thrissur l tuesday l august 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION `200 cr fine on Maruti for limiting dealer discounts The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Monday penalised Maruti for anti-competitive practices related to dealer discounts Unfair practice hurts consumers: CCI Expect better OFFERS ON MARUTI CARS The CCI found that the auto major had a ‘discount control policy’, which discouraged dealers from giving extra discounts and freebies to consumers beyond those prescribed by the company. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) had even appointed ‘mystery shopping agencies’ who approach dealers posing as customers to find out if they offer any additional discounts ■ ■ The competition watchdog has asked the automaker to “cease and desist” from its anti-competitive practices forthwith The implication is that Maruti dealers will be free to offer discounts or freebies over and above what the company has prescribed, ultimately benefiting the end consumers 60 days c.c.i. HAS ASKED Maruti to deposit the PENALTY within TWO months 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 Need extra vigil in next 4 weeks: Min Veena Jab-o-meter Take your shot Aug 22: 7,95,543 doses Aug 23: 56,10,116 doses Total doses 58,82,21,623 NATIONWIDE aug 22 aug 23 Fresh cases 30,948 25,072 Recoveries 38,487 44,157 Deaths 403 389 statewide Aug 22 Aug 23 Fresh cases 10,402 13,383 Recoveries 26,586 21,942 Deaths 66 90 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram In the wake of the high spread of Covid infection, Health Minister Veena George has called for stepping up vigil for the next four weeks. According to her, Onam season has resulted in crowding and Covid protocol has not been followed. As a result, many locations have come under the threat of spread of highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. Besides, the threat of a third wave is also looming, she said. The advisory has been issued as the offices are set to open after the Onam holidays and the laxity in fol- GETTING MURKIER Now, Chennithala fan brigade wants revolt once dist chief list out E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram CLOSE on the heels of state Congress president K Sudhakaran’s nephew jumping the gun on the list of new district committee chiefs, RC Brigade — a WhatsApp group of Ramesh Chennithala supporters — has put the party leadership under further pressure by asking the group members to rise up in arms once the high command releases the list officially . The call is to attack national general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and Opposition Leader V D Satheesan on various social media platforms. Chennithala’s office, however, has disowned RC Brigade and its activities. Sudhakaran’s nephew Ajith Kannur had released what is claimed to be the final draft list of district Congress committee chiefs on another WhatsApp group, KS Brigade Politics. Ever since a section of his party colleagues had opposed Chennithala’s move to retain his position as opposition leader, his loyalists in ‘I’ group have been discontented and have refused to accept Satheesan’s emergence as his successor. They also believe it was Venugopal who pitched for Satheesan. This prompted the RC Brigade to join hands with Oommen Chandyled A group members to plan the attack once the list is out. It is learnt the majority of the RC Brigade members are Youth Cong ress leaders. “RC Brigade WhatsApp group is neither endorsed by Chennithala nor his office staff. It was started years ago and had senior leaders like Venugopal as members. Some vested interests have kicked up the row. Chennithala had said that even though he is unhappy with the draft list, he will welcome the final list announced by the high command,” a source close to Chennithala told TNIE. E X P R ESS R E A D NIA’s Elgar chargesheet silent on ‘bid to kill Prime Minister Modi’ lowing the protocol will lead to further spread of infection. “The chances of infection are high in closed spaces. There should be proper care while having meals together and washing hands,” said Veena George. 1 cr work days in 4 months In the first four months of the current fiscal, 8.3 lakh households in the state have benefited from the employment generated by the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. From April 1 to August 1,this year, 1.09 crore persondays of job could be created. P2 all-party meet called; Taliban issue warning E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi With evacuations from Kabul picking up pace, the Centre on Monday called a meeting of floor leaders of all political parties in Parliament to brief them on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing relief measures. Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar will do the briefing on Thursday in Parliament Annexe. The initiative is in line with the practice of evolving political convergence on all important matters. The government does not expecting any confrontation during the briefing. The situation in Afghanistan continues to be volatile with Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen warning the US and its NATO allies of consequences if the try to extend their August 31 deadline for full drawdown of troops. Calling it a red line, he said any extension would imply an extended occupation of the country . The warning came ahead of an emergency G7 meeting on Tuesday, which is expected to push the US to seek an extension of the August 31 deadline, as time is running out to evacuate all foreign nationals. Amid the ongoing chaos at the Kabul airport, there were reports of gunfire killing an Afghan soldier. But outgoing flights continued to operate, with an IAF aircraft airlifting over 70 people, including its citizens and a group of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, to Dushanbe in Tajikistan. Another similar batch of people is expected to be flown out to Dushanbe soon. Separately India brought back 146 nation, als to Delhi in four commercial flights from Doha. India has been receiving requests from other countries, too, including To unlock value in roads, railways, airports and gas pipelines E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhi THE Centre hopes to rake in `6 lakh crore over the next four years by monetising under-utilised infrastructure assets, of which `88,000 crore in the current financial year (FY22) alone. Unveiling the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) here on Monday Finance Minister Nirmala Sith, araman said projects have been identified across various sectors including roads, railways and power, which is expected to unlock an average of `1.50 lakh crore a year till FY25. The asset monetisation being envisaged does not involve selling of land and the government is not handing over ownership of these assets to private sectors, the FM stressed. “It is about monetising brownfield (existing) assets. Ownership of assets will remain with the government and there will be a mandatory handback,” she added. The government hopes to earn reveneus by bringing in private participation in ‘brownfield assets’, which are either languishing, not fully monetised or remaining un- der-utilised. The MNP would cover 12 line ministries and more than 20 asset classes, including roads, railways, ports, airports, warehousing, gas & product pipelines, power, mining, telecom, stadium, hospitality and housing. The top 5 sectors — roads (27%), Railways (25%), Power (15%), oil & gas pipelines (8%) and Telecom (6%) — account for 83% of the aggregate pipeline value. For now, the pipeline involves only Central government assets. However, the Centre is encouraging states to identify and monetise their assets and has offered incentives for doing so. Speaking at the launch, Niti Ayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said: “The strategic objective of the programme is to unlock the value of investments in brownfield public sector assets by tapping institutional and long-term patient capital, which can thereafter be leveraged for further public investments.” Union Budget 2021-22 had identified monetisation of operating public infrastructure assets as a key means for sustainable infrastructure financing. Nitish Kumar, right, bonding with Tejashwi Yadav in New Delhi on Monday | PTI Nepal and Sri Lanka, for evacuating its nationals. On Sunday a Lebanese , citizen was part of an airlifted batch by India from Kabul. Officials, however, said priority will be given to Indian nationals for repatriation. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed the security situation in Afghanistan. As expected, China hinted at stepping up financial assistance to the Taliban, saying it will play a positive role in helping Afghanistan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US cannot leave without doing anything for the warravaged nation’s reconstruction. We are looking forward to creating employment opportunities for as many young graduates as possible with our upcoming initiatives Mohan Das, co-founder, Nucore A FLIGHT-TICKET distribution p l a t f o r m d eve l o p e d by Kozhikode-based IT firm Nucore has become one of the leading booking s o l u t i o n s av a i l a b l e globally . The startup’s Nuflights platform allows airlines, travel agents and companies to sell tickets and other products L 1.5 lakh a year For FY22, the govt aims to realise L 88,000 crore through NMP 52% Railways and roads together contribute 52% of the total NMP value Disinvestment and monetisation of noncore assets such as land, building, and pure-play real estate assets included in the NMP marooned A family which got stranded in the flooded Mayang village in Morigaon district of Assam on Monday. IMD has forecast widespread rain over many parts of north, northeast India for five days | PTI An all-party delegation led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday demanding caste census, was interesting in many ways as it was loaded with symbolism. Midway through the meeting, Modi asked RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav about the health of his father Lalu Prasad Yadav. “How is the health of Lalu Prasadji? I had spoken to doctors when he was ill,” sources in the delegation quoted Modi as enquiring. Tejashwi reciprocated the warmth, saying he has improved but is not completely cured. Sensing the attempt to build personal chemistry, Nitish reportedly