Ridiculing Shiv Sena next generation leader and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray’s statement that Shiv Sena would quit the Maharashtra government next year and would come to power on its own, senior Minister and BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said that the government will complete its five-year term. Currently BJP-Sena alliance is running government in the state. Patil also said that Sena will continue to be their alliance partner till the end of the term. Addressing a public meeting at Ahmednagar on Thursday, Aaditya Thackeray had said that next year Sena would pull out of the Fadnavis government and come to power on its own. Aaditya had said, `The exact timing of pulling out of government would be decided by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.’ Speaking to media persons outside Vidhan Bhavan, Patil said, `What I know is Shiv Sena would not pull out of government for five years.’ After much insistence on answering about the speculation that Narayan Rane will become minister by year-end, Patil said, ‘Yes, it will happen.’ Patil also said that post-Gujarat election results, he and CM Fadnavis will go to Delhi to discuss details about state cabinet expansion.
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In the latest threat to quit power and an indication that it will contest the 2019 polls separately, the Shiv Sena today said it will walk out of the BJP-led Maharashtra government within one year.The Sena, which shares a frosty relationship with its senior partner BJP, had threatened several times in the past to walk out of the NDA government.Addressing a rally in Ahmednagar district, 240 kms from here, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray said that after quitting the Sena will come back to power on its own strength.”The Sena will quit power in one year and come back to power on its own strength. (Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray will decide the time when the party will quit power,” Aaditya Thackeray said.Maharashtra goes to polls in 2019.Also readAaditya Thackeray seeks resignation of Maha education minister over online assessment process chaos”Once that is done (the decision on quitting power is taken), all of you have to work together to bring about a change,” the Sena scion said.Launching a veiled attack on the BJP, Aaditya Thackeray indicated that issues pertaining to education remain unresolved till date and said that students keep meeting him with their demands.”The Sena is committed to resolving the issues of students. The Sena has also created an educational application that will guide students and resolve their problems,” he said.Ever since the BJP formed government in Maharashtra, the Sena, which always projected itself as the “big brother” in the state politics, has been uneasy for having made to play second fiddle to the BJP.
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<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ongoing agitation launched by farmers to press for higher sugarcane price is becoming violent in the sugarcane growing areas of Maharashtra.The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) led by MP Raju Shetti, who recently broke his alliance with BJP in the state, has threatened to further step up the stir from November 22 if the state government and the millers did not take a pro-active stand for a dialogue to arrive at an amicable solution.The agitation has hampered transportation of sugarcane to the mills in various districts including Solapur, Ahmednagar, Sangli, Hingoli, Parbhani as the agitators have hit the roads and at some places allegedly put vehicles on fire. In last two days, the farmers marched towards the Lokmangal sugar factory in Solapur district connected to the state cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh and shouted slogans and held rasta rook impacting its operations.Since the commencement of the current crushing season, 137 mills comprising 76 cooperative and 61 private are in operation. As on date, these mills have crushed 4.8 million tonnes of cane to produce 2.8 million of sugar. The state has estimated sugar production of 7.4 million tonnes after crushing 6.5 million tonnes of cane by the end of current crushing season 2017-18. However, the millers have feared that production may adversely impact if the agitation continues for a long.Farmers, by and large, are not happy with the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of Rs 2,300 to Rs 2,500 per ton announced for the state depending on the sugar recovery. FRP varies from region to region.Farmers are pressing for payment of Rs 3000 to Rs 3,500 per ton. In the sugarcane rich Kolhapur district, where the state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil took initiative for talks, the millers have orally agreed to pay Rs 100 per ton over and above FRP of Rs 3,100 per ton and another Rs 100 per ton in next two months. However, the similar deal has yet to be reached between millers and farmers in other districts.Millers have cited falling sugar prices as a major factor for making any commitment to the farmers. An officer from the cooperation department told DNA, “The sugar prices are falling. They are now in the range of Rs 3,400 to Rs 3,420 per quintal against Rs 3,500 to Rs 3,600 per quintal a month ago. Most of the cooperative sugar mills have hinted that their financial position will become weak if they have agreed to the farmers’ demand. Besides, it will also be difficult to make payment to cane growers within 15 days.’’ He informed that the department is alive with the situation and making all efforts to break the stalemate.Sanjeev Babar, former managing director of the Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories in Maharashtra, which is a representative body of over 200 factories, said the millers work out their revenue from sale of sugar after taking into account prevailing sugar prices. ‘’During the present trend of falling prices, the millers will find it difficult to pay a higher price to cane growers. In such a delicate situation, the Government of India needs to either reduce or completely waive the 20% duty imposed on the export of both raw and white sugar. This will help millers to earn some additional revenue which can be used for the payment to cane growers,’’ he noted.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Advocate Ujjwal Nikam on Saturday successfully added one more feather to his cap after the Sessions court of Ahmednagar held the three men arrested in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar guilty.Till date, Nikam has been successful in attracting as many as 635 life imprisonments and 41 death penalties for accused in his career as a special public prosecutor.While speaking about the matter, Nikam said that it was a very tough case as there was no direct evidence in the case, and was entirely based on circumstantial evidence.”The prosecution was successful in proving the chain of circumstances which resulted in the conviction of the accused,” Nikam said.Initially, the police had not slapped the accused with conspiracy charges. It was the prosecution who made a plea to include the charges in the court and was successful in proving it along with other charges.Nikam said that the matter was closely followed by people across strata. However, he still managed not to distract himself and was successful in completing the trial in five months.”The evidence provided by the police was also very strong. There was a disclosure about the statement of the deceased which helped the case. There were total 31 witnesses in the case, who were examined by the prosecution and all supported the case,” said Nikam.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ahmednagar district sessions court in Maharashtra on Saturday held all three accused guilty in Kopardi rape and murder case which generated much heat across the state.The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on November 21.The three accused are – Jitendra Babulal Shinde, Santosh Gorakh Bhawal and Nitin Gopinath Bhailum.The 15-year-old victim was raped on July 13 at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district, allegedly by the trio, who also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her.On October 7, Ahmednagar police filed the charge sheet running into over 350 pages before a sessions court in the district in which the trio were charged under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.The Kopardi incident proved to be the trigger for the silent marches (mook morchas) taken out by the Marathas across the state as the victim belonged to the community. Through their campaign, they have also raised long-pending demands like quota in education and jobs.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An agitation by sugarcane farmers, who were demanding an increase in the fair and remunerative price (FRP), took a violent turn in Shevgaon region on Wednesday with police firing plastic bullets, lobbing teargas and resorting to lathi charges to rein in restive protesters. Two farmers, three police officers were injured in firing and stone pelting and two constables were seriously injured.The agitation was led by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and other farmer outfits. Ahmednagar police have invoked Section 144 in seven villages after firing plastic bullets, tear gas and lathi charge. Police have registered offences against 13 farmers in this incident.Meanwhile, Minister for cooperation Subhash Deshmukh has appealed farmers’ organisations to sort out issues through talks. Deshmukh stated that Centre government already has announced fair and remunerative price for sugarcane which Rs 250 more than last year.Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti when contacted blamed it on administration and sugar factories. He said that despite the fact that farmers in and around Gangamai Sugar factory in Shevgaon, had gathered in a peaceful manner and have been agitating for last six days, police took action against leaders at wee hours, which agitated the farmers and it resulted in worsening the situation. He said that while government asks to resolve the matter peacefully, while the police is going hard on the protesters. Shetti said Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s western Maharashtra president Prakashtatya Balwadkar along with Amar Kadam and local workers were arrested by police in wee hours.Meanwhile, leader of Opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has criticised the state government for wrongly handling the farmers’ agitation. Demanding an inquiry in to police firing at agitating farmers, Vikhe-Patil also demanded action against those involved in it.According to statement issued by Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police two farmers Uddhav Mapari and Baburao Dukare have been injured while two constables have been seriously injured. According to police statement farmers had resorted to rasta roko last week but withdrew it after discussions with local revenue officials. Police told that on Wednesday agitators resorted to stone pelting, setting ablaze vehicles while led to lathi charge, use of tear gas and plastic bullets and pump action gun.