TIRUNELVELI SUNDAY DECEMBER 30, 2018 `7.00 PAGES 26 CITY EDITION 44% OF BOTTLED WATER IN INDIA DOESN’T MEET SAFETY NORMS MASSIVE SALES VOLUME OF 13 BILLION LITRES As many as 496 of 1,123 samples of packaged drinking water from across the country didn’t meet FSSAI standards in 2017-18 POOR DRINKING WATER IN MOST VILLAGES An increasing number of people across the country have resorted to bottled water in the last few years, making drinking water the fastestgrowing segment among beverages — valued at `177.3 billion in 2017, with a sales volume of 13 billion litres, according to market research provider Euromonitor International ■ ■ Only 17.82% of rural households in India have clean drinking water facilities, according to data from the ministry of drinking water and sanitation In 2016-17 too, due importance was not given to the quality of packaged water, with 32% of samples not meeting FSSAI norms 47% OF URBAN HOUSEHOLDS HAVE INDIVIDUAL WATER CONNECTIONS: NSS 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 INTERVIEW FROM THE JAWS OF DEATH P MURALIDHAR RAO BJP national general secy ‘GOVT OF WELFARE & GROWTH’ THE young leader dismissed perceptions that the NDA shelved growth for populism, saying “We made our gover nment walk on two feet – welfare and growth for sustainable development.” He says the results of all Assembly elections, not just the recent ones, will play a key role in the Lok Sabha polls. P9 Rough cuts: The Tamil film industry’s year in review | P2 Brace yourself: ‘Extreme weather’ is the new norm | P2 Discontent simmers among BJP’s allies in Uttar Pradesh | P7 450-kg Americanmade World War II aerial bomb found in Hooghly river | P9 P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Bhangnamari (Assam) S AHEB Ali still shudders at the mention of Ksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills where 15 miners have been trapped in an illegal coalmine for more than a fortnight now. Ali, 21, is among the five miners who managed to climb out of the coalmine unscathed, clinging on to dear life by clutching the wires of a motor pump even as flood waters rose rapidly in the dark pits of the mine 380 feet below. “I held on to the wire and started climbing, four others did the same,” he said at his home in Bhangnamari village located in Lower Assam’s Chirang district. Three others from the village were not so lucky, they are still trapped in the flooded mine and villagers have given up hope of their survival. Recalling the incident, Ali said they entered the mine early in the morning of December 13. “I went to bed early the previous night as work begins at dawn. It was around 5 am when 22 of us went down around 380 feet into the pit,” he said, his voice still quivering with fear. “The surface inside a coalmine where the miners are dropped by trolleys is called the ground. It is from here that coal stacked in baskets is lifted out of the mine with the help of cranes,” he explained. Once at the “ground” of the coalmine, miners have to enter tunnels to extract coal. “Eighteen miners, including me, were working inside the tunnels while four were in the ground to load the coal into the baskets.” “I was around six to seven feet inside a tunnel. Some others had entered 300-400 feet,” Ali said. “My job was to carry the extracted coal to the ground.” He said it was around 7 am while they were busy working inside the tunnels when he heard the sound of water flowing. “Suddenly I heard a loud noise of the flow of water and a strong wind. Realising what was in store, I thought I have to save my life. So, I came out of the tunnel as fast as I could. By then the water had flooded the ground and its level was rising,” he said. Trapped, Ali thought it was the end. “I thought I would die and I prayed that my body reach home.” E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Jaipur DAILY PUBLIC HEARINGS BY MINISTERS All ministers of the state government will hold public hearings from 9 to 10 am every day to address people’s grievances quickly and effectively. Besides, two universities started by Gehlot in his previous tenure as chief minister will be revived Mrs Gandhi, big man R mentioned by Michel add spice to the drama Of the 20-odd miners who entered the dark pits of an illegal coalmine in the East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya on December 13, only five managed to escape — by the skin of their teeth. One of the survivors from an Assam village narrates how he cheated death but claims he will return to work in the rat-hole mines because of the high wages Gehlot Cabinet nixes edu norm for panchayat polls Ashok Gehlot KICKBACKS CASE JUST weeks after coming to power in Rajasthan, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government on Saturday reversed the previous Vasundhara Raje government’s decision to let only those with a minimum educational qualification fight