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'Old jumlas repackaged as Modi ki Guarantee,' Uddhav on BJP's election promises

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that the it is selling its old false promises now as 'Modi ki Guarantee' to lure people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The former chief minister of Maharashtra, Thackeray on Monday addressed a gathering in Panvel and appealed the local voters to defeat the sitting Lok Sabha member from Maval constituency, Shrirang Barne in the upcoming elections, who has switched over to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Panvel is part of Mumbai Metropolitan region, but falls Raigad district and is part of the Maval Lok Sabha constituency, from where Barne won in 2019 as the candidate of the undivided Shiv Sena. After a split in the party, Barne joined the Shinde-led faction. "BJP leaders during 2014 Lok Sabha elections made several promises to people. Now, the same false promises or jumlas have been repackaged as 'Modi ki Guarantee' and being offered to people ahead of general elections. The country has never seen a party full of leaders who are outright liars," Thackeray lashed out, reported PTI. BJP is Thackeray's ally-turned-political foe. The undivided Shiv Sena and BJP fought for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in alliance, after unrestrained attacked on BJP from Shiv Sena since 2014, despite been in the government together.  However, after winning the state in 2019, the undivided Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray joined the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), consisting Congress and undivided NCP. As per PTI report, Uddhav Thackeray also dug up the issue of money collected under the PM CARES Fund during the coronavirus pandemic and claimed its utilisation remains unexplained. "BJP leaders from Maharashtra donated to the PM CARES Fund, but surprisingly, its utilisation is completely unknown to us. These BJP leaders did not donate to the CM Relief Fund when I was the chief minister (November 2019-June 2022) and the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing," he said. Thackeray referred to the Prime Minister's Office informing the Delhi High Court in January last year that the PM CARES Fund is not a "State" under Article 12 of the Constitution and does not constitute a "public authority" under the Right to Information Act, 2005. On Sunday, Thackeray also slammed BJP for nominating Kripashankar Singh for Lok Sabha polls. Singh, the former Mumbai Congress chief, had left the party in 2019 and joined BJP in 2021. "It is surprising that someone with allegations of corruption is nominated by BJP, but leader like Nitin Gadkari's name is missing from the list," Thackeray said. Singh is nominated by BJP from Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh for Lok Sabha 2024 elections.  (With PTI inputs)

04 March,2024 07:12 PM IST | Panvel | mid-day online correspondent
File photo for representation

Mumbai: Dismissed RPF man seeks to be shifted to jail closer to court

Dismissed Railway Protection Force constable accused of killing four persons inside a train in July last year, Monday sought transfer from the prison in Akola where he is lodged to a facility closer to the Dindoshi court in the north-west part of Mumbai for the sake of "fair trial and justice". Akola, in the state's Vidarbha region, is more than 550 kilometres from the metropolis. Additional Sessions Judge A A Ayachit sought a report from the authorities of Arthur Road (in Mumbai) and Taloja jails (in Navi Mumbai) on whether the accused Chetansinh Chaudhary, can be lodged at these facilities, newswire PTI reported. The judge also directed Akola jail authorities to produce Chaudhary before court during the next hearing on March 30. In his plea moved through advocate Jayant Patil, the accused said he was shifted to the "remote and unsafe" prison without taking any opinion or order from the magistrate court, which had heard the case during the remand stage. In the plea, Chaudhary claimed he was transferred to Akola Central Jail on safety grounds and that he had not been produced before the court for a long time. The Arthur Road and Taloja prisons are safer and convenient as they are just 25 kilometres and 49 kilometres, respectively, from Dindoshi sessions court, the plea contended. The application said the accused was facing serious charges, and hence, his presence in the courtroom was necessary for fair trial and natural justice. It is the duty of every jailor to keep an inmate safe and, hence, shifting Chaudhary to a "remote jail for safe custody is not a valid reason", the plea filed by Patil claimed. Furthermore, Patil orally submitted before court that he wants to move discharge application and requires instructions from the accused. Chaudhary is accused of gunning down his superior officer ASI Tika Ram Meena and three passengers onboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express near Palghar on July 31 last year. He was held with his service weapon from along the railway tracks at Mira Road after passengers pulled the train's alarm chain. (With inputs from Press Trust of India)

