villupuram l friday l may 20, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Relief as Indonesia lifts ban on palm oil export In a major relief for India’s FMGC sector, exports will resume on Monday, almost a month after the ban went into effect Price fall in local market behind decision Domestic Supply triples: Widodo Indonesian President Joko Widodo said palm oil’s price has fallen from $1.35 per litre to about $1.17 since the ban, which was meant to increase its local supply and reduce the domestic price. The war in Ukraine, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s sunflower oil, had put pressure on the global supply of cooking oil, making palm oil prices jump ■ ■ Once Indonesia announced its export ban, the price of palm oil shot up 200%, putting pressure on India, which imports about 8.5 million tonnes of the commodity annually Indonesian leader said the ban has helped triple the supply of palm oil from 64,500 tons to 2,11,000 tons per month 60% of world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI GST Council’s decisions not written in stone, rules SC Says Parliament, assemblies free to legislate on it; experts fear it would trigger fresh face-off with Centre M o n i k a Ya d a v @ New Delhi The Supreme Court opened a can of worms on Thursday when in the course of delivering a verdict in a case, it held that the GST Council’s recommendations have only persuasive value and are not binding. “The Parliament and the state legislatures possess simultaneous powers to legislate on GST. Article 246A of the Constitution does not envisage a repugnancy provision to resolve the inconsistencies between the Central and state laws on GST. The recommendations of the GST Council are the product of a collaborative dialogue involving the Union and states. They are recommendatory in nature,” the court observed. The bench made the observation while upholding a Gujarat High Court order to revoke Integrated GST (IGST) on ocean freight from Indian importers. It held that the IGST paid on ocean freight is unconstitutional and those who have already paid it will be eligible for refund. Some state finance ministers from non-BJP states had in the past ques- Dialogue in federalism “Indian federalism is a dialogue between cooperative and uncooperative federalism where the federal units are at liberty to use different means of persuasion,” the ruling said tioned the authority of the GST Council and even termed the GST (in its current form and shape) as against the federalism. In May 2021, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan had berated the GST system and council saying they function with an omnipotent and all-encompassing mandate not envisioned in the Constitution. Tax experts believe the SC’s observation might increase the state vs Centre tussle on many GST issues. Mahesh Jaising, Partner, Deloitte India said, “This would have far reaching implications on various other matters where states are not in agreement with the decisions of the GST Council, especially in light of the compensation period coming to an G.O. opens Kanaga Sabhai darshan to all Baga l ava n Pe r i e r B @ Cuddalore/Chennai THE practice of devotees having darshan from the Kanaga Sabhai (Tiruchitrambala Medai) in the Sri Nataraja temple in Chidambaram resumed on Thursday in the presence of a large posse of police personnel, following a G.O. from the State government, amid opposition from the Dikshithars who manage the temple. The order was issued after the HR&CE commissioner, based on a report from the Cuddalore district Collector, recommended that the practice of worshipping the presiding deity from Kanaga Sabhai be restored. The practice of devotees having darshan from Kanaga Sabhai was restricted during the pandemic. Even after the government lifted restrictions, the Dikshitars objected to resuming the practice. As various organisations staged protests, a writ petition was filed before the Madras High Court seeking for the practice to be resumed and the court directed the government to take a decision by April 20. On Thursday, Cuddalore district additional collector Ranjeet Singh held a meeting at Chidambaram Revenue Divisional Office with representatives of the Dikshithars, who opposed the G.O. Sources said the additional collector warned of severe action if the order was not honoured. Continued on: P5 One on the run Disabled woman raped, 3 arrested in Chengalpattu E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ Chennai `100 Tomato prices shoot up after slump Just two months ago, the fruit cost `7 a kg in Tamil Nadu, but a drop in cultivation has pushed retail prices to `100 in Chennai, `80 in Tiruchy, `80-90 in Coimbatore, and `60-80 in Madurai | P2 Giving it back Members of the Inter-University Students Federation throw tear gas canisters back to the police during an anti-government protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday | Ap ‘Similar mishap occurred at quarry just 20 days earlier’ S r ee m at h i M @ Tirunelveli THE three fatalities in the stone quarry mishap could have been avoided if workers’ concerns had been addressed, say the two survivors of the incident in Adaimithipankulam in Tirunelveli district. One person is yet to be found. “Just about 20 days ago, a rock fell due to a landslide in the quarry But when . we informed the senior staff, we were simply told to return to work,” says M Murugan (31), a crane operator from Thoothukudi district. Murugan and the other survivor, J Vijayan (25), also a crane operator from Thoothukudi district, are now at the Tirunelveli Government