Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Maharashtra sends zika alert to civic bodies


PUNE: The state health department has issued an advisory to all municipal corporations and private physicians through the Indian Medical Association (IMA) alerting them about the signs and symptoms of Zika virus infection. It has particularly asked them to remain alert about pregnant women presenting with high fever.

The notice was sent soon after the WHO issued a statement on Saturday stating the Union health ministry had informed them of three confirmed Zika infections in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, during routine surveillance.

The cases were found between February 2016 and January this year. The WHO, however, was informed only on May 15, while the local health authorities of Ahmedabad were never officially told about the confirmed cases.

HSC 2017 results declared; girls beat boys


PUNE: The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) has announced the results of Class 12th exams at a press conference in Pune. This year’s total pass percentage is 89.50 which is about 2.9 per cent increase from last year’s percentage.

The Board has uploaded the results of HSC exam on May 30. The girls have scored an overall percentage of 93.5 per cent whereas the boys have registered 86.65 per cent.

This year, a total of 15,05,365 students have registered out of which , 8,48,929 are boys while 6,56,436 are girls, appearing from 9,143 junior colleges across the state. From Pune, as many as 2,42,628 students appeared. Meanwhile, across Maharashtra, of the total students, the maximum students are from Science faculty (5,59,423), followed by Arts (5,09,124), Commerce (3,73,870) and 62,148 students for Minimum Competency Vocational Course (MCVC).

There are a total of 2,710 examination centres across the nine divisions of Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Kolhapur, Amaravati, Nashik, Latur and Konkan.

Pune girl tops ICSE exam without coaching classes


PUNE: Muskan Pathan, who topped the country with in ICSE board examinations, is a die-hard cricket fan who did not miss a single IPL match even during her finals. She also did not attend any coaching classes.

A student of Hutchings High School and Junior College, Muskan, 15, along with a Bengaluru boy Ashwin Rao, scored 99.4% in the exam conducted by the Council For the Indian School Certificate Examinations.

"My efforts were just 10-20%, the rest was because of my teachers, parents and friends, without whom this success would not have been possible," Muskan said on Monday. The 15-year-old never joined any coaching classes as she felt that it would be time-consuming, but diligently followed the timetable she had set in the beginning of the year, studying for 4-5 hours a day and ensuring she had sound sleep.

Muskan, who belongs to a family of 14 doctors, including her mother Shakira Pathan, wants to take up a career in medicine. "My daughter and son take a one-hour break after they return from school before resuming their studies. This habit worked to mould Muskan's study habits which helped her shine," Shakira said.

Muskaan's father, Abdulla Pathan, who works in Mumbai, said they never pressured her. "We have always been happy with her scores. It was her desire to top in school after she came first in standard IX. We never expected her to come first in the country," he added.

Rita Katawati, principal of Hutchings High School and Junior College, said, "Muskan has shown everybody that coaching classes are not a prerequisite for a good score. For the last two years, students from our school have stood third in the country. They never attended coaching classes. The whole credit goes to our teachers who work hard for the students."

Luke worm response to RERA site


PUNE: After four weeks since the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) came into force in Maharashtra, but only 12 projects and 900 agents have so far registered under the new regulatory regime across the state.

Three builders have registered in Pune division, eight in Konkan and one in Nagpur division. The remaining divisions are yet to have any registration, RERA officials said.

Under the new rules, developers and agents have 90 days' time from May 1 to register under RERA Act, which means they have to do so before July 31. The MahaRERA is expected to bring about transparency in the system.

Gautam Chatterjee, chairman, Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority, said the slow pace of registrations was expected as developers have to get a lot of information and clearances from architects, engineers and consultants. "It was expected to be slow this month. However, it will pick up in the next two months,'' he added.

Chatterjee said the delay in registrations was due to developers' ‘internal issues.’  It was not due to any technical issue as the website has been functioning well.

Good land County hearing postponed


PUNE: Good land County a so called township project at Mugawade Near pune has got last chance to prove that they have all the required permissions. Nobody from Goodland County turned up for hearing at Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority ( PMRDA) on 25th May 2017, states a press release sent by a social activist of Surajya Sangharsh Samiti, Vijay Kumbhar today.

