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Government relaxes coastal norms for Ambedkar memorial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Statue off Mumbai’s coast, the Centre has paved the way for construction of Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkar memorial at the defunct Indu Mill in Parel. The union ministry for environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has amended the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 2011, to insert a relaxation that will allow Maharashtra government to change land use for construction of the memorial.The amendment’s timing is of consequence as it will allow the BJP-led government to begin work on the memorial just weeks before the Election Commission imposes the Model code of conduct for the Mumbai civic polls and municipal body polls in other major cities such as Pune, Nasik, Amravati, Nagpur and Solapur. It also comes more than one year after the PM laid the foundation stone for the memorial last October, thus helping the government to expedite work and attract voters from backward castes.The relaxation for the memorial has been inserted under the Rules laid down for CRZ-II areas, specifically those in Mumbai. “Construction of memorial in the honour of Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in Mumbai on Indu 6-Mills land shall be allowed with change in land use from industrial to construction of memorial in accordance with applicable Town and Country Planning Regulations”, said the new item added in the notification.The Ambedkar memorial is to be built on 12 acres of land in Indu Mill and the amendment frees up 5.5 acres of CRZ-II affected land that can now be taken over by the Maharashtra government.

50 days are up, time for whip-lashes? Uddhav Thackeray mocks PM Modi’s demonetizaton move

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi government over demonetization, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asked what should we do now as the ’50-day’ period the prime minister asked for was about to end.”Narendra Modi had said give me 50 days’ time (for the situation to normalise after demonetization) or else give me whip-lashes. Fifty days are getting over on December 30, what should we do on December 31?” Thackeray asked at a rally in Dhule, north Maharashtra.He expressed confidence that Sena will retain power in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Sena will win maximum number of municipal corporations in the coming polls and have maximum number of mayors elected, Thackeray claimed.Referring to the Prime Minister’s speech at Bhoomi-pujan ceremony of Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast, Uddhav said, “After listening to the Prime Minister’s speech, after some time I felt is there any end to this (constant speech-making)?”Meanwhile, a senior Sena minister in the Maharashtra government, requesting anonymity, said his party was ready to contest the crucial MCGM elections on its own.”Sena has made up its mind to contest the elections on its own, given the bitter experience we had with BJP calling off the alliance at the last minute before 2014 Assembly elections,” he said.The minister ruled out possibility of alliance with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. MNS was a spent force, he said. According to a senior BJP minister, the party’s top brass in New Delhi has yet had not taken serious note of the ally Shiv Sena’s regular outbursts against the Modi government. Sena has been attacking the government over demonetization move, among other issues.Sena mouthpiece Saamana today took a swipe at Modi for greeting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on birthday. Chhatrapati Shivaji never extended such greetings to “the enemies of the nation,” it said.

Raj Thackeray has an apt question: Why spend money on memorials when historical forts are in a state of neglect?

With the BJP and Shiv Sena busy bickering over who was “hijacking” the grand Shivaji Memorial for reaping “political gains”,  Raj Thackeray, leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), had something pertinent to say.

Barely two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the ‘jal-pooja’ for the proposed memorial in the Arabian Sea — a Rs 3,600-crore worth of grand affair —  Thackeray questioned how the state government planned to finance it. “Where is the money going to come from? Do they have the money for the project? In the past, they have made many similar announcements, but the funds never came,” he said

Alleging that the state government keeps making such announcements, without planning the resources, he suggested that the money should be utilised for the development and maintenance of the scores of forts and palaces in Maharashtra, many built during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Incidentally, this had been a long-standing demand of the MNS.

As the state government is busy basking in the glory of another multi-billion project to claim the legacy of the the 17th century warrior king, the 3oo forts that the Maratha war hero built and captured during some of Indian history’s most iconic wars are languishing in a state of neglect.

Here’s a look at Maharashtra’s most prominent edifices that are the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — an integral part of the Maratha pride.

Rajgad Fort

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia commons

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia Commons

The 14th century majestic edifice, built atop a hill near Pune, was the capital of the Maratha king and one of the most notable hill forts in the country. However, today, it remains callously ignored and is in dire need of fortified security measure as reports of thefts of historical artifacts from the fort have surfaced. According to a report in Pune Mirror on 12 Decembera piece of Shivaji’s sword disappeared that was a part of a well-known statue called Raj Sadar Sinhasan (the grand throne), at the fort. The report further states that the Maharashtra government has no paperwork to document the exact number and location of these artifacts, which makes it difficult for such thefts to be reported and documented.

From a tourism point of view also, the development of these forts remains far from satisfactory. Another report in The Times of India states that poor sanitation facilities at the fort and lack of a proper motorable road to the hill top are an impediment in harnessing the true tourism potential of the fort. The government, according to the report, is pushing for the historical site to be included among the World Heritage Sites maintained by the Unesco, but with shoddy upkeep, the Maratha heritage is unlikely to be restored to its past glory.

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia Commons

The Maharashtra Tourism website boasts of the strategic fort’s grandeur in these words, “As one of the top military outposts during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the fort of Sinhagad not only offers a fascinating peek into the history of the Maratha Empire but is also a perennial favourite… While taking in the panoramic view of the landscape below, you cannot help but wonder at the vision of those who built such imposing structures at such great heights.”

However, the structure sadly is in a dilapidated state and not much of it’s original structure has remained intact with time. According to The Times of India, parts of the structure are crumbling down due to lack of repair and restoration. The report also states that unmanouverable road, lack of security at the fort and garbage strewn across the place have further reduced its former glory. Vandalistaion is another problem, as visitors, in the absence of proper security carve out names and paint graffiti on the historical structure.

Sindhudurg Fort

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Noted for its serene coastal beauty, the Sindhudurg Fort was built by Shivaji in 1664 AD off the Malvan coast. According to the Maharashtra Tourism website, it is believed that Shivaji personally chose the site for the construction of the fort, and it also has a temple dedicated to the warrior king, built by his son Rajaram.

However, this oceanic fort is also in a poor state, as the administration chooses to look the other way. As per The Times of Indiathe lashing waves from all sides have weakened the structure and its once impregnable boundary wall is crumbling in places. It’s well camouflaged and the sturdy gate has developed creaks because of which it cannot be closed anymore.

Walls of the Shivaji temple now has cracks. This temple has hosted many politicians who have wished to invoke Shivaji’s valour as a symbol of Maratha pride for making political gains.

Shramik Gojamgunde, the founder of Pune-based Sahyadri Pratishthan which is involved in spreading awareness about the conservation of forts in Maharashtra, rues at the terrible state of the over 350 forts dotted across Maharashtra. “The central government has 35 forts under their purview, while the state has 45. Who is responsible for the rest of the forts?” Gojamgunde is quoted in Mid-Day as saying. According to the report, frustrated by the lack of renovation and restoration initiatives, Gojamgunde’s organisation is taking up the work in its own hands and is involved in cleaning up a few forts. They have also installed information boards, where necessary, to inform the tourists about the glorious past of these monuments.

“The only reason we are taking on the responsibility is because the government shuns it. If we don’t do anything about these 2,000 year-old forts, they won’t exist 200 years down the line,” Mid-Day quotes him as saying. However, restoration and maintenance of historical structure should ideally be overseen by historians and the due authorities. The weathering and ageing of these structures is also an essential part which adds to their historical value. Unwarranted renovation work can damage the rustic beauty of these places. Installing newer and more lavish memorials to glorify the Indian history and heroes is a great idea but what is needed is the administration’s attention and support to protect the existing historical heritage.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 19:41 IST

Shiv Sena takes a dig at Narendra Modi for greeting Nawaz Sharif on his birthday

Mumbai: In a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for wishing his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday amid chill in relations between the two countries, Shiv Sena on Tuesday invoked Chhatrapati Shivaji saying the warrior king never extended such greetings to “the enemies of the nation.”