Superspeciality Hospital. Their health is stable, but memories of the accident on Saturday night continue to haunt them. “There were not many people at the site at that time. If the mishap had occurred in the morning, many more people would have died,” says Murugan, who has been working in the quarry for four years. Vijayan, who’s been employed there for nearly seven years, points out that all six people at the quarry at the time ended up trapped in the mishap. “We loaded six lorries with stones, and when the seventh arrived and we were breaking rocks, a gigantic boulder fell from above,” Vijayan re- Order clearly establishes rights of State governments, asserts PTR E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ Madurai Reacting to the Supreme Court’s order which held that the GST Council’s recommendations are advisory in nature and not binding on Union and State governments, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiaga Rajan told reporters in Madurai on Thursday that though the actions of the Centre, Governor, and President were against federalism, the court’s orders clearly establish States’ rights and powers of the council of ministers on con- stitutional ground. He also pointed to the court’s order on Wednesday sanctioning the release of A G Perarivalan in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to buttress his point. The council can’t force governments to follow its recommendations, he said. “More than 20 recommendations passed by the State Cabinet for ceremonial approval from the Governor are still awaiting nod. This is against democracy. Where is the need for an elected body, if they decide it?” the minister asked. Now, court nod for case against Mathura mosque Structure found in gyanvapi resembles shivalinga: Survey E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Lucknow N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow Amid the ongoing litigation on the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, a Mathura district court on Thursday allowed petitions seeking removal of the Shahi Idgah masjid abutting the Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. “The suit to remove the Shahi Idgah mosque on the ground that it was built over the Krishna Janmabhoomi land is maintainable,” district judge Rajeev Bharti said, overturning a civil court’s order dismissing a bunch of petitions demanding it. “Right to sue of the plaintiff will stand restored. Case will be restored at its original number,” the district court said in its order. The order came on a revision petition filed by deities Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman of Katra Keshav Dev temple and Asthan Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi, through next of friends Ranjana Agnihotri and six others challenging the dismissal order. In all, three lawsuits were filed. They sought the removal of the Shahi Idgah masjid on the grounds that it was built on orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669-70 over 13.37 acre on the premises of the Katra Keshav Dev temple adjacent the Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi. The Mathura civil court had dismissed the petitions on September 30, 2020 saying it was in contravention with the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. In their challenge at the district court, the petitioners claimed that as devotees of Lord Krishna, their right to practice and propagate their religion under Article 25 of the Constitution was infringed. INSIDE A 31-year-old woman with intellectual disability was allegedly gangraped by a four men on Tuesday night. The victim was rescued by her neighbours and sent to a hospital. The police arrested three of the accused on Wednesday and are searching for the fourth. The incident took place around 8 pm at a village in Chengalpattu district. Police said the survivor’s parents, who are labourers and often work in farmlands, had gone for work at the time of the incident. “The men, who are from a nearby street, entered the house when the woman was alone, gagged and took her to the house of one of the accused, and raped her on the terrace,” said a senior police officer. A person from the locality witnessed the incident and raised an alarm. While the gang fled, the neighbours rushed in to help the woman. On being alerted, police arrived on the scene and the woman was rushed to the Chengalpattu Government Hospital. A senior police officer told TNIE, “The woman suffered serious injuries, but she has no idea that she was sexually assaulted.” The three accused — D Ramanathan (29), Ajay (22) and Madhan (20) — were remanded in judicial custody on Wednesday night. A search is on for the fourth accused, Sasikumar. The accused were arrested under Sections pertaining to rape under the IPC and the Woman Harassment Act. end in June.” Article 279A of the Constitution specifies that the GST Council will only make recommendations to states and the Centre on taxes, cesses and surcharge levied by them, which may be subsumed in the GST Act. However, Sushil Modi, who has played a crucial role in shaping the GST as a member of the council while he was finance minister of Bihar, says the court’s observation will not make much of a difference. “The Supreme Court’s ruling is not new. It is already there in the Constitution. There won’t be any adverse implication of this amendment as no state would like to deviate from the majority for the fear of being at disadvantage or being singled out,” he said. interim bail for SP leader Azam Khan | P8 that structure were removed, its