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Indian Navy ship traces 9 Kochi fishermen off Lakshadweep

An Indian Navy ship on Monday located a fishing boat with nine crew members, reportedly missing from this city for the last 15 days, off Lakshadweep, a Defence spokesman said.The boat, Island Queen, was located by INS Kolkata 132 nautical miles north of Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, he said.They have been provided with food and water.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri “All of them are safe… They are coming on their own their boat to Kochi,” he said.The vessel was reportedly missing for last 15 days and a request was received from local administration to search for it, he added.The spokesman further said the naval ship continued with them for some time before going for another rescue operation.Also readSri Lankan Navy chase away 1,700 Tamil Nadu fishermen, ‘snap’ fishing nets
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Ease of Doing Business: MADC appointed a coordinator for fast track development of airports in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an effort to boost ease of doing business and facilitate smooth development of airports and connectivity, the state government has taken a crucial step to appoint Maharashtra Airports Development Company (MADC) as a coordinator and facilitator for existing 28 airports and development of upcoming ones.The government expects as a coordinator MADC will be best suited to link with various departments and agencies of the state government and the Centre and help curtail the time needed for clearances.In case of 28 airports, there are different owners and operators including Airports Authority of India (AAI), Ministry of Defence, MADC, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, City and Industrial Development Corporation and Reliance Group of Companies. Besides, the development of existing airports is currently being carried out by several departments thus creating an issue of coordination and possible delays.The government’s move comes after aviation experts and industry players had made series of representation for putting in place a special mechanism for hassle-free operations of all those 28 airports which will be helpful to boost the development of a respective region.Government official told DNA,”MADC as a coordinator will play a crucial role in an early completion of development works including up-gradation of the infrastructure. Besides, it will ensure a policy continuity while expediting the development works.’’This apart, the government has appointed MADC as the nodal agency on the lines of Airports Authority of India for the implementation of regional connectivity scheme (RCS) in the state.The state government has already inked an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India for the development of 10 airports – Kolhapur, Shirdi, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg under the RCS which is a part of ambitious National Civil Aviation Policy, 2010. RCS aims at developing regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development from the Centre.The state government will reduce a tax on air fuel for a period of 10 years and will provide essential land free of cost. The proposed airports will be provided with roads, rail, Metro and waterway connectivity. The state government will also provide electricity, water, and necessary facilities at concessional rates.

‘Shetkari Samvad Yatra’: After attacking BJP, Uddhav Thackeray to address public meetings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After attacking the BJP on issues ranging from farm distress to demonetization, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will hit the roads later this month for a series of public meetings and interactions.The ‘Shetkari Samvad Yatra’ will be launched from Western Maharashtra, with Uddhav addressing a rally at Kolhapur on November 24. On November 25 and 26, the Sena chief will also travel to Sangli and Karad in Satara district for public meetings.“The Shetkari Samvad Yatra will help us reach out to farmers and other interest groups like traders and even the common man. Uddhavji will cover all districts by March 2018 beginning with Western Maharashtra,” said a senior Shiv Sena leader.He added that during the campaign, Uddhav would hold public meetings and also interact with farmers and residents in nearby areas. “Apart from farmers, we will also tap the discontent among the small traders, shopkeepers, and youth, who are deprived of jobs,” the Shiv Sena leader said.The Sena leader added that Uddhav would also interact with grape producers and sugarcane farmers in the area to “understand their problems.”Other areas like the Konkan, Vidarbha, North Maharashtra and Marathwada will be covered in the subsequent phases of the campaign.Western Maharashtra, which accounts for over 70 of the 288 seats in the state assembly, has been a traditional base of the Congress and the NCP. However, of late, the BJP has been able to make inroads in the region by pocketing civic bodies and Zilla Parishads in districts like Pune, Sangli, Solapur, and Kolhapur. The Shiv Sena claims that with the BJP government’s popularity on the wane, it can fancy its chances in the sugar belt.Uddhav will also visit Aurangabad on November 12 and Ratnagiri on November 15 for party programs.

Maharashtra: Amid Diwali festival, MSRTC staff goes on strike, passengers left stranded

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees have gone on the indefinite strike from Monday midnight to press for their demand of salary hike.The strike amid the festive season of Diwali has left thousands of passengers stranded at various bus stations across the state.The workers of MSRTC have asserted that they won’t call off their strike until their demands were met.Not even a single bus has left from the Bus Depot in major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Ratnagiri, Solapur and Thane.The employees have assembled at the respective bus stations, however, heavy police force has been deployed to avoid any untoward incident.More than 17 thousand buses run throughout the entire state, where about one lakh workers have gone on strike.”The bus suddenly stopped and we had to wait for hours, after which we were told that whoever has bought a ticket, can take back their money,” a passenger told ANI.Although the buses have not moved an inch, the passengers are sitting in hope that the strike will end and they may be able to reach their respective destinations.

