Thursday, 29 June 2017

Glenmark announces National Aquatic Championship


PUNE: The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) announced that the Glenmark 34th Sub Junior National Aquatic Championship and 44th GlenmarkJunior National Aquatic Championship 2017 will be organized by Maharashtra State Amateur Aquatic Association in Pune.

The event returns to Pune on the strength of its hosting capabilities in 2015. The event would feature over 1400 athletes from across the country vying for top honours in Swimming, Diving and Water polo disciplines.’ With additions of three more medal events at the 2020 Olympics, the discipline of aquatics will overtake athletics for the most total Olympic finals, 49 to 48.

The Sub junior events will be held between 28th June 2017 to 30th  June 2017 followed by the Junior events between 3rd  and 6th July 2017. All events will be conducted in Shiv Chhattrapati Sports Complex MahalungeBalewadi, Pune. Swimming heats will be conducted in the morning session from 8 AM onwards and finals will be conducted from 5 PM every day.

The diving will be held during the Sub Junior and water polo events during the Juniors. The Event will will be streamed live on the website Daily results, order of events and other details will be updated on A twitter handle @nacindia will provide live updates from the event.

Glenmark Aquatic Foundation the CSR initiative of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd dedicated to the sport of swimming in India have renewed their association with the Championships.

'Special' children successfully complete Kulu Trek


PUNE: About 34 specially abled children (Mentally Challenged) from Pune based NGO Navkshitij successfully completed  Kulu Trek  from 19th June -  27 June 2017.

The annual initiative was organized by Navkshitij which has till date organized twelve such treks in various parts of India including Manali, Manimahesh, Kashmir, Bagicha near Nainital etc.

The group consisted of 34 specially abled children, 15 volunteers and Neelima Desai, Founder, Navkshitij. This initiative helped the children to develop self confidence and enjoy the beauty of nature. ZEP Adventure Club supported this initiative. 

The nine day trek included rappelling across Jalori Pass, river crossing amongst other adventure activities.

Pune GPO launches special covers on forts


PUNE: A special cover on Rajgad fort will be released on June 30 by the general post office (GPO) in Pune. This will be the sixth in the series of special covers covering the forts of Maharashtra.

“We wanted to do a series on certain subjects which can be sustained for a year with a special cover being introduced every month,” said Ganesh Sawaleshwarkar, post master general. This year we thought of showcasing the forts of Pune region which includes Solapur, Satara , Ahmednagar and Pune, he added.

The covers depict photographs of Shivneri, Torna, Purandar, Sinhagad and Ahmednagar fort. “We have a number of famous forts with a lot of interesting historical stories related to them. We thought it would be a good subject for a story. Each region makes its specific design. The study begins about a month or two before and reference books are used for explanation of the subject. It is then photographed and complied into a design for the special cover. These covers are special edition and the cost starts from Rs. 15,” he said. 

The other initiative, which began last year, is the Pandharichi wari mobile post office. This received good response with a sale of over five lakh. This year, too, this mobile post office hopes to break even. “We get daily reports of the response from our staff travelling with it. The idea behind this mobile post office was to help facilitate communication among the warkaris. This mobile post office will travel with them and reach Pandharpur on July 4,” said Ganesh Sawaleshwarkar. 

“The warkaris will be able to post ordinary letters, registered letters, speed post letters at this mobile post office. The pilgrims can also avail money order service during this procession. Relatives of the devotees from all over India can send money order through any post office addressed to Alandi Devachi post office. So far, we have sold 700 sets of the special Saint postcards which are priced at Rs. 50 for a set,” added Sawaleshwarkar.

Pune Airport to run on solar power by March


PUNE: The entire Pune Airport will run on solar power by March next year, say officials, as the facility would be able to generate 200 kilowatt (KW) of solar energy a day.

"Planning is on. By March next year, the airport will be able to generate power with the help of solar panels. A sum of Rs 1.25 crore will be spent on this project, which mainly involves setting up solar panels," Pune airport director Ajay Kumar said.

Another senior airport official said the whole facility will be lit up and operated by solar power. "The security systems - which include CCTV cameras -parking areas, floodlights, etc, will be run through it. However, regular electrical power supply will be kept as an alternative, and used in case of snags," the official told

Airport sources said they will soon identify spots in the airport for installing the solar panels. "These issues need to be finalized and a proper study will be done to identify suitable places. The panels could be set up on the roof or the AAI can designate a spot in the airport area," another airport official said.

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, during his visit to Pune earlier in June, had said the ministry plans to run all airports in the country with the help of solar power, like the Kochi airport, which is said to be the world's first airport to switch to solar power.

