“Today I was approached by a smart young man trying to sell me his brand of packaged water.
So I told him, unlike other restaurants, we don’t aggressively sell water.
He told me, his brand has good margins.
I told him, I don’t believe in selling water. I have an R/O plant in my restaurant and we serve filtered safe water whose initial source is the Municipal Corporation, to our patrons.
I told him that from the culture that we come from, being a Punjabi, offering water is considered a duty and a noble deed.
And that the entire packaged water trade is a collective failure of our governments.
Water comes to me at 50 Rupees per 1000 liters. Packaged water sells at 20/- per liter. After selling 2.5 Bottles of water, I am left with 997.5 Liters offree water.
And the country is bearing the cost of packaging and transporting this water. All transport runs on imported petrol and diesel. Most of the cost of packaged water is distribution. The country bleeds every time a packaged water bottle is transported.
And we are polluting the earth with plastic bottles.
Ideally the packaged water industry should die. And water should be free.
He shook my hand in a warm handshake and left.
There are some businesses that should never have got started. It is failure of the government and the fear of contaminated water that has created this industry.
And we don’t even understand the domino effect of packaged drinking water.
Offer water to people where ever possible. It is a good deed. We at our restaurant try to do it every day.”
Residents of Mahul are not complaining about the serious health issues and deaths since yesterday or day before but since more than a year.
Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis continues to remain silent on the issue involving lives of 30,000 citizens.
They came on the street a month back to demonstrate and demand their relocation from Mahul to a safer place.
Even the Court ordered the govt. to do so. However, govt failed to address issues and is only responding to residents by hollow assurances.
The Chief Minister who has to take final decisions on the matter has not found any time in this period of whole one year to meet and hear grievances of the residents.
We have a very basic demand-protection of lives. The apathetic and callous attitude of the government is sending a very wrong message-that the Chief Minister has got all the time in the world to attend fancy programs but consider the issue of saving lives of human least on his agenda.
The residents are determined and will fight until the end. In the coming week, we will hold more and more programs at the site of dharna and outside dharna to pressurise the govt for a constructive dialogue and solution.
A huge bike rally happened. The rally started at 2pm from the dharna site in Vidya vihar east and ended at Mantralaya.
Maharashtra govt. has cheated poor residents of Mahul.
Housing Minister, Shri Prakash Mehta had assured residents of Mahul that all of them can be given houses in Kurla HDIL .
The assurance was given under pressure from the residents of Mahul who are agitated by Government’s non-compliance of High Court’s order which had directed Government of Maharashtra to relocacte Mahul residents as the area is hit by a worst level of industrial pollution.
However, today the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis said the tenements in Kurla cannot be allotted as they are under litigation.
What CM offered to do as part of the solution of the problem is only sanctioning the 350 houses which were offered by MHADA to Mahul residents. This is not the complete solution as total families living in Mahul are around 5,500.
A meeting was held today with the Chief Minister on the insistence of Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackrey in presence of MHADA president, Uday Samant and Mr. Thackrey himself. None of the representatives of Mahul residents were called for the meeting.
What is offered today by the government is not something the government benevolently offered, as in past the government had outrightly rejected to provide any alternative tenements. It is only after hard-earned negotiation and initiative of ShivSena youth leader that the MHADA offered these tenements. It is also not the case that there are no tenements available at all.
In fact, through RTI we have found that there are almost one lakh tenements available in Mumbai which are meant for Project Affected Persons. So, this means that if the Kurla HDIL tenements cannot be allotted then there are still umpteen number of tenements available which can be allotted to Mahul residents. What is lacking is simply government will to save to the lives of Mahul residents who are under constant life threat due to worst level of industrial pollution in the area.
The Chief Minister does not even have the courtesy to meet the representatives of the Mahul residents to discuss and resolve the issue. The residents have been trying to meet him for more than a year. Agitated by this callous behaviour of the government, resident took out a bike rally today to Mantrayalay. They displayed large postcards which were addressed to the chief minister reminding him about meeting the residents. Few of the bikers were detained by the police for such for taking out the rally. Today’s police action sends out only one message that it is a crime today to even demand protection of life.
Yesterday, was the 31st day of the sit-in which is being held at Vidya Vihar by the residents of Mahul who are demanding compliance of High Court’s order which directed the Government of Maharashtra to relocate the residents of Mahul. Chief Minister statement has agitated the residents by his insensitive way of addressing the issue. More than hundred people have died so far due to the pollution in Mahul. Looks like he is waiting for more people to die to act. The future course of movement of Mahul residents will be decided and announced soon.
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Our greens are crying hoarse. Today, Aarey Forest the lungs of our city is under threat.
While hundreds of activists have been trying their level best to desist the government from cutting 2700 odd trees while 200 have already been cut and 500 others rest under the axe, for the proposed Mumbai Metro 3 car shed.
But there is light, Schools in the city are not far behind in voicing their protests. After all, who else is most affected from decreasing greenery in this overcrowded city?
