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Mumbai fire: BMC’s demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area

A day after 14 people including 11 women died in a midnight blaze in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) carried out demolition drive against illegal structures in the area on Saturday. BMC officials have made a list of restaurants which appear to have flouted the rules and appropriate action will be taken against these restaurants. Now, after the Kamala Mills fire, BMC officers have sprung into action. But earlier, despite BMC administration being aware that the restaurants were running illegally in Kamla Mills compound, it delayed action in the name of following standard operating procedure. While F South ward of BMC delayed action against Mojo’s Bistro and 1 Above, it took action against four such pub and bars in its jurisdiction on Friday soon after the huge fire reported on the midnight of Friday.In view of December 31 gathering in various restaurants, all concerned departments have been directed by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to form teams which should include fire staff to inspect all restaurants. The teams must ensure that the restaurants are fire compliant. All the fire escape routes, staircases, and open spaces should be encroachment-free. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already ordered an inquiry into the incident. The police on Saturday issued a lookout notice against all the accused in the case. Also, as a preventive measure, airports across the country have been put on high-alert and five teams of the Mumbai Police have been formed to search for the accused.Related Photos
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In Pics: The day after Kamala Mills blaze, families mournChief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday took a stock of the situation and ordered a BMC commissioner to conduct an inquiry. Five BMC officials were suspended and the Mumbai Police booked the owner of the pub for negligence, besides other charges.

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Kamala Mills fire: 5 BMC officials suspended, one transferred

Five Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials were today suspended after a fire in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound that killed 14 people. The assistant commissioner of the ward has also been transferred.Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had directed BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta to conduct an inquiry and “to take strong action against erring officials immediately”. The fire that started at “1 Above”, a rooftop pub, and spread to Mojo pub on the third floor one level below in the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area, a popular night spot as well as commercial hub housing several offices including national television channels. The fire that spread after midnight also injured 21 people. Also read5 factors that show Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire was a tragedy waiting to happenThe massive blaze engulfed the entire building in about 30 minutes and took several hours to be put out. The cause of the fire is not known.Teams of fire brigade and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to hospital, a police official said.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come backPolice have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including cuplable homicide not amounting to murder.They are also charged IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Two of those booked have been detained.There have been allegations that civic authorities have turned a blind eye to construction irregularities and violation of fire safety norms in the compound.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said he had asked Fadnavis and the BMC commissioner to order a special fire audit of all such pubs and hooka parlours in Mumbai.”Several such establishments at the Mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately. The place where the blaze took place was illegal,” he claimed.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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Massive Mumbai Fire | PM Modi, President Kovind and Maharashtra CM Fadnavis extend condolences to victims

Hours after a massive fire claimed 14 lives at Mumbai’s Lower Parel area, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed shock over the incident and paid his condolences to bereaved families.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” Prime Minster Modi tweeted.President Ram Nath Kovind also paid his condolences to the affected families and wished fast recovery of the injured.”Disturbing news about the fire in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured an early recovery. Commend the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and those in rescue ops,” he tweeted.Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an in-depth probe into the tragedy.Also readUpdate | Mumbai: Major fire at Kamala Mills compound kills 14, PM Modi extends condolences“Disturbing to know about the loss of lives in unfortunate Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry,” Fadnavis tweeted.“BMC Commissioner has visited in the midnight itself and has taken stock of the situation. Asked him to take strong action against erring officials immediately,” the Chief Minister said in another tweet.Also readMumbai Fire | ‘Don’t know how I got out alive,’ survivor recalls inferno horrorIn the early hours of Friday, a massive fire engulfed Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound in the Lower Parel claiming 14 lives.Confirming the number of dead and injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also informed that among the injured, two are in a critical condition.The postmortems reveal that all the deaths were due to suffocation, confirmed Doctor Rajesh Dere of King Edward Memorial.Meanwhile, transmission of the TV channels ET Now, Mirror Now, Zoom and TV9 Marathi, who also use the compound, have also been affected due to the fire.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Jai Ram Thakur now part of NextGen Saffron

It’s not that Jai Ram Thakur’s name emerged out of nowhere. In fact, it was the other way round in the run up to the elections in Himachal Pradesh.Most of the party loyalists were in favour of projecting 52-year-old Thakur as the chief minister candidate when the elections were announced in October. This was certainly in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of grooming a new generation of saffron leaders in the states.But the central leadership justified its reason for not projecting any leader at that time, similar to the examples in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand where BJP announced CMs only after the counting of votes. However, the case of Assam was a bit different with Sarbananda Sonowal being the obvious choice, but that was understandable given BJP’s non-presence in North-East.BJP’s theory is simple and straight — young leaders like Yogi Adityanath or Devendra Fadnavis have greater acceptability among masses, and they are the ones to be bet on during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The gamble had yielded unprecedented results in UP during the last LS elections when Amit Shah-Modi combine swept away the opponents and later repeated it in the 2017 Assembly polls without any local face as leader. So, BJP tried out the new success formula in Himachal too. But politics there is much more complex than what Shah encountered in other states. However, the party leadership was successful in choosing a leader that fit into their scheme of things.

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BJP Mumbai President Ashish Shelar gets slammed on Twitter for promoting Christmas musical event

After Amrita Fadnavis came under fire for organising a Christmas event, on Saturday, it was the turn of BJP Mumbai President and Bandra West MLA Ashish Shelar to face the heat on Twitter.Right-wingers on Twitter seemed upset by Shelar supporting a musical event titled “Prabhu Yeshu Janmtosav” on December 17 at Girgaum Chowpatty. A lot of right-wingers and BJP supporters appeared to be angered by the BJP leader hosting an event which they felt promoted ‘evangelists’ and demanded an explanation from him and Maharashtra Chief Minis Devendra Fadnavis.Another claimed that while BJP General Secretary was uniting India with India Ideas Conclave 2017, here BJP was ‘supporting those who want to break India’.Also readWill follow my mind, Amruta Fadnavis to trolls who criticised her for attending Christmas-themed eventThe criticism is rather bizarre considering Bandra West has a sizeable chunk of Christian constituents who probably voted for Shelar.Here are the tweets: Also readMadhya Pradesh: Carol singers’ car set on fire in SatnaEarlier, Amruta Fadnavis had dismissed the criticism she faced saying: “I will do what exactly my mind tells me. I will not be swayed by disruptive criticism. I have a mind of my own and I will work as per that.”Trouble began when Amruta tweeted and posted photographs of a Christmas event organised by a FM radio station on December 12. She was assailed by an array of abusive posts, some of which questioned her faith before marriage.Amruta had told DNA: “The motive behind attending the function was to give Christmas gifts to poor children. I was approached by this professional radio channel. During any festival, we have to do something good. We have to share happiness, whether it is Diwali, Janmashtami or any other festival.”Recently, carol singers and priests were allegedly beaten up and detained in Satna, MP over what right-wing groups claim was forced conversions.Suspected Bajrang Dal activists were alleged to have beaten up some Christians, including 10 priests, and torched their car outside a police station in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh last night over alleged conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

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Shiv Sena MLA’s name figures in farm loan-waiver beneficiary list

Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar has claimed he was named as a beneficiary of the farm loan waiver in the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank, even though he had not applied for it. He has got a loan waiver of Rs 25,000 from the bank.This has come just a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the scheme was being implemented smoothly. He told the state legislative assembly on Thursday that his government had committed some ‘mistakes’ while implementing the Rs 34,022-crore farm loan waiver scheme, but has fixed all these issues.Abitkar, an MLA from Radhanagari in Kolhapur district, has got the benefit of Maharashtra Government’s loan waiver scheme for drought-affected farmers.Also readOver 1200 farmers committed suicide in 5 months: Maharashtra govtThe Shiv Sena MLA has raised the issue citing faulty implementation of the loan waiver scheme and demanded an inquiry into this flawed inclusion as the rules bar any existing or former elected representative from getting benefit under the scheme.He said, “I was stunned when I came to know that my name appeared in the green list of loan waiver beneficiaries. I was shocked again when I got more details about the list of my (Kolhapur) area. I had not even applied or registered my name anywhere to get the waiver.”The Opposition is directly blaming Fadnavis for this as the Chief Minister Office (CMO) had been working on the data of the beneficiaries of this scheme through information and technology department of Maharashtra.Also readMadhya Pradesh farmer ends life after notice for power bill of over Rs 9,000

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BJP MLA wants probe into Mumbadevi temple’s finances

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Colaba Raj Purohit has called upon the State Charity Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into Mumbadevi temple’s income and expenditure of last five years, the use of funds and violations, if any, of the Indian Trusts Act.Purohit, who had made an oral representation to the Charity Commissioner, will make a written submission soon demanding an inquiry into the functioning of the temple’s administration. The Mumbadevi temple, which was built in 1675, is an important landmark in south Mumbai as it is dedicated to Mumbadevi. “I will soon send a detailed communication to the Charity Commissioner demanding an investigation into the functioning of the temple’s administration in general. I will also seek papers with regards to the minutes of the temple trust and a probe into the use of funds and the services provided to devotees,” Purohit told DNA, adding that the Charity Commissioner should initiate action against the temple if the probe reveals irregularities.This comes after Purohit said that he had received complaints of the absence of facilities for devotees at the temple.When contacted, Mumbadevi temple manager Hemant Jadhav declined to comment citing that he has yet to receive communication from the government.Purohit’s demand comes just two days after the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government will bring in a new legislation for the appointment of a trustee by the government at Mumbadevi temple along the lines of Pandharpur and Siddhivinayak temples. Fadnavis also assured that the government would bring in the system at Mumbadevi temple so that devotees are provided with all necessary facilities.

