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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mumbai Underground: Veggie Despair

Recent violent protests in Kolhapur have kicked up a row over toll contracts yet again.

Mumbai | Updated: February 6, 2014 11:31:10 am
At a flower exhibition organised at Mahim Nature Park.(Kevin DSouza) At a flower exhibition organised at Mahim Nature Park. (Kevin DSouza)

VEGGIE DESPAIR

Two officials with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, both staunch vegetarians, had a tough time during a recent assignment. The officials were part of a team that had to check whether the Deonar abattoir was complying with pollution control norms. They were bound by a court order and had to survey the 65-acre area over two days, watching animals of various sizes get slaughtered. One of the officials, who was observing a fast that day, said, “I couldn’t even have food that night. But this is our job and we have to do it.”

ALIVE & KICKING  

Police personnel at the Mumbai police press room went into a tizzy recently, when the  winners of the President’s police medal were announced. A TV news channel flashed a ticker saying that an IPS officer had been “posthumously honoured” for gallant service. The press room personnel jumped out of their seats and scrambled to contact the channel. “Saheb jeevant aahet (the officer is alive),” they screamed into the phone. The channel soon rectified its mistake.

MONORAIL & THE MOON

While the country’s first monorail was formally inaugurated on February 1 in the city, the inauguration could have actually happened last month. Before deciding on February 1 as the big day, MMRDA officials were considering inaugurating the Chembur-Wadala monorail on January 30. Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan and other senior bureaucrats were fine with the date as they wanted to commission the already-delayed project as soon as possible. The date, however, was ultimately pushed ahead by two days as January 30 was a new moon day and many MMRDA employees were uncomfortable with the monorail being inaugurated on an amavasya, as it would be inauspicious. It, however, took a lot of time to convince Madan about this.

TAKING TOLL

Recent violent protests in Kolhapur have kicked up a row over toll contracts yet again. While Maharashtra was the first to adopt toll-based build-operate-transfer road projects, such contracts have always been a vexed issue, especially in Western Maharashtra. In fact, the first toll experiment, in 1992, did not go well. The state government was forced to discontinue a toll contract along Kolhapur’s Jaysingpur bypass following violent agitations. In what has become a trend of sorts in this part of the state, people waited for the road development to be completed before raising a stink. Guess it is safe to say that the toll ride has been smooth so far.

PHONE DETECTIVE

A police inspector with the crime branch is known to be an expert in analysing call data records (CDRs). More often than not, he is busy working on his laptop while in office. He apparently does the same at home. As the officer himself told his colleagues over lunch recently, he was engrossed in CDRs pertaining to a case and forgot that his wife had instructed him to keep an eye on the milk to prevent it from boiling over. Later, the officer’s daughter turned off the stove but he got an earful from his wife. The officer was seen sharing a hearty laugh with his colleagues over the incident.

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