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Sunday,09-August-2020

Maharashtra

BMC begins to withdraw after 90-day corona war in Dharavi

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After what is billed as a major triumph in the 90-day war against the novel coronavirus in Dharavi, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slowly started a cautious retreat from Asia’s biggest slum which reported its first Covid-19 case-cum-death on April 1.

“We have closed two isolation facilities in Dharavi as cases have significantly reduced there and we don’t want to waste resources. Of the total 3,800-beds capacity in eight quarantine centres, we have reduced the numbers by 1,000 to touch around 2,800 beds,” G/North Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar told IANS.

These include 700 beds put up at the sprawling Dharavi Municipal School and 300 beds at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex that falls in BMC’s G/North Ward, he said.

In fact, Dighavkar, said the BMC’s 200-bed ICU hospital in Dharavi is occupied by only 78 patients at present and the area has “ample quarantine and treatment facilities” available anytime for the remaining 23 per cent active cases, with few new ones coming up daily.

The heartening developments come after Mayor Kishori Pednekar told IANS on June 21: “The Dharavi ‘tension’ is off our heads now. We have worked really hard to bring it to this level and it has given excellent results with the local peoples’ full support.”

Simultaneously, the never-say-die people of this once ‘red-hotspot of the pandemic’ – which made headlines in the global media – are now quietly hugging the ‘New Normal’, despite the same congestion, overcrowded living and working quarters, serpentine queues at public toilets, narrow bylanes, stench and squalor plus the monsoon madness etc.

After the initial days of airily dismissing the pandemic, a sense of seriousness and responsibility is evident among the locals after they witnessed 2,300-plus cases and 82 deaths, pointed out Dharavi businessman Salim Memon.

“That was because it was impossible to maintain physical distance, isolation etc, due to the sheer numbers – more than 800,000 people crammed in barely 2.25 sq km. Now, nearly 50 per cent of the migrants have left, affording Dharavi some much-needed breathing space,” Dharavi Rehabilitation Committee President Raju Korde told IANS.

However, he says, it is time to wage the next level of war for redevelopment of Dharavi, which has been pending for 16 years.

“The government ordered the Integrated Township Project for Dharavi on February 4, 2004, but even after 16 years, and half a dozen governments, the project has not moved an inch. On July 20, we shall take out a ‘morcha’ in support of this demand,” Korde said.

Cheered by Dharavi’s success, Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal has sought to replicate the ‘Dharavi Model’ in public-private-partnership mode in other new hotspots like Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Mulund and Bhandup in Mumbai’s northern suburbs.

As BMC top brass said, instead of waiting for patients to approach them, the civic body switched to the ‘Chase the Virus’ mode with the concept of 4 Ts – Tracing, Tracking, Testing and Treating – to finally curb corona spread in Dharavi.

Besides the corona warriors among health personnel, even the police, CRPF, civic staff, some NGOs and other social activists played a role in loosening Covid-19’s stranglehold on Dharavi.

Korde says that the people have fully cooperated with the authorities during the pandemic and “it’s now their turn to get a better life through redevelopment”.

Maharashtra

Sushant case: Shiv Sena slams BJP for ‘maligning’ Thackerays

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Sanjay-Raut-1

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “politicising” the Sushant Singh Rajput case by linking a state minister for alleged political gains.

In a strongly worded column in party newspaper ‘Saamana’, Raut claimed that this was a conspiracy of the BJP with the help of a section of the media to malign the Maharashtra government under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

“One TV channel uses derogatory, defamatory, and threatening language against the CM. This has distressed many, including Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar. A section of the media has the support of the opposition party which seeks to destablise the government. Pawar asked me what action the government has initiated over the disrespect meted to Thackeray who holds a Constitutional post,” Raut said.

He suspected that the entire matter was scripted in advance, with the opposition linking Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray to the case only because he shared cordial relations with several Bollywood personalities, and dubbed it a “conspiracy against the Maharashtra government”.

Targetting the Bihar Police, Raut said it has unnecessarily jumped into this case, especially since nobody stood behind Sushant Singh Rajput during his struggling days, and whatever the actor achieved was due to Mumbai.

“Sushant and his father Krishna Kishore Singh did not enjoy cordial relations, as he was upset by the latter’s (father’s) decision to remarry. He was instigated to lodge the FIR with Bihar Police, which came to Mumbai to investigate an incident which occurred here. Bihar Police is not some ‘Interpol’. This is not acceptable,” Raut declared.

