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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene adds to a bad year for insurance industry


    The total damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene may reach $7 billion by the time the storm dissipates in the coming days, making one of theinsurance industry's worst years even tougher, according to an early estimate by the Kinetic Analysis Corporation in Silver Spring, Md. 
    Most of the loss will very likely come from property in New York and New Jersey, according to industry experts. Although Irene had diminished to a tropical storm by the time it reached New York early Sunday, those two states have the most valuable coastal property on the Atlantic Coast. At $7 billion in possible losses, Irene would be among the 10 costliest catastrophes in American history, according to theInsurance Information Institute. 
    The most expensive di
saster by far was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $45 billion worth of damage, not counting costs that were covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The second, at about $23 billion, was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, which the institute counts as a single event. All but one of the remaining top 10 were hurricanes, ranging in cost from $22 billion for Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to $6 billion for Hurricane Rita in 2005. Insured losses in the Carolinas from Hurricane Irene were estimated Sunday at $200 million to $400 million by Eqecat, a company in Oakland, Calif., that models the effects of natural disasters. The company said that parts of North Carolina and Virginia had received 20 inches of rain, more than had been forecast, and that more than a million people were without power after Irene, which was ranked a Category 1 hurricane when it came ashore there. In the Caribbean, Irene caused an estimated $500 million to $1.1 billion worth of damage, most of it in the Bahamas, where it was a Category 2 hurricane, but also in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other territories, according to AIR Worldwide, a Boston company that analyzes the cost of storm damage. NYT NEWS SERVICE

Water-borne ailments on the rise this yr

Mumbai: Concerted efforts by the civic body and the state have meant that malaria has lost its sting as compared to last year. But it seems water-borne ailments compensated for the declining parasite load as more people sought admission to hospitals due to enteric diseases than for malaria this year. 

    Ailments like gastroenteritis, jaundice, typhoid have only shown a persistent increase in the last three moths. According to the BMC records, enteric diseases alone have forced over 3,000 people this month to seek hospitalization, besides claiming five lives. On the other hand, malaria has affected 3,037, of which 2,120 were admitted. 
    Interestingly, statistics show that there has been an 80% reduction in the parasite load in the community as compared to last year. Yet malaria has remained the top killer. The disease claiming 22 lives in the last two months as against gastroenteritis, which claimed five. Doctors are worried about the 30% increase in gastroenteritis cases this year as compared to last year. Jaundice, too, has 
emerged as a major worry after 225 people were admitted to various hospitals over the last couple of months. 
    Pregnant women in particular have borne the brunt of ailments caused by contaminated 
water in the city. In the last three months, as many as 11 pregnant women have succumbed to hepatitis. Executive health officer of the BMC, Dr Anil Bandivadekar said that knowing the vulnerability of women during pregnancy, thumb rules like drinking boiled water should never be ignored. "Water contamination has been an issue and this year, enteric diseases have been dominant. Citizens can do a lot at their own households to prevent this," he said. 
    Intensivist of P D Hinduja Hospital Dr Khusrav Bhajan echoed the concerns of other 
doctors that water-borne ailments could soon overthrow others to top the disease graph. "There is a huge increase in typhoid across the city. We are treating at least three patients every day," he said. He added that in a majority of the cases, fever does not subside for the first 10 days."Blood culture reports come in only after a couple of days. But doctors should not delay treatment," he said. Over 100 people have sought admission in several hospitals for typhoid this month but private doctors say the "numbers are underreported".

Monday, August 29, 2011

137 Kochi flyers escape M’lore crash rerun

Kochi: An Airbus A-320 carrying 137 passengers and six crew careened off the runway and finally stopped nose down in the slush as its pilot tried to land in blinding rain and gusty winds early on Monday morning. 

