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Yashwant Sinha detained in Maharashtra’s Akola while leading farmers’ march

BJP veteran leader Yashwant Sinha was detained by police in Maharashtra’s Akola this evening while protesting against the government’s ‘apathy’ towards farmers of the Vidarbha region, a senior official said.”We detained Sinha and around 250 farmers outside the district collectorate as per provisions of section 68 of the Bombay Police Act,”Akola district Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kalasagar told PTI.Those detained were taken to the Akola district police headquarters ground, the IPS officer said.Also readYashwant Sinha’s ‘celebration’ tweet on GDP numbers targets Modi govtSinha, along with hundreds of farmers, was protesting against the government for its alleged apathy towards cotton and soybean cultivators outside the Akola district collector’s office.”We are trying to convince Sinha that the government is sensitive towards farmers issues. We have told him that if he wishes, he is free to leave,” district collector Asit Kumar Pandey told PTI.Also readIndia is well within its right to demand that Arun Jaitley lose his job: Yashwant SinhaPandey said the former Union minister was insisting that FIRs be lodged against bogus Bt cotton companies. The government has already taken strict action and filed FIRs against six such companies, he said.Speaking to reporters, Sinha said he would stay put even if police allowed him to leave.Also readYashwant Sinha is an apologist for the corrupt, anti-poor UPA government: BJP”I wish to tell the police, district administration and the state government that if we are formally arrested and released and they think that we will go home, then they are under wrong impression,” Sinha said.”You are seeing the mood of farmers now. We won’t be responsible for what happens,” the veteran leader said.Sinha, who joined the procession of farmers to the district collector s office to present a memorandum of demands, began the protest march by placing boll-worm infected cotton crop at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Gandhi-Jawahar garden at Akola.Addressing farmers at a programme called ‘Kapus Soyabean Dhan Parishad’ (cotton, soyabean and paddy rally), organised by Shetkari Jagar Manch at Akola yesterday, Sinha had accused the BJP of reneging on promises made to farmers.”Before coming to power, the BJP had promised to give 50% over and above the minimum support price (MSP).But after coming to power, the party forgot the promise,” Sinha said.”Just as Indian soldiers carried out surgical strikes across border, the farmers will also carry out a surgical strike against the government till justice has been done,” Sinha said.The Parishad has sought purchase of all farm produce by the government at the Minimum Support Price, Rs 50,000 per acre compensation for cotton farmers affected by pink boll- worm disease, besides resolution of issues related to farm insurance and relief to drought-affected villages.There were reports that Nana Patole, the BJP MP representing Bhandara-Gondia constituency in Vidarbha, would attend today’s protest but he kept away.
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RPF hero saves senior citizen’s life

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable saved the life of a 62-year-old man after the senior citizen accidentally slipped in the gap between the train and the platform at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) while boarding the wrong train on Sunday. The incident was captured by the CCTV cameras installed on the platform.According to the RPF, Jagannath Unhale, a Vashi resident, was on his way to attend a marriage ceremony in Nagpur and had bought a ticket for the Nagpur-Duronto Express but wrongly tried to board the Vidarbha Express at 7 pm.Amidst the confusion, Unhale slipped which is when head constable Sachin Sabne, posted at the station, displayed quick-thinking and helped to pull Unhale out before he could slip into the gap entirely.”By the time I realised I had boarded the wrong train, it started moving and I slipped. Before being dragged into the gap, the head constable came to my rescue and saved my life,” said a relieved Unhale.

Open jail inmates can now video call their families

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, state prison inmates can now keep in touch with their families, thanks to the efforts of the state prison department. Inmates can make video calls to their families. There are plans to cover other such correctional establishments in subsequent phases.”We have issued orders that it should start for open jails and women prisons… we will expand it to other facilities later,” said Bhushankumar Upadhyaya, additional director general of police (prisons).”At present, the facility has been made available in the open jails at Amravati and Nagpur where prisoners can make video calls using apps like WhatsApp to their relatives from handsets given to officials … it will also cover prisoners in women jails,” said Yogesh Desai, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Eastern Region, Nagpur.He added that the phone numbers of relatives on which these inmates would call were verified by the local police. “They will be able to make phone calls once in 15 days. Earlier, they were allowed to make voice calls, and the facility has been enhanced to video calling,” said Desai.”The prisoners who are lodged in the open jails in Vidarbha are selected from correctional facilities across the state… this video calling facility will reduce the expenses of their relatives who have to travel to these prisons for long distances and give them the satisfaction of meeting their family members,” he explained.While convicts are allowed two visits from their relatives, they can make phone calls to their families once every fortnight. Undertrials can meet their relatives once a week.”We are also allowing undertrials to make these video calls at an experimental level. However, convicts are given preference,” said Desai.

Save the tigers: Post electrocution deaths, State forest department to promote solar fencing in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the electrocution deaths of six tigers in just over a year, the state forest department will promote solar fencing of farmsteads to prevent animals from entering them. Officials note that many farmers who illegally electrify their farm fences or put live wires near their fields claim that they do so to prevent crop depredations by wild animals. However, this leads to these animals being electrocuted on coming in contact with the live wires. Since November 4, 2016, a total of six tigers have been electrocuted in the state. This includes Srinivas, the son of Maharashtra’s iconic tiger Jai, who was electrocuted to death in the Nagbhid range in April.In 2017, Maharashtra has lost 15 tigers due to various causes of which five deaths are due to electrocution.On Tuesday, senior officials from the state forest department attended a meeting in New Delhi with their counterparts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). “We will undertake joint patrolling with field staff from the Maharashta State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MahaVitaran) to prevent illegal hooking of power lines,” said an official who attended the meeting.Another official added that based on a vulnerability map drawn up by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for the Vidarbha landscape, areas which needed top priority to mitigate man-animal conflict will see solar fencing for farms being rolled out. This has been suggested by a three-member committee of senior forest officials. It will be on the lines of the areas around the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) where around 2,000 small and marginal farmers have seen their fields being protected using this technique. “It has turned out to be quite successful and cheap,” the official said, adding that fencing a two to three hectare area cost around Rs15,000, of which 75% was contributed by the forest department with the beneficiary pitching in with the rest. “Awareness will also be created in the farmers and offenders will be booked under the relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Electricity Act, 2003,” he noted. However, forest officials admit that there are instances where live wires are placed around farms for poaching animals, including herbivores for bush meat. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves, namely Tadoba Andhari, Pench, Bor, Sahyadri, Melghat and Navegaon Nagzira. According to the tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. The state has around 190 such big cats, more than the figure of 169 in 2010.BOX:*In 2016, India lost 98 tigers–the highest since 2010. Of these Maharashtra accounted for 15 mortalities–the highest so far. The number of tiger deaths as on November 15, 2017, stands at 78. *In 2015, Maharashtra’s tiger deaths stood at 12, up from seven in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

MPCC wants to replicate Nanded poll pattern across Maha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the victory in the Nanded Municipal Corporation election, the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has decided to replicate the pattern across the state.The Congress got 73 seats out of the 81 in Nanded polls. “We had expected to get a maximum of 53 seats in the corporation. However, the Congress got 73 seats despite the high-pitched campaign by the BJP. It speaks a lot. The mood is completely against the BJP. Farmers, traders and small time businessmen are not happy with the central government’s decision to roll out demonetisation and GST. Forget about new opportunities and getting new jobs, but people are losing at hand. That anger resulted in a consolidated and strategic voting for the Congress,” Ashok Chavan said, president of MPCC.Chavan said that they will soon call a meeting with district presidents of the Congress committee and asked them to study and replicate the Nanded model in their area. “Nanded Municipal Corporation victory has changed the dynamic of state politics. Congress party leaders and workers had lost confidence after the losses in the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections. Wins in the Nanded, Parbhani, Melegaon and Bhivandi corporation polls boosted the confidence of our people. Besides, we also won the village adopted by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and energy minister Chandrashekar Bawankule in the panchayat elections. We sweept Vidarbha. This is a major relief. People are putting back their faith in the Congress party and its policies,” he added.A political observer said that the Congress should not be swayed down with the Nanded victory. “It is true that people are not happy with the present regime. But this cannot be a guarantee for a Congress win. In the urban pocket, people are continue to vote for the BJP. Congress has to work hard to regain the confidence of the people. It has a grassroots network that needs to be revamped. People in blocks vote for the Congress, as we saw in Nanded. They did not divide their votes to the Shiv Sena nor MIM against BJP,” he said.

