BHUBANESWAR l THURSday l JUNE 23, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l JEYPORE EDITION Biden calls for 3-month suspension of fuel tax US President Joe Biden has also called on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief, the White House said Consumers to save 3.6% at the pump Move to salvage prez’s low ratings The federal tax on gas is 18.4 cents-a-gallon, while it is 24.4 cents on diesel. In his speech to Congress on Wednesday, Biden will suggest suspending fuel tax till September, the White House said. If the benefits are fully passed on to consumers, it will translate into 3.6% saving at the pump. Biden also called on energy firms to accept lower profit margins to raise oil production ■ White House had been considering a gas tax holiday for months, but held off till now over concerns how Congress will take it. The latest move comes at a time when Biden’s ratings have taken a battering as inflation soared to its highest level since the 1980s and the national average gas price has reached $5 per gallon $10 billion Estimated cost of the three-month tax freeze to the federal government 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 Shinde rejects Uddhav’s CMship offer Pawar tries to play peacemaker; chief minister issues emotional appeal to the rebels; vacates official residence Rebels ‘elect’ him Sena legislative party leader S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai 1,000 dead in deadly Af quake 1,500 people have been injured and many villages destroyed in the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan in more than two decades The 6.1-magnitude quake struck around 1.30 am local time, catching many in their sleep Its epicentre was in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, not very far from the Pak border Tremors were felt in Pakistan and India as well The toll may rise as many people are still trapped beneath the debris and rescue works are hampered by a lack of machinery Experts blame poor building quality and high population density for the high toll | P9 CBI books Wadhawan bros in `34,615 cr fraud E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ New Delhi THE Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against Dewan Housing Finance Corporation promoters Kapil Wadhawan, Dheeraj Wadhawan and others for defrauding a consortium of 17 banks to the tune of `34,615 crore, making it the biggest banking fraud probed by the agency. Following registration of the case on June 20, the CBI on Wednesday carried out coordinated searches on 12 properties of the accused in Mumbai. “Searches were conducted at 12 locations in Mumbai at the premises of accused, which led to recovery of incriminating documents,” the CBI said. The CBI action follows a complaint from the Union Bank of India, leader of the 17-member consortium which had extended credit facilities to the tune of `42,871 crore between 2010 and 2018. The complaint alleged that the Wadhawan brothers and DFL director Sudhakar Shetty along with other accused entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the banks. The FIR also names Amaryllis Realtors LLP Gulmarg Realtors , Jab-o-meter Take your shot June 21 10,50,571 doses June 22 30,20,119 doses Total: 112,91,49,871 LLP, Skylark Buildcon, Darshan Developers, Sigtia Constructions, Creator Builders, Township Developers, Shishir Realty, Sunblink Real Estate and other unknown persons including public servants. The accused allegedly cheated the consortium by siphoning off loans after creating shell companies. The audit of DHFL account books showed Bandra Books DHFL allegedly maintained as many as 1,81,664 ghost retail loan accounts having liability of over `14,000 crore, which were kept in a parallel set of accounts database known as ‘Bandra Books’, officials said the company allegedly committed financial irregularities, diverted funds, fabricated books, round tripped funds to “create assets for Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan” using public money Both are in judicial custody . in connection with previous fraud cases. The DHFL loan accounts were declared NPAs at different points of time by the lenders. NATIONWIDE June 21 June 22 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 9,923 12,249 7,293 9,862 17 13 ODISHA Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths June 21 June 22 53 20 0 45 36 0 With the Uddhav Thackerayled government in Maharashtra wobbling following a massive revolt in the Shiv Sena, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday tried to save it by suggesting rebel leader Eknath Shinde be made the new chief minister to contain the haemorrhage, but the latter promptly rejected the offer. With the writing on the wall, Uddhav vacated Varsha, his official residence in south Mumbai, and left for his family’s Matoshree bungalow in Bandra. Pawar, the chief architect of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi, called on Uddhav along with Supriya Sule and housing minister Jitendra Ahwad and proposed that the chief ministership be offered to Shinde while Uddhav stays as party president. His logic was the CM post is part of Shiv Sena’s quota and must stay that way . But Shinde, whose rebel group has numerical majority among lawmakers in the Shiv Sena, rejected the offer, saying has action was in the larger interests of the party, adding there will be compromise with the Hindutva ideology . Earlier in the day, Uddhav made an emotional webcast ap- File photo of Droupadi Murmu (C) at the Brahma Kumari HQ in Rajasthan dent in 2009, she went into depression. That was when she went to the Brahma Kumari headquarters to learn Raja Yoga meditation from the sisters there, informed the executive secretary of the institute, B K Mrityunjay . He said Murmu was able to somehow come out of the shock, but then in 2013, her second son, too, died