Panchayat and local-body elections. An amendment to this effect will soon be moved in the state Assembly . The Congress also decided to review all changes the BJP made with regard to saffronisation of education, including decisions like removing Nehru from the syllabus and making surya namaskar compulsory in government schools. Swinging into reversal mode on Saturday after its first meeting of Cabinet ministers, the government also opted to remove the logo featuring RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya from all circulars issued by government bodies. The government will also form a committee of historians to review the changes made to the school syllabus in the Raje era. 2018 The Year of the Judiciary PLUS 12 PAGES WITH THIS ISSUE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi M E G H A L AYA Navy personnel entering the vertical shaft of the illegal coalmine at Ksan in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya for a recce | PTI EAST JAINTIA HILLS It’s all about money L1,200-1,500 DAILY WAGE OF COALMINER from Lower Assam and Meghalaya’s Garo Hills Meghalaya has large deposits of coal, limestone, kaolin, clay, granite, glass-sand and uranium Rat-hole mines are located mostly Acidic discharge from the unscientific coalmines are polluting rivers FARM DAILY WAGE Navy divers to begin ops Mine workers are mostly Muslims in Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills L200-400 Navy and NDRF divers on Saturday went into the flooded mine for a recce. The estimated water level in the vertical shaft is over 80 ft. Operations will begin today 17, NOT 15, TRAPPED IN RAT-HOLE “Even though I have survived, I have no joy as there are people trapped inside. One of them is my relative. I don’t think any of them is alive now,” Saheb Ali (pic) said. Contrary to reports, Ali claimed that 17 miners, not 15, are still trapped as altogether 22 had gone down. Two of those who managed to survive are locals. C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai THE New Year is unlikely to ring in festive cheer for the 10 Indian crew members of M V Azraqmoiah, who have been stranded at sea, five miles from Dubai port, after the United Arab Emirates owner of the vessel abandoned them without paying their salaries. The 10 crew members, including three from Tamil Nadu, are living on hope with minmal provisions and without passports, which were taken by the UAE Coast Guard after the vessel was detained by an Ajman court. They are among 40 crew members of three Dubai-based Elite Way Marine Services EST vessels that have been detained by UAE. Thirty-eight of the crew members are Indian, MV Azraqmoiah Captain Ayyappan Swaminathan, a native of Nagapattinam, told Express in a telephonic conversation. Express’ efforts to contact Elite Way Marine Services EST for a response were in vain. Swaminathan said the crew was stuck on the vessel as the company had not signed them off by paying their salaries. “We have been asking the company to sign us off since January 2018... Till November, the company has to pay us a minimum of 15 months of salary said Swaminathan, whose ,” hometown was hit by the re- IN a first of its kind order that could have wide-ranging ramifications, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed Divya Pharmacy, an ayurvedic company run by Yoga guru Ramdev, to share a percentage of its profits with local farmers and communities, as part of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS) objectives of the Biodiversity Act, 2002. Divya Pharmacy had argued that the FEBS could be invoked only for foreign entities using biological resources in India. As Indian entities are regulated by state biodiversity boards, the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) had directed Divya Pharmacy to share a portion its profits with the local farmers, citing the Biological STONED TO DEATH IN UP’S GAZIPUR A stranded crew member sleeping on the deck of the vessel | BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT COOK ONBOARD 33 MONTHS, MISSED DAD’S FUNERAL According to Swaminathan the vessel’s cook has been working onboard for 33 months. “Recently his father passed away. We told the company but it failed to clear him. He couldn’t attend the funeral,” he said. EXPRESS READ After 6 days, teachers call off hunger strike TN Dr MGR Medical varsity gets new V-C 4 JeM militants gunned down in south Kashmir Chennai: After six days, members of the Tamil Nadu State Secondary Grade Teachers Association withdrew their hunger strike against pay anomalies, on Saturday night. Chennai Dr Sudha Seshayyan, director and professor, Institute of Anatomy, Madras Medical College, was appointed vice-chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University on Saturday. Srinagar: Four militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, including a