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Mumbai Underground

Mahesh Zagade, the former FAD Commissioner, cracked the whip on erring chemists across the state who did not hire full-time pharmacists.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
September 1, 2014 1:52:56 am
After years of neglect, this shed for BEST staffers at the Mantralaya bus stop has become an extension of the pavement dwellers’ homes. It also serves as a storage space for their belongings. (Source: Express photo by Vasant Prabhu) After years of neglect, this shed for BEST staffers at the Mantralaya bus stop has become an extension of the pavement dwellers’ homes.(Source: Express photo by Vasant Prabhu)

A MAN OF NEW WORDS
For the past year, it had become a regular joke that whenever the chief minister would go for any function related to any transport-infrastructure project in Mumbai, he would end up giving the same speech. He would talk about the difficulties of working in Mumbai and in detail, explain the differences between a “green field” and a “brown field” project, and how any project in this city falls in the latter category. However, last week, at the bhoomipujan of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro, in what was probably his last such speech about any transport-infrastructure project before the assembly elections, the chief minister left the crowd pleasantly surprised. He gave a different speech. Instead of talking about the troubles of working in Mumbai, he chose to stress on future plans for the city’s infrastructure and coordination with the Union government. Moreover, he completely shunned the use of the terms “brown field” or “green field.”

IN ‘RELAPSE’ MODE
Mahesh Zagade, the former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, cracked the whip on erring chemists across the state who did not hire full-time pharmacists. This had pleased pharmacists, who received a hike in salaries from between Rs 7,000-Rs 10,000 in 2011 to Rs 20,000 this year. A member of the pharmacists’ association said, however, that the demand in salary hikes has seen a sudden dip since Zagade’s transfer as Transport Commissioner.  “After the new FDA commissioner was appointed, chemists have returning to their old ways. In the past three years, several chemists had to hire pharmacists or undergo pharmacy courses as per the Drug and Cosmetics Act. Now, with Zagade gone, they feel that inspections will decrease and have started firing pharmacists,” said the secretary of a pharmacists’ association. Pharmacists are now pinning their hopes on new FDA commissioner Purushottam Bhapkar.

GREEN POLICING
Of the 94 police stations in the city, Cuffe Parade boasts of comparatively greener, leafier and airier surroundings and has a park adjacent to it. Where his predecessors saw barren land and an overgrown volleyball court, the present senior inspector Sharad Barde saw an opportunity. Early in August 14, Barde called a friend to help him set up a biogas plant. Occupying pride of place behind Barde’s cabin sits a large plastic drum filled with manure and other garden waste. Last week, Barde demonstrated its use, churning the contents of the drum before turning a lever and walking a few meters away to a barracks where he turned on another lever, lit a match and watched a small stove burn to life. “We want to show the community that if we can use biodegradable materials, which are available in abundance, to create power. If every household does this, we will have a solution for the electricity crisis. Barde hasn’t yet had the plant formally inaugurated because the unavailability of senior IPS officers.

UNTAPPED IDEA
Saddled with ten days of bandobast duty for Ganesh Chaturthi, city cops recall with a certain fondness the uncertainty surrounding the previous major festival in August —Gokulashtami. While the Bombay High Court’s cap on human pyramids at 20 ft dismayed and incensed mandals in equal measure, it left the police with the unenviable task of having to ensure that pyramids did not breach the barrier. The days before the Supreme Court ultimately reversed the HC’s decision had the police force racking their brains for solutions. A senior inspector posted in South Mumbai said he asked the police station for suggestions, only to receive a single brilliant one. “While the rest were thinking of hauling measuring tapes around, one constable said that we could a length of rope, tie a knot and a small stone at twenty feet and throw it over the dahi handi. Then we would only have to suspend it from the ground to measure the height,” he said. The SC directive meant that the police did not have to seriously contemplate this odd measure.

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