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Mumbai: MSRTC launches digital payment facility on buses

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on Monday launched digital payment facility on buses, an official said, according to the PTI. The passengers travelling in MSRTC buses can now pay for their tickets through UPI on all buses of the state-run buses, the official said on Monday. The state-run transport body has replaced the old ticketing machines with Android devices for digital payment of bus fares, a spokesperson of the MSRTC told PTI. The corporation has given around 34,000 Android ticketing machines to conductors, and these devices are equipped with various digital payment facilities, he said, according to the news agency. "The new ticketing machines will generate a QR code, which passengers can scan on their UPI applications and pay the fare," the official said, adding that people won't have to carry cash or provide change to conductors during their journey any more. The MSRTC is one of the largest state-run road transport bodies in the country, with a fleet of around 15,000 buses. The corporation's buses ferry more than 60 lakh passengers across the state daily. Meanwhile, last month, the MSRTC had banned its drivers from using mobile phones while driving buses and warned of action, including suspension from service, against violators, an official had earlier said, reported the PTI. In a circular, the state-run entity said that the ban covers drivers of buses of its fleet as well as those leased from private operators, and includes use of headphones and Bluetooth devices, as per the PTI. The drivers have been asked to deposit their mobile phones with conductors or to keep them away in a bag in case of buses without conductors, the circular said. The MSRTC directed its flying squads as well as teams from the security and vigilance departments to ensure the order is followed strictly and to submit reports to higher authorities about violations on the part of drivers, according to the PTI. Issuing a release later in the day, the MSRTC said mobile phone usage to listen to songs, watching videos etc while operating buses was a dangerous act that disturbs concentration of drivers and spreads a sense of insecurity in the minds of passengers. The release said the transporter had received numerous complaints against drivers from passengers and public representatives, with many of them airing their apprehensions on social media. Officials have been asked to place drivers under suspension for violating the orders issued in the circular, the release added. MSRTC has a fleet of 15,000 buses and ferries 60 lakh passengers every day. (with PTI inputs)

11 December,2023 07:26 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Varsha Gaikwad. File Pic

Will protest if no rehabilitation of residents before project kicks off: Varsha

Mumbai Congress President and Dharavi MLA Varsha Gaikwad said the Congress will protest if the residents of Dharavi are not rehabilitated before the Dharavi redevelopment project (DRP) is kicks off.  Gaikwad raised the issue of Dharavi redevelopment in the winter session of  Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Monday. The Dharavi redevelopment project has been the talk of the town for a while now. "Earlier, we used to watch in movies that a builder has an eye on habitation and wants to usurp the land by oppressing people. But Dharavikars have been witnessing and experiencing the same kind of oppression in reality," said Gaikwad.  Gaikwad said there is an atmosphere of fear among Dharavikars.  In the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Dharavi MLA Varsha Gaikwad said retired police officers and “encounter specialists” are pressuring Dharavi residents to vacate their houses.  “Earlier, we used to watch in movies that a builder has an eye on habitation and wants to usurp the land by oppressing people. But Dharavikars have been witnessing and experiencing the same kind of oppression in reality,” she said. "Many retired police officers and encounter specialists roam around Dharavi and issue some or the other notices to settlements. There is an air of oppression in the area. It is necessary to rehabilitate the people there before doing the project. The government should direct such groups and tell the people where they will be rehabilitated. If they are not given what they deserve before the project begins, we will protest," said Varsha Gaikwad. The Maharashtra government in July formally awarded the 259-hectare Dharavi redevelopment project to an Adani Group firm. The project, which reportedly has a revenue potential of Rs 20,000 crore, involves rebuilding the Dharavi slum sprawl in central Mumbai, located near the BKC business district. It was won by Adani Properties in November last year through a competitive bidding which also saw realty major DLF and Naman Developers competing.