Significantly, the Sena’s barb at Modi came within days of his laying the foundation for a grand memorial to Shivaji in Mumbai.

The ally also voiced its displeasure over the BJP supporters chanting “Modi, Modi” during a public meeting addressed by the prime minister, which was also attended by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

File photo of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

File photo of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

“What is outstanding about Shivaji Maharaj’s thoughts is that he considered enemies of Swarajya as enemies of the nation. Shivaji Maharaj never extended birthday greetings to Aurangzeb, Afzal Khan and Shaista Khan,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.

During the build-up to ‘jal pujan’ for the memorial, Sena did not hide its feeling that BJP has sought to “hijack” the event for claiming the legacy of the Maratha icon to secure political mileage.

“We only ask politicians not to use Chhatrapati to play low-grade politics. Those who claim rights on Chhatrapati will bite the dust in the end. They would do well to remember the history,” the editorial said on Tuesday.

“Ensure that the memorial does not get trapped in selfish politics, thereby forcing Shivaji Maharaj to use his sword against these self-centred politicians,” it said.

The ruling alliance partner, however, said it understood the importance of Modi in the BJP, and that his party is what it is today only due to the “Modi tonic”.

“While the Sainiks and Shivaji fans were chanting slogans hailing the Chhatrapati, BJP workers were shouting slogans in the name of Modi. Can anyone compare himself to Shivaji? Modi himself will not approve of this,” Sena said.

Notably, during the public meeting addressed by Modi here on Sunday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s speech was interrupted for a while, apparently by BJP supporters present among the audience by chanting “Modi, Modi,”.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 14:30 IST

PM speak: Thorns for corrupt, roses for the rest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that after the deadline of 50 days (from November 8 when demonetization was announced), inconvenience faced by honest people would mitigate and trouble would increase for the dishonest.The war against black money will not be called off until victory is achieved, he said. But he offered the dishonest a chance. “There is still some time left and they can still bring themselves into the mainstream of honest ones,” he said. Though the government does not want to destroy such people, it cannot spare them if they loot the common man’s money, Modi said. The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at the MMRDA ground here after laying the foundation stone for the Arabian sea memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The recent local body elections in Maharashtra, where BJP has emerged as the largest party, prove that people are with the demonetization drive, he said. He said 125 crore people backed his decision. “There are very powerful people, who have enjoyed many benefits in the last seven decades, trying to defeat the demonetization drive. But the country cannot be defeated by such people,” he said.“Some people thought that they can escape by convincing bankers, but those who tried this route not only endangered their future but also that of the bankers,” he said. These people will have to ultimately bow down before 125 crore Indians who would not tolerate dishonesty anymore, he said. He said that 125 crore Indians have now become the baton holders of the war against black money and that is the reason why this war will not stop, he said.

PM Modi in Mumbai today to lay foundation stone of Rs 3600-crore Shivaji memorial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stone for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.Modi will land in the metropolis at 11.30 AM and leave for MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district where he will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management.The PM will then reach Raj Bhavan and later move towards Girgaum Chowpatty for the Shivaji Memorial event.He will proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project at the Agriculture College ground there. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

PM Modi in Maharashtra for inauguration of Shivaji memorial, Mumbai and Pune metro

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.

Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.

He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”

Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.

The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.

The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

A rally was flagged off at Chembur on Saturday, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.

The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state. This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.

For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.

Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.

The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.

Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 09:02 IST

PM Modi to lay foundation stones for mega Shivaji memorial, Mumbai & Pune metro on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.A rally was flagged off at Chembur today, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state.This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

BJP using Shivaji memorial event to market PM Modi, CM Fadnavis: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Thursday accused the BJP-led Maharashtra government of trying to derive a political mileage from a scheduled foundation stone laying ceremony of Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial, which will be performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Government is spending Rs 18 crore for publicity of the event. The money is being used for marketing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image.”Instead of wasting money on marketing the two leaders, the amount should be utilised for construction of the memorial,” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan told reporters.Against the backdrop of the BJP touting the project as “vachanpurti” or fulfilment of their electoral promise, Chavan said it was the Congress which had made the commitment for the construction of the memorial in their poll manifesto.”When we assured this in our manifesto the BJP never spoke about it. We even made the budgetary provision for the project. BJP is politicising the event. Fishing community has some reservations and the government should resolve them,” he added.

Here’s why Uddhav Thackeray will be sharing the stage with PM Modi for the first time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party had boycotted a function involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, will attend the public function in Mumbai on December 24 to be addressed by Modi. The Prime Minister, after laying the foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, elevated rail corridors project, the Mumbai Trans Harbour link and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial off Arabian Sea, will address a public function in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). “There will be only one function to lay the foundation stone for these projects and Uddhav Thackeray will attend the proceedings at the MMRDA grounds in BKC,” a close aide of the Sena chief said on Wednesday.On October 11 last year, Modi had laid the foundation stone of a grand memorial to Babasaheb Ambedkar at the Indu Mills compound in the heart of Mumbai, a function which was boycotted by Shiv Sena whose chief Uddhav Thackeray was not invited. Sena is a part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre as well as the BJP-led Maharashtra government.Meanwhile, NCP president Sharad Pawar is in Delhi and will attend the birthday celebrations of Ajit Singh, former union minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief on Thursday. “Pawar saheb will attend the function to lay the foundation stone of Pune Metro in Pune if invited. His office in Mumbai has not received an invite,” one of the aide of the Maratha strongman said.

Renaming CST is lip service, doesn’t truly honour Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

How does one honour the great Maratha warrior, Shivaji?

There are many ways than merely naming places after him. First, it was Victoria Terminus that was renamed in his honour and then the airports at Santa Cruz and Sahar. Now, they have decided to add the title of ‘Maharaj’ to the two transport hubs.

Merely renaming a building, road, landmark, travel hub etc is not enough. It never can be. There are better ways to commemorate the great founder of the Maratha empire, who sent chills down the collective spine of the Mughals. For instance, we could respect him by going by his ideals and his conduct.

A couple of years after his coronation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had written to a subedar of in Prabhavali, on how he wanted his administration to function:

Go from village to village. Conduct meetings with farmers and take stock of the prevailing situation. Determine if the farmers have the capability and human resources for cultivation of land. Those who have the capability and the manpower but do not have the necessary agricultural implements, bulls, or do not have adequate food grains for sustenance can be provided with funds to purchase two to three bulls and a few sacks of grains. Once the farmers attain a certain level of self-sufficiency, the principal the principal amount of funds given to them can be gradually recovered. In this effort, even if 2,00,000 lakh laris are spent, as long as wasteland is brought under cultivation, taxes increased and farmers made self-sufficient, such expenditure is acceptable to us.

(Source: Maharashtra Human Development Report 2002)

The cited report interpreted it thus: Investment has to be made in the present for the future, welfare or the well-being of the people had to be the cornerstone of governance, create a new order sensitive to the needs of the common people. “Latter day social reformers and political leaders drank at the fountain of his wisdom”.

File image of Mumbai's soon-to-be Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. PTI

File image of Mumbai’s soon-to-be Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. PTI

Apparently, the “political leaders” of back then are nothing like contemporary ones, who like to tilt at the windmills. Or use smoke and screens to build images. Or give a spin to just about everything and keep the citizen as the lowest priority. If you see how the state of Maharashtra has built up huge public debt and has the country’s largest share of farmer suicides, misgoverned cities and towns, and malnutritioned children in tribal areas, we know where the state stands.