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government schools across the city have been asked to set up menstrual hygiene management plan among girl students under the Swachcha Bharat Swachcha Vidyalaya programme. The schools have been asked to interact with parents and conduct the UNICEF six session programme.A government resolution in this regard was issued on October 27 for all schools in the state. The decision of organising this program was made after it successful implementation in schools other districts like Thane, Jalna, Ratnagiri, Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Ahmednagar and Sindhudurg with the technical support of UNICEF on menstruation hygiene management. A task force will be formed at the district as well as state level to keep a watch on the plan and progress of schools in conducting the menstrual hygiene management. Other than creating awareness among parents and students the schools will also have to provide different facilities for girl students to maintain menstrual hygiene, which will be assessed by the task force.Welcoming the move, Prashant Redij, spokesperson of Maharashtra Principal Association, said, “In the past too teachers have been reasons for revolution, so this too will bring revolution in the society. “Shalini Thackeray, General Secretary of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which has donated sanitary napkins in 10 different schools, said, “It is important to create awareness among girl students, but I stress up on the point that sanitary napkins should be made under essential commodities and their price should not be increased.”“NGO Citizens Association Child Rights (CACR) in partnership with UNICEF Mumbai is conducting MHM behaviour change intervention programs in 15 BMC schools across Mumbai. We will be imparting medically accurate information to adolescent girls on menstruation, usage of sanitary napkins their safe disposal,” said Dr Richa Singh NGO Citizens Association Child Rights, Co-founder and Director Projects.UNICEF’S 6 SESSIONCreating awareness about menstrual cycle,
How to tackle challenges during menstrual cycle,
How to maintain health and hygiene,
How to tackle physical pain and emotional fluctuations,
To create awareness against superstitious beliefs around menstrual cycles
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Angry over being told to get a haircut, an 18-year-old student attempted to murder two teachers of his junior college with a sharp weapon inside the college campus near Wagholi on Ahmednagar road on Friday.The student, identified as Sunil Bhor, fled after the attack.The incident took place on the campus of Jogeshwari Mata College in Wade Bolhai area at around 8 a.m. on Friday. According to police, two teachers of the college, Dhananjay Abnave and Darshan Chaudhary, have sustained serious injuries. Following the attack Lonikand police have registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 of Indian Penal Code against Bhor. Police have also filed charges under the Atrocity Act for making casteist remarks against Abnave.Sub-Inspector Annasaheb Tapare, who is investigating the case, told DNA, “Sunil studies in the 11th standard in the same college and Abnave is his class teacher. Sunil had grown long hair and a couple of days back, Abnave had asked him to get a haircut.””On Thursday, after having a haircut, Sunil came to the college wearing a cap. Seeing him wearing cap, Abnave asked him to remove the cap if he wanted to attend classes. Instead of removing the cap, Sunil chose to leave the college premises and did not attend the college on that day.”On Friday morning, all the students of the college had gathered on the college grounds for morning prayers but Bhor was not present. “After the prayer, all the students were going into their respective classes and Abnave was keeping a watch on them. When most of the students had gone inside the classrooms, Sunil entered the college carrying a sharp weapon with him and attacked Abnave,” Tapare said.When Abnave collapsed due to the sudden attack, Chaudhary tried to save him but was also attacked by Bhor. “He made some castiest remarks against Abnave before fleeing from the college premises,” Tapare added.Capped madnessAfter having been asked to get a haircut, Sunil came to college wearing a cap. When asked to remove it, he left angrily and didn’t attend classes. He returned next day with a weapon
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On the occasion of centenary year of Saibaba’s samadhi, the Saibaba Sansthan Trust of the Shirdi Temple is going to organise a year-long festival from October 2017 to October 2018. The trust has planned to arrange top class programmes in Shirdi to make the centenary celebration a life-time event for generations. Dr. Suresh Haware, the Chairman of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi has declared the festival claiming that it would be the biggest Sai movement in the world. On October 18, 2018, Sadguru Shri Saibaba’s Samadhi Embrace at Shirdi will attain 100 years. On this auspicious occasion, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is organising religious, cultural and social performances by nationally and internationally famed, highly reputed and renowned artistes. These devotional performances will be ‘Service in the Lotus Feet of Shri Saibaba’, with no charges. “This auspicious occasion is of extra ordinary significance and lifetime memories, for Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, as well as Sai devotees all over world. Hence, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi has decided to celebrate this holy event as a grand festival, starting October 1, 2017 through October 18, 2018,” Dr. Suresh Haware, President, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi said in a press release issued from Shirdi, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra on Friday. There are over 3,000 big Saibaba temples in India and over four hundred globally, according to the numbers provided by the trust. The trust is inviting representatives from all the Saibaba temples across the globe for the same. The trust will be spending Rs. 3,000 crore during the festival to introduce several facilities for the devotees, according to reports. It is presumed that the footfall will be more than the Kumbh Mela organised in Nagpur. On a regular day, the temple welcomes over 30,000 devotees; however, over 50,000 people are expected during the festival.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Beed Zilla Parishad in Maharashtra has passed a resolution seeking naming of the Parli-Beed-Ahmednagar railway line after former Union minister Gopinath Munde. A resolution moved in the local self-government body in Marathwada region was passed unanimously yesterday, with speakers recalling contribution of the late BJP leader in initiating the railway line. Among Munde’s three daughters, one is a state minister while another is a Lok Sabha member from Beed. Earlier this year, Pankaja, the eldest daughter who is a minister, managed to wrest control over the Beed ZP despite NCP securing more seats. NCP rebel Suresh Dhas helped Pankaja, who was involved in a battle of supremacy of Beed politics with her estranged cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde. The Railways have initiated work this year on the railway line between Parli and Beed, which is part of the long-pending Parli-Beed-Ahmednagar project, with a deadline of 2019 in mind. Railways minister Suresh Prabhu in June laid the foundation stone of the Parli-Beed-Ahmednagar track in Parli in the presence of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Gopinath Munde’s death anniversary. Work has commenced from either ends of the proposed 261 km track. Earlier this year, the trial run on a 15 km railway track between Ahmednagar and Narayandoho raised expectations that the project could soon see the light of day. The Parli-Beed-Ahmednagar railway route has a financial outlay of Rs 2,272 crore. The Centre and state government have each agreed to bear 50 per cent of the project cost.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai’s Azad Maidan turned into a sea of saffron today as thousands of people demanding reservations for the Maratha community gathered here in what was their 58th protest in a year. Wearing saffron caps and carrying flags, the protesters walked down south Mumbai’s JJ flyover, which was closed for vehicular traffic, winding their way to the protest venue. At the Jijamata Udyan, where the Maratha morcha began at 11 AM, protesters tore banners put up by the Shiv Sena, stressing that they did not want any “political interference”. Rajya Sabha member Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje told reporters at Azad Maidan he was participating in the march not as a Member of Parliament but as an “ordinary member” of the Maratha community. Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh also voiced his support to the protest march with a late night tweet. “Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha,” the actor tweeted in Marathi, referring to a popular slogan. At Azad Maidan, a morcha participant — dressed like Chhatrapati Shivaji — was heard extolling the virtues of a “government of the people and for the people”, as practised by the Maratha king. Ishanvi Deshmukh, a three-year-old girl, impressed the gathering with a well-memorised speech seeking reservations for the Maratha community. Some residents of Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district, where the brutal rape and murder in July 2016 of a 14-year-old girl belonging to the community triggered massive protests across the state, also participated in today’s morcha. Also present at the venue was Manohar Anandrao Patil from Latur district, who said he had participated in all the 58 Maratha morchas till date. The first protest was held in Aurangabad on August 9 last year. Another protester came to the venue in the attire of a farmer in distress, with a noose dangling from his neck. “This is an attempt to draw the government’s attention to the plight of farmers,” he said. All parking areas in Navi Mumbai were full as morcha participants coming from across Maharashtra parked their vehicles on vacant lots. The protesters have been demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions for members of the Maratha community, punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case and loan waivers for farmers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A mob allegedly attacked 12 members of a cow protection group in Shrigonda city near here after police intercepted a tempo illegally carrying cows to a slaughterhouse, police has said. The police intercepted the vehicle on Daund-Ahmednagar road and arrested its owners Wahid Sheikh and Raju Fannubhai Sheikh on Saturday afternoon. A police official said one Shivshankar Rajendra Swami of Pune, and a team of 11 cow vigilantes had come to the police station where the case was registered against the tempo owners and others under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act. While the case was registered in presence of the Sheikhs, Swami and others told the police that they should act tough against those illegally transporting cows. Shrigonda police station inspector Bajirao Pawar said Swami and others claimed they belonged to Akhil Bhartiya Krushi Gau Seva Sangh. After the activists stepped out of the police station in the evening, they were attacked by a mob of around 50 people, some of them armed with butcher knives and rods. Police have registered an FIR against 36 people in connection with the attack under various sections of the IPC, including attempt to murder, and under Arms Act, Pawar said, adding the injured ‘gau rakshaks’ left for Pune after the incident. Nobody has been arrested so far in connection with the attack, the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A mob attacked a group of cow vigilantes late on Saturday, after they intercepted a tempo that was reportedly carrying cows to a slaughterhouse, in Shrigonda, Ahmednagar. Seven persons were severely injured in the incident. The Ahmednagar police detained 20 people who were found to be part of the mob. The administration has deployed heavy police force in Shrigonda and other sensitive places in Ahmednagar district to avoid any untoward incident. Police said the situation in Shrigonda is tense but under control.Police have registered cases, including attempt to murder, against the 20 people who are likely to be formally arrested soon.The tension began when Shivshankar Rajendra Swami of Pune, who claims to be a legally appointed ‘honorary animal welfare officer’, informed the police about the tempo that was transporting cows illegally. “We intercepted the vehicle with the help of police near Hotel Tiranga on the Daund-Ahmednagar road. Ten oxen and two cows were rescued,” said Swami.The owner of the tempo, Wahid Shaikh, and driver Raju Fatrubhai Shaikh have been arrested under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, he added.Swami claimed that when they left the police station, after registering a complaint against Wahid and Raju, a mob of about 50, some of them carrying sharp weapons and stones, attacked them.