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Protesting farmers set ablaze vehicles in Ahmednagar, cops invoke Section 144

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agitation by sugarcane farmers turned violent on Wednesday when they set ablaze 2 buses in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar on Wednesday.The police resorted to plastic bullet firing and tear gas during protests in Shevgaon Taluka Two farmers and five policemen were injured in firing and stone pelting.Ahmednagar Police has invoked Section 144 in seven villages. Cases have also been registered against 13 farmers in this incident.Meanwhile, Minister for Cooperation Subhash Deshmukh has appealed farmers organizations to sort out issues on negotiating tables rather than resorting to violence.Deshmukh stated that Union Government already has announced fair and remunerative price for sugarcane which Rs 250 more than last year.He informed that state government has already announced that the sugar factories which would not give FRP to farmers’ produce would face action and that is the reason farmers organisations should sort out issues by discussion.Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti when contacted blamed it on administration and sugar factories.He said that despite the fact that farmers in and around Gangamai Sugar factory in Shevgaon, had gathered in a peaceful manner and have been agitating for last six days, police took action against leaders at wee hours which agitated farmers and it resulted in worsening the situation.He said that while government talks of discussions on one hand and it is using police machinery to suppress the farmers’ agitation on the other hand.He said, “SSS western Maharashtra president Prakashtatya Balwadkar along with Amar Kadam and local workers were arrested by police at wee hours.”Meanwhile, leader of Opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has criticized state Government for wrongly handling the farmers’ agitation. Demanding an inquiry in to police firing at agitating farmers, Vikhe-Patil also demanded action against those involved in it.According to statement issued by Ahmednagar superintendent of police two farmers Uddhav Mapari and Baburao Dukare have been injured while 2 constables have been seriously injured.According to police statement farmers had resorted to ‘rasta roko’ last week but withdrew it after discussions with local revenue officials.The police told that on Wednesday, the agitators resorted to stone pelting, setting ablaze vehicles while led to lathicharge, use of tear gas and plastic bullets and pump action gun.

Maha govt to build memorial of R S Gavai: Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today announced that the state government would construct a memorial of late veteran Dalit leader and former Governor of Kerala and Bihar R S Gavai. Fadnavis was speaking here at the release of a book on Gavai’s life and contribution. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Ramdas Athawale, Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Girish Bapat, among others were present on the occasion. “Gavai is credited for building Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s memorial in Nagpur. Today, millions of people visit the place to offer their tributes to Dr Ambedkar….Gavai was an inspiration for people from all walks of life,” Fadnavis said. Gadkari said as the governor of Bihar, Gavai did a great job in improving the quality of higher education in the state. “He was a very humble, decent, cultured, mature and honest leader of the Ambedkarite movement. Between of 1964 and 1994, he made his mark in the legislature,” the union minister added. Gavai nurtured many leaders in the Republican movement. They wanted everyone to work together, he said. Several leaders from Maharashtra, including Legislative Council chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde, Council Deputy Speaker Manikrao Thakre, Leader of the Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, were present on the occasion. Late Gavai’s widow Kamlatai was also present at the event.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha Assembly adopts condolence motion for Bhilare Guruji

