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Covid-19: Thane sees seven new cases; active tally 36

Thane district of Maharashtra has reported seven new coronavirus-positive cases, which took its overall infection tally to 7,47,365, a health official said on Friday. With the addition of these cases on Thursday, the district's active Covid-19 count stood at 36, he said. Also Read: TN: 3 districts on red alert as cyclone 'Mandous' maintains severe intensity The death toll remained unchanged at 11,967 as nobody succumbed to the infection during the day, while the recovery count has reached 7,36,122, he added. 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2022 09:14 AM IST | Mumbai | PTI
Representative image. Pic/Istock

Man stabbed to death in Thane

A man was stabbed to death by unidentified persons on Thursday night in Vartak Nagar area of Thane city, police said. The victim was identified as Deepak Nirbhavane. The incident took place in Bhimnagar locality. Also Read: Human Rights courts, where are they, asks Activists Probe is on. 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2022 07:59 AM IST | Mumbai | PTI
Sessions courts in each district are also to act as human rights courts, as per the state’s response to an RTI query. Representation pic

Human Rights courts, where are they, asks Activists

Where is the Human Rights court?” ask advocates and activists ahead of Human Rights Day (December 10). Responding to an RTI query, the state government has said the sessions courts present in every district is also a human rights court. Activists said it was an eyewash as the common man has no clue about its existence. Most such commissions are nothing but a waste of budgetary expenditure, said RTI activist and former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. When asked if he was aware of the existence of such a court, Gandhi said, “I never heard about a special human rights court. Does it exist in reality? And even if it does, it seems to be working like a secret organisation.” “Most of these regulatory bodies become worthless and remain only an annual expenditure. Today, we have Lokpal in Delhi, but it is actually doing nothing. Lokayukta has existed in Maharashtra since 1971. But after over four decades, nothing has changed. They have not even made any report that could have a significant impact. It is high time these commissions are reminded of their purpose of existence. In the larger interest of the society, they should be monitored and held accountable,” he added. Also Read: Mumbai Crime: Five-year-old helps nab her rapist The RTI “The response to my RTI query seeking information on human rights courts in the state and the details of judges heading the bench was—‘The State of Maharashtra has designated Courts of Sessions Judge in every district to be Human Right Courts in Maharashtra’,” said Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal. Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal “Even I was not aware about the existence of the special courts until the state government responded to the RTI query. It is the state’s responsibility to keep the public, advocates and judiciary informed of such decisions, which they did not. Moreover, the state should have also provided the required infrastructure and manpower for keeping the human rights courts functional. It is evident from the state’s behaviour that the special human rights court is only on paper,” he added. ‘Need political will’ “The Protection of Human Right Act, 1993 fails to define with precision as to what shall be an offence under the Act and what shall be punishment for the same. Hence the commissions under the Act are actually toothless tigers as they are not empowered to issue directions or orders enforceable by law. Their jurisdiction is only to issue recommendations, unlike orders of the court. In short, the concept of human rights in India remains only on paper except those enforced by Constitutional Courts,” said Advocate Panchal. “This lacuna can be overcome if Human Right Courts are functional because they can pass orders including that of imposing punishment. All that is required to make these courts functional is political will,” Advocate Panchal concluded. Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, a criminal lawyer who has dealt with numerous human rights violation cases, including police atrocities, over the past two decades, said, “I have never come across any special designated human rights court in the city or elsewhere in the state in my career. I feel that both the human rights commission at the centre and state are nothing beyond decorative bodies. Moreover, their recommendation is seldom adhered to by the law enforcing agencies and the government.” “The United Nation convention on Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which India is a signatory and has ratified the same, is yet to see the covenant being adhered to in its true spirit. It is high time that the motto of ‘Human Rights to all’ and protection of human rights of every citizen, including children, is dealt with in its true sense and spirit,” said Advocate Tiwari. 1971Year when Lokayukta was formed in Maharashtra

09 December,2022 07:38 AM IST | Mumbai | Vinod Kumar Menon
The Kurla-Trombay line is surrounded by slums and shops near Kurla, Chunabhatti

