Posted: June 26, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Banks won’t compensate you for burglary or theft of your valuables in lockers, reveals RTI query
This bitter truth was disclosed in an RTI response by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and 19 PSU banks.
Stung by the revelation, the lawyer who had sought information under the transparency law has now moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging “cartelisation” and “anti-competitive practices” by the banks in respect of the locker service.
He has informed the CCI that the RTI response from the RBI has said it has not issued any specific direction in this regard or prescribed any parameters to assess the loss suffered by a customer.
Even under the RTI response all public sectors banks have washed their hands of any responsibility.
According to the information availed by the lawyer, the unanimous reason given by the 19 banks, including Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, UCO and Canara, among others, is that “the relationship they have with customers with regard to lockers is that of lessee (landlord) and lessor (tenant)”.
The banks have contended that in such a relationship, the lessor is responsible for his or her valuables kept in the locker which is owned by the bank.
The common feature of all locker hiring agreements states, “As per safe deposit memorandum of hiring locker, the bank will not be responsible for any loss or damage of the contents kept in the safe deposit vault as a result of any act of war or civil disorder or theft or burglary and the contents will be kept by the hirer at his or her sole risk and responsibility.Some banks, in their locker hiring agreements, have made it clear that any item stored in the locker is at the customer’s own risk and he or she may, in their own interest, insure the valuables.
“While the bank will exercise all such normal precautions, it does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage whatsoever sustained to items deposited with it. Accordingly, hirers are advised in their own interest to insure any item of value deposited in a safe deposit locker in the bank,” they have said.
Aggrieved by the responses, the lawyer — Kush Kalra — raised questions before the CCI — why not just keep the valuables at home after insuring them, instead of paying rent to the bank for a locker when it is not going to take any responsibility for the contents.
He further alleged that all these banks, also including State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and others, have formed a “cartel” to indulge in such “anti-competitive” practices.
He further alleged that the bank by forming an association or cartel are “trying to limit the improvement of services which is directly affecting the competition in the market and interests of the consumer”.
The lawyer has sought a probe under the Competition Act into the allegation of cartelisation by the banks in respect of the locker service.
Posted: June 23, 2017 Filed under: Green Technology
I first learnt of Firdosh Roowalla through an article published in 2015 in Sakaal Times. The article talked about an entrepreneur in Pune who converted the old school concept of waste degradation into a simple soil nutrient production system. I decided to reach out to him. After a quick phone call, Firdosh immediately liked the idea of a story based on him and was kind enough to take some time out for me on a busy Monday morning.
As a Puneite, anyone living in the Koregaon Park – Kalyani Nagar area is considered to be affluent in living and conduct, with their prosperity showing off at every syllable they utter and every step they take. But this perception was belied when I met Firdosh, waiting for me at the gate of Kumar Presidency in Koregaon Park.
Dressed in a simple shirt, jeans, and pair of chappals with a plastic bag in hand, Firdosh is every bit an environmentalist and a social entrepreneur. No jazzy clothes, no swanky electronics, this humble man is warm and welcoming to anyone who comes to him seeking knowledge about his craft. There is a sense of stability and control in his gait and yet he doesn’t mince words while expressing his disagreement on the way people handle waste.
Firdosh Roowalla, founder of the Green Thumb Compost, gets upset seeing our environment getting buried in the increasing pile of waste. A nature lover at heart and a green thumb too, Firdosh blended his passions to start his organization. Here’s the story of his journey so far:
Firdosh’s Organization deals with degrading kitchen and garden waste into soil nutrient compost. Every composting unit has 2 types of installations – the kitchen waste composting and the garden waste composting. As simple as it may sound, the safety concerns in this process are many.
Click Here for the full story with more videos and pics
Posted: June 22, 2017 Filed under: Health
Squeezing a wedge of lemon into a glass of warm water, Dr. B.M. Hegde says, “It’s the best medicine for an acidic stomach. You don’t have to run to the hospital for every ailment.” “Not even for blocks in your heart,” he asserts. “Blocks in arteries are common,” he points out.
The leading cardiologist also notes that in reality there has not been even one per cent absolute increase in the rate of heart attacks. It is a plain hype, he says and calls it a labelling error.
Unfortunately, every chest pain is dubbed as angina and every block is labelled coronary disease,” declares Dr.Hegde.
“Anybody who walks into a hospital with complaints of chest pain is made to undergo angiogram whereas there is a need to understand heart blocks,” he says. “Blocks happen when you are young and as they grow, nature provides bypasses through collateral vessels. This is called pre-conditioning the heart.”
Dr. Hegde believes that any individual who sees a doctor for medical help becomes a patient. “Once you get caught in the whirlwind, you continue to remain a patient.” The veteran cardiologist has been known for making bold statements on the dark side of medical industry. “When I was a student, I questioned how can cholesterol be bad if it’s made by our body. Forty years ago, I wrote that cholesterol is a counter by the body to increasing stress levels. I said coconut oil is the best oil for the heart at the American College of Cardiology Meet long ago.”
