chennaI l sunday l june 19, 2022 l `12.00 l PAGES 26 l late city EDITION Two dead as blasts tear through Kabul Gurdwara At least seven persons were also injured in the latest attack to target the Sikh community in war-torn Afghanistan Explosive-laden truck stopped A series of explosions was followed by gunfights between terrorists and Taliban fighters, a Taliban spokesperson said without divulging any details about the attackers. Afghanistan’s interior ministry said a bigger tragedy was thwarted as secuirty personnel stopped an explosive-laden vehicle from reaching the Gurdwara. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack ■ 30 a centre of Afghan hindus, sikhs ■ The early-morning attack killed a devotee and a secuirty guard. It happened in an area with a sizable Hindu and Sikh population Reacting sharply to the incident, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “The cowardly attack on Gurdwara Karte Parwan should be condemned in the strongest terms by all” people were inside the gurdwara at the time of attack 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 Mekedatu row: TN delegation to meet Jal Sakthi Min E x p ress Ne w s S er v i c e @ Chennai Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday expressed dismay over Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) chairman SK Haldar’s assertion that the authority will discuss Karnataka’s Mekedatu dam proposal at its 16th meeting to be held in New Delhi on June 23. In a statement, the CM said a delegation of leaders of TN legislature parties, led by Water Resources Minister Durai Murugan, will soon meet Union Jal Sakthi Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in New Delhi to bring to his attention the anguish caused by Haldar’s remarks in Tamil Nadu. “The CWMA does not have any power to take unilateral decisions on such issues when the matter is pending before the SC. The chairman’s assertion that the authority will discuss Mekedatu issue is against law,” the Chief Minister said. “We have sought an appoint- ment with the Union Jal Sakthi Minister. Once the appointment is confirmed, the delegation will go to New Delhi. We will not allow the construction of the dam at Mekedatu. It is inappropriate to discuss this issue at the CWMA meeting. The State government’s legal battle to protect its rights over Cauvery water will continue before the SC,” the CM said. Pointing to reports about Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai camping in New Delhi to exert pressure on the Centre, the CM said, “The Union government should not yield to Karnataka’s pressure. I believe the BJP-led Centre would act in a manner that would protect the dignity of Ten per cent vacancies in Central Armed Police Forces, Assam Rifles and Indian Coast Guard to be reserved for recruits under the scheme Govt set to go ahead with Agnipath, lists more sops C H A ND A N N A ND Y & M AYA N K S ING H @ New Delhi e x p r ess r e a d India’s Russian coal buy jumps six-fold: report New Delhi: India’s purchases of Russian coal have spiked despite global sanctions on Moscow, as traders offer discounts of up to 30%, according to Reuters. India’s purchases of coal and related products rose six-fold in the 20 days through Wednesday from the same period a year earlier to $331.17 million, it said Khera to head Cong’s media & publicity wing New Delhi: Congress has appointed Pawan Khera as the chairman of media and publicity in the new communications department of the party. It comes weeks after the party announced plans to revamp its communication and media department at the brainstorming session in Udaipur | P9 Assam floods: 8 more deaths take toll to 63 Guwahati: Assam on Saturday continued to reel under devastating floods caused by incessant rain with eight more people losing their lives, taking the total rain-related toll to 63. Across the state, 31 lakh people are affected, officials said. The floods have inundated 66,455 hectares of crop area | P10 Single-leadership row: Chaos at AIADMK HQ Chennai: Chaos prevailed at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai on Saturday as supporters of party coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami raised slogans. One EPS supporter was allegedly attacked on the premises. p4 Jab-o-meter June 17 13,14,094 doses Take June 18 11,61,176 doses your shot Total: 196,13,24,182 NATIONWIDE June 17 June 18 tamil nadu June 17 June 18 Fresh cases 12,847 13,216 Fresh cases Recoveries 7,985 8,148 Recoveries Deaths 14 23 Deaths 589 208 0 WITH THIS ISSUE The Great Indian Job Race PLUS 12 PAGES 596 217 0 Undeterred by the violent protests against the Agnipath scheme, the Centre on Saturday indicated it will go ahead with the recruitment as it announced a slew of new concessions for Agniveer aspirants. While the Union home ministry announced that 10% vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles would be reserved for Agniveers, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved a similar proposal for the new recruits once they complete their four-year tenure in the armed forces. The newly announced reservation will be applicable for the Indian Coast Guard, defence civilian posts and all 16 defence public sector undertakings. The reservation for Agniveers will be in addition to existing quota for ex-servicemen. In a statement, the defence ministry said “necessary age relaxation provision will also be made” to effect this change. The fresh announcements follow the government’s one-time relaxation in the upper age