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AIADMK factions bury the hatchet
O. Panneerselvam sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, to hold Finance portfolio ■
Edappadi, OPS to co-chair 11-member party coordination committee ■
18 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs to meet Governor Vidyasagar Rao today
Malegaon case: SC gives Purohit bail Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI
Three infants die in Raipur hospital RAIPUR
Three infants died at a government-run hospital in Raipur on Sunday, allegedly due to disruption in oxygen supply. The government, however, denied that a drop in oxygen supply had anything to do with the deaths. NATION
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Dengue claims its first victim in Delhi NEW DELHI
The Capital has registered it first dengue death this season with a 12-year-old boy succumbing to the vectorborne disease, municipal authorities said on Monday. DELHI METRO
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AIADMK must inform EC
T Ramakrishnan CHENNAI
Former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam was on Monday sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after he merged his AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) with Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s AIADMK (Amma) faction. However, a decision on Mr. Panneerselvam’s principal demand to oust jailed leader V.K. Sasikala and her family from the party was deferred. Even as the two factions came together after six months, 18 legislators expressed support to “ousted” deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran and sought an appointment with Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday. Perambur legislator P. Vetrivel, who briefed
The AIADMK factions will have to formally report their merger to the Election Commission for withdrawal of their petitions staking claim to the party symbol. The two groups have filed petitions for the symbol. They have also submitted affidavits of their supporters. The verification of the affidavits and documents is under way. Now, they will have to inform the EC of the merger to recall the petitions. A PAGE 10
Together again: Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao and Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam at the swearing-in ceremony on Monday. S. R. RAGHUNATHAN
journalists at late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s memorial where the rebel MLAs assembled late in the evening, refused to reveal what they
Mr. Panneerselvam to congratulate him. Sources close to the Deputy Chief Minister said Mr. Modi had wished him all
planned to discuss with the Governor. The unified AIADMK now enjoys the support of 117 MLAs, including the Speaker,
PM’s message Later on Monday, Prime Minister Narenda Modi called
success in his endeavour towards the development and progress of Tamil Nadu and assured him all support.
Power-sharing deal As per the power sharing arrangement worked out between the factions, Mr. Panneerselvam, who was thrice sworn-in Chief Minister for short tenures, agreed to be Mr. Palaniswami’s deputy, holding the portfolios of Finance, Housing and Urban Development. A member of his camp, ‘Ma Foi’ K. Pandiarajan, was appointed Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture. The portfolios of some other Ministers were also changed.
A community’s sentiments against an accused cannot be a criterion for denying him bail, the Supreme Court said, granting bail to Malegaon blasts accused Lt.Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit. It also noted that the trial will “likely” take a long time and the accused has already been behind bars as an undertrial for over eight years. A Bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and A.M. Sapre said there were material disparities in the conclusions on Lt. Col. Purohit’s involvement arrived at by the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad and later in the supplementary charge sheet filed by the NIA.
CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10 MODI ASSURES AIADMK OF SUPPORT A PAGE 10
CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10 A FORMER MCOCA DETAINEE GETS BAIL A PAGE 11
‘Doklam standoff will be resolved soon’ China is also inclined towards a solution, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh
For peace: Home Minister Rajnath Singh at an Indo-Tibetan Border Police function in New Delhi on Monday. AFP
pect a positive move from China soon.” A Home Ministry official told The Hindu that the August 15 skirmish near the Pangong Lake in Ladakh, in which soldiers from the two armies kicked, punched and threw stones at each other, was a “deviant” incident. Lt. Gen. Prakash Katoch (retired) first shared a video clip of the brawl on August 19. An official said an inquiry was on to find its “source.”
Border Police (ITBP) jawans posted along the China border.
CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10 CHINA WANTS TO GO BACK TO ‘1959 LINE OF CONTROL’ A PAGE 10
Vijaita Singh NEW DELHI
In a first, GJM gives call for talks KOLKATA
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Monday urged both the Centre and the West Bengal government to initiate dialogue to restore peace in the Darjeeling hills as well as the Terai and Dooars regions, GJM joint secretary Binay Tamang said in a statement. EAST
A PAGE 3
DELHI METRO A 6 PAGES
Off to safety: A boy uses a banana raft to transport books at Jakhalabandha in Assam’s Nagaon district on Monday. The toll in the floods in the State has gone up to 148. REUTERS (REPORTS ON PAGE 7) *
No power if you go in the open, SDO tells villagers Issues order to cut electricity to all those who don’t build toilets within 15 days
The ongoing standoff between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Indian Army at Doklam, near the BhutanSikkim-China trijunction, was termed a “deadlock” by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday. He said the crisis, which had been going on for two months, would be resolved soon, and “China is also inclined towards it [finding a solution].” Mr. Singh made the statement at a pipping ceremony of Indo-Tibetan
Later, speaking on the sidelines of the function, Mr. Singh told reporters: “We ex-
SC to deliver verdict on triple talaq today legal correspondent New Delhi
A five-judge Supreme Court Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, will on Tuesday pronounce its judgment on the legality of the Islamic personal law practice of triple talaq.
