The black and yellow cabs are threatening to go on strike thinking that the space allocated to them free of charge by Mumbai Airport authorities would remain with them forever
Once again, an errant taxi union has threatened with a strike call, holding the city for ransom, if the private or long distance taxis are allowed to operate from the pre paid taxi booth at the Mumbai airport. Considering the huge number of black-and-yellow taxis and cool cabs, around 1,700 of them, operating with free parking space, transport activist have lambasted the demand of the union.
Ashok Datar, a transport expert told Moneylife that, “At whose cost do these taxis operate? They have free parking space through which they are occupying large area. Such a demand of theirs (the taxi union) is outrageous.”
Interestingly, these long distance taxis were given permission to operate from the space allocated to pre-paid cabbies. For instance, Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority (MMRDA) had given them permission to operate the Mumbai-Pune taxi service from the domestic airport.
AL Quadros, leader, Mumbai Taximen's Union was quoted saying in national daily that “We are not against their services. Let them operate, but they shouldn't function from the prepaid taxi stand as it will hamper our business. The authorities should make a separate stand for them.”
However, experts say that the taxi union, in reality, is against any other cab service.
“This is pure dadagiri of the taxi unions. They just don’t want anyone else to come. If they want to, they can go on strike, but can’t stop anyone else to operate. This is not how free market works. Assuming that area is allotted by the Mumbai Airport authorities (MIAL) to taxi parking, it definitely cannot be only for yellow-and black or long distance. It would be for everyone,” says Jagdeep Desai, a Mumbai-based transport expert.
Activist point out that the number of taxis parked in the allocated space are way higher than actual requirement. “Statistics show that only 600 taxis are required on hourly basis during the peak hours. They just unnecessarily park their cabs and occupy the space. By making such threats, they are actually inviting government to start a public transport to the airport. Let them go on strike,” says Sudhir Badami, expert on transportation.
This is evident from the fact that taxi drivers claim they have been in queue for 10 to 11 hours. Activists wonder what is their business model, if it entails 10-12 hours in queue. Isn’t this possible only if they overcharge customers?
According to Mr Datar, a study should be conducted to ascertain the requirement of taxies by destinations per hour at both the terminals and then the space should be allowed for different type of services such as to Pune, to Nasik , or within the city. So that pooling of taxies in orderliness would be good for the taxis, passengers and the airport authorities.
LIC Nomura MF plans to launch a mid-cap fund. Though the timing may be right, as we may be close to a market bottom now, the fund management of LIC Nomura MF has been rather substandard in the past
Recently Union KBC filed an offer document with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch a small and mid-cap fund. And now, LIC Nomura MF, too, has filed its offer document with SEBI to launch a mid-cap fund. The scheme would invest 65%-100% in equities of companies having a minimum market capitalization of Rs750 crore and maximum market capitalization not exceeding the highest market capitalization of the BSE Mid-cap index constituents. The remaining would be invested in debt and money market instruments.
A couple of days back we wrote about the pros and cons of investing in small and mid-cap funds and the risks associated with such funds (Read: Union KBC Small and mid-cap fund: Is it worth the risk?). To reap the benefits of such funds your timing needs to be perfect. And the best time to buy is when the market is at its bottom. But is it safe to invest in such a fund from LIC Nomura MF?
On analysing the returns of equity funds of LIC Nomura over one year, three year and five year periods it turns out that out of the five funds of LIC only one has been able to beat the benchmark. That, too, only in a single period. Take a look at the table below.
The fund management of LIC Nomura has simply failed to perform. Managing a portfolio of highly risky stocks will be a tough challenge for them. Clearly, LIC Nomura MF Mid-cap Fund may not be a safe and smart investment to put your money into.
Kalpakkam doctor alleges authorities filing false charges against him
While Kudunkulam is still seething with nuclear tension and moves to clamp down on the protestors continue, environmental activists in the other nuclear city of Kalpakkam are now facing another challenge. Dr V Pugazhenthi of Kalpakkam, who has been vocal about the genetic disorders and diseases that befall people living near nuclear power stations, has alleged that the authorities have filed false charges against him, and have even threatened him with dire consequences.
Dr Pugazhenthi, also famously known as the ‘one rupee doctor’ in the media, has recently been asked by the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, which spearheads people’s agitation against Kudunkulam Nuclear Power Project, to share his professional experiences as one of its panel of experts. He has written a letter alleging that Mr Kaliyaperumal, the panchayat chief of Pudupattinam village has filed a false complaint against him and another person has threatened to murder him if he doesn’t co-operate in the doctor’s ‘anti-nuclear work’.
Last night, Dr Pugazhenthi was called to the police station by inspector Mr Siva Kumar, who read out the charges being made against him. The panchayat chief had complained that he has received some anonymous threatening SMS and letters; which he alleges has been sent by one Mr Nehru under the direction of Dr Pugazhenthi. While no FIR was registered, the inspector took from him in writing that he would be present every time he was called for questioning; and if he fails to appear, he must accept that the charges against him are true.
“Once I gave him this written note, he told me in a very harsh warning voice: ‘Doctor! Do you know that I can book you under National Security Act for whatever work you are doing? Have you ever heard about ‘police encounter’? Be careful.’ I remain baffled. However, there’s no way my professional and democratic work can be suspended by any force whatever,” Dr Pugazhenthi said in his letter.
Incidentally, Dr SP Udayakumar, coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy at Kudunkulam, and Mr Pushparayan, leader of a fishermen’s group there, have been slapped with sedition charges and for waging war against the country.
Dr Pugazhenthi denied that his work is anti-nuclear, and said, “I am only discharging my professional service by telling everyone about the findings culled from my two decade long work and critical studies related to health and nuclear radiation in general and Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in particular. As I work as a medical professional and not as a political organiser, where does the question of me threatening him to join my work arise?”
The doctor suspects that the Kalpakkam Nuclear Plant authorities are behind the move, since they have been disturbed with the reports he has published about the plant’s safety standards and is also planning to write a book on the topic.
The incident has sparked anger amongst activists and former bureaucrats. EAS Sarma, former power and finance secretary, said, “Are we becoming a fascist system? Are our scientists and technologists losing their rational bearings and the urge to think scientifically? Is anybody who apprehends risks from a technology an anti-national person?” Noted environment activist Aruna Rodriguez has suggested that legal help be provided to Dr Pugazhenthi and the police officer should be taken to task.
K Ashok Rao, president National confederation of Officers Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings, has dubbed the move as ‘fascist’. He said, “History tells us that the House of Krupp was as much responsible for Hitler, as Rothschild were for the First World War and East India Company for colonizing India. Does it require a genius to guess what would follow Manmohan Singh?”