Icons are remembered, cults are built, but their values are forgotten except for trite references to them in public speeches. Jyotiba Phule, BR Ambedkar, Sahu Maharaj are some of those. There’s a political purpose behind these. Instead of reaffirming even an intent to work as they did, the addition of ‘Maharaj’ is seen as politics: To win Maratha votes.

Back to the renaming of renamed places, let me use a quote — quite clichéd, it comes from the great William Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?” from his Romeo and Juliet. This had come to my mind when the grand Victoria Terminus in Mumbai was rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in 1996. It was done to honour the Maratha warrior.

Such renaming meant little, because even the most ardent devotee of Shivaji began to use it in its abbreviated form — CDT; just like he or she had with Victoria Terminus — VT. Both Victoria and Shivaji went into the background. So much for giving names of the greats, if they are to be reduced to two or three letters.

The renaming of Mumbai’s Sahar airport which served the city came about around the same time, and the Shiv Sena was leading the Maharashtra government. It may be recalled that the state’s capital had been also renamed Mumbai. To many a user, it is even now the ‘Mumbai airport’. Earlier, the domestic wing was known after the village in which it was situated, Santa Cruz.

Now, the honorific ‘Maharaj’ has been added to the names, making it more respectful. And cumbersome for use. CST becomes Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, or in its abbreviation, CSMT. Likewise, the airport. What this means is while commemorating Shivaji the first time around, Shiv Sena had fallen short. Now the BJP, in saddle, has added ‘Maharaj’, and the BJP was the Sena’s partner in power during 1995-99.

This is not the Sena and the BJP’s predilection. In 2000, when the Sena-BJP was ousted from power and Congress-Nationalist Congress Party occupied the seats of power, they announced the Prince of Wales Museum’s renaming. It recalled that a promise to pack of ‘Prince of Wales’ into oblivion and bring in Shivaji with Maharaj included was made in 1993, when the Congress was at the helm.

What’s in a name, indeed?

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 16:18 IST

CST, Mumbai International Airport get royal treatment: Will have ‘Maharaj’ in new names

Mumbai city will see two of its important landmarks being renamed in the near future. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, commonly known as CST, which is one of Mumbai’s busiest railway stations, and the Mumbai international airport, known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will be renamed.

The names of the railway station and the airport won’t be drastically different. The word ‘Maharaj’, which means king in Marathi will be added after Shivaji. Mumbai’s international airport will now be called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and CST will be renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminal.

Before 1995, the airport was called Sahar International Airport and the railway station was called Victoria Terminus. They were renamed after the BJP-Shiv Sena came to power in 1995.

The demand for renaming of places across India gathered steam after the BJP-led NDA swept to power in 2014. In April 2016, the Haryana government under ML Khattar renamed Gurgaon to Gurugram in honour of Guru Dronacharya, The Hindu reported.

In October 2014, the NDA government cleared the way for renaming 12 cities in Karnataka. As a result, Bangalore became Bengaluru, Mangalore became Mangaluru and Mysore became Mysuru, in line with their Kannada pronunciation.

According to a report in DNA, the RSS has also demanded that Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Telangana‘s Hyderabad and Mahrashtra’s Aurangabad be renamed Karnavati, Bhagyanagar and Sambhaji Nagar respectively.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 12:15 IST

Wing tips of two taxiing planes touch each other at Mumbai airport

Wed, 30 Nov 2016-09:35pm , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major mishap was averted on Wednesday when the wing tips of two aircrafts – one of them taxiing and the other on the verge of takeoff – touched each other at the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.No passenger or crew member of either IndiGo or Kuwait Airways aircraft was hurt in the incident, which took place at around 0545 hours, airport sources said.Both the aircraft are now grounded and the incident has been reported to the aviation regulator DGCA, they said.Kuwait Airways’ Airbus A330 was taxiing at the runway for parking (rpt) parking while IndiGo’s Airbus A320 was taking off for Kolkata via Jaipur, they said.

Demonetisation: Shiv Sena backs NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks on banks being ‘looted’

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Monday supported NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks that people will “loot and destroy banks” if the situation arising after the demonetisation move does not improve soon, saying he has voiced the concerns of people on the cash chaos.

Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, while speaking at a function to pay homage to late Deputy Prime Minister YB Chavan at Sangli in the presence of several political bigwigs last week, had also said many BJP MPs and MLAs who were his close friends too have not accepted the demonetisation decision.

“Chhatrapati’s anguish has represented the feelings of common man. At one time, Udayan Raje had joined BJP and was even made a minister so BJP cannot him disown him now. If the government has courage, it should challenge Udayan Raje’s statements,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

It said Bhosale has time and again voiced the concerns of people.

“After PM Narendra Modi‘s decision, people in rural areas have suffered a lot. Yet, no leader from rural areas is ready to speak against it. These leaders have their hands full with old notes and they are now in a piquant situation as they cannot remove that money nor can they keep it as it is,” the Sena said.

“During the British rule, Indians in Satara used to loot banks and government treasury. Udayan Raje, from the same Satara has warned the government that people will loot banks to live. Will the government shoot these people?” the Sena asked.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 13:53 IST

Tributes for Mumbai attack martyrs: Fadnavis, Thackeray, police chief Ribiero pay homage

Mumbai: Floral tributes were paid to those who laid down their lives while fighting terrorists who had attacked the metropolis on this day eight years ago. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saurday was among the dignitaries who paid homage at the 26/11 police memorial site at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana in south Mumbai.

“I pay homage to the brave policemen who fought for Mumbai’s safety and laid down their lives for us on 26/11. We are proud of them and we will strive hard for safety and security of our state,” Fadnavis said. “We will strengthen police force with better equipment. It is our priority,” he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, former Mumbai police commissioners Julio Ribeiro, M N Singh and several senior present and former police officers were present. Maharashtra police chief Satish Mathur and Mumbai CP Datta Padsalgikar were away on official duty and could not attend the ceremony.

Family members of the policemen, who lost their lives during the November 2008 attacks, were also present during the ceremony. On 26 November, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores.

The then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack. The attack had begun on 26 November and lasted until 29 November. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre were some of the places targeted by the terrorists. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on 21 November, 2012.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 11:05 IST

2008 Mumbai Attacks: In idle moments, memories of attack haunt, says 26/11 survivor

Mumbai: Dr N P Vaswani, who stared the death in the face eight years ago, says he is so busy that he has no time to look back and this has kept him going. But when Vaswani, a survivor of Mumbai terror attack of November 2008, has time to think, the memory haunts him.

“By God’s grace I am so busy, that I don’t look behind. But when I sit idle I feel disturbed. Whole day I am busy with my patients, if I had been idle, I would have died. So, my work has kept me alive,” he told PTI as another anniversary of the attack which began on 26 November, 2008, approaches.

Not much seemed to have changed in terms of security post the attack, he said.

“I am still scared to sit in my clinic and the fear is still there. They should improve the security. What I’am seeing is not security. They have put up CCTVs, but nobody keeps a watch whether it’s working or not. CCTVs are not being utilised to the extent they should be. So the security is just on paper.”

Recounting his experience of the fateful night, he said, “I was face to face with a terrorist. I was fired upon, but I escaped….Somebody who came to protect me died on the spot.”

Reuters

Reuters

“I was in (Hotel) Taj. I had an appointment with a High Court judge at 10 pm, so I came down from the lift and saw everybody dead on the floor. Not a single soul was alive.

“There was a person in black dress who asked me not to venture out as some kind of gang-war was going on outside,” Dr Vaswani said.

