CHENNAI MONDAY FEBRUARY 08, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 34 LATE CITY EDITION FOREIGN PLOT BREWING TO DEFAME INDIAN TEA, SAYS MODI The prime minister says international forces are trying to attack India’s tea-based identity, but did not name anyone RILED BY CHAI IN THUNBERG TOOLKIT? CENTRE REACHING OUT TO FARMERS During his poll campaign rally in the tea producing state’s Dhekiajuli on Sunday, Modi was apparently referring to activist Greta Thunberg’s controversial ‘toolkit’, wherein one of the action points was to ‘disrupt yoga and chai image of India’. The other target perhaps was a Greenpeace study in 2014 that claimed Assam tea growers overused pesticides ■ ■ Assam’s happiness and progress are its tea gardens. Who knows the taste of Assam tea better than me? That’s why I always see the progress of tea workers with the progress of Assam, he said Reaching out to the tea workers, he said the Centre has alloted `1,000 crore for the sector in the budget to uplift their lot `584 crore GIVEN TO 7.5 LAKH BY ASSAM GOVT UNDER A SCHEME FOR TEA WORKERS 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 At least 10 dead, up to 150 missing in Himalayan glacier break Five bridges washed away, 17 villages totally cut off after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier breaks off; flash floods destroy a couple of power plants in Uttarakhand V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Chamoli A glacier break that swept into the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in Reni and Tapovan villages, 26 km from Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, triggered a massive flood and claimed at least 10 lives on Sunday The number . of casualties can rise because nearly 125-150 labourers working at a power project in TapovanReni are missing. Disaster struck around 10 am. A total of 17 villages got totally cut off as five bridges were washed away Residents of seven of these moved . to safer places. People of the 10 other villages are being provided help, said officials. Damages were reported at Tapovan dam on Alaknanda river, while the 13.2 megawatt Rishiganga hydropower project was completely swept away Around 176 . workers were working on these projects. Close to 250 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Indian Army and Indian Air Force joined the rescue work, said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. The state government has announced `4 lakh each for the families of the deceased. “All our efforts are focused on reaching people and providing relief. Our brave forces are doing their job and we have support from the whole nation. Essential items, medicines, choppers of Indian Army, Air Force and state government are on standby the CM added. ,” The labourers missing are mostly from the state. Some are from Nepal and western UP ITBP . rescued 16 people trapped in a tunnel of a dam which is a part of the hydroproject. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Rawat CONTINUED ON: P9 and assured all help. OLD NORMAL? More students back to school, college today SUSHMITHA RAMAKRISHNAN @ Chennai AFTER a 11-month hiatus, schools will reopen for Class 9 and 11 students, and colleges for non-final-year students, on Monday Students of Class. es 10 and 12 returned to school last Month, and colleges were permitted to host final-year students and research scholars from December. While college students and their parents expressed hesitation over the resumption of in-person classes, schools have observed high attendance as their students are preparing for public exams. With more students set to return to school from Monday campuses were busy over , the weekend with disinfection drives and rearranging of infrastructure to facilitate physical distancing. CONTINUED ON: P2 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 34 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID), 4 OF CITY EXPRESS Major natural disasters 1991 6.8 quake in undivided UP in October 1991 killed over 760 people, thousands of houses destroyed 1998 Malpa village in Pithoragarh district destroyed in landslide; 255 people, including 55 Kailash pilgrims, killed 1999 6.8 quake hit Chamoli district killing over 100 people. Rudraprayag district, too, affected 2013 Cloudbursts in June 2013 in Uttarakhand caused massive floods and landslides. 5,700+ killed; over 3 lakh pilgrims trapped for weeks Dhauliganga hydropower project in Chamoli district CHAMOLI CALAMITY 1 Part of Nanda Devi glacier breaks off Uttarakhand INDIA 2 IN a serious lapse of health security that could trigger a domino effect of infections, a 38year-old woman, with a Covid-19 positive test report, was allowed to fly from Singapore to Tiruchy on Sunday The Air In. dia Express flight that had 168 other passengers on board landed at 7.30 am. The incident came to light only when her travel documents were being scrutinised at the Immigration counter. By then her co-passengers had already left the airport. Airlines sources said the ground-handling agency in Singapore was responsible for the goof-up. “We have instructed Salem: Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan had driven the TN and Karnataka governments up the wall when he abducted matinee idol Rajkumar. Now, a book written by a journalist claims that the Karnataka government paid `15.22 crore as ransom to secure a deal | P4 @ Vellore/Chennai A day before VK Sasikala, onetime confidante of for mer Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, is scheduled to arrive in Chennai from Bengaluru, the Chennai Collectorate on Sunday attached properties worth crores of her relatives and coconvicts in an assets case, VN Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi. This was in compliance with a 2017 Supreme Court order, the Tamil Nadu government said. Besides Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were sentenced to four-year imprisonment in 2017. While Sasikala was released on January 27, the other two are likely to complete their sentences soon. The properties confiscated are undivided share in land and “additional buildings” on upscale Wallace Garden Street and a ground-plus-one house on the posh TTK Road. These are owned by Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi, partners