Eknath Shinde Reverses Big Uddhav Thackeray Decision In 1st Move: Sources

Ndtv | 5 months ago | 01-07-2022 | 02:27 pm

Eknath Shinde Reverses Big Uddhav Thackeray Decision In 1st Move: Sources

Mumbai: Hours after he took over as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde has moved to reverse the Uddhav Thackeray government's stand on the controversial Metro car shed project in Mumbai, sources have said.Mr Shinde, it is learnt, has directed Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to submit in court that the Metro car shed will be built at Aarey Colony as planned in 2019 under the Devendra Fadnavis government.The issue, which had sparked massive protests in Mumbai by environmental activists, dates back to 2019 when the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation sought the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) permission to fell trees at Aarey Colony, an urban forest many refer to as Mumbai's green lung.Protests began soon after the BMC gave a go ahead to the project. As activists stepped up their agitation, then Chief Minister Fadnavis said the area identified for the Metro car shed does is not categorised as biodiversity or forest land. He also reasoned that the Metro will reduce carbon footprint. "Why we save trees because we want to reduce the carbon footprint. So, we need to understand one thing that how much carbon footprint is going to be reduced due to the underground Metro," he said.Following the Assembly polls later that year, the Shiv Sena parted ways with long-time ally BJP and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government under Uddhav Thackeray was formed.The new government, heeding to the protests by activists, decided to shift the Metro car shed to Kanjurmarg. Thereafter, the BJP-led government at the centre went to Bombay High Court in 2020, saying the land belonged to its Salt department. The High Court then issued a stay. Since then, the project has been in a limbo.The Shiv Sena has been opposing the plan to build the shed at Aarey even when they were the BJP's alliance partners. Responding to the BJP's criticism over shifting the project, Chief Minister Thackeray last year said infrastructure works undertaken in haste can lead to waste and not true development.Soon after Mr Shinde's move, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya tweeted that it will bring the Mumbai Metro work back on track. PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"Shinde Fadnavis Govt decision to bring back MetroCar Shed at Aarey will put Mumbai Metro work back on Track," he tweeted.Addressing the media later in the day, former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged the new government to not reverse the Metro car shed plan. 

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67-year-old man who tested positive for Zika virus while in Pune recovers
The Indian Express | 1 minute ago | 02-12-2022 | 07:45 pm
The Indian Express
1 minute ago | 02-12-2022 | 07:45 pm

A 67-year-old man from Maharashtra’s Nashik district tested positive for the Zika virus while in Pune and recovered from the infection later, health department officials said Friday.The man, who was staying at Bavdhan, had fever, cough, joint pain and fatigue and had been treated as an outpatient at Pune’s Jehangir Hospital. Before coming to the city on November 6, he visited Surat in Gujarat. After he developed the symptoms on November 16, his serum sample was sent for investigation to a private laboratory, which confirmed Zika virus infection.On November 30, the National Institute of Virology in Pune also confirmed the infection, according to Dr Pradeep Awate, the state surveillance officer.Dr Sanjeev Wavare, assistant health chief of the Pune Municipal Corporation, said that entomological surveillance was stepped up and a container survey was immediately conducted at the man’s house and its surroundings. “We did not find any breeding spots,” Dr Wavare said.Dr Awate said the state had reported three cases of Zika virus infection. The first one was a woman from Belsar village in Pune district.The Zika virus is similar to the virus that spreads dengue fever; it is transmitted by infected aedes aegypti mosquitoes.Precautionary measures are taken mainly for pregnant women as expectant mothers who contract Zika infection are likely at the risk of miscarriage.According to public health department experts, there is no specific treatment for infection with the Zika virus. To help relieve symptoms, it is important to get plenty of rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration.Maharashtra has confirmed 793 cases of measles, with the majority of them (370) in Mumbai. Last year there were 92 measles cases and one outbreak. This year 93 measles outbreaks have been recorded.Dr Awate, the surveillance officer, said that cases were being reported from districts such as Malegaon, Aurangabad and Pimpri Chinchwad. A district-wise task force was set up and 2,974 special vaccination drives were conducted in October and November, he said.Pune has reported six cases of measles this year, Dr Suryakant Deokar, the Pune municipal corporation’s immunisation officer told The Indian Express. They were sporadic ones.Following the measles outbreak in Mumbai, Pimpri Chinchwad and other areas, civic health authorities conducted a survey of at least 70,000 houses. “We have sent a total of 193 suspected samples to the Haffkine Institute in Mumbai for further investigation,” Dr Deokar said.

