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Nine months after Sreehari Aney’s resignation, Maharashtra Cabinet approves Rohit Deo as next advocate general

Mumbai: The BJP-led Maharashtra government has chosen acting Advocate General Rohit Deo as its next Advocate General, nine months after his predecessor Sreehari Aney quit the post following a huge row triggered by his espousal of statehood for the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

A meeting of the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, recommended elevation of Deo to the AG’s post to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, a senior official said.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Aney had courted controversy by advocating statehood for Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, which was vehemently opposed by the ruling partner Shiv Sena.

The Sena had then seized on the issue to target the BJP, which, as matter of policy, favoured smaller states, despite Fadnavis asserting that bifurcation of Maharashtra was not on his government’s agenda.

The government had recently filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, saying the post will be filled by the end of this month.

The Division Bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a petition filed by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt, urging the court to direct the state to appoint an A-G under Article 165 of the Constitution.

The court had criticised the state for not complying with the deadline of 23 December and had adjourned the matter to 9 January.

It had earlier observed that constitutional and statutory functions were suffering due to the non-appointment of the AG and has hurt the cause of justice.

On 18 November, 2014, Sunil Manohar was appointed as the AG, but he resigned on 9 June, 2015. On 11 June, 2015, additional Solicitor General Anil Singh was given the additional post of acting A-G. On 14 October, 2015, Aney was appointed as the AG, and he resigned on 22 March, 2016.

Reacting to the decision, Dutt claimed that the government was compelled to take a decision on the matter after he moved the high court.

In a tweet, Dutt said, “The government has conceded my demand and finally appointed Acting AG as AG.”

“However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis needs to answer why he waited for nine months to appoint Acting AG as the new AG,” said Dutt.

“Maharashtra Chief Minister speaks of good governance but his indecisiveness reflects lack of governance! If acting AG Rohit Deo only was to be made the AG, why the government had waited for 280 days?” he asked in another tweet.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 14:07 IST

Caste politics: Maha carves out new dept to woo 30% population of backward communities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing another caste card in the state, the Devendra Fadnavis government on Tuesday cleared the decks to set-up a separate department especially for the Other Backward Classes/ nomadic/ denotified tribes/ Specially backward communities, carving out from the Social Justice and Special Justice Department. The department called, “Department of Denotified Tribes, Nomadic Tribes, Specially backward and Other Backward Classes” would be operational by April 1, 2017, says a cabinet note. The Centre doesn’t have a separate department for backward communities. As of now, the Chief Minister has kept the newly-formed department under him. It is likely to be given to some cabinet minister soon. The OBC/ nomadic/ denotified communities/ SBC together constitute 30% of the state’s population at 3.68 crore. This is the second time when an OBC department has been carved out from the social justice department in Maharahstra. “In 1999, the then Sena-BJP government had done ditto, however, the departments were merged again after the realisation that the move was impractical as they both spearheaded the same welfare schemes,” Rajkumar Badole, Minister of Social Justice and Social Asistance, said. Badole is now left with the Schedule Caste and Buddhist communities which are 13% of the total population. Badole assured the government will move in a planned way this time. As of now, 59 new posts have been created which will cost the exchequer Rs 2.2 crore, apart from recurring cost of Rs 1.5 crore annually. “Most of the people belonging to these communities are educationally and socially backward. The new department will be able to implement welfare schemes in a better way to uplift them ,” Badole said. The social justice department currently has a total budget of Rs 12,000 crore including planned and non-planned both for 24 schemes including educational and housing aid. Out of this, nearly Rs 2,000 crore is earmarked for the scholarships/ feeship to the students of OBC, VJ (Vimukti Jati or deonotified tribes) and NT (Nomadic tribes) communities. The department has been marred by massive corruption in the scholarship and free-ship schemes for many years. “Corruption is the major driving factor to establish a new ministry. Because of drainage of funds in the name of fake students, educational institutes and department officials managed to make huge money. But those who needed it remained out of purview of the schemes,” said a top official. A year ago, the government was forced to constitute a taskforce headed by Director General of Police (Planning) Dr K Venkatesham which has in its preliminary report, suspected a whopping 50% pilferage in the free-ship and scholarship schemes of underprivileged communities. Badole however insists that the move aims to empower the socially neglected communities and corruption has nothing to do with the decision. “Dr Venkatesham has not yet submitted the final report,” Badole said. After the cabinet meet, Fadnavis said, “The social justice department is overburdened with multiple responsibilities. Besides, there was a long pending demand for a separate ministry for OBCs.”

Rohit Deo is the full-time Advocate General of Maharashtra now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It took eight months and a strongly worded High court order for the Devendra Fadnavis government to finalise the name of Adv Rohit Deo as the advocate general of Maharashtra. Deo’s name has been recommended to the Governor on Tuesday by the cabinet. The government had told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it would appoint the AG by 30 December. Congress MLC Sanjay dutt had dragged the Fadnavis government to the court three months back over its prolonged indecision at the cost of state’s welfare. Deo is currently the acting advocate general and has been handling all cases of the government since Shreehari Aney quit in April this year following a controversial statement supporting separate VIdarbha state. Dutt said, “Even as Maharashtra Govt concedes to my demand & finally appoints Advocate General, CM needs to answer why he waited for 9 months to appoint acting AG as AG!” Dutt added that Maha CM owes apology to Maha People following HC order in my petition stating that the appointment of an Acting Advocate General is Not Constitutionally valid.HC order through my petition shall ensure that No Govt will falter on appointing Advocate-General as per Article 165 of Constitution of India.

State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projectsOver a year after railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met in New Delhi to discuss rail infrastructure and the modalities of forming a joint venture (JV) firm or special purpose vehicle (SPV) to fast-track Maharashtra’s rail projects, a Right to Information plea by DNA has shown that no such JV or SPV has as yet been formed.In its RTI reply signed by VS Dahiya, joint director (Works), Railway Board, the railway ministry stated, “The ministry of railways and the Government of Maharashtra are in process to form a joint venture company for the development of rail infrastructure in the State of Maharashtra. GoM has communicated their willingness to sign a JV with MoR. Neither any JV agreement has been signed, nor any SPV has been formed as yet.”According to railway officials, the SPV or JV will streamline the construction of rail infrastructure in the state as a dedicated team would work to carry out various legal processes to kick-start a project. “It would be like the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a SPV between the state and the railways, that has been overseeing Mumbai’s rail projects and has been acting as a bridge between the state, the railway ministry, Western and Central railways, and the World Bank. It has increased the pace of work since the early 2000s,” explained an official.During the Delhi meeting between Prabhu and Fadnavis on November 4 last year, it was mutually agreed to form a SPV with Prabhu, even asking the state government to finalise a funding model for the SPV.According to officials, work on the SPV should be expedited as Maharashtra has got Rs 4767 crores for rail projects this year, a 206 per cent increase from the average of Rs 1171.4 crores received by the state between 2009-14. “When the funds are in, the work shouldn’t suffer,” said an official.Earlier, in a statement released on November 30 this year, the railway ministry had said that as of now five state governments — Chattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, and Odisha — had formed joint venture firms with the railways. A total of 16 states had also decided to share costs in 43 projects, the total cost of the projects at current prices being Rs 62,379 crores.

Maharashtra: Pankaja Munde gets clean chit by ACB in ‘chikki’ case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief for Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has give her a clean chit in the ‘chikki’ case pertaining to alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for materials worth Rs 206 crore for school children.”The ACB has closed the case. There was nothing to substantiate allegations against her,” an ACB official said today.He said ACB’s Additional CP Keshav Patil had, in a letter to MPCC spokesperson Sachin Sawant, informed the Congress leader that no “truth” was found in the allegations against Munde.Sawant had last year lodged a complaint with the ACB demanding an inquiry into the allegations against Munde and submitted a file of documents purportedly supporting the charges.The minister was accused of flouting procedures in awarding contracts for supplying items like ‘chikki’ (sweetmeat made with nuts and jaggery), mats, notebooks, water filters, etc, for school children.Munde had earlier rubbished the charges and said she was prepared for any inquiry.”This is a scam of words. The allegations against me are politically motivated,” Pankaja, the daughter of late Union minister Gopinath Munde, had said.The earlier Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had purchased similar items at a cost of Rs 408 crore, she said.”You term that a ‘purchase’ and call our procurement a ‘scam’,” she had said.Claiming that the items were purchased at a higher price by the previous government, Munde said the charges against her were totally baseless.Munde had accused the opposition of pinning the scam on to a BJP minister, and said there was nothing wrong in the purchases made through the rate contract system.Sawant had said “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has a habit of giving clean chits and he has said that prima facie, he did not find anything wrong. Thus, we submitted all the documents we had as evidence to the ACB,” Sawant had earlier said.

Shivaji memorial in Arabian Sea to be the tallest memorial in the world: Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said the planned statue of King Shivaji off Mumbai coast will be the tallest memorial in the world.”Shiv Smarak (memorial) in Arabian Sea will be the tallest memorial not only in the country but in the entire world. I thank (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi for making it possible,” Fadnavis said.He was addressing Kunbi Mahotsav at Shahapur in Thane district, organised by Kunbi Mahotsav Pratishthan.Fadnavis announced sanction of Rs 200 crore for water supply scheme for Shahapur and surrounding villages on this occasion.Shamrao Peje Kunbi Aarthik Vikas Mahamandal (development corporation) will be restructured, and Rs 50 crore will be earmarked for it in the coming budget, he said.The CM also instructed Thane Zilla Parishad to prepare a tourist circuit plan for Shahapur and Murbad, and promised adequate funds.

Maha BJP chief says complaint against him of violating code of conduct ‘politically motivated’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mahatashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve on Monday dubbed the complaint of alleged violation of modal code of conduct levelled against him as “politically motivated.”Danve recently courted a controversy with his remark asking voters polls to accept ‘Laxmi’ (the goddess of wealth) during the civic polls. “On the eve of elections, Laxmi comes to your house and you should accept it,” Danve had allegedly said during a civic poll campaign meeting at Paithan in Aurangabad on Saturday. Elections to municipal councils are being held in the state at present. The opposition Congress and some social activists had objected to Danve’s remarks, saying it amounted to asking people to accept money during election campaign,and urged the State Election Commission to a register a case of violation of model code against him.A notice was yesterday served to Danve by Returning Officer, Aurangabad,, and a report has been submitted to District Collector Nidhi Pandey. “We talk about Laxmi at least 25 times in a day and that does not mean money. The move is politically motivated and I have this morning replied to the notice. Now the ball is in the court of Election Commission and it will take final decision on it,” Danve told PTI.Asked about Shiv Sena’s critcism against the comment of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that the ally should be ready to accept its development vision for forging a tie-up for Mumbai civic polls, the BJP leader said “Now we have got used to this kind of criticism and we take it as a mark of appreciation.”