“As per the FIR lodged by Swami, we have booked about 20 persons, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar, Sudarshan Munde.The report said that Swami is a complainant in about 300 cases of alleged illegal cow transportation and slaughtering in Pune and other districts of Maharashtra.Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had warned those breaking the law in the name of cow protection and asked the states to take stringent action against them, but cautioned against giving political or communal colour to the issue.Last week, a vigilante group thrashed four persons on the suspicion of being cow smugglers in a remote tribal village in Betul district, Madhya Pradesh.WHAT PM HAD SAIDLast month, PM Modi had asked the states to take stringent action against ‘cow vigilantes’ but cautioned against giving political or communal colour to the issue.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While several incidents being reported over violence in the name of cow protection, a mob on Saturday attacked ‘gau rakshaks’ after they intercepted a tempo reportedly illegally carrying cows to a slaughterhouse, reported Indian Express.The incident took place near Shrigonda police station in Ahmednagar district on Maharashtra.Seven persons were injured in the incident.“We got information about a tempo transporting cows illegally. We informed the Shrigonda police about it. With the help of police, the tempo was intercepted near Hotel Tiranga on the Daund Ahmednagar road. Ten oxen and two cows were rescued,” said Shivshankar Rajendra Swami of Pune, who claims to be a legally appointed ‘honorary animal welfare officer’. The owner of the tempo, Wahid Shaikh, and driver Raju Fatrubhai Shaikh have been arrested under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, he added.Swami also said that when they left the police station after registering a complaint against Wahid Shaikh and Raju Shaikh, a mob of about 50, with some carrying sharp weapons and stones, attacked them. “As per the FIR lodged by Swami, we have booked about 30 persons, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar, Sudarshan Munde.The report said that Swami is a complainant in about 300 cases of alleged illegal cow transportation and slaughtering in Pune and other districts of Maharashtra.Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned those breaking the law in the name of cow protection and asked the states to take stringent action against them, but cautioned against giving political or communal colour to the issue.Last week, Four persons were allegedly thrashed by a vigilante group on the suspicion of being cow smugglers in a remote tribal village in Betul district.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Thane Police team today sealed a petrol pump located on Pune-Ahmednagar Road in the city after it found that the fuel dispensing machine was tampered with using a microchip, an official said. The Thane crime branch has been conducting similar raids on such rigged petrol pumps across the state. The IOC petrol pump was raided by the unit-I of the crime branch, said a senior police inspector who led the team. “The action was taken on the basis of the information received during the interrogation of two persons arrested after the crime branch had busted a state-wide petrol theft racket that used electronic chips to siphon off petrol from pumps,” he said. During the raid, the police found out the pulse board of the fuel dispenser was rigged using a micro chip so that lesser amount of fuel will be delivered to customers than what is displayed. “We also noticed that the seal of the pulsar board was broken. We have sent the pulsar mother board to laboratory for further investigation,” said the officer. Police have served a notice to the owner of the petrol pump. “We will send a letter to the officials of the Indian Oil asking them to inspect the pump and submit a report on tampering,” he added. Earlier this month, a senior official of the Thane crime branch had said around 68 petrol pumps had been raided across Maharashtra of which 40 were found to be rigged using a microchip.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although the southwest monsoon has covered entire Maharashtra, the state has so far witnessed uneven distribution of rainfall, with Vidarbha region getting 20 per cent deficient rains, the IMD data has revealed. The cumulative figures show that except Vidarbha region, Konkan, Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada subdivisions have received “good” showers in the last four days. However, a closer look at the figures reveal that there has been uneven distribution of rainfall in these regions, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The data released by the IMD’s New Delhi office says that Vidarbha region, one of the largest producers of cotton, soyabean, orange and rice, has so far witnessed 20 per cent deficient rains. The Vidarbha subdivision has 11 districts, making it the largest in terms of the geographical area. Compared to its normal rainfall of 347.8 mm from June 1 to July 18, this eastern part of the state has received only 278.9 mm rainfall till now. Out of the 11 districts in Vidarbha region, which is infamous for the large number of farmers’ suicides, only four have reported “normal” rainfall in the season, while the remaining districts have received deficient rainfall, the IMD data showed. Madhya (central) Maharashtra- the second largest subdivision that comprises 10 districts, has received 326.6 mm rainfall from June 1 as against its normal rainfall of 283.8 mm. The rainfall is 15 per cent higher (than the average), which the IMD has termed as “normal”. Districts like Ahmednagar, Nashik, Pune and Solapur have received “excess” rainfall from June 1, while Kolhapur and Sangli have received deficient rainfall. Rest of the districts have received normal rainfall, the IMD data has revealed. The agriculturally-important districts, like Jalgaon (-14%), Kolhapur (-25%) and Sangli (-39%) districts in western Maharashtra are still in deficient rainfall category, the IMD data stated. “The only positive development for this subdivision so far is that there has been good rainfall in Nashik, Pune and Ahmednagar districts, where several major rivers and their tributaries originate. Godavari, Pravara, Neera, Mula, Mutha, Indrayani, Bhima, Bhama and Ghod are the major rivers that irrigate Central Maharashtra and good showers in the catchment areas augur well for farming,” Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of farmers from Puntambe village, the epicentre of the recent agrarian protests in Maharashtra, today expressed unhappiness over the loan waiver scheme announced by the state government. The farmers want more benefits for those who regularly repay their crop loans. Eight farmers from the village in Ahmednagar district are in Mumbai to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar over their demands. The BJP-led government had on Saturday unveiled a Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme, under which debts of up to Rs 1.5 lakh would be written off, giving relief to some 89 lakh farmers. However, the steering committee of farmer leaders yesterday rejected the mega loan waiver scheme, saying there should be no upper limit for the waiver. Under the scheme, the farmers who regularly repay loan will get 25 per cent relief on paid amount, capped at Rs 25,000. Abhay Chavan, a farmers’ leader from Puntambe, said, “We regularly repay our crop loans. The government’s loan waiver scheme helps us up to Rs 25,000 only whereas those who have outstanding loans up to Rs 1.50 lakh are going to benefit more.” “We think this is unfair to us as we repay crop loan from time to time,” he said. Another farmer Dattatray Dhanwate said, “We have come to meet Sharad Pawar because he understands our issues thoroughly. Our demand is that we should get benefit up to Rs 50,000 because many farmers would not benefit from the existing scheme. “If a farmer gets Rs 25,000 return under the scheme, it is quite less,” he said. Asked about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, Chavan said, “Most of us grow grapes, sugarcane and soyabean. Our crop loan limit is also quite high as compared to farmers growing food grains. “Hence, when our loan turns bad, its amount is much more than that of farmers growing cereals and pulses. We are not going to benefit much from such loan waiver schemes,” he claimed. Early this month, several parts of Maharashtra witnessed large scale protests by farmers over their demands for a loan waiver and remunerative price for their produce, among others. The protests started from Puntambe and then spread to other places in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eleven people were killed and 32 injured in two road accidents in Maharashtra’s Beed district today, police said. At Dhanora in the Ashti tehsil, nine passengers were killed and 27 injured when a speeding private bus on its way to Latur from Mumbai overturned early this morning. Two of the passenger, who died on the spot, were women. The bodies were sent for an autopsy to Ashti rural hospital, the police said. The injured were taken to the primary health centre at Kada and in the neighbouring Ahmednagar district. Two of three critically injured passengers were being treated at the Ahmednagar civil hospital and one was admitted to Sassoon Hospital Pune, they said. “The driver of the bus lost control near Dhanora village, killing nine passengers,” G Shridhar, Superintendent of Police, Beed told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra farmers strike entered sixth day today despite chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterating the government’s move to waive crop loan worth Rs 30,000 crore before October 31.The agitating farmers sealed the entrance of new administrative building of the Sangli district collector while in Puntambe Ahmednagar district they sealed the offices village panchayat, post office and circle office.Farmers threw vegetables in front of the residence of Amravati division commissioner and the district collector. The police arrested 20 farmers in this connection.
