THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l monday l march 29, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 32 l late city EDITION 439 projects get the nod in MoEF’s lockdown overdrive The environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee took up 837 proposals, the highest in past 3 years, and rejected one Committee hurried through scrutiny? Bi-monthly virtual meetings between April and May saw around 200 projects getting the EAC approval. This means the panel had only 2-4 days to deliberate on the projects, leading to some members saying that they were given very less time to scrutinise the proposals. Among the proposals given expedited nod was the one for the country’s new Parliament building ■ 466 ministry clears the air on site visits ■ ■ Clearing doubts over site visits during the pandemic, the ministry said sub-panels carried out inspections, when required by the EAC EAC in mining, infrastructure, thermal power and hydel projects in CRZ had considered 822 and 798 projects in 2019 and 2018 Gujarat topped the list of states with most number of approvals projects received E.A.C. Clearance in 2019; the number was 436 in 2018 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 Agencies hurling lies as Swapna’s Centre to extend statement to defame me: Speaker `6k farmers’ dole Chennithala shocked by ‘dirty intentions’, seeks further probe; Smriti says charges serious tion. He said the state and the Central governments have resorted to the ‘thief vs police’ game. That’s why the LDF government announced a judicial probe against the investigating agencies on Friday . “I am surprised why the agencies have not carried out further probe following the revelations made by Swapna? People have every right to know what is happening in the gold smuggling case,” Chennithala said in Pathanamthitta. Addressing a road show in Kozhikode, Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development, said the allegations raised against the speaker are “serious”. She added that leaders who are in the public domain should respect women. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram A day after TNIE reported the disclosure of Swapna Suresh, key accused in the gold smuggling case, that Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had invited her to a flat in the capital with “dirty intentions”, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and Union minister Smriti Irani have sought the LDF government’s response to it. However, the speaker, in a Facebook post, said the central investigation agencies stooping too low to enter offensive details in a document as if they are part of the woman’s statement is not right in a democratic country . Chennithala on Sunday expressed shock at the turn of events and alleged that despite having strong evidence against the speaker, the central agencies are not taking further ac- 2021 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kozhikode poll bytes Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday continued to lash out at the Congress and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala for making the Election Commission to intervene and stop distribution of food kits. Pinarayi urged the commission to take an appropriate decision over the issue after checking the facts. Addressing a press conference here, Pinarayi said, “In fact, pension and food kits are not the government’s mercy; it is the people’s right. By levelling baseless allegations, the Opposition leader is trying to deny this right to the people. However, the LDF has not decided to end its welfare Priyanka gandhi to reach state tomorrow T’Puram: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi will arrive at T’Puram airport from New Delhi on Tuesday. She will campaign in the southern districts of the state as well as in central Kerala on Tuesday and Wednesday. Priyanka is also expected to campaign for Congress candidate Aritha Babu in Kayamkulam constituency. Pinarayi morally corrupt: Smriti Irani Kozhikode: Coming down heavily on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case, BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani said Pinarayi was a morally corrupt chief minister who should not even be called a leader. She was leading an NDA roadshow in Elathur here on Sunday. P5 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai/New Delhi With Maharashtra’s Covid-19 positive cases continuing to grow exponentially, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday directed the state’s health task force to prepare a detailed lockdown plan that would have minimum impact on the economy . Minister Nawab Malik confirmed plans for a limited lockdown without major impact on economic activities. “Industries where large number of people gather, which could increase the virus spread, may have to follow stringent guidelines while manufacturing units will function without any impact,” Malik added. The meeting convened by the CM was attended among others by the health minister, health secretary and members of the health task force. Apparently, current measures like restricted mobility in public areas and night curfews, have not slowed down the pace of infections. “On March 27, 35,726 patients with infections were detected and this number might touch 40,000 in the next 