Civic polls: BJP makes inroads in semi-urban, rural Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling BJP has emerged as the net gainer in the first two rounds of civic polls across Maharashtra as it made inroads into semi-urban and rural areas, giving leverage to the party to counter the opposition onslaught over the demonetization.As the counting of votes for the second phase of polls concluded last evening, BJP’s tally in two rounds went up to 974 seats in municipal council and nagar panchayats, dealing a grim blow to Congress and NCP which had for long held sway in rural and interior parts of the state. The decision to hold direct elections to the post of municipal council presidents brought handsome gains to the BJP which secured 56 positions.In the first phase, BJP put up an impressive show winning 893 council and nagar panchayat seats while it finished slightly behind the NCP with 81 seats in the second round. The NCP, which won 615 seats in the first phase, bettered its tally over the rival in the next round with 93 seats while the Congress, which won 727 seats in the first phase bagged 45 seats.Shiv Sena, the bickering partner in the ruling alliance, pocketed 529 and 23 seats respectively in two rounds.The polling to elect 324 councillors and 14 municipal council presidents in Latur and Pune districts was held on Wednesday. The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena drew a blank in all seats it contested.The outcome is also seen as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the campaign from the front.According to political observers, BJP’s success is more prominent in the Vidarbha region, once a stronghold of Congress. Fadnavis hails from Nagpur and that could be one of the reasons for BJP’s sterling performance in the region, they said.Difficulties caused by demonetization appear not to have gone against the BJP because people still feel it will yield positive results like eradication of black money at the end of the day, they said. Hailing the results, BJP state president Raosaheb Danve said, “Like in the first phase, the results of the second phase also showed that people have displayed their faith in PM Narendra Modi’s demonetization decision. People have endorsed the performance of Modi and Fadnavis governments,” he said, adding, the results show that BJP continues to be the “number one” party in Maharashtra.The outcome shows that Congress and NCP, which received a drubbing in the Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls in 2014, are yet to regain the trust of large sections of people, analysts say.Some of them, however, pointed out that these parties, who had ruled the state for long, recovered some of the lost ground, as compared to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. In the 2014 Assembly polls, Congress and NCP were badly hit by the “Modi wave”, getting only 42 and 41 seats respectively, after ruling the state for 15 years.Congress leaders admit that the results of the civic polls fell short of their expectation. “We thought that Maratha agitation and demonetization would work against BJP. However, it may take some more time for the ill-effects of demonetization to be felt,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.Both Congress and NCP have alleged that BJP’s success in the polls was due to misuse of money and administrative machinery. “Old scrapped notes were distributed to get votes. Bundles of cash recovered from BJP legislators and ministers is enough indication. Even Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally in government, has made this allegation,” Congress Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam and NCP spokesman Nawab Malik alleged.However, BJP has vehemently refuted such allegations, crediting the victory to organisational skills and good governance at the Centre and the state. “Our success is due to the meticulous organisational planning and leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. He led from the front and addressed election meetings in most parts of the state,” said Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil.Congress and NCP leaders, on the other hand, restricted themselves to particular districts, say observers.Congress leaders admit that the results is a wake up call to the party to get its act together at the taluka level and strengthen its grassroots base.They say the party has got more seats at the nagar panchayat level, which means the rural population was upset with the present state government. The third phase of elections for 20 municipal councils and two nagar panchayats will be held on December 18. On January 8, 2017, the elections for 11 municipal councils will be held. Besides, the elections for 50 gram panchayats in different districts will be held on December 28.

Mumbai: Elphinstone Road railway station will be known as Prabhadevi

Nagpur: After renaming Oshiwara, an upcoming railway station in the Western line of Mumbai suburban railway, to Ram Mandir, the Maharashtra BJP government on Friday passed a resolution to change the name of Elphinstone Road railway station to Prabhadevi. The details for change in name has been sent to the Ministry of Railways in Delhi.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had proposed to rename Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi. The proposal was was passed by an all party MLA resolution in the state assembly.

After this, there will be three changes in names of Mumbai suburban railway stations pending in the state assembly. It includes changing the name of Dadar railway station to Chaityabhumi, Grant Road railway station to August Kranti and Charni Road railway station to Gaondevi.

Speaking about the change in name of Elphinstone Road railway station, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The residents of Worli and Prabhadevi and our partner Shiv Sena had been demanding for a long time to change the name from Elphinstone Road to Prabhadevi. This change was also approved by the state assembly and we will send the proposal to the central government.”

But this is not the only change in name, the state government has introduced in recent times. The new suburban station between Jogeshwari and Goregaon was to be proposed as Oshiwara in November. But suddenly before the proposal, its name was changed to Ram Mandir. Fadnavis had given a go-ahead to the name change proposal.

In fact, last week, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra has added the “Maharaj” word in the names of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. Now, CST will be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) whereas the Mumbai international airport will be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. The name changed proposal and adding of the “Maharaj” word was unanimously approved by the state assembly.

Fadnavis said that the demand for adding the word Maharaj was pending so long. So, the cabinet gave a green signal and passed the Maharaj word unanimously in the state assembly.

However, the opposition parties have called the decision to modify the names purely political and aimed at attracting Maratha Voters. “The community has organised more than 40 morchas over the last four months seeking reservation, but the Fadnavis government has only been giving assurances,” Congress MLA Nitesh Rane said.

“The Maharaj is our god and the BJP could not gain from adding only the word, Maharaj, in the name. The BJP government is doing vote bank politics ahead of upcoming Municipal Council and Civic polls, scheduled next year,” added Rane.

Situated on the Western Railway line, Elphinstone Road station was named after Lord Elphinstone, who was the governor of Bombay between 1853 to 1860. The Mumbai international airport was earlier known as Sahar International Airport and renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999, whereas the government had renamed the Victoria Terminus to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in 1996.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 14:45 IST

65-year-old share trader murdered in Mumbai, body found in Kandivali flat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A dead body was found in flat of Pratik Apartment, Kandivali West in Mumbai on Sunday evening. According to the police, they had received a call from the neighbours that a smell was coming from a flat number 401 of the building.Following the call, Kandivali police reached the spot and started investigation. During the probe, they found a dead body in the flat. “According to prima facie investigation, the body has been identified as Devendra Jayantilal Doshi (65) who is supposed to be the share trader. He used to live alone in his flat and would work from home.” said Mukund Pawar, senior police inspector of Kandivali police station. “The investigation is going on and it is clear that Doshi had been murdered a few days back by stabbing knife,” he added.A case was registered at the Kandivali police station on Sunday night against an unknown person under section 302(committing murder) and 452(for causing grievous hurt with intent) of Indian Penal Code act.

Demonetization is a right decision, but it isn’t surgical strike against black money: Hardik Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel said on Sunday the poor and farmers have been hit the most by the note ban and it cannot be termed as a surgical strike against black money. “As far as curbing black money is concerned, it is a right decision but it is not a surgical strike against the wealth amassed illegally. I could not see the son of Jaitley, Adani or Ambani in the queues. I saw only farmers and poor people there,” Patel said.Asked whether he supported demonetization, he said, “It is a welcome step against corruption. But if it is merely a gimmick then it is not good.”It is okay if the government continues with the note ban but it should also address the problems of farmers and the poor, the Patidar leader said. Asked if he will join protests against demonetization, he said, “No. I will not protest demonetization. I will protest corruption.”At a “Kisan Panchayat” organised by suspended AAP MLA from Bijwasan Col Devendra Sehrawat, Patel claimed that there is no development in Gujarat and the state is reeling under “a debt of Rs 3 lakh crore”.

Maharashtra may go Gujarat way to help developers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government wants to go the Gujarat way by dropping a clause from the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. The government proposes to do away with the clause that provides retrospective effect of escrow account for under-construction projects. This will apparently spare developers the headache of putting the investor’s money only in those projects it is meant for.Escrow refers to money held by a third-party on behalf of transacting parties. According to the Act, developers and promoters have to keep the buyer’s amount for a specific project in the escrow account and that this fund has to be used with retrospective effect.”We do want to keep this pro-buyer escrow account clause in tact but developers have been complaining that this can land them in trouble. They suggested that Maharashtra adopt the Gujarat model,” said a senior government official from the state housing department. The Gujarat has dropped the escrow account clause from the Act.Niranjan Hiranandani, chairman and MD of Hiranandani Group, told DNA that developers had met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and requested him to adopt the Gujarat policy. “The retrospective effect of escrow account will not be feasible now. As developers, if we have already spent the money, how will we bring it back? Therefore, we have requested the chief minister to drop this clause,” Hiranandani said.However, Pankaj Kapoor, MD of real estate research firm Liasas and Foras, said that developers are blowing the issue out of proportion. “The state can only enhance the provision mentioned in the Act — it can neither dilute nor repeal it. If someone challenges the Gujarat government’s decision, it will be forced to reverse it. In Maharashtra also, the government should not succumb to the pressure of developers who are in habit of crying for everything. In fact, the government has already allowed developers to show the land and construction cost that is estimated over 60% of the total cost of the project. In the said clause, there are loopholes that developers can easily exploit and withdraw the money for other ventures,” Kapoor said.Kapoor added that developers should follow the prescribed procedure of the Act. “Most developers indulge in using money from one project to buy land for another, and due to this the regular project suffers. This also delays the project and subsequently the procedure of handing over of flats. A Buyer should get his/her apartment on time if s/he had already paid the money,” Kapoor said.Maharashtra Housing Minister Prakash Mehta was not available for comment. However, a source in his ministry told DNA that Mehta does not want to take any risk by dropping the clause. “We have prepared a report and will send it to the chief minister for his approval. We are sure that the Opposition will make an issue out of it saying Maharashtra is following the Gujarat government’s policy which is pro-developer and anti-buyer,” the source said.

Maharashtra civic polls: Those linking BJP’s win to demonetisation are ‘fools’, says Shiv Sena

Mumbai: Taking a dig at the BJP over its impressive performance in the first round of civic polls in Maharashtra, ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday said those who link the saffron party’s victory to demonetisation are “fools”.

“Those who say that people have voted the BJP to power due to the decision of demonetisation are fools. If that was the case, at least 100 candidates from that party would have been elected as council chiefs, which did not happen,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana.

The NDA partner also took a swipe at the BJP for having its campaign spearheaded by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying, in contrast, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray or any of the party leaders did not engage in poll campaign.

Representational image. News18Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

“We wanted to instill confidence in our workers that they can fight against the pressures of money-based campaign, which we succeeded in proving. Our win assumes significance as we, in a bid to get the required numbers, did not engage in any unholy alliance,” it said, adding this makes the party’s win “pure”.

“We did not adopt the approach of dampening the morale of our party workers by allying with parties against whom we levelled charges of large scale corruption,” the Sena said.

Had the Shiv Sena entered into “backdoor alliances” with parties like the Congress, NCP and the AIMIM, it too could have notched up larger numbers, Sena said.

With the government introducing direct elections for the post of heads of municipal councils, the BJP emerged as the single largest gainer with 52 seats followed by Shiv Sena 23, Congress 19, NCP 16 and others 28.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:41 IST

Those linking BJP’s civic polls victory to demonetisation are fools, says ally Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at the BJP over its impressive performance in the first round of civic polls in Maharashtra, ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday said those who link the saffron party’s victory to demonetization are “fools”.”Those who say that people have voted the BJP to power due to the decision of demonetization are fools. If that was the case, at least 100 candidates from that party would have been elected as council chiefs, which did not happen,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.The NDA partner also took a swipe at the BJP for having its campaign spearheaded by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying ,in contrast, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray or any of the party leaders did not engage in poll campaign.”We wanted to instill confidence in our workers that they can fight against the pressures of money-based campaign, which we succeeded in proving. Our win assumes significance as we, in a bid to get the required numbers, did not engage in any unholy alliance,” it said, adding this makes the party’s win “pure”.”We did not adopt the approach of dampening the morale of our party workers by allying with parties against whom we levelled charges of large scale corruption,” the Sena said.Had the Shiv Sena entered into “backdoor alliances” with parties like the Congress, NCP and the AIMIM, it too could have notched up larger numbers, Sena said.With the government introducing direct elections for the post of heads of municipal councils, the BJP emerged as the single largest gainer with 52 seats followed by Shiv Sena 23, Congress 19, NCP 16 and others 28.