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

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

Pawar keeps word, sends sugar to IMD on rain forecast success

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP today kept the `promise’ made by its president, former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, that he would send sugar to the Met department officials if their forecast of revival of monsoon came true. As Maharashtra witnessed heavy rainfall in the last few days, NCP workers arrived with a sack of sugar at the India Meteorological Department here and distributed sugar. While absence of rains in the first two weeks of August raised spectre of drought, IMD had predicted revival of monsoon in Vidarbha and Marathwada alongwith other areas. When asked about the same by reporters, Pawar had said in a lighter vein, “If this prediction comes true, I will feed sugar from Baramati (his hometown) to the IMD’s experts.” Heavy rains were reported from many parts of the state very next day. “Pawar had said if IMD prediction comes true, he will send sugar to IMD. So today we brought sugar from Baramati and distributed it,” said Ankush Kakade, NCP spokesperson.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

VHP to issue identity cards to ‘gau rakshaks’ in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has decided to issue identity cards to its ‘gau rakshaks’ in Maharashtra, a functionary of the outfit said today. The move by the right-wing organisation comes in the backdrop of a string of attacks on individuals by cow vigilantes and protests over mob violence in various parts of the country. “Identity cards will be issued to volunteers involved in cow protection activities and their names will also be submitted to the state government,” said Ajay Nildawar, prant mantri of the VHP for the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. He was replying to a question on violence by cow vigilantes at a press conference here. Nildawar said the decision to issue identity cards to “cow protection” volunteers was taken following three meetings between VHP leaders and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He added that the step would help distinguish anti-social elements from the genuine volunteers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Second half of monsoon to be normal: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rainfall during the second half of the Southwest monsoon season is going to be normal, that is in the range of 94-106 per cent of long-period average (LPA), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday. As per IMD parlance, 96-104 per cent is considered normal. Quantitatively, rainfall across the country during this period, between August and September is going to be 100 per cent of the LPA, with a model error of +/- 8 per cent while in August it is going to be 99 per cent of LPA, IMD added.Till the halfway mark, July 31, monsoon rainfall was two per cent above normal for the country as whole. A week later on Tuesday, it was three per cent below normal. Out of 36 sub-divisions, 24 have received normal rainfall, eight have received deficient rainfall, three have received excess and one has received large excess.IMD said that as per its forecast, El Niño conditions are most likely to be neutral through the remaining monsoon months right up to 2018 spring season. “Atmospheric conditions over the Pacific continue to reflect neutral ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) conditions. Latest forecast from monsoon mission system indicates neutral ENSO conditions are most likely till 2018 spring season with high probability (80-90%) till end of 2017,” IMD said.Despite the forecast for a normal rainfall, large parts of India are reeling under large deficit, portending drought like conditions in next summer. At district level, the situation remains worrying for Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. At the end of July, only Marathwada region’s districts were in the red. But as of August 8, almost entire Vidarbha region, with the exception of Wardha district, and Khandesh region are facing a deficit.While there is deficit in these states, Rajasthan and Gujarat witnessed unusually high rainfall last month that led to a short duration floods. Mount Abu in Rajasthan received over 700mm in a 24-hour period, a record for the past century.Meanwhile, in the coming days, northeastern states are going to face heavy rainfall due to strong southwesterly winds. Besides northeast, Bihar and south Peninsular region covering all southern states are also going to witness above normal rainfall.

Maha launches joint platform to address water resources crunch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to address the critical water resources challenges in Maharashtra, the state government and 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) launched the Maharashtra Water Resources ‘Multi-Stakeholder Platform’ (Maharashtra Water – MSP), a project which is expected to attract a funding of around USD one billion. The platform, chaired by the state chief secretary Sumit Mullick, aims to bring together key decision-makers from the public sector, private sector and civil society to forge partnerships for sustainable and scalable solutions, empowered by 2030 WRG’s hydro-economic analysis. “The government can only solve the serious water problem with the active and enthusiastic participation of the private sector and civil society. We have an opportunity to work together, to ensure there is enough water for our farmers to grow their crops, for our industries to provide employment and for the rivers to continue flowing,” Mullick said. He further said if Maharashtra is to keep growing while maintaining social equity and environmental sustainability, “we need to not only balance competing needs but also significantly improve the efficiency of our water use”. Maharashtra reportedly faces a high risk to climate change with longer dry spells and more frequent droughts. “Already, farmers in rain-fed areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha are hard hit by recurrent droughts. But the productivity in the rain-fed areas can be increased with more efficient use of water and its management,” Mullick said. Commenting on the partnership, 2030 WRG Co-Lead, Asia, Bastiaan Mohrmann said it will be working together to develop a comprehensive program that improves the livelihoods of and strengthens the resilience of marginal and small-holder farmers in Maharashtra. “We are developing a project proposal for USD 270 million in funding from the Green Climate Fund, a body which aims to scale up climate change adaptation in rain-fed agricultural areas, to be implemented across Marathwada and Vidarbha, and aligned with the World Bank-funded Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture (PoCRA), resulting in nearly USD 1 billion worth of investments towards drought-proofing Maharashtra rain-fed agriculture,” he added. Under the program, two task-forces would be set up, including command area water productivity and water and livelihood security in rain-fed agricultural areas. “The objective of the task forces would be making financing and implementation arrangements for drip irrigation in sugarcane as well as adoption of water-efficient technology and better farming practices along with development of market linkages and value chains and promotion of innovation and agri-entrepreneurship,” Secretary of Command Area Department of water resources department CA Birajdar said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IIMC Amravati starts PG course in Marathi journalism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has decided to launch a one-year post graduate diploma course in Marathi journalism at its western regional centre here from this academic session. The Amravati centre of the IIMC has been running a one-year PG diploma course in English journalism since 2011. A function will be held at the IIMC, New Delhi, to launch the course today, which coincides with the death anniversary of noted freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, who was considered one of the pillars of Marathi journalism. IIMC’s western region centre director Nadeem Khan said the course would help serve the interests of the Marathi media in Maharashtra in general and Vidarbha in particular, in providing skilled manpower to them. He expressed hope that the students who pass out from the institution would help boost the standard of Marathi journalism in the state. Besides the regular faculty members, senior journalists from the Marathi media and eminent editors would be invited from time to time to guide the students, Khan said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IIMC Amravati offers PG Diploma in Marathi Journalism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is introducing its one-year Post Graduate Diploma course in Marathi Journalism at its Western Regional Centre here today. Coinciding with the death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, one of the pillars of Marathi journalism, the inaugural function of the course will be held at the IIMC in New Delhi, tomorrow. Union Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir will inaugurate the course. The Amravati centre has been running a one-year PG Diploma in English Journalism since 2011, while the new course will begin from the current academic session. Nadeem Khan, director, Western Region, IIMC, said the course would help serve the interests of the Marathi media in the state in general and Vidarbha in particular in providing skilled manpower to them. He hoped that the students passing out would help boost the standard of Marathi journalism in the state. Besides the regular faculty members, senior journalists from the Marathi media in the state and eminent editors would be invited from time to time to guide the students, Khan said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Faulty EVM votes for BJP in Buldhana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Buldhana district officials have admitted to a flaw in an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) used during the recent Zilla Parishad polls. The EVM, which was used in the district located in Vidarbha, “occasionally” recorded votes polled to an independent candidate in favour of her opponent from the BJP.RTI activist Anil Galgali had filed a query with the Buldhana district collectorate seeking information about the complaint filed by independent candidate Ashatai Arun Zore and details of the inquiry report submitted by the Returning Officer (RO).On February 16, when the elections to the Buldhana Zilla Parishad were held, Zore and her representatives had objected to the LED light flashing for the BJP candidate when votes were cast for Zore on an EVM unit in Sultanpur. This signified that when votes were polled for Zore, who was contesting from Sultanpur circle (whose election symbol was the coconut), they were tallied in favour of the BJP candidate.A report signed by centre in-charge Ramnarayan Sawant and election officer Manikrao Bazad said the complaint made by a voter at around 10:00 am was found to be without substance. However, a similar complaint was made again at 1:30 PM and was found to be correct. This was brought to the notice of the Assistant Returning Officer, who visited the centre and verified the complaint.The EVM was sealed and a machine kept in reserve was pressed into service to re-start the polling process. Later, a re-poll was conducted at voting centre number 57/6 on February 21, and in his letter to the State Election Commission, the Buldhana district collector admitted that there was substance to Zore’s complaint.An official from the Buldhana district collectorate denied charges of tampering. “This could be a technical fault,” he said. “On an average, there are 60 seats in a Zilla Parishad. The problem occurred on one machine in one centre in a particular constituency. If there was deliberate tampering, similar complaints could have been reported from more machines in other centres.”

