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Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Thirty-one of the world's great cities, including Mumbai, will be significantly greener in the years ahead, as leading mayors have committed to further expand, restore and protect urban parks, trees, gardens, ponds, and lakes within their cities. These investments in nature will speed up existing efforts to make communities healthier, improve air quality and help protect cities from the increasingly severe impacts of the climate crisis, such as extreme heat, flooding, and drought.
The targets set by cities signing the C40 Urban Nature Declaration will see huge increases in public green and blue spaces. In Durban (eThekwini) work has already begun to complete a Transformative Riverine Management Programme to improve the city's rivers, which will improve resilience and create thousands of green jobs. Barcelona will subsidize 75 percent of the cost of new green rooftops, creating urban allotments and providing space for renewable energy generation, rainwater collection, and composting for organic waste.
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In Guadalajara, 67,000 new trees will be planted across 70 green corridors, and over 50 new public gardens will be introduced to cool down the city and provide shade and leisure space. The city is funding courses to train gardeners and tree technicians, and providing 400 workshops for residents on caring for trees and gardens.
Under Toronto's Urban Forests Grants and Incentives program over 13,000 trees and shrubs will be planted, educating and engaging communities through planting events, educational workshops, and youth programming. In Mumbai, the state government is making amendments to the Tree Act to protect and conserve old trees and prevent the felling of trees, while protecting more mangrove trees.
In Mumbai, the state government is making amendments to the Tree Act to protect and conserve old trees.Wikimedia Commons
These actions are part of C40 mayors' continued efforts to deliver a green and just recovery from Covid-19. Cities signing C40's Urban Nature declaration are addressing heat- and water-related risk, ensuring that by 2030, 30-40 percent of total built-up city surface area will consist of green spaces such as street trees, urban forests, and parks; or permeable spaces such as sustainable urban drainage systems and pavements designed to absorb water and prevent flooding.
The cities will also focus on promoting accessibility and connectivity for vulnerable communities, ensuring that 70 percent of the city population has access to green or blue public spaces within a 15-minute walk or bike ride by 2030. Study after study shows equitable access to urban nature is beneficial for both people and the environment and helps cities to adapt and respond to the current and future impacts of climate change. In Medellin, temperatures have reduced by two degrees Celsius as a result of planting more than 10,000 trees for the city's Green Corridors project.
A study in Toronto found that adding just 10 trees to a city block has a huge impact on people's perceptions of their health and well-being, equivalent to the effect of earning $10,000 more per household or being seven years younger. As greenhouse gas emissions temperatures and sea levels all continue to rise globally, it has never been more urgent to accelerate efforts to bring nature into cities.
By 2050, over 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea-level rise, over 500 cities will be vulnerable to water availability, and over 970 cities will be vulnerable to extreme heat.
"Supporting and protecting cities' natural ecosystems is one of our most important tools for building resiliency against the climate crisis and creating the healthy, inclusive urban communities we deserve," said Mark Watts, C40 Cities Executive Director.
"Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we were reminded that accessible, green spaces are essential for livable, climate-ready, and crisis prepared cities. As we seek to deliver a green and just recovery, investing in and implementing nature-based climate solutions will be imperative to public health and well-being, as well as the success of global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
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"The C40 Urban Nature Declaration is yet another example of city leaders acting now to secure the transformations needed for a better future."
Aaditya Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra's Minister for Environment and Climate Change, said, "Climate change is the greatest inequity -- the ones least responsible are most affected.
"I am certain that Mumbai will be a shining example of how diverse ecosystems can thrive in urban environments to achieve inclusive climate resilience for all." C40 mayors have been leading the charge towards a green and just recovery from the pandemic. (IANS/KB)
In a poignant gesture, a group of naturalists has named a new spider species discovered in Kalyan, Thane, in memory of the 26/11 Martyr, Tukaram G. Omble -- the man who helped nab Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab alive during the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai.
The new 'jumping spider' male sex species, found last year in an urban locality of Kalyan town, has been christened as "Icius Tukarami", said Ahmedabad-based photographer and wildlife enthusiast Dhruv Prajapati.