Maharashtra museum to get better security, go solar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To protect around 40,000 artifacts, which includes rare paintings, sculptures, coins, terracotta figures and finds from excavation sites, the state directorate of archeology and museums is stepping up security in its museums.It is also looking at lighting up its 13 museums with solar energy to tide over power cuts in rural Maharashtra and reduce its electricity bills.Tejas Garge, director, Directorate of Archeology and Museums, said they had beefed up security in these museums and approved the setup of high-resolution CCTV systems. Five museums, namely Nagpur, Aundh, Sindhkhedraja and the two at Kolhapur, will be covered in the first phase at a Rs 4.35 crore cost with work on the project being started after Diwali. The work on other museums will be taken up in subsequent phases.The state has 13 museums at Nagpur, Sindkhedraja, Mahur, Ter, Aurangabad, two in Kolhapur, Sangli, Aundh (Satara district), Nashik, Thiba Palace (Ratnagiri), Paithan and Satara.In December 2014, an 85-kg cannon at the Sindkhedraja museum in Buldhana, which is housed in the palace of Raje Lakhujirao Jadhav, the father of Rajmata Jijabai and the grandfather of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was stolen. However, it was recovered later. Garge said they were strengthening security and surveillance measures in the museums after the incident.Sources said that the directorate was hamstrung by lack of adequate government funding with just Rs 5 crore being allocated for the upkeep of museums, which affected implementation of security measures.”We are planning to generate solar power for our museums to tide over power cuts caused by load-shedding. This will be launched with the Nagpur museum,” said Garge. Most museums are in smaller towns where power cuts are common.”The work order has been issued to the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) and will be completed this financial year. Next year, around five more museums, namely, Aundh, Satara, Ter and the two at Kolhapur, will be powered through solar energy. It will also control power bills,” added Garge.While the Aurangabad museum has a collection of sculptures, the Shri Bhawani museum at Aundh, built by local royal Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi has a huge collection of paintings including miniatures from various schools like Kangra and Jaipur.The Ramlingappa Lamture Museum at Ter in Osmanabad has finds from the Ter excavation site, which dates back to the Satavahan-era and saw trade being conducted with the Romans and the museum at the Thiba palace in Ratnagiri will get replicas of ships used by Navies like those of the Marathas, Dutch, British, Portuguese and Siddhis. The Nagpur museum has paintings by Sawlaram Haldankar.

Manpower, funds crunch hits Maharashtra’s plans for forensic testing mini labs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government’s plans to augment its forensic testing infrastructure by establishing five new mini labs across Maharashtra may be hit by a manpower and funds crunch.These labs were to be set up this year at Thane, Dhule, Chandrapur, Solapur and Ratnagiri.”The idea was to have forensic testing facilities within a distance of 200 km across the state so that police can bring in evidence for analysis faster while ensuring that quality of the sample is maintained. It will ensure the sample is not degraded or compromised due to factors like temperature variations,” a senior state government official told DNA.These mini labs, which were to have biology and toxicology divisions, would help law-enforcement agencies investigate cases of rape, sexual assault, murder, attempt to murder, suicides and viscera testing. These two departments have the maximum number of samples pending for tests.”We have a large number of vacant posts of technical staff and this, combined with the state government’s poor financial position may lead to the plan being pushed forward to next year. Meanwhile, we are identifying suitable sites for these mini labs in these cities,” the official said.He noted that of the around 1,330 sanctioned technical posts in the forensic science laboratories, just 770 were filled up. However, the state government had agreed to fill 444 of these vacant posts in addition to recruiting 650 personnel on contract basis to make up for the staff shortfall. The official said once these posts were filled up, it would be possible for the expansion plans to be rolled out.Maharashtra has a state-level forensic science laboratory in Mumbai and seven across the state (Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Amravati, Nanded, Kolhapur and Aurangabad). It has DNA testing facilities at Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad. The state government has deployed 45 mobile forensic support units in each of the nine police commissionerates and 36 district police headquarters.In its report submitted to the state legislature in the recent monsoon session, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) noted that the forensic science laboratories in the state were affected by the shortage of technical staff, which led to 34,171 samples pending investigation as on January 1, 2017.