Two solar power projects have recently been commissioned for the Bengaluru international airport and the Chennai airport is set to become 90% solar dependent by next year.

Landslide becomes threat for 59k lives: PMC report


PUNE: A detailed disaster management plan published in March 2016 says Pune Municipal Corporation is unprepared for a landslide or a mudslide in the hills surrounding the city.

If the 2014 tragedy of Malin in the district was any indicator, it is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of the damage. The same report states that at least 59,000 lives in the city are at risk from landslides.

Worse, the report terms the civic body unprepared for such a disaster, and only capable of responding to the damage. A report titled `Integrated Regional Disaster Management Plan for PMC', published in March 2016 has identified various threats to the city and estimated the type and scale of damage any disaster could result in.

According to the report, the geographical profile of Pune, saucer-like owing to the city being surrounded by hills, is highly vulnerable to landslides in some parts. In the summary of risk-analysis in the report, it has stated: "Bad construction practices on the hill slopes loosen the hilly terrain giving rise to a threat of landslides. The loss of life and property would be high in case of landslides."

Most vulnerable areas are where illegal constructions and illegal settlements are prominent. These unlawful developments are located on various hilltops and slopes of the city. A 2015 notification announced by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis bans any construction or development on hills and slopes of Pune.

These hill areas, collectively measuring 1,600 hectares, have been protected as Biodiversity Parks (BDPs).Of these areas, land measuring 978 hectares is privatelyowned and yet to be acquired by the civic body.

Space crunch hurts bottle crusher plan


PUNE: Space crunch and plot owners' reluctance to supply power to run bottle crushers have crushed the civic body's dream to install the gadget across the city to convert plastic waste into useful material.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had planned to install these machines in 20 locations. A year on, only three machines have been set up. Of them, the one installed at the corporation head office has been removed because of the cost factor.

A source at the PMC's solid waste management department said, "There were plans to install the machines at different locations, especially at the airport and railway stations. But it did not work out. The availability of land has become an issue. Also, the organizations owning the land have to supply electricity to run the bottle crushers."

Suresh Jagtap, the head of PMC's solid waste management department, said, "There are some technical issues. We are working to sort them out. Few more machines will be installed in the days to come." Rewind to the bottle crusher removed from the PMC head office. The civic body found the fees demanded by the company installing the gadget too hefty.

S C N Jatar, the founder of Nagari Chetana Manch, a citizens' group, said, "The whole priority list to carry out the smart city projects should be reviewed. Projects such as bottle crushing units should be taken up after resolving all the key issues related to garbage processing."

Recycling plastic waste was one of 15 projects launched as a part of the Smart Cities Mission initiative in 2016. "The PMC proposes incentives and motivates its citizens to segregate plastic waste at source and collect segregated plastic waste through the waste pickers' door-to-door collection system," the proposal had stated.

The civic body has started some plastic bottle collection centres, where containers are fitted. According to the civic officials, the collection system is getting good response from the residents of the city as well as tourists.

According to the target, a total of 200 collection points were to be developed. But hardly 50 have been introduced so far.The PMC has taken the initiative of setting up plastic recycling units across the city in phases.

According to the civic officials, the civic body's objective to start these units is to ensure maximum plastic trash is recycled instead of being dumped at public places or garbage bins. Every unit being installed in the city is slated to have the capacity to process about 8,000 bottles a day.Officials in the civic body stressed plastic bottles formed a major part of waste in the city. About 15% of the total waste generated in the city is plastic. 

Pune becomes hub for Japanese learning


PUNE: Of the estimated 24,000 students studying Japanese in India, as many as 3,000 are learning the language in Pune, making a strong statement of the city emerging as one of the national hubs for this language.

After well-established courses being conducted by the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), Indo Japanese Association (IJA) and Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (TMV), the famed Deccan College is set to introduce a certificate course this year.

Every year, the Japan Foundation by the Government of Japan conducts Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at more than 128 centres in 50 countries on the same day (first Sunday in December and July). The objective, said Kousuke Noguchi, director, Japan Foundation (Japanese Language and Japanese Studies) is to evaluate and certify Japanese Language Proficiency of non-native speakers. The purpose was to send experts to train teachers to teach Japanese to students. “We have experts teaching in Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata but Pune has amazed us with rising number of students recorded through JLPT,” he said.

A welcome figure of 654 students from Pune appeared in 2011 and the number reached 1,070 in 2015. “There is dedication, sincerity and an academic approach by students in Pune ,” he said.

