Maharashtra Travel News

Changing City: Cable-stayed flyover to improve road connectivity in Mumbai’s western suburbs
The Indian Express | 9 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
9 hours ago | |

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 | 9 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
9 hours ago | |

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
Traffic restrictions issued in central Mumbai and Bandra for Dussehra rallies of Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde faction
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

MUMBAI: The traffic police have announced restrictions for travel in central Mumbai and at Bandra for Wednesday, expecting massive congestion as people travel to Mumbai from various parts of Maharashtra for the Dussehra Melava events of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Sena. SHIVAJI PARK:Between 9 am and midnight, no parking would be allowed on the following roads:- SVS Road (from Siddhivinayak junction to Yes Bank) - Keluskar Road South and North, Dadar - MB Raut Road from its junction with SVS Road, Dadar - Dadasaheb Rege Marg, from Senapati Bapat statue upto Gadkari junction, Dadar - Dilip Gupte Marg, from Shivaji Park Gate no 4 upto Shitaladevi Temple Junction - NC Kelkar Marg from Gadkari Junction up to Hanuman Temple Junction, Dadar - LJ Road, Rajabade Signal to Gadkari junction No entry:- No entry for vehicles on SVS Road from Siddhivinayak temple junction up to Kapad Bazaar Junction, Mahim. - No entry for vehicles on Raja Badhe Chowk Junction up to Keluskar Marg (North). - No entry on Dilip Gupte Road from its junction on Pandurang Naik Marg for south bound traffic. - No Entry on Gadkari chowk junction upto Keluskar Road (south). - No entry on Dadasaheb Rege Road from Senapati Bapat statue to Gadkari Junction. - No entry on Bal Govindas Marg from Padmabai Thakkar Marg Junction upto LJ Marg. This Dussehra, Shiv Sena will hold 2 competing Dasara rallies in MumbaiBANDRA-KURLA COMPLEX (BKC):From 9 am to midnight, the following restrictions will apply except for vehicles carrying people for the Dussehra Melava: - No entry to vehicles coming from Western Express Highway, Dharavi and Bandra-Worli Sealink through Family Court towards Kurla. - No entry to vehicles coming from Sant Dnyaneshwar Road through BKC Income Tax junction towards Kurla. - No entry to vehicles coming from Government Colony, Kanakiya Palace and Valmiki Nagar through BKC premises towards Chunabhatti and Kurla. - No entry to vehicles coming through Surve Junction and Razzak Junction through BKC premises towards Western Express Highway, Dharavi and Bandra-Worli Sealink. - No entry to vehicles coming through Eastern Express Highway via Chunabhatti in BKC using BKC Connector south-bound. Read AlsoExplainer: Shivaji Park and Sena's politicsNEW DELHI: The Bombay high court on Friday ruled that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena can hold its Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park ground in central Mumbai. Thackeray's supporters erupted in joy. This was a sort of a symbolic victory for the Thackeray faction in the aftermath of EknathOptional routes:- Vehicles coming from Western Express Highway, Bandra-Worli Sealink through BKC towards Kurla shall take a U-turn from the Family Court junction- left turn from MMRDA junction and proceed through T-junction towards Kurla. - Vehicles proceeding from Sant Dnyaneshwar Nagar through BKC Income Tax junction shall proceed along Guru Nanak Hospital- Jagat Vidya Mandir Junction- through Kalanagar Junction and through Dharavi T-junction towards Kurla. - Vehicles from Razzak and Surve Junction through BKC premises towards Western Express Highway, Dharavi and Bandra-Worli Sealink shall proceed through CST Road, University Main gate, Ambedkar Junction- right turn Hans Bhugra Junction and shall proceed towards their destination. - Vehicles proceeding through Eastern Express Highway from Chunabhatti towards BKC shall take a right turn at Sion Circle and throughT Junction- Kalanagar Junction proceed to their destination. - Parking restrictions issued for BKC prior to October 5 will be relaxed between 9 am and midnight on that day. For buses and cars carrying people for the Dussehra Melava, parking has been provided at Jio Garden basement, MMRDA pay and park, Fataka ground, open ground opposite Punjab National Bank, MCA Club parking, Somaiya College ground at Chunabhatti, open place near Trade centre, Diamond bourse basement parking, University gate internal premises, J Kumar Infrastructure open ground, open ground near CBI building parking etc.

Traffic restrictions issued in central Mumbai and Bandra for Dussehra rallies of Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde faction
NAREDCO president: We hope for 40,000-50,000 visitors at the expo
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

With the three-day property expo “Homethon 2022” commencing from Friday, SWEETY ADIMULAM speaks to National Real Estate Development Council’s (NAREDCO) state president SANDEEP RUNWAL, about what the expo has to offer for buyers and the sector’s expectations from the state government.What are the expectations the real estate has from this expo, which is taking place post-pandemic?The properties are scattered, and people have to travel from one place to another. We have tried to bring everything under one roof. One can compare home loans, and banks under one roof. The expo offers flexibility and convenience of buying. It is one of the primary things that a person will experience when he comes in and buys a house at a hometown expo. The developers are also giving limited offers during these three days. So, one can avail of flexible interest rates, flexible payment plans and lower booking amounts.How many developers have participated in this expo? What is the NAREDCO expecting in terms of property buying and registration?Around 150 developers from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Vidharbh and Surat are participating in the event. Besides, 15 to 20 banking financial institutions are also taking part in the event. We already have 28,000 people pre-registered on our website. We are hoping for a minimum of 40,000-50,000 visitors at the expo.What all demands have been put before the new state government?We are on a good steady run rate, and we are hoping this continues and the market remains strong. However, in the long run, the government needs to look at the taxes, which we are paying; whether it is us or the consumer because we end up paying GST, stamp duty and various types of premiums to the government. If the government take a holistic view, it will realise that more than 50-60% of our cost goes to the government. It is time to look at those costs because then only we can make housing more affordable.Why should an investor choose real estate when one has so many other investment options?There is always a steady growth in the real estate sector. You can put your money in stocks and bonds but these markets are volatile. Also, a buyer is not a financial investor. Home buying is the safest investment you can make in your life.What are the price of houses that a buyer can get at the expo? Your message as a developer.In Mumbai, the cost of houses varies from Rs 100 crore for an apartment to as low as Rs 50-60 lakh. So, it is individual affordability which determines the buying power. I would say the NAREDCO property expo is one of the best opportunities to buy a dream home and it is the place which one should visit for sure.

NAREDCO president: We hope for 40,000-50,000 visitors at the expo
Vedanta-Foxconn project exit: Shiv Sena hits back at Sitharaman, questions Union govt’s role
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

Hitting back at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Friday asked the minister to explain how the Vedanta-Foxconn project, which only required an approval from the central government, was shifted out of Maharashtra to Gujarat.The remarks came in the wake of criticism levelled by the opposition parties in Maharashtra, including the Shiv Sena, after the Eknath Shinde-BJP led state government failed to bag the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant project worth Rs 1.54 lakh crore.In an editorial in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, the political party stated that Sitharaman should first reply to their queries, and then question and criticise them over the project exit. “How did the project disappear from Maharashtra when only the approval of the central government was pending,” the editorial stated. “A project like Vedanta was rightfully of Maharashtra, and it could have generated employment for more than a lakh people here, but it was taken away In one swoop. Should not Maharashtrians grieve over this? Should not the Union government be questioned? Before asking us any question, Sitharaman should first answer some of our questions. Was there any protest in Maharashtra against the Vedanta project? When and where did Gujarat ask for the project? How did the project disappear from Maharashtra when only one approval — from the central government — was pending?”During a press conference in Pune last week, Sitharaman slammed the opposition parties in Maharashtra for “shedding crocodile tears” over the shifting of the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor plant from the state to Gujarat, and also accused them of creating hurdles for five big-ticket projects during the Uddhav Thackeray led MVA government rule.“But who were the people who stopped the bullet train project in Maharashtra? Who were the people who stopped a Rs 65,000 crore Wadhvan project in Palghar district? Who stopped the Nanar refinery project, and who created hurdles for the Metro car shed project in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony?” she had asked.On the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the Samana editorial mentioned, “A bullet train can travel 100km. It has been observed that it takes 55 seconds to reach the speed per hour, while ‘Vande Bharat Express’ covers the same distance in 53 seconds. Then why do we need a bullet train carrying a debt of Rs 1 lakhcrore in the country?”Earlier, The Indian Express had reported that the Vedanta-Foxconn demanded a ‘central government alignment’ (approval) from the Maharashtra government for starting a semiconductor facility in the state. In a letter, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had assured the Vedanta group that the state was “moving expeditiously” on the request, and invited the company chairman for a MoU ceremony on July 29.