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Assembly today condoled the death of Gandhian Bhilare Guruji, who claimed to have saved Mahatma Gandhi from a knife attack by Nathuram Godse. The Assembly adopted a condolence motion after recalling the services of Bhilare Guruji. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his work in the freedom struggle and post-independence period is important. “He helped in developing several co-operative institutes. His political career was dedicated to serve people,” said the Chief Minister. Bhiku Daji Bhilare, who claimed to have saved Mahatma Gandhi from being killed by Nathuram Godse in 1944, passed away after a brief illness on July 19. The 98-year-old Gandhian, popularly known as Bhilare Guruji, was cremated at his village, Bhilar, in Mahabaleshwar teshil in western Maharashtra’s Satara district. Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil spoke about his political and social contribution. NCP leader Ajit Pawar said,”When Mahatma Gandhi was in Mahabaleshwar, Godse visited there and attacked him with a knife. It was Bhilare Guruji who saved Gandhi from this attack. The Commission formed after Gandhi’s assassination had also mentioned about this attack and his act of saving Gandhi.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shankersinh Vaghela now breaks free from Congress in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After months of speculations, Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela chose the day he turned 77 to announce his retirement, both from the party and active politics.At a convention in Gandhinagar on Friday, Vaghela also resigned as Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly and will give up his membership to the House after the Rajya Sabha polls in the state on August 8.Bapu (as he is popularly called) took to the stage, a ‘pagdi’ was placed on his head and a sword handed to him. A crowd of over 15,000 people and a song from ‘Bahubali’ playing in the background, completed the picture.However, the absence of prominent faces took the steam out of the event. Only two Congress MLAs, one of them Vaghela’s son, Mahendrasinh, and Raghavji Patel attended the event.Vaghela’s exit ahead of the Assembly elections, likely to be held in November or December, may be a concern for the party as the leader enjoys considerable support in north Gujarat.The dramatic announcement by Vaghela, a former RSS volunteer, came a day after the disunity in the state Congress came out in the open after at least 11 of its 57 MLAs voted for opposition presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.”The Congress never paid heed to my representations. I now consider the people of Gujarat as my high command and I declare to them that I’m freeing myself from party politics and will not join any other party either,” Vaghela said.Vaghela had quit the BJP over 20 years ago and formed Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), which later merged with the Congress in 1996. “I apologise to my supporters,” he said. “By making myself free of all ties with the Congress, I free my supporters from any bonding. I’m not making any recommendations for any of them. They are free to decide their future course of action on their own.”To his detractors in the party, who accuse him of being power-hungry, Vaghela said, “I was never in the race for power. I choose to relinquish all the posts, positions and responsibilities. I wish to utilise my life for constructive activities. I’m leaving party politics, but not public life. I bow before my real high command — you, the people — and assure you that I will be ready to help you any time.”The senior leader also vented his anger at the Congress leadership for ignoring his suggestions. He accused many Congress leaders in Gujarat as having ties with the BJP.”Throughout my public life, I never communicated with any of the chief ministers in Gujarat. I have always met PM Modi and Amit Shah publicly and not behind closed doors. There are several Congress leaders from Gujarat, who secretly meet people at 7RCR, and they have taken ‘supari’ from the BJP to finish the Congress in Gujarat.”Quake Maha politics soonAfter demolishing Congress in Gujarat, BJP is eyeing prominent Opposition leaders from Maharashtra. Heavyweights such as Congress’s Narayan Rane, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Nationalist Congress Party’s Jayant Patil, Rajesh Tope, Jaidutt Kshirsagar are on BJP’s radar and political equations will be redrawn soon after Vice President’s election is over.At least 12 Opposition legislators crossvoted during the just-concluded Presidential polls and speculations were rife on how BJP could, on its own, run the government in the state, without any support from Shiv Sena, which has been a trouble maker ally so far.Apart from the leaders mentioned earlier, the BJP has also said to be in talks with Congress legislators Kalidas Kolambkar, Gopal Agrawal, Sunil Kedar, Harshwardhan Sapkal and NCP’s Sanjeev Naik, Manohar Naik and Pradeep Naik.A senior BJP minister told DNA, “For Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the sole priority is to further strengthen the party organisation while ensuring transparent administration. He enjoys good rapport with leaders across parties and some of the Congress and NCP leaders are in touch with him. Fadnavis will take a call after an approval from national president Amit Shah for induction of opposition party leaders ahead of the next elections.”

