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Mumbai, Aug 7: Around 17 lakh Maharashtra government employees launched a three-day strike on Tuesday over pending demands including implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission Report with departments like education and medical severely hit.While Fadnavis announced that the benefits of seventh pay commission will be provided to lakhs of government employees from January 2019.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday night directed all employees to report for duty on Tuesday and warned of strict disciplinary action against those who failed to comply under MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act) and salary cuts.

It also announced payment of pending Dearness Allowance (DA) for 14 months to 150,000 gazetted officers, who accordingly withdrew from the three-day agitation.

An official of the Maharashtra State Employees Organisation (MSEO) said that all employees right upto taluka levels have joined the agitation.

The MSEO has accused the state government of sitting on its demands including the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission Report, effective from January 1, 2016.

However, later it dilly-dallied saying that it was awaiting the report of the K.P. Bakshi Committtee in the matter as implementing the Commission would entail an additional burden of a staggering Rs 21,000-crore on the debt-hit state.

Other major demands include implementation of a five-day week in all government offices, increasing the retirement age from 58 to 60 and filling up urgently over 200,000 vacancies in the state.

The MSEO, Maharashtra State Class IV Employees Association and other affiliated associations served a notice to strike to the General Administration Department on July 16, but there was no response.

The unions have said that they will not settle for “mere assurances” but only direct action from the government, since the strike was deferred several times in the past few years on such promises.

Tuesday’s action has hit normal work in all government offices including the headquarters, Mantralaya in Mumbai, collectorates, tehsils and talukas, besides educational, medical and other government institutions.

India

India-UAE special repatriation flights to begin July 12

Chartered flights operated by UAE carriers will bring stranded Indian citizens back to their homeland. The same flights will be allowed to carry ICA approved UAE residents back to their country (return from India to UAE).

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New Delhi, July 9 : The civil aviation authorities of India and the UAE have agreed to operate special repatriation flights between the two countries during July 12-26.

As per the arrangement, chartered flights operated by UAE carriers to bring flying out Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approved UAE residents to their native country on their return leg.

Further, Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry the ICA approved UAE residents on their onward journey from India to the Gulf country.

“As part of the close strategic partnership between the Govts of India & UAE, and with a view to assisting UAE residents who are presently in India to return to UAE, the Civil Aviation Authorities of both countries have agreed to operationalise a special arrangement,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

Earlier in the day, he had tweeted that special flights will be arranged for the nearly 500 residents of Uttarakhand stranded in Dubai.

“Fellow RS Parliamentarian @anil_baluni discussed the issue of nearly 500 Uttarakhand residents who are stranded & distressed in Dubai. I have assured him that special flights will be arranged for them. My office is coordinating with @MEAIndia to ensure their early return,” he said in another tweet.

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Closed Markaz, no foreigners dims hopes for Nizamuddin shopkeepers

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

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Nizamuddin Markaz

New Delhi, July 10 : A group of five men in white kurta pyjamas wait outside the Nizamuddin Markaz for the local policeman to arrive. After some anxious moments, the policeman arrives on a motorcycle with the building”s key. It is time for afternoon prayers and only five people are permitted to offer prayers inside the Markaz five times a day. As he unlocks the gate, the five men walk in to offer Zohar Namaz.

Khaleeq, who has his small shop, selling skull caps, beads and other religious items, exactly opposite the Markaz entrance, feels that with foreigners gone from the area, the market will have a hard time to pick up.

“With the uncertainty on when foreigners would be allowed in Markaz now, the business at Nizamuddin market is badly hit. Most of the shops here are based on the foreigners” needs and demands. With no foreign customers, we are facing heavy losses,” he said.

The worst affected are money exchange shops which were mostly dependent on foreigners” visit to Markaz.

Ahmed Uzair, a banker who resides in Nizamuddin, believes that the market might now pay the price of being too much dependent on foreign customers attending the jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

“Many shopkeepers are vacating their shops as they are unable to pay the rent. Many have packed up and went to their native places as they see a bleak future of what was once a flourishing market,” Uzair said.

After de-containment of Nizamuddin, the barricades present at the main road leading to Nizamuddin Markaz has been removed now but there are little or no customers in the market.

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

“Not just foreigners but visitors from other states in India formed the backbone for the survival of this market. It”s facing a tough time now and it seems it will continue for some time,” said Shamshad Ahmed, another shopkeeper in the area.

The Markaz was closed since the lockdown and on the night of March 29, police and health authorities started bringing people out from the Markaz and sent them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

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Did Vikas Dubey reach Ujjain himself or was he brought there?

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.

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Vikas Dubey.

Ujjain/Bhopal, July 9 : After gangster Vikas Dubey, who had been on the run for the last seven days, was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain on Thursday morning, a controversy erupted over how he managed to reach the temple town. Questions have been raised whether he came on his own or was brought here, and also as to how he manage to cross many districts of Uttar Pradesh without being recognised.

Dubey, accused of killing eight police men in Bikaru village of Kanpur, was constantly changing his location for the past seven days. Though the Uttar Pradesh Police continued to raid various possible locations, he still reached Ujjain, dodging the police of several districts of UP and Madhya Pradesh.

Dubey, whose in-laws are also from Madhya Pradesh, has been coming to Ujjain every year. His mother Sarala Devi had admitted that he used to go to Ujjain every year to offer prayers at Mahakaal temple. It is being said that he reached Ujjain by road and also offered prayers at the temple on Thursday morning.

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.

Police sources said that Dubey came to Ujjain in a car from Uttar Pradesh and he also stopped at a residence of a person known to him in Nagjhiri area where he stayed for some time. He reached the temple for ”darshan” on Thursday morning. However, the security guards posted at the temple got suspicious and stopped him for questioning. He reportedly had a brief scuffle with the security guards who then informed the police post. Dubey was later arrested there.

But if Dubey did actually come to Ujjain by road, then he must have covered a distance of about 200 km in Madhya Pradesh seemingly without attracting police attention. Before entering Madhya Pradesh, he must have passed through several districts of Uttar Pradesh as well. Apprehension has been expressed that he reached Ujjain via Rajasthan”s Kota. The police is investigating this also.

Mishra said that Dubey came to Ujjain driving his own vehicle. “Two of his accomplices — Bittu and Suresh have also been arrested. The entire state police was on alert after the Kanpur incident. The surveillance was carried out and finally MP police succeeded in arresting him.”

However, questioning the government, Congress Rajya Sabha member and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said: “It looks like a sponsored surrender to avoid an encounter by the Uttar Pradesh Police. My information is that this has been possible with the courtesy of a senior leader of Madhya Pradesh BJP.”

However, it was not immediately known whether Dubey reached Ujjain on Thursday morning itself or had come a day before.

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