DNA Poll | BJP wins Gujarat and Maha local polls: Did demonetization affect the results?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A lot of political commentators had believed that PM Modi’s demonetization announcement could backfire and lead to a political reversal for BJP. The Opposition, including AAP, BSP, TMC, Congress and the Left Front, have criticised the notes ban saying it is hurting the common man. The received wisdom was that the local bodies elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat would tell us if people were for or against demonetization. In Maharashtra, BJP made major inroads winning 851 seats across 164 urban local bodies. In 2011, the BJP had won 298 seats, but since then BJP has made huge gains in the state by doing well in both the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. In Gujarat, the BJP dominated even further capturing 107 seats out of a total 123 while Congress was reduced to just 14.So did the note ban play a part? Tell us what you think. Do Gujarat and Maharashtra local body elections results show that public is in favour of demonetization?BJP wins Gujarat and Maha local polls: Did demonetization affect the results?BJP romps home in Gujarat and Maharashtra
ALSO READ Demonetization effect? After Maharashtra, BJP dominates in Gujarat municipal electionsPutting a dismal performance ahead of the Assembly polls due next year, the Congress managed to capture only 16 seats in this election. As per the final result declared by the Gujarat State Election Commission, BJP has registered victory in Vapi municipality of Valsad district by capturing 41 out of total 44 seats. Only three seats went to Congress. Vapi municipality was earlier held by BJP.Similarly, BJP made a near clean sweep in the polls to Kanakpur-Kansad municipality of Surat, where it captured 27 out of 28 seats, leaving only one to Congress. It was also held by BJP earlier. In Rajkot, BJP snatched Gondal taluka panchayat, which went for mid-term poll, from Congress by winning 18 out of total 22 seats. Congress settled for only four. Earlier, Congress was ruling Gondal taluka panchayat. The results of the local bodies elections assume significance for the BJP in the run up to the state polls next year, and that they were held just after the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the Centre.
ALSO READ Maha result should be wakeup call for Opposition, trying to mislead people on demonetization: Amit ShahApart from these three elections, Gujarat SEC conducted by-elections on 29 seats of various municipalities, taluka panchayats and district panchayats across the state.The bypolls were necessitated as these seats fell vacant due to various reasons.Out of total 16 seats of different municipalities, BJP bagged 14 while Congress has to settle for only two. Out of the total four seats of district panchayats, both the parties bagged two each. In the taluka panchayat by-polls, BJP won on five out of total nine while Congress captured four seats.Congratulating the state party unit, Prime Minister Modi also thanked the people of Gujarat for showing faith in the party. ‘Congratulations to @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas, CM @vijayrupanibjp & @jitu_vaghani for their hardwork work across the state. Over the last few days we have seen the results of various polls, Parliamentary, Assembly & local polls across India. Be it the Northeast, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat…BJP has performed very well. I thank the people,’ he said in a series of tweets. BJP’s victory in the first phase of the civic polls in Maharashtra has come as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who can now more tenaciously take on the Opposition as well as ally Shiv Sena.The polls are being considered a litmus test for Fadnavis, who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway, and have been keenly watched as they are being held post demonetisation.The results of 164 civic bodies, declared yesterday, are also seen by political observers as a sign of the ruling party firming its grip on the semi-urban and rural parts of the state.It belied hopes of the Congress and NCP to cash in on the fallout of note scrapping on the rural economy and small trade as well as the campaign by the Maratha community for quota in jobs and education.The Congress and NCP leaders however have sought to put up a brave face holding that this was “just the first round” of the multi-phased elections and hundreds of civic bodies across the state are yet to go to polls.Some of them also put the blame on failure to work out a coherent alliance at the grassroots against the saffron party, which launched a spirited campaign led by Fadnavis.As the results started pouring in BJP’s favour, Prime Minister Narendra Modi last evening termed the outcome as a “win for pro-poor and development politics of BJP.” Modi also lauded Fadnavis and state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve for the party’s performance in the grass-roots level electoral exercise, held in the backdrop of the demonetisation move.In response to Modi’s tweet, Fadnavis said, “Thanks Sir! You inspired confidence in people that our Nation is transforming. Mandate shows Maharashtra is with your vision of transparency.”Significantly, the results could also have an impact on the crucial Mumbai Municipal polls slated in early next year.The BMC, as the largest and the richest urban civic body is known in local parlance, has been controlled by Shiv Sena for quiet a long time and there is speculation on whether the two saffron parties would forge an alliance this time as well.Mumbai BJP leaders voiced confidence of repeating the success in upcoming rounds of polls not only in other parts of the state but in the megapolis as well.Amarjeet Mishra, General Secretary of the Mumbai BJP, said, “BJP has swept the first phase of municipal council polls and undoubtedly we are going to repeat the same in Mumbai.””Our party has done immense work at grass-roots level such as pushing forward coastal road, Metro corridors which are directly being monitored by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has emerged as Vikas Purush of Maharashtra,” he added.The ties between Shiv Sena and BJP have been strained since the two parted ways ahead of 2014 Assembly elections.Though Sena is part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, it has often been critical of the BJP, both in the state as well as the Centre.The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has also been vocal against the implementation of the demonetisation move.

Maharashtra municipal council polls LIVE: PM Modi congratulates Fadnavis, BJP workers

Nov 28, 2016

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Counting of votes began on Monday morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.

Counting of votes began at 10 am.

Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.

The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly election sand a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on 14 December.

Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

In total, including Sunday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on 14 December, 18 December and 8 January.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 20:08 IST

Maharashtra Municipal council and Nagar Panchayat polls: BJP shows commanding performance

The election results are slowly coming and BJP, Shiv Sena have currently taken the lead. 17:44 IST Monday, 28 November 2016BJP is now ahead in 47 seats. Trend/results are now available for 139 municipal councils. 16:55 IST Monday, 28 November 2016As of now, trends have been coming from 136 of the 147 municipal councils. Trend so far: Shiv Sena- 25 BJP- 45 Congress- 24 NCP- 14 Others- 28 Election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70 per cent of the electorate exercising its franchise. No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.Counting of votes began at 10 AM.Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race. The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly elections and a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people.The second phase for elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on December 14.demonetization, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetization move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetization among other issues.In total, including yesterday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases.The next rounds of voting are scheduled on December 14, December 18, and January 8.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis condoles ‘Natarang’ novelist Anand Yadav’s demise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has condoled the demise of noted litterateur Anand Yadav who passed away in Pune last night.”Dr Anand Yadav’s demise is a big loss. He was a great writer who had beautifully created some best books about rural social life,” Fadnavis said in a statement.He captured the transition and transformation in the agricultural society in his literature and created a perfect picture before the readers, he said.His life was full of struggle and he succeeded in effectively representing the woes and sorrows of rural folk.Marathi literature and readers will always miss him for unique empathy for village people and their lifestyle, Fadnavis added.

70% polling in Maharashtra municipal council polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 70 per cent polling was reported in elections to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats, which were held on Sunday in the backdrop of demonetization of higher value currency notes.The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly elections and also a test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government. This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people. “Around 70 per cent voting was reported for the polls today,” State Election Commissioner, J S Saharia said. While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.While BJP projected development as its main plank, during campaigns Fadnavis hailed the demonetization move a major attack on black money. On its part, the Congress, among other issues including development, had also highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetization. The voting which began at 7.30 AM and ended at 5.30 PM, witnessed sporadic incidents of group clashes, an official said.Voters of Raghuchiwadi village in Osmanabad district boycotted the election to protest against non-availability of basic amenities to the village, the official said.During polling for the Karad municipal council in Satara district, chairman of the Maharashtra State Cooperation Council, Shekhar Charegaonkar allegedly warned a woman police constable of suspension after she objected to him taking his vehicle near the polling booth. In Wardha district, Rs 3.5 lakh cash was seized from the vehicle of an NCP candidate. In Chandrapur district, an Independent candidate climbed atop a high power cable tower and tried to woo voters.In Parbhani district, three people were injured during quarrel between two groups, while polling for the Gangakged municipal council was on, police said. In Osmanabad district, police registered an offence under section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC against 27 persons, after two policemen were injured in stone pelting near a police station during polling for the Murum municipal council. In Sangli district, a bandh call has been given for tomorrow after clashes between BJP and Congress activists during polling for the Tasgaon civic body. In coastal Ratnagiri district, more than 70 per cent voting was recorded. In Kolhapur district, more than 79 per cent voters exercised their franchise across nine municipalities. The polling percentage remained around 65 per cent across six municipal councils in Nashik district. According to police, in 41 cases during the campaign for the first phase of elections, Rs 26.04 crore cash was seized. As many as 15,827 candidates were in the fray for the 3,706 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where the first phase of polling was held today.For the post of municipal council president in 147 places, there were 1,013 candidates in fray, Saharia said. Counting of votes will be taken up at 10 AM on Monday .In total, including today’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on December 14, December 18, and January 8.

Accept cheques for fees, Maharashtra CM tells educational institutes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maharashtra government on Monday asked the education department to issue instructions to the universities and other educational institutes to accept examination and tuition fees through cheques and not insist on demand drafts or pay-orders.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the decision, which comes as a relief to the students in the wake of demonetization, on Twitter this evening. He issued the directive after holding a meeting with officials at his residence ‘Varsha’ here. Similar instructions would be given through the Maharashtra state board of technical education to the affiliated institutes, the CM tweeted after the meeting.The decision will benefit millions of students who would be paying mid-term fees in coming days. The banks which are overburdened with people rushing to withdraw the money or swap the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could not have handled additional work of issuing demand drafts at this juncture, an official said.Meanwhile, the school bus operators who had said the buses would not ply if the payments were not made in time today agreed to continue their service after holding discussions with the government, Fadnavis tweeted.

Demonetization brings Rs 173 crore to Maharashtra coffers in a single day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of the recent demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes by the central government, the Maharashtra government collected water and property tax totalling Rs 173 crore, the highest amount ever collected in a day.Manisha Mhaiskar, Secretary of State Urban Development department told on Friday that they had permitted people to pay the property and water taxes in recently obsolete currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. “As a positive side effect, we were able to collect property and water taxes worth Rs 173 crore. This is the first time we have collected such a huge amount in one day. People are queuing up to pay taxes. We will continue doing this until Friday midnight and are looking at extending this scheme with permission from senior authority,” she said.Source said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to allow them to charge and collect state taxes in the ongoing denominations. “Prime Minister Modi readily agreed, after which we issued the GR for the same. The entire process took up almost two days. Otherwise, we would have collected around Rs 500 crore in the last three days. There are many defaulters who have money but are reluctant to pay the government taxes. Now, permitting the people to pay taxes in the erstwhile currencies pushed them to stand in queues to pay up the same. It is completely unbelievable. Otherwise, we have to slap many notices. It has benefited them and us as well,” source from urban development said, requesting anonymity.He further said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also likely to speak with the Prime Minister again to extend the deadline of accepting the passing currencies up to the end of November. “If Prime Minister Modi allows us, then we will able to collect maximum taxes in this month. People are paying taxes at their respective municipal corporation offices. Most of the corporations are garnering an average revenue of Rs 8-9 crore in a day. This is really encouraging and will boost revenue,” Senior Urban Development department official said.As per government data, the maximum collections took place in Nagpur, Pune, Nasik, Navi Mumbai, and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations. Also, the Solapur Municipal Corporation Mayor, Sushila Abute, on Friday, paid her Rs 1.15 lakh dues in denominations of Rs 500.

Farhan Akhtar after Karan Johar: The MNS challenge gets bigger for Fadnavis govt

Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has received good audience response on the first day of its release, and there’s a message in it for the patriots of the gutter variety. In fact, it is the second tight slap on the face of the latter after the Army refused Rs 5 crore donation extracted from Johar for having Pakistani actors in his movie and senior ministers slamming such extortionist tactic. Now the audience has delivered their response.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTIMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

The movie, according to media reports, has done about Rs 18 crore business in the domestic circuit on day one – combined with overseas collection total earnings come to about Rs 22.5 crore. This despite another biggie, Ajay Devgn-starred Shivaay, being in the race for the Diwali audience. The rather impressive advance bookings in multiplexes reflect no collective faux patriotism-driven ill-will against the movie, which has Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in it.

The message? Leave it to people to decide what they want to watch or read or enjoy. They understand what patriotism is; don’t force on them your version of it. They are intelligent enough — at least more intelligent than the street thugs — to understand that the mere presence of an actor from a hostile country in a film does not constitute an offence to India. They also know the idea of patriotism is too precious to be left to the interpretation of the street and idiots. If they find something repulsive to their sentiments they would reject it on their own.

Political parties in India have always treated the power of the street with the certain degree of reverence, at the cost of civil liberties of the ordinary citizenry. Governments could act against the outfits threatening violence if they wanted. After all, the might of the state is too big for the lumpen elements to handle, never mind whether they carry any political weight. But they desist from taking action; more often than not it’s sheer opportunism. If there’s a ‘cause’ on display on the streets their resistance gets weaker. All this is well-known and need no elaboration.

The point here is where does it leave the rights of individuals as citizens of the country? The instruments of the state in cahoots with criminal forces can make a mess of these. As an expose in a television channel a couple days ago said some members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have been in the practice of taking money to engineer protests, including violent ones, in the city. With the police ‘managed’ they can organise protests of any size and intensity. Those caught on camera were also aware of making the manufactured agitation television worthy. Obviously, all of this happens in the knowledge, if not patronage, of the state.

Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister in Nazi Germany, believed in the power of the street. “Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics has its roots in the street,” he said. Our governments, it includes those of all parties, obviously carry the same conviction but won’t spell it out openly. Such an arrangement has to come at the cost of those who cannot fight back. It includes all of us who have other interests in life than the politics of power. It chips away at our freedom to live freely in a free country.

As this piece is being written there’s news that filmmaker-actor and the maker of film Raees Farhan Akhtar has been threatened by the MNS for refusing to pay Rs 5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund. Obviously, nothing has changed on the ground after the controversy over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The slaps from the audience and the Army have not worked.

The Devendra Fadnavis government has a challenge on its hands. Tackling the MNS for the second time will require the will of the state more than its might. Will it allow people to decide on the movie and come down hard on street power? Let’s wait and watch.