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Will complete full term with Sena support: Maha BJP plays down Aaditya Thackeray’s words

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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Maha legislature’s winter session from tomorrow; oppn may raise farm loan waiver issue

Over a dozen new bills are likely to be tabled in both Houses of the Maharashtra legislature in the winter session beginning here from Monday.The opposition parties are expected to corner the BJP- led government on a host of issues, including the farm loan waiver.The session in Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra, will go on for two weeks.State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat has already issued the schedule for the winter session.”Our government will table 13 new bills in both the Houses during the two weeks of the legislature starting on December 11. Besides, 11 ordinances are also going to be tabled for approval,” Bapat earlier said.Also readBJP MLA writes to CM Fadnavis over unemployment, lack of industrial growthThe Shiv Sena is part of the BJP-led ruling coalition, while the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP are the main opposition parties.Ahead of the session, the BJP received a boost when its candidate won a bypoll to the Legislative Council with more votes than the numbers in favour of the ruling coalition, indicating a crack in the opposition ranks.Also readCM Devendra Fadnavis’s ‘heavy’ chopper sheds his cook to flyPrasad Lad won 209 votes when the combined BJP-Shiv Sena tally of MLAs was 184 in the 288-member Lower House.It clearly means Lad got 25 additional votes from the opposition parties, presumably from the Congress, the NCP and also smaller parties and independents.The members of the Assembly formed the electoral college for the vacant seat in the Upper House

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BJP MLA writes to CM Fadnavis over unemployment, lack of industrial growth

BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh has appealed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take steps to carve out a separate Vidarbha state.The MLA from Katol in Nagpur district has written a letter to Fadnavis, urging him to be a “torch bearer” for the cause of separate Vidarbha.Deshmukh, a strong Vidarbha statehood supporter, wrote the letter on December 6 and made it public, a day before the winter session of the state legislature starts here from Monday.Deshmukh told Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur, that the BJP is in power at the Centre and also in Maharashtra.Also readMaha BJP MP Nana Patole resigns, denounces BJP over farmer’s distress Hence, he should put forth with much vigour the demand for a separate Vidarbha before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, he added.In the letter, the ruling party lawmaker pointed out that the region in eastern Maharashtra is rich in natural resources but still remains impoverished.”Ninety per cent of natural resources in Maharashtra fall in Vidarbha. Besides, 70% of the power in state is generated in Vidarbha. These factors can be a huge booster for the development of Vidarbha,” claimed Deshmukh.Deshmukh lamented the lack of industrial growth and unemployment in the cotton-growing belt, which comprises 11 districts.Also readDevendra Fadnavis cracks whip on babus, sets key goals for Dec 2019″The MIDCs in Vidarbha are not creating enough jobs.Besides, new industries are not clicking in Vidarbha. Even the ambitious projects like MIHAN (a cargo hub and airport venture) have proved to be non-starters,” he said.Many of the small-scale industries in the region have closed down in the last few years, resulting in job losses in thousands, Deshmukh said.Also readAttempt to defame me: Maha BJP MP Nana Patole denies saying PM Modi doesn’t ‘like questions’The BJP is a supporter of smaller states, but its ally, the Shiv Sena, is vehemently opposed to any division of Maharashtra.

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Helicopter carrying CM Fadnavis, water minister force-lands in Nashik due to overloading

After a crash landing at Latur, providential escape at Alibag and a snag at Gadchiroli, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ helicopter had another scare at Nashik.Fadnavis, who was heading to Aurangabad from Nashik, had taken off from the police parade grounds in the city on Saturday morning when the helicopter was forced to land due to excess weight. The chopper took off again for its destination after a passenger was offloaded. Fadnavis had flown down from Mumbai to Dhule on Friday and then left for Nandurbar. He had returned to Nashik by road and was leaving for Aurangabad.State government officials said the helicopter was not hired by them but by the BJP. Fadnavis was accompanied by water resources minister Girish Mahajan, who is also Nashik’s guardian minister, his personal assistant Abhimanyu Pawar and an aide named Satish. Also readDevendra Fadnavis cracks whip on babus, sets key goals for Dec 2019″After the takeoff, the helicopter did not stabilise. This forced the pilot to land again and offload a passenger after which it took off smoothly,” said a senior state government official present at the spot.“The helicopter may have had excess weight due to baggage as the chief minister was to travel to Nagpur from Aurangabad. The pilot may have decided to offload a passenger due to an imbalance,’ explained an official from Fadnavis’ staff. Also readAmbedkar memorial work to begin at Indu Mills in a month, CM Fadnavis announcesOn May 25, Fadnavis had a providential escape after a Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter, bought in December 2011 for Rs 55 crore and met with a mishap at Nilanga in Latur after being entangled in overhead wires.Also readMNS slams Fadnavis for lauding contribution by North Indians in Mumbai This came immediately after an incidence in the same month. On May 12, his helicopter had also developed a snag in Left wing extremism affected Gadchiroli forcing him to travel to Nagpur by road.Later in July, Fadnavis had a close shave at Alibag when he was preparing to board a chopper. It had suddenly taken off with its rotating wings coming close to his head.

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Sangli custody death: Roadmap prepared to prevent such incidnets; in-charge cops to be held responsible

Under attack from the opposition and NGOs for the death of a 26-year-old-youth in police custody last month in Sangli district, the Maharashtra minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar will on Thursday meet senior officers from the home department to put in place a roadmap to avoid such incidents in future.The government proposes to hold the police station in-charge accountable and answerable, and they will be sensitized about their responsibilities and behaviour to curb custodial deaths.Kesarkar said that the government has taken the case very seriously. He told DNA,’’ The government wants to fix responsibility of the security of the accused on the in charge of the police stations and also controlling authorities. The home department has received several suggestions based on which a comprehensive plan of action will be put in place to curb custodial deaths in Maharashtra jointly by the departments of home and law and judiciary after the consent of the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.’’On November 8, Aniket Ashok Kothale, who was arrested on charges of robbery by Sangli district police, was allegedly beaten to death while in custody by five policemen including a police sub-inspector (PSI). Reports suggest that his body was burnt in Amboli Ghat to destroy evidence in Amboli Ghat. The cops, however, claimed that the youth had fled from custody. After much hue and cry the five police were suspended, and the state government transferred the senior cops out of Sangli district to avoid further criticism.Kesarkar’s initiative is important as Maharashtra ranked first with 22 police custodial deaths between January 1, 2016 and December 7, 2016. This was followed by Gujarat which recorded 12 deaths.According to the union home ministry data, a total of 308 people died in police custody in the three years from 2013 to 2015 — including 75 in Maharashtra which led in the number of such deaths in each of these years
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I am busy with elections, Prakash Mehta tells Lokayukta

Maharashtra housing minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Mehta has excused himself from attending Lokayukta hearing on Wednesday in connection with alleged land scam saying he was busy in Gujarat elections and subsequently in the winter session of state assembly.Mehta had demanded the four week period to attend the next hearing. However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that the Housing Minister was running from the inquiry. “It shows that Mehta wants to escape from the actions against him. We hope there will be fair probe against Mehta,” Malik said.Mehta was accused of giving permission for the slum redevelopment project (SRA) at Tardeo despite negative remark by senior housing department bureaucrat. Opposition had alleged that minister violated the rule book to give a windfall gain of Rs 500 crore to the developer. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered Lokayukta inquiry into the issue.Lokayukta had called housing minister for hearing on December 6. However, Mehta conveyed to the Lokayukta that he would not be able to attend any hearing for next four weeks.”The housing minister told Lokayukta that he was busy in campaigning of his party BJP in Gujarat elections. Besides, there will be winter session of state assembly. Therefore, the minister sought four weeks’ time to attend next hearing,” said sources from Lokayukta office.The Lokayukta had sent letter to the minister seeking clarification over objections raised by Opposition leaders.In the meanwhile, sources close to Mehta claimed he was trying to ensure his response to Lokayukta was properly framed since this was a quasi-judicial authority.
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London mayor Sadiq Khan, Maha CM Fadnavis discuss cooperation in public transport

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today discussed ways to increase cooperation between Mumbai and London in various fields including public transport and medical tourism.Khan, accompanied by a British delegation met Fadnavis at the latter’s official residence ‘Varsha’ in south Mumbai this morning.Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai Crispin Simon and Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar were also present.”Increased cooperation in Mumbai and London for public transport, medical tourism and many other areas got discussed at the meeting,” Fadnavis said.Also readIn India, London Mayor Sadiq Khan says UK govt’s visa norms a ‘big mistake'”Mumbai is already the financial capital of India but we wish to make it the ‘financial and technological hub of the world’,” Fadnavis tweeted.He also proposed for cooperation in redevelopment of film city in Mumbai.A letter of intent for inclusion of Mumbai as a member city into the list of World Cultural Forum, got signed in presence of Fadnavis.Khan is in Mumbai in a bid to drum up trade for London and to boost cultural ties with India.Khan, who played football with children and posed for pictures with Bollywood stars yesterday during his Mumbai visit, will travel to New Delhi and Amritsar before crossing the border to Pakistan where he will visit Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.Also readLondon bridge attack: Donald Trump criticised for tweet on London Mayor Sadiq Khan
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London is open to talent, says its Mayor

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who is touring Mumbai as part of his two-nation tour after Brexit, said London is open to talent, people and partnership.Speaking at a press conference held at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on Sunday, Khan said, “I am proud and pleased to be here. London is open to talent, people and partnership.”He said he will meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday to interact on culture, films, air quality and climate change among other things. He is also expected to meet business leaders and Bollywood star.Saying that UK was the second biggest investment destination for India after the US, he said he was pushing his government to free up certain restrictions.”London is the student capital of the world. There are top universities here. It is a big mistake to not give students a post-study visa. I am lobbying for it,” said Khan.Forty per cent of London’s population is made up of minorities.When asked about investments in light of the Vijay Mallya case, Khan said, “Some oligarchs launder their dirty money. Our country is making an effort to make investments more transparent. We are going to pass orders on this.”On building cultural cities, Khan said, “Culture is the DNA of great cities,” and added that they are looking to have that to besides enhancing participation in joint projects like movies that are “par excellence”. On housing, which is also a concern for London, Khan said that they will be building taller buildings close to stations, where factories once stood. Reclamation, he said, was not part of the draft.
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Ockhi may cause rains in Maharashtra

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a very severe cyclonic warning for Maharashtra as Cyclone Ockhi, which is moving across some parts of south India, is expected to land in the state in the next 72 hours.After causing much damage in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the cyclone is likely to weaken gradually. It is on a north-western cause, drifting towards the coastlines of Gujarat and Maharashtra at the speed of 17 kmph. The stateis expected to receive light to moderate rainfall during the next three days.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that 28 boats along with 321 fishermen have been brought safely to Ratnagiri on Sunday.
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Maha BJP says account hacked after anti-Fadnavis tweet, approaches cyber-crime branch

The BJP has approached the cyber-crime branch after a tweet went from its Maharashtra official handle criticising the Fadnavis government. A tweet was circulated form the BJP Maharashtra handle which stated there was a requirement of more than 2 lakh employees, but the state had decided to cut 30% of the work force. PM Modi, Congress VP Rahul Gandhi, Maha Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant and Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam were tagged in the tweet.Written in poor English, the tweet had said, “More than 2 lackhs (sic) Employee required in state and @Dev_Fadnavis Government taken cut off 30% employees. #MakeInMaharashtra or #FoolInMahasrashtra.”Also readRahul Gandhi’s Twitter account hacked, Congress calls it sinister conspiracy to abuse and intimidate After the tweet, leader of Opposition in state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has tweeted that Congress has been pointing it out for last 30 months but finally the BJP had ‘admitted’ they were ‘fooling the state’.BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye has filed a complaint with cyber-crime branch and demanded an inquiry.”We feel the state BJP unit’s Twitter handle was hacked to post this message. We have asked the Cyber Crime cell of the Mumbai Police to investigate the matter,” state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye told PTI. A BJP state unit press release said that the account was looked after by coordination Ashish Merkhed and there was no official tweet from the party on Sunday, which is why they had decided to approach the cyber-crime branch with a complaint to ascertain whether its Twitter handle had been hacked.
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Jain community stands united to support members

