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Maharashtra

16 dead, 15 injured, several trapped as five-storeyed building collapses in Mumbai

At least 16 people died and 15 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai here this morning, official sources said.

 
16 dead, 15 injured in Mumbai building collapse
At least 16 people died and 15 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai here this morning, official sources said.
 
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Assistant Commissioner J S Ghegadmal told NetIndian over the telephone from the scene that 31 victims had been extricated from the debris, of whom 16 were found dead.
 
The injured were rushed to the nearby J. J. Hospital, where the condition of some of them was stated to be serious, sources said.
 
With several more people feared trapped under the tonnes of debris, scores of men from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, the Municipal Corporation, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local residents were engaged in massive search and rescue efforts.
 
Cranes, gas cutters and other equipment were being used to clear the debris and cut through the mangled steel and concrete to reach the victims and look for possible survivors.
 
The structure was more than a hundred years old, sources said. It was locted in a heavily congested area in south Mumbai's C Ward, and rescue teams with their big vehicles and heavy equipment had a tough time reaching the spot.
 
The building had a playschool on the premises which would have opened at 10 am as usual. However, the building came down at about 8.30 am, much before the children were scheduled to arrive.
 
This is the third major incident of building collapse in the metropolis in recent weeks. On July 25, at least 17 people died and 11 others suffered injuries when a four-storeyed residential building collapsed in the suburban area of Ghatkopar.
 
On August 26, six people lost their lives when a part of a seven-storeyed under-construction building collapsed at Chandivali while some unauthorised portions of the structure were being demolished.
 
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Municipal officials said they received a call about the collapse of the building around 8.40 am and the fire brigade was immediately rushed to the spot. There was no immediate word on the number of people living in the building and how many of them were trapped under the debris. Police have cordoned off the area to facilitate the smooth conduct of the search and rescue operations.
 
The incident has come two days after Mumbai experienced its heaviest rainfall since the July 2005 floods.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incient and is personally monitoring the situation.
 
He has ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident by a committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Housing).
 
Mr. Fadnavis has asked the Municipal Commissioner to submit a detailed report on the tragedy. He also asked the Municipal Commissioner to focus on ensuring immediate medical assistance to the injured persons. State Minister Subhash Desai visited the spot and later briefed Mr. Fadnavis about the situation.
 
Civic officials said the building had been declared unsafe for living six years ago. The residents had been served with evacuation notices in 2011 and ordered to vacate the building to enable redevelopment of the area under the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) project.
 
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16 dead, 14 injured in major fire at ammunition depot in Maharashtra

At least 22 defence personnel died and 14 others suffered injuries in a major fire that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday and triggered huge explosions at one of India's biggest ammunition depots at Pulgoan in Wardha district of Maharashtra.

 
16 dead, 14 injured in ammunition depot fire in Wardha
At least 16 people died and 14 others suffered injuries in a major fire that broke out in the early hours of today and triggered huge explosions at one of India's biggest ammunition depots at Pulgoan in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
 
Wardha district officials said the injured had been admitted to hospitals in Wardha town, about 30 km from Pulgaon, for treatment, official sources said.
 
The massive fire and the explosions that followed lit up the night sky in the town, located about 100 km from Nagpur.
 
The fire broke out in the Central Ammunition Depot around 1.30 am today and was brought under control by around 6 am today, they said.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and would be established only after an inquiry, they said.
 
The sources said families living in accommodation near the depot were evacuated to safer places as a precautionary measure.
 
Fire brigade personnel worked throughout the night to bring the blaze under control.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the fire.
 
“Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter
 
"I pray that those who are injured recover quickly," he said, adding that he had asked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to rush to the spot and take stock of the situation. 
 
Chief of Army Staff Gen Dalbir Singh is also rushing to Wardha for an assessment of the situation, the sources added.
 
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Two fishermen killed in boat tragedy off Maharashtra

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Two fishermen were killed and two other injured on a boat 'Ekveera Prasanna' after an on board explosion on the vessel off Harnai Port in coastal Ratnagiri, an Indian Coast Guard spokesperson said here on Friday.
 
The explosion, reportedly due to an overheated radiator, occurred late in the night of May 15 and the two injured fishermen on the board the vessel were rescued by a fishing vessel Lakshya Vedi which was sailing nearby.
 
Another two fishermen were reported missing since then and the Indian Coast Guard launched a search and rescue mission to trace them for two days.
 
The ICG diverted its patrol ships, and deployed an interceptor boat from Murud-Janjira the following day besides launching a helicopter surveillance.
 
Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, the ICG helicopter sighted one body off the Harnai Port which was recovered by its ship in the vicinity. It was identified as one of the missing fishermen, Aarif, and has been handed over to his family.
 
