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Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray blamed increasing Mumbai population for bridge collapse at CST




Shiv Sena party leader Uddhav Thackeray said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana about the Mumbai foot over bridge collapse which happened on March 14. He said that, that the expansion of Mumbai and its ever-increasing population has been causing infrastructure failure.

On Thursday evening around 7:30 Pm Mumbai foot over bridge collapse near CST railway station. In the incident claiming 6 people died and more than 30 people are injured.

A day later to Mumbai’s foot over bridge collapse incident, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) suspended the supervisor of the structural audit, which was conducted six months ago, and a supervisor of the repair work.

In its preliminary report released on Friday, the BMC stated that the structural audit, six months ago, was conducted irresponsibly and negligently and the audit failed to point out the impending failure. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Friday, suspended two officials, initiated a departmental inquiry and ordered a re-audit of all city bridges.

The party’s mouthpiece, however, raised questions on how bridges are not safe in Mumbai and people can be killed so easily. Blaming the increasing population in the city. The Shiv Sena party also said that there are several agencies and department both center and state working in Mumbai such as the BMC, MMRDA, MHADA and Mumbai Port Trust, due to which several works remain as they are and never get completed.  However, none of the departments take responsibility which also hampers the work.


BMC begins to withdraw after 90-day corona war in Dharavi



After what is billed as a major triumph in the 90-day war against the novel coronavirus in Dharavi, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slowly started a cautious retreat from Asia’s biggest slum which reported its first Covid-19 case-cum-death on April 1.

“We have closed two isolation facilities in Dharavi as cases have significantly reduced there and we don’t want to waste resources. Of the total 3,800-beds capacity in eight quarantine centres, we have reduced the numbers by 1,000 to touch around 2,800 beds,” G/North Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar told IANS.

These include 700 beds put up at the sprawling Dharavi Municipal School and 300 beds at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex that falls in BMC’s G/North Ward, he said.

In fact, Dighavkar, said the BMC’s 200-bed ICU hospital in Dharavi is occupied by only 78 patients at present and the area has “ample quarantine and treatment facilities” available anytime for the remaining 23 per cent active cases, with few new ones coming up daily.

The heartening developments come after Mayor Kishori Pednekar told IANS on June 21: “The Dharavi ‘tension’ is off our heads now. We have worked really hard to bring it to this level and it has given excellent results with the local peoples’ full support.”

Simultaneously, the never-say-die people of this once ‘red-hotspot of the pandemic’ – which made headlines in the global media – are now quietly hugging the ‘New Normal’, despite the same congestion, overcrowded living and working quarters, serpentine queues at public toilets, narrow bylanes, stench and squalor plus the monsoon madness etc.

After the initial days of airily dismissing the pandemic, a sense of seriousness and responsibility is evident among the locals after they witnessed 2,300-plus cases and 82 deaths, pointed out Dharavi businessman Salim Memon.

“That was because it was impossible to maintain physical distance, isolation etc, due to the sheer numbers – more than 800,000 people crammed in barely 2.25 sq km. Now, nearly 50 per cent of the migrants have left, affording Dharavi some much-needed breathing space,” Dharavi Rehabilitation Committee President Raju Korde told IANS.

However, he says, it is time to wage the next level of war for redevelopment of Dharavi, which has been pending for 16 years.

“The government ordered the Integrated Township Project for Dharavi on February 4, 2004, but even after 16 years, and half a dozen governments, the project has not moved an inch. On July 20, we shall take out a ‘morcha’ in support of this demand,” Korde said.

Cheered by Dharavi’s success, Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal has sought to replicate the ‘Dharavi Model’ in public-private-partnership mode in other new hotspots like Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Mulund and Bhandup in Mumbai’s northern suburbs.

As BMC top brass said, instead of waiting for patients to approach them, the civic body switched to the ‘Chase the Virus’ mode with the concept of 4 Ts – Tracing, Tracking, Testing and Treating – to finally curb corona spread in Dharavi.