“I said gangwar keeps on happening and stepped ahead, but this person jumped and tried to protect me. Seeing this, the terrorist shot at the person, leaving him dead. I got into lift and escaped upstairs to the room of my patient. I was in the room whole night and (next) whole day until commandos came and rescued me,” he said.

“I was the first person to be rescued because my patient was the mother of the President of Qatar. She was a VIP guest, so the External Affairs Ministry and all got involved,” he said.

Another survivor, Devika Rotawan, said, “I will never be able to forget that night (of November 26, 2008).”

Devika, who was only 13 years old then, said her family’s life changed in a big way in the aftermath of attack.

“There are both positive and negative changes in our lives. The positive change is I have got some award and people have appreciated me. But the downside is my father is jobless now and there is a financial crisis. His business folded up as people stopped dealing with him due to fear of terrorists,” she said.

“There is problem at our village too. People asked us not to visit there, fearing that terrorists might follow us to the village,” she added.

On the ill-fated night, Devika, her father Natwarlal and her brother Akash were waiting for a train at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) when Ajmal Kasab and other terrorists opened fire indiscriminately.

Shot in the right leg, Devika, who became the youngest eye-witness to depose in the court during Kasab‘s trial, had to use crutches for a long time.

The attack by Pakistani terrorists at multiple places across Mumbai left 166 people dead and several others injured.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 10:45 IST

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis, Guv C Vidyasagar Rao pay tribute on 8th anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Floral tributes were paid on Saturday to those who laid down their lives while fighting terrorists who had attacked the metropolis on this day eight years ago. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was among the dignitaries who paid homage at the 26/11 police memorial site at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana in south Mumbai. “I pay homage to the brave policemen who fought for Mumbai’s safety and laid down their lives for us on 26/11. We are proud of them and we will strive hard for safety and security of our state,” Fadnavis said. “We will strengthen police force with better equipment. It is our priority,” he said. Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, former Mumbai police commissioners Julio Ribeiro, M N Singh and several senior present and former police officers were present. Maharashtra police chief Satish Mathur and Mumbai CP Datta Padsalgikar were away on official duty and could not attend the ceremony. Family members of the policemen, who lost their lives during the November 2008 attacks, were also present during the ceremony.On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists arrived by sea route and opened fire indiscriminately at people killing 166, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores. The then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack. The attack had begun on 26 November and lasted until 29 November. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre were some of the places targeted by the terrorists.Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist who was captured alive. He was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.

Remembering 26/11 attack: Chaiwalla who alerted passengers about attack still awaits govt job promised to him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight years have passed since the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, but for those who saw it unfold in front of their eyes, the memories of that night remain etched in memory.While everyone is in mourning and paying their tributes to victims of 26/11, a Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station tea vendor, Mohamed Taufiq Sheikh, popularly known as Chhotu the Chaiwalla, recollected the worst memory of his life.”I was waiting at CST that night to collect money for the tea I had just delivered. When I heard the gunshots, I thought they were fireworks, but then, there were two or three explosions. I turned around and saw a long line of people waiting at the ticket counter. So, I ran towards them shouting “Bhago, Bomb Hai (Run, it’s a bomb)! People left everything behind and ran towards the road. When I entered the ticket office, the officers there abused me for chasing them away, but then another bomb exploded right outside where we were,” he said.”By then the firing was coming from some distance. So, I got up and crawled outside to see countless bodies’ some dead, some still having life in them. I called my wife at that point and told her that I might die because there could still be bombs at the station. She asked me to leave and go home. I stayed at CST the whole night with one other police officer,” he added.While everyone who sacrificed their lives that day got recognition, this Chaiwalla never asked for it. The government promised him a job in the railways, but eight years on he still sells tea. And no, he has no demands or complaints!”I never did what I did for any award or recognition, but I have received 28 awards since then and a promise that I would get a job in the railways, a promise which is still not fulfilled eight years on. If it was the son of a minister or politician who had done the same thing, God knows how much they would have done for him, but at the end of it, I’m a poor chaiwallah and I have no regrets. I would do it all over again,” he added.Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, Taufiq Sheikh said he too is happy to serve the nation and would happily risk his life again.

Silent Maratha Morcha held in Nagpur, descendants of Shivaji among participants

Nagpur: The Marathas today took out a ‘silent march’ as part of their statewide mobilisation to press for demands like reservation in jobs and education for their community.

The community is also seeking action against misuse of SC/ST Atrocities Act 1989. It has also denounced the brutal rape and murder of a Maratha girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district.

Representational image. IBN-LokmatRepresentational image. IBN-Lokmat

Representational image. IBN-Lokmat

After the Sakal Maratha Samaj, which organised the protest march here, allegedly decided to go alone excluding the Kunbis from the agitation, the Marathas turned out in large numbers to showcase their strength.

The march, however, began late by an hour from the historic Reshimbagh ground in South-eastern part of the city.

A bust of Maratha warrier Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was placed on the small dais and garlanded on the occasion.

Sporting saffron caps and holding banners, hundereds of community members including direct discendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from Satara gathered for the march. Shrimant Shivrajsingh Raje Bhosale, Kalpitrape Bhonsale, Rutujaraje Bhonsale, Rajendrra Singh Bhonsale and Shrimant Janojiraje Bhonsale were among those who participated in the protest.

A member of erstwhile royal family Raje Mudhoji Bhonsale, former MP and staunch pro Vidarbha leader Jambuwantrao Dhote, former Minister and former president of Pradesh Congress Committee, Ranjeet Deshmukh, former MLA Sunil Shinde, former Vice Chancellor of PDKV (Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth), Dr Shrad Nimbalkar were also present.

The morcha culminated at Kasturchand Park ground, and later five girls from community submitted a memorandum to the District Collector. The Sakal Maratha-Kunbi Samaj has announced 14 December as the date for its march.

Maratha ‘silent’ march in Nagpur on Tuesday; Kunbis excluded from the agitation

Nagpur: The Marathas will be taking out a ‘silent march’ on Tuesday as part of their statewide mobilisation to press for demands like reservation in jobs and education for their community.

The protest march, organised by Sakal Maratha Samaj will start around 10 am from Reshimbagh ground in South-Eastern part of the city and culminate at Kasturchand Park, a member of the erstwhile royal family Raje Mudhoji Bhosale said on Monday.

Also, cracks seem to have developed between two factions of the community, with the Maratha Kunbis, a sect predominant in Vidarbha region, being excluded from the agitation.

Now, the Sakal Maratha-Kunbi Samaj has announced 14 December as the date for its massive march.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Bhosale however denied any rift of the sort between the two sects while talking to PTI.

Members of the Sakal Maratha Samaj also downplayed the divide in the community.

“The 14 December rally is a statewide one and we too will participate in it. The community is united,” an office-bearer said.

Besides, reservation for their community in jobs and educational institutions, the Marathas want a stop on the misuse of SC/ST Atrocities Act 1989.

The city police and the district administration are busy in keeping a tight vigil for Tuesday’s morcha.

According to sources, clubbing and naming the banner as Maratha-Kunbi Samaj march was apparently the deal breaker between the two factions.

There is one section of Marathas (essentially the warrior clan) which has nothing to do with the Kunbi community, which is primarily into agriculture as its occupation, they said.

The Maratha-Kunbi is a mix typical to Vidarbha region where the two seem to have assimilated.

Over six decades ago, this happened with the initiatives of stalwarts like late Panjabrao Deshmukh, the Agriculture Minister in the then Jawahralal Nehru Cabinet, allowing ‘roti-beti’ (exchanging food and allowing marriages) relationsbetween the two.

The descendants of the warrior community, tracing back to Chhatrapati Shivaji, want to assert their lineage and maintain separate identity, the sources said.