limit for joining the armed forces this year, raising it from 21 to 23, in view of the freeze in recruitment drive in the past two years due to the pandemic. According to the Agnipath scheme announced on June 14, those between 17.5 and 21 years of age can apply to be Agniveers for four years. The Ministry of Home Affairs also decided to give three years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment to CAPFs and Assam Rifles. For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be for five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit. In addition to the two ministries, the states of Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam have announced preference to Agniveers in state police recruitment. “The state police forces will greatly benefit from the training and discipline inculcated to Agniveers by the armed forces and their capabilities in tackling insurgency, Naxalism and natural disasters will be hugely augmented.” said the government in a press release. According to the government, several corporate houses and industry bodies have welcomed the new and transformative recruitment process for the armed forces. “The well trained, disciplined and technologically savvy youth who finish their service in the armed forces will be a valuable asset to their organisations, they said. Apart from customised certificates, a bachelor’s programme by the Indira Gandhi National Open University has also been planned for the Agniveers. The government is hopeful that financial institutions will also extend support. To identify the ways in which banks can support Agniveers on completion of their tenure of duty Secretary Department of Financial Services , , held a meeting with the heads of public-sector banks, public-sector insurance companies and financial institutions. In the meeting, it was decided that banks and financial institutions will explore employment opportunities for Agniveers in suitable capacities based on their educational qualifications and skills. P9, 10 It is bringing revolutionary changes in the recruitment process in the armed forces. Some people are spreading misunderstanding about it Rajnath Singh, defence minister Police arrest key instigator behind Secunderabad protests Andhra Pradesh police have arrested one of the alleged key instigators of Friday’s violent protests at the Secunderabad Railway Station. The accused, identified as A Subba Rao, runs a coaching centre that trains aspirants of defence services. He allegedly instigated the aspirants to protest against the Agnipath scheme. He told the police that if the Centre goes ahead with the scheme, his coaching business will take a hit P7 Roll back Agnipath scheme, CM Stalin urges Union govt Chennai: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday urged the Union Government to immediately roll back the Agnipath scheme. In a statement, the CM said: “You can’t expect a man who is joining the army for just four years on contract service to be committed to the extent that he can lay down his life for the country.” P4 10 In Bihar, which has seen some of the worst protests against the Agnipath scheme, the Centre has accorded VIP security cover to 10 BJP legislators in view of threats posed to them federal principles.” Stalin said Karnataka has been making efforts to reduce the quantum of Cauvery water being given to TN, and Mekedatu dam was one such move. “This is a big betrayal to TN farmers. It is also against all past SC verdicts,” Stalin said. The CM, who recalled his letter to the PM on June 13, said though the quantum of Cauvery water allocated to TN did not meet its expectations, the State has been managing its needs with its share — provided Karnataka gave it as per schedule. Any disruption in that would affect TN adversely and hence Mekedatu was a sensitive issue, the CM said. P4 Farooq bows out of Prez poll race RAJESH KUMAR THAKUR @ New Delhi national Conference chief and former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday declined the invite to be the Opposition’s candidate for President, dealing a blow to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to propose a consensus name. Thanking Mamata for the offer, Abdullah said he wants to remain in active politics as he has a lot more to contribute to the country. “I withdraw my name from consideration as a possible joint opposition candidate for the President of India. I believe that Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a critical juncture and my efforts are required to help navigate these uncertain times,” he said. Earlier, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, too, had declined the offer to be the Opposition’s consensus candidate for President. Apart from Pawar and Abdullah, Mamata-led Opposition meet on June 15 had also suggested former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as the third choice. According to sources, both Pawar and Abdullah rejected the invite due to the Opposition’s weak electoral strength 1-yr mANDATORY WORK in hilly areas for TN govt SCHOOLTEACHERS cycle for hilly regions. The rotation will take place on the first day of every acaGovernment school- demic year,” an official teachers working in dis- said. tricts with hilly terrains Those already workwill now have to coming in hill schools pulsorily work in may give a letter of schools located in intent expressing hills for at least one their interest to year during their continue working service period, a nothere. Teachers will tice issued by the be posted in