The court will decide if the law, which allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife by saying talaq (divorce) thrice, violates the fundamental and human rights of Muslim women. On October 16, 2015, the court questioned if Muslim
personal law practices of marriage and divorce reduce women to chattels. In a rare move, it registered a suo motu PIL petition to examine if arbitrary divorce, polygamy and nikah halala violate women’s dignity. CONTINUED ON A PAGE 10
Mohammed Iqbal JAIPUR
Frustrated by villagers who persistently defecated in the open and ruined the chances of meeting the Open Defecation Free (ODF) targets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA), a Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district issued an order to snap electricity connections to all households that failed to build toilets within 15 days. The order was, however, swiftly voided after it caused an outrage. The order was issued over the weekend by Jahazpur SDO Kartar Singh, who found that only 19% of the villagers at Gangithala had built toilets. “If the villagers do not construct toilets in their houses within 15 days, their electricity connections will be cut off,” stated the SDO’s order. On Sunday, district officials spotted six persons in Jahazpur tehsil defecating in the open and promptly arrested them. The defiant six, belonging to Gangithala and Piplund villages, were charged with disrupting peace under Section 151 of the Cr.PC and released on bail by the evening. The arrest and the SDO’s order in close succession did not go down well with the villagers. Faced with a backlash, Bhilwara Collector Muktanand Agarwal revoked the SDO’s order CM YK
ILLUSTRATION: DEEPAK HARICHANDAN
and clarified that the administration would not take punitive action to meet the ODF village targets under the SBA. “We will only motivate the people to not defecate in the open,” he said. However, the six persons, who were kept in police custody for a day, were released only after they agreed to build toilets in their homes within 15 days, and also use them every day. The administration maintained that they were arrested only because they resisted the ODF drive and refused to build toilets and desist from defecating in village’s fields. The Congress MLA from Jahazpur, Dhiraj Gujjar, described the administration's actions as “arbitrary and unlawful”. “These villages do not even get proper drinking water supply. How will the villagers maintain toilets in their home? Those who have built toilets are still waiting for reimbursement from the government,” Mr. Gujjar told The Hindu. A ND-NDE
Police on their toes ahead of verdict in Dera chief case A complete ban imposed on movement of vehicles on five roads adjoining the district court complex in Panchkula on August 24-25 to maintain law and order SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CHANDIGARH
Ahead of the verdict in the alleged rape case against the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Haryana police have decided to impose a complete ban on the movement of vehicles on five roads adjoining the district court complex in Panchkula on August 24 and 25. The Central Bureau of Investigation's special court in Panchkula had last week reserved its judgment in the alleged rape case and directed
the Dera chief to be present in court on August 25, when the judgement will be pronounced.
Flyover too closed “Roads adjoining the district court complex in Panchkula and dividing road of sector 1 and 2 would remain closed for two days. Apart from this, dividing road of sector 1 and 6, road from old Panchkula to Tank Chowk traffic lights and Majri Chowk road under the flyover would also remain closed,” said Ashok Kumar, Deputy Commissioner
of Police (DCP), Panchkula, on Monday. He said that elaborate arrangements have been made to maintain law and order and ensure smooth flow of traffic in the area. The local administration is also keeping a close watch on the people who are visiting the town by tracking the stay at guest and rest houses. Panchkula's Deputy Commissioner, Gauri Parashar Joshi, has directed all government and private guest and rest houses not to make any new bookings without police
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh *
verification and prior approval of the additional deputy commissioner. “They have also been told make sure that the people who are already staying at
these guest houses are also duly verified by the police,” she said. In Jind, the district administration has directed petrol pump operators not to carry out open sale of petrol, diesel and other inflammable materials, and to record details of all vehicles refuelling at the petrol pumps. Jind's Deputy Commissioner, Amit Khatri, said that two of the 10 companies of paramilitary forces requisitioned by the district administration had reached the district and the rest would soon
arrive. “These forces would collaborate with police personnel to maintain law and order situation in the district. The meeting of duty magistrates appointed to maintain law and order situation would be held on August 22,” he said. In Sirsa, meanwhile the Sub Divisional Officer (Civil) Bijender Singh raised apprehension that some anti-social elements could disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the district in wake of the appearance of Dera chief in the CBI court, as he held a meet-
ing with the members of local peace committee members and appealed them to cooperate the district administration in maintaining peace.