Only 3,200 farmers have received aid of 10k: Kishor Tiwari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farm activist Kishor Tiwari today said that only 3,200 farmers have received the financial aid of Rs 10,000 announced by the Maharashtra government as immediate relief to cultivators facing an agrarian crisis. Tiwari, the chairman of a special taskforce appointed by the state to address the prevailing agrarian crisis, said the figures revealed by the State Level Banking Committee (SLBC) show that only 3,200 farmers have received the Rs 10,000 aid. “The state government’s Rs 10,000 advance as immediate aid to farmers has come rather late and reached only a handful so far. According to official data, just about 3,200 farmers across the state received the advance. Majority of PSU banks had not started giving the amount yet,” Tiwari said in a statement issued here. Tiwari, whose NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has been highlighting agrarian distress in Vidarbha and also tracking farmer suicides in the region said that out of almost 90 lakh farmers who defaulted in repayment and are eligible for a loan waiver, only 3,200 farmers have got the advance by the end of this week. He also urged the government to take action against the erring officials responsible to disburse the relief aid announced earlier as part of the mega farm loan waiver. “PSU banks have disbursed barely 15 per cent of the crop loan targets set by RBI-Nabard for 2017-18 kharif season. Last year, by July 21, 80 per cent target was achieved,” he said. The crop loan outlay for the year 2017-18 is expected to be around Rs 58,662 crore, an increase of around Rs 7,000 crore from last year’s outlay of Rs 51,235 crore, the statement added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Uneven rainfall distribution in Maha, Vidarbha 20 pc deficient

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although the southwest monsoon has covered entire Maharashtra, the state has so far witnessed uneven distribution of rainfall, with Vidarbha region getting 20 per cent deficient rains, the IMD data has revealed. The cumulative figures show that except Vidarbha region, Konkan, Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada subdivisions have received “good” showers in the last four days. However, a closer look at the figures reveal that there has been uneven distribution of rainfall in these regions, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The data released by the IMD’s New Delhi office says that Vidarbha region, one of the largest producers of cotton, soyabean, orange and rice, has so far witnessed 20 per cent deficient rains. The Vidarbha subdivision has 11 districts, making it the largest in terms of the geographical area. Compared to its normal rainfall of 347.8 mm from June 1 to July 18, this eastern part of the state has received only 278.9 mm rainfall till now. Out of the 11 districts in Vidarbha region, which is infamous for the large number of farmers’ suicides, only four have reported “normal” rainfall in the season, while the remaining districts have received deficient rainfall, the IMD data showed. Madhya (central) Maharashtra- the second largest subdivision that comprises 10 districts, has received 326.6 mm rainfall from June 1 as against its normal rainfall of 283.8 mm. The rainfall is 15 per cent higher (than the average), which the IMD has termed as “normal”. Districts like Ahmednagar, Nashik, Pune and Solapur have received “excess” rainfall from June 1, while Kolhapur and Sangli have received deficient rainfall. Rest of the districts have received normal rainfall, the IMD data has revealed. The agriculturally-important districts, like Jalgaon (-14%), Kolhapur (-25%) and Sangli (-39%) districts in western Maharashtra are still in deficient rainfall category, the IMD data stated. “The only positive development for this subdivision so far is that there has been good rainfall in Nashik, Pune and Ahmednagar districts, where several major rivers and their tributaries originate. Godavari, Pravara, Neera, Mula, Mutha, Indrayani, Bhima, Bhama and Ghod are the major rivers that irrigate Central Maharashtra and good showers in the catchment areas augur well for farming,” Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Malaysia keen on developing Mumbai-Nagpur expressway: Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Malaysian government has evinced interest in developing the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway, Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister Eknath Shinde said today. A delegation from Malaysia called on Shinde and discussed the intricacies of the 700km road project that will connect two key cities of Maharashtra. “India and Malaysia have a long-standing relation. Malaysia has taken part in various development projects in the country and has used its advanced technology to develop roads, flyovers and subways,” Shinde said. He was speaking to reporters at Mantralaya after meeting the visiting delegation. Shinde said the Malaysian government is keen to be part of the venture and the state appreciated their cooperation. “We would also like to work with them not only on this project, but more such projects.” The project, a brainchild of the BJP-led Fadnavis government, seeks to transform the economy of drought-prone Vidarbha and Marathwada, the regions through which a major portion of the expressway will be constructed. Officially called the Nagpur Mumbai Super Communication Expressway (NMSCE), the project will pass through Nagpur, Buldhana, Amravati, Wardha, Washim, Thane, Aurangabad, Akola and Nashik districts. Land acquisition process for the project has already started. Shinde was present at two events in Nagpur and Thane last week where farmers signed land sale deeds with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for the venture, which is also called `samruddhi mahamarg’ (prosperity expressway).(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