Earlier PMRDA had served notice to the project  proponents and asked them to remove their unauthorized construction. However Goodland County didn’t obey PMRDA orders hence before demolishing unauthorized construction and filling criminal complaints last chance was given to them. However as nobody turned from Goodland county hearing was postponed to 8th June 2017.

Ruby Hall Clinic’s ICU Unit completes 25 years

Hospital to launch a book and film 


PUNE : One of Pune’s first multi-disciplinary critical care units, Ruby Hall Clinic’s ICU marks a significant milestone this year with the completion of twenty-five years. Memorialising this very occasion, the medical facility is all set to launch a commemorative book and film based on the events during this journey.

On  3rd June, the book will be officially unveiled in the presence of Chief Guest Padma Bhushan Dr. Farokh.E.Udwadia, the Father of Intensive Care in India and Guest of Honour Shri Rahul Bajaj, Chairman - Bajaj Auto Ltd.

What started as a four-bedded critical care unit in the hospital has now grown into 162 bedded critical care multi-speciality unit with state-of-the-art technology and a formidable team of doctors, nurses and intensivists. With the onus of treating over twelve hundred patients a year, Ruby Hall Clinic’s ICU is indeed one of the most sought after in the city.

Dr Prachee Sathe, Director ICU, Ruby Hall Clinic has been instrumental in the setting up and growth of the ICU. In fact, she recently received her FRCP from the Royal College of Physicians, London. She says, “Much has changed since those early days when the first patients were welcomed through our doors. But our physicians, staff and volunteers would tell you what continues to matter the most after all these years is providing exceptional care. Being among those at the frontier of critical care and helping to develop both the best practices and the service and collaboration models has been gratifying.”

Dr. Sanjay Pathare, Director - Medical Services, Ruby Hall Clinic adds, “These last few years have seen a drastic improvement in the kind of treatment options available as well as patient care for those who are in need of critical care. Day in an day out, we see life hanging in the balance at the ICU. The growth of our service, the privilege of curing an innumerable number of patients and the increasing acceptance of our ICU as the new standard of critical care, as recognised by our achievement of this milestone, validates the vision of our early years.”

Bomi Bhote, CEO, Ruby Hall Clinic adds, “The community has changed greatly over twenty-five years, as has the hospital, but the one thing that has stayed constant is the dedication and compassion of our medical staff members entrusted with making patients’ hospital stays as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Dr. Prachee Sathe and her team have been a constant source of motivation, they’re the reason the ICU stands where it is today. True to our name, the ‘Ruby’ has only grown bigger with time and casts its gleam of health on the community it serves.”

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pune in high risk ultra violet radiation zone


PUNE: With temperatures in the city hovering around 40C over the last few days, the ultra violet radiation index, which through summer was in the 'low risk' zone, has now entered the 'high risk' zone, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology's (IITM) System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) data has revealed.

On May 27, six out of the 10 monitored locations in Pune were in the red category of the UV index, indicating high risk of harm.

All the 10 monitored locations in the city reported UV index between 7-10 on all six days this week — from May 20 to May 26. This is the 'high risk' zone and prolonged exposure can cause skin burns. May 20 saw the index soaring to 9 — the highest so far during the last week. May 21 and May 24 reported second highest values on the index at over 8, which too falls in the high risk category.

"The UV index is effectively a rough measure of the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight reaching the earth's surface at a given location. UV index is zero during the night when the sun has set. UV index peaks during summer months or after it has rained because of clear skies. Absence of cloud in the sky causes more radiation to reach the earth's surface," said SAFAR coordinator Neha Parkhi.

The high risk zone on the index indicates that prolonged exposure could burn a person severely in a few hours; and in such a case, one precaution that could be taken is to stay out of direct sunlight, cover up and use a sunscreen, said Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR, IITM.

The six locations that saw the highest UV index values on May 27 are Lohegaon, Manjri, Bhumkar Chowk, Nigdi, Bhosari and Alandi — where the index shot up to 7.8. "Areas which have less greenery or fewer water bodies tend to accumulate more solar radiation, where as those areas that have more greenery or are overcrowded tend to reflect some solar radiation back to the atmosphere," said Beig. This explains why some areas in Pune had UV radiation values peaking higher than others.