black colour became visible. A report of a court-ordered survey The survey report also mentions conducted in the Gyanvapi mosque the ground plan, zig-zag cuts inside on May 14-16, which was submitted to domes of the mosque and the main a Varanasi civil court on Thursday, mandaps, which matched the map of claims a black stone cylindrical ground plan of the Aadi Visheshwar structure found in the middle of the temple as printed in multiple books, wuzu (ablution) pond on said sources. the premises resembled a During the survey, a report Shivalinga, highly placed swastik was found on the submitted sources said. inner wall near the south As soon as the cylindripole of the main dome, cal structure became visisources added. Symbols of report of courtble to the court-appointed three damroos were reportordered survey of commission, the plaintiffs edly spotted at the main Gyanvapi mosque and their lawyers started gate of the mosque. In the submitted to calling it a Shivalinga north-west direction, a 15 Varanasi judge while the mosque authorift x15 ft basement was spotties termed it a fountain ted and it was reportedly that was defunct for years, covered with debris. Stones the report adds. lying in the debris had imsealed boxes Sources citing the report ages resembling the archicontaining maps, said the mosque staff tecture of north Indian failed to give a definite chips of still photos temples. and video clips of timeline on when the founSources also claimed the survey tain became defunct. Inithat the survey report retially, they claimed it was conducted on May 6 ferred to a 3 ft deep pond not working for the last 20 and 7, and May 14 to having 30 taps all around 16 part of the years but then they scaled it. At a distance of 83 ft documentation down the figure to 12 years. from the pond, an idol reThe mosque staff also sembling Nandi was spotfailed to make it operationted by the surveyors. al when requested to do so, The report also men32 GB chips, 1,500 they added. tions the images of trishul, frames of still On top of the cylindrical snake, bells, betel leaves, structure is an half-inch photographs and 10 elephants, bases for houshours of video thick white layer whose raing idols of deities the surrecordings in the dius is 9 inch and has five vey team found, said sealed boxes equal parts. A narrow 63 sources. cm deep hole was noticed Another report submitat the centre of the cylindrical struc- ted by sacked advocate commissioner ture, but the survey team found no Ajay Kuamr Mishra of the survey arrangement for a water supply pipe conducted by him on May 6 and 7 for the fountain to function. mentions many symbols resembling Sources claimed the cylindrical the architecture of north Indian temstructure was 2.5 ft high with a radi- ples like lotus, snakes and idols on us of 4 ft at the base. The report says wester n wall of the Gyanvapi when layers of moss deposited over mosque. P7 15-page Three Eight Indians in SL told to register with mission | P7 New chinese bridge over Pangong Tso | P7 yasin malik guilty of terror funding | P7 Boxing glory Officials survey the depth and width of the landslide at the stone quarry | V KARTHIKALAGU calls. “We couldn’t see anything for a few minutes as the quarry was filled with dust. So I shouted out, and got a response from Murugan. Later, Selvan also shouted for help. He was trapped in a vehicle under the rock.” Vijayan and Murugan, who weren’t trapped under the rocks, walked to each other, and called up the engineer for help. “The driver of the seventh lorry threw down some water to drink, and we gave some to Selvan too. We were stuck there till morning, and every movement of a stone gave us a scare,” he adds. S Selvan (25) passed away after being rescued from the quarry with Murugan and Vijayan on Sunday . Continued on: P5 Nikhat gets her due, now on top of worlds E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ Chennai NIKHAT Zareen. The name is quite familiar in Indian boxing. Known for her punches and quick foot movements inside the ring and for a few words outside, sometimes vitriolic and certain times sombre. Nikhat’s rivalry with six-time World Championships medallist, MC Mary Kom, is more popular than her boxing pedigree. When Nikhat beat Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the 52kg final of the World Boxing Championships on Thursday, she punched the air and celebrated. Those days of bitterness and fr ustration blur red into oblivion. Growing up in the shadow of a legend is not easy It can be heartbreak. ing at times and if she continues winning and securing the space, which under normal circumstances, would be Nikhat’s natural domain, it can be worse. There were words of despair. She cried and endured in silence. All she hoped for was good tidings. She considers herself stubborn and that perhaps could be one of the reasons why she never stopped dreaming. Champions usually don’t dwell much on missed chances. In 2014, she was the youth silver medallist and before that junior world champion in 2011. She also represented India at the world championships once in 2016 in 54kg. The pressure of performing was immense on the Nizamabad girl. For mortals, it would have been enough to make the knees wobble, but not for Nikhat. With 2024 Paris Olympics looming, nothing could have been more soothing than this gold. However, the weight categories available are 50kg and 54kg. India will return with three medals. Apart from Nikhat’s gold, Manisha Moun (57kg) and debutant Parveen Hooda (63kg), have won bronze.
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