Thursday, 19 April 2012


There is some good news for the suburban residents. The central government has sanctioned funds to some second-tier cities in order to aid their transition into solar cities. The cities to receive financial aid, which include Kalyan-Dombivli from Maharashtra, are among the 43 selected from across India for the ‘solar city’ programme, under which, the cities will have to meet at least 10 percent of the incremental energy needs through renewable sources over the next five years.

The initial amount of Rs 50 lakh, to be handed over to the civic bodies, will be used for activities such as setting up a dedicated ‘solar cell’ in KDMC and for preparing a master plan for meeting targets and promoting this unique programme. It is an initiative by the ministry of new and renewable energy, under a long-term plan to augment solar energy production capacity in India.

The ministry, which is executing an ambitious project to take India’s solar production capacity from around 50 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts (MW) over the next few years, has plans to identify more such city corporations with a “high level of commitment in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy” to serve as examples for the remaining areas. Around 34 cities were identified as of the end of last year and the number will keep rising in the near future, according to information released by the ministry.

The cities, which have population in the range of 5 lakh to 50 lakh, will be identified and funds will be allocated by the year 2013. Maharashtra has five cities approved for inclusion in the project, including Thane, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nanded apart from these suburbs. The ministry aims to include at least one city from each state.

Meanwhile, Japan has also shown interest in developing these futuristic solar cities of India. Japan wants to promote “Midori no Bunken”, which aims at changing a centralized society into a community based one, in order to enhance self sufficiency within a region through maximizing natural resources (ie forest, sea, food) and energy, besides emphasizing on electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind, micro-hydel and biomass energy.

The two countries have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in research and development for promoting renewable energy.


Aspiring under-19 cricketers left in a lurch at trials

If you were surprised to find a huge rush for the selection trials of Mumbai Cricket Association’s summer vacation coaching nets in the under-19 section over the last two days, then don’t be.

The MCA’s coaching sub-committee has pruned down the number of centres from 16 last year to eight this year to help churn out the best possible cricketers during the vacation.
It may have been a decision to set up a proper structure, but cricketers who participated and were not picked up for the trials were left complaining as they hardly got a couple of deliveries to showcase their skills.

Take the case of MIC CC, Bandra centre for areas between Bandra and Andheri area. Around 200 turned up for the trials. “I hardly got to bowl only two balls to show what I was capable of. This is not done,” said one of them.

One of the coaches at the centre lashed out at the logic behind having just eight centres. “Two centres have been merged into one. You can’t have something like this as around 200-300 cricket enthusiasts turned out and they hardly got to show their skills.

Last year, there were 16 centres. That was better,” said the coach on condition of anonymity. “You might lose some talented youngsters. Also, you can’t blame the coaches for being rude since we hardly have the time. To pick up 25 from 300 is not a joke,” he said.

MCA joint secretary PV Shetty defended the decision of reducing the number of centres by half. “We have created a pyramid. The U-14 and U-16 age groups have 16 centres each, but we have reduced U-19 to eight and U-22 to two. We have a pyramid so that we can get the cream of Mumbai cricket,” he said.
On the aspiring cricketers being given the cold shoulder, Shetty said: “Different coaches have different style. You can’t blame the coach,” he said.

Grounds where trials were held:
Karnataka SA: Churchgate to Elphinstone (WR) & Colaba to Parel (CR)
DPCC, Matunga: Parel to Sion (CR), Sion to GTB Nagar & Worli to Mahim
MIG Bandra: Bandra to Andheri
Payyade SC, Kandivli: Jogeshwari to Dahisar
Virar-Sainath SC: Nala Sopara to Virar
Boisar-Tata SSL: Vaitrana to Dahanu
RCF Chembur: Chunabhatti/Chembur, Kurla to Ghatkopar & Mankhurd to Panvel
Dadoji Konddeo Stadium, Thane: Dombivli to Badlapur, Bhivandi to Khardi, Vikhroli to Mumbra


Mumbai's train trouble: Scorching heat, crawling trains make life hell

Every day, IT professional N Raja takes an hour to travel by train from his Badlapur house to his workplace in Vikhroli.

But, on Wednesday, the same commute ate into five hours of his time.

While most of the 70 lakh Central Railway commuters preferred to stay home or take other modes of transport on learning of the disrupted signal system at Kurla on Wednesday, a few, like Raja, decided to hop on the train.

“First I had to wait for 40-45 minutes to catch a train at Badlapur station. Blank indicators added to the woes as no one knew what time a train would arrive. Even though announcements were being made, trains still came in late,” he said.

