Rajdeep Sardesai greets the 1st Dileep Padgaonkar Memorial Lecture

To commemorate the life of Dileep Padgaonkar, veteran journalist and founding member of Pune International Centre (PIC); PIC and Symbiosis International University organised the first Dileep Padgaonkar memorial lecture on “Responsibilities of the Conventional Media in the Age of Proliferating Social Media” on November 27, 2017. The lecture was delivered the renowned journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, who shared the dais with Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, former chairman of CSIR; Prof. S.B. Majumdar, Founder and Chairman Symbiosis Society and Prof. Rajane Gupte, Vice Chancellor, SIU.

Recalling the fond memories of PIC’s inception, Prof. Mashelkar reasserted Prof. Padgaonkar’s vision to make PIC an international centre with a global outlook. Prof. Majumdar shared his gratitude towards Mr Padgaonkar’s commendable association with Symbiosis where he chaired the R.K. Laxman chair and delivered thought-provoking lectures across all institutions of SIU.

Sardesai, who had been associated with Padgaonkar since the birth of his journalism career, spoke about his earnest desire in making journalism plural and liberal by rebuilding the Chinese wall between marketing and editing. “The only people I see challenging this, are not mainstream media, but it is those who inhabit smaller websites like Alt News”, Sardesai said. Calling mainstream TV news Ravan School of Journalism with 100 heads propping up on TV screens, he agreed on the inclination of mainstream media on sensationalism and dramatics.

On the role of proliferating social media in our lives, Desai added that he has never been aware of an anti-social element being called a social media. Summing up the lecture, Desai reiterating on the power of samvad (effective communication) in making a difference in the life of people.

Pune floods as Dams fill up

The incessant heavy downpour highly  affected Pune and the Konkan region, as public transport came to a halt.

Pune has received 55% more rainfall than the average this monsoon according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). The average annual rainfall figure for the city is 497mm but Pune has received rains exceeding 630mm this year, which is significantly higher.

Trains from Pune to Mumbai along the Manmad- Daund route have been cancelled. The Deccan Express, Singhad Express and the Manmad Express too have been cancelled because of the heavy rains.

The bridge on the Mutha river which connects Deccan with the city’s Peth area, was submerged in water as Khadakwasla Dam released a huge volume of water.

No damage to life and property have been reported yet , said the Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) officials. But a number of tress have fallen due to the rains in certain parts of the city.

The continuous rainfall since Tuesday, September 19,  has filled the major dams around the state to its capacity. 23 dams out of 37 in the state had to release the excess water.

The intensity of the rainfall is  expected to reduce after Wednesday as per the IMD.

Sources: The Hindu

Image Source: The Hindu

Maharashtra schools gets no fund from Govt under EWS scheme

Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, which has two schools in the city suffered the total loss of Rs 5 crore after the introduction of the mandatory 25 percent quota admission for children of the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

There are many other schools in the state that have been suffering losses due to no compensation from the government.

“I have a total of 600 seats, adding both my schools and their shifts together. We give admission to 150 RTE students every year since 2013. However, we haven’t received a single penny in terms of reimbursement from the government towards these admissions, which means we are bearing the entire cost of their education. We are a school, not a profit-making business and our fees are anyway not that high,” Nandkumar Kakirde, secretary of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, said.

Bharat Bhendarge who is a school owner from Aurangabad, sat on a protest about a fortnight ago outside the office of Director of Education in Pune because his school had lost Rs 37.5 lakh because of non-collection of fees from the 25 percent reserved seats for RTE admissions.

“I have 50 seats under RTE. Most of the time they are not filled, but the government does not allow us to take admissions on the vacant seats. They can be wasted, but not filled through regular admissions,” he claimed.

Jagrutti Dharmadhikari, president of the Independent English Schools Association (IESA) had organised a strike to demand the payment of EWS dues.  Jagrutti told to Indian Express, “We had given it in writing that we will not take EWS quota admissions from next academic year if our dues are not cleared by September 30”.

Sources: Indian Express


PMC set to rehabilitate 1,000 hawkers in city areas

Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) will now rehabilitate hawkers and vendors at 330 places around the city. This decision has been taken in the meeting of hawker co-ordination committee.

According to the city mayor, Mukta Tilak the corporation has fixed different charges for different parts of the city. It ranges from Rs.25 to Rs.200 per day. However, rates of places like Nagar Road and Dhankwadi have not been fixed.