Vedanta-Foxconn project exit: Shiv Sena hits back at Sitharaman, questions Union govt’s role
At 130kmph, new train starts journey to Mumbai; trip to become faster soon
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

Platform number 9 of Ahmedabad’s Kalupur railway station had never been so decked up.The red carpet remained laid out from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have alighted from the train, the rest of the platform wearing a grey carpet to match with the colour of the cement on the other platforms.Fifty-year old Purnima Parekh and her son, Karan (22) had booked themselves on a 6 am Shatabdi from Mumbai to land at Ahmedabad to board the upgraded Vande Bharat Express that was flagged off by Modi from Gandhinagar on Friday.“We reached Ahmedabad at around 12:25 pm, changed platforms and sat here ( inside the Vande Bharat Express). We only came to experience the train because we had heard that the Vande Bharat is excellent in the New Delhi route and this time we wanted to experience it first hand,” says Purnima, who is a homemaker and a Borivali resident.Having sat in the coach for an hour at the time when The Indian Express spoke to her, Purnima however makes her displeasure clear at the first day novelty treatment the train is receiving.“Children and people have been coming in and out of the coach, only because they want to take a look. They’re making things dirty,” she says.The train took off on its maiden journey around 2 pm but not before a 14-year old boy and his cousins — all boys — had playfully zigzagged through coaches in short sprints, pushing buttons, taking a swiveling round in the chairs, making use of its feature of 180 degree turn flexibility, touring the bathrooms, checking the taps.The indigenously made semi-high speed train with 16 coaches — with one of the key features being speed, capable of running at 160 kilometres per hour — is however at least several months away from realising its full potential, even as the ticketing fare accounts for a “super fast charge” component, ranging between Rs 45 and 75.The total ticket cost ranges between Rs 1,275 and Rs 2,650, the journey from Gandhinagar to Mumbai Central costing more than that from Mumbai Central to Gandhinagar.Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer (CPRO) at Western Railways says, “The sanctioned speed for Vande Bharat Express is 160 kmph but it will run at a maximum of 130 kmph at present because of our track structure. Work is already underway for upgradation of the track, with a target to complete by March 2024. This (upgradation of track) would also include fencing around it to prevent stray cattle etc from venturing onto the tracks, as well as realignment of curves along tracks. The upgradation will cover 519 kilometres between Ahmedabad and Mumbai Central, and overall, a total of 1478.82 kilometres of track between Mumbai Central and New Delhi would be upgraded at a total cost of Rs 6,661 crores so as to better speed for all trains in general.”Not only speed, but the anti-collision technology of Kavach too remains to be fully realised.Though the train is equipped with the anti-collision feature, the track remains to be equipped with the same, which is expected to be completed as part of the track upgradation. The mechanism to avoid collision involves radio frequency communications between the train track and the train.Meanwhile the maiden journey saw few ticketed passengers and most coaches comprising government officials, railway officials, police personnel and mediapersons.The train, with its bottle-nosed front, grabbed eyeballs of bystanders at stations, railway crossings, train depots and control rooms etc, as it zoomed past most stations but nearly all phones were out at the smaller train stations of Sachin (in Surat) and Bordi (in Maharashtra), to take photos.With three-minute halts each at Vadodara and Surat, and automatic gates, it is a significant shift from the train travel as one has traditionally known, allowing one to get off a running train or alight one, stopping for a quick purchase of snacks at interim halts.At Surat, a disheveled man with a backpack hurriedly entered a coach in his quest to reach Vapi, only to be told that the train will only stop next at Mumbai Central.He got down at the nick of the time, and the train zipped past Vapi station at 129 kmph.The train with Braille lettering on most textual content (such as seat numbers, soap dispenser etc) also claims to be friendly for the specially-abled.With a vegetarian fare for lunch and snacks, the train’s visible attempt towards a more hospitality-oriented approach is apparent.Vidhi Patel, a “hostess’” as her name tag reads, says that each coach will be catered by two hostesses, the concept modeled on flight stewardesses.With a BBA degree in aviation, hospitality, travel and tourism management from Parul University, and employed by RK Associates, which provides catering to the IRCTC, Patel says that the hostesses have been deployed to “serve people better, especially children and the elderly.”IRCTC too has its own set of servicing personnel.As the swanky machine of the railway ministry glided into Mumbai Central at 7:28 pm, seven minutes before schedule, Mumbai received it sans excitement. There was only the public announcement service of the Indian Railways extending a “warm welcome” to the passengers on the Vande Bharat Express’s maiden journey.(Sohini Ghosh went on the Vande Bharat Express on an invitation from the Indian Railways)

At 130kmph, new train starts journey to Mumbai; trip to become faster soon
Coverage only 27% as Centre’s 75-day free precaution dose drive ends
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

The Government’s 75-day drive to provide free precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccines ended on Friday with 15.92 crore such doses administered during the period.A commemoration of India’s 75 years of Independence, the drive started mid-July. Before it began, only 8 per cent of adults in the country had received the third vaccine dose. At the end of the drive, that number stands at 27 per cent. Three-fourths of India’s adult population is yet to receive the third dose.During the 75-day period, more than 13.01 lakh vaccination camps organised in the country, including 4,451 organised on the routes of religious yatras, according to data provided by the Health Ministry. Most of the camps — 11.03 lakh — were organised at private and government workplaces.Ever since India started administering the third dose in January this year, it has remained free for those above 60 years of age. It was also available for free to all healthcare and frontline workers. From April, the government has allowed the third dose to be administered to those in the 18-59 age group at private vaccination centres upon payment.Experts say that the reduced fear of a Covid-19 infection, as well as instances of infection — even if mostly mild — despite vaccination have led to low demand for the third vaccine dose. Also lowering demand is the fact that a precaution dose certificate is not mandatory for travel or entry into many places that has required double-vaccination proof.Last week, The Indian Express reported that the coverage of the third dose across states was varied. It ranges from 92.1 per cent coverage in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to 6.11 per cent in Meghalaya.With almost the entire population of the country having received the first dose of the vaccine, the coverage of precaution doses in the states has been calculated considering the number of first dose given to adults to be the total eligible adult population.In Delhi, the only state to provide free precaution dose to all adults even before the Centre’s 75-day drive, the precaution dose coverage stood at 19.6 per cent — behind bigger states such as Odisha (38 per cent), Gujarat (37.7 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (28 per cent), Bihar (23.4 per cent), West Bengal (22.98 per cent), and Madhya Pradesh (24.4 per cent).The coverage of precaution doses in states like Maharashtra and Kerala, which have been dealing with a consistently high number of Covid-19 cases throughout the pandemic, was among the lowest at 10.7 per cent and 11.09 per cent, respectively.