in an acci- peal saying he was ready to resign as both CM and party head if the rebels meet him face to face and ask him to do so. But after the speech, Sena leader Sanjay Raut tweeted that they will fight till the last moment. Uddhav admitted that during the pandemic and due to his spinal surgery he could not in, teract with party lawmakers earlier, but was now meeting them. He lauded Pawar and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, with whose party the Sena is in an alliance, saying they were very cooperative and kind. “I am ready to resign as the CM. Our rebelling MLAs should choose a CM from amongst themselves. The CM should be from Shiv Sena... Why speak from Surat and Guwahati, please come to Mumbai and talk to me. If you do not want to meet me, at least call and convey your thoughts,” he said. Rebutting Shinde’s charge on compromising with Hindutva, Uddhav said: “Aditya Thackeray recently went to Ayodhya with Shinde. Hindutva is part of Shiv Sena. I may the first Maharashtra CM who spoken on Hindutva in the state Assembly I am not a person who . will stick with the CM’s chair. I have already written the resignation letter,” said Uddhav adding that he would not like anyone voting from his party against him in the floor test. Uddhav said he was pained that his own people were saying he should not be the CM. He claimed he was not worried about the numbers. “Numbers are not important, people are,” he said trying to tug at the rebels’ heartstrings. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Bhubaneswar Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday met Pope Francis in the Vatican City and presented him a pattachitra, an ancient cloth based scroll painting unique to Odisha. The Chief Minister expressed his pleasure meeting the Pope and thanked him for his warm audience. He wished him good health and a long life. “It has been an absolute pleasure meeting His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City . Thanked him for the warm audience and wished him good health and a long life,” Naveen tweeted. On the occasion, he presented the Pope a pattachitra painting which depicts the ‘Tree of Life.’ “On behalf of #Odisha and her people, presented a #Pattachitra which depicts the Tree of Life to His Holiness Pope Francis (@Pontifex) in Vatican City The unique ancient tradi. tional scroll painting is one of the finest representatives of Odisha’s craftsmanship and artistry said another tweet of ,” Murmu’s spiritual calling at Mt Abu A wave of excitement swept across the normally sedate Brahma Kumari spiritual fraternity after learning that Droupadi Murmu was set to be the country’s new President. For, Murmu has been a follower and a regular visitor of the Prajapita Brahma Kumari Spiritual University at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. The meditation technique she learnt from them helped her overcome grave personal tragedies in her life, as she unfortunately lost both her sons and husband within just five years. Murmu’s life has been full of struggles, hail as she does from the Santhal tribal community in Odisha. When one of her sons, Laxman, died in an acci- Video grab of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde in Guwahati on Wednesday | pti Naveen meets Pope, presents ‘Tree of life’ painting b r a h m a k um a r i s R a j e s h A s n a n i @ Jaipur rebels sought to paint the Uddhav government as corrupt, A day after the Shiv Sena sacked pointing to the serious allegarebel leader Eknath Shinde as tions against jailed Aghadi the head of the party in the Ma- leaders Anil Deshmukh and Naharashtra Assembly, his loyal- wab Malik. “The Congress and ists appointed him as the par- the NCP are using their office ty’s legislative party leader and and power to undermine the named a new party base and foundation Four more our Shiv Sena cadre,” whip. After shifting the 34 in Guwahati the resolution alleged. rebel MLAs to Guwa“The Sena is a party Another hati from Surat over- chartered plane with strong ideology night, Shinde sought to with four Sena and was formed for consolidate his posi- MLAs arrived in fighting for the rights tion, as the party brass the Marathi manoos. Guwahati on in Mumbai called a leg- Wednesday to Since the last two-andislative party meeting a-half years, our party join the rebel and threatened to inand its leadership comShiv Sena voke the anti-defection legislators who promised on its princilaw. Shinde’s group ap- reached the city ples. Severing the allipointed Bharat Goga- earlier, sources ance with the BJP has wale as the new party had a tremendous negsaid whip replacing Sunil ative impact on the votPrabhu. ers and party cadre at Shinde claimed he had sup- large,” the resolution read. port of 40 Sena MLAs and that It added that the party’s leadnumbers will go up by and by If . ers were facing tremendous Shinde can prove he has 37 of pressure from their electorate. them with him, then they will “We have been subjected to lot escape the defection law. of criticism for being part of A resolution adopted by the this corrupt government.” E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Mumbai dent. And a year later, she lost her husband. “These tragic accidents brought an earthquake in her life, but she held the strings of spirituality so tightly that life got the strength to bear the adversities. She has a deep connection with spirituality and is constantly in touch with the headquarters of our institute,” Mrityunjay said. During an event at the Mt Abu centre, Murmu said, “I come here because brothers and sisters are very dear and I take their positivity and vibrations because the atmosphere here is different.” Many at Mt Abu recall her as saying that “when people change by taking advantage of the value-based education of this institution, then India will rise again. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presenting the pattachitra painting to Pope Francis the CM. Many priests and sisters from India, who were at the Vatican, were glad to see the Chief Minister and wished him well, said a statement from CMO. Naveen will lead a delegation to Dubai on his way back from Italy and have a one-to-one interaction with business houses in the UAE. Industry leaders, investors and business houses are expected to attend the investors’ meet being jointly organised by the State government and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on June 29. The State government has invited around 150 industrialists and business leaders from the Middle East and adjoining regions. Principal Secretary of Industries department Hemant Sharma individually wrote to the investors and Diaspora seeking their participation in the Investment Road Show. As per the scheduled programme, apart from the twohour one-to-one interaction with potential investors from across West Asia, there will be a one-hour long road show highlighting the investment potential in Odisha. In the evening, the CM will meet the members of several Odia Associations in the region. Around 400 members of Dubai Odia Association, Bahrain Odia Association, Oman Odia Association, Qatar Odia Association and Abu Dhabi Odia Association are expected to meet Naveen. Secretary to CM’s Transformation and Initiatives (5Ts) VK Pandian will give a presentation before the Odia expats on the road map for the State’s transformation. express read Heat respite, waterlogging woes for Bhubaneswar Bhubaneswar: A spell of rain brought down the mercury level in the State Capital by 2 to 3 degree Celsius on Wednesday but raised concerns for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is still struggling with waterlogging and urban flooding in the low-lying areas. The heavy shower that lasted for over an hour led to waterlogging at a number of places including Mahadev Nagar in Jharpada and Sailashree Vihar. P2 Naveen appeals for unanimous support to ‘daughter of Odisha’ Bhubaneswar: A win for Droupadi Murmu, the Presidential nominee of the BJP-led NDA government, is almost certain with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik throwing his party’s weight behind the daughter from Mayurbhanj district. In a clear message to the Mamata Banerjee led non-BJP aggregates which have been trying hard to secure BJD support for Yashwant Sinha, the Chief Minister on Wednesday made an appeal to all MLAs of Odisha to extend their support to Murmu. P3 Presidential nomination takes Santals to a historic high D i a n a S a h u @ Bhubaneswar FOR the Santal tribe in Odisha, one of the oldest and largest tribal communities of the State, the nomination of their very own Droupadi Murmu to the highest office of the Indian Republic is historic. She will become the first tribal and the second woman in the country after Pratibha Patil to enter the Raisina Hill in the seven decades of Independence. And this brings hope among her tribesmen for a better tomorrow in terms of education, language and livelihood. It will also further strengthen the Santal identity, said the community members who have not stopped celebrating ever since the news broke out. Vice-Chancellor of Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo University in Baripada, Kishore Kumar Basa, said other tribes focussed on livelihood but Santalis used education and the country’s reservation policy as a tool to rise above backwardness and illiteracy The Santal population . is over 7 lakh. “It is a fact that today the Santals are more educated than any other tribes. Historically too, they had always asserted their tribal identity he said. Which is ,” why compared to the other tribes in the State, many Santals have bagged important positions in Indian politics, bureaucracy and society at large. Be it Pandit Raghunath Murmu who invented the Santali script Ol Chiki that found place in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in 2003, tribal leader ‘Bhanj Bir’ Sunaram Soren who had led a tribal movement in Mayurbhanj, Pandit Murmu’s son Sidhlal Murmu who was an MP from Mayurbhanj from 1984 to 1989, former ministers late Chaitanya Prasad Majhi, Saraswati Hembram and Sudam Marandi, the current Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Girish Chandra Murmu or Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Jal Shakti Biseswar Tudu. The list is a long one. As per the Census-2011 report, while Odisha’s literacy rate is 74.45 per cent, that of the Santal community is 30.2 per cent which is higher than all the other tribal communities. “A large number of Santal youths from Odisha are also entering the bureaucracy now, just like the Meena tribe in eastern and southern Rajasthan. But this is the first time a Santal leader will become the first citizen of our country It is a matter . of great pride for us,” said Santali writer Damayanti Besra, a Pa d m a S h r i a n d S a h i t ya Akademi awardee, who hopes that under Murmu’s Presiden- tial tenure Santali language will find a greater reach and students will be taught in the language at school level as mandated under the National Education Policy . Bhimwar Murmu, grandson of Pandit Raghunath Murmu who is promoting Ol Chiki, also has similar hopes. Recalling Droupadi Murmu’s association with his grandfather, he said she was not only his student but also taught in the Adivasi Social Education and Cultural Association that Pandit Murmu set up in 1964 in Mayurbhanj. However, sociologist Binay Kumar Pattnaik of IIT-Kanpur said Murmu’s nomination to the country’s highest post is a reason for celebration for all tribals, not just Santals and not only in Odisha but the entire country. “Because, this indicates social integration of tribal communities to the mainstream,” he added.
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