CHENNAI SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 VELLORE EDITION RETAIL INFLATION DOWN TO 4.06% IN JANUARY The dip from 4.59% in Dec, 2020, attributed to declining veggie prices in the National Statistical Office data released on Friday AT 1.89%, FOOD BASKET PRICE RISE DOWN, TOO Meat, fish, egg and milk experienced an uptick in price, but it was more than adequately offset by the decrease in the rates of vegetable and confectionary. The overall rate of price rise in the food basket was 1.89% in January, down from 3.41% in December, 2020. Retail inflation has cooled down significantly owing largely to moderation in food inflation 4.9% INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION UP 1% IN DEC ■ Indicating continuing recovery, industrial production entered positive territory after a month. The manufacturing sector posted a growth of 1.6% but mining output declined by 4.8% ■ Power generation grew by a healthy by 5.1%, taking the overall growth of eight core sectors of the economy to 1% GROWTH IN CONSUMER DURABLES COMPARED TO -5.6% IN DECEMBER 2019 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 EPS announces round-the-clock electricity for farm pump-sets The initiative is likely to benefit scores of farmers in the dry belts, equipping them with better irrigation facilities E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Tirupur IN a significant move, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that farmers in the State would soon get 24-hour, three-phase power supply for their waterpumps. Addressing a rally in Udumalaipet, he said the announcement was made based on requests put forth by farmers, ministers and the deputy Speaker of the State Assembly . The initiative is likely to benefit scores of farmers in the dry belts of the State, equipping them with better irrigation facilities. The announcement has been widely welcomed by farmers. Earlier last year, the State had simplified rules for availing agricultural power supply . Currently farmers get three, phase electricity for pumps for about 12 hours in Cauvery delta Full disengagement at Pangong to take more time than thought M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami during a campaign at Palladam in Tirupur district on Friday | A RAJA CHIDAMBARAM districts, and for six hours in non-delta regions. “This is a gover nment of far mers. A farmer is the Chief Minister, and we are giving priority for agricultural activities,” Palaniswami said while addressing meetings in Tirupur, and recalled his governments welfare measures initiated for farmers. Later, he also talked about the measures initiated by the AIADMK government to improve access to electricity for various sectors through the free power schemes. “Now, weavers get 200 units of free power. Powerlooms get 750 units free. Each household gets 100 units without any charge, while the neighbouring Kerala charges `6.80,” he said. “By that estimate, we are offering `680 worth of power free of cost every month to each and every family For eve. ry five years, that translates to `40,000 worth of free electricity per household. No other State gives its public such benefits.” Taking a jab at Stalin during the speech, Palaniswami said the DMK chief does not know about the problems of the public because “he does not come to the Assembly He claims that . we are advertising the schemes through newspapers. He claims that we have done nothing for MORE ON: P4 the public.” Cracker unit fire at Virudhunagar: At least 17 dead, over 32 injured A Z E E F A F AT H I M A @ Virudhunagar The damaged working sheds following a fire at a cracker unit at Achankulam village near Sattur in Virudhunagar district on Friday | EXPRESS PM, CM ANNOUNCE SOLATIUM FOR KIN OF VICTIMS Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday condoled the death of those killed in the fire at a cracker manufacturing unit at Achankulam village in Virudhungar district. The PM announced `2 lakh each as solatium to the bereaved families and `50,000 to those who suffered injuries and the CM announced `3 lakh each as solatium and `1 lakh each to those who suffered serious injuries. The Chief Minister directed the district administration to provide appropriate treatment to those who suffered injuries in the accident | P5 FRIDAY, the 12th: another black day in the history of Tamil Nadu. At least 17 people, including a pregnant woman and a college student, were killed and 32 injured in a fire accident at a firecracker factory at Achankulam village in Virudhunagar district on Friday However, no . data is available with the officials on the exact number of casualties. The fire was reported at 1.30 pm at the Nagpur-licensed Sree Mariyammal Fireworks Factory, about 13 kilometres away from the nearest fire station. Three rescue vehicles, from Vembakottai, Sivakasi and Sattur, were rushed to the spot along with 30 rescue personnel, and four fire officers, headed by the District Fire Officer, Ganesan. The accident could have been due to a reaction during the chemical filling process, the DFO said. At the end of about four hours of rescue operations, 37 persons were reported to be affected (including the dead). Nine bodies were recovered in a charred condition from the spot, and another six died dur- ing the treatment. Among the deceased, 12 were identified, of which 7 were men and 5 women. So far, only few of their names could be ascertained. The process of identifying the deceased are still on and authorities are planning to hand over the bodies to the kin on Saturday morning. Further, 24 injured persons have been identified — 12 men and 12 women. The injured were taken to GHs and a few private hospitals initially Four . of them were later referred to GRH in Madurai. FULL bilateral military disengagement in the Pangong lake area in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) could take more time than thought, as the wary Indian Army is using multiple modes to verify China’s reciprocal withdrawal of troops and equipment. “We are not taking any chances this time. Additional verification mechanisms have been introduced. Apart from satellite and drone images, videography of the disengagement is also being done,” a senior Army officer said. The distrust stems from the problems the Chinese side had created both at Galwan and Hot Spring-Gogra in June last. Indian soldiers on their verification mission found partial disengagement in both sites, which snowballed into the major Galwan violence. “We have differences in perception about the position of the LAC on the north bank of the Pangong lake. But on the ground, there is no confusion about it in the south bank.” Chinese troops coming to Finger 4 were actually present inside our claim line, but in the south bank, both sides are sitting in areas of their claim Welcome step: US “We’re closely following reports of initial troop disengagement. We welcome the ongoing efforts to de-escalate,” a US State Department spokesperson said lines. As per the agreements, Chinese troops will relocate to the east of Finger 8 and the Indian Army will be based at Dhan Singh Thapa post close to Finger 4 on the north bank of the lake. As of now, withdrawal of armoured vehicles has been completed from around five locations. “The tanks were as close as 50 metres apart at some points. Now they have moved back to their administrative bases into the rear,” another Army officer said. Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the agreement to disengage at Pangong was reached after several round of talks. “The two sides have also agreed to convene 10th round of senior commanders meeting within 48 hours after complete disengagement in the Pangong lake area, to address the remaining issues,” Srivastava said. TREMORS OF 6.1 MAGNITUDE IN DELHI The earthquake, whose epicenter was 21-km away from Amritsar, occurred at 10.34 PM. CONTINUED ON: P5 Upstream lake formed ‘SUFFOCATED’ TMC MP by rubble on Rishiganga RESIGNS ON FLOOR OF RAJYA SABHA river adds to concern INNER VOICE E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi HEEDING to his ‘inner voice’, Trinamool Congress’ MP Dinesh Trivedi quit from the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. He attributed violence in West Bengal and suffocation in the party led by Mamata Banerjee as reasons for his decision, leaving the party leaders surprised. Soon after getting up to speak during the debate on Budget, Trivedi said: “There are limitations here. My party has sent me here, so I am grateful. But now I can’t take what is happening any more. I am feeling suffocated. That’s why I want to resign from here. I want to work for my Bengal,” the former railway minister said. The BJP was quick to welcome him, if he wanted to make the switch. Speaking about the violence in West Bengal, Trivedi said: “It is a threat to democracy I am from the land . of Subhash Chandra Bose. My soul is saying I sit here and say nothing, what is the point?” he said. V I N E E T U PA D H YAY @ Tapovan (Uttarakhand) AMID ongoing rescue efforts at the Tapovan tunnel, the detection of a new lake formed by boulders that rolled on to the Rishiganga and blocked it about 8 km upstream from Raini village, added to the worry as it could cause more havoc than Sunday flash floods if it were to burst. However, scientists said water from the lake started draining on Friday, reducing the chances of a calamity . Y P Sundariyal, head of the department of geology at the Hemvanti Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University said, “The , lake is around 250-300 metres long, 80-100 metres wide and of about 25-30 metres deep. As the volume of water is huge, hypothetically if it bursts, it could cause more damages than earlier. But since the water is slow- ly draining, it will not burst. Authorities should drain it without trying to burst it, using skilled manpower.” A similar but bigger lake was formed in 1998 in the Madkakini river in Madmeshwar valley, which safely drained. “There was panic but the lake drained and the danger was averted. We hope it will happen at this lake too,” he added. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “We need not panic but must stay alert.” A team of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, scientists from DRDO and the Uttarakhand Space Application Centre conducted and aerial survey but could not reach it by land. Glaciologist D P Dobhal, who worked at Dehradun’s Wadia institute, said, “The rubble holding the water is huge. If loose material holding it is pushed away by water, it will be a big threat.” (Clockwise from above) The lake formed upstream of the Rishiganga; NDRF men carry the body of Rishiganga power project general manager Basharat Zargar; and family members of victims staging a protest | SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT/SHEKHAR YADAV Case against ISRO brass for bending rules to recruit Sivan Jr NIRAD MUDUR & BALA CHAUHAN @Bengaluru THE Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has registered a complaint against Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary Dr K , Sivan, over allegations of irregularities in the recruitment of his son to ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Valiamala, Trivandrum. The complaint — dated Janu- ary 25 — also names LPSC Director Dr V Narayanan, and alleges that the recruitment of Dr Sivan’s son Sidharth S was not just a conflict of interest, but also a case of “favouritism and conspiracy”. Dr Narayanan, the complaint alleged, was in a hurry to recruit Sidharth before his anticipated transfer to Vikram Sarabhai S p a c e C e n t re (VSSC) came through. The process of general recruitment through ISRO’s Central Recruitment Board (ICRB), comprising a screening, written test and interview, was not followed, as Sidharth had appeared only for an interview, the agency said. The agency alleged that the qualifications for the post advertised in November 2020 (number 738 of Scientist Engineer ‘SC’, Level 10) were tailor- SECOND ON MERIT LIST The Department of Space, ISRO and LPSC had issued an advertisement in 2020 for post number 738 of Scientist Engineer ‘SC’ Level 10 at LPSCs at T’puram, Valiamala and Bengaluru. Sidharth came 2nd on the merit list made for Sidharth. Dr Sivan refused to comment on the issue, but his office in Bengaluru told TNIE that due process was followed in Sidharth’s recruitment. “Being an MTech, Sidharth’s application was screened by a competent committee, after which he attended the interview,” the ISRO Chairman’s office said. However, Dr Narayanan did not respond to repeated calls by this paper. EXPRESS READ ‘Admission deadline expired for AU courses’ Auto driver kills self, blames Centre’s policy Chennai: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Friday informed the Madras High Court that the M Tech courses in biotechnology and computational biology, which were suspended by the Anna University, cannot be conducted this year as the deadline for admission to the courses has lapsed. The deadline, set by the Supreme Court, was December 31, 2020 | P2 Salem: An auto driver who attempted suicide ten days ago allegedly upset by the Union government’s vehicle scrappage policy, succumbed on Friday. D Saravanan (59), tried to kill himself in his house on February 3. He was rescued and admitted in the Salem GH where he died on Friday morning. In a suicide note, he said the extreme step was due to the Centre’s new policy and mounting debts. ENS
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