TIRUNELVELI MONDAY JANUARY 25, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 32 CITY EDITION NINTH ROUND OF TALKS OVER LAC STAND-OFF UNDERWAY The Corps Commander-level talks to address the situation in Eastern Ladakh began at Moldo on Chinese side on Sunday INDIA FIRM ON DEMANDING STATUS QUO ANTE TIES IN ‘DIFFICULT PHASE’ DUE TO CHINA While India is demanding that China pull back its troops from all stand-off points and restore status quo ante along the Line of Actual Control, the latter wants India to first withdraw its soldiers deployed on strategic heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso lake. Indian jawans continue to hold their positions despite the merciless Himalayan winter ■ ■ On December 9 last, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said ‘five differing explanations’ by China for its deployment on the LAC had pushed bilateral ties into its most difficult phase It’s not a problem of lack of communication. The fact is there are ample pacts but the other side is not following them, he said Round 8 OF BILATERAL TALKS HAD TAKEN PLACE ON NOVEMBER 6 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 Worry over proposal to tie forest to WPI index Formula suggested in a draft note to panel on revising Net Present Value of forest land used for non-forest purposes MONITORING MOVEMENT OF PRICES Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami addressing a crowd during the election campaign at Puliyakulam, in Coimbatore on Sunday | U RAKESH KUMAR Stalin wielding vel to deceive people: EPS E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Coimbatore CHIEF Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday accused the DMK president, MK Stalin, of deceiving voters in his “new avatar”, in which he had accepted a vel (spear associated with Lord Murugan) and later posed with it before people. Palaniswami was referring to a photograph of Stalin holding a silver vel that was presented to him by DMK workers during a gram sabha (rural outreach) in Tiruvallur on Saturday . Addressing a large gathering at the Puliyakulam Vinayakar Temple on the second day of his campaign in the city Palaniswami said , Stalin had, in the past, has abused Hindu gods, wiped Kungumam (vermillion) off his forehead, and ‘thrown away’ vibuthi (holy ash) in public, but now he is holding a vel. He said the divine symbol seems to have come to Stalin’s notice because Assembly elections were round the corner. “But Lord Murugan will not bestow his blessings on the DMK even if Stalin holds a vel. He will shower his blessings only on the AIADMK,” Palaniswami said, adding it was his party that declared a public holiday for Thai Poosam, a festival dedicated to Lord Murugan. “God will not abandon those who believe in him. People of Tamil Nadu know how to punish those who pretend to be believers. AIADMK is a ‘divine’ party and the people feel it should come back to power as all its members and functionaries believe in God. For us, all religions are equal. But the DMK is opposed to all this. Only rowdyism and anarchy run in DMK,” the CM said. RIGHT-WING OUTFITS BLOCK CM’S ROUTE Tension prevailed at Periyanaickenpalayam for a while on Sunday morning when members of right-wing outfits tried to block the Chief Minister’s route to protest the construction of a mosque near a temple in the village Commenting on the gram sabha meetings, conducted by Stalin, Palaniswami said people will not fall prey to such gimmicks. “Stalin is frequently changing his character and playing different roles. Those who act in the real life will not be successful. Only hard work will bring success. The AIADMK is the only party that works for the welfare of people. We distributed laptops, worth `12,000 each, to 52 lakh students. This year, 313 students from government schools secured admission to the MBBS course, and 92 got seats to the dental course. This is because our government brought in a legislation to create a horizontal reservation for government school students,” P4 he pointed out. Amit Shah plays infiltration card against Cong-AIUDF combine E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Guwahati Putting brakes on deaths brings R-Day honour J E YA L A K S H M I R A M A N U J A M @ Madurai DEATH was on the track, and the Vaigai Express was running into it. It was at the eleventh hour that one of the loco pilots saw the danger in the form of a few pieces of rock, right in front of him. He was quick in his response and applied emergency trail brakes, thereby saving the lives of more than 1,500 passengers. The Madurai-Chennai train had been approaching the Kodaikanal Road on November 18 last year when the accident was averted. The saviour of these passengers, J Suresh, attached to the Madurai Division of Southern Railway has been rightly fet, ed for his efforts and is set to receive the Anna Gallantry Award from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami during the Republic Day function in Chennai. Following the incident, Deputy Railway Manager, VR Lenin, had earlier handed over a cash award of `3,000 each to J Suresh and his assistant, P Suresh Babu. Sources said that it was Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management RB Udhayakumar who recommended his name for the prestigious Republic Day award. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 32 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) LISTING out the achievements of the BJP-led government in Assam, Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for another term to ‘safeguard’ the state’s interests. Shah on Sunday said the CongressAIUDF combine would open ‘all gates’ to infiltrators if voted to power. Addressing his first political rally in the poll-bound state, Shah took a swipe at the Congress for calling the BJP communal by questioning its alliance with Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, which draws support mainly from Muslims.At the Vijay Sankalp Samaroh, Shah asserted that an era of peace and development has been ushered in Assam by the BJP Appealing to the people to vote for . BJP Shah said Assam has become ‘bul, let-free and agitation-free’ and the next BJP dispensation will make it ‘floodfree’, calling floods its biggest problem. Shah projected his party as the only alternative capable of safeguarding and promoting the regional culture. He also took a dig at the Assam Jatiya Parishad, a party floated by former AASU leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi, which is tipped to ally with Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal, without naming them, saying they are in the poll arena to help the Congress by trying to cut into votes of the BJP . Hitting out at the Congress, the Home Minister said the party had adopted the British Empire’s policy of ‘divide and rule’ by pitting different groups of people against one another, leading to bloodshed and loss of lives of thousands of youth. WPI is an important measure to monitor the dynamic movement of prices at the wholesale level. Firms looking for methods to cope with changes in prices often use WPI price adjustment clauses in long-term sales and purchase contracts, the note says If it was only timber and/or minor forest produce, it is acceptable but dense forest as commodity is the most inappropriate index. NPV is to dissuade people to look for forest land; but WPI will encourage them Manoj Misra, former Indian Forest Service officer R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi IN what is being seen as a severe threat to the country’s green cover, the Union environment ministry has proposed that forests be treated as tradable commodity having value as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), to cut down the cost of diversion of prestine forests for infrastructure projects. In a draft note on the revision of the Net Present Value (NPV) of forest land diverted for non-forest purposes sent to a Committee of Secretaries (CoS), the ministry on January 22 suggested the interim arrangement of aligning the rates with the WPI till the NPV rates proposed by experts of the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, are revisited. “Keeping in view that more than three years had elapsed since the NPV came into force, the MoEF&CC proposed to revise the NPV based on the WPI,” said the ministry in the draft note, a copy of which is with this newspaper. The ministry in a meeting in November last estimated that NPV rates could be abruptly jacked up by as much as four times the existing ones (as per IIFM proposal), which may impact ongoing power and other infrastructure sector projects due to increase in tariff. It could also lead to a surge in the Centre’s import bills and render smaller projects unviable, the note said. It pointed out that the ministries of steel, coal and power as also the NITI Aayog had flagged reservations about the proposed abrupt jump in NPV rates. However, experts expressed serious concern over the proposed new system. Kanchi Kohli, Legal Research Director at CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program, said: “This new proposal further embeds forests as a commodity to be traded through instruments such as the ‘Wholesale Price Index’. It is not focused at protecting forests or forest rights. Ironically the success of this exercise is only dependent on more forests being lost.”
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