such school education de- Exempted schools based on partment said on sections their seniority with , Saturday . juniors being transThe order, which People with ferred first. Also, elwill cover at least 20 100% visual ementary and midblocks across dis- impairment, dle school teachers, and those tricts such as and principals servwith more Dindigul, Vellore, ing in hilly areas than 40% Erode, Tirupattur, will get priority in Dharmapuri, Theni, disability are promotions. among the and Salem, is aimed If a new district is at addressing vacan- sections who formed and if a parcies in such schools are exempted ticular hill school from the due to reluctance on gets reallocated to service the part of teachers the district, the jointo take up jobs in ing date of teachers hilly areas. will remain the same. This “Elementary and middle is to ensure that teachers school teachers, principals, will not be forced to serve and graduate teachers are for more than a year in included in this transition schools in hilly areas. P7 E XP R E S S N E W S S E R VIC E @ Chennai jumbo tale Odisha blows lid off pan-India elephant trafficking racket S i b a M o ha n ty @ Bhubaneswar IN what could be of huge ramification, the Forest department of Odisha has blown the lid off a pan-India illegal elephant trafficking racket which attempted to use forged no objection certificates (NOCs) to s m u g g l e c ap t ive j u m b o s through the State to Gujarat. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) has alerted its counterparts in other states and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) so that applications for transportation of elephants and their movement across the country can be closely monitored. The matter assumes significance in view of a proposed amendment by Centre to the Wildlife Protection Act which seeks to commercialise the Schedule – I species. There already exists a huge nexus between capture of wild elephants and their demand by temples, religious institutions and even political parties. At least, eight cases of trafficking have come to fore last month. The CWLW of Odisha found racketeers tried to fake NOCs by using forged signatures. In all cases, the attempt was to allegedly smuggle elephants from Assam. Seven of these cases saw bids made to transport elephants to Gujarat’s Jamnagar for a temple trust, reliable sources told The New Indian Express. The first case related to trafficking of a jumbo to Odisha from Assam. Interestingly, the CWLW office in the State had earlier received an application for transportation of a captive jumbo from the Northeastern state to Koraput district. Upon verification it was found that the requisites were not met and the application was rejected. When a fake NOC reached the Assam CWLW, it sought clarification from its Odisha counterpart and the first case was detected. However, the CWLW office was perplexed when it received queries from its Gujarat counterpart about seven NOCs allegedly issued by the former for transportation of elephants. All the NOCs were identical – from applicant to destination. Only the description of the jumbos was different. In all, signs were reportedly forged to generate the NOCs. for Presidential polls. “Now, Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the only name in the race but he is yet to say yes or no,” remarked a senior Congress leader. The next meeting of Opposition parties on Presidential polls may take place on June 20 or 21 in Mumbai or Delhi. “The final decision may come at this meeting. But, Abdullah’s refusal to be the joint consensus candidate for the Presidential of India has given a jolt to Didi’s effort being made to put a united face against the BJP-led NDA face of President”, remarked an opposition leader. The process to elect a new President began on June 15. The last date of filing of nominations is June 29. The election, if necessary will be held , on July 18 and and the counting on July 21. shiv nadar trust Theosophical Society leases out 14 acres for `512 crore E x p ress Ne w s S er v i c e @ Chennai The Chennai-based Theosophical Society has leased out 13 acres and 86 cents of land at Damodar Gardens in Besant Nagar for `512 crore to Shiv Nadar Trust for a period of 43 years. According to documents accessed by TNIE, the trust will build a school on the campus. The deal between the society , founded in 1875 by Madam Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, and Shiv Nadar Trust, associated with HCL chief Shiv Nadar, allows the trust to use the space for educational purposes and establish residential accommodation for teachers, staff members, and students. The lease period will be from May 31, 2022 to May 30, 2065. Any negotiation on renewal of lease shall commence six years prior to the date of expiry but not later than five years before the expiry of the lease. The society may also extend the lease period by five years to enable the trust to relocate the educational institution to some other place. As per the agreement, the trust will pay `1.42 crore per annum as rent from the date of signing of the lease, and in the second pre-operative period, it would be `3.42 crore and in third year it would be `6.83 crore. After the third year, the rent will be subject to enhancement of 2.5% per annum on the last rent paid. Currently two schools — The , Olcott Memorial Higher Secondary School (OMHSS) and Adyar Theosophical Academy (ATA) — are being operated on the campus. Continued on: P7
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