COIMBATORE TUESDAY FEBRUARY 09, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 LATE 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 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 Infra boost as CM inaugurates Outer Ring Road E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai CM Edappadi K Palaniswami during the inauguration of the 30.5-km stretch of the Outer Ring Road between Nemilicherry and Minjur in Chennai on Monday | EXPRESS CHIEF Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday inaugurated a slew of projects, including the 30.5-km stretch of the Chennai Outer Ring Road between Nemilicherry and Minjur. With this, the `1,025 crore Outer Ring Road project has been fully completed. Via video-conference, the CM also inaugurated an integrated operation theatre complex at the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, and construction of a super-specialty block at the Coimbatore MediP4 cal College Hospital. CHAMOLI CALAMITY 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, 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 180metre 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 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ 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 Will restart suspended courses, says Anna Univ Chennai: Anna University on Monday assured the Madras High Court it will recommence the MTech Biotechnology and MTech Computational Biology courses, which were suspended owing to differences between the Central and State govts’ reservation policies | P5 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 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 Hydel projects 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. 70% attendance as Classes 9 and 11 reopen Chennai: As schools reopened for Class 9 and 11 students on Monday, about 70 per cent of students showed up, said officials of the School Education Department. The attendance among Class 11 students was higher, they added | P2 Tamil Nadu gets its 5th and biggest tiger reserve Chennai: The State government on Monday gave a boost to tiger conservation with the declaration of Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR), the fifth and largest tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu. It spans over 1 lakh hectares, of which 64,186.21 hectares is the core area NEET TO BE HELD TWICE A YEAR 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. 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 Sasikala returns to State, seeks unity against DMK EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/Krishnagiri/Tirupathur AFTER a gap of four years, VK Sasikala, the one-time confidante of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, returned to Tamil Nadu chanting en route the unity mantra. “The focus must be on defeating the common political adversary (DMK),” was her message. She left for Chennai from a resort in Bengaluru — where she was under quarantine after Covid treatment — at 7.45 am, accompanied by her nephew and AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran. Around 2,000 police personnel were deployed along the route to prevent any untoward incidents. “The kazhagam (party) has faced many trials and tribulations,” she said. “Yet, it has managed to rise again from the ashes like a phoenix. My objective is to check our common political adversary (DMK) from capturing power. To achieve that, cadre of Puratchi Thalaivar and Puratchi Thalaivi (MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa) have to function unitedly. We should not give room for the ‘divide and rule tricks’ of our political adversary This was the wish of . Puratchi Thalaivi (Jayalalithaa) and to follow that is our duty she added. ,” MORE ON: P4 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 VK Sasikala in Vellore en route to Chennai from Bengaluru on Monday | S DINESH 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 More properties owned by Sasi’s kin confiscated EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai A day after the Chennai Collectorate attached two properties owned by VN Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi, relatives of VK Sasikala, one-time aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, more proper ties of the duo in Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu were confiscated on Monday. The assets are worth several crore rupees. Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were convicted in a disproportionate asset case, and their properties were confiscated in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment passed on February 14, 2017, according to press notes from the Collectors of Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu. Land of Signora Business Enterprises Pvt Ltd, at Cheyyur, a village in Chengalpattu district’s Cheyyur taluk; and Meadow Agro Farms Pvt Ltd, at Oothukadu village, in Kancheepuram district’s Walajabad taluk, have been confiscated. “These properties are now vested with the government, and any revenue earned from them belong to the State government,” said a press release.
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