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Governor pats Maharashtra government’s back for rising up to Covid challenges



Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday lavished praises on the Maha Aghadi government for its efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic that first made appearance in Pune in March 2020.

The Governor unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute at grand function at Shivaji Park on the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day, in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi Thackeray, cabinet ministers, top leaders of the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, other dignitaries and distinguished invitees.

Paying homage to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and other legendary social reformers from the state, the the Governor lauded the state’s all-round progress in different sectors in the past 61 years since its founding and securing a record investment during the pandemic year (2020).

“As soon as my government had the smell of the virus spread and possible pandemic, it took efforts to reduce its impact and waged a combat against it with a sense of responsibility. I appreciate from my heart the efforts put in by all the Corona warrior,” the Governor said.

However, though the numbers of Covid patients and fatalities have reduced, Koshyari cautioned on the need to remain vigilant and employing all precautions like physical distance, wearing masks, sanitising, etc. like in the past year.

Referring to the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign launched by Thackeray last year, he said it reached 3 crore families and got the health status information of 12 crore people.

In order to help the poor during the pandemic and lockdown, the government slashed the prices of Shiv Bhojan Thali to just 5 and it has been sold through over 900 outlets in the state serving more than 2.50 crore needy persons.

Besides the Covid-19, the state also faced other natural calamities like Nisarg Cyclone, hailstorms, unseasonal rains and recently the Bird Flu, but it continued to march ahead despite the financial battering.

The state has extended the benefit of Rs 20,000-crore to some 30-lakh registered farmers under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Farmers Loan Waiver Scheme of last year and taken up the responsibility to buy whatever is cultivated.

Referring to the state’s progress, the Governor said even during the pandemic adversities, Maharashtra remained on the forefront in industries, investments and employment generation.

Under its ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ series the state attracted investments worth Rs 2 lakh-crores through Indian and foreign companies with an employment generation of more than 2.50 lakh.

For the safety, security of women, the State has already prepared the Shakti Bill and it is the first in the country to create a separate battalion for women in the SRPF.

Koshyari highlighted other major achievements and progress in various sectors, taking care of the welfare of the labour class by giving Rs 5,000 to over 10-lakh workers rendered jobless, providing shelter and food to migrants stranded here, for students, youth, the backward classes and other sections of society.


ED quizzes Maharashtra Minister Vishwajeet Kadam’s wife




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 Congress ministers protest high fuel prices on bicycles




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: MPCC expanded, Sanjay Nirupam bounces back




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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