MADURAI FRIDAY MARCH 05, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 14 LATE CITY EDITION KERALA BJP PITCHES ‘METRO MAN’ SREEDHARAN AS CM FACE The technocrat will be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, senior party leader and Union Minister V Muraleedharan said FINAL DECISION NOT TAKEN: MURALEEDHARAN The minister’s social media post on E Sreedharan’s leadership in the upcoming Assembly polls came hours after the party’s state chief K Surendran said he has requested the national leadership to announce the ‘Metro Man’ as NDA’s chief ministerial candidate. Muraleedharan later clarified that the BJP has not taken a final decision on it ■ April 6 END OF 24-YEAR ASSOCIATION WITH DMRC ■ Meanwhile, Sreedharan’s 24-year long career with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ended on Thursday as he quit his advisory role The 88-year-old said age has not affected his health. “Mentally I am very strong. I will not be working like a normal politician. I will still be working like a technocrat,” Sreedharan added WHEN ELECTIONS TO THE 140-SEAT KERALA ASSEMBLY WILL HE HELD 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 8.5% Defectors to get Bengal BJP ticket Party to focus on educational qualifications and innovative leadership skills of candidates EPFO keeps interest rate for FY21 same as last year M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has fixed the interest rate on provident fund deposits at 8.5% for 2020-21 — the same as the last year. The decision was taken at the 228th meeting of the Central Board of Trustees of the EPFO, held in Srinagar under the chairmanship of Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment. “The Central Board recommended 8.50% annual rate of interest to be credited on EPF accumulations in members’ accounts for the financial year 2020-21. The interest rate would be officially notified in the government gazette following which EPFO would credit the rate of interest into the subscribers’ accounts,” the board said in a statement. The decision came on the back of large withdrawals and fewer contributions throughout the last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. There were apprehension that the rate might be further reduced. Sources said the EPFO will be left with a surplus of `300 crore after crediting an interest rate of 8.5% for FY21 to its six-crore subscribers. In March 2020, EPFO had reduced the interest rate to 8.5% for 2019-20 — a seven-year low — from 8.65% in 2018-19. Net new enrolments with the retirement fund body grew 24% to 1.25 million in December, indicating a return to the pre-Covid levels of subscriber growth for the EPFO, according to the payroll data released last Saturday . BJP leaders Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav and Kailash Vijayvargiya after a meeting the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI PARTY TO FIELD PROFESSIONALS IN KERALA, TN “In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the BJP will give ample scope to professionals with credible public achievements besides the committed cadre in the candidate selection, while the turncoats from the Congress will get the ticket in Puducherry,” sources stated. With the former “Metro Man” E Sreedharan in the saddle, the BJP is likely to experiment in candidate selection to gain popular attention in Kerala to further its aim to emerge as the third force in the state Finance minister Shaikh was trounced by former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, the joint opposition candidate fielded by Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) ‘DMK-CPI pact to be inked today’ Learner’s License Renewal of driving license for which test of competence to drive is not required Duplicate DL Change of address in DL and certificate of registration Issuing international driving permit Surrender of class of vehicle from license Application for temporary registration of motor vehicle Application for registration of motor vehicle with fully built body Application for issue of duplicate certificate of registration Application for NOC for certificate of registration Notice of transfer of ownership of motor vehicle Application for transfer of ownership of motor vehicle Intimation of change of address in certificate of registration Endorsement or termination of hire-purchase agreement Chennai: A delegation of the Communist Party of India, led by MP Subbarayan and State secretary R Mutharasan, met the DMK seat-sharing panel on Thursday. “Our talks went smoothly. The poll pact will be inked on Friday after getting consent from our State committee,” said Mutharasan | P4 BJP partyman found murdered in Madurai Madurai: A BJP member, who had recently joined the party’s minority wing, was found murdered at Jinna Thidal in SS Colony police station limit here on Thursday early morning. The deceased has been identified as K Batsha (45), aka Fridge Batsha, of Kovil Pillai Colony in Ellis Nagar of Mahaboopalayam in the district | P4 Gilani won the seat securing 169 votes against Shaikh’s 164, in a polling that saw cross-voting by Imran’s senators Imran later said he was prepared to sit in the Opposition if his vote of confidence motion was defeated in the National Assembly Kochi: The ED on Thursday served a notice to the chief editor of a vernacular fortnightly, who had filed a complaint against SNC-Lavalin deal in 2006, to appear before the agency on Friday with evidence. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan is one of the accused in the case, which pertains to a pact inked by the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Canadian firm for repair and renovation of three hydel projects in 1996-1997, when Pinarayi was power minister COUNTDOWN Why did TN Seshan appreciate Modakurichi contestants in 1996? What can the present-day voters and ticket aspirants learn from a 25-year-old event? 35 DAYS BIHAR 2020 Is the cap on cash creating a hassle for TN’s small traders? EXPRESS GIVES YOU A LOW-DOWN: P2 S K U M A R E S A N @ Chennai IT was a game half-won for the DMK on Thursday, as it managed to convince one ally, while issues flared up with another. The day began on a pleasant note at the DMK camp, with VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan sealing the deal with six seats. Though the party was not entirely satisfied with the numbers allotted to it, the agreement to allow it contest on its own election symbol finalised the deal. The DMK, however, was not as lucky with its other partner — MDMK, which openly expressed disgruntlement with the way the talks were going. This development has sparked tension in DMK circles as twice before, MDMK has ditched the DMK alliance on the eleventh hour due to disagreements over seat sharing. Till 8 pm on Thursday, according to sources, MDMK had not decided on the offer made by DMK. As the MDMK high-level committee meeting is scheduled to be held on Saturday evening, an announcement is likely before that. So far, after four days of mara- @ New Delhi SCARE AT TAJ MAHAL Security personnel check for bomb in the premises of Taj Mahal in Agra on Thursday. The Taj Mahal complex was vacated in the morning following a hoax bomb call | PTI `175 cr unaccounted cash detected in I-T raids in TN @ Madurai INCOME Tax officials seized `3 crore and detected unaccounted cash to the tune of `175 crore from a group of civil contractors in southern TN on Wednesday The seizure followed search . operations on 18 premises, mainly in Madurai and Ramanathapuram districts, based on inputs that the cash is likely to be distributed for election CONTINUED ON: P4 Want your driving licence renewed? No need to bribe RTO sharks, you can do it online through Aadhaar-based authentication from now. A look at some of the DL-related services you can avail online EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE “If I am out of the government, I will go to the people and bring them out to continue my struggle for the country. I will not let these traitors sit in peace,” he said | P11 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE thon talks, DMK has only been able to finalise seat-sharing agreements with three of its nine allies. DMK is using the pressure applied by Congress to convince its smaller allies to be happy with fewer seats, said sources. “They are being told that if more seats are allocated to them, then DMK will be forced to cede further more to Congress,” said a source. “While VCK, MDMK, and Left party aspirants are seen as DMK-leaning, Congress counterparts, from the DMK point of view, seem to be weak choices.” The DMK leaders said that going by the national political scenario it is Congress cadre who are weak in facing an ideological war with the BJP as it lost two State governments — Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry — following the defection of its own MLAs due intraparty politics. DRIVING LICENCE This will reduce the compliance burden on citizens, helping them avail these services in a hassle free, contactless manner It will also reduce the footfall in RTO offices Aadhaar authentication mandatory for these contactless services OTT platforms need screening as some of them show porn, says SC In a televised address, Imran lashed out at the 11-party grand Opposition alliance for “making a mockery of democracy” and said he will never let the corrupt off the hook Imran Khan, Pak PM SNC-Lavalin case: ED summons complainant sources said the party isn’t in favour of fielding members of Parliament in West Bengal, as they would be tasked with help ing build the poll campaign. The West Bengal unit has recommended Trinamool Congress defector and former state minister Suvendu Adhikari from the Nandigram constituency against incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has already decided to contest from there. While the BJP may release the names of the candidates in West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry in the next few days, the party is likely to wait for the formal announcement of seat adjustments with allies in Assam and Tamil Nadu. Now, renew DL online I will ask my members to show if they have confidence in me. If they say they have no confidence, I will sit on Opposition benches EXPRESS READ the people,” said a senior BJP functionary . Also, potential candidates who have the ability to take the party forward in the next decade, too, will get picked, the functionary added, In line with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is leaning towards fielding a large number of turncoats, including sitting legislators, who joined the party from the ranks of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, with sources saying that the star powers of actors