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Tuesday,30-November-2021

Maharashtra

Export ban protest: Maharashtra NCP sends onions as gift to PM, Governor

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Even as the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress continued to protest against the Centre’s ban on onion exports, the NCP’s Women’s Wing on Friday sent onions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Women workers from all 36 districts in Maharashtra collected onions and sent them to Modi and Koshyari, said NCP Women’s Wing President Rupali Chakankar.

“Our women collected onions despite financial constraints and sent parcels of 5 kg each to the PM and the Governor. From Pune, we have dispatched the onion consignments by India Post. In other districts, our members handed these to Collectors or other officials to be forwarded to the two leaders,” Chakankar told IANS.

She said the onion parcels would convey the sentiments of onion farmers who were crying because the export ban had hit their livelihood badly, besides causing huge market fluctuations.

“The PM celebrated his birthday on September 17. Today, we sent him a belated birthday gift to make him understand the tears our poor farmers are shedding,” Chakankar added.

Asked why the onion parcels were sent to Raj Bhavan, she said that the Governor had time to meet all and sundry who speak ill of Maharashtra, but had no time to hear out onion farmers to acknowledge their problems in these difficult times.

“After spending so much time with anybody who criticises Maharashtra, its leaders and the Mumbai Police, the Governor should spare some time to meet our poor farmers and convey their plight to the Centre,” the NCP leader said.

Pointing to the gravity of the situation, she said that around 500,000 tonnes of onions were stuck at Mumbai ports due to the ban, causing a loss of Rs 1,250 crore to the farmers and others.

“Who’s responsible for all this? Will the BJP-led government compensate them for their losses?” she asked.

The NCP leader said that after a series of calamities like drought, floods, unseasonal rains and lockdown, the central government has brought another catastrophe on the suffering farmers. She demanded that the export ban be revoked forthwith.

Maharashtra

Omicron concerns: Mumbai, Pune, Nashik postpone schools’ reopening

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Amid concerns of the Covid-19 variant Omicron, the reopening of schools from Class 1 to 7 has been postponed by 10-15 days in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, officials said here on Tuesday.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner I.S. Chahal and Pune Municipal Corporation Mayor Murlidhar have said that schools in the two cities — both among the worst-hit in the Covid-19 two waves in 2020 and 2021 — will now reopen from December 15.

Similarly, the Nashik Municipal Corporation, which was also among the badly-hit cities in the past two years of the pandemic, has also postponed the schools reopening plan to December 10.

However, all schools in the rest of Maharashtra are likely to reopen from December 1, for Class 1 to 5 in the rural areas and 1-7 in the urban areas with full Covid protocols, as announced earlier by School Education Minister Prof. Varsha E. Gaikwad.

Taking precautions, the BMC is currently tracking all passengers who have arrived in the city from the 12 Omicron-hit nations since November 10 to detect if any of them are infected by the new strain.

The state government has also sought information on all passengers landing at the three international airports in the state in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, besides those arriving from other states, by flights originating from the 12 nations.

The BMC has already announced that a 14-day institutional quarantine regime will be compulsory for all such passengers and home isolation will not be permitted under any circumstances.

The state, major cities and district health authorities are gearing up to face the challenge of Omicron by readying hospitals, beds, ICUs, liquid medical oxygen stocks, medicines, doctors, para-medical and non-medical staff, and other health infrastructure to cater to a possible patient rush in the coming weeks, even as Covid-19 vaccination drive has gained momentum.

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Maharashtra

Mamata Banerjee to meet Sharad Pawar, India Inc in Mumbai

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 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will call on the Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar during her Mumbai visit starting here Tuesday, official sources said here.

“CM of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee-ji will pay a courtesy visit to our party President Sharad Pawar Saheb tomorrow, 3 pm at his residence ‘Silver Oak,’ on Dec. 1, in Mumbai,” said NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said.

According to indications, Banerjee will arrive here later Tuesday and plans to meet several top industrialists to attract investments to her state, and invite them for the upcoming Bengal Global Business Summit in April 2022.

It was not immediately clear whether she would meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is presently convalescing after a spinal surgery.

On a new high after sweeping the West Bengal Assembly elections last May, Banerjee is currently flapping her wings for a national political flight.

Last April, Pawar was planning to campaign for Banerjee during the Bengal Assembly elections, but was unable to do so owing to certain constraints.

Both Pawar and Banerjee are keenly making efforts to engage the national opposition parties and provide a united fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Besides Pawar, the All India Trinamool Congress chief enjoys a great rapport with Thackeray, whom she has met in the past, though her relations with the Congress — the third partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government here — are strained.

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Nawab Malik granted bail in defamation case filed by BJP activist

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 A Mumbai court on Monday granted bail to Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik in a Rs 100 crore defamation suit filed by Bharatiya Janata Party activist Mohit (Kamboj) Bhartiya.

Malik, who responded to a notice by the Mazagaon Magistrate Court three weeks ago, was granted a bail of Rs 15,000 and the matter has been posted for further hearing on December 30.

Last month, the BJP functionary had filed the defamation case against the NCP leader for allegedly defaming him by revelations that his brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdev was among the persons detained by the Narcotics Control Bureau after it raided the Cordelia Cruise on October 2 and was released later.

Bhartiya contended that the minister allegedly used his power and position to raise doubts and spread canards about the release of his brother-in-law, and has spoiled his image and reputation.

After examining the evidence provided by Bhartiya, the Magistrate ruled that prima facie, Malik’s statements at his media briefings on October 9 and 11 pointed at defamation and issued the process against him.

Interacting with media, Malik said that he had honoured the court notice and appeared before the Magistrate in the defamation suit filed by Bhartiya, but denied the all contentions of the complainant.

“We have also brought on record how Bhartiya himself is a fraudulent person involved in a scam of Rs 1,100 crore and the raids by the Central Bureau of Investigations on him. When the scam started coming out, he changed his name from Kamboj to Bhartiya, we have submitted all evidence to the court and will provide more later,” he said.

Soon after the ministera¿s expose, Bhartiya had sent him a couple of legal notices and when the allegations continued, he filed the defamation case against Malik before the Mazagaon Magistrate Court.

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