The city has been experiencing sweltering heat since the last week, with day temperatures ranging between 36 degrees C and 40 degrees C (even beyond in case of Lohegaon), as per India Meteorological Department (IMD) temperature data.

Beig added that longer the continuous high risk days, the more harmful it is. "However, this summer did not have too many successive days with high UV index," he said.

Stricter penalties against errant auto drivers soon


PUNE: The Pune Regional Transport Authority (RTO) has decided to rein in city's errant autorickshaw drivers by imposing stricter penalties on them.

With the RTO receiving more than 400 cases of refusal of passengers by autorickshaw drivers' in the last fiscal, officials are seriously considering increasing the period of suspension of licences, which at the moment is for 10 days.

"Generally, fewer complaints come to us as people tend to approach the Pune Traffic Police. However, going by the figures, complaints against the autorickshaw drivers are not less and we are thinking of imposing stricter penalties on them. We are planning to increase the time period of suspension and it will be decided and announced in the near future," deputy RTO Sanjay Raut, told pune-news.com.

"An autorickshaw driver should not refuse passengers unless he has genuine reasons or he is in some emergency. Normally, if a complaint reaches the RTO, the driver is called to the office and his side of the story is heard. If the RTO finds that the refusal was without any reason, the licence is suspended for a period of 10 days. Fines are also slapped for offences. The RTO might consider increasing the suspension period to almost a month, if things don't improve. The matter will be further discussed and a decision on the same will be taken," another official pointed out.

Sources added that the RTO officials has a scheduled meeting with the Pune police commissioner in the first week of June and the matter would be taken up.

Swine flu terror, 58 victims in Pune


PUNE: Swine flu has claimed as many as 221 lives in Maharashtra so far this year with Pune accounting for more than one-fourth of the fatalities, a government official said. 
Four of the victims hailed from adjoining Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (two each) who were admitted to state hospitals, where they succumbed to the infection, according to a report compiled by the Maharashtra health department.

The report has figures related to H1N1 affected patients from January 1 to May 26. "During this period 15,003 patients showed swine flu like symptoms and were administered medicines as a preventive measure," Joint Director of Family Welfare Mukund Diggikar told pune-news.com. Of these patients, 1,106 tested positive for the deadly virus. Among them, 23 were from neighbouring states such as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, he said. 

"H1N1 infection has been the cause of death of 221 people in Maharashtra between January 1 and May 26. There has been some fluctuation in the temperature, which is accelerating the infection," said Diggikar, who holds the additional charge of epidemic diseases in the department. 

"The common symptoms of swine flu include cough, fever and cold. It seems people are reporting their infection late. Most of the people must be assuming that these symptoms are that of common cough and cold. Hence, by the time H1N1 infection is detected, most of the patients are severely affected by the virus," Diggikar said. 

Going by the district-wise figures, Pune has reported 58 swine flu deaths -- the highest in the state, followed by 30 in Nashik district, he said. According to the report, Aurangabad district reported 20 deaths and Ahmednagar district 19. Nagpur district in Vidarbha has recorded 17 fatalities, the highest in the eastern region of the state. 

Amravati district in Vidarbha reported 12 deaths, followed by Akola (8), Buldhana (7), Kolhapur and Solapur (five each), Satara and Thane (four each), Parbhani and Mumbai (three each), Latur, Beed, Sangli, Osmanabad, Washim and Dhule districts (two each). 

Jalna, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Wardha, Mira Bhayandar (a municipal corporation), Ratnagiri, Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Sindhudurg and Bhandara reported one death each due to H1N1 infection, Diggikar said.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Development authority to raze 1,650 illegal buildings


PUNE: The Pune Metropolitan Regional Authority (PMRDA) has intensified the demolition drive of illegal buildings in the areas under its jurisdiction.

PMRDA chief Kiran Gitte said the authority has listed 1,650 structures that cannot be regularized. These will be pulled down in the next six months under the supervision of the police officers who are part of the anti-encroachment cell of the PMRDA.

The PMRDA initiate the demolition drive on Thursday. As per the list of illegal buildings provided to the agency by the district collectorate, there were as many as 16,000 such structures in the areas under its jurisdiction.

The number, however, came down to 1,650 after the state assembly cleared an amendment to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act. After the amendment, the government can levy a premium or a compounding fee on residents and owners of unauthorised structures built before December 2015.