Coverage only 27% as Centre’s 75-day free precaution dose drive ends
  • Free drive perks up 3rd dose, but adult coverage just 21%
  • The Indian Express

    DESPITE A MARKED increase in the number of Covid-19 precaution doses administered after the government started offering the vaccine free to all adults beginning July 15, just over a fifth of the eligible population in the country has taken it. The 75-day drive for those eligible in the 18-59 years age group ends coming Friday (September 30).So far, only 22.24 per cent of the adult population in the country has received the third precaution dose, with the coverage among those above 60 years more than double that of those in the 18-59 years bracket.While only 17.58 per cent of 77 crore persons in the 18-59 years group have received the third dose, it is much higher in percentage terms – 48.5 per cent – in the 60-plus age group which has 13.7 crore persons, according to data from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Till mid-July i.e. before the start of the free vaccination drive for adults, only 8 per cent of those in the 18-59 years group and 27 per cent of those over 60 years, had taken the precaution dose.Since the free drive commenced, 14.6 crore precaution doses have been administered; of this, 12.7 crore were between 18 years and 59 years, according to the data. So far, India has administered a total of 20.2 crore precaution doses.Explaining the possible reasons for the low precautionary dose numbers, Dr Suneela Garg, Professor of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College and a member of the Lancet Commission on Covid-19 in India, said: “You see the number of cases and the severity of the infection has gone down, so vaccination is no longer a priority for people. We always see an increase in vaccination when cases increase. Another reason for the hesitancy is people see that even those who have taken both the doses are getting the infection. To reduce this, we will have to look at newer versions of the vaccines that are better able to protect against infections caused by the current variants in circulation.”NOT many people are queueing up for the third precaution dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. There are many reasons for this, the primary being low number of cases and less severity. To reduce hesitancy, a sharper awareness campaign will help, as also introduction of new effective vaccines against the existing virus variants.A senior official involved in Delhi’s vaccination drive said, “With people needing only primary vaccination certificates for entry to various places or travel, they do not feel the need for getting the precaution dose.”Ever since India started administering the third dose in January this year, it has remained free for those over 60 years – they are at a higher risk of severe disease and death. It was also available free to all healthcare and frontline workers, who are at an increased risk of being exposed to the infection. The government allowed the use of precaution doses in the 18-59 years group at private vaccination centres upon payment in April.During the free vaccination drive, states were asked to make an “ambitious” push by organising camps in big office complexes, industrial establishments, railway stations, inter-state bus stations, and schools and colleges. The announcement for the free drive came days after the Union MoH&FW reduced the duration between the second and precaution doses to six months from nine months. Through its door-to-door ‘Har Ghar Dastak 2.0’ campaign too, the government urged people to take the precaution dose in June-July.While the national coverage of precaution dose stood at 21.54 per cent, the performance of states has been varied –from 91.9 per cent coverage in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to 6 per cent in Meghalaya.With almost the entire population of the country having received the first dose of the vaccine, the coverage of precaution dose in the states has been calculated considering the number of first doses given in adults to be the total eligible adult population. Besides Andaman, the states with the best precaution dose coverage were Ladakh (52.38 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (41.13 per cent), Pudducherry (39.73 per cent), and Sikkim (37.48 per cent).After Meghalaya, the states with the lowest coverage were Jharkhand (7.14 per cent), Nagaland (7.41 per cent), Punjab (7.75 per cent), and Haryana (8.59 per cent), according to data from the MoH&FW.In Delhi, the only state to provide free precaution dose to all adults even before the Centre’s 75-day drive, the precaution dose coverage stood at 19.22 per cent — behind bigger states such as Gujarat (36.84 per cent), Odisha (35.93 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (25.57 per cent), Bihar (22.82 per cent), West Bengal (22.78 per cent), and Madhya Pradesh (22.67 per cent).Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe coverage of precaution doses in states like Maharashtra and Kerala, which have been dealing with a consistently high number of Covid-19 cases through the pandemic, was among the lowest at 10.63 per cent and 11.03 per cent, respectively.“This is to be expected; the states are the ones that implement the programme. The vaccines are available aplenty, so that cannot be the reason for low coverage. There is a need for aggressive awareness campaigns,” said Dr Garg. People over 60, those with diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, must get the precaution dose, she said.

A bite of nostalgia and comfort: How dine-ins are making a comeback after Covid lull
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Sneha Saikia’s dining hall came to life again with laughter, jokes, anecdotes, and a combination of aromas coming out of her kitchen as she reopened her doors for home dine-ins in August last year.It was in March 2020, when the Covid lockdown was first imposed in the country, that Saikia, like everyone else, had to shut down her pop-up. Two years later, as travel resumes and restaurants brim with life, home chefs share stories of food, flavours, and resilience.Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special price“Earlier, people never minded dining with strangers but after Covid they became hesitant to even visit a stranger’s home. When the second Covid wave subsided, people started attending the dine-ins again but they were still not comfortable mingling with strangers and preferred coming in with their friends or family,” says Sneha, who started ‘Table for 6 Luncheon’ in 2018 to put Assamese cuisine on the national capital’s culinary map.People choosing to form their own groups and come over for the intimate food experience with only known people made Sneha’s business suffer. The first group of guests she hosted after the pandemic was three couples who were friends with each other. “The couples made the group on their own so as to avoid dining with strangers,” informs Sneha. “But, slowly people started dining with strangers.”Lucknow-based Sheeba Iqbal has a similar story to share. Iqbal, who recently hosted the team of the upcoming movie Bawaal, starring actors Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor, at her dine-in Aab-O-Daana, tells how she had to shut her pop-up and stop food delivery following the pandemic-induced lockdown. However, once the restrictions were lifted and there was a movement of groceries and other raw materials, she resumed home deliveries.  A post shared by Aab_o_Daana (@aab_o_daana) It was in October 2020, after a gap of six months, that Sheeba hosted two Bengali couples and soon after a group of eight doctors from Punjab. “After hosting the Bengali couple, there was no stopping. I hosted the doctors’ groups and business started bouncing back. I had a good season throughout the winter of 2020,” says Sheeba.In the winter of 2021, Sheeba resumed hosting big groups, and then there was no looking back. “The frequency of diners increases in winters, which is from October to March. I do dine-ins every alternate day to meet the demand,” she adds.Sheeba specialises in Awadhi cuisine, the traditional recipes for which have been passed on to generations in Lucknow homes. She learned cooking from her mother but honed her skills under the guidance of her mother-in-law, who belonged to Bhopal, and brought the taste from the royal kitchens of begum of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.A Bite of ComfortOne of the reasons behind the popularity of dine-ins is the traditional cuisine the host has to offer, which is not found in many restaurants. From Bohri and Awadhi to Assamese and Himachali — there is nostalgia in every bite. Home pop-ups also offer a new way to socialise as they help in bringing people with common interests together, learn about the rich heritage of various communities while enjoying a good home-cooked meal.Dr Aman Bhosle, a Mumbai-based psychotherapist, who is regular to home dine-ins says that besides the authentic food that he gets to taste at these pop-ups, he loves meeting food enthusiasts and making new friends. Bhosle has travelled far and wide to explore various cuisine especially, Southeast Asian cuisine. Next, he is keen to try authentic Russian and German cuisines.Mahua Jain, a Delhi-based content writer, who first visited a home dine-in 2019, says “authentic food” is what attracts her to these places.Jain, 51, who has been to various restaurant pop-ups says she is now searching for a dine-in that specialises in Kashmiri cuisine.Of Food and LaughterNitika Sood, who runs Pahadi Pattal, too closed her doors for home dine-ins during the pandemic but her loyal diners bombarded her with queries on reopening. Overwhelmed by the response to her Himachali food, Sood decided to venture into home deliveries. “I was getting a lot of inquiries about the pop-ups and my diners wanted to taste my food. So, I started home delivery and within no time I was swamped with orders from Delhi-NCR,” Sood says.She takes only 12-15 orders on Saturdays besides orders for special occasions.Although there is no dearth of online orders, Nitika is still set to open her doors for home dine-ins towards the end of the year. “I miss interacting with people, sharing stories and knowledge about Himachali cuisine, and bonding over the food,” says Sood.Dr Ruchi Mittal, who runs ‘Miles n Meals’, too is keen to resume home dine-ins after Diwali. With the virus still lurking around, she intends to write Covid-related protocols on the invite to make the dining experience for her guests safe. Currently, she runs a food delivery business and organises a small gathering of 4-6 people every month.For Sunetra Vijaykar of ‘Dine With Vijaykars (DWV)’, it has always been about dining experience and not just the unique food that kept her away from venturing into home deliveries and made her put the dine-ins on hold.Already having several confirmations from her regular diners and patrons, she plans to restart dine-ins by the last quarter of this year. Asked about the precautions she is going to take when she resumes the pop-up, Sunetra says, “It may not be large groups but a smaller, socially distanced group and more private dinings will be the way ahead.”DWV specialises in Pathare Prabhu (PP) cuisine, the traditional cuisine of the Pathare Prabhu community in Western Maharashtra. As per her, the community has developed a full cuisine over centuries with several items that are unique and some which are twists to the typical neighbouring Marathi and Gujarati dishes.Speaking about the future of home dine-ins, she says, “The last two years have been difficult for people, but now that things are open, and with travel and experiences coming back in action, there is a lot that can happen in the home-dining space.”“The stage seems set for home-dining experiences to take the next steps, which could be in collaborative models with restaurants in more holistic experiences that cover tourism and cultural aspects along with food, like cultural festivals and food consulting,” she feels.📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

