Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Pune finally enters the smart city bid


PUNE: Corporators took an unanimous decision of approving the smart city proposal in late hours of Monday, December 14, after five changes to the proposal were suggested. The meeting, called urgently after the state sent orders on December 11, went on for more than 12 hours, final outcome being a positive decision.

Although the smart city plan has been approved by the corporators, the decision was taken with a pinch of salt. "We are not completely in agreement with the proposal that has been presented to us. We have doubts on why Aundh Baner Balewadi area was selected when they could have opted for an area which is underdeveloped and turned into smart city," said Congress leader Abhay Chhajed at the meet.

Majority of the corporators questioned the selection of the area Aundh Baner Balewadi which is already strong in terms of infrastructure. "We want that every project in this area should have a detailed report which would be passed by the general body before it is implemented," the corporators demand this in unison. 

Taking digs at Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar for having invoked BBMP act section 448 and calling for an urgent meet under directives of the state government, corporators applauded the fact that the meeting which was postponed on 9 December resulted in a reduction of the budget from 3,400 crore to 2,900 crore in the revised proposal. "No justification or explanation was provided as to how are these changes have been made. We want the budgets in the new projects to be brought to PMC for approval," added MNS's Kishor Shinde. 

The main issue of the corporators remained the special purpose vehicle, the head of which is an authority like the municipal commissioner, deputy commissioner, collector; but corporators demand the mayor to be the head. "The SPV should not overrun the PMC and the existing powers of corporators should not reduce. In fact, if the state government decides on letting the corporation of a city to decide if they need a SPV, we must dissolve it and continue with the smart city project," said Congress Corporator Arvind Shinde.

Standing committee head, Ashwini Kadam specifically mentioned that if the private body SPV does not work satisfactorily in two years it should be dissolved. "Our smart mayor and smart commissioner should have thought of all possibilities before making comments, they have made a mistake by giving us less time to study the proposal," she added. Deputy mayor Aba Bagul also added, "The smart city decision will either make this day written in gold in history or black, depends on how it is taken from here."

It was the Bhartiya Janata Party which supported the commissioner and mayor thoroughly, Corporator Ganesh Bidkar said, "There would have been a higher loss if we had lost the chance of smart city contest."

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Film on Osho Rajneesh to release in January


PUNE: A film on life of spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh will hit the screen in January 2016 in India.
The film is backed by the Osho Foundation, Pune.

The film's director Krishan Hooda hopes the film garners a positive response from the audience. "Indian audiences never got the see the journey of one of the most important spiritual figures of our times, Osho Rajneesh, on celluloid. I am delighted that I got to tell the story through my vision and sensibility. We are sure the audience will connect with this universally inspiring story," Hooda said.

Talking about the film, producer and writer Jagdish Bharti added: "We are happy to present 'Rebellious Flower' to the Indian audience and it's a fitting coincidence that the film will be releasing close to the death anniversary of Osho Rajneesh guru. Rajneesh died on January 19 in 1990."

"Rebellious Flower" shows the story of a young boy, Raja, living in a remote village of central India with his maternal grandmother and grandfather, with an inborn fire for asking questions and is gifted with deep underlying clarity to accept only the right answers.

The film will trace his life after the demise of his grandfather and how he passed through all the turns and twists of a normal life. "Rebellious Flower" was shot in Madhya Pradesh where Osho grew up and spent time with his maternal grandparents. It also won a Special Mention Jury Award at Salento International Film Festival held in Tricase, Italy this year.

Aamir Khan shooting for `Dangal` in Pune

Aamir Khan is currently shooting for Nitesh Tiwari's 'Dangal' in Pune. Earlier the team had shot in Ludhiana, Punjab.

Recently the actor was spotted on the sets of 'Dangal' there. Aamir was filming his scenes at a college in Pune. Buzz is that he was shooting in the canteen areas, classrooms and the college hall.

Aamir plays a wrestler in this film which is reportedly based on the life of legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters who are wrestlers too. Vivian Bhatena has been roped in to play the baddie. Sakshi Tanwar essays the role of Aamir's wife.

'Dangal' is slated to hit the silver screens on Christmas 2016.


Farmer’s leader Sharad Joshi passes away in Pune


PUNE: Veteran farmer’s leader and founder of Shetkari Sanghatana Sharad Joshi (81) passed away on today. Joshi who was ailing for some days was discharged from a city hospital earlier this month. He breathed his last at his residence in Pune.

Born in Satara, Joshi completed his education in Mumbai and had worked as a lecturer in Economics in Pune University. He had also worked with the Indian Postal Services and United Nations before starting the pan Maharashtra farmer’s organisation called Shetkari Sanghatana. Between 2004 and 2010 he was a Rajya Sabha member also.

At a time when the political dialogue was pro-middle class Joshi started his farmer’s movement to ensure proper pricing of farm goods. His movement took up the cause of onion farmers, cotton farmers and the cause of cane farmers across the state. Joshi was the first one to link production cost to the price of agricultural produce and agitate for better price.

His movement during the initial days was met with stiff resistance from the ruling elite who have been controlling the economics of farmland in Maharasthra. Swambhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti, farmer leader Raghunath Patil were originally from Joshi’s outfit. He was also invited by the then prime minister VP Singh to frame a farmer’s policy which was not accepted. Well before the acceptance of BT Cotton and other modern technologies, Joshi has been a strong supporter of such techniques.

Speaking about the demise of Joshi, Shetti said the present day farmer’s in the state owe their socio-political awakening to him. “All of us have been taught to fight and ask for our rights by him. His death is a big loss to the farmer’s movements,” he said. Joshi is survived by a son and a daughter.