KOCHI l SUNDAY l SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 l `8.00 l PAGES 28 l LATE CITY EDITION IMRAN CALLS INDIA ‘ARROGANT’ FOR CANCELLING MEETING India’s decision to cancel the foreign minister-level meeting was “arrogant”, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday ‘SMALL MEN OCCUPYING BIG OFFICES’ WHY INDIA CANCELLED THE MEETING “Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture,” Imran said after the Sushma Swaraj-Shah Mehmood Qureshi meet was called off ■ India on Friday called off the meeting over “the latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities” and the release of Pakistani stamps “glorifying a terrorist” ■ Talks with Pak after the “two deeply disturbing” developments would be “meaningless”, said an MEA spokesperson 20 POSTAGE STAMPS PAK RELEASED, SOME ‘GLORIFYING’ MILITANT BURHAN WANI Former French Prez reiterates that France did not choose Reliance “in any way” EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/Malappuram A 23-year-old student of IIT-Madras committed suicide in his hostel room late on Friday. His body was recovered on Saturday morning after police broke open the door. Police said it was suspected Shahal Kormath from Malappuram, a post-graduate student pursuing Ocean Engineering, committed suicide because of 'lack of attendance' and fear of not being allowed to take the final examinations. However, the student had not left behind any suicide note. Primary investigation revealed the institution had intimated his parents about his lack of attendance. He had been chided by them. Shahal's brother, Fazil, had told the police Shahal did not answer his calls on Friday . The news of Shahal's death came as a rude shock to his family and friends here. They believe depression due to workload may have led him to commit suicide. SABARMATI L E N G T H PROJECT COST Numbers in km G U J A R A T K M Vadodra 397.060 CAPACITY Bharuch 323.110 731 PASSENGERS l 658 STANDARD l 55 GREEN l 18 GRAN CLASS (`88 crore loan from JICA) Number of lines Double track Surat 264.580 ELEVATION FROM GROUND Funding agency JICA, Ministry of Railways, Governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra TUNNELS 8 10-12 METRE TOTAL LENGTH 25.48 km ROLLING STOCK MANUFACTURER LONGEST TUNNEL 21 km WIDTH OF DUAL CARRIAGE 12.5 METRE Rolling Billimora 216.580 Vapi 167.940 E5 series Shinkansen on a Hayabusa service, March 2011 l Hitachi l Kawasaki Heavy Industries Boisar 104.207 Virar 65.170 Thane 29.950 stock depots Thane and Sabarmati MUMBAI 0 Maintenance depots Maximum design speed Seven H O W Maximum operation speed 350km/hr T H E Y M AT C H 320 km/hr U P TIME BETWEEN MUMBAI-AHEMDABAD & TICKET COST BULLET (proposed) 2 hours | J2,500-3,000 FLIGHT (Air India) 1 hour | J2,067 VOLVO BUS 9 hours | J600-1,200 Construction yard at every 25 km SHATABDI EXP(Executive C) DURONTO EXP (1AC) 6:20 hours | J1,885 (dynamic) 5:40 hours | J2,040 (dynamic) MOVING AT A SNAIL’S PACE RICHA SHARMA @ Palghar/Vapi (Maharashtra/Gujarat) RUPJI Dhinde, a tribal from Dehne village in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, is a worried man. His repeated visits to the offices of the district collector and tehsildar to inquire about a land acquisition notice for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project have yielded no results so far. None of the officials could give him details about land to be acquired and route alignment. “I will never travel in a bullet (train) so why should I give my land for a project that is being constructed for the rich? The government has technology and money, the entire stretch should be built underground without disturbing farmers,” said Dhinde, signaling towards the con- Probe team to conduct potency test on bishop crete markings left behind by a Beginning from Thane in Masurvey team on his small plot. harashtra, The New Sunday ExDhinde is not alone. The Prime press travelled along the 508-km Minister’s dream project is giv- corridor, passing through Paling sleepless nights to over 5,400 ghar and Boisar in Maharashtra people, one-third of them living and Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Vabelow the poverty dodara and Anand in line, in Maharashtra Gujarat. The proposed corriand Gujarat. Many of them either stand to dor traverses through lose land holdings or small villages surrounded by paddy fields in Mahouses. Racing against time harashtra and those falling under the fruit belt are officials of the NaPART 1 tional High Speed Rail in south Gujarat. Dadra Corporation Limited and Nagar Haveli lies (NHSRCL), the implementing mid-way . agency of the `1.08 lakh crore In villages of Thane district, project, as the land acquisition there is stiff resistance from deadline of December 2018 nears. farmers and land owners. Many According to NHSRCL data, residents of Bharodi village comonly 0.9 hectares of the 1,400 hec- plained about losing land to multares of required land has been tiple projects. acquired so far. Land was already acquired or ALMANAC TODAY Sunday: 23-09-2018 Year: Hemalambin Malayalam Era: 1193 Month: Kanni 7 Ashvina: 1 Nakshathra (Star): Chathayam Rahu Kalam: 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm Yamakantakam: Noon to 1.30 pm Gulikakalam: 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm 02 THRISSUR SUNDAY MIN MAX 250C 30 0C WEATHER WATCH