Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pune witness tree massacre in dark


PUNE: Eleven fully grown trees on Raj Bhavan Marg were cut by civic authorities sometime between 1am and 4am on Sunday. The trees were felled to widen that stretch of road - from Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) to Bremen chowk - for the city’s bus rapid transit system (BRTS) corridor. One of the trees cut was over 100-years-old, according to environmental activist Vinod Jain.

Despite repeated attempts, head of PMC’s road department, Rajendra Raut, could not be reached. PMC’s tree officer Dayanand Ghadge also did not respond to phone calls till the time of going to press.  

The clandestine operation involved in cutting these trees has angered residents and activists, who allege that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has flouted all norms in the process.

“This tree cutting is illegal as there was no notice put on the trees regarding the cutting, nor was there a public hearing arranged as per letters submitted by residents to the tree authority chairman,” says tree activist Sathya Natarajan, a resident of Phursungi. Environmental activists HT spoke to claimed the trees were cut down at around 3 am, when the road and area was deserted.

Five trees from the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) square and six along the road leading to Bremen Chowk were hacked down by authorities. The 100-year-old banyan tree cut down stood in the verandah of a police chowky which was also demolished by the PMC some months ago as a part the road widening work.

Earlier, in April, civic authorities axed nine fully grown trees, also for road widening work. Green activist Jain says he arrived the spot at 4 am as soon as he got the news, but the trees were already cut. “The PMC first demolished the heritage structure housing the police chowky and now the trees. We object to the fact that the authorities axed trees in the wee hours, clandestinely. It was not necessary to axe the trees as they were on the side of the road, beyond the pavement,” says Jain. 

“These trees are the public property of Pune. Hence, involving citizens should be made mandatory before unilaterally deciding to chop down such heritage trees which have been the identity of Pune university and home to many species of birds,” says activist Vaishali Patkar.

Following the axing of these trees, the Area Sabha Association of Pune Members (Asap) have written a letter demanding assurance from the Pune municipal commissioner, who also heads the tree authority, that no trees or branches in Aundh will be cut without a hearing. Asap have also asked for a public hearing by November 5, 2017. 

The tree authority is a body constituted as per directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), comprising members, including environmental experts and civic officials, to approve cutting of trees for development work.

VFS Global brings Thailand visas at your doorstep


PUNE: VFS Global recently received authorisation from the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi and its Consulates in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai to process Thailand visa applications across India.

In order to provide convenience to the travellers from across East, West, North and South India, VFS Global has expanded its network of Thailand Visa Application Centres to 13 cities.

VFS Global has already been servicing Thailand visas in East, North and South India, with centres in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Kochi and Chandigarh. With the addition of operations in Western India, travellers can now also apply for a Thailand visa at any one of the VFS Global Thailand Visa Application Centres in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Goa.

With Thailand emerging as one of the top destinations for Indian travellers, VFS Global’s  appointment as a service provider will greatly benefit the growing volumes of applicants from India. When applying through VFS Global, applicants will be able to avail of the additional benefits on offer across VFS Global’s Visa Application Centres including services such as SMS updates, courier services, online tracking services, among others.

Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, said, “Thailand has long been a popular destinati0n for Indian travellers, and a long-standing partner of VFS Global. For well over a decade, we have proudly served The Royal Thai Embassy and The Royal Thai Consulate General in India, with nine centres. It is therefore an honour to announce that VFS Global has been authorised to expand its Thailand visa services across India through its network of visa centres in 13 cities. We look forward to successful operations in the new cities, and to many more years of strong association with Thailand.”

32nd Pune international marathon on Dec 3


PUNE: The 32nd edition of the Pune International Marathon will be held here on December 3, city Mayor Mukta Tilak announced today.

The total prize money for the upcoming marathon is Rs 40 lakh of which Rs 35 lakh will be given by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and rest by the organising committee of the event, a senior official associated with the marathon told pune-news.com.

The event comprises seven competitive races, including a full marathon (42.195 km) for men, a half-marathon (21 km) for men and women, along with the national races of 10 km for men and women, besides a five-km race for men and women, the official said.

