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In-principle approval for 19 greenfield airports given, Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju tells Lok Sabha

The government has given “in- principle” approval for 19 greenfield airports, of which some would be developed through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Lok Sabha was informed today.Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the country’s civil aviation sector was growing leaps and bounds but the safety of air passengers will never be compromised.Emphasising that air travel is growing leaps and bounds, Raju said during Question Hour that the number of aircraft in the country was around 548 compared to about 395 in 2014.Since the government came to power in 2014, around 50 aircraft is being added every year, he said.Responding to a query whether shortage of skill was affecting the aviation sector, Raju said there is a problem and mismatch of skill.The minister asserted that safety of passengers was “never compromised and will never be compromised”, adding that safety and security was paramount for the government.When a member expressed concern over air safety against the backdrop of incidents involving Pratt & Whitney engine- powered aircraft, Raju said, “passenger safety is never put at risk”.Out of the 19 greenfield airports for which “in- principle” approval has been granted, some are to be developed through the PPP model.”Mopa in Goa, Navi Mumbai and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Bhogapuram and Dagadarthi in Andhra Pradesh, Hasan in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala and Dholera in Gujarat” would be through PPP model by the respective state governments with a total investment of around Rs 27,000 crore, Raju said.The responsibility of implementing these projects rests with the state governments concerned, he noted.To a query, the minister said, “we like more airports to come,” and the government would work with the states in this regard.

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Holiday for all schools in Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Thane, Raigad and Palghar on Tuesday: Vinod Tawde

In wake of Cyclone Ockhi, as a precautionary measure, the state government has decided to declare holiday for all the schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Sindhudurg, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts.Minister Vinod Tawde has tweeted that this precautionary holiday is being declared for the safety of the students due to serious weather predictions owing to cyclone Ockhi by the IMD.He wrote: “Precautionary holiday declared on 5/12/17 for schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Sindhudurga, Thane, Raigad and Palghar Districts for the safety of the students due to the serious weather predictions on #CycloneOckhi #MumbaiRains.”India’s Metrological Department said light rains are likely to occur over north Konkan and Goa including Mumbai tonight. Several districts in Gujarat will also receive “light rains with increased intensity”, the weather forecaster said, adding, that sea conditions will become rough over north Maharashtra and Gujarat coast.The IMD has warned fishermen in the Maharashtra and Gujarat area not to venture into the sea. India’s defence forces are continuing efforts to airlift fishermen in the area who have been caught in the cyclone.India has deployed ten Naval ships and eight aircrafts to assist in rescue and relief effort. The cyclone has claimed 14 lives in Kerala and Tamil Nadu with several fishermen still missing.
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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.

Narayan Rane claims Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis asked him to join NDA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior Maharashtra politician Narayan Rane, who resigned from the Congress party about two weeks ago, said today that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited him to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.Rane, who met Fadnavis at the chief minister’s residence ‘Varsha’ here, told PTI that he has sought two days to decide.Fadnavis could not be contacted for his comment.Rane quit the Congress late last month and floated a new party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh.”In my meeting with the chief minister this evening, I was given an offer to become a part of the NDA. I have sought two days’ time to think about the proposal,” Rane said.He quit Congress, alleging that the party reneged its promise to make him Maharashtra’s chief minister when he joined it in 2005 after leaving the Shiv Sena.The Sena is a part of the NDA.A prominent leader from the influential Maratha community, Rane, hails from Sindhudurg district of the Konkan region. He became Maharashtra’s the chief minister of Maharashtra in 1999 when he was in the Shiv Sena. P

Heritage buildings to get QR code

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The next time you are intrigued by a heritage structure in south Mumbai, all you will have to do is use your smartphone’s camera to find out more about it. The department of tourism is soon planning to equip all heritage structures in south Mumbai with a QR code that will provide detailed information and pictures of the structure on one’s phone.State minister for tourism Jaykumar Rawal said that the technology will be handy for tourists. He added, “Since Mumbai has a number of heritage buildings with a rich history, there is a need to provide this information to tourists especially international tourists. Right from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Horniman Circle, there are many heritage structures in the area.”Rawal took a heritage walk, organised by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), around the area to mark World Tourism Day on Wednesday. Minister of state for tourism Madan Yerawar accompanied Rawal.Rawal added that the tourism department has started training guides to promote tourism. He said that 20 guides each from four cities — Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Sindhudurg — have been selected for training in the first phase. He also said that the government is planning to introduce battery-operated vehicles at tourist spots to curb pollution and provide job opportunities.

