VILLUPURAM l WEDNESDAY l AUGUST 19, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION IN TALKS WITH 13 COUNTRIES TO SET UP TRAVEL ZONES: GOVT India is actively seeking to set up travel bubbles with more countries, Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said on Tuesday AUSTRALIA, JAPAN ON THE LIST DEMAND HIGH FOR FLIGHTS TO INDIA The 13 countries are Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Apart from these, the Centre is also seeking travel arrangements with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan. “It is always our endeavour to reach out to every stranded citizen,” Puri tweeted ■ ■ India already has travel bubbles with the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, the UAE, Qatar and the Maldives India suspended international flight operations in March due to Covid-19. As many Indians are still stranded abroad, most airlines have reported a continuing demand for flights to India 10.5 lakh INDIANS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT BACK UNDER VANDE BHARAT MISSION SO FAR 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 SC says no need to transfer funds from PM CARES Rejects plea by seeking transfer of money to the NDRF to fight Covid pandemic effectively Fund to have necessary financial resources to meet the emergent situation,” said the bench, THE Supreme Court on Tues- also comprising Justices R S day declined to order transfer Reddy and M R Shah. of funds received by the PM The court said there is also Cares Fund to the National Dis- no statutory prohibition in aster Response Fund to help making any contribution by fight the Covid-19 pandemic, any person or institution in the saying financial planning NDRF as per Section 46(1) is the Centre’s domain. (b) of the Disaster ManThe apex court held agement Act, 2005. that both are entirely It also said the Nadifferent funds with tional Disaster Manageseparate objectives and ment Plan prepared by there is no need to the Centre deals with transfer funds from all aspects of the bioDefining one to the other. transparency logical and public The ruling came on health emergencies in While the Cong a petition filed by the a s y s t e m at i c a n d Centre for Public In- termed the verdict planned manner. a “body blow to t e re s t L i t i g at i o n , The SC said there is which argued that PM transparency and also no statutory proCARES is not subject accountability” of hibition in making the govt, the to an audit by the any contribution by BJP claimed Comptroller and Auanybody in the NDRF “transparency is ditor General . under Section 46(1)(b) writ large in the A three-judge bench of the Disaster Manheaded by Justice PM CARES Fund” agement Act. It added Ashok Bhushan held the Centre’s National that the plan prepared Disaster Management by the government under the Plan deals with all aspects of NDRF was sufficient to tackle the biological and public health the ensuing Covid-19 pandemic emergencies in a systematic and there was no need for a manner. Therefore, there is no fresh action plan. need for a separate plan to deal “At this need of the hour no with the pandemic, it noted. exception can be taken to the The PM Cares Fund was set constitution of a public chari- up by the Centre on March 28 as table trust, namely, PM CARES a public charitable trust. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Sivasankar had direct link with UAE consul-gen: ED URGENT NEED TO CHANGE CRIMINAL LAW TO REGULATE HATE-SPEECH: EXPERT PANEL S A N A S H A K I L @ New Delhi THREE years after an expert committee suggested changes to the IPC, CrPc, Information Technology Act and a broader definition of what constitutes hate speech, the suggestions are still a work in progress with one of the members calling for an urgent amendment in criminal laws. “There is urgency to change criminal law in many respects...but that will take time. And because regulating hate speech is the need of the hour, the suggestions that we gave should be put up for wider consultation. We are not owners of wisdom but the suggestions that we gave should be looked at,” said Navneet Wasan, a retired IPS officer and member of the T K Viswanathan committee. In August last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had called for a revamp of the criminal justice system and sought views of the states on changes that may be required in four COVID RAGES ACROSS TN Chennai city reported 1,182 cases and 24 deaths. whopping 489 cases were A reported from Tiruvallur. It was followed by Coimbatore (392), Chengalpattu (344), Theni (295), Salem (286), Cuddalore (250) and Kancheepuram (249). FRESH CASES DEATHS 5,709 121 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi THE Enforcement Directorate probing the money trail in the Kerala gold smuggling case on Tuesday exposed a direct link between exprincipal secretary to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan M Sivasankar and the then UAE consulgeneral. According