CHENNAI MONDAY JANUARY 25, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 34 LATE 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 WHY CONCERN OVER HIGH NPV RATES 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 Shah plays infiltration card against Congress-AIUDF E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Guwahati 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 ‘bullet-free and agitationfree’ and the next BJP dispensation will make it ‘flood-free’, 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 Gogoiled 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 . These two parties are stridently opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and have alleged the CAA is a ‘threat’ to As- 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 addressing a political rally at Nalbari in Assam on Sunday | PTI sam’s culture and identity. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which has led mass agitations over the issue of regional identity in the past, has backed Assam Jatiya Parishad. 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. Nepal PM Oli expelled from his party 11 rescued from China mine, fate of 10 unknown Chennai: The Chennai Corporation and the District Election Office has roped in the 21-year-old cricketer Washington Sundar as Chennai’s ‘district election icon.’ He was part of the Indian squad that clinched the Border-Gavaskar test series held in Australia and taken note of for his stellar performance | P3 Kathmandu: The ruling Nepal Communist Party’s splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Sunday expelled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli from the party’s general membership. A Standing Committee, led by Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal, took the decision | P9 Rescuers in China brought to surface 11 of the 22 miners trapped 600 metres underground in a mine for a fortnight in the eastern coastal province of Shandong on Sunday. While one miner has reportedly succumbed to head injury, the fate of 10 others trapped in the gold mine is unknown | P9 A circular issued by the Gazipur police in eastern Uttar Pradesh advising fuel outlets not to tank up tractors ahead of the proposed farmers’ parade in New Delhi was withdrawn after it drew flak on social media on Sunday . Ghazipur SP Om Prakash Singh sought to play down the circular, claiming it was issued by a station officer two days ago. “It has been withdrawn,” he added. The circular issued by station officer of Sohawal in Ghazipur refers to the ‘high alert’ ahead of the farmers’ rally and tells fuel outlet owners to , sell diesel to tractors. “Farmers have announced to take out a tractor march. Therefore, you are advised not sell diesel to any tractor or in a can...” it read. The UP police on Sunday mounted vigil in districts bordering Delhi, besides putting 100-odd farmer leaders under house arrest. The top brass met on Sunday to chalk out a strategy to tackle the rally a , day after an attempt by farmers to P7 besiege Raj Bhawan. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 34 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID), 4 OF CITY EXPRESS GREEN CARPET Chepauk pitch to have ‘English’ look for India Tests V RAMESH KUMAR has an MBA in international business. Growing up in Tiruppur – India’s textile hubs — he wanted to be an athlete. He even represented Tamil Nadu in 100m hurdles in open nationals. An entrepreneur who runs a garment and dying factory which employs around 700 people, these days he is camped in Chennai for some other reason. Ramesh, 43, a certified BCCI curator, will oversee the pitch preparation for India’s upcoming two Tests against England from February 5 at MA Chidambaram Stadium. He might be young for a curator but, in TN cricket, he already Manoj Misra, former Indian Forest Service officer when I got the call. I have done few age-group tournaments and have assisted other curators for IPL. But this is the first time I’m making a pitch from scratch. I didn’t expect it alone this soon” Ramesh said. After getting the outfield ready, Ramesh’s eyes are now on the square, which has four pitches. “It is a challenging task because we are hosting back-to-back Tests with three days gap. It is unprecedented in India. It is hectic because preparations for both the pitches are happening simultaneously for the past one week.” Chepauk pitch has traditionally assisted spinners. Ramesh expects this to be the same, but he throws in a googly “A Chepauk pitch with . an English look is being made. I always believe there should be an equal contest between bat and ball. Pacers, spinners and batsmen should have something on the pitch and that is what cricket is all about. There will be grass cover because it needs to last five days.” Teams will also get similar sort of pitches at the MAC ‘B’ ground where the nets are. “If the pitch is green, so should the practice turfs. It will be a sportive pitch,” said Ramesh, who trains 80 and supports the education of 25 kids, at his aca d e my Tir uppur School of Cricket. 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 pristine 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 information sought for revision in NPV rates as proposed by experts of the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, are compiled. “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 sticking point was articulated in clause 1.30 of the note. It said the IIFM had proposed scaling up NPV rates by as much as four times the existing figures, and warned that the higher tariff could impact ongoing power and other infrastructure sector projects. To soften the blow, the ministry is seeking to align the rates with the WPI, as the escalation that way would not be as steep. However, experts expressed concern over the proposed new system because high NPV rates are meant to be a deterrent, but WPI is a facilitator. 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.” BADGE OF HONOUR FOR MADURAI LOCO PILOT J E YA L A K S H M I R A M A N U J A M @ Madurai N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow Washington Sundar to be ‘district election icon’ has a reputation for making sportive wickets. Ramesh was the one who laid turf wickets at Salem, Tiruppur and Coimbatore: all BCCI approved venues to host first-class cricket. It was this trait that ma de TNCA give him this huge responsibility The . Chepauk pitch over the couple of seasons has come under criticism, including from MS Dhoni for its slow nature. The last time Chennai hosted a Test match in 2016, it provided a flat strip and a repeat of it would also affect India’s chances of making to the Word Test Championship final. “I was surprised 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 Bar on diesel sale to stymie tractor parade lifted EXPRESS READ V E N K ATA K R I S H N A B @ Chennai The note says high NPV rates could lead to a surge in the Centre’s import bills and render smaller projects unviable. 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 the rates R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi Anna Gallantry Award J Suresh, a loco pilot attached to the Madurai Division of Southern Railway, is set to receive the Anna Gallantry Award from chief minister during the Republic Day function in Chennai on Tuesday 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 feted 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.
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