BENGALURU SATURDAY APRIL 20, 2019 `6.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION A DECADE AFTER SINGUR, TATA FIRM SHIFTS BASE TO BENGAL The Mumbai-based group is set to relocate one of its firms— Tata Sponge Iron Ltd—from Odisha’s Keonjhar to Kolkata File photo of the protests led by Mamata’s Trinamool in Singur GROUP’S TATA DUE TO TRINAMOOL PROTESTS B1,050 CR RELOCATION IN THE MIDDLE OF LS POLLS Ties between the Tata Group and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had cooled after the 2008 relocation of the Nano car factory from Singur to Gujarat due to protests led by her party. After she became Bengal chief minister, unlike the Ambanis, Ratan Tata continued to give Mamata’s annual Bengal Global Business Summit a miss ■ The 2008 shift to Gujarat, then under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi, was seen not only as a political statement, but also a blow to the hopes of re-industrialisation of West Bengal ■ The current Tata firm relocation comes during Lok Sabha polls, after which regional parties might have a role at the Centre TURNOVER OF FIRM, TO BE RENAMED TATA STEEL LONG PRODUCTS LIMITED 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 Jet Airways staffers at a loss, struggle to make ends meet Sadhvi Pragya: My curse killed ATS chief Karkare EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal BHARATIYA Janata Party candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, said that former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 because she had “cursed” him. Addressing a gathering of BJP workers late on Thursday evening, the sadhvi alleged she was so severely tortured while in custody that she told Karkare: “Maine kaha tera sarvanash hoga (I t o l d h i m yo u w i l l b e destroyed).” As her comments kicked up a storm leaving her party red-faced, she apologized on Friday evening and called Karkare a martyr. C H E TA N A B E L A G E R E @ Bengaluru Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and AICC president Rahul Gandhi during an election rally in Raichur on Friday | KPN A TELUGU RAGA, IN JUGALBANDI WITH NAIDU Telugu-speaking voters in border districts, who number over 50,000, can tilt the scales S H R E YA S H S @ Raichur THE Congress and its alliance partners are employing every trick in the book to woo voters of different regions. On Friday , Congress president Rahul Gandhi was joined by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at a rally here to reach out to native Telugu-speaking voters. These people have settled in the bordering districts and form a formidable chunk in the seven assembly segments of Raichur. Janata Dal-Secular patriarch H D Deve Gowda also lent his shoulder of support. Ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s arrival, Chandrababu Naidu delivered a fiery speech to a roaring audience even as a few in the crowd waved TDP flags. Both Gandhi and Naidu lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hoping to swing votes in favour of the Congress candidate in a constituency where the contest is expected to be tight. Raichur Lok Sabha seat has a voting population of over 50,000 Andhra settlers and the move by the Congress, especially MLC N S Bose Raju, to invite Naidu is with a definite intent of swinging votes in the coalition’s favour. Friday’s rally was the first time Rahul Gandhi shared the dais with Naidu this election season in Karnataka. Naidu enjoys a huge fan base in Raichur and his breakaway from the BJP had an impact in the 2018 assembly elections. In his address, Rahul focused on NYAY and employment, ac- cusing the PM of failing to eliminate poverty and generate two crore jobs as promised. “The chowkidar goes everywhere and makes false promises. I am not here to do the same. I will deliver what I promise. The Congress party if , voted to power, will credit `72,000 per year to 20% of the poorest annually,” he reiterated. He added that while he won’t promise to provide 2 crore job every year, his party will fill all the 22 lakh vacancies in gover nment institutions. Raichur being a backward district and solely dependent on agriculture, the NYAY scheme may find resonance as poor farmers have suffered the massive onslaught of grim and P6 devastating drought. WAYANAD THE NEW HOTSEAT With Congress president Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, across the Karnataka border, villagers of Chamarajanagar are taking boat rides across the Kabini river to participate in the election excitement. The constituency has suddenly gained prime importance, with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi campaiging in this hilly district. People from state are closely watching the LDF, UDF, NDA and Congress developments. IT HUBS FAIL BENGALURU ON VOTING DAY, BOMMANAHALLI LOWEST IN K’TAKA AT 47% EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE FAMILY MATTERS @ Bengaluru Priyanka Chaturvedi JOINS SHIV SENA A day after expressing dismay at Congress for reinstating workers who had allegedly harassed her, Chaturvedi on Friday joined the Shiv Sena, hours after resigning as Cong spokesperson. THE Silicon City of India, which often prides itself for its civic activism, has been notorious for its low voter turnout. This time was no different. One of the reasons may be that the IT hubs of the city like Electronics City and Global Village Tech Park in Bangalore Rural, ITPL, Embassy Golf Links and Mahadevapura in Bangalore Central, Manyata Tech Park in Bangalore North, are home to migrant professionals. The data from the State Election Commission indicates that the lowest polling was registered in the IT clusters coming under Bommanahalli, BTM Layout, K R Puram, C V Raman Nagar Assembly segments, 81.13% polling in Holenarsipur Assembly segment represented by H D Revanna; this may help his son Prajwal who is the candidate from Hassan Lok Sabha seat 82.22% voting in Kanakapura segment represented by minister D K Shivakumar; his brother D K Suresh is Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency candidate 55.85% in Basavanagudi segment represented by Ravi Subramanya; this may help his nephew Tejasvi Surya who is the Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat aspirant whereas polling in the older parts of Bengaluru like Jayanagar, Padmanabhanagar and Chickpet in Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat was fairly high at 58%. Compared to that, Bommanahalli Assembly segment, which includes Electronics City , 57.39 % in Byatarayanapura segment represented by minister Krishna Byre Gowda; he is contesting from Bangalore North Lok Sabha seat saw polling as low as 47.03%. The techies are known to be active with their political opinions on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. But it clearly did not translate into active political participation. The fact that political parties did much of their campaign through social media was obviously not good enought to persuade the younger age group to go out and vote. The highest polling of 88% was registered in Hosakote, around 40 km from Bengaluru. Part of Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha constituency Hosakote is . the hometown of BJP candidate B N Bacchegowda. The constituency has a tradition of high voter turnout, registering 88.92% voting in the 2018 Assembly polls. In Chikkaballapur, which registered 76.78, Bacchegowda is pitted against Congress veteran M Veerappa Moily . Anekal Assembly segment registered only 58% polling, much less than the 64.90% registered in Bangalore Rural Lok P6 Sabha seat. “I feel like the problems of the entire world are in my house. I have to pay my child’s school fees in the next 10 days, my housing loan EMI is due from three months, my mother hasn’t been taken for her dialysis since one month, what should I do?” asks a 38-year-old loader who’s one among the 16,000-odd employees of debtstricken Jet Airways. Left in the lurch, they are hoping that some miracle will happen, as it did in 2013. Just about a year ago, Jet’s employees were announcing celebratory offers and goodies to mark their 25th anniversary , and today they are staring at a , bleak future.”My life began turning upside down in September, when my salary started coming in instalments, at times just 10 per cent or 20 per cent, and finally just stopped in Jan, uary We were told we would get . our pay, and we waited. It’s been three months and not a single paisa has come, and everyone around me is as clueless as I am,” said Tania Rai (name changed) who has been a captain with Jet Airways for 17 years. According to the ground staff and some pilots based out of Bengaluru, it’s a worrying situation as they are dependent for information mainly on the media, but now there is a gag order on the employees of Jet A i r w ay s, w a r n i n g t h e m against going to the media with any details about the mess. “We have flown with our chairman and top staff until recently, and none of us had any clue that all this was happening. It was only through media reports that we realised Jet was sinking,” said Sanjeeti (name changed), a cabin crew employee. Meanwhile, many employees are trying their best to protect their children from knowledge about the situation, but are unable to answer their questions. “My 8-year-old daughter came to me and asked me, ‘Mama, why are you not going to work? Why are you snapping at me for every small thing? Why is Durgamma (maid) not coming to work?’ How shall I tell her that I can’t afford to hire a maid any more and I don’t have money to pay her school fees which is due in three days? How do I tell her that my savings will soon be over and I have no money to celebrate her birthday too,” said Radhika Sriram (name changed), another cabin crew P6 and a single mother. LOSING THE GAME LOSS D 1,036 CR (Q4 FY 18) D 1,323 CR Shares tanked from `840 a piece to `222.30 (till October 31) (Q1 FY 19) 16,000 6,000 permanent employees contractual employees It’s only NOTA for Ponzi firm victims S A J I M AT H E W @ Bengaluru WHILE there were several Bengalureans who decided not to vote on Thursday, there were hundreds of families who chose the None Of The Above (NOTA) option as they had declared they would, before the Lok Sabha elections. These are the victims of ponzi companies including Ambidant, Ajmera etc., who have been cheated of their life savings, totalling over `3,000 crore. “About 1,000 of us had decided to press the NOTA button and hundreds of families from our constituency have done it. We are about 50,000 families, most of them Muslims, who have been cheated by over 25 Ponzi companies across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Affected families voting in second phase will also choose NOTA,” declared Narendra Kumar, State Joint Secretary of Lanchamuktha Karnataka, a forum. With the slogan “Pehle Refund, Phir Vote”, these families said they are disappointed by the slow investigation process and delay in government permission to sell seized properties of the ponzi companies. “Neither the past Congress government nor the current JDS Chief Minister has done anything useful. All the 100-plus BJP MLAs are maintaining a deafening silence. Now, after losing faith in local MLAs and left with no other choice, we have decided to hold a protest against non-performing leaders from all the parties,” they said. P4 WATCH OUT! Land-grabbers, realtors on the prowl in Turahalli? Frequent fires raise doubts M E E R A B H A R D W A J @ Bengaluru THE only remaining forest habitat in the city the Turahal, li Reserve Forest, seems to be under threat. Frequent fires in the green tract in the past month, reportedly due to antisocial elements setting fire to patches every now and then, raise fears among residents that there could be more to it than meets the eye. Only on Thursday afternoon, miscreants set fire to 10 acres of forest land, just behind Sobha Forest View Apartments, on Kanakapura Road. Although the fires have been contained by the Kaggalipura Range forest officials, residents, citizen group and activists say this is an act of sabotage by realtors and builders, who are looking to encroach the land. They have also demanded a thorough investigation into these sudden blazes. Coming under Hemmigepura Ward in the southern part of the city it’s a critical lung space , for Bengaluru as it is home to a variety of flora and fauna. A 600-acre wooded habitat, stretching from Kanakapura Road to Uttarahalli-Kengeri Road, it is a pristine green tract surrounded by apartment complexes. Realtors and builders are eyeing it as it lies between prime real estate stretches, officials say . There is a shortage of staff in this territorial range as the personnel — two forest guards and one watcher — are on elec- Forest personnel douse fire at Turahalli Reserve Forest | EXPRESS tion duty, and forest officials doused Thursday’s fire with help from activists. But in the melee, the offenders managed to escape. Range Forest Officer Deshpande told TNIE that all efforts were concentrated on dousing the fire. “Efforts are on to trace them as we have some clues,” he said. Out of 597 acres, 20 acres of forest land were recovered from encroachers after legal action, the RFO said. But the issue has reached the higher courts now. To this, Manjunath K P, who started a petition on Change. org, says, “Some anti-socials have been setting fire regularly on the Banashankari 6th Stage side of Turahalli, to encroach the forest area, convert it to wasteland and later, develop housing layouts.” According to Joseph Hoover, United Conservation Movement, fires have become a regular feature, and ill-prepared forest staff are unable to tackle the fires or arrest the crimi- nals. Further, the temporary staff hired by the forest department have not been provided any facilities, or for that matter, even shoes, caps and uniforms. Many of the staffers have sustained burns on their feet while putting out fires. Activists say the less said the better about firefighting equipment available. “There is only one rubber fire beater. Spray pumps are not in working condition. There is no water source nearby an activist said. ,”
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