In addition to it, 'Run for Pune', a district level race for boys and girls, and a 'Corporate Run', for corporates, banks and other organisations are being organised for the first time, he added.

International swimmer Rohan More will be the brand ambassador of the marathon while Pralhad Sawant is the race director for the event.

Swedish avenue to display ideal smart road in PCMC


PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has given the green signal to the Consulate General of Sweden and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India to develop a three-kilometres patch of Sveanagar Road in Dapodi into a Smart Street. It will be renamed as Swedish Avenue. The road work will begin very soon and will complete in around 6 months.

Sharing details about the project, Ulrika Sundberg, Consul General of Sweden, Mumbai, said, “The approval to develop this patch of the road into a Smart Street and changing its name to Swedish Avenue is a token of recognition from the PCMC and India of the contribution of Swedish companies to India. We are going to convert this street into a window of Sweden, wherein we will install sustainable and environment-friendly infrastructure and also paint the street blue and yellow.”

She said the Swedish Avenue in Pune will be a symbol of Swedish values, innovations, sustainability and technology. “The street, which houses three Swedish corporate giants - Sandvik, Atlas Copco and Alfa Laval - will showcase Swedish solutions for beautification and maintenance of streets. The street will have solar power poles, air pollution information, recycling systems and waste management systems, infrastructure made of recycled material, bicycle track, pavements for pedestrians, smart transportation like e-bikes, electronic boards, information signages and others,” Sundberg explained.

She said that an array of exhibitions showcasing Swedish art and culture will also be held at Swedish Avenue from time to time. According to her, persons crossing the Sveanagar or Swedish Avenue must feel like they have entered a Swedish part of Pune.

Vice President of Swedish Chamber of Commerce India and Managing Director of Sandvik, Parag Satpute, said that the street will be a showcase of Sweden. “The street will showcase Swedish technology and innovations in sustainability. The government and local bodies working on the Smart City project can implement these or similar technologies while developing Smart Cities,” he added.

He said that while the plan has only just got approval, discussions will be held with the concerned stakeholders at PCMC for further planning and development.

Students joins Rally for Rivers with enthusiasm


PUNE: Sinhgad Technical Education Society’s students from across campuses in Pune have displayed their commitment in saving India’s lifeline – rivers. The chain of institutes in collaboration with the Isha Foundation’s Pune office conducted rallies across campuses in the city.

Walks were conducted at the Vadgaon and Lonavala campus in support of the cause where students participated. Various presentations and talks were held at the campuses to make students understand about the important role played by the rivers of the country.

Prof. N. M. Navale, Founder President, Sinhgad Institutes, also received the certificate of appreciation by the Isha Foundation for their contribution and support on the ‘Rally for Rivers’ Campaign.

Commenting on actively participating in the nationwide rally, Dr. A. V. Deshpande, Registrar, STES said, “Rivers are an important role in the human civilization since ancient times. We are proud to have partnered in this noble cause and pledge our full support to the campaign.” 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Matheran toy train to amuse tourists again


PUNE: After nearly 18 months, the famed 110-year old Matheran Toy Train resumed partial services on Monday, after it was suspended in May 2016 following several derailments, a top official said.

"The train resumed services on the critical Matheran-Aman Lodge sector, around 3.5 km distance. We are planning to restart services on the entire 21-km Neral-Matheran route as soon as possible," Central Railway (CR) CPRO Sunil Udasi told pune-news.com today.

From Monday, the CR started 12 shuttles daily on the route. It started from Matheran at 8.50 a.m. and in return direction from Aman Lodge at 9.25 a.m., in what is Asia's only automobile-free hill station nestled in the Western Ghats, around 110 kms from both Mumbai and Pune. To ensure passenger safety, the CR has introduced enhanced safety features in the toy train 'Phul Rani', and replaced the original manual brakes with the safer air brakes system.

In the original system, there was a manual braking in which six brake porters applied the brakes in sync and any time lag between could cause an accident. Under the new air brake system, the train driver can now slow down or apply the brakes as required without the involvement of the brake porters.

Udasi said that the final trials to check the safety and operational issues before top officials were conducted on Sunday before giving the green signal to resume operations from Monday. The resumption of services would prove a boon to the local residents and tourists to Matheran as the winter peak tourism season has started and they were forced to cough out exorbitant amounts to hire horses or carts.

The other option for the able-bodied people was to walk the steep route from Matheran to Dasturi Naka, the termination point for all vehicles outside the hill station precincts. The narrow guage toy train is considered a marvel and ascends in a crazy zig-zag (with more than 280 steep turns) from Neral to Matheran, around 2,500 feet from sea-level, offering breathtaking views of the lush green and steep hills and deep valleys, highlighting the beauty of the hill station.

The toy train was built by a Mumbai industrialist, the late Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy at a staggering cost of Rs 1.60 million in seven years, between 1901-1907. The hill railway contributed in a big way to the growth of Matheran and forever changed the face of the tiny hill station, after it was discovered in May 1850 by the then Mumbai Collector Hugh Poyntz Malet.

Airport Officials Write To BCAS Seeking Import Nod


PUNE: Pune customs authorities are waiting for an upward swing in international cargo exports in order to push for cargo imports. With the authorities stating last month that they are stressing on international cargo imports too, sources said that a formal request has been made to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) by Pune airport authorities.

“While the request has been sent to BCAS by AAI officials in Pune, one needs a whole new infrastructure for the same similar to cargo exports. Business, in terms of internal cargo exports, needs to pick up from Pune. As far as customs is concerned, we have given licence to all airlines operating international flights from Pune to carry out cargo exports. The airlines include Air India, Jet and SpiceJet,” an official said.

In earlier talks, the authorities had said that cargo import was expected to begin in six months. The Airports Authority of India (AAI), in a meeting with the customs authorities last month, said that it will not have any reservation even if a freight carrier registers itself with the customs to carry cargo.

“Diwali time was pretty decent and around 5 to 6 consignments were sent to international destinations. However, this is not enough, we feel. Though consignments have started to come, they are not much. One has to think as to why more consignments are not coming to the export facility despite Pune being a good market for exporting goods like fruits, vegetables, machine parts etc. BCAS will be taking the export business into account before allowing for imports too,” the official added.

The export facility started in July this year and the cargo volume was expected to achieve 40,600 tonnes per annum. Aviation expert and analyst Dhairyashil Vandekar said that while the Indian Air Force, which handles the Lohegaon facility, shouldn’t have a problem with imports, the need of the hour was to create confidence among the business community about the facility.

“Pune airport already witnesses domestic cargo movements and international cargo export has started too. The goods which come are custom cleared and I don’t see any reason for the IAF to raise an issue with imports. I recently heard that a consignment of custard apples had to be cancelled due to some logistical issues. These things break the confidence of businessmen who have been using Mumbai airport for the same for more than a decade,” Vandekar said.

When contacted, a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officer from South Western Air Command, Gandhinagar, under which Air Force Station Pune falls, said, “Since Pune airport is monitored by Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities, a decision with regard to starting new air operation will be taken by the air headquarters and Director General Civil Aviation. Before giving consent to a new proposal, both the agencies will not only focus on the existing air traffic but also deliberate on the necessity of the proposed requirement at the airport. Further, they should also verify whether new operation would affect their functioning or not.” 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Housing sales dip 18% in 9 major cities


PUNE: Housing sales dropped 18 per cent year-on-year to 44,755 units in nine major cities during the September quarter on continued slowdown in the property market, a report said.

New launches of homes fell by 53 per cent to 22,115 units in the second quarter of the current fiscal due to the implementation of new real estate law RERA, said the report by realty portal PropTiger.com.

It said seven cities- Pune, Noida, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad -witnessed decline in sales as well as launches, while only two cities Mumbai and Gurugram saw rise in demand and supply.

