Cabinet expansion likely to be announced soon, say sources

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 23-09-2022 | 10:45 pm

Cabinet expansion likely to be announced soon, say sources

Despite assurances from both Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the second expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet is yet to scheduled with sources indicating it might take place after Navratri.“Both Shinde and Fadnavis will decide on the expansion. A decision will be announced soon,” a BJP minister said, confirming that state leaders are unaware about any plan.Kiran Pawaskar, spokesperson of Shinde’s Shiv Sena, said the Chief Minister will soon announce the expansion date.According to sources, while a rejig of the existing distribution of cabinet responsibility is on the cards, Shiv Sena’s Shinde camp is likely to demand more portfolios concerned with rural Maharashtra.Local body polls will be announced post-monsoon and leaders from areas electorally important to both parties are likely to get preference in the Cabinet expansion. As a result, the Shinde camp, which presently has only Abdul Sattar as agriculture minister and Sandipan Bhumre as horticulture minister, is seeking more departments concerned with rural Maharashtra. The BJP controls the rural development, public works and irrigation departments.The first Cabinet expansion after the swearing-in of Shinde and Fadnavis on June 30 took place on August 9 when 18 cabinet ministers were sworn in. Shinde and Fadnavis had said the next expansion would be held after the completion of the monsoon session of the state legislature.

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No sign of October heat this year as sporadic spells of rain continue over Mumbai
The Indian Express | 56 minutes ago | 07-10-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
56 minutes ago | 07-10-2022 | 02:45 pm

The October heat is known to be a common phenomenon in Maharashtra’s Mumbai city. From the first week of October every year, several areas in the city become uncomfortably hot with the daily temperature rising and ranging between mid 30 to 35 degrees Celsius.However, the scenario is slightly different this year. With sporadic spells of rain still lashing in several parts of the suburban belt and the island city, there does not seem to be a significant rise in temperature even though the first week of October is nearing its end.Mumbai’s maximum temperature is 30 degrees Celsius on Friday morning, while the average maximum temperature during the day last year varied between 33 degrees and 34 degrees Celsius, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).Meanwhile, the scientists and weather experts have attributed the current weather condition to the late withdrawal of monsoon from Mumbai and a low pressure developed in the Bay of Bengal.“Monsoon is still there in Mumbai and there is high rate of moisture presence in the air as well. Therefore, light to moderate rainfall will continue in the island city and suburban belt for the next few days since there is no clear forecast of monsoon retreat anytime now. This is directly affecting the daily temperature and as long as the rains are there an increase in temperature is unlikely,” IMD scientist Sushma Nair told The Indian Express.Nair also maintained that a rise in temperature may take place after the monsoon retreats from Mumbai.“After the monsoon withdrawal happens, the temperature may go up till 33 to 34 degrees Celsius, but this will be short-lived since the north-western part of India will start experiencing drop in daily temperature due to the arrival of winter and this will also affect Mumbai as well,” she said.Mahesh Palawat, the chief meteorologist at Skymet Weather, said the entire western and north-western part of India is experiencing an unusual weather pattern this year, which is not letting the temperature rise during October.“Parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Gujarat are experiencing light to moderate rainfall because of two successive low pressure that have been developed in the Bay of Bengal. There is also a trough seen in the coastal region of Maharashtra. These factors are creating an unusual pattern of rains which is not letting the temperature to rise in Mumbai,” he said.Palawat further said there is a chance of monsoon retreat post October 13.“Light to moderate rainfall will continue in Mumbai till October 12 and Mumbai may experience a slight rise in temperature after October 13,” he added.Meanwhile, the IMD bulletin Friday morning stated the sky will remain cloudy and light to moderate rainfall will continue to lash Mumbai for the next 48 hours. In the past 24 hours, the city has recorded 8.9 mm of rainfall, of which the Santacruz observatory has recorded 1.1 mm of rainfall and the Colaba observatory has recorded 7.8 mm of rainfall.The bulletin stated Mumbai’s relative humidity is 95 per cent.

