WARANGAL TUESDAY FEBRUARY 09, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 CITY EDITION TESLA’S $1.5BN PUSH SENDS BITCOIN VALUE BEYOND `32L Bitcoin rises 16% to $44,795 after Tesla Inc pumps in money, signals its intent to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment LENDS LEGITIMACY TO CRYPTOCURRENCY FEARS OF MARKET MANIPULATION The California-based manufacturer said on Monday that it made the bet after updating its investment policy to allow it to invest in digital assets as well as bullion and gold exchange-traded funds. The massive investment lends increased legitimacy to electronic currencies, fast becoming a mainstream asset, despite skepticism in various quarters ■ In India, the bullish run is unlikely to trigger a ‘buy’ spree because a Crypto Bill is in the pipeline, as is a govt’s digital currency plan ■ Tesla’s massive fund infusion raises concerns of market manipulation. Prior to pumping in the money, its CEO maverick Elon Musk had been teasing the market with tweets on Bitcoin 35% SURGE IN BITCOIN SINCE THE START OF 2021 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 Give reforms a chance, says PM, urges farmers to resume talks Rescue operations underway at the Tapovan tunnel of a power project, a day after flash floods wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand, on Monday | Lauds Sikh community; assures minimum support price mechanism will continue; cites Manmohan Singh’s push for agri sector reforms; takes a swipe at professional protesters EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE SHEKHAR YADAV @ New Delhi 20 BODIES FOUND, 202 STILL MISSING V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Raini A massive operation was launched on Monday to save 37 labourers trapped in a tunnel following a flash flood that devastated the Tapovan area in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district a day earlier. So far, 20 bodies have been found and 202 are still missing. Armed forces and disaster response units are involved in rescue work. A team of scientists from Delhi reached the spot to find out the cause of the disaster. Joint teams of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Indian Army, NDRF, State Disaster Response Force and others had a tough time making their way through a sea of mud and debris. They also recovered dismembered body parts. The missing include 188 labourers (mostly from eastern UP, Bihar and Jharkhand), 11 locals and two police personnel. “We are doing everything we can to save them. We rescued 15 men trapped in the other end of this tunnel yesterday,” said Aparna Kumar, DIG of ITBP. The force of water was enormous and bodies were swept around 160 km downhill, to places like Srinagar (Uttarakhand), Rudraprayag, Kaleshwar and Karnprayag. The rescuers have progressed about 100 metres into the 180-metre tunnel of the 520 MW power project on Dhauliganga that was swept away by the flood. The other unit damaged is the 13.2 MW project on Rishiganga. Both sites are still under heavy slush. Many workers and officials associated with them were on leave on Sunday, which minimised the loss of lives. The state government has released `20 crore for Chamoli district. Total monetary losses are estimated to be in the region of `1,500 crore. The impact was such that the water level of Dhauliganga rose 80-100 ft above normal, engulfing the entire project and other structures, including the tunnel. “The debris is 20-30 feet high inside the tunnel which makes it difficult,” said Sanjay Kumar, deputy commandant of ITBP . POWER POINT IN UTTARAKHAND Developer Hydro projects Installed capacity Under operation in Uttarakhand 37 3,971 MW Being developed by private players 33 1,360 MW Being developed by Uttarakhand govt 32 2,723 MW Being developed by Central PSUs 22 5,801 MW TOTAL 124 13,855 MW Large hydel projects (above 25 MW): 53 | Small hydel projects (1-25 MW): 71 These projects are in six basins: Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Ganga Sub basin, Ramganga, Sharda and Yamuna. Most of them are on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Ministry vs ministry over future of 6 hydel projects R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi GIVEN the fragile nature of the Uttarakhand ecosystem, should hydel power projects be permitted in the region? The question became m ore acute after the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy that killed over 4,000 people. However, two ministries at the Centre are banging their heads unable to take a call on the way forward. The latest face-off between the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Jal Shakti ministry is over a draft policy framework drafted by the former over the impact of hydel power projects in the state. While the Jal Shakti ministry has categorically said it is not in favour of any hydel projects in the region, the MoEFCC draft has not cleared the air on the future of six projects sanctioned by it before 2013. The draft was prepared based on the Supreme Court directions to review the impact of 24 hydel power projects given the go-ahead. The apex court had taken up the case suo motu and directed the authorities not to sanction any new projects in the state. While Jal Ministry wanted all the projects to be scrapped, the power ministry was in favour of the projects, a Jal Ministry official said. Due to the delay by the MoEFCC in filing an