Ex-Congress leader Narayan Rane meets Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, who has quit the Congress, met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday. Rane quit the Congress earlier this week amid speculation that he was keen on joining the BJP. Rane met several Maharashtra BJP leaders, including state BJP chief Raosaheb Patil Danve, earlier in the day before meeting Shah, sources said. “Rane met Shah this evening. There was no political discussion during the meeting,” state BJP sources said here. Rane had gone to Delhi to invite Shah for inauguration of a hospital at Padwe in Kudal in Sindhudurg district, a source close to the Maratha leader said.Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, when asked recently about the possibility of Rane joining the saffron party, had said that a decision in this regard would be taken by Shah, as Rane is a senior leader and a former chief minister. Announcing his decision to quit the Congress in his home turf of Sindhudurg district in the coastal Maharashtra, Rane had accused the Congress of reneging on the promise of making him the state’s chief minister when he joined the party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena.He was the chief minister of Maharashtra in 1999 while in the Shiv Sena. “I have not yet decided where to go,” he said while announcing his exit from the Congress, adding that he would make an announcement before Dussehra, which falls on September 30. The former firebrand Sena leader had joined the Congress in 2005. Speculation about Rane joining the BJP was triggered by reports suggesting that he had met Shah in Ahmedabad a few months ago. During the recent Ganesh festival, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited Rane’s residence.

State’s sea levels may rise by 0.38 metre by 2050

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Few decades on, structures near Mumbai’s seashores may be inundated by rising sea levels. In what may drastically alter perceptions about climate change and its impact on coastal cities like Mumbai, a state government study has predicted a 0.38 metre rise in sea levels across Maharashtra by 2050.The Maharashtra Maritime Board’s (MMB) shoreline management plan (SMP) has suggested that construction near the coast in Mumbai must rise to a minimum 7.59 metres above mean sea levels by 2050 to withstand storm surges and floods. While Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications regulate a 500 metre horizontal region from the high-tide line, the SMP lays down a vertical impact of the sea-level rise. This can be incorporated into urban and land use planning, serving as baseline data for planners executing shoreline infrastructure projects like Mumbai’s coastal road.”This is Maharashtra’s first SMP. Developed countries like Singapore and Australia have SMPs and consider them as reference points in coastal planning,” explained Jitendra Raisinghani, Deputy Director, Co-Ordination, Asian Development Bank project, MMB.The MMB will circulate the SMP to state and central agencies, local bodies like BMC and district authorities.”The maximum reported tidal level in Mumbai is 2.83 metres above mean sea level. This means by 2050, another 0.38 metres is estimated to be added to it during high-tides due to sea-level rise,” explained a source. Sea-levels are estimated to rise by a uniform 0.38 metres across Maharashtra’s 720-km coast.The SMP predicts a maximum possible storm surge of 2.09 metres above prevailing sea levels for Mumbai, which will be a “freak event” but must be considered while planning major projects.”The southern parts of Maharashtra’s coast in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg have rocky cliffs to mitigate the sea-level rise. However, in the northern part, including Mumbai, it may cause inundation,” he said, stressing on the need to consider the SMP in urban and developmental planning.Construction standards will have to be based on the area, survey maps and height of the location from the mean sea level. The plan has been finalised after visiting all 103 beaches in the seven coastal districts. It is based on GIS maps and factors like Bathymetry, geo-morphic conditions, computer simulatuions about the climate change scenario, land use, sand quality, gradient of beaches into the sea, sea rise projections and wave impact for the next 50 and 100 years. Sea level changes, coupled with storm surges and increase in the magnitude of tropical cyclones will pose a risk to coastal cities.Mumbai has seven beaches, namely, Girgaum Chowpatty, Priyadarshani Park, Dadar, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Gorai.Raisinghani said around 90 per cent of Maharashtra’s beaches will be stable as they were sheltered. The around Rs 648 crore Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme (SCPMIP) is being implemented at 11 vulnerable coastal sites to protect the coastal ecosystem and check erosion and accretion. The SMP needs to be updated on a five-year time scale. Experts note that dams and sand mining in rivers affect supply of new sand to beaches and cause erosion.