11 December,2023 07:07 PM IST | Mumbai | Ronak Mastakar
Representational Pic/File

Air quality in Mumbai has improved but not satisfactory, says Bombay High Court

The air quality index (AQI) in Mumbai has improved but continues to be moderate and not satisfactory, the Bombay High Court said on Monday, while asking the Maharashtra government to come up with a comprehensive plan to find a final solution to the issue. A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice G S Kulkarni asked the government to take the issue seriously, as lakhs of people continue to suffer because of the air pollution in the city. The court took note of a news report which stated that seven project sites- road concretisation at suburban Bandra and Khar, the bullet train site at BKC, Versova-Bandra sea link project, Mumbai Metro-III, Mumbai Coastal Road and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link were generating a lot of dust adding to the worsening air quality. The court noted that large mounds of construction material and rubble are reportedly left open at these sites. The bench directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to conduct a joint inspection at these seven sites and immediately take requisite steps, pass orders and ensure that all the norms are followed. "We also direct that in case the stakeholders at these sites are found to be not following or deviating from the norms, legal action may be taken by the MCGM and MPCB," the court said. The court noted that the AQI in the city continues to be at moderate levels, which indicates that such air quality will continue to cause breathing problems for people with heart and lung ailments, children and older adults. "The satisfactory level of AQI is 51 to 100. And therefore, a collective effort is required to be taken to bring the AQI to below 50 in the entire city," the court said. "Anything beyond 50 is not has to be brought down to below 50," it said. The bench said a statutory body needs to be set up to address the issue regularly. "We need to have a comprehensive plan for the entire city of Mumbai. Ultimately, you need to find a final solution or mechanism so that every six months we need not intervene," the court said, asking the government to at least start the process. Advocate General Birendra Saraf, appearing for the government, said senior government officials were busy with the Nagpur winter assembly. The bench then said the government should take this issue seriously. "Are you wondering if there could be a situation more serious than this? Lakhs of people are suffering daily. Be serious now. Last eight to ten days, there is this fog.. but it is not fog," Justice Kulkarni said. The court said the state government should consider framing some legislation mechanism along the lines of the central legislation The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act of 2021. The court said Saraf would take up the matter with the government and some appropriate decision be taken. The bench also directed the MPCB and the Central Pollution Control Board to file affidavits stating how air quality is measured and if the machines are adequate. The court said the expert committee set up by it last month will continue to monitor the situation and submit its periodical reports. The state government will consider the suggestions made by the committee and take an appropriate decision, it said. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions along with one it had taken up on its own regarding the rising air pollution in the city. The court said it would hear the matter further on February 6, 2024. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

11 December,2023 06:29 PM IST | Mumbai | PTI
Uddhav Thackeray. File Photo

Will govt continue action on seized properties of Praful Patel, asks Uddhav

Shiv Sena Chief and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray Monday raised concerns about the government's stance on the seized properties of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel, allegedly linked to gangster Iqbal Mirchi. Thackeray questioned whether the government would continue its actions regarding Patel's properties seized in connection with the underworld figure. Thackeray, the leader of his faction of Shiv Sena, expressed his doubts during a media interaction at the Vidhan Bhavan, speculating on the government's approach to Patel's assets tied to Mirchi, a known associate of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Patel, a former confidant of NCP founder Sharad Pawar, is aligned with the NCP faction led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. The Shiv Sena leader's remarks come shortly after Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis penned an open letter to Ajit Pawar expressing reservations about including former minister Nawab Malik, an NCP leader, in the ruling 'Maha Yuti' alliance. Malik, accused in a money laundering case, is currently out on bail for medical reasons. Thackeray's pointed question concerning Patel's seized properties stems from Patel's past summoning by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering probe involving alleged illegal assets linked to Iqbal Mirchi. Patel, who was with Sharad Pawar during the investigation, vehemently denied any involvement in questionable property transactions. Also read: Ajit Pawar: Spoke with Gadkari on ban on ethanol from sugarcane juice, will meet Amit Shah soon In a veiled reference to Fadnavis' letter, Thackeray expressed surprise at the need for communication between two colleagues through a written message when they were seated next to each other. Addressing the issue of Nawab Malik sitting on a treasury bench seat during the ongoing winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur, Thackeray implied that the government should clarify its stance on Patel's seized properties rather than resorting to written exchanges. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, earlier in the day, took a dig at Thackeray for his delayed attendance at the state legislature's winter session, questioning his commitment to farmers' issues. Thackeray responded by criticizing Shinde's seriousness towards farmers and highlighted Shinde's recent tractor drive during a cleanliness campaign. On the topic of issues related to the Vidarbha region not being adequately addressed, Thackeray redirected the query to Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur. He emphasized Shiv Sena's willingness to discuss all matters and support initiatives beneficial to the people of Vidarbha and Maharashtra, despite the party's historical opposition to the creation of a separate Vidarbha state by dividing Maharashtra. (With inputs from PTI)