ALSO READ Maharashtra farmers’ strike: CM pledges ‘biggest ever loan package’, but conditions applyFarmers in Kolhapur district sealed the Talathi office at Shiye village and similar incident was reported in Chandwad taluka of Nashik district.In Nashik, which has now become the centre of activity for the agitating farmers, the strike has adversely impacted the transactions in 15 marketing committee and 20 sub committees. The Lasalgaon market committee, which is known for onion trade, wore a deserted look due to lack of arrival of onions from the farmers.However, the participation of farmers was waning as they were getting ready for sowing operation.Incidentally, activists of ruling Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Congress and NCP were actively involved in the agitation.Prices of fruits and vegetables have surged in Mumbai, Ahmednagar, Pune, Nashik due to low arrival.Kailash Tejani, president of Wholesale Traders Association at Vashi APMC said about 300 truckloads of vegetables arrived against the average 450-500 trucks. ‘’Ninety per cent supply is from Gujarat and Karnataka. The rates were marginally increased,’’ he addded.Nasaheb Patil,, chairman of Nashik APMC informed that the committee is incurring a huge loss as the market is shut for last six days. “Government needs to find out a tangible solution,” he noted.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the farmers’ strike in Maharashtra entered the sixth day today, a farmer in Yeola tehsil of Nashik district, where the agitation is intense, committed suicide, police said. Navnath Changdev Bhalerao, resident of Pimpri village in the district, ended his life by consuming a poisonous chemical, said a local police officer. As the agitation continued in Nashik district, police have prohibited assembly of people in public places under CrPC section 144 till June 19. All 17 agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) and 20 sub-APMCs in the district remained closed today too, and onion auctions couldn’t take place, said Jaidutta Holkar, chairman of Lasalgaon APMC. Yesterday, another farmer, Gorakh Savaliram Kokane, resident of Waki Budruk in Chandvad tehsil of Nashik district, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his house. The agitation continued in the district with several vehicles carrying vegetables to Mumbai stopped by protesters. Protesting farmers also locked down the office of talathi (village revenue officer) at Naitale in Nifad tehsil. Vegetable-carrying trucks heading for Mumbai faced protesters in the neighbouring Ahmednagar district too. A couple of trucks carrying vegetables and flowers were stopped late night. Protesters punctured wheels of a milk tanker and in some places police used lathi-charge to disperse the mobs, said an officer. Farmers’ groups tried to lock down government offices in Manvat (Parbhani district), Satara, Nanded, Kolhapur and Sangli districts. Major dairies such as Gokul and Warna in Kolhapur district continued milk collection. These two dairies are major supplier of packaged milk to Mumbai.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farmers on Monday intensified their agitation on the fifth day of strike during a day-long bandh across Maharashtra to demand total crop loan waiver, remunerative prices and implementation of MS Swaminathan Commission report. The bandh was carried out almost in totality in Marathwada and rural areas of North, Western and Soutrhern Maharashtra. Farmers spontaneously participated in the rasta roko and at some places dumped fruits and vegetables.The supply of milk, fruits and vegetables to Mumbai and other cities may be affected due to the bandh and closure of markets in several districts. The internet service in Nashik and its adjoining areas was suspended for a while.Nashik has now gained prominence as a centre of activity for the ongoing farmers agitation. In Nashik, farmers passed the resolution that they will stop paying installment of the crops loan and taxes. However, the bandh was marred by stray incidents of violence in some districts. Farmers at Kalamb in the Osmanabad district damaged three buses of the state transport. Similar incidents were reported in Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur, and Satara.Farmers in various districts including Nashik, Sangli burnt effigies of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Minister of State for agriculture and marketing Sadabhu Khot. Traffic came to a grinding halt for some time on major highways. Farmers at Chandwad on Mumbai-Pune highway sang bhajans as a novel way of protest.Despite the blockade, about 27 milk tankers from Kolhapur, Sanggli and Sangli milk federations left for Mumbai in Z security cover which is generally provided to VVIPs.On Monday the vegetables prices in Mumbai came down by 40-50 per cent because of supply from Gujarat. Kailash Tejani, president of vegetables traders association at APMC, Vashi, said that 511 trucks of fruits and vegetables arrived on Monday against the daily average of 450-500. Meanwhile, a core committee will hold a meeting today in Mumbai to discuss the issue.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Call for ‘Maharashtra bandh’ (shut- down) today during the ongoing farmers’ strike received a partial response, with trucks carrying vegetables arriving in big markets like Pune and Navi Mumbai. All the 15 Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in Nashik district remained closed. A total bandh was observed in Puntamba in Ahmednagar district, the epicentre of strike. However, in Solapur in western Maharashtra, APMCs remained open where farmers were seen bringing the produce. About 450 trucks carrying vegetables arrived in Navi Mumbai market, the main supplier to Mumbai, today, against around 1,000 trucks on a normal business day. In Pune APMC, some 400 trucks, or 30 per cent of daily average, arrived. In Dhule APMC inflow of goods was normal, APMC sources said. Dhananjay Jadhav, member of the coordinating body of farmers based in Puntamba, said the strike had been called off as the government accepted 70 per cent of demands. “We have no connection whatsoever with the strike which is continuing,” he said. In Sangamner in Ahmednagar district, farmers in Kolhewadi burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Farmers in Chandwad tehsil of Nashik held a blockade on Manmad-Chandwad road. Some protesters threw onions on the road in Yeola tehsil of Nashik district. Farmers on bullock carts blocked the Nashik-Niphad-Chandwad road. Solapur-Malegaon road and Nagpur-Tuljapur highway were also blocked by farmers. In Vadgaon, Kolhapur district, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna workers got into altercation with traders who refused to observe bandh. Police provided `Z’ category security to milk tankers coming to Mumbai from Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara via the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Meanwhile, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna MP Raju Shetti said the party will soon decide whether to quit the BJP-led government in the state. “I regret supporting the BJP government. A meeting of party’s working committee will be called and decision on whether to pull out will be taken,” Shetti said in Kolhapur. Farmers are on the warpath since June 1 for demands including loan waiver and higher minimum support prices. Despite the government announcing a loan waiver for marginal farmers on Saturday, the agitation has continued. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan today demanded a special session of legislature to discuss the situation. Loan waiver for farmers with marginal land holding will do no good as most farmers in `suicide belts’ of Vidarbha and Marathwada have more than five acres of land, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A state-wide bandh by farmers across Maharashtra is currently underway. Agitating farmers blocked state and national highways, dumped fruits and vegetables, spilled milk and burnt vehicles and effigies of some ministers to demand an immediate loan waiver, remunerative prices for agricultural produce and implementation of the MS Swaminathan Commission report. Most of the wholesale markets and agricultural produce marketing committees wore a deserted look due to non-arrival of agricultural commodities or very low quantity available at some places. The strike, which began on June 1, entered its fifth day on Monday.Despite blockades, more than 27 milk tankers from Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara milk federations left for Mumbai with tight police security. Interestingly, these tankers were provided ‘Z’ security cover which is generally given to VVIPs and those who face security threats.As far as supply of fruits and vegetables to Mumbai is concerned, traders claim it was on the higher side, but informed that prices have dipped.Kailash Tejani, president, of the Vegetables Traders Association at Vashi APMC said rates had reduced by 50% due to increased supply. ‘’On Monday, we received 455 truckload of vegetables and 300 trucks of fruits against the daily average of 450 to 500 trucks. The supply is quite satisfactory. The situation is expected to remain the same in future as well,’’ he noted.In Sangli, where BJP has made inroads, farmers burnt effigies of CM Fadnavis and the minister of state for agriculture and marketing Sadabhau Khot. The bandh turned violent in some parts of Ahmednagar district where farmers burnt a few vehicles. Farmers at Niphad in Nashik district blocked the highway by roping in a large number of bullock carts. Traffic came to a grinding halt for some time on the Pune Hyderabad highway, the Nashik Pune highway and Nagpur Tuljapur road after agitating farmers launched a sit-in dharna. Farmers at Chandwad on Mumbai Pune highway formed a circle and started singing bhajans (hymns) as a novel way of protest.Various farmers’ organizations who decided to continue the strike and organized Monday’s bandh, formed a 21-member core committee comprising Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana founder and MP Raju Shetty, agriculture expert Budhajirao Mulik, Maharashtra Kisan Sabha leader Ajit Nawale, Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raghunath Patil, independent legislator Bachu Kadu. They will hold a meeting on June 6 in Mumbai and on June 8 in Nashik to decide the future course of action.Nawale told DNA, “The bandh evoked a spontaneous response. Markets were closed, roads have been blocked. The government should take due note of farmers’ outrage and take actions without further delays.’’Incidentally, the Kisan Kranti Morcha (KKM) and its leader Jayaji Suryavanshi were not part of the core committee as other organizations have alleged that he had unilaterally declared the announcement of calling of the strike. These organizations also opposed an agreement reached between KKM and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late on Friday when CM announced the loan waiver of Rs 30,000 crore to 31 lakh farmers with five acres to be given by October 31.