The Jain International Organisation (JIO) organised a growth summit on Saturday at Worli to launch various initiatives such as medical schemes, e-wallet app — PowerPay —and a signature campaign to protect the architecture of Palitana Temple.According to the Jain community members, meet-ups help to bring the members together on a single platform to fortify their unity and perform better.Speaking about the initiative, Shree Naypadmasagarji Maharaj Saheb Swami, said, “Through different initiatives we want the community members across the country to be benefited. We hope to get approximately one lakh signature in five days for the temple, and we will submit it to the government. We mainly focus on education and medical facilities.”The e-wallet app, which was launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will help people avail of medical insurance plan designed in a way to provide benefits for the customers.He added, “We have tied up with 33 public and private medical institutes in the city to provide free diagnosis and treatment to the community members.”
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MNS slams Fadnavis for lauding contribution by North Indians in Mumbai

After Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis lauded contribution by North Indians in Mumbai, MNS has strongly reacted to it and has said that Maharashtra or Mumbai does not need any outsider to make it great.MNS also has said that Fadnavis should be felicitated with Bhayya Bhushan award for his appeasement of North Indians on the eve of Gujarat assembly elections. Interestingly, Shiv Sena leaders who otherwise invite media for reacting on such issues have not commented on this statement by Chief Minister.Chief Minister Fadnavis on Wednesday inaugurated the plaque after naming a Chowk at Ghatkopar after educationist Y D Singh. Minister for Housing Prakash Maheta, Minister of state Vidya Thakur were also present for the program.Also readRaj Thackeray-led MNS to fight illegal hawkers around stations through WhatsAppWithout naming MNS or Shiv Sena, Chief Minister Fadnavis while addressing the gathering at Ghatkopar said, `Languages are meant for uniting people and not dividing them. But some people for the sake of politics make divisions on the basis of language. Language can’t be an issue of controversy and while we are proud of Marathi culture, but North Indian culture has assimilated itself with Maharashtrian culture.’ Fadnavis had mentioned about North Indians being targeted in Mumbai and had said, “since our Government is capable, it is acting before the complaint and is taking timely action against such people.’Former MLA of MNS, Nitin Sardesai criticiSed Fadnavis and said, `Maharashtra and Mumbai have glorious past and has been prosperous even before these outsiders came here. Mumbai or Maharashtra does not need North Indians or for that matter any outsider to make it what it is today.’Also readMNS chief meets Fadnavis over illegal hawking issueSardesai said that Chief Minister Fadnavis is following the Congress suit for North Indian votes on the eve of Gujarat elections. He said that Fdanavis has proved that BJP is no more a party with a difference since it is copying Congress. Sardesai said that those who are in power do not fulfil their responsibility and that is the reason MNS has to take up these issues.MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande said that Fadnavis should be given Bhayya Bhushan award.
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Restoration work at historic Raigad Fort to begin on December 15

The Historic fort of Raigad will soon have a new look as the actual work for the proposed restoration of the fort commences from December 15. The divisional commissioner Jagdish Patil visited Raigad Fort last week and reviewed the progress of the conservation plans for the fort. He directed the officials to complete the time bound action plan for the four sanctioned works out of total 19 works on the fort.Fort Raigad is around 160 kms from Mumbai and falls in Raigad district located off Mumbai-Goa highway near Mahad. It is considered as Gibralter of the East and built in 1030 AD by Chandrarao More. It was made Capital of Maratha empire by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who had his coronation at this Fort in 1674.After coming to power in October 2014, the present Devendra Fadnavis government ad prepared a detailed plan for the conservation of Raigad Fort. The state government has sanctioned a plan of Rs 600 crore for conservation and beautification of the fort.The review meeting chaired by Patil was attended by district collector Vijay Suryavansi, district planning officer Sunil Jadhav and other officials. The circumambulation or Parikrama Marg of 13 Kilometers made of stones would be prepared under the sanctioned four works which would be completed by March 2018. In addition to Parikrama Marg, desilting of 13 lakes on the fort would also be undertaken. Displaying the boards providing information in detail on the fort at various places along with history of the places is also included in first four works to be undertaken. The district administration already has received Rs. 59 crores for the first phase of work. Jadhav informed that the first phase of work would be completed by March 2018.
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Best homage to martyrs is to never let a 26/11 happen again: Devendra Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said the greatest homage to those who sacrificed their lives during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai would be to learn lessons from what happened on that day and not letting it occur again.He was speaking at ’26/11: Stories of Strength- A unique memorial’ held at the iconic Gateway of India here.”I think, there won’t be any greater homage to our martyrs than learning lessons from what had happened and not letting it happen again,” Fadnavis said.”I think, if all of us come together and become the eyes and ears of the forces, we will surely beat them. We will prevent any such tragedy in future,” the chief minister said.Today is the ninth anniversary of the gory attack, carried out by 10 terrorists from Pakistan over three days, that left 166 people dead, including 18 police officers and two NSG commandos.
ALSO READ Remembering 26/11: Hafiz Saeed’s release shows Pakistan not serious about bringing perpetrators to justiceOn the preparations and enhancement of security measures, Fadnavis said, “I feel Mumbai has changed now. We have third eye-CCTV network, ‘Sagar Kavach’, joint-exercise with Navy, elite ‘Force One’ on the lines of NSG and bullet resistant jackets among others. We have technical intelligence, with state and Centre working together.””I think, we still require a resolve from the people. They should be the eyes and ears of our (security) forces, our police,” Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, said. “The forces we are fighting have no principles and no state of laws. They are enemies of humanity. They want to create an atmosphere of fear.”They are bombing all parts of the globe, ramming vehicles in public places, they are firing in theatres, all they want to tell humanity is that we can win, we can terrorise you,” he said.Anant Goenka, Executive Director, the Indian Express Group, said, “The attack on parliament and 26/11 are the two events that have shaped the way modern India thinks of terrorism and violence.”
ALSO READ Remembering 26/11: P Chidambaram didn’t allow us to question Central officers, says ex-Union Home Secretary”As a group that has been documenting a changing India for over 80 years, we recognised that we have rarely ever heard from those directly affected the survivors of 26/11.”From our interviews, we have been touched, inspired and awe struck at the courage, the positivity, the maturity and realised that there are many inspiring stories that needed to be told, and it’s our role as a responsible news media group, to give voice to these remarkable individuals,” Goenka said.

Shiv Sena promises to retrieve ‘K’taka-occupied Maharashtra’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena, in yet another attempt to win over the Marathi manoos from the border districts of Maharashtra, Belgaum and other adjoining areas of Karnataka, on Friday announced that if voted to power, the party-led government will retrieve ”Karnataka Occupied Maharashtra” in the state.However, party president Uddhav Thackeray, who is currently on a three-day visit to Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara where BJP has made sufficient inroads, did not spell out a roadmap for the same. Instead, he merely reiterated Shiv Sena’s unstinted support for the Marathi-speaking people from the disputed Maharashtra Karnataka border area.Thackeray’s move to rake up the issue comes at a time when the BJP has already launched state-wide rallies against the Congress government ahead of the election to the Karnataka Assembly slated in the first half of 2018. Shiv Sena minister Diwakar Raote led a group of Sena workers to Belgaum in May to protest after Karnataka urban development minister R Roshan Baig made a statement that elected representatives who shout ‘Jai Maharashtra’ slogans would stand to lose their elected posts in Karnataka. However, Raote was stopped at the border.Shiv Sena recently took a pot shot at the state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying if he is a “proud Marathi” he should reach out to the Marathi populace.State Congress spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan told DNA, “Shiv Sena always likes to involve itself in bravado. Since party chief late Bal Thackeray’s time, the Sena has been shouting about this issue but has never come out with a workable solution to the problem.”

Beach clean-up act gets CM boost

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Assuring full support from the state government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday asked Versova-based lawyer Afroz Shah to not only go ahead with the Versova beach clean-up activity, starting this weekend, but also promised that he would join the clean-up next week.Shah and a few other volunteers who have been cleaning the Versova beach for 109 weeks met Fadnavis on Thursday. On November 19 Shah took to social media announcing the suspension of Versova beach clean-up drive citing ‘volunteers being abused’ ‘administrative lethargy’ and blaming the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not clearing the garbage picked up during the clean-up.During the meeting, the CM spoke to police officials and even pulled up the BMC officials, questioning the delay in picking up of garbage. He sought an assurance from them that the volunteers do not face any kind of issue during the beach-cleaning drive. He even lauded the efforts of the Versova Residents Volunteers (VRV) and said that the state will back the VRV since this work was worth congratulating.Speaking about the meeting, Shah said that he was touched by the concern shown by the Chief Minister. “We discussed in detail about the Versova clean up and the mechanism that needs to be put in place and apart from that there was also discussion on the need for a proper tender system for beach cleaning across Mumbai as well as a policy on marine litter,” informed Shah adding that the partnership between citizens and the government, be it local body or state Government is crucial.During the meeting, Shah who is a recipient of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ‘Champion of the Earth’ Award for initiating the world’s largest community beach clean-up initiative also offered the CM his help in drafting a proper policy on marine litter for Maharashtra, given the huge coastline and constant impact of marine litter.WHAT’S IT?Afroz Shah along with Versova residents started the beach clean-up drive in 2015.
So far they have cleared seven million kilogram of garbage from the beach including piles of plastic waste.
On November 19, Shah took to social media announcing the suspension of the drive