Couple jumps to death in front of a train

According to the GRP, the couple — Suresh Shinde, 23 and Vrushali Lalage, 19 — were found on the tracks between Badlapur and Vangani <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A young couple from Ratnagiri allegedly killed themselves by jumping in front of a running train between the Badlapur and Vangani railway stations. The Kalyan Government Railway Police (GRP) has registered an accidental death case. Meanwhile, cops probing the case claim that the couple took the extreme step because their families were opposed to their relationship.According to the GRP, the couple — Suresh Shinde, 23 and Vrushali Lalage, 19 — were found on the tracks between Badlapur and Vangani. The motorman alerted the Badlapur station master, after which a police team located the bodies and sent it for autopsy. “The family was against their relationship, so Vrushali eloped with Suresh,” said a senior GRP officer, adding, “We have registered a case of accidental death and have contacted the families. We are also taking their statements, and if we receive a complaint, will also register a case of abetment of suicide.”

Complainant in rape case named accused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new twist to the gang rape and murder case of a 22-year-old woman, the Shivaji Nagar police have named the complainant Nilesh Khobragade as the third accused in the case. The police on Friday produced the accused in the court and three of them were remanded into police custody till September 16.”The complainant Khobragade lied to the Ratnagiri police about the entire incident, it is when on the basis of his statement FIR was registered and transferred to Shivaji Nagar police. But during interrogations we learnt that Khobragade was lying and we turned him into an accused in the case,” said a senior police officer.”The complainant became party to the crime and later his car was used to dump the body. We are yet to ascertain the motive behind the killing but suspect that it is relationship going wrong which led to the killing but we are probing the case through all angles.”, said the officer.Three accused Akshay Valode, 25, Nikhlesh Patil, 24 and 38-year-old Khobragade were arrested by the Shivaji Nagar police for allegedly gang-raping and strangulating the woman, whose father is an assistant sub-inspector with Nagpur police.

Declare loan waiver beneficiaries’ names or face protests:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena, which shares power with BJP in Maharashtra, today said if the government did not declare the names of loan waiver beneficiaries within the next eight days, the party would hold strong protests. The Sena’s warning comes on the day it held “dhol bajao” (drum beating) protests outside the district central cooperative (DCC) banks across the state to demand the list of beneficiaries of the farm loan waiver announced by the state government. “Farmers’ suicides have taken place on a large scale in the state. There have been demands of a loan waiver from a long time. All political parties were against the BJP in the last Assembly session, which resulted in a complete shut-down of business,” Sena minister Ramdas Kadam told reporters here. He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had then assured Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray of a loan waiver for farmers. A party delegation, along with the CM even met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, but there was no help from the Centre. “If a farmer does not have the money to repay loan instalments, bank officials go to their homes and play drums and post notices outside. Today, we did the same thing outside the DCC banks to ensure loan waiver decision is implemented and the list of beneficiaries is made public,” he said. “Within eight days we want details of farmers who got loan waiver benefits, got money in the One Time Settlement Scheme. We will see if the figures provided by the CM and the banks match. We do not distrust the CM, but only want to see if 89 lakh farmers have actually benefited,” Kadam said. If we do not get the list of beneficiaries from banks within eight days, strong protests would be held, he said. Meanwhile, a release issued by the party said the protests were held at Nashik, Hingoli, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Buldhana, Ahmednagar, Beed, Thane, Dhule, Nandurbar, Satara, Manmad, Soygaon, Nagpur, Sangli, Mulshi, Pune, Dharashiv, Solapur, Washim, Manora taluka, Karanja, Jalgaon and Bhandara districts. “Bank officials were asked to display the names of the beneficiaries on the doors of the banks,” it said. The Fadnavis government had last month announced the “historic” loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore for farmers and subsequently laid down the eligibility criteria for availing it. Last week, the government expanded the ambit of the loan waiver scheme to include even those farmers, who had taken loans after 2008. Earlier, the loan waiver scheme titled the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sanman Yojana, covered only those farmers who have the outstanding debts between 1 April 2012 and 30 June 2016. The CM also extended the date to repay overdue of loans taken by farmers in the year 2016-2017 and who are regular payees from earlier 30 June 2017 to 31 July 2017.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IMD predicts heavy showers in Mumbai, Konkan in next 2 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While some districts in Maharashtra have received less than average rainfall so far in this monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) today predicted heavy showers in coastal areas, including Mumbai, over the next two days. As per the IMD forecast issued today, few places in Konkan, Goa and parts of Madhya Maharashtra would get heavy rainfall for the next two days. Few places in Mumbai would also get heavy showers in next 48 hours from tomorrow morning, it said. “Rest of the areas would receive light showers or have cloudy conditions for next 48 hours starting from the morning of June 30,” it said. While some parts of the state, like Mumbai, recorded surplus rainfall of the season so far, some districts in the state, including Satara and Kolhapur, have received less than average rains. Mumbai has received 541 mm rainfall since June 1 (till today), which is 12.7 mm more than the average rainfall Mumbai gets by June 29. On the other hand, districts like Kolhapur (-62.5mm), Ratnagiri (-28.2mm), Satara (-95.7mm), Sangli (-62.3mm) and Panjim (-64.1mm) have received less rainfall, the database updated today said. Madhya Maharashtra received normal showers in the last 24 hours. Chopda in Jalgaon district in north Maharashtra received 40 mm rainfall, while Nashik, Hingoli and neighbouring districts received rainfall in between 10 to 20 mm in last 24 hours, it said. The catchment areas of major dams like Koyna, which alone generates more than 2,000 MW power for the state, has been receiving good showers. The rainfall recorded in the region was more than 200 mm in the last couple of days.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Coast Guard divers recover drowned policeman’s body