FORECAST A few showers, partly sunny Sunrise Sunset FULL REPORT: P7 l A11,866.9 cr TOTAL DISPUTED A7,159.15 cr (Tax on commodities & services A28.24 cr stamps & registration A10.49 cr land revenue A4,526 cr UNDISPUTED A4,484.41 cr Taxes on commodities & services E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T'Puram Tax on agriculture Government employees like other sections of the society have actively participated in flood relief activities. Even before the Chief Minister’s call, thousands of employees had contributed in kind. The salary challenge has turned out to be a forced collection, quite undemocratic. It is unfair that people are being coerced or threatened to join the challenge. There were incidents in which employees who wanted to submit dissent notes were threatened or even manhandled. It is sad the government had not even spared those from the flood-affected regions from the forced contribution. UDFaffiliated service organisations have offered support to employees who wish to opt out of the scheme. J Bency, president, Kerala Secretariat Association A1,500 cr SOUMYADIP SINHA EXPLORING NEW VISTAS TO RAKE IN THE MOOLAH The state government has hiked the excise duty on liquor from 0.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent for 100 days. It is aimed at collecting Rs 230 crore additional revenue for the CM’s Distress Relief Fund By launching a special lottery named Ashwas, which is priced at Rs 250 a ticket, the state government has collected about Rs 100-odd crore A J AY K A N T H @Kochi On the one hand, the Kerala government is looking at all available options to raise money for rebuilding the state, but on the other, the government is soft-pedalling on various revenue recovery processes mainly on reports of Financial Inspection Wing (FIW) which have recommended revenue recovery against many government officers for causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. Though the Left Front Government made tall promises on initiating action based on the FIW reports, the government departments and institutions continue to sweep the reports is the contribution to the CMDRF so far Barring a few, government employees have wholeheartedly accepted the Chief Minister’s call to contribute for rebuilding Kerala. Contributing a month’s salary would not be that easy for employees of the lower rung. But there are people out there who have lost everything and have nothing to look forward to. As government employees, we at least have an assured income. Also, the option is there to pay in instalments. It is sad some employees associated with UDF-affiliated service organisations are protesting against this. The Opposition Leader’s remarks point to a hidden agenda to create division among the employees. Those who find it absolutely difficult to join, like those affected by the floods, can make use of the dissent option The government is not taking the initiative to collect the arrears due to the backlash it may get from the public. To avoid any such negative publicity or backlash, the government should use its discretionary powers so people affected by the floods can be excluded from this collection drive Jose Sebastian, economist and associate professor, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation T C Mathukutty, general secretary, NGO Union under the carpet. On assuming power, the LDF Government had directed all departments to take action on the FIW reports which include filing an actiontaken report specifying the nature of action whether it is suspension or revenue recovery . Senior government officers said the government could easily raise a considerable amount of money running into crores for the rebuilding exercise if they swiftly act upon the reports of the FIW. Official data with the Finance Inspection Department (both Technical and Non-Technical wing) shows they had prepared 201 reports in the 2017-18 period, recommending action. But a majority of Express traced one of the FIW reports lying idle with the State Higher Education Department. As per the documents, the FIW conducted a surprise inspection at Kalady Sree Sankaracharya University in 2013 and unearthed massive irregularities in appointing staff and fixing their salaries. The FIW found by creating illegal posts, conducting recruitment to it and fixing salaries, the university officers have caused additional loss to the state exchequer. So, it is imperative to recover the loss from the officers concerned through appropriate means which include revenue recovery. them have been pushed into the cold storage. In all most the reports, the FIW had recommended recovery of the money through revenue recovery from the public servants. “There is a strong nexus among the government officers to ensure such reports are hushed up,” said a finance officer. “Even after repeated reminders from the Finance Department, the department con- When red-tapism delays action against errant officers EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Kochi SENIOR IPS officer and DGP Jacob Thomas is one of the most celebrated officers who has been benefitting from the usual redtapism that delays action against government officers who have caused a loss to the state exchequer. Though the Financial Inspection Wing (FIW) recommended action against Thomas for causing a loss of Rs 14.96 crore to the state