Before 1993, there was only one centre (New Delhi) for JLPT in India. Students from Maharashtra and southern parts of India had to go all the way to the Capital to appear for the test. Considering the need for a centre for JLPT in this part of the country, a group of senior Japanese language teachers in Pune, led by a veteran teacher Michiko Tendulkar took tireless efforts to start a centre for JLPT in Pune, with a strong encouragement from Dr Govind Damale, the then Head of the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Pune (SPPU), and Japanese language teachers Dr Hari Damle and Dr VN Kinkar. The Consulate General of Japan, Mumbai, also helped in setting up the centre.

“In 1993, about 375 students had appeared for JLPT from Pune centre and the number grew enormously,” said Hari Damle, teacher of Japanese language.

“Pune was one of the early cities which had a connection to Japan. Late Dr Ramesh Divekar played a pivotal role in connecting Pune with Japan in 1964. Japanese language teaching began in Pune in 1965, by late Ramesh Divekar with the valuable help from late DD Gangal (who is the senior most person to visit Japan in the 1930s and the author of the first textbook of Japanese in Marathi called Japani Bolbasha,” said professor Dr Prashant Pardeshi,one of the early students of Japanese language of the Pune University batch and currently working with the National Institute for Japanese and Linguistics-NINJAL Japan.

“Pune with its IT base is very well suited for Japanese language education as the ties of the IT industry and the Japanese bilinguals are very deep. As a result, the demand for interpreters, translators, accountants and human resource professionals is high,”said Prajwal Channagiri, who heads the Japanese Section, Department of Foreign Languages, Savitribai Phule Pune University, which has more than 350 fresh students, every year.

Manasi Shirgurkar, assistant professor at Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (offering Japanese BA courses since 2008) feels that learning the nuances of a foreign language from a native also helps to add to the skill set of students in Pune. The university became the first in the western region to have native Japanese language experts to guide students studying in BA course.

According to Japanese multinationals, campus interviews have been on a rise for students with Japanese language abilities. Varun Modgill, director of a private firm said, “My company coordinates for and represents the Nikkei HR Recruitment Forum in India, which is a recruitment forum for recruiting the best of Asian students to work in the headquarters of large-scale Japanese companies. We have found that there are exceptionally talented Japanese speakers in Pune.”

Monday, 26 June 2017

Fear hampers on rentals in IT hubs: Assocham


PUNE: With IT sector witnessing subdued sentiment amidst pressure on hiring and annual pay rise for employees, the country's software and services hubs such as Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Noida-Gurgaon are expected to see 10-20 per cent reduction in housing rents over the next three quarters, an Assocham paper said here on Monday.

Unlike in the past when the fresh inflows of young professionals were pushing the demand for rentals in Bengaluru, the house owners in India's 'Silicon Valley' seem to have done a reality check and are accordingly slashing the rentals, while offering better amenities, the study said.

"Even in the existing rental deeds, the tenants are seeking better options and no hike in the monthly outgo, quoting the adverse industry outlook. With better options, the market is tilting in favour of the tenants, especially those paying above Rs 50,000 per month," it added.

Going forward, the rentals may ease at least by 10-15 per cent in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad, while the decline may be steeper, up to 20 per cent in Pune, in the next three quarters. Gurgaon and Noida are also witnessing a correction in rentals up to 10-15 per cent, the study forecasted.

According to the Assocham's latest estimates, while the IT sector continues to employ over four million people, mostly in the four to five big cities, the hiring growth has subdued. "The IT and other services like financials are among the sectors which pay well. Besides, the age profile of these employees is quite tempting for the marketers. They are good spenders and want good life. These factors kept the markets for rentals pushing up, especially in gated and well-equipped housing complexes and societies in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad. There is certainly a pause visible," said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham. 

Pune startup attracts Chennai Angels investment


PUNE: Iradium Automobiles Pvt Ltd which runs automobile parts market place SparesHub.Com has received an investment of Rs 40 lakh from The Chennai Angels. 

The fresh fund investment was part of the total investment of Rs two crore received from Singapore-based Anthill Scale Ventures, Esvee Technologies, Inc95 Consulting and from high networking individuals, a company statement said.

The Pune-based start-up has team size of 27 employees and serves car parts to multi-brand workshops and vehicle owners. This is the second investment round that the start-up has after first investment round was raised in October 2015. 

"The funds would be used to grow the current customer base of SparesHub; enter new geographical areas and strengthen the technology platform", the statement said. "Given the fast growing automobile industry and aftermarket, Spareshub is uniquely positioned to tap the consequent emerging opportunities in the sector", Mahalingam, one of the investors in The Chennai Angels, said. 

About 23 million cars are present in India and the automobile parts replacement market is estimated at USD eight billion growing at 12-14 per cent Year on Year.