No sign of October heat this year as sporadic spells of rain continue over Mumbai
Changing City: Cable-stayed flyover to improve road connectivity in Mumbai’s western suburbs
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with a project to build a cable-stayed flyover in a bid to improve the road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve regions in the western suburbs of Maharashtra’s Mumbai city.A look at the project: The cable-stayed flyover will connect Versova jetty with Madh island.Location: The bridge will originate from near the Versova jetty and end near the wharf adjoining the Madh island jetty, passing over the Versova Creek.Specifications: The bridge will be 1.5 kilometers long and 27.50 meters wide.Objective: The primary objective of this project is to improve road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve region in the western suburbs, which currently has patches of mangroves, mudflats and creeks between the locations. This bridge is expected to bring down the travel time between Versova and Madh island to 10 minutes. It currently takes at least one hour through SV Road and Link Road. The travel time during peak hours can go as high as two hours.Significance:– This project will improve the road connectivity till the extreme end of the western suburbs. Since there is no direct road network right now, the people are mostly dependent on a ferry service that runs between Versova and Madh.– The bridge will lead to uninterrupted transport system for 365 days. Since the ferry services often become non-operational during monsoon, the people are compelled to take the longer route of travel though bus, taxi or local train via Malad, which increases the travel time by several fold.– The bridge will also play a key role in uplifting the economy of the Madh and Marve area, which mainly houses the fishing community that travels to the fish markets in Andheri and Dadar areas and are mainly dependent on ferries. This bridge will open more travelling options for them, thus creating better connectivity.– With the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) coming up and also with the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) project being on pipeline, this flyover will create a smooth corridor for the north-south bound traffic that will be travelling from the extreme end of western suburbs to the island city or vice-versa.Present status:– The BMC had finalised a consultant for this project back in 2020 and recently an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and a survey on the mangroves have been completed.– The BMC had submitted the reports and a proposal for the final alignment of this bridge to the Maharashtra Coastal Zonal Management Authority (MCZMA) for final clearance of this project and is awaiting the clearance.– The civic officials are hopeful that the clearance certificate would come in next two months following which a tender will be floated.Cost: Approximately Rs 400 croreConstruction time: 12 months (excluding the monsoon) after the day of issuing work order.Authority speak: “The project has been in the pipeline for more than a decade and has been deferred for multiple reasons. The flyover will pass through a mangrove zone and coastal area, therefore we have already submitted our proposal to the MCZMA for clearance. They had provided some inputs in the previous application that we had made and have submitted a fresh proposal on the same. After the project gets cleared, tenders will be floated and contractor will be appointed for the project,” said an official from civic bridges department.Citizen speak: “The proposed Versova-Madh bridge is supposed to be a pivotal linkage between Versova and Madh island and with the coastal road nearing its deadline, this bridge is need of the hour. Since, not only it will declutter the traffic movement but also will save time, fuel and money for thousands of Mumbaikars every day,” said Dhaval Shah, a local resident and co-founder of the Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association (LOCA).