of Lex Property Development Private Limited. According to a press statement, 2,324 sq feet land of Lex Property Development at Wallace Garden in Thousand lights has been attached. The extent of the office land is six grounds, of which four land parcels, each 581 sq feet and totaling 2,324 sq Rishiganga merges with Dhauliganga river 5 Raini Chak Lata 1,388 m 4 Record water Dhauliganga River level at 11 am in Joshimath area The 480 MW NTPC hydel project over Dhauliganga at Tapovan that was extensively damaged | PTI Rescuing of labourers from Tapovan tunnel Scary roar out of nowhere from the hills EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Dehradun AT Reni village that is at the epicentre of the tragedy Sand, eep Nautiyal was lazing around on a bright and sunny Sunday when he heard a big roar from the hills. He looked around and spotted the horrible avalanche menacingly approaching at least 5 km away . His first instinct was to rush out of his house and alert fellow villagers to flee, shouting ‘Bhago Bhago’. “Suddenly we heard a mix of a roar and a slight tremor. We saw this huge wave coming down the mountains washing off everything in its way said Nautiyal. ,” The village of 300-odd people our airlines manager in Singapore to conduct an inquiry and , have sought an explanation from the ground-handling agency, ‘SATS’,” Air India Express chief of corporate communications told TNIE. An official at the Tiruchy airport said the woman, who is from Pudukkottai district, was taken to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Tiruchy . “Her co-passengers can easily be traced since their details are with the Immigration department and district administration. But several people will have to be screened, since passengers went home by taxis or were picked up by their family ,” said a source. CONTINUED ON: P2 Several people to be screened While those who travelled on the plane can easily be traced, as their details are with the Immigration dept, several others too will have to be screened. “If any of them used public transport to go home, many more people would be at risk,” said a source Online ticket sale for Chepauk Test Chennai: Tickets for the second Test between India and England, to be played at MA Chidambaram Stadium from February 13 to 17, will go on sale from Monday, TNCA said. Around 15,000 tickets will be sold and they will be available only online to avoid crowding at the stadium. The daily tickets are priced at `100, `150 and `200 and redemption of online tickets will be from 10 am on February 11 at the stadium. Face mask and maintaining social distancing will be mandatory during the Test, the TNCA stated. High-value assets of Sasikala’s kin attached EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Bridge across the mountains destroyed Rishiganga River 3 EXPRESS READ Veerappan got `15 crore to release Rajkumar? Rishiganga power plant in Reni swept away Chamoli disaster rings the global warming alarm bell EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Dehradun Major goof-up as Covid patient flies from Singapore to Tiruchy J O S E K J O S E P H @ Tiruchy feet that have been registered under the name of Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi and buildings constructed on these lands, owned by them, have been attached. The Collectorate also attached the residential property at Sreeram Nagar on TTK Road, registered in the name of Lex Property Development. The house is on two grounds and its built-up area on the ground and first floor each is 2,150 sq feet. “The properties were confiscated as per a Supreme Court judgment passed on February 14, 2017. The titles of the properties are transferred to the State government. Revenue earned from the properties also belongs to the government now,” the ColCONTINUED ON: P4 lector said. 1,200 cops in Vellore As many as 1,200 police personnel will be deployed in Vellore district — 1,000 for the CM’s election campaign on Tuesday, and 200 for Sasikala’s return on Monday — police sources said. Security will be tight in view of receptions en route Sasikala’s journey located near the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve mostly has shepherds, farmers and workers. “Landslides during monsoon are common, but this avalanche in winter is shocking,” said Shankar Rana, another resident. At least five locals are feared missing and 180 sheep and goat were swept away by the flash floods. IT was a glacial break alright, but the jury is still out on how and why it actually happened. However, the mismatch between the haste in commissioning projects in the ecologicallyfragile zone and the need to fortify mitigation mechanism suggests it was a disaster waiting to happen. Experts blame it on the lessons not learnt by successive governments, given Uttarakhand’s history of natural disasters. A former glaciologist at Dehradun’s Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, D P Dobhal, called for a detailed probe. “Lake formation must have happened, which breached today and caused the floods,” Dobhal said, adding that heavy sediments in the floodwater indicate an avalanche or glacial debris could have triggered the burst. “It will take time to ascertain the reasons as had happened with the 2013 disaster in Kedarnath. After investigation it was confirmed to be a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF),” said Dobhal. The possibility of the incident being GLOF has rung alarm bells among the glaciologists. Given that it occurred in winter, it would signal that global warming was a major contributing factor. In 2014, a high-powered committee, constituted by the Supreme Court, led by Ravi Chopra, had recommended scrapping of 23 out of 24 hydel projects slated for construction above an altitude of 2,000 metres in the aftermath of the 2013 floods. “We submitted a report warning against constructing hydel projects at an altitude above 2,000 metres, noting various vulnerabilities which could result in a major disaster. Altitude above 2,000 metres is para glacial region, where heavy constructions should be avoided,” he said. But the recommendation was not acted upon, said activist Aakash Vashishta. P9
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