Prabhu writes to telecom minister on poor connectivity in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has drawn the attention of Telecommunication Minister Manoj Sinha to the problem of poor telephone connectivity in Konkan region, including Sindhudurg district. A native of Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, Prabhu currently represents Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha. In a recent letter to Sinha, the railway minister has highlighted the “poor infrastructural facilities, shortage of staff and frequent disruptions in services after every rainfall and storm” in the region. “I would like to bring your attention towards the problems faced by the residents of Konkan region, including district Sindhudurg, with regard to the telephone connectivity,” Prabhu has said. Sinha is also the minister of state for railways. He has said the problems are “related to shortage of staff, need to upgrade infrastructure facilities, including national optical fibre network (NOFN) and base transceiver stations (BTS)”. Restoration of services becomes a major challenge owing to shortage of staff, he has said in the letter. Describing the topography of Sindhudurg as “unique”, Prabhu has said, “As a matter of fact, the mobile coverage is very poor in difficult and hilly areas of Sindhudurg district.” Seeking a permanent solution to the problem, he has demanded additional infrastructure and upgradation of the existing facilities in the region. Fast track implementation of national optical fibre network (NOFN) would complement the overall efforts of improving connectivity in the region, the letter said. “I request you to pay personal attention in the above matter and instruct officials to take necesary steps for extending the telecom services to the last mile in the district of Sindhdurg and Konkan region effectively,” Prabhu has said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra: Congress MLA Nitesh Rane ‘throws fish’ at govt officer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MLA Nitesh Rane on Thursday allegedly threw a fish at a senior Maharashtra government officer during a meeting called to discuss problems being faced by a section of the fishermen community in the Konkan region.In a video clip aired by local news channels, Rane is purportedly seen talking to the the Fisheries Commissioner of Sindhudurg in his office packed with people.It further showed that during the meeting, the legislator suddenly lost his cool, picked up a dead fish which was dumped on the commissioner’s table and threw it at him.The MLA from Kankavli in coastal Sindhudurg district said he did so to protest against the officer’s alleged “ignorant attitude” towards the woes of the traditional fishing community of the Konkan region.”There are two kinds of fishermen in Sindhudurg. One who use traditional methods for fishing and the other who use modern technology,” Rane told PTI over the phone.He said according to the state government’s rules, fishing areas are clearly demarcated for both communities.Yet, those using modern technology often cross over to the areas earmarked for fishermen using traditional methods, resulting in financial losses to them, he alleged.”We approached the Fisheries Commissioner of Sindhudurg and brought to his notice the government’s GR of February 4, 2016, that lays down clear rules for both communities of fishermen.”Due to ignorant attitude of officers like the Fisheries Commissioner, nothing is being done to enforce these rules due to which traditional fishermen are incurring huge losses,” he said.To add to the woes of traditional fishermen, their counterparts from neighbouring states also enter into the waters of Maharashtra, claimed Rane, son of senior Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane.”No steps have been taken to solve these issues.Traditional fishermen are facing injustice for long now. Thus, we had to take an aggressive stand today,” Rane said.

Cong MLA Nitesh Rane ‘throws fish’ at govt officer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MLA Nitesh Rane today allegedly threw a fish at a senior Maharashtra government officer during a meeting called to discuss problems being faced by a section of the fishermen community in the Konkan region. In a video clip aired by local news channels, Rane is purportedly seen talking to the the Fisheries Commissioner of Sindhudurg in his office packed with people. It further showed that during the meeting, the legislator suddenly lost his cool, picked up a dead fish which was dumped on the commissioner’s table and threw it at him. The MLA from Kankavli in coastal Sindhudurg district said he did so to protest against the officer’s alleged “ignorant attitude” towards the woes of the traditional fishing community of the Konkan region. “There are two kinds of fishermen in Sindhudurg. One who use traditional methods for fishing and the other who use modern technology,” Rane told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

State to now expand scuba diving facilities to Devgad and Vengurla coast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fancy a scuba diving trip or snorkeling expedition? By the end of this year you may be able to head to the pristine coast off Vengurla and Devgad for an underwater experience with the state government planning to expand its scuba diving facilities at Malwan to cover more locations in the Konkan.”We are working on creating scuba diving and training facilities at Vengurla and Devgad. This will be done in around six months,” minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar, who is also the guardian minister for Sindhudurg told DNA.Maharashtra already has the Indian Institute of Scuba Diving and Aquatic Sports (IISDA) at Tarkarli in Sindhudurg, which according to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), is one of the largest scuba diving schools in the Asia- Pacific region. It is also India’s first such integrated facility.Kesarkar said the scuba diving facilities would cover the natural corals at Nivati near Vengurla and added that training for instructors had already been launched. Each centre will cost around Rs 6 crore. However, these facilities would not be as large as the one at Malwan, he added.Sarang Kulkarni, chief instructor and general manager of the IISDA, noted that the scuba diving facilities had created a huge opportunity at Malwan in terms of economic activity and employment generation due to increased tourism. The ground-breaking ceremony for the IISDA was conducted in 2008 and it launched operations in 2014.