11 December,2023 06:16 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Sanjay Raut/ File Photo

Sanjay Raut on cash from Congress MP: Black money with BJP would be Rs 1 lakh cr

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut, on Monday, claimed that the black money with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be Rs 1 lakh crore if a leader with INDIA bloc is found with Rs 200 crore. Raut, according to the PTI report, commented on the Income Tax department raids on premises linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand.  Reportedly, the I-T sleuths during the raid, on the premises and a distillery business owned by his kin, found alleged unaccounted cash which has thus far netted more than Rs 335 crore.  Raut, while slamming the saffron party said, that the BJP is shouting about the Dhiraj Sahu case but is not commenting on a similar issue involving Praful Patel who is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party (Ajit Pawar faction).  Raut was quoted in the PTI report as saying, "The BJP is shouting from the rooftops about the Dhiraj Sahu case but are not commenting on the Rs 400 crore issue regarding Praful Patel (of the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP). I will write to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on this." The Rajya Sabha MP further said, "If a leader from the INDIA alliance is found with Rs 200 crore, then black money of Rs 1 lakh crore will be found with the BJP." The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance is a Congress-led opposition bloc, and Raut's party is a constituent of the same.  Sanjay Raut, when asked about the disqualification pleas being heard against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs who rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray and broke away from the Shiv Sena led by him in June last year, said that the leaders from the ruling alliance were creating a ruckus in the Winter Session of the Assembly. He was further quoted calling the Eknath Shinde-led state government as "unconstitutional".  Raut further said that the NCP legislators like Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse Patil and Sunil Tatkare were not in favour of Shinde becoming the Chief Minister when Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) comprising of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress was formed in 2019, the report stated.

11 December,2023 04:51 PM IST | Pune | mid-day online correspondent
Representative Image

Thane contractor displays upside-down tricolour at an event; booked

A contractor in Thane district was booked on Monday for allegedly displaying the tricolour upside down on banners used as a backdrop during an event arranged to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with Viksit Bharat Sankalpa Yatra beneficiaries.  Reportedly, the contractor, who was tasked with printing banners for the Thane Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti event, allegedly ignored the authorities' provided background sample and printed the tricolour upside down. Union Minister of State Kapil Patil,  Thane Guardian Minister Shamburaj Desai, Collector Ashok Shingare, and other dignitaries were in attendance at the event.  According to a report in PTI, an official said that the banners exhibiting the inverted tricolour were showcased on the stage at the Kalher gram panchayat premises in Bhiwandi during the program on December 9.  The report further stated that the police officers registered a case against the said contractor after a complaint was filed by the Block Development Officer of Bhiwandi. He faces charges under the Prevent of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Reportedly, the Narpoli police station officer told PTI that a probe is underway and that no arrests have been made in connection with the case. In another unrelated incident, the police in Bhiwandi recently booked a scrap dealer for allegedly storing hazardous industrial waste without appropriate permission. According to a report, an official from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) filed a complaint against the dealer, revealing that the accused had stored hazardous waste in both a godown and an open area at Kausa. Approximately 15 tonnes of the hazardous material were found in the open area, with an additional five tonnes stored in the godown, leading to charges against the accused, Mohammad Arif Altaf Hussain Khan, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Environmental Protection Act. Simultaneously, five paan shop owners faced arrest for allegedly stocking and selling banned tobacco products at their stalls in Thane's Naupada area. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) conducted a raid, seizing banned tobacco items worth Rs 31,744 from the shops. The accused were charged under IPC sections related to poisoning, selling noxious food, and adulteration of food, along with sections of the Food Safety and Standards Act and FDA regulations. The FDA officials subsequently sealed all five shops, and an investigation into the matter is underway.

11 December,2023 04:50 PM IST | Thane | mid-day online correspondent
Bombay High Court/ File Photo

HC questions ECI's decision to not hold Pune by-poll due to other elections

The Bombay High Court, on Monday, questioned the Election Commission of India's stance on not holding a by-election for Pune Lok Sabha. According to the report in PTI, the ECI had told the court that they could not hold the by-poll due to their involvement in other national polls, including preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.  The HC, according to the PTI, held that their reasoning was "hardly justifiable".  According to the report, a division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata expressed concern saying that while such a stance can be understood in places like Manipur where there is physical unrest, it appeared implausible in the case of Pune. "We understand if they (ECI) say they cannot hold elections in a place like Manipur where there is physical unrest," Justice Patel was quoted as saying in the PTI report.  Reportedly, the observation was made during the hearing of a petition filed by a Pune resident named Sughosh Joshi questioning the ECI's decision to not hold a by-poll for the vacant Pune Lok Sabha seat following the death of Member of Parliament Girish Bapat on March 29.  Reportedly, the HC had last week asked the ECI for clarification on its willingness to hold by-polls in the constituency.  The ECI, represented by advocate Pradeep Rajagopal, cited ongoing polls and preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as reasons for being unable to hold the by-elections at this time, emphasising that even if held now, the term for the post would end within a year. Kushal Mor, the petitioner's counsel, argued that after the vacancy in the Pune constituency arose, by-elections were held in other constituencies. The petitioner's counsel was quoted as saying, "The by-elections in the other constituencies were held after the vacancy arose in the Pune constituency." Mor was directed by the bench to present these details in an affidavit, and a hearing was set for December 13. Joshi, who was represented by advocates Dayaar Singla and Shraddha Swarup, cited section 151A of the Representation of People Act, stating that vacancies should be filled through a by-election within six months. Joshi claimed that the lack of representation in Parliament has hampered vital development projects in Pune. He said not holding the by-poll violates the electorate's right.