So far, the Maratha-Kunbi Samaj, that has overwhelming presence of members in Maratha Vidya Prasarak Mandal and Maratha Sewa Samiti, has been dominating the morcha scene.

It had earlier planned the march on 16 October, but later claimed that the state-level coordination committee instructed it to defer it till December when the winter session of the Legislature commences, to put pressure on the state government, sources added.

Blaze kills 2 in Cuffe Parade apartment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two persons were killed after a major fire broke out in two of the floors of a plush residential highrise in Cuffe Parade here on Tuesday.The fire broke out on the 20th floor in the A-wing of Maker Tower at around 6.15 am and gutted a part of the duplex apartment owned by Shekhar Bajaj, the managing director of Bajaj Electricals.Soon after receiving the alert, fire brigade’s eight fire engines, six jumbo tankers and one ambulance were pressed into action, said P Rahangdale, Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade. “The cause of the fire can be ascertained once the panchnama is done,” he added. There are two flats on each floor of the 25-floor building and the fire spread from the 20th floor to the 21st floor.”It was difficult breaking open the doors… On entering, we found that two persons had already succumbed to the burns. Fourteen people, including a woman and a baby girl, were rescued from the spot. Though the aerial ladder platform was put to use, most of the fire-fighting happened from within the flat. Low visibility and excessive smoke were creating problems. We used six breathing apparatus inside the flat to protect ourselves.”According to an official, the fire control room got information at 6.37 am and at 6:45 am it was a level-three call.The victims, identified as Pradeep Veer Kundan (22) and Ajay Ram (30), were employed with the Bajaj family for the past three years. They were trapped in the servant quarters and died after inhaling excessive smoke. The duo suffered around 40 to 50 percent burns. They were later moved to the government-run St. George Hospital near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).Shekar Bajaj, his wife, Kiran Bajaj, son Anant Bajaj, daughter-in-law, Pooja Bajaj and grand-daughter, along with two maids and two others were rescued from flat no 201 & 211.The duplex house has eight bedrooms with each flat coming to 3,000 sq.ft.Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I, Manoj Kumar Sharma said, “As of now we have registered an Accidental Death Record (ADR). However, further action will be taken based on the fire brigade’s report depending on whether it was negligence or technical fault.”By the time the fire was doused by 8:30 am, kitchen, servant quarter, staircase, furniture and false ceiling were gutted. “Most of the furniture and staircase were made of wood, one reason why the fire spread quickly. Besides, there were a few electronic appliances that too caught fire,” said a fire official.”We, however, managed to move the gas cylinders to safe place. We also broke the glass panes of the windows so that the smoke doesn’t get clogged in the area,” he added.Hardip Bubbar, joint secretary of Maker Tower said, “We are glad that our fire-safety equipment including the fire hose and sprinklers were in working condition, which helped the fire officials douse the fire easily. As soon as we got the news on the fire, we shut the lifts and electric supply. The fire officials entered from the terrace connecting both wings. While residents on the floors below 20th were rushed out to safety, those above the 21st floor had to be rescued via the terrace.”A resident said on condition of anonymity: “We panicked on hearing the fire alarm. It was too early in the morning and chaos prevailed. However, within no time we were rescued via the terrace.”

Mumbai: Drone spotted near International airport

Wed, 19 Oct 2016-12:24am , Mumbai , PTI

Ashish Ranjan, pilot of Indigo Airlines, told authorities that he spotted a drone some 100 metres below the aircraft. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The pilot of a private airline reported on Tuesday seeing a drone while landing at the city airport, leading to a security alert. Ashish Ranjan, pilot of Indigo Airlines flight 6E-755 from Dehradun, told authorities that he spotted a drone some 100 metres below the aircraft on Kurla side, while landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at around 7.30 PM.The pilot alerted the Area Traffic Control (ATC), who contacted the police. The information was forwarded to the Intelligence Bureau, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Special Branch of police and Crime Branch, a police officer said. Recent advisories from Intelligence agencies had said that terrorists could use drone-like objects to launch an attack in Mumbai. Drones, remote-operated aircraft, paragliders and balloons are banned in the city skies.

AI plane from Ahmedabad suffers tyre burst; passengers safe

Tue, 18 Oct 2016-10:48am , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Air India plane carrying 128 passengers and crew members from Ahmedabad suffered a tyre burst while landing at the city airport this morning. All passengers are safe and another aircraft has been arranged to ferry passengers to their onward journey, an Air India spokesperson in New Delhi said. “Air India flight AI 614 from Ahmedabad for Mumbai with 128 passengers and crew members suffered a tyre bust at 0904 hours during landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today,” the spokesperson said. The Airbus A320 aircraft was to fly to Raipur as AI 651, the spokesperson said, adding the airline has already pressed into service another aircraft to fly the passengers to their destination.

Here’s the reason behind the massive Maratha morchas in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maratha community’s mukh morcha (silent rallies) against the Kopardi rape and murder case in Nanded, on Sunday, witnessed a crowd of over 25 lakh people. The community is hoping for a target of over one crore in the Mumbai morcha that is likely to happen in October.So why is the un-organised Maratha community mobilising against the BJP-led government? The Maratha community is the majority caste in Maharashtra, having never taken to the streets to fight for its own rights in several years. This kind of mobilisation is happening after 250 years. The Kopardi rape and murder of a minor Maratha girl was the trigger that led to the morchas against their suppression. The unrest among the community has been present for a long time. Various demands were placed through these rallies such as reservation for Marathas, amendment in the Atrocity Act etc.The Maratha community is mostly the agrarian community, whose livelihood is based on agricultural activities. In the last two years, due to scanty rainfall, farmers faced huge financial crisis, leading to more farmers suicides. Also, less opportunities in government service for the youth, due to various reasons has led to unemployment.
ALSO READ Maharashtra: Kopardi rape and murder case awaits charge sheet after 67 daysMoreover, whatever the farmer produced, the rates of their crops started falling. This year, ahead of the harvest, the green gram rate was Rs9,000 per quintal. Now, the rates have suddenly crashed and come down to Rs 4,500 per quintal.It was the same in the case of onions. In the last two years, not a single crop’s rate went up. Farmers had no government support which caused more anger against the government and its wrong policies.The BJP government, after coming to power, immediately awarded the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award to Babasaheb Purandhare despite Maratha community opposition. They said that Mr Purandhare had painted Chhatrapati Shivaji’s history in Brahaminical angle. Even after the Sambhaji Brigade, youth organisation of the Maratha community, protested against the government’s decision. Fadnavis went ahead and awarded Mr Purandhare recently.Moreover, the Congress-NCP was ruling Maharashstra for 15 years, and both parties are dominated by Maratha leadership. Now, the BJP government is led by a Brahamin chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis so the Maratha leaders and community are feeling out of power suddenly.Moreover, most of the Bahujan leaders in BJP, like Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde, Vinod Tawde who were aspirants for the chief minister’s post are systematically downsized by the incumbent chief minister. So, these leaders and their workers are directly and indirectly supporting the Maratha community’s morchas to make history. No one, including NCP chief and Maratha leader, Sharad Pawar knows what the conclusion of this silent revolution will be, and where it will end.

Air India flight hits aerobridge, passengers escape unhurt

Mumbai: Around 330 passengers and crew members of an Air India (AI) flight from Riyadh to Mumbai escaped unhurt on Friday after the plane hit the aerobridge upon landing.

Some ground operators were injured in the mishap that caused partial damage on the aircraft’s left engine, an official said.

The mishap at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport triggered a blame game between AI and airport authorities.

File photo. PTI.File photo. PTI.

File photo of an Air India flight. PTI.