Congress, NCP rubbish chances of cross-voting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party on Sunday ruled out cross voting from their camp during the voting for Presidential election slated for Monday.The Congress and NCP in their meeting also said that like minded parties such as CPM, Samajwadi Party, Peasants and Workers Party and MIM will vote for the UPA nominee Meira Kumar. The Opposition expects 90 plus votes in favour of Meira Kumar.The Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and NCP group leader in the assembly Jayant Patil rubbished claims made by a section of NDA that some Congress and NCP members would vote for its candidate Ram Nath Kovind.Both Vikhe Patil and NCP leader Jayant Patil said it was a fight for ideology and principles and said the opposition will vote for Meira Kumar.Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt blamed the NDA for spreading rumours about cross voting from some members of Opposition. He alleged that such claims are being made by the NDA fearing cross voting from some of their members.”Some disgruntled members from NDA may vote for Meira Kumar. So NDA should focus on keeping its flock together instead of spreading rumours about division in the UPA,” Dutt said.In the 288-member State Assembly, Congress has 42 members while NCP has 41, PWP two, Samajwadi Party two, CPM one and MIM two.This apart, NCP has four members in the Lok Sabha and Congress has two MPs.

Cong leader asks Maha CM to intervene in "Indu Sarkar" row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil today said the party workers may “hit the streets” if the upcoming Bollywood film “Indu Sarkar”, set in the Emergency period, is found to be maligning its leaders. “We have sought chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ intervention over the release of the film as there is talk that history has been distorted. The film is based on the lives of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi,” the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly said here. “If our apprehension that history has been distorted is found to be true, it will hurt people’s sentiments. If an attempt has been made to malign the image of Congress leaders, party workers may hit the streets in protest,” he added. The CM should intervene to prevent untoward incidents and maintain law and order, Vikhe-Patil said. “Indu Sarkar”, directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, is slated to release on July 28. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam had written to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) recently, expressing concern about portrayal Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and other Congress leaders in the film. There should be a screening of the film for Congress leaders ahead of its release, Nirupam had demanded. Bhandarkar however refused to screen the film for anybody before the censor cleared it, and stated that it doesn’t talk about any individual leader but uses the Emergency — imposed by the Indira Gandhi-led government in 1975 — as the backdrop.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Why not declare that farmers shouldn’t enter Mantralaya: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition Congress today accused the BJP-led government in Maharashtra of harassing and ill-treating farmers if they approach it with their grievances. Taking a dig at the Fadnavis-led government, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said if it can’t resolve the problems of farmers, then it should bar them from entering the state Secretariat ‘Mantralaya’. He made the critical comments while participating in a discussion in the Lower House after Ajay Chaudhari (Shiv Sena) said in the Assembly that a farmer, Vijay Jadhav, who was to hold a protest in Mumbai against injustice to cultivators, was taken into custody by the police. “This government arrests and thrashes farmers who approach it with their grievances. Why not just declare that farmers should not enter Mantralaya,” Vikhe Patil taunted. The Sena MLA said that Jadhav was now participating in a protest at Azad Maidan in Mumbai today ‘under police observation’. “The BJP-led government in Maharashtra had assured us that a probe will be conducted in a recent case of assault on a farmer from Marathwada, in Mantralaya. What happened to that probe,” Vikhe Patil said. “Such incidents of assaulting farmers have become common. Police beat them and the government has to make a statement. Police should be told to behave courteously with farmers,” he said. Speaker Haribhau Bagde said police should treat the farmers in a sensitive manner. A three-day special session of the state Legislature to discuss and ratify the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017, to pave way for the national roll-out of GST on July 1, began yesterday. On April 6, the Parliament passed four GST bills which now have to be ratified by all states to enable the shift to GST.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Agitation for farm loan waiver won’t cease: Vikhe Patil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition would organise farmers’ rallies in Maharashtra to build pressure on the government to grant loan waiver, Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said today. Talking to reporters in Ratnagiri, Vikhe Patil said the Sangharsh Yatra campaign of opposition to press the demand of loan waiver covered 27 districts. “Our agitation will not stop with the conclusion of the fourth phase of the Yatra today. We will hold farmers’ rallies in Gondia, Ahmednagar and Nanded districts soon,” said the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly. The ruling BJP and Shiv Sena initially criticised the Sangharsh Yatra but now they are organising similar campaigns to reach out to the farmers, he said. “This means pressure is building up on the government. If we continue our agitation, the government is bound to yield,” Vikhe Patil said. The Centre has failed to pass on the benefit of falling crude oil prices to the common man, he said. “The Centre reduced the prices of petrol and diesel, but the state government levied a surcharge. If this is the situation before GST comes into force, one can’t imagine what torture the common man will suffer in future,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

