DHARMAPURI SUNDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2021 `8.00 PAGES 24 CITY EDITION OSAKA RULES AUS OPEN, WINS FOURTH GRAND SLAM TITLE SUNDAY BLOCKBUSTER: THE MEN’S FINAL Novak Djokovic will play for his 18th Grand Slam title while his opponent Medvedev will play for his first when they meet in the Australian Open final on Sunday. Djokovic leads Daniil Medvedev 4-3 in head to head. However, Medvedev seems to be in form with a 20-match winning streak since October — Djokovic too had been one of the casualties | P11 The Japanese needed 77 minutes to sweep past Jennifer Brady of the US in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 in women’s ﬁnal SHINING STAR DESTINED FOR MORE ■ ■ ■ The 23-year-old becomes only the third player after Monica Seles and Roger Federer to win her first four major finals She had won 2018 US Open, the 2019 Aus Open & 2020 US Open Her win sparked celebration in corona-hit Japan. An astronaut tweeted ‘congratulations’ from international Space Station TWO OSAKA WILL RISE TO TWO IN WORLD RANKING ON MONDAY 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 Centre, states must together work for development: Modi Toolkit doesn’t sow disaffection, Disha tells HC E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AN online ‘toolkit’ is merely a ‘resource document’, it does not ‘sow disaffection’ and there is no evidence to show the toolkit on farmers’ protest is responsible for the violence on January 26, activist Disha Ravi told a Delhi court on Saturday as she sought bail. “If highlighting the farmers’ protest globally is sedition, I’m better (off) in jail,” Disha said through her lawyer in court, which will give its decision on the bail on Tuesday . The bail plea was strongly opposed by the Delhi Police, which alleged that Disha was preparing the toolkit with those advocating Khalistan and she was part of a global conspiracy to defame India and create unrest in the country in the garb of the farmers’ protest. “This was not just a toolkit. The real plan was to defame India and create unrest here,” the police told additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana. The prosecution also submitted that Disha deleted WhatsApp chats, emails and other evidence and was aware of legal actions she could face. The deletion of chats, the police argued, showed Disha’s ‘guilty mind and sinister design’. These allegations were rejected by Disha’s counsel, who said: “I am 22, from Karnataka. I have no connection with the Khalistan movement. There is no single chat or conversation between me (Disha) and the (banned organisation) Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). And even if I (Disha) meet someone, there is no symbol on him that he is a secessionist.” EXPRESS READ Air India Express plane hits pole while taxiing Vijayawada: A Boeing aircraft of Air India Express suffered a minor damage on its right wing after it hit an electric pole while taxiing on the runway at the Vijayawada airport on Saturday evening. All 64 passengers aboard were safe, airport officials said. The flight was en route to Tiruchy from Doha. Farmer, son end lives over loan waiver, new agri laws Hoshiarpur: A debt-ridden farmer and his son allegedly committed suicide at a village here, mentioning in a note that they were upset over the Centre’s farm laws and the state government’s failure to waive their loans. Jagtar Singh (70) and his son Kirpal Singh (42) were found dead at their residence in Muhadipur. WITH THIS ISSUE THAT GUT FEELING PLUS 12 PAGES Urges setting up of district export promotion councils; purging of redundant laws M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi STEADY RISE IN COVID GRAPH 6,112 New cases in Maharashtra on Saturday Punjab A BMC Covid marshal clicking a pic of a maskless girl at a Mumbai local station on Saturday | PTI Failure to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour is at the heart of the continuing rise of new cases in Maharashtra this week Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Chhattisgarh 10,000 New cases on an average in Maharashtra when the virus was at its peak earlier SAYING that the youth cannot wait for development any longer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked the states to embark on the reform journey Speaking at the sixth . governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, the prime minister exhorted chief ministers to align state budgets with the Union budget, asking them to work on their respective pipeline of infrastructure projects, besides setting up task forces to lessen compliance burdens for the people and businesses. Modi said private enterprises, which have shown much enthusiasm, should be embraced by the states for accelerated development. “The focus should be on ease of doing business for the international audience,” said Modi, while making a mention of the As a government, we liberalisation of geospatial data, adding had also have to it been done a decade earlier “there would honour this have been a Google from India.” enthusiasm, the He suggested the synchronisation of the energy of the Union and state budgets for multiplier effect. private sector Modi dwelt at length on India’s bid to become Narendra Modi, a global manufacturing hub, suggesting Prime Minister states should set up district export promotion councils, while identifying one product each for exporting. “There’s an all round eagerness to push forward with economic development. The youth of the country cannot wait,” Modi said. The Centre, he said, weeded out 1,500 redundant laws and urged all states to do likewise. Niti Aayog ViceChairman Rajiv Kumar later said the CMs gave many actionable inputs on which it would work with the ministries. 