After 16 years Metro still dream for Puneites


PUNE: A project which was supposed to give a ray of hope to Puneites giving them relief from traffic congestions has been delayed more than 15 years and still nothing concrete happened in this regard.

A good 16 years ago when the Metro rail project proposal first came up, the then Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi first spoke about the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) in 2001. For the next few years, nothing happened till everyone woke up to the fact that Pune’s traffic situation had deteriorated. Well aware of the traffic problems, Kalmadi and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar once again revived the Metro proposal in 2007, and again in 2012 when Pune was preparing for the civic 

Just when things were looking up for the Metro in 2012, the entire issue was stalled over the question whether it should be underground or elevated. While a section of politicians wanted it to be elevated, another section led by BJP’s Pune MP, Anil Shirole and some environmentalists pushed for the underground route.

“Two or three lines of the Metro may not be enough for a city like Pune where the population is 55 lakh. Also, the Metro and bus networks have to be well-synchronised to make it successful,” said Ranjit Gadgil, programme director at Parisar, who works on transport issues. “For decades together,the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party dangled a carrot before the citizenry under the name of the Metro. The BJP was then in the opposition and criticised the two parties for the delay. Now it is for them to show that it can fulfil its promise,” said Amey Kasat, an engineering student, who commutes by public buses. As per the plan, two corridors are being developed by Maha Metro, the state government company which will oversee Pune’s Metro rail project.

The rail network will cover a total distance of 31km - a 16-km stretch from Pimpri to Swargate and the other from Vanaz to Ramwadi - at an estimated cost of Rs 11,420 crores. Recently, the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) proposed another route on the Metro Map from Hinjewadi to Shivaji Nagar, which will be of 23-km length, at an estimated cost of Rs 7,947 crore. All the three lines are projected to become operational by 2021.

Officials of MahaMetro, the company responsible for executing the project, said they are under pressure to meet the deadline given the delays in the past. “We have the full support of the Central and State governments and we are pushing ahead to complete the project well in time. It has been just six months that the MahaMetro is functioning and we have been able to commence the civil work of corridor-I,” said Brijesh Dixit, managing director, MahaMetro.

Lawless, chaotic traffic in the absence of a strong public transport system has been the bane of Pune. Despite the rapid growth and development of the city- especially in the information technology sector, the public transport system has just not kept pace. In fact, citizens no longer trust the promises made by the politicians and therefore ask, “Will the Metro ever see the light of the day?” That is a question which will have to be answered.

Automen face the music loses 265 licences


PUNE: Since the beginning of June, 265 autorickshaw drivers have had their licences revoked for breaking traffic rules and refusing to ply. Autorickshaw drivers have also been charged penalty for other offences, including not wearing their uniform or badges, illegal parking, and misbehaviour.

The sustained drive has been initiated in response to repeated complaints from citizen groups about autorickshaw drivers' high-handedness, in particular, their refusal to ply on certain routes or demand return fare. The action involved plain clothes policemen posing as customers to gauge the driver's response. The autorickshaw drivers' union has term the drive illegal and unfair.

According to data compiled by the police, most cases have been reported from Shivajinagar, Koregaon Park and Dattawadi divisions.The maximum number of licenses have been revoked in Koregaon Park and Dattawadi divisions. The drive has already amassed over Rs1.3 lakh for the state coffers.

Nitin Pawar, convener of the city's Rickshaw Panchayat, claimed the police action was unjustified and unwarranted. "The police is behaving like it has set a daily target of collecting fines. Worse, the police pose as dummy customers, trick drivers with questions and issue challan within minutes.

Many autorickshaw drivers come from poor backgrounds and cannot afford to have their licenses revoked even for a day . Here, they are forced to make many trips to the Regional Transport Office to get back their license and are forced to pay a hefty fine too," he said. 

In response, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) stated that the attitude of autorickshaw drivers needs to change. "We are taking action based on complaints of harassment, especially of women and senior citizens. An autorickshaw driver cannot refuse a journey however small the distance," he said.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ghee adulteration racket busted


PUNE: A ghee adulteration racket allegedly ran by a group of businessmen at Gokulnagar on Katraj-Kondhwa bypass was busted on Saturday night in a joint action of the officials of Pune police crime branch and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

The ghee adulteration unit in three rooms at lane number 3 at Gokulnagar in Kondhwa was busted after senior inspector Nitin Bhosale Patil of the crime branch (unit 1) received a tip-off. Police have taken three businessmen -Shersingh Ramsingh Rajput (26), Keshavsingh Sugasingh Rajput (28) and Gangasingh Sukhasingh Rajput (25) from Rajasthan -into custody for questioning.

