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Pink Autos: Lessons Mumbai auto unions can take from female drivers in Ranchi

The unions want the vehicles driven by women drivers to be painted black-and-yellow similar to those driven by men

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Pink auto driver. Image Source: Scroll.in
  • Even six months after issuing permits, the ‘salmon orange’ autos are nowhere to be seen
  • The auto unions site safety of the women drivers as their top most concern
  • Ranchi is the first city to launch ‘pink autos’ exclusively run by the women drivers in 2013

With Mumbai all set to join the club of Indian cities having female auto drivers, the state auto unions have recently put up their curious opposition over the ‘salmon orange’ colour of those.

In January, the Maharashtra’s transport department had issued auto driving permits to 548 women drivers, of whom 465 were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. However, even after six months, the ‘salmon orange’ autos are nowhere to be seen, said the Scroll.in report.

Though the state expected to launch the service by February, hoping that there would be a surge in women seeking a driving permit, yet the concern with the auto unions remains unresolved.

Salmon orange, called ‘aboli’ in Marathi is not an obvious colour associated with women, as is bright Pink colour in Ranchi or Rohtak, but the choice of colour is not the bone of contention.

Instead, the unions want the vehicles driven by women drivers to be painted black-and-yellow similar to the ones driven by men.

According to a Sroll.in report, Hemangini Patil, the deputy road transport officer of Thane, saying, “Unions say that women drivers would be unsafe if their autos are painted a separate colour because then they will stand out.”

In Thane district, only 76 women have applied for and received permits, out of the total 156 auto driving permits that have been offered over the past few months.

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While the auto unions site safety of the women drivers as their top most concern, however security doesn’t seem to be a priority.

Prakash Penkar, the Konkan region president of the Thani Zilla Rikshaw-Taxi Mahasangh, said, “According to the rule, if a woman is given a permit for driving an auto, then that vehicle can only be driven by her or another licensed woman – never a man.”

He added, “But lady drivers are not easy to find, so if women drivers fall sick or take maternity leave, the coloured autos will just be lying idle.”

In Maharashtra, where the state government issues auto and taxi drivers’ permits for only few hundred rupees, it is a mandate that the permit-holder must drive his vehicle for at least one shift per day.

Allegedly, for the remaining shifts, most drivers rent out their permit to others, often at rates as high as Rs 1.5 lakh annually.

Women passengers in pink auto. Image Source: Tribuneindia.com
Women passengers in pink auto. Image Source: Tribuneindia.com
Patil further said, “It is possible that auto unions and drivers want to be able to rent out the permits freely to men instead of waiting for another woman driver to show up.”

However, Maharashtra can certainly learn some lessons from Ranchi’s female drivers. In 2013, Ranchi became the first city to launch ‘pink autos’ exclusively run by the women drivers, after which the initiative became a success story and was also adopted by other cities.

Now plying for almost three years regularly, the women drivers in Ranchi allege that they have never faced the issues as have been raised by the auto unions in Mumbai.

Shanti Lakra, a female auto-driver in Ranchi, claims, “We love the fact that our autos are pink,” adding she loves the distinct colour of her auto as it helps in establishing her identity that convinces the passengers with a safe ride.

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Lakra admits that she has faced a little harassment but iterates she has never for a single moment thought of to the fact that men are not permitted to drive pink autos.

Hinting towards a solution of coloured autos lying idle, Devi Diras, 32, one of the first female auto-drivers, said, “If any of us is on leave for a while or can’t drive because of pregnancy, we simply find another woman to drive our autos for a while.”

She further said, “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?”

Currently, ‘pink autos’ are plying on the streets of Bhubaneshwar, Ghaziabad, Rohtak, and some other cities, with varying degrees of success.

-This article is modified by Bulbul, a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

  • Karishma Vanjani

    “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?” Would love to see more women with such bold minds. Our country needs them.

  • Aparna Gupta

    Pink Auto is really a great initiative for the women. It will be a great pleasure to see the women working in this field.

  • Karishma Vanjani

    “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?” Would love to see more women with such bold minds. Our country needs them.

  • Aparna Gupta

    Pink Auto is really a great initiative for the women. It will be a great pleasure to see the women working in this field.

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At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence: Amitabh Bachchan

This is what Amitabh Bachchan has to say on the notice of BMC.

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Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan says at 75 he only seeks freedom from prominence, which has seen him face allegations in the Bofors scandal, Panama Papers case and most recently for “illegal construction” on his property.

“At this age and time of my life, I seek peace and freedom from prominence… To be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself… I do not seek epithets, I abhor them… I do not seek headlines, I do not deserve them/. I do not seek acknowledgment, I am not qualified for it,” Amitabh posted on his blog on Sunday.

Amitabh’s post comes just days after his lawyer denied any illegal construction on the actor’s property in Mumbai’s Goregaon East area in relation to a notice sent by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“The mentioned ‘notices’ have yet to be seen or served to me. But I guess in time it shall come.”

In the lengthy post, Amitabh said when there are accusations, “at times, I would prefer to correct the manner… At times it is prudent to remain quiet”.

But on an issue such as the BMC allegation, he said it’s the “system that shall resolve it, not the media”.

The actor, who has been in the industry for over four decades, also cited past examples, such as what he went through when his family’s name cropped up in the Bofors scandal.

“For years we were grilled, declared traitors, abused and humiliated by the hour for several years…,” he wrote, and further recalled how they moved against a UK paper and won.

He said how after almost 25 years later, their name was cleared in the scandal.