"The owners have already been served notices and as per the rules, these structures will be pulled down," PMRDA officials said. The private agency appointed for carrying out the demolition drive will be paid Rs 570/sqm. The amount will be reclaimed from the owner later, Gitte said. As per the amendment, the illegal structures constructed before December 2015 will be tagged as a compounded structure after paying the premium and the list for such structures too will be readied, the officials said.

With environment clearances taking between 200-400 days, the PMRDA has announced to set up an environment cell that will start appraisal of projects as per the guidelines and parameters set by the ministry of environment and forests and the state urban department

PMRDA chief Kiran Gitte said MoEF had sanctioned the amendment for incorporating integration of environment condition in the building byelaws on December 9, 2016. The conditions basically enforces adoption of green norms for all buildings and constructions having built up area from 5,000sqm to 1,50,000sqm in the DC rules. The state had asked local authorities to form environment cells thereafter.

Two schools decide to roll back fee hike


PUNE: Parents of two schools in the city scored a small victory on Friday against the managements as their tireless efforts of the last two months have paid off.

The Divisional Fee Regulation Authority (DFRC) has taken cognisance of the complaints regarding fee hike and has directed the schools to roll back to the original fee structure.

A hearing of about 18 schools, their representatives, parents and education officials in Pune was conducted by the DFRC earlier this week. All 18 schools and parents were given a chance to present their say on the basis of which the DFRC gave its decision. A final report on the hearing would be released in a few days as some schools have sought more time to produce the required documents. This is the first time in several years that action against fee hike has been taken after protests from parents.

Deputy director of education Dinkar Temkar, who presented all the 18 complaints to the DFRC, said, "We have to get the exact details about the decision of the DFRC as the report is awaited. However, two schools have agreed to roll back the fees while two other schools have moved the court so the panel was not in a position to give any decision. Some other schools have sought more time."

State education minister Vinod Tawde was gheraoed by parents twice in a fortnight this month, regarding the fee issue when he decided to immediately hear the schools and parents. Parents from Pune were in the forefront when it came to complaining and protesting against fee hike followed by Mumbai and Nagpur.

Temkar said the report by DFRC is expected soon and once it is submitted to the department, the schools will have to act on it immediately. The fees approved by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) would be final as per the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Collection of Fee Regulation) Act, 2011, enforced from 2015, if the difference between fees decided by the management and approved by the PTA executive committee is not more than 15%.

According to the rules of this act, private school managements must take approval from the PTA executive panel for any fee hike six months before the start of the new academic year. Parents who were protesting against the schools complained that in many schools, the PTA has approved the fee hikes without consulting the Act.

IT Job losses to impact residential real estate


PUNE: With job losses looming large for those employed in the IT industry, demand for residential realty across Indian IT hubs of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Noida could be impacted, a recent study said.

According to a study by property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle, since Bengaluru and Pune both rely heavily on IT companies for not only job creation but also to drive office and residential real estate demand, these markets face the maximum risk from an IT meltdown.

As per industry body estimates, Indian IT and BPO sectors employ close to four million people in over 16,000 companies and the middle management is at maximum risk of job loss in these times of disruption, increased automation and artificial intelligence.

Professionals aged 30-40 years and above, typically earn anywhere between 20-60 lakh per annum, and form an average of 17 per cent of the population across leading economic centers of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, it said.

According to Indicus data, this share of population for Bengaluru is around 19 per cent, or over two lakh people, in absolute terms."For real estate developers in Bengaluru, these mid-level managers are an important set. Over the years, they have not only set aside huge savings to make down-payments for a house purchase, but their choice of homes would incline more towards mid-premium housing projects, a category that is both lucrative and in demand at the moment," said JLL India Managing Director - Strategic Consulting Shubhranshu Pani.

With this bracket of consumers coming under serious risk of a job loss, there is a possibility that recovery of residential sector in the mid-premium category will be delayed, it said. Due to the slowdown witnessed over last few years luxury sales have been affected to a great extent, while the mid-segment homes continued to witness momentum, especially in projects of reputed developers.

