PRIYANKA POTSHOT Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra takes part in a roadshow as part of the election campaign in Assam’s Silchar on Sunday. Slamming the BJP manifesto, she said there is no space for different cultures in it, as well as any respect for the Constitution | PTI TIRUCHY l MONDAY l APRIL 15, 2019 l `6.00 l PAGES 30 l LATE CITY EDITION Nixed by HC, but not by Gadkari, expressway back as talking point E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Salem WHILE the AIADMK top leadership has been treading cautiously on theissue of the eight-lane Chennai-Salem Greenfield Expressway in the election season, considering the agitations witnessed earlier over the issue, senior BJP leader and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said the project would be completed within stipulated time. He made the statement at a rally in Salem. Earlier last week, a division bench of the Madras High Court quashed land acquisition for the `10,000 crore project, saying environment clearance was mandatory. While Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami sidestepped controversy by saying he was “bound to implement the HC order,” his ally and PMK chief S Ramadoss welcomed the order and Chief Minister’s response. Speaking on Sunday, Gadkari said: “We will begin the project after discussions with farmers (who are against land acquisition). I assure you, whatever rates are being offered for your land, it’s more (than the value). We have increased the rates as per today’s value. The pro- Union Highways Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari addressed a political rally in Salem on Sunday | EXPRESS ject is crucial for development of the region.” The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Palaniswami and other senior AIADMK leade r s . S p e a k i n g l a t e r, Palaniswami lashed out at Stalin for saying the CM’s po2019 litical career would end after this elections. “These elections are a new beginning. Edappadi Palaniswami’s political career will only begin after these elections,” Palaniswami thundered. LOK SABHA ELECTION S Ramadoss — whose son and MP candidate Anbumani Ramadoss is a petitioner in the case against the Chennai-Salem Expressway in the High Court — was also present at the meeting. He thanked Gadkari for his efforts in setting up the Cauvery Management Board and expressed hope that Centre will also implement the Godavari-Cauvery linking project. “If it’s done, Tamil Nadu will get an additional 200 TMC of water,” Ramadoss said. Opposition to move SC over EVMs again Naidu-EC slugfest after poll panel says TDP included a man involved in an EVM theft case in its delegation EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Muftis and Abdullahs dividing India: PM PM Narendra Modi on Sunday, referring to NC boss Omar Abdullah’s demand for a separate PM for J&K, said he will not allow the Abdullahs and Muftis to divide India. Speaking in Kathua, he said his party will continue to resettle Pandits in the Valley. A united Opposition on Sunday claimed the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were unreliable and said they would once again ask the Supreme Court to increase the number of EVMs randomly verified against Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips to 50 per cent. Leaders of over 20 political parties including the Congress, TDP, AAP and CPM addressed a joint press conference in the capital and called it a call to “save democracy”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed people were losing faith in EVMs and want to go back to paper ballot. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said the parties were not satisfied with the recent Supreme Court order directing the Election Commission to increase the number of EVMs randomly verified from one to five per Assembly constituency He al. leged that technology was misused during Telangana elec- tions and 25 lakh voters were removed from the rolls. On Saturday, when Naidu met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to raise the issue of alleged malfunctioning of EVMs, the poll panel objected to the presence of a man in the TDP delegation against whom there was a criminal case over the alleged theft of an EVM in 2010. In a letter to the TDP the Election Commis, sion questioned how Hari Prasad Vemuru, a person with criminal antecedents, could be part of the delegation led by the Andhra CM. The TDP on Sunday claimed that by raising this issue, the Commission was trying to avoid the problem of EVM malfunctioning and said no chargesheet has been filed against the man in the last nine years. “He is a whistleblower. I know technology I have been . promoting technology. We should become masters of technology and not slaves of it,” Naidu said. Vemuru was present at the Sunday press conference and made a presentation on EVMs. NO HELP AT HAND No counsellors in 75% of State-run blood banks S I N D U J A J A N E @ Chennai THOUGH Tamil Nadu was left shocked by the news of several botched blood transfusions in the recent past, facilities at blood banks across the State continue to remain woefully inadequate. For instance, 67 of 89 government blood banks in the State — including the largest blood collection unit of Tamil Nadu in the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital — are functioning without a counsellor. Counsellors play an important role in providing information to users. They also refer donors for further investigations, management or even treatment if required. “Counsellor posts are lying vacant in 67 government blood banks in the State,” a highly placed source told Express. “Of the 89, 28 blood banks are supported by the National AIDS Control Organisation. Of those 28, 16 don’t have counsel- lors.” “Of the remaining 61, supported by the State Health Department, hardly 10 have counsellors. In some blood banks, the post has been lying vacant for years,” the source added. “Counsellors play a crucial role. If donors test positive for infections that spread through blood transfusions, such as HIV it’s the counsellor who , has to refer them to an Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre,” said the source. This assumes significance because in the Sattur case, where a woman contracted HIV through transfusion, the donor was allegedly not informed by the blood bank that he was HIV positive. Sorry, no vacancy: officials Refuting these claims of posts being unfilled an official spokesperson of the Health Department said there were no vacancies for counsellors and that all posts had been filled WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 30 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) VICTORY FOR SURE, SAYS AIADMK MINISTER D JAYAKUMAR In an exclusive interview with Express, the minister says there is no anti-incumbency factor in this elections against the AIADMK | P4 TANGEDCO gets relief from Union govt S V K R I S H N A C H A I T H A N YA @ Chennai TAMIL NADU Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO) has got a reprieve from Union environment ministry to finish construction of two slowmoving thermal power plants coming-up at Ennore with a combined capacity of 1,980 MW. The 660 MW supercritical Ennore Thermal Power Station (ETPS) expansion project, which had suffered multiple delays, has been allowed to use the baseline data of another unit of similar capacity collected during July-September, 2018 for preparation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which would help TANGEDCO get Environmental Clearance (EC) faster. Besides, collecting 104 pollution readings a year was also exempted. However, the State power corporation’s request to exempt it from conducting public hearing and permission to allow construction even after expiry of EC (June 2, 2019) as an interim arrangement till a fresh EC is obtained has been categorically rejected. The clearance for ETPS was given in 2009. The ministry said it cannot given extension for a thermal power plant project beyond 10 years and asked it to obtain EC afresh. Environmentalist Pooja Kumar of city-based NGO Coastal Resource Centre has raised objections to the exemption granted saying that the baseline data of a plant currently delisted by the ministry cannot be used for the Ennore replacement project. Meanwhile, the ministry has granted a two-year extension for 2x660 MW Ennore SEZ supercritical thermal power plant at Vayalur in Tiruvallur district. The EC for two units was granted in 2014 for a period of five years.
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.
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