St Mary’s High School from Charkop, Kandivali has come forward in voicing their concerns through writing on post cards to the State’s Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis.
500 post cards were handed over to the area environmentalist Mili Shetty from the hands of the Principal Mrs. padma Gudimella.
Aarey, a vast forest that houses variety of wild animals, birds, butterflies etc is a part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park thus a reserved forest.
However today, in the name of development for a metro the aarey is being hacked to a huge extent and future plans draw a very scary picture for Mumbai that is devoid of open and green spaces.
Mili Shetty has been vibrant in her struggle in contributing towards the environment in many ways. Her last effort was in cleaning a beautiful waterbody that had tonnes of garbage thrown by locals . Today the lake has umpteen number of beautiful birds visiting the lake.
Mili is making attempts from various schools to bring out voices in protest to save our vast forest. “Some day, our voices will reach our government.” she says
Mumbai is divided into many wards and each ward has its own set of tree issues, The Tree Authority has officers in all wards. This form will not only help you know who is your tree officer, it will also help us connect with you in times of need!
The Govt desires to clear all obstacles which stand in the way of environmental destruction. This is a mockery of the judiciary and renders all cases futile. Is the newly appointed chairperson saying that the judges who heard the matters are less competent than him?
Pray what is his knowledge about the environment that makes him God?
The lawyers who are standing by allowing this to happen are guilty of allowing justice to be subverted. We should all stand together in these testing times and challenge these plans as much as possible. Matters involving the environment are public interest litigation irrespective of who files it. It involves issues of the planet’ s well being. The well being of the country cannot be put to risk for some development. The well being cannot be purchased, you can buy air purifiers, oxygen tanks and what not. Nothing can replace nature.
The NGT act was enacted to check haphazard development not to allow it. Once the common man loses faith in the judiciary, it is doom for a, democratic republic.
Nothing short of the impeachment of this judge can save the environment and the justice delivery system.
Judges cannot lower the reputation of the institution and erode people’s faith in the judiciary. Our future generations will bear the brunt of mindless destruction of the environment Years of hard work by litigants who toil to seek justice and protection of the environment comes to zero. This is not at all acceptable. I am deeply infuriated by the planned demolition of NGT by the Govt. Exploring my options. Dear friends step up, it’s your country, your mother nature under assault, wake up for God’s sake. For your children’s sake, wake up.
For several years now, a group of Mumbaikars have been opposing the construction of a yard for Mumbai Metro in the Aarey forest.
They are not against the metro itself, but the choice of locating the yard in the middle of verdant greenery that is known as the “lungs of the city”. The group is small in numbers – nothing can be too significant in a city of 20 million people, anyways.
Over the years they have been battling in the courts, carrying out local actions and actively promoting this cause. They have been patiently keeping the hopes alive and taking up the battle with MMRCL, the organization deployed to build the metro.
As an ordinary citizen, this may not matter much to you – a few thousand trees lesser in a city already going into dumps is hardly anything much. Moreover, you may not even be the user of the metro or live anywhere close to Aarey.
Yet, there is a case for supporting this movement.
Vibrant democracies are not created by political parties that act responsibly or a parliament that is actively legislating on issues that matter. These are good expectations to let go of, anyways.
The key to healthy democracy is active citizenship – citizens who are engaged in matters that matter to them. It is in constantly negotiating with the state for interests that we keep the machinery alive and responsive to the larger needs, beyond the once in five years show called elections.
Today, citizen movements in India are few and far in between. We as the middle class are satisfied with Uber discount codes and the latest on Netflix. Funding for movements has also been constrained in direct and indirect ways by the government. Directly by stricter FCRA regulations and indirectly by becoming an NGO itself (you can donate to several government schemes and get tax exemptions plus digitally signed letter from the prime minister).
In such a time, the few movements that exist are like a flicker of light in the darkness. They carry the hope that citizens still matter and can influence policy through collective organizing. It is these movements that are making democracy real in the country.
How do you support such movements? Support doesn’t necessarily mean that you become an active volunteer in the movement. But being totally unaware and indifferent isn’t an option anymore either.
Between these two extremes is the idea of “solidarity”. This is the possibility of supporting a cause through small actions – sharing articles, speaking about the issue and donating (time, energy and money) to the cause. Solidarity with movements like Aarey is very doable and not a tall order at all.
In doing this we are essentially flexing our ‘citizen muscles’. Keeping them toned and fit is a good idea in the long term as governments keep changing and administration can be rigidly indifferent to the people who it is meant to serve.
One way to look at the failure of our cities and governance is the failure of citizens to hold its government accountable. We have the government we deserve, and we have the broken down cities that we deserve.
In supporting Aarey, we learn a little more about how the political process works and how it can be influenced. We step out of our bubbles to look at what is going on with the city. We learn to care.
To that extent, it is a worthwhile exercise, even if it fails to create the tiniest dent on this maximum city.