11 December,2023 04:03 PM IST | Pune | mid-day online correspondent
CM Eknath Shinde. File Pic

Article 370: Historically significant day for India’s integration, says Shinde

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday said that it was a historically significant day for India’s integration after the Supreme Court passed its verdict on the Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. In an official statement on X, CM Eknath Shinde said, "Today is the historically significant day for India’s integration. The decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abrogate Article 370, gets a final nod from the Hon SC of India." He said, "I congratulate Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their commitment to ideology and remarkable courage to correct a historical blunder." CM Shinde further said, "this integration will end terrorism and bring peace and justice to Jammu & Kashmir. Today’s decision also makes a way for a free and fair election."  He added, "Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray once said, that if he becomes the Prime Minister of India for a day he will abrogate Article 370. Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have made his dream into a reality today. Unfortunate that some political parties remain skeptical and fail to acknowledge this great change in India’s political history. I have no doubt that one day POK will be part of India." सुप्रीम कोर्टाच्या आजच्या निर्णयामुळे एका ऐतिहासिक पर्वाचा प्रारंभ होत आहे. देशाची राजकीय एकात्मता राखणारे पाऊल पंतप्रधान श्री.नरेंद्र मोदी जी यांनी उचलले होते, ते कोर्टाने आज वैध ठरवले त्या बद्दल मी श्री.मोदी जी आणि गृहमंत्री श्री. अमितभाई शाह जी यांचे अभिनंदन करतो.जम्मू… — Eknath Shinde - एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) December 11, 2023 Meanwhile, the BJP on Monday hailed as "historic" the Supreme Court upholding the Centre's decision to scrap Article 370 and said with its abrogation in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave new strength to the unity and integrity of India. The apex court unanimously upheld the Centre's decision to abrogate provisions of the Article bestowing special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and directed restoration of statehood "at the earliest" as well as elections to the assembly by September 30 next year. Defence Minister and former BJP president Rajnath Singh in a post on X said, "Today the Supreme Court upheld Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to scrap Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution and the process followed for that." "This historic decision of the Supreme Court is going to make every Indian happy," he said and added that by abrogating Article 370, Prime Minister Modi has not only written a new chapter but has also given new strength to the unity and integrity of India.  Today Jammu and Kashmir has entered a new era of development, he added. The apex court also upheld the validity of the decision to carve out the union territory of Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. "I have full confidence that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will prove to be a benchmark in terms of development and good governance," Singh wrote on X. Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on X said the top court's verdict is yet another victory and moment of celebration for all the "nationalist people" of the country, who dreamt of "complete integration of the Jammu and Kashmir with Bharat" and for which they fought political and legal battles, and even sacrificed their lives. Thakur said that the Modi government withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, to undo one of the many "historic blunders" committed by the Congress during the Nehruvian era. "Certain political ecosystems and its offshoots and offshore sympathisers started conspiracies against this integration process because they never wanted normalcy to return to the (Kashmir) Valley," he claimed. The minister said the unification of Bharat was incomplete without "Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan". "And this objective was finally achieved," he added. "Under the leadership of Modi ji, peace and prosperity are returning and people have rejected terrorism," Thakur said. "More power to Narendra Modi ji because the nation trusts him as a man of his word who can restore the glory and territory of Bharat, lost in the past," the minister wrote on X. (with PTI inputs)

