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It’s moving to see people from rural areas supporting Rakhtashari for separate Vidarbha: Aney

Former Advocate General Shreehari Aney
Shreehari Aney

Former Maharashtra Advocate General and founder of ViRA  (Vidarbha Rajya Aghadi) Shreehari Aney’s unique campaign demanding separate Vidarbhahood ? Rakhtashari Andolan ? is getting an encouraging stimulus from people across Vidarbha. So much so that recently in Sakoli, Adv Manish Kaapgate celebrated his five-year-old son Suyashs birthday where guests gave a thumb impression in blood for the campaign demanding a separate Vidarbha. Similarly, a wedding couple in Gondumri decided to start their wedding reception by doing the same along with their guests.

Aney had sent a letter to PM Narendra Modi on the occasion of Maharashtra Day (May 1) with the signatures of 10,000 people with their blood, demanding a separate Vidarbha state. The BJP had promised that it would create a separate state of Vidarbha. So, we are sending letters signed with our blood to the PM as only he is capable of taking a decision. The BJP should fulfill its promise of separate Vidarbha, said Aney.

Shreehari Aney
A woman signing the campaign Rakhtashari in blood with her thumb impression.

Shreehari Aney in an exclusive chat with Nation Next spoke about the gaining popularity of the campaign. He said, This idea seems to have caught-on among people. They are celebrating their birthdays and weddings by signing letters in blood. What is important is that our campaign is getting over whelming response from smaller cities like Gondumri, Sakoli, etc., which means that people from smaller and remote areas are going to bat for separate Vidarbha. The sentiments of separate Vidarbha aren’t restricted to bigger cities like Nagpur only.

“It seems that in order to take home the point, it’s not necessary to cut a birthday cake showing the map of Maharashtra and carving a separating Vidarbha from it,” said Aney referring to the incident, where he had cut a cake on his last birthday by carving out a separate Vidarbha from the Maharashtra map etched on the cake.

Shreehari Aney
Birthday invitation card of a five-year-old Suyash Manish Kapgate, which has a mention of the campaign Rakhtashari.

When Nation Next spoke to Neeraj Khandewale, secretary of ViRA, he said, We are sending letters to the PM to pass a resolution demanding a separate Vidarbha in the forthcoming Parliament session. We started this campaign on Maharashtra Day (May 1), which is observed as a black day in Vidarbha as on this day in 1960, Congress had merged Vidarbha with Maharashtra for its political gain despite the then on-going protest for a separate Vidarbha. So, we decided to conduct this unique signature campaign. The letter that is addressed to Modi has thumb impressions, of people who demand a separate Vidarbha, in blood. This has become a people’s campaign now. Besides bigger cities like Nagpur, Amravati, etc, we are carrying out this campaign in rural areas too. This campaign is gaining momentum because people are signing in blood even while attending weddings and birthdays.

Shreehari Aney
A wedding invitation card in Gondumri, which has a mention of Rakhtashari.

On asking about the reason for specifically choosing thumb impression over signatures, he said, It’s the best authentication. One can go for a DNA or a forensic test if needed to validate the authenticity of the thumb impression. One can even ascertain the identity of the thumb impression through verifying it with people’s respective Aadhaar cards. Moreover, we also want to tell people that this campaign isn’t bogus.

Khandewale, who feels that Modi is the only choice left for them to get this protest registered, says, There’s a lot of politics involved in it. Modi is the only true leader of the nation unlike other Cabinet ministers. We have lost faith in our local leaders like Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis. They can’t even speak about the issue of separate Vidarbha in front of Modi. We don’t think our leaders are so high in stature. Now we don’t even want to trouble them! If Modi can address people through Mann ki Baat on radio, he can hear our grievances too. When Modi can single-handedly ban 500 and 1000 currency notes, he can definitely create a separate Vidarbha.

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Dharavi redevelopment to have dedicated areas for manufacturing: Devendra Fadnavis




Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment will have dedicated areas for manufacturing…

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Mah Deputy CM says that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

As Dharavi redevelopment has been announced, doubts were raised on whether this locally evolved entrepreneurial hub will retain its spirit.  In a chat on Sansad TV with Sanjeev Sanyal, Member, PM’s Economic Advisory Council and a writer, on an Economic Sutra episode telecast on Nov 6, the Deputy Chief Minister had made it very clear how he foresees the future of Dharavi and Mumbai.

Saying that his government worked on clearing all the bottlenecks, he adds, “We understood that unless we have a place to rehabilitate people, which is nearby Dharavi, this project will not take off. We found out that there is around 42 acres of land which belongs to the Railways. We approached the Central Government and told them that we’ll free up your land. We’ll buy your land and we’ll give you a share in the profit and we entered into a definitive agreement and now they have handed it over to us.”

