Mumbai Underground: Costly Dilemma

Mumbai Underground: Costly Dilemma

Women and Child Development Minister Varsha Gaikwad last week shifted out of her official bungalow at Marine Lines.

Street children play in the city on Sunday.(Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)
Street children play in the city on Sunday. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

A couple, who were earlier litigating against each other, approached the Bombay High Court last week urging it to quash the criminal complaint filed by the wife against the husband. The couple said that they had buried the hatchet and were living happily once again. The court observed that they had come across a number of such cases of late. The court suggested that in order to stop such couples from wasting the court’s time and resources, it should perhaps start imposing costs on advocates who ill-advice their clients to file complaints against each other, when, in fact, they should be encouraging their clients to resolve their disputes amicably.

World’s a Stage

Corporators from opposing parties engaging in a war of words is common, but they have now started showcasing their talent in the BMC. At a recent civic body meeting, a local Congress corporator started protesting against the rail fair hike imposed by the newly-elected Modi government. She sang the famous song “maar daala” from the movie Devdas during the meeting and said that she is only trying to tell the leaders what Mumbaikars are going through.

Gifts Galore

A textile family from Kalbadevi is known to be generous in its gifts to police officers they visit. A few months ago, they gifted a top IPS officer a shirt after he helped them set up a health camp for the police personnel. But while the IPS officer heartily accepted, a Crime Branch officer proved to be a tough nut to crack. Last month, the family visited the officer at the Mumbai police headquarters. After the officer helped with their case, the woman presented him with a readymade shirt. The embarrassed officer declined, saying that he wore only stitched shirts. A standoff ensued, during which the officer did his best to resist even as his amused colleagues paused to watch. Resistance was futile, however, as the family left the package at his desk and the officer could only watched red-faced as they left.

Untenable Sops

With elections round the corner, politicians are likely to have a field day doling out sops and promising projects that even they acknowledge are untenable and unrealistic. A senior Cabinet minister, recently in the news for a populist measure announced earlier this week, has recently announced the need for creating a memorial in the heart of one of the last vestiges of green spaces in the city. When asked about the need for the project, the minister said that even he realises it is an untenable project. “Environmentalist will dance on my head to oppose this project. But you also need to realise that I have an election to win,” the minister said.

Say No To Penguins


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan to procure Humboldt penguins for the proposed new zoo at Byculla has not found favour with leading veterinarians in the city. Pointing out the existing condition of the present zoo and its animals, a senior official with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commented, “The BMC wants to reach the moon without resources. Animal caretakers at the zoo are not trained professionals, but ones who grew up watching previous zoo caretakers, who were also untrained. We will require specialised trainers for the penguin, which will be provided in the first few years and they will also need to get acclimatised, but after a few years these penguins will be under the care of these caretakers.” While the zoo authorities have written to several international zoos, including Frankfurt zoo for the penguins, they have not received any reply so far.

Risky Business

The ant-extortion cell of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch has recently undertaken renovation work in its office in the Mumbai Police headquarters compound, which includes installing grills to its windows. The objective was to eliminate the risk of suspects and the arrested accused jumping out of the window and falling three floors down to their deaths in a bid to escape. While labourers were installing the grills, however, officials noticed them climbing out on the window ledges to do so, which gave rise to the labourers themselves meeting a similar fate. Scared of any such contingency, the officials made sure that at least a constable was present to keep an eye on the labourers at all times and make sure that they were working without putting themselves at risk. It was not unusual over the past week to see policemen overseeing the renovation and yelling to other labourers, “Arrey usko pakad, woh gir jaega (Hold your colleague, he will fall down)”. All the officers heaved a sigh of relief when the renovation was completed.

Water Please

Mumbai’s humid climate and delayed rains may be creating problems for the residents, but the problem is more for the traffic police, who line the streets in searing heat to inculcate traffic discipline among Mumbaikars. Recently at a busy junction at Crawford road, a traffic police waived aside a truck carrying bottles of a major soft drink brand. The driver pulled over thinking he was going to be reprimanded for a traffic violation, only to be surprised by the polite demand of the traffic police to hand over a mineral water bottle. The driver readily handed over the bottle to the police, who gulped down the water before waving of the driver to his destination.

PR Overdrive

Following the ruling Democratic Front rout in the Lok Sabha elections, Maharashtra Cabinet ministers are busy reconstructing their own image to avoid the embarrassment of tasting defeat in their self-nurtured Assembly segments in the approaching Assembly polls. Several ministers have roped in public relations and image consultants privately to humanise their political efforts and change public perception. The fad is such that a couple of Cabinet ministers have even roped in consultants, who are involved in strategy-making and PR of leaders from the opposition parties. And most mantris appear to have opted for a complete PR makeover. From news releases and event planning and using social media platforms, the consultants have been assigned “do all” duties. With Assembly polls scheduled for October this year, time will tell if this makeover  bears fruit.

Back Home

Women and Child Development Minister Varsha Gaikwad last week shifted out of her official bungalow at Marine Lines. The minister, who represents Mumbai’s Dharavi assembly constituency, has moved to her own residence. With the incumbency effect against the ruling Democratic Front combine evident during its rout in the Lok Sabha polls, sources said that Gaikwad’s desire to spend more time in her Assembly segment had prompted her to shift out from the ministerial bungalow. Gaikwad’s father ex-MP Eknath Gaikwad had failed to retain the Mumbai South Central parliamentary constituency; with a deficit recorded even in Dharavi Assembly segment. The Gaikwads have nurtured the Assembly belt for several years now.