told the PM that the delegation was Tejashwi’s idea. “Nitish’s next gesture came outside the PMO,” source said, as he not only was seen having a relaxed chat with Tejashwi after the meeting but also asked him (Tejashwi) to speak to the media. For much of his current tenure as CM, Nitish has had a frosty re- lationship with Tejashwi. “Their new-found political chemistry is intended to keep the BJP in check,” a senior NDA leader said, requesting anonymity . When the media sought to probe their bonding, Nitish responded with just a smile. Observers opined that Mandal Part-II was unfolding, which could blossom into a realignment between the JD(U) and RJD later. “The PM patiently heard us all on the issue of the caste census... We requested him to take an appropriate decision,” Nitish said. Kozhikode IT firm’s flight booking platform big hit with int’l passengers quickly reducing cost significantly and thus benefiting passengers , with lower rates. The UAE-based Emirates airline has adopted Nuflights for its bookings and distributions globally , which has now given the Kozhikode firm a global reach. British Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines are the major carriers that Total indicative value of NMP has been estimated at C6 lakh crore over 4 years till FY25, with average realisation of Twenty-eight US military flights ferried about 10,400 people out of Afghanistan over the 24 hours that ended early Monday morning, a White House official said, making it the nation’s biggest day of airlifts. s k y ’ s t h e l i m it P o o j a N a i r @ Kozhikode NMP will include monetisation of brownfield projects but no outright sale of assets US evacuates around 10,400 in a day from Afghanistan R a j e s h K u m a r T h a k u r @ Patna/Delhi USFDA gives full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine tappinG BROWNFIELD PROJECTS US Marines shepherding an Afghan national and his children ahead of evacuation | pti PM hears out Nitish delegation’s caste census pitch Mumbai: The NIA in its draft charges submitted before a special court here in the Elgar ParishadMaoist links case said the accused wanted to establish their own government. However, there was no mention of a bid to assassinate PM Modi, as claimed by Pune police | P8 The US Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine. It had in December given emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, developed by US-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech | P12 The minister has called for strengthening the home quarantine system after it was found that laxity in following the protocol led to the infection being spread to other family members. She reminded that the disease could be severe on elderly and those with comorbidities. The minister said the department will increase the Covid testing and she also asked the public to undergo voluntary testing if they have symptoms. She reminded that vaccination would not prevent breakthrough infection and cautioned against lowering guard after ● More on P4 two doses of vaccine. L6 lakh-crore plan to monetise infra assets have signed pacts with Nucore to adopt the new platform, said Suhail V P the company’s CEO. , “We, as four friends from different parts of the state, started this venture a few years ago at the U r a l u n g a l C y b e r P a rk i n Kozhikode. The city has been a lucky charm for our venture in terms of growth. Nucore has been able to play a leading role globally in enforcing the latest New Distribution Capability standards of soaring hopes UAE-based Emirates has signed Nuflights for its bookings and distributions globally The company has 620 clients across 34 countries, claims CEO British Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines have signed pacts with Nucore the International Air Transport Association. Our platform has been widely recognised by airline companies and IATA,” Suhail said. In a short span of time, the company has become an air travel booking and travel accounting software provider in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and South Asia markets with over 620 clients across 34 countries, the ● More on P4 CEO pointed out. Guru’s messages have solution to Af problems: CM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram Sree Narayana Guru’s messages have solutions to some serious problems faced by the world, including that in Afghanistan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. “Afghanistan puts forward a big lesson to humanity If reli. gious extremism flares up, people and countries will burn in it. Guru shared the great message of loving one another which would prevent humanity from being burned in the fire of extremism,” he said while inaugurating the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru held at C h e m p a z h a n t hy h e re o n Monday . In his online message, the chief minister said Guru’s messages should reach places where people fight over religion and community. “There haven’t been many times like this before when humanity was crushed to death by religious, communal and extremist forces. Hence Guru’s messages have great relevance in our times,” he said.
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