“The Dharavi Redevelopment project will be the most unique project ever done. In fact, this redevelopment was visualized by none other than Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 but nothing happened – until 2014 when Modiji came and we started governing Maharashtra. The redevelopment will be no less beautiful than BKC. Dharavi is just not a slum but it’s also a great manufacturing cluster, so what we did was that while planning this scheme we have created areas for this entire manufacturing industry along with planning for the rehabilitation of the people. Right now, this entire manufacturing sector is informal, but after this and over time they will come into the formal sector.”

Watch the full interaction here:

Also, with Mumbai undergoing so many infrastructural changes, questions have been raised about retaining the quintessential character of “aamchi Mumbai,” which apart from being the financial capital of India is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities.

Speaking on the land issues, Fadnavis says, “The usable space in Mumbai is very little. It has length, but has limitations on the breadth so taking into consideration all these problems we wanted to design a very robust system for Mumbai for commuters and for vehicles. That’s why the all the new Coastal Road, which will decongest the western side of Mumbai. It will be a ring road type structure along the coast and this Western Expressway carries 60 percent of the Mumbai traffic right, so all that traffic will be mostly accommodated here.”

Commuting in Mumbai is a killer and every day Mumbaikars spend a lot of time on travel. Saying that he wants to reduce travel within Mumbai from anywhere to anywhere to an hour, Fadnavis explains, “Our Metro three is a very unique 40 kilometers of underground Network, which will be the lifeline of Mumbai. It is estimated to carry around 1.7 million passengers per day! All this work will be finished in two or three years and I want that from any place to any place in Mumbai one should reach within less than one hour – that is the planning. We are also trying to integrate the transportation system. Right now, our Suburban Railway is the lifeline of Mumbai. This Suburban Railway carries around 9 million passengers. The new Metro Network which we are creating will be carrying around 7 million or 8 million passengers, almost doubling the current number.”

Adding to this, the Deputy CM says that the 22 kilometers of Sea Bridge that will connect us to the hinterland, “so we have Mumbai, we have new Mumbai and that will be the third Mumbai that will be a land mass which will be bigger than Mumbai with new Mumbai airport. I think the future growth of Mumbai is on that side!”

Also read: Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate




Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm…

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm.


Is squalor for cameras, money more important than dignified living for the residents…  

Former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy’s Dharavi comments kicked off a storm when he said on Twitter that Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, ‘is not actually a slum but a tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of the weakest and smallest person fighting for his or her livelihood in Mumbai. It is also a model in collective coexistence in one of the toughest cities in the world, where nothing else matters. Not caste. Not faith. Not where you come from. But trust and togetherness.’

While this may be true, what is equally true is the squalor and subhuman conditions that reign supreme in this slum. Netizens felt that Nandy, by romanticizing poverty in this manner, was only feeding poverty porn and tourism. Nandy clarified that he was seeking to keep the spirit of Dharavi alive by “researching the architectural grammar, the cultural history that builds integrated and interdependent societies like Dharavi that have survived and flourished over decades and make that the base for the new redevelopment plans. Not just look at the future but also build in the past.”

The Maharashtra Government had on November 29, opened the financial bids for Dharavi redevelopment project.  While 3 companies Adani Realty, DLF and Naman Group had submitted bids, the Adani Group clinched the project with a INR 5,069-crore bid. The timeline for the entire redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, might take close to 17 years, the rehabilitation of slum dwellers should be complete in seven years. 

Also read: Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health




Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai
The Bombay High Court said ex-minister Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues.

Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court said, as per prima facie, 74-year-old former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said that when Deshmukh’s bail plea was moved on medical grounds, then a fresh medical report needed to be called for. 

Singh said, “There is a compilation that has been given now. There are medical papers attached. We need to go through it. Even though this is not a bail application on merit of the case, it is still being circulated under medical issues. He is getting medical treatment as required. Moreover, medical issues are not static. We need a check on what his condition is right now.”

Deshmukh’s advocate Vikram Chaudhari said the senior NCP leader was being treated but has been suffering from several ailments that require constant treatment and care. Chaudhary said, ”He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient.”

Justice MS Karnik said that the court would hear the bail plea on merits. He said, “I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailments (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative.” Deshmukh’s bail plea would now be heard on December 6.

The bench asked Singh whether he was ready to argue on the merits of the case immediately, to which Singh said he would require a week while Chaudhari said that he was ready to argue. However, Justice Karnik said, “We need to give them a fair opportunity.”

Also read: 10 lakh spectators across 50 km; PM Modi makes history with road show for BJP in Ahmedabad

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