Hindu Sena has no love for ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, raises slogans against film

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of ‘Hindu Sena’ held protests on Friday against Karan Johar produced movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ .The protesters were raising slogans against the movie to ‘Ban all the films of Pakistani artistes’.Earlier, MNS ended their protest against ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and ‘Raees’ after a closed-door meeting between party supremo Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Karan Johar, Mukesh Bhatt and others.Claiming victory and satisfaction at having achieved their demands, Thackeray revealed that he has received assurances from the film industry that henceforth they wouldn’t be working with any Pakistani actors. Raj also set forth conditions that filmmakers who worked with Pakistan actors will have to comply with.In a video statement on October 17, Johar expressed a “deep sense of hurt and pain” by the charge of being anti-national. “I condemn terror in the strongest terms, I respect our Army, for me, the country comes first,” the 44-year-old said.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row: No law and order problem during movie screening, Mumbai police chief tells Firstpost

Even as there have been threats and protests by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to ban Karan Johar’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which were later called off, security has been tightened in Mumbai and around cinemas and theatres across the country as the movie released on Friday. However, Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar has assured that the movie would see a smooth release without any law and order problem.

Speaking exclusively to Firstpost, Datta Padsalgikar said, “I assure that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will be released smoothly today. There were tensions initially, but we have made sure that we maintain law and order. We already provided adequate security to multiplexes and single screen theatres in Mumbai.

Poster of Karan Johar film 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'.

Poster of Karan Johar film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.

“Mumbaikars can watch the movie without any fear and enjoy Diwali. I am personally monitoring that there are no issues in ADHM’s screening in theatres. If anyone needs security or encounters any problem, they can get in touch with Mumbai police. They will certainly help,” Padsalgikar said.

“CM Devendra Fadnavis has already instructed us and we have deployed enough security in Mumbai. We have even spoken to Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association and have assured them adequate security will be provided to them,” Padsalgikar added.

“Many would want to watch the movie during this festive season and they should be able to enjoy it without any tension. Mumbai Police will make sure that the 1.40 crore Mumbaikar would be able to watch it without tension and fear,” the police chief said.

Earlier this month, in a move to boycott Pakistani artistes from working in India, Raj Thackeray-led MNS asserted that they would not let Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (which features Fawad Khan in a cameo) and Raees (which marks the Bollywood debut of Mahira Khan) release in India, or be screened in theatres. The group warned that any filmmaker who defied their diktat would be beaten up.

Following which Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director Karan Johar said that he would stick to his release plan, even as certain distributors and theatre owners were against it, citing their safety. On 18 October, the MNS intensified its plans and issued an indirect threat of vandalism to the multiplexes if they screened the movie.

Meanwhile, there was some tension in Jabalpur and Delhi over the screening of ADHM. According to Hindi publication Pradesh 18, Hindu Parishad activists barged inside a movie theatre in Jabalpur to stop its screening. Post this, the 9 am show was cancelled.

Similarly, in Gwalior, workers from a Hindu organisation barged into a multiplex to stop the screening of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. 

Sambhaji Brigade supporters staged an agitation outside Sarvoday Mall in Kalyan. Sambhaji Brigade, like Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), has been opposing the inclusion of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in the movie.

The MNS had called off its agitation days before the release of the movie. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had then approached party chief Raj Thackeray and Karan Johar at his Varsha Bungalow for a compromise.

No restrictions imposed on Pakistani artistes working in India, says govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has not imposed any restrictions on Pakistani artistes working in India but filmmakers should respect the sentiments of people while engaging them, says Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.He also feels that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had mediated between the producers of “Ae Dil Hai Muskhil” and MNS, did no wrong or had any role in asking the producers to pay Rs 5 crore to army welfare fund.In principle, Naidu says he is not in favour of imposing any ban on artistes from other countries to work in India but at a time when “a proxy war” was going on with the neighbouring country, filmmakers should keep the situation in mind.”People say art has no boundaries. Yes, art has no boundaries but countries have boundaries. That has to be kept in mind,” Naidu told PTI.He said that artistes also have responsibility that they do not hurt sentiments of people.”You have to understand the situation in mind. In normal times, yes. But in a situation where there is practically a proxy war going on and your neighbour is provoking you by encouraging and funding terrorists on a regular basis and killing thousands of people and your jawans, in such a situation if you engage in a debate that art is our right, then that will upset people. But government has not imposed restrictions on anyone,” Naidu said. Naidu feels it was the “correct” thing on Fadnavis” part to defuse the “Ae Dil hai Mushkil” release row after Producers Guild approached the Chief Minister in the wake of threats from Maharastra Navnirman Sena (MNS).”Devendra Fadnavis has done the correct thing, right thing. He is responsible for law and order situation in the state. So, he worked for resolving the issue amicably.” Naidu says Fadnavis told him in clear terms that he had not given his consent to the producers contributing to the army fund.”Fadnavis is not part of it… it is against the ethos, against the principles of the government (to seek funds in this manner),” the Minister said, disapproving the Raj Thackeray-led MNS”s demand that the producers contribute to the fund.Dismissing the Congress” demand for the resignation of Fadnavis alleging that he had helped in “extortion” from the film industry, Naidu took a dig at the party saying there is “no lack” of demands on its part.While Congress had demanded the resignation of Fadnavis, the CPI(M) had also accused him of “facilitating extortion” while resolving the row.The Left party had asked Centre to take “serious note” of Fadnavis, who is also the Home Minister of Maharashtra, of not upholding his Constitutional duty as the Chief Minister by taking action against those who threatened to disrupt release of the film.Asked about the industry”s complaint that it was a “soft target”, he shot back, “What is soft target? They are powerful and they have more voices. I don”t think they are soft target.People have a right to protest but it”s the responsibility of the local authority to maintain law and order.” The film was embroiled in a controversy recently after the MNS opposed the screening of movies featuring Pakistani actors in the wake of Uri terror attack.The movie, featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, will release on October 28, just two days before Diwali.

There is no govt restriction on Pakistani artistes: Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Government has not imposed any restrictions on Pakistani artistes working in India but filmmakers should respect the sentiments of people while engaging them, said Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

He also felt that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had mediated between the producers of Ae Dil Hai Muskhil and MNS, did no wrong or had any role in asking the producers to pay Rs 5 crore to army welfare fund.

In principle, Naidu said he is not in favour of imposing any ban on artistes from other countries to work in India but at a time when “a proxy war” was going on with the neighbouring country, filmmakers should keep the situation in mind.

“People say art has no boundaries. Yes, art has no boundaries but countries have boundaries. That has to be kept in mind,” Naidu told PTI.

He said that artistes also have responsibility that they do not hurt sentiments of people.

“You have to understand the situation in mind. In normal times, yes.”

“But in a situation where there is practically a proxy war going on and your neighbour is provoking you by encouraging and funding terrorists on a regular basis and killing thousands of people and your jawans, in such a situation if you engage in a debate that art is our right, then that will upset people. But government has not imposed restrictions on anyone.”

Naidu felt it was the “correct” thing on Fadnavis’ part to defuse the Ae Dil hai Mushkil release row after Producers Guild approached the Chief Minister in the wake of threats from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

“Devendra Fadnavis has done the correct thing, right thing. He is responsible for law and order situation in the state. So, he worked for resolving the issue amicably.”

Naidu said Fadnavis told him in clear terms that he had not given his consent to the producers contributing to the army fund.

“Fadnavis is not part of it… it is against the ethos, against the principles of the government (to seek funds in this manner),” the Minister said, disapproving the Raj Thackeray-led MNS’s demand that the producers contribute to the fund.

Dismissing the Congress’ demand for the resignation of Fadnavis alleging that he had helped in “extortion” from the film industry, Naidu took a dig at the party saying there is “no lack” of demands on its part.

While Congress had demanded the resignation of Fadnavis, the CPI(M) had also accused him of “facilitating extortion” while resolving the row.

The Left party had asked Centre to take “serious note” of Fadnavis, who is also the Home Minister of Maharashtra, of not upholding his Constitutional duty as the Chief Minister by taking action against those who threatened to disrupt release of the film.

Asked about the industry’s complaint that it was a “soft target”, he shot back, “What is soft target? They are powerful and they have more voices. I don’t think they are soft target. People have a right to protest but it’s the responsibility of the local authority to maintain law and order.”

The film was embroiled in a controversy recently after the MNS opposed the screening of movies featuring Pakistani actors in the wake of Uri terror attack.

The movie, featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, will release on 28 October, just two days before Diwali.

ADHM row: Had opposed MNS’s Rs 5 crore demand right there in meeting, says Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under fire over “brokering” a deal between producers of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has maintained that he had opposed the offer of Rs 5 crore contribution from makers to the Army welfare fund.Karan Johar’s film faced protests by MNS workers for casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Film’s smooth release, scheduled to open on October 28, was ensured at a meeting Film Producers’ Guild, producers and MNS Thackeray, mediated by Fadnavis last week. A key demand conceded in the meeting was Rs 5 crore contribution from makers for the army welfare.”Thackeray had put three demands, out of which there was no objections to the other two. When the issue of Rs 5 crore came up, I intervened and made it clear to the Film Producers’ Guild that they need not have to agree to it. I also told them that the contribution has to be made voluntarily. However, it was producers’ decision to accept it,” Fadnavis said last evening at his residence ‘Varsha’.”I categorically told that although it is nice that the Guild has decided to stand by the families of our martyrs but it is not a compulsion. Still if they wish to do, they may contribute whatever amount they feel (is) appropriate. This figure of (Rs) 5 crore came from MNS but was not agreed in the meeting and turned down then and there only,” he said.When asked about allegations of “brokering” the deal, Fadnavis said, “Another choice was deploying thousands of police staff outside theatres (when film releases). I would then faced allegations like I have spoiled Diwali holiday mood of police staff. Issues should be solved by talking, and we are a democratic government,” he said.Before intervention, Mumbai Police had already arrested MNS activists, hence there should not be any doubts about government’s intentions. Some even called that state government is playing both sides, which is not true, he added.BJP’s ally Shiv Sena has slammed the CM’s intervention in the matter and had termed Fadnavis’s act as “siding with Pakistani personalities.”On this, the CM said, “Did our governments not talk with separatists like Hurriyat (Conference) or negotiate with Naxal groups for peace? Then holding discussions with a political party, though this is comparatively a minor one (issue), should not be criticised so bitterly. I think, successful mediation has disappointed some people,” he said.He also refuted charges of going soft on MNS and emphasised that there was “no political motive” behind such negotiations.

ADHM row: Fadnavis, Johar and Raj Thackeray producing a film called ‘Yeh to hona hi tha’, says Uddhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday poked fun at the meeting called by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis to resolve the imbroglio over the release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, which was facing threat by MNS over the casting of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.”I have not got details about the meeting. But I have news that all three (Fadnavis, Johar and Raj Thackeray) have decided to produce a movie. The name has also been finalised. It is titled ‘Yeh to Hona hi Tha’,” Thackeray told reporters here.on Saturday, Fadnavis mediated a meeting between MNS chief Raj Thackarey and the makers of the film, at his residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai to cool tempers and facilitate the smooth release of the movie after MNS called off its agitation.MNS had been vehemently protesting against the screening of movies featuring Pakistani actors and artists post the Uri terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 19 soldiers.Responding to a question, Thackeray said Shiv Sena did not participate in the protests alongside MNS as they (Sena) were gauging the situation.”We decided to keep aloof and see who takes what stand on this issue,” Thackeray said refusing to answer any further question on the controversy.”Sometimes it is better not to answer a few questions,” he said, adding “people are wise enough to judge the situation.”Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” had been embroiled in a controversy over the past few weeks after the MNS raised a flag against it, thus putting a question mark on the fate of the movie, slated for a Diwali release on October 28.The film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles will, however, release as per schedule after a truce was clinched. The producers gave some assurances such as that they would not work with Pakistani artists and technicians in their future projects, given the people’s sentiments in the wake of the Pathankot and Uri terror strikes.

