Citizens' Issues
Balganga scam: Thane ACB files FIR against six govt officials, contractor
The ACB found misconduct and loss of about Rs92 crore to the government in awarding a contract to build a dam over the Balganga river in Raigad
Thane Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday filed a first information report (FIR) against six government employees and a private contractor for causing a loss of Rs92 crore in the dam project on Balganga River.
In a release, the ACB said, its probe revealed misconduct by the family of contractor FA Enterprises and six officials from the Water Resources Department in awarding the contract to build a dam over the Balganga river in Raigad, thus causing a loss of Rs92 crore to the government.
The ACB had started the inquiry on December 2014.
ACB said, during the inquiry, it found that the contractor FA Enterprises floated a fictitious firm RN Nayak & Sons, which also participated in the bidding process. The tender was floated by Konkan Irrigation Development Corp (KIDC) in 2009 in which four firms, including FA Enterprises/Construction and RN Nayak participated. 
Fateh Mohammed Khatri, Nisar Khatri, Jaitun Khatri, Abid Khatri and Jahid Khatri of the FA Enterprises prepared duplicate letterheads of RN Nayak & Sons and even paid the demand draft of Rs25 lakh required for the bidding, from their account. The Khatris even provided a bank guarantee of Rs1.52 crore from submitting the bogus tender on behalf of RN Nayak & Sons, the ACB said.
The officials from KIDD and Water Resources Department, by using sketches from Shai irrigation project, prepared a detailed project report for the dam on Balganga River. Without even obtaining necessary permissions from the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, these officials prepared false entries for the tender. 
Even though FA Construction was not qualified for participating in the bidding as it was already working on six other projects, the officials allowed it to submit and win the tender. 
The FIR names Shirish Gopalrao Babar, the then Executive Director of Konkan Irrigation Department, Balasaheb Bhausaheb Patil, the then Chief Engineer for Konkan Region, Ramachandra Dagdu Shinde, the then Superintending Engineer of Thane Irrigation Circle, Ananda Pandurang Kalukhe, the then Executive Engineer of Raigad Irrigation Dept-1 (Kolad), Rajesh Chandrakant Rithe, the then Deputy Engineer at Kolad and Vijay Raghunath Kasat, the then Engineer at Kolad. All the accused have been booked for cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and for graft and misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Mumbai’s Parsi Dairy: Will it Shut? Or Won’t it?
Over time, the iconic Parsi Dairy may live on with a new set of owners who will hopefully understand the value and fan following developed over a 100 long years 
A front-page lead story in the Times of India that the much-loved Parsi Dairy was going to be shut caused an eruption of emotional responses among fans and foodies in Mumbai and outside. 
After all, in the past decade or so, Mumbai has been steadily losing a series of iconic eaters starting from the quaint Wayside Inn to Basantani and Samovar Café (Jehangir Art Gallery) and now Parsi Dairy too? It was almost as though busy Mumbai’s heartbeat stopped for a second. Vehement denials from Parsi Dairy’s owners led to a collective sigh of relief.  
As it turns out, Times of India may have exaggerated a plan to sell a massive 300 acres of land owned by the Parsi Dairy company into the demise of a brand. 
The Times of India reported, “This vintage Mumbai institution, started by Parsi entrepreneur Nariman Ardeshir in 1916, looks set to fade into memory. As a first step, the Nariman family has decided to sell its 300-acre land at Talasari on national highway no. 8. Although the family insists it will continue to run the dairy business, it is learned that the Narimans, currently comprising eight partners, will ultimately sell the brand itself”.
The report goes on to say that the “agricultural land in Warvada village on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border is expected to fetch around Rs200 crore. The family bought the plot in 1968 for livestock and to support its dairy activities”. The mandate for the sale is with Pranay Vakil of Praron Consultancy.
Sources close to the deal say that the 300-acre property touching the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway with a beautiful water body inside it has become surplus because of the changed business model of the 99-year old dairy. The property was purchased in 1968 for livestock and its dairy activities. However, over the years, the business model has changed. Instead of having its own livestock, Parsi Dairy has gradually switched to the milk-cooperative model successfully developed at Anand. Parsi Dairy now buys milk from farmers, who are encouraged to rear livestock by providing them fodder and taught how to care for cattle. 
But what about the Parsi Dairy, which produces the most-loved Malai Kulfi, Dahi, Sutarfeni, milk and an array of pure ghee sweets?  Well, the Times of India forgot that even if the Nariman family sells the brand, Parsi Dairy as a brand may not only survive but could even go national.
A number of national food delivery outlets such as Reliance Fresh, Big Basket and Godrej’s Nature’s Basket would be happy to own an iconic house brand that can add special value to their products.  Of these, Godrej already stocks Parsi Dairy products and also likes to emphasise its Parsi-ness as a selling point. 
After 100 years in the business, it is well possible that the Nariman family, whose youngest member is over 70, may want to move on.  But that may not affect the brand. It seems fairly likely that the Parsi Dairy brand may probably live on and even become bigger and stronger, instead of the gradual decline in production it has witnessed in the past decade. 
Interestingly, during the big initial public offering (IPO) bubble of the early 1990s, an investment banker who was a fan of Parsi Dairy products had spent a lot of time with the owners trying to persuade them to go public and grow the entire business into a national one. The investment banker had told us that he could not persuade the owners then.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, circumstances have changed. Our bet is that Parsi Dairy will complete a grand century next year with the same owners, but over time, it may live on with a new set of owners who will hopefully understand the value and fan following developed over a 100 long years.



