|Brigand hunter on prowl again
The brigand is long dead and gone, but the man who felled him is back in the jungles, this time on a new mission.
Vijayakumar, the Tamil Nadu supercop who led the special task force against sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, has trooped out of his swank office in Chennai — he is additional DGP — and headed for Theni, on Tamil Nadu’s border with Kerala.
Ever happy to don his battle fatigues, the officer is prowling the forests to tame Naxalites who have been ensnaring youths, many of them graduates.
Chief minister M. Karunanidhi has picked him for the assignment. This is seen as another recognition of his abilities as a crack cop, given that Vijayakumar was perceived to be close to Jayalalithaa, under whose reign Veerappan was shot down three years ago.
Karunanidhi couldn’t afford to overlook the officer’s familiarity with the terrain, rapport with the special task force policemen and his knowledge of Malayalam.
Parked in private hands
A cure for the capital’s parking pain might be around the corner if a Municipal Corporation of Delhi plan takes off.
Unable to find adequate funding for the hundreds of lots that Delhi needs to curb its unruly parking practices, the civic body has turned to private firms for assistance.
The corporation will allow them to advertise at its parking lots — new and old — in a move that the civic body hopes will also counter the private parking lot mafia in the capital.
Those who agree to finance the building and maintenance of new parking lots will be provided subsidies on advertising rates, Delhi transport minister Haroon Yusuf said.
One of the areas where the benefits could flow is the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which routinely invites advertisements, both on its trains and on platforms.
Star at zoo fades away
He’d been a show-stealer for almost two decades. Then, one day in early July, it was curtains.
A lonely orangutan, one of the few of its rare species left in India, died at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park. He was 29, and alone. The cause of the death was cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure, said curator A. Sudhakar.
If he had health on his side, M. Kemba, as he was fondly called by the zoo authorities, could have lived another 20 years. Zoologists say the life span of orangutans is 30 to 40 years in the wild, and up to 50 years in captivity.
On June 24 each year, he was given a special birthday treat and had become a favourite of the caretakers and the vets attending to him regularly over the past couple of months.
Like all those who are missed, Kemba had a long entourage of mourners. These included many city animal lovers who’d known him for years.
Octroi has been an old Mumbai bugbear. At least for business, which has long been clamouring for the levy’s abolition.
This week, the protests turned shriller when a section of traders questioned the government’s decision to spend Rs 100 crore on upgrading the collection check posts.
The association of Mumbai’s sugar merchants questioned the move, saying there was little merit in the spending plan when the state government is considering doing away with the tax gradually.
The traders want the revamp to be put on hold till a final decision on scrapping octroi is taken by the government.
Mumbai: If drama is your passion, Andheri (West) is where you should be. Ekjute, a Mumbai-based theatre group, is holding a workshop at Hansraj Morarji Public School, Bhavan’s College Campus, under Nadira Zaheer Babbar till August 5. Timings: 6pm to 9pm. Call 9820858636 /9322293353 for details.