24 hours,” the health department said. Amid the spike, officials in Pune and Chennai plan to assess whether people with a history of infection are getting re-infected. In the first such exercise in India, they have decided to look for igG antibodies in newly infected people. The antibody igG typically appears nearly 14 days after exposure to the virus and lasts for several months. P9 Cases in last 24 hours ending Sunday morning 35,726 3,162 2,886 2,805 2,276 2,142 2,089 2,055 initiatives as it is our policy that nobody should be left starving in the state.” Reacting to the CM’s allegation, Congress state president Mullappally Ramachandran said the Opposition leader did not cut off anyone’s food. “Pinarayi, who spends lavishly, does not deserve to raise such allegations. The LDF government has spent `1,000 crore of public money on advertisements in media. The government should clarify on the funding of these ads,” he said. Responding to the Opposition’s allegation that the government had not distributed the food kits for schoolchildren from September and was distributing it now eyeing the as- The food kit distribution was started during the pandemic and it has no link with the elections — Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister Covid rise: Maharashtra plans limited lockdown Maharashtra Chhattisgarh Karnataka Punjab Gujarat Madhya Pradesh Tamil Nadu Kerala Faceoff 62,714 Fresh Covid positive cases registered in India in a day 24 crore+ Tests for Covid-19 conducted across India so far 4.97% Cumulative positivity rate so far to fisher families E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Pruam The central investigation agencies stooping too low to enter offensive details in a document as if they are part of the woman’s statement is not right in a democratic country P Sreeramakrishnan, Speaker I am surprised why the agencies have not carried out further probe following the revelations made by Swapna? People have every right to know what is happening in the gold smuggling case Ramesh Chennithala, Oppn leader CM says Oppn spreading canards, asks EC to allow food kit distribution KERALA ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Galloping rate On Sunday TNIE had report, ed that Swapna had told the Enforcement Directorate that the speaker tried to cozy up to her with “dirty intentions”, according to a document submitted by the agency before the High Court. The accused had given the statement on December 16 last year at Attakulangara Women’s Prison before the deputy director, Enforcement Directorate. She had also said Sreeramakrishnan used to call her to a flat at Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram which, according to her, belonged to him but under someone else’s name. Stung by the report, Sreeramakrishnan took to Facebook claiming that the investigating agencies have been trying to defame the LDF and its leaders. ● More on P6 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the Centre will provide an assistance of `6,000 per year to fishermen on the lines of the aid currently given to farmers under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. The BJP’s manifestos in Bengal and Puducherry have already promised to replicate the annual assistance of `6,000 given to farmers for fishermen as well if it comes to power. “Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, our government is transferring `6,000 per year to the bank accounts of farmers across the country We will . also transfer `6,000 to the bank accounts of fishermen and effectively implement the Central scheme,” said Rajnath, who was in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the NDA’s campaign for the assembly elections. He said Congress leader Ra- sembly elections, the CM said the government had issued the order on February 20, instructing officials to distribute the food kits to schools students in the wake of educational institutions remaining closed. And, it was planned to be completed by the end of March, he added. Pinarayi alleged that the Opposition leader has no idea about the food kit distribution and he should stop repeating lies over it. “Further, the state government has not decided to distribute welfare pension in advance eyeing the elections. Our decision was to give pension by the first week of April for the month of March considering the festival season,” he said. The Opposition leader did not cut off anyone’s food. Pinarayi, who spends lavishly, does not deserve to raise such charges — Mullappally Ramachandran Pune: The Indian cricket team completed one of its best fourmonth spells across formats, pipping England by a mere 7 runs in an edge-of-the-seat final ODI for a well-deserved hat-trick of series victories. Sam Curran was handed the man of the match award for his heroic 83-ball 95 not out. P15 hul Gandhi, who is demanding a separate Union ministry for fisheries, is unaware that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted such a ministry in 2019 itself. He said fishermen were being given Kisan credit cards and loans as well. The defence minister termed as ‘unconstitutional’ the state government’s decision to institute a judicial inquiry against the central agencies probing gold smuggling and related cases. He said the move was a challenge to the federal structure of the