PLAN TO MAKE A WORLD-CLASS SLUMBAI The state cabinet’s decision to extend the cut-off date of the slums to January 1, 2000 from the earlier date of January 1, 1995 will benefit more than 20 lakh people in nearly five lakh slums across the city. The decision comes only with a rider as the state government will have to take permission from the supreme court since the case is being heard through a special leave petition filed by the government. Since the regularization was demanded by city MLAs from both the ruling parties, there was not much opposition to the decision. But water resources minister Ajit Pawar expressed his concern over rise in the number of slums in the city. HIGH COURT SLAMS GOVT OVER COACHING CLASSES IN STATE The High Court came down heavily on the government for its failure to frame guidelines to regulate the functioning of coaching classes in the state. “It is shameful,” said the High Court. The judges wondered whether politicians were running the coaching classes, as a result of which the government was unwilling to rein them in. The court said teachers without proper qualifications were appointed, with classes being held even by the street. The state had issued an ordinance to regulate such classes in 2004, but it was allowed to lapse. An expert committee of Mumbai University favored regulation of coaching centres. The copy of the report will be submitted in a week. HC APPOINTS PANEL TO CURB SQUATTERS ON PIPELINES Taking a serious view of the mushrooming encroachments on water pipelines, the Mumbai High Court set up a committee to draw up an action plan to tackle the unauthorized constructions. The High Court remarked and I quote, “If anybody can come into Mumbai and construct a hut, why do we need the MCGM?”. The MCGM counsel told the court that the corporation took action from time to time but encroachments returned. The MCGM counsel also said the pipelines were in existence for over 100 years and nothing had happened. This drew a sharp retort from the court. “Nobody had come from Karachi and attacked the city in the last 100 years,” the judges said. The committee appointed by the court will be headed by Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and will comprise DGP S S Virk, Municipal Commissioner Dr. Jairaj Phatak and the State Finance Secretary. It six weeks to study the problem and lay down an action plan. ‘BEST WON’T ALLOW NMMT BUSES’ If BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade has his way, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport buses might not even get to stop inside Mumbai. The General Manager has gone on record to say that the BEST will not allow NMMT buses to halt at their bus stops/shelters. Uttam Khobragade has said that NMMT can construct their own stops if they want to operate within city limits. The feud between BEST and NMMT has been going on for the past couple of months. As far as BEST buses plying in Navi Mumbai, Khobragade says that CIDCO had in 1985 asked the company to operate its buses in the satellite town and at that time BEST built their own bus stops.

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