number of mangroves elsewhere, this responsibility and obligation of MMRDA needs to be taken very seriously, not only by MMRDA but also by all other public authorities which should assist it," the judges said. The court expressed displeasure as no steps were taken to assist MMRDA over replantation of mangroves in a project in Naigaon, which involved cutting of mangroves. "The deputy conservator of forest had more than seven months (since a Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority order) to suggest a suitable site for plantation of 4,000 mangroves, being 10 times the number of mangroves to be destroyed for the project. However, no site has been suggested to MMRDA so far," the judges remarked.
In October 2005, the high court had ordered a ban on the destruction of mangroves along the state's coast. Following the HC order, the state also undertook a major drive to map mangrove areas and to declare them as public or private forests. However, since many public utility and development projects have to be undertaken at or near mangrove areas, the high court has considered such requests on a case-by-case basis.
The present case involved the construction of a creek bridge and rail overbridge at Naigaon railway station. The project involved the cutting of 400 mangrove plants. The MCZMA gave its nod for the project in July 2012, but asked it to replant 10 times the number of mangrove plants at another site. MMRDA said despite requesting the deputy conservator of forests in August 2012 to suggest a suitable site to carry out the replantation, it had not received any response.
Imagine if the country starts holding elections online: Voters will not have to wait in queues for hours, and the process of counting votes would be over within minutes. Students of a school in Thane experienced online voting—the first of its kind—for themselves.
A Thane-based ICSE school, Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, recently conducted online elections to their school senate, with 32 candidates in the fray for various positions as student leaders in the senate. Students cast their votes online,
and a three-member team conducted the
entire process. The votes were cast, after which they were counted and results declared, all in an hour’s time. Revathy Srinivasan, the principal of the school, said that online elections helped conserve man power and managed to yield quick results. She said, “Holding the elections online saved our time, energy and efforts. It went smoothly, and since it was held online, there was no chance of rigging or any manipulation.” One of the biggest advantages of holding these elections online was that the school saved up on paper, said
Srinivasan. “Generally, when we hold student senate elections, a lot of paper gets wasted in the process. This time, however, it was all done online and we ended up saving a lot of paper. This is one of the steps that we are taking to make the school paper-free,” she added. She added that other schools should also try it out.
The school has made several efforts to conserve paper even in the past. It was the first school to conduct online admission for its students.
From July, failure to segregate waste could land you in jail
By Bhavika Jain, TNN | Feb 9, 2013,
MUMBAI: In an unprecedented attempt to enforce 100% door-to-door segregation and collection of waste, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to aggressively prosecute defaulters. Other than a fine of up to Rs 50,000, the punishment for repeated non-compliance could even include imprisonment for office-bearers of the defaulting society or the flat owners. Jail term would be decided by court. The civic authority will make segregation of dry and wet waste at source compulsory from July. The circular, issued by deputy municipal commissioner ( solid waste management) Prakash Patil, states that by July, the BMC will make available all the infrastructure needed for the initiative. It will purchase additional collection compactors and upgrade segregation centres. The BMC will stop accepting mixed waste.
The civic body will issue a notice to any society that fails to segregate waste and initiate prosecution proceedings in accordance with the Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000. There is a provision for a minimum penalty of Rs 1,000. The society will be given a notice period of 30 days before it is fined. If a society fails to comply with the rules after three notices, the BMC could file a case in a metropolitan court.
Civic officials added that societies will be sent a special notice listing guidelines on how to go about segregating waste. They will be allowed to engage a rag-picker for their dry waste; this could earn them revenue. In case a society cannot find a rag-picker on its own, the BMC will give it a list of NGOs in an area and the society can choose from them.
Currently, the BMC collects door-to-door waste from 30-40% households; less than 2% waste is being segregated.
This time, the BMC will have to meet the target as it is one of the service level benchmarks prescribed by the Union ministry of urban development. Failure will make the BMC ineligible for Central funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The 100% collection has to be achieved by March 2014 and segregation by 2015. Similar initiatives were undertaken earlier but due to lack of infrastructure for collection, transportation and disposal, the practice did not take off.