Assistant commissioner of police (crime) Suresh Bhosale said, "The businessmen adulterated ghee by mixing hot oil. Investigations revealed that the suspects prepared packets of adulterated ghee and butter and supplied them to 16 dairies in the city." Senior inspector Bhosale-Patil said, "When we busted the unit, we found adulterated ghee and oil stored in several barrels.

S S Desai, joint commissioner, FDA, Pune, said, "The businessmen would add refined soyabean oil and hydrogenated vegetable oil or Vanaspati into small quantity of ghee to make adulterated ghee. For making butter, they would use cream, soyabean oil and water. They have been running the illegal manufacturing unit for a year-and-a-half. This is the biggest racket of adulterated ghee and butter found in Pune in recent times. A similar racket was busted in the Kondhwa area in 2006." FDA has seized around 450kg of adulterated ghee in loose packets and 100kg of butter.

Customs search hidden gold on flight by video scope


PUNE: Ever seen those cameras with thin tubes that the US Special Forces used to locate flight hijackers in the 1996 thriller 'Executive Decision'? Customs officials in Pune have recently acquired something similar. The officials will use these kits - Videoscopes - to search for gold or other illegal items that passengers tend to hide in international flights.

Sources in the customs department told that earlier this month, they acquired two such kits, costing Rs 17 lakh each.

"We check international flights and some passengers coming to Pune. There have been a few times when gold or other banned substances have been recovered, both from passengers as well as flights. There are many spots in an aircraft that are inaccessible and cannot be properly checked. It may be a little opening somewhere in the aircraft or a small hole, etc. With the help of videoscopes, one can easily check these areas and things inside become clear and visible," an official said, adding that he could not comment on whether more such kits would be procured.

There have been many instances in the past when the Pune airport custom authorities recovered gold from international flights. On November 6 last year, customs officials seized 1kg of gold bars that had been hidden under the seat of a Dubai to Pune flight. Earlier on October 26, officials had recovered gold bars worth Rs 2.8 crore from the rear toilet of an aircraft that had also arrived from Dubai.

Within two weeks in October 2016 and November 2016, officials seized gold weighing a total of 10.1kg, worth Rs 3.11 crore. At that time, the customs officials had said that they were planning to check the profile of the airline crew, including the ground staff and pilots. Officials have said that from October 2015 to October 2016, gold bars worth Rs 4.12 crore have been seized from aircraft in Pune.

"With these kits, we have an edge. The customs checks almost all international flights landing in Pune. Furthermore, by this year end, we are trying to ensure that all the equipment present with us – metal detectors, door frame metal detectors, luggage scanners - are upgraded so that we are abreast and have the latest kits with us," the official said.

At present, a total of four international flights operate from the Pune airport. They include two to Dubai (Air India and SpiceJet), one to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways) and one to Frankfurt (Lufthansa). More flights to Middle Eastern destinations are set to start soon, sources said.

Musician loses Rs 55,000 to online fraudster


PUNE: A professional musician’s dreams of buying new equipment were shattered recently after he was duped of Rs 55,000 by an online fraudster suspected to be based out of West Bengal.

The 32-year-old victim - from Narayangaon; about 75 kms from Pune - was browsing through an online marketplace for digital percussion pads when on June 9, he found what he needed and contacted a listed phone number. The musician also wrote an email to the "seller".

"The deal was finalised at Rs 45,000," said T Y Mujawar, an assistant inspector with Narayangaon police. The police officer said the suspect then gave his bank's account number and told the victim to transfer Rs 45,000 and another Rs 10,000 as shipping charges. "The suspect assured the musician that the instruments would be couriered immediately and an amount of Rs 55,000 was wired to the given bank account," Mujawar added.

According to police, the money transfer was made between June 9 and June 15 and the suspect is believed to have told the victim that the instruments had been parcelled. "But when the musician didn't receive the parcel, he started calling up the listed phone number only to be repeatedly told that the package was on its way via a popular courier service. However, after waiting for days, and when the "seller" had stopped responding to the calls," the victim got suspicious.

When the complainant approached the bank to obtain details of the account he had transferred the money to, it was found that the account holder had already withdrawn the sum. It was only after this discovery that the police complaint was filed. Mujawar said prima facie, the suspect appears to be from the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. "We have registered a case under Section 420 (Cheating) of the Indian Penal Code," the police officer said.

Pune police on June 19 arrested a suspect from the Navi Peth area and also booked his wife and parents for allegedly duping many students after promising them rented low-cost accommodation. The suspects had used an online classifieds forum to attract students. Four students had complained of losing Rs 15,000 each.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Petrol safety body prevents doorstep delivery of fuel


PUNE: The Petroleum and Safety Organization (PESO) has disallowed home delivery of petrol and diesel, due to safety reasons. PESO has termed the act of supplying fuel to the ‘customer's site’ as illegal and fraught with danger to public and property.