Changing City: Cable-stayed flyover to improve road connectivity in Mumbai’s western suburbs
Bharat Rashtra Samithi to convene Dalit Conclave in Hyderabad: KCR
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, whose 22-year-old Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has been rechristened as Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), announced to hold a Dalit Conclave soon in Hyderabad “with Dalit brothers from all over the country”, a statement from his office said.The Chief Minister announced the passing of a unanimous resolution for the party’s name change at their general body meeting Wednesday. Apart from Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy and his 20 MLAs, Tamil Nadu MP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief Thirumavalavan were present on the occasion. Rao, also known as KCR, said former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav were to attend Wednesday’s meeting but were dissuaded given their situations.One of the key points during KCR’s address was his pet scheme ‘Dalit Bandhu’, which offers one-time financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to the Dalit families without any collateral.The VCK chief met KCR again Thursday at the latter’s official residence Pragathi Bhavan and commended him on the pro-Dalit schemes that he believed would be implemented nationwide.“The MP appreciated the Telangana government for introducing numerous schemes for Dalit empowerment and no state is implementing such a huge number of programmes in the country,” the statement said.During Wednesday’s address, KCR had said that it was “just an internal meeting” to change the name of the party.“They (Akhilesh and Tejaswi) will be invited to the launching function of the party. Leaders of many parties across the country are coming forward to move with us,” he said. KCR said that discussions were held with the economists and experts from various fields, adding their advice was taken while forming the BRS.“As the CM of Telangana, I will travel all over the country. No one should have any doubts about this. Radiant India needs to be made. India will grow better than America If the resources in the country are used at optimum level. We still have a good time. We will expand across the country,” he said. KCR said Maharashtra will be the first state to start the activities of the BRS. “The national party’s affiliated farmer association will be started from Maharashtra first,” he said.Hinting at the direction the BRS is set to take, KCR said: “We will move ahead through Dalit movement, peasant movement and tribal movement by taking these issues as the main agenda. We will remove many socio-political disorders in the country.”

Bharat Rashtra Samithi to convene Dalit Conclave in Hyderabad: KCR
C R Paatil: From constable to Gujarat BJP face and PM Modi confidant
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am

Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil was appointed as the Gujarat BJP president in July 2020. A confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Paatil, 67, is considered to be the most formidable leader in the state BJP under whose leadership the saffron party hopes to break the Congress’s 1985 record (149 of the total 182 seats) in the upcoming Assembly polls. On his part, Paatil has set his target at the maximum level: all 182 seats.Paatil’s tenure at the helm of the state BJP recently saw a change of guard in the BJP government with Vijay Rupani replaced by Bhupendra Patel as the Chief Minister overnight and the subsequent stripping of key portfolios of two ministers in the new government.A few days ago, Paatil asserted that Patel will be “repeated” as the CM after the state Assembly polls, slated for December, as he has done “good work”. He also said that PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah would decide the ticket allotment to party candidates for the polls.Paatil is known to have been a key player behind several major decisions taken by the state government, including the recent rollback of the Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) in Urban Areas Bill 2022, whose passage in March had set off massive Maldharis’ (cattle rearers’) protests across the state. The first word on the government’s rethink on this Bill came from Paatil after his meeting with a delegation from the Maldhari community.Similarly, it was Paatil who announced that the controversial Par-Tapi-Narmada Yojana in tribal areas of South Gujarat, which had triggered huge tribal protests, will be scrapped.Paatil, who is also a three-time MP from the Navsari constituency in South Gujarat, holds the record of winning a parliamentary seat by maximum margin ever in the country.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has emerged as a new challenger for the BJP besides the existing arch rival Congress, had bagged 27 seats in the February 2021 civic body polls in Surat, Paatil’s home turf. The AAP has since been targeting Paatil over various issues including his Maharashtrian origin.Born in Pimpry Akaraut village of Jalgaon district of neighbouring Maharashtra, Paatil, or “CR” as he is popularly known, is the first “non-Gujarati” to lead the BJP in Gujarat. A class XI dropout, Paatil has a degree from the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) as a turner. As per his 2019 Lok Sabha election affidavit, he had one criminal case of breach of trust and cheating pending against him. By occupation, he is a farmer and a businessman.Paatil’s father, who was a police constable, shifted in 1951 to South Gujarat in the then undivided Bombay Presidency. Paatil, like his father, joined the Gujarat Police as a constable in 1975, and was forced to resign in 1984 for attempting to “unite Police Constables under one roof of a Union”, as per his website.He joined the BJP in December 1989 under the leadership of former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and launched a Gujarati daily “Navgujarat Times” in 1991 from Surat.The Gujarat High Court has been hearing a PIL filed by former Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani which states that the Remdesivir injection Paatil distributed from the BJP office in Surat during the Covid-19 wave was “illegal”. Paatil’s website claims that he procured these injections “directly from the Pharma Company and distributed them”.