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A non-governmental organisation led by Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is all set to adopt 208 farmer families, whose sole bread winners have committed suicide owing to agrarian crisis in the region. This Foundation known as Padma Bhushan Dr Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil will be launched on June 15 and has decided to adopt distressed farmer families from Ahmednagar district, its Chief Executive Officer Sujay Vikhe Patil said. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, a former Union minister was a visionary and engaged in several social works. The veteran Congressman’s son Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is presently Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly. He has served as the Agriculture minister in the previous Congress-NCP regime. The initiative will commence on his birthday (June 15), Sujay said adding various social programs are organised every year on the occasion. The Foundation will provide aide to the wife, parents and children of 208 farmer families in Ahmednagar district, he said. It will take care of education, marriage and health-care needs of these families. It will also try to provide a source of income by supporting the family to start a business or secure a job, he said. These are families that are already covered under some government scheme. “However, we conducted a survey in the last two months across the district and realised that the state government’s aide was insufficient. Hence we decided to chip in and fill the gap,” he said. On Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s absence from the farmers’ stir scene, Sujay said, “My father got injured during the last phase of the Sangharsh Yatra, organised by Congress and NCP across the state. Doctors have advised him to avoid any stress and movement for sometime. Hence, he can not participate personally but he has extended his support to the farmers’ cause.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the farmers’ strike in Maharashtra entered the second day, big cities like Mumbai and Pune are facing the threat of shortage of vegetables and milk. Farmers in Nashik, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Pune, Kolhapur and Wardha districts threw milk, foodgrains and vegetables on roads as a part of the protest. Vehicles carrying vegetables and fruits to Mumbai were stopped and ransacked. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is meeting the farmers’ leaders here late tonight. Arrival of vegetable-carrying trucks at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in neighbouring Navi Mumbai also fell drastically today. However, supply of milk to the state capital was unaffected. But local traders said Mumbaikars may start feeling the pinch due to shortage of vegetables in a day or two, as vendors in many suburbs and in Navi Mumbai have already hiked rates. Against 400-500 trucks of vegetables (around 7,000 tonnes) which arrive at Navi Mumbai APMC every day, only 182 trucks reached today. Many transporters avoided bringing veggies to the cities due to threat of violence. Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot said supply of vegetables to Nashik and Pune was affected, but not that to Mumbai. If needed, government can invoke the Maintenance of Essential Commodities Act, he said. The agitation continued today in many parts of the state with protesters dumping milk and vegetables on roads. The ‘strike’, touted to be first of its kind in the country, the call for which was given by Kisan Kranit Core Committee based in Puntambe village in Ahmednagar district, spread across the state, mainly through social media messages and appeals. Farmers in the state faced three consecutive droughts before a good monsoon last year. At present they are staring at huge losses as tur daal prices have crashed due to a bumper crop this time. Opposition Congress, NCP, as well as ruling coalition partner Shiv Sena have supported the agitation, which is mainly for the demand of loan waiver. “Sena supports the agitation….that farmers resort to such extreme step is the failure of government,” Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said. In Solapur, farmers dumped milk from a flyover. Sandip Gidde, farmer leader from Puntambe, arrived with his associates in Mumbai late this evening to meet the chief minister. “I received a call from the CM’s office, inviting me to come to Mumbai for talks. We do not want the strike to be stretched as it would affect the farmers themselves. But state government’s inaction has badly affected farmers. We want several reforms in agriculture,” Gidde told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The anti corruption crusader Anna Hazare has offered to hold talks on behalf of the agitating farmers with the BJP-led government in Maharashtra. He has extended his support to the farmers strike, which entered second day on Friday crippling the supply of milk, fruits and vegetables in Mumbai and other cities. Hazare’s move comes ahead of a meeting of a core committee of Kisan Kranti Morcha, which has organised the indefinite strike of farmers since Thursday. The committee has so far not accepted the Maharashtra government’s appeal to call off strike and hold dialogue.Hazare, in a release issued from his village Ralegaon Sindhi in Ahmednagar district, said the farmers have spontaneously launched the agitation due to lack of response from the state government.
ALSO READ Maharashtra Farmers’ Strike: Prices of vegetables, fruits in Mumbai to soar over the weekendFarmers have run out of patience and taken law into their hands. ‘’I have already held talks twice with the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and I am prepared to mediate. The government needs to sympathetically look at the issues faced by the farming community and act for its redressal,’’ he said.Hazare strongly justified the farmers strike saying that it was the right given to them under the Constitution of India. However, he opined that the agitation should not take violent turn but should continue in peaceful manner to flag off demands.Meanwhile, farmers in large number hit the roads in various parts of the state to demand loan waiver and better price for agricultural produce among other things. Functioning of wholesale markets and agricultural produce marketing committee were severely impacted due to less arrival of fruits and vegetables. Similarly, farmers did not supply milk at the collection centres.Already prices of vegetables have witnessed surge and the vendors say if the strike continues prices will further increase for want of sufficient supply.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shortage of vegetables and spike in its prices looms over the people of Mumbai as farmers in Maharashtra continued their stir for various demands on the second consecutive day today. According to sources in Navi Mumbai Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), though milk supply to the state capital largely remained unaffected, the number of vehicles transporting vegetables went down in fear of backlash from farmers. Yesterday, the agitating farmers had tried to disrupt vegetable and milk supply to the metropolis. On an average, every day 7,000 tonnes of vegetables reach Navi Mumbai APMC, the main supplier to Mumbai. Some incidents of stopping of vehicles carrying milk and vegetables were reported in Nashik district today. Farmers from many parts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts have joined the agitation which is mainly spearheaded by activists, though parties like Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, an ally of the ruling BJP, have extended moral support to the stir. The demands raised by agitating farmers include waiving farm loans and ensuring a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP) for their produce. Farmers in Nashik district are opposing acquisition of land for the proposed Super Communication Expressway which will connect Mumbai and Nagpur. According to sources, Mumbaikars may start feeling the pinch due to shortage of vegetables in a day or two while vendors in the suburbs and in Navi Mumbai have already hiked the prices. According to sources, many operators refused to transport vegetables to Mumbai fearing protests by farmers while in Nashik district, all the 15 APMC markets remained shut today as no farmers turned up to sell their produce. People in Nashik city and the district faced hardships due to shortage of vegetables while most milk kiosks also remained closed. Farmers blocked parts of Mumbai-Agra highway near Nashik. They also tried to stop vehicles carrying vegetables to Pune and Gujarat, police said. The agitators also stopped a milk tanker headed towards Gujarat from Nashik at Siddha Pimpri village late last night and emptied it on the road. Meanwhile, the curfew imposed in Yeola town, around 70 km from Nashik, remained in force on the second day as well even as the situation was under control since this morning and no untoward incident has been reported so far, police said. The curfew was imposed yesterday after 14 policemen were injured in stone pelting and police resorted to firing in the air. So far, 50 people have been detained, including some farmers, for their alleged role in yesterday’s incidents of stone pelting and ransacking of trucks carrying vegetables and fruits. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday had accused the opposition NCP and the Congress of instigating farmers while expressing willingness to hold talks with the agitators. A committee has been set up which will suggest measures to resolve farmers’ issues, he had said. On Wednesday night, protesters in Satara, Kolhapur and Nashik districts tried to disrupt supply of vegetables and milk to Mumbai.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shirdi Trust, which manages affairs of famous Sai Baba shrine, is working on an innovative measure wherein foot energy of devotees will be harnessed to generate power.Announcing a number of projects and programmes ahead of the Sai Baba Samadhi centenary festival next year, the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust (SSST) chairman Suresh Haware told reporters that the proposed project includes installation of energy pedals at the shrine, located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.”Around 50,000 people visit Shirdi daily. We would install energy pedals…when you walk, pedals would get pressed and then return to their normal positions. This would produce power. This walking energy will be thus converted into power. The power so generated by walking on pedals will power the bulbs and fans in the temple area,” Haware told reporters.He said the Trust is working on nitty-gritty of the project.Among other projects announced by the Trust are starting an IAS training academy for the tribal and underprivileged children, setting up a cancer hospital, energy generation through solid waste, and holding of daily blood donation camps as part of the ‘Samadhi Shatabdi Mahotsav’, to be held in October 2018.The management committee has taken a decision to help women and students hailing from the families of farmers who have committed suicide, Haware said.”Women in the families of farmers who have committed suicides will be given implements like sewing machines (and help will be extended to them for) setting up fruits and vegetable stalls and means for sustained livelihood will be provided. Besides, the children from such families will be given support in their education,” he said.With the help of NGOs, the trust has identified 600 such suicide-affected families of farmers.Haware said that from October 1 this year, the trust will start IAS training academy which will mainly cater to tribal and deprived children, besides wards of farmers with humble means.Taking note of the need for a cancer hospital in the area, the trust, in collaboration with the Tata Trust, will be setting up 100-bed cancer hospital at a cost of Rs 125 crore in a year’s time, he said, adding that the hospital will be managed by the Tata Trust.Considering an average daily footfall of 50,000 devotees at the Shirdi shrine, the trust will hold blood donation camps every day with the help of blood banks, Haware added.