Times of India | 4 days ago | 06-08-2022 | 05:17 am
PUNE: There could be a further hike in CNG prices in the coming months, Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) has said. "Owing to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, European countries are buying more gas from West Asian countries. The Indian subcontinent is also a major buyer of gas from the Gulf. Owing to heavy purchase from Europe, the prices are not falling. Also, European nations are buying in excess and storing gas, owing to the war. In winter, consumption of gas in Europe increases, and we may see more hikes in the next few months," Deepak Sawant, managing director, MNGL, told TOI. "However, if tension between China and Taiwan subsides, and the Russia-Ukraine war stops, there could be a possibility of a relief by March or April next year," Sawant said. For commuters in the city, a further hike in auto rickshaw fares would only add to their woes. Representatives of autorickshaw unions in Pune met Pune RTO officials on Friday evening to decide on the minimum starting fare for autorickshaws amid the latest hike in CNG prices. Later, autorickshaw union representatives said that they have arrived at a unanimous decision to increase the fare by Rs18 per km. Sanjiv Bhor, deputy RTO, Pune, said that a decision on the fares arrived at the meeting will have to be ratified by the Regional Transport Authority. "The fares had been revised last week and it was to come into effect from August 1. The earlier revised fare was Rs.23 for the first 1.5km, and Rs15 for every km thereafter. However, the same was rejected by the unions as it was not calculated as per the suggestions and formula set by the Khatua committee report. Now, with the prices having increased again, we are hoping that the base fares are increased in line with the new calculations," Nitin Pawar, convenor, Rickshaw Panchayat, said. Commuters, however, said a fare hike will not help in easing their problems much. "Most of the times autorickshaw drivers refuse to go by the meter. The fare hike will further increase our problems considering that the city doesn't have a strong public transport system in the form of buses like that of the BEST in Mumbai," said Kailash Ranavare, a working professional in the city.
As part of a unique central government initiative for people to adopt tuberculosis (TB) patients, Pune city’s TB control department has designed a nutritional food basket that includes rice, wheat flour, jaggery, oil and lentils like harbhara, moong dal, matki (moth bean) and groundnut to be given to each patient.“The approximate cost works out to Rs 1,000 per month and we are hoping that citizens and organisations can contribute towards the project of adopting a TB patient for a year,” Dr Prashant Bothe, TB control officer in the city, told The Indian Express. The central TB division initiated a programme on ensuring community support to TB patients and providing additional support to improve the treatment outcomes in them. This programme is also part of India’s commitment to eradicate TB by 2025.“We have around 3,175 TB patients from low-income groups that can be adopted. The approximate cost would be Rs 12,000 for supporting a TB patient with adequate nutrition. We hope to roll out these food baskets soon,” Dr Bothe said. The list of patients who have consented to receive community support is available on the Nikshay portal. Nikshay (Ni-End, Kshay TB) is a web-enabled patient management system under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme.The portal is used by public and private health functionaries to register cases under their care, order tests from labs across the country, record treatment details, monitor treatment adherence and transfer cases among care providers. Officials have said the increased involvement of people and the community will help not just in the TB elimination effort but also to reduce the stigma around TB patients.Around 27 lakh new TB patients are detected every year and an approximate four lakh die of the disease. In the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) area, there are 11 TB control offices and 3,871 patients are enrolled with the civic health department for availing of treatment.“Our target this year is towards detecting 8,560 new TB patients. From the private sector, 2,088 TB patients have been notified while 1,580 new cases have been identified in the public sector,” Dr Bothe said.From January to September 2021, there were 5,376 notified TB patients. Around 323 TB patients died during the period. Of the patients notified from January to July this year, at least 110 have the twin infections of TB and HIV and 249 patients have both TB and diabetes.
The Pune police on Tuesday arrested a 60-year-old retired defence employee wanted in Punjab for allegedly posing as an Army colonel and cheating youths after promising them Army jobs.The action by Unit 4 of the Pune city crime branch was based on an input given by the Army’s Military Intelligence, said police officials. The suspect, identified as Sanjay Raghunath Sawant, had worked as a tradesman with a defence formation at Dehu Road in Pune, Maharashtra, in the past and retired two years ago. He lives in the Pimple Gurav area and drives an autorickshaw to earn a living, they added.The Pathankot police in Punjab are investigating a 2021 case in which several Army job aspirants were cheated out of large sums of money by a man posing as a colonel.According to crime branch officials, after they received information from the Military Intelligence that the suspect was in Pune, a team led by inspector Jayant Rajurkar from Unit 4 launched an inquiry. The officials said it came to light that the suspect had worked as a tradesman–a civilian defence employee– at a defence unit in Dehu Road and drove an autorickshaw now. In the course of the investigation, police checked around 200 autorickshaws in the area and finally got leads on Sawant.In a joint action with the Pathankot police and Military Intelligence sleuths, the Pune police arrested Sawant. He has been handed over to the Pathankot police for further investigation. In 2021, Sawant is alleged to have spent some time in the Pathankot area after his retirement and cheated the Army job aspirants out of money.
