Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NMMT talks tough with defiant BEST

On being denied permission to park the newly-launched air-conditioned bus at the Bandra terminus by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) authorities have sent a strongly-worded letter to the BEST stating that the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) may be forced to take some stringent steps in this regard.Calling BEST their 'Big Brother', NMMT authorities are requesting BEST officials to consider the matter carefully or else be prepared to face the music.BEST had refused to allow NMMT bus number 105, an air-conditioned Volvo from entering the Bandra Terminus last week.Sasi Damodaran, a member of the transport body said, "We consider them our elder brother and hence don't want this issue to escalate. We have sent them a letter pointing that all these years, NMMC has paid for all the maintenance costs of the bus terminals in Navi Mumbai and never demanded any costs from BEST. Also, we did not demand any permission from BEST to ply their buses in the city. On the contrary, we have welcomed them. So why are they giving us such step-treatment?"He further said that NMMT is facing loss of revenue as the new buses are being denied permission in to the Bandra terminus and are being asked to park at a corner. "We were expecting huge revenue from these new buses, but passengers will never come to know of this new service if the buses are parked in some corner. We are giving them sufficient time to contemplate on the matter, but if they do not reconsider, we too will be forced to take some extreme step and ask BEST to seek our permission to enter Navi Mumbai. We don't want passengers to suffer in this conflict," he pointed out.NMMT procured these five new Volvo buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and launched them on the Belapur-Bandra route after a grand inauguration ceremony held last week.In the past too, BEST had opposed NMMT's plans to launch bus service to the island city.When contacted, General Manager of BEST Uttam Khobragade said he couldn't speak as he was out of country. BEST has been accused of unfair play by its counterparts outside Mumbai in the past as well. A BEST official replied that BEST was operating buses as a favour to the satellite city whereas Navi Mumbai buses have no business entering Mumbai.Meanwhile, commuters opined that the travelling facility should not be affected by this 'stupid' fight between transport bodies.NMMT's AC bus service to Mumbai has straightaway run into rough weather, thanks to BEST.

Rs52cr children's park for Nerul

Jogging track, playing area, science centre, swimming pool, mini train, the park will have it all
If everything goes according to Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation's (NMMC) plans, Nerul will get its own children's park spread across 10.45 hectors (1,04,500 sqm) within a couple of years at sector 19A. NMMC has passed a proposal of construction of this park in the General Body meeting held on Monday at NMMC headquarters, Belapur. The project is estimated to cost over Rs 52.06 crore."This project will be a landmark of the city. This park will comprise all the facilities which the residents of the node have been awaiting for," stated corporator Rajendra Ithape, Nerul.The park will be constructed on the lines of Ratho Park of Amsterdam. "I have personally visited this park and wish to have such parks in our city, too," added Ithape. He also grieved about the city for not having a single recreational centre with international standard. "Navi Mumbai has many shopping malls, but these malls don't belong to the corporation. If we have very good recreational centres, people would definitely love to spend their good time there," opined Ithape.The park will have jogging track, yoga centre, picnic lawn, seating arrangements, garden furniture, play materials for children, skating track, swimming pool, tree house, mini toy train, rock climbing zone, Amphitheatre, party lawn, wedding lawn, statues, lotus bridge, fountains, river, bridges, 50m-tall stainless steal statue, car parking, sewage line, security home, food court, restaurants and Science centre. Of the above mentioned sum Rs 31 crore will be spent on Science centre, food court and restaurant, while the rest will be spent on other facilities."We are trying to include maximum recreational and sporting facilities under one roof through this park. This park will bring Nerul on international map. Navi Mumbai needs to have its uniqueness, and this is the beginning of it," Ithape concluded. Meanwhile, residents in the node are a happy lot, since their long-pending demand is seeing the lights, finally.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Expand the road from CBD-Vashi

Navi Mumbai is a heaven on earth. Broad roads, greenery all along the roads, neat and clean atmosphere and fresh air gives you pleasure of living in a happy way. But the condition of roads is bad with lot of potholes and needs repairs at the earliest. Perhaps, the flyover connecting Palm Beach Road can solve the problem partially. Both Dahi Handi and Ganpati festivals are celebrated in a grand way and occupy the roads. Better sense should prevail without blocking the roads. Again, the road after Konkan Bhavan in Belapur leading to Sion is very narrow and the traffic gets held up. After coming through the Expressway with a speed, you are compelled to go snail's pace once you cross Belapur towards Vashi. The bottleneck is to be cleared by widening the road to the maximum and the curve should be straightened as far possible by drilling the mountains. It is high time traffic should move smooth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NMMT starts AC buses to Bandra