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday cautioned miscreants that police would not be lenient from Friday onwards if farmers’ produce including vegetables and milk are destroyed.Addressing a press conference after the state level bankers’ committee (SLBC) meeting, Chief Minister Fadnavis said that the strike is holding farmers ransom and would result in losses to the farmers. Stating that government was positive on all the issues raised by farmers, Fadnavis said the strike generally is voluntarily staged but that this strike is politically motivated.He said that true farmer leaders would neither try to cut supply of vegetables and milk and prevent vegetable and milk trucks nor would they resort to stone pelting.Fadnavis pointed out that the strike is aimed at blocking the vegetables and milk supply of Mumbai city with the strike seen more in Nashik, Ahmednagar and parts of Pune district for obvious reasons.He said that there are efforts to paint the picture of farmers and police being at loggerheads leading to conflicts and violence but the government has directed the police to be lenient when they deal with farmers. Fadnavis in the same breath made it clear that even though on day 1, the government is being lenient, it is not averse to filing cases if milk is wasted and vegetable trucks are destroyed or prevented from entering the cities.Stating that there was no shortage of vegetables and milk in Mumbai at present, Chief Minister Fadnavis said that the government would find out the solution by the way of discussions with the agitating farmers.HELPING HANDWith as many as 13 district co-operative banks (DCBs) facing liquidity crunch, Fadnavis said, appealing to the commercial banks to treat these banks as their “agents” and provide them with funds so that DCBs can help farmers
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As farmers in some parts of Maharashtra today went on a ‘strike’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government was trying to resolve the issue through talks but the opposition Congress and NCP were instigating them for political gains. “We are trying to hold talks with farmers’ leaders and resolve their issues. We will continue to hold talks. The government is positive about some of their demands and we have even started taking action on some points,” Fadnavis told reporters here. A committee of finance department secretary and bank officials has been formed to suggest ways to help farmers within seven days, the chief minister said. In some places, agitating farmers today sought to stop supplies of vegetables, milk, etc, to the cities, with Fadnavis suggesting involvement of political workers in the matter. “Farmers are being used and instigated by vested interests. Certain political parties are trying to gain advantage with this strike. Farmers’ goods are being stopped from being transported, they are not being allowed to sell their produce. All this is being done by members of certain political parties,” he said. “The people whose ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ did not get good response are now instigating farmers. The strike took place in Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar and there were incidents of stone- pelting too. Farmers won’t indulge in violence. This is being done by political leaders,” the CM said, referring to NCP- Congress’ Sangharsh Yatra for loan waiver last month. He also called on dairy federations to pay farmers better rates. “Dairy federations buy milk at Rs 25 (per litre) and sell it at Rs 60 in Mumbai. They should give proper price to the farmers,” he said. During the 15-year rule of Congress-NCP, farmers got direct financial assistance of about Rs 4,500 crore, while his government has disbursed Rs 12,000 crore in aid, Fadnavis claimed. As many as 13 district co-operative banks (DCBs) were facing liquidity crunch, Fadnavis said, appealing to the commercial banks to treat these banks as their “agents” and provide them with funds so that DCBs can help farmers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition would organise farmers’ rallies in Maharashtra to build pressure on the government to grant loan waiver, Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said today. Talking to reporters in Ratnagiri, Vikhe Patil said the Sangharsh Yatra campaign of opposition to press the demand of loan waiver covered 27 districts. “Our agitation will not stop with the conclusion of the fourth phase of the Yatra today. We will hold farmers’ rallies in Gondia, Ahmednagar and Nanded districts soon,” said the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly. The ruling BJP and Shiv Sena initially criticised the Sangharsh Yatra but now they are organising similar campaigns to reach out to the farmers, he said. “This means pressure is building up on the government. If we continue our agitation, the government is bound to yield,” Vikhe Patil said. The Centre has failed to pass on the benefit of falling crude oil prices to the common man, he said. “The Centre reduced the prices of petrol and diesel, but the state government levied a surcharge. If this is the situation before GST comes into force, one can’t imagine what torture the common man will suffer in future,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST), which manages the famous Saibaba temple here, today decided to provide Rs 500 crore for the construction of canal network of Nilwande dam in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The trust however stipulated that the state government should return the amount in due course of time. The “in-principle” decision was taken at a meeting of SSST’s management council here, said Sachin Tambe, one of the temple trustees. Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had recently asked the BJP-led state government to provide funds for completion of canal work ahead of monsoon. Saibaba temple at Shirdi in Ahmednagar district attracts lakhs of devotees every year and receives donations worth hundreds of crores of rupees in various forms.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A joint venture will be set up to carry out rehabilitation of the slum dwellers residing on railway land in Mumbai. The JV will be set up by the Maharashtra government and the Railway ministry. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here. Top railway and state government officials were also present. The JV will be tasked with rehabilitating the slum dwellers residing on railway land in the metropolis, said a statement from Chief Minister’s Office. Fadnavis and Prabhu also reviewed progress of various railway projects in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The Divisional Commissioners and District Collectors concerned joined the meeting via video conferencing. The CM asked Navi Mumbai’s planning agency CIDCO to release its share of Rs 212.83 crore for the new Belapur- Seawoods-Uran rail line at the earliest. To facilitate construction of a 6th line (30.19 km) of Western Railway, Fadnavis said work on rehabilitating slum dwellers on this corridor should be completed by July. Fadnavis directed officials to handover land to railway authorities for the Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli-Vaijanath line by May, for the Wadsa-Gadchiroli route by June and the Wardha-Nanded line by August. General Manager of Central Railway D K Sharma said at present projects worth Rs 1.36 lakh crore are either being executed or proposed in various parts of Maharashtra. He said Prabhu and Fadnavis discussed at length projects like Mumbai CST-Panvel elevated corridor and Bandra- Virar elevated corridor, among others. Prabhu has held talks with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which has shown interest in providing loan for the Mumbai CST-Panvel elevated corridor, Sharma said. The two leaders also discussed the possibility of the Centre and the Maharashtra government taking over the three private rail corridors in the state which are owned by foreign and private companies, he said. Later Prabhu tweeted, “Marathon comprehensive review meeting with @Dev_Fadnavis, rail & GOM officials, dist Admn to expedite rail projects in #Maharashtra & Mumbai”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Cabinet today approved a project named ‘Swayam’ that is aimed at encouraging poultry farming in the tribal areas of the state. Through the project, the government plans to eradicate malnutrition among children in the tribal sub plan areas, as poultry farming will raise the availability of eggs, which would be included in the meals of anganwadi children, an official statement said. Anganwadis are government-run nursery schools for children in tribal areas. The project would also generate self-employment opportunities for the tribals, an official statement said. The project will be implemented over a period of two years. The ‘Swayam’ project will be implemented in 16 districts – Thane, Palghar and Raigad (Konkan division), Pune (Pune division), Nashik, Ahmednagar, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Dhule (Nashik), Amravati and Yavatmal (Amravati division), Nagpur , Gadchiroli, Gondia, Chandrapur (Nagpur), Nanded (Latur division), the statement said. About 43,368 families will benefit from the scheme. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 22.55 crore and it would be implemented in the years- 2017-18 and 2018-19.