Mumbai: Lives at risk, locals warn, will look into it, says Central Railway

A small accident would lead to a catastrophe,” Kurla East residents warn about the freight line that transports highly inflammable cargo, pointing to the hundreds of slums and shops built dangerously close to the tracks. Central Railway, on a complaint last year, had asked the slum dwellers to prove their legal residency, but nothing happened after that, residents said. An office-bearer of Jaago Nehru Nagar Residents Welfare Association, a local NGO, said they write to Central Railway every year about the dangers. This year, too, they sent a letter last month. When they wrote last year, CR issued notices to every slum dweller in the area, asking them to prove they have been residing there legally, he added. However, the process has been moving at a snail’s pace. “We have been appealing every year. After our appeals last year, notices were issued to the slum dwellers and they were asked to submit documents, but after that, the process of eviction has slowed down. We are meeting railway officials, again and again, to get the process expedited,” he added. The railways use a single, bi-directional electric line for freight trains transporting highly inflammable and explosive cargo like LPG, crude oil, and chemicals from the refineries and power plants. The Kurla-Trombay line Several multi-storey slums and illegal units along the tracks have made the Kurla-Trombay line one of the most dangerous in Mumbai. The slums and the legal buildings adjoining them would be gutted in case of even a small accident on the line, said residents of Nehru Nagar in Kurla East. At the curve, the loco pilots are forced to slow down the speed to less than 10 kmph because of structures jutting out and trespassing on the tracks, the association said in the letter. Many times, the tracks are cleared of the dumped goods/wares on the sight of an approaching train, they added. Also Read: Thane: Labour contractor injured in firing, dies in hospital “The slums have multiplied and grown manifold over the years, and many have been converted into multi-storey structures by slumlords without any fear of law or concern for the safety of nearby residents. Slum dwellers sit on the tracks; their children play and some even use them by setting up stalls. There are not just houses, but several illegal units that run on power, small eateries and many such businesses,” reads the NGO’s letter sent to CR’s general manager, divisional railway manager and commissioner of railway safety. According to the letter, Nehru Nagar police had informed CR’s general manager about the dangers in 2013. Even the Fire Brigade has written to the railways about diggings around the line, affecting track stability. “Since it is not a passenger line, it remains neglected, and all warnings are ignored. But, a small accident would lead to a catastrophe. Nearly 200 [legal] buildings [adjoining the slums] in the areas of Nehru Nagar, Shivshrusti, Qureshi Nagar, Kasaiwada and Chunabhatti are at risk,” the association has warned. During a visit on Thursday, mid-day found heavy encroachment around the rail line and saw children playing cricket along the tracks, people bathing; and shops, scrap dealers, bakeries and other units. There was garbage on and along the tracks. A similar stretch of the track on CR is also found at Ravli junction in Wadala where Mumbai Port Trust trains operate and connect with the harbour line. “We request the commissioner of rail safety and senior rail officials to intervene in the matter,” the office bearer said. CR’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said they “will look into the matter to alleviate risk”.  200No of slums, shops near Kurla, Chunabhatti, the Kurla-Trombay line is surrounded by 2013Year Nehru Nagar cops alerted CR about the same

09 December,2022 07:31 AM IST | Mumbai | Rajendra B. Aklekar
Shirley Bose

Horoscope today, December 9: Check astrological predictions for all zodiac signs

Do you know what the stars hold for you in terms of love life, career, business and personal wellness today? Well, read on to know your astrological predictions as per your zodiac sign for December 9. Aries   March 21 – April 20A new acquaintance has the potential of becoming an important friendship, but creating complications is a strict no-no for you (wise decision!).Cosmic tip: Think carefully before taking a decision. Taurus   April 21 – May 20Visiting a doctor is necessary (it’s nothing to worry about). Drive carefully, keeping safety rules in mind.Cosmic tip: Keep an open mind when an alternative is talked about.Gemini  May 21 – June 21A 180 degrees change in a viewpoint comes as a shock. Maintain a cool mind to deal with the issue. Health is good.Cosmic tip: Keep attitude loving and gracious. Cancer June 22 – July 23Emotional manipulation is something you abhor. Carry on with your life and plans. Is there a balance between work satisfaction and the salary?Cosmic tip: Enjoy this moment to the fullest. Leo July 24 - Aug 23Your manner is affectionate but stays just a fraction away from over stepping the line in any way. Be patient.Cosmic tip: Think positive. Have faith. This helps attract love. Virgo Aug 24 – Sept 23Singles enter a karmic cycle of meeting their soul mate. You are happy to receive investment advice. A project is financially viable.Cosmic tip: Don’t het irritated with little things. Libra Sept 24 – Oct 22Be extremely careful about what you say and to whom. Don’t make plans with a new acquaintance.Cosmic tip: Don’t allow anyone to influence you to tread the wrong path. Scorpio  Oct 23 – Nov 22Going back to a friend you had ‘unfriended’ may not be such a great idea.Cosmic tip: Pay attention to the red flags in a relationship or at work. Sagittarius Nov 23 – Dec 22Feeling emotionally neglected may be an over- reaction. The person is having a busy time at work. Do enjoy alone time.Cosmic tip: Explore feelings about a recent family meeting. Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20Goals set for the next two years are easier as the past one year has been an important learning lesson.Cosmic tip: Do your best to heal and release the past. Aquarius Jan 21 – Feb 19You don’t want to be in a relationship for now as the past one was emotionally draining. A contract is signed.Cosmic tip: Be aware which habits tend to derail friendships. Pisces Feb 20 – March 20Three new potential clients get in touch. Your beloved sends a warm and affectionate message.Cosmic tip: Don’t get deceived by someone who seems reliable and trustworthy. Follow intuition.