affidavit, the matter was listed for hearing in February 2020 after a gap of four year. How 12 got the kiss of life from mobile network V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Raini TRAPPED in a tunnel filled with water for nearly six hours, he thought it was going to be the end of his life. K Sriniwas Reddy a , geologist from Hyderabad, couldn’t think of anything else after hearing a deafening noise followed by a sudden gush of water. But when all seemed over, the mobile network on a colleague’s phone saved their lives. Reddy is one of the lucky 12 rescued on Sunday . “I thought we are not going to survive this,” said Reddy, who found himself locked in a tunnel which is part of the Tapovan hydel power project. “We tried frantically to reach the mouth of the tunnel and then realised that it was blocked. But there was light coming through a small opening and a colleague of ours had signal on his phone. I feel blessed as I am safe now.” It was local worker Rajesh Bhatt, whose call made the difference between life and death. “We were panicking and suddenly, I felt my phone vibrate. I called up my boss to say we were inside the tunnel. He informed authorities and the men in uniform saved our lives. We thank them. They are our gods,” said Bhatt, a resident of Dhak village in Chamoli. PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the farmers to give agri reforms a chance even as he reiterated that the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism would continue. Urging the farmers to call off their protest, the prime minister said the government was open to changes in the law. “Let us sit together and talk,” he said. In his reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said MSP was, is being, and would continue to be provided. He wanted the farmers to be open minded about the reforms that aim to modernise the mandi system all the while ensuring continued availability of affordable ration to the poor. “The laws are aimed at empowering the small and marginal farmers, who make up for more than two-thirds of the farming community but cannot avail of government scheme benefits,” he added. Claiming that some protestors and foreign players were misleading the agitators, he lashed out at the opposition for its U-turn from advocating reforms during its rule to bashing it now. Reading ex- New Mayor to be elected on Feb 11 cerpts from a statement issued by former prime minister Manmohan Singh on the need for farm reforms and one national market, Modi said, “I am implementing what he (Manmohan Singh) wanted, you should appreciate this. At least, you (opposition) listen to him,” he said. Later, Modi said a new crop of andolan jivi (professional protesters) has emerged in the country. “These are like parjeevi (parasites) and are always on the lookout for protests. When they are not in the forefront, they operate from backstage,” he said. Perhaps alluding to tweets by pop star Rihanna and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg supporting the agitation, Modi said, “I see that a new FDI has come. We have to protect the nation from this FDI. We need Foreign Direct Investment but the new FDI is Foreign Destructive Ideology he said. ,” Apparently distancing himself from statements referring to a section of protestors as Khalistanis, he cautioned against forces trying to destabilis e India. “India is very proud of the contribution of Sikhs. This is a community that has done so much for the nation. The words and blessings of the Guru Sahibs are precious,” he said. Rise above partisan lines, Modi to Opposition camp On a conciliatory note to the opposition, Modi said the issues miring agriculture should be solved and invited all to move forward for the welfare of farmers by rising above partisan lines Kisans reciprocate gesture, ready for fresh dialogue H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh RESPONDING to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to end their agitation and return to the dialogue table, farmers’ leaders said they have never shied away from talks and would resume discussions once the Centre sends a fresh proposal and fixes the date and time. President of Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab Dr Darshan Pal said they have had 11 rounds of talks with three Union ministers, and were ready to continue engaging with the Centre. Dr Pal is a senior member of the umbrella organisation of multiple farmers’ unions. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait sought to reiterate the farmers’ position, saying they wanted a legal guarantee on MSP, cushioning the farmers from the vagaries of demand-supply defined rates for their produce. “If the government wants to hold talks, we are ready he said. The previous 11 rounds ,” had failed to end the deadlock with the farmers sticking to their demand for the repeal of three farm laws, too. Meanwhile, Dr Pal hit out at the prime minister’s andolan jivi (professional protestors) remark, saying: “We are proud of being andolan jivi. Without andolan, nothing changes. The British left our country only due to andolan,’’ he said. Tikait also sought to dismiss the remark saying that a protest that was earlier branded as Punjab’s, and later described as Jat-Sikh agitation, has managed to unite farmers across the country. “This is a protest by farmers across the country united for a cause,’’ he added. NEW G.O. MAKES 10% QUOTA