04 March,2024 06:11 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Ajit Pawar/ File Photo

EOW files closure report in MSC bank scam case involving Dy CM Pawar

The Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has presented a closure report on the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank fraud, in which the state's Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, is accused. The scam is centred around an alleged illegal lending scheme of Rs 25,000 crore, in which district and cooperative banks supplied loans to sugar cooperative societies and other companies in the state, reported news agency ANI.  According to the report, Mumbai Police filed a 'C' summary report with the special court and the next hearing of the same will be held on March 15. A 'C' summary report is submitted when a case can neither be confirmed nor disproven.  The court will consider whether to accept the report or direct the agency to continue the investigation and prepare a charge sheet. Ajit Pawar, along with over 70 other persons who served as directors of MSC Bank during the relevant period, was accused of granting loans to sugar mills at significantly reduced rates and selling properties at remarkably low prices, in violation of banking regulations and Reserve Bank of India guidelines, the ANI report added.  As per the report, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), however, filed an intervention petition disputing the EOW's closure report.  This is not the first time EOW has filed a closure report. Mumbai Police, in 2020, when Ajit Pawar was the Deputy CM of the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government, had filed a closure report in the Bombay Session Court. The ED even then had filed an intervention petition against the closure report, which prompted an investigation. According to the ANI report, four people filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court regarding the Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank scandal, which received public attention. The Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam case pertains to alleged fraudulent disbursal of loans amounting to Rs 25,000 crores to various sugar factories. The PIL filed in the HC, per the ANI report, disclosed the alleged fraudulent activities, saying that certain sugar mills defaulted on loans issued without due diligence. MSC banks later confiscated these mills and auctioned them off to various bank officers and politicians.

04 March,2024 09:37 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
People take a walk at Marine Drive Marine Drive/ Satej Shinde

Northwesterly winds bring chill to Mumbai; AQI 'satisfactory'

After having experienced warmer days, the temperature in Mumbai dipped again with the city recording its lowest maximum daytime temperature for March on Sunday. The daytime temperature on March 3 was 28.8 degrees Celcius which is 4 degrees below the normal average. Meanwhile, on Monday morning, the city recorded a temperature of  20.6 degrees Celcius. The temperature dip in the city can be attributed to the northwesterly to westerly winds prevailing over the region, per the India Meteorological Department. An official from the weather bureau noted that when northwesterly winds blow, the temperature in the city lowers. A meteorologist had earlier told mid-day that the city has witnessed a drop of almost 8 degrees Celcius in the maximum temperature in the last few days. They had also said that the city will be experiencing cooler weather for the next three days with temperatures to likely drop to 16 degrees Celsius at Santacruz. The dip came after the city witnessed a temperature rise. On February 26, the city's temperature soared to 37.5 degrees according to the data recorded by IMD's observatory in Santacruz while the Colaba Observatory had recorded a maximum temperature of 35 degrees. The IMD, in its daily weather forecast for the city, stated that Mumbai and the suburbs will be seeing a partly cloudy sky on Monday. Maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 30 degrees Celcius and 20 degrees Celcius, the weather agency said.  Mumbai's AQI Meanwhile, Mumbai's air quality on Monday morning is 'satisfactory' with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 58. Among all areas, Siddharth Nagar in Worli and Ghatkopar recorded moderate air quality with their respective AQIs at 156 and 133. Meanwhile, all the other areas, as per the Central Pollution Control Board's SAMEER app recorded 'good' air quality.  An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'. 