09 December,2022 07:24 AM IST | Mumbai | Shirley Bose
MNS members speak to voters in Worli

Mumbai: MNS starts door-to-door campaign for BMC polls


The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is in election mode and has started a door-to-door campaign to meet voters in Dadar, Mahim, Prabhadevi, and Worli to prepare for the civic elections. The region dominated by Marathi-speaking voters, is the stronghold of the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. “We will visit every household. But we are not demanding votes. We are visiting every household to understand voters’ views,” said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS leader. “We are understanding citizens’ views about local issues. Most of the time they speak about civic issues. We are trying to solve them. One can say this is an election campaign. But for us it is our duty to understand citizens’ issues,” said Sachin Sali, an officer bearer of MNS in Dadar. MNS’s former corporator Santosh Dhuri said, “We are meeting voters and getting to know their views and problems.” A source in the party said, “There are two types of voters, one category is party-based. Their vote has already been decided and it is really difficult to change it. The other type of voters decide on the day of the election. Their decision depends on the candidate. We are targeting this voter.” Former minister Aaditya Thackeray is an MLA from Worli that has always supported the Shiv Sena. The region from Worli to Mahim is dominated by Marathi voters, which are the backbone of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, as well as the MNS in Mumbai. Dadar is also the residence of MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Also Read: Gujarat election results: Flipping Kutch and Saurashtra helped BJP to record win In the 2012 BMC election, the Shiv Sena lost in all wards in the Dadar-Mahim area and MNS’s seven corporators won. But in the 2017 election, all Shiv Sena corporators were elected in the Dadar-Mahim area. A Shiv Sena MLA from Mahim, Sada Sarvankar, has joined the Shinde-led party. This was a big setback for the Thackeray-led Sena in their stronghold, where the MNS has now started to campaign. There are around 2.35 lakh voters in the Mahim constituency which include Dadar and part of the Prabhadevi area. According to the data which was gathered by a political party, about 50 per cent of these voters are Marathi speaking Maharashtrians. The same situation is in the Worli constituency. There are around 2.69 lakh voters and more than 50 per cent of them are Marathi people. 

09 December,2022 07:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Sameer Surve
Mohammed Akhtar Mathar Hussain, 19, the accused. Pic/Sumit Renose

Mumbai Crime: Five-year-old helps nab her rapist

A 19-year-old man was held for raping a minor in Taloja after she bravely managed to get him caught as he was trying to flee. The five-year-old had been playing in her residential society when the accused called her to the lift and assaulted her. The incident took place around 7.30 pm on Wednesday at a high-rise. The girl went to the lift when the accused called her. The police said he raped her in the lift and took her to the 11th floor of the building where he stepped out and fled. The girl went to to her house on the third floor. “At home, she started crying and vomiting. Her mother asked her what had happened, and she narrated her ordeal. Her mother immediately went downstairs and spoke to the watchman. She asked him whether any unknown person had entered the building premises,” said an officer from Taloja MIDC police station. The watchman claimed he hadn’t seen any such person going inside the building. Hearing the commotion, many residents came downstairs to find out what was going on. The child’s mother told them what had happened and they started to look for the man. The girl suddenly saw the accused trying to sneak out of the building and shouted. Also Read: Mumbai: 39 masked proxies sat for MHADA exam, says Police “The girl pointed to him saying he misbehaved with her. The man tried to run away but was chased and caught and brought to the Taloja MIDC police station. When he was questioned, he confessed to raping the girl,” a police officer said. The accused, identified as Mohammed Akhtar Mathar Hussain, 19, repairs ACs. He had come to service an AC in the building. “The accused was produced in court and remanded in police custody. We are trying to find whether he has committed any more offences in the past. He has been booked under IPC Section 376 (rape) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. API Satish Gore is investigating the crime,” said Taloja MIDC’s Senior Inspector Jeetendra Sonawane.

