by the Dongri police.
   

        “Dozens of us were rounded up during those days and charged with offences ranging from theft to murder depending on our ‘look’,’’ Ghaffar said during a break from work at his house near Suleman Usman Bakery. “I was in custody for two-and-a-half months. They beat me up and tortured me in ways that I cannot tell you,’’ he added.
         

       Charged under Sections 380 (robbery) and 454 (trespass) of the IPC, Ghaffar’s trial began at the Mazgaon magistrate’s court and has seen 100 hearings. “My date would come up every two weeks. I’d go to court, sign my name, and then be told that the case was adjourned. I’d return home by evening, a day’s earnings lost,’’ said Ghaffar. 
   

       For the last two years, there was no hearing and Ghaffar was told by the police that his case had been put in the dormant file. Then, a few days ago, he got summons asking him to appear in a new magistrate’s court at Fort, he said.

Cops had no proof to link Ghaffar with theft

       Mumbai: With no lawyer, sherbet seller Abdul Ghaffar, who has been acquitted of the charge of stealing two cans of groundnut oil 14 years ago, sat in the courtroom all of Tuesday morning.
          Human rights activist and lawyer Shakil Ahmed of Nirbhay Bano Andolan, which seeks justice for riots victims, had dropped in at the courtroom to see which of the specially selected cases was going on.
          “While the real culprits—politicians and policemen—escape prosecution, ordinary people like Ghaffar have been made to do the rounds of courts for 14 years for minor offences and with no evidence,’’ said Ahmed.
          The lawyer then read the case papers and argued Ghaffar’s case before magistrate Bapat Sarkar.
          Of the three witnesses on record, two were cops and the third—the pancha—said in his statement that he did not know why the police had caught him and that he knew nothing about the case.
          The police had no evidence to link Ghaffar to the two cans they claimed to have recovered. The magistrate acquitted him.
          “I’m just glad that it’s all over. We never wanted to get mixed up with the police. We are only concerned about our family and giving our four children a good education,’’ said Naseem, Ghaffar’s wife
rukmini.shrinivasan@timesgroup.com  

Gujarat: Provident Fund Office:Man strips to get PF money


Man strips to get PF money


       VADODARA: A 41-year-old man, tired of running from pillar to post for his provident fund (PF), took Gandhigiri to new heights on Wednesday morning. Just like a character in Lage Raho Munnabhai, he stripped in the PF office at Akota to register his protest. The ploy worked. Senior officials have also suspended a clerk for delays and promised him the money before April 15.

       Indravadan Patel had been coming from Atali village to the PF office since January for his Rs 50,000. But officials would ask him to come back another day with one document or another. Patel claimed that an employee had asked for Rs 1,000 bribe which he paid after borrowing from a friend.

      “When I came to submit a form to redeem the money on January 1, I was asked to submit birth certificates of my sons. I submitted them on January 3 and was assured that I would get the money on February 2,” said an agitated Patel, who worked for nine years in a private firm in Karjan that shut down last year.

      “On February 22, my application was rejected. It was sent back to the company which revised the form and returned it to the PF office again. I was then asked to submit my wife’s birth certificate, bank statement and experience certificate.” On Tuesday evening he was told to come on April 10. By then, Patel had lost his patience. He came to the PF office on Wednesday and stripped down to his underwear.

       “I had to sell my wife’s jewellery and borrow money to sustain my family. These people have no heart.” He admitted that he was not only inspired by Munnabhai but also Pooja Chauhan, the woman in Rajkot who had stripped and walked the streets in Rajkot to protest.

      The police have booked him for indecency in public but Patel has filed a police complaint against PF officials for mental harassment.

       Regional PF officer MP Sinha immediately suspended clerk Nagendra Kumar. “His claim is due for settlement before April 15. I will ensure that he gets his dues,” he said.

RTI: Delhi Police reluctant to give information


          RTI: Delhi Police must realise times are changing.

Ed

        Delhi Police demands Rs 24,500 for answering RTI question

          The Right to Information ( RTI) Act, enforced in 2005 to ensure transparency in the government’s functioning, is now being “ misused” by the Delhi Police as a way of making quick money.

      Reena Banerjee, director of Nav Shrishti, a Delhi- based NGO working for child and women’s rights, was in for a rude shock when she filed an RTI application with the Delhi Police asking for details of children who went missing or were kidnapped in the Capital last December.

         The NGO received a letter from Delhi West and South West district police, which stated that she could get the relevant information if she coughed up Rs 12,224 for each district. According to RTI rules, an applicant needs to shell out no more than Rs 2 per page — if at all the applicant has asked for photocopies of certain documents.