The family of a Pune-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Bhagwan Nivdekar allegedly faced a social boycott at his native place in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district for not following the tradition of inviting the village deity for his daughter’s marriage.Though Nivdekar complained about the alleged social boycott at the Lanja police station in Ratnagiri on July 25, it was only after members of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), founded by slain anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, went to the station on August 8 that the police took action, he said. The police called up the villagers who allegedly imposed the social boycott on Nivdekar’s family and warned them.A native of Beni Khurd village in Lanja taluka of Ratnagiri, Nivdekar resides at Pashan and works at the water supply department of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). He said his daughter got married to a man from Himachal Pradesh at a function held in Pune on May 1. He added he had invited his family members, relatives and friends from his native village and other places for the ceremony. “On June 15, members of the ‘Gavkar’ family, who heads important religious ceremonies in our village, called a meeting and put forth a resolution for socially boycotting me and my family from all religious rituals in our community because I had not followed the tradition of inviting the local deity for my daughter’s marriage,” said Nivdekar, who has been felicitated by the government bodies like Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) for his work. “On June 16, my mother Yamunabai, who resides in the village, got to know about the social boycott, got worried and informed me about it. On June 20, I spoke over the phone to one of the community members present for the meeting in which it was decided to boycott my family from religious rituals,” he added.Nivdekar said he realised this was a serious issue and trouble was caused to his family in the ‘jaat panchayat’ style. “I gathered information about how legal action can be taken. I lodged a police complaint seeking action as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016. I also submitted an audio recording of the phone call, as evidence to show how we were boycotted,” he said.As Nivdekar sought help from it, a MANS team headed by its state committee member Nandini Jadhav went to the Lanja police station. “The police had not taken any action on Nivdekar’s complaint. We spoke to the senior inspector Dadasaheb Ghutukade, who immediately asked his subordinates to take action,” said Jadhav.“The police called up three people, namely Yashwant Nivdekar, Chandrakant Nivdekar and Shantaram Nivdekar, who were allegedly involved in the social boycott of the family. The MANS activists counselled them by explaining to them how social boycott is an offence as per the law. The police also warned them and took their written statement that they would repeat such an act,” added Jadhav.
The Supreme Court Wednesday granted bail to activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, on medical grounds, news agency PTI reported.While granting bail, a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said he shall not misuse the liberty in any manner.The 83-year-old, who has challenged the Bombay High Court order rejecting his petition for permanent medical bail, is currently on interim bail on medical grounds and was to surrender on July 12. The apex court had on July 12 extended Rao’s interim protection till further orders.The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. The Pune police had also claimed that the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links. The NIA later took over the probe into the matter.Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018 from his Hyderabad residence and is an under-trial in the case. An FIR was lodged by the Pune Police on January 8, 2018 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
PUNE: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of finishing off its regional allies gradually, and supported Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's decision to snap ties with the BJP. Speaking to reporters in Baramati town of Maharashtra's Pune district, Pawar claimed the BJP was planning how to weaken the Shiv Sena and create a division in the party. Pawar's party was a constituent of the previous Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government, which collapsed in June this year following a revolt by Sena MLA Eknath Shinde and 39 other legislators. Nitish Kumar had on Tuesday pulled the plug on his party JD(U)'s alliance with the BJP and resigned, and followed it up by staking claim to form a new government in Bihar with support of the opposition Grand Alliance. Notably, BJP national president J P Nadda recently said in the times to come only an ideology-driven party like the BJP will survive, while others ruled by families will perish. Pawar on Wednesday claimed that "the BJP national president in his address said regional parties do not have a future and they will not exist. He said it is only their party which will exist in the country." "From this statement, one thing is clear, which was also the complaint of Nitish Kumar, that the BJP finishes off its allies gradually," the NCP president said. Citing an example, Pawar said a party like the Akali Dal was with them (BJP). "Its leader Prakash Singh Badal was with them, but today the party is nearly finished in Punjab," he said. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and BJP were together for several years, he pointed out. "Today, the BJP is planning how the Shiv Sena can be weakened by creating a division in the party, and (present Maharashtra CM) Eknath Shinde and others helped," he added. In doing this, the Shiv Sena was attacked by the party which was once its ally, he said. A similar picture was being seen in Bihar. Nitish Kumar, of the JD(U), and the BJP contested the last assembly elections together, he said. "One more speciality of the BJP is that it joins hands with a regional party at the time of elections, but ensures the ally wins fewer seats. It happened in Maharashtra also," Pawar claimed. When a similar picture was being witnessed in Bihar, the CM of the state got cautious well in advance and took the decision to snap ties with the BJP, he said. "No matter how much BJP leaders criticise Nitish Kumar, but he has taken a wise step. He took the decision anticipating the crisis the BJP was planning to bring on. I think he took a wise decision for his state and party," Pawar said.