Citizens' Issues
Pay for maintenance of equipment at society building, SC tells Adarsh Society
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society (ACHS) to pay if it wanted maintenance of the equipment installed at the 28-storeyed controversial building in Mumbai that is now in the directorate of military estates' custody.
 
A bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre said this as senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh, appearing for the society, urged the court to direct the maintenance of the equipment comprising lifts, power generator, fire-fighting equipment and a pump house.
 
The bench was told that entire equipment whose maintenance the ACHS was seeking was worth Rs15 crore and if it was not maintained, then it will not operate and also damage the building.
 
Rejecting the society's plea to permit its representatives to access the building for a few hours every day for maintenance of the equipment, the bench offered it two options - either pay for it or take away the equipment and bring it back if it "at all" succeeds in saving the building.
 
"If you at all succeed (in saving the building, ordered to be demolished by the Bombay High Court in its April 29 order), then you will get the building, then pay for its maintenance," the bench told Singh.
 
However, the bench said that government too can maintain the equipment it if it decides to use the building during the pendency of the society's plea against high court judgment directing the demolition of the controversial building.
 
Singh then sought adjournment of the hearing, saying that the society would like to deliberate on the issue.
 
Adjourning the matter for further hearing on September 1, the bench also asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to take instructions if the government wanted to use this building and take the responsibility of maintaining the equipment.
 
The court had on July 22 refused to pass any interim order on the ACHS's plea for the stay of the April 29 high court judgment for demolition but gave the possession of the building to the defence estates directorate.
 
Ranjit Kumar, meanwhile, told the court that the ACHS had not complied with July 22 order of the court by which it was hand over possession of the building to defence estates.
 
The bench was told that there were 104 flats, and 93 of them were locked, and the defence estates have put their own seal on these flats.
 
The bench was told that the society have not even removed their furniture from the flats as ordered by the court on July 22.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Scorpene: DCNS seeks injunction to prevent further publication of data
French company DCNS has approached the Australian Supreme Court seeking an injunction against 'The Australian' from further publishing the leaked documents on India's Scorpene submarine project.
 
In response to an email from IANS, DCNS Head of Media Relations Emmanuel Gaudez said: "To be precise, DCNS is instructing a demand to The Australian in order to remove from its website the documents which it has published online and prevent the publishing of other documents."
 
The company DCNS, which is at the centre of a global submarine data leak scandal, wants to prevent the Aussie publication, The Australian, from releasing any more confidential data contained in 22,400 secret documents because it may cause harm to its customer -- the Indian Navy.
 
The company is also seeking a court order to force The Australian to hand over the documents and remove them from its website.
 
"The publication of this highly valuable document causes a direct harm to DCNS and its customer in terms of spread of sensitive and restricted information, image and reputation," says an affidavit by DCNS' lawyer Justine Munsie.
 
The Australian has redacted the most sensitive details from the documents before their publication.
 
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy top officers have said that they do not expect the project to be delayed and that the first Scorpene vessel, INS Kalvari, which is currently undergoing sea trials, will be inducted by the year-end.
 
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Monday said the leak is being taken "very seriously" and that mitigation measures will be taken based on the report of a committee examining the documents. 
 
The Indian Navy has maintained the leaked data will not compromise the boat's stealth capabilities, and an officer told IANS that, if needed, India is capable of making suitable changes in the submarines keeping in mind the "worst-case scenario".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Affected by hail, Himachal apples await better days
Small and less succulent, the apples from Himachal Pradesh this year have been quite a disappointment. Experts, however, say that things will change for the better after the mid-September harvest.
 
"This time there was widespread and abnormally high damage to all stone fruit crops (apricots, peaches, etc.), as well as the apple, because of hailstorms in April and May when the fruit was in the development stage," S.P. Bhardwaj, a former Joint Director at the YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, told IANS.
 
The damage, he said, was widely reported from the mid-hills of Shimla, Kullu and Mandi districts. "The damage slowed down the fruit's growth and development. A lean winter and less rainfall during the monsoon, too, affected the crop," he said.
 
But the impact was lesser for orchards in the higher ranges that were unaffected by the hailstorms and where harvesting takes place only by mid-September.
 
Reports from the field say prominent mid-hills apple belts in Kotkhai, Balsan, Kiari, Chirgaon, Maroag, and Rohru in Shimla district, Karsog, Churag and Seri in Mandi district and Ani and Dalash in Kullu district were badly hit by the hail.
 
According to Bhardwaj, the plant first repairs its own damage and only then helps the fruit to attain its true size (the average apple weighs between 180 and 225 grams). This is the reason for the undersized, less-juicy fruit -- not quite the apple of the consumer's eye.
 
Add to this the 50% to 60% crop deficit this time, and you know why the business has not been great so far.
 
There is good news round the corner, though. The harvesting of crops in the apple orchards in the higher reaches is yet to happen and the fruit here -- at altitudes above 8,000 feet -- is healthy and still ripening.
 
"The harvesting in the high reaches will begin by September 15. There is no damage to the crop here by the hail," said Sanjeev Khimta, an apple farmer from Thanedar in Shimla district.
 
The delicious variety of apples from Kinnaur district, known for their natural sweetness, colour and succulence, will hit the markets in mid-October.
 
Estimates by the horticulture department say that this season, the overall production of apples in the state is likely to be 50% to 60% less than the last season's bumper production of 755,000 tonnes or 37.5 million boxes of 20 kg each.
 
Himachal Pradesh is one of India's major apple-producing regions, with more than 90% of the produce going to the domestic market. Apples alone constitute 89 per cent of the state's fruit economy of Rs3,500 crore ($520 million).
 
But a beaming Horticulture Minister Vidya Stokes, a prominent apple grower herself, said the farmers are getting record prices.
 
"The growers are in the habit of plucking the fruit early to get higher rates. Though the production is less this time, our farmers are getting 20 to 25 per cent higher prices compared to the previous years," she said.
 
A top quality 20 kg apple box is selling at between Rs1,800 and Rs2,200 at the orchards in Shimla district, said a grower. This is around Rs500 higher than last year.
 
Horticulture department officials say that till date, over three million boxes of apples have been sold.
 
The apple yield was 625,000 tonnes in 2014-15, while it was 739,000 tonnes in 2013-14, 412,000 tonnes in 2012-13 and 275,000 tonnes in 2011-12, according to the Himachal Pradesh Economic Survey for 2014-15. The yield was at an all-time high of 892,000 tonnes in 2010-11.
 
Besides apples, other fruits like pears, peaches, cherries, apricots, kiwis, strawberries, olives and plums are the state's major commercial crops, as also almonds.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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