The second was washed away more than 30 kms south and located near the Kolthare Beach on Thursday evening. It was found wedged between some rocks near the beach and an ICG ship retrieved it.
 
The body was identified as that of the second missing fisherman Hanif and handed over to the family.
 
IANS
 
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President Kovind to visit Rajasthan, Maharashtra from May 13-15

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a visit to Rajasthan and Maharashtra from May 13-15, an official press release said here today.
 
On Sunday, Mr. Kovind will attend a civic reception hosted by the Government of Rajasthan in Jaipur. At the civic reception, he will interact with select beneficiaries of the Sundar Singh Bhandari EBC Self Employment Scheme; the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Antyodaya Self Employment Scheme; and the scheme to waive off loans and interest payable by members of the SC/ST, Divyang and other deprived communities. 
 
On May 14, the President will visit Pushkar and Ajmer in Rajasthan, before departing for Mumbai in Maharashtra.
 
On May 15, he will grace the inauguration of the 4th Global Exhibition on Services and launch of the “12 Champion Services” initiative in Mumbai.  
 
On the same day, he will visit the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, be introduced to an exhibition on Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) technologies and inaugurate DAE facilities in Trombay, Mumbai. 
 
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Two killed in Maharashtra group clashes; ACP critical

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At least two persons were killed and more than 40 injured, including 10 policemen, when clashes broke out between two groups in this famed Maharashtra tourist town, an official said.
 
Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar said that the violence erupted late on Friday following a trivial local issue which angered the people in some areas.
 
"Due to rumours which circulated like wildfire on social media, it quickly flared up and spread," Kesarkar told IANS.
 
In the final tally, the minister said two persons have lost their lives, including one in an arson incident and another in the plastic bullets firing by the police.
 
"Three Assistant Commissioners of Police and around 10 policemen, besides more than 30 civilians have also been injured. One ACP's condition is serious and he will be operated on later," Kesarkar added.
 
The full-scale rioting resulted in heavy stone-pelting and torching of vehicles and shops in the affected areas even as local police forces rushed to the areas around 10.30 on Friday night.
 
The authorities snapped Internet and social media networks in the city as a precaution late on Friday to prevent rumour-mongering.
 
Attempting to control the rampaging mobs, police resorted to caning, lobbing teargas shells and fring plastic bullets and imposed prohibitory orders, banning assembly for four or more persons.
 
However, Kesarkar denied allegations that police may have played a partisan role in the whole affair and said they managed to bring the situation under control very soon.
 
Aurangabad Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe said there were two rounds of violence, one on Friday evening followed by another on Saturday, but "now the situation is under control".
 
"It was a small issue... It escalated due to rumours and the tensions spread... Some anti-social elements indulged in setting ablaze shops and vehicles in the locality," Bharambe told the media.
 
The worst-hit areas were Shahganj, Nawabpura, Rajabazaar and Angribaug which continued to remain calm but tense even 24 hours later.
 
Local eyewitness accounts said over three dozen shops mostly belonging to small businessmen, were reduced to ashes and many private vehicles and at last two police vans were also torched.
 
The state government deployed units of the State Reserve Police Force, Indian Reserve Battalion from the city, besides rushing forces from neighbouring Beed and Jalna to maintain peace.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been apprised of the matter while Kesarkar rushed to Aurangabad to take stock of the situation along with Aurangabad Collector Uday Chaudhari, Bharambe and other officials.
 
The officials have appealed to the people of the city to remain calm and not get misled by rumour-mongers.
 
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Attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said: "Fadnavis should own up moral responsibility for failing to prevent the riots and submit his resignation."
 
"It is a clear failure of the Police Department and since the past four years, the Home Department is handled by Fadnavis. He has proved to be ineffective in maintaining law and order with incidents reported daily from all over the state and must quit," he demanded.
 
Hitting out at the law enforcers for "a complete failure of the intelligence department," Leader of Opposition in Council Dhananjay Munde demanded a judicial probe into the riots and compensation for the victims.
 
Opposition Congress state President Ashok Chavan called upon the people to maintain peace and remain vigilant to "foil the nefarious designs of communal and divisive forces" trying to spread social unrest between communities.
 
"The rioters have burnt over 100 shops in the city. What was the police doing when these anti-social forces were on a rampage the whole night? Do they enjoy government patronage," he asked.
 
Meanwhile, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi appealed to Fadnavis to take strong action against the miscreants indulging in the rioting.
 
Located in the Marathwada region of the state, Aurangabad is world-renowned for the famous Ajanta-Ellora Caves, Bibi Ka Maqbara and other historical landmarks.
 
IANS
 
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10 killed in Maharashtra road accident

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At least 10 revellers of a marriage party proceeding from Latur to Nanded were killed and 13 others injured when their van crashed into a truck here on Saturday, an official said.
 