GST bill: Cong attacks BJP over fin minister’s meeting with

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition Congress in Maharashtra today took a dim view of the state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar calling on Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence here, in a bid to garner the party’s support for the ratification of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. “What is the need to convene a special session of the state legislature (later this month) if Thackeray is to take a decision regarding the passage of the GST?” asked Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. He said, “If Mungantiwar needs to discuss the GST, he should do it with his ministerial colleagues from the Shiv Sena. However, the government is going to Uddhav’s home, which shows that Sena ministers have no say in the decision-making in the government”. After meeting Thackeray, Mungantwar said the Sena chief was apprised that the GST will have substantial provisions that will make sure the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), ruled by the Sena, does not lose out on any revenue. The opposition leader alleged that Uddhav had time to “protect the financial interests of his party in the Mumbai civic body, but doesn’t want to discuss farm loan waiver for farmers with the government”. “This proves what Sena’s objectives and policies are,” he said. Vikhe Patil alleged that Sena’s ongoing ‘Shiv Sampark Abhiyaan’ was actually aimed at “finding prospective candidates for the next Assembly polls and not for welfare of farmers as being projected by the party”. The Congress leader also attacked the state unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve for his remarks wherein he had asked the opposition to submit in writing that the loan waiver will stop suicides by farmers. “There can be no insensitive comment than this. Instead, the government should give a guarantee that the state will never face a natural calamity. The government should also guarantee that the farmers will get procurement price which will ensure 50 per cent profit on the total agriculture production cost,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shirdi temple trust to loan Rs 500 cr for Nilwande dam canals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST), which manages the famous Saibaba temple here, today decided to provide Rs 500 crore for the construction of canal network of Nilwande dam in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The trust however stipulated that the state government should return the amount in due course of time. The “in-principle” decision was taken at a meeting of SSST’s management council here, said Sachin Tambe, one of the temple trustees. Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had recently asked the BJP-led state government to provide funds for completion of canal work ahead of monsoon. Saibaba temple at Shirdi in Ahmednagar district attracts lakhs of devotees every year and receives donations worth hundreds of crores of rupees in various forms.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Affected farmers under Sumruddhi project to be compensated

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farmers in Sinnar and Igatpuri talukas here who have parted with their lands for the proposed Mumbai-Nagpur 702-km Sumruddhi Expressway project, will be compensated adequately, according to Nashik Collector B Radhakrishna. Currently, measurement survey work is underway in 10 districts falling under the project. Farmers and locals of Sinnar, Shahapur taluka in Thane and some other districts in Maharashtra have been holding protests against the project. Last week a group of farmers in Shivade village in Sinnar had held a protest against the measurement exercise. “The government will take care of the farmers affected by project and they will get proper compensation for their land. They would be provide with alternative land,” he told reporters here last evening. Yesterday, a large number of farmers and locals had gathered at Shahapur in Thane to stage a rasta-roko over the project.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Increase import duty on tur from 10 to 25 per cent: Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis today demanded increase in the import duty of tur from 10 to 25 per cent to ensure price stability. The demand was made during a meeting with union minister Ramvilas Paswan this morning in New Delhi. Fadnavis demanded that the import duty on tur be increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent for price stability and also requested the Centre to purchase tur that has arrived at the procurement centres till April 22. The centre had given an extension to tur procurement on the request of the state government but the final extension ended on April 22. Fadnavis also discussed the need to frame a long-term policies for price management and purchase mechanism with Paswan, an official in the chief minister’s office said. Meanwhile, state congress president Ashok Chavan criticised the decision to stop tur procurement and called it as betrayal of farmers. “If the government doesn’t restart the procurement congress will launch an agitation in protest,” he said. Leader of opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil too demanded that tur procurement should continue and government must ensure that farmers get their payments on time.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra: Opposition parties to begin second phase of Sangharsh Yatra on April 15