"If the current job market scenario continues for a long time, it could quite possibly have a negative impact on residential demand, especially in the mid-premium segment. Affordable and mid-segment homes, however, could see momentum due to a strong push by the government, low interest rates and the current slackening of prices," JLL noted.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pune to phase out stamp papers by eSBTR


PUNE: The IGR department has taken a step forward towards replacing stamp papers with secure electronic system or electronic secure bank treasury receipts (eSBTR).

Inspector General of Registration (IGR) officials said this will see phasing out of stamp papers and citizens will eventually have to go only for eSBTRs. "We have not made it compulsory yet and have tied up with three-four banks. We are in the process of tying up with more banks. Circulation of stamp papers will will be phased out gradually,'' inspector general of registration Anil Kawade told pune-news.com.

"The electronic transactions are more secure as against purchasing stamps physically. Handling high-value physical stamps is risky. Besides, there is always the chance of the stamps being fake,'' he added. Customers paying stamp duty through the banks will get receipts of duty paid to the government on secure stationary.

Earlier, the IGR had taken a step towards phasing out high-denomination stamp papers by stopping printing of such documents worth above Rs 1,000. Currently, stamp papers of Rs 100 and Rs 500 are only allowed.

After the multi-crore Telgi scam, many states had scrapped paper stamps and had gone for e-stamping process through a separate body - Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) - as the central agency to keep records for all e-stamps. However, the the state had opted for the e-SBRT service.

The officials said that with many opting for online stamp duty and registration fees payment, it was observed that more than 90% of the revenue generated was collected through the electronic mode.

Several citizens had complained of unavailability of stamp papers and their dependency on lawyers to get these documents. "This (e-SBTR) will be a welcome relief because one has to pay the banks only. It is safe," said Kailas Gaikwad, who has paid stamp duty through the e-SBRT service.

An agency selling stamp papers said, " Sale of stamp papers for registering property has come down because of the rise in e-payments. Paying high-value stamp duty through eSBTR options is more practical,'' he said. Another disadvantage of a stamp paper is that it is valid for only six months, a vendor said.

liquor shops opt to shift to escape apex court ban


PUNE: Hit hard by falling revenues, as many as 90 liquor stores, permit rooms, bars and restaurants in the district have decided to shift their premises outside 500m of national and state highways to circumvent the Supreme Court ban.

Of the 90, about 12 restaurants and bars - mostly from rural areas ­- have also applied to the excise department to shift outside the periphery of highway, officials told pune-news.com.

An excise department official said, "Applicants wishing to shift outside the 500-meter highway radius have now lost all hope of any change in the rules. They have, therefore, decided to shift so that they can resume serving liquor."

The 90 applications have come from wine shops, bars or permit rooms, country liquor shops, beer shops and some restaurants. "These establishments will have to apply afresh for various licences before they can shift. Once they get all the necessary licences, including the food and drug licence, they can shift," the official said.

President of Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association, Ganesh Shetty, said that for restaurants and permit rooms in the city, shifting is next to impossible. "Commercial property rates in the city are sky high. Most restaurants are spread over 1,000sqft to 3,000sqft area. Shifting is only possible for permit rooms and bars in rural areas," he said.

The excise official added that the liquor ban continues to hurt revenue. "Some restaurants are more popular for their food than liquor. In such restaurants, the liquor revenue will be just 10% of the total revenue, with 90% from food. After the ban, these restaurants on highway have seen almost a 30% drop in food revenue as well," he said.

Close to 300 restaurants in Pune and 200 in rural areas have shut indefinitely following the ban.

Childline seeks action on illegal children’s homes


PUNE: Dnyana Devi Childline Pune has written to women and child development minister Pankaja Munde and the police department seeking action against illegal children's homes in Pune district.

Childline's director Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe said they have been hearing about abuse from " illegal hostels" for children. "We have been reporting these cases to the child welfare committee and the district women and child welfare department. These homes are operating illegally and children from these hostels have sought help from Childline after they were abused,''she said.

The Shirur ashram has about 35 children, including girls and boys, and the parents were charged Rs 15,000 yearly. "It was a residential facility. They went to a zilla parishad school nearby. According to our Childline members, the proprietor and his brother touched these girls inappropriately and made them sit on their laps at odd hours.''

Sahasrabuddhe, who was at the students' deposition, said they told her the Chalaks abused all the children except two who were the daughters of one of them. After Childline spoke to the parents, they gathered courage to file a complaint with the police station. "They are farmers and they were devastated,'' she added.