C R Paatil: From constable to Gujarat BJP face and PM Modi confidant
Daily Briefing: Budget review and rising inflation; Sena vs Sena battle of words
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | 07-10-2022 | 11:45 am

Good morning, Big Story 🔴 With days to go before the inter-minesterial consultations for 2022-23 revised estimates of Union finances, internal discussions within the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance seem to suggest that the cascading impact of a worse-than-anticipated global downturn may dent the budget arithmetic in the second half of the current financial year. 🔴 So far, the political leadership  has been somewhat sanguine with the upsides – an uptick in GDP growth during April-June; steady tax revenues, among others. But policy makers are now pointing to multiple headwinds: pressure on the twin deficits (fiscal deficit and the current account deficit), concerns over private investment and job creation, and the continuing distress in the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector. Read why policy makers are worried. 🔴 Meanwhile, India’s service sector activity lost growth momentum and eased to a six-month low in September due to slow new business inflows amid inflationary pressures and competitive conditions, a survey showed.Only in the Express Days after the TRS was renamed as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Amrith Lal writes on how KCR’s national pitch differs from Stalin’s: “The southern leaders — M K Stalin, Pinarayi Vijayan, Siddaramaiah — have emphasised regional/linguistic pride and have been projecting a state-centric story to counter the BJP’s political narrative that is perceived to be focused on privileging Hindu, Hindi, Hindutva identities. KCR, however, seems to have decided to abandon his regional legacy and embark on a path similar to the one taken by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.”Reversing a decision by former Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, the Supreme Court has revoked the appointment of Registrar Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara as a permanent employee of the court, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said Suryadevara has been repatriated to the News Division at All India Radio as of September 30.From the Front Page The group of men in plainclothes, seen restraining and flogging at least four men held against an electricity pole, one after the other, in video clips of the incident, have been identified as police personnel of the Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit of Kheda district in Gujarat.India on Thursday abstained from voting on a draft resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on holding a debate on the human rights situation in China’s restive Xinjiang region.Must Read With the BMC polls approaching, the political grounds in Maharashtra are heated and the bitterness is reflected in the words that the BJP and the Uddhav Sena are flinging at each other. From Raavan to Katappa, Penguin to Spider-Man, Kamalabai to Champa: The acerbic political battle ahead of the BMC polls is reflected now in the constant name-calling.The promise of a job in Thailand, a boat ride across the border to Myanmar and a sinking realisation that he had been scammed — that his dream job was all about scouring the deep, dark web for potential victims to carry out financial frauds. The story of Stephen, a Tamil Nadu engineer who was rescued from Myawaddy in southeastern Myanmar’s Kayin state, in pockets controlled by armed rebels, returned home on Wednesday with stories of his days spent in captivity in a company engaged in online scamming. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) 20th National Congress will begin on October 16 in Beijing. The 20th Congress is likely to endorse an unprecedented third term for President Xi Jinping. The session comes at a critical time for China and the world. Here’s what to watch out for.And Finally While India’s 14-member World Cup T20 squad chase the title 15 years after their first one, there’s a backroom staff of 16 consisting of masseuse to team video analyst to head coaches, who will silently plot and plod on to keep the 11 wound up to the challenge of winning, writes Devendra Pandey.Delhi Confidential: The Congress after accepting the Parliamentary panel on commerce has nominated Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Commerce.🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 things’ podcast, We talk to our correspondents about the death of 66 children in Gambia linked to four syrups manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical company, a police officer in Gujarat publicly flogging a group of muslim men who had been arrested for pelting stones at a garba event and the three scientists who have won the Nobel Prize for Physics.Until tomorrow,Rahel Philipose and Susobhan Roy 

Daily Briefing: Budget review and rising inflation; Sena vs Sena battle of words