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition parties in the Maharashtra will launch the second phase of Sangharsh Yatra from Sindkhedraja om the Buldhana district on Sunday. After 19 Opposition MLAs were suspended from state assembly for indiscipline, the Opposition had boycotted the proceedings of the Budget Session and launched Sangharsh Yatra for the demand of loan waiver for farmers in the state. After completing first phase of Sanghars Yatra, the Opposition including Congress, NCP, Peasant’s and Workers’ Party (PWP) People’s Republican party, Janata Dal (United), CPI, CPM Samajwadi party will be participating in the second phase.The second phase will start on Saturday (April 15) from Sindkhedraja in Buldhana since Sindkhedraja is the birth place of Jijabai, mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Yatra will visit Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Palghar and Thane districts and will conclude at Shahapur on April 18. The Opposition leaders will address small public rallies at all these places. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil informed that the Opposition would press for complete loan waiver for the farmers in the state. He said that since the Government is fast asleep, there was no other way than taking out the Yatra to reach out to people of the state.

Samruddhi corridor: Collector seeks to allay farmers’ concerns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nashik district Collector Radhakrishna B today tried to dispel farmers’ apprehensions about acquisition of their land for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Samrruddhi Corridor passing through the district. The farmers in Sinnar and Igatpuri tehsils are up in arms against the project, fearing forceful acquisition of their land by the government and the loss of livelihood. They have been protesting since last week by staging rasta rokos, taking out rallies, throwing burning tyres on roads to oppose the project. The Rs 46,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor is a proposed 702-km express highway that will pass through ten districts. Appealing to farmers to not to resort to protest, the Collector said their land will not be acquired without their consent. Meanwhile, Kisan Sabha leader Raju Desale told reporters today that a rally has been organised by farmers’ ‘Sangharsh Samiti’ and ‘Kisan Sabha’ at Shivade village on April 15 on the issue.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Studying UP model, a farce statement by CM: Vikhe-Patil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition today dubbed as “farce” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis decision that the state government will study Uttar Pradesh model of farm loan waiver before implementing the same in Maharashtra. “We think it is a farce to study UP model before announcing any loan waiver in Maharashtra. One must see that within 16 days, the Yogi (CM Yogi Adityanath) has announced it but Maharashtra’s ‘Pant’, (a reference to Fadnavis) could not do so in last couple of years,” leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said. He was addressing reporters after the conclusion of the Budget session this evening. “While announcing loan waiver to farmers of Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi (CM Yogi Adityanath) did not study any model. He went ahead and announced it,” said Vikhe-Patil. “We do not approve of loan waiver covering crop loan alone. We want that the entire agriculture loan be waived off,” Vikhe-Patil said. “The entire Opposition was demanding a loan waiver and Maharashtra government did not announce it. The only thing we got was false promises, play of words, cheating and diversion from promises. In the history of 56 years of Maharashtra, we have got a government that has no sympathy for farmers,” Vikhe-Patil said. “The state government is not even consistent on its loan waiver stance. First it said it will get some assistance from Centre, then it said it will study UP model and it has also said that state will waive loan on its own,” Vikhe-Patil said. “The loan waiver issue has become a football. The government is just passing it from one assurance to another,” he said. The senior Congress leader also criticised Shiv Sena for its flip-flops over loan waiver. He said, “Shiv Sena MPs tried to grab the collar of union aviation minister over one of their MP facing flying ban. Why the party is not doing the same to union agriculture minister over farmers’ loan waiver.” “It is nothing but a double standard approach of Shiv Sena,” Vikhe-Patil alleged. “The government tried to suppress our voice by suspending 19 MLAs of Congress and NCP. We went to the people through our Sangharsh Yatra, to keep the momentum for loan waiver intact,” said the leader of opposition. CM Fadnavis is trying to show that he is now studying the matter. But UP model of waiving of up to Rs one lakh debt is not acceptable. Entire loan should be waived off, Vikhe Patil said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian doctor wins over Rs 17.5 crores in lottery in UAE

