Day af­ter cab­i­net ex­pan­sion, CM does bal­anc­ing act with port­fo­lios

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Correspondent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A day af­ter the ex­pan­sion of his cab­i­net, Chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis on Satur­day reshuf­fled port­fo­lios, be­fore leav­ing for a four-day tour of Rus­sia. Fad­navis man­aged to do a bal­anc­ing act, as he took away some de­part­ments held by in­flu­en­tial min­is­ters of the BJP, and at the same time, kept ally Shiv Sena happy. The Sena’s ju­nior min­is­ters got charge of po­lit­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant de­part­ments such as home (ru­ral) and co­op­er­a­tion.

BJP chief Amit Shah’s con­fi­dant Chan­drakant Patil emerged as the num­ber two in the Fad­navis cab­i­net as he was given the rev­enue depart­ment, which is seen as sec­ond to chief min­is­ter’s post in terms of pro­to­col. Patil now has rev­enue in ad­di­tion to pub­lic works depart­ment (PWD), while his co­op­er­a­tion and agri­cul­tural mar­ket­ing de­part­ments have been al­lo­cated to newly in­ducted Sub­hash Desh­mukh. Co­op­er­a­tion is a po­lit­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant depart­ment as the op­po­si­tion —Congress and NCP — held sway over ru­ral Ma­ha­rash­tra for a long time through their con­trol on the co­op­er­a­tive sugar, bank­ing and milk sec­tors, which form the back­bone of the ru­ral econ­omy in the state.

En­ergy min­is­ter Chan­drashekhar Bawankule will now han­dle ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity of the ex­cise depart­ment. Desh­mukh and Bawankule are both con­sid­ered close to Union trans­port min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari.

Pot­holes, wa­ter­log­ging and traf­fic jams aside, the heavy rain has brought some cheer for Mum­bai­ites. Close to a week’s rain­fall adds 1.8 lakh mil­lion litres of us­able wa­ter to the catch­ment ar­eas, which pro­vide wa­ter to the city. This means, the city re­ceived wa­ter that ac­counts for 50 days of sup­ply from the rain­fall be­tween July 1 and July 9.

The seven lakes sup­ply­ing wa­ter to the city – Modak Sagar, Ve­har, Tansa, Tulsi, Bhatsa, Up­per Vaitarna and Mid­dle Vaitarna – to­gether have 2.9 lakh mil­lion litres of wa­ter as of Satur­day. The lakes had 3 lakh mil­lion litres at the same time last year. Start­ing Oc­to­ber 1, the city re­quires 14.36 lakh mil­lion litres to go without wa­ter cuts till July 2017.

Ashok Tawa­dia, chief hy­draulic en­gi­neer, BMC, said, “Rain­fall in the catch­ment ar­eas in the last one week has been good. We have met more than 20% of the city’s re­quire­ment for the next year.”

The data, which was re­leased on Satur­day, brings cheer as the city has been reel­ing un­der a wa­ter-cut for a year now. Lack of rain­fall in 2015 led the BMC to im­pose a 20% wa­ter-cut in Au­gust 2015.

Deven­dra Fad­navis:

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