Uttarakhand tragedy deepened for Mumbaikars when the IAF pilot Darryl Castelino, who died in the chopper crash, was buried with full honours on Sunday. A middle-class neighbourhood of Marathi and Christian population in Vakola thronged the church to lend their support to the family. Although the rescue operations have resumed and perhaps nearly concluded, for Darryl’s family and friends it will be a long, hard journey ahead.
And even as we try to deal with Uttarakhand tragedy, another pilgrimage has started in Maharashtra. Several lakh people are expected to walk more than 200 km over two weeks to accomplish the Pandharpur wari, a 700-year-old pilgrimage. It culminates with a darshan of Lord Vithoba, avatar of Vishnu on July 19 this year. It is the discipline and simplicity of the pilgrims —mostly farming communities from rural Maharashtra —apart from dance and music and processions — that is stuff of legends.
The central government has approved the Mumbai Metro Line 3—Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ corridor. “The total completion cost of the project is estimated at Rs.23,136 crore covering a total length of 33.5 km (fully underground). The project of the Mumbai Line- 3 is scheduled to be completed in six years that is by March, 2019 from the date of start of work in the financial year 2013-14,” said the official release. While the government acknowledges that, “the implementation of the project would provide much needed additional transport infrastructure to Mumbai,” Mumbaikars are still waiting with bated breath for the actual launch of Phase 1.
Bijleee Will Strike No More
Bijlee, the 58-year-old elephant, who was overworked and ill-treated for years, breathed her last after a three-week-long fight for survival. She had collapsed in the middle of the street due to arthritis, exhaustion. Bijlee’s plight was discussed and talked about by activists and animal lovers non-stop thanks to none other than Amitabh Bachchan who had tweeted, “ATTENTION !!! Elephant 'Bijlee' lying collapsed in Mulund, suburb of Mumbai..she needs cure..will authorities please extend all help.” His tweet did mobilise help and created international buzz. Alas Bijlee, who was allegedly fed vada pavs and made to walk miles and miles on concrete roads for wedding ceremonies, did not respond.
Ironically, the same week brought a piece of good news to animal activists. Dr Asad R Rahmani, Director, BNHS India, received the prestigious "Member of Honour” Award from UK-based BirdLife International on 22nd June in Ottawa in Canada. The award recognises his contribution in the conservation of birds in India. He has championed for the Great Indian Bustard and also worked extensively to preserve ecological balance in grasslands, wetlands and forests.
A Lot in the Name
Even before we could decide whether the recently opened Eastern Freeway has helped the terrible traffic of Mumbai or not, a controversy over its name has started brewing. As usual the choice is between Bal Thackeray and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Ambedkar loyalists say that people belonging to various Dalit communities were displaced during the construction of the freeway. However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is creating unnecessary controversy by demanding that the freeway be named after Bal Thackeray. Yes, unnecessary indeed, considering a bus service on that route has just been launched and people may actually start enjoying the ride.
All in the Name
Wonder what is with MNS leaders wanting to change names. They ran a successful campaign for having all signboards on shops in Marathi but the latest whim has surprised many. MNS leader Dilip Lande wanted the plush south Mumbai address ‘Malabar Hill’ to be named Ram Nagari because it has many temples in the neighbourhood. However, all seems to be in the cold storage until the next opportune moment.
Local daily Mid Day reported on a strange case of an auto rickshaw driver's murder inside the vehicle in Malwani. It turns out that another murder -- yes, also of the earlier driver of the same auto -- had been committed in the same rickshaw in 2006. That case too remains unsolved. " What also stands out in the case, even if as an incidental detail, is that the rickshaw's number is MH02SA7302; the last three digits -- 302 -- being the Indian Penal Code section dealing with crimes of murder,” reports Mid Day. Spooky?
Policegiri for Criminals?
If Bollywood rumours are to be believed, the inmates at Yerawada jail in Pune may get to see the latest movie, Policegiri thanks to Sanjubaba, who worked doubly hard to finish the movie before he surrendered to serve his jail sentence in the 1993 bomb blasts case.