“When the media carried the news here in India, the press during one of its interactions with me asked me what I was going to do about it… Whether I would seek information on who did it or seek retribution.

“What retribution and information will I seek’ Will it take away the years of suffering and mental torture that we went through’ Will it cure… Will it rest’ No, it will not… So I told them, the media, I do not wish to make any comment on it… the matter is over for me.”

Amitabh Bachchan also brought up his mention in the Panama Papers leaks.

“We were asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries… Two instant replies were given out by us… Of denial and misuse of the name. They were printed… but the questions continued.”

“The fullest cooperation has been extended at all hours as dutiful citizens. And even after, if there is any more query that needs to be addressed, we shall comply,” he added.

In the end, he quoted a Jewish joke.

“A Jew passes away and goes to Heaven, knocks on the door of the Lord, and having suffered the ostracized life that the community has, asks the Lord: ‘Lord! Is it true that we are the chosen people” The Lord looked benevolently at the Jew and in a most gentle voice replied: ‘Yes my son .. you are the chosen people’. And the Jew replied: ‘Dear Lord… Would you mind choosing someone else for a change… Coz we’ve had enough!’”

Amitabh Bachchan concluded: “I often wish that for myself.”(IANS)

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Longest Head Massage Chain by 600 women in Mumbai bags Guinness World Record

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Longest Head massage chain
Women assembled to form the world's longest head massage chain. Twitter.

A group of 600 women in Mumbai got together to make the world’s longest head massage chain, creating a Guinness World Record.

As an initiative to promote the significance of hair oiling regularly, Bajaj Almond Drops Hair Oil had organised an event wherein these women assembled to form the longest head massage chain in Mumbai’s Growel’s Mall in Kandivali.

The event went socially viral and was capable to spread the desired message to the public. People have praised the efforts of the women participating in the longest head massage chain for bringing into light the long-lost tradition of head massage in India.

A huge crowd had lined up at the location to watch the mesmerising Guinness World Record of the massage chain. Hair oiling is essential to maintain the nourishment and shine of the hair follicles which also helps in preventing hairfall, dandruff and premature greying of hair.

 

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

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Manmade Urban Flooding: Poor Drainage, Plastic Clogging Contribute to floods, Say Experts

Steps such as rainwater harvesting, ban on use of plastic bags and better use of weather forecasts will go a long way in helping tackle flooding in cities after rains

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Urban flooding
Heavy monsoon in Mumbai in August 2005. Wikimedis

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2017: Urban floods are entirely manmade with poorly maintained drains, plastic bags, shrinking open spaces and climate change contributing to accumulation of water on roads after a heavy downpour, experts say.

They said that steps such as rainwater harvesting, ban on use of plastic bags and better use of weather forecasts will go a long way in helping tackle flooding in cities after rains.

Heavy downpours have been disrupting normal life in almost all metro cities in India, with Mumbai bearing the brunt last month which led to death of at least six persons.

Experts said a range of factors including rapid migration to urban areas and “lackadaisical attitude” of civic authorities were among the factors that contribute to cities coming to a standstill after heavy rains.

They said citizens also have to behave responsibly and ensure that plastic bags or used food plates are not thrown in the open or in the neighbourhood drains.

V.K. Sharma, Senior Professor of Disaster Management at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), said the cities need a proper system of garbage collection and sewage disposal and regular cleaning of drains.

“It is true that poor drainage and sewage system is the real cause of urban flooding. There is also migration to cities which often leads to land encroachment and exerts pressure on the existing civic infrastructure,” Sharma told IANS.

Sharma said the urban planning has to have a long-term perspective and infrastructure should keep pace with growth of population. He said rain water harvesting should be made mandatory.

“There is also the need of fixing accountability of government officials and municipal authorities if drains are not properly cleaned. Strict penalties should be imposed on people throwing garbage in the open,” he said.

He said steps have been taken at some places to ban use of plastic bag but it should be enforced strictly.

“There is need to make people aware. This will also meet the larger goal of cleanliness,” he said.

Sharma said that prediction of the meteorological department are fairly accurate and authorities can issue timely alerts to people in case there is prediction of very heavy rainfall.

“This will also help prevent loss of life,” he said.

Santosh Kumar, a professor at the National Institute of Disaster Management with expertise in disaster risk reduction and policy planning, said climate change was also a factor in cities getting excessive rainfall.

“Urban flooding occurs when water flows into an urban region faster than it can be absorbed into the soil. Earlier, a city received such amount of rainfall in two to three weeks,” Kumar said, referring to Mumbai getting 350 mm rainfall on August 29-30.

He said the cities do not have spaces to absorb the excess water or to store it.

“Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and population growth have also contributed to drainage systems getting congested. These drains are not able to take the pressure of huge water accumulated due to heavy rain, leading to waterlogging,” Kumar told IANS.

He said steps should be taken to improve garbage disposal and ensure that plastics do not find their way to drains.

“Urban ecosystems comprising marshlands, wetlands, lakes and rivers have steadily deteriorated,” Kumar added.

Vinod Kumar Jain, director of NGO Tapas which works in revival of water bodies in Delhi, said “water harvesting can play a significant role in reducing the chances of flooding in urban areas.”

Rainwater harvesting refers to trapping and storing rainwater so that it can be used at a later time when the need arises.

Heavy rainfall in Delhi last month had flooded roads and caused huge traffic snarls. On August 19, many parts of Chandigarh were flooded due to heavy rains. Chennai had witnessed severe flooding in 2015 while floods in Mumbai in 2005 had killed over 500 people. (IANS)