ADHM row: By brokering a deal between MNS and Karan Johar, Devendra Fadnavis has abdicated his raj dharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the book Maxims of Chanakya: Kautilya, KV Subramaniam explains what Chanakya thought was the attribute of a great ruler. He writes, “The ideal ruler, according to Chanakya, should have absolute mastery over himself and pre-eminent in virtue.” Chanakya said, “If rulers are righteous, people are righteous, if they are sinners, people are also sinners, like ruler, like people… A ruler with character can render even unendowed people happy. A characterless ruler destroys loyal and prosperous people’’. Chanakya observed, “Disrespect shown to good people and encouragement of the unrighteous… encouragement of vice and discouragement of virtue, not punishing the guilty and severely punishing the innocent…” cause massive discontentment among masses.The reason for invoking an ancient philosopher and the wisdom he espoused is due to the impunity with which political opportunism is trampling good sense in modern-day Maharashtra. Using the bogey of nationalism as a fig leaf, a fledgling parochial party is trying to come back into relevance by speaking the language of covert threats and violence and the rulers of our times have completely abdicated their duty by not acting decisively against them. To ensure that his movie is released without a problem, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director and producer Karan Johar has decided to pay Rs 5 crore to the army relief fund. According to Mukesh Bhatt, the donation is voluntary. But the subsequent diktat from MNS that anyone who has used Pakistani artistes in their films needs to pay Rs 5 crore to the army fund gives away the game. It is extortion by another name— flexing muscles by coercing hapless producers to cough up money just before the release of their movie, at a time when they are most vulnerable, and dragging the name of the great institution of the Indian Army into it.But what is most abominable in the entire saga is the role of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. He mediated ‘peace’ between Karan Johar and Raj Thackeray in a meeting that decided the exact worth of patriotism. Rather than acting firm, like Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had promised and the previous state government had shown during the release of Johar’s My Name is Khan in 2010, Fadnavis took the easy way out of moral abdication. He let the bullies win by letting them use the patriotism card. Fadnavis could have acted tough, making it clear that the state machinery will firmly back ADHM, but his contradictory action has now set a bad precedent for the future.
ALSO READ ADHM row: Army ‘upset’ over being dragged into politics over release of Karan Johar’s filmIn India, where outrage sells cheaper than popcorn, every other fringe group can try to extort money or political leverage by blackmailing artistes under virtually any pretext. Many believe it is a clever ploy by the BJP to prop up MNS to keep the Shiv Sena under pressure. The strategy is diabolical, even if there are shreds of truth in it.As a mainstream national party trying to become the default party for good governance, BJP needs to show better judgement. A party with a narrow, sectarian belief system and violence as its language for discourse shouldn’t be given any oxygen by BJP. And, here, as much as Fadnavis is responsible for failure to show spine, the BJP central leadership also cannot be excluded from sharing guilt. Slogans like ‘na khaunga, na khane dunga’, Ease of Doing Business and Make in India can’t be successful if a suitable atmosphere is not created where the arts and trade can flourish unhindered. An aspiring superpower can’t be seen showing signs of weakness, that too in its commercial capital, to ‘leaders’ who don’t even have the mandate of the people behind them. Democracy can’t be held hostage to goons and strong leaders ought to do more to make people believe in the system, rather than cause more aversion.
ALSO READ Bollywood ‘buys’ peace with MNS; party agrees to releasing ADHM, but with three ridersIt is not that leaders haven’t cowed down to irrational demands before or haven’t sacrificed the arts at the altar of political opportunism. But becoming a brazen conduit to what can be only described as patriotism at gunpoint is probably the first time. Therein lies the failure of Devendra Fadnavis, who is known to be a good and affable man in real life. To quote Chanakya, “It is not enough for ruler to have good character. He must be well-versed in various sciences of State”.The dark night may have only just begun.

BJP harbouring criminals, Dawood henchman part of polls: NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP on Friday claimed that an accomplice of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim was part of BJP’s campaign for general and Assembly elections.”He (Riyaz Bhati) was actively involved with BJP during recent Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls. He is also a member of BJP working committee,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told reporters at a press conference.Malik claimed that Bhati had charges of land grabbing and extortion pending against him. “After our expose, BJP is saying that they will slap a case against us. We accept their challenge and are ready to fight legal battle,” he said referring to release of photographs purportedly showing Bhati with some BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others, by NCP yesterday.BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari had yesterday threatened to file a defamation suit against Malik, saying BJP has nothing to do with Bhati. Malik said he wanted to know on whose direction Bhati was provided security by police. “We have been asking a question since yesterday as to on whose direction police security has been provided to the gangster (Bhati) since December 2014?””He was roaming the entire world with a fake passport under the name of Fulji Bhati. He was arrested at Sahar airport (Mumbai airport) on the basis of a red-corner notice, following an IB alert that Fulji Bhati is actually Riaz Bhati,” Malik claimed. The NCP leader said Bhati got bail within 15 days of his arrest.”Why sections of MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act) were not slapped on him (Bhati). Why no chargesheet has been filed even after 365 days. So, at some level he has political blessings of BJP government,” Malik said, adding that they will file a writ petition if Bhati is not booked under MCOCA.Malik yesterday alleged that ruling BJP had admitted people with criminal background into its fold including Bhati, and sought clarification from Fadnavis, who heads Home portfolio. He had claimed that Bhati was arrested by the ATS last year, but was admitted to the BJP and made executive committee member of the Mumbai BJP. Replying to NCP’s allegations, the BJP spokesperson Bhandari yesterday said: “Mumbai unit of BJP has not announced its executive committee, so there is no question of Bhati being a member. Bhati was voter in the MCA election and has been included in a special MCA committee.”

Congress to move no-confidence motion against Fadnavis on Maratha quota

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking an aggressive stand against the BJP-led Maharashtra government on the issue of Maratha quota, Congress on Tuesday said it will move a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “insulting” the sentiments of the community.Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane today demanded Fadnavis’ resignation. He quoted the High Court order of October 13 which said the government had sought time as it was collecting further data to file an additional affidavit, which led to adjournment of the hearing of petitions on Maratha reservations beyond Diwali vacation. The HC has stayed the previous government’s ordinance granting reservations to Marathas, and is hearing petitions challenging the ordinance.Rane said contrary to what the state counsel told the HC, Fadnavis, on the same day, had told reporters that the state had not sought more time to file affidavit.Fadnavis government had not filed any affidavit since it came to power in October 2014, Rane alleged, adding “the government does not intend to give the Maratha community its rightful reservations. It has no concern for the grievances raised by the community through its silent marches.” The CM had thus hurt the sentiments of the community, he said.”We will move a no-confidence motion against Fadnavis during the winter session and a privilege motion in the Legislative Council,” Rane said, adding that Congress would seek support of all parties barring BJP and Shiv Sena for the motion.

Chhattisgarh: Woman gangraped in Mahasamund; two held

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 36-year-old married woman was allegedly raped by three youths at a village in Chhattisgarh’s Mahasamund district on Sunday, police said. Two of the three accused have been arrested on the basis of the woman’s complaint. “The incident took place on October 11 at Pirda village under Basna police station limits when the victim arrived at her paternal place during Dussehra festival,” Basna SHO Narendra Yadav said. As per preliminary investigation, the victim, who works in a private school as a cook in Balodabazar-Bhatapara district, had come to her parents’ home for Dussehra. On the night of October 11, the victim had gone along with her sister behind their house to relieve herself. Subsequently, three youths, identified as Devendra (23), Farid Ali (25) and Prince Saluja (23), allegedly forced her to sit in their car and later raped her, the SHO said. The trio then fled abandoning the woman close to the house. The victim lodged the complaint in this connection on October 14 following which Devendra and Farid were arrested yesterday while the car, which belongs to Prince, sed in the crime was also seized, he said. Efforts are on nab the third accused who is absconding, he said. The three accused were booked under sections 376 (g) (gang rape) and 506 (b) (criminal intimidation) of IPC, the SHO said adding that further probe was on.

One needs 56-inch chest to conduct a surgical strike: BJP’s response to Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One needs a 56-inch chest to conduct a surgical strike, the BJP said on Wednesday taking a dig at Shiv Sena President President Uddhav Thackeray, who had challenged its ruling ally to ‘strike off’ their alliance ahead of the crucial BMC polls in Mumbai.”They (the Sena) should not talk about surgical strikes. For doing that, you need a 56-inch chest. It was only PM Narendra Modi who could get the surgical strike done because it is only he who has a 56-inch chest. You (the Sena) are not capable of it,” BJP Mumbai unit Chief Ashish Shelar told reporters here.The Sena chief had taken potshots at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, asking him to decide a specific leader in the BJP. He had also dared the BJP to contest the upcoming polls separately if it had the courage. “Break the alliance and we will show you our surgical strike,” Thackeray had said in an apparent reference to MP Kirit Somaiya’s recent remark that BJP was all set to contest BMC polls, due early next year, independently.
ALSO READ Uddhav Thackeray lauds PM Modi over surgical strikesShelar further said that the BJP will continue its campaign against the “mafia raj” prevalent in the Sena-ruled MCGM and that the intensity of the party’s agitation against corruption there will only increase henceforth. “They (the Sena) have started it but we will end it. We will respond in a manner in which they understand. We will not go back in our fight against corruption,” Shelar said.

Atrocity Act will stay despite demands from Maratha community to repeal it: Fadnavis assures Dalits

Nagpur: On Tuesday Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured the Dalit community that notwithstanding the demand from a section of the society, a legislation on prevention of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes will not be abolished.

Addressing a huge gathering at ‘Deekshabhoomi’ on 60th Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Day, which marks the mass conversion to Buddhism by B R Ambedkar and his followers in 1956, he said there was a strong demand from a section of the Maratha community to repeal the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as it is allegedly being misused, but the act will stay.

A true follower of Ambedkar will not indulge in such misuse and hence there was no need for the Maratha community or any other community to fear its misuse, he said.

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind and Dalit leader and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale were also present.

One of the major demands of the politically dominant Maratha community, which is taking out huge silent marches in Maharashtra, is abolition of the Atrocities Act.

A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. AFPA file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. AFP

A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. AFP

Fadnavis also said the plan of the memorial of Ambedkar at Indu Mill land in Mumbai would be soon finalised.

The government had detailed discussions with top Dalit leaders including Prakash Ambedkar, Jogendra Kawade, Sulekha Kumbhare, Anand Ambedkar and others to avoid any controversy and the design of the memorial was nearing completion, he said.

He also lauded the contribution of former Governor of Bihar and Kerala R S Gavai, who headed the memorial committee till his death, and said a memorial for Gavai would be constructed in his hometown Amravati with a budget of Rs 25 crore.

Gadkari in his speech assured all necessary help from the Centre to turn Deekshabhoomi into a world-class monument.

A proposal from the state government to create a Buddhist circuit connecting important Buddhist sites was pending, and now the Centre has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for it, he said.

The Chief Minister also said the plan of the memorial of Dr Ambedkar at Indu Mill land in Mumbai would be soon finalised.

The government had had detailed discussions with top Dalit leaders including Prakash Ambedkar, Jogendra Kawade, Sulekha Kumbhare, Anand Ambedkar and others to avoid any controversy and the design of the memorial was nearing completion, he said.

He also lauded the contribution of former Governor of Bihar and Kerala R S Gavai, who headed the memorial committee till his death, and said a memorial for Gavai would be constructed in his hometown Amravati with a budget of Rs 25 crore.

Gadkari in his speech assured all necessary help from the Centre to turn the Deekshabhoomi into a world-class monument.

A proposal from the state government to create a Buddhist circuit connecting important Buddhist sites had been pending, and now the Centre had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for it, he said.

AAI selects Purandar taluka for greenfield international airport near Pune: Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: On Thursday the Maharashtra government gave a go-ahead for carrying out a detailed project report (DRP) for the greenfield international airport, which will come in Purandar tehsil of Pune district.

The proposed airport will be spread over 2,400 hectares and the site has been already approved by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters on Thursday.

Fadnavis held a meeting with Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) on the issue.

“We decided to grant permissions for carrying out DPR as well as Obstacle Limitation Surface survey for the proposed site,” the Chief Minister added.

“Located near historic fort Purandar – the proposed airport would named as Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje International Airport”, Fadnavis said, adding post acquisition of land, the airport will commence within three years.

“The site is around 15-20 km away from Pune city. Located on the south of the city, the proposed airport will be connected with six different routes including National Highway 4 and 17”, he said.

According to the Chief Minister, there will be a special ring-road connecting major industrial establishments with the proposed airport from Hadapsar area of Pune.

A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. PTIA file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

A file photo of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Officials said some of these establishments include Chakan MIDC, several phases of Talegaon MIDC, Bhosari MIDC, having an annual economy of Rs 30,000 crore and Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, which has an average IT-export of over Rs 50,000 crore every year.

