KOZHIKODE MONDAY JANUARY 9, 2017 `6.00 PAGES 46 CITY EDITION AMIT BANDRE Cashless India stuck at card-less fuel pumps As banks introduce MDR charges for card payments from today, petrol stations threaten to decline plastic money fearing it will hurt their profits; experts say transaction charges could impact business across sectors already hurt by the note ban 56,190 Total number of fuel stations in India Banks that have introduced MDR EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Strike withdrawn In a late night development, the petroleum dealers have withdrawn the strike. “We have received information that the banks have agreed to defer the imposition of MDR till January 13, 2017. Hence, it has been decided to defer our agitation till such time,” they said. A customer haggles with a worker at a petrol pump over mode of payment on Sunday | EXPRESS Whopping G871 cr found in co-op bank IT dept has detected discrepancies in transactions of a Rajkot-based co-op bank where C871 crore deposits were made, over 4,500 new accounts were opened and five dozen accounts had same mobile number. KERALA fought down demonetisation anxieties as I walked into Trivandrum Central to take the Netravati Express and barely noticed the new escalators in the station. Thankfully my pink note was ac, cepted without demur at counter no. 2 and I had change for all the black tea I would drink on this journey. I was to quiz fellow wayfarers about their hopes for the new year but a few miles out of town, I was seduced by the view of the beautiful backwaters through my window and before I realized my purpose I was in Kollam, just an hour out. At the tea kiosk outside the railway station, I began spending the change the kind railway clerk had given me and I decided to visit Paravur, the lakeside town where a fireworks display blew up into an inferno which killed more than 100 people at the Puttingal Devi temple. I got the back seat on the bus and at Polayathodu a woman got on board carrying a steel basket. The smell of the basket told me she was a fisherwoman. “Son, give me a little bit of space,” she said and made herself comfortable. Her name was Jameela and she was returning home after selling the fish. She said she was tired; the catch hadn’t been good that day “I have been . selling fish for 39 years,” Jameela said. “The catch from Paravur has been dwindling.” The road leading to the Puttingal Devi temple was narrow and I detritus of the disaster last April still there: a shattered Guru Mandir, a damaged building and concrete rubble still lying about. Within the precincts of the temple, I sidled up to a young man sitting on a platform and asked him if he remembered the fire tragedy. A shadow played across Sudhi KC’s face as he recalled the pre-dawn inferno. “There was a deafening bang in the darkness and there were flashes of light thereafter,” he said. “I saw things flung over my head. For a few moments after the sound ceased, there was a blackout and everyone started to use their mobile phone as a torch. It was surreal. I rades during festivals. Spectacles are popular. After a KSRTC bus ride Kottarakara, I got into Arunlal’s taxi and expected him to tell me the usual taxi driver stories about demonetization and dirty politicians. But Arunlal surprised me with his happiness. Being from Thiruvananthapuram, he offered me a free ride up to Thiruvalla via Pathanamthitta. He said 2016 had been spectacular for him, one of his best, and he expected a stiff challenge from those brash online taxi guys in the new year. Given his gung-ho nature, I GET ready to spend those few notes of hard cash, for which you waited in winding queues at ATMs, on fuel. Even as the government is proudly and aggressively promoting a cashless economy, petroleum dealers across the country have decided to stop accepting plastic money protesting the decision of banks to charge them for the same. The move is likely to severely hit customers who are just recovering from a cash shortage. According to the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers and the Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, Sunday saw several banks informing dealers that applicable Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) would be charged on debit and credit card transactions. “Our net profit margin is only 0.5 per cent. We just cannot absorb MDR without slipping into losses,” pointed out M Narayana Prasad, general secretary, CIPD. According to TNPDA president K P Murali, nearly 40 - 50 per cent of all transactions done at Tamil Nadu’s petrol pumps are being done through cards currently and the situation is likely to be similar across the country. “They are asking us to take losses on card transactions. We have supported the government’s policy of pushing digital transactions and were one of the first sectors to boost digital transactions. After demonetisation, we also went through immense hardships. When something like this happens now, we feel betrayed,” he said. Added to the angst is the announcement by the government that a discount of 0.75 per cent would be offered to consumers on digital transactions. But dealers say that amount is deducted from them, and banks take time to return the same. For customers, the development is set to make life even harder. "Already there is a cash crunch and we have been surviving on plastic money Now, . where do we go for cash for fuel? Being an initiative of the government, it should ensure that we don't suffer," says Nitin Krishna, an IT employee. The decision has pushed Bharat Petroleum Corporation to write to SBI and HDFC to