News Corp-backed PropTiger.com is part of Elara Technologies, which also owns Housing.com and Makaan.com. “The new RERA and GST regime impacted launches as well as sales in the second quarter of FY’18. However, sales showed a marked improvement in September over July and August, driven by festival offers launched by most developers,” said Ankur Dhawan, Chief Investment Officer, PropTiger.com.

Ahmedabad saw the maximum fall in sales of 46 per cent to 2,222 units in the July-September quarter of 2017-18, over the year-ago period.

The decline in sales in Pune was 32 per cent to 7,214 units, followed by Noida 29 per cent to 3,606 units, Bengaluru 27 per cent to 6,976 units, Chennai 23 per cent to 2,945 units, Kolkata 21 per cent to 2,993 units and Hyderabad 18 per cent to 3,356 units. However, housing sales in Gurugram rose by 60 per cent to 3,342 units. Mumbai saw 6 per cent rise in sales to 12,101 units during the second quarter of this fiscal.

“Due to improved buyer confidence, Mumbai and Gurugram recorded an increase in sales by 6 per cent and 60 per cent respectively over Q2 FY’17,” PropTiger said.

According to the report, RERA, though applicable since May 2017, was not implemented in many key states such as Karnataka, Haryana, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh till the middle of July 2017 which had a major impact on new launches.

“Though the last quarter looks sluggish, the long term story for residential market remains strong. With effective implementation of RERA, we expect growth of 30 to 40 per cent on year on year basis in sales and new launches in the next quarter,” Dhawan said.

Jeep to produce Compass Trailhawk at Pune for export


PUNE: Jeep has announced that it has started the production of its SUV Compass’s Trailhawk variant at its plant in Ranjangaon, Pune.

The US company, as per a report in the Autocar, has also announced that the vehicles made in India will be exported to international markets like Australia and Japan.

Jeep had earlier begun the production of the Compass SUV for the Indian market. The plant is expected to become the production base for Jeep for all the markets with a right-hand drive option. The Trailhawk variant which will be manufactured at the plant will initially be manufactured only for export and it is not clear whether the variant will be introduced domestically.

Coming with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Trailhawk variant will come with several additional features compared to the standard variant such as different alloy wheels, dual-tone shade, red recovery hooks, a black painted anti-glare bonnet decal, underbody skid plates and all weather floor mats.

Suhana bags top award in Green building Congress


PUNE: Suhana , Pune's leading spice and food product brand has won accolades for it’s Warehouse at Bhuleshwar. IGBC - Indian green building Council, has recognised Suhana Warehouse at Bhuleshwer as platinum rated green building at Indian Green building Congress 2017, for its eco friendly design, rain water harvesting, use of solar power, waste management, water recycling, organic landscaping, preservation of biodiversity etc and providing most holistic work environment.

This award was presented to Anand Chordia (Technical Director , Pravin Masalewale) at World Green Building Congress at Jaipur recently at the hands of elite dias including V Suresh (IGBC - Policy and Advocacy committee and Principal Executive Officer, HIRCO Developments Pvt Ltd), Padma Shri C N Raghavendran (Chairman, IGBC - Chennai Chapter), S Srinivas (Deputy Executive Director, IGBC ) and Anand Mishra, (Co-Chair, IGBC - Jaipur Chapter).The proud team received the award for one of the certified greenest factories in the food sector in India.

Anand Chordia said that the project demonstrates outstanding implementation of green measures along with use of renewable energy to the optimum and also added that we are a socially responsible company and trying to protect and preserve mother nature as our corporate responsibility. He feels more such awareness amongst industries will really make India green, clean, sustainable and add positively to our economy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Activists demand scrapping of CCTV tender


PUNE: City-based Sajag Nagrik Manch has demanded cancellation of a tender to install CCTVs in Pune Municipal Corporation’s new building at Shivajinagar, alleging that the bidder had quoted highly inflated rates which would make a dent of Rs 35 lakh in civic coffers.

The group members claimed that the electrical department of PMC has issued tender for surveillance system. PMC plans to install HD camera control, LCD monitor and digital podium system in the new civic administration headquarters. The tender price was supposed to be Rs 74 lakh.