A bite of nostalgia and comfort: How dine-ins are making a comeback after Covid lull
Will publish Ambedkar’s thesis, Maharashtra govt tells HC
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay high court that it will publish Dr B R Ambedkar's thesis which is with a library in London. Justices Prasanna Varale and Nitin Borkar heard a suo motu PIL that was converted in December 2021 out of a news report regarding the state government halting its project to publish Ambedkar's speeches and writings. Government pleader Poornima Kantharia submitted the minutes of the September 20 meeting chaired by higher and technical education minister Chandrakant Patil. It was noted in the minutes that in November 2021, the committee set up for preservation of Ambedkar's works had received sanction from the Senate House Library of the University of London to publish the thesis titled 'The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India: A Study in the Provincial Decentralisation of Imperial Finance'. The panel had decided to publish it as the 23rd volume of Ambedkar's works. "We also appreciate the unanimous decision taken by the committee to publish this as volume 23," the judges said in the order. During a hearing in August, the judges had rapped the state over insufficient remuneration to the committee. The minutes said the honorarium of the member secretary had been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. The judges noted that no honorarium was being provided to the members. They added that if the state took a decision regarding the member secretary, it could certainly take a decision to provide honorarium to other members. They directed that the issue should be considered in the next meeting. The minutes also stated that Patil had directed the public works department to provide its guest house or any available vacant flat in the state-owned Tushar building near Churchgate to accommodate the member secretary. It also mentioned provision for his travel expenses. Advocate Swaraj Jadhav, amicus curiae, said accommodation and travel expenses should also be provided to the members who will travel from various parts of the state for meetings in Mumbai. The minutes informed that manpower and material required for research and digitisation of Ambedkar works will be outsourced. Also, a proposal was submitted to Mumbai University to provide space for the panel to work. Adjourning the hearing, the HC directed the panel to meet after 6 weeks.

Will publish Ambedkar’s thesis, Maharashtra govt tells HC
  • Will publish Ambedkar’s MSc thesis, provide more facilities to panel: Maharashtra govt to HC
  • The Indian Express

    The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court Thursday that it will publish Dr B R Ambedkar’s MSc thesis. The High Court was hearing a suo motu PIL regarding a project, which was halted, to publish Ambedkar’s works.The state government informed the bench that the UK Senate library had granted it permission to publish Ambedkar’s thesis ‘Decentralisation of Provincial Imperial Finance in British India’. The court appreciated the progress by the committee constituted to oversee the publication of Ambedkar’s writings and speeches.Additional Government Pleader Purnima H Kantharia for the state government submitted minutes of a September 20 meeting chaired by Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil, which also consisted of the principal secretary of the department, the member secretary of the committee constituted to publish Ambedkar’s works and 10 non-government members of the panel.According to the minutes of the meeting, the honorarium to the member secretary has been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. The government has also decided to provide residential accommodation to the member secretary either in the MLA guest house or any other flat in Malad.Amicus curiae advocate Swaraj Jadhav told the bench that provision for accommodation and travel expenses cannot be given just to the member secretary, and the members of the panel who come to Mumbai from across the state for the meeting should also get relief.Kantharia submitted that the state will bear the expenses for members’ travel from their place of accommodation to the place of meeting and they can also avail accommodation given to the member secretary.The bench then said the decision to provide honorarium to other members should also be considered in the next meetingThe state informed the bench that sufficient manpower, along with material and other facilities required for research and digitisation of works, will be outsourced as per requirement. The court also noted that as per the minutes of meeting, a proposal will be submitted to Mumbai University to provide the panel sufficient space to do its work.The court directed the committee to conduct its next meeting as early as possible, preferably within six weeks, and adjourned the PIL.

Mumbai-Pune Expressway Missing Link project: Maharashtra to get India’s highest cable-stayed road bridge
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

India’s highest cable-stayed road bridge is being constructed in Maharashtra as a part of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway Missing Link project. This 132 metres-high bridge is being constructed by Afcons.At present, the length of the existing Mumbai-Pune Expressway from Khopoli exit to Sinhgad Institute is around 19 kms. The Missing Link Project will bypass the Khandala Ghat section and will reduce the distance of the expressway by over six kilometres, reducing travel time by more than 25 minutes.This Missing Link project has been divided into two packages. Afcons is executing Package-II, which comprises widening of the existing expressway from six lanes to eight lanes, construction of two viaducts, including a cable-stayed bridge in one of the viaducts, approach roads, and slip roads, among various other features.The foundation works for Viaduct-I, which is about 850 metres-long has been completed and the launching of pre-tension girders and deck panels is in progress.Viaduct -II, where the cable-stayed bridge is being constructed, is about 650m long. The bridge will be at a height of 132m from ground level, which will be the highest for any road project in the country.“At present, the construction work of the foundation, piers and pylons is being undertaken in Viaduct-II. The highest pylon in this viaduct would be 182m from ground level, and this would also be the highest in any road project in India,” said Afcons’ Project Manager Ranjit Jha.“The Khandala Ghat’s hairpin turns are prone to landslides and accidents. The new link will help in reducing accidents besides improving fuel efficiency and reducing gas emissions on the stretch,” he added.Work on Package-II of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway Missing Link project began in 2019 and will be completed in 2024.Blasting work on expresswayThe project faces various geological, transportation, and extreme engineering challenges. For the widening of the existing expressway from six lanes to eight lanes, blasting for hill cutting has to be carried out in allotted slots by the authorities.During blasting, not only traffic but also work near blasting locations are halted, and manpower and machinery are moved to a safe area far from the impact zone. Transportation of material and shifting of girders during heavy traffic on expressway are few other challenges that the team faces.The project team has already achieved over 1.7 million safe man hours, and strict safety protocols are being adhered to in the project.Package-II Highlights