exchequer in the purchase of cutter suction dredger while he was Ports director, nothing has taken place so far except for legal advice that action can be taken against him. The Ports Department, which was supposed to initiate action against the officer, has not made any move in that regard so far. Senior officers in the Ports Department sounded clueless when asked about the status of the proceedings. A senior officer said, “We have no idea about it as the file has gone to higher-ups.” As per reports, the file is with the Law Department after the director general of prosecutions (DGP) has given a go-ahead to the state government to register a criminal case and initiate an investigation against the officer in connection with the purchase of the cutter suction dredger (CSD). It was on February 2017 the then Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand recommended action against Thomas as per the report submitted by the Financial Inspection Wing. The prosecutor’s office had advised the Ports Department could initiate action based on the FIW’s report. Presently Thomas is under sus, pension for violating the All India Service Conduct Rules. Details about the purchase of the cutter suction dredger came to light when the then Additional Chief Secretary (finance) K M Abraham conducted a comprehensive investigation into the deal and submitted a report to the state government. The probe report said the purchase was made without meeting any specifications and also the deal und u l y f avo u r e d a f o r e i g n company . According to the report which was submitted, the evidence pointed out the then Ports director had committed a criminal offence in the purchase of the cutter suction dredger and the offence also attracted proceedings under the IPC. EXPRESS READ Militants tell cops: Step down or get killed F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar A day after three policemen were abducted and killed in Kashmir, militants on Saturday stepped up their psychological war against the security forces by uploading pictures of 12 police officers and an army jawan on social media, and asking them to quit their jobs or face “severe consequences”. The pictures, uploaded by the Hizbul Mujahideen, also had the names, designations and addresses of the officers. They were told to quit and upload their videos on social media, or get ready to take a “head shot”. All Pain NO GAIN 12.47 A38.73 cr Express examines the laxity on A2.86 cr the part of state government in reclaiming crores owed to it. P2 FIW REPORTS SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET taxes on property & capital services M S RAJAN, 61, for mer News Editor of The New Indian Express, passed away here on Saturday. The late Shankunni Menon is his father. Rajan is survived by mother Malathy Amma, wife Mini, son Rithesh Menon (Dubai) and daughter Radhika Menon. Kalyani is his daughter-in-law. Rajan was admitted to a hospital here after being infected with pneumonia. His body was kept at his residence in Elamakkara before being taken to his native Valachira, Thrissur, by 10 am. Cremation was held at Shanthi Ghat in the evening. Rajan, who began his career at The Indian Express in 1981, retired as News Editor in 2016 from Kochi. P5 18.20 The money files A7,340.96 cr E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Kochi 04.41 l EVEN as the LDF Government adopts all strategies - beg, borrow and coerce - to raise funds for rebuilding the flood-devastated state, a huge amount of money owed to the exchequer is, surprisingly, not tapped yet. According to the budget papers, a total of Rs 11,866.9 crore is owed to the government under various heads as at the end of the 2016-17 financial year. Even more perplexing, Rs 4,526 crore in the figure is undisputed – meaning the amount can be collected without any hassles. Though Rs 7,340.96 crore in the total figures is disputed, as per the budget note, experts said the ongoing crisis situation can help the government go for a kill and fetch this amount too without much of a trouble. “It is really baffling why the government which is going all out to collect whatever it can and announcing various measures including salary challenge is not taking hard steps to collect this huge amount of money due to them,” said Mary George, former chairperson of Public Expenditure Review Committee. “The flood-devastation and the pressing need for funds to rebuild the state should be used to collect the money which rightfully be, longs to the exchequer,” she said. She, however, clarified that she was not against steps such as salary challenge – asking the government employees to contribute one month’s salary for flood relief - saying the government staff should have come forward to help the state, which is in distress now in the aftermath of the floods. On the amount due to the exchequer, she said, “The government must use measures such as one-time settlement to get the amount from the evaders.” The state government has already hiked the excise duty on liquor by 0.