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian woman doctor has has won a life-changing lottery in Abu Dhabi of over Rs 17.5 crores. Nishita Radhakrishna Pillai, from Kerala, won the Dirham 10 million (approximately Rs 17,68,00,000) lottery in the Big Ticket raffle. After 50 numerous attempts at striking gold at one of the most-anticipated raffle bonanzas in the UAE, the mother of two finally joined the ranks of high-net-worth individuals. Pillai, a medical practitioner who is currently in the US, is the second person to bring home Dirham 10 million, the biggest amount granted to a draw participant since the inception of the raffle bonanza, Gulf News reported. Pillai, who used to work as a paediatrician in the UAE for approximately two years, is currently in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two children, to finish her fellowship in genetics. Pillai and her family flew to the US last July for the scholarship, but distance did not prove to be a hindrance for participating in the UAE’s popular raffle draw. Since six months ago, her husband has been buying tickets online under her name and so far, 50 coupons have been purchased. “He would buy five tickets for every draw. My husband is such a big fan of the UAE. Well, we enjoyed our time working there and we do have plans to go back,” Pillai was quoted as saying. Pillai and her husband have not decided what to do with the money yet. “It’s such a big amount and besides we were awaken by the good news in the middle of the night and we can’t even think straight,” she said. “It was my dad who shared the news with us since he’s the one who got the call from the organisers, and at first we thought it was a prank call. We had to check the Big Ticket website to confirm it,” Pillai said. The millionaire promotion is the longest-running and the biggest raffle draw hosted at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. So far, the Big Ticket raffle has declared 178 millionaires, with the first few winners taking home Dirham 1 million. Last month, a 33-year-old Indian expatriate in Abu Dhabi won over Rs 12 crores. Sreeraj Krishnan Kopparembil, also from Kerala, won a whopping Dirham 7 million (approx. Rs 12,71,70,000) in the Abu Dhabi Big Ticket Draw.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