    It was a miracle that what may have ended in a Mangalore-type crash that killed 158 people left only seven people on board the Bahrain-Kochi flight injured. Only one passenger needed hospitalization. 
    There were conflicting reports about whether the Gulf Air pilot acted rashly in coming in to land or whether the ground staff failed to alert the cockpit crew of the dangerous tarmac conditions. 
    When the aircraft finally stopped, its nose wheel off and its wings, tail section and an engine seriously damaged, the emergency chutes flung open and passengers had to slide out of the aircraft. The pilot was quoted as saying the aircraft veered off the runway because of heavy rain and poor visibility. 
    According to eyewitness reports, rescue efforts didn't begin right away with most of the dazed passengers not knowing what to do after exiting the aircraft. Airport authorities attributed this to the fact that it was not an "emergency landing". 
    "The pilot had planned 
for a normal landing and we had also made arrangements accordingly," CIAL managing director V J Kurien said. 
    However, a DGCA source indicated that Ussain Mahmood, who was in command of Flight 270 failed to align the aircraft with the centre of the runway while landing. 
    Instead, the aircraft touched down towards the right of the runway and skidded into the slush. Mahmood then tried to pull the aircraft back on to the runway but it got stuck in the slush. "Had he managed to take it on to 
the tarmac, the friction caused by the damaged nose wheel would have caused sparks and a major fire would definitely have broken out," a source said. 
    Based on tapes of communications between ATC and Gulf Air 270, DGCA confirmed that other than the alignment, the rest of the landing procedure was smooth. In his debriefing, Mahmood, the pilot, claimed to have been "suddenly blinded'' by a gust of wind and rain. "Realizing that he was skidding, the pilot screamed May Day. That was the last communication
from the cockpit to ATC," a source said. The runway was closed immediately, leading to diversion of 12 international flights and delays in several domestic flights. Most of the affected flights in the international sector were diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Oman Airways flight landed in Bangalore. Some domestic and international flights which had landed prior to the accident were also unable to take off on schedule. 
    DGCA said it would determine cause of the incident only after an investigation.

City team rescues 83 from flooded Manor resort

Mumbai: A 19-member team from Mumbai rescued 33 picnickers and 50 staff of Silent Hills Resort, Manor, over 80 km from here, exposing Thane district's disaster preparedness on Sunday night. The team, with two boats and life-jackets, rescued the picnickers and staff following an SOS from Thane. 

    The resort, on the banks of the Vaitarna, got submerged when the river overflowed following heavy rain and the release of excess water from the Tansa and Bhatsa dams. 
    The Mumbai fire brigade team received a call around 10 pm, reached the resort by 12.30 am, and took half an hour to get through 20 feet of water to reach those who were trapped. 

    Divisional fire officer Prabhat Rahangdale said 15 men, women and children were first rescued by around 2 am, while the others were taken to safety after the water started receding. Assistant divisional fire officer S D Sawant said the rescue team was guided with whistles blown by staff to find the rooms. But the operation was made difficult as the water
had nearly reached the second floor stairs. 
    Tehsildar Surendra Navle said the resort was informed about the release of water from the dam and was told to evacuate the guests in the morning itself. 
    But resort manager Vincent Lobo said the main gate and reception areas were flooded by the time the guests were informed. 
    The 'rides' and many trees in the area were submerged and the state control room was informed when the water entered the ground floor and guests had to move to the first floor at 8 pm. 
    Thane's disaster management cell was unable to orga
nize rescuers and boats. Virar fire station staff reached with a boat but were unable to venture inside, and joined the operation only after the arrival of the Mumbai team. 
    Most Manor police station staff were stranded as the village was submerged and local government officials too could not proceed beyond the highway due to the flooding.

The rescue of 33 picnickers and 50 resort staff at Manor exposed Thane's disaster preparedness

Landslides kill 5 in city in 2 days Rainfall Till Aug 29 Higher Than In ’05

Mumbai: The deluge which started on Friday night and continued till Monday killed five people in Mumbai—two on Sunday and three on Monday—and brought trains and other public transport to a standstill. The city's longest spell of showers in the last few years also forced several schools to declare a holiday, while office attendance dipped. 

    Landslides, which killed two on Sunday, claimed three more on Monday—one in South Mumbai and two in Rabale, Navi Mumbai. 
t The city and the suburbs will experience intermittent rainfall in the next 2-3 days, with heavy to very heavy showers at times 
t A total of 630 local trains and 10 express trains were cancelled on Monday. CR (Main) services were halted for 6 hours, Harbour line services for over 9 hours 
t All civic schools got the day off, while schools in low-lying areas also remained shut 
t Mulund (520.07mm), Kurla (517.84mm) and Deonar (510.17) have received the maximum rains over the last three days 
t 10 people have died in the state in monsoon-related incidents 
Downpour likely to drown festivalsIncessant Rains Caused By Cyclonic Circulation, Says Met 
    Mumbaikars may have a wet Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi, the weather department has predicted. In three days, while Colaba received 411 mm of rainfall, Santa Cruz fared better with 570 mm. 
    Santa Cruz has now received the highest cumulative rainfall till August in the last few years—higher than even in 2005, the year of the 26/7 deluge. From the start of monsoon till Monday, Santa Cruz received 2855 mm of rainfall, which was way more than 2719 mm last year and 2510 mm in 2005 in the same time period. "In 2005, the city received a very good amount of rainfall even in September (about 750 mm in Santa Cruz), which added to the cumulative yearly rainfall," said a weather official. "It remains to be seen if we will receive the highest yearly rainfall this year, but the current figure is higher 
than previous years," he said. 
    Meanwhile, the civic body made 79 pumps operational in the city as water-logging was reported at the usual spots like Hindmata, Parel, Sion, Chem
bur's Shell Colony, Andheri subway, Milan subway, Khar subway and Malad subway. Officials said the city got flooded because of a morning high tide. When water receded towards evening, only 40 pumps were made operational — 18 in the island city, and 11 in both western and eastern suburbs. 
    Analysis of the three-day rainfall recorded in the BMC's 35 automatic weather stations shows it poured most in the eastern suburbs. Mulund was highest with a total of 520.07 mm rainfall, followed by Kurla, Deonar, Dindoshi, Andheri and Goregaon — all of which received more than 480 mm. 