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a midnight operation at Jaitapur in coastal Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, Coast Guard sea divers recovered the body of a drowned policeman. “At about 11 pm last night, police control room sent a distress call to Coast Guard Station Commander at Ratnagiri, requesting assistance to locate and recover a missing policeman,” a Coast Guard spokesperson said. A team of four Coast Guard sea divers was sent and the body of constable Prashant Vichare (26) was recovered from the sea after a four-hour operation, the spokesperson said. “The entire operation was conducted in an extremely inclement weather in low visibility conditions due to darkness,” he said. Coast Guard was also the first agency to respond during the Mahad bridge collapse incident last year, the spokesperson noted.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra government to formulate beach shack policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has decided to come up with a beach shack policy to promote beach tourism along the coastline, develop the coastal areas, generate revenue and employment. Beach shacks will be temporary sheds, where basic amenities like toilets, furniture, fire cover, first aid kits would be provided by shack owners. To set up a shack, state will allot licenses to the locals. “Shacks will also provide tourists with shower, changing rooms, lockers, food stalls, drinking water facilities, beach safety instruments and a small stall of the tourist information centre,” Minister of State for Tourism Madan Yerawar said. “The state government intends to implement a beach shack policy on the lines of neighbouring Goa,” he said. “The state has a big coastal area like Tarkarli, Shirola-Velagar, Murud, Dapoli, Ganpatipule, Alibaug, Dive-Agar, Bordi and others which can be developed as tourist spots with coastal amenities and facilities like shacks, umbrella or huts,” said Yerawar. A senior official said that various departments are involved in this project. “Home department needs to handle safety and security related issues, cleanliness and garbage disposal needs local urban body that falls under urban development department while village council will be handled by rural development department. “There are health related facilities to provide, collector office, environment department, revenue, maritime board, ports and also excise if liquor is to be served,” he said. Yerawar, minister of state for tourism held a meeting with various department officials and discussed the issue today. The minister instructed tourism department officials to frame the policy involving other departments and appoint private consultants if needed. “The minister wants the policy along with the comprehensive beach tourism development plan of the coastal area to be ready in a month to be tabled before the state cabinet meeting to get a final nod,” said an official. The state has a 720 km long coastline spread over seven districts — Mumbai, Mumbai suburban, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha agri crisis: Pawar dubs CM’s allegations as "childish"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The farmers’ stir took place as the Fadnavis government had “fallen asleep”, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has said, dubbing as childish the chief minister’s allegation that some people wanted to create a situation of anarchy in Maharashtra by using farmers. Devendra Fadnavis had yesterday announced the “biggest- ever” farm loan waiver amid the statewide agitation by cultivators who stalled movement of vegetables and milk over their demands. As some sections of protesting agriculturists refused to call off the agitation, Fadnavis, without naming the Opposition Congress and NCP, alleged that “some people are trying to create anarchy in the state” by using farmers. Reacting to it, Pawar said, “None of the political parties have taken part in the strike called by farmers. The chief minister’s allegations are childish. This is a strike of farmers and led by their representatives only.” “There is no point in giving a political colour to their agitation. Doing so does not suit the chief minister’s post,” Pawar said in Ratnagiri late last evening. He also said that, “The strike has taken place only because the government had fallen asleep.” “The chief minister has tried to create a rift between farmers to stop the strike,” Pawar alleged. Fadnavis yesterday said that the government will waive loans of farmers with small land-holding, and 80 per cent of such farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada will benefit. “We have announced the biggest-ever loan waiver for farmers, much more than what had been given by the previous government,” he said. Fadnavis said a committee will be formed to decide the details of loan waiver and it will ensure that needy farmers are not left out while wrong persons do not benefit, which happened in earlier loan waivers. The committee will have representatives of farmers too. While the chief minister agreed to grant the main demand of farmers, which was loan waiver, it emerged yesterday that there was no consensus among their leaders about calling off the protest, which continued in many places, blocking supply of milk and vegetables leading to their prices soaring in cities, including Mumbai. Also, at least 113 farmers were held during the protests across the state for resorting to violent methods like damaging public property, arson, etc, police earlier said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017: Maharashtra Board HSC Class 12th XII Exam Result 2017 announced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Board +2 HSC Results 2017:​ And the wait is over for the students who appeared for class 12th – HSC exam of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) as the result of class 12th XII 2017 has been declared on Tuesday, May 30.An estimated 15 lakh students appeared for the HSC examination in which out of nine regional divisions of the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board, Konkan topped the list for the sixth consecutive year with passing percentage of 95.20 and with Mumbai lagging at 88.21%.While 86.65% boys were successful, girls outnumbered them with a passing percentage of 93.50.Pune Divisional Board scored 91.16%, Aurangabad Divisional Board scored 89.83% and Latur and Nashik scored 88.22 % marks.Mumbai Divisional Board scored 88.21% against 86.08 in 2016The Maharashtra Board conducts exams within the state through nine divisional boards at Pune, Mumbai, Latur, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur, Amaravati and Ratnagiri.How to check your MSBSHSE Results 2017​:1. Visit either of the websites mentioned below.2. Click on ‘HSC Result 2017’3. Enter relevant details like name, roll no etc 4. Click on ‘Submit’5. Your Maharashtra 12th Board Result 2017 will be flashed on the screen. 6. Download the HSC result and take a printout of the result for future use.Maharashtra 12th board students please note MSBSHSE Plus two +2 Result will be available on these sites:mahresult.nic.in, hscresult.mkcl.org​ ​ or mahahsscboard.maharashtra.gov.in How to check MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017 via SMS: BSNL subscribers: Text MHSSC to 57766Idea, Vofafone, Reliance and Tata users: Message MAH12 to 58888111