04 March,2024 08:37 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
A child gets oral polio drops at Dombivli railway station. Pic/Satej Shinde

Polio Day: Mass drive in Mumbai as govt vows to vaccinate 1 cr kids in 5 days

On the occasion of Polio Day, thousands of children between the ages of 0 to 5 were vaccinated in the city. Meanwhile, the state has committed to providing polio vaccination to 1 crore infants over the next five days. Sunita Sutar, a community health worker based in Bandra (West), mentioned that polio vaccination drives are probably the only times when health workers like herself do not have to convince people much. “This is one thing which anyone, anywhere, is aware of,” she said. The purpose of continuing these activities for the next five days, according to Sutar, is to reach the unreached population. “Sometimes parents also say their child already has a fever, so we visit them again after a couple of days for the vaccination,” she said. At her booth alone, about 75 infants were vaccinated. There were approximately 104 such booths set up all across H ward, under which Sutar’s area falls. Dr Nitin Palve, the ward’s medical officer of health, stated that over the next five days, officials aim to provide polio doses to 15,000 children. In comparison, the M-East ward has the monumental task of vaccinating 82,000 children, according to its medical health officer, Dr Sanjay Funde. Dr Nitin Ambadekar, the additional director of health services for the state health department, also visited a few vaccination booths in this ward at the start of the day. “We will be vaccinating about 50,000 children today alone,” Dr Funde said. There are approximately 358 booths set up in M-East. “We have also deployed a sizable workforce of 700 to 800 people to administer doses to as many children as possible in our ward,” he said. The workforce mostly consists of health workers like Sutar, along with Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Anganwadi workers, and Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANM). 82kNo. of children to be vaccinated in M ward

04 March,2024 05:09 AM IST | Mumbai | A Correspondent
Before: Both Congress and BJP graffiti on the wall of Hill Park Udyan in Shastri Nagar last week

Mumbai’s walls become battlefield for BJP-Congress slogan war

The BJP and the Congress are gearing up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and have engaged in a wall graffiti war in the western suburbs. While the BJP has stencilled lotus symbols and Modi slogans, Congress has taunted back with slogans demanding jobs and welfare. However, an unidentified activist has filed a police complaint for defacement of public spaces. The slogan ‘Ek Baar Firse, Modi Sarkar’ is being painted with the lotus, which is the election symbol of the BJP. In response, the Youth Congress started printing ‘Rojgar Do, Nyay Do’ alongside the BJP slogan. The Working President of Mumbai Youth Congress, Sufiyan Haider, said that the BJP has painted graffiti on the walls of many public places. “We saw graffiti with a lotus symbol. But no one is taking action on it. We saw graffiti at Jogeshwari West, Malad Appa Pada. So, we also responded by painting graffiti last week,” said Sufiyan. After: Picture clicked on Sunday shows Congress graffiti missing. Pic/Anurag Ahire “On Saturday,  the Amboli police called me and said they had received a complaint against me as we painted graffiti on the walls of public places. Police recorded my statement. I also filed a complaint with the police as well as with BMC against BJP graffiti. If they are taking action against me, then authorities should take action against BJP,” Sufiyan said. “Meanwhile, I came to know that the graffiti we painted on the wall of Hill Park Udyan in Shastri Nagar, Jogeshwari West has been removed by painting over, while the BJP graffiti on the side remains the same,” Sufiyan said. Shastri Nagar comes under the Versova constituency. Dr Bharti Lavekar of BJP is the MLA of the constituency. Sufiyan said Bharati Lavekar filed a complaint against him. However, the police did not confirm the name of the complainant. Meanwhile, Lavekar did not respond to the calls and messages. Senior Police Inspector Jaywant Shinde of Amboli station said that he will give information about the issue soon. Anil Galgali, a civic activist, said BMC should take suo-motu action. “On the one hand, BMC spends crores of rupees on the beautification of the city, on the other hand, political parties use public places for their free publicity. Why is the BMC waiting to take action?” he questioned. Sanjay Gurav, another civic activist, also slammed BMC as well as the parties. “Keeping the city clean is the responsibility of everyone, but political parties use walls of public places for their free publicity. How will the city become clean and beautiful?” Gurav asked. 