According to Nanded Police Control official Bhagwan Ade, the accident took place around 9.30 a.m. when the van rammed into an empty sewage tanker speeding from the opposite direction on the Latur-Mukhed road 
 
The injured victims, all hailing from Latur's Ausa, have been rushed to hospitals, said Ade.
 
Efforts were underway to identify the bodies. At least eight of the victims died instantaneously in the crash, while two others succumbed to their injuries during treatment.
 
The condition of some of the injured was said to be critical.
 
IANS
 
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Top Maharashtra police officer Himanshu Roy allegedly commits suicide

Himanshu Roy
Himanshu Roy
Maharashtra's Additional Director General of Police Himanshu Roy allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his service revolver at his home in South Mumbai today, official sources said.
 
Mr. Roy was rushed to the Bombay Hospital where he was declared dead, the sources said.
 
The sources said Mr. Roy was suffering from cancer for some time and was on leave and undergoing medical treatment for the disease.
 
Top police officers of Mumbai rushed to the hospital after hearing of the news of Mr. Roy's death.
 
One of the best known officers of Maharashtra Police, Mr. Roy had won admiration from many during his stints as the head of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and as the Joint Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.
 
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1988 batch, Mr. Roy had investigated many important cases, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing and betting case. He  had also investigated the case of firing on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's borther Iqbal Kaskar's driver Arif Bael; the murder of journalist J. Dey; the double murder case involving Vijay Palande and the murder of law graduate Pallavi Purkhayasta.
 
He had earlier served as Superintendent of Police (SP) in Nashik (Rural) and Ahmednagar, Commissioner of Police, Nashik, and as Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mumbai.
 
Later, he was posted as Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Maharashtra (Planning and Co-ordination) and then as ADGP (Establishment) Maharashtra, a post he was holding at the time of his death.
 
He was an alumnus of St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.
 
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Maharashtra: Engine driver falls from running train, dies

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In a freak accident, an assistant loco pilot aboard a Mumbai-bound train on Sunday fell off and died while checking the train after its locomotive engine caught fire, an official said.
 
The incident took place around 5 p.m. when the 12810 Howrah-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was speeding between the Talni and Dhamangaon stations of Central Railway (CR) in Amravati district, nearly 700 km from Mumbai, in eastern Maharashtra.
 
There was a minor fire which erupted inside the locomotive but it was quickly extinguished later by the engine drivers using a fire extinguisher.
 
However, S.K. Vishwakarma, 32, the assistant loco pilot, fell from the running train while he was examining the train as part of normal operating procedures after the incident.
 
Main loco pilot, D.A. Brahme quickly applied the emergency brakes and brought the train to a halt.
 
An ambulance was summoned and the severely-injured Vishwakarma was rushed to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.
 
There are no other casualties or injuries to any other passengers on the train which left for its onward journey to Mumbai, with a replacement locomotive and a delay of around 45 minutes, said a Central Railway spokesperson.
 
IANS
 
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Sindhudurg Airport will be a boost for aviation sector in Maharashtra

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Maharashtra will get a new airport at Parule Chipi in Sindhudurg district in 2018.
 
Work on the project is expected to be completed in June this year, before the onset of monsoon and the Ganesh Festival, which will begin in September this year.
 
The airport is being constructed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt. Ltd. on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis for the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
 
Sindhudurg airport will have a 2500-meter runway which has provision for future development. The airport will be built at an approximate cost of 520 crores.
 
Sindhudurg airport will have the capacity to handle 200 departing and 200 passengers arriving during peak hours with expansion facilities to serve up to 400 departing and 400 arriving passengers without additional construction.
 
Although the airport will be serving domestic travellers it will be equipped with facilities to serve international charter flights.
 
Agreement for construction of the airport has already been signed between Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt. Ltd. in 2009.
 
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has given in-principle approval and environmental clearance has also been granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
 
Construction of taxiway, apron and isolation bay has been completed and work on the airfield ground lighting in on. Construction of passenger terminal building, ATC tower and the technical building is on in full swing. Construction of other ancillary buildings is in progress and will be completed on time.
 
An airport in Sindhudurg was necessary in order to provide better connectivity to the Konkan region of Maharashtra, parts of Goa, North Karnataka and Western Maharashtra. At present, the state of Maharashtra has three functional international and 13 domestic airports.
 
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Two more Maoists' bodies found, Maharashtra operation count now 39

The bodies of two more Maoists, including a woman, were found in the Indravati river near Kasnasur in this Maharashtra district, four days after Sunday's security forces operation, taking the count of the killed ultras to 39, an official said here on Wednesday.
 