Urvish Chitalia

2 years ago

The "Parsi Diary Farm brand" may not mean much if it is passed on to any "professional" organisation. The MBA types will keep applying "modern management principles" and make it just another milk brand. Parsi Diary Farm will be just another diary if you take the Parsi out of it.

MLMs Tap US College Campuses for Recruits
MLM and pyramid scheme experts say more must be done to educate and raise student awareness
Ultimate Frisbee on the quad: Is there anything more emblematic of college life? But who’s this person who seems to want in on the game and is talking about some way to earn “extra money”?
College students have become a compelling target for MLM companies looking to recruit new distributors. A recent survey at one college found that nearly 40 percent of students polled said they had been approached by a “multi-level business opportunity.” And the professor whose idea it was to conduct the survey says that figure is probably a gross underestimate of the actual presence of MLMs on campus.
Stacie Bosley, an assistant professor of economics at Hamline University in Minnesota who studies MLMs, said even more respond that they have been approached by recruiters when she explains the features of an MLM in presentations to students. “Almost every single person will raise their hand,” she said.
Why should students or college administrators care? Because among the many MLMs out there, there are wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing — that is to say, pyramid schemes disguising themselves as MLMs. And these illegal schemes are bad news — robbing students of money and stripping them of their self-esteem, detaching young people from their family, friends and studies. The primary objective of a pyramid scheme that inevitably leads to the vast majority of distributors losing money is its emphasis on perpetual recruitment. On campus, that means students will be urged to tap everyone they know to invest money in the company through monthly purchases of goods or services until the well runs dry.

Student recruits

It’s not just the swagger of a college kid that makes the demographic so attractive to MLMs seeking recruits. A typical college student’s flexible schedule, social media savvy and broad network of family and friends also make a student the seemingly perfect candidate for an MLM pitch. The promise of extra money for tuition, books and beer helps, too.
“There’s this sense it is tailor made for (college students),” said Bosley, referring to how the MLM model is presented.
The Hamline survey found that 38 percent of students said “yes” to the question: “Have you ever been approached about a multi-level business opportunity?” Nearly a quarter of students who answered yes said the pitch from a company representative was made on campus. Thirty percent said it happened via Facebook.

RELATED: Pyramid scheme? The 7 definitive questions to ask

The survey yielded the names of more than 30 companies recruiting on campus. The companies that got the most mentions (in descending order) were: Mary Kay, Herbalife, Avon, Advocare and Amway. Two of these companies — Herbalife and Amway — have faced accusations of being a pyramid scheme. While Amway was found not to be a pyramid scheme more than 40 years ago, the company agreed in 2012 to pay former distributors $55 million following a class-action lawsuit that alleged it was an illegal scheme. And Herbalife is currently being investigated by the FTC, SEC and several attorneys general amid pyramid scheme allegations.
Bosley, who has personally reviewed MLMs with students who sought her guidance after being approached about business opportunities, said colleges need to do more to educate and raise student awareness about the issue.

RELATED: Has your college student been recruited by a questionable MLM?

Bosley is not alone in her efforts to draw attention to potentially questionable companies recruiting across the nation’s quads and student centers. William Keep, dean of the business school at The College of New Jersey and an expert on pyramid schemes, issued a warning to students and colleagues, in 2013, about the Vemma Nutrition Company whose business structure Keep said resembled those that have been found to be pyramid schemes.
He said college students are particularly vulnerable.
“College-age young people are drawn to the notion of building something of their own (no matter how improbable) as a means of both expressing their independence and possibly shaping their future,” Keep said. But such aspiration at a young age can prove harmful. “Unlike their parents, college students have had little exposure to the MLM message and little basis for understanding the ‘opportunity.'”

The brighter the light, the better

Keep said this makes it all the more important that colleges educate their student body on the facts surrounding MLMs, including that MLMs make money on recruits whether or not they succeed. In the case of Herbalife, for example, while the company in 2012 reported net sales of $4 billion, 88 percent of distributors that year earned nothing from the company.
“In general, the brighter the light shone on MLM campus activities the better,” Keep said.
If you have been propositioned by someone pitching an MLM business opportunity, there are questions that you must ask to avoid getting wrapped up in a potential pyramid scheme. 


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