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OBC quota: Supreme Court asks Madhya Pradesh poll body to notify order to conduct civic polls in 2 weeks




With the Supreme Court on Tuesday directing the states to follow the triple test it laid down in 2021 for reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body elections, both the BJP and the Congress in Madhya Pradesh have supported the apex court’s decision ahead of the state Assembly polls scheduled in 2023.

The triple test involves the appointment of panels, gathering empirical data quantifying the extent and backwardness local body-wise, and ensuring the reservation does not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling.

The apex court in its judgement directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission to issue a notification regarding panchayat elections within two weeks.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in his response said the state government will file a review petition against the SC order to hold panchayat elections as well as on OBC reservation.

“We are yet to study the judgement in detail but we will file a review petition hoping that the panchayat elections are held with OBC reservation,” Chouhan added while responding to mediapersons on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court’s order came in response to a petition regarding 23,000 unfilled panchayat seats in Madhya Pradesh. The seats remained vacant as the state could not fulfil the triple test.

Earlier in December 2021, the apex court had directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission to re-notify OBC seats in local bodies as general seats and then conduct elections.

Both the BJP and the Congress levelled allegations against each other over the OBC reservation issue, however, both the parties had reached a unanimous consensus not to conduct polls without OBC reservation in the state.

A unanimous resolution in this regard was passed by the state Assembly in December 2021.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, A.S. Oka, and C.T. Ravikumar took serious exception to the vacant 321 urban bodies and nearly 23,260 panchayat seats in Madhya Pradesh.

The bench said such conduct is “bordering on the breakdown of the rule of law”.

The court directed the poll watchdog to notify the elections within two weeks.

It made it clear that neither delimitation nor triple test compliance can delay the filling up of the vacant seats.

The court said the seats must be represented by elected representatives after every five years as per the constitutional requirement.

The bench said the triple test formula laid down in a judgment in March 2021 will be applicable to elections on all local bodies across the country and is binding on all states and state Election Commissions.

Opposition Congress leader Arun Yadav said his party was apprehensive over the gross negligence of the BJP-led state government towards the OBCs.

He added that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief, Mohan Bhagwat has spoken about “ending reservation” and accused the state government of depriving OBCs of their due rights.


Maharashtra: Locomotive Detaches From Borivali-Ahmedabad Express At Vaitarna Station




Palghar: A locomotive attached to the tail end of a long-distance train decoupled when it departed after halting at the Vaitarna station on Saturday. A mishap was averted as the train hadn’t attained speed, but the episode resulted in one-hour delay.

The incident took place at around 2.15 pm when the 19417 Borivali-Ahmedabad Express stopped at the Western Railway’s (WR) Vaitarna station. As it started to pull out, the locomotive detached and skidded 20 metres away from the train.

The passengers experienced a strong jerk and heard a loud noise due to decoupling, said Jitu Mehta who was onboard at the time of incident. The shocked travellers converged at the tracks and platform. Passenger activist Shilpa Jain said, “Although most passenger trains have been upgraded to express category, the standard of coaches and locomotives remains the same. Despite paying extra fares, passengers are deprived of express train facilities. The condition is same with the Valsad Express which is a lifeline for thousands of daily passengers commuting from Gujarat to Mumbai.”

However, WR chief spokesperson was unavailable for comments.

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Goods Train Derails In Raigad District; Operations On Panvel-Vasai Route Hit




Raigad: A goods train derailed on Saturday afternoon in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, disrupting operations on the Panvel-Vasai route, the Central Railway said.

Nobody was injured in the incident, as per the preliminary information.

Central Railway Chief Public Relations Office (CPRO) Shivraj Manaspure said four wagons, including a brake van, of the freight train, headed to Vasai (in Palghar district) from Panvel (in Raigad district), derailed on the Panvel-Kalamboli section at around 3.05 pm.

Restoration work to start soon

“ART (Accident relief train) from Kalyan and Kurla stations is being sent to the accident site,” Manaspure said, adding that a Road ART has been sent from Panvel to the accident site.

He said the restoration work will start soon. 

After the incident, at least five passenger trains were detained at various spots on the Konkan-Mumbai route. 

However, Navi Mumbai suburban services between the Panvel-CSMT section were unaffected as the incident occurred on the Panvel-Kalamboli railway line, which further leads to Mumbai and Vasai.

Notably, Railway authorities have planned a 38-hour mega block between Panvel and Belapur stations of Harbour and Trans-Harbour corridors beginning Saturday night for laying two new lines under the Dedicated Freight Corridor.

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Mumbai News: BMC To Spend ₹315 Cr For Underground Tunnels Of GMLR Project For 10 Years




Mumbai: The BMC will be spending Rs 315 crore on the repair and maintenance of underground tunnels of the Goregaon Mulund Link Road (GMLR) for 10 years. A contract of Rs 6,301 crore has been allotted to construct 4.7km long twin tunnels in July. The tunnel is expected to be completed in five years.

The 12.2km road – connecting the Western Express Highway at Goregaon to the Eastern Express Highway at Mulund – will be crucial in decongesting other prominent pathways like the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road. The total cost of GMLR is around Rs 12,013 crore including all taxes.

Details On The Project

As part of the GMLR project, the civic body will be constructing a twin tunnel and a box tunnel under Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and Film City. Each tunnel will be 4.7km in length, while the box tunnel will measure 1.6km. It will have a diameter of around 13 metre and the distance between both tunnels is 15 metre and they will be connected via cross passages every 300 metre.

The BMC appointed a joint venture comprising J Kumar Infra Project and Nagarjuna Construction Company as the contractors. The contract includes maintenance of the tunnels for 10 years. “The twin tunnels will be constructed with state-of-the-art systems and regular maintenance will be required. Annually Rs 32 crore will be spent on the maintenance of ventilation, fire fighting, CCTV, communication system in the tunnel,” said a civic official.

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