THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l Sunday l november 29, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l late city edition navy deploys marine commandos in ladakh The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) have been deployed at Pangong lake area in eastern Ladakh amid tensions with China to enhance Integration of special forces will conduct ops in pangong lake Air Force’s Garud operatives and Army’s Para Special Forces have been in eastern Ladakh since the June clash in the Galwan Valley. With the deployment of MARCOS, the government hopes to enhance the integration of the three services, according to reports. Besides, the Marine Commandos will also get exposure to extreme cold weather conditions ■ India has boosted its special force presence along the Line of Actual Control since the June 15 clash ■ In August, India used special forces to take control of a key piece of strategic land near Pangong lake’s southern bank ■ The MARCOS is expected to conduct operations in Pangong lake MARCOS has conducted operations in Kashmir’s Jhelum lake in the past 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 Shah steps in to quell farmers’ ire Says Centre ready to hold talks as soon as they vacate roads and move to designated site H a r p r e e t B a j w a , G AYAT H R I M A N I & N a mi ta B a j pa i @ Chandigarh/New Delhi/Lucknow Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the government will hold talks with the agitating farmers before December 3 if they vacate the roads and national highways and move to the Nirankari ground in Burari, north Delhi. Earlier, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had invited protesting farmers for talks on December 3. “If farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before December 3, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to the structured place, the government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day,” Shah said in a video message on Saturday . Shah added the government had made all the arrangements for the farmers at the designated ground for their protest, including water, toilet and medical facilities. However, the farmers turned down Shah’s offer with BKU (Ekta-Ug rahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan saying the protest will continue “till our demands are met”. BKU (Rajewal Group) general secre- tary Omkar Singh said the home minister’s offer would be discussed in the Sunday meeting of 30 farm unions. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, meanwhile, urged the farmers to heed to Shah’s appeal, saying it was in the best interest of the farming community and the nation at large. “Shah’s offer to advance talks with farmers from December 3, and his statement reflecting the Centre’s willingness to listen to the farmers was a welcome step,” he said. Earlier, the agitating Punjab and Haryana farmers said they were contemplating sealing the borders of Delhi and staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders. “It is just a plan. The final decision will be taken in meetings of all leaders, which are being held on a regular basis. As of now we are at the Singhu and Tikri borders of Delhi,” a farm leader said, adding, “In a few days, the entire Punjab and Haryana will join us.” On Saturday, traffic movement on both the national highways continued to be disrupted. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh also closed in on Delhi, with hundreds of them reaching the Ghazipur border with their vehicles on P7 Saturday afternoon. Farmers from Punjab and Haryana shouting slogans against the Centre during their Delhi Chalo march at Singhu Border in New Delhi on Saturday | Shekhar Yadav Murder bid charge against man who switched off water cannon H a r p r e e t B a j w a @ Chandigarh Navdeep Singh, a young farmer from Ambala who flung himself from his moving tractor trolley towards a police vehicle to turn off water cannon, has been booked by the Haryana Police on charges of attempt to murder, rioting and violation of Coivd-19 norms. The incident happened near the grain market at Ambala Cantt on NH-44 on November 25 during the farmers’ march towards Delhi. Navdeep leaped from his tractor, turned the water cannon tap off and jumped back in no time. The Haryana Police have booked Singh as well as Bharatiya Kisan Union Haryana president Gurnam Singh Chaduni for allegedly breaking police barricades and trying to run the police personnel over. Navdeep said the farmers have the rights to organise peaceful protests. “I have no issues with the police; they did their job and we are doing ours,” he added. F aya z W a ni @ Srinagar Modi takes 3-city tour to review vaccine progress hand, has partnered with AstraZeneca-Oxford University to scale up the production of Prime Minister Narendra Covishield, which is also beModi on Saturday undertook ing tested on 1,600 volunteers a whirlwind trip to Ahmeda- in India. bad, Hyderabad and Pune for “The PM’s visit serves as a reviewing the Covid vaccine g reat inspiration to our development and manufac- team,” Bharat Biotech said. turing process by Zydus CadiZydus Cadila, which is testla, Bharat Biotech and Serum ing a DNA-based vaccine, said Institute of India. it is committed to the At each of the Atmanirbhar Bharat three facilities, the Mission and to proPM spent over an vide the nation safe The Centre wants hour each, took a and efficacious vacthe 300 to 400 tour of the facilities, million doses (of cines, therapeutics met top executives Oxford vaccine) by and diagnostics for and interacted with June-July. We are fighting Covid. Following the PM’s scientists to underworking on that timeline. We are visit, SII CEO Adar stand the trial status, working on Poonawala said in a issues and challenges delivery and virtual press conferbeing faced in vacdistribution of the ence that his compacine development. system ny will apply to the He also asked scientists for their opin- Adar Poonawala, CEO, country’s drug regulator for emergency