Archive for June, 2007

Bhavik Gandhi Rows Across the Atlantic

“2000 People Have Climbed Mt. Everest. 23 have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, solo.”

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In what is a stupendous feat of physical prowess and mental strength, Bhavik Gandhi took 106 days to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“I have no words to describe how it felt to touch land after 106 days at sea.” These were Bhavik Gandhi’s first words, to DNA in a telephone interview, after he arrived at Jabberwock beach in Antigua, in the Caribbean Islands, on Saturday.

Gandhi, a 30-year-old software engineer, has created a new world record for rowing a boat across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands to Antigua, in just 106 days. He was given a reception by officials from the Prime Minister’s office, the sports and tourism ministries of Antigua. Bhavik is, in fact, the first Asian to complete a solo rowing expedition across the Atlantic.

If you havent already checked his website, now is a good time to do so. Here it is 3000 miles.

Illegal Constructions

People will remember Pratibha Building from the mid-80’s. That was the first high profile case of a tall building being asked to demolish floors that were illegal and not sanctioned.

In that case, if I am not mistaken there were 7-8 excess floors in a 30+ story building.

History repeats itself in Kandivili. A building sanctioned for 7 floors is now 24 stories high. My first question is, were the BMC inspectors blind. The building is thrice its sanctioned size.

In January 1992, the BMC granted sanction for a stilt-plus-seven storey building. In a routine inspection five years later, BMC officers found Gaurav Gagan had 24 storeys instead. Although the BMC promptly issued stop-work notices to the builder, no corrective action was taken after that. [link]

And then the people who buy flats that are on illegal floors are taking the BMC to court because it has asked these floors to be demolished.

“What is this farce? How can someone build 24 storeys when he has sanction for only seven?” Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the BMC counsel during a hearing on the matter in high court last week. “There has to be some sense of proportion.” The court has ordered the BMC counsel to look up the original papers pertaining to the building, and present them in court at the next hearing. A division bench with the chief justice and Justice SC Dharmadhikari will hear the case after two weeks.

I think the judiciary should take the builders to task for flagrant disobeyance of rules. It should take the BMC to task for negligence of duties. And the people who bought the flats on the floors to be demolished should sue the ass off the developers.

Life imprisonment for a few here would send out the correct message.

Rakhi Sawant Goes Civic

The Item Girl that the whole country loves to hate, donned a civic persona today.

There was an unusual visitor at the BMC headquarters to meet Commissioner Jairaj Phatak on Friday. Item girl Rakhi Sawant had a civic item on her agenda this time.

“Despite repeated complaints from Oshiwara residents in Serenity Complex, the place where I live, Phatak had time to only visit Oshiwara for a club inauguration 4 days back. After today’s meeting, we have some hope. There are open drains outside my gate. Two children were injured after they fell into the gutter,” said Sawant. [link]

Its nice to see that she is putting her brains and star power to work for a good cause. Now all you Rakhi Sawant bashers, be quiet till tomorrow. Then start again.

Fire Brigade No Entry

This is a perfect case of where brains and logic are thrown out for a toss and just the letter of the law is followed.

In a serious communication gap on Tuesday, the Mumbai fire brigade was not allowed inside the Mumbai airport in an emergency because the fire department did not have airport entry passes.

However, the CISF that guards the airport say they didn’t have any information about the fire and hence didn’t let them in. [link]

Looks like common sense does not seem to be a job requisite for CSIF employment. Idiots can apply and have done so in the past !!

BEST wants the Blind to Pay More

Seems the BEST cant do anything good for their image. On the one hand they announce the reduction of fares for premium class service, which is good for everyone, but then they want to raise the prices of tickets for blind people which are subsidised below the regular fares.

As the BEST readies to lower its minimum bus fare from Rs 4 to Rs 3, another proposal to hike the special fare for the blind from Re 1 to Rs 2 has taken by surprise everybody. [link]

Sometimes makes you wonder….what are they thinking ?

World Blood Donor Day

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Today is World Blood Donor Day, a day to honor the unknown voluntary donors, who donate the precious fluid and save many lives. Mumbai requires 625 units of blood per day, and about 20,000 units of blood per month. The only way to meet this demand is to encourage voluntary blood donation. One unit of blood can save four precious lives. Still India faces a shortage of approx 60 lac units of blood every year, which determines the lives of 2,400,000. One small act can save so many lives so why not join hands to make this blood donation drive a success. There is a Blood Donation camp set up in Mithibai College Campus at Vile Parle today. Be part of this drive and save lives.

Who can donate blood?• The age of the donor has to be between 18-60 years.
• A minimum weight of 45 Kg is required.
• The donor should have a minimum hemoglobin count of 12.5 gm/dl.
• The donor’s blood pressure needs to be within acceptable range of 110/70 mmHg to 180/100 mmHg.
• The donor should not be under medication or on treatment for diabetes, cardiac problems or any other medical ailment.
People who require blood
• Cancer patients, after chemotherapy, have very low blood platelet count, and require blood.
• Patients scheduled for surgery
• Emergency cases
Benefits of Blood Donation
• Donating blood may reduce the risk of heart disease for men and stimulate the generation of red blood cells.
• In patients prone to iron overload (e.g. due to hemochromatosis), blood donation prevents the accumulation of iron. However, at this time the American Red Cross does not accept people with hemochromatosis to donate blood for other people. On the other hand, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service does accept blood from hemochromatosis as they recognize that there is no disease to the blood.
• The amount of toxic chemicals (e.g. mercury, pesticides, fire retardants) circulating in the blood stream is reduced by the amount contained in given blood.
• Anecdotally, elderly people in good health have reported feeling invigorated by giving blood on a regular basis.

Dog Retirement Community

Well, what else can I say ?

A BMC team has shortlisted two plots outside the city, measuring a total of 49 acres, where they propose to resettle the city’s five-lakh stray dog population. The move came after the Bombay High Court asked the BMC to look for space to relocate stray dogs from the city and sterilise them to curb their population as NGOs have opposed killings. The corporation then told the court that the sterilisation programme had not been effective and has now opted to relocate them.

But there is, in fact, something that should worry the NGOs, if not the BMC. The 49-acre plot means that each dog will get just get about four sq ft of space, and that’s provided we leave out infrastructure, accommodation for staff and support facilities. [link]

One would immediately think of sterilizing or neutering them. But its easier said than done

Sterilising all the dogs, will take at least 11 years and even then there are doubts that the plan will prove successful. Said Fizzah Shah, vice-president of In Defence of Animals, “The floating expenses and feeding each dog will cost Rs 20 per day, per dog. Who is going to bear it? This will be a big disaster!”

This works out to Rs 1 crore per day, which can prove crippling for the corporation.

Ah well, we never seem to find a solution for this.

City Streets Double Up as Debris Dumps

We Bombayites are not as civic minded as we should be. That is a fact. If you disagree, walk out to the street and just look around. Yes we are better than other parts of the country, but if we want to be the next Shanghai or Singapore, then we got a long way to go.

As if the regular garbage wasnt enough, we know have the scenario of construction debris being dumped in the middle of roads. Construction sites generate tonnes of debris which is carted away by truckloads.

The city maintains dumps outside the city limits but that means a lot of time and fuel wasted in going all the way to the dump and back. So what does the truck driver do ?

He drives to a lonely deserted road, dumps his truckload and scoots.

According to the BMC, around 10,000 metric tonnes of debris is officially generated in Mumbai every day.

Of that, around half is dumped on deserted roads, officials say. Rajeev said they plan to install two cameras at every such location. “The offenders will be fined Rs 20,000. [link]

If this aint crazy, then I don’t know what is.

Thankfully the city is planning on setting up cameras to monitor such stretches of road. But the pessimist in me thinks, that its only a matter of time till someone first covers the camera, then dumps and scoots. What say you ??

Schools Opening Delayed Due to Heat

This sure has to be an interesting circumstance. Due to excessive heat the government had mandated that all schools open a few days later than earlier planned.

June 15 was to be the new date. However by the time they decided that, many schools had already informed students about the regular June 11 start date.

And now schools are in a quandry.

Personally I remember that even as a child, as much as I loved the holidays, by early June I was ready to go back to school. I think it had more to do with new textbooks and new notebooks and new uniform clothes and new teachers.

They all bring back so many fond memories. Its funny how the same events as a child seemed so cumbersome, but today as an adult are part of the “good growing up” moments.

So as a new academic year begins all over the city, its back to school kids, heat or no heat.

Did We Pardy or What!

Firstly let me start by giving out the mandatory “thank you” speech. Melody….my partner in crime, you are a Rock Star, thanks for taking care of all the minor (and major) party issues while allowing me to sit back take all the luft.

Would also like to thank the management of Sejos for allowing us to twist their arms to the max so that we bloggers could get the most viable deal out of them. And last but not the least, a BIG thank you to all those who turned up (and a boo-hoo to those who couldn’t make it)….I had one heck of a time and am sure our bash would put all those Bollywoodish…Page 3 parties to shame.

Without any further a due, here are some “Kodak Moments”……

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