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Sunday,26-September-2021

Maharashtra

89,000 rendered homeless in flood-battered Maharashtra

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UDDHAV-THACKERAY

As rains finally took a break, the flood-ravaged districts of Maharashtra presented a grim scenario with over 89,000 people evacuated and only beginning to grapple with the idea of how to rebuild their lives, officials said here on Saturday.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left Mumbai by helicopter to Raigad and then by road to survey the worst-hit Taliye village, near Mahad, where more than 50 people perished under a hillslide on Friday.

According to the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the towns of Chiplun and Khed in Ratnagiri district were completely inundated with water, both remained cut-off from land routes as the Vashishti River bridge was washed away in the flood.

As unprecedented rains jacked up the water levels to more than 15-20 feet (or, two-three floors of buildings), thousands of people were stranded on rooftops or upper floods and were seen screaming for help.

The NDRF and ICG teams were deployed to rescue them while the IAF choppers dropped food and medicine packets, and over 1,000 were evacuated safely.

With a stupendous record 110-cms rainfall in the popular hillstation of Mahabaleshwar, massive water rushed to the Koyna Dam and Koltewadi Dam and their discharges caused the Vashishti River to swell above the danger levels, resulting in floods in the towns and villages on its banks.

There were over a dozen hillslides and landslips in different districts burying scores and many more reported missing and efforts on a warfront are on to rescue them from the slush and stones.

The state government has sanctioned Rs.2-crore for relief operations to the affected regions where water levels started receding and cleaning operations have been taken up.

The SDMA today pegged the current official death toll at 76 besides another 59 missing and 38 injured in the floods, hill-slips, landslides and other rain-related tragedies.

The worst-hit districts were Kolhapur, Raigad, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sindhudurg, Mumbai and Thane, hitting a total of 890 villages.

A total of 25 NDRF teams plus eight on standby, three units each of Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard, seven of Indian Navy and one of Indian Air Force, besides local authorities are engaged in the rescue operations non-stop since the past over 24 hours.

The SDMA said that with fresh rains starting in the area, the authorities are on high alert to prevent any untoward situation while health officials are keeping an eye on the region for possible outbreak of any diseases in the flood aftermath.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra to finally reopen cinemas, theatres from Oct 22

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 Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday announced that all cinemas and theatres in the state will be reopened from October 22 in full compliance with health norms, 18 months after the box-offices were shut in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and series of lockdowns from March 2020.

“The work is underway to prepare a detailed SOP in this regard which will be announced soon,” said the CM as the announcement spread ripples of excitement in the film and theatre worlds now gearing to return to ‘full houses’.

The chief minister held detailed discussions with the Covid Task Force members, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Dr. Pradeep Vyas and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and others.

From the Bollywood and Marathi film industry, there were Rohit Shetty, Makrand Deshpande, Subodh Bhave, Aadesh Bandekar and other representatives from the stage and silver screen.

The move came a day after the government permitted the reopening of most schools in the state from October 4 and all places of worship from October 7, with restrictions and protocols, as the Covid-19 situation appears to be easing in the state.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra BJP LoP Pravin Darekar is a ‘crorepati labourer’: Sena leader

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BJP

 The Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Pravin Y. Darekar, “is a �crore-pati labourer who has allegedly mis-declared his professional credentials in his election affidavits”, claims a criminal complaint lodged with the Ghatkopar Police Station against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.

The complainant, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM) Chairman Kishore Tiwari, accorded a MoS status, raises certain uncomfortable questions to Darekar.

A former Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA from 2009-2014, Darekar is currently a BJP MLC since 2016, appointed Leader of Opposition of Upper House since 2019, and is also shown as the Chairman of Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank (MDCCB) or Mumbai Bank, comprising the categories of representatives of registered cooperative societies.

In the police complaint, Tiwari said Darekar is said to be a member of the �Pratigya Mazur Sahakari Sanstha’ (PMSS) Ghatkopar, a labour cooperative society, on the basis of which he is represented as a director with the Mumbai Bank, and as fulltime Chairman since 2015.

However, in his statutory affidavits in Form 26 for the two elections Darekar has stated on oath his profession and that of his wife Sayli Darekar as �independent business’, Tiwari contended.

“This is blatantly false and a misleading declaration on the basis of which he was elected to the house on both occasions. He is looting the government through full salaries, allowances, honorariums and privileges, and as LoP now even enjoying a Cabinet Minister rank, and at the same time availing the coveted position and perks of Mumbai Bank,” Tiwari said.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, including a brief questionnaire, there was no response from Darekar or his team in the matter.

Elaborating on the recently-emerged revelations, the Shiv Sena’s farmer face accused Darekar of pretending to be a �labourer’, and through the PMSS as a voter at the MDCCB or Mumbai Bank.

Even his wife and one of his brothers are proclaimed �labourers’ and as the PMSS representatives are voters in the same Mumbai Bank, as per the police complaint.

“Can the honourable LoP explain whether he and his family members are �daily wage earners’, or have they misused the �labour’ tag to snatch positions and swindle the government,” Tiwari pointedly asked.

“This is an extremely serious matter as all positions were gained based on fraudulent or fictitious documents and false declarations. I urge the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Union Cooperative Minister Amit Shah, Enforcement Directorate and others to probe and initiate criminal action,” said a grim Tiwari.

He pointed out that as per the Supreme Court, the affidavit of a election candidate or Form 26 filed during the nomination can be used as evidence to prosecute in case of a cognizable criminal offence.

Moreover, the Maharashtra government’s Model Rules for labour cooperative societies define a labourer as a person whose main means of subsistence is manual labour, he pointed out.

“From this it is clear that Darekar is primarily disqualified as a �labourer’ and hence all the pay, perks, facilities, concessions he was given till date amounts to cheating the people and defrauding the government coffers that attracts criminal action,” he said.

Currently, one or more cases are pending pertaining to the alleged scams in the Mumbai Bank since 2014-2015.

Tiwari demanded that Shah and Thackeray order an immediate enquiry through the concerned agencies, book Darekar and conduct the trial in a fast-track court as per the mandate of SC, failing which he would file a PIL int he court.

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Maharashtra

Atrocities on women highest in BJP-ruled states: Maharashtra Congress

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Congress

 The Maharashtra Congress on Wednesday said that atrocities against women are highest in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and seconded Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s suggestion to convene a special four-day session of Parliament to discuss the issue.

Quoting the latest official data in the NCRB-2020 Report, Congress state Spokesperson and General Secretary Sachin Sawant said that the crimes against women were highest in Maharashtra during the tenure of BJP’s ex-Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – who also handled the home department – but the atrocities have come down during the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) rule.

His comments came a day after a battle royale erupted over Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter to Thackeray urging him to call a special session of Maharashtra Legislature to discuss law & order and women’s safety issues in the wake of the brutal rape-cum-murder of a 32-year-old woman at Sakinaka on September 10.

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