36 lakh farmers in Maha to get complete loan waiver: CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said around 36 lakh farmers in the state, covered under the recently announced farm loan waiver scheme, will have their entire debt waived. The Maharashtra government had announced a mega agri loan waiver of Rs 34,022 crore on June 24 after a state-wide agitation by farmers earlier that month. The government had set a cap of Rs 1.50 lakh for the loan waiver. There are a total of 89 lakh cultivators who are beneficiaries under the scheme, the CM said during his television programme ‘Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy’. The topic of today’s show was farmer loan waiver and its reach out, according to a press note issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) here. The CM received more than 20,000 SMSes and emails from people from all over the state, enquiring about the loan waiver scheme and its implementation. “There are 1.34 crore farmers in Maharashtra, of whom 90 lakh have availed crop loan. Out of it, 89 lakh farmers are eligible for the loan waiver scheme announced by the state government,” Fadnavis said. “The state-level bankers’ committee — which prepares state’s annual credit plan, has provided some figures to the government regarding loan waiver and its implementation,” he said. “Of the total 89 lakh beneficiaries, nearly 44 lakh farmers would get the maximum benefit of the scheme. Of these 44 lakh, the entire debt of 36 lakh farmers, who have an outstanding loan of up to Rs 1.50 lakh, would be completely waived,” Fadnavis said. The remaining farmers, whose outstanding loan amount is slightly more than Rs 1.50 lakh, can also avail the benefit by paying the difference above Rs 1.50 lakh cap, he said. A majority of beneficiaries are from suicide-prone districts of Yavatmal, Buldhana and Amravati, all located in the Vidarbha region, while a sizable number of farmers are from Akola, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Washim, Beed and Ratnagiri.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

813 farmers on loan waiver list from Mumbai, CM ‘surprised’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai city and its suburbs are home to as many as 813 farmers on loan waiver list, a figure which has “surprised” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who has ordered a scrutiny before sanctioning the waivers. These farmers figure in the list of probable beneficiaries eligible for benefits under the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme announced by the state government last month. The Mumbai city and its suburbs are urbanised areas, leaving little scope for farming activity in the country’s commercial nerve centre. A district-wise list of beneficiary-farmers, released by the chief minister on Twitter last evening, includes names of 694 cultivators from the Mumbai city and 119 from its suburbs. A majority of beneficiaries are from suicide-prone districts like Yavatmal, Buldhana and Amravati, all located in Vidarbha region. As per the scheme, all the eligible farmers will get benefit of waiver of up to Rs 1.50 lakh loan outstanding till June 30, 2016. Talking to reporters today, Fadnavis said, “Even I was surprised to find these two cities in the list. The ‘beneficiary’ farmers from these two districts would be scrutinised thoroughly before sanctioning waiver of their loans.” The chief minister said he has asked officers concerned to look into the genuineness of these farmers from the two urban centres. The mega loan waiver was announced by the BJP-led government after a state-wide agitation by farmers in the first fortnight of June.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Monsoon 2017: Heavy rains lash coastal Maharashtra, waterlogging in parts of Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The southwest monsoon, which has become active along the coastline of Maharashtra, has led to a heavy downpour in Mumbai and Konkan area.It dumped 124.7 mm of rain on Dahanu tehsil in Palghar district.However, the rest of the state, including the foodgrain basket of central Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha are awaiting good showers to begin sowing activity.Dahanu gauged 124.7 mm of rainfall between 8.30 am on June 24 and 8.30 am today, the maximum in the last 24 hours in the entire state. Mahabaleshwar received 114.1 mm of precipitation, an IMD official said.For the last few years, the southwest monsoon is progressing very fast toward the north and then covering central and eastern India, the IMD had said last week.”As there has been some variation in monsoon’s progress, it is possible that Dahanu is receiving more rainfall,” the official said.Heavy showers drenched Thane and Palghar districts in the last 24 hours. Mahabaleshwar recorded 114.1 mm of rainfall, Nashik 58.6 mm, Sangli 11.9 mm, Nanded 4mm, Gondia 6.8mm and Buldhana 9mm.A woman and her daughter were injured in Shahapur in Thane district when lightning struck them.The downpour led to water-logging in Kalyan and Bhiwandi areas of the district.A house collapsed in Ratibandar in Mumbra, apparently due to sharp showers. Further details of the incident are awaited.Palghar district collector Prashant Narnawre said some houses in Arnala of Vasai and Jawahar were damaged.

After a brief lull, monsoon likely to pick up pace from Jun 23

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief lull, the monsoon is expected to pick up pace later this week and likely to intensify its advancement in central and north India, the weatherman said today. India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General K J Ramesh said on the western side, the monsoon is hovering around Valsad in south Gujarat and Bengal on the eastern side. “There has been a lull, but we are expecting it to pick up rapdily from June 23 and subsequent five days,” he said. The monsoon has covered almost the entire central Maharashtra and Vidarbha, a little portion of Madhya Pradesh, south Chattisgarh on the western side, Ramesh said. On eastern side, he said, it has covered Bengal, parts of Odisha and parts of Jharkhand. A western disturbance is also bringing rains to Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. “Favourable conditions are developing for further advance of southwest monsoon into some more parts of Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, remaining parts of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, some parts of east Madhya Pradesh and east Uttar Pradesh during next 2-3 days,” the IMD said. Rainfall distribution has till now largely remain fairly good across the country. Since June 1, the country has received five per cent more rainfall than its normal limit. The southern peninsula received 17 per cent more rainfall than normal, five per cent in central India and nine per cent in northwest India. Only the east and the northeast India has received three per cent less rainfall than the normal limit.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Perform or perish, Amit Shah tells Maharashtra legislators

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Perform or perish. That was BJP President Amit Shah’s message to the party’s 123-odd legislators from Maharashtra. He also asked them not to make excuses, but give their best for the growth of the party.Shah, during his three-hour long meeting with the legislators on late Friday evening, said Maharashtra is obviously a key state to further strengthen the party organisation and win more Assembly and Lok Sabha seats. The BJP president revealed party’s roadmap to increase the number of legislators to 1,750 from the present 1,350 across the country and add another 100 MPs to the present strength of party’s 283 MPs in the Lok Sabha in the coming elections.Shah asked legislators to work in one more constituency to be assigned by the party so that BJP’s tally can increase to 200 plus in the State Assembly and win maximum of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in the next elections slated for 2019.Besides, he wanted legislators to make booth-level committees operational, work from individual office and not from home, increase social networking and reach out to the voters with the effective implementation of at least five government schemes in their respective constituencies. There are about 90,000 booths across the state and Shah wants party legislators, MPs and office-bearers to cover them.Shah informed the legislators that he will return to Mumbai in November to review their work. He asked them not to worry about the fate of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra adding that it will complete its five-year tenure despite criticism by Shiv Sena.A senior legislator from Vidarbha, who did not want to be named, told DNA, “Shah has laid down a comprehensive agenda for party’s consolidation. Apart from working in one more constituency and functioning of booth-level committees, he wants legislators to prepare a list of core voters from all sections of the society who can be party’s face to mingle with the voters seeking their support. Besides, legislators have been asked to select five central government schemes in their respective segments which can be given a necessary push for its effective implementation.’’ This apart, Shah asked legislators to step up social networking in a bid to bring in people from all castes, creed, religions into the party fold.Shah wanted individual legislators to operate from his/her office and not from home. Besides, Shah asked legislators to establish good rapport with the media so that work of the party and the government can be played up in a more constructive manner.Furthermore, Shah said the party will appoint 300 workers for better coordination between the party and the government. They will see that the roadblocks, if any, will be removed to put on fast track the implementation of government development schemes.