Fadnavis in Catch-22 situation over fielding Narayan Rane for Council elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP leadership are in Catch-22 situation over fielding former Congress leader Narayan Rane for State Legislative Council elections scheduled on December 7.CM Fadnavis has assured Narayan Rane the cabinet berth in his cabinet before Maharashtra state assembly’s winter session, starting from December 11. However, CM is confused whether Rane should be fielded in this council elections or not.The reason behind is that Sena has opposed Rane’s inductions in a cabinet. Sena is also likely to join hands with Congress and NCP to defeat its arch-rival Rane. Sena is not leaving any opportunity to corner BJP and criticise its every decision. And, Rane elections will be blessing in disguise for Sena to harm the prospect of BJP on large scale.On the other hand, BJP’s total 122 MLAs votes are not enough to get Rane elected. Even, the small BJP affiliated parties and independent MLAs extend their support still BJP is short of 10-12 votes. Besides, CM Fadnavis also afraid of disgruntled elements within in his own party.“If major chunk of dissatisfied BJP ministers and MLAs votes against the BJP nominated candidates – Rane in secrete ballet voting, then this will be big political disaster for CM. Therefore, CM is cautious over this peculiar decisions,” said political observer.“Sena’s support is inevitable in this crucial and prestigious polls. If Rane losses the elections that is not only failure of Rane alone but the chief minister Fadnavis and BJP also. Rane’s defeat can make the big headlines and that can go against the BJP ahead of Gujarat elections voting dates — December 9 and 14. That is why, CM Fadnavis and BJP, both are in catch-22 situations over Rane,” said senior BJP minister adding that CM is finding truce with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and finding way to come out from this labyrinth situations.Moreover, the loss of Rane can also cause more trouble to BJP in winter session. Congress and the NCP has decided to put the joint Opposition front to corner BJP government on various issues. To show the strength of Oppositions, the mega joint rally of Congress and NCP has been also arranged on December 12. It willl be addressed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Shiv Sena minister wants CM to retender BDD redvpt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging a potential Rs 900-crore loss to the state exchequer, Minister of State for Housing Ravindra Waikar has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the cancel BDD Chawl redevelopment bidding process.Waikar has sought appointment of Project Management Consultant instead of a mere civil architect, given the size of the proect — BDD Chawl redevelopment, valued at thousands of crores of rupees, which will affect 16,000 residents from existing buildings on 86.98 acres.He has also pointed out that the technology sought to be used by the state government is at least 30 years old, and therefore, outdated.“Given that this is an ambitious project, to be implemented in central Mumbai, government must ensure proper compliance,” Waikar has written in his letter.BDD Chawl is one of the most sought after redevelopment projects in Mumbai, considering its size and prime location. Shiv Sena, who held sway in this constituency for decades, is keen to ensure its voters were taken good care of. It is in this light that Sena has been demanding redevelopment of the buildings that were built in the 1920s.Waikar has expressed his displeasure that he has been kept out of the discussion process over the project that has the potential to turn political fortunes of the party that gets the credit for execution.WAIKAR’S OBJECTIONSGovernment is allowing Rs 4,727 per sq ft towards construction cost, while the norms suggest only Rs 3,300 per sq ft.
Government will have to bear the Goods and Service Tax (GST) which will cost over Rs 443 crore.
Two per cent Labour Tax on GST will add a Rs 48 crore burden.
Tender terms and conditions have been designed in such a way that they will benefit only a handful of contractors.

Mumbai: Despite open-defecation free tag, women from Chembur forced to go outside due to poor state of toilets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Women from M ward of BMC along with Right To Pee activists had conducted a survey of over 100 toilets in different areas of the ward in order to check the toilet facilities provided by the civic authority to the residents. According to the women, majority of the toilets lack basic facilities due to which the residents have to do open defecation at night or early morning.”Once the door of the community toilet fell on my head. While we go inside the toilet, we have to hold the door in one hand since it is not attach to the toilet,” said Usha Deshmukh, a resident of Chembur while speaking about the issues faced by the residents. Deshmukh, added, “The floorings are in poor condition too. We have been raising the voice with the local corporator as well but they say they don’t have enough funds.”Like Deshmukh few other women also shared their experience. Shabanam Shaikh, said, “We also suffer from eve-teasing a lot. Due to lack of toilets, children sit on the nullah.”Anjum Shaikh, resident of Baiganwadi, added, “We don’t have a single toilet facility in our area. Everyday the residents have to walk over 10 minutes for the nearest toilet while does not have light and water facilities and is near a dumping ground.”On October 2, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had congratulated the city and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as the city was certified open-defecation free (ODF) by the Quality Council of India (QCI), a government regulator.The women along with Right To Pee activists will be meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in two days regarding the issue on the occasion of World Toilet Day. The survey was conducted after the government started ‘Mi Labharti (beneficiary)’ ads regarding open defecation free India.The women have also made a song on the issues making an appeal to the government.

BJP ridicules Ajit Pawar’s statement that CM Fadnavis will not be allowed at NCP functions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP leader Ajit Pawar has announced that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will not allowed to attend any function organised by the party. Pawar’s statement comes soon after Supriya Sule announced that the NCP would not allow the Maharashtra CM from touring any part of the state.The BJP has ridiculed Pawar’s statement, saying it shows his frustration. State chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said that there was no need for the CM to attend any NCP function.Pawar had made the statement after speeches by senior BJP leaders such as Fadnavis and union transport minister Nitin Gadkari at functions organised by the NCP to felicitate party supremo Sharad Pawar had hit headlines. Political experts suggest that the BJP stole the show in an NCP function, which promoted the junior Pawar to make the statement.

India thieves dig 25ft tunnel to rob bank

Police say the men had been running a grocery shop next door as a cover while they dug the tunnel.

Name liquor brands after women to push sales: Maha minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sparking a furore, Maharashtra water resources minister Girish Mahajan said liquor manufacturers should rechristen their products with names of women to increase sales. Mahajan, speaking at a function at the Satpuda co-operative sugar factory at Nandurbar in north Maharashtra on Saturday, referred to the unit’s chairman Deepak Patil’s statement that their ‘Maharaja’ brand of liquor suffered from poor demand.”You said your liquor is not sold much,” said Mahajan, who also holds medical education portfolio in the Maharashtra government, adding that Bobby, Bhingari and Julie brands of alcohol had high sales.”So, I asked you, what is the name of your liquor brand? You said Maharaja. Then how can things fit in? Change it to Maharani and see how sales boom. Nowadays, it is like this, liquor also has the names of women. Same goes for tobacco, with names like Kamal, Vimal, Suman,” he added.”If you try this… I feel your sales will certainly show a difference,” said Mahajan.The statement was condemned by political parties. While the NCP’s women’s wing protested at places like Nashik, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Preeti Sharma Menon said this was “stooping to a low level”.”What is the purpose of saying this? I am shocked a minister from the state is so eager to increase liquor sales. Is this his social responsibility?… how did he make this anti-women statement?” said Menon, demanding that he apologize to women immediately.This is not the first time that Mahajan, who represents Jamner in Jalgaon in the state assembly, has found himself in the middle of a controversy. Earlier this year, the ex-ABVP worker considered close to CM Fadnavis, had been criticized after he attended the wedding of Dawood Ibrahim’s relative.

Give female names to alcohol brands to increase sales: Maharashtra Minister Girish Mahajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a blatantly sexist comment, Maharashtra water resources minister Girish Mahajan said liquor manufacturers could rechristen their products with female names to increase sales.Mahajan, who was speaking at a function at the Satpuda co-operative sugar factory at Nandurbar in North Maharashtra on Saturday, referred to the unit’s chairman Deepak Patil’s statement that their brand of liquor suffered from poor demand.“You said your liquor is not sold much,” said Mahajan, who also holds the medical education portfolio in the state government, adding that the Bobby, Bhingari and Julie brands of alcohol had high sales. “So, I asked you, what is the name of your liquor brand? You said Maharaja. Then how can things fit in? Change it to Maharani and see how sales boom. Nowadays, it is like this, liquor also has the names of women. Same goes for tobacco, with names like Kamal, Vimal, Suman,” he added.“If you try this… I feel your sales will certainly show a difference,” said Mahajan. The statement was condemned by political parties. While the NCP’s women’s wing protested at places like Nashik, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Preeti Sharma Menon said this was “stooping to a low level.” “What is the purpose of saying this? I am shocked that a minister from the state is so eager to increase liquor sales. Is this his social responsibility?… how did he make this anti-women statement?” said Menon, demanding that he apologize to women immediately.This is not the first time that Mahajan, who represents Jamner in Jalgaon in the state assembly has found himself in the thick of controversy. Earlier this year, the former ABVP worker, who is considered close to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, had been criticized after he attended the wedding of a relative of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. In 2015, Mahajan, who is a black-belt holder in karate, had been spotted with his revolver tucked in to his waist at a children’s event.

The man who built an aeroplane on his Mumbai rooftop

Amol Yadav is a young pilot with a big dream: to make and fly India’s first home-made aeroplane.

Sulking Eknath Khadse vents in front of BJP V-P, taunts ‘selfless’ Rane

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse, who had to step down following graft charges, vented out at the party leadership for offering ministerial berth to a ‘selfless’ leader like Narayan Rane and ignoring those who spent their lives for the party. Khadse was speaking at a function in Dhule on Monday in the presence of BJP’s national vice-president Shyam Jaju.Narayan Rane, who left Congress recently to form his own party, has joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has repeatedly hinted at his induction into the Cabinet. BJP’s ally, Shiv Sena, has already expressed its displeasure by pointing out that Rane is facing an inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate; it has reportedly even threatened to walk out of the alliance in case he is inducted into the Cabinet.Khadse has been itching to get back into the Cabinet but party leadership has been non-committal. He used Jaju’s presence to convey his displeasure — that a traitor like Rane gets preference over a loyal party servant.”There are very few leaders who are alive and know the black days of the Emergency. However, such leaders have been assigned the job of training and guidance,” Khadse said, equating himself with senior party leaders such as LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi who have been moved to BJP’s Margdarshak Mandal — a ceremonial body meant to be a repository of party wisdom and memory.Khadse’s rant didn’t go unnoticed; barely a few hours after his outburst, Fadnavis told a TV channel that the one-man Dinkar Zoting Commission had submitted its report on allegations of graft and conflict of interest in a land deal made by Khadse and his family in Bhosari within Pune district. He also declared that the government would table the report in the state legislature. He remained silent on Khadse’s reinstatement in the Cabinet during the ensuing expansion.On the other hand, State revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, considered the number two minister in the Fadnavis-led cabinet, said he would be happy to see Khadse back in the Cabinet.However, a BJP leader (who did not wish to be named) told DNA that Khadse’s wait for his re-entry into the state Cabinet was getting longer as two public interest litigations filed by Pune-based activist Hemant Gawande, a whistle-blower in the Bhosari land deal case, and another by activist Anjali Damania were pending in the Bombay high court.