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.)

‘Sindhudurg to get Maha’s 1st infectious disease research lab’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first Infectious Disease Research Laboratory in Maharashtra will soon start in Sindhudurg district, state Health Minister Deepak Sawant said today. Sawant gave this information in Sindhudurg, where he held a meeting with the officials of the health and other departments concerned. “In the Infectious Research Laboratory, four departments, such as microbiology, bacteriological department, blood sample study department and molecular division, are going to be created. The lab will work on 13 types of diseases and keep a detailed record of it,” Sawant said. The minister also instructed the officials to complete the generator facility and the pending work of the second floor which will enable the lab to get uninterrupted power supply. The lab will have very low temperature storage facilities for the preservation purpose. It requires continued power supply. Sindhudurg district is currently affected by the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as the monkey fever. This year, the KFD infection has claimed more lives than the previous year. Talking about this disease, Sawant said, “There should be proper coordination over KFD as the infection spreads through monkey. A repellent oil is also being made available to people so that they can avoid tick bites,” Sawant said. Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar, Additional Chief Secretary of Public Health Department V S Singh, Chief Secretary of Revenue and Forest Department Vikas Kharage, Director of Health Dr Satish Pawar, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune Director D T Maurya, Joint Director Dr M D Diggikar, Dr Pradeep Awate, Sindhudurg District Collector Uday Chaudhary and District Chief Executive Officer Shekhar Singh attended the meeting.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong seeks probe into Sena MLA sending ‘dummy’ to meet farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today demanded that a police case be registered to probe reports that a Shiv Sena MLA sent another person as his substitute to take part in Sena’s farmer outreach programme in Marathwada. A Marathi news channel had last week claimed that Gautam Chabukswar, the Sena MLA from Pimpri-Chinchwad near Pune, skipped the party’s ‘Shiv Sampark Abhiyan’ in Marathwada as he was travelling in north India. However, he sent Yashodhar Phanase, a former corporator, to Osmanabad district (assigned to him by the party for the campaign) as his substitute. Phanase was introduced as the MLA during the tour, the report claimed. However, both Chabukswar and Phanase had denied the allegations. Referring to the reports, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today said that the police should suo moto (on its own) take note of the matter and file a cheating case against the Sena for sending a “dummy” MLA to Osmanabad. He was talking to reporters here during the launch of the fourth phase of the Opposition’s ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ which covers the Konkan region. Referring to the BJP’s ‘Sanvad Yatra’ and the Sena’s ‘Shiv Sampark Abhiyan’, he expressed surprise that instead of announcing a loan waiver for farmers, the leaders of both the ruling parties were taking out the campaigns. He said that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray two days back said in Akola that “if there is corruption in the Jalyukt Shivar Yojna, what is the difference between this scheme and the irrigation scams (under Congress-NCP government)?” Uddhav had also said that there should be an inquiry into the work done under the Jalyukt Shivar scheme. Vikhe Patil said, “You (Sena) too are in government. If you think there are dacoits in the government, why don’t you quit?” He said unless the Shiv Sena doesn’t pull out its ministers from the government on the issue of farm loan waiver, people will not trust the party. The Congress leader also asked the BJP-led government to clarify its stand on the alleged “derogatory” comments of state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve against the farmers. On the state government calling a three-day special session to pass the GST bill from May 20, he said, “We had requested the Governor to direct the Centre for a special session to discuss the farm crisis and that the government announce a farm loan waiver.” “Even Shiv Sena made a similar demand but there is no response yet,” Vikhe Patil said. Criticising the government’s demonetisation decision, he claimed that the RBI is not aware how much black money has been unearthed. “Leave aside the black money, even the hard earned white money of the common man is lost. There is no cash in the ATMs,” he said. Apart from Vikhe Patil, Leader of Opposition in state Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde, NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan were present at the launch of the fourth phase the ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ at Mahad in Raigad district. Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane is slated to join the campaign in Chiplun while his son and MLA Nitesh Rane is coordinating the arrangements in Sindhudurg district. The yatra will conclude at Sawantwadi in Sindhudurg district tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Monkey fever claimed 11 lives in Maharashtra this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as the monkey fever, has claimed 11 lives in Maharashtra this year, according to health officials. All the victims were from Sindhudurg district and succumbed to the viral infection between January and May, they said. According to Sindhudurg District Health officer, Dr Yogesh Sale, cases of monkey fever were detected in Maharashtra last year in February when it claimed eight lives. This year, the disease death toll has increased to 11. Also, the number of those infected in the state has risen to 187 from 128 last year, he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Goa: Nitesh Rane, 8 others chargesheeted in toll plaza case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Congress MLA Nitesh Rane has been charge-sheeted by Goa Police in connection with a 2013 case of vandalism of a toll booth in North Goa. Nitesh, son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, and eight of his supporters were chargesheeted by Pernem police yesterday under IPC sections related to rioting, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty and damage to public property. He represents Kankavali Assembly constituency in Sindhudurg district. “The charge sheet has been filed before Judicial Magistrate First Class in Pernem,” inspector Rahul Parab told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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.