While no passengers or crew were injured due to the accident, some ground operators were injured, a Mumbai airport spokesperson said, adding the incident, involving a Boeing 777-300 ER plane, happened at around 3.20 pm.

Confirming the accident with flight AI 922, an airline official said the left engine sustained a minor bump and will be sent for inspection. The aircraft, which had around 330 passengers and crew members on-board, has been towed away to the hangar.

The national carrier blamed the airport personnel for the accident.

“AI 922 Riyadh-Mumbai flight hit the aerobridge (used by passengers to board a plane) while parking at the arrival bay. The accident happened because the guidance system of MIAL (Mumbai International Airport) displayed wrong information.

“Due to this wrong information, which is not compatible with this model of aircraft, the left engine of aircraft got into contact with the parked aerobridge,” an Air India official said.

But the airport spokesperson vehemently denied their role in the incident. “The accident has nothing to do with the guidance system of MIAL. The aircraft was being marshalled/guided by Air India staff during which it collided with the aerobridge. The aircraft suffered some minor damage.”

The MIAL said the accident did not lead to any disruption of operations at the airport, one of the busiest in the country.

Mumbai: More political than religious banners removed in 2015

If the number of banners, boards, posters, flags and other defacement removed in the city is any indication, then 2015 seemed to be the year of the “Godfathers” rather than the “Gods”. Far more political banners than religious and social ones were removed in 2015.Of the 12,853 banners, boards, posters, cut-outs, flags and other wall defacement removed, 4,924 were political banners, as compared to 4,893 in the religious and social categories. The number of commercial banners and posters stood at 1,200. As per the information provided under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, while 194 such items were removed in January, the number jumped to 2,539 by the year end.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The information was sought under the RTI Act by Andheri resident Ashok Pai. “I had sought the information when I saw the party flag of Shiv Sena hoisted on the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on the Western Express Highway (WEH),” said Pai.In his application, Pai asked if a political party flag could be hoisted at public places, if the BMC had given the permission for the same, and if so, then under what rule. He also sought the copy of the same and details of removal of flags from across the city.According to the reply given by the public information officer, who is also the deputy superintendent of licenses, political parties are not permitted to hoist their flags at any public places and that no such permission was given to any political party.Pai has now written to the municipal commissioner, seeking action against officials who did not take the action of removing political flags near the Shivaji Maharaj statue at the international airport. “Despite court orders, they are not acting on it,” said Pai. The information provided showed that the number of political banners and boards did not fall sizeably, despite court orders. dna tried contacting the license department but there was no response.

When Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu took a Mumbai local train

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today travelled in a ‘local’ train, interacted with commuters and also got invited to a wedding by a passenger. Prabhu, who attended an event at the Central Railway’s prestigious Matunga Workshop, boarded the local train at Currey Road station and alighted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Prabhu interacted with commuters during the journey. A commuter gave him a wedding invitation and requested the minister to accept it. The Minister later left for Mantralaya (state secretariat), where he, along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, briefed media on upcoming rail projects in the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Maharashtra: Shivaji Memorial to be completed in stipulated time, says CM Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday expressed hope that work on the memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji would be completed in stipulated time.”We got all the permissions which were pending since 15 years, in just 12 months and all the work will be completed in stipulated time,” he said while inaugurating the Project office and Emergency Management Plan Cell for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in Arabian sea.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As announced we are committed to build this grand memorial in 40 months, the chief minister said, adding a project consultant is also being appointed.Prime Minister Narendra Modi would perform ‘Bhumipujan’ for this memorial soon, he said.

Delhi, Mumbai, Bhagalpur… Kolkata flyover collapse not the first of its kind in India

The collapse of the under-construction Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata on Thursday has once again drawn attention to the poor state of infrastructure in the country. But the Kolkata tragedy, which has killed 17 people so far (the death toll is expected to rise), is not the first time such a mishap has occurred:

New Delhi, 1981: The Sewa Nagar flyover collapsed, injuring at least 18 labourers who were working on the construction at the time. Initial investigations revealed there was a small defect in the scaffolding, but officials of the National Projects Construction Corporation, which was contracted by the Railways to build the flyover, said that the tragedy was “one of those unfortunate ones”, reported India Today.

File photo of the Bhagalpur tragedy. ReutersFile photo of the Bhagalpur tragedy. Reuters

File photo of the Bhagalpur tragedy. Reuters

Bhagalpur, 2006: An overbridge collapsed on an express train, killing 37 passengers. The bridge was supposed to be pulled down since a new one had been constructed, and the government had written to the Railways to do so, reported The Hindu. However, that wasn’t done before the tragedy struck. Then railway minister Lalu Prasad ordered a criminal case to be filed against those responsible.

Hyderabad, 2007: A partially constructed flyover at Panjagutta junction collapsed even as traffic moved on the street below. Around 20 died and an equal number were injured when two huge concrete parts of the flyover fell on to the traffic. AndhraNews reported that due to the resultant traffic congestion, rescuers had a tough time reaching the spot and administering first aid.

Kota, 2009: Disaster struck the bridge, situated on the Kota bypass, while it was under construction. Scaffolding gave way and 48 workers were killed; many of them fell into the Chambal river below, reported OneIndia.com.

Mumbai, 2013: An under-construction bridge collapsed near the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Marol, killing three labourers. Larsen&Toubro, who were responsible for the project, told the media that the incident was an ‘accident’ and took place despite adequate safety measures being in place. Apart from the three men who were killed in the accident, seven others were injured. The Mumbai police arrested three people and registered a case of negligence against Larsen & Toubro.

Muzaffarpur, 2013: A road over bridge collapsed and its debris fell on a goods train passing under it, injuring at least 14 persons, reported Hindustan Times. The accident occurred after the train left the Muzaffarpur railway station. The injured were admitted to nearby hospitals.

Kolkata, 2013: A 40-meter steel girder of the Ultadanga flyover broke, causing the bridge to collapse. Investigations later revealed that the tragedy could have been prevented if an extra pillar had been built, signs had been posted restricting speed to 20 kmph and goods vehicles had been prevented from accessing the flyover, reported The Times Of India. However, none of these things were done and the flyover collapsed. A year later, the government reopened the flyover after making sure that all repairs had been carried out, according to another The Times of India report.

Surat, 2014: Three labourers were killed and six others injured when a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Parle point area of the city, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner MK Das told PTI. The mishap occurred when the labourers were shifting the columns of the bridge during which a portion of the flyover fell on them, he said. The collapsed flyover was a part of the city`s cable-wire bridge connecting Parle point area to Adajan near Tapi river, Das said.

New Delhi, 2015: A portion of the Wazirabad-Janakpuri elevated corridor collapsed on to the road below, damaging three parked cars and injuring two people seriously, The Times of India reported. Initial investigations claimed that the accident occurred because the straps holding a concrete block snapped.

