A panel under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has cleared a key stretch of a major ‘coastal road’ project in Mumbai that will reportedly significantly de-congest the city’s traffic. The go-ahead was given by the Expert Appraisal Committee for Coastal Regulation Zone.The proposed 35 km coastal road has been divided into two parts, a northern and southern stretch. The latter will connect the Princess Street Flyover to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. It, however, requires reclaiming about 90 hectares of land from the sea and, therefore, as per environment regulations, needs to be cleared by a central authority.On March 17, the Central expert appraisal committee, headed by Deepak Apte of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), had said the project could go ahead provided the coastal road was toll free, did not affect tidal behaviour, that the reclaimed land would not be used to build houses and offices, any resulting open spaces would be free of encroachment, fishermen would be resettled in the area if they were affected, and a dedicated bus lane would be created.The minutes of the meeting were made public on Friday.30-km projectThe Coastal Road-Mumbai (South) will have bridges over the sea, tunnels (two tubes, each of about 3.452 km in length) and elevated roads, and will be a 9.98 km-stretch that will cost ₹5,303 crore. The 30-km project is cumulatively expected to cost ₹12,000 crore.According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the proposed southern stretch of the coastal road will reduce commuting time by around 70%, slash fuel consumption by 34% and cut carbon footprint by about 1,826 tonnes of CO2 per annum.Though the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government has claimed that the project would be ready by 2019, The Hindu reported last month that the much-delayed project was likely to move again following Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s visit to Union Environment Minister Anil Dave.In January 2016, the BMC presented the application for CRZ clearance to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) with an estimated cost of ₹14,153 crore for an approximate length of 33.77 km. By the time MCZMA recommended the proposal, the total length was reduced to 30.07 km. In its recommendation to the MoEFCC, the MCZMA has put forward 28 specific conditions. It has specifically asked the BMC to take high court permission before clearing mangroves, if any.Impact on fisherfolkIt has also observed that the coastal road will have an impact on the nearby habitats of traditional coastal communities. It has asked the civic body to ensure navigational channels are not blocked in koliwada (fishing village) areas and that fishing activity is not hampered.
The National Youth Service (NYS) will be implementing new strategies and programmes in the 2013/2014 financial year, to effectively meet the needs of the targeted cohort. Speaking at the launch of the NYS Summer Programme, in Kingston, on Wednesday, April 3, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, said greater emphasis will be placed on the promotion of social and cultural entrepreneurship. “We will also be redirecting some of our young people into self employment. We are looking at areas such as agricultural entrepreneurship, more mentoring for our rural youth, craft and fashion design, and we are looking at manufacturing for some of our urban young people as well,” Ms Hanna said. [RELATED: Thousands to Participate in NYS Summer Programme] The NYS will also be exploring areas such as music and business, and integrating them within its curriculum. Ms Hanna said the organisation will also seek to integrate social values, cultural identity and love for country into the NYS programmes. “Right now the economic environment and the state of the economy make it critical for us at the National Youth Service to prepare young people to earn a living and to contribute to national development,” she said. She noted that shorter programmes with shorter curriculum will be implemented by the agency, while adding that some 11,584 young people will be targeted by the NYS for various programmes this financial year. “We are looking at a youth apprenticeship programme, and a graduate work experience, because we recognise that we have some young people out there who graduated from university and need internship and some experience, so that their resumes can be improved. We will also be having a success camp, and financial assistance,” Miss Hanna said. She noted that there could be an amendment to the National Youth Service Act, to allow persons below the age of 17 to participate in the summer programme. Some 3,750 spaces are available for secondary and tertiary students between 17 and 24 years of age to participate in the NYS Summer Programme. The deadline to send in application forms is April 26, 2013. By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter
TORONTO – Toronto police say they believe two Chinese students reported missing this week are the victims of a scam meant to extort large sums from their families.Police say Juanwen Zhang, 20, was last seen downtown (near Yonge and College streets) on Wednesday, while Ke “Jaden” Xu, 16, was last seen on Thursday (near Eglinton Avenue East and Midland Avenue) in the Scarborough area.Investigators say they are concerned for the safety of the two international students.They believe the disappearances are linked to a scam in which Chinese students are told to go into hiding and stay off social media or their relatives in China will be hurt.The families in China are then contacted and told that the student has been kidnapped.Police say the families are then asked to pay a large ransom.Toronto police would give no further details about the scam, citing the ongoing investigation. But they said such rackets are not unheard of and typically target the Chinese community.
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APTN National NewsOttawa police sergeant Chris Hrnchiar pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct in court Tuesday and apologized for his actions.The charges followed an investigation by the professional standards section of the Ottawa police service that found Hrnchiar wrote racist and disparaging comments about Indigenous people after the death of Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook.Pootoogook’s body was found in the Rideau river outside downtown Ottawa Sept. 19.See related stories here: Annie PootoogookThe comments were posted by Hrnchiar through Facebook in response to an Ottawa Citizen story about her death.Hrnchiar posted that Pootoogook’s death “could be a suicide, accidental, she got drunk and fell in the river and drowned, who knows.” He also wrote that” much of the Aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers.”Annie Pootoogook in 2012. APTN/FileIn court Hrnchiar faced the public gallery and apologized.“I want to apologize to everyone sincerely for my actions,” he said, including the ‘Aboriginal’ community. “I am sorry for the hurt I caused.”The Ottawa police service called the comments “inappropriate” and “racist.”The force is seeking a demotion in rank, from Sgt to First Class Constable for a period of three months and multicultural training.The judgment is held over and a decision will be released in a written statement on Dec. firstname.lastname@example.org