Mumbai-Pune Expressway Missing Link project: Maharashtra to get India’s highest cable-stayed road bridge
Nagpur & Washim: Collect data of schools with less than 20 students, officials told
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Even after opposition from teachers, the state government has begun the process of closing down schools having less than 20 students.On Tuesday, the education department issued notices to the block education officers (BEO) of Nagpur and Washim districts, asking them to collect information about schools in their regions that have less than 20 students. “Upon identifying the schools, prepare a report on whether students and teachers from such schools can be adjusted in nearby zilla parishad (ZP) schools,” the order added.While in Washim, the BEO has been asked to complete the process of merger and submit reports, in Nagpur, a meeting of BEOs has been called to decide on an action plan for the same.Vijay Kombe, a ZP teacher from Wardha, who is also the state secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Prathamik Shikshak Samiti — the primary teachers’ organisation for zilla parishad schools — said: “Owing to no clarity from the state government, several ZP schools are on the verge of closing down. It is disappointing that the government has failed to pay any heed to the issues raised by teachers. Many schools are located in hilly or inaccessible areas… if they are closed, the students will struggle to commute to nearby schools.”Liladhar Thakare, Nagpur district head of ZP teachers’ association, said, “This is harmful to the school education public sector. The Right To Education Act says that every child should be provided basic education facility within 1 km of his/her residence. If this new order is implemented, students will have to travel more distance to reach schools… and in some areas, the commute is not easy due to location specific difficulties.” On Tuesday, the education department issued notices to the block education officers (BEO) of Nagpur and Washim districts, asking them to collect information about schools in their regions that have less than 20 students. “Upon identifying the schools, prepare a report on whether students and teachers from such schools can be adjusted in nearby zilla parishad (ZP) schools,” the order added.While in Washim, the BEO has been asked to complete the process of merger and submit reports, in Nagpur, a meeting of BEOs has been called to decide on an action plan for the same.Vijay Kombe, a ZP teacher from Wardha, who is also the state secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Prathamik Shikshak Samiti — the primary teachers’ organisation for zilla parishad schools — said: “Owing to no clarity from the state government, several ZP schools are on the verge of closing down. It is disappointing that the government has failed to pay any heed to the issues raised by teachers. Many schools are located in hilly or inaccessible areas… if they are closed, the students will struggle to commute to nearby schools.”Liladhar Thakare, Nagpur district head of ZP teachers’ association, said, “This is harmful to the school education public sector. The Right To Education Act says that every child should be provided basic education facility within 1 km of his/her residence. If this new order is implemented, students will have to travel more distance to reach schools… and in some areas, the commute is not easy due to location specific difficulties.” While in Washim, the BEO has been asked to complete the process of merger and submit reports, in Nagpur, a meeting of BEOs has been called to decide on an action plan for the same.Vijay Kombe, a ZP teacher from Wardha, who is also the state secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Prathamik Shikshak Samiti — the primary teachers’ organisation for zilla parishad schools — said: “Owing to no clarity from the state government, several ZP schools are on the verge of closing down. It is disappointing that the government has failed to pay any heed to the issues raised by teachers. Many schools are located in hilly or inaccessible areas… if they are closed, the students will struggle to commute to nearby schools.”Liladhar Thakare, Nagpur district head of ZP teachers’ association, said, “This is harmful to the school education public sector. The Right To Education Act says that every child should be provided basic education facility within 1 km of his/her residence. If this new order is implemented, students will have to travel more distance to reach schools… and in some areas, the commute is not easy due to location specific difficulties.” Vijay Kombe, a ZP teacher from Wardha, who is also the state secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Prathamik Shikshak Samiti — the primary teachers’ organisation for zilla parishad schools — said: “Owing to no clarity from the state government, several ZP schools are on the verge of closing down. It is disappointing that the government has failed to pay any heed to the issues raised by teachers. Many schools are located in hilly or inaccessible areas… if they are closed, the students will struggle to commute to nearby schools.”Liladhar Thakare, Nagpur district head of ZP teachers’ association, said, “This is harmful to the school education public sector. The Right To Education Act says that every child should be provided basic education facility within 1 km of his/her residence. If this new order is implemented, students will have to travel more distance to reach schools… and in some areas, the commute is not easy due to location specific difficulties.” Liladhar Thakare, Nagpur district head of ZP teachers’ association, said, “This is harmful to the school education public sector. The Right To Education Act says that every child should be provided basic education facility within 1 km of his/her residence. If this new order is implemented, students will have to travel more distance to reach schools… and in some areas, the commute is not easy due to location specific difficulties.”

Nagpur & Washim: Collect data of schools with less than 20 students, officials told
‘Want to be in the team, but I’m scared’
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Pune: Attempt a full-fledged comeack or not?Heena Sidhu has faced many tricky situations in her 16-year-long career, but the challenge the pistol shooter is facing these days is way more complicated.The mother of a 10-month-old girl is back to competitive shooting, and it isn’t easy.The World-Cup gold winning pistol shooter has made her way to the Mahrashtra shooting team for the National Games to be held in Gujarat and is looking forward to getting back into India team. But there is no desperation.“It is a good feeling to participate in the National Games. I represented Punjab in the last edition (2015), this time I am going to participate for Maharashtra,” said Heena after putting her daughter Reyah to sleep, at her residence here.Heena, 33, has been away from shooting for almost three years and got back to the range only in January this year. “In 2019, I thought of taking a break for a couple of months, but before the break could end, Covid pandemic began and then we decided to have a baby. The break got extended to almost three years,” she laughed.After deciding to train again, Heena participated in the trials and managed a place in the top-16 shooters for the National Games. However, things are not the same for her.“I am working at a basic level right now. Physically, a lot has changed after the delivery. I lost the muscle memory, my body doesn’t listen to me anymore, so there is some frustration. But I am trying to get back to normal, slowly. I am at a stage where I know what mistakes I am making, but I am not able to rectify them,” she said.No matter how difficult physically it is for Heena, her concerns are more mental. She is training to be in the Indian squad but is apprehensive of reaching the top.“I want to be in the team, but I am scared too. I know that once I come to the team, I will have to be there in the camps, travel without my daughter and that is a discomforting thought. Every time there is a camp, the shooter has to attend it since there is no provision of training at our base location. I understand that the idea is to train with the team, but it becomes difficult for a mother like me. I cannot take my daughter to the camp but I feel the authorities should at least consider exempting mothers and allow them to train at a range of their choice,” said Heena.The London and Rio Olympics participant, however, knows she will eventually have to face the reality as the quotas for the 2024 Paris Games will be up for grabs.“Due to the Covid situation, the Olympics cycle this time has become short. Since I have less time (to come back to the team), I will have to play all the matches to be in the team and keep my scores updated. I wouldn’t have shot in all of them if I had time. As an athlete, I feel forced to participate in the matches, but this is what it is,” she said.

‘Want to be in the team, but I’m scared’
  • I want to be in the Indian team, but I am scared too: Heena Sidhu
  • Times of India

    PUNE: Heena Sidhu has faced many tricky situations in her 16-year-long career, but the dilemma the pistol shooter is facing these days, is beyond complicated. The mother of a 10-month-old girl is back to competitive shooting, and it isn't easy. The World-Cup gold winning pistol shooter has made her way to the shooting team for the National Games to be held in Gujarat and is looking forward to getting back into the national team, but with a little caution. "I think it is a good feeling to participate in the National Games. I represented Punjab in the last edition, this time I am going to participate for Maharashtra," Heena says. Heena has been away from shooting for almost three years and got back to the range only in January this year. "In 2019, I thought of taking a break for a couple of months, but before the break could end, Covid pandemic began and then we decided to have a baby. The break got extended to almost three years," she laughs. After coming back to train, Heena participated in the trials and managed a place in the top-16 shooters for the National Games. However, things are not the same for Heena. "I am working at a basic level right now. Physically, a lot has changed after the delivery. I lost the muscle memory, my body doesn't listen to me anymore, so there i s some frustration. But I am trying to get back to normal, slowly. I am at a stage where I know what mistakes I am making, but I am notable to rectify them," she says. No matter how difficult physically it is for Heena, her concerns are more mental in nature. It is natural that Heena is training to be in the Indian squad, but she is apprehensive of reaching to the top. "I want to be in the team, but I am scared too. I know that once I come to the team, I will have to be there in the camps, travel without my daughter and that scares me," she says.