The IT and auto sectors were demanding a dedicated international airport with cargo facility for over a decade.

When asked about earlier proposed sites like Chakan and Rajgurunagar, Fadnavis said except Purandar no other site
is approved by AAI.

“Most of the farmers have expressed their willingness for the project. The farmers, whose land will be acquired for the project, will become partner in the airport developing company which will ensure some steady income source for them. This model has been used in the state earlier for land acquisition of (proposed) Navi Mumbai International Airport”, the Chief Minister added.

Officials said Purandar is an arid region with very low rainfall and most of the land is non-agricultural while in some areas farmers opt for kharif crops only.

Officials said the existing airbase of Indian Air Force near Pune city is used for civil aviation but it has limitations of security as well as land availability.

Hence, the Maharashtra government decided to go for the Purandar site, they added.

The current passenger movement from Pune airport is around 6 lakh per year.

“The proposed airport will have two airstrips-each having length of four km. It will handle cargo along with passenger traffic,” Fadnavis said.

“Most of the land would be acquired from villages such as Pargaon, Munjewadi and Memane from Purandar teshil,” the Chief Minister added.

Asked about proposed airport in Kolhapur, around 230-km from Pune, Fadnavis said “The state government is spending Rs 40 crore for Kolhapur airport and it will be a domestic airport”.

The Chief Minister also spoke about the Nagpur airport, which is also going to be a cargo terminal.

“The Request for Quotation and Request for Proposal is completed. Six companies have submitted bids for it including Tata, Essel, IRB and GMR among others. For the first time, six companies have come forward for an airport,” he added.

Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray mum on Somaiya’s remarks to contest BMC polls solo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has declined to comment on BJP MP Kirit Somaiya’s reported statement that his party was prepared to contest all 227 seats in upcoming BMC polls on its own strength.”Somaiya’s statement has not reached me yet and I don’t want to comment over it. Shiv sainiks have already reacted to his remarks,” Thackeray said.The Sena chief, however, added that he would speak on many issues at his party’s annual Dussehra rally at Dadar in Central Mumbai on October 11.In a statement that riled Sena, Somaiya yesterday said that “BJP is prepared to contest all 227 wards for BMC elections alone, along with small parties to end the mafia raj in BMC.”BJP and Sena are alliance partners in Centre and state governments, besides in BMC.The country’s richest civic body will go to polls next year.Meanwhile, Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said that her party was positive about the alliance.”Uddhav Thackeray shares a very good rapport with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. They have a good understanding about issues between them. If their (BJP’s) proposal is reasonable then we shall have an alliance. Uddhav ji will take a final call on the issue,” she said.Meanwhile, state unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve told reporters that the issue of forging any tie-up with the like-minded political parties has been left to the respective district level units.”If there is any deadlock then they can report it to the state BJP unit which shall take the final call,” he said.Danve added that the stage for holding talks about alliance has not arrived yet.When asked about Somaiya’s comments, he termed them as the “personal views” of the MP.Somaiya has been targeting the Sena-ruled BMC on the issues of corruption in Deonar garbage dump, potholes on roads and other civic issues.

Mumbai potholes: BMC claims only 36 of them remain, political parties calls it a joke

Mumbai: Until the potholes became the unannounced navigational tool on how you drive on the roads of India’s financial capital, monsoon was a bliss for a parched Mumbai taking care of its water woes. So severe has the issue become that the potholes soon turned out to be a number game among the political parties, civic body and citizens depending on their appearance, disappearance and reappearance.

Image of a Mumbai road filled wih potholes. Screengrab from IBN-Live videoImage of a Mumbai road filled wih potholes. Screengrab from IBN-Live video

Image of a Mumbai road filled wih potholes. Screengrab from IBN-Live video

The irony is although the monsoon is now at its ebb, the potholes still remain despite a bold claim by a senior official of The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that only 36 of them exists in 24 wards. A little math on the number would show that only one or one and a half potholes in each of the 24 wards now are left to be filled up.

Potholes on Mumbai roads took such a political magnitude that even the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to step in. A couple of weeks back he directed BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to get them repaired and report back. Even if the Shiv Sena and the BJP are ruling the BMC together for the last 20 years, the potholed roads managed to even crack the trust they have in each other. Ahead of the BMC polls, which are scheduled in February next year, the BJP fearing a political backlash because of the potholed roads squarely blamed its partner Shiv Sena for the mess. Both the parties are however facing each other this time instead of tying up. Notwithstanding the political fallout, both the parties have jointly spent a whopping Rs 15,000 crore from the exchequer in the last 20 years for concretising roads and treating potholes.

The Shiv Sena-controlled standing committee, which clears the majority of the road tenders worth crores, is still to find a permanent solution to the pothole menace. The BMC boasts of a massive Rs 32,000 annual budget, the largest in the country for a civic body. Despite the dizzying figure in its yearly budget, the truth is out the total road length 1,940 km only 50 percent are concrete.

According to a BMC report on pothole status released on 29 September, out of 4,599 potholes, 4,563 of them were already attended to while only 36 of them remain to be addressed. When additional municipal commissioner IS Kundan read out the report in the standing committee meeting, parties reacted angrily with some even calling it ludicrous.

Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh told Firstpost that it was absolutely shameless on the part of the senior official. “How can she read out such a false report in the meeting? Most of the stretches on any road are filled up with potholes. One can see a minimum of 36 potholes even in one road,” Shaikh said.

Shiv Sena corporator Surendra Bagalkar was also shocked by the 36 potholes statistics.

“BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta instructed each of the additional municipal commissioners to go on the field and inspect the condition of the roads in their respective areas — City, Western and Eastern suburb. Following this instruction if any additional commissioner comes out from his or her car and walk for five minutes below the BMC headquarters, he or she can see more than 36 potholes,” Bagalkar said.

Opposition leader Pravin Chheda also expressed ire on the astounding statistics on the status of potholes on Mumbai roads.

“Even after opposition parties including the Congress, NCP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena staged walkouts and agitated on the potholes no results came out. The situation of the roads did not improve and now the administration is saying there are only 36 potholes. It is a joke of the day,” Chheda told Firstpost.

Corporators allege that the contractors are using substandard material to fill up the potholes and as soon as it rains it gets washed away.

“We know the potholes are increasing and the engineers are trying their best to fill them up. But the definition of potholes is not the same among all engineers,” a senior BMC official told Firstpost on the condition of anonymity.

Talking to Firstpost, chief engineer (road), Sanjay Darade told that the potholes counting by every ward engineer. “They send us a report of every ward and we compiled of 24 wards. It is true that compiling the report till 29th September only 36 potholes are remaining from ward wise report. But we once again asked them to recheck and send the report within a week,” he said.

RTI activist Anil Galgali also expressed unhappiness with the manner the potholes issue is being tackled by the authorities.

“The Chief Minister interfered late in this issue.  Both BMC and MMRDA are responsible for the potholes in Mumbai,” said Galgali.

Maharashtra: NDRF rushed to Nanded, Latur to help flood-hit people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NDRF rescue platoons were reaching Latur and Nanded in Marathwada region of Maharashtra to take part in rescue operations in flood-affected villages in the two districts, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday night. Heavy rain is lashing these areas of central Maharashtra, which had experienced a near-dry monsoon last year.”We are keeping a close watch & monitoring the flood situation in Latur and Nanded districts and taking every possible effort to bring relief,” the CM tweeted.”As per the reports, 12 trapped people need help in Renapur, 10 in Ahmadpur and 8 in Nanded. Villagers of Jalkot Taluka’s 2 villages are evacuated. NDRF rescue platoons reaching Latur and Nanded soon to rescue marooned villagers. IAF helicopters too are ready for rescue operations,” Fadnavis tweeted.The CM also commended the Nanded collector for rescue work. “Commendable efforts by Nanded Collector & his team as they rescue 24 people from Loha taluka (6 were on trees & rest were stranded in houses),” he said.

Maharashtra to construct smart township of 8,000 houses for police personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Announcing that the Maharashtra government would be constructing a smart township of 7 to 8 thousand houses for police personnel at Ghatkopar with all the amenities, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that government would soon announce a scheme for building 25 to 30 thousand ownership houses for police personnel and officials in Mumbai and elsewhere.Speaking to media persons after inaugurating the health check up camp for 1,000 police personnel and officers at Naigaon Police Housing Complex, Chief Minister said that it would be first such smart township for police personnel in the country. He explained that, in addition to providing amenities like schools, hospitals, the smart township would also provide for skill development training facility for the wards of police personnel as well as their wives so that they also can become self-employed. Stating that police housing was neglected in last 10 years Fadnavis said that his government was undertaking various programmes for building houses for police department. He said that once a policeman retires there is a huge question mark over housing arrangement, especially in a city like Mumbai. He said that during service tenure, the policemen and their families stay in government accommodation but they retire soon because their sons or daughters have jobs or businesses in Mumbai and they can’t afford to purchase a house in Mumbai, which makes life difficult even after retirement. Fadnavis said that for retired police personnel, his government would include the entire family in the Mahatma Phule health scheme. He also said that the scheme which would come into force from November 20, 2016, and would enable retired police personnel and their family members to avail diagnosis and treatment of 1200 diseases and ailments at any of the 700 select hospitals in the state.

No reason for me to apologise over cartoon row: Sanjay Raut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting up a brave face after a cartoon in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ provoked a strong reaction from a section of Maratha community and led to attack on the newspaper’s office, its editor Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said there was no reason for him to tender an apology.Describing cartoonist Shrinivas Prabhudesai as “non-political and innocent”, Raut said Prabhudesai had already tendered apology for the cartoon which alluded to the silent marches being taken out by the Maratha community across the state. Raut, a Rajya Sabha member, also denied media reports about Sena legislators from the Maratha community handing over resignation to the party leadership over the issue.”The cartoon has not caused any kind of dent or electoral damage to the party. We are neither hurt nor have we suffered any loss. The Sena does not believe in caste and I do not see any reason for tendering an apology,” he said. “The Sena has seen many storms in its fifty years of existence and weathered them, we shall come out of this also,” he said, reiterating the party’s support for the silent marches of the Maratha community for demands such as reservation.Without naming Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar and others who have lashed out at Sena over the controversial cartoon, Raut said, “Those who envy us and want to play politics are speaking against us.””During the days of Babri (demolition), 140 cases were filed against me, who is afraid of such cases? Sena does not believe in caste. Marathi is the only caste for us. There is a ploy to divide the Marathi community along caste lines,” he said.Raut further said that Sena knew who were behind this caste politics and would soon expose them. Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders were pulling the strings from behind the scenes, he alleged.”The morchas (marches) are being taken out to target the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” he said.

Pune International Airport to come up in Purandar, says Fadnavis

Pune International Airport to come up in Purandar, says Fadnavis

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Pune: On Friday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that a team of Airports Authority of India has given final approval to a proposed site for the Pune International Airport in Purandar tehsil of the district.

“The team of AAI, which had conducted feasibility survey of proposed land in Purandar tehsil, has given its approval and AAI has agreed that the land is suitable. Since the approval has come, we will now start the further process and we are happy that the local people too are positive about the airport,” he said.

The government will now hold a meeting with Maharashtra Airport Development Authority, Fadnavis said.

Initially, the state government was considering Khed teshil for the airport and AAI had carried out survey of two sites there. However, later the focus shifted to Purandar tehsil.

Uran alert: Search operations over, naval areas sanitised, says defence PRO

A day after a high alert was issued along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas after a group of armed men were allegedly spotted by a few school children in Uran, the Defence PRO on Friday said that search operations are over and the naval areas have been sanitised.

Few children from Uran Education Society’s school had reportedly spotted some armed men and their had teacher informed the police. After receiving the information, multiple agencies had launched a probe.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) had later issued a “highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts where several sensitive establishments and assets are located.

The National Security Guard (NSG), state police’s specialised commandos Force One and ATS, apart form the Mumbai police and Coast Guard were also roped in for the search operations.

The Navy had deployed its choppers for aerial surveillance and security was beefed up in parts of Mumbai.

A second battalion of the NSG was deployed on Friday. Schools in the region remained shut after the alert was issued. The Navi Mumbai police also released the sketch of one of the five suspects.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had appealed to citizens not to panic on Thursday and said all precautions are being taken. Gujarat coast was also put on high alert and security agencies were asked to keep a close vigil.