and actresses, too, will be factored in, in tune with the electoral flavour of the state. While a few sitting MPs have evinced interests to contest Assembly elections in Assam, SEAT-SHARING TALKS: DMK TAKES ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO BACK IMRAN SEEKS TRUST VOTE AFTER SHOCK SENATE DEFEAT Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has called for a vote of confidence of the National Assembly after the shock defeat of his cabinet colleague Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the Senate on Wednesday WITH the BJP on Thursday getting down to the business of finalising candidates for all poll bound states, the thrust was on high skill-sets and qualifications along with the ability to resonate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for “innovative leadership to execute the vision of the party and the government on the ground.” While the BJP is likely to draft in fresh blood in Assam to beat anti-incumbency, professionals who are achievers are being favoured in West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The BJP’s central election committee meeting convened by party chief J P Nadda, was attended by Modi and senior Union ministers like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Singh Tomar. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and leaders from the West Bengal party’s unit were among those who attended the meeting. The party is likely to release its list of candidates in the next few days in a phased manner in line with the staggered poll schedule. “Special focus during screening of candidates is on their educational qualifications and innovative leadership skills to execute the vision of the prime minister to connect the initiatives of the government with purposes, said a release. During the searches, the officials found that the contractors had entered bogus expenses under various heads to reduce the profits. The declared profits were less than 2 per cent of the turnover, when it actually exceeded 20 per cent, said an I-T department spokesperson. The release added, over 100 subcontractors were also engaged to register expenses to meet illegal payments. EXPRESSING concern over the unbridled streaming of content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a few platforms even show “pornographic materials” and that there should be a mechanism to screen such programmes. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to submit by Friday the government’s recent guidelines to regulate social media, messaging and streaming platforms. The observation came while the bench was hearing the plea of Amazon Prime Video’s India head Aparna Purohit challenging the Allahabad High Court order rejecting her anticipatory bail in connection with FIRs lodged against her over the controversial Tandav web series. “A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms,” said the bench, also comprising Justice R S Reddy . Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Purohit, termed the case against her as ‘shocking’. Purohit is just an employee of Amazon, Rohatgi said, adding she is neither a producer nor an actor but still has been made an accused in around 10 cases related to the web series across the country . Purohit has been accused of inappropriate depiction of UP police personnel, Hindu deities and adverse portrayal of a character playing the prime minister in the web series. Tandav is a political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers including Saif Ali Khan. High Court relief for local train accident victims EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE Madras High Court admonished the railways for denying compensation to families of passengers who died in accidents involving Electric Multiple Units (EMUs). Hearing a compensation plea of the family of a 38-year-old woman, who died after falling from an EMU train in Chennai in 2014, the court overruled the railway tribunal’s order. It directed the railways to give `8 lakh compensation along with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of the passing of the award and fixed a time of 12 weeks to deposit the amount. The court stressed that the deceased alone cannot be charged with negligence as the railways equally contributes to it by not ensuring safety of EMU passengers, par ticularly working women, who are solely dependent on such trains. Justice SM Subramanian, who heard the plea, said: “It is painful to state that the higher officials of the Indian Railways are receiving very decent salary from the tax payers’ money Therefore, they are . expected to perform their public duties with high responsibility and accountability Pub. lic authorities are expected to consider the plight of poor citizens.” Censuring the railways for not replacing old coaches and being lax on safety measures for passengers, the court said, “Large number of women employees are travelling in Metro cities, including Chennai, in EMU trains. After duty hours, they are forced to rush to board these trains to reach homes within a reasonable travel time. They also take care of their children and family and a delay , in reaching home would cause hardship to them as to their family With this pressure, more . women travellers are forced to stand and travel in EMU trains,” the judge added.
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