11 December,2023 03:37 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
File Photo/PTI

Uddhav welcomes Article 370 verdict; demands 'guarantee' for return of Pandits

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s Article 370 verdict and wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would "guarantee" the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to their erstwhile home state. He demanded that elections be held soon in Jammu and Kashmir as directed by the apex court. "We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court. We had supported the move when Article 370 was scrapped. We also welcome the SC's directives to conduct elections by next September. We hope that elections are held soon and people get to vote in a free atmosphere," Thackeray told reporters on the premises of Vidhan Bhavan here. The winter session of the Maharashtra legislature is currently underway in Nagpur, the second capital of the state. "We also hope POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is merged into Kashmir so that elections are held in greater Kashmir which is an inseparable part of our country," Thackeray said. Queried on the status of Kashmir Pandits, he said, "The word guarantee has become famous. We want to know who will give the guarantee that Kashmiri Pandits will return home now and exercise their right to vote. Will PM Modi give us the guarantee that Kashmiri Pandits will return to their home state safely?" The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the Centre's decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 bestowing special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and directed restoration of statehood "at the earliest" as well as elections to the assembly by September 30 next year. Also read: Lambi hai gham ki shaam: Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah invokes Faiz Ahmad Faiz after SC verdict on Article 370 A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, delivered three concurring judgements upholding abrogation of the Constitutional schemes that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir when it was annexed to the Union of India in 1947. Writing the judgement for himself and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, the CJI said Article 370 was a temporary provision and the president was empowered to revoke it in the absence of the Constituent Assembly of the erstwhile state. The Supreme Court verdict is a "resounding declaration of hope, progress, unity for our sisters and brothers in J&K, Ladakh", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna penned separate and concurring verdicts on the issue. (With inputs from agencies)

11 December,2023 02:37 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Ajit Pawar/ File Photo

Ajit Pawar: Spoke with Gadkari on ban on ethanol from sugarcane juice

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, on Monday, told the media that he met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss the Centre's ban on the use of sugarcane juice or syrup to produce ethanol. According to the report in PTI, Pawar, while interacting with reporters in Vidhan Bhavan premises, said that he met Gadkari on Sunday and discussed the ban.  He then added that the issue needs to be addressed at the union level as well and that he will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah soon.  The Union government, last week, announced a ban on the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production in the 2023-24 supply year that began in December to maintain adequate sugar availability for domestic consumption and to control the price rise of the commodity. The PTI report stated that the government, though, has allowed the use of 'B-molasses', a cane by-product for the production of the organic compound in 2023-24. Ajit Pawar was quoted as saying, "Since this issue is at the Central level, we will have to visit Delhi and meet Union Minister Amit Shah and the others concerned. And we will be meeting them soon." Ethanol is a colourless liquid which is blended with fuel as part of the government's initiative to reduce reliance on crude oil imports.  Ajit Pawar had earlier dubbed the ban on ethanol production using sugarcane syrup as a "sudden" move. Reportedly, various sugar mills invested in ethanol plants with five per cent of their capital and 95 per cent of borrowed funds, Deputy CM Pawar had told the legislative assembly after Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders raised the issue in the house on December 8.  CM Shinde's assurance to onion farmers Concurrently, on Monday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde stated that he will ensure that farmer losses due to the ongoing ban on onion exports are avoided. According to PTI, Shinde, who was visiting the party office at Vidhan Bhavan in Nagpur ahead of the state legislature's winter session, addressed concerns of onion farmers after the Union government decided to prohibit onion exports until March 31, 2024, to stabilise domestic onion prices. With agency inputs

11 December,2023 02:29 PM IST | Nagpur | mid-day online correspondent
File Photo

Maharashtra: Sharad Pawar demands roll-back of ban on onion export

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar Monday demanded that the ban on onion export be lifted and claimed the central government was ignoring the hard work of farmers. Addressing onion growers, who have been protesting against the Centre's decision, in Chandwad village of Nashik district in Maharashtra, Pawar said cultivators need to be united and demand their rights. "Nashik can show the way," he added. The Centre has banned onion exports till March 31 next year to increase domestic availability and to keep prices in check. Farmers in parts of Maharashtra have been protesting against the Centre's decision. Onion growers are small farmers who toil for a good crop, Pawar said, adding that during his tenure as Union agriculture minister, he never brought down the onion prices nor banned exports. "The ban on onion exports should be lifted immediately," he said. Pawar further said, "Bangladesh has levied Rs 160 (import) duty on grapes. The grape producers will face hardships due to this decision." Will find way to ensure farmers don't face losses due to onion export ban: CM Shinde Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde Monday said his government will find a way so that farmers do not suffer losses due to the ban on export of onions. Shinde visited his Shiv Sena party office in the Vidhan Bhavan premises in Nagpur ahead of the third day of the state legislature's winter session here. The Centre has banned onion exports till March 31, 2024, to increase domestic availability and keep prices in check. Also read: Stop people close to you from speaking against Marathas: Jarange to Fadnavis Speaking to reporters on the issue, Shinde said the state government always stands with farmers of the state. The CM said he had a telephonic conversation with Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal on the onion issue. "We will find out a way so that farmers and customers do not face losses due to the ban on export of onions," Shinde said. On the issue of ban on the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production, the CM said the government representatives will meet Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah over the matter. (With inputs from PTI)

11 December,2023 02:21 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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