Besides, the search teams have fished out body parts of some Maoists, which were apparently left over by crocodiles and other creatures in the river, and efforts are on to identify them.
 
Security officials suspect they may have tried to escape the volley of bullets fired by the commandos, or may have been dragged some distance in the forest by their associates before they succumbed to injuries or were abandoned near the river.
 
As many as 39 Maoists, including 20 women, were gunned down in the twin operations on Sunday morning and Monday evening in Gadchiroli, considered the worst Maoist-affected district in the country.
 
Meanwhile, from the 39 Maoists killed, the security forces have identified 18 and handed over the bodies of nine to their relatives for the last rites.
 
Besides the entire district, search efforts, deploying technology and gadgets, continue even in the Indravati River from where 15 bullet-ridden Maoists were fished out on Monday and Tuesday, with the waters teeming with crocodiles, snakes and other dangerous creatures, posing hurdles to the searchers.
 
The successful operations came after the security forces landed an accurate tip-off well in advance about a proposed jungle meeting of around four dozen Maoists scheduled on Sunday morning and the exact venue - catching the rebels virtually by surprise and with little time to hit back.
 
However, there are conflicting reports of the purpose of the meeting, whether it was for a marriage celebration or to chalk out some major offensive, but officials remain tight-lipped.
 
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The operation - the biggest in the anti-Maoist war in 38 years - saw the elimination of at least four prominent commanders, and dealt a body blow to their rebellious activities in the district.
 
The prominent leaders eliminated include: south region chief Srikant alias Ravtu Vijendra, 50, known as Srinu, besides the commanders of the Aheri, Gatta and Permili dalams (Maoist fighter units), including a woman chief, a deputy commander and prominent members of various groups.
 
The dalam commanders have been identified as: Dolesh Madi Atram alias Sainath (Permili), Mangli Pada alias Shantabai, 31, (Aheri), the wife of Srinu (above), Naresh Kutke Yeladi alias Raju/Ramesh, 29, (Gatta), and Vasudevo Bichha Atram alias Nandu, who is the Aheri dalam's DVC (killed in the Monday night battle).
 
Police officials surmise that the Aheri and Sironcha dalams have been totally wiped out in the two-day operations which claimed four out of five of their top leaders.
 
Police have also recovered a cache of sophisticated arms and ammunition, including two AK-47s, two INSAS, three SLRs, three .303s, a 58-mm gun, eight 12 bore rifles, a musket, and detonators, besides Maoist literature from these two operations.
 
IANS
 
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37 Maoists, including 19 women, killed in Maharashtra operations

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As many as 19 women, including a commander, are among 37 Maoists gunned down in two pitched battles by the Maharashtra Police in the forests of the state's Gadchiroli in the past 48 hours, eliminating at least four top commanders and virtually shattering the backbone of the rebels, a top police official said here on Tuesday evening.
 
State Additional Director-General of Police, Operations, D. Kanakratnam said that in the first gun battle on Sunday, the elite CRPF C-60 force's Battalion No. 9 commandos succeeded in ambushing a Maoist force of around 40-50 persons and there was continuous firing for nearly three hours before a complete lull.
 
"Thereafter, the security forces mounted a search in the battle-zone and found 16 bodies of slain Maoists, including seven women, after the gunfight in the Kasnasur area of Bhamragad in the district. Late on Monday, there was another encounter in Rajaram Khandla area of Jimalgatta in the district, in which six Maoists were killed, including four women," he told a packed media conference.
 
Late on Monday and early Tuesday, as part of the search operations, the security forces came upon bodies of 15 Maoists floating near the banks of the Indravati River on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh borders, taking the total toll to 37.
 
These 15 Maoists are said to be from among those who managed to escape into the forests during Sunday's funfight and subsequently succumbed to their bullet injuries while attempting to cross the river.
 
"We have so far identified around 16 of the rebels and work is underway to identify the rest. Overall, among those identified, they carried a combined reward of Rs 10.06 million on their heads," said Kanakratnam.
 
The operation - the biggest in the anti-Maoist war since the past over 38 years - saw the elimination of at least four prominent commanders, and dealt a body blow to their rebellious activities in the district.
 
"The killed include the south region chief Srikant alias Ravtu Vijendra, 50, known as Srinu, besides the commanders of the Aheri, Gatta and Permili dalams (Maoist fighter units), including a woman chief, a deputy commander and prominent members of various groups," Kanakratnam said.
 
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The dalam commanders have been identified as Dolesh Madi Atram alias Sainath (Permili), Mangli Pada alias Shantabai, 31, (Aheri), the wife of Srinu (above), Naresh Kutke Yeladi alias Raju/Ramesh, 29, (Gatta), and Vasudevo Bichha Atram alias Nandu, who is the Aheri dalam's DVC (killed in the Monday night battle).
 