67-year-old man who tested positive for Zika virus while in Pune recovers
Eknath Shinde aide Ajay Ashar appointed vice-president of Maharashtra planning body
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 05:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 05:45 pm

A ‘controversial’ real estate developer, Ajay Ashar, known to be one of the closest aides of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and works for him behind the curtains, was appointed as the vice-president of the state planning body MITRA (Maharashtra Institution for Transformation).Ashar has been working with Shinde for more than a decade now. Known in the inner circles of Maharashtra’s power corridors for working alongside Shinde, Ashar was never in the public eye until his appointment in a government body.In October 2022, the Maharashtra state cabinet cleared the decision to form MITRA on the lines of NITI Aayog with the aim to achieve rapid and comprehensive development of the state through the participation of private sector and non-governmental organisations.During the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Ashar was reportedly on the radar of the central probe agencies but he was neither named in any scam nor was he called for any probe by any agencies. BJP leader Kirit Somaiya in 2020 had even tweeted Ashar’s name terming him as a partner of then CM Uddhav Thackeray. Somaiya did not answer the phone call when contacted for a comment.The state government also appointed former Shiv Sena MLA from Kolhapur Rajesh Kshirsagar, who has switched sides to join hands with Shinde after the split in the party, as the second vice-president of MITRA.Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant questioned the appointment of Ashar reminding how the BJP, when in Opposition, had targeted certain builders, including Ashar. “When in Opposition, MVA was accused of waiving off premium on certain real estate projects for benefitting a few builders. Now, those builders are being given responsibilities of planning for Maharashtra. Moreover, how fair it is to hand over planning of the state into the hands of a builder?” he said.Meanwhile, Ashar was unavailable for a comment.

Eknath Shinde aide Ajay Ashar appointed vice-president of Maharashtra planning body
Closure reports filed on FIRs against BJP MLA Ganesh Naik, Bombay HC told
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 05:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 05:45 pm

The Bombay High Court was informed on Friday that closure reports had been filed on two FIRs lodged against Maharashtra BJP MLA Ganesh Naik for allegedly threatening and raping a woman, who claimed that he was her son’s biological father. The court then directed the magistrate to dispose of the proceedings within three months.The prosecution submitted that it could not find substance in the allegations against the Airoli MLA. Additional public prosecutor Prajakta P Shinde told the court that in both the matters, A-summary reports were filed by the Navi Mumbai police in July and September, after the Shinde Sena-BJP government replaced the MVA government in the state.An A-summary report on a case is submitted to a magistrate when there is no clue about culprits, or when the accused is known but there is no evidence to justify his being sent to the magistrate for trial.A bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and R N Laddha was hearing Naik’s plea seeking the quashing of the FIRs registered against him at the CBD Belapur police station. He was booked in April after the woman lodged a complaint that she was in a live-in relationship with Naik and that in 2021, he had threatened her with a firearm if she disclosed their relationship to anyone.The woman said she became pregnant with Naik’s child in 2006 and went to New Jersey in the US to give birth. However, despite assuring her that he would accept the child and stay with them, Naik did not do so, she alleged.According to the woman, Naik called her to his office for lunch. When she asked if he would give his name to the child, Naik allegedly pulled out his revolver and told her not to “harass” him or else, he would kill them and end his life. She said she did not file a police complaint back then as Naik was a minister and an influential politician.Senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, appearing for Naik, submitted that the “two cases have a political angle to them and there is a general tendency that cases connected to political personalities are deliberately kept pending”.In such cases, Mundargi argued, despite A-summary reports being filed before the magistrate and the complainant being issued a notice, nothing further happens. He therefore urged the court to direct the magistrate to expeditiously dispose of the matters.A single- judge bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, which granted anticipatory bail to Naik on May 4, had noted that the woman’s statement had indicated that she and Naik were in a relationship from 1995 to 2017. She said that as her family did not approve of their relationship, she got married to someone else. According to her, she divorced him in 2001 and continued the relationship with Naik.Justice Prabhudessai observed that the relationship between Naik and the woman was consensual and that prima facie essential ingredients of rape were not made out and therefore his custodial interrogation was not required.

Closure reports filed on FIRs against BJP MLA Ganesh Naik, Bombay HC told
Five paddy-growing districts in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha to get 12 hours’ power supply
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:45 pm

The Maharashtra government has decided to provide 12 hours of uninterrupted electricity to farmers for agricultural pumps in five districts in the Vidarbha region, officials said. The demand for increased electricity for agricultural pumps came from paddy-growing districts such as Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, Gondia and Nagpur. Farmers cultivating paddy were facing hardships due to the short supply of electricity.Senior BJP minister for forests Sudhir Mungantiwar, who hails from Chandrapur, raised the issue with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis two days ago. During the discussions, Mungantiwar apprised the two leaders of the problems faced by paddy farmers in the five Vidarbha districts. Reduced power supply meant that farmers in these districts were forced to do farming activities during the night when the electricity supply was more steady. However, it also made them prone to attacks from animals, officials added. After considering the farmers’ plight, the state government directed the energy department to increase supply from eight hours to 12 hours to farmers using agriculture pumps in five eastern Vidarbha districts. In its order, the government has also stated that instead of night, farmers should be provided electricity during the day.

