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Tuesday,19-October-2021

Maharashtra

Sharad Pawar sports ‘Dabbawala Cap’, praises Mumbai’s famed tiffin-carriers

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In a warm gesture, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar donned a ‘Dabbawala Cap’ and lavished praise on the globally-famed Mumbai community of tiffin-box carriers, at a function to distribute free bicycles, here on Wednesday.

“The dabbawalas have been serving the people of Mumbai for over a century. They have made it to the Guinness World Records. Even Britain’s Prince Charles came to Mumbai and appreciated their services,” said Pawar.

He said that the dabbawalas efficiently and humbly ferry tiffin-boxes to over 2,00,000 office-goers, workers, students and others, and the people have a lot to learn from them.

Later, Pawar distributed bicycles to four dabbawalas of the first lot of 200, and the rest will be given out over the next couple of days.

Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust (NMTBSCT) President Ulhas Muke offered the traditional ‘dabbawala cap’ to Pawar who readily donned it, draped the NCP leader with a shawl, and presented h a memento of their iconic trademark, a gleaming ‘dabba’ in a glass case.

He said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress has been very helpful to the dabbawalas and have promised to set up a Dabbawalas Housing Complex with around 3,500-plus homes in Thane.

“We have identified a plot of land for this and the government will construct the flats and allot to the dabbawalas, including those who have retired,” said Muke.

The first lot of 200 bicycles — the chief commuting tool for the dabbawalas for the past 130 years — was financed through crowd-funding, said NMTBSCT Spokesperson Ritesh S. Andre.

“Each heavy-duty bicycle costs Rs 6,500. In around a month, HSBC India will donate around 1,300 bicycles under their CSR activity to cover almost all the dabbawalas now and in our proposed future endeavours,” Andre told IANS.

Taking a near-fatal hit during the two protracted periods of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the dabbawalas are now slowly limping back to normalcy, with nearly 25 per cent of the 2,000-strong tribe resuming duties, said another office-bearer Ramdas Karvande.

“However, from August 15, we have decided to diversify by setting up a community kitchen, subscription-based, from where we shall supply tiffins to the customers all over Mumbai. Initially, we target 1,000 meals/day, which will be later scaled up as per demand,” Andre added.

Renowned globally for their top efficiency, the dabbawalas have been the subject matter for studies and research in leading universities, and visited by The Netherlands’ Queen Maxima, the newly-anointed astronaut Richard Branson and other prominent dignitaries, besides being invited to the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005.

The dabbawalas reciprocated by sending a set of Maharashtrian-style silver gifts to herald the birth of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the first child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, in May 2019.

Maharashtra

Sena Minister to SC: Probe NCB, Aryan Khan’s ‘fundamental rights breach’

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In a significant development, a senior Shiv Sena leader urged the Supreme Court to order a probe by a sitting judge of the apex court into the affairs of Narcotics Control Bureau and violation of fundamental rights of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan.

Making the plea under Article 32 of the Constitution, Kishore Tiwari, accorded the Minister of State (MoS) status, has urged Chief Justice N.V. Ramana’s ‘top priority’ intervention into the manner in which the ‘biased’ NCB is hounding film personalities, models and other celebs since the past nearly two years with ‘malafide motives’.

He said that under Article 32, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) are duty-bound to take cognisance of every matter pertaining to the fundamental rights violation, as guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, which the NCB is flouting.

Referring to the Special NDPS Court (Mumbai) deferring the verdict in the bail plea of Aryan Khan and other accused till October 20 citing public holidays, the plea said this has subjected the accused “to big humiliation and kept in jail in an undemocratic and illegal way” for 17 nights.

This is in utter disregard to the fundamental Right to Life and Liberty as enshrined in the Constitution and the question of ‘bail is the norm, jail is the exception’, which has been upheld and settled by SC many times, as reiterated by former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi.

Accusing the NCB and its officials of ‘vendetta’ by targeting select celebs, Tiwari demanded a probe into the role of the central narcotics agency and the Mumbai Zonal Director (Sameer Wankhede), whose wife is a well-known Marathi filmstar, in direct competition with the other stars and celebs being hounded.

Pointing a needle of suspicion at Wankhede, the plea said the officer’s wife is trying to make big in Bollywood, and that’s why only leading names in the film industry, their families, national-international models, producers-directors are brought under the NCB lens.

“Starting with the probe into the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, the probe has been ‘totally diverted in an unrelated direction’ … The alleged NCB seizures are ‘miniscule jokes’ compared to the Mumbai Police achievements, or the DRI which last month seized 3000-kgs drugs from Mundra Port in Gujarat,” Tiwari said in the plea.

When the law has been settled by the highest court of the country, the NCB and the Special NDPS Court have “failed to give due regards” by depriving Aryan Khan and others bail, which could be done right away, even on public holidays, and thus there is ‘total miscarriage of justice’.

“With the recent shocking exposure on NCB by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, its high time the NCB Mumbai and all-India must be probed by an SC judge to unravel the rackets and the truth…It’s a fit case for immediate intervention by the SC,” Tiwari demanded, among other things.

Contending the NCB’s grudge and autocratic style are even more glaring, the Sena leader added that no contraband drugs were recovered from Aryan Khan, there was no medical examination proving consumption, etc., yet he has been shunted into different types of custody since October 3, echoing former Attorney General of India Rohatgi.

After the NCB swooped on a luxury cruise ship to bust an alleged rave party on October 2, Aryan Khan, along with 7 others were detained, arrested on October 3 and have remained in NCB and judicial custody since for the past 17 days, with their bail order likely be delivered by Special Judge V.V. Patil on Wednesday (October 20).

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Maharashtra

LS bypoll: ‘Get Joe Biden, we are not scared’, Raut taunts BJP

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Sanjay-Raut

 Kickstarting the campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha bypoll to the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli seat, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the party is not worried even if the BJP brings US President Joe Biden for canvassing, here on Saturday.

“When the Shiv Sena speaks, it’s called a roar. The Railway Minister of India is sitting in Silvassa for the past four days. Is there no work left in his ministry or has it been auctioned off like Air India? Even if they deploy Biden for campaign, we are not bothered,” Raut said.

The Shiv Sena has fielded Kalaben M. Delkar, the widow of former seven time MP Mohan S. Delkar, who committed suicide in a Mumbai hotel on February 22.

“There is a reign of terror in Dadra & Nagar Haveli unleashed by the current administration. Mohan Delkar ‘sacrificed’ his life for the people. We have fielded Kalaben Delkar to ensure justice for his ‘atma-samarpan’ and the masses of this Union Territory are suffering under the present regime,” Raut asserted.

Addressing mediapersons here, the Sena’s Chief Spokesperson took potshots at the BJP, saying that even during the West Bengal elections, the entire Union Cabinet and the BJP top brass campaigned there, but they proved no match for the charisma of Mamata Banerjee.

“In the same way, no attempts by the BJP will work here. We have held the hand of Kalaben Delkar, she’s our mother and sister, we will support her throughout. We expect her poll victory will be the biggest ever in the electoral history of this constituency,” Raut declared.

He said Kalaben Delkar does not need any sympathy but only support since her family has worked in the UT – around 170 km north of Mumbai nestling between Maharashtra-Gujarat borders – for several decades and she deserved to win the seat held by her late husband and her late father-in-law Sanjibhai R. Delkar.

“After the 2024 elections, Shiv Sena will play a crucial role in national politics… It will start with the Dadra & Nagar Haveli seat. It’s a fight for our dignity and self-respect and we shall struggle till the end,” Raut said.

Last week, Kalaben Delkar, along with her family and thousands of supporters joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of party President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai and was made the candidate for the parliamentary bypoll, taking political circles by surprise.

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Maharashtra

Fadnavis: MVA govt ‘most corrupt’, betrayed public mandate in 2019

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uddhav-fadnavis

 In a stinging counter-attack at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis once again labelled the MVA government as the “most corrupt” in the state’s history, here on Saturday.

Rubbishing Thackeray’s statements on Friday night that the BJP was misusing central agencies like ED, IT, CBI to target the non-BJP ruled states, Fadnavis defended the Centre, saying it was not doing so.

“If indeed the Centre had really misused the probe agencies, then half the MVA cabinet ministers would have been in jail. The parties like Congress are scared because PM Narendra Modiji will not rest till he uproots corruption in the country,” Fadnavis asserted.

Alleging that massive ‘dalali’ (middlemen deals) are going on, Fadnavis declared that as long as corruption exists in the state, the central agencies would keep coming here.

The BJP leader also alleged that the MVA ministers are having a ‘software’ for indulging in ‘vasuli’ (extortion), and other corrupt activities are going on in full swing in the state.

On the CM’s call to his party workers to “learn from West Bengal”, Fadnavis asked whether the CM wanted to make Maharashtra a “lawless state” like West Bengal, and said the BJP would fight it tooth-and-nail.

Slamming the CM’s challenge to the BJP to “topple the MVA government”, Fadnavis said that the CM was speaking only out of ‘sheer frustration’, and claimed the BJP is not interested in bringing down the government which would collapse on its own.

Rejecting Thackeray’s charges, Fadnavis reiterated that the Shiv Sena had betrayed the people’s mandate in the 2019 assembly elections by allying with the Nationalist Congress Party-Congress to form the MVA government, in the name of fulfilling the promise made to the late Balasaheb Thackeray to have a Shiv Sainik as the CM.

“If you were so keen to make a Sainik the CM, then why did you bypass all other senior leaders in your party? It was always your personal ambition to become the CM – nothing wrong in this – but at least drop this mask now,” Fadnavis said.

The BJP leader’s response came to Thackeray’s thunderous speech at the Shiv Sena’s annual Dassehra rally held in Shanmukhananda Hall.

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