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Mumbai: 7 Days On, Strike Called Off By Drivers Of Private Operators Hired By BEST

BEST bus employees end strike as Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde guarantees salary increase and meeting other demands.

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Mumbai: 7 Days On, Strike Called Off By Drivers Of Private Operators Hired By BEST
PTI Photo

Mumbai: The ongoing strike by employees of private bus operators affiliated with the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) has been called off on Tuesday afternoon. The decision comes after an assurance from Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who met with representatives of the contractual employees late on Monday.

The strike, which had entered its 7th day on Tuesday, led to the disruption of 551 out of 1,600 BEST buses. However, the announcement of its conclusion brings relief to the lakhs of bus commuters who were adversely affected.

In a statement to the media at Azad Maidan, a spokesperson for the contractual employees explained that the delegation, led by Pradnya Khajurkar, the wife of a contractual worker, Raghunath Khajurkar, held discussions with Chief Minister Shinde after midnight on Monday. During the meeting, Shinde reportedly assured the delegation that their demands would be met.

Vikas Kharmale, the coordinator of a group of private bus operator employees, shared that the main demands, including salary hikes, bonuses, leaves, and free bus rides, were acknowledged and accepted. Consequently, the strike was officially called off.

The strike affected various aspects of public transportation, with drivers and other staff of private bus operators abstaining from work. Their demands were centered around issues such as salary increases and achieving pay parity with their counterparts in the BEST organization.

Notably, Mumbai’s guardian minister, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, declared on Monday that the impacted BEST bus services would be gradually restored within the next 24 to 48 hours.

The BEST undertaking, responsible for public bus services in Mumbai and adjacent regions, had engaged more than 1,600 buses through a wet lease model. This arrangement shifted the responsibilities of vehicle ownership, maintenance, fuel, and driver costs to private operators. The BEST’s vast fleet, consisting of over 3,100 buses, serves a daily commuter count exceeding 30 lakh across Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, and Mira-Bhayander. It’s worth noting that the organization owns fewer than 1,400 buses among this fleet.

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Bengaluru

Siddaramaiah Considers NIA Probe for Rameswaram Cafe Blast

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah discusses potential NIA involvement in the investigation of the Rameswaram cafe blast.

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Siddaramaiah Considers NIA Probe for Rameswaram Cafe Blast
(Chief Minister Siddaramaiah | Photo - X/@CMofKarnataka)

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah addressed concerns regarding the Rameswaram cafe blast, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring a thorough investigation. The blast, which occurred at a popular eatery in Brookfield on March 1, left 10 people injured and sparked demands for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe.

Siddaramaiah acknowledged that the Central Crime Branch (CCB) was currently handling the investigation. However, in response to the BJP’s call for an NIA inquiry, he stated, “We will consider it if necessary. The investigation is underway, and no suspects have been apprehended yet.”

The Chief Minister also criticized the BJP’s attempts to politicize the incident, particularly referencing their accusation of labeling Bengaluru as ‘Bomb Bangalore’ instead of ‘Brand Bangalore.’ He pointed out previous bomb blasts that occurred during BJP’s rule and questioned their accountability during those instances.

Addressing concerns over public safety, Siddaramaiah stressed the seriousness with which governments approach such incidents. “Bombings are never trivial matters. Our priority is always the safety and security of the public,” he affirmed.

He further challenged the BJP to refrain from politicizing the issue and instead focus on supporting efforts to ensure justice and prevent future incidents. “While I condemn the act of bombing, it is crucial that we do not engage in political gamesmanship at the expense of public safety,” Siddaramaiah emphasized.

In conclusion, Siddaramaiah’s remarks underscored the government’s commitment to a thorough investigation into the Rameswaram cafe blast and their willingness to consider involving the NIA if deemed necessary. He reiterated the importance of prioritizing public safety above political agendas, urging all parties to work together towards this common goal.

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Mangaluru

Bhandara Mane Demolition: Three Arrested in Ullal, Karnataka

Three arrested in Ullal for the demolition of an under-construction Bhandara Mane near Kondana Daivasthana. Get insights on the incident, legal actions, and reactions.

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Bhandara Mane Demolition: Three Arrested in Ullal, Karnataka
Photo:tv9kannada

in Ullal, Karnataka, three individuals have been apprehended by the Ullal police regarding the demolition of an under-construction “Bhandara mane” near the revered Kondana Daivasthana. Commissioner of Police Anupam Agrawal identified the arrested individuals as Muttana Shetty, Dheeraj, and Shivraj.

Bhandara Mane:

The Kondana Daivasthana, overseen by the endowment department, witnessed the unlawful demolition of the Bhandara mane structure, located on government land adjacent to the Daivasthana premises. Miscreants utilized an earthmover to carry out the demolition during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Following a complaint lodged by Kotekar TP Chief Officer Anand, the police initiated legal proceedings under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Karnataka Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act. The sections invoked include IPC Sections 143, 147, 148, 295, 427, along with Section 2A of the aforementioned Karnataka Act.

Interrogation of the arrested individuals revealed that the Bhandara mane construction lacked proper authorization, having been erected without consent from the Daivasthana’s 16 ‘gurikararu.’ Despite complaints to authorities like the Assistant Commissioner and Tahsildar, no corrective measures were taken, prompting the accused to take matters into their own hands.

Expressing dismay over the incident, U T Khader, Assembly Speaker and representative of the Mangalore Assembly constituency, condemned the demolition. He emphasized the significance of preserving religious structures and directed law enforcement to swiftly act against the perpetrators.

The demolition of the Bhandara mane stands as a somber event tarnishing the district’s reputation, prompting calls for justice and stricter enforcement of property laws. Stay tuned for further updates as the legal proceedings unfold in this case.

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Bengaluru

JP Nadda will reach Karnataka on Monday on a two-day visit.

BJP national president J P Nadda’s two-day visit to Belagavi includes public engagements and organisational meetings.

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JP Nadda will reach Karnataka on Monday on a two-day visit.
File Photo: JP Nadda

BJP national president J P Nadda is set for a significant two-day visit to Belagavi, Karnataka. Scheduled from Monday onwards, his visit encompasses a series of public engagements and crucial organisational meetings. On Monday, he is expected to arrive at Sambra Airport, Belagavi at 08.30 pm. The itinerary kicks off with a core committee meeting for Chikodi, Belagavi, Bagalkot, and Vijayapura parliamentary constituencies at Kakati, Belagavi at 09.00 pm.

The following day, Tuesday, holds various important events. At 11.15 am, Nadda will address the booth karyakarta sammelan at Kiwad Ground, Chikodi. This will be followed by an interaction session with beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Swanidhi Yojana at ITC Welcome Hotel in Belagavi at 02.15 pm. Later in the day, at 05.15 pm, he is scheduled to interact with intellectuals at Jirge Auditorium in Belagavi.

The visit underscores BJP’s commitment to engaging with local communities and strengthening organisational structures. Stay updated on J P Nadda’s visit to Belagavi for insights into the party’s strategies and engagements.

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