09 December,2022 06:16 AM IST | Mumbai | Anurag Kamble
The candidates had sent proxies for the exam conducted in January and February. Representation pic

Mumbai: 39 masked proxies sat for MHADA exam, says Police

The government might not have realised the misuse of facemasks, which were mandated during the Covid-19 pandemic, until nine people were caught while appearing for MHADA’s recruitment exams as proxies early this year. An inquiry later found 30 more proxies. According to police sources, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) declared vacancies for the recruitment of 579 posts in 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the exam was conducted online at 106 centres across the state in January and February this year through an IT company. At nine exam centres, including in Thane, Mumbai, Satara, Nagpur, Nashik, Nandgaon and Amravati, proxies of nine candidates were caught. Police in each district filed an FIR. The MHADA then formed an inquiry committee and asked the IT company to check all the records and CCTV camera footage. The company checked the records of 1,633 candidates, including the online forms and login and logout details. Meanwhile, MHADA’s exam result was published a few days ago, and it called all the 1,633 candidates for document verification. While cross checking the records filled in the forms and the hall ticket, 60 people were found suspicious. Although the biometrics of the candidates were not taken at the centres owing to the COVID-19 rules, their photographs were recorded. Of the 60 candidates, 39 had sent their proxies, who were wearing a mask, to the exam centres. Even though they had their masks on, the photos taken at the exam centre did not match with those submitted with the form. Also read: Gujarat election results: Flipping Kutch and Saurashtra helped BJP to record win The remaining 21 candidates used electronic gadgets or cheated in some other way, as they solved 20 to 25 questions in the first hour and more than 100 in the second hour and they were all correct, found the inquiry. Officials said they checked the CCTV camera footage and noticed that nine people went to the toilet six to seven times. The inquiry committee submitted a 150-page report to MHADA on Tuesday. A MHADA official filed a complaint with the Kherwadi police, who registered an FIR on Wednesday. “Based on the complaint given by the administrative officer of MHADA, we have registered a case against 60 candidates and the investigation is underway,” a cop said.

09 December,2022 06:08 AM IST | Mumbai | Samiullah Khan
Sunil Shah (centre) amid celebrations in Gujarat yesterday

Biz speaks at the ballot box

As counting started for the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat election, Sunil Shah, president of Dadar Vyapari Sangh, was travelling from Mumbai to Gujarat. “It was clear that the mandate was swinging in BJP’s favour and my journey was miles of smiles,” said Shah. The win, Shah said, is important “as traders are going to benefit. Look at the flow of investments in Gujarat. I have seen ground reality improve. Earlier, it took 45 minutes to go from Bhachau to Kharoi, today that has been cut to hardly 20 minutes.” He said that the infra proved that the talk about development is not just all talk as critics claim. “See the celebratory mood on the much- improved roads,” he stressed. Action-oriented Mumbai businessman Devang Vora said he was “not surprised by the record win in Gujarat. We have drone, lights, pyrotechnic shows at the Sabarmati riverfront. Of course, things are not going to be 100 per cent perfect, there is always room for improvement but people are realising that there are efforts being made. The Statue of Unity has resulted in a tourism boom, and an entire ecosystem is now built around the site with villagers benefitting with jobs.” Devang Vora When asked about Maharashtra and projects over here, he said, “We need movement on the projects that started here, though there has been progress. We need everybody to put their weight behind those who deliver rather than create obstacles and push them down. Let both the coastal road and Metro in this state move towards completion. It goes both ways—when leaders know that people are behind them, it powers them on, and when people know their leaders are with them, they show that at the ballot box.” Also read: Gujarat election results: Flipping Kutch and Saurashtra helped BJP to record win Criticism like industries moving out of Maharashtra, and Gujarat being favoured by the BJP was greeted with laughs by Mumbai businessmen. “The state has a massive labour problem. Setting up factories etc is faster and quicker in Gujarat right now. We need to introspect instead of simply criticise,” they said. Harendra Shah, businessman added, “The people of Gujarat have demonstrated their loyalty, I think and I know many may contest this, but the win may be the start of the journey to the 2024 elections.” Model mandate Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), said, “BJP’s Gujarat model won the mandate. Gujarat is considered a bastion of the BJP with their huge vote bank of traders, and of course it has remained with the saffron party since 1995. We must remember that the Gujarat model was pitched to the rest of the country by the BJP before the 2014 elections.” Yet, when asked about the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) municipal polls win in Delhi, which is of course different from the Assembly elections, Shah did point out that Gujarat is Gujarat and Delhi and Punjab are Delhi and Punjab and the twain doth not meet. He said, “Arvind Kejriwal has the Delhi model, on the basis of which he has managed to sway the people. The AAP has promised government schools, free electricity, access to water, and free healthcare. Though the AAP model of bijlee, paani, education and health clinics worked in Delhi and Punjab, it did not win the Gujarati trader’s vote. This proves that freebies to lower-middle class people and vote bank politics do not work in every state.”