04 March,2024 05:05 AM IST | Mumbai | Sameer Surve
Shark attack survivor Hitesh Govari at his residence in Manor

Bull shark not on govt wildlife list; no relief for Palhghar man who lost leg

A few weeks after the quiet hamlet of Dongarpada in Palghar district was rocked by a terrifying bull shark attack, Hitesh Govari, a 34-year-old villager who lost his left leg in the close encounter, opened up to mid-day about his traumatic experience and struggle to receive compensation.  This reporter visited Manor last week to gain clarity on the events that had transpired. The 34-year-old with his ten-year-old daughter Vaishnavi, his mother and wife Vaishali (far left). Pics/Ranjeet Jadhav Sitting in his modest home, Govari, the sole breadwinner of his family, expressed deep concern about the future of his children, due to his incapacity to continue working as a loader and fisherman. Adding to his plight is the cruel reality that, despite his severe injuries, Maharashtra compensation laws do not cover incidents involving bull sharks. As Govari awaits the acknowledgement of his case as an exceptional circumstance, he asks the forest department to empathise with him and offer compensation.  That fateful evening “I visited the Vaitarna riverbank on the evening of February 13 with my 10-year-old daughter Vaishnavi. After entering two or three-foot-deep water, I felt severe pain below my left knee. I had no idea what had happened, and as I tried to raise my leg, I saw that a large portion of the calf was missing. There was blood everywhere.  Vaishnavi, who was sitting on the riverbank, started shouting, and without giving it a thought, she knotted my shirt and her clothes over my damaged leg to prevent more blood loss. I am alive today due to my daughter and other villagers who rushed me to the hospital on time,” said Govari. He added that all children in Adivasi padas grow up knowing basic first aid owing to their close connection with nature and injuries being a common occurrence.Govari added that within seconds of the attack, he observed a massive fish, which he believed to be the bull shark. The 34-year-old with his ten-year-old daughter, Vaishnavi, his mother and wife Vaishali (far left). Pics/Ranjeet Jadhav Govari was rushed to a local hospital in Manor shortly after the attack, but physicians advised his family to take him to Shri Vinoba Bhave Civil Hospital in Silvassa as the nature of the injury was serious and it required expert intervention. The aftermath “The injury was so serious that doctors had no choice but to amputate my leg. I’m grateful to the doctors for saving my life. What bothers me right now is what will happen to my two children. I was the primary breadwinner of the family, and with one leg, I wouldn’t be able to work as a loader. I used to earn Rs 15,000 per month. I have been told that my recovery will be costly, and specialists have warned me it could take five to six months. God knows how I’ll handle the daily expenses of my family,” he said. Govari’s wife, Vaishali, is also worried as the family has to spend Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 weekly on transportation alone to accompany her husband to Silvassa to get his wounds dressed. She said, “We spend about Rs 4,000 each week on his treatment, including travel and medication. I am concerned about the future because he is the family’s sole breadwinner. The forest department should treat this as a case of human-wildlife conflict and compensate my husband as such victims receive permanent disability compensation.” Govari’s mother stated that the family is in desperate need of money and that someone should step forward and offer assistance in their time of difficulty. DepartmentSpeak A senior forest department official who did not wish to be named said, “It’s a tragic situation, but despite being a case of HWC [human-wildlife conflict], we won’t be able to compensate the victims because a bull shark bite is not covered under the Maharashtra Payment of Compensation for Loss, Injury, or Damage Caused by Wild Animals Act, 2023.” The state government compensates victims for the following types of injuries or damages caused due to wild animal attacks: loss of human life, permanent disability or major injury to humans, loss of cattle life, injury to cattle, damage to crops or fruit plants and property damage. According to the Maharashtra Payment of Compensation for Loss, Injury or Damage Caused by Wild Animals Act, 2023, “wild animal” means tiger, leopard, bear, bison, wild pig, jackal, hyena, fox, crocodile, elephant, wild dog, deer, nilgai, monkey and langur and includes such other wild animals as the state government may, by notification published in the official gazette, specify. The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 in India safeguards four shark species: the whale shark, Pondicherry shark, Ganges shark, and speartooth shark, making it illegal to capture, kill or sell them. This list does not include the bull shark so Govari might face it extremely difficult to get compensation from the forest department. When contacted, the Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Palghar, Madhumitha S was not available for comment. Highest compensation According to the data available exclusively with mid-day, 624 people were killed and over 5,000 injured in the state between January 2012 and January 2023 due to HWC. The Maharashtra forest department has paid over R450 crore in compensation due to HWC (including for human deaths, injuries, cattle loss and crop damage) in this period. The highest number of deaths due to HWC, 98, took place in 2022-2023 (till January 2023), followed by 86 deaths in 2021-2022 and 82 in 2020-2021. The highest number of human injuries due to HWC, 700, was recorded in 2015-2016, followed by 686 in 2016-017 and 648 in 2022-2023. The Maharashtra FD has paid R457.83 crore in compensation between January 1, 2012 and January 26, 2023. The amount of financial aid provided to families of people killed by wild animals in Maharashtra is R25 lakh. A person receives R7.50 lakh in compensation if they are left permanently disabled as a result of the attack, and R5 lakh in compensation for serious injuries. Feb 13Day incident occurred Rs 4,000Govari’s weekly treatment expenditure