District women and child welfare officer Meenakshi Birajdar told pune-news.com they would close down this ashram. She said people must report any such homes in the district that operate without the requisite permissions. "It is a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015. We will increase our checks on such homes,''she said.

Child welfare committee member Anita Vipat told pune-news.com they will visit the ashram and take the children's statements. There are many such illegal ashrams in Alandi, Dehu and other religious places which have to be monitored by the authorities. She said parents must also check such places before admitting their children. 

Femina Miss India makes a style stopover at Bata Store


PUNE: fbb Colors Femina Miss India Maharashtra2017 Aishwarya Devan interacted with the young consumers of Pune. She shared her personal styling tips and tricks, in a cozy gathering with the people present, where she gracefully helped capture the occasion with fun photos and videos with the customers.

Audrey D’Silva  Femina Miss India Goa , Amardeeo Kaur Syan Femina Miss India Gujarat , Aditi Hundia Femina Miss India Rajasthan were also present on the occasion. Bata, the European footwear major that has recently launched several collections for both men and women upping the style quotient is the Official Footwear Partner for fbb Colors Femina Miss India 2017.Bata will also be awarding the title ‘Miss Rampwalk’ in this year’s pageant finale.

Present at the occasion, fbb Colors Femina Miss India, said,“Youngsters today are style conscious and yet do not want to compromise on comfort. I am delighted to be a part of this gathering at Bata. I really enjoyed sharing my style journey with the wonderful people of Pune. The women’s collection at Bata is truly outstanding with something for everyone – from classy flats, to laser-cut ballerinas, and knee-high boots. It is the perfect destination for style-conscious divas who will appreciate the wide range at pocket-friendly prices.”

Rajeev Gopalakrishnan, President, South Asia, Bata Emerging Markets, said: “Miss India’s legacy, year after year, reflects the changing trends and style of the modern Indian woman. We at Bata are always in-step with changing times and our partnership with fbb Colors Femina Miss India 2017 is a synergistic association. These girls are at the fore-front of the Style Industry, and no one understands the imperative to be comfortable better than them, which is where Bata steps in. We are also very happy with the response from our young customers, especially on Social Media.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pune Weather Report till 31 May 2017

Forecast issued at 21.30 hrs.

Ist on 25 may 2017

Date                Max.    Min.               
                        Temp.  Temp.              Weather
                        (0 C)    (0 C)
25.05.2017      37.3*   24.0*   Sky is very likely to be partly cloudy.
26.05.2017      37        23        Rain/thundershowers likely in some areas towards                                                              afternoon/evening.
27.05.2017      37        24        Sky is very likely to be partly cloudy.
28.05.2017      37        25        Rain/thundershowers likely in some areas.
29.05.2017      36        24        Sky is likely to be partly cloudy.
30.05.2017      36        25        Sky is likely to be partly cloudy.

31.05.2017      36        25        Rain/thundershowers likely in some areas. 

Puneite Payal Kapadia shines at Cannes


PUNE: While many are focussing on what Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai are wearing at Cannes Film Festival, Pune girl Payal Kapadia too deserves some limelight.

Her short film Afternoon Clouds is the only Indian entry at this reputed festival amongst the 2600 films submitted. Her film was selected in the Cinefondation category, a space created to inspire and support the next generation of filmmakers.

The film is set in the house of a 60-year-old woman Kaki who lives with her Nepali maid. Over the course of the film, Malti encounters upon an unexpected face, that of a sailor boy. This 13-minute short film features Usha Naik and Trimala Adhikari in the lead roles. 

What sets the film apart is that it has not been shot digitally but it is recorded on film. It was filmed as a dialogue exercise and it has been shot within four walls.

Pune University papers leaked on WhatsApp


PUNE: The question papers for two exams on Monday and Tuesday of the second year mechanical engineering course of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) were found circulating on the WhatsApp of students at an exam centre in Wagholi almost 45 minutes before the exams could begin. 

The paper was sent to all exam centres in Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts through e-mail at 10am, an hour before the scheduled time. After receiving complaints from students as well as college authorities, SPPU officials tracked down the locations from where the papers had gone viral to the Sangamner and Akurdi exam centres. The officials managed to source the locations through the centre codes, watermarks and server details of the papers.