to the ED, the UAE diplomat asked representatives of Unitac Builders, which bagged the contract to build an apartment complex under the government’s Life Mission project, to meet Sivasankar. The ED said prime accused Swapna Suresh got 6% commission for helping the firm bag the project. Charity organisation Red Crescent has sponsored the project through the UAE Consulate. The ED made these submissions before the PMLA court. key criminal justice laws—the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Arms Act and the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). That process is underway . The New Indian Express reached out to members of an expert committee which had prepared a detailed report in 2017, a day after Facebook, whom the Congress has accused of manipulating its content at the behest of BJP react, ed to the allegations. The expert committee, headed by former Law Secretary and Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Viswanathan, was constituted by the Centre after the Supreme Court struck down the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act in 2015. In its report that was submitted in 2017, the committee recommended that the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the IT Act needed to be amended to introduce stringent provisions to deal with cases of hate Need a full revamp Only a comprehensive revamping of the criminal justice system can provide measures to check hate speech, Dr S Sivakumar said speech and use of cyberspace to spread hatred and incitement. “While the opportunities afforded by of digital technol- ogy are enormous, the threats to public order and national security are real and continue to engage the attention of the governments because governments of the day cannot be mute spectators to harmful content propagated through the digital space creating hatred, violence and bloodshed amongst sections of the people,” the report had stated. It added that therefore, it has become necessary to map the contours of freedom expression which will enable us to distinguish expression from advocacy and advocacy from incitement to violence both online and offline mode Dr S Sivakumar, another member of the committee, said that given the publicly stated priority of the present government to reduce the number of legislations but strengthen the existing legislation, the need of the hour was to take a holistic view of the present laws and make the regulation of social media content as part of that bigger picture. Clear `10,700-crore Cauvery rehab project, CM urges Union Minister EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai CHIEF Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday sought a nod from the Union Minister for Jal Shakthi, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, for the Nadandhai Vaazhi Cauvery Project that aims at rehabilitation and rejuvenation of Cauvery river on the lines of the Namami Gange Project (rejuvenation of the Ganges). Holding discussions with the Union Minister on various issues relating to water resources through video conference, Palaniswami said, “The Water and Power Consultancy Services Limited is preparing a Detailed Project Report. Cauvery is the lifeline of TN, not only for agriculture but also drinking water. So, I request that this project may be sanctioned as a special programme like Namami Gange Project and may be taken up as a national project.” Recalling that Tamil Nadu had requested to re-work the alignment of Godavari-Cauvery river project and to allot 200 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami urged the Union Minister to instruct the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) to quickly complete the detailed project report (DPR) and begin work. “Similarly, the Cauvery - Gundar link is proposed within Tamil Nadu and is part of the National Perspective Plan for river development. I request the NWDA be instructed to forward the DPR to the State so that work could be fasttracked,” Palaniswami said. Moderate crowds at Tasmac shops After a gap of nearly five months, Chennai city’s spirit was revived on Tuesday with Tasmac reopening its liquor stores. Though the crowds were moderate, many were not following the social distancing norms | P2 THE Madras High Court on Tuesday refused to allow the reopening of mining conglomerate, Vedanta’s Sterlite copper smelting factory in Thoothukudi, saying economic considerations can have no role to play while deciding the sustainability of a high- polluting industry . “Courts have held that when it comes to economy pitted against the environment, environment will reign supreme... the only consideration would be with regard to safeguarding environment for posterity and remedying the damage caused,” said the bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and V Bhavani The verdict is shocking. We will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court Pankaj Kumar, Sterlite CEO Subbaroyan, while dismissing