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Mumbai development plan: Shiv Sena against opening of salt pans for housing

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Mumbai: Shiv Sena ministers today opposed at the Maharashtra cabinet meeting the state government’s decision to open salt pans in Mumbai for affordable housing, according to a party source.

The decision on the salt pan land is a part of the just-released Mumbai’s Development Plan (DP) 2034.

Environment minister Ramdas Kadam (of Shiv Sena) raised the issue of opening the salt pans for development in the cabinet meeting held here and the other Sena ministers also voiced their concern over it, the source told PTI.

“The Sena ministers strongly voiced their opposition and conveyed to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that under no circumstances will their party allow the salt pans to be used for construction purposes,” the source said.

Kadam told Fadnavis that the poor were being used as a “shield” to unduly favour builders, said the source who claimed to be privy to the discussions at the meeting.

“The opening of salt pans (for the housing sector) will further put stress on the ecology of Mumbai, which is already facing problems of excessive population, traffic and climate change,” the source said.

Last week, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam had also said that the city cannot afford to have salt pans and no-development zones, which are the last remaining open spaces in the city, fall prey to the builder lobby.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nirupam had urged him to intervene in the Fadnavis government’s decision on the issue.

According to the DP 2034 for Mumbai, 300 hectares of salt pan lands, which serve as natural buffers during heavy rains and high tides, will be utilised for affordable housing. This will destroy the regions bio-diversity and increase the chances of a similar deluge in future, Nirupam had said.

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BJP sweeps urban local body polls in 4 districts of South Kashmir

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Srinagar| The BJP won the urban local body elections in four districts of militancy-infested south Kashmir on Saturday, winning 53 of the 132 wards, where polls were held over four phases earlier this month, election officials said.

The unprecedented victory for the saffron party has given it control of at least four of the 20 civic bodies in the four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.

The results of 94 wards of south Kashmir have been declared so far in which the Congress has managed to win 28 seats. The party, thus, will have control of at least three municipal bodies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did well in Shopian where its candidates won in 12 wards unopposed. Five wards in the district did not have any nominations.

In Devsar municipal committee, the party won all the eight seats. The area is represented by Congress leader Mohammad Amin Bhat in the legislative assembly.

The BJP got a simple majority in Qazigund Municipal Committee, winning four of the seven wards. The other three wards had no candidates.

In Pahalgam municipal committee, the party won seven of the 13 seats uncontested, while there were no candidates for the remaining six seats.

The Congress, on the other hand, won a thumping majority in Dooru municipal committee, the stronghold of JKPCC chief G A Mir. The party bagged 14 of the 17 seats, while the BJP managed to win two seats. One seat remained vacant.

Congress also won in Kokernag municipal committee, bagging six of the eight seats. In Yaripora, the party bagged three seats, while the remaining three seats were vacant due to the absence of candidates.

Independents bagged 13 seats in the polls.

The counting of votes of Anantnag and Mattan — the other two civic bodies in south Kashmir — is going on and the results are expected later Saturday.

Elsewhere, Congress won the Budgam municipal committee bagging six seats, while the BJP won four seats. Three seats were vacant.

In Chrar-e-Sharief, Congress won 11 of the 13 seats, while the remaining two seats were vacant. In Chadoora too, the party won six of the eight seats, while there was no candidate for the other five seats.

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Accident should not be politicised: Sidhu; says wife attended to patients

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Amritsar | Punjab minister and local MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu said the mowing down of 61 Dussehra revellers by a train here was an accident and that nobody had done it intentionally.

He, however, said there was a “big negligence” and asked his detractors not to do politics over the incident.

“It was an unfortunate incident. I talked to few people who told me that some people were standing on the rail track and some were sitting on a stone near the track,” the minister told reporters.

“When effigy of Ravana was lit, some people retreated back. Then the train came with a great speed and there was no horn and people did not come to know (about the approaching train) and it happened in a matter of just one or two seconds,” he said.

Defending his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was accused of leaving the accident site without bothering about the victims, the state culture minister said she was attending to patients at the hospital when allegations were being levelled against her.

“When I talked to my wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu Friday, she was in a hospital,” he said.

“I fought elections from here because of my wife. She has been working here. Friday night, when accusations were being levelled against her, she was with patients. She called me up Friday. She came to know about the incident before reaching home. She then immediately reached here,” Sidhu said.

Meanwhile, the Congress leader visited local hospitals and met the patients and their relatives Saturday morning.

Sidhu said when he learnt about the accident, he was shocked. He added that he was away to Calicut for a function on Friday.

Refusing to point fingers, the minister said, “Nobody has done it deliberately. However, there is a big negligence (behind this incident)…when I talk about negligence, some people did not even understand their responsibility”.

“Nobody had any intention to do this. There was no motive,” he said, adding the incident was an irreparable loss. He also requested not to give the incident a “political shape”.

“The question is that the accident should not be given political shape. It is an accident. Do not make false allegations and do politics on this issue,” Sidhu said.

At least 61 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near here, officials said.

The train was coming from Jalandhar when the accident occurred at Joda Phatak near Amritsar, where at least 300 people were watching ‘Ravana dahan’ at a ground adjacent to the tracks.

People shouted slogans against Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was present as chief guest during the event, alleging she left the venue after the accident. She, however, said she had left the place before the accident took place and rushed to the hospital the moment she came to know of it.

SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia had also accused the former local MLA of “running away from the accident site”.

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Central government constructed 1.25 crore houses in last 4 years: PM Modi

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Shirdi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday during his visit to the Shirdi town in Maharashtra for the conclusion of the year-long Sai Baba Samadhi centenary programme allotted houses to 2.5 lakh families under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

Addressing the rally PM Modi said, “The previous government during its 4 years constructed only 25 lakh houses while our government constructed more than 1.25 crore during this period.” Speaking on the issues of farmers, PM Modi said,” The Central government is working to solve the problem of water crises for the farmers. The government is working to complete the projects stuck under the Prime Minister Agricultural Irrigation Scheme.”

Attacking the Congress party, PM Modi said,” Similar efforts were made earlier, but unfortunately, instead of empowering the poor section of society by providing them affordable housing, the prime focus was on the promoting a particular family.” He further added that the current NDA government is making serious efforts to uplift the poor or middle-class family by providing them there own house in the last 4 years.

PM Modi further announced that the government will provide affordable housing to the homeless and poor section of the society till 2022. He further asserted that the government has achieved half its target.

 

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