Water scheme ‘scam’: Panel for suspension of 4 officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The committee set up to probe the alleged corruption in the Maharashtra government’s flagship water scheme in Ratnagiri has recommended suspension of four officials, a minister said today. Ratnagiri District Guardian Minister Ravindra Waikar said the panel submitted its report after visiting the sites from where there were complaints of irregularities. The scheme, Jalyukt Shivar, an initiative by the Devendra Fadnavis government towards farm-level water conservation, aims to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019. Senior Sena leader and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam recently alleged that the work done under the scheme in Dapoli, Khed and Mandangad tehsils of Ratnagiri was only on paper. Officials had cleared bills of Rs 10 crore for non-existent work, he had claimed. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had then questioned how it was different from irrigation scams during the previous Congress-NCP regime. Later, BJP’s Water Conservation Minister Ram Shinde had rejected the charge of irregularities, but said that Ratnagiri district collector was asked to conduct a probe. “Ratnagiri collector Pradeep Prabhakar set up a committee whose members visited and inspected a few areas of Nilavane in Khed and some in Dapoli taluka,” Waikar said. “They found that funds have been transferred into the account of deputy divisional agriculture officer but not paid to the contractor, while in the Nilavane case, money was paid to the contractor even as the work was sub-standard,” he said. “Hence, the committee recommended that four officials of the agriculture department be suspended,” he said. On the basis of the inquiry report, the collector recommended to the joint director of agriculture department to take action against the officials, the minister said. The Jalyukt Shivar project involves construction of cement and earthen stop dams, work on drains and digging of farm ponds.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Six sites across state get biodiversity heritage tag