09 December,2022 06:03 AM IST | Mumbai | Hemal Ashar
Representation pic

Mumbai: Man held for defaming friend on social media

The Oshiwara police arrested one person for defaming a woman by posting a video of her on social media which went viral. The main accused in the case is absconding. Ramesh Saxena was arrested on Wednesday. He was produced before the court and has been remanded in police custody for five days. According to police sources, the woman lives in Jogeshwari. A few years ago, she met a man who was also from her native village and lived in the same area as her in Mumbai. The man, the main accused in the case, came to Mumbai in search of a job and often used to visit the woman’s house. The duo exchanged numbers and talked and chatted regularly, resulting in a friendship. Also read: Mumbai: City will be pothole-free in the next two years, says CM Eknath Shinde When the man was unable to find a job in Mumbai, he left and went to his native village in Uttar Pradesh. The relationship between the duo then turned romantic.  They used to have virtual sex via video calls and the main accused recorded these calls. He then sent the videos to his friend, Saxena, who later posted them on sociel media, said a police officer. The viral video reached the woman’s husband after which the woman approached the police and registered an FIR, the officer added.

09 December,2022 06:00 AM IST | Mumbai | Samiullah Khan
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also said roads in Mumbai will be repaired and resurfaced to last for 30 years

Mumbai: City will be pothole-free in the next two years, says CM Eknath Shinde

In a groundbreaking ceremony held at the Gateway of India, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday officially launched beautification works in the city. He also promised that Mumbai will be pothole-free in the next two years. By repairing and resurfacing the roads, they will last at least 30 years, he said. The BMC has already started the Rs 2,000-crore beautification work across the city. It will divert Rs 250 crore from the contingency fund for the beautification. After the new government took charge in July, Shinde had instructed the BMC to start beautification projects across the city. All the 24 ward offices, along with various departments,  floated tenders worth Rs 2,000 in the past two months and awarded contracts. The work has already begun in wards all over the city. The beautification work includes resurfacing of roads, fixing dividers, footpaths, street furniture, paintings on bridges, beautification of seaface and gardens, Miyawaki plantations, toilet reconstruction, painting of walls in public areas, etc. So every ward is seeing works such as resurfacing of roads or installation of refurbished streetlights, potted plants along streets, etc. Swachhata Doot “Along with the beautification of the city, we are emphasising on creating a network of basic services and cleanliness. A plan is ready to keep the city clean through 5,000 Swachhata Doots. This year our country has the honour of hosting the G-20 conference and 14 meetings will be organised in Mumbai and other cities of the state. We have got an opportunity to promote Mumbai and our state in front of distinguished representatives coming from abroad,” Shinde said. Deputy CM Fadnavis said that the CM is the architect of this scheme. BMC’s plan for the beautification of the Gateway of India Instructions have been given to construct more public toilets with all facilities under the beautification project. The Central government will provide funds for the toilets. Efforts are also on to arrange for additional new and reconstructed/repaired toilets in slum areas. Implementation of community washing machines for waste water management, hanging lights in toilets are underway where there is no electricity. Understanding the importance of historical heritage sites, they will be preserved in the same manner. Escalators will be installed at skywalks. Also read: Mumbai Crime: Was Juhu killer also planning to chop up his mother? Roads concretisation BMC Commissioner I S Chahal said that the decision to sanction Rs 6,000 crore to concretise roads will be finalised within the next two weeks and the monopoly of small contractors cut off. “The process of appointing 5,000 swachhata doots started on Wednesday evening, following the CM’s instructions to keep roads clean. We have listed out markets where women’s self-help groups can display and sell products. We will also start skill enhancement centres at BMC schools,” he said. The BMC will spend Rs 2,000 crore on various beautification projects. In the proposal sanctioned by the commissioner, the BMC needs Rs 900 crore urgently to carry the projects, of which Rs 650 crore will be diverted from the funds allocated to the standing committee and Rs 250 crore will have to be diverted from the contingency fund generally kept for emergencies.

09 December,2022 05:57 AM IST | Mumbai | Prajakta Kasale
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