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent for 100 days, aiming to collect Rs 230 crore additional revenue for the CM’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). The government also collected about Rs 100-odd crore through a special lottery, ‘Ashwas’, priced at Rs 250 a ticket. Though the CMDRF amount has nearly touched Rs 1,500 crore, this will be grossly insufficient, considering the enormity of the damage in the worst floods to hit Kerala in a century Official estimates alone . put the amount required at over Rs 40,000 crore. A closer look at the amount owed to the government shows, in the undisputed category, a total of Rs 4,484.41 crore is due to the exchequer from taxes on commodities and services. Another Rs 38.73 crore comes under ‘taxes on property and capital services’ while a total of Rs 2.86 crore is due under the segment ‘tax on agriculture’. In the disputed category a total of Rs 7,159.15 crore , comes under ‘tax on commodities and services’. Rs 10.49 crore from land revenue and Rs 28.24 crore under stamps and registration. Jose Sebastian, economist and associate professor, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, felt the government was not embarking on this fund collection drive due to the backlash that it may get from the public. “To avoid any such negative publicity or backlash, the government should use its discretionary powers so people affected by the floods can be excluded from this collection drive,” he said. “The flood has not affected all parts of the state; businesses such as jewellers continue to fare well. If money is due from these segments, the government should go ahead and collect those funds. If anyone is genuinely affected by the floods, they can be excluded,” he said. Former Express scribe M S Rajan passes away 06.14 Moonrise Moonset 16 07 2017 R A J E S H A B R A H A M @Kochi vent on Sunday as part of collecting further evidence. "The sisters at the convent have been asked to stay away," he said. During the hearing, the Bishop submitted before magistrate Lakshmi K S the police had forcibly taken samples of his body fluids and blood. He requested the court to prevent the police from doing so. The prosecutor said the bishop would be further interrogated. "This is because the statement made after the arrest is qualitatively more standing than those made earlier. The SIT will be able to ascertain whether the accused is hiding any information," the prosecutor added. World Bank estimate: `25,050 crore MONEY OWED TO THE GOVERNMENT AS ON MARCH 2016-17 Bishop Franco Mulakkal at the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Pala | VISHNU PRATHAP is in the process of acquisition for other projects, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, National Highway 8 expansion, Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway and a dedicated freight corridor. Another complaint is that there is confusion over the alignment of the bullet train route. They are allegedly not provided with documents or any specific detail about how much of their land will be taken away the com, pensation in lieu of their acquired land, and rehabilitation. Often, teams found surreptitiously carrying out land markings and measurements were held up by angry villagers at panchayat offices for hours. This correspondent was witness to one such instance in Bharodi. REBUILDING KERALA Be it the salary challenge or the special Ashwas lottery, the government is firing on all cylinders to raise funds to rebuild the flood-battered state brick-by-brick. Surprisingly, it appears to be looking the other way when it comes to reclaiming the Rs 11,866.9 crore owed to the state’s coffers under various heads at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal. More perplexing is the laxity in initiating action against errant officers who have incurred huge losses to the exchequer. Express examines A N U K U R U V I L L A @ Kottayam THE Special Investigation Team (SIT), which arrested Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the nun rape case on Friday night, will now conduct his potency test and collect his body fluids as well as DNA samples to prove the crime. The SIT on Saturday got the bishop in custody for two days after presenting him before Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Pala. Though three days were sought, the SIT was given time only till 2.30 pm on Monday, following which he has to be presented again before the court. As per the custody report, the details of which were accessed by Express, the SIT has so far collected statements of the witnesses. Public prosecutor Manju said: "The investigation team also needs to recover clothes the accused had worn at the time of the crime apart from his laptop, mobile phone and other evidence." According to investigating officer DySP K Subash, the bishop will be taken to Kuravilangad con- 5 0 8 . 