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Opposition targets Shiv Sena in Maharashtra assembly over Mumbai-Nagpur corridor

A list of decisions taken during the monsoon assembly session

mumbai Updated: Aug 02, 2017 01:14 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Monsoon Assembly,Mumbai-Nagpur expressway
BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar arrives at Vidhan Bhavan for the monsoon assembly session on Tuesday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Raising concerns about the proposed Mumbai-Nagpur expressway project troubling farmers, the Opposition on Tuesday criticised the Shiv Sena’s flip-flop on the project. They said while Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is raising the same concerns, a party minister is steering the project forward.

Both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislators targeted the party claiming that Sena minister Eknath Shinde visited villages that will be affected by the Mumbai-Nagpur corridor to convince farmers to give their consent. Shinde is the chairman of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is the implementing agency for the expressway, a pet project of CM Devendra Fadnavis.

NCP legislator Sunil Tatkare said, "Sena chief has clearly said he will not support the project if it is causing any distress to farmers. The ground reality says that farmers are not keen to give their lands for the project and are distressed. On the other hand, the party's own minister is visiting farmers to convince them."

Raising a calling attention motion, Congress' Sanjay Dutt also said the state is circumventing the basic provisions of the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, such as a social and environmental impact assessment and jobs for project-affected families to acquire land for the expressway. Dutt said, “We are not against development. Even if the government is giving five times the value of land as compensation, basic provisions of the Land Acquisition Act should be followed and no injustice should be meted out to farmers."

Shinde, minister of the public works department for public undertakings, said, "We are doing more than the 2013 Land Acquisition Act by giving 25% more compensation. The state will not cause any harm to farmers, which is the same stand as Thackeray’s. We will not go ahead with the project till the last farmer is on board."

Tilak memorial may come up near Crawford

The state is planning to convert Sardar Gruha, a building opposite Crawford Market in south Mumbai where freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak died, into a memorial. CM Devendra Fadnavis announced this in the state assembly on Tuesday on the demand of a BJP legislator and party whip Raj Purohit .

The CM said, “I have no information about this but owing to its historical importance, the government will consider converting it in to a memorial."

Purohit had said Sardar Gruha building is of national importance. “It is where Tilak breathed his last. Many freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi once lived in the building,’’ said Purohit. “I demand the structure be converted into a national memorial.”

Sardar Gruha had served as a guest house in the pre-Independence era. The four-storey building is being used for residential and commercial purposes and Tilak’s room now houses the office of Kesari, the newspaper he started in 1881.

Vidarbha tigers may be shifted to Sahyadri reserve

The state is planning to relocate tigers from Vidarbha region to Sahyadri tiger reserve spread across Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur in western Maharashtra. These areas have a scarce tiger population.

State forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said in the state assembly that the government has set up a committee to examine translocation of tigers and decision will be taken based on its recommendations. Sahyadri tiger reserve has around seven tigers. The issue of tiger poaching was also raised by former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Mungantiwar said increase in the number tigers have led to rise in territorial fights and their deaths. On an average, a tiger requires at the very least a specific area of land (12sqm x 12sqm) to reside and this area has diminished following a hike in their numbers in Vidarbha region. “We are considering relocating them to places where they are less in number. The government has set up a committee to examine their translocation. It will also consult experts from the Centre and submit its report in the next 2-3 months,” the forest minister said.

The population of tigers has doubled in the past decade in Maharashtra, however, tiger deaths have remained a cause of concern for the government and animal activists. But the state believes the deaths are due to territorial fights and over-population of tigers. “We have 200 tigers while Karnataka has 400. Despite that incidents of tiger poaching have increased in the state,” Chavan said asking the government to take concrete steps to protect the big cats. He also demanded shifting of few tigers from Nagpur to the Sahyadri tiger reserve.

MSRDC official ‘asks for ₹1-cr bribe’ in viral clip

Legislators demanded action against Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) MD and vice-chairman Radheshyam Mopalwar after an audio clip of him allegedly asking a middlemen for a Rs1-crore bribe to regularise a Borivli plot went viral on social media.

Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavan said action should be taken against the officer. “We will soon raise this issue in the house and seek clarification from the CM. The officer is heading CM’s dream project Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi corridor,” he said.

BJP MLA Anil Gote said several complaints have been registered with the prime minister’s office against the officer. Mopalwar has, however, refuted the allegations saying this was a conspiracy to malign him.

Manjula Shetye murder: 2 jail officials to be suspended

The state government on Tuesday said it will suspend two Byculla jail officials in the alleged murder case of prisoner Manjula Shetye. MoS for Home Ranjit Patil said, “Jail superintendent Chandramani Indulkar and acting superintendent Tanaji Gharbudve will be suspended for dereliction of duty.”

CCTV network may be integrated soon

The state is planning to link police’s CCTV surveillance system with the CCTVs installed in private housing societies to improve surveillance in Mumbai. CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “The state is ready to integrate the cameras of housing societies with the surveillance system of the police to improve vigil.”

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 01:14 IST