all the petitions filed by Vedanta Limited. The 815-page judgment pointed out the deviations made by the company in complying with the orders of the pollution control authorities. “For 20 long years, the petitioner has been issued such orders, be it a closure order or a renewal order. The petitioner was closed twice by TNPCB and thrice by the court.” P4 With by-polls in mind, Chouhan wants all govt jobs for locals EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal AHEAD of the crucial bypolls to 27 Assembly seats, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said his government will reserve all state government jobs to the people of the state. “The MP government has made an important decision today. All state government jobs will be given only to the children of Madhya Pradesh. Resources of the state are meant for children of the state,” Chouhan announced. The chief minister said the state government is in the process of making necessary legal provisions for the purpose. Three days earlier, on Independence Day Chou, han had said his government would put in place a mechanism to ensure that local youths will have job opportunities based on their Class X and XII marks. If Chouhan’s proposal becomes law, the state will perhaps be the first in India to reserve all state government jobs for its people. Chouhan’s proposal drew fire from the opposition Congress party. “What CM announced on Tuesday is contrary to actual reality,” Congress spokesperson Abhay Dube said. There are 3,533 posts vacant in the state government as on March 31. Earlier, in July 2019, former CM and Congress leader Kamal Nath had announced amendments to the state’s industrial policy to reserve 70% jobs in the private sector industries for locals. EXPRESS READ Unprecedented recommendation for Sports Awards HC rules out Sterlite plant reopening H A R I S H M U R A L @ Chennai RESERVATION GEARING UP FOR THE G-DAY Ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, sculptors in Mumbai add last-minute touches to idols of Ganesha on Tuesday | PTI New Delhi: In a big surprise, the Sports Awards committee recommended five names for India’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in a non-Olympic year, while 29 athletes were forwarded for Arjuna Awards. Cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, paddler Manika Batra, hockey captain Rani Rampal and para athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu figure on the Khel Ratna list. For Arjuna, pacer Ishant Sharma, shuttlers Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were named | P11 Arrest drama : Policeman killed in country NGO begs to differ on hailing beggar’s charity bomb attack by double murder accused STICKY WICKET SHOBANA RADHAKRISHNAN @ Madurai WHAT the district administration saw was an act worthy of appreciation. However, an NGO begs to differ. This difference of opinion is souring an act of charity by an unlikely candidate: A beggar. Pool Pandian over three months donated `90,000 to the CM’s Co- rona Relief Fund. His contribution was appreciated during the Independence Day celebrations at the collectorate recently A Thoothuku. di native, Pandian, said that he made his first offering on May 18: `10,000. His contribution comprised the accumulation of alms at Mattuthavani during the lockdown. The date is what makes Director of NGO Idhayam Trust G R Sivakumar worried. “Pandian was sheltered at a government camp from April 1 to May 17. He promised us he would never beg again as a precondition to his release. The next day he do, nated `10,000 at the Collectorate.” Sivakumar said that Pan- dian made eight more visits to the collectorate and donated `90,000. “In roughly 92 days, he begged `90,000. In these trying times, such acts could further spread the virus if he is a potential carrier,” he said. Collector T G Vinay attempted to ward off criticism saying that the award was given to encourage more people to donate. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Thoothukudi A policeman died in the line of duty when a double murder case accused hurled a countrymade bomb at him at Manakarai near Murapanadu in the district on Tuesday. The murder accused also succumbed to injuries sustained in the closerange bomb blast. Sources said that Durai Muthu (30) hurled the crude bomb at police constable Subramanian (28) when a special police team swooped down on his hideout on the outskirts of Manakarai near Vallanadu Hills. Subramanian, a resident of Pandaravilai near Srivaikuntam, was posted at Alwarthirunagari police station. He was part of the five-member posse that had gone to Manakarai to arrest Muthu based on a tip-off. Muthu had a cache of crude bombs he wanted to bump off his rivals with. When the police team landed at the hideout, Muthu hurled two bombs at the officials in an attempt to vanish into the adjoining forest. One of the bombs hit Subramanian and exploded. P5
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