Maharashtra treads on Arun Jaitley’s pro-farmer toes

It was ‘Jai Kisan’ all the way. The BJP-led government in Maharashtra has announced Rs 25,000 crore for the farm sector in the Budget for 2016-17, even while tweaking certain taxes such as VAT and offering exemptions for the sugarcane industry.With last three years’ recurring drought, agrarian distress and de-growth in farm sector pulling Maharashtra economy down, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s second budget on Friday stressed on farmers’ welfare, on the lines of union Budget, presented by Arun Jaitley last month.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shorn of any big-ticket announcements, Mungantiwar said 2016-17 fiscal will be observed as ‘Shetkari Swabhiman Varsh’.The Budget announced energy to industries at subsidised rates in Vidarbha and Marathwada and schemes to boost textile projects in the cotton-growing areas.Interestingly, there was no mention of memorials for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in the Budget.Announcing a Rs 25,000-crore booster shot for agriculture and related schemes, Mungantiwar, in his near 105-minute speech – peppered with Marathi and Hindi poetry, said, “farmers continue to be the focal point of this budget”.He rolled out substantial provisions for agricultural regeneration, including water conservation schemes, equipping the four agri universities with organic farming research and training centres, two new agri and veterinary colleges and one horticulture college, and automated weather forecasting centres in all revenue blocks. It also proposed an outlay to enhance productivity of pulses and oil seeds, interest servicing for crop loans and rolled out a new scheme for financing costs of cold storage and processing units.”We cannot rest just by providing relief packages to the farmers… We have to build capacity in farmers to face vagaries of nature, for which a permanent arrangement needs to be in place,” he said. A substantial Rs 7,850-crore provision will help complete 28 irrigation projects and irrigate 1.68 lakh hectare land through 700 million cubic metre (MCM) water storage.Invoking icons like Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Ambedkar and Deendayal Upadhyay, the finance minister noted that “self-dependent farmers and prosperous villages constitute the foundation of Make in India”.Mungantiwar announced measures for developing jetties, rural roads, a competitive smart village programme, provision of safe drinking water, strengthening of gram panchayats, and skill development upgrading electricity distribution. Changes in tax proposals, an amnesty scheme for sales tax and measures to plug tax leakages are expected to unlock revenue growth.The state’s economic survey which was tabled on Thursday said that while the economy was expected to grow at 8%, the agriculture sector was likely to grow at a negative rate of 2.7%. The only bright spot in the otherwise stressed economy is the services sector which is likely to show a robust 10.8% growth, followed by industry which is expected to grow at 5.9%.However, much hinges on the vagaries of the monsoon and the weather. A rise in revenue expenditure projected in the previous budget due to factors like drought relief, has led to the revision of the revenue deficit to Rs 9,289 crore from the previous Rs 3,757 crore. The 2016-17 budget has estimated revenue receipts at Rs 2,20,810 crore and expenditure at Rs 2,24,454 crore, resulting in an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 3,644 crore. “I will try to minimise this deficit by reducing avoidable expenditure and by effective revenue recoveries,” said Mungantiwar.The budget also provides outlays for the third phase of the Mumbai Metro from Nariman point to the BKC and the Nagpur and Pune Metro railway projects and also announced the development of eight other smart cities in addition to Pune and Solapur, which which are selected by the Centre under the Smart City scheme.”To increase the coverage of ‘Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana’, the list of marked diseases… and their treatment is being revised as per the demand of public,” said Mungantiwar.The Budget noted that though state has brought in changes in tax laws and administration for ease of doing business, the fall in international crude prices has adversely affected tax collections by almost Rs 1,800 crore. Senior officials attribute this to fall in rural purchasing power and slowdown in farm, infra sectors.Agriculture expert Budhajirao Mulik said while Mungantiwar had “focussed on agriculture and touched all aspects”, he should have handled the issue of freeing farmers in drought-affected areas from debt. Stressing the need for a time-bound plan to complete irrigation projects, Mulik sought that implementation of the 7th pay commission for government employees should have been frozen, considering the state of finances.

Maharashtra budget 2016: State takes Arun Jaitley’s rural cue

It was ‘Jai Kisan’ all the way. The BJP-led government in Maharashtra has announced Rs 25,000 crore for the farm sector in the Budget for 2016-17, even while tweaking certain taxes such as VAT and offering exemptions for the sugarcane industry.With last three years’ recurring drought, agrarian distress and de-growth in farm sector pulling Maharashtra economy down, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s second budget on Friday stressed on farmers’ welfare, on the lines of union Budget, presented by Arun Jaitley last month.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shorn of any big-ticket announcements, Mungantiwar said 2016-17 fiscal will be observed as ‘Shetkari Swabhiman Varsh’.
ALSO READ CM Devendra Fadnavis lauds Sudhir Mungantiwar, says Budget progressiveThe Budget announced energy to industries at subsidised rates in Vidarbha and Marathwada and schemes to boost textile projects in the cotton-growing areas.Interestingly, there was no mention of memorials for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in the Budget.
ALSO READ No big ticket announcements for education and sportsAnnouncing a Rs 25,000-crore booster shot for agriculture and related schemes, Mungantiwar, in his near 105-minute speech – peppered with Marathi and Hindi poetry, said, “farmers continue to be the focal point of this budget”.He rolled out substantial provisions for agricultural regeneration, including water conservation schemes, equipping the four agri universities with organic farming research and training centres, two new agri and veterinary colleges and one horticulture college, and automated weather forecasting centres in all revenue blocks. It also proposed an outlay to enhance productivity of pulses and oil seeds, interest servicing for crop loans and rolled out a new scheme for financing costs of cold storage and processing units.
ALSO READ Rs25,000 crore earmarked for agri sector, rural start-up schemes on anvil”We cannot rest just by providing relief packages to the farmers… We have to build capacity in farmers to face vagaries of nature, for which a permanent arrangement needs to be in place,” he said. A substantial Rs 7,850-crore provision will help complete 28 irrigation projects and irrigate 1.68 lakh hectare land through 700 million cubic metre (MCM) water storage.Invoking icons like Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Ambedkar and Deendayal Upadhyay, the finance minister noted that “self-dependent farmers and prosperous villages constitute the foundation of Make in India”.Mungantiwar announced measures for developing jetties, rural roads, a competitive smart village programme, provision of safe drinking water, strengthening of gram panchayats, and skill development upgrading electricity distribution. Changes in tax proposals, an amnesty scheme for sales tax and measures to plug tax leakages are expected to unlock revenue growth.The state’s economic survey which was tabled on Thursday said that while the economy was expected to grow at 8%, the agriculture sector was likely to grow at a negative rate of 2.7%. The only bright spot in the otherwise stressed economy is the services sector which is likely to show a robust 10.8% growth, followed by industry which is expected to grow at 5.9%.However, much hinges on the vagaries of the monsoon and the weather. A rise in revenue expenditure projected in the previous budget due to factors like drought relief, has led to the revision of the revenue deficit to Rs 9,289 crore from the previous Rs 3,757 crore. The 2016-17 budget has estimated revenue receipts at Rs 2,20,810 crore and expenditure at Rs 2,24,454 crore, resulting in an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 3,644 crore. “I will try to minimise this deficit by reducing avoidable expenditure and by effective revenue recoveries,” said Mungantiwar.The budget also provides outlays for the third phase of the Mumbai Metro from Nariman point to the BKC and the Nagpur and Pune Metro railway projects and also announced the development of eight other smart cities in addition to Pune and Solapur, which which are selected by the Centre under the Smart City scheme.”To increase the coverage of ‘Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana’, the list of marked diseases… and their treatment is being revised as per the demand of public,” said Mungantiwar.The Budget noted that though state has brought in changes in tax laws and administration for ease of doing business, the fall in international crude prices has adversely affected tax collections by almost Rs 1,800 crore. Senior officials attribute this to fall in rural purchasing power and slowdown in farm, infra sectors.Agriculture expert Budhajirao Mulik said while Mungantiwar had “focussed on agriculture and touched all aspects”, he should have handled the issue of freeing farmers in drought-affected areas from debt. Stressing the need for a time-bound plan to complete irrigation projects, Mulik sought that implementation of the 7th pay commission for government employees should have been frozen, considering the state of finances.