    The incessant rainfall was caused by a cyclonic circulation over north of Maharashtra along with strong westerly winds. "Currently, there is an upper-air cyclonic circulation over west Madhya Pradesh and adjoining north Maharashtra. Also, an off-shore trough extends from Gujarat to Kerala coasts," said V K Rajeev, director of weather forecast at the Indian Meteorological Department, Mumbai. 
    "Conditions are favourable for vigorous monsoon over Maharashtra and Gujarat. Extremely heavy rain could occur over the Konkan coast," he said.

DOWNHILL JAM: One person was killed and an empty car parked close by was damaged following a landslide near Heera Panna, Haji Ali, on Monday

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Showers back with vengeance, rain feared during festivities

Mumbai: With the rains lashing on Saturday, Mumbaikars were once again reminded of the terrible anguish that the monsoon can unleash. With more than 130 mm rainfall in the eastern and western suburbs till Saturday evening, the city had more than its share of a rainy day. Colaba, on the other hand, received 67 mm rainfall 

in the same period. 
    The western suburbs were worst-hit with maximum tree falls and waterlogged areas. Around 18 localities were waterlogged and 12 tree falls were reported. Khar, Western Express highway, Andheri and Malad, Matunga, Mahalaxmi, Tardeo, Haji Ali, Byculla, Dadar, Mankhurd, Mulund, Tilak Nagar and Vidyavihar bore the brunt of heavy showers. 
    Ravi Shankar (21), a Saki Naka resident, was injured when a portion of a wall collapsed around 8am. Shankar was discharged after receiving medical aid at Rajawadi Hospital. A portion of a 40-year-old building collapsed at LBS Marg at Ghatkopar (W), no injuries were reported. 
    After every heavy downpour, residents of Jay Bharat Colony in Khar have with a similar fate. "Every time there is heavy rainfall, we are 
almost under house arrest. The ground floor of our society has been flooded since Friday night," said Surindra Khubchandani, a resident of Jay Bharat Colony. 
    He added, "Calls to the di
saster management cell have fallen on deaf ears. The water in tanks has been contaminated. This is the case every monsoon. It's the second time this year that we are facing such a situation." 
    Strong westerly winds caused Saturday's downpour. "There has been a general strengthening of westerlies in the mid-troposphearic levels resulting in widespread rainfall in Maharashtra," said V K Rajeev, director of weather forecast at the Indian Meteorological Department. 
    The city may have to celebrate festivities amid heavy showers next week if similar weather conditions remain, said a Met department official. A low pressure area, which may form over Orissa, may cause further rainfall over the western coast. "The low pressure area is likely to move along the monsoon trough. Heavy rainfall is likely to occur on the Konkan coast during the next two days. Mumbai will experience intermittent spells of rain with heavy to very heavy rainfall at some places," Rajeev said. 

