Twelve killed in building collapse
A three-storey unofficial structure collapsed in Malad West’s Malwani slum area. The man who built the house and rented the rooms out. Twelve people have died in the tragedy, including nine members of his own family. Eight children were victims of the fall. A person from the slum told Indian Express that one part of the structure was built on top of a rat infested nullah which developed cracks over the past week. Mumbai Police has ordered the PWD to conduct a thorough audit across the neighbourhood and identify similar buildings. Meanwhile, BMC has begun demolishing the structure adjoining the building that collapsed. In this year’s pre-monsoon survey, the civic body had identified 407 buildings in the city that needed to be immediately demolished. However, evicting residents without providing them with appropriate alternatives has become a major challenge for the process.
Mumbai witnesses monsoon’s first showers
June 9th saw the onset of rains along different parts of the Western coast. Many areas across Mumbai have become severely waterlogged. The Weather Department has issued an orange alert for Mumbai and other areas in Maharashtra till June 14th. Heavy rains caused the collapse of a building in Dahisar (East) which led to the death of one individual. City dwellers will have no relief as moderate to heavy spells have been predicted to continue for the coming week.
Protesters demand airport name change
Residents of Thane and Raigad have protested the state government’s decision of naming Navi Mumbai International Airport after Bal Thackeray. The agitators which include Shiv Sena leaders as well are demanding that the airport be named after Dinkar Balu Patil who passed away in 2012. Patil was seen in the region as a champion of farmers and workers’ rights and also participated in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. A motorcycle rally took place on June 10th. Subsequently two MLAs and 35 residents of Panvel and Uran were booked by the police.
Thane Municipal Corporation’s incentive for students
Thane’s Municipal Corporation (TMC) announced on June 11th an attendance allowance of Rs. 1200 will be disbursed once every six months in the accounts of civic school students if they attend classes for 20 days a month. The decision was taken in a joint meeting between mayor Naresh Mhaske, TMC commissioner Dr Vipin Sharma, officials of the education department among others. At least 30,000 students are expected to benefit from this allowance.
Petrol prices skyrocket to Rs. 102 in Mumbai
With global crude prices also rising on a pick up demand and depleting inventories of worlds largest fuel guzzler – US, retail prices of fuel in India have soared. State run oil marketing companies have further hiked prices on June 10th after allowing them to stabilize on June 9th. In Mumbai, petrol is retailing at Rs 102.04 while diesel is selling at Rs 94.15 a litre. With Friday’s price hike, fuel prices have now increased on 22 days. Petrol and diesel rates across the country have been revised upwards by 28-29 paise. Low income earners who depend on petrol and diesel prices have been severely hit by the revised rates. Experts suggest that the high taxes imposed by states may pose a threat to economic recovery.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park set to reopen
The national park will be open for walkers and cyclists from June 15th onwards. Entry for morning walkers will be from 5am to 9am. Cyclists and others will be allowed entry to the park after 7:30 am. However, visitors will not be allowed on any road that leads to the safari or rescue centre. Visitors will have to follow all COVID-19 protocol including masking and social distancing. The park will set up contactless sanitizers and entry will be monitored with thermal scanners. Although closed due to the pandemic, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park has been in recent news as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has demanded 8.8 acres of the forest for its Rs. 510 crore Thane-Ghodbunder highway project. The park has the highest density of leopards globally, which activists and environmentalists say will be under threat if the project is approved.