Chavan cracks whip on oil mafia
Rattled by the killing of an additional collector who tried to check fuel adulteration near Manmad on Tuesday, the state government has ordered statewide crackdown on oil mafia.
CM Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday not only ordered a thorough probe into Nasik additional collector Yashwant Sonawane's murder, but also asked authorities to conduct raids on the oil mafia.
The opposition accused the Chavan government of losing control over and providing political patronage to the oil mafia.
"The mafia raj has blessings from the government," said BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
Food and civil supplies minister Anil Deshmukh said officials will seek police protection during raids.
A fuel racket — that of diesel adulterated with kerosene — is rampant in the state. The business of adulteration grows further when petrol/diesel prices are hiked, especially on highways and spots close to the oil company depots.
"Usually trucks that transport kerosene, petrol and diesel are close to secluded spots where kerosene is mixed with costly fuel. The operators use power equipment such as pumps to transfer fuel," said an official.
Government sources said kerosene, which is sold at subsidised rates for public distribution, gets diverted for adulteration purposes. According to the Anti-adulteration Cell of India, naphtha is a commonly adulterant for petrol.
Additional chief secretary (home) Umesh Sarangi said all efforts would be made to control fuel adulteration. In 2006, the state CID had formed a special cell to check adulteration of petrol and diesel.
Investigations had found that some 15 gangs operated in the state.
The cell identified areas like Goa highway, the Mumbai-Pune highway, Pune-Bangalore highway, Nasik-Dhule and Jalgaon, parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha as the main trouble spots.
Chandigarh Chandigarh administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for a synthetic running track at Sukhna Lake. UT adviser Dharam Pal, said, “The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee had earlier given its go-ahead for the proposal. Next, the detailed plan and cost estimates will be prepared; and then, tenders will be floated for the project.” A UT official said the proposed track is part of the administration's efforts to give Sukhna Lake a major facelift.
The National Highway Authority of India has approved two over-bridges, which are likely to reduce travel time between Kalka and Zirakpur and alleviate traffic jams on the stretch by next year. NHAI has already floated tenders for the 60-m wide over-bridges, which will be constructed at a cost of ₹50 crore. It has invited bids for the “construction and site improvement of the four-lane national highway (NH-22) on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo junction.”
Fifteen students had a narrow escape after their school bus skidded into a waterlogged open drain in Daulat Singhwala village in Phabat area of Zirakpur. The bus, which was ferrying students of Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, was making way for another school bus when it skidded into the overflowing drain. The bus tilted in the drain, but passersby and parents were able to rescue the children through the driver's window.
Tricity residents woke up to heavy rainfall for the second time this month on Wednesday. Three people went missing after a taxi, shuttling two commuters, was swept away in a flashflood in the Patiala-Ki-Rao rivulet as the driver attempted to cross the causeway in Tanda Village near Nayagaon. The owner of the vehicle, Rakesh Kumar told the police that Gaurav had called him saying two people, travelling to Baddi, had booked his cab.
Chandigarh received 97mm rainfall between 6am and 8.30am, the heaviest rain in July since 2017, as per the India Meteorological Department. It received another 0.9mm of rainfall during the day. The maximum precipitation till 8.30am was recorded at the Sector 39 observatory (97mm), 49.2mm rain was recorded at the airport observatory, 77.5mm rain in Panchkula and 74.5 mm rain in Mohali.