Army’s job is to train for war, don’t divert defence resources: Amarinder Singh hits out at Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday hit out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying, Army’s job is to train for war and not to be used for civilian works.The Congress leader lashed out at Defence Minister after she visited Elphinstone Road station along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal where it was announced that Army will help build foot overbridge at three stations including Elphinstone.”The @adgpi job is to train for war, not to be used for civilian works @nsitharaman ji. Don’t divert defence resources to civilian jobs,” Amarinder Singh said.”You’re doing what General Kaul did with the 4th Div before 1962 war with China. It will set a very bad precedent. Please avoid,” he said in another tweet.Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also criticised the move.”The army was to be a measure of last resort to be called upon in extreme emergency. Now it seems like it’s the 1st number on the speed dial,” he said.Nirmala Sitharaman said that a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as Army has its role at the borders.”Probably first time Army has been asked to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work. But Elphinstone tragedy was so big, a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter,” she said.”I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31,” Fadnavis said.23 people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge (FOB) last month.

After Elphinstone stampede, 3 Railways foot-over-bridges to be built by Army by Jan 31

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over a month after Elphinstone stampede, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that three railways foot-over-bridges will be constructed by 31st January with Army’s help.On September 29, 23 people were killed in the rush hour stampede on a narrow overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the stampede site along with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Speaking to media, Fadnavis said, “After Elphinstone Stampede, we had asked for help from armed forces to which Defence Minister agreed and three bridges will be constructed by 31 January.””Bridges to be built in with cooperation with Army at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali by 31st Jan 2018,” said Piyush Goyal.
ALSO READ Elphinstone Stampede | A disaster waiting to happen, yet govt springs into action only after 22 crushed to deathNirmala Sitharaman said that the Army visited the areas and assessed where the bridge is going to be built and they will be there at every stage of the work.”A call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as Army has its role at the borders. Probably first time Army has been asked to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work. But Elphinstone tragedy was so big, a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter,” she said.
ALSO READ Elphinstone Stampede: Western Railway inquiry report blames heavy rain, rumoursAn inquiry report has blamed the heavy rain for the tragedy. The panel, headed by the Western Railway chief security officer, submitted its report to WR General Manager Anil Kumar today after recording statements of 30 commuters who were injured.The report said people with heavy luggage lost their balance because of which the stampede may have occurred.

Don’t worry about Rane’s induction: CM Devendra Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said there was no reason for the Shiv Sena to be annoyed with possible induction of former chief minister Narayan Rane in the cabinet, since Rane had been an NDA alliance partner and would be inducted on the BJP quota.Earlier in the day, Sena minister Deepak Kesarkar had questioned Rane’s possible induction pointing out inquiry against Rane by the Enforcement Directorate. Kesarkar hails from Rane’s bastion Sindhudurg district and is also the guardian minister of the same. Sena MP Vinayak Raut too had raised the same question.

Discord, poor decisions, government a failure on all fronts: Sunil Tatkare

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How would you rate the Fadnavis Government’s performance?Over the past three years, Maharashtra and the country have seen the BJP and Shiv Sena pulling in different directions. There is no unanimity in the decisions taken by the government. Despite being part of the decision-making process, Shiv Sena continues to criticize the government. This has led to the administration running riot. The government is only making announcements with little to show for implementation.According to you, what are the prominent failures of the state government?They have failed on all fronts — be it agriculture, employment and in ensuring rights for workers.Farm loans are yet to be written off…The announcements about loan waivers are fruitless. There is a yawning gap between the announcements and actual implementation. We have been saying this since the beginning.Work on the government’s flagship announcements like the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Statue in the Arabian Sea and a memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Dadar are yet to take off…True, work on these projects has not been launched. Only the ground-breaking ceremony has been performed.There is a perception that despite an undercurrent of anger against the present dispensation, the Opposition has failed to tap into this discontent. It is the lack of a credible Opposition that is working in the state government’s favour.The results of the recent local body elections have shown that such perceptions are wrong. The state government was not eager to waive off agricultural loans and it was the ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ launched by the opposition parties that forced its hand. The NCP has been playing an effective role of the Opposition, both inside and outside the legislature.The tensions within the Congress and the NCP are also palpable.We may have differences on some issues but we work as a cohesive unit in the legislature.The NCP is seen as being hand-in-glove with the BJP, a party eager for a political truck with it.We have many rivals who spread such canards in an attempt to create an atmosphere of suspicion about the NCP. This is not true. On the contrary, the NCP is more aggressive against the BJP. We have launched state-wide agitations against the BJP.A number of leaders have switched sides from the NCP to the BJP.Those days are history. This wave has passed. It may have been relevant one year ago but today, the changing political climate has ensured that defections from the opposition to the BJP have stopped.

Three years of hits and misses, two remain to fulfill promises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Devendra Fadnavis-led mega-alliance Government completes three years in office on October 31, its report card looks like a mixed bag characterised by a few hits and misses. The three-year journey may have helped Fadnavis establish his command over the government but at the same time, a few issues pertaining to the capacities of a handful of ministers in his council persist.Bringing to an end the Congress-NCP alliance Government’s 15-year rule in Maharashtra, Fadnavis took oath as chief minister on October 31 in 2014. Traditional alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena were joined by the Ramdas Athavale-led Republican Party of India, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Swabhimani Party, and Shiv Sangram to form a mega-alliance to defeat Congress-NCP in the 2014 assembly elections.Over the past three years, Fadnavis has emerged as the Government’s tallest leader. Politically speaking, his triumph over rivals — which include veteran Eknath Khadse and other leaders who have been eyeing his chair — has made him stronger. BJP’s performance in Maharashtra has turned the party into the strongest political outfit in the state particularly when it comes to ruling the municipal corporations, and increasing its mass base by winning almost all the elections in the past three years.This, despite the Maratha reservation and silent marches for the issue losing steam — for the simple reason that the decision doesn’t solely lie with the government. Even the delay in reaching a conclusion on the Kopardi rape-murder incident, again linked to the issue of Maratha reservation, is affecting the Government’s image although the final decision doesn’t rest with the Fadnavis Government. Fadnavis, who looked strong in the first two years, is realising the importance of veterans like Eknath Khadse who took the Opposition head-on — especially with the Government facing problems like implementing loan waiver for farmers.On the government front, the BJP — when in power in any part of the country — has brought along investment in infrastructure and Maharashtra has been no exception. However, the slow pace of ambitious projects remains a concern for Fadnavis. Three of these — the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea, the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial on the Indu Mill land in Dadar, and the proposed Coastal Road linking Nariman Point to Kandivli — are significant with respect to poll promises, but have seen more movement on paper than on the ground. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Shivaji Memorial in December 2016, actual work remains miles away. The same is the case for the Ambedkar Memorial, the bhoomipoojan for which happened in October 2015. In the meantime, while the proposed Coastal Road has received requisite clearances from the Union Environment Ministry, actual work remains only on paper.The Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan has been the Government’s flagship scheme and after the drought years of 2014-15, several existing water sources across the state were widened and deepened, resulting in additional water holding capacity of almost 50 TMC in the state. Funds for the scheme were chipped in by thousands of NGOs, Ganesh mandals and social organisations, while hundreds of corporate houses contributed their CSR funds, making it a significant achievement.Following the scheme, the Fadnavis Government claims that 15,000 villages have been made drought-free. However, this claim loses sheen in the backdrop of the continued rise in farmer suicides in the state over the past three years. Despite the Government claiming that it has never been opposed to loan waivers, the announced loan waiver package is not being implemented efficiently thanks to the chaos regarding eligible farmers, online applications, and figures provided by the state-level bankers’ committee turning out untrue. The Chief Minister’s plan to provide loan waivers to farmers in at least a few districts before or during Diwali also proved to be a failure.While the Government, right from its first year, provided separate schemes for 14 districts affected by farmer suicides, its impact is yet to be felt at the state level. Eight Marathwada and six Vidarbha districts received wheat at Rs 3 per kg and rice at Rs 2 per kg, fee concession for farmers’ wards, and health-related benefits, under this scheme. However, this failed to improve the Government’s image at the state level since the agrarian crisis continues.Despite the large-scale Make in India week organised by the Government, questions on foreign direct investments have been continually raised. Despite claims of being the state with surplus power, the failure to manage continuous coal supply resulted in the state facing a power crisis last month, adding to the Government’s negative image.The major fiasco with Mumbai University’s online results put the Government in a soup, and the Governor gave the University’s vice-chancellor the pink slip in an unceremonious manner.With two years remaining, the Fadnavis Government has to ensure that no unfulfilled promises remain and decisions taken reach the common man.

MMRDA blames MSRDC for not issuing NOC for construction of Thane Metro

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has put the blame on Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for delaying the issuing of no objection certificate (NOC) for construction of Wadala-Thane Metro-4 corridor, despite applying for the same more than a year ago.MSRDC is headed by Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde, and MMRDA needs NOC from MSRDC as the Metro-4 corridor will go close by the flyovers that are maintained by the MSRDC on Eastern Express Highway (EEH).Senior MMRDA officials have claimed that they will bring the delay on part of MSRDC to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the war room meeting held to review infrastructure projects. However, MSRDC officials have claimed that MMRDA is not sharing the complete picture.”We were sent the alignment of Metro-4 after which we have replied back with our observations on the alignment way back in March 2017. We had observed that at several stretches the alignment was too near to our flyovers and we had expected them to reply us back on the safety concerns raised,” said a MSRDC official.MSRDC claims that it has asked the Information Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) to study the structural strength of flyovers on the Western and Eastern Express Highway. “We have faced several issues with MMRDA when it comes to ongoing construction of Dahisar East – Andheri East Metro-7 corridor. MMRDA has changed their alignment at several stretches resulting in they coming very near to the foundation of our flyovers, and this rakes up safety issues,” added the MSRDC official.MSRDC added that the officials from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) are also in touch with us as their underground Metro corridor between Colaba-Seepz comes on WEH. “We have also asked the IIT-B to study that whether the vibrations caused due to underground Metro work would affect the structural strength of the existing flyovers,” the MSRDC official added.

Dharavi redevelopment brought back to table

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a failed attempt last year, the government has brought the Dharavi redevelopment project back to the table. Senior bureaucrats in the state secretariat have confirmed that the tenders for the project will be floated once again by November. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis confirmed to DNA that the government is working on it. From four, Dharavi would now be divided into 12 small clusters. Sector number five is already being redeveloped by MHADA.In January 2016, the government had floated a tender for redevelopment. It was a global tender but even after several extensions, the government was unable to find any takers for redevelopment of the one of the biggest slums in the world.The estimated cost of last year’s global tender was Rs 21,936 crore — it included rehabilitation of residents, providing amenities and maintenance of the buildings for the next five years. Once the tender was awarded, the project would have to be completed within seven years. Recently, the National Building Construction Company (NBCC) had also shown interest in the project.”One problem that many developers faced was that there were just too many slums and the area was too expansive to clear encroachment,” says a government official.”To make it easy, the clusters are further divided into 12 sections; slum density in each cluster will reduce because of this. We are hoping that this move will attract developers and we are hopeful that by next month we will be able to float the tender.”There were several other issues also – residents of sector one claimed they lived in proper homes, not shanties and hence be given larger homes. They had even protested against the tenders, which was cited as one of the reasons why some developers backed off.In September, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had discussed the issue his public outreach program Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy. The government is also buoyed by the success of the BDD chawl redevelopment. “All the BDD chawl redevelopment tenders got a good response from the developers,” said one official “It was also a global tender and we are hopeful that this time, after all precautions are taken, Dharavi will also generate a good response.”