The cost of the camera quoted in the tender is around Rs 5.25 lakh. These types of cameras can be bought in the market for around Rs81,899. Even the price of monitoring system is around Rs 7.20lakh, while the tender has quoted Rs12.69 lakh. The civic administration wants to by four such cameras and monitoring units, said activists. "The difference between market price and tender bid is alarmingly high. It appears that the deal is shady. The civic administration should make sure that public money is not wasted in this tender," said Vivek Velankar, founder of the group.

He said that the group has written a letter to the civic administration, demanding an inquiry into the tendering process to find out whether it was rigged. "Observations made by the citizens' group will be studied. Action will be taken if any irregularity is found," said Shrikrishna Chaudhari, head of PMC's electrical department.

Schaeffler India to invest Rs.500-600 cr in expansion


PUNE: Schaeffler India, which is now in the process of merging its two entities, INA Bearings and Luk India, with itself is drawing up major expansion plan to seize the emerging business opportunities.

The Indian arm of Germany’s automotive and industrial parts maker is planning to invest Rs. 250-300 crore per annum over the next two years. “We will invest this from next calendar year. This will be made in product, capacity and R&D expansion programmes. These will be only brownfield expansions,” said Dharmesh Arora, MD, Schaeffler India (formerly FAG Bearings India Ltd) The company will commence work for second plant at Pune site (INA Bearings’ unit) by December this year as the current capacity is full. Capacity expansion plans for other units are being finalised.

The combined entity Schaeffler India offers a full range of solutions in engine, transmission and chassis segments for automotive applications. In bearings segment, its range will expand to include needle roller bearings, linear roller bearings and precision spindle bearings.

The company, which will have total revenues in excess of Rs. 3600 crore with a staff strength of 3000 and four plants, will have about 53 per cent of revenues in automotive segment and 47 per cent in industrial category, said Arora.

He expects group’s automotive business to grow faster than industrial segment in the near term in view of new emission standards and other changing consumer behaviours in vehicle segment. “Due to change in emission norms, powertrains are being upgraded by all auto OEMs. There is a big opportunity for us here as the products we produce will help make engines more efficient and reduce emissions. Also, there are more opportunities in transmission automation,” said Arora. He expects that by 2025, about 15 per cent of all cars to have automatic transmissions.

Schaeffler, which has been present in India for more than 50 years, also sees bigger opportunities in buyer’s shift from A segment to B segment cars. “The contents per vehicle will be more and it will provide us good business,” he added.

On the industrial side, the business is stable and mature. Segments such as railways, metro, steel, mining and construction where the company has strong presence will continue to provide opportunities in view of Central government’s infrastructure and manufacturing push.
Schaeffler Group believes that under one strong Indian entity, there will be a diversified and high growth product offering both in auto and industrial segments besides significant revenue and cost synergy potential.

Industrialist Rasiklal Dhariwal no more


PUNE: Industrialist Rasiklal Manikchand Dhariwal (78) passed away tonight at a private hospital here due to cancer and multiorgan failure.

With funding boost, new FOB work to resume soon


PUNE: Foot over bridge (FOB) at Pune Junction will get enough funds very soon. So that its work will resume in near future, said Member (Engineering) of Railway board, M K Gupta during his visit to Pune. He also assured to remove all hurdles in its construction.

Gupta added that all kinds of road blocks, including funding, in connection with construction of the FOB will be removed. The senior official said that funds will be provided for the FOB without any further delay.

Though the total cost of the project is pegged at Rs14 crore, Pune division had received only Rs 4 crore. The rest of the money had been due since last three months, resulting in the project being stalled.

The official, along with those from the MahaMetro and Railway Land Development Authority, discussed ways to develop a multimodal transport system in which the metro, railways and intra-city transport would work together to find transport solutions for the city.