After verifying server details, the officials filed a police case against the students at the Wagholi centre. Savitribai Phule Pune University vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar said, "While the police has seized the cellphones of the students, the university's administration has sent showcause notices to the exam centres from where the papers were downloaded on the phones and made viral."

From Thursday, the university will e-mail the question papers to exam centres only 20-25 minutes in advance. SPPU vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar said, "We have instructed all officials to ask students to settle in the exam hall one hour before their paper begins."

As a precautionary measure, the two centres from where the question papers went viral would get their papers only 5-7 minutes before the start of the exam."

All five hill station projects in Mulshi-Maval under PMRDA


PUNE: All five hill stations approved by the government in the Maval-Mulshi belt of Pune district will now come under the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) as part of the state's hill station policy.

This was clarified by PMRDA officials on Wednesday, a day after the government announced denotification of Lavasa Corporation's Special Planning Authority (SPA) status. Like Lavasa, the officials said, all other hill station projects in the belt will now come under the PMRDA.

"Only Lavasa was accorded the SPA status and it has been denotified. The other hill station projects like Aamby Valley city, Aqualand Infrastructure, Satind Infrastructure and Maharashtra Valley View hill stations, approved in the belt will come under the PMRDA," said Kiran Gitte, chief of the PMRDA.

The PMRDA has been provided with details of these projects and it has to approve all development works in the belt. "We have the list of the approved hill station projects. The developers are yet to approach us for any building permission. I am told that these projects are awaiting some environment clearances before they get their master plan approved by us," Gitte said.

Aqualand representatives said they were awaiting environment clearances from the Centre before they submit the building plan to the PMRDA. The project, with a little over 1,000 acres, was approved by the urban development department in Mulshi Khurd and Varak for development.
The government had laid down 19 conditions, which included a no objection certificate from Tata Company for use of Mulshi dam water. "We have written to Tata for permission to use water and the building master plan is ready for approval from the PMRDA," Aqualand senior vice-president R P Tyagi said.

The hill station project comes under the catchment area of the dam and the state had sought a no objection certificate from the environment department about waste water and solid waste. The company is keen to start a research centre, education hub and tourism development in the area.

The other hill station projects, which now come under PMRDA, are also yet to start any project, the officials said. All these projects had faced stiff opposition from villagers and activists because of the water scarcity in the district. They argued that water to be supplied to the city was diverted because of the projects.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pune women donate hair to make wigs for cancer patients


PUNE: Losing a close friend to cancer was the reason for Geeta Ramgopal to donate her hair. She understood that loss of hair and the embarrassment that followed was also a factor that catalysed her defeat in the battle against cancer.

Ramgopal, a resident of NIBM Road, decided to go bald and donated 15 inches of her hair to Hair for Hope - India, an initiative that collects donated hair and makes wigs for chemotherapy patients and donates it to economically challenged cancer patients in India and UAE.

"I was in a dilemma, whether to have a boy cut or go bald," she said. "I decided to go bald when I had a conversation with a cancer patient. She told me that she had to get a wig done as she did not want anyone except her family members to know about her illness as she feared they would isolate her," said the 48-year-old web designer.

Like Ramgopal, many from the city have donated their hair for this initiative. A lot of them have posted pictures along with the donated hair on social media. The initiative, which is popular in south Indian cities such as Mangaluru, Bengaluru and Chennai, has now reached Pune.

Lakshmi Francis, a 40-year-old IT professional from Baner, donated 17 inches of her hair. This was the second time she decided to do so. "I had donated my hair first in 2014. The thought that my hair could ease someone's pain motivated me ," she said.

The suffering that her domestic help of 14 years had to undergo after she was diagnosed with breast cancer let her get up close with the suffering of a cancer patient. "After the first dose of chemotherapy, she had lost almost 80% of her hair. This dampened her spirit to fight the disease. I do not want that to happen to anyone else," Franchis said.

Hair for Hope - India was started by Dubai-based Premi Mathew in 2013. "The idea of starting a campaign for hair donation came from my eight-year-old nephew, Dylan who grew his hair for four years to donate it for making wigs," Mathew said.

Mathew started another initiative Protect Your Mom to spread awareness about breast cancer after her family had a brush with the disease.