Tansa breaches overflow mark 
Mumbai: Tansa, one of the six lakes that supply water to the city, crossed the overflow mark on Saturday afternoon duw to the heavy downpour. It is the fourth lake to have spilled over after Tulsi, Modak Sagar and Vihar lakes. While Upper Vaitarna is just a metre shy of the overflow mark, Bhatsa may take some more time to reach the mark. "It is a good sign that most of the lakes have started overflowing. Water shortage in some wards will be resolved soon," said a hydraulic department official. 
    The total useful content in all the six lakes is around 11,21,331 million litres. TNN 
Tree fall in Mahim damages vehicle Mahima Sikand & Shawan Sen TIMES NEWS NETWORK 
Mumbai:A banyan tree fell on a parked Honda City in Mahim on Saturday afternoon around 4pm near Sitladevi Temple. However, no injuries were reported. Fire brigade personnel took more than an hour to remove the car under the tree and clear the road. The owner of the damaged car, Ajay Goda (38) said, "The vehicle's rear portion has been damaged. The glass shields are broken and the boot has been severely dented." 
    Rakesh Lohare, a local shopkeeper, "Rains are inevitable, however, the BMC must identify vulnerable trees and cut them at the earliest."According to the BMC's disaster management cell, around 28 tree falls were reported on Saturday. 
    The western suburbs were the worst-hit with 12 incidents. Around ten tree falls were reported in the city and six in the eastern suburbs. 
    According to the civic body, as compared to the last year, there have been fewer cases of tree falls. In June 2010, nearly 801 cases were registered, while this year 513 incidents have been reported. "We are trying to minimize tree falls," said deputy municipal commissioner Suhas Karvande.

FACING THE WRATH: No injuries were reported in the incident

SHOWERING WOES: A biker finds it difficult to ride through the waterlogged Andheri subway on Saturday

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lokpal BIll: Jail Bharo, Says Anna Hazare Amid Fears Of His Eviction

From Breakthrough To Breakdown

Encouraged By All-Party Assertion That Parliament Is Supreme, UPA Hardens Stand 

New Delhi: Blow hot, blow cold. In fact, the breeze that wafted from the government turned so icy on Wednesday that it threatened to virtually deep-freeze the talks between it and Team Anna. Assurances held out on Tuesday were withdrawn and concern for Anna's health was dismissed, said Team Anna members, while government leaders told them that the parliamentary process wouldn't be shortened to rush through the Lokpal Bill. 
    Hopes of a resolution to the standoff dipped sharply as there was no movement on the sticking points. The allparty meeting appears to have emboldened the government as it merely appealed to Anna Hazare to call off his fast while clarifying that the government should not rush through an amended Lokpal Bill. On its part, the government agreed to replace the current bill with a new legislation, incorporating some features of Team Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill. 
    Meanwhile, police presence has been sharply increased at the Ramlila Maidan, raising fears of the Gandhian being forcibly removed from the grounds. Kejriwal expressed the fears while appealing to the people to maintain peace. Government sources, too, admitted that some "intervention" might become inevitable. 
    Late at night at 11.30pm, Anna addressed the vast crowd, repeatedly urging it to ensure peace. He said if the government wanted to pick him up, he would readily submit to the authorities. Any violence, he said, would defeat their movement. He told his followers to embark on a "jail bharo" agitation if he was arrested and peacefully picket government leaders and parliamentarians. 

    Speaking at an iftaar he hosted, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists, "We are caught in a bind, and we have to get out of it." 
    Government sources asserted that the Jan Lokpal Bill could not be the sole reference point for an anti-graft law. They also rejected Team Anna's demand that the Lokpal Bill be passed within the next four days after extending the current session of Parliament, bypassing scrutiny by the Standing Committee. Emerging after a meeting with Pranab Mukherjee and Salman Khurshid, civil society representatives said, "We are back to where we were, and we will have to start from the scratch." 
    Prashant Bhushan, Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi claimed 
that the government representatives also brushed aside any concern for Anna's health, saying that it was the headache of members of civil society. 
Cracks emerge in BJP over soft line 

    The BJP received a jolt on Wednesday with three MPs, including senior leader Yashwant Sinha, accusing the party of not being serious about corruption and offering to quit their Lok Sabha seats. Sinha, along with former actor Shatrughan Sinha and Uday Singh, sprung a surprise at the BJP parliamentary party meeting. Sinha said the BJP was unable to take a strong stand on the Lokpal issue without which it was not possible to "take the battle (against corruption) forward". P 15 