FOR EWS A REALITY IN TS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THE long, tantalising wait of the newly elected corporators is coming to an end. All the 150 newly elected corporators will be sworn in at 11 am on February 11. The same day, the election of the new Mayor and the new Deputy Mayor would be held. The Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) which held a meeting on Monday, explained the procedure to be adopted for the swearing-in of the corporators and the election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. State Election Commissioner C Parthasarathi made it clear that only those corporators who take their oath at the GHMC council, would be allowed to vote in the election to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, to be held at 12.30 pm the same day . The electoral college consists of corporators, MPs and MLAs and MLCs, who are registered voters in the GHMC CONTINUED ON P7 limits. MORE than a fortnight after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao instructed the officials, at a review meeting, to implement 10 per cent reservations in jobs and educational institutions for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), the State government issued a GO to this effect on Monday . The General Administration Department and Education Department will separ at e ly i s s u e n e ce s s a r y amendments to rules and guidelines in this regard. While issuing the GO, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said that the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 provides reservations for the Economically Weaker Sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private institutions whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the Mi- @ Hyderabad @ Hyderabad Quota in education, jobs The GO states that the State govt has decided to implement 10% quota for the EWS for admissions into all educational institutions and also in initial appointments to the posts in services under the State nority Educational Institutions referred to in Article 30 of the Constitution of India, and also provides reservations for them in posts. In pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, the Government of India has prescribed the eligibility criteria to get the benefit of 10 per cent reservation in admissions into educational institutions and appoint- Boy complains, man fined `62K for cutting tree ENDANGERED SPECIES Vultures vanish from their only nesting site in State V N I L E S H @ Hyderabad VULTURES have vanished from Palarapugutta — a cliff in the Penchikalpet forest range of Kaghaznagar division in Komarambheem-Asifabad district, the only place they were naturally found in Telangana. Back in 2013, the presence of nesting site of a vulture species — the Indian vulture or the Long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus), was discovered at Palarapugutta. In the subsequent years, the number of these vultures increased from nine to 32. Unfortunately in the last six , to seven months, the vultures have not been spotted at Palarapugutta. Indian vulture is at the brink of extinction and is categorised as ‘critically endangered’ by the IUCN. If num- bers decrease further, they will be categorised as ‘extinct in the wild’. When contacted, Komarambheem-Asifabad District Forest Officer (DFO) Shantaram said that the nesting sites of the vultures were disturbed due to heavy rains and winds last year. This forced the vultures to look for nesting sites in the nearby Kamlapur forest range in Maharashtra, a well-known vulture nesting site. Adding that this is a normal phenomenon, the DFO said that recently there have been sightings of the vultures flying above the Palarapugutta area and conducting recce for nesting sites. He said that once they realise that things are back to normal, they will start nesting in the region again. CONTINUED ON P5 ments to posts provided in favour of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) other than the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes. “The State government has decided to implement 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections for admissions into all educational institutions in the State and also in respect of initial appointments to the posts in services under the State, following the criteria and guidelines prescribed by the Government of India,” the GO stated. The Chief Minister, during the review meeting, had stated that 10 per cent reservation would be in addition to 50 per cent quota already being implemented for the benefit of various castes, taking the total reservations percentage to 60, and dispelled apprehensions that the quota might cut into the existing reservations. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad BREAKFAST BHAVAN Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan serves food to students after launching the ‘Annam Canteen’ at the Raj Bhavan Community Hall in Hyderabad on Monday. The canteen will provide free breakfast to the Raj Bhavan schoolchildren | P3 AN environmentally-aware Class VIII boy’s complaint led to a man getting penalised `62,075 for chopping down a tree at Saidabad in Hyderabad, The young boy dialled the Telangana Forest Department’s toll free number (1800 425 5364) to report the axing of a neem tree, which is said to be around 40 years old. CONTINUED ON P7
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