Police officials surmise that the Aheri and Sironcha dalams have been totally wiped out in the two-day operations which claimed four out of five of their top leaders.
 
Besides the bodies, police have also recovered a cache of sophisticate arms, including two AK-47s, two INSAS, three SLRs, three .303s, one 58 mm gun, eight 12 bore rifles, a musket, pittus and detonators, besides Naxal literature from these operations, said Additional DGP (L&O) Bipin Bihari.
 
Search and combing operations continue, though interrupted by heavy rain and bad weather, in the entire Gadchiroli district even Tuesday, said an official this evening.
 
The twin victory leading to elimination of 37 Maoists was celebrated with no-holds barred dancing and merrymaking by the security officials in the past couple of days.
 
The district is among the worst affected by the Maoist insurgency. It has been virtually sealed off by the security forces, as they stalked the Red rebels in the jungles, villages, hills and valleys to snuff them out from their deep hideouts.
 
Other Maoist-affected states in the neighbourhood like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana have gone on a state of high alert ever since the state security forces here launched their biggest and most crushing anti-Maoist operation in almost four decades.
 
IANS
 
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15 dead Maoists fished out of Maharashtra river; toll 37

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The security forces have recovered at least 15 more bodies of Maoists from the Indravati River here early on Tuesday, taking the toll in the gunfight in the past 48 hours to 37, official sources said.
 
A fresh gun-fight on Monday night left at least six Maoists dead, barely 36 hours after Sunday's encounter which had resulted in the killing of 16 rebels.
 
The bodies, which were bloated and had started to decompose, were found floating in the river which flows along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border.
 
These 15 Maoists are said to be from among those who managed to escape into the forests during Sunday's encounter. They must have succumbed to their injuries, an official, who declined to be identified, told IANS.
 
The second encounter took place in Rajaram Kahnhila village in Jimlagatta with commandos of the C-60 force taking on the rebels.
 
A high-ranking commander of the Aheri Dalam, identified as Nandu, is among those killed.
 
Officials said that the Sironcha and Perimeli dalams have been totally wiped out in the two-day long operations.
 
Jimlagatta is 60 km from the scene of Sunday's ambush in which 16 Maoists were killed, including three of their high-ranking commanders and seven women.
 
Maharashtra's Additional Director-General of Police (L&O) Bipin Bihari said that so far the C-60 commando forces have eliminated three Maoist dalam commanders.
 
In the separate encounters on Sunday and Monday, a total of 19 women and 18 male Maoists have been gunned down, but the toll is expected to rise.
 
Till now, the police have recovered a sophisticated cache of arms, including two AK-47s, two INSAS, three SLRs, three .303s, one 58-mm gun, eight 12 bore rifles, a musket, pittus and detonators, besides Naxal literature from these operations, Bihari added.
 
Search and combing operations continue, though interrupted by heavy rain and bad weather, in the entire Gadchiroli district.
 
The district is among the worst affected by the Maoist insurgency. It has been virtually sealed off by the security forces, as they stalked in the jungles, villages, hills and valleys to snuff out the Reds in their deep hideouts.
 
Other Maoist-affected states -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana -- are on a state of high alert ever since the state security forces here launched their biggest anti-Maoist operations in around four decades.
 
IANS
 
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11 more dead Maoists found in Maharashtra river; toll reaches 33

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The security forces have recovered at least 11 more bodies of suspected Maoists from the Indravati River here early on Tuesday, official sources said.
 
The bodies, which were bloated and have started to decompose, were found floating on the banks of river which flows along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh borders.
 
These 11 Maoists are believed to be from among those who managed to escape to the forests during a gunfight with security forces on Sunday. They must have succumbed to their injuries, an official declining to be identified told IANS.
 
Searching and combing operations in the entire Gadchiroli district, which has been virtually sealed by the security forces, continues in the jungles, villages, hills and valleys to track and snuff out the Maoists from their hideouts.
 
At least six Maoists were gunned down in a fresh gunfight in the district, barely 36 hours after Sunday's encounter which left 16 rebels dead.
 
The fresh encounter took place late on Monday in the Rajaram Kahnhila village in Jimlagatta with the crack commandos of the C-60 force.
 
A high-ranking commander of the Aheri Dalam, identified as Nandu, is among those killed.
 
Jimlagatta is 60 km from the scene of Sunday's ambush in which 16 Maoists including three of their high-ranking commanders and seven women were killed.
 
Other Maoist-infested states besides Maharashtra -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana -- are on a state of high alert, ever since the state security forces here launched their biggest anti-Maoist operations in around four decades.
 
IANS
 
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Six Maoists killed in fresh Maharashtra gun-battle

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At least six Maoists were gunned down in a fresh gunfight in Gadchiroli district, barely 24 hours after Sunday's encounter which left 16 rebels dead, official sources said.
 
The new encounter took place on Monday evening in Jimlagatta region of the district with the crack commandos of the C-60 force.
 
Jimlagatta is 60 km from the scene of Sunday's ambush in which 16 Maoists including three high-ranking commanders and seven women were killed.
 
The security forces are continuing intense search and combing operations in entire Gadchiroli since the past two days, resulting in tonight's encounter, the sources, declining to be identified, told IANS.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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ECI announces dates for elections for six seats in Maharashtra Council, bye-election to AP Council

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it would hold biennial elections to six Maharashtra Legislative Council seats and a bye-election for one seat in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council on May 21.
 
The biennial elections in Maharashtra will be from six Local Authorities Constituencies and the bye-election in Andhra Pradesh will be from the Chittoor Local Authorities' Constituency, an official press release said.
 
The notification for the elections will be issued on April 26 and the last date for making nominations is May 3. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on May 4 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures will be May 7, it said.
 
Polling wil be held between 8 am and 4 pm on May 21, and counting of votes will be taken up on May 24, the release added.
 
The release said the term of office of six members of the Maharashtra Legislative Council is due to expire on May 31 and June 21. They are Anil Dattatrey Tatkare (Raigad-cum-Ratnagiri-cum-Sindhudurg -- May 31); Jaywantrao Pundlikrao Jadhav (Nashik); Mitesh Gotulal Bhangdiya (Wardha-cum-Chandrapur-cum-Gadchiroli); Abdullah Khan A. Latif Khan Durrani (Parbhani-cum-Hingoli); Pravin Ramchandraji Pote (Amravati) and Dileeprao Dagdojirao Deshmukh (Osmanabad-cum-Latur-cum-Beed), all of whom will retire on June 21.
 
The casual vacancy has occurred in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council due to the death of Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu, representing the Chittoor Local Authorities’ Constituency, on February 7. His term of office would have normally expired on August 11, 2021.
 
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16 Maoists killed in crackdown by security forces in Gadchiroli

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In the biggest crackdown in four decades in Maharashtra, security forces on Sunday gunned down at least 16 Maoists including some women, in Gadchiroli district, an official said.
 
Among those killed were at least a couple of high-ranking unit commanders.
 
A fierce gunfight took place in a thickly forested area between the Maoists and security forces in which the rebels suffered huge reverses, according to the official.
 
The official said the gunfight took place in the Boria jungles on the border of Bhamragad-Etapalli taluka.
 
At around 7 a.m., a C-60 squad of police commandos was launching an anti-Maoist combing operations when they were suddenly attacked by the Maoists hidden there.
 
The police retaliated with firing and the bloody gunbattle continued for over five hours till 11 a.m.
 
"So far, we have recovered 16 bodies of Maoists including some women. The search operation is continuing in the forests to recover more bodies if any. The process is on to identify them," the official told IANS.
 
Officials believe that an entire active Dalam (unit) may have been wiped out in the gunfight along with its high-ranking commanders and other most-wanted Maoists.
 
Sunday's is the single biggest police action against Maoists in the past 38 years since the birth of the Naxalite movement in the district.
 
As it continued to spread in the region, adjoining districts like Chandrapur and spilled over to neighbouring states in central India, the police deployed specialist trained forces to tackle the growing menace.
 
In 2013, police eliminated six Maoists in Govindgaon in Aheri taluka. In December 2017, police killed seven Maoists in the forest of Kallade in Sironcha taluka.
 
IANS
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Sportswoman accuses Karnataka doctor of rape, probe on

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A prominent international level sportswoman from Maharashtra has accused a Karnataka doctor of raping her for two years, police said.
 
According to Investigating Officer Dilip Tibile of Karveer Police Station, the complaint was received earlier this week from the 33-year-old sportswoman against a doctor living in Gulbarga town in north Karnataka.
 
"The complainant has said the accused has repeatedly raped for over two years with hopes of marriage and then renegeding on his promise. The accused is absconding and we are on the lookout," Tibile told IANS.
 
The victim said she came in touch with the doctor via social media in December 2016 and after sometime, he visited Kolhapur to meet her.
 
Later, he proposed marriage and since he appeared to be from a respectable background, she agreed to the proposal.
 
Subsequently, till March, he called her on two occasions to Goa and Bengaluru and sexually assaulted her, as per the complaint, said Tibile.
 
When she reminded him of the marriage proposal, he flatly refused to marry her, leading to a major argument.
 
Shocked by this, the sportswoman threatened to lodge a police complaint. However he retorted by warning her of dire consequences on social media and even threatened to kill her, according to her complaint.
 