After UPA loan waiver,number of suicides by farmers fell: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today said the loan waiver granted by the erstwhile UPA government in 2007 had resulted into 80 per cent drop in suicides by farmers in subsequent years. “After the announcement of loan waiver in 2007 by then Union government, farmers’ suicides came down by 80%. We have been in power and figures before the loan waiver issued by Union government clearly indicates that farmers’ suicides have come down by 80% in subsequent years,” the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly said. “It means that the loan waiver offer had achieved some success. This is why we are now demanding that the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra should also take the similar action,” he said. Vikhe Patil was speaking to reporters after holding a joint meeting with the leaders of all Opposition parties. The Congress and the NCP have been stridently demanding complete loan waiver for farmers on the floor of legislature and are being joined by the members of Shiv Sena. Vikhe Patil said that loan waiver was the most crucial decision state can take at this moment “in view of suicides committed by at least 9,000 farmers in state.” When asked about Sena’s support to the demand, Vikhe Patil said, “Loan waiver is our demand from day one. If any other party wishes to join us, we welcome them. But we are not banking on their support.” Meanwhile, senior NCP leader Jayant Patil has dismissed a proposal by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to form a delegation comprising leaders from Opposition to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking package for farmers. “Similar methods have been used by the same government in the last two years and we were misled. The BJP is in the power in the state as well as at the Centre. It is up to their leaders now to grant and implement loan waiver,” he said. Justifying the loan waiver demand, he said the state government can directly pay to farmers rather than giving the amount to banks. “We believe in farmers. If government pays farmers, they will use the money to repay their debt..Just pass a one-line resolution that farmers’ loans will be waived off and Opposition parties will cooperate with the government in its functioning,” Patil said. Responding to a query, the former state Finance Minister said the BJP has not yet taken any decision on granting reservation to Dhangar (shepherd) community though they had promised to do so in first Cabinet meeting after coming to power. “This shows the seriousness of the government towards the issues of people and communities,” Patil said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Odisha artist creates Radha Krishna sand sculpture for Holi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the eve of Holi, sand artist Manas Sahoo has created a sand sculpture of Lord Radhakrishna playing Holi, depicting the essence of the festival on the golden sea beach.This sand sculpture is symbolic of the grace of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha that brings colors in everyone?s life on earth.This sculpture is five feet high and 15 feet long and is built with 20 tons of sand.Sahoo is the finalist of the popular reality show ‘India’s got talent khoj II’.Also, he has participated in near about 12 International sand sculpture championships and festivals around the world and has won many prizes for India.

Rajya Sabha adjourned till Friday due to the death of a sitting member

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day on Thursday without transacting any business as a mark of respect to the memory of its sitting member Haji Abdul Salam who died recently. When the House met for the second part of the Budget session, Chairman Hamid Ansari mentioned the passing away of Salam on February 28 at the age of 69 years. Salam represented Manipur in the Upper House since April 2014.”In the passing away of Haji Abdul Salam, the country has lost a distinguished parliamentarian, an able administrator and a dedicated social worker,” Ansari observed in his obituary reference.He also referred to the passing away of former members Puttapaga Radhakrishna, P Shiv Shanker, Syed Shahabuddin and former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray who was also a member of the Upper House. Shahabuddin, who passed away on March 4 at the age of 81 years, represented Bihar in Rajya Sabha from July 1979 to April 1984.A writer and ideologue, he was known for his strong belief in the federal structure of India, Ansari said, adding in his passing away, the country has lost a noted diplomat, scholar and a distinguished parliamentarian.Ray passed away on March 6 at the age of 90 years. He represented Odisha in the Upper House form April 1974 to April 1980. In his death, the country has lost a distinguished parliamentarian, an able administrator and a dedicated social worker, Ansari said.Radhakrishna, an advocate by profession who represented Andhra Pradesh in Rajya Sabha from April 1984 to April 1990, died on January 27 at the age of 72 years.In his death, the country has lost an able parliamentarian and a noted lawyer, Ansari said.Shiv Shanker, who passed away on February 27 at the age of 87 years, represented Gujarat in the Upper House from May 1985 to August 1987 and from August 1987 to August 1993, with Ansari saying the country has lost a legal luminary, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator. “We deeply mourn the passing away” of a sitting member and four former members, he said after which the House stood in silence as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed.He then adjourned the House till Friday.

Maha government plans to restructure water conservation dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government is planning to restructure the water conservation department to effectively monitor and control implementation of its flagship programme — Jalyukt Shivar Yojana. “Restructuring of the department will be done on the lines of the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) to monitor and effectively implement the Jalyukt Shivar scheme,” water conservation minister Ram Shinde informed the legislative assembly in reply to a debate on the yojana. Shinde said till July last year 24 TMC storage capacity had been created while till the end of December 2016 42 TMC water storage capacity has been created. Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded an audit into the donations made under the head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the scheme. He alleged that the works under this scheme are violating environment rules as well. “From people’s involvement (in the scheme) it is now turning to benefit contractors,” alleged Vikhe-Patil. Replying to Vikhe-Patil’s demand for audit, Shinde said there is a provision for the same. “Even the CSR donations are audited by the company which makes it,” he said. The budgeted allocation for the scheme in 2016-17 was Rs 7871 crore. However, 1,265 works could not be started due to the poll code, informed Shinde.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra Assembly condoles death of former members

