Right to Information
Strangely, MSRDC once again calls for videographic traffic count survey at Mumbai’s entry points
In a strange move, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), has once again invited online tenders for videographic traffic count survey for all five entry points to Mumbai (when such a survey was done a year ago); for the Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Mhaisal state highway (the toll booth of which was closed after residents fought and won a court order) and of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link project.
 
The e-tender called for by the MSRDC on 2nd August from traffic survey consultants comprises ‘carrying out continuous 24-hour videographic traffic count survey of the vehicles using a video camera for seven days at ROB on Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Nhaisal state highway; carrying out a similar survey at five toll stations of Mumbai’s entry points and; a similar survey for the Bandra-Worli Sea Link project toll plaza for three days including a survey of number plates too.
 
RTI activist Sanjay Shirodkar has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, questioning the call for an e-tender, when the earlier survey done for the same places have not been made public nor has the report of two committees been made public. Shirodkar has brought the following to the notice of the CM:
  • Why should there be a toll count once again when the toll plaza of Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Mhaisal SH 138 @ 8km. 56/420, was closed after residents protested and there was a court order?
  • Already such a survey has been done through Videography at All Five Mumbai Entry Points in July 2015. That report has not yet been published in public domain. Why? These surveys are done with Public / Tax payers’ money but are not published for Public/Citizens. Why?
  • Are these activities planned to extend the concession period or to cancel the exemptions? Not clear
  • Why Mumbai-Pune Expressway is excluded from such initiatives where 50,000 ghost/free/exempted/VIP passes vehicles are plying through every day?
  • Along with the Videography survey, why has the CP Joshi and Anand Kulkarni Committee report  NOT been published by the Government of Maharashtra? 
  • I have already complained in January 2016 to VC & MD that MSRDC is under reporting while showing these vehicles under free/exempted/VIP passes categories. The percentage ranges from 25%-50%. No action till date
  • Under section 4 of RTI, it would be interesting to see the names of people asking for exemption on the Bandra Worli Sea Link project.
 
The VIP passes issue on Mumbai-Pune Expressway:
 
Sanjay Shirodkar had also invoked the RTI regarding VIP passes for exemption of toll on this expressway. States he, “PIO-MSRDC simply redirected my application to the contractor (MSRDC reply dated 04 December 2015 & 18 January 2016) requesting the contractor Mhaiskar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. to provide information on VIP passes issued for exemption in toll on Mumbai-Pune Expressway. PIO-MSRDC requested twice but the contractor Mhaiskar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd did not provide the information. Contractors’ reply dated 19 December 2015 denied the information saying that being a private company they do not come under RTI.’’
 
Says Shirodkar, “It is the duty of the public authority to procure such information from contractor and it should be given to the applicant, but this has not been done till date.”
 
“By his acts, PIO-MSRDC has violated section 4(1) (b), section 6(3), section 7(8), section 11 of right to information, 2005.”
 
Clauses from current contract:
Original BID document of MPEW & NH4 15 year current contract says,
 
Page 189, point 5.1.1.25 says,
Traffic data and data relating to the operation & maintenance of the project facilities are collected.
 
Page 224, point 7 mentions,
About concessional rates for frequent travellers
 
Page 226, point 7.3.4 says,
Contractor shall collect and submit data of prepaid toll and exempted vehicles in the form prescribed by the corporation on request of corporation
 
Page 227, 7.3.13 says,
Contractor shall give all required information and inspection of records to the authorized officers of corporation regarding collection of toll, if asked for
 
Page 228, 7.3.19 says,
Contractor shall issue the monthly passes, concessional coupons, multiple entry passes at respective toll stations only
 
Page 228, 7.3.21 says, 
Contractor shall submit the traffic details and revenue collected on each toll plaza to the MSRDC every month
 
In conclusion, MSRDC is a spineless body, overpowered by contractors – this is despite the fact that commuters pay through their nose for toll tax.

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COMMENTS

Vishal Thakkar

6 months ago

I have started a petition to curb such malpractices at entry points in Mumbai, Mumbai Pune Express Highway and Bandra Worli Sea link. Requesting YOU to support my petition by YOUR signature. Here is the link: https://www.change.org/p/stop-taking-cash-at-toll-nakas-on-mumbai-entry-points

Nifty, Sensex stall on lower volumes – Weekly closing report
We had mentioned in last week’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex were still on an uptrend but risks were rising. The major indices of the Indian stock markets have been range-bound during the week’s trading and have been closing with small losses/ gains at the end of each day’s trading. Considering the week as a whole, there have been marginal losses over the previous week’s close.
 
