VILLUPURAM TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 03, 2019 `4.00 PAGES 14 CITY EDITION IAF CHIEF’S FINAL FIGHTER JET SORTIE IS WITH ABHI ON MiG-21 It is seen as a measure by the IAF to acknowledge Abhinandan Varthaman’s bravery in shooting down a Pak F-16 jet in Feb HAD FLOWN WITH VARTHAMAN SR EARLIER ‘BOTH OF US FOUGHT THE PAKISTANIS’ “It was an honour for me to fly with him,” Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who is set to retire on Sept 30, said. The Air Chief has earlier flown with Abhinandan’s father Simhakutty Varthaman, who retired as Air Marshal. Abhinanadan, who ejected in PoK after his MiG-21 was hit by the enemy, was recently conferred Vir Chakra and returned to the cockpit 2 weeks ago ■ ■ The IAF chief said he too ejected from a combat jet in 1988 and had to wait for nine months before returning to the cockpit The Air Chief had commanded the MiG’s 17 Squadron when he took part during the 1999 Kargil war. “Both of us fought the Pakistanis,” he said after the 30-minute sortie on Monday <6 months TIME IT TOOK FOR ABHI TO GET HIS FLYING CATEGORY BACK AFTER EJECTION INJURIES 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 Modi-Xi to meet at Mahabs in October | P4 ‘Moon lander separation successful’ | P4 ‘Lay underground cables in protected areas’ | P4 PC shouldn’t be sent to Tihar, says apex court | P9 SC asks UP to set up SIT to probe Chinmayanand allegations | P9 Election rumours grow in UK | P10 Dozens feared dead in California boat fire | P10 Journo BOOKED FOR ‘MALIGNING’ U.P. GOVT More than a week after a video went viral showing kids in a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur district being given roti with salt as part of their mid-day meal, local authorities filed an FIR against the journalist who recorded it PAGE 7 Jadhav under Core sector growth plunges to 2.1% in July great stress, finds envoy EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Steady fall Forced to parrot Pakistan line during his meet with top Indian diplomat E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi FOR the first time since retired Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in 2016, a top Indian diplomat got to meet him on Monday but came away with the distinct impression that he was under severe stress to tow the captor’s line. Charge d’ Affaires of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Gaurav Ahluwalia spent two hours with Jadhav. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “While we await a comprehensive report, it Kulbhushan Jadhav was clear that Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a No N-first false narrative to bolster Pakistan’s use: Imran untenable claims.” The Centre will decide its further After being called out for course of action after Ahluwalia incendiary submits his full report. Raveesh Kumar underlined the rhetoric, Pakistan PM fact that the consular access was Imran Khan on part of the binding obligations of Monday Pakistan as ordered by the Internaappeared to be tional Court of Justice (ICJ). A statement issued by the Pakicommitting himself to stani foreign office said, “Consular nuclear no first access was provided at 1200 hours use, according and lasted for two (02) hours, in the to a Reuters presence of officials of the Governreport. No first ment of Pakistan... On Indian reuse is India’s quest, there was no restriction on stated doctrine, the language of communication. In not Pakistan’s order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures, and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded.” Before meeting Jadhav, Ahluwalia met Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal. Jadhav has been in a Pakistan prison since March 3, 2016, after he was abducted from Iran, where he was pursuing his business after retirement from the Navy . Later, a Pakistani military tribunal awarded him capital punishment on charges of being a spy and a terrorist, which was when India took his case to the ICJ. NOT JUST THAPAR, JNU ASKED 10 OTHERS FOR CV ‘Didn’t feel bad about it’ R Rajaraman, who served as a professor of theoretical physics at JNU from 1993 to 2004, said he has replied to the JNU registrar’s letter asking for his CV and added he “didn’t feel bad about it”. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AMID outrage after news broke that the JNU administration had asked Romila Thapar to submit her CV for assessment for continuation as emeritus professor, it has now emerged that the eminent historian was not the only one asked to do so. Ten other emeritus professors, including ex-JNU vice-chancellor and top molecular biologist Asis Datta, were also asked to give their resumes to the registrar this July The others are R Rajaraman, H S Gill, C K . Varshney, Ashok Sanjay Guha, Yogendra Singh, D Banerji, T K Oommen, Amit Bhaduri and Sheila Bhalla. Theoretical physicist R Rajaraman said, “When I was made professor emeritus 15 years ago, the letter said it was for life.” As per an Oct 2018 ordinance, JNU has to write to those above 75 to know their willingness to continue their association with the university . Gill served as a professor of linguistics at the university from 1984 to 2000, while Varshney taught at its School of Environment Studies between 1990 and 1992. Guha was a professor at JNU’s School of International Studies. Singh founded the Centre for the Study of Social