"The planning regarding redevelopment of Shivajinagar station, which has been on the cards since 2013, was held and some important decisions have been taken in connection with the same. During the meeting, development of third line of Pune-Lonavala section and fourth line were also discussed. Discussions pertaining to re-development of Pune Station under the Swiss Challenge model, as announced by Indian Railways earlier this year, and its integration with the metro system were held," the official pointed out.

Officials said that since the beginning, MahaMetro had planned integration of transport facilities at Pune station, Shivajinagar and Swargate wherein metro network will run into existing public transport utilities like railways, MSRTC and PMPML with proper integration. 
"Integration of both the stations with the Pune Metro project as well as remodelling of Pune Yard, were discussed," the official pointed out.

Monday, October 23, 2017

स्वप्निल राजशेखरचा नवा अवतार

 स्वप्निल राजशेखर
घरातच अभिनयाचं बाळकडू लाभलेल्या अभिनेता स्वप्निल राजशेखर यांनी आजवर विविधांगी भूमिका साकारल्या आहेतयापैकी काही कायम स्मरणात राहणाऱ्या ठरल्या आहेतनायकखलनायक तर कधी चरित्र व्यक्तिरेखांमध्ये दिसणारे स्वप्निल राजशेखरमाझा एल्गार’ या आगामी मराठी चित्रपटात पुन्हा एका नव्या रूपात दिसणार आहेत.दिग्दर्शक मिलिंद कांबळे यांनी दिग्दर्शित केलेल्या माझा एल्गारची निर्मिती सौरभ आपटे यांनी केली असूनसद्गुरू फिल्म्सच्या बॅनरखाली श्रीकांत आपटे हा चित्रपट प्रस्तुत करीत आहेत१० नोव्हेंबरला हा चित्रपट प्रेक्षकांच्या भेटीला येणार आहे.

या चित्रपटाने स्वप्निलला पुन्हा एकदा त्याच्या अभिनयाचा कस लावणारी भूमिका दिली आहेस्वप्निलने यात एका महंताची भूमिका साकारली असूनवरवर पाहता जनतेच्या हिताची कामं करणारा हा महंत खरं तर या चित्रपटाचा खलनायक आहेगरीब शेतकऱ्यांच्या जमिनी लुबाडणं आणि आध्यात्मिकतेच्या नावाखाली बुवाबाजी करणं हा महंत महाराजचा खरा धंदा असतोया व्यक्तिरेखेला स्वप्निल राजशेखर योग्य न्याय देऊ शकेल असं वाटलं आणि त्यांनी होकार दिल्याने मनाजोगत्या कलाकारासोबत काम करण्याचं समाधान लाभल्याचं दिग्दर्शक मिलिंद कांबळे सांगतातया भूमिकेसाठी स्वप्निल यांनी वेगळा गेटअप केला आहेपांढरा पोषाखकमरेला उपरणंलांब केस,कपाळावर सूर्यरूपी कुंकूगळ्यामध्ये रूद्राक्षांच्या माळादोन्ही हातांच्या बोटांमध्ये अंगठ्या,हाती जपमाळा अशा अवतारात स्वप्निल या चित्रपटात दिसणार आहेवाचिक अभिनयासोबतच नेत्रअभिनयाद्वारे स्वप्निलने या व्यक्तिरेखेत गहिरे खलनायकी रंग भरण्याचा प्रयत्न केला आहे.

ऐश्वर्या राजेशयश कदमअमोल रेडीजअर्चना जोशीऋचा आपटेगंधार जोशीप्रफुल्ल घागराजकिरण दळीगोपाळ जोशीसचिन सुर्वेनितीन जाधवपूजा जोशीवैदेही पटवर्धनडॉ भगवान नारकर आदि कलाकारांनी या चित्रपटात विविध भूमिका साकारल्या आहेत.  दिग्दर्शक मिलिंद कांबळे यांनीच माझा एल्गार चित्रपटाची कथा लिहीली असून,पटकथा आणि संवाद चेतन किंजळकर यांनी लिहिले आहेत

१० नोव्हेंबरला माझा एल्गार’ प्रदर्शित होणार आहे.