Taking serious note of the grievances, the Kolhapur Police have formed teams to hunt down the doctor, said Tibile.
 
The Maharashtra Police has sought the help from its Karnataka counterpart to help trace the accused and bring him to justice.
 
IANS
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1993 blasts death row convict Tahir Merchant dead

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M. Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Takla, one of the convicts in the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts who was sentenced to death, died of a heart attack here on Wednesday, a police officer said.
 
Merchant, who was lodged in the Yerawada Central Jail, suffered a heart attack in the prison around 3 a.m. and was rushed to the Sassoon Hospital.
 
However, he failed to respond to the treatment and breathed his last around 3.45 a.m., said Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) B.K. Upadhyay.
 
On September 7, 2017, Merchant, 55, was sentenced to death by a Special TADA Court here for conspiring, facilitating and knowingly commissioning acts of terror leading to the March 1993 serial bomb explosions which rocked Mumbai. But in December 2017, the Supreme Court stayed the sentence.
 
Despite his unassuming appearance, Merchant was a part of the 'inner circle' of confidantes of absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and Tiger Memon, the two prime accused in the serial bomb blasts.
 
Like the Memons family and other accused, he too fled the country shortly after the blasts but was caught in Abu Dhabi in 2010.
 
Soon after the blasts, a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
 
Merchant had taken part in the blast conspiracy, hatched at Dawood's homes in Dubai, along with Tiger Memon.
 
Besides, Merchant was found guilty of sending some of the accused to Pakistan to acquire training in handling weapons and explosives, according to the investigators.
 
On March 12, 1993, the country's commercial capital was rocked by a series of 13 blasts in quick succession at various locations in the city and suburbs, creating the worst unprecedented mayhem in the country, killing 257 and injuring 700 others.
 
The prime targets included the Air India Building, Bombay Stock Exchange and Zaveri Bazar among others, leading to damage or destruction of public and private properties worth Rs 27 crore.
 
IANS
 
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18 labourers dead, several injured as truck overturns near Khandala in Maharashtra

 
18 dead as mini-truck hits barricade on Pune-Satara highway
At least 18 labourers died and an equal number suffered injuries when a mini-truck carrying them overturned near Khandala in Satara district of Maharashtra early this morning.
 
The deceased included 10 men, six women and two children, police officials in Khandala told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
The injured were rushed to three or four different hospitals in Khandala and an exact count of their number was not immediately available, they said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 4.30 am at Yash Corner, about 4 km from Khandala and 250  km from here, on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, when the mini-truck, overladen with passengers and goods, including construction equipment, was on its way from Bijapur in Karnataka to Pune in Maharashtra.
 
The sources said the driver of the vehicle apparently lost control of the wheel and it crashed through a barricade and overturned. 
 
Police and other emergency personnel rushed to the spot and extricated the victims and rushed the injured to hospital. The bodies were sent for post-mortem examination, they said.
 
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India's first LNG cargo from US arrives at Dabhol

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan receiving the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States at Dabhol in Maharashtra on March 30, 2018.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan receiving the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States at Dabhol in Maharashtra on March 30, 2018.
India's first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States arrived at Dabhol in Maharashtra today, marking a new beginning in the energy partnership and trade between the two countries.
 
Public sector gas major GAIL's first chartered vessel -- MV Meridian Spirit -- reached Dabhol after 25 days of voyage and docked for unloading in the presence of Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
 
Mr. Patrick Santillo, Minister Counsellor for Commercial Affairs, Embassy of the United States and GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B. C. Tripathi were also present on the occasion.
 
"Commencement of LNG supplies under the Henry Hub indexed contracts is significant for GAIL and the Indian markets as well," a press release from GAIL said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Pradhan said the  government was working towards making India a gas-based economy. He said the arrival of the first LNG cargo from the US was an important milestone towards ensuring adequate availability of natural gas through imports from diversified sources.
 
He said a shift towards a gas-based economy would require augmenting domestic production as well as imports. He added that adequate investments in natural gas infrastructure including pipeline, LNG import terminal and City Gas Distribution network were also a focus area for the Government.
 
The release said the US has abundant supply of shale gas and the long-term LNG contracts signed by Indian companies with the US provide India with an access to secure supply source at stable prices which will result in geographical diversification and energy security.
 
GAIL will have an optimum portfolio mix of LNG indexed to Henry Hub (HH) and crude oil and the customers will benefit from such a unique price blend. GAIL is one of the early movers to contract US LNG and has 5.8 MMTPA of US LNG in its portfolio. GAIL shall be receiving around 90 cargoes per annum from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG terminals, it said.
 
The arrival of this LNG vessel comes close on the heels of formation of Konkan LNG Private Limited, a subsidiary of GAIL, which has recently been demerged from RGPPL.
 