Train services were running smoothly only between Karjat and Thane stations, he added.

“The actual problem was between Thane station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). As trains were crawling ahead, commuters were getting restless. We could see trains lined up between Mulund and Nahur stations. Many people jumped on the tracks and walked to the nearest station,” said a commuter, who did not want to be named.

He refused to blame the Central Railway for the chaos as the services disruption was due to a fire.

But, Dombivli resident Rakesh Shah was not so kind.

Shah, who took five hours to reach his office in Byculla, slammed the railway authorities for not making alternative arrangements.

“It was a minor fire. The problem could have been fixed by Wednesday morning. Lakhs of commuters were troubled because the authorities did not have an alternative plan in place to tackle emergency situations like this,” said Shah, pointing out that if the Central Railway had kept the emergency tracks between Thane and Kurla stations functional, commuters would not have suffered.

Shah said though the BEST did a commendable job by plying extra buses from Mulund, Kurla, Sion and Vashi stations, it was not enough to accommodate the huge number of railway commuters.

Autorickshaws and taxis also came to the rescue of students and office-goers who decided to not take the train on Wednesday.

Friday, 16 March 2012


ITC shuts down two WIMCO plant

"In the present form, WIMCO did not perform well. So, we have already closed down two of the plants. We are restructuring it," ITC chairman and managing director Y.C. Deveshwar told shareholders at its 100th annual general meeting.

Wimco Ltd was acquired by Russell Credit Limited, a 100 percent subsidiary of ITC, July 1, 2005.

Deveshwar attributed the poor performance of WIMCO to the differentials in duties between handmade and non-handmade sectors.

According to the annual report, WIMCO had posted a net loss of around Rs.60 crore during 2011-12 fiscal.

The company has already given voluntary retirement to all the employees of the two factories. The one-time separation has cost the company Rs.37 crore.

However, as the location of the two factories was good, the infrastructure there will be used for manufacturing new products the company has entered into of late. (IANS)


'Mumbai mega infra-projects to be completed by 2013'
India Gazette
Wednesday 7th March, 2012

Focusing on completing mega-infrastructure projects in and around Mumbai, the state government has allocated Rs.4,825 crore for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for fiscal 2012-13 beginning April 1.

Though no new projects have been announced, the emphasis would be to complete the mega-projects like Monorail, Metro rail, elevated road near the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar and important roads in and around Mumbai, MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana said here Tuesday.

The budget was approved at the MMRDA's 130th meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

The highlight would be kicking off the crucial 22 km, Rs.8,800 crore Mumbai-Trans Harbour Link, the city's second sea-bridge after the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The ammount is to be spent over four-five years.

The project is expected to be awarded by November, Asthana said.

Another major infrastructure project is the 126-km-long Virar-Alibag Multi-Modal Corridor linking Thane, Mumbai and Raigad districts.

It is being implemented in two phases -- Virar-Chirner (79 km) and Chirner-Alibaug (47 km) at a cost of Rs.9,326 crore with dedicated lanes for traffic, buses, two-wheelers and non-motorized transport.

"We have made significant allocation for strengthening our road network as well as for developing infrastructure. The funds will be used for completion of the ongoing projects," Asthana said.

He said that MMRDA plans to start trial runs of the ambitious Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro railway by year-end and commission it in the next financial year, providing much-needed relief to Mumbai commuters.

An amount of Rs.338 crore has been earmarked for the Metro rail, including Rs.100 crore for the targeted Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch, Rs.138 crore for the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd sector and Rs.100 crore for the underground Colaba-BKC-Andheri Link, Asthana said.

An allocation of Rs.870 crore has been made for the Monorail, while a large chunk - Rs.1,460 crore -- will be utilized on developing the road network in the city and surroundings.

Of the Rs.1,460 crore, Rs.660 crore will be spent for Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project components like Eastern Freeway (by December 2012), Anik-Panjrapole Link Road, Panjrapole-Ghatkopar Link Road, the under-construction Milan Rail Overbridge (tentatively, June 2012), and the elevated road outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) (by July 2012).

Mumbai's lifeline, the suburban railway network, will get Rs.290 crore under the Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project-II, for developing various components.

An amount of Rs.800 crore has been allocated for the satellite towns/cities around Mumbai in Thane and Raigad districts, including Mira Road, Bhayander, Vasai, Virar, Kalyan, Dombivli, Ambernath, Karjat and Badlapur.

Aware of the growing requirements of water in the Mumbai Metrpolitan Region areas, the MMRDA has allocated Rs.390 crore to develop water resources.