Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - THANE - Megha Pol

THANE: In op­po­si­tion to the surge pric­ing sys­tem of the rail­ways, the pas­sen­ger as­so­ci­a­tion in Thane has de­cided to con­duct an on­line sig­na­ture cam­paign. The pas­sen­gers said in­creas­ing prices dur­ing the fes­tive and hol­i­day sea­son was un­fair.

Rail­way au­thor­i­ties have hiked the fares of premium Ra­jd­hani, Duronto and Shatabdi Ex­press up to a max­i­mum of 50 per cent since Fri­day. Ac­cord­ing to the new surge pric­ing sys­tem, af­ter 10 per cent book­ing, the price will be hiked by 10 per­cent for each 10 per cent berth of AC II and AC II berths sold with a cap of fifty per cent hike on the orig­i­nal fare.

“The three trains are al­ways fully-booked within min­utes. Ten per cent of the berths will be sold to touts or agents while the com­mon man will be left with high-priced tick­ets. The rail­ways are try­ing to pass the fi­nan­cial bur­den on to the com­mon man in­stead of find­ing other av­enues of gen­er­at­ing funds,” said Shashiku­mar Nair, the chair­man of Ya­tra Samiti, Thane, a pas­sen­ger as­so­ci­a­tion.

Nair said the or­gan­i­sa­tion will con­duct an on­line sig­na­ture cam­paign as the fare hike is ar­bi­trary. He said if the hike is not ad­dressed, they will con­duct a dharna out­side the rail­way head­quar­ters.

“The va­ca­tion and fes­ti­val sea­son is on­go­ing and the hike is un­fair. We pre­fer go­ing by flight in­stead as this is faster,” said GS Pil­lai, 65, a res­i­dent of Kalwa.

There is no clar­ity whether the in­creased fare will be im­posed on se­nior cit­i­zens and chil­dren el­i­gi­ble for half fares, Pil­lai said.

“The fares im­posed on wait­ing list pas­sen­gers and reservation against can­cel­la­tions is also un­clear. The rail­way min­is­ter an­nounced the bul­let and high speed train dur­ing the bud­get, but the hike in fares was de­clared later,” Pil­lai added. THANE: The Thane Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion has drawn up new wards for the up­com­ing civic elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to which the num­ber will de­crease from the present 65 to 33 wards.

The mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion will hold elec­tions next year.

As per the four-panel sys­tem im­posed by the elec­tion com­mis­sion, the num­ber of cor­po­ra­tors in the city will in­crease from 130 to 131.

The state elec­tion com­mis­sion, in May, in­tro­duced a four­panel sys­tem for the up­com­ing civic polls in Thane and sev­eral other mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions. As per this sys­tem, the panel of four cor­po­ra­tors will work to­gether for the de­vel­op­ment of that ward.

The wards will be de­mar­cated based on the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus of 2011. In the 2012 elec­tions, the wards were de­mar­cated on the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus of 2001 when the pop­u­la­tion of Thane was merely 12 lakhs. The re­de­mar­ca­tion is needed as in 2011 cen­sus the pop­u­la­tion of Thane is over 18 lakhs. Each of the ward will com­prise of roughly 60,000 res­i­dents.

Sunil Cha­van, ad­di­tional mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, said, “We have re­drawn the bound­aries of all the wards in the city based on the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus of 2011. As per the new ward for­ma­tion, the num­ber of wards is less than 50% of the ex­ist­ing wards. There are 33 wards and 131 cor­po­ra­tors this time, which in­clude four cor­po­ra­tors for 32 wards and three for ward 33.”

In the last elec­tion, the num­ber of wards was 65 with 130 cor­po­ra­tors. The two panel sys­tem was im­ple­mented in the last elec­tion which has now been in­creased to a four panel sys­tem.

The cor­po­ra­tion had un­der­taken a GIS sur­vey of the city to de­mar­cate wards, Cha­van added. “We are now brain­storm­ing on the fi­nal de­mar­ca­tion of these wards which will be sent for ap­proval to the elec­tion com­mis­sion. The 2011 cen­sus were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion while form­ing these wards,” he said.

The sur­vey will also pre­vent po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence in de­mar­cat­ing the wards.

The new panel sys­tem said to ben­e­fit the BJP-led govern­ment does not seem to have gone down well with the op­po­si­tion. They claim that the new panel sys­tem will cre­ate a lot of con­fu­sion af­fect­ing de­vel­op­men­tal work in the city.

San­jay Bhoir, op­po­si­tion leader of TMC, said, “The sys­tem will not help BJP or any party in any­way as it will cre­ate a lot of con­fu­sion among vot­ers. There will not be a clear man­date due to the panel sys­tem. Last elec­tions, there was a panel of two and still it cre­ated a lot of con­fu­sion about which cor­po­ra­tor will de­velop which area. This time, if there are two strong can­di­dates of our party in one ward and two weak, the strong can­di­date who has worked may suf­fer.”

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