Mumbai: Senior CR engineer held in Rs 1 lakh bribery case
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

MUMBAI: The CBI on Monday arrested Central Railway's principal chief mechanical engineer Ashoke Gupta, his driver and a contractor in a Rs 1 lakh bribery case and claimed to have recovered Rs 23 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 40 lakh. The agency has also reportedly found details of foreign bank accounts containing $2 lakh (approx Rs 1.6 crore) and other investments worth Rs 8 crore from the official's quarters at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade. The agency also claimed to have recovered a ledger from Gupta's house in which he had allegedly mentioned about bribes-running into a few crores -collected from various railway contractors in the recent past. A city court has remanded Gupta, his driver Abdul Shaikh and the contractor, Aditya Tibrewal, in CBI custody for four days. According to the CBI, Gupta had bought properties in Delhi, Noida, Haridwar and Dehradun. It is alleged that he would ask his driver to collect the bribe money from contractors and then travel to Delhi by train and hand over the cash to his relatives to make investments. Gupta, a 1985-batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of mechanical engineers, was heading the CR's mechanical division in Mumbai from January 2020. All tenders and contracts related to the mechanical department were under his purview. Recently, the CBI learned from its sources that Gupta was demanding commissions from railway contractors and firms participating in tendering processes and helping them in return. The agency found that Gupta was negotiating the bribe money with Kolkata-based Tibrewal to clear his dues at his office. It maintained technical surveillance on both the men. Gupta reportedly demanded Rs 1 lakh from Tibrewal. The latter requested a friend, who has his office in Bandra, to arrange the money. On Monday, Gupta sent Shaikh to collect the money from the Bandra office, as instructed by Tibrewal. Shaikh collected the money and returned to the CSMT building and waited for Gupta. The CBI team was following Shaikh and arrested him with the money from a car and Gupta from his office. Simultaneously, the agency searched 10 locations in Mumbai, Kolkata, Ghaziabad, Noida, Dehradun and Delhi.

Mumbai: Senior CR engineer held in Rs 1 lakh bribery case
Distributed for party work, Panvel Congress’s SUV all set to hit the road after 8 years
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

It took eight years for the Maharashtra Congress to put the car it had handed over to its Panvel unit for party work back on the road. While the party has managed to bring back the car, its new owner – another Congress office bearer – is now spending his own money to get the vehicle refurbished.During the last days of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government, the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, in August 2014, had distributed 22 Scorpio cars to district presidents of the party. The aim was to use the cars to expand the party base in the district presidents’ respective areas.“While taking the review, we could not locate the car given to Panvel city unit. Upon inquiry, it was found that the car was not in the use of party related works. We received reports that it was on a private stone quarry. We decided to call it back,” said a senior official from the Maharashtra unit of the Congress.Former Panvel Congress president R C Gharat, who had received the car, told The Indian Express that he had his own fleet of cars and did not need the one given by the party for travel purposes. “I use my own cars for my work and party related work. I have my business and don’t require cars from my party for business purpose,” said Gharat. Gharat said that he had called the party state headquarter asking the office bearers to take back the car.After the state unit office received the car, it was handed over to Abhijit Patil, the new president of the Panvel Congress, last week.“Except for the engine, the car was damaged so much that I will now have to spend around Rs 1.75 lakh to make it run smoothly,” Patil said.“It is an old car, but it has been given to me by my party. I own different cars but I will ensure that it will be used for its intended purpose as much as possible,” Patil added.

Distributed for party work, Panvel Congress’s SUV all set to hit the road after 8 years
Maharashtra: Government school makes 120 students travel in 1 tempo, 8 kids faint
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Eight students studying in a government secondary ashramshala or residential school for tribal children in Maharashtra’s Gondia district fainted due to suffocation and had to be hospitalised on Saturday after they were forced to travel in a small tempo along with more than 100 other students after attending an inter-school sports event 30 km away. The principal and sports teacher of the school in Majitpur were suspended and an enquiry was launched, an official said.On Saturday evening, around 120 students from the Majitpur school were forced to travel in a small tempo ferrying them back to their school from the venue of the sports event at Koyalari village, around 30 km away.On their way back, eight girl students fainted, following which the vehicle was immediately taken to the rural health centre in Ekodi. While five students were treated and sent back to the residential school on Sunday, three students who were taken to the government hospital in Gondia were set to be discharged on Monday.Gondia Collector Nayana Gunde said the school falls under the Integrated Tribal Development Project. “The overcrowding in the vehicle led to a reduced level of oxygen and a few girls, who were already tired from the sports event, fainted on the way,” the collector said.Project officer Vikas Rachelwar told The Indian Express that principal S K Thulkar and sports teacher N T Lilhare have been suspended with immediate effect and a departmental enquiry has been initiated. “It was the school principal’s responsibility to ensure the safety of students during the event. The distance was around 30 km away. If two vehicles were not available, the principal could have planned accordingly to make two trips so that all 120 students could be taken back to school comfortably,” Rachelwar said.“There was no issue of expenditure as the bills of expenses were going to be paid by the government’s project office. This shows sheer negligence by the principal and so the action has been initiated,” he said. Rachelwar added that it was an inter-school sports competition to shortlist players for a project-level sports competition. All the students, he said, were already tired from the event followed by a dance programme that concluded sports day.“These were older students from Classes VIII to XII and forcing them to travel together in such an uncomfortable situation is unacceptable,” local MLA Vijay Rahangade, who visited the school, said, demanding strict action in the case.

Maharashtra: Government school makes 120 students travel in 1 tempo, 8 kids faint
Maharashtra meets UN targets on child mortality reduction
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

MUMBAI: Maharashtra continued to see a steady decline in the neonatal, infant and under-five mortality rates and has fared among six to 11 states that have achieved targets set under the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs) to bring down child deaths, as per the Sample Registration System (SRS), 2020, data released on Thursday. An urban-rural divide, though, is seen in the figures. The neonatal mortality rate (NMR) was 11, putting the state among six others in the country to achieve the SDG target of fewer than 12 deaths per 1,000 live births. Maharashtra's infant mortality rate (IMR) is 16 now against the India average of 28, and the under-five mortality rate is 18 now compared to the national average of 32. The SDG target for under-five was to reduce deaths to fewer than 25 per 1,000 live births. It has put Maharashtra in the league of 11 states to reach the milestone, including Kerala (8), TN (14) and Delhi (14). There is a difference of nine points, though, in the NMR numbers between Maharashtra's urban and rural areas. While urban Maharashtra (6) has met the SDG goal for reduction in neonatal mortality, rural Maharashtra (15) has quite a distance to travel. For IMR, the urban figure was 11 and rural, 20. The best states, like Mizoram, Kerala, Manipur and Sikkim, reduced nearly all mortality rates to under 10. Paediatrician Abhay Bang, who has been working in tribal Gadchiroli, called for data on micro trends to get an accurate picture. "Hidden within these relatively lower mortality rates are both the Marine Drives and the Melghats," he said on Friday. The SRS does not provide district-wise rates. "Most unfortunately, the SRS does not provide a separate estimate of the IMR in tribal population, which is more than a crore in Maharashtra," Dr Bang said. An expert committee on tribal health gave the government this suggestion in 2018, but to little effect. Vivek Pandit of Shramajivi Sangathana said such low rates are hard to accept when malnutrition exists in many districts, such as Palghar, Raigad, Thane and Nashik. "There is no doubt that deaths have come down, but the state still records thousands of them annually," he said, adding that deaths are missed too. In the past decade, IMR has dropped by 43% in Maharashtra. There is a need to comprehend the shift in causes of death and strategise accordingly, said Dr Jayashree Mondkar, professor emeritus of neonatology at Sion hospital. "Earlier infectious diseases were big killers, but now we see maximum deaths due to congenital problems, prematurity," she said.