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a boost for bio-diversity conservation and sustainable tourism, the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board has approved the status of biodiversity heritage sites for six sites across the state.VK Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and member secretary of the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB), said the board in its meeting on Wednesday had approved four sites, namely, Anjarle and Velas beaches (Ratnagiri), Landor Khori in Jalgaon, Waddham Park at Sironcha in Gadhchiroli.”The board will make a recommendation to the state government to declare these as biodiversity heritage sites,” he added, stating that two more places, namely the botanical garden at Ganeshkhind in Pune and Daldalkuhi in Gondia had also been approved subject to recommendations from the biodiversity management committees and local bodies.The first biodiversity heritage site in Maharashtra is ‘Glory of Allapalli,’ a 6-hectare patch of pristine forests in Gadchiroli. The biodiversity heritage tag will enhance conservation and protection status of these sites, preserve genetic stock, and encourage locals to boost their incomes from eco-friendly tourism thus encouraging participative conservation.Velas and Anjarle beaches at Ratnagiri on the Konkan coast are the nesting sites of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles. The Daldalkuhi area in Gondia’s Salekasa taluka is a swampy area like in Africa with a variety of ferns. Jalgaon’s Landor Khori forest and Shivaji Park are known for their rich vegetation, natural forest heritage and presence of migratory birds in the nearby Mehrun lake.Waddham park, which is a reserve forest in Naxalite-violence affected Gadchiroli district, has old plant and dinosaur fossils.Eco conservationThe biodiversity heritage site tag will create awareness among people about protected sites and enhance the conservation status of these sites.It will ensure a sense of belonging in local communities, who will ensure that the habitats are not harmed.

One dead, 35 injured as luxury bus topples over near Dadar TT circle

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 35-year-old passenger was killed after a private luxury bus overturned near Dadar TT in Dadar (east) on Sunday around at 4 am. Thirty five other passengers too suffered severe injuries in the accident. This is the second incident in two days, the first accident had taken place in Powai leaving one passenger on a luxury bus dead.The Borivli-bound bus of Riya Travels had started its journey from Devrukh in Ratnagiri when suddenly the driver Muthu Nadar, 35, lost control and hit the divider on the south-bound stretch ahead of Parsi Gymkhana between Dadar TT Circle and Ruia junction.Passenger Sainath Bhalekar, who was sitting beside the driver fell out of the bus when the bus overturned. He succumbed to severe injuries and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.”The injured passengers were rushed to Sion and KEM hospital for treatment. Four persons are in critical state while other suffered minor injuries and were discharged after the treatment,” said a Matunga police officer.”We brought the traffic under control after the bus was moved from the accident spot,” said the officer. “We have registered a case under sections 304 A (causing death by negligence), 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others), and 338 (causing grievous hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 182 of the Motor Vehicle Act against the driver,” said BM Kakad, Senior Inspector, Matunga police station.

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.)

Ramdas Kadam should have approached me before going to the media: Ram Shinde

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Shiv Sena Minister Ramdas Kadam for going to media against his own party, state minister for water conservation Ram Shinde on Tuesday suggested that Kadam was unhappy with Ratnagiri Guardian Minister, Shiv Sena leader Ravindra Waikar.Speaking to media persons on Tuesday, Shinde said that had Kadam approached him before going to the media, it would have been better. He said that he already has instituted inquiry in to the allegations made by Kadam.Kadam on Monday had criticised works under Jalyukta Shivar Yojana, the flagship scheme of BJP-Sena Government, alleging that there were corrupt practices.