44 4 States 75.87% Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and MP, where upsurge has been worrying of the total cases on Saturday are from Maharashtra and Kerala fresh cases in Vidarbha testing, contact tracing to be revived Vigilance squads formed for surprise raids at wedding parties and other social gatherings Aggressive Deaths tied to Covid reported in Maharashtra Kerala Most 101 Deaths reported from across India 23 Deaths reported from Kerala (15) and Punjab (8) in past 24 hours 10th round of talks begins, India-China special reps to pick up the thread next M AYA N K S I N G H & P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi AS the 10th round of India-China corps commander-level talks were held on Saturday to disengage troops from other friction points along the line of actual control (LAC), sources indicated that the special representatives of the two countries on the boundary dispute were likely to meet soon. Sources said the two special representatives, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will meet to iron out the differences in the perception of the LAC. The two special representatives last held a video conference in June last year, setting the ball rolling for the disengagement. They have been in touch ever since, sources said. The 10th round of talks is being held between Lt Gen P G K Menon and Chinese Major General Lin Liu. “The modalities of the disengagement will be dependent on agreements the two sides will reach during the talks,” a senior Army officer said, adding it was important that a politico-military will to act was demonstrated. Sources said both the governments had taken steps to normalise ties. The Indians had made it clear to the Chinese that the use of force would not be tolerated but discussions to ensure a positive result with regard to all outstanding issues of the LAC can be held. “The change in the approach re- Military meeting “First a review of the process completed will be taking place and then other sectors where the standoff is taking place will be discussed. The modalities of the disengagement will be dependent on agreements the two sides will reach during the talks,” a senior Army officer said about the Corps Commanders’ meeting EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai MAKING a strong pitch for the Godavari-Cauvery river linking, which could benefit lakhs of people in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare it as a national project. He made the appeal while addressing the sixth gover ning council meeting of NITI Aayog. He also requested for river Cauvery to be rejuvenated on the lines of the Namami Gange project. “The Centre is requested to accord sanction and extend financial assistance to TN for this at the earliest,” he said. Speaking on his government’s achievements, Palaniswami said TN was handling the pandemic situation ‘Allow govts to function’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ODISHA Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday criticised the trend to politicise policy decisions, while his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar made his case for a ‘one nation, one rate’, as he sought rationalisation of electricity cost. They were addressing the sixth Gover ning Council meeting of the Niti Aayog. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy reiterated the demand for special status for his state, while his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot sought focused attention on efforts for employment generation and improved health- care infrastructure. Patnaik’s remarks seemed to echo the NDA line that protests are being orchestrated against any decision taken by the Centre. “The kind of atmosphere where every incident or every action of the government is given political angles is a threat to the pace of development and peace in the country Patnaik said. ,” Nitish Kumar is learnt to have sought a special port in Odisha, saying his landlocked state needed facilities to tap the export market. Kumar also called for “one nation one rate”, saying the cost of the electricity provided by the Centre should be uniform. The CMs of Gujarat, Punjab, Bengal and Telangana didn’t participate. The meet’s agenda items were manufacturing, reimagining agriculture, infrastructure, human resources development, improving service delivery, health & nutrition — Rajiv Kumar, Niti Aayog vice chief REJUVENATE CAUVERY, CM TELLS CENTRE through concerted efforts. “A series of timely and effective measures, effective RT-PCR testing and tracking, and conduct of fever camps, have ensured a total control of the spread of Covid in our State,” the Chief Minister said. Stating that Tamil Nadu has been the top-ranked State in the Good Governance Index released by the Centre, Palaniswami said the State had received the highest share of investment proposals (16 per cent) in the country during April to September 2020, as per a CARE ratings report. He added, TN had also been ranked the first in attracting investments. P4 Cheaper rides in Metro a reality soon in Chennai O M J A S V I N M D @ Chennai sulted after both sides agreed to restore status quo ante at the Pangong Lake,” the sources said. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had revealed the details of the disengagement process from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in Parliament. The PLA and the Indian Army since then have disengaged with armoured vehicles, artillery guns and soldiers moving back. The PLA has moved to the east of Finger 8 on the north bank and Indian Army is back to the Dhan Singh Thapa Post. The structures erected during the stand-off were brought down. Similar actions have taken place in the south bank, which includes the withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the important Kailash Range, which was occupied in August 2020 end. Kailash Range has dominating features that gave an advantage to the Indian Army . Honouring The Best Chennai: The State had announced winners of Kalaimamani Awards for 2019 and 2020 on Friday. A total of 130 artists were selected for the contribution in respective fields. Yesteryear actor Saroja Devi and singer P Susheela were picked for Dr J Jayalalithaa special Kalaimamani Award for 2019, and actor Sowcar Janaki is the choice for 2020. Also, yesteryear singer S Rajeswari was selected for MS Subbulakshmi Award for 2019, while Vani Jeyaram has been chosen for 2020. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami presenting the award to Vani Jeyaram on Saturday | MARTIN LOUIS IT’S time to rejoice for Chennai Metro commuters as the State government has slashed the fares. Taking into account the long-pending demand of the general public, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday announced that the highest fare would now be capped at `50 as against the `70. Besides, commuters who use travel cards and QR code to purchase tickets will also g et a 20 per cent discount. While the base fare (between 0 to 2 kilometers) remains the same at `10, the government has revised other fares according to the distance. Travel between two and five kilometers will now cost `20, five and 12 kilometers `30, 12 and 21 kilometers `40, and for travel between 21 and 32 kilometers, the charge will be `50. This revision comes two years after the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (Urban Transport Divison) directed the State to revise the fare periodically. The Ministry had told the State in 2019 that it is the latter’s obligation to make arrangements for periodic fare revision, not only for the proposed Metro but for future projects as well. However, this had not been implemented so far. Activists, who have filed multiple petitions to the Centre and the State in this regard, have welcomed the move. Dayanand Krishnan, an activist who had filed multiple petitions himself, said these reductions would help boost the city’s public transportation sector. “We thank the CM for the move, and the Centre for urging the State to do it.” NEW MINE FIELD Miners to entrepreneurs: Breathing life back into reefs S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Thoothukudi Antony Stewalk (23) from Pattinamaruthoor, took training in open sea cage culture, and now owns one such cage. He cultivates lobsters and exports it to China | SHIBA PRASAD SAHU EVERY morning, men from Tharuvaikulam, Tirespuram and Vellpatti villages would assemble on the seashore. Then, they would choose one of the 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar, and set out to earn their daily bread — by mining the endangered coral reefs. This routine continued for years, until 2005. Vaan Islands, five kilometres away from the Thoothukudi coastline, was the easiest target. It took 30 minutes to get there on vallam, the locally-made canoe. The men worked in teams of five, when the tide is low. They used forks to scrape the seabed for finger corals, which are then scooped into a basket carried between their legs. The scraping continued until the centre of the vallam was filled with corals. The locals tell us that the vallams could hold up to seven gejams of corals, with 1.5 gejams measuring up to 1 tonne. At that point, 220 vallams were being operated from these villages, and a whopping 4.5 tonnes of corals were being extracted in a sin- gle day. The Forests Department estimates that around 2.75 lakh tonnes of corals have been mined from the southern parts of the Gulf of Mannar. Before this, dynamites were used to blast reefs, and the extracted blocks were used to build houses. A decade and half down the line, the lives and livelihoods of people here have changed a lot. Thanks to the eco-development initiatives taken by the Forests Department, they have not just quit mining corals, but have also improved their financial conditions. In fact, a few of them, today are , successful entrepreneurs under the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT), formed in 2002 to create a sustainable livelihood. P2
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