Maharashtra meets UN targets on child mortality reduction
Maharashtra: Faith in judiciary reinforced, we are Shiv Sena, says Uddhav Thackeray
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

MUMBAI: With the Bombay high court allowing the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray hold its annual Dussehra rally at Dadar's Shivaji Park, Thackeray said on Friday that he had full faith in the judiciary and that his faith has been reinforced. Uddhav said that the Shiv Sena would hold the rally according to its tradition and told Shiv Sainiks to ensure that there was "no damage" to the traditional way of holding the rally. Uddhav told his Sainiks that the rally should be held with discipline and that they should arrive with enthusiasm but keep discipline and ensure that the Sena's "glorious legacy" is not damaged. Thackeray said that the court had put the onus of maintaining law and order on the state government. "So I hope that the government will play its role. The state government will be responsible for this. There are no two factions in the Shiv Sena, we are the Shiv Sena, and the Sena has grown bigger now," he said. He added that the gathering the Sena held on Wednesday was "only of our Mumbai group heads." Taking a dig at the rebel Shinde faction, he added, "I have full faith in the judiciary and I am not a rebel MLA to say what order the Supreme Court (SC) will give." Uddhav said that the Sena had been holding its Dussehra rally since 1966. "We are taking forward our tradition. Barring the period of Covid-19, we have not missed the Dussehra rally. They (Shinde faction) made it a prestige issue, not us. Our faith in the judiciary has been reinforced. The future of democracy will be decided by the SC in our case. We look to the courts for justice." He said. The Uddhav-led Sena's Thane district unit claimed that 60,000 Sainiks from the city are likely to participate in the Dussehra rally. Kedar Dighe, Sena district president who attended a celebration at Tembhi naka, the stronghold of his uncle and late Sena leader Anand Dighe, said the HC order was the victory of truth. "We will attend in full strength," he said. Madhukar Deshmukh, spokesperson for the Sena's Thane Lok Sabha unit said, "Roughly, 60,000 party workers from the district will attend the event. A few of us will travel by trains, while others will arrive by special buses." -With inputs by Manoj Badgeri

Maharashtra: Faith in judiciary reinforced, we are Shiv Sena, says Uddhav Thackeray
Nagpur cops alert Centre, agencies about foreigners holding fake Indian documents
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

NAGPUR: The city police, following the arrest of two Uzbek women from a hotel in Sadar this week, have alerted the departments concerned of Government of India and other Central agencies about foreigners in possession of fake Aadhaar card, driving licence and voter ID card travelling across India and likely to have crossed borders using these documents. The Uzbek women had fake Aadhaar cards and other documents identifying them as 32-year-old Gulmira Khan and 22-year-old Afsana Khatun. The women had been staying in a hotel room in Sadar since September 2. They tried to mislead cops after being nabbed from the hotel. The women, who had flown down from Delhi, are allegedly part of a nationwide flesh trade racket that used fake names and documents to travel abroad from India. City police chief Amitesh Kumar, whose team has already held discussion with their Delhi counterparts and other security agencies about the Uzbek women, said foreigners overstaying in India with fake identities was a matter of national security and is a priority for him. Kumar, a former intelligence department chief of Maharashtra, further said that the Uzbek women have a travel history across various destinations in India and abroad with repeated entries. Along with the two Uzbek women, police had also arrested the alleged racketeer Manoj Ghansani who had also brought the foreigners here. A team of Nagpur police crime branch is set to visit Delhi with a twin motive of finding out the racketeers who helped these foreign women prepare fake Indian documents and the connection of nationwide flesh trade racket allegedly run by Ghansani, who is based in Jaripatka. It’s also learnt that Ghansani is close to a constable of social service branch, who also has an offence registered against him in the past. Sources in police said, “Ghansani serves top clients ranging from local industrialists to politicians whom he used to ‘supply’ these foreigners for hefty rates per hour or for whole night at a price ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs one lakh as per the duration and services sought.” According to the sources, Manoj’s father Arjun too had been involved in illegal activities and cases were against them for alleged involvement in flesh trade. “The Uzbek women and Ghanshani are being quizzed in police custody about their alleged role in flesh trade and preparation of fake documents,” said a police official. DCP (crime) Chinmay Pandit also said that city police had earlier exposed illegal nationals from countries like Nigeria and others using fake Adhaar cards and committing crime in India from their colonies in Delhi.

Nagpur cops alert Centre, agencies about foreigners holding fake Indian documents
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde chairs wildlife board meeting, many proposals cleared
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde chaired the 19th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) on Wednesday, days after some key environmentalists appointed by the earlier government were removed from it. Shinde was present for only a part of the meeting, asking Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to join later.Only two environmentalists, Aneesh Andheria and Bombay Natural History society director Bibash Pandav, were invited for the SWBL meeting whose agenda was reportedly circulated at the last minute.Mungantiwar told The Indian Express, “What’s important is decisions taken by us. Who is there in the committee is not important. We also took a decision to increase mitigation fund from 2 per cent to 4 per cent.” However, the press release did not mention the projects cleared.Environmentalist Kishor Rithe of the Satpuda Foundation, who was a part of the board earlier, said, “I have not seen the government resolution on constitution of a new board. So this must be a different meeting on wildlife issues.”As per the agenda of the meeting [IE has a copy], one of the proposals cleared was diversion of 413 hectares of reserve forest in Hirapur, Govindpur, and Pimparwadi in Pandharkawda division of Yavatmal circle which is also in the tiger corridors of Tipeshwar and Kanhargaon wildlife sanctuary and Tipeshwar and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. The proposal has faced stiff opposition earlier as it will involve felling of 17,719 trees. This will be done for a mega industrial project. This will involve cutting of 17,719 trees.Andheria said while clearing the proposal, they had mentioned the plantation along the river in the area. Another proposal cleared is the 400 kv Vikhroli transmission Line for strengthening of Mumbai transmission system. It will travel through the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.The SBWL also cleared nearly a hectare of land for the construction of rope suspension sky walk bridge in the buffer zone of Melghat tiger reserve. The upgrade of Nilajphata-Pauni-Bhandara in Bhandara district is close to Umred –Paoni- Karhandla- Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.The proposal for a third railway line from Darekasa-Salekasa station in Gondia district will require diversion of 34.19 hectares in tiger corridor of Navegaon -Nagzira Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve. But this area is outside the protected areas and eco-sensitive zone.Likewise, the proposal for construction of a new broad gauge between Wadsa – Gadchiroli Railway line forest area diversion of 83.431 ha was cleared. The area is in Kanha- Navegaon -Nagzira – Tadoba-Andhari-Indravati Tiger Reserve as per the Tiger Corridors of Eastern Vidarbha Land Scape report. It will require 71.722 hectares of forest of which 16 hectares fall in the corridor. The SBWL also cleared proposal for diversion of 14 hectares of land for upgrade of Nagpur-Katol-Warud State National Highway NH-353 in Pench-Bor-Melghat Tiger Corridor.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde chairs wildlife board meeting, many proposals cleared
Eknath Shinde and three cabinet colleagues to visit Delhi today; ‘big announcement likely’, says minister
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with three ministers, including Industries Minister Uday Samant, Ports Minister Dadaji Bhuse, and Horticulture Minister Sandipan Bhumare, will be visiting Delhi Wednesday evening.Shinde will also be accompanied by Magathane MLA Prakash Surve. Few other MLAs may join him later in the evening. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was earlier speculated to be accompanying him is unlikely to travel to Delhi as per his official schedule.On Wednesday evening, the Maharashtra delegation will meet Union Minister Nitin Gadkari regarding work on highways in Maharashtra.According to sources within the Shinde camp, Samant has been asked to stay in Delhi and a few developments regarding Maharashtra’s politics may take place at night. “There is likely to be a big announcement from Delhi today evening,” said a senior Maharashtra minister.When asked about details, the minister said the announcement will be made exactly at a time when the Shiv Sena’s rally at Goregaon will take place. The minister refused to divulge more details.Uddhav Thackeray will be addressing Sena workers at Nesco ground in Goregaon in the western suburbs of Mumbai.The Maharashtra government has been under criticism for losing the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project to Gujarat. Since then, Shinde has said he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that the Centre has promised an even bigger project to Maharashtra.The visit to Delhi is also said to be regarding industrial projects in Maharashtra.