1 7 Ahemdabad 500.190 Nadiad 447.380 MUMBAI T O TA L 476.3 km A day after French publication Mediapart quoted former French president Francois Hollande as saying it was the Indian government which proposed Reliance Defence as the partner in the multibillion dollar Rafale deal, the French government as well as French aerospace company Dassault on Saturday came out with separate statements rebutting Hollande’s claim. Both clarified that neither the Indian nor the French government had any say in the choice of the service partner and that it was purely a commercial decision taken by Dassault Aviation. “The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies,” the French government said in its statement. Echoing the same message, Dassault Aviation stated, “Dassault Aviation has decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group... This is Dassault Aviation’s choice.” Meanwhile, Hollande on Saturday reiterated that his government did not choose Reliance “in any way”. In an inRahul’s charges terview to AFP he said he was unsure if , India had put pressure on Reliance and It is very important for Dassault to work together. the Prime Minister now Hollande’s comments kicked up a to either accept Hollande’s statement or storm in India with the Opposition accusing the Narendra Modi-led governstate that Hollande is ment of cronyism and corruption. Conlying and tell what the gress president Rahul Gandhi targeted truth is. Why is the PM Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying: silent? It is a matter “For the first time, a French ex-President related to defence (Hollande) is calling an Indian Prime forces, it is a matter Minister a thief.” related to corruption Unleashing a no-holds-barred attack on the PM, he said, “Now the people know desh ka chowkidar chor hai (custodian of the country is a thief)”. His conclusion was based on the fact that “Prime Minister had held a one on one meeting with the French President during which India conveyed that the service partner would be Reliance Defence of Anil Ambani”. This triggered a sharp reaction from the BJP with Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad charging the Congress with playing into the hands of India’s enemies. “By consistently demanding to know details of the Rafale fighter jets, which would jeopardise national security Rahul Gandhi is playing into the hands of Pakistan and , China,” charged Prasad, also alleging that the Congress under the UPA regime had sought bribe from Dassault. Malappuram youth ends life in IITM hostel Here’s a look at the bullet train project that is struggling to take off because of various issues, including land acquisition. The project has already been delayed and its deadline extended by over two years Elevated viaduct E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi SABARMATI 505.750 M A H A R A S H T R A Hollande’s claim wrong, say French govt & Dassault The lowdown on the speed demon Source: National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI cerned keep on delaying the revenue recovery procedures. This is mainly to help the accused officers,” the officer said. FIW Chief Technical Examiner R Rajendra Kumar said they have been delivering their task on time and submitting reports as and when required. “Once we send a report to the department in which the accused officer is working or has worked, it’s up to that department to take action. Many of the departments are complying with our recommendation. Usually the name of the accused of, ficer is cleared for promotion only after he or she has complied with the direction as in the report,” he said. Details about the purchase of the cutter suction dredger came to light when the then Additional Chief Secretary (finance) K M Abraham conducted a comprehensive investigation into the deal THE World Bank, in its preliminary report, has estimated that an amount of `25,050 crore is necessary for rebuilding the state. The report, prepared after the visits of World Bank and Asian Development Bank teams to several flood-hit areas and their discussions with the secretaries and district collectors, was presented to Chief Secretary Tom Jose. It said an estimated `8,550 crore is needed for reconstruction of roads, `5,216 crore for building basic infrastructure in villages and `3,801 crore for re-establishing livelihood. While `2,534 crore is estimated for reconstructing houses, `2,093 crore is needed for building basic amenities in towns. The final report will be submitted after incorporating Jose' amendments. PLUS 12 PAGES WITH THIS ISSUE COURT ORDER Paying school fees through the nose? No way out We have no idea about the proceedings as the file has gone to higher-ups A senior officer, Ports Department S O V I V I D YA D H A R A N @ Kozhikode YOU would be shelling out anywhere between `14,000 and `30,000 or even more every year as fees if your child happens to be studying in an unaided school. What if it hikes the fees midyear upsetting your already tight budget? No use protesting as schools have all the right to do so, if recent judicial pronounce- ments are anything to go by . "There's no statutory prohibition for a management to fix a particular fee for an academic year and there's no guideline issued by the CBSE as to how the fee structure should be maintained," ruled the High Court recently . This was in connection with a case in which parents protested the sudden fee hike by a CBSE-affiliat- The state government had imposed certain stringent conditions as a prerequisite for granting of NOC to unaided schools with a view to bring in some sort of regulation over such institutions. But the move was turned down by the Supreme Court — A Shajahan, Gen Education Sec ed school in Ernakulam. The CBSE regional office has come across instances in which some affiliated schools in the state were found to have collected as many as 20 different types of fees. These included 'Computer Fee' from four-year-old LKG students and fees for conducting talent search exams of private agencies ● More on P6 from all students.
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