Fire In Aarey Augurs Trouble For ‘Developed’ Future

Around 6.20 pm on December 3, a fire broke out in a forested area near the Aarey Colony in Goregaon, Mumbai. Till 7.30 pm, the fire remained confined to a zone within 3.5 kms from the spot of the first but, swiftly,  by 8 pm, it was escalated to Level III as the fire department found it difficult to control the blaze owing to winds from the hills and the fire threateningly advanced to residential areas.

Once-bitten Biggies of Hindi Film Industry Remain Politically Correct

The Me-Too movement has gained momentum across India, yet in the Hindi film industry, despite legally-orchestrated and guarded comments from a few, there is a general hush. The hush has an on-the-face-of-it ‘legal’ yet a more real ‘commercial’ basis to it. The Tanushree Dutta episode has exposed the underbelly of self-righteous sections of the film industry.

MoEFCC Bends Norms for Better ‘ease of doing business’ Rankings

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on November 15th 2018 issued a notification easing the green norms for the building and construction sector wherein residential projects upto 1.5 lakh square metres (built-up area) will not require ‘prior environmental clearance’. Also, urban local bodies such as Municipalities will now have the power to grant building permission. The move has sent ripples of fear and anticipation among environmentalists and green activists across the nation.

Banks Deprive Seniors of Sops Assured by RBI

Banking, particularly with regards to services, brings the sector squarely within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act. A customer, a consumer within the Act, could, for non-resolution of issues through processes laid down, approach a Consumer Forum for the ‘deficiency in service’ which, if and when proved, could force the bank to cough up damages.

Supreme Court upholds Constitutionality of Aadhaar

The historic judgement puts manufactured fears of privacy risks to rest and curtails powers of private entities to avail, use and retain data. The September 26th Supreme Court judgement on the Constitutionality of Aadhaar, following a 38-day hearing spread over four months, has fetched mixed reactions. Primarily, the Apex Court upheld Aadhaar’s Constitutionality and cleared the air saying that nothing in the Aadhaar Act violates the Right to Privacy of an individual. It (Aadhaar) served ‘a bigger public interest’, was ‘unique’, and that unique was ‘better than the best’.

Child Rights Laws In India Must Be Gender Neutral

Intriguingly, among all offences, it’s the crime of rape that fires public sentiment the most, eliciting an outrage that exceeds the seemingly worst felony of all – murder too. And, if that crime is perpetrated against a child, nothing can be graver than that.
Child rights, in India more than elsewhere, is unique in that the treatment of children and social perception is different from that of other nations.

Spirited Opposition to ‘Letter’ of Rural Bonds

When 60-year-old Jamunabai Vasawe from Manibeli village in Nandurbar, on the northern border of Maharashtra, was bitten by a snake at six pm, her family rushed her to the closest sub-centre only to find it shut and a primary health centre out of reach. A boat ambulance placed for emergency medical care for villagers in the remote tribal area, was delayed by two hours. And, by the time the tribal woman was administered anti-snake venom (ASV), her condition had worsened beyond repair. She was declared dead in a government hospital in Garudeshwar, Gujarat, around 11 pm.

Implementation, Viable Alternatives Need Political Will For Plastic Ban To Succeed

For a ban that arrived with a bang, it seems to be fading away even before it could take effect. The Maharashtra government has backtracked to allow groceries and general stores to continue to use plastic for packaging after shop-keepers associations complained to state environment minister Ramdas Kadam. Already, environmentalists are saying that the government will soon give in to the powerful plastic manufacturers’ lobby and brings in relaxations.

Elephanta Island Gets Powerful, Finally

The Elephanta island, or Gharapuri, to use its original name, is the site of the Elephanta caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and receives more than 20 lakh tourists every year. However, the three villages on the island, home to about 1,200 people, have not had electricity since independence. The villagers lived in darkness – a shame, and a mark of administrative and political apathy. Neither the media nor rights groups played up this fact.

Stunned By Law Mine, Goa Govt Treads Gingerly

In a breather for the mining industry, the Supreme Court on April 4 allowed the export of iron ore from loading points on river jetties in Goa while disposing a joint special leave application filed by Vedanta Resources and another local mining company. The bench of justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta maintained that the iron ore for which royalty has been paid to the state government and has been extracted on or before March 15 this year should be allowed to be transported.

Mumbai's Metro Battles Activists, Fears, Divine Fury

The storm is yet to die out over the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited's (MMRC) taking over 30 hectares of the famed Aarey colony, a green belt of Mumbai, when another application has come in from MMRC demanding another 12,000 sq metres of land. The colony in Goregaon, inaugurated in 1951, was the result of the vision of Dara Khurody, a dairy pioneer of India whose name is taken in the same breath as Father of the White Revolution, Verghese Kurien and Tribhuvandas K Patel.

Matheran Risks Slipping Off Track

“It’s a national shame,” rues Ali Akbar Peerbhoy, grandson of the founder of the Matheran hill railway, which plies the Matheran toy train. For today, the railway is struggling for survival. The red soil of the hill station, the horse rides, the silence of the forested hills are all under threat, along with the railway. A haphazard maze of crude roads and guesthouses has mushroomed on the pristine hill. Pushy touts and uncouth horse-ride vendors operate in flagrant violation of the law. The local authorities turn a blind eye to the ugly, skewed ‘development’.