“The flaw of today’s approach to treatment is that the human body is seen as a car machine which can be repaired part by part. Whereas, the human body is a whole entity and should be treated in entirety. How else can one explain the side-effect of drugs used to treat one organ, affecting the other organs?” he asks. Author of over 40 books, Dr.Hegde also supports alternative forms of medicine like Ayurveda. Quoting Sanskrit texts from Ayurveda, he explains how any treatment ought to be holistic. “Ayurveda has unfortunately been relegated to back seat, in spite of being traditional and rich form of medical treatment,” he says.
“Health is about the environment you live in and the mind is the environment of the body. It’s not what you eat but what eats you (the thoughts) kills you,” he says. “The key is to cultivate positive thoughts and surround yourself with positive emotions. Quantam healing is the new method of healing. Your mind can heal you.” He suggests the book Quantam doctor by Amit Goswami.
Dr.Hegde opposes the burgeoning fitness craze among the young urbane crowd driven by the belief that fitness leads to good health. “Health is in the mind and fitness is in the muscle. These are two different things but often confused as one. If someone is fit to run a marathon doesn’t mean he/she is fit to live a healthy life.” “Health is not even absence of disease, as all of us have diseases. We all will have over 100 cancer cells at any given time, but they don’t become clinical cancer as they die on their own.” Quoting a sloka from Ayurveda, Dr.Hegde defines health as the enthusiasm to work and love. “Keep the enthusiasm in you alive, nurture positivity and cull negativity and you are healthy”, is his simple mantra.
Dr.Hegde practises what he calls ‘Coordinated medicine’, that’s futuristic and meta treatment. “I take elements from various genres of medicine. For instance, I take emergency care and corrective surgery from modern medicine. I don’t prescribe too many drugs and treat patients unnecessarily.” Calling modern medical treatment as ‘exclusive’ and ‘reductionist’, Hegde comes down heavily on the trial-and-error method of slapping scans, drugs and tests on patients. “I have come up with suggestions of a new definition of health and the concept of whole person healing instead of organ healing, both of which have been accepted by the Institute of Medicine.”
As a vegetarian, Dr.Hegde suggests following traditionally made and locally grown food. “One should eat what their ancestors ate. To eat Mediterranean food in Madurai will not suit your body. Eat the locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and follow recipes that have been there for generations.” A veteran doctor that he is, Hegde says every doctor should unfailingly follow ethics since they deal with human lives.”
Dr.Hegde was in the city to deliver a guest lecture on ‘Spirituality and Health’ at the Madurai Readers’ Club.
Posted: June 21, 2017 Filed under: Co-operative Societies
by Adv. Vinod C. Sampat, Sampat Law Firm
Government of India has enacted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and all the sections of the Act shall come into force with effect from May 1, 2017. Under this Act, Government of Maharashtra established Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), vide Notification No. 23 dated 8 March 2017, for regulation and promotion of real estate sector in the State of Maharashtra.
edit by kishor kanade
Posted: June 6, 2017 Filed under: Water
Dropping crystals in clouds to induce rain, transporting water from other states by trains, covering a reservoir with thermocol to check loss of water
to evaporation -there was no dearth of suggestions in Tamil Nadu
‘s corridors of power as the state witnessed its worst drought
in 142 years. It is one such idea, criticised as expensive and unviable, that now accounts for 40% of the water supply
in capital Chennai: Tapping sea water
Desalination plants in Nemmeli and Minjur -with a capacity to produce 100 million litres of water per day (mld) each -are now the city’s lifelines with traditional sources drying up. Chennai is almost entirely dependent on the monsoon for its water supply, the failure of which puts the city in a tight spot.
Combined storage level in the four reservoirs that cater to Chennai stands at 3% against their total capacity. The supply of Krishna river water from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh under the Telugu Ganga project has been suspended for more than two months now. Chennai’s nodal agency for water distribution, CMWSSB, has been coercing farmers in neighbouring districts to sell Chennai their water.Officials are also trying to sourcing water from stone quarries 23km from the city .
In all this, it is the treated seawater -that normally is an option in regions with no rains or other water sources -that meet the city’s demand for water. But senior officials doubt the sustainability of the desalination projects.Apart from environmental concerns, sourcing water thus is expensive. At present, CMWSSB pays Rs 60 per kilo litre for the water from Minjur, up from Rs 48 per kilolitre that it paid when the facility began operating in 2010. This works out to Rs 60 lakh for 100 mld of water. Water from the Nemmeli plant costs around Rs 30 per kilolitre. “We’re able to do this because the state is rich. I don’t know if it’s feasible in other states,” a senior official said. Voltage fluctuations and adverse weather are a serious challenge too in operating the plants and hike the costs. But this has not deterred the state from proposing two new plants, of 150 mld and 400 mld capacity in Perur, close to Nemmeli.