Narayan Rane joins NDA, cabinet expansion soon: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday announced that former Congress leader, Narayan Rane has joined National Democratic Alliance (NDA).He also said that the party will also expand the cabinet soon. “We’ll have a cabinet expansion soon. Narayan Rane has joined NDA, we will think about him what should be done,” Fadnavis said.On October 1, Rane had announced that he will form a new party, which will be called ‘Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksh’. Rane’s decision of forming a new party came after he quit the Congress last week and met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah in New Delhi amid speculation that he will join the saffron party.A former chief minister during the Shiv Sena-BJP government, Rane defected to Congress in 2005 after criticising Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s son and political heir Uddhav.He was a minister in successive Congress governments till 2014 when the party lost power to the BJP. Rane lost the last Assembly elections in 2014 and a by-poll in Mumbai’s Bandra.He quit the party after state leadership dissolved the Sindhudurg unit dominated by his supporters.

State sets aside Rs 4.45 crore for broadcast shows

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government has made an allocation of Rs 4.45 crore, during the current fiscal, to shoot and broadcast an interactive programme named — Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy — anchored by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Apart from this, the funds will also be used to broadcast Jai Maharashtra and Dilkhulas on Doordarshan and All India Radio respectively. These programmes, which are aired twice a month, are aimed at projecting various government schemes and programmes.A notification in this regard was issued on October 5. These programmes are part of the state government’s strategy to effectively market its pro-development schemes and programmes in print and media.It is also an attempt to counter the criticism hurled by the Opposition and other non-government organisations against the government for doing little on the ground. The government has already roped in about 11 public relations and advertising agencies for the same.Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy is conceived by CM Fadnavis himself and is on the same lines as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’.’ It aims to directly reach out to people and discuss the government’s schemes and programmes.As far as Jai Maharashtra and Dilkhulas are concerned, interviews of ministers, bureaucrats, and experts are aired on pro-development initiatives and government’s sector-wise schemes.An officer from the publicity department told DNA, “Fadnavis has so far extensively covered government’s initiatives for ease of doing business and boost development through the ambitious projects.”

BJP likely to play it quiet on defections to Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Whether to respond by engineering defections in Shiv Sena or to deploy former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to get corporators from Congress to defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party? BJP has, at present, decided to go slow on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) front.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been asked to take a final call on the issue. The surprise move by Shiv Sena, in which six corporators from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) defected, is being considered a significant blow to both the MNS and BJP. The blow was struck by Shiv Sena at a time when CM Fadnavis was not in the country.BJP city unit president, Ashish Shelar, had tweeted on Friday evening that the so-called `Dhamaka’ by Shiv Sena proved to be a firecracker, however, with dampened fuel.BJP city unit sources said that since the issue pertains to the BMC, the party’s state unit would not indulge in local politics. But there are two opinions within the party, especially after Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray’s statement that if Shiv Sena can do this in one day, BJP has understood what it can do in the state.One faction in BJP is of the view that former Congress leader Narayan Rane, who recently floated his own outfit Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, can help the party to snatch corporators from both Congress and Shiv Sena.However, sources within the state unit told DNA that Chief Minister Fadnavis was not keen to go for any such defection at this juncture.Even though Fadnavis will take a final call, it is unlikely that BJP would play spoilsport and it is likely that it would allow Shiv Sena to enjoy the defection of the six MNS corporators. CM Fadnavis had assured the party leadership that he was ready to lead the party for snap polls in the state.Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said in Pune that it was the BJP which was trying to snatch the corporators from Shiv Sena, but failed.CheckmateEven though Fadnavis will take a final call, it is unlikely that BJP would play spoilsport. It plans to allow Shiv Sena to enjoy the defection of the six MNS corporators.Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that it was the BJP which was trying to snatch corporators

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis asks people to celebrate pollution-free Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has exhorted people to ensure no damage is caused to the environment while celebrating Diwali and the festivities do not lead to air and noise pollution.The Supreme Court had on Monday banned the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR until October 31 in an effort to check pollution during Diwali.”All Indian festivals have a bond with nature. People should take precautions that there is no damage caused to the environment so as to be able to live in a healthy and pollution-free environment,” Fadnavis had yesterday said in the Mantralaya. He said this while administering a pledge to a group of school children to celebrate a pollution-free Diwali.While celebrating festivals, it should be ensured that air and noise pollution are not caused, the chief minister said. Maharashtra’s Environment Minister and Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam yesterday told reporters that he would request the chief minister to ban the sale of fire crackers in the state, on the lines of the Supreme Court’s verdict for Delhi- NCR.”The Supreme Court gave its decision that there should not be fire crackers’ shops in residential areas. Keeping people’s health in mind, and there should be no pollution, and for this, everybody should take care,” Kadam said. “I will request the chief minister and see if something similar could be done here as firecrackers cause pollution, human beings and animals get affected and even shops at times catch fire,” the minister had said. The Supreme Court had on Monday directed that its order of last November banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi- National Capital Region (NCR) would continue till October 31 – Diwali falls on October 19 — in a bid to check pollution during the festival of lights.

Narayan Rane’s outfit to join NDA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s former chief minister Narayan Rane, who recently quit the Congress, on Friday said his political outfit, ‘Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh’, would join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).“I have decided to be a part of the NDA for the development of the state and the Konkan region,” Rane said.Dismissing speculation that he would be accomodated in the Union Cabinet, Rane said, “I will stay in Maharashtra till 2019.” He was apparently hinting at contesting the Lok Sabha polls to be held that year.Rane, who resigned from the Congress party about two weeks ago after a long-drawn tussle with its state leadership, had claimed three days back that CM Fadnavis had invited him to join the NDA.A prominent leader from the influential Maratha community, Rane hails from the Konkan region.

State to soon provide stay facilities at forts for better experience

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to generate more tourism, the state government plans to explore historic forts of Maharashtra and provide overnight staying facilities at 200 such forts.Maharashtra Minister for Tourism, Jaikumar Rawal, on Friday informed that tourists visiting these historic forts get to know about its rich history. However, in order to enrich this experience further, he stated that the government plans on providing accommodation facilities at the fort itself so that tourists can experience the place where history has unfolded.Rawal informed that his department in coordination with the Archaeological Survey of India would provide state-of-the-art facilities to tourists right at the forts. He said that by staying at the fort, tourists can avail information in detail about its architecture and historic events that happened at the fort and in the adjacent areas.He said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already taken up the issue of Raigad Fort with ASI and in the same way, his department would avail permissions from ASI for providing staying facilities at historic forts.

Maha govt unsure of disbursing farm loan waiver by Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s been a 100 days since Chief Devendra Fadnavis announced one of the largest farm loan waivers by any state ever, but it is increasingly unclear whether this Diwali will bring farmers much cheer as the government seems unsure whether it will be able to disburse the promised Rs 34,000 crore by then.On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar had declared that farmers across the state would receive funds to pay off their loans by Diwali, which is on October 19.According to Minister for Co-operation, Marketing, and Textiles Subhash Deshmukh, the state government is yet to receive complete information about farmers, failing which it is impossible to transfer money to their accounts.The government is planning to transfer money in to farmers’ accounts in selected tehsils in seven districts where 90 per cent information about loan waiver applicants has been sent by banks. “Even then we will be not in position to begin the disbursement immediately as the verification may take some time,” an official admitted.The state government has so far received 77.29 lakh loan waiver applications, which will cover 57 lakh families, since only one person per household is eligible for the benefit.Deshmukh said that it was true that a few banks are lagging in compliance with the data and the Chief minister has himself spoken to highest officials of these banks including the State Bank of India, which has submitted only 24 per cent data.Farmers have availed loans from across 65 banks, which include 30 district central cooperative banks (DCCBs). About 35 private and commercial banks, which have more than 50 lakh account holders with outstanding dues, have provided only 40 per cent of the data required for disbursement.

Yogi Adityanath in Kerala, Honeypreet Insan, BHU, Narayan Rane and fuel prices: DNA morning must reads

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath joins Amit Shah for BJP’s Kerala marchA day after BJP president Amit Shah launched ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’, a march against the murders of RSS and BJP workers in Kerala, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will joint the demonstration rally today. On Tuesday, while launching the march, Shah had slammed the Kerala government and blamed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the political killings in the state.Good news! Petrol, diesel prices to be reduced by Rs 2 a litreThere’s a good news for common man! The government has reduced the basic excise duty rate on petrol and diesel (both branded and unbranded) by Rs 2 per litre. The announcement, which was made by the finance ministry on Twitter, will come into effect from today. The finance ministry also said that the move has been done to cushion the impact of rising international prices of crude petroleum oil and petrol and diesel on their retail sale prices.Honeypreet Insan to be produced in Haryana’s Panchkula courtHoneypreet Insan, the ‘adopted daughter’ of rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will be produced in courts today. The Haryana Police would seek maximum custody of Honeypreet, who is accused of inciting the riots in Panchkula soon after conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief in rape cases on August 25. Meanhwile, Punjab government has issued a statement saying that it would not shield criminals amid reports that Honeypreet was hiding in Bathinda all this while.Former Congress leader Narayan Rane claims Maharashtra CM asked him to join NDARenegade Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane claimed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited him to join the National Democratic Alliance, following a meeting between the two late evening on Tuesday. The claim comes a mere two days after Rane announced he was floating a new organisation – the Maharashtra Swabhiman Pakhs – that would eventually be registered as a political party. Fadnavis and Rane met for about one-and-a-half hours; however, there were no official confirmation of the said offer from the CM’s office.Did BHU vice-chancellor try to get an extension?It has come to light that even as the Ministry of Human Resource Development had directed the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) to initiate the process of appointing the new Vice-Chancellor about two months ago, the university initiated the process only recently after demands for removal gained traction in the aftermath of the campus molestation case 10 days ago. Sources in the university pointed out that the delay was a deliberate attempt on the VC’s behalf who was looking for an extension of his term.