LOWER BUREAUCRACY | Team Anna says entire bureaucracy should come under Lokpal, not just higher bureaucracy, because day-to-day pain felt by citizens is often from lower bureaucracy. Government says it is impossible to cover 40 lakh employees without creating a mammoth structure, which is undesirable 
CITIZENS' CHARTER | Team Anna says this would define time-frame for tasks of public offices (say, a ration card should be given in 3 days, or passport in 15 days) and it must be spelt out in Lokpal Bill. Failure to meet deadline should lead to fines. Govt says this should be included in separate Grievances Redressal Bill, and there should be no fines 
LOKAYUKTAS | Team Anna says all states must have this state-level anti-corruption mechanism. Right now only 18 states have it, and of them, many are defunct. Govt says these are matters for the state govts to decide and Centre has no say. Team Anna disagrees 
JAN LOKPAL BILL | Team Anna wants its version of the bill to be considered and adopted by Parliament. Govt says Parliament is supreme and it can consider all versions, including the MCPRI version as well as Jan Lokpal Bill. NCPRI Bill visualizes different ombudsmen for judiciary, lower bureaucracy, govt leaders and higher bureaucracy, and grievance redressal 
PARLIAMENTARY PROCESS | Team Anna demands that an amended draft bill should be debated by entire Parliament, and not sent to Standing Committee. It wants a definite time-frame for passing bill. Govt says bill will go to Standing Committee as process can't be short-circuited. However, it says some time-frame can be given 

10.55AM | Anna speaks at Ramlila Maidan, doubts govt sincerity in combating corruption 
11.30AM | Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi meet Salman Khurshid and Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit 
12 NOON | Debate on corruption in Parliament, Oppn attacks govt for mishandling stir
3.30PM | All-party meeting appeals to Hazare to call off fast, but doesn't want Jan Lokpal Bill to be rushed through 
8.15PM | Pranab and Khurshid meet Kejriwal & Co for another round of talks. At 10pm, the shaken Team Anna reps come out, say talks have virtually broken down 
PC argued for hard line in talks 
    The government has clarified that while Parliament is ready to consider the Jan Lokpal Bill, it will also consider other versions of the antigraft bill like the one prepared by Aruna Roy's MCPRI. All these versions, said sources, would be vetted by the Standing Committee which would hammer out a "strong Lokpal Bill." In all this there was an obvious tacit admission: the bill earlier brought in Parliament by the government was virtually a lemon. 
    The government's tough posture on Thursday came against the backdrop of hardening of mood in the face of Hazare's pressure tactics. The decision not to give in was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs held after Team Anna's talks with Pranab Mukherjee and Khurshid. Sources said at the meeting home minister P Chidambaram strongly argued for ahard line in the government's dealings with Team Anna. Responding to Anna group's demand that the bill be passed in four days after extending the Monsoon session beyond September 8, the PM said on Thursday, "This is their suggestion. This does not mean we have to accept everything." Although he underlined "there is scope for give-and-take", the comment reflected a new firmness.

HARD-AND-FAST RULES THE DAY: A young supporter of Anna Hazare at the Ramlila ground on Wednesday

Monday, August 22, 2011


Answering Gandhian's Call, Scores Of Citizens Stage Protests Outside Parliamentarians' Homes To Push For Jan Lokpal Bill

    Parliamentarians from Mumbai and Thane got a bitter taste of the anti-graft anger raging across India as scores of Anna supporters staged sit-ins and protests outside their homes. Several MPs were away when demonstrators came calling on Monday, but of those who were, two—Priya Dutt and Sanjay Nirupam—reacted "positively" to the protesters' demands. 
    Meeting protesters outside her Pali Hill residence, Dutt said that she found the present Lokpal bill "weak" and that a few of its provisions could be tweaked to make the bill stronger. "I feel 
the judiciary should be under the purview of the bill," she said. 
    Asked whether the PM too should also be brought under the bill's purview, Dutt replied, "I don't think the PM will have any problem." She did however clarify that she did not support the Jan Lokpal bill, "which too had its own flaws". There is a need for more debate and for seeking public opinion before clearing the present bill, Dutt maintained. 
    Nirupam, meanwhile, chose to meet protesters in Vile Parle—far away from his Andheri home. Sporting an Anna-like 
topi, the Congress MP said that he broadly supported the agitation. "I am in favour of citizens fighting against corruption. But I don't agree with all the provisions of the Jan Lokpal bill. I think it would not be practical to accept it in totality. The present bill is strong enough to crack a whip on corrupt elements," Nirupam said. 
    At most agitations, citizens shouted slogans like "Jan Lokpal bill pass karo, warna kursi chhod do (Pass Jan Lokpal bill or quit your parliament seat)". At some, they presented MPs with floral bouquets with a message wishing the Congress government to "get well soon". 
    About 150 protesters gathered outside MP Milind Deora's Pedder Road house and Churchgate office. The latter, however, was away in Delhi. 
    NCP MP Sanjay Patil was busy at a dahi-handi celebration when protesters came knocking at his Bhandup residence. His mother accepted the citizens' memorandum, though that did not reassure all. Pushpa Mhatra, a housewife, complained: "We cannot earn a decent living without greasing someone's palms." 
    In Chembur, more than a hundred angry protesters stayed put outside Gurudas Kamat's house, waving flags, singing patriotic songs and shouting slogans, when they did not get a chance to meet the Congress MP. "We are repeatedly trying to call up Kamat, but in vain. Nobody has come forward to accept out memorandum. It is disgusting," said activist Anil Parekh. 
    Thane MP Sanjeev Naik too was not present at his Koparkhairne residence when 200 protestors arrived at his home demanding a personal meeting. "Our MP has no time to meet the people," said Rohan Shastry, a protestor. 
    Again in Thane, activists laid siege outside the home of Anand Paranjape and insisted that the Shiv Sena MP personally accept their memorandum. But Paranjape could not meet them since he too was busy with the dahi handi celebrations in Dombivli. 
    "We are here to hand over a memorandum to the MP about the Jan Lokpal bill. Agreed, he is busy, but these are extraordinary times," said advocate Vijay Gookhale, a resident of Dombivli who led the protestors. 

