KOLLAM l thursday l june 08, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION 700 Indian students in Canada face deportation over fake documents The students, most of them from Punjab, had moved to Canada in 2017-19 on student visas. Their admission letters were found to be fake Twitter L16-20 lakh paid to agent to secure visa Canadian oppn leader pledges support The fraud was discovered in March, when the students applied for permanent residency in Canada. When the Canadian Border Service Agency perused the documents the students had submitted for their visas, it found the purported admission letters from Humber College in Toronto were fake. The students had paid I16-20 lakh each to a Jalandhar-based agent for moving to Canada ■ Once the students reached Canada, the agent told them to seek admission elsewhere saying Humber seats were full. He also returned some money ■ Meanwhile, Canadian opposition leader Pierre Poilievre hit out at the Justin Trudeau-led government for the decision to deport the students. He said the students came in good faith and completed their programmes June 13 When the deportation is set to start, according to the notices to students 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 Speculation rife on minor cabinet rejig before PM’s US trip Wrestlers put agitation on hold for a week R A J E S H K UMA R T H A K U R @ New Delhi Anurag Thakur assures chargesheet in case against the sidelined WFI chief by June 15 Top protesting wrestlers on Wednesday agreed to suspend their agitation after Union sports minister Anurag Thakur assured that the Delhi Police probe into charges of sexual harassment against sidelined Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will be wrapped up by June 15. “We had a very positive discussion with the protesting wrestlers... They demanded that the investigation be concluded and a chargesheet be filed by June 15. This demand was agreed by consensus,” Thakur said after a six-hourlong discussions with the delegation of wrestlers. This was the second meeting between the government and the protesting wrestlers in the last five days. The grapplers had met Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday night. On Wednesday top wrestlers , including Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik met Thakur and made five significant demands, including the appointment of a woman WFI chief and the scrapping of police FIRs against them for violation of law and order on May 28. “In the meeting, it was suggested by the wrestlers that the WFI elections be held by June 30 and an Internal Complaints Committee of WFI be formed that should be headed by a woman,” Thakur said, adding all of them were agreed. “Also, names of two coaches were suggested by the wrestlers who will be part of the ad hoc committee for technical assistance,” he added. The minister said all decisions were taken unanimously , adding the wrestlers had also demanded the withdrawal of cases against various academies and sportspersons as well as not allowing Singh and his associates to participate in the election process. The government also agreed to the demand not to allow Brij Bhushan Singh, who has completed three terms as president, Minister Anurag Thakur (L) after talks with wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia on Wednesday | Parveen Negi and his associates to contest the forthcoming elections. Bajrang Punia, while speaking to reporters after the marathon meeting, said that he was satisfied with the outcome and has decided to suspend the protest till June 15. If the government fails to deliver on its promise, the protest could be resumed, Punia said. Significantly, double World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat, who had been spearheading the protest at the Jantar Mantar since April 23, skipped Wednesday’s meet. P7 Mock voting held, signalling imminent bypoll in Wayanad E x p ress News S er v ice @Kozhikode Priyanka in Wayanad? Congress is rumoured to be toying with the idea of fielding Priyanka Gandhi in Wayanad. The AICC general secretary is Congress’ best bet and her presence would salvage the party from the trouble caused by those eyeing the seat. In an indication that Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency may be headed to election soon, mock polling was held in Kozhikode on Wednesday in the presence of representatives of various parties. The LS seat fell vacant in March after the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as MP following his conviction by a Surat court over his remarks on the Modi surname. Kozhikode District Collector A Geetha said the Election Commission asked the district administration to check the electronic voting machines (EVMs). “The mock polls were held from 10am to 4.30pm on Wednesday under the supervision of the deputy collector, along with representatives of different parties. They checked the functioning of the EVMs. The exercise began from Kozhikode, as just one assembly seat (Thiruvambady) from