Pune-based sources in the All India Petrol Dealers Assocation (AIPDA) said this move could also affect fuel-dispensing vehicles that supply diesel to commercial establishments in Pune, especially in Chakan, Hinjewadi, Hadapsar industrial area and Magarpatta.

An official from PESO in Nagpur told that the statutory body will not give any company the rights to undertake home deliveries. "We met officials from the ministry of petroleum and natural and told that that safety is the biggest concern in such an initiative. Petrol pumps have the necessary safety measures in place to preclude mishaps. Door-to-door deliveries of fuel can be dangerous. Even a single spark can ignite the vapours emitted while filling petrol," the official said.

In the notification released by PESO on June 22, it said, "This is not approved by the government, PESO, or ministry of petroleum and natural gas." "It is intimated as per Petroleum Rules 2002 that filling of tanks other than automobile tanks is not permitted as it is illegal and dangerous, any unsafe act will lead to accidents and also attract suspension/cancellation of licences of retail outlet," it said.

Ali Daruwalla, AIPDA spokesperson, said home delivery of fuel was gradually to be rolled out across the country, including Pune. "Dealers had opposed any such move as they would lose business. These mobile carriers can start selling with an investment of Rs2-3 lakh, without overhead expenses. Such a mobile fuel-dispensing van can open and shut as per the operator's convenience. Also, there are no checks on quality or quantity dispensed from such vans. After the PESO order however, no such fuel dispensing vehicles can ply," he said.

Cops bust gang of e-way robbers, arrest 7


PUNE: The Talegaon-Dabhade police arrested seven members of a gang of highway robbers early on Thursday following a Bollywood movie-like hot chase on the Pune-Mumbai expressway.

Acting on the near-perfect description of robbers given by a victim, an Army officer, the police pressed into service a crane, an ambulance and even a car to nab the robbers. They also used the cellphones of the robbers to keep a keep track of their whereabouts. The gang had targeted the Army officer, based in Pune, of Rs 5,000 cash, a gold chain and a watch, collectively worth about Rs 50,000, near Urse toll plaza on the expressway around 2 am on Thursday. The officer, who was returning from Lonavla, had stopped his vehicle along the expressway as he was feeling drowsy.

Investigations by the police have revealed that the same gang had robbed a Navi Mumbai-based family of their valuables worth Rs 2.5 lakh by threatening to kill an infant travelling with them on June 13. The arrested have been identified as Pradip Mandlik (22), his brother Balkrishna (25) Avinash Khandagale (22), Kailas Chandane (23), Santosh Ghune (23), Sandip Bhalerao (27), Sachin Kamble (20) from Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district. They have cases of robberies, thefts, possession of illegal firearms registered against them.

The police have recovered two cars and sharp weapons used by the gang for committing the robberies. The suspects were produced before the Vadgaon Maval court on Friday and have been remanded in police custody till June 29, Mugutrao Patil, inspector of the Talegaon-Dabhade police.

Inspector Mugutrao Patil said the Army officer, his wife and two small children had gone to Lonavla on Wednesday night. When they were returning to Pune in the early hours of Thursday, the officer took a halt along the e-way near Urse toll plaza as he was feeling drowsy. While he was splashing water on his face, five men brandishing sharp weapons approached him," Patil said, adding that the suspects threatened him of dire consequences and asked him to hand over cash and valuables he possessed to them.

"The officer did not resist the suspects since they all were armed. In all, the suspects robbed him of valuables worth Rs 50,000 and fled," the officer said adding that soon after the victim alerted a policeman at the toll plaza. "The officer gave the detailed description of the suspects to the policeman before driving away," Patil said.

After getting an alert from the policeman, inspector Patil and sub-inspector Dnyaneshwar Bajgire launched a search operation to nab the suspects. Mugutrao Patil, inspector of the Talegaon-Dabhade police said the police team investigating the case noticed few men standing near a car along the expressway near Urse village.

As soon as they saw the policemen, the suspects jumped into the car and tried to drive away. "However, one of them failed to get inside the car. He ran towards a hillock along the expressway. The police team searched for him on the hillock for about half-an-hour. When they could not trace him, the team pretended to call off the search operation and left the spot," Patil said. Thereafter, Patil sent his team to the same spot in a crane belonging to one Ideal Road Builders. "After some time, the police noticed one person standing along the expressway. He was immediately taken in custody as his description matched with that given by the Army officer," Patil said.

