tirupati l tuesday l february 09, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l anantapur 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 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 35% fears of market manipulation ■ 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 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 2,723 gram panchayats to go to polls today E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada Polling material being distributed to staff in Chittoor on Monday for the first phase of panchayat elections | Madhav K As many as 2,723 panchayats in the State will go to polls in the first phase on Tuesday. Elections will also be held for 20,157 ward member posts. In all, 7,506 candidates are in the fray for 2,723 sarpanch posts, while 43,601 are contesting for 20,157 ward member posts. SEC N Ramesh Kumar called on Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan at Raj Bhavan on Monday and briefed him about the steps taken for the conduct of polls in a free and fair manner. chamoli calamity 20 bodies found, 202 still missing V i nee 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, National Disaster Response Force, 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 . How 12 got the kiss of life from mobile network We were towards the higher end of the tunnel. After a thundering noise, there was a sudden gush of water. Before we could understand, we were knee deep in water. We ran towards the end of the tunnel Suraj, a survivor 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 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi 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- express read Atchan granted bail in intimidation case Srikakulam: AP TDP president K Atchannaidu, who was arrested on February 2 for allegedly intimidating a candidate contesting the Nimmada panchayat poll, was granted bail by the district sessions court at Sompeta. He will be released on Tuesday. V i nee 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 Hydera, bad, 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. “We were cautious about using heavy machinery which could have hurt them,” said Sanjay Kumar, ITBP officer. 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 | Shekhar Yadav 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 Two ministries face-off over future of six 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. TS issues GO on 10% EWS reservation Hyderabad: More than a fortnight after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao instructed officials at a review meeting to implement 10 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), the State government issued a GO to P5 this effect on Monday. NC fails to get Gupkar support in Budgam Srinagar: The faultlines in the Gupkar alliance came to the fore once again during the election of chairpersons for the District Development Councils (DDCs) in Budgam and Kupwara districts on Monday. The NC received a jolt in Budgam where it failed to get hold of the chairman post. neet to be held twice a year The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has given its nod for the test to be organised on the lines of the Joint Entrance Examination (Main). The schedule for the entrance exam for medical, dental and several other related institutions, however, is yet to be finalised 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 ee 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. brisbane done, chennai? Less than a month after demolishing the myth around Brisbane, India need to climb Mt. Everest again on the final day against England... Local boys excel Both Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin performed admirably on the fourth day. While the southpaw finished unbeaten on 85 early on Monday, the off-spinner finished with figures of 6/61 to help bowl out England for 178 in their second innings Govt plans two projects in Vizag to get `1,450 cr E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada The National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) and the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) have come up with proposals to build a commercial plaza and a residential complex in Visakhapatnam. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting on Monday on development projects in the purview of Visakhapatnam and Amaravati metropolitan region development authorities. The State gover nment wanted to better utilise the 13.59 acres after cancellation of the land allotment to the Lulu Group in Vizag. The NBCC and APIIC came up with the proposals to take up the commercial plaza and the residential complex on the land, which will fetch the government `1,450 crore. With regard to the projects in the Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the officials proposed ex- pansion of Karakatta (flood bank) road into a four-lane one at a cost of `150 crore. Jagan said the Karakatta road is crucial for the development of Amaravati region and directed the officials to take up the expansion project at the earliest. Underlining the need to develop all the roads connecting to the Karakatta Road, Jagan directed the officials to expedite the linking of seed access road to the main road. The officials should focus on completion of the HappyNest project and other buildings under construction in the limits of AMRDA at the earliest, he said. Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Nilam Sawhney, Chief Commissioner of Land Administration and Special Chief Secretary Neerabh Kumar Prasad, MAUD Principal Secretary Y Srilakshmi, Principal Secretary (Revenue) V Usharani, AMRDA Commissioner P Lakshmi Narasimham and other officials attended the meeting. Highest chase ever 418/7 Antigua by West Indies vs Australia 2003, Highest chase in Chennai 387/4 by India vs England 2008 Hosts need record chase Needing 420, a world record in Tests, the hosts are 39/1. On a pitch taking spin and showing wear, the team have to produce another backs to the wall display Get coupons in exchange of used plastic bottles D S u r en d r a K u m a r @ Nellore For denizens of Nellore, the municipal corporation has come up with an offer. To get rid of the single use plastic menace and promote proper disposal of used water bottles, the Nellore Municipal Corporation has set up plastic crushers in the city . Those who drop plastic bottles in the crushers, will get coupons in exchange, which can be used in restaurants and shopping malls to get price discount on food and other items. “We want to make the city litter and plastic-free,” said Nellore City MLA and Water Resources Minister P Anil Kumar Yadav, explaining the NMD initiative. Plastic crushers have been set up at Gandhi Statue Centre, RTC main bus stand and Atmakur bus stand with the help of corporates. Citizens who drop plastic bottles in the crushers, will get coupons in exchange,’’ he said, adding that the municipal corporation aims to make the city roads plastic-free by ensuring proper disposal of single use plastic P4 items.
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