Total bilateral trade (goods and services) between India and US increased at a CAGR of 11.4% from $20 billion in the year 2000 to over $126.1 billion in the year 2017.  India’s trade with the US is expected to increase owing to large scale imports of LNG and crude oil in the coming years. GAIL alone would be procuring approximately $ 2 billion worth of LNG per annum from the from FY 2018-19, the release added.
 
NNN
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Koyna region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in Koyna region of Maharashtra in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 17.3°N and longitude 73.8°E, occurred at 0143 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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First Mega Food Park in Maharashtra inaugurated in Satara

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The first Mega Food Park in Maharashtra, Satara Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd., was inaugurated in Degaon village in Satara district yesterday by Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.  
 
This is the 12th Mega Food Park in the country so far and the 10th to be set up during the tenure of the present government, an official press release said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that, to give a major fillip to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with a particular focus on perishables, the Ministry was implementing the Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
 
These Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster-based approach, she said. 
 
Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs). Under the scheme, the Government provides financial assistance up to Rs 50 crore for each Mega Food Park project.
 
She said the Mega Food Park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs 250 crore in 25-30 food processing units in the park and would eventually lead to a turnover of about Rs 450-500 crore annually. The Park will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 people and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the CPC and PPC catchment areas.
 
In a bid to make India a resilient food economy and the ‘Food Factory of the World’, the government has made Food Processing a major thrust area of ‘Make in India’.  
 
The sector will contribute immensely towards ‘Doubling Farmers income’ in the coming years and the Ministry is working tirelessly to achieving this goal through implementation of projects under the flagship scheme of ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana’.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he would ensure that this food park emerges as one of the best food processing industries in the country.  Food Park is the need of the hour to make the agriculture sustainable, he added.
 
On this occasion, Members of Parliament Sharad Pawar, Udayanraje Bhonsle, and Sanjay Patil, along with MLAs Shivendraraje Bhosle and Shashikant Shinde besides Hanumantrao Gaikawad, Chairman, BVG group were present.
 
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GJEPC signs MoU with MIDC for India’s largest jewellery park in Mumbai

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The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the apex body of the Indian gem and jewellery industry, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to establish India’s largest jewellery park  in Navi Mumbai.
 
The MoU for the proposed “India Jewellery Park Mumbai” was signed at the "Magnetic Maharashtra" global investors summit here yesterday by GJEPC Chairman Pramod Agarwal and MIDC CEO Sanjay Sethi in the presence of Union Commerce and Industry  Minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
 
The India Jewellery Park will come up on 25 acres of land with 4 million square feet of built area housing more than 5000 gem & jewellery units in varied sizes ranging from 500 to 10,000 sq. feet, a press release from GJEPC said.
 
The project will attract an investment of over Rs. 13,000 crore over three to five years.
 
"GJEPC is committed and aligned to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Skill India’ &‘Make in India’. Establishment of India Jewellery Park will contribute to the economic development of both Maharashtra and India, by facilitating investment, manufacturing, employment of manpower, trade & exports. This dynamic venture will provide effective support to Jewellery manufacturers/traders who are interested to relocate, expand or invest in the state of Maharashtra and the region to initiate new business or strengthen their existing business, benchmarking with the Jewellery Park created in countries like China. Turkey, Italy, Thailand, etc.,” Mr. Agarwal said.
 
“Jewellery park project is estimated to generate direct employment of around 1,00,000 workers for the State of Maharashtra. I am grateful to Government of India and Ministry of Commerce & Industry in particular for extending their valuable support for the growth and development of the gem & jewellery industry. GJEPC remains committed to continue its aggressive efforts to maintain India’s leadership position in gems & jewellery industry globally and also be part of India’s growth story by increasing exports,” he added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Satara region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Satara region of Maharashtra this morning.
 
The  quake, which  had its epicentre at latitude 17.3°N and longitude 73.9°E, occurred at 0711 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
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13 dead as bus falls into river in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra

 
13 dead in road mishap in Maharashtra
As many as 13 people died and three others suffered injuries when a mini-bus carrying  them veered off the Shivaji Bridge into the Panchganga river on the outskirts of Kolhapur city in Maharashtra late last night.
 
Police sources told NetIndian over the telephone that the mishap occurred around 11.30 pm when the victims were returning to their village in Balewadi area of Pune district after visiting a temple in Ganpatipule in Ratnagiri district.
 
Those who died in the accident included three women, three women and seven children, including a nine-month-old infant, they said.
 
The three injured persons, all women, have been admitted to a hospital in Kolhapur, they said.
 
Police and fire brigade personnel rushed to the spot and managed to pull out the victims from the mangled bus, with the help of local people.
 
NNN
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