Besides the corona warriors among health personnel, even the police, CRPF, civic staff, some NGOs and other social activists played a role in loosening Covid-19’s stranglehold on Dharavi.

Korde says that the people have fully cooperated with the authorities during the pandemic and “it’s now their turn to get a better life through redevelopment”.

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No Covid community infection in Maharashtra, says Health Minister



Rajesh Tope.

Warning hospitals fleecing patients of stringent action, Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday asserted that despite the growing numbers, “there is no community transmission” of Covid-19 in Maharashtra.

“A majority of the cases being reported are of those who are in quarantine, at home or in institutions, or those with some kind of contact history… So, as of now, there’s no community infection in the state,” Tope told media persons.

He said that the health authorities have succeeded in tracing out almost every Covid-19 infectee and zeroed in or their source of infection, as he ruled out any “community transmission”.

The worst-hit in the country, Maharashtra currently has 180,298 patients and a death toll of 8,053, while 93,154 have been fully cured and discharged by hospitals.

Tope also said that the plasma therapy treatment option is proving to be effective with nearly 90 percent success, while critical medicines like Favipiravir and Remdesivir shall be made available in districts also.

Referring to unending complaints of overcharging, the Maharashtra government has made CCTV mandatory in all Covid-19 wards of hospitals, the minister said.

“The government has specified the cost of treatment in all such cases and hospitals must adhere to it or face stringent action. If patients have grievances, they can come forward and complain to us. We shall be announcing a special helpline number for this also,” Tope said.

Besides, he said family members or relatives outside the hospital shall be able to communicate with the patients inside the wards.

Referring to widespread fleecing of patients by ambulances, the minister said that the rates for this medical service will be declared by the Municipal Commissioners and District Collectors.

“In case of over-charging by hospitals or the ambulances, patients can bring it to our notice and we shall take action,” Tope assured.

He once again appealed to people not to suppress any of their symptoms and come forward for treatment in everybody’s interest.

The minister’s statements are considered significant as patients’ complaints of exorbitant billing by many private hospitals, ambulance operators, emanate daily on social media from Mumbai and other parts of the state.

Besides overcharging, there are also complaints of inordinate delays by ambulance operators which resulted in at least one death of a patient sitting on the road awaiting an ambulance in Pune, as highlighted by IANS on May 16.

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In a first, no giant idol at 86-year-old Lalbaugcha Raja



 First time in its 86-year history, the famed and iconic Lalbaugcha Raja will not be installed during the upcoming 11-day Ganeshotsav, official sources said here on Wednesday.

It will be replaced by a small idol of around 3-4 feet for the traditional ‘puja’ and other ceremonies, at the 127-year-old 11-day Ganesha festival, which starts on August 22.

This will be in adherence to an appeal by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to celebrate Ganeshotsav 2020 with more devotion and less pomp in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, we shall celebrate Ganeshotsav as ‘Arogyautsav’ with 11-days of blood and plasma donation camps, donate Rs 25 lakh to the CM Relief Fund for corona aid, help families of the soldiers martyred in the recent India-China border skirmish and Maharashtra Police personnel who lost their lives in the ongoing war against virus,” Sudhir Salvi, Secretary, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal (LRSGM) told mediapersons.

In view of Thackeray’s plea, all Ganeshotsav Mandals in the state took a voluntary decision to restrict the height of Ganesha to less than four feet, first time in over four decades since the trend of gigantic idols started.

The normal imposing, 15-feet plus tall idol of Lalbaugcha Raja, and other mega-idols in Mumbai, Pune and other cities will be conspicuous by their absence in the Maharashtra Ganeshotsav celebrations.

A majority of the mandals will have subdued celebrations with small, manageable idols as there will be no huge processions or the elaborate immersion ceremonies at seafronts or other water bodies, as decided by the government.

Besides concentrating on social activities related to the pandemic, many huge mandals will make arrangements to offer online “aarti”, “puja” or “darshan” to the devotees to avoid crowds.

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