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An independent MLA in Maharashtra has said people in the country do not show any concern for the plight of farmers even as they bother much about the runs scored by cricketers. “There are many people in this country to count every run scored by Sachin Tendulkar but nobody cares for the farmers who work in their field daily,” Omprakash Babarao, alias Bacchu Kadu, said addressing a rally on the issues of farmers in Shrirampur tehsil of Ahmednagar district last night. Kadu had recently stoked a controversy while trying to refute the perceived links between alcoholism and farmers suicide by saying that actress Hema Malini “drinks heavily” but she hasn’t committed suicide yet. As his comments on the actress drew sharp reactions, the MLA from Achalapur in Amravati district tried to defend himself saying he was talking about Hema Malini’s drinking “in films and not in her personal life.” The legislator was arrested last year for allegedly assaulting an official at the state secretariat here. The secretariat staff had gone on strike demanding action against him.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday awarded the prestigious President?s Standard to Armoured Corps Centre and School in Ahmednagar during a ceremonial parade. ?Any nation draws it strength from all the elements of national power, and the capabilities of its Armed Forces are a major source of national power. Although we are a peace loving nation, we will use all instruments of national power in order to protect our sovereignty,? the President said during the ceremony. He added that he is confident that Indian soldiers will rise to the occasion, as they have done so in the past, to meet the challenges and emerge victorious. The President complimented the brave men of the Armoured Corps Centre and School for their impeccable turnout and outstanding precision in the parade they displayed today. ?This distinguished establishment has a glorious past and rich tradition of professionalism and excellence in imparting training to the men of the Armoured Corps, the Indian Army and Friendly Foreign Countries,? he added. The President further said that since its inception in 1948, the Armoured Corps Centre and School has distinguished itself in service of the nation. ?In recognition of its selfless devotion, professionalism and dedication to service, the nation honours it today, with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation,? he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Robbery could be the motive behind brutal murder of two engineering college students whose bodies were found in a forest near Lonavla in the district, police said this evening. Stripped bodies of a 22-year-old boy and a 21-year-old girl were found in a jungle near the naval station INS Shivaji yesterday. Vishwas Nangare-Patil, Inspector General (Kolhapur Range), who visited the spot today, prima-facie ruled out the honour killing and sexual assault angles. “We are working on all possible angles and emphasising robbery angle. Multiple teams have been formed to probe the case,” he said. The boy might have resisted robbery, leading to murders, Nangare-Patil said. The victims were at a secluded place for over three hours and someone seemed to have followed them, he said, adding, “we are also questioning criminals on record.” The victims were hit on the back of heads with some blunt object and there were injuries on other parts of the body too. The girl’s hands were tied at the back and she was gagged. A local resident who spotted the bodies alerted the police. Both the deceased were third-year students of an engineering college in Lonavla. The girl hailed from Otur in Pune district and the boy from Rahuri tehsil of Ahmednagar district.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police today detained four persons who tried to attack the accused of Kopardi gang-rape and murder case outside the sessions court at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. The assailants allegedly belonged to `Shivba Sanghatna, police said. The incident took place at about 1.10 pm when the accused of Kopardi case were being taken to police van after a court hearing. Four persons tried to attack them with sickles, but the police intervened quickly and took them in custody. Those detained were identified as Amol Khune Patil (25), Baburao Walekar (30), Ganesh Khune Patil (27) and Rajendra Patil. A case of attempt to murder and assault would be registered against them, the police added. A 15-year-old girl, belonging to the Maratha community, was allegedly gang-raped and murdered by three men at Kopardi village in the Ahmednagar district in July 2016. The brutal crime had sparked off huge demonstrations of Maratha community all over Maharashtra.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing a `moderate heat wave’, Maharashtra is likely to have some relief from the scorching heat as the temperatures are expected to subside in the next two days, the Met department said. “The change in the direction of northerly winds avoided further escalation of temperature. With warm winds not coming towards Maharashtra, the temperature is expected to subside and it will offer some relief,” said V K Rajeev, Director, India Meteorological Department, Mumbai. Akola district in Vidarbha yesterday reported the state’s highest maximum temperature at 44 degrees Celsius, 5.3 degrees higher than the average normal temperature there on March 30 in the last 30 years, the IMD data showed The neighbouring areas such as Wardha (43.6 degrees Celsius), Nagpur (43.3) and Amaravati (43) were also hot and recorded temperatures at least 4.2 degrees above the normal. The Central Maharashtra region including Pune, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur reported more rise in minimum temperatures than the maximum temperatures yesterday. Pune reported a rise of 6.2 degrees Celsius in its minimum temperature at 24 degrees Celsius. In Satara, the minimum temperature was 23.9 degrees Celsius, 4.1 degrees above the normal. The same pattern — minimum temperature showing more increase than the maximum temperature — was seen in Aurangabad and Nanded, said K S Hosalikar, deputy director, IMD Mumbai. The result was warmer nights, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government is planning to set up industrial facilities exclusively for defence equipment production in the state. The government has identified land for setting up two such facilities, one at Jejuri near Pune and another in Ahmednagar district, a source in the state Industries department told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena on Tuesday hit out at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over the Army paper leak, and said that BJP should take entire responsibility of the incident that has dented the government’s image.”Papers of universities and other exams used to get leaked. But now, the Army’s recruitment question papers are also not safe. This leak, which comes at a time when soldiers are sacrificing their lives, has shattered the government’s image,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana.'”Manohar Parrikar wants to become the Chief Minister of Goa again and is holding the reins of the Defence ministry from Panaji. But atleast till he holds the post (of Defence minister), he should perform his duty,” it added.The Sena said that since the issue is related to national security, the BJP should come forward and accept complete responsibility for the paper leak.”The PM talks about nationalism and sacrifice but his talks does not seem to be percolating to the ground. If there is nationalism in note ban, then it should be in Army recruitment as well,” it said.The recruitment racket came to light on Saturday night when 18 people from Maharashtra and Goa were arrested after raids. Three more persons were arrested yesterday. All of them were sent to police custody till March 4 by a Thane court.Army recruitment exams slated on February 26 at Kamptee, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kirkee (in Pune) were cancelled after the question paper leak.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The question paper for recruitment to some lower level posts in the army were allegedly leaked in Maharashtra and Goa, leading to cancellation of the examination conducted by the Army Recruitment Board today. The Crime Branch of Thane police has arrested 18 people from Maharashtra and Goa since last night for their alleged involvement in the leak. Thane police said 350 students were also detained for questioning and later let off. Army sources said in the national capital that tests were cancelled at examination centres including in Kamptee, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kirkee. The examinations were held for a number of posts including those of soldier clerk, strongman and soldier tradesman at 52 centres across the country. The sources said army has ordered an internal enquiry and further action will be taken based on the findings. Tests were likely to be “countermanded” in more centres. The questions were allegedly leaked to candidates by some people working for coaching classes. The aspirants had to allegedly cough up Rs two lakh each for the question paper. A top Thane police officer said involvement of army officials cannot be ruled out. Following a tip-off about the leak, Thane police, with the help of their local counterparts, conducted raids at various places in Nashik, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra, and some others in Goa. Some aspirants were found writing the papers at different places in Thane during the raids.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Two unidentified assailants gunned down two members associated with the Dera Sacha Sauda on Saturday at a canteen in Ludhiana?s Ahmednagar. The deceased, identified as father-son duo, used to perform service at the ?Naam Charcha? canteen here. The miscreants, reportedly, started firing at the two which led to their death on the spot. Police investigation is underway. Further details are awaited.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena is maintaining its hold on Mumbai, leading on 72 seats followed by BJP on 40 seats as trends of counting of votes in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the saffron allies are locked in a battle, poured in. The Congress and the NCP are far behind the Sena and the BJP, leading on 14 and 4 seats, respectively, in the 227-member BMC. As per trends coming in from the other city corporations, zilla parishads and panchayat samitis, the BJP is ahead of its rivals on 18 seats and Shiv Sena on 7 seats in the Nashik civic body. The ruling MNS in Nashik, Congress and NCP were leading on 2 seats each. The civic polls, especially in the country’s financial hub Mumbai, have generated much political heat on account of the fierce fight between the BJP and the Sena, despite being partners in governments in the state and at the Centre. The battle of the estranged allies has put a question mark on the stability of the BJP-led ministry in the state as Sena had been tenacious in its attack on the senior partner and the Centre’s demonetisation policy. The results will determine the fate of 21,620 candidates for 5,777 seats up for grabs in the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis for which the elections were held in two phases. The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like the MNS and the AIMIM to the background. Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur. The big poll focus is on the BMC, retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in 1966. The Sena has been in power in BMC for over two decades. In municipal corporations excluding Mumbai, there are multi member wards where the electorate cast their votes for each of the category in the panel. Each panel has more than two wards. The districts where elections to 283 panchayat samitis were held are – Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Wardha, Yavatmal, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Counting was underway today for polls to 10 civic bodies, including cash-rich BMC, and 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis across Maharashtra, the results of which are likely to have a bearing on relations between BJP and Shiv Sena. The Congress and NCP are also in fray in the polls, dubbed as the ‘mini-general elections’. The prime focus is on the cash-rich 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation with the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena at the forefront of this battle of might. The results after the counting, which began at 10 AM today, will determine the fate of 21,620 candidates for 5,777 seats up for grabs in the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis for which the elections were held in two phases. Nearly 56 per cent voters had exercised their right to franchise during the elections to the 10 municipal corporations held on Tuesday. The Mumbai civic body BMC recorded about 55 per cent turn-out. Besides, 69 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the zilla parishads and panchayat samitis. The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like the MNS and the AIMIM to the background. Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur. In Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, there are 2,275 candidates. The big poll focus is on the BMC, retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in 1966. The Sena has been in power in BMC for over two decades. In municipal corporations excluding Mumbai, there are multi member wards where the electorate cast their votes for each of the category in the panel. Each panel has more than two wards. The districts where elections to 283 panchayat samitis were held are – Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Wardha, Yavatmal, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>February 19 marks the birthday anniversary of a ruler who carved a niche for himself with his guerrilla tactics, established the Maratha kingdom and fought Mughals. I am sure many of you would have already the guessed the warrior king referred here by now. For those who haven’t, this piece commemorates the 396th birth anniversary of Shivaji Bhonsale, better known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.Shivaji was born in 1627 AD at Shivneri fort in Pune and was named after Goddess Shivai.Blessed with leadership skills and a born warrior, Shivaji can also be called the proponent of saffron rule, though he was extremely secular in his approach.Here are some of the lesser facts about Shivaji:1. Shivaji helped Aurangzeb conquer BijapurShivaji maintained peaceful relations with Mughals. However, the bond between the two kingdoms was affected when his officer raided areas near Mughal Territory of Ahmednagar and Junnar. In retaliation to which, Mughals raided Shivaji’s terrority.2. He was known as a mountain ratWell versed with the geography of the region he would often plan surprise attacks on his enemies through his guerrilla tactics, which is why he was also known as a mountain rat.3. He fought with his half brother VenkojiVenkoji’s wife Dipa Bai had to negotiate with Shivaji, when Venkoji lost the lost in 1677. The dispute took place because negotiations between the two failed, Shivaji later took most of his possessions, that was when Dipa Bai had to step in.4. Shivaji acquired forts by bribing at the age of 15Shivaji bribed Inayat Khan, a Bijapuri commander, and an Adilshahi commander and acquired the fort of Torna and Kondana respectively from them.5. Shivaji got his daughter Sakhubai married to a converted HinduShivaji was secular king, but he never compromised his own religious roots. He helped people who wanted to convert to Hinduism, one such instance was when his daughter Sakhubai was married to her first-cousin Mahadji, who had been converted to Islam by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking its rivalry with Shiv Sena to another level, the Bhartiya Janta Party on Wednesday approached the Maharashtra state Election Commission to seek an “immediate ban” on the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna on 16, 20 and 21 February citing violation of the code of conduct by the Marathi daily. To back its allegation, the BJP has presented the copy of Saamna’s Ahmednagar edition (called Sambhajinara) published a day ahead of the Zilla parishad election which allegedly had content to “influence” the voters in Shiv Sena’s favour. BJP has also demanded strict action against the editor of the paper. The state Election Commission has agreed to examine the issue. JS Saharia, election commissioner, Maharashtra told DNA, “A call on the petition would be taken on Thursday.” The petition also seeks a probe from the poll watchdog of whether Sena includes the expenses of Saamna in its electoral expenses. The controversial piece is allegedly about “transparency” in civic bodies, a major poll plank of the BJP. Citing a revision of rule by the SEC for the print media in September last year, Shweta Shalini, BJP leader told DNA, “We have demanded that the poll body impose a ban on publishing any influencing piece in Saamna before the civic elections. If that can’t be ensured, then the SEC must ban the paper till 21 February.” Shalini says, “The rules are clear, parties can’t advertise a day before and on the day of elections. Saamna has violated the rules. Since it is the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena, a ban is must.” Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut, Saamna’s editor and Sena MP said, “The Muslim league, Pakistan and some terrorist organisations have demanded a ban on Saamna in the past. If the BJP is following their footsteps, we have to test their DNA. By the way, have they declared the Emergency?”When pressed for clarification on specific charges of violation of code, Raut said, “The state Election Commission, not the BJP will decide whether we violated the rules.”
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Separating faith from fear, a group of men is trying to make devotees realise that prayers to God should come from faith and not from fear. In order to do so, the Shri Sai Balaji Charitable Trust undertakes a yearly sojourn, from Kopargaon to Tirupati, with the palkhi of Sai Baba on board a special train with 1,500 devotees. In 2007, a hotelier from Nashik, Nilesh Jape, felt that many people from his region wished to travel to Tirupati but the logistics and language were a problem. He thus founded the trust that same year and booked 300 tickets for the Kanyakumari Express taking devotees to Tirupati.This tour has become popular over the years and the management was awarded the ISO 9001-2015 certificate. This year, the train left Kopargaon on Jan-uary 30. Every year, the S-9 coach hosts the Sai Baba palkhi that carries the Sai paduka. “The aarti and discourses are all carried out in this coach, and with a sound system and a megaphone fitted in each coach, all the passengers can be a part of it,” says Jape. There is a control room set up in S-9 and all the volunteers are connected via wireless sets.The tour begins with a meeting on January 26 every year. Forms are released online for the four-day tour and 1,500 men are selected, of whom 50 per cent are newcomers. People from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Dhule, Aurangabad, and mostly from Kopargaon, Shirdi and Rahata take part in the tour.Every participant is given a code number and a travel kit that includes T-shirts and puja paraphernalia with ashtagandha. Every coach has two heads, who ensure that every member follows a code of conduct that entails no consumption of alcohol, pan, gutka or tobacco, and bars card-playing and abusive language.“We have blacklisted about 50 to 60 passengers over the years and they are not allowed to participate now,” Nilesh says, adding that the emphasis is on purity of thought and behaviour.On reaching Tirupati, the palkhi is taken to Shri Vari Sannidhi, where a mandap is set up for it. The next day, the palkhi proceeds on the 9-km or 3,600-step walk from Tirupati to Tirumalla till it reaches the Hanuman statue where the aarti is performed. Here, all the members take an oath of conserving nature, abstaining from addictions, opposing female feticide, and social and communal unity. “Over the years, we have seen 900 people overcoming their addictions because of such an activity,” Nilesh says.From the Hanuman statue, the palkhi is taken back to the mandap and the members proceed for darshan to Shri Venkateshwara. After the darshan, abhishek of the padukas of Sai Baba is held. The tour is conducted on a no-profit-no-loss basis. The activities on the tour are conducted in a paperless manner and the event even has its own Facebook page.“I believe that prayers to God have to come naturally and not out of fear. This is what we talk to people about, with the help of the preachings of Sai Baba and other sants. Prayer should come in the form of noble work and with sincerity. ‘Karme Ishu Bhajawa’ is what Sant Dyanadeo said and we need to follow that. Dharma is related to science. This has to be understood and we give works of literature to people on why to follow certain things and how are they related to science,” Nilesh concludes.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maratha community members today staged ‘chakka jam’, as a part of their ongoing protests across Maharashtra to press for their demands, including reservation. Vehicular movement on some roads connecting Mumbai to Pune, Nashik and Gujarat were affected because of the agitation, the protesters said. According to Mumbai police, there were reports of the agitation being held at Kurla, Bhoiwada, Trombay, Bhandup, Mankhurd areas in the metropolis in a peaceful manner. A meeting regarding the agitation was held in Mumbai two weeks back where the line of action was decided, the Maratha community leaders involved in the planning said. The community leaders have also decided to hold their ‘biggest’ rally in Mumbai on March 6, the first day of the state Budget session. The community, pre-dominant in Maharashtra politics, had earlier taken out silent marches in various districts of the state last year, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district. The victim girl was a Maratha, while the accused RPT accused were Dalit. The community members are demanding inclusion in OBC category, reservations for Marathas in educational institutes and government jobs, and strict punishment for accused in the Kopardi rape and murder case.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)