Six new colleges for SoBo as per Mumbai University’s new plan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the perspective plan recently released by the University of Mumbai, six new colleges in south Mumbai will be given the approval to start in the upcoming academic year under the University of Mumbai. The plan has provisions for a law college, a BEd college, an undergraduate night college, a college for women and one for music in the city for the next academic year.Of the total 11 colleges that will open in Mumbai, six will be in Mumbai city while the other five will be in the suburbs. The perspective plan was recently approved by the university’s senate and is now with the expert committee formed by the government under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. As per the norms, the university invited proposals from educational institutes for starting new colleges in the academic year 2018-19 on September 21.”The new colleges will have specialised courses which will help students to get jobs in the employment market rather than just imparting theoretical knowledge,” said an official from the university.As per the new norms set by the state government, all colleges that submit their proposals along with a letter of Intent (LOI) will be allowed to formally begin from the next academic year after setting up the necessary infrastructure to start the college and recruiting faculty for the courses.Currently, the University of Mumbai has over 750 affiliated colleges under its ambit. As per the plan, a total of 46 new colleges will be added to this list by the next academic year. The last date for colleges to send their proposals to the university is September 29.NEW COLLEGESOf the total 11 colleges, six will be in Mumbai city while the other five will be in the suburbs
The plan includes a law college, a BEd college, an undergraduate night college, a college for women and one for music

Dawood told me to drop case against Khadse, says Anjali Damania

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Anti-corruption activist Anjali Damania registered a complaint with the police on Saturday, claiming that she has been receiving threat calls from Pakistan, and this may brew trouble for former revenue minister and veteran BJP leader Eknath Khadse. Damania has been locked in a legal battle with Khadse for long and believes that the number which she’s getting the calls from belongs to notorious gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Damania claimed that the caller told her to withdraw her case against Khadse.Khadse, who is currently in New Delhi to attend BJP’s two-day meet, told DNA, “The Central Investigation Agency should immediately inquire and find out the truth.” Undeterred by fresh allegations against him, Khadse said probe by a central agency is required as ‘the don’ has been named in the complaint.“We have registered a case against an unknown person and have taken the call recording in our custody. We are checking call data records and have informed other agencies for technical assistance,” said Kailaschandra B Avahad, senior police inspector, Vakola Police Station.Today’s development comes at a time when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to expand his cabinet and the followers of Khadse, who had resigned last year over corruption charges, are pressing for his rehabilitation.This is not the first time that Khadse has been targeted for his alleged links with the underworld.

State may peg healthcare funds on liquor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tipplers may soon fund the state’s public sector health and insurance initiatives. The state health department has suggested the levy of a health cess to generate money for its schemes.”Our programs, such as the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana and Balasaheb Thackeray insurance schemes, need funds. The health department must raise this money itself… through a health cess,” said health minister Dr Deepak Sawant, adding this would help them provide quality public healthcare services. Sawant said he had communicated with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to examine if such a cess could be charged.Though Sawant was non-committal on the commodities on which this cess could be levied, officials said the proposal could cover liquor. “There are some ideas, however, with the advent of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) (where almost all indirect taxes have been subsumed into one tax), the scope for taxation for the state government is very limited except for motor spirits and alcohol,” said a senior health department official.An official said they had discussed the concept of a ‘sin tax’ to be levied on alcohol.”This will reduce our dependence on the state budget for funding. It could be charged on foreign liquor and beer, while country liquor can be exempted to spare the working class, who are its clientele,” he added.Sources from the state finance and state excise departments noted that alcohol, which was a price-sensitive commodity, was already taxed heavily. After experimenting with prohibition, Maharashtra has levied a high rate of taxation on liquor to generate revenues and discourage consumption. However, this has led to liquor being smuggled into the state from neighboring areas such as Goa and Daman.The new National Health Policy unveiled by the Centre earlier this year had rejected the proposal in the previous 2015 draft to introduce a “health cess” for funding public investments in health.Globally, sin taxes are levied on goods which affect public health such as alcohol, high-calorie foods or products containing sugar to dissuade their consumption and generate additional resources. This includes countries such as Hungary, Mexico and some US states. In India, Kerala imposed a 14.5% ‘fat tax’ on fast foods like pizzas, sandwiches and burgers in 2016.

Mumbai locals stuck in the ’80s, overhauling ailing suburban rail system top priority: Piyush Goyal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two weeks after taking charge as railway minister, Piyush Goyal feels that the Mumbai’s suburban railway is the same as it was in 1980s when he was travelling in local trains. On September 19, while speaking at at the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce conference, Goyal said improving the suburban system is at the top of his list.”We are working on how can we rapidly scale up supply of facility for suburban commuters. Mumbai is on top of my priority list,” said Goyal, who also met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday night.The rail minister joked he did not know why he was given the rail portfolio, and it was probably because someone informed the Prime Minister that he had travelled in local trains between 1979-87.Faster trains, track renewalsThe rail minister promised that in addition to starting bullet trains on more routes than just the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch, the ministry would focus on improving existing trains. The Indian Railways is planning a third Mumbai Central-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express that would cover the distance within 13 hours. Sources said it would start before Diwali.At present, the Rajdhani takes 16 hours on the 1,377-km route. Two engines could be added to a 24-coach Rajdhani or 14-coach trains would be run to augment speed.Goyal defended his predecessor, Suresh Prabhu, sayiong he invested in rail safety in the last three years, and stressed the need to improve deterioarting rail infrastructure.”The infrastructure has become sick as track renewals have not happened for years. The rail fractures has not happened overnight but because of neglect over the years,” added Piyush Goyal.Meeting with CMSources said that at the four-hour meeting attended by Goyal, CM Fadnavis, and railway and civic officials, the two ministers asked the authorities to maintain the network. Rail officials said they had been asked to reduce overcrowding and prevent trespassing – 10 people die daily on rail tracks due to these factors – and raise height of platforms.The CR and WR have been asked make plans to augment train services on the CSMT-Thane and Churchgate-Borivili stretch. Currently the two routes are saturated.The ministers also discussed how the state government can help in clearing encroachments and acquiring land for the Rs 11,000-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3, which focusses on the Virar-Dahanu Road stretch, a new suburban corridor from Panvel to Karjat, and an elevated suburban corridor from Kalva to Airoli.

Maharashtra farm loan waiver: Number of beneficiaries may be less than 89 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The actual number of farmers who are expected to benefit from the Maharashtra government’s loan waiver is likely to be less than the earlier estimate of 89 lakh, said officials of the state cooperation department.Announcing the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, in June, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 89 lakh farmers would benefit from it.Last week, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said at least 10 lakh bank accounts of farmers were fake and they will not get any benefit of the loan waiver.His statement invited criticism from opposition leaders as well as farmer organisations.However, the officials maintained Patil may not be widely off the mark.When contacted, the department officials maintained that despite several reminders, the cooperative and public sector banks have failed to provide a detailed list of farmers having outstanding loan.This has raised suspicion about the exact number of agriculturists having outstanding loans, they said.Currently, farmers are in the process of filing applications for getting benefit under the scheme. The state government has extended the deadline from September 14 to 22 for receiving online applications from eligible cultivators.State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) possesses details of all the banks and farmers having outstanding loans.A senior officer from SLBC said, “Earlier, the practice was to handover an account number and write the outstanding loan amount next to it.”In view of the 2007-8 loan waiver controversy, when undeserving loans were also settled, the current state government sought names of farmers as per the banks’ record.Banks had to make necessary changes to come up with a list of all the required details of farmers.”The department officials said despite several requests the banks have also not given the list of beneficiaries of 2007-8 loan waiver scheme.”It has been said that some 70 lakh farmers from Maharashtra benefited from the 2007-8 loan scheme, but not a single name is available with any bank in the state. This is a serious issue and can’t be allowed to happen again.”Hence, we have undertaken the tedious task of finding the actual number of beneficiaries, which we think, would be less than 89 lakh,” the officials said.As per the scheme’s guidelines, only one members outstanding loan in a family will be considered for waiver.Despite this, every member in a family having some unpaid agricultural loan is filling the form and uploading it on the government portal. This practice would increase the documentation processing and verification time, they said.As only one person in a family is going to be eligible for loan write-off, the actual number of beneficiaries will come down from earlier estimate, the officials added.As on last Sunday, 1,00,85,326 farmers have registered themselves with the government for loan waiver. Of these, 55,40,732 have filled the required form and uploaded it on the government’s website.

PM Modi offered Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule a cabinet berth: Sena MP Sanjay Raut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule a berth in his cabinet.In a signed article in the Sena mouthpiece `Saamana’ on Sunday, Raut, who edits the newspaper, recalled that during a meeting with Pawar, he had asked about media reports that Pawar would be joining the Modi cabinet.”Pawar told me there is no truth to media reports. He described such reports as a height of stupidity,” Raut wrote.”Rumours are being spread about my party. Modi had once told me he wanted Supriya in his cabinet. Supriya, who was present at that meeting, told Modi that she would be the last person to join the BJP,” Raut claimed Pawar as saying.The Sena MP also said that Pawar told him that NCP’s stand is very clear, yet rumours are spread to create confusion.”Sharad Pawar says this. But there are senior NCP leaders who are in touch with (Maharashtra) Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Shiv Sena has no reason to be worried even if the NCP seeks to be part of the Fadnavis cabinet and the chief minister is holding secret meetings with NCP leaders,” said Raut.When PTI tried to contact Pawar for his reaction, a close aide of the NCP chief said he was in Baramati, his hometown, and would respond to the Saamana article at an ‘appropriate’ time.