Maha farmers’ stir: Mixed response, some APMCs get fresh stock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Call for ‘Maharashtra bandh’ (shut- down) today during the ongoing farmers’ strike received a partial response, with trucks carrying vegetables arriving in big markets like Pune and Navi Mumbai. All the 15 Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in Nashik district remained closed. A total bandh was observed in Puntamba in Ahmednagar district, the epicentre of strike. However, in Solapur in western Maharashtra, APMCs remained open where farmers were seen bringing the produce. About 450 trucks carrying vegetables arrived in Navi Mumbai market, the main supplier to Mumbai, today, against around 1,000 trucks on a normal business day. In Pune APMC, some 400 trucks, or 30 per cent of daily average, arrived. In Dhule APMC inflow of goods was normal, APMC sources said. Dhananjay Jadhav, member of the coordinating body of farmers based in Puntamba, said the strike had been called off as the government accepted 70 per cent of demands. “We have no connection whatsoever with the strike which is continuing,” he said. In Sangamner in Ahmednagar district, farmers in Kolhewadi burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Farmers in Chandwad tehsil of Nashik held a blockade on Manmad-Chandwad road. Some protesters threw onions on the road in Yeola tehsil of Nashik district. Farmers on bullock carts blocked the Nashik-Niphad-Chandwad road. Solapur-Malegaon road and Nagpur-Tuljapur highway were also blocked by farmers. In Vadgaon, Kolhapur district, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna workers got into altercation with traders who refused to observe bandh. Police provided `Z’ category security to milk tankers coming to Mumbai from Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara via the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Meanwhile, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna MP Raju Shetti said the party will soon decide whether to quit the BJP-led government in the state. “I regret supporting the BJP government. A meeting of party’s working committee will be called and decision on whether to pull out will be taken,” Shetti said in Kolhapur. Farmers are on the warpath since June 1 for demands including loan waiver and higher minimum support prices. Despite the government announcing a loan waiver for marginal farmers on Saturday, the agitation has continued. Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan today demanded a special session of legislature to discuss the situation. Loan waiver for farmers with marginal land holding will do no good as most farmers in `suicide belts’ of Vidarbha and Marathwada have more than five acres of land, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra farmers’ stir: Shiv Sena accuses state govt of breaking farmers’ unity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena on Monday attacked the Maharashtra government over the farmers’ stir, accusing it of creating fissures among them in an attempt to break their unity.Similar tactics were used to crush the Maratha stir as well in the past, the Sena charged.“Had the demands of farmers been accepted, they would have showered the CM with flowers. But some people in the government took (Minister of State for Agriculture) Sadabhau Khot with them and tried to break farmers unity,” the Sena said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.”A divide and rule policy is being used. Leaders who went to ‘Varsha’ (to hold talks with the CM at his residence) need to answer if any of their demands were met,” it said.Farmers in Maharashtra had launched their stir on June 1 pressing for their various demands, prominent being waiving loans due to crop failures and indebtedness, and guaranteed MSP.
ALSO READ Maharashtra Farmers’ Strike: Pawar dubs CM Fadnavis’ anarchy allegations ‘childish'”The CM says 35-40 lakh farmers will be benefited with the loan waiver. But can he answer what about those farmers in Marathwada who have a land holding of more than two hectares and are dependent on rains ?” the Sena questioned.”The state government has tried to delay its death temporarily. First farmers were called to his house (Varsha), were insulted and finally given nothing. The farmers have no trust in the government and hence are continuing their strike,” the Sena said.The Sena said the chief minister got an opportunity to temporarily save his government by creating fissures among the farmers.”But, will farmers get a guaranteed rate for their produce ? Sadabhau’s ministerial position will stay but will extinguished gas stoves of farmers’ light again ?” it said.Also, attempts made to break the strike points to the failure of the government, it added.The Sena also questioned if Jayaji Suryawanshi, who was part of the delegation that met the CM and announced calling off the strike, give a guarantee that farmers won’t commit suicide for the next four months.After holding talks with leaders of farmers on late Friday night, the Chief Minister had on Saturday announced that his government would waive loans of farmers with small land-holdings.He said 80 per cent of such farmers are in Vidarbha and Marathwada who will benefit by the move.

Loan waiver can’t address issue of farmer suicides in Vidarbha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A loan waiver can give relief to some extent but it cannot address the issue of farmer suicides in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said. The minister said it’s difficult to check farmer suicides in the region unless 50 per cent of its land is irrigated. Therefore, it’s important to improve the irrigation potential to address the issue effectively, the Nagpur MP said. Gadkari said leading milk supplier Mother Dairy is going to set up 40 centres in Vidarbha and the company will procure milk from the farmers in the region. “This will benefit around 2.5 to 3 lakh farmers,” he said. FMCG major Patanjali will be focusing on Gadchiroli and Melghat region in Amravati for the procurement of Ayurvedic herbs, the minister said. He said plans are afoot to introduce electric cars for jungle safari in tiger sanctuaries in Vidarbha region.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha: First batch of SDRF personnel to be stationed by June