At present, TN accounts for 24% of the total desalinated water capacity in India, second only to Gujarat. Experts meanwhile describe desalination as a “last option”.S Janakarajan, professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies, says that seawater desalination was conceived for rich, rain-starved countries like those in West Asia. “Chennai’s average annual rainfall is well over 1,200 mm. It should ideally be the last resort which, in this case, is not,” Janakarajan said. With scant supply , water distribution is charted out daily by the CMWSSB.”Our planning [daily distribution] hinges on how much water the desalination plants supply ,” Arun Roy , managing director of CMWSSB, said.
On average, the two plants churn out around 180 mld of the 470 mld CMWSSB now supplies, against Chennai’s demand of 1,300-1,400 mld.The plant in Minjur caters to industries and a few localities in north Chennai, while the Nemmeli plant caters to nearly 13-15 lakh residents in south Chennai, which is also house to the city’s IT hub.
Ekatha Ann John
Posted: June 5, 2017 Filed under: Green Technology
An environmental disaster in the making.
A metro train travels through a residential area in Mumbai June 8, 2014. Mumbai’s first metro 11.40 km (07.08 miles) long corridor Versova-Andheri-Ghakopar service was opened for commuters on Sunday after it was flagged off by Maharashtra’s chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, local media reported. REUTERS/Stringer
Japan got its first underground metro in the 1920s. Nearly a century later Mumbai is scheduled to receive its first metro by 2020. Young Mumbaikars, who have lived and travelled abroad and experienced commuting by metro, were most thrilled at the news of having their own. After all it was high time, right?
That’s what I thought until a few days ago when the distant noise of chainsaws caught my attention along with other people in my neighbourhood of Churchgate. A crew of men were slicing away at the bark of a 200-year-old banyan tree—it was painful to watch. I never realised we could be so connected to our trees until that day; I felt violated.
The government has decided that it is going to build the metro even if it means bypassing laws and endangering citizens.
In Mumbai, we don’t have the luxury of private gardens or public parks filled with trees, the song of birds, fluttering butterflies, et al. We live in apartments and can barely afford the minimum nature required for survival. The godlike trees that line the sidewalks equip us with cooler summers and are a relief for the eyes and the soul.
It all began in December 2016 with a newspaper mention that some trees would be cut for the metro. Some curious citizens enquired with the authorities and were told 5000 trees could go.
During the Congress government’s tenure, a monorail project had been initiated to boost the connectivity of the existing monorail, and harbour lines were extended, but the projects have been abandoned by the BJP government for unknown reasons.
Zoru, a resident of Khar, who has filed a petition in the Mumbai High Court, explains that the plan of the Mumbai Metro is badly designed—recreational spaces such as parks and open grounds that have the most number of trees, have been marked as future metro stations. “No thought has gone into planning and considering least damage scenarios where trees and the environment are concerned,” he says.
Robin Jaisinghani, a resident of Cuffe Parade, says the alignment of stations and tracks looks haphazard and mindless. And Cuffe Parade has now lost its garden of 400 trees.
“There was no need to cut down all those trees, if they had done it the right way they could’ve saved at least 350,” he says.
The MMRC is using outdated equipment and methods for construction instead of the commonly used NATM (New Austrian Tunnelling Method)… that would not require all the trees to be cut along the path.
The MMRC is also using outdated equipment and methods for construction instead of the commonly used NATM (New Austrian Tunnelling Method), which has been used for building underground metros since the 60s. The NATM only requires a hole to be dug at either end of the road and one can burrow through it to create a tunnel that would not require all the trees to be cut along the path. Instead, MMRC is using the primitive cut-open method.
According to Jaisinghani, the Executive Director of Planning at MMRC, R. Ramana, said during a visit that the authority didn’t have the resources to save the trees.
Another technicality shows that the area required to build the stations is 60 metres by 25 metres and stations of this size are being built at locations like DN Road. So why are trees being cut on both sides of the 150-metre-wide Churchgate Road when it can clearly be avoided?
There are other rules that are being flouted. One is a Supreme Court ruling that mandates that no construction should be carried out in residential areas from 10pm until 6am, but the loud noise of the ancient equipment in deployment—which easily exceeds 90db— can be heard into the wee hours of the night (any noise above 80db is said to be harmful to humans).
The authorities don’t seem to have environmental permissions either, at least according to a letter sent by the State Environment Impact Authority to the MMRCL dated 21st April 2017. In addition, the construction site falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone, which needs special permissions as it involves mining of rock and substrata material.
Click Here for the full detailed story in Huffington Post