Constitution. The state government had recently decided to order a judicial inquiry against the central agencies, including Enforcement Directorate, for allegedly derailing the probe in the gold and dollar smuggling scam cases. The move came days after the state Crime Branch registered an FIR against unidentified ED ● More on P6 officials. ‘NEP is like khichdi’ Latin Catholic Church laity flay state govt Kollam: The Laity Commission of Kollam diocese of Latin Catholic Church issued a letter criticising the LDF government over the deep-sea fishing deal on Sunday. In the letter, they stated that even after the chief minister’s real face was exposed in the public, he is again repeating the lies. P7 The new National Education Policy is like a khichidi, said BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on the third day of the ThinkEdu Conclave 2021. Though it tried to do a lot to correct the colonial hangover, it didn’t quite make it, he added | P7 R A J E SH A B R A H A M @Kochi Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac is absolutely certain that the LDF will win this election, and that too with a comfortable margin. In an interview to TNIE, he said the state government’s additional welfare programmes, as promised in its manifesto, will be financed through what he called ‘a historic compromise within Kerala’ between the middle class and the basic classes of the state. Isaac said the Congress’ NYAY will require at least `2 lakh crore for the next five years, a huge burden that the state’s finances are incapable of handling. FULL INTERVIEW ON P5 Assam Polls H K h ogen S i ng h @ Guwahati/Goalpara/Kokrajhar “You see, my age is different in all my documents,” he said, fishing out his election identity card from his shirt pocket where he is aged 46 and his PAN card where he is 66. “The teachers who carried out the survey for these documents goofed up, they are useless,” he declared. Bonda Colony a town of a few , hundred households just out- Thrissur pooram No restriction on people’s participation E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 32 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) Managing competing identities in Assam s ‘Absolutely certain of LDF win’ Faithful attend the Palm Sunday service that marks the beginning of the Holy Week and commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, at St Mary’s Basilica Church at Marine Drive in Kochi | A Sanesh melting pot hyamal Biswas, not his real name, walks briskly into his sparse, customer-less hotel in Bonda Colony Kamrup district, , to engage in an animated discussion with his wife and petite daughter. Moments later he comes out with a cup of tea and rather proudly declares that he had just got his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. His free vaccination was not without hiccup, though. “The girl there said my name is not in the list but when I told her that I have been sent by a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, she checked and gave me the shot,” the loquacious Biswas said. T M Thomas Isaac Holy week begins e x p r e ss r e a d India beat England in 3rd ODI to clinch series Interview side Guwahati, is inhabited mainly by Bengali Hindus, like Biswas. Locals said they are mainly settlers from Bangladesh who have over the years acquired documents that give them the right to claim they belong here. These documents are often got through illegal means, which perhaps explains the wide discrepancy in Biswas’s age. The Bengali Hindus mostly support the BJP In return, the . party gives them government benefits, like the vaccination shot Biswas got which he was perhaps not entitled to yet. “Why shouldn’t the Hindus be given citizenship in India, where else will they go,” he said of the Citizenship Amendment Act as the conversation traversed from small talk to politically-loaded, highly emotive issues, inviting surreptitious glances from a motor mechanic next door. About 100 kms away in Dhanubanga near Dudhnoi towards Bangladesh, shop owner Sundar Kumar Rabha has different political priorities. Belonging to the Rabha tribe, an Indo-Tibetan community who are among the first settlers of Assam and hence considered as indigenous people, Sundar said the Rabha Autonomous Council should be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Continued on: P9 @Thrissur Thrissur Pooram and associated exhibition will be conducted in all its glory without any restriction on people’s participation, while Devaswom committees will be responsible for crowd management. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting convened by Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar in the presence of District Collector S Shanavas and Devaswom committees on Sunday . Earlier, District Medical Officer K J Reena had submitted a report calling for restricting the entry of public to the exhibition in the wake of surging Covid cases. The report suggested entry of 200 people to the exhibition stalls at a time. However, the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswom committees protested against the report and threatened that they will cancel the pooram if “unnecessary restrictions” are en● More on P6 forced.
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29-03-2021 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram