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CM to move slowly on fast venue issue

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is apparently in no great haste to decide on the concession sought by India Against Corruption (IAC) on the rent of Anna Hazare's fast venue in Mumbai. After receiving the NGO's letter, requesting for a substantial reduction in the rental rates of MMRDA grounds in BKC, the CM asked the authority to submit its views on the issue, sources said.

The CM, in his capacity as the MMRDA chairman, can ask the authority to reduce the rates or offer an exemption, but he may not do it on an urgent basis, said the sources.

"As there is no direct word from Anna on the issue, Chavan may not speed up the matter," said a government official. As per the announcement of the fast agitation, the activist will start his hunger strike on December 27 in Mumbai. The IAC may have to shell out Rs 12 lakh roughly for the grounds.

Pataliputra CHS
Meanwhile, Chavan had a tough time in the State Assembly yesterday, as the Opposition as well as ruling coalition members ambushed him over the Pataliputra Cooperative Housing Society.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse, BJP member Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai, PWP member Ganpatrao Deshmukh, and Congress members Baba Siddique and Amin Patel flooded him with questions related to the society at Four Bungalows in Andheri.

Before that, Baba Siddique demanded the resignation of BMC commissioner Subodh Kumar, as he owns a flat in the society  mired in controversy for violations.

Citing provisions in Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, Fadnavis said that not just occupants, but the society's owner should also be booked for violations. Khadse supported him, saying that the CM was making feeble attempts to save society members, over 50 of whom are IAS, IPS and IFS officials.

The CM said he would submit the list of members in the house, adding that the role of the police would also be scrutinised, since the FIR was registered against occupants and not the owner even though the BMC's complaint was against both.

Chavan got some help from Industries Minister Narayan Rane who objected to the Opposition's vehement insistence on getting a specific answer on the issue.

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