The trends of the major indices in the course of the week’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
Negative global cues depressed the Indian equity markets on Tuesday. Consequently, both the key equity indices closed in the red, as selling pressure was witnessed in IT (information technology) and automobile stocks. The BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bears -- with 1,634 declines and 1,095 advances. On the NSE, on Tuesday, there were 604 advances, 988 declines and 68 unchanged.
 
India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to 3.55% for July from 1.62% in the previous month, due to an 11.82% jump in prices of food articles, official data showed on Tuesday. The prices of potatoes continued to pinch with an annual rise of 58.78%, pulses were dearer by 35.76%, while fruit were 17.30% costlier over the same month of the previous year, as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data of the Commerce Ministry. Data released last week showed that the country's annual retail inflation shot up to a 23-month high of 6.07% for July and beyond the official tolerance level of 6%, again due to higher prices for food articles. The July WPI index at 3.55% marks a two-year high.
 
Negative global cues, along with profit booking, subdued the Indian equity markets during the mid-afternoon trade session on Wednesday. Heavy selling pressure was witnessed in information technology (IT) and technology, media and entertainment (TECK) stocks. Auto and aviation stocks showed some strength and traded with firm sentiments, pointed out market analysts. Sugar stocks traded down on the lack of buying interest.
 
Reliance Brands, a part of the Mukesh Ambani-led industrial group, has entered into a master franchise pact with the premium Dutch youth fashion company, Scotch and Soda, to set up its stores in all major Indian cities by next year. "Reliance will also grow the brand through other channels of sale in India, such as ecommerce, travel commerce, and leading multi-brand department stores," the company said, adding the range will cover menswear, womenswear and children’s wear categories through all channels of sale. Scotch and Soda has over 160 stores of their own globally, and can be found in over 8,000 other outlets, including the best global department stores, as also on their Web store. The merchandise is designed at their church-turned-studio in the heart of Amsterdam. Reliance Industries shares closed at Rs1,014.00, down 1% on the BSE on Wednesday.
 
Cable maker CMI Ltd. said on Tuesday its revenues in the quarter ended June grew 69.9% to Rs77.01 crore from Rs45.32 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Profit after tax was Rs5.50 crore in April-June 2016 against Rs2.83 crore in the first quarter in the last fiscal, a growth of 93.8%, said a statement issued by the BSE-listed CMI Ltd. The profit after tax grew 3.36% on a quarter-on-quarter basis over Rs5.32 crore recorded in the quarter ended March 2016. The earning per share was Rs3.86 in the quarter ended June, up from Rs2.44 in the first quarter of 2015-16. The company announced in April the start of production at its new facility in Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, which is part of the recently-acquired General Cable Energy Private Ltd from General Cable Corporation. 
 
Indian equity markets were lifted by positive global cues and short covering during the mid-afternoon trade session on Thursday. Healthy buying was witnessed in banking, automobile and healthcare stocks. The BSE market breadth was skewed in favour of the bulls -- with 1,610 advances and 865 declines in the mid-afternoon session. On the NSE, on Thursday, there were 977 advances, 444 declines and 71 unchanged.
 
Initially on Thursday, both the key indices opened on a higher note prompted by positive cues from Asian and US markets. The investors' sentiments were also boosted by the decision of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to maintain its key lending rates. In addition, short covering and value buying at lower levels aided the key indices to sustain the upward movement. Besides, foreign institutional investors have been continuously on the buying side for the last couple of days, which has extended the support to the Indian markets.
 
Tata Motors Ltd on Thursday delivered 241 buses to the Karnataka State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. To be deployed on inter-state and intra-state services, the buses are equipped with new-generation Tata Cummins engines, air suspension and multiplex wiring, said a statement issued by Tata Motors. The company did not disclose the value of the deal. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took part in a ceremony representing "handing over" of the vehicles to KSRTC for deploying them on new and existing routes, replacing old buses that have run their course. KSRTC operates a whopping 13,000 Tata buses across the state. 
 
On Friday, the major indices closed with minor losses over Thursday’s close. Selling pressure was witnessed in automobile and information technology (IT) stocks. In contrast, the BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bulls -- with 1,413 advances and 1,159 declines. On the NSE, on Friday, there were 899 advances, 701 declines and 260 unchanged. FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) stocks traded with sideways sentiments on lack of buying support. Sugar stocks traded firm on short covering and some lower level buying, according to market analysts. With the major indices on a flat-to-bearish trend in the Indian stock markets, we will have to wait for fresh macro-economic cues or global cues and liquidity to push the market higher.

