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Maharashtra Covid-19 cases 17; CM urges ‘work from home’




With the total number of coronaVirus cases touching 17 in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday appealed to all companies to allow their employees to ‘work from home’ wherever possible.

Making a statement in the Assembly, the CM also asked people to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded places.

He asked all companies that wherever feasible, employees should be allowed to carry out their duties from home in view of the coronavirus concerns among the people.

Besides, all theatres, multiplexes, swimming pools and gymnasiums will be shut in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur from midnight tonight till March 31, or until further orders.

Additionally, in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad — where the maximum 10 Covid-19 positive cases have been reported — even schools will remain shut barring those where SSC/HSC examinations are being conducted, until further orders.

“We will consider postponing school, college and university examinations after a status review over the next few days, and if the situation warrants it, a decision will be taken accordingly,” Thackeray said.

The latest development comes a day after the state government directed that all public functions, gathering and events shall be cancelled till further notice in view of coronavirus. Thackeray reiterated on Friday that all permissions given for such functions shall be revoked until the next order.

The new measures are expected to reduce overcrowding in the Mumbai suburban trains, public buses and cabs, besides preventing large gatherings witnessed at other public places like theatres, multiplexes, or crowds at swimming pools and gyms.

However, there is no immediate plan to impose a statewide lockdown on educational institutions in view of the ongoing annual (final) school-college examination seasons, an official from the education department informed.

The two found positive today in Nagpur were among those who came in ‘first contact’ with one patient already found positive here three days ago. They are admitted to Mayo Hospital for treatment and their condition is stable.

With this, Maharashtra has total 17 coronavirus cases including 10 in Pune, three each in Mumbai and Nagpur, and one in Thane.

After one person with a history of foreign travel tested positive on Thursday several schools/colleges in Thane advised students against attending classes for the next few days.

Thackeray reiterated that the situation in the state is being monitored closely but there were no immediate plans to impose a shutdown of educational institutions in the state.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope has appealed to people to remain calm and not to resort to panic purchases of masks, sanitisers, medicines, etc, and said that family doctors can easily treat coronaVirus symptoms without the need for quarantine.

Simultaneously, many mosques in Mumbai cancelled or truncated the traditional Friday prayers (today), the BCCI has postponed the upcoming IPL series till April 15 and most public places now wear a near-deserted look.


Maharashtra Congress’ Rajani Patil to be elected unopposed to RS





Senior Congress leader Rajani Patil is set to be declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha after the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party decided to withdraw its candidate for the by-polls here on Monday, party sources said.

The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Rajiv Satav due to Covid-19 in May, with Patil and Upadhyay filing their nominations for the vacant seat.

The north-Indian Upadhyay’s candidature was considered strategic for the BJP in view of the upcoming civic elections in the state and also the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, both due early 2022.

Last week, the ruling ally Congress’s state President Nana Patole and party leader in the legislature and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat had met Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and urged him to allow the elections unopposed.

An anxious Congress argued that as per traditions, whenever such elections are held to fill up a vacancy due to the death of a sitting member, they are usually unopposed.

On the other hand, the BJP contended that they would have not put up a candidate if the Congress had fielded Satav’s family member, but instead, the party nominated a former MP for the seat.

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Maharashtra to finally reopen cinemas, theatres from Oct 22




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





 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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