Pakistani, were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday. P9 Ramdev pharma can’t wriggle out of profit sharing with farmers @ New Delhi CONSTABLE Agusta deal middleman abusing legal access: ED The ED accused Michel of misusing his legal access and sought its discontinuation. However, the court allowed continued legal access but reduced the time from the current 30 minutes to 15 minutes vocate Aljo Joseph standing next to him and acted like shaking hands with the advocate and saying him goodbye and extended his hands for handshake. It was noticed that Michel secretly handed over a folded paper to his counsel Joseph. Joseph was carrying his mobile phone under which he hid the folded paper and put it discreetly in pocket of his jacket and acted as if nothing took place,” the remand paper read. He was trying to clear a road blockade by a Rashtriya Nishad Party mob that had stoned vehicles returning from PM’s public meeting 38 stranded Indian sailors count on NY miracle HC RULING EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THE AgustaWestland VIP helicopter scam case on Saturday witnessed a dramatic twist with alleged middleman Christian Michel bringing in the name of ‘Mrs Gandhi’ and ‘big man R’ in a special court, which extended his remand by seven days. Mrs Gandhi and big man R were apparent references to Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, though the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which produced Michel in court, did not specify who he had referred to. ED counsel L D Singh told the court that Michel, in his communication with Agusta, had said the big man R was the son of an Italian lady who is going to be the next prime minister. “We need to decipher the documents to decrypt such codes,” the counsel said. In their plea, the ED said Michel during interrogation on Thursday had slipped in a folded paper, which his lawyer hid under his mobile phone. “During medical examination, Christian Michel stood up and turned towards his ad- Diversity Act, but the pharmacy said the UBB had no right to do so. The question then before the Uttarakhand High Court was whether the UBB could impose FEBS obligations over an Indian company . Rejecting Divya Pharmacy’s position, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia said: “Biological resources are definitely the property of a nation where they are geographically located, but these are also the property in a , manner of speaking, of the in- digenous and local communities who have conserved it through centuries.” The court said a plain and textual interpretation of the Biodiversity Act would defeat the purpose for which the law was enacted. It also held that India was a party to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and was under obligation to give effect to the provisions of the treaty . cent Cyclone Gaja. “We approached UAE’s Federal Transport Authority Indi, an consulate in Dubai, and ITF London. FTA banned the company’s vessels from commercial operation... It has filed a case against the company in a Dubai court,” he said. The Indian Consulate has been giving food and other provisions to the crew. “They said they could not intervene as the matter is subjudice,” he said. The crew wants high-level government intervention. Officials at the Ministry of External Affairs told Express the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai were working to resolve the issue at the earliest. TN to host National Para Athletic games? C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai TAMIL Nadu is likely to host the 19th National Para Athletic Championships and Indian Open Para Athletics Grand Prix in the second and third weeks of March 2019. It is learnt that Col Onkar Singh Yadav, Chief Operating Officer of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), a National Sports Federation working for the promotion of sports among persons with disabilities, has written to member secretary, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), proposing the dates to host the tournament. The Championship will serve as a selection trial for the athletes for various International Championships world- wide, including the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. The proposed Championships 2019 is planned to be conducted with the support of SDAT in coordination with Para Sports Association of Tamil Nadu, an affiliated member of PCI. The estimated budget for hosting the games is approximately `2 crore. PCI is seeking a grant-in-aid of `1.5 crore of the total cost with the remaining to be contributed by PCI from its own resources. The proposal comes in the wake of the success of para athletes at the 3rd Asian Para Games, Jakarta, Indonesia 2018, in continuity with the Rio Paralympic Games 2016. Tamil Nadu government officials could not be contacted for a response.
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