       Banerjee said, “ Why should the police demand an unreasonable amount to part with information, which the Centre is supposed to provide free of cost to its citizens?”

        According to the Delhi Police’s reply to Banerjee’s RTI application, “ A sub- inspector at Rs 773 per day for a day, a head constable at Rs 451 per day for a day and 13 constables at Rs 425 per day for two days would be needed for the information to be gathered.”

        The total amounted to Rs 12, 224 for each of the two districts. She has now complained to the Central Information Commission ( CIC), the supreme authority looking after the RTI, and is waiting for a response. Deputy commissioner of police ( South West District) Shalini Singh said: “ The information the applicant had asked for is not readily available with us and will require many policemen to work in tandem. We had to ask for extra charges, and a breakup of the cost was given to the applicant in writing.”

        She said the department had no problem giving out information that are “ readily available” at respective police stations without extra charge. Santosh Jha, an RTI activist of Parivartan, an organisation working to ensure just, transparent and accountable governance, said demanding money to provide information under the RTI was “ unlawful”.

        “ We have come across several cases in other states as well where the Public Information Officer ( PIO) has demanded money to give information.

        It is illegal. According to the RTI Act, all information is to be provided free of cost to the citizens, regardless of how much staff is required to collect the data and how much time it takes,” Jha said.

       rohit. wadhwaney@ mailtoday. in

Pl also see

2008-02-05
9:04:44 pm
RTI: Harassment of Activists Andher Nagari, Bad Governance
2008-02-05
8:12:19 pm
RTI:Department of Personnel abets denial of info Andher Nagari, Bad Governance,
2008-01-12
8:15:33 am
Top RTI defaulter MCD to pay Rs 2 lakh fine
2007-12-27
6:12:20 pm
RTI : Delhi Police Attempts to Scuttle Bad Governance,

Andher Nagari: Mumbai: BMC misleads flat owners


What is happening in Mumbai?

       Government and land sharks rule the roost.

        Citizens mislead regarding legality of possession.Can they be evicted and lose their flats? 

      Mumbai HC blow to 1.75L owners of flats built on forest land

 Prafulla Marpakwar | TNN   Mumbai:

       The Bombay high court on Monday dismissed some leading developers’ petitions challenging the stop-work notice issued to them by the BMC for constructing flats on private forest land in blatant violation of the Forest Conservation Act. 
   

         The immediate impact of the court order will be felt by an estimated 1 lakh flat owners as well as people who have paid for approximately 75,000 flats under construction on private forest land in the Bhandup-Mulund-Thane and Borivli-Kandivli belts.
  

         The stringent Forest Conservation Act bans nonforest activity on private forest land. ‘‘The fate of people who own these flats or have bought under-construction flats now hangs in the balance.

       The only option they now have is to approach the Supreme Court. We, on our part, plan to submit a remedial plan to the apex court to protect innocent persons who may have bought flats being constructed on this land,’’ a senior forest official told TOI.
  

       The issue of private forest land was first taken up by the Bombay Environmental Action Group, which filed a petition, prompting the high court to ask the government to submit revenue records of private forest land. The forest department told the BMC and all district collectors to take action according to Forest Conservation Act provisions after the exercise was over.
   

        Stop-work notices were soon served on people indulging in non-forest activity (construction) on private forest land. This, in turn, prompted a section of leading builders to move the high court, which stayed the BMC order.
   

       The forest department subsequently filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. But the apex court sent back the SLP to the high court, saying it should be disposed of within a specific deadline

Mobile Phone Company: Customers say Poor Service


From: Shiv Lal Watwani
Dated: 24 March 08,15-40Hrs
Dear Sir/Madam,

I bought  a Prepaid mobile connection   ( Phone No. 9958046738 ) with a FM  Mobile set  of Heier about 4-5 months back. On Box supplied to me, boldly reads/says that Prepaid connection has validity of Two years & Customer will be given FREE Airtel to Airtel talk time of Rs1699/- for two years. No other terms & conditions  which i narrate below are listed on the Box.

I feel hardly I used this  FREE Airtel to Airtel service for about Rs100/- to  Rs 150/-   & about a fortnight back the balance was still reading in this category for about Rs300/- at my credit & all of a sudden this also vanished. I was expecting more talktime balance from Rs1699/- will be shortly added but its going to be a fortnight & not a Penny has been added by Airtel from their promised/mentioned Rs 1699/- Package.

Customer service is another Useless service of Airtel. Despite requesting for talkking to Customer service officer, The Helpline will pretend that my request for Customer Service has not been understood. I think more than a Dozen time I hv  dialled Customer Service but same fate.