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Assembly today paid rich tributes to its former members Jambuvantrao Dhote and Chandrakant Chhajed who passed away earlier this year. The House also condoled the death of its other former members – Anandrao Kondiba Desai, Punjaji Bapuji Kadu Patil, Manikrao Ramchandra Aapotikar, Wamanrao Bhokare, Babusing Rathod and Chandrashekhar Bhosale. The motion of condolence was moved by Chief MInister Devendra Fadnavis and seconded by Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Group leaders of various parties in the House also spoke on the occasion. A two-minute silence was observed by the members as a mark of respect to the departed souls. Meanwhile, a discussion on the Governor’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses will be taken up on March 8 and 9 and the Chief MInister will reply to the debate on March 9, Speaker Haribhau Bagde said. Three Bills – Mumbai Municipal corporation (amendment) Bill 2017, Mumbai Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra Municipal Corporation (amendment) Bill 2017, and Maharashtra Grampanchayat and Maharashtra Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti (amendment) Bill 2017 were reintroduced. Meanwhile, supplementary demands to the tune of Rs 11,104 crore were tabled in the Maharashtra Legislature on the first day of the Budget session.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha: Star campaigners such as Nagma, Raza Murad roped in ahead of municipal corporation, ZP polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia, actors Nagma and Raza Murad are among the 40 star campaigners that Maharashtra Congress has named for the upcoming elections to 25 zilla parishads (ZP) and nine municipal corporations, excluding Mumbai.The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) informed the names of the 40 star campaigners to the State Election Commission (SEC) in a letter on Thursday.Apart from Scindia, whose family hails from Western Maharashtra, actors Nagma and Raza Murad, the other names include AICC general secretary Mohan Prakash, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan, former state chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Narayan Rane.Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and deputy chairman of Legislative Council Manikrao Thakre are also among the campaigners.Elections to ten municipal corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune, will be held on February 21, while polls to 25 ZPs will be held in two phases on February 16 and 21, followed by counting of votes on February 23.

Book on Rao’s tenure as Maharashtra Governor released

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today released a book, `In the Service of the People’, about Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s two years’ term in Maharashtra. At a function at Raj Bhavan, the Chief Minister presented the first copy of the book to former President Pratibha Patil in the presence of the Governor and other dignitaries. Chairman of Maharashtra Legislative Council Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Speaker of Assembly Haribhau Bagade, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil were present. The book, compiled by the Governor’s secretariat, highlights the important work done by Rao since taking charge as Governor in August 2014, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said. It also chronicles, through photographs, the important functions attended by him and visits undertaken to different parts of the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kerala: Local BJP leader dies of burns after his house is set ablaze, strike called on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After yet another incident of an attack on a BJP worker in Kerala, the party has called a strike on Saturday to protest against the death of C Radhakrishnan, a local BJP leader, at Kanjikkode in Palakkad.According to an Indian Express report, Radhakrishnan’s house was allegedly set on fire by CPI (M) men in the wee hours of December 28 and he succumbed to his injuries on Friday. Apart from Radhakrishna, his brother Kannan, wife Vimala and nephew Adarsh also sustained burns while trying to douse the fire. While the police has arrested three CPI (M) workers, Kannan and Vimala are still battling for life at hospital in Thrissur.Radhakrishnan’s cattle shed was set ablaze initially, followed by his three bikes as a result of which an LPG cylinder kept near the bike exploded. The fire thus spread to neighbouring room where he was sleeping.The attack on his house was an aftermath of the clashes between CPI (M) and BJP workers which has been on for a quite sometime now in Palakkad.

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