Five paddy-growing districts in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha to get 12 hours’ power supply
In latest Shivaji row, a BJP minister among the richest in Maharashtra Cabinet
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:45 pm

Mangal Prabhat Lodha is a quiet man. At the BJP headquarters here, his colleagues say that the Cabinet minister operates silently — not flaunting his power and always speaking to a select group of people. The image of quiet efficiency is quite different to the public persona of a firebrand Hindutva votary and this combination helped the former Mumbai BJP chief become a member of the Eknath Shinde-led government. At present, he holds the portfolios of tourism, and women and child development.On Wednesday, Lodha lit a political firestorm by comparing 17th-century warrior Shivaji’s historic escape from the Mughal court in Agra with Shinde’s defection from the Shiv Sena that led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in June. The comments came at a time the BJP was looking to move past the row Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had triggered two weeks ago by calling Shivaji an icon of olden times. Koshyari’s remarks put the BJP on the defensive and it spent the subsequent days parrying the Opposition’s attacks, but the optics surrounding the Lodha episode is worse as the comments came at an event that the CM attended.Shinde, along with his Cabinet ministers, were in Satara on Wednesday to celebrate 363rd Pratapgad Din, the state government’s annual celebration of Shivaji’s assassination of Afzal Khan, a commander of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, at the foothills of Pratapgad Fort. “Shivaji Maharaj who was held hostage escaped from Agra by dodging Mughal emperor Aurangzeb … Shivaji escaped from Agra for swarajya (independence) Similarly, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was also confined by somebody. But Shinde also came out from confinement in the larger interest of Maharashtra …”Amid backlash from the Opposition, the BJP left Lodha to deal with the fallout and none of its top leaders defended him publicly. Party insiders said the leadership had categorically told everyone to exercise caution while speaking on historical events or people. The BJP has now chosen once again to distance itself from the row and allow it to fizzle out. A senior BJP general secretary said on the condition of anonymity, “Sometimes, it is better to remain silent when some reaction boomerangs against our party and leaders.”Shinde, however, appeared to back his minister even as he underlined that nobody could be compared to Shivaji. Trying to defuse the tension, the CM said, “Lodha has allocated Rs 25 crore for Pratapgad Fort. Shivaji Maharaj is deeply revered and worshipped by one and all. Shivaji cannot be compared to anybody.”Aware that he had slipped up, Lodha attempted damage control by explaining he had never meant to insult Shivaji. Late Wednesday evening, the minister said, “I have not done anything wrong and did not insult Shivaji. I deeply respect Shivaji Maharaj. I was just citing some examples which have been wrongly interpreted. We often give Shivaji’s examples to children. It does not mean we are comparing them or insulting Shivaji.”Son of former Guwahati HC CJILodha, who is one of the richest state ministers with declared assets worth Rs 441.65 crore, is from Rajasthan. He arrived in Mumbai in the 1980s after completing his BCom and LLB degrees from the University of Jodhpur. His father Guman Lal Lodha was the chief justice of the Guwahati High Court. After initially practising law, Lodha ventured into real estate and founded Macrotech Developers (Lodha Group).Since his student days, Lodha was associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He made his debut in electoral politics in 1995, when he contested the Assembly elections for the first time. At present, he is a six-term MLA from the high-profile Malabar Hills constituency in Mumbai.The minister has often used the public forum at his disposal to speak about issues such as cattle slaughter and undocumented immigrants. He has spoken about the alleged threat Hindus face in the Muslim-dominated Malvani area of Mumbai.During a state Assembly debate last year, Lodha said, “There is a pattern to this Hindu exodus. They are being threatened and intimidated to leave their houses. A concerted attempt is being made to evict them. Just like Kashmir, Kairana witnessed the exodus of Hindus. Malvani in Mumbai is also witnessing the same.”On cow slaughter, he has said in the past, “There should be capital punishment for killers of cows and cattle. Cow slaughter should be punishable by death and beef export should be banned.”During campaigning for the 2019 Assembly polls, the Election Commission served Lodha with a show-cause notice for making a communal statement. While campaigning in Mumbadevi, the BJP leader said, “The explosives used in the 1992 Mumbai riots were made in bylanes five km from here.” The Mumbadevi neighbourhood has a sizable Muslim population.

In latest Shivaji row, a BJP minister among the richest in Maharashtra Cabinet