Simultaneously, another group comprising Rajesh Sanap, Somnath Kumbhar, and John Caleb -- discovered another unknown spider species distributed in Aarey Colony, Mumbai, and also 50 km away in Kalyan, and named it as "Phintella Cholkei", in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
"This is in memory of Kumbhar's friend, Kamlesh Cholke who used to collect and provide us with different species of spiders. It has unique body pattern and genital organs not seen in other spiders," Sanap told IANS.
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The latest finds have been described and published in a research paper published in an internationally-reputed journal, "Arthropoda Selecta", jointly by Prajapati and Ravi Dutt Kamboj (both of Gujarat Ecological Education & Research Foundation), Sanap and Caleb (Indian Institute of Ecology & Environment) and Kumbhar - who meticulously collected both the species from the wild.
On the move to name the species after the Mumbai 26/11 hero, Prajapati said that he was deeply impressed by the extraordinary valor and bravery in the line of duty displayed by Omble when south Mumbai was under a 60-hour siege during Nov. 26-28, 2008.
A former Indian Army soldier who retired and joined as an Assistant Sub- Inspector of Police attached to the D. B. Marg Police Station in 1991, Omble, 54, hailed from Satara and was manning a check-post at Girgaum Chowpatty at the height of the terror strikes in the wee hours of November 27.
Spiders are microhabitat specialists sensitive to sudden changes which make them ideal indicators of the ecosystem function.IANS
Soon afterward, the heavily armed Kasab and his associate Abu Ismail were seen speeding down the deserted Marine Drive in a stolen Skoda, but it was stopped at the traffic post near Chowpatty.
In the indiscriminate firing by the two blood-thirsty terrorists and retaliated by the policemen on duty, Ismail was shot dead.
However, Kasab was caught alive by Omble who managed to overpower him despite being pumped by over 40 bullets fired from an AK-47, which later claimed his life.
As his gallantry became a legend Omble was declared a 'Martyr' and conferred with the country's highest peace-time honor, the Ashok Chakra in 2009.
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"It is to keep his memories and fearlessness alive in public minds, I decided to dedicate this new species of spider in Omble's name," Prajapati said.
Earlier, Prajapati has named new spider species after two Bharat Ratna's - former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar - besides Kashmiri Martyr and Indian Army soldier, Nazi Ahmed Wani, who was slain by Hizbul Mujaheddin terrorists in 2018 and was conferred the Ashok Chakra (2019).
On the significance of the latest discoveries, Sanap said that Spiders are microhabitat specialists sensitive to sudden changes which make them ideal indicators of the ecosystem function.
"They are an integral component of the food web, control insect populations, and even minor environmental changes can either hit or wipe out their population, hence they must be conserved," Sanap explained. (IANS/KB)
Mumbai-based gallery Method Kala Ghoda re-opens on July 1 after almost one year with 'She's In The Streets, She's In The Stars' by septuagenarian artist Santosh Jain. The art is a collection of experiences over seven decades which include the lives of different women and that of the artist herself.
During the lockdown, the gallery has not only been renovated but also added a whole new level for a bigger, better, and more immersive art experience.
The show highlights the prevalent patriarchal system that exists in society based on these experiences. The 70-year-old artist works with digital and is completely self-taught gives a great perspective to creating fine art through digital means.
"Over seven decades, I have borne witness to the lives of many different women, several of which is myself. The theme of womanhood in all its forms, seen and unseen, has been a constant thread through the career of my artmaking. While the medium has changed, the presence and significance of women have not. Historically speaking, women have rarely been the central character of any story."
"Rather, they have been pushed into the background, their roles, desires, and existence nothing more than of service to others. Through my art, I've explored the many ways in which women are an integral part of society, family, and life itself. These works are a second language that allows me to freely share long-forgotten episodes of my lifetime, my innermost feelings. Sometimes the same woman recurs in multiple artworks, and sometimes her presence is fleeting, though no less important. The women in my artwork are you, they are me. They are in the stars, they are in the streets," says the senior artist about her show.
Jain's art career began in 1971 as a young Printmaker in College Of Art, Delhi. Her prints earned her inclusion in prestigious artist associations -- Group 8, Shilpi Chakra, Lalit Kala Akademi, Bombay Art Society and AIFACS.
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Her recurring subjects include 'women' and 'the exploited' which expand into empathy and layered personal narratives. She refers to these works as 'her second language, which allows her to freely share long-forgotten episodes of her life and her innermost feelings.
The exhibition is open till July 25. (IANS/AD)