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Tuesday,02-March-2021

Maharashtra

BMC bows to public sentiments, permits New Year celebrations indoors

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Bowing before public sentiments, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday permitted New Year celebrations by tweaking certain rules, a top official said.

BMC Commissioner I.S. Chahal said citizens can continue the New Year eve celebrations provided they do it indoors after 11 p.m. in view of the Covid-19 night curfew (11 p.m.-6 a.m.) in force till January 5.

“Don’t stop the party, Mumbai – Just take it indoors after 11.00 p.m!” said the BMC in a tweet.

In another relief, restaurants are now allowed to deliver food to homes in the city after 11 p.m. Earlier, they were mandated to stop all home-deliveries at 11 p.m.

Chahal said that the Covid prevention norms will have to be followed to ensure Mumbai rings in the New Year 2021 with safety.

The fresh set of rules came exactly a week after the BMC had banned all celebrations after 11 p.m., including on building terraces, disappointing many prospective revelers across the city.

Even the hotel industry had resigned to the norms by announcing that they would herald the New Year 2021 coinciding with Thailand time at 11 p.m.

In anticipation of their first major outing, lakhs of Mumbaikars had made bookings in hotels, resorts at hill stations, beaches, farmhouses, jungle and other tourist destinations.

Since the New Year festivities coincide with a long weekend, people have gone out of the way to make it memorable after over nine months of pandemic restrictions.

Crime

ED quizzes Maharashtra Minister Vishwajeet Kadam’s wife

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Enforcement-Directorate

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is questioning Swapnali Bhosale, wife of Maharashtra Minister Vishwajeet Kadam in connection with its probe in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case, officials said.

According to senior ED officials, Swapnali joined the financial probe agency investigation on Monday afternoon at its office here.

The ED had summoned Bhosale in the last week of January.

The ED had earlier questioned her mother Gauri Bhosale and brother Amit Bhosale in February this year.

ED sources claimed that her father, a noted businessman of Pune and her family members had sent over Rs 50 crore to London and Dubai to buy some properties there.

Avinash Bhosale was questioned by the ED on November 27 last year for several hours in connection with an old case under the FEMA. The ED had registered a case against Avinash Bhosale under Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA).

Avinash Bhosale is also facing a probe by the Income Tax Department. Last year, the I-T Department had carried out searches at 23 locations in Mumbai and Pune.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra Congress ministers protest high fuel prices on bicycles

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Maharashtra-Congress-ministers

Adopting a unique approach to highlight the spiralling fuel prices, all Congress Ministers and legislators on Monday took to the roads on bicycles and furiously pedalled to the Maharashtra Legislature on the opening day of the Budget Session, here.

Leading the bicycle rally, state Congress President Nana Patole and city party chief Bhai Jagtap attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre of “looting” the hard-earned money of the people by hiking taxes on fuel which have resulted in zooming prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

“The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made life difficult for the people. Though the prices of crude oil in the international markets is at a record low, the Centre is fleecing the masses by the taxes on fuel,” Patole said.

He said that excluding taxes, petrol costs around Rs 32.72 per litre and diesel Rs 33.46 per litre, but the Centre has imposed excise duties of 820 and 258 per cent respectively which has shot the prices of the two essential fuels to the current exorbitant levels.

Similarly, Jagtap said that the Modi government has “crossed all limits of shamelessness” by another hike of Rs 25 in the price of cooking gas (LPG) to now Rs 825 per cylinder which has created huge distress to the ordinary masses.

Besides, Patole and Jagtap said that Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan rubbed salt on the wounds of the people by claiming that the fuel price hike was due to the winter season.

Demanding that the Central taxes on fuel be rolled back, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the BJP leaders screaming hoarse over the fuel prices hike before 2014, “but today, these same leaders are looting the people blatantly with daily price hikes”.

“The Modi government is deaf and blind to the pain and sufferings of the people. Through this bicycle rally, we are conveying the people’s distress to the Centre and demand that the fuel taxes be removed forthwith,” Thorat said.

After paying homage to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in south Mumbai, majority of the Congress ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and almost all MLAs and MLCs joined the bicycle rally to the Vidhan Bhavan.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra: MPCC expanded, Sanjay Nirupam bounces back

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Sanjay-Nirupam

Three weeks after Congress President Sonia Gandhi reshuffled the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), four new vice-presidents and 3 additional Parliamentary Board members were appointed, here on Friday.

They are: Nana Gavande, Sachin Naik, Sanjay Rathod and Charulatha Tokas (MPCC Vice-Presidents), while Eknath Gaikwad, Sanjay Nirupam and Janardhan Chandurkar — all three ex-Mumbai Regional Congress Committee presidents – are named new Members of MPCC Parliamentary Board.

Sulking for nearly two years after he was removed as MRCC President in March 2019, the formidable Nirupam has apparently bounced back into favour with the party.

He had not campaigned for the party in the 2019 parliament and Assembly elections and had lost the Lok Sabha elections to Mumbai North-West constituency to Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar.

The expansion comes three weeks after the party appointed Nana F. Patole, 57, as the new MPCC President, replacing Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.

Besides Patole, the Congress named 6 Working Presidents, 10 Vice-Presidents and a jumbo 37-member Parliamentary Board in a widespread rejig of the party apparatus ahead of the crucial elections to various major civic bodies early next year, including BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

The 6 Working Presidents include leaders like Shivajirao Moghe, Basavaraj Patil, M. Arif Naseem Khan, Kunal Rohidas Patil, Chandrakant Handore and Pranati Sushilkumar Shinde.

The 10 Vice-Presidents are: Shirish Madhukarrao Chaudhari, Ramesh A. Bagwe, Hussain Dalwai, Mohan Joshi, Ranjit P. Kamble, Kailash K. Gorantyal, B. I. Nagrale, Sharad Aher, M. M. Shaikh, Manik M. Jagtap, and with 3 more – Nana Gavande, Sachin Naik, Sanjay Rathod and Charulatha Tokas – joining them, the strength has gone up to 14.

With the 3 latest additions – all senior leaders who have been former MPs or legislators – the strength of the 37-member Parliamentary Board has now gone up from 37 to 40.

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