Social media In Fatehabad as well, a meeting was convened by the SDM (Fatehabad) Satbir Singh Jangu with ‘sarpanchs’ and prominent people of the villages. He has urged locals to keep a vigil on the use of social media in their respective villages.
Notably, the Centre has provided 35 companies of paramilitary forces, the deployment of which has already started with focus on districts including Sirsa, Fatehabad and Panchkula, where deployment of paramilitary forces has been done, the police said. The police is closely monitoring social media activities and talks are being held with officers of neighbouring States including Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for cooperation in maintaining law and order situation.
Chandigarh records highest rainfall of the season Normal life badly hit; traffic snarls as key roads submerged SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CHANDIGARH
Chandigarh witnessed the season’s heaviest rainfall on Monday as heavy rain lashed the city-beautiful and its neighbouring Mohali and Panchkula towns, said an official. Surinder Pal, director at the India Meteorological Department, told The Hindu that Chandigarh recorded 130 mm rainfall on Monday morning. “It was season's highest rainfall in Chandigarh. Adjoining Mohali and Panchkula also received a heavy spell of rain,” he said. The rain lashed the Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula for over three hours, badly hitting normal life as most of the key roads were submerged, resulting in traffic snarls. Light vehicles and twowheelers were seen stranded at few place while commuters were seen struggling
Sailing through: A man rides a motorcycle on a waterlogged road after heavy rain in Chandigarh on Monday. PTI *
to walk in the knee-deep water clogged roads in many parts of Chandigarh. Meanwhile, scattered rain was witnessed in parts of Punjab, which officials said would be beneficial for the paddy and cotton crop.
Relief for farmers “The monsoon showers will help paddy crop immensely..It will not only help reducing the cost of irrigation for farmers as well,” said Jasbir
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Singh Bains, Director, Punjab Agriculture Department. Mr. Bains said that the rains, though have been less in the cotton belt, but yet it would be beneficial for the crop as temperatures would fall, which is good for cotton at this stage. “Temperature dip will help battling whitefly pest on the cotton crop. We are expecting a bumper cotton this season as the crop is doing well,” he said.
Police remove idols from mosque Staff reporter Meerut
A potentially tense situation was averted when the police removed three idols from a mosque in a Muzaffarnagar village on Monday. According to the SHO Praveen Kumar, three idols were found in a mosque in Baghra village on Monday which led to tension in the village. People started protesting outside the mosque against placing of the idols. He said that the idols were placed inside the mosque on Sunday night “apparently to create tension” in the area.
‘Work of miscreants’ “We have removed the idols because it looked like it was done by some miscreants on Sunday night to create tension in the area. Predictably people had started protesting when they got to know about it. So we removed the idols from the premises,” Mr. Kumar said. The police has registered a case about inciting religious sentiments against unknown people. DELHI
Tuesday, August 22
RISE 05:54 SET 18:54 RISE 06:14 SET 19:26 Wednseday, August 23
RISE 05:55 SET 18:53 RISE 07:15 SET 20:05 Thursday, August 24
RISE 05:55 SET 18:51 RISE 08:14 SET 20:43
Published by N. Ram at Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002 and Printed by S. Ramanujam at HT Media Ltd. Plot No. 8, Udyog Vihar, Greater Noida Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. 201306, on behalf of KASTURI & SONS LTD., Chennai-600002. Editor: Mukund Padmanabhan (Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act). Regd. DL(ND)-11/6110/2006-07-08 RNI No. TNENG/2012/49940 ISSN 0971 - 751X Vol. 7 No. 200 ●
GJM seeks talks for the first time “Responsibility of ensuring peace not only of the residents, but also of the govts” Staff Reporter Kolkata
Kanyashree project in school curriculum KOLKATA
The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education is in the process of including the ‘Kanyashree’ project of the Mamata Banerjee government in the curriculum, a senior Board official said on Monday. “We are awaiting for the final approval from the government,” he said. Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had in June said, “Our government wants to let the future generation to be aware about the ‘Kanyashree’ project and how it received the UN award.” PTI
Mizoram Minister resigns over admission issue AIZAWL
Mizoram Minister of State for Fisheries Buddha Dhan Chakma on Monday submitted his resignation from the Council of Ministers to Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla. In his resignation letter, Mr Chakma said that four Chakma students, who qualified for MBBS seat under the State quota, were denied admission in medical colleges. Two of the students are from his constituency. PTI
Two held for offering bribe to sub-inspector BERHAMPUR
A police sub-inspector posted at Jeypore Sadar police station in Koraput district of Odisha refused to accept ₹1 lakh in bribe and got two persons caught by the vigilance sleuths. According to a release, the accused, Kartik Ghatan and Iswar Ghatan, reached Jeypore Sadar police station alongwith ₹98,900 on Thursday. They had offered the bribe to S-I Chinteswar Munda for releasing one Bisikesan Ghatan, held with a truck while smuggling marijuana. A trap was set and the accused arrested.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Monday urged both the Centre and the West Bengal government to initiate dialogue to restore peace in the Darjeeling hills as well as the Terai and Dooars regions. GJM joint secretary Binay Tamang in statement said that the “responsibility of ensuring peace” in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars was not only of the residents of these areas, but also of the Centre and the State governments.