Uran alert: No clue on suspicious men yet but search operations still on, says Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that in the last 36 hours, since the beginning of the massive manhunt, for four suspicious men, as claimed to be seen by two school students in Uran near Navi Mumbai has not yielded any positive result so far.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTIMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

“The search operations will continue and I appeal to the people to not to believe in rumors and maintain calm,” Fadnavis said in Pune.

Earlier, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Affairs Deepak Kesarkar, said that the state won’t face a 26/11 type of situation as it is quite prepared to tackle any security situation that may arise due to the lookout for the suspicious men in and around Navi Mumbai.

“The cross-verification is still on. We are checking all CCTV footage gathered from different areas. We are also in touch with the fishing community for any information. The combing operations are still going on. Many state and Central agencies are involved in the process. There is complete coordination among all agencies be it the Force One, National Security Guard, Intelligence Bureau or the local police,” Kesarkar said.

On Thursday, the Western Naval Command in Mumbai had issued a high alert along the Mumbai coast after four men in military uniform were spotted moving suspiciously near a naval facility in Uran, about 47 kms from the state capital.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) issued “the highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad
coasts after suspicious movement of a group was reported in Uran.

According to initial information received by the authorities, four school students spotted a group of people dressed in uniform similar to that of Indian Army near Uran and Karanja area.

The DGP office immediately issued alerts to all police stations along the coast.

Security has been beefed up at sensitive locations along the coast, including the Gateway of India, Raj Bhawan, Bombay High (rig), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and other major establishments near the sea.

With inputs from PTI

dna Evening Must Reads: Mumbai on high alert; J&K HC refuses to ban pellet guns, India’s official Oscar entry; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Live: Mumbai on high alert after school children report seeing men with arms near Uran naval base​Indian Navy, Anti Terrorists Sqad (ATS) and other security agencies have been put on a high alert after suspicious movements of people with arms were reported by school children in Uran, near Mumbai. Follow live updates here. 2. Jammu and Kashmir: High Court refuses to ban pellet guns, cites mob violence in ValleyRejecting a plea seeking ban on use of pellet guns in controlling street protests in Kashmir Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has cited the ground situation and observed that as long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable. Read more.3. #INDvNZ: Kiwis surprise India with pace and swing, hosts reduced to 291 for 9 at the end of Day 1India frittered away a solid start as a middle-order collapse saw them reduced to 291 for nine on the opening day of the first cricket Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. Read more. 4. NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra govt over death of tribal kids due to malnutritionTaking suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of 600 kids from malnutrition this year in Palghar district of Maharashtra, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to the Devendra Fadnavis government. Read more.5. Just In: Tamil film ‘Visaranai’ is India’s Oscar Awards entry for 2017The jury of the Film Federation of India, headed by Ketan Mehta this year, has selected the film from the 29 entries which included the likes of Udta Punjab, Thithi, Sairat, Neerja, Nil Battey Sannata etc. Read more.

Shiv Sena targets Sharad Pawar, cautions parties over stand on Maratha quota

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena today took a swipe at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar over the ‘silent marches’ being taken out by Maratha community across the state, asking why his party did not do anything to meet the demands of the community while it was in power in Maharashtra and at the Centre.Leaders in Maharashtra have to decide now whether to create an understanding among people or fuel fire over this issue, the party cautioned. The Maratha community, a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns in the state over the last one month, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district two months ago. The victim belongs to a Maratha community, while the culprits are Dalits.Also, in an oblique reference to the outside support extended by the NCP to the BJP after 2014 assembly polls, the Sena also asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to be wary of “allies” trying to weaken his position.Taking potshots at Pawar, the Sena said his party, while in power for 15 years in the state, should have taken firm decisions over issues being raised by the Maratha community. “The ongoing Maratha agitation is like a storm which nobody in Maharashtra is capable of handling. Leaders in Maharashtra have to decide now whether to create an understanding among people or fuel fire over this issue,” an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.If Pawar thinks that the current Maratha stir is a result of people’s lack of faith in the government over issues like agriculture and reservation, his thinking is flawed, the Sena said. “It was Pawar’s government in the state and at the Centre until yesterday, in which he was the Agriculture Minister for 10 years. The Congress and the NCP had the opportunity to take a decision on reservation for 15 years,” it said.”Why did they not take a decision then. It would be good if the agitators understood this question. When Pawar says the government should take a decision over the issue, he is conceding that they (NCP and Congress) wasted 15 years,” the Sena said.The ruling alliance partner further said that the issue is being milked by vested interests and trying to make the chief minister vulnerable.”Never has a CM lost his chair due to morchas being taken out against the government. The CM only needs to make sure that this issue is not being used by allies to weaken his chair,” the Sena said.Yesterday, the community members took out a huge ‘silent protest march’ (“Muk Morcha”) at Jalna in Marathwada.Notably, in a move aimed at countering the silent morchas of the Maratha community, the state government had yesterday appointed Rajya Sabha member and heir of warrior King Chattrapati Shivaji, Sambhajiraje Bhosale as its tourism brand ambassador.

Maharashtra: Kopardi rape and murder case awaits charge sheet after 67 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even after 67 days of the rape and murder of a minor Maratha girl in Kopardi in Ahmednagar district, the local police is yet to file the charge-sheet.According to the sources in state home department, the local police are grappling in the dark. Saurabha Tripathi, police superintendent of Ahmednagar district said, few reports regarding the Kopardi case are awaiting, therefore there is a delay. “However, it will be filed,” he added. When asked to provide details of the reports awaited he refused to comment.”It was clear that the girl was raped and murdered. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had also made the announcement in the preceding monsoon session that this case will be put on the fast track court. He also appointed noted public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam yet there is no progress in the case leading to the delay in filling the charge-sheet. There are some gaps in the case therefore there is delay in charge-sheet filing,” sources said upon requested anonymity.The Maratha community has been protesting against the government and organising silent rallies across the state with each district witnessing large numbers of people participating. Apart from amendments in the atrocity act, the agenda of the morchas are also to seek reservation for the Maratha community and concrete help for the farmers etc.The accused in the Kopardi case threatened the parents of the victim saying he will file an atrocity case against them if they lodged a rape and murder case against him. “This triggered the unrest in the Maratha community. Why should someone threaten to lodge the atrocity case against the person whose daughter has been raped and murdered. Thus followed the demand of amendment in the atrocity act,” said senior NCP leader upon requested anonymity.When called, BJP leader Ram Shinde from Ahmednagar said that he has no clue about the development of the case. “I have not reviewed the Kopardi case in a long time.”

Devendra Jhajharia: India Paralympics medallist breaks own record

India’s Devendra Jhajharia breaks his world record in men’s javelin throw to win India’s second Paralympics gold.

Praful Patel to PM Modi: Cleanse BJP first instead of ‘Swachh Bharat’

In a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the cleanliness drive, senior NCP leader Praful Patel on Tuesday said he should first set the BJP’s house in order.”It would be appropriate on the part of Prime Minister to cleanse the BJP first instead of making a propaganda about ‘Swachh Bharat’,” the former Union minister told reporters.His comments came in an apparent reference to allegations of corruption against senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse who resigned recently as Revenue Minister. Patel claimed that no section of society is satisfied with the performance of the state and Central governments.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is unfortunate that BJP leaders like chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari have not brought any development to Vidarbha,” Patel said.He said the NCP would contest the forthcoming elections to the local bodies and municipal councils in the state on its own strength.
ALSO READ Wilful defaulters, I will show you what law can do, says PM ModiPatel alleged that no development in real terms came to Vidarbha despite the CM signing MoUs worth thousands of crores at various forums.”Gadkari has performed ‘bhoomipujan’ (groundbreaking ceremony) for road development projects but not a single tender has been passed so far,” the former Civil Aviation Minister said.He replied in negative when asked if NCP would extend its support to BJP in case Shiv Sena walks out of the coalition government.When asked whether NCP is avoiding playing an aggressive opposition out of fear of action against its leaders facing the graft charge, Patel said, “Who has stopped government from launching probe or taking legal action against us. They are free to do so. We are ready to face any eventuality”. He said NCP would go with people’s choice on granting statehood to Vidarbha.

Maharashtra Governor curbs collector’s power in tribal land sale

By exercising his special powers under Schedule 5 of the Constitution, Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao has clipped the powers of district collectors in the sale of tribal land to non-tribals, making such transactions even tougher.The governor has issued a notification which stipulates that the collectors will have to seek permission from the gram-sabhas before allowing transfer of occupancy from tribals to non-tribals in scheduled areas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The notification, which has come into effect on June 14, aims to ensure that in the scheduled areas tribal land alienation doesn’t take place “due to economic duress, fraud or forgery”. Incidentally, the Devendra Fadnavis government is mulling to open tribal land for market by easing out norms.The move has also led to the amendment in Section 36 A of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966, which empowers collectors in such matters. “It has been done in the accordance with the PESA Act 1996 which seeks to further empower the gram sabhas in the tribal matters,” said a highly placed official on condition of anonymity.At present, sale of tribal land to non-tribals is restricted under the Revenue Code. However, it can be sold with the permission of the collector who has the power to allow such transaction with the government’s nod. With such a system in place, a large chunk of tribal land in the state is alienated. Coercion, fraud, forgery and economic duress are considered as the major reasons.The notification is in stark contrast with the SS Sandhu committee’s report which has proposed to open tribal land for market by easing out norms of transferring tribal land to non-tribals in the MMR, cities and semi-urban areas for overall development and also to generate employment.The 120-page report was tabled in the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) meeting in April this year. The discussion on the report was deferred to the next meeting of the TAC after some members reportedly strongly opposed the move citing that it aims to further alienate the tribal land and seeks to benefit builders and industrialists.Tribals constitute 9.35% (1.05 crore) population of Maharashtra. Every nine out of 10 tribals are dependent on farming or related work even as four of 10 are landless farmers.Their land holding is nearly 137 lakh hectares (8.9%) spread in 15 districts — Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Amravati, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nanded. An estimated 30 lakh hectares have been alienated, claim tribal activists.As per the Sandhu committee’s report a whopping 45,000 court cases of encroachment and illegal land transfer were registered in Maharashtra till 1999. Of these, in 20,900 cases tribals had won and 40,265 hectare land was given back to them. In 2014, 875 cases were registered. 698 cases were won by tribals and 1,353 hectare land was returned to them.”The amendment would help to curb the alienation of the tribal land which is being grabbed by powerful lobbies for decades now using all means. These land transactions are often dubbed as distress sale by the government officials,” said a tribal activist.A tribal development official said, “Now Gram Sabhas are empowered enough. They are receiving tribal sub-plan funds directly in their accounts. They have also been granted rights to sale minor forest produce, they now have enough money to help those who are in distress to sell land due to marriage, health or other reasons,”The governor had earlier used his special powers to enact the PESA Act 1969 in Maharashtra which allowed direct transfer of the tribal sub-pan funds to the gram panchayats in the schedule areas.

Maharashtra government seeks US $600 million loan from World Bank

Maharashtra government has sent a proposal to the World Bank seeking a loan of US $600 million for a water conservation project to be implemented in about 20,000 drought-hit villages of the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.”State government has sent a proposal to the World Bank seeking a loan of US $600 million on low interest rate… it is anticipated to be sanctioned shortly. We envisage to utilise the fund by implementing a water conservation project in nearly 20,000 villages in next five years,” Fadnavis said while addressing a farmers’ rally in Kagal tehsil. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the project, aided by the World Bank, will help drought-stricken villages overcome parched conditions which have been prevalent in the state for the last couple of years. The chief minister said far more investment is needed in agriculture for sustainable and reasonable farming.He appealed to the farmers and others to participate in the state-run Jalayukt Shivar Yojana. “We have to focus on proper water management and will have to create water bodies in a decentralised manner. Big dams are necessary but decentralised water bodies are also necessary,” Fadnavis said.The chief minister also explained about the relation between drip and micro irrigation and better productivity in farms and said there is huge difference in irrigation through canals and drip. “Drip irrigation definitely improves productivity.Keeping this in mind, state government is now in favour of supplying water through pipes instead of canals,” he said. Meanwhile, Fadnavis said that development of Kolhapur airport is on the priority list of the government.Addressing a function of local industrialists at Shiroli, the chief minister appealed to them to contribute towards ‘Make in India’. He also assured his government’s support in introducing modern technology in foundry units in Kolhapur.