Slamming Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, the Sena leader said that he has been breaking service rules by taking part in TV debates, commenting on Mumbai Police, and other objectionable actions.

“Who is this Pandey? In 2009, he had quit the police service to contest as a BJP candidate from Buxar, but after the then party candidate threatened rebellion, Pandey withdrew — his situation became ‘na ghar ka, na ghat ka’, with his political mission failing,” said Raut.

Later, he pointed out, Pandey pleaded to rejoin service, with his wife reportedly appealing that when he quit the police force, he was not mentally stable.

“If such a ‘mentally unstable’ person is still taken back on duty, that’s Bihar government’s problem. But today, he is among the closest to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and now media reports suggest he will contest the Assembly elections on a JD-U ticket,” Raut alleged.

Raut said given the high-profile matter, the Mumbai Police should have briefed the media on the probe’s progress every alternate day and made it clear it would investigate if any minister’s or politician’s name cropped up.

“They dragged the investigations. Calling film personalities regularly fuelled gossip and it must be ascertained if this was an attempt to terrorise Bollywood,” said Raut.

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Maharashtra

Ex-Maharashtra CM Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar dies at 90

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Veteran Congressman and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar, died due to old-age related problems in Pune on Wednesday, family sources said here. He was 90.

Last month, Patil-Nilangekar tested Covid-19 positive and fully recovered from it.

He is survived by four sons Dilip, Ashok, Vijay, Sharad, and a daughter Chandrakala Dawle, besides grandchildren including two who are Bharatiya Janata Party politicians.

Born in Nilanga village in the erstwhile Hyderabad State, Patil-Nilangekar took part in the Indian Freedom struggle and later served as the 10th Chief Minister of Maharashtra between June 1985-March 1986.

However, he was forced to resign following Bombay High Court strictures in the MD exams marks scandal involving his daughter.

A voracious reader, classical music lover and sport enthusiast, in 1968, he had founded the Maharashtra Education Trust which runs over two dozen schools, colleges and specialized education institutions

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed his condolences, describing Patil-Nilangekar as “a leader who connected and guided two generations” making immense contributions to the development of the state.

“A freedom fighter with commitment and firm views, he is among the leaders who were at the forefront of the state’s development and progress of the Marathwada region,” said Thackeray.

Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said Patil-Nilangekar’s life symbolized the struggle through which he came up and the state has lost a stalwart who helped build up the state with his strong political and intellectual leadership.

Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that in Patil-Nilangekar’s demise, the state has lost “a visionary and a disciplined leader” who strived for the state’s development.

BJP Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said Patil-Nilangekar fought for the country’s freedom and was recognized as a staunch and dedicated leader.

NCP President Sharad Pawar and a former CM, described Patil-Nilangekar as a tough, no-nonsense leader who created several educational institutions to provide good education to the youth in rural areas.

Other former CMs like Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan in separate messages, have condoled the demise of Patil-Nilangekar.

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Maharashtra

Promote Sanskrit as global language: Maharashtra Governor

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Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Describing Sanskrit as the “mother of Indian languages” and repository of wisdom in many disciplines, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday called for making efforts to promote it among the youth and students as a ‘world language’.

“Merely singing praises of Sanskrit will not suffice to preserve and promote the language. We must bring the language into practical use,” urged the Governor while inaugurating a national webinar on ‘Sanskrit: Origin of All Languages: Its Past and Present Relevence’.

Crediting the ancient language with keeping India united for many centuries, Koshyari said that the Sanskrit mantras sung in all corners of the country, including at Rameshwaram, Jagannath Puri, Badrinath-Kedarnath and even at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu (Nepal), underscore the unifying character of the language.

The Governor pointed out that while many modern European languages have literature dating back to only 500 years, Sanskrit has literature dating back millennia.

Koshyari also appealed to scholars to undertake research about the science of sound and music associated with Sanskrit language.

The webinar was organised by the School of Language and Literature of the Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar Solapur University (PAHSU).

Among those who attended the webinar included PAHSU Vice Chancellor Mrinalini Fadnavis and Pro-VC Debendranath Mishra, Kavi Kulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University Vice-Chancellor Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Deccan Deemed University Acting V-C Prasad Joshi, 800 principals, teachers and students from across the country.

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