Although rains played a spoilsport, the inauguration ceremony of the first batch of five Volvo buses at Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport's (NMMT) Turbhe depot on Tuesday proved to be a hit. The ceremony was not only attended by State Excise and Environment Minister Ganesh Naik but even MLC Manda Mhatre braved the rains and potholed roads to attend the function along with State Transport Commissioner Deepak Kapoor and many other dignitaries.
NMMT's foray into Mumbai marks a new chapter in the history of the Corporation, said Naik while appreciating the efforts of all the officials who made this happen in spite of stiff opposition from certain sectors. Like AC buses, Naik urged officials from Volvo to supply non-AC buses too to cater to the poor.
The newly-inaugurated air-conditioned buses will operate between CBD-Belapur and Bandra covering a total distance of 33.5 kms within 85-90 minutes. The frequency of the buses will be 18 minutes and the fare is Rs 45.
Stressing on the need to maintain strict safety and cleanliness levels for these buses, Kapoor requested NMMT officials to form a separate cell to look after the maintenance and safety of Volvo buses in order to cater to the extremely sophisticated market in Mumbai. "Keeping the future growth of Navi Mumbai, the proposed airport and other projects in mind, NMMT must start operating these buses from Navi Mumbai to Santacruz to connect the two airports and tap this profitable market before others do. Such a service will also help boost weekend tourism in the city," he said.
Kapoor also urged officials to reduce 'turn around time' for better efficiency and reliability. "Passengers will suffer in case of monopoly. Do not give your competitors such a chance and offer best service," he added.
Akash Passey, MD of Volvo Buses India Pvt Ltd said, "The fare is only 25 to 30 per cent higher than ordinary buses. The emissions are much lower. Taking all the advantages in to consideration, I will say the buses are apt for travel within city and will help bring down congestion as commuters will not mind leaving their cars and bikes behind to travel by this bus." He added, "Earlier, the focus was only on Metro Rail but the authorities now realise that such comfortable, efficient transport system which can run parallel to rail and Metro will help bring down congestion in city." NMMT's Transport Manager Jitendra Papalkar said the NMMT has received the permission to operate another 300 buses on Build Own Operate (BOO) basis.
Passey assured that the remaining 15 Volvo buses too will be delivered by end of July. Formed in 1996, NMMT presently boasts of a fleet of 269 buses and has two depots in Turbhe and Asudgaon. NMMT operates these buses on 39 routes within the city. Work on setting up a CNG pump is presently on at the depot and NMMT hopes to convert all its buses into CNG soon. Later, Naik along with other corporators and staff inaugurated the buses and went on a ride from the depot to NMSA in Vashi.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

City duo undertake community greening task- a weekend feature

At a time when the threat of global warming looms heavily over the city, there are a few residents who have done their bit to conserve nature and maintain the green zone in the city. Meet Maruti Nana Kadam and Sripad Ganpatrao Patki, two residents of Sanpada who have with their will and determination made their vicinity a clean and green zone.

Four years ago when Maruti Naya Kadam planted a few saplings outside his home in Sanpada, his neighbours were skeptical about his intention. Water was in short supply during those days and he used to fill bottles of water to ensure that the plants were well fed. Now, four years later Kadam and the organisation he founded Hariyali Lok Kalyan Seva Samiti have transformed the 50 ft wide and one-and-a-half kilometer long stretch of barren land outside their housing society into the greenest patch not just in Sanpada but in Navi Mumbai with over 6,000 trees. While the tall trees give the area a nice green cover, below their cool shade, you would find patches of medicinal plants. To the visitor, they look like any other foliage, but Kadam will tell you the numerous benefits they have and how people have battled ailments using the right plant. These plants are given free of charge to patients provided the cause is genuine and they know how to use it. And yes, if you want a sapling for your home, Kadam will only be too happy to provide you with one.

Kadam along with his friends stated that everyone should make their surroundings clean and green. Shripad Ganpatrao Patki, an ardent nature lover is not only inspiration for people of his age, but also for youths. The retired assistant general manager from BSNL spends three to fours hours daily watering and nurturing the trees, which he planted in the past five years near his residence after he shifted to Sanpada from Santacruz. The resident of Bhumiraj Abode has developed green belt adjacent to his building by planting as many as 250 trees. Even during summer, Patki ensured that his plants did not dry and die. Patki uses the storm water from nearby drainage to water the trees and uses vermiculture as fertiliser. Patki says he wants to grow as many trees as possible to give it as a gift to the next generation. Today, both the stretch are a fine example of how something barren and bare can be turned into something healthy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MLA Ganesh Naik announced , “Practice examination for Marathi medium SSC students”