Shivaji Jayanti: All you need to know about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was celebrated with traditional fervour in Maharashtra today. It is the Maratha warrior king’s 368th birth anniversary today. Here are a few interesting facts about the ruler.-Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated in Maharashtra. -As per the state government, the date of the birth anniversary falls on February 19.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>-However, Shiv Sena, wants the anniversary to be celebrated as per ‘tithi’ of the Hindu calender which is the Falgun Vadya Tritiya.-Shivaji was born in Shivneri Fort in Junnar which is 100 km east of Mumbai.-He was named after Goddess Shivaai as his mother had prayed to her for a son.-Shivaji as a king was secular and had a sizeable number of Muslims in his army. He wanted to overthrow the Mughal rule to create a Maratha empire and not a Hindu empire. -He captured his first fort “Torna” (Tornagad) or “Prachandgad” when he was 16-years-old which was the first step towards building a Maratha empire. -He was a strategic military commander and established a navy to protect the coastline. -Shivaji escaped an attack by Afzal Khan, He had called him for negotiations and had planned to attack Shivaji. But the Maratha ruler had worn an armour beneath his clothes which saved his life. -He also defeated the famous general and governor Shayista Khan who was sent by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

Intolerance is alarming: NCP Sharad Pawar

Reigniting the debate on intolerance, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said it has reached “alarming” proportions even as he alleged that attempts are being made to convert India into a “Hindu Rashtra” by distorting history in school textbooks.Addressing a conference of 70 historians from across the country at Y B Chavan Auditorium, he exhorted historians to come together and “pen the truth” for the sake of next generation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Historians are concerned about the intolerance under (the) present atmosphere. It is quite alarming. The manner in which the idea of (a) ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is being promoted can prove to be harmful to the unity and integrity of the nation,” Pawar said in a series of tweets, after his address.The NCP chief said that his meeting with historians is only the first step and that he would take the issue ahead by organising various groups to keep the movement alive.”I am happy that the section of historians and intellectuals have decided to open up and speak in the interest of the society,” he tweeted.In his lecture, the veteran politician alleged that an awareness needs to be created among the youth that some people are trying to “corrupt” their minds to spread poison in society.”Some people are working with an intention of converting India into a Hindu Rashtra by distorting history in school textbooks. This will prove to be dangerous as this will harm the secular fabric of the country,” he said.”Articles need to be written, discussions should take place on this issue as it is a grave matter,” the NCP leader said.Pawar said that the notion that Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji was anti-Muslim was a misleading one.”Some people are spreading rumours that Shivaji Maharaj was anti-Muslim. The fact is that he placed Muslims in important positions in his army. Spreading such hatred is not good for secularism and national integration,” he added.Pawar appealed to the historians to not let the “unscrupulous” elements succeed.”If these elements succeed what will we teach the next generation? There must be a mechanism or institutions to take measures to correct distorted history,” he said, adding that he will provide help in correcting facts in every possible way. He said a separate ‘history wing’ will be set up at Y B Chavan Centre, and historians can take up the responsibility of organising seminars and discussions there.Pawar recently sharpened his attack on the saffron party in the wake of arrest of former NCP MP Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of the party stalwart Chhagan Bhujbal, in a money laundering case.

Maharashtra to expedite Shirdi airport construction

Keeping in mind the Sai Baba Samadhi centenary utsav, scheduled to be held in 2018, the state government has sped up the work on Shirdi airport. Several crore devotees are expected to visit the shrine on the occasion.Meanwhile, connectivity from Mumbai to Shirdi is also expected to increase further, as the state tourism department is all set to launch helicopter services from Juhu airport and seaplane services from the Girgaum Chowpatty.According to a rough estimate, around 2-2.5 crore devotees visit Shirdi annually. A senior state government official said the development was discussed in the meeting of the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC), which was chaired by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday last week.In order to expedite the airport work, the state-owned MADC has decided to complete the work on its own instead of opting for the public-private partnership (PPP) route for the second phase. The phase includes construction of an air traffic control (ATC) building and augmenting the capacity of the terminal building to handle 300 passengers per hour, including 150 arrivals and departures each.”This will allow for the internationalisation of flights in four to five months. As and when we get permissions, we also have plans to start seaplane services to Shirdi and other places from the Girgaum chowpatty. According to us, operations from Girgaum Chowpatty will be more acceptable to people rather than from the Juhu airport,” said a state government official.In a related development, the government is also looking to fast-track the development of Greenfield airports in Pune and Solapur. The capacity of the existing airports in Dhule and Chandrapur will also be augmented.The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) will reach its saturation point in a few years, even as the work on the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) is yet to begin.Maharashtra also plans to announce a regional air connectivity policy after the one introduced by the Government of India is finalised. The policy will boost regional development and attract investment by developing regional air connectivity at district and regional headquarters and smaller centres across Maharashtra.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Republic Day 2016: Mumbai CST illuminated in tricolour

On the occasion of Republic Day, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai was illuminated in tricolours. India celebrated its 67th Republic Day on Tuesday.Elaborate security arrangements were in place across the country for the celebrations with police in the national capital and neighbouring states keeping an eye out on ‘drones’, which have been perceived as a major threat.The national capital was already on high alert ahead of the official celebrations in New Delhi — where French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A total of 23 tableaux were on display at the ceremonial parade with 17 of them belonging to various states and Union Territories.Constitution architect B R Ambedkar’s legacy, Mahatma Gandhi’s crusade for freedom in Bihar’s Champaran, an art university in Chhattisgarh and Swachh Bharat and Digital India campaigns were among the themes for this year’s Republic Day tableaux that wowed the crowd at the majestic Rajpath on Tuesday.
ALSO READ Republic Day 2016: Colourful tableaux bring alive history, culture of India

Dog on Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport runway throws air traffic operations out of gear

A dog got more than its 15 minutes of fame at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) on Sunday. The stray intruded into the runway and ‘took control’ of air traffic for 20 minutes.Four flights, which were on queue to land, were asked to hover around by the Air Traffic Control (ATC). There was no runway closure.The intrusion at 3:39 pm, interestingly, was not spotted by the airport’s staff or the ground crew of any airline. The alert came from the pilot of an aircraft that was about to land.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the four flights was SG 454, a SpiceJet flight from Goa. Interestingly, this is the second instance in the recent past of dogs showing an affinity for SpiceJet flights. In the previous incident, on December 22, a stray dog crossed the path of a Delhi-Ahmedabad flight at Ahmedabad airport. Not just dogs, other animals, too, have exhibited a special liking for SpiceJet.On December 4 last year, 53 people, including 49 passengers, on board a SpiceJet flight from Mumbai to Jabalpur had a close shave after a herd of wild boars came across the aircraft just as it landed at the Jabalpur airport. Prior to that, in November 2014, a Surat-New Delhi SpiceJet flight was hit by a buffalo while it was about to take off.At CSIA on Sunday, the dog was finally caught after 20 minutes and taken to a kennel in the airport premises.”Once a dog is caught, we take it to a kennel in the airport premises and alert civic authorities. Till the civic team takes it over from us, we feed it well,” Prumal Nadar, one of the dog scarers at CSIA, had told dna in July.”On offer will be chicken, milk, biscuits and other stuff of their liking,” he had said. It’s not known whether the civic authorities have taken over the dog on Sunday or it is enjoying the sumptuous airport food.Animal menace at airports is serious business, literally. It involves big money. After the buffalo hitting incident of 2014, SpiceJet reportedly sought compensation worth crores of rupees from the Airports Authority of India (AAI). AAI manages most of the airports in India.A conservative estimate by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), scheduled airlines in India suffered losses of over Rs25 crore in 2014 due to bird/animal hazard. Globally, it is estimated that financial losses due to direct and indirect effects of bird hits /animal hazard stood at over $1.2 billion per year.In fact it’s so serious that last month, the AAI, in a notification to all airport directors warned that in case of claims arising from airlines due to an accident with an animal, the compensation will be cut from their salaries.

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