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Narsingh's case an indictment of NADA and political forces
Ironically, the day woman wrestler Sakshi Malik brought in India's first medal from the Rio Olympics, the cricket-loony country may have had greater pleasure in their team's ascent to the No.1 position in the world.
 
And the morning after Pusarla Venkata Sindhu made sure of silver medal by entering the women's badminton singles final came the shattering though suspected news of Narsingh Pancham Yadav being slapped with a four-year ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) upholding the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appeal against national body NADA's clean chit to the 74 kg wrestler. He had his weigh-in and was all set for his opening bout.
 
In an indictment of NADA, as well as those political forces which got Narsingh released, CAS refused to accept the plea that he was “the victim of sabotage”, saying “there was no evidence that he bore no fault, nor that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional.” Now NADA has to explain how it came to “sabotage” the result that pointed to the wrestler's guilt in the first place.
 
Thursday night, at least, brought cheer with Sindhu producing a terrific performance, smashing her way pas her Japanese opponent Nozomi Okuhara, World No. 6 and seeded third in the Olympics. It was a giant-killing effort as she beat three players above her in the World rankings. 
 
One barbed question at any Olympics before Leander Paes got that precious bronze medal at the Atlanta Games was how come 800 million and no medal and then one billion and only one? Sindhu has answered in an emphatic manner a question Indians were trying to grapple with: Why only one bronze from a record number of athletes sent to the Games when they returned with their best tally of six from London.
 
The answers are coming thick and fast. India's lone individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was quick to point out after he missed a medal by a fraction in Rio that India can forget about medals if she is not willing to spend close to Rs 50 crore for a medal Britain is supposed to be spending. He also added the perennial complaint of a lack of system in Indian sports. The system needs a thorough overhaul but the same system and the government grants also helped Bindra to his Beijing success just as some other medal winners, his own family finances and push notwithstanding. 
 
Yes, Mary Kom is absolutely right, no sportsperson competes to lose and all criticism with the benefit of hindsight is part of her life. Advice costs nothing. Like Bindra, she also feels the authorities failed to build on the momentum in the wake of Beijing and London. She has trotted out the usual yet useful idea of making education sports-oriented at the school level. Now that she is an MP she and that iconic cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, and Olympic medal-winning minister Rajyavardhan Rathore should forcefully impress upon the government to take measures that will raise Indian sport to a different level.
 
The same “appalling” system also enabled Pullela Gopichand to produce two champion badminton players -- Saina Nehwal and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu -- besides world-ranked players Parupalli Kashyap and Kidambi Srikanth. Which system brought Dipa Karmakar to vault onto the world stage, or for that matter, Sakshi Malik? Agreed, the system has to pick up pace and more money is needed to be pumped in. The Prime Minister's interest in sport should generate more energy all around to make things happen. 
 
The government should realise that the posting of bureaucrats in the Department of Sports and the appointment of Sports Authority of India (SAI) heads should not be seen as a punishment or a sinecure ahead of superannuation. How can any official take serious interest in the work when he knows he is there to enjoy a trip to an Olympics or an Asian Games. The tenure of the top officials should be from one Olympics to another, a clear four years to demand a delivery system. 
 
Even before they left for Rio, some trotted legitimate grouse and excuses. P.T. Usha talked of her protégé -- two-lap runner Tintu Luka -- not getting enough international exposure despite her repeated requests to the Amateur Athletics Federation of India. Still she talked about the potential of her ward making the semi-final even when she knew that it was a herculean task for an athlete who came under two minutes only a couple of times at big events in the last six years. And, at one of these races of hers, she clocked 1:59.17 and broke 15-year-old mark (1:59.85) set by Shiny Wilson, nee Abraham, at the 1995 South Asian Federation Games. 
 
Tintu ran her season's best and yet it was 2:00.58, a far cry considering that over a thousand runners have come well under two minutes over the years and it will perhaps be left to South African athlete Castor Semenya to beat the long-standing 800m world record of 1:53.28 clocked by Czech Jarmila Kratochvíloá at the 1983 World Cup. Semenya is believed to have a condition known as hyper-androgenism, an “inter-sex” abnormality with an exceptionally higher level of testosterone, giving her an amazing biological advantage over all other athletes. 
 
Most of the athletes touted as medal prospects at Rio will not be there four years from now at the Tokyo Games and the time starts now for a new crop of athletes to make it count.
 
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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