NCP wants PM Modi’s intervention in BJP-Sena ‘slugfest’

Dubbing the war of words between BJP and Shiv Sena as detrimental to Maharashtra’s progress, NCP on Sunday sought intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office to end the slugfest between the ruling allies.The opposition party also urged the BJP to seek “derecognition” of the Sena, contending that it cannot be allowed to contest the forthcoming Mumbai civic polls owing to alleged “hundreds of crores having been looted by the party in various scams”. “Both the allies are forgetting that people have given them a mandate to rule, not to create a ruckus. The daily bickering and no end to the problems being faced by people have made them lose faith in the institution of government. If this continues, people will lose faith in democracy,” Pawaskar told reporters here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We urge the PMO to take cognisance of the melee going on in the state and put an end to this. Instead of using its mouthpiece to ask the Sena to fall out of the government, they should simply come out in the open and say they are ready for mid-term polls,” he said. The NCP’s comments come in the backdrop of the intensifying war of words between the ruling allies.A recent article in BJP’s fortnightly publication ‘Manogat’ dared the Sena to take “divorce” and poked fun at Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray by drawing an analogy from the popular Bollywood flick “Sholay”, in which the character of a jailor played by actor Asrani asks policemen to march in different directions, only to find later that no one was standing behind him.The Sena had retorted by demanding a clarification from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and said that by making “below the belt comments, the BJP probably wanted to finish off its own government”.”Being in power at the Centre and the state, it is the BJP’s responsibility to seek Sena’s derecognition because they had come to power on a corruption-free governance plank.”It will be a gross injustice to the people if Sena is allowed to contest BMC polls where it has indulged in scams amounting to hundreds of crores and thereby looted people,” Pawaskar alleged. “It is shocking that a CM, who otherwise gives such good speeches in public, is from the last two years digesting the criticism aimed at his party in Sena mouthpiece,” he added.

Shiv Sena boycott PM Modi’s program in Pune

BJP’s ally Shiv Sena and other political parties in Pune on Saturday boycotted the event where Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his government’s flagship ‘Smart City mission’ in 20 cities.Pune Mayor Prashant Jagtap attended the program for the sake of protocol, but his party, NCP, along with Sena, MNS and Congress, boycotted it. Shiv Sena is a ruling alliance partner of BJP in Maharashtra and a part of the NDA. However, the relations between the two allies are strained, especially in the last few days when state-level leaders of both parties traded barbs at each other.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yesterday, leaders of NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS in accused BJP of hijacking the PM’s programme and slammed the Centre for not following protocol as the invitation cards did not have the name of the Mayor.Jagtap, however, later agreed to attend after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to him over phone. Local NCP leaders stayed away from the event, saying that the PM had not even once visited Maharashtra when it was reeling under drought, and that he came only when civic elections were round the corner.

PM Modi launches Smart City projects, hails spirit of ‘public participation’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said in Pune that people should not consider urbanisation as a problem, but take it as an opportunity. Modi made these remarks while speaking at an event to inaugurate various Smart City Projects under the Smart Cities Mission at a function in the city.

“Cities can deal with poverty. It is our responsibility to strengthen cities and work towards development,” Modi said.

“People of the cities have to decide about the development of their urban spaces. These decisions can’t be taken in Delhi,” he said.

Saying that the size of the roads and buildings are not the only way to evaluate a city, Modi said that every city has “a distinct identity.” He cited the example of Banarasi sarees to emphasise the point about different cities having distinctive features.

Speaking about the Swachh Bharat Mission, Modi said that the scheme became a success though no incentives were given for it.

Modi launched 84 such projects including 14 for Pune, for various other cities across the country, at an investment of around Rs 2,000 crore.

The 20 Smart Cities selected were linked to the Pune venue through videoconferencing wherein their states’ chief ministers and other leaders gave details of their plans for the Smart Cities in their states and interacted with the PM.

Modi visited an expo on Smart Cities, and inaugurated a contest on Make Your City Smart and a Smart Net Portal on the occasion at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, on the outskirts of Pune.

Maharashtra Governor CV Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and other dignitaries were present on the occasion

Maha Governor, CM Devendra Fadnavis join in International Yoga Day celebrations

The second International Yoga Day was celebrated in Maharashtra on Tuesday with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis leading programmes in Mumbai. The Governor participated in a yoga programme at Raj Bhavan early this morning and also in a programme organised by Mumbai University. The chief minister took part in a programme organised at the Bandra Reclamation. Over 200 Mantralaya employees performed yoga at Mantralaya. The BMC conducted Upa Yoga programme across the city’s 390 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation schools with participation of over one lakh children below the age of 14. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upa Yoga teacher training for 800 teachers was also conducted. Upa Yoga involves practising a set of seven five-minute modules of exercise. Over 10,000 people, including Navy personnel and their families, took part in yoga camps organised by Western Naval Command in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, and Karnataka. Defence personnel and their families participated at programmes at the Colaba Military Station and on board aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Visually-impaired students from Victoria Memorial School for Blind, Tardeo, and Kamla Mehta Blind School, Dadar, also celebrated Yoga Day. A programme called ‘Yoga by the Bay’ was also held in the city.

Woman doctor alleges ‘harassment’ by Maharashtra health minister’s Personal Secretary

A woman doctor from Jalgaon district has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis alleging she was “harassed” by the state Health Minister Deepak Sawant’s Personal Secretary, a charge denied by the official.Sawant’s Personal Secretary (PS) Sunil Mali has rubbished her charges stating it as a “conspiracy to defame him”.The 26-year-old doctor had recently claimed to have fully digitised a primary health centre (PHC), in terms of equipment and data, at Patonda village in Jalgaon district of the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Mali asked inappropriate and personal questions from me for around two hours in the minister’s ante-chamber, when I went to Sawant to give him a presentation on replicating her project across 1,800 PHCs across the state,” the doctor alleged.”In March, during the Budget session, I had given a presentation to Sawant to replicate the project across the state’s 1,800 PHCs. After the presentation, the minister’s PS Sunil Mali kept me in the minister’s ante-chamber for about two hours and asked me about my personal life against my wishes,” she alleged.”He tried to convince me that everyone needs a godfather in the government to get their projects implemented. I have complained to the Chief Minister and demanded his immediate ouster,” she claimed.Asked why she did not raise the issue for three months, the doctor said she feared that she would be transferred from the Patonda PHC.”Now when some people have come forward to complain against him for his alleged involvement in corruption in transfer of officials, I mustered up the courage to speak up,” she said.Meanwhile, Mali said, “It is a conspiracy to defame me. All allegations levelled against me are baseless.”

Attempts being made to destroy Maratha identity, Sena only guardian of Maharashtra: Saamana editorial

Shiv Sena, which will on Sunday celebrate its golden jubilee at a grand function in Mumbai, claimed on Saturday that it is the “only guardian” of Maharashtra.Attempts were being made to destroy the Marathi identity and the unity of the state, which would not be allowed to happen, alleged the party, whose relations with the ruling ally BJP have been strained for a long time.The Uddhav Thackeray-led party will be staging a grand event in suburban Goregaon on Sunday to celebrate its 50 years of existence. “Like India, Maharashtra too has its share of problems.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What pains us more is that people who call themselves Marathis are the ones who aggravate problems. Maharashtra with Mumbai as its part was formed, thanks to the sacrifice of hundreds of people. King Shivaji’s soul would be hurt to see attempts are being made to hand over the control of Mumbai to Delhi,” the editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said today. “The Sena is Maharashtra’s only guardian and it has been guarding it honestly for the last fifty years. Today, attempts are being made to destroy the Marathi identity and unity of the state which we will not let happen,” it said.In the recent past, the demand for a separate Vidarbha was raised, notably by the former Advocate General Shrihari Aney, who is supposed to be close to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Sena is bitterly opposed to the demand. Tomorrow’s event is being seen as bugle for the next year’s crucial elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which the party currently controls.

Eknath Khadse attends BJP’s state-level executive meet in Pune

Former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse on Saturday arrived at BJP’s two-day state-level executive meet here, putting an end to speculations that he may not attend the event in the wake of his resignation from the cabinet after a host of allegations including irregularities in a land deal. The 64-year-old BJP leader arrived at Bal Gandharv auditorium, the venue of the meet at around 9.30 AM today.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s state-level unit members, MLAs and MPs from the state besides ministers are participating in the meet, where union ministers-M Venkaiah Naidu, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar along with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadanavis, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve will address the inauguration ceremony.Considered “number two” in the Cabinet handling some vital portfolios, Khadse resigned on June 4 after facing heat over a series of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune and calls allegedly received from mob boss Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone besides the alleged bribe sought by his “PA”.He found himself in a spot over the purchase of a three-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land here allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.

China to share rain inducing new technology with drought-hit Maharashtra

Beijing: China is in talks with India to provide cloud-seeding technology to drought-hit Maharashtra to induce rain and train the staff of local meteorological department.

A team of scientists and officials from Beijing, Shanghai and China’s eastern Anhui province mooted the cooperation during their recent visit to Maharashtra which has experienced severe droughts over the past two years.

Representational Image. AFPRepresentational Image. AFP

Representational Image. AFP

China has over the years used the cloud seeding rockets tipped with silver iodide to cause precipitation. But it requires clouds to cause precipitation.

If the discussions are successful, Chinese experts would provide training to officials of the Indian Meteorological Department on their latest cloud-seeding technology, state-run China Daily quoted officials as saying.

The training is expected to be given on procedures to seed clouds successfully, the daily said.

The training is aimed at inducing rain over Maharashtra’s Marathwada region in the summer of 2017 if needed, it said.

The development follows a meeting between Shanghai’s top official Han Zheng and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai in early May.

Han, who is also a Communist Party of China Politburo member, had asked Fadnavis if China could do anything for drought relief in Maharashtra, it said.

China started to use cloud-seeding technology in 1958, and today it has one of the most advanced systems in the world, the report said.

BJP minister Girish Bapat’s picture holding woman’s hand goes viral; case registered

Police on Thursday registered a case against an unidentified person for allegedly clicking a picture of Maharashtra Civil Supplies Minister and BJP leader Girish Bapat holding hand of a woman party worker and circulating it on social media.The photo was clicked on Wednesday by an unidentified person during a party programme at Wagholi, 25 km from Pune, where Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present. Subsequently, the photo went viral on social media, accompanied with derogatory remarks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The woman seen in the photo in her statement to the police stated that Bapat is like a father figure to her and that he had held her hand to bring her in front in order to introduce her to the CM.”However, some people with ill-intention, clicked the photo and made it viral on social media by circling (the duo) holding hands and maligned her character,” she said in her statement to Loni Kalbhor Police.After the photo went viral, a lot of objectionable comments were posted, which prompted the 34-year-old woman to approach police and register the case.The station duty officer of the police station said today that they have registered a case against unidentified persons under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of IPC for allegedly clicking the photo and making it viral on social media.When contacted, Bapat’s secretary called it a mischievous act by some people with an ill-intention, saying that the woman’s father is a very good friend of Bapat and Bapat is like a father figure to her.

Beef ban: Activists urge CM Devendra Fadnavis to approach apex court

Mumbai: A month after Bombay High Court struck down two sections of Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act which criminalised possession of beef of animals slaughtered outside the state, some activists have urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to challenge the decision in the apex court.

File image of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

File image of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

The high court had last month struck down two sections – 5D and 9B – of the Act, which criminalised possession of beef of animals slaughtered outside Maharashtra, while upholding the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the state.

Soon after the court order, Fadnavis had said that if required, the government will approach Supreme Court against the high court decision of striking down the “unconstitutional sections” of the Act.

Animal rights activist Siddh Vidya, in an email to the CM, on Wednesday urged him to move the apex court. “Please take a very serious note of the fact that with the removal of the said two sections from the statute book, the entire Act has become toothless,” she said in the email.

“Removal of section 5D from the statute would provide cover to offenders who would slaughter cow progeny in Maharashtra and defend themselves with an excuse that it was slaughtered outside the state,” she said. She pointed out that when the onus to prove the offence is on the state, it would be difficult for the prosecution to ascertain as to when and in which part of the country, a cow and its progeny were slaughtered and all the offenders would go unpunished.

“Hence, the state must challenge the order before the apex court,” she said. Activist Rajendra Joshi said, “I have followed up this issue with the government. We have prepared a draft to challenge the order in Supreme court and sent it to state
legal department.”

Another animal rights activist Chetan Sharma said he has also requested the chief minister to act on the issue at the earliest.

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