He said during the probe, the suspect admitted his involvement in the robbery. Meanwhile, he started receiving calls on his cellphone by his accomplices. They were asking him to come to a spot near Talegaon," Patil said.

Patil said he sent the suspect with the police team in an ambulance. "Three suspects were waiting for him in a car. They never imagined that the police would come in an ambulance. We took them into custody along with the car," Patil said.

The kingpin of the gang, Pradip Mandlik, too was calling on his accomplices' cellphones. "We came to know that Mandlik was not able to get in the car and ran away from the spot. While on the run, he had jumped off a bridge and was hiding under the bridge as both of his legs got fractured. We rushed to the spot and took him into custody too," Patil said.

He said two more suspects were still near Talegaon and were waiting for others. "After contacting them through one of the arrested accomplices, we rushed to the spot. This time, we used the suspects's car to reach the spot and arrested them," Patil said.

Bentley Institute collaborates with JSPM


PUNE: Bentley Institute initiated BIM Advancement Laboratory in collaboration with JSPM Group of Institutes at Tathawade campus. The Centre will foster BIM engineering knowledge among students & educators. Bentley Institute brings its experience and BIM Best practices from BIM Advancement Academies from all over the world such as CrossRail BIM Advancement Academy in London. 

Dr. R. K Jain, Principal, RSCOE said that more than 100 teachers have been trained over three days on these softwares at BIM Advancement Laboratory.This will enable the students to work on different tools and software related to infrastructure sector . The laboratory will also be open to past students of the college.

Vinayak Trivedi, Vice President and Global Head Bentley Institute, said “In these days of mega Infrastructural projects the focus of architects, engineers, constructors, owner-operators is on executing projects within time and cost- which is at the heart of 5D BIM. For students to be competitively employable with a career of their choice, while it is important for them to supplement their knowledge with practical experience of cutting edge technologies and tools, it is equally important that engineering institutes expose students to the big picture of project execution. This can be achieved through Academia – Industry collaboration and BIM Advancement Lab at JSPM, Pune is one good medium to bring all that together.”

Vinayak Trivedi, Vice President & Global Head Bentley Institute, Dr. Nitin R. Karmalkar, Vice Chancellor, SP Pune University, Binish Parekh, Vice president, ARK Infosolutions, R. S Joshi, Director Planning & Development JSPM group, Dr. R. K Jain, Principal, RSCOE , Dr PP Vitkar Director Tathawade Campus were present at the inauguration. The laboratory will be useful for students of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Students distribute seed bombs to pilgrims

PUNE: The students of Goel Ganga International School participated in the palkhi procession with the aim of generating awareness and spreading the message of Hygiene and Cleanliness. The students distributed seed bombs to pilgrims so that they can throw it on their route to Pandharpur which will help grow greener cover.

Seven groups of students, from grade VI to X staged street plays along the route and generated awareness among devotees about the significance of maintaining the environment and surroundings clean by not resorting to littering on the roads. The students guided and helped devotees to throw garbage in the dustbins provided.

Speaking on the initiative Sonu Gupta, Trustee of GGIS said, "During our last two years of service to warkaries, we had observed that due to unavailability of proper disposal facilities leading to cleanliness issues during wari. Hence, this year we concentrated on cleanliness along the holy route. Also, following our green initiatives we created seed bombs of various seeds like Jamun, ".

The students were stationed at important points, along the route, guiding the warkari's and requesting them to keep the entire route of the procession clean. With the support from the Municipal Corporation, arrangements of dustbins and mobile toilets were made available along the route this time.

The students along with Principal Bharti Bhagwani, Vice Principals, Activity Coordinator and teachers took part in the activity.

Pune’s Iyengar Institute gets PM’s award for yoga

Late BKS Ayengar

PUNE: Pune-based Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute was selected as first recipient of the Prime Minister’s award for outstanding contribution for promotion and development of yoga for the year 2017.

Established on January 19, 1975 by BKS Iyengar, the world’s most influential yoga guru, the institute attracts students from all over the world to learn yoga. The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute has worked to spread yoga internationally. The institute has published several books on yoga, of which, many have been translated into multiple languages.

The announcement about the award was made on Tuesday ahead of World Yoga Day. During the second International day of Yoga celebrations at Chandigarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the awards for promotion of the ancient Indian spiritual discipline.

Iyengar has been credited with rediscovering yoga by changing some of its techniques to deliver maximum impact. He focused on precision and alignment, which later came to be known as Iyengar yoga. Iyengar practised for several years to improvise on patanjali hatha yoga. In order to acquire right postures and deliver maximum impact, the yoga guru made use of straps and objects like wooden blocks.