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>First batch of Maharashtra State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), comprising 428 personnel, will be stationed at two places by June. The Maharashtra government had decided to set up SDRF on lines of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Its personnel are being trained by the NDRF in Nagpur. “A team of 428 will be split into two groups. They will be back in June from training and stationed at Vidarbha (Nagpur) and North Maharashtra (Dhule),” said Rajiv Nivatkar, Director of state disaster management cell. “The remaining part of Maharashtra will be covered by NDRF teams that will be stationed at Pune, covering the western Maharashtra, Konkan and Mumbai,” he said. After recruitment, SDRF personnel were sent for training since February. An official from the department said a few officers will be recruited every year from various districts for additional teams for quick response in case of an emergency. “Ahead of monsoon, we have informed all districts to be ready with their SOPs (Standard Operation Procedure) to tackle natural calamities like heavy rainfall, floods or landslide,” he added. The government had installed automated weather stations in all districts to ensure rainfall data is accurate so that compensation is paid to farmers in case of drought, an official from the agriculture department said. “In neighbouring Karnataka, the government has installed around 5,000 such automated weather stations within 20 km radius,” he added. Currently there are some weather stations in Maharashtra which are operated by agriculture, water resources and Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA).(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shiv Sena MLA sends ‘proxy’ to address drought-hit farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A Shiv Sena leader representing Maharashtra?s drought-hit district of Osmanabad allegedly sent a proxy to his constituency to address drought hit farmers. Former corporator Yashodhar Phanse posed as Shiv Sena MLA Gautam Chabukswar and visited the constituency of Chabukswar, after party chief Uddhav Thackeray had directed all MLAs of the drought hit areas to meet farmers. This happened after the Shiv Sena launched the ?Shiv Sampark Abhiyan? in which all party MLAs have been instructed to visit the drought-hit areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which formed the government in the state in alliance with Shiv Sena, slammed its ally over the incident. Out of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs directed by Thackeray to visit the drought-hit district, as many as 27 did not bother to go on the tour. Following the incident, senior Sena leaders termed it as ?one person?s mistake? and not as an embarrassment for the party. Meanwhile, the Opposition slammed Sena over the matter.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Typist working in Maha minister’s office held for ‘extortion’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police have arrested a typist working at the office of Maharashtra minister Ramdas Kadam for trying to ‘extort money’ using the minister’s name. Kadam, a senior Shiv Sena leader, is the minister for Environment. Mahesh Sawant, typist-cum-clerk was working at Kadam’s residential office here. He called up a few people using the official phone and demanded money from them, a senior police official said. When the minister came to know about Sawant’s actions, he informed the police, the officer said. A complaint was lodged at the Malabar Hill police station in South Mumbai on Friday. Police arrested Sawant on the same day, the official added. As per the FIR, Sawant had demanded Rs 10 lakh from a businessman from Vidarbha region. Police were probing if Sawant had made similar demand from others, the official said. The accused has been booked under section 384 (extortion) of the IPC, he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Scorching heat in parts of country, Chandrapur sizzles at 45.2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hot weather conditions prevailed in many parts of the country with Chandrapur in Vidarbha region sizzling at 45.2 degrees Celsius, even as very light rains occurred in isolated parts of Rajasthan. In the national capital, the mercury touched 40.6 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season’s average. The humidity level oscillated between 63 and 16 per cent. The mercury soared in many parts of Rajasthan with Barmer recording the highest maximum temperature of 44.7 degrees Celsius in the state. However, some parts in Udaipur division received very light rains. Jaisalmer, Churu, Bikaner, Kota, Sriganganagar and Ajmer recorded maximum temperatures of 44.4 degrees Celsius, 43.5 degrees Celsius, 43.4 degrees Celsius, 43 degrees Celsius, 42.9 degrees Celsius and 42 degrees Celsius respectively. Other stations registered day temperatures below 41 degrees Celsius, the local MeT department said. Heat intensified in most parts of Odisha with Balangir being the hottest place in the state at 44.5 degrees Celsius and the mercury crossing the 40-degree mark in at least 13 places. Titlagarh was a close second to Balangir recording a maximum temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, while it was 43.7 degrees degrees Celsius in Angul, 43 degrees Celsius in Jharsuguda, Hirakud and Bhawanipatna each, 42.6 degrees Celsius in Malkangiri and 42.5 degrees Celsius in Sundargarh. Many districts in Telangana continued to reel under a severe heatwave with Adilabad today recording the highest maximum temperature of 44.5 degree Celsius Nizamabad recorded a high of 43.4 degrees Celsius, followed by Ramagudam 43.2 degrees Celsius, Medak 42.6 degrees Celsius and Hyderabad 41.6 degrees Celsius. In Vidarbha region, Chandrapur recorded the highest maximum temperature of 45.2 degrees Celsius. A heatwave swept many parts of Punjab and Haryana with Hisar turning out to be the hottest place in the region recording a high of 42.1 degrees Celsius. Narnaul in Haryana too braved hot weather conditions at 41.5 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, Patiala recorded a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Scorching heat continued in many parts of Bihar, with Gaya recording the highest maximum temperature of 43.1 degrees Celsius while Patna registered a high of 41 degrees Celsius.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lack of spirituality one reason for farmer suicides: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Friday said that lack of “spirituality” was one of the reasons that leads to farmer suicides.He was speaking to reporters at a program in Mumbai.To a question about farmer suicides in Maharashtra and elsewhere, the spiritual leader said, “We have done pad-yatra in 512 villages of Vidarbha, and on that basis we can say that poverty alone is not the reason behind the farmer suicides. They lack spirituality.”Therefore, I appeal to all the people who work in this field (of spirituality) to reach out to farmers,” he said.Yoga and pranayam were essential to “remove suicidal tendencies” among the farmers, he said.Asked about the controversy over the cultural event organised by Art of Living Foundation on the banks of Yamuna which is alleged to have damaged the river’s floodplains, Ravi Shankar said, “The truth will triumph.””I have full faith in the judicial system….There is an NGO which is carrying on malicious campaign…There is some disadvantage of being popular,” he said.”But we have not done anything wrong. Our panel of 15 independent scientists have established fair report and we have always been and would be extra-sensitive towards the environment,” he said.His organisation had removed “500 tonnes of garbage” from Yamuna, he claimed.”I fail to understand why there is so much fuss about that historic festival with which 1.8 billion, that is one third of the globe’s population, connected, and (where) 2,500 religious leaders came on one platform. Let the people opposing it tell us what wrong we committed,” he said.To a question about Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam’s tweets about loudspeakers on mosques, Ravi Shankar said, “Religious places do not need loudspeakers. Prayers coming from heart directly reach the Gods.”Asked about his views on triple talaq, Ravi Shankar said, “Every religion goes through reforms at a certain period. I don’t say that triple talaq should be banned immediately, but certainly their (Muslim community’s) leaders must find a solution that will protect everyone’s human and societal rights.”

Maha:Heat forces SEC to extend polling time for 3 civic bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In view of severe heat across Maharashtra, the State Election Commission has extended the poll timing by one hour for municipal corporation elections at three places scheduled tomorrow. “Voters can exercise their franchise for Latur, Chandrapur and Parbhani corporations between 7.30 AM and 6.30 PM tomorrow,” the State Election Commissioner J S Saharia said today. The polling hours at the time of announcement of election for three municipal corporations at Chandrapur, Latur and Parbhani were between 7.30am and 5.30pm. He said the decision to extend the poll timing was taken in the view of severe heat conditions prevailing in Vidarbha and Marathawada regions of the state. While Chandrapur falls under Vidarbha region, Latur and Parbhani fall under Marathwada. Maharashtra has been reeling under severe heat for the last few days, with the temperatures crossing 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the state. Saharia said that adequate arrangements will be made for providing shelter from heat at all polling stations, besides facilities for drinking water. The extension of poll timing will be also applicable for by-elections to be held tomorrow for one seat each in Akola Zilla Parishad and Akot Panchayat Samiti in Akola district in east Maharashtra. The bypolls were necessitated as these seats have been lying vacant. A total of 1,284 candidates are in the fray for 201 seats in the three civic bodies. While 460 candidates are contesting in Chandrapur, 406 candidates are in the fray in Latur and 418 in Parbhani. A total of 7,93,621 voters are eligible to cast their votes in the three corporations. The results of elections, including of the bypolls, will be declared on April 21.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Voting hours extended in 3 cities in Maha in view of heat wave

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the IMD issued a warning of heat wave in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra for the next few days, the State Election Commission today announced extension of voting hours during elections to Parbhani, Latur and Chandrapur municipal corporations. The polling for these three local bodies will take place on April 19. Instead of the usual 5.30 pm deadline, the voting will end at 6.30 pm, an official release said here. There will be no change in voting hours in elections to municipal corporations of Mira Bhayandar, Bhiwandi and Panvel. The counting will take place on April 21.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railway ministry sanctions Nagpur-Wardha 4th line, to cost Rs 638 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday sanctioned the construction of a 4th line between Nagpur and Wardha in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. The project, involving building 78.87 kilometres of tracks, will cost Rs 638 crore and was earlier cleared by the NITI Aayog. There will be total 147 bridges (2 important, 12 major and 133 minor bridges), 8 RoBs and 4 RuBs in the section. The line will be an electrified one. Work of construction of 3rd line on this section is already sanctioned and work is in progress.In a statement, Central Railway said that Wardha-Nagpur section is common to High Density diagonals i.e. North-South and East-West. With construction of this line flow of passenger and goods traffic will be smooth. “At present Wardha-Nagpur section is a double line section of Nagpur division of Central Railway. This section is one of the most busy and important section in Central Railway, as this section caters the traffic of 2 important Trunk routes viz. Chennai –Delhi (North- South)Grant trunk route and Mumbai–Kolkata (East-West) trunk route. Apart from the traffic of both the trunk routes, many private sidings and freight proposals are in advance stage which will also contribute additional traffic on the section. Now, after construction of 4th line, there will be uninterrupted and speedy movement of trains,” said the CR statement.