defer the decision. “Considering the thrust given by the government for cashless transactions, imposition of MDR on fuel transactions will be a retrograde step,” said the communique. Experts say even other sectors could be affected with the return of MDR charges. "It will have a severe impact on purchases and put further pressure on liquidity says economist ," Seema Sharma. "The people will again hold back on spending, which will affect the economy ." HDFC Bank | Axis Bank | State Bank of India | Punjab National Bank (According to Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association) MDR Slabs 0.25% 0.5% 1% Up to D1000 D1000 - D2000 D2000 and above How much fuel dealers make 2.5% to 0.75% 1.25% 0.5% 2.75% Evaporation to 1.5% Net profit Gross profit margin costs Other expenditures margin (According to Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers) What is MDR? The rate charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card services. FIRST DAY FIRST SHOW: TNIE GOAL KICKS UP A FRENZY No one is going to stop drinking alcohol because of this policy? We thought the new government would act wisely and clear up the queues. But it is a total disappointment!” said the tea vendor waiting for his liquor. Joining the queue didn’t seem promising, so I sipped a cup of tea at the bus stand and returned to the railway station to catch the Kanyakumari-Mumbai Express to Kochi. The prospect of going out into the street to get a lungful of dust from the Kochi Metro works didn’t seem too inviting, so went over to a group of migrant labourers carrying steel trunks and sacks. They were returning to their native places. These were the demonetization refugees doing the reverse migration. “There’s a lot of work but no one’s paying us,” one of the men, Niranjan, a Cuttack native. “Our owner stopped our payments after demonetization, so we have no choice but to go home.” My next stop was Thrissur, the cultur- Selfie Journeys Hopes, frustrations of people in Kerala in the New Year P6 CPM leadership issues ‘warning’ to VS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ T’Puram IN yet another disciplinary proceeding against V S Achuthanandan, the CPM Central Committee on Sunday issued a ‘warning’ to the veteran leader for violating party norms. The party has asked him to “abide by the organisational nor ms and par ty discipline.” In the three-day CC meet, Achuthanandan’s demand for inclusion in the state secretariat has also been rejected. The state leaders were not in favour of inducing VS into the state leadership. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said VS would be an invitee to the state committee without voting rights. “While taking the decision we have considered the fact that he is one of the founding leaders of the Communist movement in the state and a source of inspiration for many genera- tions. He should adhere to the party norms and discipline. He can articulate his views in the state committee not outside,” said Yechury . “The decisions taken at the CC are just and satisfactory and warning is a part of the party proceedings,” said Achuthanandan. The Committee didn’t look into charges against E P Jaya r a j a n a n d P K Sreemathy as the matter is sub judice. The state committee has been asked to conduct an enquiry and submit a report before the central leadership in this regard. “Nepotism and favouritism are alien to Communist party said Yechury ,” . “The issue came up before the CC. An FIR has been registered and the matter is before court. The committee did not discuss the issue as any action will prejudice judicial process,” he said. Yechury said M M Mani issue was also not discussed for the same reason. More on P5 Sports Minister A C Moideen hands over the match ball to referee Justin Jose on Sunday. TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla, former Kerala captain Kurikesh Mathew, KFA treasurer P Ashraf, MDFA president Abdul Kareem look on. Transport Minister A K Saseendran kicks off the TNIE GOAL. TNIE Resident Editor-Kerala Vinod Mathew and General Manager P Suresh Kumar are also seen| ALBIN MATHEW EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Malappuram Malappuram District Sports Council Stadium, Kottappadi, venue of TNIE GOAL, packed to the rafters on Sunday | EXPRESS PATTING TNIE Goal for offering a stage for young talent to grow, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister A C Moideen said more such efforts were needed for the development of football in the state. Moideen set the ball rolling for the sixth edition of the all-Kerala inter-collegiate tournament organised by The New Indian Express at the Malappuram District Sports Council stadium, Kottapadi, on Sunday Moideen said the govern. ment would construct playgrounds across 14 districts and has identified 26 panchayats to implement the project. “We are looking at an extensive sports development programme. We have already prepared a detailed project report. This will Gopalakrishnan, building edifices of religious harmony I am still the boss of Samajwadi Party, says a defiant Mulayam Singh New Delhi: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said he continued to be his party’s national president and his son Akhilesh Yadav was only the CM of UP. “I am national president of SP and Akhilesh Yadav is (only) the UP CM," he said. Union budget to be presented on February 1, says Arun Jaitley Chandigarh: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the Union Budget would be presented on February 1. Jaitely said GST would become effective from September 16. He said the BJP would announce its candidates for Punjab soon. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 46 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) G GOPALAKRISHNAN might not have attracted headlines. He might not have a wall at his home teeming with glittering awards. But he has painted bold strokes of religious harmony with his life. This 80-year-old man, from Palayam, has dedicated 60 summers to construct religious institutions of various faiths - 100 mosques, four churches and a temple. For Gopalakrishnan, religion fades into background while constructing the abode of God. For him, it is a cultural activity. “People of different castes and creed have co-existed for several centuries in India. Yes, there were aberrations. But India have shown to the world that people of different faiths can live in harmony,” he said. The snubbing he received from his father - G Govindan - transformed his life. In 1960, Govindan was involved in the construction of Palayam mosque and T P Kuttiamu, a former chief engineer of the state government and the secretary of the Palayam mosque, wanted him to model the mosque after the Safdarjung Tomb in New Delhi. “My father decided to concrete the dome step by step. But I suggested the use of prefabricated segments for the 30 feet dome. He did not like my sugges- My father decided to concrete the dome step by step. But I suggested the use of prefabricated segments for the 30 feet dome. He did not like my suggestion and hit me with the mason’s scale G Gopalakrishnan tion and hit me with the mason’s scale,” said Gopalakrishnan. However, the young Gopalakrishnan proved his point soon to his father. Using peels of a Mosambi fr uit, Gopalakrishnan built identical segments, underlining his theory that prefabrication method would be more effective to build the mosque. It took seven years to complete the Palayam TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla, along with other dignitaries, hoisted the GOAL 2017 tournament flag. TNIE Kerala Resident Editor Vinod Mathew welcomed the gathering while com General Mana g er P Suresh Kumar proposed a vote of thanks. Kerala Football Association T reasurer P Ashraf, Former Kerala captain and MSP commanc dant Kurikesh Mathew, d Malappuram District FootMa ball Association (MDFA) presiA dent Abdul Kareem and MDFA secretary K Surendran offered felicitations. H K Pradeep, senior executive, marketing, Brand Apache and Vodafone representative were among those in attendance. More on P3 PAT FOR NRIS A TOWERING LIFE N V R A V I N D R A N AT H A N N A I R @ T’Puram EXPRESS READ pave the way for a new sports culture,” he said. Moideen said TNIE GOAL has given a fresh energy to football in the state. To underline his words, the minister touched ed upon the number of players who have entered the Kerala team after impressing in TNIE GOAL. “It is truly laudable that nearly half of the Kerala Santosh Trophy squad came e up through TNIE Goal.” Later, Transport Minister ister A K Saseendran, who symbolmbol ically kicked off the tournament, said any footballer would love to play on a stage like this. “Such is the exposure this tournament has given to youngsters,” he said. mosque because of the dearth of fund. Gopalakrishnan’s next challenge was to construct Beemapally in the capital and he took up the work on his own. Constructing the structure, including a 132-feet tower, on loose soil without disturbing the tombs of two saints was a massive challenge for him. Though the work began in 1966, it took 18 years to complete owing to various reasons, including cash crunch. His major works are: Kollurvila juma mazjid, Kollam, Tajmahal mosque, Karunagapllay and Erumeli mosque. But he is worried over the growing intolerance around him. Some faithful did not want him to write the scriptures from Quran in Malayalam. A group of people objected his attempt to place a granite slab inscribed with lines from ‘ayathil noor’ at Tajmahal mosque at Karunagapally .. He has also been writing a book Quran I have Read - to sensitise people. He has the assistance of K M Abdul Khadar, a retired professor of Agricult u r e U n i v e r s i t y, Ve l l a y a n i . Gopalakrishnan has upheld secular values in his personal life as well. He married Jaya, a Christian. The couple raised their three children inculcating secular values and encouraged them to go for inter-religious and inter-caste marriages. Convert PIO cards to OCI before June, says Modi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bengaluru THE government plans to start skill development programmes for young Indians who want to seek employment opportunities abroad, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday at t h e 1 4 t h P r ava s i B h a r t i ya D iva s i n Bengaluru. “It will be called the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana and will expand young people’s soft skills and teach them about different cultures, so that they don’t feel too alien when they set foot in a foreign land,” the PM said. Narendra Modi Modi said Indians have their footprint all over the world and there were some 30 million overseas Indians. He urged these PIO card holders to quickly convert their cards into OCI ones. “I know you all are very busy and in the daily grind, you can forget such things, but please convert that card as soon as possible. To help you further we will extend the last date for conversion without a penalty to June this year,” the PM said. The PM lauded the contribution of overseas Indians who remit as much as $69 billion dollars a year to India.
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