A rally for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
‘No conditions’ “We request the governments to initiate talks at the earliest so that peace and normality can be restored in our region at the earliest,” said Mr. Tamang. He has not attached any
condition on whether the GJM leadership wants to have talks on a separate homeland for the Gorkhas in order to start a dialogue, which is a clear shift in stand. Earlier, such a pre-
FILE PHOTO PTI
condition was usually set. He also refuted reports in the vernacular press which claimed that the GJM was in touch with insurgent groups from northeast India and Maoists in Nepal, and ac-
Darjeeling students may be allowed in ICSE schools in plains
cused the concerned media houses of “rumour mongering”. The development comes a day after several GJM leaders, including party president Bimal Gurung, were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in two separate cases in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts.
‘Essential for them to finish syllabus before Board exams’
‘No tie-ups’ “The GJM once again reiterates that it does not have any tie-up with any insurgent organisations either in northeast India, Nepal or anywhere else in India or the world,” said Mr. Tamang. A policeman was killed in a grenade attack on Kalimpong police station late on Saturday night. In the early hours of Saturday, a blast took place in Darjeeling district’s Chowkbazar.
School students during a strike called by GJM in Darjeeling. FILE PHOTO PTI
Press Trust of India Kolkata
The Association of ICSE Schools in West Bengal on Monday said that around 2,500 students from schools in the Darjeeling hills can be allowed to attend classes in ICSE-affiliated schools in south Bengal. “The move is essential as students who will appear for their Board examinations have to finish the syllabus and Class IX students have to complete their Board registration by September 10,” Association Secretary Nabarun De said in view of the indefinite shutdown in the Hills which entered its 68th day on Monday. “We have written to the Association Secretary, North Bengal Region, that around
150 ICSE-affiliated schools in the plains will be ready to allow students of Class IX from over 30 schools in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong,” Mr De said. He added that the students will be allowed to choose their institutions. “They will be given the option to study in the institu-
tion of their choice. They will be given the option of boarding facilities or they can also stay at their own accommodation or rented house,” Mr De said. “While the students will not have to undergo elaborate formal admission process, they will be allowed to attend classes after the Association Secretary of North Bengal responds in writing and the CISCE gives the nod,” he said. The over 30 schools in the Hills may write to CISCE Secretary and CEO Gerry Arathoon, mentioning the names of the interested candidates. Students of the boarding schools came down to Siliguri on June 23 when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha gave them a 12-hour travel window.
HPC(D) Zosangbera faction hails govt decision on talks Press Trust of India Aizawl
The Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic), led by H. Zosangbera, on Monday welcomed the Mizoram government’s decision to hold peace talks with the HPC (D) faction led by Lalhmingthanga Sanate. A press statement issued by John F Hmar, Information and Publicity Secretary of the HPC (D), hoped that the talks would be successful.
Early solution The Zosangbera faction said that the talks would pave the way for early and permanent solution to the vexed Hmar problem. The State government had decided to hold talks with the Sanate’s faction within this month and with the Zosangbera faction next month which had been nearing conclusion. Mr Sanate was the founder president of the HPC (D) when the outfit went underground soon after the surrender of HPC cadres following the agreement inked with the Mizoram government in July 1994. He was ousted as president by the Zosangbera faction after he signed Suspension of Operation with the Manipur government along with the Kuki militant groups.