Seems airtel feels that its easy way to make bucks by cheating customer. I feel ultimately due to this poor Service & not honouring the promised things, Airtel will loose Customer  business/network.

While I was at the shop from where I bought the connection &  Mobile set box, another customer by name Dr J L Azad, aged about 85 years also came complaining that without his using the Mobile phone number 9971383973, balance is getting reduced daily.

Today at that shop, ultimately yr customer service number 121 worked  & both of us could talk to Customer Service officer but his reply was that system is down & he can not confirm to the requested answers. Our requesting him to note down our numbers & confirm the reasons, he even did not take this request. Yr this service also need improvements.

On my phone I keep on receiving unwanted SMS & promotional phone calls throughout day from Airtel & its franchisees & disturbing we old Sr citizen. Such SMS/Phone calls be stopped immediately from number.

You can well understand the plight of Customer. Put yourself  in the position/shoes  of a Customer & tell me what will be yr reaction.

Please reply to the my & Dr Azad’s problems on my mail Id or phone numbers  Immediately.

If nothing satisfactory is heard in 48 hours, I will forward my complaint to TRAI, Ministry of Telecommunication, My E-mail Id network of 500 friends/ relatives, Newspapers/Press, legal agencies etc to apprise them how AIRTEL is cheating  & harassing its customers.

Regards.
Shiv Lal Watwani
Ohones: 9958046738 / 9818932131/26171135

Holi Week end: Thirteen lives lost in accidents


new-picture.pngExtracts fro TOI

Two Accidents On DND Claim 6 Lives  

TIMES NEWS NETWORK  New Delhi: In a tragic aftermath of Holi revelry, a series of accidents across the city on the weekend left 13 people dead and many injured. The scene of the largest number of deaths was the DND flyway, where a deadly cocktail of alcohol and speed snuffed out six lives and left 10 people injured in two accidents. 

   In other major accidents, an tempo overturned near Punjabi Bagh, killing four people and an accident involving a top PSU official’s car at Moti Bagh left two people injured.
  

        In the first of the two accidents that took place on DND in a span of an hour, a minitruck loaded with CNG cylinders rammed the railing and overturned. The gas cylinders immediately caught fire leading to three deaths and severe burns to six people. The driver of the truck, who police officers say was drunk, is absconding.
        

       The occupants were young joyriders and all of them were drunk, police said. 

        According to police, after the Holi celebrations, the driver of the minitruck had offered a ride to the youngsters.

Tragic mix of alcohol & speed on Holi

2pm:
Minitruck overturns; 3 killed, 6 injured on DND

2.55pm:
Autorickshaw collides with Maruti Swift; 3 dead, 4 injured on DND

10pm:
Woman dies after being hit by a scooter at Nand Nagri

11.30pm:
Biker killed as he hits divider at Shakarpur

3am (March 23):

Motorcycle with three riders hits divider at Kalyanpuri; one rider dies

4am:

4 killed and 4 injured when a minitruck overturns on Punjabi Bagh flyover

8am:
Two injured as a PSU CMD’s Baleno hits a Honda City car at Moti Bagh
Car occupants were drunk, suggests medical report


       Two of the youths, who had hitched a ride on a truck that overturned on DND flyway on Saturday, as well as its driver were sitting in front while the rest were sitting on the 35-odd CNG cylinders stacked at the back of the truck. 
  

        As the loop joining Sarai Kale Khan to Maharani Bagh was closed after the accident, an autorickshaw which entered the wrong lane collided head on with a car which was going towards Noida. Three occupants of the autorickshaw died, while three people who were inside the Maruti Swift were injured. 
 

         The auto driver Shailendra (34); Raghubir Singh (32), of Sarai Kale Khan; and Raghubir’s brother, Azad Singh (30), died in the accident. Ravindra, who was also in the auto, was injured. ‘‘We had planned Holi celebrations and my brothers were going to buy meat,’’ said Mukesh, another brother of Raghubir who worked as an MCD sweeper.

 

         According to police, the car had three occupants

         All three are engineers working with an MNC in Noida and were returning after playing Holi with friends in Delhi. All three have been admitted to Kailash Hospital in Noida. ‘‘They are still unfit for statement but their medico-legal report suggests they were drunk,’’ said the police. 

      According to police officers, the autopsy of Raghubir and Azad shows they were not drunk.
   Of the first accident on DND, police said, ‘‘While negotiating the loop on the Ashram side, the minitruck hit the railings and overturned. The CNG caught fire. Santosh and Vipin’s uncle Bharat Thakur said, ‘‘We will demand compensation from the minitruck owner.’’

      

      Despite repeated efforts, the Noida Toll Bridge Company, which runs DND flyway, could not be reached for comments.
   toireporter@timesgroup.com