On September 9 the Supreme Court had issued an order regarding the rehabilitation of hawkers.  It had stated that the process of registration must be completed by the municipal corporation. The next year the civic body registered around 22,000 licenses for hawkers. However, at the same the PMC had announced no hawker zones in 45 areas. They included JM Road and FC Road.

Even though the anti-encroachment department had proposed fine to stop unauthorized stalls or hawkers, they still continued to grow are an unmonitored space. With rehabilitation, the civic body hopes to curb these unauthorised lot.  Madhav Jagtap, head of PMC’s anti-encroachment department said that spots for rehabilitation were decided upon after surveying the open areas.

However, Janeev Hawkers Union believes that the step of rehabilitation has been delayed. The corporation has taken a lot of time to relocate areas for rehabilitation.

News Source: Pune Mirror

Image Source: Dhananjay Helwade

7 stray forts given ‘protection status’

The seven stray forts in Maharashtra have been granted ‘protection status’ by the State Archaeology department. Under this, the forts are –  Sangram Durg or Chakan fort in Pune, Yashwantgad (Redi) fort in Sindhudurg and Bandkot in Ratnagiri, among others, with plans to protect 48 more.

These forts are built by the Marathas in the 18th century, many of these forts are a part of over 56 stray monuments in the State that neither come under the state archaeology department nor the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Currently, there are 400 forts in the State, with only 90 under protection.
According to the Times of India, Tejas Garge, director, state department of Archaeology and Museums, told that with the help of Maharashtra’s Fort Conservation Committee, the department had proposed protection to close to 56 forts and temples, which are currently neither under it nor the ASI. He also added, “Of the 56 monuments, seven have been granted protection status, while the remaining 48 may also get this status in future.”

Garge said that the procedure to get protection for monuments as long as revenue recorded from the concerned district collectorates have to be obtained. He said, “In most cases, the monuments are under the ownership of the government. But there are some cases in which we need the transfer of ownership”.

Sources – Times of India

PMC decides to clear waste

Pune Municipal Corporation has decided to intervene and off load a large heap of construction materials dumped on the footpath near Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC). It came as a major relief to pedestrians who traverse in Agharkar Road in Deccan. 

Pune Mirror had reported on September about the filthy condition the pavement is in and the problems which people are facing as a result of that. They attributed to the construction of new buildings and business establishments as the main reason why waste was hugely dumped in that area.

Ravi Pawar, the assistant commissioner of Ghole Road ward office, said, “The construction material was dumped by nearby business establishments without PMC permission. I ordered my ward officials to visit the spot and clear the pavement for walking. The person responsible agreed that it was an illegal act of dumping when we spoke to him. The heaps were cleared immediately, so we will avoid action.”

There are reports about the waste being lying over there for the past couple of days as a result of which the pedestrians had to divert from their usual way and take to another path which already has a number of bikes and bicycles parked. This mainly happened due to the rubbish lying near Symbiosis College Chowk.

Even though people are relieved about the fact that PMC has taken the matter seriously but they are irked by the delay in handling it.

“PMC finally stepped in and got the debris cleared soon, heralding good news for us. But, it should be more vigilant about similar incidents and do such work before it is reported by the media and shames officials,” said Student Utkarsh Panpule. 


Dengue becomes severe in Pune

According to the state health department, Pune city is recorded with 1,047 dengue cases and 5 deaths. As the dengue sting gets lethal but the state health department has refused on spread of the disease “officials blamed the prevailing weather conditions for the rise in dengue cases.”

M S Diggikar, joint director (vector-borne diseases) of the state health department, said, “ “The intermittent drizzles followed by sunny days as seen during August and September created conducive breeding grounds for Aedes Aegypti — the mosquito that causes dengue”.

Moreover, when it comes to counting number of diseases, pune city continues to be first in rank with 320 cases, followed by Bombay 295. Activists working on the issue have said that the health department does not take the necessary steps and as a result people suffer.

Health activists, Abhijit More said, “During the Ganesh festival, the health authorities could have used audio-visual and other mass media tools to reach a large number of the population. Besides, municipal corporations need to set up dedicated fever clinics, especially during the monsoon, to identify patients suffering from the disease at early stage. Early detection and treatment hold the key to ward off the menace that dengue has become.”

News Sources- Times of India