With an objective to eliminate the examination fear among students appearing for the forthcoming SSC board examination and to develop confidence within them, Navi Mumbai Shikshan Sankul, in coordination with the NCP, conducted a practice examination in the month of December, especially for the Marathi medium schools.
The innovative practice examination concept of NCP corporator Anant Sutar received an overwhelming response from 48 schools and more than 8,000 students had appeared for the exam, which were conducted at 10 centres across the city.
The results were declared on January 30, and meritorious students from each of the 10 centres were felicitated by the hands of MP and Rajya Sabha member Supriya Sule at a grand function held at Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi.
The top three students in the city were Nilima Khaire of Vivekanand High School, Sanpada, who topped the merit list by scoring 92.30 percent, Harshal Ahire of MGM High School, Nerul, stood second with 91.53 percent and Reshma Hussain Shaikh made it to the third position by securing 91.15 percent.
The other students were bestowed with a trophy and an appreciation certificate. The other first rankers were Akhil Bhavaskar and Shweta Dabetwar, both from Radhikabai Meghe Vidyalay, Airoli, Anamika Bhalerao of Ghansoli High School, Rahul Sawant of R F Naik Vidyalay, Bonkode, Shweta Bargode of Dnyan Vikas Vidyalay, Kopar Khairane, Maynak Mhatre of Navi Mumbai High School, Vashi, Prajakta Gunjal of Vidyabhavan, Nerul, and Avinash Bivalkar of Peoples Education Society, CBD.
The dignitaries present at the felicitation function were Thane Guardian Minister and MLA Ganesh Naik, Mayor Anjani Bhoir, Maharashtra State Secondary and Higher Secondary Board, Mumbai Division chairperson Gurunath Kanthe, former Mayor Sanjeev Naik, NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik, Education Committee chairman Ravindra Ithape and other NCP corporators.
Speaking on the occasion, MP Supriya Sule said, “SSC board examination is the base of every student’s career. To make the most of the opportunity, it is important to take useful tips from experts. A teacher’s utmost dedication and selfless efforts in imparting quality education can mould the future of a student and guide them in the direction of prosperity.”
Addressing the gathering, MLA Ganesh Naik announced, “The practice examination was conducted for the first time in the city and it has received a tremendous response. The students have benefited a lot. This year, the practice exam was conducted for Marathi medium students. Next year onwards, the practice exam will be conducted for SSC as well as HSC students, belonging to both, Marathi and English mediums.”
The president of Navi Mumbai Shikshan Sankul and the Standing Committee chairman Sandeep Naik said, “This year’s SSC board examination is based on a new syllabus. Hence, it was necessary to conduct such practice examinations.”

Career guidance program held at VBA

The felicitation ceremony of the Navi Mumbai Shikshan Sankul was clubbed with a career guidance workshop by eminent expert Vinayak Manjarekar.
The topic of the workshop taken by eminent expert Vinayak Manjarekar was “Welcome to Engineering”. In his simple style and easy-to-comprehend-for-parents-and-students language, Vinayak Manjarekar delivered a very informative speech on the options that students have post secondary and higher secondary schools. His lecture had students and parents glued to their seats. Some of the significant insights that he gave to the audience included how to select courses to be pursued, the option of doing a diploma and then vocational course against doing a degree course, the reasons for confusion before selecting a course, the way to decide on what a student should pursue and the role of parents in guiding students.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Navi Mumbai fast becoming the garden city

Parks are required for public to relax and spend useful time relaxing there. By walking in open gardens, we get fresh air and those suffering from breathing problems get a breather, quite literally.
As a resident of Sector 17 Vashi for over a decade, I enjoyed the facilities available at the nearby park every morning.
After shifting to Millennium Towers, Sanpada I am really fortunate to have a park come ground in Sector 9, which is indeed a blessing in disguise for inmates of Millennium Towers.
Sportsmen can play football in the floodlights provided in the Sanpada Park. Adjacent to the Big Park there is one another park facing Sector 8 with walking tracks for early morning walkers.
Navi Mumbai has several parks. Kharghar is more fortunate to have the Hydel Park being constructed in a record time. With a golf course by the side of the park, residents of sector 35 are fortunate to get fresh air all the time. So, Navi Mumbai can really be called the Garden City.
With so much space at the disposal of NMMC, more and more parks should come up to cater to the needs of residents of Navi Mumbai.
Cidco should be complimented for making the satellite city a place worth living. However, it is upto NMMC to maintain these parks well to give best ambience all the time in the year. Generally, these parks are neglected during monsoons. Public parks are definitely a boon for the people of Navi Mumbai.

Third bridge hits eco hurdle

new connection across thane creek yet to get environment ministry's clearanceThe proposed third bridge across the Thane creek seems to be yet another casualty of environmental norms. Residents of Navi Mumbai who were elated to learn about the plans will now have to wait longer as Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is yet to get environmental clearance for the project.
Although MSRDC officials are optimistic and hope to get the project cleared, they admit that the procedure will take some time. In the meanwhile, even the companies who have shown interest in developing the project have asked for more time to study the feasibility of the project. Considering the present situation, officials doubt if the project will take off this year.
Managing Director of MSRDC Satish Gavai said, "We had floated the tender for the project but the interested companies need more time. They wish to undertake technical study of the project. The final bids are expected to be submitted by August or September."
S D Kulkarni, executive engineer said, "The papers have been sent to the environment ministry in Delhi. We are yet to get the clearance but the process is on. A number of studies and surveys need to be conducted before starting a huge project."
The six-lane bridge is expected to cost Rs 355 crore. The first four-lane bridge over the creek was built in 1972 and is now open only for light vehicles. The second six-lane bridge was built in 1992-93. Keeping the expected growth in traffic on this route in mind, the authorities have decided to build a third bridge across the creek. With the proposed international airport and many similar mega projects like the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) taking shape in Navi Mumbai, the city is bound to witness drastic development in foreseeable future. The third bridge will also help reduce travelling time for those heading to Pune and help reduce congestion on this route, said an official.