Eknath Shinde and three cabinet colleagues to visit Delhi today; ‘big announcement likely’, says minister
Mumbai airport sees record 1.30 lakh flyers
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

MUMBAI: Mumbai airport witnessed a record passenger movement of over 1.30 lakh on September 17, the highest volume of flyers it has handled in a day since the pandemic began disrupting air travel in March 2020. Pre-pandemic, the highest per day passenger volume handled by the Mumbai airport was 1.56 lakh, said Mumbai International Airport ltd (MIAL). The current growth in passenger traffic is a result of new destinations and increase in airline capacity, MIAL said. Since it also signals the beginning of festive season travel, airlines expect busier weekends in the coming months. "Close to 95,080 passengers travelled through Terminal 2 (T2) and 35,294 through Terminal 1 (T1) with 839 total flight movements on this day," said MIAL. Adding to the weekend rush, on September 18, Mumbai airport again witnessed over 1.3 lakh passengers, of which over 98,000 travelled domestically while around 32,000 passengers flew on international routes. Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai were the top three domestic destinations while Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Singapore remained the top three international routes with maximum air traffic. IndiGo, Vistara and Go First were the top three airlines that catered to the highest passenger traffic on domestic routes. On the international front, the top three were IndiGo, Air India, and Emirates. After seeing the worst decline in passenger volumes in 2020-2021 due to curtailed flight schedule enforced by both the union and state government, the Mumbai airport, between April 2021 and March 2022, handled over 2 crore passengers registering the highest passenger traffic growth of 97% year-on-year in the country, according to Airports Authority of India (AAI) data. According to rating agency ICRA, the domestic aviation industry continues to witness recovery. Across India, airlines' capacity deployment in August 2022 was about 37% higher than August 2021. However, it was lower by about 10% than the pre-Covid levels. India's domestic passenger traffic for August 2022 is estimated to be at about 102 lakh, which is about 5% higher compared to 97 lakh in July 2022. But it's about 14% lower compared to pre-Covid levels, that is, August 2019.

Mumbai airport sees record 1.30 lakh flyers
How I escaped Ukraine: The ordeal of an Indian medical student
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Written by Rohan AmbhureOn the morning of February 24, war broke out. We were woken by the sounds of bombs dropping on the outskirts of our city. Chaos ensued. Everyone rushed to the supermarkets to buy rations and drinking water, most of which were already drained. There were blockades on all major roads and the military was deployed. All modes of transactions had stopped except cash. We had to make do with what cash we had on us as all ATMs and banks were shut. Everyone was in a frenzied state as we had to process all that was happening, think about our next steps, communicate with each other and also try to give our families some sense of security.We were in the final year of our medical education. I completed six years at Odessa National Medical University in Ukraine. Everyone was debating whether to stay in Ukraine as it was our final year and merely three months were left until graduation. However as the sense of danger was increasing, juniors started leaving. As for the final year students, our universities as well as the Indian embassy left the decision to leave at one’s own discretion. Along with these worries, I also had to think about the safety of my dog, Delta, whom I had adopted in my fourth year of medical studies.I was frantically moving everywhere to get all the necessary documents needed for international travel for Delta. But there was nothing I could do for three days as everyone was anxious and all the clinics and shops were closed. On the fourth day there was some relief and shops opened for a few hours in the morning. By then most of the students had already fled or were on their way to the borders. We spent our nights bunkered in our flat sitting in silence that was only interrupted by the shockwaves of the shelling or the anti-air guns firing a kilometre away from our house. I spent the next two days gathering all necessary documents and as soon as I received them, my vice-dean called me and advised that I should leave as we were the last remaining students in the city and that the university is arranging transport for their families and they wanted us to leave with them for Moldova.As I had all the documents, I agreed and we left my house on the morning of Feb 28th. All transportation was done by the students with independent bus contractors or trains at our own expense. At first the bus driver denied me entry as he did not allow animals on the bus, but after explaining the situation, he agreed and we started our six-hour journey to the Ukraine-Moldova border. Once we reached the border, we had to cross it by foot and there was a huge crowd already present and waiting to cross over. Altogether we were standing at the border for a little over 14 hours overnight out in the cold without shelter.There were many volunteers present on both sides of the border who helped everyone with food, water, clothing and directions. Upon crossing the border we boarded a bus which took us to a camp for refugees. Everyone went in whereas I had to stay out as dogs were not allowed in, so I stayed on a park bench with Delta overnight. We had contacted a helpline number for Indian refugees who arrived the next morning. They were also medical students in their 5th year and were arranging shelter for Indian refugees in unoccupied rooms of their hostels with cooperation from their university. They provided us food, water and shelter at their expense. The next day buses were arranged by the Moldovan officials to Romania. The bus dropped us off at a refugee centre in the Romanian capital where we were received by Romanian volunteers and officials. I was allotted shelter in the storehouse with Delta and everyone else was in the main building. One of the volunteers took us in his personal vehicle to get the state veterinary certificate and the cage that was needed for air travel.The Romanian officials sympathised with us as we had been travelling for 4 days as refugees and along with the Indian Officials gave us priority to board the flights from Romania to India arranged by the Indian Government. We boarded the C17 Carrier with the Indian Air Force and landed in India the next morning where we were greeted by Indian officials, State representatives and media.Once our paper-work was checked and cleared we were taken to our representative state Bhavans in New Delhi. Upon reaching Maharastra Bhavan, I was denied entry as I had a dog with me. After 2 hours of deliberation, they provided us with rooms in Old Maharashtra Bhavan for an overnight stay till our flight to Mumbai which was scheduled for the next morning. Once we reached the airport, I was informed that my ticket was free of cost, as the state government was paying for it, but I had to pay for Delta’s travel according to his weight irrespective of the fact that I had no other baggage in cargo. We took the flight and were welcomed by the relieved and joyous faces of all our family members.I recently cleared the online examination from my university which is equivalent to an MBBS degree. Now that I am here, I will be appearing for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in December this year. We had also suggested to the first year students who had returned to reappear for UG-NEET. For mid-level students it would then be prudent to return to other countries as listed by the National Medical Commission and complete their medical education.War has necessitated this forceful transfer. But being forced to return to India for medical studies is unreasonable. In other circumstances, be it a personal or professional situation, students do seek transfers to other universities in different countries. My friends studying in the third year have already started their fourth year medical studies in countries like Armenia.My journey out of Ukraine was terrifying, exhausting, painful and testing. It showed us the value of life as opposed to that of material things.Our Vice-Dean, the volunteers in Moldova and Romania, veterinarian in Ukraine, Health Inspectors in Ukraine and Romania as well as the pet shop owner in Romania and all the other people who were with us on our journey rekindled my hope in humanity as all of them helped us as much as they could at their own expense inspiring all the lives that they touched to do the same for someone whenever the time arises.Ambhure was studying medicine in Ukraine when the Russian invasion began. As told to Anuradha Mascarenhas

How I escaped Ukraine: The ordeal of an Indian medical student
Bombay HC asks BMC on what basis did it fine mask violators
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Monday directed BMC to explain on what basis it collected spot fines from those who violated its directive to wear masks during the pandemic. Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar heard a PIL that had initially opposed mandatory vaccination to travel by public transport, mainly the local trains. It had also urged to prosecute former CM Uddhav Thackeray and BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal and for return of fines alleging that the money was misappropriated. The petitioner’s advocate Nilesh Ojha argued that vaccination was unlawfully imposed. To the judge’s query whether fines were imposed only in Maharashtra, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, for BMC, said it was “throughout India.” Senior advocate SU Kamdar, for the State, said, “Fines for not wearing masks were collected by the Corporation.” He said the vaccine mandate was discussed by the Supreme Court in the context of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It took note that containment measures are withdrawn by most of states including Maharashtra and if required, it can be reintroduced keeping in mind the principle of proportionality. Kamdar said the apex court held that the vaccination programme cannot be faulted. The judges questioned under what provision of law did the BMC collect fines. Seeking time to reply, Sakhare said under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 “there are some provisions.” But Ojha said under section 51 of the Disaster Management Act and section 3 of Epidemic Disease Act unless there is a conviction, fines can be imposed by the court. The judges asked parties to look up the SC judgment that says that if action is taken for the greater good, the court must not interfere. They referred to BMC's directives on wearing masks to prevent the pandemic and the consequent fine for violating it. “There is no data to show that wearing masks helps us,” said Ojha, adding the international studies show “more masks, more deaths.” The matter will be heard on October 3. — Rosy Sequeira

Bombay HC asks BMC on what basis did it fine mask violators