04 March,2024 05:01 AM IST | Mumbai | Ranjeet Jadhav
An artist’s impression of the completed bridge

Mumbai: Cable-stayed ROB at Reay Road to be ready by May

The swanky six-lane cable-stayed bridge at Reay Road will be the first to be completed among the new cable-stayed ones coming up in the city, with the Maharashtra Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (MahaRail) announcing on Friday that 70 per cent of its work had been completed. Authorities said the bridge would be ready by May 2024. “So far, about 70 per cent of the construction work for the cable-stayed road overbridge (ROB) at Reay Road is completed. MahaRail shall complete the construction by May 2024 if the right of way is cleared. The construction work started on February 14, 2022,” a MahaRail spokesperson said. mid-day reported in January 2024 on how work on the Reay Road and Byculla bridges was in full swing. “The BMC has entrusted MahaRail to reconstruct dilapidated British-era ROBs in Mumbai and its suburbs. Considering the tremendous road traffic in Mumbai, in most cases, the rail agency has planned to build new cable-stayed bridges adjacent to existing ones, after which the existing bridges will be demolished,” the spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, plans were chalked out in a way that would cause minimum hindrance to traffic and pedestrian movement. “MahaRail has started construction of cable-stayed ROBs at Reay Road, Byculla and near the Dadar Tilak Bridge and plans to complete the work of these bridges in less than two years,” he said. Built at a cost of Rs 145 crore Giving details of the bridge at Read Road, he said that all foundation work of the 385-metre-long bridge with two ramps had been completed and girder launching and superstructure work is currently in progress. Asked about how many structures need to be re-located in total, he said the railway ticket counter structure, 130 hutments and 15 galvanised iron (GI) sheet sheds of shops need to be moved. “Of these, relocation of the ticket counter structure and 15 GI sheds remains. The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and Central Railway are responsible for their relocation,” the spokesperson said. Salient features The bridge structure will allow traffic movement through the underpass of Barrister Nath Pai Road and also maintain the required vertical clearance for vehicles passing on the eastern freeway below, as per Indian Roads Congress standards. Besides this, the new cable-stayed ROB will add to the aesthetic appeal. MahaRail has also designed LED lighting systems for the bridge to enhance its aesthetic appeal while a bridge health monitoring system will improve safety parameters.

04 March,2024 04:55 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
The OBE model will be adopted in select schools. Representation pic

After CBSE, Maharashtra State Board now considering open-book exam

As the CBSE board plans to initiate a pilot run of the Open Book Exam (OBE) for select subjects in Std IX, X, XI, and XII during internal examinations, the Maharashtra State Board is also contemplating experimenting with an open-book exam pattern soon, as stated by the state board chief. Following the lead of the CBSE, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) has indicated its intention to explore OBE. Sharad Gosavi, chairman of MSBSHSE, mentioned that the board will formulate a plan and implement the pattern in certain schools. “We will analyse the response received from the examination and assess how students perform,” Gosavi explained. In his statement on Thursday, Gosavi suggested that the state government is seriously considering testing the OBE pattern in state board schools as well. Also Read: Did you know that it’s a myth that leopards actively seek out humans “While no decision has been made yet, there have been discussions within the state education circle regarding the potential benefits of this pattern, such as enhancing analytical skills among students and discouraging rote learning,” said a senior official from the school education department. “However, any decision will only be made after thorough testing and evaluation to ensure it is beneficial for the students. Currently, there is no concrete decision on this matter,” the official added. The pilot run for OBE will happen exclusively in selected schools during November and December this year. It will primarily focus on subjects such as English, Mathematics, and Science for Std IX and X, along with English, Mathematics, and Biology for Std IX and XII. This approach to assessment aligns with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) released last year. The primary objective of this pilot run is to evaluate the time students require to complete such tests and gather feedback from both teachers and students. The development and design of the pilot test are slated for completion by June, with the CBSE seeking assistance from Delhi University for this undertaking. The open-book concept proposed by the CBSE board has evoked mixed reactions from various stakeholders. While some have welcomed the move, others have raised concerns regarding its implementation. Gosavi addressed the press during a briefing on the SSC examination, scheduled to commence on Friday, March 1. “The state board will administer the SSC exams from March 1 to March 26, with a staggering 16 lakh students registered to take the tests this year.” “According to data provided by the state board, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of students appearing for SSC exams compared to previous years. This rise is because students who passed class VIII from CBSE board schools have now enrolled in state board schools for class IX under the RTE provisions,” Gosavi added. Addressing concerns about potential disruptions due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Gosavi assured that the examination and assessment process will proceed unaffected. Emphasising the importance of relying on official sources for exam-related information, Gosavi cautioned students against following timetables printed by other organisations. He urged students to refer to the state board's website for accurate schedules. Gosavi also warned against misbehavior and malpractices during exams, “Strict action would be taken against offenders. To prevent malpractice and cheating, 400 teams have been deployed, and students encountering any issues during the examination are encouraged to contact the helpline numbers provided by the divisional board, which are accessible via the state board's website.”

04 March,2024 04:47 AM IST | Mumbai | Dipti Singh
The girl, a central Mumbai resident, had to be taken to a civic hospital after experiencing health issues. Representation pic

Mumbai: Class 10 boy who got 15-year-old pregnant allowed to give exams

A 15-year-old boy detained for sexually assaulting a girl of the same age was released on February 29, as both will appear for the SSC exam this week. The cops said that the teenagers were in a consensual relationship, as a result of which the girl got pregnant. The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) had taken up the case on priority after learning the age of the boy and girl and that they were Std X students. It has also counselled the parents of both to ensure they are not distracted while preparing for the exam and refrain from taunting them or mentioning their situation repeatedly. According to the police, the girl, a central Mumbai resident had to be taken to a civic hospital after experiencing health issues. After a check-up, it came to light that the girl was four months pregnant. “The hospital, taking the issue seriously, informed the cops. The police, after speaking to the girl, learnt about the relationship. As the girl is a minor, based on her statement, the Mumbai police registered a case on February 28 and detained the boy a day later. The latter was then produced before the JJB at Dongri,” said a police officer. Meanwhile, the girl was produced before the Child Welfare Committee. “After interviewing the two, we found both were appearing for the SSC exam. The boy was released on the same day following the procedure. The girl was produced before the CWC and later handed over to her parents,” said a JJB official. BoardSpeak Yashshree Marulkar, principal magistrate, JJB, said, “Both students had scored well in the preliminary exams where the girl secured 74 per cent and the boy 58 per cent. Seeing that both were minors and their education shouldn’t be disrupted, we released both of them on a priority basis. Their parents were counselled that the minors should not be disturbed. Education is more important at present and the parents were suggested to stand behind them.” Rupali Patil, principal magistrate, JJB, said, “At such age what is right and wrong is not known to minors. So rather than punishing them, creating awareness that they had made a mistake and protecting them are important. So we counselled them as well as their parents.” Rupali Gothwal, public prosecutor, JJB, said, “Usually, in such cases, it takes time to release the minor who is under investigation. But we notice such cases happen due to a lack of knowledge in school as to what we should not do under the age of 18. Even with consent, it [a sexual relationship] is counted as an offence. Also, the JJ Act claims that instead of punishing a kid, they should be reformed at the prior stage. Education was more important than keeping them punished.” Feb 28Day case was registered

04 March,2024 04:43 AM IST | Mumbai | Faisal Tandel
Platform no. 5/6, an island platform at Thane station, which will be widened

Mumbai: Central Railway to enforce 60-hour rail block to widen platforms

Central Railway (CR) is all set to begin the widening of platforms at the crowded Thane station for better crowd management with 60-hour-long rail blocks to facilitate the work. The dates for these blocks will be announced in a while, said railway authorities. Rail authorities have also undertaken work to decongest another platform at Dadar, after the widening of platform no. 1 and 2 on the CR section. The plan is to provide more space for passengers waiting to board trains on the crowded platforms while taking into account the space limitations. Hence stalls and other utilities are being removed. “At present, platform no. 5/6 which caters to up and down fast suburban local trains and mail/express trains get extremely crowded due to long-distance train passengers waiting with their luggage on the platform. Thane being a junction also gets passengers from the trans-harbour Thane-Vashi/Panvel line, leading to more and more people pouring onto this island platform,” a CR spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, the plan is to shift the existing tracks of platform no. 5 to the west side and widen the existing platform wherever space is available. “The maximum width widening will be between 2.5 m to 3 m and the platform will taper where there is less space. This will create more circulating space on the platform. In addition to this, an east-west foot over bridge is being commissioned on both the north and south ends of the platform for seamless movement of passengers,” he said, adding that the work would begin soon and a 60-hour-long block would be enforced to facilitate the work. “At Dadar, after work on the up slow line platform is complete, the next in line is to convert the fast train platforms 10/11 into double discharge ones. This would ensure that the crowd on platform no. 10—where Kalyan-bound fast local trains and express trains leaving Mumbai currently halt—gets equally distributed decongesting it. Once the platform on the other side opens for the public, commuters can board from either side of the platform,” a CR official said. At present, the platform is fenced from one side. The official further stated that the work to open up platform no. 10 involves realigning all existing utilities like the foot bridge ramp, canteens, a few railway structures and staircases. “Once that is done, the overhead wires and tracks will be realigned. The cost of the project so far is Rs 1.88 crore.” Dr Swapnil Nila, chief public relations officer, CR, said that CR has decided to decongest the platform by relocating shops and other utilities which are currently located specifically in the middle of the island platform. “This will help increase the circulating area available for the passengers and to accommodate them in a better way. These widening projects will make for a better travel experience for Mumbaikars,” Dr Nila said. Rs 1.88crAmount spent on widening platform no. 10 at Dadar

04 March,2024 04:40 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
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