Aadhaar-based app to secure coastline

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To protect Maharashtra’s porous and vulnerable coastline, the state government will authenticate the identity of the crew on ships and vessels using an Aadhaar-based biometric system.”We are making Aadhaar cards compulsory for seafarers from October,” Atul Patne, chief executive officer of Maharashtra Maritime Board, told DNA.Patne said the issue of validating identities of seafarers assumed significance as many boats employed people from neighbouring countries like Nepal.”We have developed this app as a coastal security measure. It will be compulsory for the crew of these vessels to carry their Aadhaar cards for verification in surprise checks,” said Sunil Mahajan, Information Technology officer, MMB.He added that the identity of these crew members will be verified through this Aadhaar-based crew validation system using tabs fitted with biometric scanners which will be given to the 54 port inspectors at the 48 ports spread out across Maharashtra’s 720-km coastline. This will help identify any unauthorised people on these boats.Mahajan said the system will be used for around 4,000 inland vessels like cargo and passenger transport ships, boats used in water sports, barges and tugs.The MMB grants certificate of competency (COC), which is a licence for staffers such as engine drivers and masters, on these vessels. These details will be seeded with the Aadhaar database.”This will help us verify the identity of the crew member, the boat on which he is working, his nature and class of employment and past records,” he noted.These details will also be shared periodically with security agencies like the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police.”We can validate a crew member using his Aadhaar card, biometrics and name. If he does not have his Aadhaar card, we can authenticate his identity using his name and biometrics. Any suspicious persons will be handed over to the police,” said Mahajan.The 1992 bomb blasts where explosives were unloaded on the beaches of Raigad district and the 26/11 terror attacks pointed to the vulnerability of Maharashtra’s coastline, which is spread over seven districts of Mumbai city and the suburbs, Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Work on Jaitapur project to start by 2018: French Foreign Secy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Foreign Secretary of France, Christian Masset, today said the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power project was important for his country and its work would start by the next year. “The project is very important for France. The work on the project will start by 2018 and the first reactor will get operational by 2025. All the six reactors can start generating power by 2027 and a total of 10,000 MW would be generated from the project,” Masset told reporters here today. He said that special security measures have been included in the project after studying nuclear disasters world over. The Jaitapur project in Ratnagiri district in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, where the French company Areva will be setting up the nuclear reactors, has been stuck for long due to differences over the cost of electricity to be generated. It has attracted strong opposition from various quarters on environmental and safety grounds. “Sixty per cent of the supplies for the project would be procured locally and participation of local industry in developing the project would be ensured,” Masset said. He assured that the power rates would be affordable. A delegation led by Masset met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his official residence ‘Varsha’ here. The CM directed the state officials to increase the public outreach and take necessary steps to ensure maximum employment to locals at the Jaitapur project. Fadnavis said people have several “misconceptions” about the project and to address their concerns, a dialogue with local officials needs to be established. “Information on security and safety aspects related to the project need to be given,” Fadnavis said. “Once there is a clarity on the rates of the power generated from the project, the schedule for the project can be announced and local people can be involved to ensure that the project gets completed early,” he added. Work on skill training needs to be undertaken immediately to ensure local people get employment from the project, he said. Fadnavis also informed the delegation about the state government’s “business-friendly” policies. Ambassador of France to India Alexandre Ziegler, too, was present on the occasion.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sahyadri tiger reserve sees arms inventory mapping

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To curb poaching in the Sahyadri tiger project, Maharashtra Forest Department is mapping out an inventory of arms licences issued in the districts in the vicinity of the reserve. The department will also collaborate with the police to crackdown on unlicensed weapons used in wildlife crimes like hunting for bush meat.“There are around 10,000 arms licences in the districts of Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur… We are launching an inventory mapping of these licences. We have sought information from the local Superintendents of Police,” V Clement Ben, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and field director of the STR, told DNA.He said forest personnel, who have wide-ranging powers under the prevailing wildlife laws, will then visit these arms license holders at routine intervals to inquire about the use of the weapons and to seek an inventory of the ammunition. This, Ben noted, will curb the use of these licensed weapons for wildlife-related offences.The forest department is also collaborating with the police in the districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri to crackdown on unlicensed and country-made weapons which may be used for such crimes.Last year, the tiger reserve authorities arrested around 50 people for crimes including poaching and illegal entry into the core area of the tiger reserve. Ben said this crackdown has helped send a stern message to poachers and hunters.Ben added that people from the Konkan used traditional hunting routes to enter the reserve from the crest of the Sahyadris. The forest department has stationed staff in these areas for better protection, and has also set up four eco-development committees under the Dr Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas Yojana to involve locals in conservation of forest, and also reduce their dependence on forests.“We are creating trekking routes on these traditional hunting routes,” said Ben, adding that this human presence will dissuade poachers. The resultant employment due to tourist inflows will also make locals stakeholders in the conservation.Prajyot Palve, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Chandoli National Park, said they had written to the police and revenue officials seeking details of licensed weapons. “A record will be kept and guards will visit gun licence holders every month to get details of the ammunition used. We can even seize unlicensed guns in buffer areas and lodge police complaints,” he added, noting that many licenses had been given out for purposes like protecting crops from animals before the tiger reserve was notified.On January 15, Palve and his team arrested nine people who had hunted a wild boar with two single-bore guns and also hunted dogs at Chandoli.Last year, the authorities had arrested nine people from Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri for poaching two mouse deer. Two country-made rifles and weapons were seized from these poachers who were caught moving around in the Chandoli jungles by camera traps .According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, within three months of the declaration of an area as a sanctuary, every person residing in or within ten kilometres of such sanctuary and holding a licence granted under the Arms Act, 1959, shall apply to the Chief Wildlife Warden or authorised officers, for registration. Moreover, no new licences under the Arms Act shall be granted within a radius of ten kilometres without the prior concurrence of the Chief Wildlife Warden.The Sahyadri tiger project Western Maharashtra’s only tiger reserve and is spread over the Koyna wildlife sanctuary and the Chandoli national park covering a 1,165.56 sq km area including a 600.12 sq km core and 565.45 sq km buffer zone.However, the reserve suffers from inadequate tiger numbers. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves and around 190 big cats.