here is in the Wayanad LS constituency In the coming days, mock polls will be held . in Malappuram and Wayanad,” she said. Discussions have begun among parties with the EC hinting the possibility of a byelection in the constituency that was the centre of attraction ● More on P4 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A family spends quality time on Kozhikode beach on Wednesday as dark clouds gather, signalling the onset of monsoon | E Gokul Monsoon arrives in Kerala U n n ikrish n a n S @T’Puram The SouthWest monsoon finally hit the Kerala coast on Wednesday, heralding the onset of the rainy season in the country The India Meteorological De. partment (IMD) is expected to make an official announcement soon. Meteorological indicators, such as the persistence of westerly winds over south Arabian Sea, an increase in the depth of westerly winds in the middle troposphere, and enhanced IMD alerts U J W A L J A L A L I @ New Delhi Light/moderate fairly widespread rainfall for next 5 days Yellow alert June 8: Alappuzha, Ernakulam Isolated heavy rain from June 7 to 11 June 9: T’Puram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha cloudiness in southeast Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep, and Kerala coasts, have created favourable conditions for monsoon onset. “Under such a scenario, the Centre hikes kharif crop MSPs by 5-10%, `143 more for paddy J ite n d r a C h o u b e y @ New Delhi A day after removing the procurement ceiling for pulses under the price support scheme to encourage farmers to boost production, the Centre on Wednesday increased the minimum support price (MSP) of kharif crops. The latest move is to provide better remuneration to farmers and motivate them to diversify their crops. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved revision in MSP for all mandated kharif crops grown in 2023-24 crop year and procured in Kharif marketing season (October-September). The decision comes in the backdrop of weaker monsoons and reduced sowing areas. For primary food crops such as paddy the new MSP stands at `2,183 , per quintal — an increase of `143 from last year. The MSP of moong (green gram) has been increased by `803 to `8,558 and that of sesame by `805 to `8,635. The MSP for maize has been raised by 6.5% to `2,090 per quintal, tur/arhar (pigeon peas) by 6% to `7,000, urad (black gram) by 5% to `6,950, groundnut by 9% to 6,377, and sunflower by 5.6% to `6,760. conditions are becoming favourable for monsoon onset over Kerala during the next 48 hours,” the IMD said on Wednesday . The monsoon’s soft launch was attributed to the presence of an uncommon cyclonic system that developed in the Arabian Sea during the season. However, the cyclonic storm, christened Biparjoy, moved further northwards strengthening the monsoon winds and creating favourable conditions for the rainy season, explained weather ● More on P4 experts. A series of meetings held by the BJP brass here since Monday has set off speculation of an organisational revamp and a possible minor reshuffle in the Union cabinet before the departure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US. Some ministers could be dropped and given organisational responsibilities so as to prepare the party for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. If sources are to be believed, a rejig in the ministries of agriculture, aviation, finance, Jal Shakti, environment and climate change, power and rural development is on the cards. The party’s senior leadership is learnt to have brainstormed on revamping BJP units in various states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala. The party is also expected to soon announce the name of leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly Incum. bent Karnataka BJP chief Nalin Kateel has completed his term in office. As for poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, there is buzz over Union minister Pralhad Singh Patel being elevated as its state unit head. Patel is considered an influential leader who can tone up the party’s performance in the state elections later this year. Incumbent BJP state chief V D Sharma is said to not have a good rapport with Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan. In Telangana, incumbent state unit president Bandi Sanjay Kumar may get a major responsibility at the party’s national level. The meeting also discussed the strategy to expand the ruling National Democratic Alliance. Divisional forest officers now empowered to penalise govt officials for violating Act K S S R E E J I T H @T’Puram In a decision that could have major legal and administrative ramifications across India, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has granted divisional forest officers (DFOs) the power to penalise officials, including government staff, for violating the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. As per the notification recently issued by the Centre, DFOs can take action on the basis of information