Cow vigilantes go after meat shops in Bengaluru, say 1,700 are illegal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hindu organisations in Bengaluru have followed footsteps of the Uttar Pradesh government by clamping down on illegal slaughterhouses.As per reports in The Times of India, cow protection organisations such as Gau Samrakshana Prakoshta and Karnataka Federation of Gaushaalas have demanded that 1,700 meat shops in the city be closed down as they are “unauthorised”. Gau rakshaks emphasise that the Karnataka HC had directed in a verdict in 1997 that slaughterhouses and meat shops should be shifted outside the city’s municipal limits where human habitation is scarce.
ALSO READ Gurugram unit of Shiv Sena forces 500 meat shops, including KFC to down shuttersMeanwhile, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists from Vidarbha want the Maharashtra assembly to replicate the Gujarat law enhancing punishment for cow slaughter to life term.

Temperatures in Maha likely to dip in next two days: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing a `moderate heat wave’, Maharashtra is likely to have some relief from the scorching heat as the temperatures are expected to subside in the next two days, the Met department said. “The change in the direction of northerly winds avoided further escalation of temperature. With warm winds not coming towards Maharashtra, the temperature is expected to subside and it will offer some relief,” said V K Rajeev, Director, India Meteorological Department, Mumbai. Akola district in Vidarbha yesterday reported the state’s highest maximum temperature at 44 degrees Celsius, 5.3 degrees higher than the average normal temperature there on March 30 in the last 30 years, the IMD data showed The neighbouring areas such as Wardha (43.6 degrees Celsius), Nagpur (43.3) and Amaravati (43) were also hot and recorded temperatures at least 4.2 degrees above the normal. The Central Maharashtra region including Pune, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur reported more rise in minimum temperatures than the maximum temperatures yesterday. Pune reported a rise of 6.2 degrees Celsius in its minimum temperature at 24 degrees Celsius. In Satara, the minimum temperature was 23.9 degrees Celsius, 4.1 degrees above the normal. The same pattern — minimum temperature showing more increase than the maximum temperature — was seen in Aurangabad and Nanded, said K S Hosalikar, deputy director, IMD Mumbai. The result was warmer nights, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

The heat is on: Mercury rises 4-60 C above normal across parts of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With clear skies and the absence of any significant weather system over the sea, several parts of western, northwestern and central India, along with the Gangetic plains, are witnessing this summer’s first heat wave. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “under the influence of prevailing winds and clear sky conditions, maximum and minimum temperatures increased over parts of northwest, west and central India by 4-6 degrees above normal. It has led to heat wave conditions.”This has left Marathwada, Vidarbha, western Rajasthan and Saurashtra sizzling, with dry and hot conditions. On Monday as well as Tuesday, many cities in these regions crossed the 40-degree Celsius mark. On Monday, maximum temperatures over 42 degrees Celsius was recorded in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Dessa, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Malegaon and Chandrapur.In Mumbai, Thane and Pune, too, the temperatures soared 5-6 degrees above normal. Thane recorded 43 degrees Celsius on Monday while Pune recorded 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. The IMD said that the heat wave is “very likely” to continue in parts of Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Marathwada and Vidarbha in the coming two to three days.“The prevailing conditions are characteristic of the summer season when there is an absence of any major weather activity. This means that the skies are clear, there is little chance of clouding and despite the lack of really hot winds, temperatures do tend to rise,” said K Sathi Devi, scientist, National Weather Forecasting Centre (NWFC).Private weather forecaster Skymet said that the spike in mercury levels in the western parts is due to “dry northerly-northeasterly winds”, which, being “drier”, lead to a rise in temperature over the region.The IMD’s summer forecast had said that heat wave conditions are likely over much of north, northwest, central, east central India and even over plains of the Himalayas. During a heat wave, maximum temperatures soar 5-6 degrees above normal. According to the IMD, the average minimum temperatures, too, are going to increase by over 1 degree Celsius, largely in the northwest and plains of Himalayas.

State plans to promote green industries in Maharashtra’s ‘Red Corridor’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon, your bottle of ayurvedic medicine or furniture like sofa sets and chairs may be made in Gadchiroli, with the state government planning to establish ‘forest industrial zones’ in the Left-wing extremism affected district in Vidarbha.This will add value to forest produce and help uplift local tribals economically in the greenest district in Maharashtra by providing them with employment and remunerative pricing. The policy aims at promoting the establishment of industries producing ayurvedic medicines, furniture manufacturing industries and agarbatti (incense sticks) units.Gadchiroli, which has over 80-per cent forest cover in Maharashtra — the highest in the state — has a low industrial base with few activities, like mining and collection of forest produce such as tendu, taking place apart from agriculture.“We have proposed the creation of forest industrial zones. Gadchiroli has ample forest resources to enable the setting up of forest-based industries. We are looking at a ‘Make in Gadchiroli’ programme with respect to forest resources and have sent a proposal to the government, which is under active consideration,” P Kalyankumar, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Gadchiroli, told DNA.He said they were proposing the creation of these zones in areas like Gadchiroli town, Charmoshi, Armori, Kurkheda and Dhanora, where the security situation is better compared to other parts of the district. Each zone, which will house around 10 to 12 units, will be spread over a 50-hectare area. This will also cover lands acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).“We have a lot of potential for developing ayurvedic industries due to the presence of medicinal plants. Local people can collect this produce for industries. The cost of production will be low, enabling competitive pricing,” added Kalyankumar, noting how bija wood, which is used in controlling diabetes, is found in Gadchiroli. He added that they were trying to invite investors to the district and sharing this information with them.Kalyankumar said that the furniture industry could also look at Gadchiroli for setting up manufacturing units due to the availability of good-quality timber. Gadchiroli annually produces 25,000 cubic metres of timber.

Maharashtra: Weeks after questioning cheap land given to Baba Ramdev, bureaucrat shunted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior bureaucrat from Maharashtra was reportedly transferred just three weeks after he raised concerns about the land price waiver for a food park in Nagpur, which was awarded to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. A Times of India report citing information obtained through RTI, said that then principal secretary (financial reforms) and currently principal secretary (agriculture), Bijay Kumar, had raised concerns in writing about the basis of the price waiver, last year.However, Kumar was transferred on April 29, 2016, three weeks after he contested the financial calculations behind the price reduction. While the usual tenure is at least three years, Bijay Kumar’s transfer was initiated less than a year and a half into his posting.Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Devenda Fadnavis said that the entire process was transparent and the allotment followed open bids.Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) had floated two global tenders (in May and July 2016), but failed to get any bidder. In the third call, MADC has received Patanjali Ayurved as the technically qualified bidder.MADC has decided to develop agro, food, herbal and forest -based industrial park on a sprawling 230 acres of land in Mihan. The project is part of the company’s efforts to develop the Vidarbha region.Fadnavis who heads the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) board defended Kumar’s transfer saying, “It was routine and he had been given a posting of his choice.”The report added that though MADC’s rate in the area was Rs 1 crore per acre (4,046 square metres), the committee recommended a base price of Rs 25 lakh per acre for a food park. The 230 acres of the land was awarded the sole bidder Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd at the cost of Rs 58.63 crore for a 66-year lease.

