KOCHI l Wednesday l October 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE city EDITION Kerala first state to fix floor price for vegetables Sixteen vegetables will have floor price that would be 20% above their production cost, with effect from November 1 No pain for farmers Even IF market CRASHES Price to be revised on a regular basis Even if the market price went below this, the produce would be procured at the floor price from farmers, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday. The vegetables would be graded as per the quality and the floor price fixed accordingly, he said. “Farmers across the country are not satisfied... but for the last four-and-half years, we have supported them,” he added. P4 The 16 farm produce include potato, tomato, beans, tapioca, lady’s finger, bitter gourd, carrot, beetroot and banana ■ Farmers with a maximum of 15 acres of vegetable cultivation per season will be eligible for the scheme. The state government will revise the floor price on a regular basis, the chief minister said ■ 15L tonnes Kerala’s ANNUAL vegetable production, ACCORDING TO STATE GOVT 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 Any Indian can now buy land in UT of J&K Sana Shakil and F aya z W a n i @ New Delhi/Srinagar in a move that can have longterm political and economic implications for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Tuesday notified several laws, including major amendments to the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act to allow any Indian citizen to buy land in the Union Territory . Agricultural land will be an exception to the law as it can only be transferred or sold to an agriculturist in J&K. However, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs can authorise an agriculturist to ‘alienate’ the land to a non-agriculturist for sale, gift or exchange. The new amendment implies domiciles of J&K would now effectively get protection only in government jobs. The Union government had earlier hinted that some protection on land-rights on t h e l i n e s o f H i m a ch a l Pradesh will be granted to domiciles of J&K. Before the reading down of Article 370 and Article 35-A last year, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. But the new order titled the ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020’ changed this status. P7 Walayar 42 Pocso cases BUT no conviction Since the law came into force in 2012, Walayar police station has registered 42 cases under the Pocso Act. Yet, no accused has ever been convicted, the Walayar police admit | P4 Five accords, including the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, at 2+2 dialogue indicate US solidarity against Chinese aggression Sharp message to Beijing from India-US pacts P u s h k a r B a n a k a r & M aya n k S i n g h @ New Delhi India and the US on Tuesday signed five pacts, including the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) on geospatial data during the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are engaged in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. BECA will give India access to accurate US satellite data, which will help in navigation and pinpoint accuracy for weapons. “We are happy that we’ve completed the BECA, which will open new avenues in information sharing. We are eager to discuss further issues with US,” Singh said after the meeting. Experts say BECA will usher in a new era. “India-US are looking at geospatial intelligence and greater cooperation in all fields. Further, a fair amount of congruence has been achieved in terms of the idea of an inclusive Indo-Pacific. The wider Indo-Pacific sweep includes freedom of navigation, use of global commons and the sea lanes of communication,” Major Gen (Retd) S B Asthana said. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses the media after the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (R), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2L) and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper (L) look on, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday | PTI Kriti Upadhyaya of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said that signing of BECA in the backdrop of the India-China tensions definitely sends a message to China that the US stands by India in improving its defences against China. Discussions in the meeting involving US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh focused around a plethora of regional and global issues. Continued on: P7 CPM PB wants state govt to slam doors on ‘misused’ CBI E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ T’Puram In the current scenario, where the CBI is being used as a political weapon, many states like Rajasthan, West Bengal & Maharashtra have banned the agency from probing cases. The CPI also believes the agency is being misused by the Centre Kodiyeri Balakrishnan BELIEVING that the Centre is increasingly misusing the CBI, the Left government in Kerala is expected to issue an order to withdraw the general consent given earlier to the national agency to probe cases in the state. Both the LDF and CPM leadership have urged the state government to explore legal aspects to cancel the consent. The CBI’s decision to take over the investigation into the Life Mission project scam, without the state gover nment’s nod, has irked the party After the CPM state secre. tariat expressed its displeasure, the party’s politburo on Tuesday said the Union government was using the agency as a political weapon. “Earlier, during the UPA government’s time too, the central agencies were used for political reasons. But such a blatant abuse of national agencies has never happened. There’s no reason for a new nod for the PB as we’ve always maintained that the central agencies are being misused,” said a top CPM leader. A number of state governments including Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra have already withdrawn the consent to the agency. Once the Kerala government follows suit, the central agency cannot register new cases without the state gover nment’s nod. However, it won’t affect any ongoing investigation. The CBI can still investigate cases involving central government establishments. Law Minister A K Balan said a final decision has not ● More on P4 been taken. hate content Under-fire FB official Ankhi Das calls it quits E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi BUSINESS OF IT Sulaiman who runs a shop at S S Kovil Road near Thampanoor in Thiruvananthapuram shows facemasks with symbols and images of political parties printed on them. The mask is priced at C30 and with local body polls approaching fast, Sulaiman is getting bulk orders | B P Deepu S er i es C f u n d i n g FreshToHome raises `860cr from foreign investors E x p r e ss N e ws S e r v i c e @ Kochi FRESHToHome, the seafood and meat e-commerce platform, has raised an investment of `860 crore ($121 million) from development funds backed by the US and the UAE governments. According to the online store, it is a historic achievement for an Indian company to raise such a large amount in Series C consumer tech funding. Series C consumer funding signifies that the company is successful and has a large growth potential. An official statement issued by FreshToHome — a Malayali venture — stated that this was the first time that the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which operates under the US government, has invested in the shares of an Indian company. “Other major investors include the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Invest Corp, Ascent Capital and Allana. Also, Iron Pillar, a leading player in Bfunding, has invested another `135 crore. In the first and second rounds, the company received `120 crore in foreign investment,” it said. ● More on P4 Controversial India policy head of Facebook, Ankhi Das, who had opposed blocking of right-wing hate content on its platform, put in her papers on Tuesday . She was outed by US media reports that criticised Facebook for its skew in regulating hate content. The resignation to pursue her interest in ‘public service’ came close on the heels of her g rilling by a parliamentary committee on data protection. She had joined FB in 2011. “Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service. Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last 9 years,” said Ajit Mohan, MD, India. 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express Rajnath raps reckless China aggression P u s h k a r B a n a k a r @ New Delhi While the US belligerence against China was on expected lines, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s sharp rebuke of the neighbour for its “reckless aggression on our northern borders”, in his opening address at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on Tuesday, became one of the day’s talking points. “Excellencies, in the area of defence we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” a State Department release after the bilateral dialogue quoted Singh as saying. However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence made no such mention. Predictably, visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more upfront while slamming China. “We paid our respect to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Galwan Valley recently. The US will stand with India in its efforts to defend its sovereignty and its liberty Our nations are com... mitted to working together into expanding our partnerships across many fronts,” Pompeo said after the talks. India and China have been involved in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control with tensions peaking after 20 Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh on June 15. EXPRESS READ Probe ordered into death of patients at Ernakulam MCH Assembly ruckus: No stay on summons to ministers Investors lost L13.3cr in jewellery scam: State to HC Kochi: The state government finally decided to conduct an inquiry against Ernakulam Medical College Hospital which is facing a barrage of criticism for its alleged ‘gross negligence’ which resulted in Covid patients’ death. P2 Kochi: The High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the trial court’s order directing ministers E P Jayarajan, K T Jaleel and others to appear before it on Wednesday, in connection with the assembly ruckus case of 2015. P5 Kochi: Investors have lost C13.3 crore after Fashion Gold, the jewellery business run by Manjeshwar MLA M C Kamaruddin, failed to return their deposits, the state government told the High Court on Tuesday.
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