received on offences committed by state government authorities and file a complaint against the offenders with a court. This applies to government projects as well. The complaints should be filed within 45 days of the receipt of such communication from the Centre. The notification says a periodic re- Different department officials enter forest regions for various works. Earlier, if they caused damage to forest without the Centre’s nod, we could only report it to higher-ups. Now, we can initiate action A divisional forest officer port as may be specified by the Centre time to time on filing complaints shall be submitted by state government officers. Till now, there was ambiguity in dealing with legal proceedings against government authorities violating the 1980 Act. DFOs only sent a report about such violations to the chief conservator of forests (protection) about such violations, who then forwarded it to the MoEF’s regional office. The regional office used to take legal actions. Now, if any government work, in- EXPRESS READ MSP hike BY UPA GOVT (2004-05 TO 2013-14) versus NDA GOVT (2014-15 TO 2023-24) Kharif crops Paddy Tur/Arhar (pigeon peas) Urad (black gram) Maize Sunflower seeds Groundnut Soybean % of increase during 9 years of UPA rule 134% 209% 205% 150% 176% 167% 184% Amal Jyothi students call off protests % of increase during 9 years of NDA rule 61% 61% 60% 60% 80% 59% 80% Kottayam: Ending the three-daylong academic impasse, the protests launched by students of Amal Jyothi Engineering College, Kanjirappally, following the suicide of Shraddha Satheesh, a secondyear Food Technology student in the college, were called off on Wednesday after mediation talks initiated by the government. In the talks held between students and college authorities, it was decided to resume classes from Monday | P5 Govt blinks, cuts working days in schools EXTRA WORKING DAYS IN SCHOOLS 2022-23 academic year Original number of working days: 192 Extra working days (Saturdays): 13 Total working days: 205 Dates June 3 July 1, 22, 29 Aug 19 Sept 23, 30 Oct 7, 28 Jan 6, 27 Mar 16, 23 E x p ress News S er v ice @T’Puram Bowing to pressure from teachers’ unions, including those affiliated with the ruling Left front, the government has slashed the number of working days in the current academic year for Classes 1 to 10 in state syllabus schools from 210 to 205. The climbdown has come as a major embarrassment for General Education Minister V Sivankutty who had ruled out a rethink on the number of working days in schools. The decision to limit the working days to 205 was taken at a meeting convened by Sivankutty with the teachers’ union re presentatives in T hir uvanan- thapuram on Wednesday. The government had earlier earmarked 13 Saturdays and also the first five days of the summer vacation in April 2024 as additional working days. The reason cited was to ensure at least 210 instructional days in the academic year that originally had only 192 working days. At the meeting, in which the unions voiced their opposition, it was decided to consider only 13 Saturdays as extra working days. The academic year will now end on March 31 instead of April 5. On June 1, when schools across the state reopened after summer vacation, Sivankutty had created a flutter by announcing that the vacation will begin ● More on P4 only on April 6. cluding road construction, is carried out in forest area or any trees are felled without MoEF sanction, the DFO concerned can initiate legal proceedings against the respective state government official. “Officials from different departments enter forest regions for various works. Earlier, if they cut down a tree, indulged in unauthorised construction or cause damage to forest, without the Centre’s nod, we could only report it to higher-ups. Now, we can initiate action,” a DFO told TNIE. The notification has already sparked apprehensions among government officials, especially those working with local self-government institutions, KSEB and PWD. “We usually respond to urgent calls from forest fringe areas,” a PWD official told TNIE. “In an emergency situation if they are going to penalise us for our intervention, it will be unfortunate,” he said. Vidya booked in fake certificate case aussies get head start Travis Head (left) and Steve Smith take a run against India in the WTC final match at the Oval on Wednesday. Head remained unbeaten on 146 and Smith on 95 at close of play on Day One. The two added 251 runs for the fourth wicket | AFP | P11 Kochi: Noose is tightening around Vidya K, who allegedly used a fake experience certificate issued by Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam to secure a job as guest lecturer in three government colleges. Acting on a complaint registered by the principal of Maharaja’s College, the Central police booked Vidya for cheating. The case will now be handed over to Agali police. She has been charged Vidya under three sections of the IPC | P4
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