Old ST buses to get new life as eateries, locker rooms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Old buses scrapped by state transport utilities will soon be put to new use — as restaurants, changing rooms, lockers or bio-digester toilets on Maharashtra’s beaches.The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is working on “converted bus concepts”, wherein old vehicles will be modified for deployment as tourist conveniences on beaches across the state, including sites in Mumbai like Juhu, Aksa, Versova, Madh and Marve.The plan will also help overcome the lack of facilities for tourists and visitors on the 78 beaches dotting the state’s 720-km coastline.These buses, which are not in use anymore, will be sourced from utilities like the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT).”We have shoreline management committees for 73 sites across Maharashtra. We are planning to deploy these modified buses on beaches in consultation with local villagers and in Mumbai, after taking local ALMs and elected representatives into confidence,” said Jitendra Raisinghani, Deputy Director, Co-Ordination, Asian Development Bank project.He explained that these buses could be used as changing and locker rooms for tourists taking a dip in the sea, as well as for setting up bio-digester toilets and restaurants.”If not for cooking, these modified buses can be used to serve food to people on beaches,” said Raisinghani. He added that the MMB is in talks with transport utilities to source these scrapped buses. MMB officials said work was underway on prototypes.Raisinghani said the local gram panchayats will have to take a decision on deploying these buses on beaches, and the board will act as a facilitator.THE VAST COASTLINEMaharashtra has a total of 78 beaches in Mumbai city and the suburbs (10), Thane and Palghar (6), Raigad (15), Ratnagiri (26) and Sindhudurg (21).
The state has a 720-km coastline, including 114km in Mumbai, 127km in Thane and Palghar, 122km in Raigad, 237 km in Ratnagiri. The state also has two major ports, namely the MbPT and the JNPT.

Prabhu flags off two trains through video conference

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off two trains and laid the foundation of a railway facility, in different parts of the country, at Rail Sadan here through video conference. Prabhu, who is in the Odisha capital to attend the BJP’s national executive meeting, flagged off the Life Line Express at Sindhudurg (Maharastra) and said it would be of great help for poor patients. He also flagged off a train with vistadome coach between Visakhaptnam and Araku, saying the new coach having features like glass roof, LED lights, rotable seats, GPS-based information system among others would of great enjoyment for tourists. Prabhu also laid the foundation of a mechanised laundry under BOOT model at Visakhapatnam which, he said, would improve the quality of linen.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Eight college students from Karnataka drown in sea in Sindhudurg

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight college students from Karnataka’s Belgaum district Saturday drowned in the sea off the Vayri coast in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, police said.They were part of a group of 60 students from the Maratha Engineering College in Belgaum who were in the area on a picnic, police said.Three students have been rescued and are under medical observation.Further details are awaited.