Small beginnings 
Anna Hazare's crusade, or at least his supporters, are making a difference. Gaurav Kumar Kate (22), a student of Sardar Patel College of Engineering, was at Dadar station on Monday to collect his bike from a Vidarbha train when an octroi official stopped him and obliquely demanded a bribe. "He asked for Rs 1,800 as octroi, adding if I don't want a receipt he'll charge less," said Kate, who called a friend to check octroi rates. "I was told there are no charges on used vehicles like mine." As Kate threatened him with a complaint to the anticorruption bureau, he was let go. But the story didn't end there. 
    An RPF constable then asked Kate to pay for lacking the 'right' signature on the gate pass. Kate got hold of Anna supporters outside Dadar and with them, took him to the chief RPF officer's cabin. "It puts us to shame," said M K Srivastav, RPF officer at Dadar. 
    —Shreya Bhandary | TNN

These daily rallies and protests are an indicator that our society has woken up. It is time for corrupt officials and politicians to be taught a lesson 
—Alka Kerkar | 

MPs represent us. They need to be informed that whatever suits 
    the government cannot be passed as law. Public opinion should be given priority. The Lokpal bill is weak. But I am sure that with the kind of public support we are getting, the government will have to accept our demands or step down 
— Nitin Wadhwani | 

We won't let this crusade fizzle out. We will continue 
    marching on the roads, to the doorsteps of political leaders' homes to convince them that we need better laws in the country. I want to see a better India in the future. As a businesswoman, I find corruption at various levels 
— Sheetal Ratwani | 

We are here on the streets protesting on behalf of our hero Anna Hazare. We need an Anna in every corner of the nation to get rid of corruption. The menace is so deep-rooted in the country that it frustrates us. I appeal to our MPs to support what citizens want 
— Shatrughana Tiwary 

RAPID DECLINE Many of those on fast at Azad Maidan have agreed to discontinue their protest on the request of the protest organizer, India Against Corruption 
The protesters have been asked to instead help mobilize crowds for an upcoming rally 
The steadfast abstention had begun affecting the health of the protesters since the last few days

A group of activists decried the Jan Lokpal bill at a press meet in Mumbai and said that they supported Aruna Roy's 'factual' and 'realistic' version instead 
    Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt accused Team Anna of selling "happiness, not truth" by "weaving dreams, creating conflicts and 
producing a hero", who triumphs at the end 
Delhi-based Shabnam Hashmi expressed fears about the disturbing "level of threat" because of which "we cannot freely say that we do not represent Anna Hazare" 
She also asserted that people are afraid of asking "if Anna is fake". "Calling him Mahatma is a dishonour to Mahatma Gandhi", said Hashmi

Heeding calls from Team Anna in Delhi, hundreds of Hazare supporters marched to the homes of parliamentarians in Mumbai and Thane to press for acceptance of the Jan Lokpal bill 
    A few MPs came to address the 
protesters, though most MPs were not at home 
    Congress MP Priya Dutt supported some provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill, such as the inclusion of the judiciary under the bill's purview

Several Muslim groups, Urdu writers and associations of ulema (religious leaders) slammed Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari's advice to Muslims to stay away from Hazare's crusade 
    They called Bukhari's statement 
"divisive" since corruption affects every Indian 
    They also said that slogans of Vande Matram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai are ways of expressing love for the country and Muslims "for it is second to none"

FURY RAINING: Hundreds demanded the passage of Jan Lokpal bill outside the Pedder Road residence of MP Milind Deora

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