Following the announcement, a committee was constituted for the screening of nominations. In its first year after the award was announced, the committee received 85 nominations. The selection was done from among 85 nominations received and 15 more recommended by a screening committee, said the agency report.

The jury, chaired by cabinet secretary, with additional secretary to the Prime Minister, foreign secretary, secretary (AYUSH), and Veerendra Heggade as members, examined the screening committees’ recommendations.

“After considering all relevant facts and other inputs, the jury recommended that the award for the current year be given to Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute,” said a senior official from AYUSH ministry.

Following this, the ministry of AYUSH developed the guidelines for the awards and two committees -- screening committee (for preliminary evaluation) and evaluation committee (Jury)-- were constituted so that a transparent process is followed in finalising the awards.

The nomination for the awards were invited through open advertisements. The screening committee shortlisted 16 names from among the applications received after detailed discussions and analysis.

In addition, the committee also recommended for consideration of 15 names of eminent yoga individuals and organisations who have longstanding credibility in the field of promotion of yoga but whose names did not figure in the applications received.

‘Balgandharva’ turns 50 years


PUNE: It's an address, a landmark, an acoustic marvel and an iconic auditorium that is the picture of art, music, dance and culture. Balgandharva Rangmandir, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, is the stage where everything from drama to tamasha rocks.

It stands evidence to the fact that something stronger can come out of a flood ravaged Pune. Its foundation stone was laid in 1962 along the Mutha after the devastating 1961 Panshet floods. The auditorium was established in 1968.

Five days of events will be held from June 24 to mark the occasion. A procession to celebrate its grandeur will be held on Saturday at 2pm from its gates to Shaniwarwada and back. Actor Subodh Bhave, who played Balgandharva in the movie, along with Mukta Barve and Dipti Devi will participate.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar will inaugurate the celebrations along with guardian minister Girish Bapat and mayor Mukta Tilak on Sunday. Actor Rohini Hattangadi will be awarded a lifetime achievement award by Pawar.

As many as 30 programmes will be staged in the next four days which include interviews with Ashok and Nivedita Saraf, Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar and Rinku Rajguru.

Lavani performances where only women will be seated will be held. There will also be one-act plays and musical soirees thrown in. Former corporator Shirkant Shirole who held office when the auditorium was inaugurated said, "The auditorium was one of its kinds back then. The foundation stone was laid on October 8, 1962 and it took six years to complete it. It was built along international standards. A committee headed by renowned humorist P L Deshpande was appointed by the municipal corporation to oversee the construction."

Veteran actor Madhav Vaze, who was a member of that committee, recollected how Deshpande was extremely passionate about having a state-of-the-art theatre in the city. "The theatre was built at a cost of approximately Rs 35 lakh. However, people were opposed to the idea of building a theatre and the money spent on it. Deshpande remained adamant and due to the support of PMC members and the municipal commissioner, the theatre became a reality," Vaze said.

He remembered it was hard for people to accept that the theatre was air-conditioned as they thought it was needless. But being the visionary that he was, Deshpande insisted on air-conditioning. In addition, it had a crying room for babies, six make-up rooms, and ramps on the backstage to bring theatre sets and other equipment.

Yet all does not seem well with the auditorium today. "I feel sorry when the authorities and the people could not maintain the standards of the theatre. The walls and the corners are stained with paan spit marks. There is news about finding alcohol bottles in the rooms. This is sad as in the very first speech I remember Deshpande saying that he had faith in the authority and the public that no one would spit and there would be no drinking. He would have been deeply saddened with its current state," Vaze added.

Malaysian firm interested in Pune station facelift job


PUNE: Even as the state government has held talks with Singapore’s Changi Airport Group to develop the proposed new airport for the city, the Pune railway junction could be redeveloped by a Malaysian firm.

Giving details of the proposed plan, Director General (PR) Anil Saxena of the railway board confirmed that Malaysia-based Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has shown an interest in bidding to re-develop six Indian railway stations, including Pune.

With the bidding process for the first phase of the centre's station re-development plan slated to take place in August, the company officials are expected to visit Pune, Saxena added.

"They have shown an interest in Pune and they will have to prepare the bidding documents now. The first phase of bidding is expected to take place in August and before the bidding they are expected to carry out site surveys, measurement of the area and so on. For this, their team is expected to visit all five stations, including Pune," the senior official said.

It has been said that the estimated cost of re-development of the stations, which includes Pune, Udaipur, Howrah, Indore, Secunderabad and Faridabad, is Rs5,000 core.

A total 400 stations have been lined up for the station re-development plan and the first phase will see bidding for 23 stations, including Pune.