Systems in 1971. Singh, Banerji, Bhaduri, Bhalla and Oommen are from the School of Social Sciences, the same department as Thapar. Core industries were showing signs of weakness since the start of this financial year — from 5.2% in April to 4.3% in May and further to 0.7% in June Growth halves In the first half of this fiscal (AprilJuly 2019), the eight core sectors grew just 3%, compared with 5.9% growth in the same period last year IN what may be an indicator of how wide the economic slowdown has spread — and how deep can go from here — government data released on Monday showed the growth of the crucial core industries plunged to 2.1% last month compared with 7.3% in July 2018. The core-sector slowdown was primarily due to contraction in production in coal, crude oil, natural gas and petroleum refinery products. “These are signs of a major slowdown in the economy Not . only retail but industrial demand has also been affected,” said Prof. Biswajit Dhar of JNU, adding that this is in line with global trends. “Germany grew 0.1% in the June quarter and 2019 Euro-zone growth forecasts have been trimmed from 0.4% to 0.2%,” he added. HOW THEY COMPARE 7.3% 2.1% 5.9% 3% (Growth percentage in eight core industries) July 2018 July 2019 Apr-July 2018 Apr-July 2019 Manufacturing index drops to 15-month low IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 51.4 in August — its lowest mark since May 2018 — from 52.5 in July Muted growth in sales, output and employment dragged manufacturing sector activity in August (50 & above means expansion, under 50 denotes contraction) CORE INDUSTRIES Coal Crude oil Natural gas Refinery products Fertiliser Steel Cement Electricity * The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production IN THE COAL, CRUDE OIL, NATURAL GAS AND REFINERY RED PRODUCTS RECORDED NEGATIVE GROWTH IN JULY 2019 According to Commerce Ministry data, coal production declined by 1.4% in July while , crude dropped 4.4%. Natural gas production and refinery products contracted by 0.5% and 0.9%, respectively Howev. er, fertiliser grew 1.5% and steel by 6.6%. Cement and electricity production grew by 7.9% and electricity by 4.2%. Meanwhile, the country’s CHENNAI-TINDIVANAM NH UNION TROUBLE Centre earns twice its investment, wants more before cutting toll fee Muthoot Fin to shut more than 300 branches across Kerala B A N B U S E LV A N @ Chennai MOTORISTS by way of toll fee had so far paid over twice the amount of money the government actually spent on building the four-lane road between Tambaram and Tindivanam. But the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) says still it has to collect `354 crore more before it can reduce the toll fee on the highly-congested highway stretch. After a series of RTI applications and appeals by Express, the authority has replied that from April 1, 2005 to September 30, 2018 it collected a total of `1,098 crore as user fee at Athur and Paranur toll gates — the only two toll collection points on the 103.5 km-long stretch. This is more than twice the `536 crore spent by the union government to build this road. Ideally once the project cost is recovered , the toll fee would be reduced and only a nominal fee necessary for maintenance of the road would collected from the road users. However, the authority says it needs to collect another `354 crore before it can reduce the toll fee. How? In 2013, the union government revised the formula for estimation of the project cost and toll collection in a way that lorry owners termed as “perpetually favouring the contractors”. Since this road was built with public money lorry owners say , the government is not justified in trying to recover a rate of return similar to profit-minded private enterprises. The construction of the four-lane highway was carried out between 1999 and 2004. As per the RTI replies by the NHAI, the cost of the construction was `536 crore, funded by the union government. This stretch has since become a lifeline between Chennai and southern parts of the state. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi CM VISITS US DAIRY FARM Practices to be adopted Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who arrived in the US on Monday, visited a dairy farm at Buffalo near New York and held detailed discussions with personnel there on the various practices and techniques at the farm, These techniques are to be adopted in the world-class livestock park to be set up at Thalaivasal near Salem. Vaccines & genes CM enquired about the genetic preservation methods for native breeds of cattle from various countries, cross breeding of cows, low-height sheds for cattle stock, maintenance of good health of cattle stock, list of vaccines to be given to the newborns and the treatments being given to them, State ministers & officials were also present. P4 Minister hints at online-only movie ticket sales ‘Will regulate food price’ In a statement that flummoxed theatre owners, Minister Kadambur C Raju said the government would regulate price of food items at theatres. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thoothukudi INFORMATION and Publicity Minister Kadambur C Raju on Monday hinted that the State government is taking steps to sell movie tickets at theatres across the State exclusively online. The minister, answering a question about prices of food items sold at movie theatres, added that the government had already regularised parking manufacturing sector activity declined to its 15-month low in August, a monthly survey said on Monday (see graphic). According to finance ministry sources, the government is worried if the ongoing slowdown will hit revenues. “Slowdown is a matter of concern as it is likely to hit revenue collections. The PMO has flagged its concern over the revenue collection targets and asked for a plan on how targets could be met. They are likely to meet revenue department officials in the next few days,” said a senior official from the Department of Revenue. The government has already lowered its projections for GST collections in the Budget for 2019-20 to `6.63 lakh crore from the Interim Budget’s mop-up target of `7.6 lakh crore. But the average GST collection per month still remains below P13 `1 lakh crore. charges and soon would regularise the prices of food items as well. Speaking to reporters in Kovilpatti, the minister said that the department had been monitoring the sale of movie tickets online and soon would regularise the prices. He added that quality checks would be conducted on the food items being sold at theatres in the State. The present ticketing system in theatres includes both online and over-the-counter options. The move being hinted at is seen as a way to regulate ticket pricing for festive releases and star vehicles, as online ticketing ensures accountability and , the solution to the issue of black tickets. Notably, the Tamil Nadu government had previously increased the pricing cap for multiplexes and singlescreen theatres across the state, after the implementation of GST. GOLD loan major Muthoot Finance has said it will close a large number of its branches in Kerala after hundreds of its employees, a majority of them women, were prevented from entering the offices and more than 300 offices were forcibly shut by CITU-affiliated union activists on Monday . The Kochi-headquartered NBFC has appointed chartered accountants PZ Chackos & Co to find buyers for its gold loan portfolio of some of its branches in Kerala. “We’ve been retained by a leading NBFC having pan-India presence intending to sell out the gold-loan portfolio of some of their branches in Kerala, which they’re contemplating to close down due to labour issues,” said a PZ Chackos & Co advertisement. Company sources said CITUaffiliated Non-Banking & Private Finance Employees Association has been creating trouble in Muthoot Finance’s branches in Kerala over the past couple of years, putting pressure on its employees to join the union. CITU also wants the association to be recognised by the management. Muthoot Finance DGM (Communications) Babu John said most of its employees have no plans to join the association and CITU is trying to use “terror tactics” to prevent the employees from opening the branches. He said Muthoot Finance may be forced to permanently shut down 346 out of the 623 branches in the state. “CITU is destroying the business climate in Kerala. They’ve wrecked several businesses in the state in the past, and they’re doing it again now,” he said. POLL DANCE CoA set to relax September 14 election deadline for state associations AT R E Y O M U K H O PA D H YAY @ Chennai IF one expected the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to tighten the noose around defiant state associations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the opposite is going to happen. The deadline of September 14, by when the state bodies were supposed to complete their elections or lose voting rights at the BCCI’s annual general meeting on October 22, is set to be relaxed. High-profile associations like Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are among the 10 associations that are still to send their amended constitutions to the CoA for approval. That is the first step in order to be eligible to hold elec- tions. Some of the associations have expressed their inability to get things done by the September 14 deadline. Having said earlier that failure to do this will result in the loss of voting rights, the CoA is now considering extending this deadline for the units. “Nothing is cast in stone. The objective is to hold BCCI elections on October 22. If some of the states have genuine problems in fulfilling everything by September 14, their case will be considered. The CoA will have a meeting this week and take a call on who all can be given this extension. It’s going to be only for those with genuine Unfazed despite risk of losing voting rights Some associations were confident that not meeting the deadline won’t result in being ruled ineligible. Cricket Association of Bengal has set October 1 as a tentative date for polls, while Tamil Nadu Cricket Association says it will finalise matters after a Supreme Court hearing. problems. The rest will have to fall in line,” sources following developments told this newspaper on Monday . This means at least some of the units will not lose their voting rights despite not following the directive. It also means that the CoA would be going back on its word. Not an ideal world, but the BCCI has hardly been one of late. SHAMI GETS SUMMONS FROM COURT Kolkata court issues warrant, asking pacer to appear within 15 days and appeal for bail against domestic-violence charges filed by wife | P5
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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