#DNAExclusive: CM Fadnavis fires a warning shot, tells party leaders not to make a quick buck

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has cautioned his party’s ministers, parliamentarians and legislators from the state against following in the Congress-NCP regime’s corrupt footsteps to make a quick buck while handing out work contracts and promotions.Warning that of the incumbent 122 MLAs and 23 MPs from the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), about 39 and 11, respectively, could lose their party tickets if they did not improve their performance, he asked the leaders in no uncertain terms to shape up or ship out before the next round of polls.Fadnavis’ caveats came in a 45-minute speech at a meeting convened by the state BJP on Saturday evening, barely two days after party legislator from Vidarbha, Raju Todsam, was accused of extortion by a local contractor. The chief minister iterated that there will be no compromise on the principle of zero tolerance against corruption.”Voters continue to have faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in the BJP. However, they have serious complaints against some ministers, MPs and legislators and their personal assistants over inaction and rude behaviour. You will have to improve this or you will perish,” Fadnavis said.He said the party leaders had been elected to power in the state and at the Centre after a series of scams surfaced during the Congress-NCP rule. He warned them not to go the predecessor’s way and land themselves in trouble.Fadnavis also said that non-performers might not get a nomination in the 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly elections if they failed to improve performance and their style of functioning.Fadnavis didn’t stop here and gave them individual reports with a stern message to step up efforts to reach out to the voters through constant dialogue and tours, improve coordination at all levels and increase the pace of delivery.A senior minister, who did not want to be named, told DNA, “The CM wanted party ministers, MPs and legislators to win the confidence of the voters by working with a military zeal in their respective constituencies. He asked them to focus on further strengthening the party organisation from the booth level and aggressively embark on a slew of development works.”The minister further said that some 90 legislators have each been given the additional responsibility of an assembly constituency to hone the party’s strategy for victory the 2019 general elections.During the meeting, a mobile app bearing constituency details was downloaded in the cellphones of all the legislators and MPs, with the chief minister telling them that he would personally track the updates on how they were improving their assigned constituencies.CM READS RIOT ACTChief Minister says party MPs, MLAs have to improve performance or ‘perish’
Warns there will be zero tolerance against any form of corruption
Informs 39 of 122 MLAs and 11 of 23 MPs that they risk losing party tickets

Centre to develop Asia’s largest slum Dharavi after failing to get private developers?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Central Government’s National Building Construction Company (NBCC), wants to redevelop Dharavi. Last week, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that the state government will initiate the redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum after failing to get private developers.Now the Centre’s NBCC has jumped in and Devendra Fadanvis confirmed to DNA that the proposal is being actively considered.Dharavi Redevelopment gained prominence last week when the CM brought it up in his public outreach program, ‘Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy’. “Immediately after coming to power, we floated a global tender but in spite of doing it thrice, developers haven’t come forward,” he had said. “It appears that developers see more difficulty than profit in this project hence we have decided to form a policy to redevelop Dharavi. The project will be done under the state’s SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) and on the lines of BDD Chawl.”There, instead of developers, we roped in MHADA. The initial investment will be raised by the government.”When asked whether NBCC had shown any interest in the project, Fadnavis replied, “Under active consideration.”Like MHADA’s role in BDD chawl redevelopment, NBCC’s role in Dharavi could be that of a contractor where it will construct homes for slum dwellers as well as create housing to be sold in market. However, nothing has been made official yet.According to the NBCC website, it will be redeveloping properties for the government. They will also provide houses at reasonable rates. When contacted, the NBCC office in Delhi didn’t respond.Dharavi is divided into five sectors of which sector V is being redeveloped by MHADA and the government had floated tenders for the remaining four sectors.

Nitin Gadkari declares Rs 60-cr fund for Maharashtra irrigation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Newly-minted Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari on Friday announced a central grant of between Rs 55,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore over the next two years for Maharashtra to complete irrigation projects, adding the state can increase its irrigated land percentage from 22 per cent to 40 per cent in that period.He also announced that India’s first river-linking project will be executed between Maharashtra and Gujarat.The Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada and Damanganga-Pinjal interstate river-linking project will commence in next three months, he said, adding that a new water sharing agreement between the two states will be inked next week.In a joint press conference, Gadkari and Fadnavis said that boosting irrigation projects would help arrest farmers’ suicides in the state. Most of the deaths have been attributed to high debt because of failed crop due to lack of irrigation, among other factors.Gadkari and Fadnavis also reviewed the progress of various irrigation projects and road projects in the state during a two-hour meeting. All district collectors joined the meeting via video conferencing while state minister for water resources Girish Mahajan, PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil, Minister Eknath Shinde, minister of state Madan Yerawar, and senior officials of concerned departments were also present.Gadkari said there are 30 river linking projects proposed nationwide, which are expected to cost Rs 8 lakh crore. Five of these will start in the next three months; two of those are in Maharashtra and Gujarat.The river linking projects will give Maharashtra an additional 50 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC) of water. Fadnavis said this would take care of the water needs of Marathwada, Ahmednagar, North Maharashtra, and Mumbai.ProjectsCentre announced a grant Rs 55,000-60,000 crore to Maharashtra. Gadkari also declared that a water sharing agreement will be signed between Maharashtra and Gujarat for river linking projects.

Vidarbha BJP MLA accused of extortion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent setback to Bharatiya Janata Party’s zero tolerance policy towards corruption, a party legislator from Vidarbha Raju Todsam has been accused of seeking money from a local contractor. An audio clip has gone viral where Todsam is said to be asking money from civil contractor Shivdutt Sharma.The contractor, who claims himself to be an active BJP member since its inception, has filed a complaint at the local police station against Todsam. He has also made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take stern action against Todsam.However, Todsam, who has been elected for the first time from Arni constituency in Yavatmal district known for the high number of farmers’ suicides, has categorically denied Sharma’s allegations saying that he will soon file a defamation case against the contractor. Todsam also said that he will argue his case before Fadnavis and state unit president Raosaheb Danve at the sidelines of party’s meeting slated for Saturday to review the organization shake up exercise.State party spokesman Girish Vyas told DNA, “The party has taken a serious note of the audio clip. Fadnavis and the party will take due action against Todsam if the allegations are found to be true.’’In the audio clip, which has been viral since Thursday afternoon, Todsam is heard allegedly warning Sharma to “do everything before his dues are cleared. The next time for payments to be cleared, speak to the officers and do as they say, if you want to work in my area.’’Todsam admitted to DNA that it was his voice in the audio clip but alleged that it was a conspiracy against him. ‘’I called up Sharma in the presence of two Zilla Parishad officers who complained about inferior quality of work being carried out by him. I wanted Sharma to improve quality and to tell him him that work would be stopped if it did not happen. During the entire conversation, there was no demand for money,’’ he insisted.However, Sharma insisted the demand was made. “I have been this profession for 45 years and have never paid bribe. I have bagged the contract through the bidding process. There was no question of agreeing to Todsam’s demand for money. I have filed a complaint with the local police, who must act now. It is the responsibility of the police to protect me,’’ he added. He also demanded that the party ask for Todsam’s resignationSharma, in the audio clip, is heard pleading with Todsam to consider his inability to shell out money as his son has been in coma for nine months. Thereafter, Sharma is also heard saying that he will take up the issue with the BJP minister from Yavatmal, Madan Yerawar. After this, Todsam is heard asking Sharma if he was threatening him, and tells him he will speak to the Chief Minister.

Maharashtra seeks Centre’s help for irrigation and river linking projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra government will make a fresh demand to the Centre for the release of financial allocation for the completion of pending and new irrigation projects and for the river linking projects. The state government has estimated financial requirement of a whopping Rs 57,400 crore for the completion of 327 irrigation projects. Of which the state government expects central assistance worth Rs 20,000 crore under the Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and loan from the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development.In addition, the government will seek Rs 10,800 crore to fast track the completion of irrigation projects in 14 districts with high number of farmer suicides and seven projects in drought-prone area.This apart, the government will urge the Centre to provide funds for the linking of various rivers including Damanganga, Pinjal, Godavari, Tapi with an estimated cost of Rs 14,000 crore. The state government will soon enter into memorandum of understanding for river linking projects.These issues will come up for discussion on Friday at the meeting between newly appointed Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari and the state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who will be accompanied by state water resources minister Girish Mahajan.Mahajan informed that there are about 49 irrigation projects are caught in problems relating to land acquisition, forest land clearance. Nearly Rs 26,600 crore will be required for the completion of these projects.Mahajan told DNA, “The state government has been strongly pursuing its case for financial assistance from the Centre. Of the Rs 57,400 crore, the state government’s budgetary allocation for next three years will be Rs 24,000 crore while balance is expected to come from the Centre and through raising bonds.”

Maha cops get copter for anti-Naxal ops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a real shot in the arm for security forces in the Left-wing extremism-affected areas, the Maharashtra government has approved the purchase of a helicopter for police use in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur in Vidarbha.The helicopter will be used for deployment during anti-Naxal operations and as an air ambulance.The decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting on Thursday. Earlier, rotor wing craft would be hired by the state government for use in these areas, which caused a greater financial outgo.The cabinet has also approved the purchase of a helicopter for the movement of VIPs such as the governor and the chief minister. It will replace the Sikorsky S-76C++ chopper that met with a mishap in Latur this year while ferrying CM Devendra Fadnavis. The new helicopter will be partly financed from the insurance compensation payout for the ill-fated chopper.Disposal of the Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin helicopter purchased in 2001 for Rs 23 crore not in use since 2010 was also approved in the meeting. Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick said they would hand over the helicopter to educational institutions or aviation schools. The Dauphin, which can seat six plus two passengers, had been grounded after flying for 2,201 hours since the DGCA had asked for modern security equipment in helicopters ferrying VIPs. The state cabinet in 2016 had decided to refurbish the chopper for use but dropped the plan due to the high costs involved.GOING OUTEurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin purchased in 2001 for Rs 23 crore
Sikorsky S-76C++ bought in December 2011 for Rs 55 crore
Fixed wing Cessna Citation 560 XLS bought in 2008 for Rs 67 crore

Ganesh Visarjan: Immersion processions take place with much fanfare, CM Fadnavis urges citizens to keep it eco-friendly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The immersion processions of the idols of prominent Ganesh mandals in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra began this morning amid fanfare.Among the early starters for the immersion in the city were the Ganesh Galli Mandal and Lalbaughcha Raja which attracted lakhs of devotees during the Ganesh festival, that began on August 25 and concludes on ‘Anant Chaturdashi’ today.CM Fadnavis appealed to citizens to keep the visarjan environment-friendly. Several devotees performed the Koli dance, a traditional dance of the fishermen, at the Lalbaughcha Raja pandal in central Mumbai before the ‘visarjan’ (immersion) procession began.In Solapur, the devotees took Ganesh idols from their homes and immersed them in the Siddheshwar lake.The immersion marks the end of the Ganesh festival, which was popularised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to bring the people together to create a feeling of patriotism and fight the British Raj.Over 7,600 Ganesh idols installed at public places and more than one lakh idols in homes will be immersed today, police said.The smaller idols will be immersed first, followed by the big ones like Lalbaugcha Raja, which will be immersed in the Arabian Sea at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), police, Coast Guard and Navy have made elaborate arrangements to ensure smooth and safe immersion of the idols.The prime locations for immersion are Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Powai lake, Dadar Chowpatty, Madh jetty and Marve in Malad.The BMC has appealed devotees to inform the civic authorities as and when they need any assistance or if they are stung by jelly fish or sting ray.Police have beefed up security and companies of the State Reserve Police Force are also being deployed.Cranes, watchtowers, drones, CCTVs and floodlights have been arranged to keep a watch on every movement of the revellers and devotees, a police official earlier said.

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