ion on how the counSerum Institute of India use authorisation of try could further Covishield in the next improve its regulatory process and sought their two weeks. Interim analysis of suggestions to improve the the vaccine, from its late-stage process of v a c c i n e trial in Brazil and the UK, showed that its average effidistribution. While the indigenously de- cacy in two different dosing veloped vaccine Covaxin by regimens was 70.4%. Poonawala said that the OxBharat Biotech, in collaboration with ICMR, is undergo- ford vaccine will first be used ing phase 3 testing, another in India and African coundeveloped by Zydus Cadila is tries. “The vaccine will be afnow in the second stage of hu- fordable and accessible to eveman trials. SII, on the other ryone,” he said. E x p r e ss n e w s s e r v i c e @ New Delhi/Hyderabad/Mumbai Vigilance raids KSFE. Untimely, says Isaac E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ T'Puram E x p r e ss N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kollam Article 370 weighs heavily in 1st J&K poll since bifurcation Prime Minister Narendra Modi tours Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad | PIB Ganesh Kumar main culprit in solar case, says Saranya Manoj Braving winter chill and the Covid-19 threat, 51.7% voters in Jammu and Kashmir cast their vote in the first phase of the eight-phase District Development Council elections, the first electoral exercise in J&K after the dilution of Article 370 of the Constitution last year. The turnout was an improvement from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when 45% voters exercised their franchise. The improvement was more marked in the Kashmir Valley where the , turnout was 40.65%. In the general elections it was 18.8%. Kupwara recorded a turnout of 50.74%, Bandipora 43.57%, Baramulla 32.51%, Ganderbal 48.62%, Srinagar 33.76%, Budgam 56.96%, Pulwama 6.70%, Shopian 4 2 . 5 8 % , Ku l g a m 34.35% and Anantnag 43.32%. The overwhelming sense across the Kashmir Valley was of a People stand in a queue to cast their votes in Srinagar on vote for development, peace, employment Saturday | PTI and against the revocation of J&K’s special status. A voter said their vote was against the Bharatiya Janata Party “We are voting against the BJP and we . hope that the representatives and parties whom we vote in the DDC polls will be able to get back what was snatched from us on August 5 last year,” he said. A young graduate said their vote was against the revocation of Article 370’s. “Our jobs have been snatched after Article 370. We used to have SC/ST quota jobs in J&K. But after Article 370 revocation, the state subject law has been abolished. Now we have to compete at the all-India level, which is not possible for us,” she said. Javed Ahmad, another youngster, said not only development, they were also voting for peace. “Since last year, there is fear among the people and we want to get rid of this fear. We want development and jobs,” he said. continued on: P8 EXPRESS READ Yet another hike in petrol, diesel prices New Delhi: Petrol price on Saturday crossed the D82-mark in Delhi, and the rate of diesel surpassed D72 per litre. This is the eighth increase in rates since November 20, when oil companies resumed daily price revision after a hiatus of nearly two weeks. In nine days, petrol price has gone up by D1.07 per litre and diesel rate has risen by D1.67. FORMER Kerala Congress (B) leader Manoj Kumar (Saranya Manoj) has reignited the sensational solar case by alleging that his relative and current LDF MLA K B Ganesh Kumar is the main culprit in the case. Speaking at a UDF election convention at Thalavoor in Kollam on Friday former , KC(B) general secretary Manoj, who is currently with the Congress, alleged that senior UDF leaders were implicated in the case at the behest of Ganesh. Manoj alleged that Ganesh, who resigned as minister due to a case filed by his wife against him, had thought he would get a chance to re-enter the cabinet after the case was disposed of. However, as it did not happen, the Pathanapuram MLA turned against the UDF, Manoj added. “Ganesh was the main culprit in the solar scam and he influenced the accused woman in the scam to repeatedly change her statements in the case,” said ● More on P4 Manoj. The vigilance department need not prescribe law to the KSFE which has been functioning in the state for the past 50 years. The state has a law department to interpret law Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister We dismiss the allegations made by the vigilance. Any investigation is welcome Peelipose Thomas, KSFE chairman THE Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) raided 40 branches of the KSFE on Saturday and found serious irregularities in 35 of them. While four branches were found to have committed fraud in sanctioning gold loans, 10 branches kept the pledged gold ornaments without proper security . Most branches failed to deposit the firstinstalment of new chitties in public sector banks or state treasury as prescribed in the rule. Some branches were found to have allowed customers to participate in auction though cheques for their previous instalments had bounced. Interestingly, the inspection by the vigilance, headed by CM Pinarayi Vijayan, comes days before the local body polls. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, who described the raids as "untimely", dismissed the charges made by the vigilance department as "nonsense". The minister said he did not know who the insane person behind the raid was. He countered the sleuths observations that the branches violated the rule to park money in the treasury . "Which law says so? The vigilance need not prescribe law to the KSFE which has been functioning in the state for the past 50 years. The state has a law department to interpret ● More on P4 law," he said. WITH THIS ISSUE The Home Hub PLUS 12 PAGES
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29-11-2020 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram