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Ikea may sign Rs 1,000cr deal for first store in city

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Mumbai: Swedish furniture giant Ikea is on the verge of signing a mega deal for its first store in Mumbai in what property experts describe as the “largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail real estate by a retailer in India”.

TOI has learned that Ikea is likely to ink a Rs 1,000 crore -plus agreement with Mumbai-based builder Vikas Oberoi to set up a 3.5 lakh-square-foot store in Borivali (East). When contacted, an Ikea India spokesperson said, “The Swedish home furnishings company has expressed interest in buying its first land parcel in Mumbai. As of now, we are awaiting approvals from relevant authorities before the final sign-off and will comment once the process is complete.”

Market sources said Oberoi will build the ground-plus-two storey store for Ikea. Negotiations between the two parties have been going on since last year, and the deal is likely to be sewed up soon.

“Ikea has been very keen to enter Mumbai,” sources said. The new store will be built on part of the 25-acre property which Oberoi Realty bought from Tata Steel at an e-auction two years ago. The developer paid Rs 1,155 crore for the plot located at the junction of Western Express Highway and Dattapada Road in Borivli (East). The entire plot has a development potential of over 50 lakh square feet built-up area.

It is learned that Oberoi plans to attach a 5.5 lakh sq ft mall next to the new Ikea store. The Ikea group owns 313 stores in 38 countries.

Just last month, the Swedish furniture retailing giant purchased the lease rights of a 26-acre plot on the outskirts of Mumbai from Tata Group company Rallis for around Rs 214 crore, as TOI had reported on March 30. The site is at the MIDC Industrial Estate in Turbhe on Thane-Belapur road in Navi Mumbai and it may house a back-end unit for Ikea, known for its huge warehouse-like stores.

Ikea was among the first to move into India after the country allowed 100% FDI in single-brand retailing. It has announced plans to invest Rs 10,500 crore to open 25 stores in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions. The Ikea spokesperson said the company is looking for land sites in the prioritized states of Delhi & NCR, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telengana as part of the first phase of retail expansion in India. “It is a priority to find the right store locations at the right price, with metro connection and easy access to public transport. In July 2015, we purchased our first site in India in HiTec City in Hyderabad and will open the first Indian store in Hyderabad by autumn 2017. The goal is to open 25 stores in India by 2025,” said the company official.

Early this week, TOI had reported about the largest retail space transaction in a high street–the Spanish clothing and accessories retailer, Zara, took on lease 50,000 sq ft carpet in the heritage Ismail building in Hutatma Chowk area in south Mumbai. Zara will pay Rs 2.5 crore a month as lease rental to the building’s owner, Supariwala Exports.

Source: TOI-MUM


Vemula’s mom, brother embrace Buddhism on Ambedkar Jayanti

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Mumbai: “We will remember Babasaheb’s birthday as the day we got ‘azaadi’ from the chains of caste system… If my brother Rohith Vemula would have been alive, he would have been proud of the step we have taken today,” said Raja Vemula, Rohith’s younger brother, after he and his mother Radhika converted to Buddhism on Thursday. In what might be a setback for the efforts of the BJP-led government to appropriate Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s legacy, the two embraced Buddhism on Ambedkar’s birthday to protest against what they called caste discrimination in Hindu society, which forced Vemula to commit suicide.

“From today, my mother and I are going to start the kind of life that Rohith always dreamt of. A life without blind belief. A life of dignity and self-respect. A life outside the Hindu caste system,” said Raja, who greeted the crowd with ‘Jai Bhim,‘ a phrase used by Buddhists. The conversion ceremony was performed by the Buddhist Society of India in the presence of Ambedkar’s grandson and national leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, Prakash Ambedkar, as per Radhika’s wishes. Buddhist monks performed the Deeksha ceremony, in front of Ambedkar supporters from across the city and also the ones fighting for the ‘Justice for Rohith’ movement.

Vemula, a PhD scholar from Hyderabad Central University, had committed suicide in a hostel room this January, sparking country-wide protests against the alleged caste discrimination on college campuses.

The family was introduced to Buddhist philosophy by Rohith. Raja said Rohith was dressed in white clothes when he came home to Guntur last November to attend the wedding of his best friend (Riyaz Shaikh, who was also present for the conversion ceremony). He was impressed with Ambedkar’s philosophy and even spoke about caste discrimination on campus at Hyderabad Central University, said his mother. Although the family’s exposure to Buddhism was limited, Rohith’s final rites were carried out according to Buddhist rituals, said his brother during an interaction with the media.

When asked whether converting to Buddhism will end their suffering and justice will be meted out, Raja said, “I cannot control what people think, but as a family we have taken a decision to come out of the caste system. It may not help us in our fight to get justice for Rohith, but it was a path that Rohith wanted us to take,” said Raja. The mother-son duo paid a tribute to Dr Ambedkar during the ceremony. “My son wanted us to follow Buddhism. He had told us that he was impressed with the teachings of Buddha…I wanted to convert in the presence of Babasaheb’s grandson,” said his mother.

Blaming the Union government’s inaction in investigating his brother’s death, Raja said, “The real political culprits behind Rohit’s death are BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani and the Prime Minister himself… All the people fighting for justice for my brother are asking why PM Narendra Modi does not say a single word against Hyderabad Central University vice-chancellor Appa Rao? When he can shed tears for my brother, why can’t he make a proper statement about the people responsible for his death?… I will continue the fight till my last breath and I am not alone. An entire nation has stood up to continue Rohith’s fight,” said Raja.

Ambedkar, who organized the event at Rohith’s mother’s behest, said, “I see a scope for social revolution in this movement.” Rohith faced a lot of discrimination in society, in his school, on his college campus, said Ambedkar. He added that the family approached them in March with the request. When asked about the RSS-BJP’s efforts to appropriate Dr Ambedkar, he said, “The RSS has begun their plan for appropriation the Ambedkar legacy, but they are not on the same side as Ambedkar. They are now embracing Ambedkar but not in totality. While the RSS is talking about a caste-based society, Ambedkar speaks of a casteless society.”
Ambedkar further said, “The RSS is trying to create a confined society, but we are looking at an open one. They are going the violent way and we have taken the silent path. It is up to the common people to decide on which side they want to be, whether they want to support Fascism or democracy.”
Source: TOI-MUM


Ambedkar birth anniv: Parties vie to woo dalits

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Train services affected after an engine fails, commuters hit hard

Fire breaks out at Andheri building, none injured

Not given seat of choice, Shiv Sena MLA holds up train

Expect 12-car trains on Harbour in a fortnight

Not given seat of choice, MLA holds up train

‘Food inspector’ who charged restaurants in Malad Rs 3,000 for tests held

70% of tweets to Mumbai police about traffic violations

Source: TOI-MUM

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