Maharashtra doctor arrested for conducting sex determination tests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Close on the heels of the foeticide racket at Sangli, the state police have unearthed an illegal sex determination racket and have arrested a government doctor.Dr Madhukar Chandrakant Shinde, 45, who was absconding from work in Ratnagiri for the past year and a half, was nabbed by a Pune rural police team in a decoy operation. He was arrested with three more people, including an alleged agent who would get in clients. Shinde allegedly chargedRs 20,000 for the test using a portable sonography machine and has admitted to conducting 40 such procedures, though the police suspect the real number may be higher.Inspector SB Chavan of the Yavat police station said they had arrested Shinde, who hails from Phaltan in Satara, for allegedly conducting sex determination procedures on pregnant women. Shinde conducted these examinations in a vehicle or at the women’s houses.Dr Satish Pawar, Director General, health services, Maharashtra, confirmed that Shinde was absconding from work as medical officer at the Ratnagiri civil hospital, and the procedure to terminate his services had been launched four months ago.On March 10, the police sent a lady constable who pretended to be pregnant as a decoy. Shinde, who was accompanied by two more pregnant women, took her to a house at Birobachiwadi in Daund, where he conducted the test on a woman waiting there, said Dr Rupali Pakhare, medical officer, Daund sub-district hospital, who was part of the team.Police sub-inspector Vikas Nale told DNA that Shinde, who holds an MBBS degree and a post-graduate diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (DGO) had been posted at four places in the past as a medical officer.”He was posted at the Ratnagiri district government hospital but absconded from work… After this, he was conducting sex determination tests on pregnant women. We suspect Shinde was involved such activities earlier too,” said Nale.Nale added that Shinde admitted to having purchased the machine at an exhibition in New Delhi, and after his arrest on March 10, claimed he was only conducting sex determination and was not referring the women to other gynaecologists for medical termination.

7 killed, 1 hurt as car rams into tree on Mumbai-Goa Highway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least seven persons were killed and one was seriously injured when a speeding car rammed into a tree on Mumbai-Goa highway in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra’s Konkan region this morning. All the victims hailed from Mumbai, police said. The speeding car was heading towards Goa when the mishap occurred at around 7.40 AM near Khanu village under the jurisdiction of Ratnagiri rural police, they said. The driver apparently lost control over the vehicle which rammed into the roadside tree. Locals ran towards the car after the mishap. Three persons died on the spot, police said. Police were informed about the incident and all the injured persons were taken to Ratnagiri Civil Hospital where four succumbed to injuries before admission. The deceased have been identified as – Prashant Gurav, Sachin Sawant, Akshay Karekar, Mayur Pednekar, Nihal Kolekar, Kedar Kolekar and Vaibhav Manave. One person injured in the mishap is undergoing treatment in hospital, police added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Detailed study of Maha’s coastal ecosystem on the cards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government will launch an extensive study to map the biodiversity and rich aquatic ecosystem along Maharashtra’s 720-km coastline. While revealing the presence of hitherto unrecorded species of plants, birds, and marine life, the study and compendium will help identify threats to this critical habitat and enable stakeholders to undertake interventions and mitigate measures.”We will study the diversity of flora and fauna across the coastline… This will reveal the rich marine life off Maharashtra’s coast,” N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of the state forest department’s mangrove cell told DNA. He said that the study would map the floral and faunal diversity across the coast, and added that while districts like Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg had been studied extensively, it was necessary to extend this to the state’s entire coastline.The study will be conducted after identifying specialised institutions as partners and will be launched in the coming financial year. It is expected to be completed by 2018-end.He said that similar studies in two coastal districts (Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri) had thrown up unknown details of aquatic life and birds. “Earlier, it was thought that Sindhudurg had around 50 to 100 dolphins. 615 dolphins were counted only in Sindhudurg during the study. This includes just the number of mature adults that have a characteristic dorsal fin, as calves do not have this distinguishing characteristic,” said Vasudevan, adding that Bryde’s whales and Blue Whales were also encountered.Maharashtra has a 720-km coastline, however, development around the coastline and resultant human intervention and pollution have created a threat for this fragile marine ecosystem.

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