Fire destroys cashew, mango, coconut plantation in Sindudurg

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cashew, mango and coconut plantation over 500 acres was gutted after dry hay caught fire at a village in Sindhudurg district, disaster management officials said today. Dry hay at an agricultural field in Banda tehsil’s Dingane village caught fire last evening and it soon spread to adjoining fields, gutting cashew, mango and coconut plantation under 500 acres, a personnel at district disaster management cell said. Coastal district Sindhudurg is state’s one of the largest mango and cashew producing regions. Over 90 goats at a farm were also killed in the blaze, while some houses were also affected, the personnel added. “Horticultural plantation in Konkan region has been getting destroyed due to natural fires for the past some years, but fire gutting down 500 acres plantation is rare,” Sindhudurg district collector Uday Chowdhary told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

KR, CR to run special trains to clear Mahashivratri rush

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Konkan Railway (KR) in coordination with the Central Railway will run special trains from Madgaon, Nagpur and Pune to clear the extra rush of passengers during Mahashivratri which falls on February 24. Train no 01409 Pune-Madgaon special train will leave from Pune at 6.45 PM on February 23 and will reach Madgaon at 7.30 AM the next day, a release issued by the Konkan Railway said. This train will halt at Lonavala, Panvel, Roha, Khed, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankavali, Kudal and Thivim stations, it said. Train no 02022 Madgaon-Nagpur Super Fast special train will leave from Madgaon at 8.30 AM on February 24 and it will reach Nagpur at 6.30 AM the next day, said the release. The train will halt at Thivim, Sawantwadi Road, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Khed, Roha, Panvel, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nasik, Bhusaval, Shegaon, Akola, Badnera and Wardha stations. Train no 02021 Nagpur-Madgaon Super Fast special train will leave from Nagpur at 7.50 AM on February 25 and will reach Madgaon at 8 AM the next day, the release said. This train will halt at Wardha, Badnera, Akola, Shegaon, Bhusawal, Manmad, Nashik, Igatpuri, Kalyan, Panvel, Roha, Khed, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Sawantwadi Road and Thivim stations. While train no 02046 Madgaon-Mumbai CST Super Fast special train will leave from Madgaon at 1.30 PM on February 26 and will reach Mumbai CST at 9.55 PM the same day. The train will halt at Thivim, Sawantwadi, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Khed, Roha, Panvel, Thane and Dadar stations, mentions the release. All the trains would have a composition of total 18 coaches including one coach of AC 2-tier, eight coaches of AC 3-tier, four coaches of Sleeper Class and three coaches of General Class, the release added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bhim, now tamed, to return to Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s first experiment to capture and domesticate wild elephants on rampage – one its most controversial strategies, too – will soon be put to test. The 40-year-old captured tusker Bhim, one of the three wild elephants who caused chaos in the Sindhudurg district in 2015, will be returning to the state, after completing its ‘domestication’ training in Karnataka.“A wild elephant has been completely converted to a domestic elephant. This has happened for the first time in Maharashtra,” said MK Rao, Chief Conservator of Forests (Territorial), Kolhapur.After Bhim completes the acclimatization process, the forest department will employ him for patrolling and carrying timber. He can also be utilised for driving away or capturing wild elephant herds in the future, officials said.The forest department uses elephants for dragging timber in difficult areas and those with a tiger presence, typically in Vidarbha, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur, however, these elephants are offsprings of domesticated elephants.Once Bhim reaches Maharashtra, he will spend three months acclimatising with state forest department’s mahout in the forests of Kolhapure Division and Sindhurg. If his employment is a success, the department will consider adopting the strategy in similar cases in the future.Elephants from Karnataka often move to Sindhudurg and Kolhapur for food and water.In February 2015, Maharashtra forest officials, with help from their Karnataka counterparts, captured three elephants, which had entered the state. Crop depredation and human deaths caused by the pachyderms in Sawantwadi, Dodamarg and Kudal caused intense resentment.After being captured, the elephants were kept in a kraal (a wooden enclosure) in Mangaon, Raigad, but two tuskers died of shock in April that year, and Bhim was sent to an elephant camp near Mysuru for taming.Activists had criticised the operation due to the trauma inflicted on the elephants, known to have a high emotional quotient.Activist-journalist Vijay Palkar points about that when elephants first entered Sindhudurg in 2002, the devout worshiped their footprints (elephants are associated with Lord Ganesha). But repeated visits to human habitations at night for raiding banana trees, and the loss of lives coupled with low compensation for crop damage led to anger and festered fear among people. People burst crackers and drums to drive them away, leading to the upset animals attacking humans.MAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT IN SINDHUDURG2002: Wild elephants enter Sindhudurg from Karnataka2003: Elephants return, raid plantations2004: State launches ‘Elephant Back To Home’ to drive elephants back to Karnataka, which fails2005: Elephants routinely enter Maharashtra from this year on, measures like trenching fail2009: Elephants trapped for translocation, a female and a calf die, two individuals released in Karnataka, but return2015: Three elephants trapped, of which one named Bhim survives and is domesticated

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