Ex-MP & staunch Vidarbha proponent Jambuwantrao Dhote no more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jambuwantrao Dhote, a former Lok Sabha MP and a stalwart of the separate Vidarbha movement, passed away today in Yavatmal following a cardiac arrest, his family said. He was 83 and is survived by wife and two daughters. “My father had heart ailments. He felt uneasy at around 3 AM and alone went to the Government hospital in Yavatmal. But he suffered a cardiac arrest in the hospital and passed away while undergoing treatment,” Dhote’s daughter Kranti told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Anti-Vidarbha lobby should be kept at bay during polls: Dhote

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former MP and prominent supporter of separate Vidarbha movement Jambhuwantrao Dhote today exhorted that the “anti-Vidarbha lobby with vested interest” should kept at the bay during the ensuing elections to Zilla Parishad and Pachayat Samitis. “The anti-Vidarbha lobby with vested interests in the western Maharashtra should be kept at the bay during local body elections. People of Vidarbha will not pardon them (referring to politicians) for their opposition to formation of a separate Vidarbha,” Dhote told reporters here. He said that when Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 and the issue of Vidarbha State was discussed in its national convention in 1888. Dhote, however, praised the ruling BJP for its positive stand over the demand of statehood to Vidarbha. “There is no solution for the heavy backlog in all fronts of development in Vidarbha region other than bestowing it with statehood,” Dhote reiterated.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amendment needed in Money Lending Act to extend loan waiver,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To implement a loan waiver scheme extended by Maharashtra government in 2015 to debt-ridden Marathwada and Vidarbha farmers residing outside the licensed money lenders’ operational area, an amendment will be required Money Lending (Regulation) Act 2014, the Bombay High Court was told here. Additional Chief Secretary Santokh Singh Sandhu submitted an affidavit in this regard informing the HC about it when a PIL filed by Arun Ingle, president of Sawkargrast Shetkati Samiti in Buldhana district, came up for hearing yesterday. The affidavit by the state government stated that extending loan waiver scheme to debt-ridden farmers residing outside the permissible operational area (of licensed money lenders’) will be breach of provisions of Section 4 of the Act. Hence, amendment in the Act is needed first and government is working on this aspect. However, no final decision has been taken as yet because such a proposition involves serious financial and legal implications, it said. The state government in its GR dated April 10, 2015 had extended a loan waiver scheme to farmers of Vidarbha and Marathwada region who had taken loans/advances from licenced money lenders. However, the loan waiver was brought with certain terms and conditions to be followed while implementing it. It was submitted in the court that “during the implementation of the said loan waiver scheme, the government received communication from collectors of various districts of Amravati, Jalna, Wardha, Yavatmal, Akola and other regions besides peoples’ representatives with a request to consider relaxation of sub clause three of clause one of the GR. “However, waiving the loans the money lenders have extended to farmers who were not residents of the area for which license has been granted (to money lenders) would be contrary to the provisions of Section 4 of the Act, 2014.” Also, it (representations) apparently meant that any waiver of loans extended by such money lenders to the farmers residing outside the areas mentioned in their license would require appropriate amendment of the Act, 2014, the affidavit said. The affidavit says “the GR shows that sub clause-3 of clause one disentitles money lenders who extended loan to persons who are not residents within the area of operation as mentioned in the licence.” However, many of the licenced money lenders in the state extended loans outside their permissible area. Thus, the GR of the government stands not applicable to farmers who got loans from licenced money lenders outside the allowed area of operation, it said. The division bench of Justice Bhushan Gawai and Justice Indira Jain yesterday went through the affidavit submitted by the government and fixed the hearing on the same after two weeks.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

In Punjab and Haryana, fog reduced visibility in the

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>early morning hours, where minimum temperature continued to hover above the normal limits at most places. The places affected by fog in the two states were Ludhiana, Patiala, Pathankot, Adampur, Halwara, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Karnal and Hisar. Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 10.6 degrees Celsius, up four notches against normal, a MeT Department official said. In Haryana, Ambala recorded a low of 10 degrees Celsius, up three notches while Hisar’s minimum settled at 7.2 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, Amritsar registered a low of 7.4 degrees Celsius, up three notches against normal. Ludhiana recorded a low of 8.8 degrees Celsius, while Patiala registered a minimum temperature of 8.2 degrees Celsius. The hill station of Mount Abu in Rajasthan registered the lowest minimum temperature of 6 degrees Celsius followed by 6.9 degrees Celsius in Sriganganagar, 7.6 degrees Celsius in Dabok 11 degrees Celsius in Jaipur. Night temperatures were appreciably below normal in parts of Odisha and east Madhya Pradesh and below normal in some areas of Assam and Meghalaya, gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, west Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Marathwada and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Summary of observations recorded at 0830 hrs:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The western disturbance as an upper air cyclonic circulation extending upto 3.1 kms a.s.l. over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu & Kashmir has moved away east-northeastwards. However, the associated trough now runs with its axis at 5.8 kms a. s. l. roughly along Long. 88 E to the north of Lat. 22 N. A western disturbance as an upper air cyclonic circulation extending upto 3.1 kms a. s. l. lies over central parts of Iran and neighbourhood. Above two systems are likely to move east-northeastwards. The induced cyclonic circulation over northwest Uttar Pradesh and neighbourhood has become less marked. However, a trough at 2.1 kms a. s. l. runs from northern parts of Jharkhand to Vidarbha. The trough of low at mean sea level from Gulf of Mannar off north Tamil Nadu coast now runs from Comorin area to north Konkan coast with the cyclonic circulation aloft extending upto 2.1 kms a. s. l. The trough of low at mean sea level over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining equatorial Indian Ocean has merged with the above trough. The cyclonic circulation over Bangla Desh and neighbourhood has become less marked. Cold wave conditions prevailed in some parts of west Madhya Pradesh. Night temperatures were appreciably below normal in some parts of Vidarbha and in remaining parts of west Madhya Pradesh and were below normal in some parts of Odisha, east Madhya Pradesh and of Marathwada. They were appreciably to markedly above normal in some parts of Rayalaseema and of Tamil Nadu; appreciably above normal in some parts of West Bengal and Sikkim, Jharkhand, Bihar, interior Karnataka and of Kerala and were above normal in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, west Rajasthan, Gujarat state, Madhya Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and of coastal Karnataka. They were normal over the rest of the country. The lowest minimum temperature recorded over the plains was 6.0 C at Damoh and Rewa (east Madhya Pradesh). Dense fog (visibility . 200m) occurred at isolated places over Gangetic West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, west Rajasthan and east Madhya Pradesh and shallow to moderate fog (visibility . 500m) occurred at isolated places over Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi in the morning hours.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shiv Sena mocks RSS ideologue who suggested division of Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a jibe at RSS ideologue MG Vaidya over his remarks on dividing Maharashtra into four smaller states, the Shiv Sena said on Monday Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should consider him for the state’s top honour ‘Maharashtra Bhushan.'”By asking for smaller states to be carved out of Maharashtra, he is only putting forth his view, which everybody has a right to do in a democracy. Many a times some people’s love for Pakistan also keeps sprouting now and then,” an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.”Vaidya should be invited to Mumbai and lauded for his views. Maharashtra Chief Minister should consider honouring this person, who has such great views, with a Maharashtra Bhushan award,” the Sena said.The Sena’s comment slamming Vaidya, a former spokesperson of the RSS, comes in the backdrop of his speech in Nagpur last week, where he had reiterated his stand on the division of Maharashtra into four states. “I am a pro-Vidarbha person and a separate Vidarbha should be carved out. Any state should not have a population of more than three crore. There should not be any need for protest for small states,” Vaidya had said.Vaidya had often advocated division of Maharashtra into Vidarbha, Marathwada including Khandesh, Konkan, and western Maharashtra and the official language of all these states would remain Marathi. He had also also suggested constitution a state reorganisation commission and each state should have restricted population.The Sena, however, has vehemently opposed the idea of division of Maharashtra.

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