Ten killed in truck, van collision Special Correspondent BHUBANESWAR
At least 10 people were killed and four injured when a truck collided head on with a passenger van on National Highway-55 near Bhawanipalli under Jujumara police station limits in Odisha’s Sambalpur district on Monday. The accident took place at around 2 pm when the passenger van came in front of the moving truck after one its wheels got punctured, according to the Jujumara police. The victims, including some women and children, hailed from Paramanpur village. They were returning from Kalpeshwar Temple at Hatibari when the mishap occurred. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed his condolences to the families and announced an ex gratia payment of ₹2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.
Two more die of swine flu in Odisha Correspondent CUTTACK
With the death of two more persons while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital here during the past 24 hours, the toll due to swine flu in Odisha in the current season mounted to 18 on Monday. Meanwhile, of the 30 patients tested during the past 24 hours, 11 turned out to be positive for H1N1 virus. The Hospital so far has identified over 200 swine flu patients. According to sources, a middle-aged woman from Balasore, put under antiviral regime here for the past ten days, died of swine flu on Monday. Similarly, another patient, shifted here from Bhubaneswar also died on the day. CM YK
Karnataka BJP leaders meet Vala, say phones are tapped
Medical fee: HC to hear pleas today Special Correspondent KOCHI
Ex-information adviser to Narasimha Rao dead
Seek action against retired IPS officer and DGP of Anti-Corruption Bureau intervention in connection with the FIRs filed against Mr. Yeddyurappa. The delegation appealed to him to conduct a high-level enquiry by an independent agency into the allegations by senior KAS officer Basavarajendra that ACB sleuths were pressuring him to issue false statements against Mr. Yeddyurappa.
Retired civil servant and information adviser to former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, P. V. R. K. Prasad passed away in the early hours of Monday. He was hospitalised after he suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday night. The 77-year-old civil servant is survived by wife, daughter and son.
Kerala High Court grants bail to ‘godman’ KOCHI
The Kerala High Court on Monday granted bail to Swami Gangeshananda whose genitals were chopped off by a woman during his alleged attempt of sexual abuse. The court ordered that he be released on bail on his furnishing a bond for ₹60,000 plus two solvent sureties for the like sum.
Close on the heels of Karnataka’s Anti-Corruption Bureau filing a First Information Report against its State president B.S. Yeddyurappa in connection with denotification of land, the BJP on Monday kicked up a fresh political row by petitioning Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on the alleged phone tapping of “political opponents” by the Siddaramaiah government. The BJP delegation, led by Union Minister Ananth Kumar, met the Governor and alleged that retired IPS officer Kempaiah, who is the adviser to the Home Minister, and M.N. Reddi, DGP of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, had developed a modus operandi for monitoring telephone conversations of
Fervent plea: Karnataka BJP delegation submitting a memo to the Governor in Bengaluru SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
political opponents of the ruling Congress on the instructions of the State government. This is not only in violation of rights of liberty and privacy, but also contrary to the constitutional and statutory provisions in force,
Karnataka techies form union for fair work environment
they said in the petition. The BJP has demanded removal of Mr. Kempaiah from the adviser’s post and suspension of Mr. Reddi. Accusing Mr. Siddaramaiah of “misusing” the ACB to settle political scores, the BJP sought the Governor’s
‘Wild allegations’ Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Dinesh Gundu Rao told The Hindu: “Phone tapping cannot be done just by oral instructions. It has to be done as per rules and regulations. Even we can say the Centre is tapping all our phones. These are wild and baseless allegations that the BJP is levelling against us without any evidence.”
A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court adjourned to August 22 the hearing on petitions on the new fee structure for MBBS and BDS seats in the selffinancing medical colleges. It is also hearing a petition against the order of the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations (CEE), directing the students seeking allotment to 35% MBBS management seats in the MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna, and Dr. Somervel Memorial CSI Medical College, Karakkonam, to pay an interest-free refundable deposit of ₹11 lakh and a bank guarantee of ₹44 lakh in addition to the fee as prescribed. It was brought to the notice of the court that the CEE had asked students to provide bank guarantees in the name of the managements as opposed to its directive.
On a rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon, 200 software professionals crammed into a small hall inside the city’s Young Women’s Christian Association in Koramangala to decide on the contours of technology hub’s first trade union. After debating for more than two hours, the employees, who still fear a backlash from big corporations, chose representatives and named the body Karnataka State IT/ ITeS Employees Union (KITU). They endorsed 22 resolutions, including choos-
2 YSRCP MLAs to be questioned
‘Poetry and prose’ “Comrades, I will compare the initial stages of the movement to poetry and the
future to prose. The poetry has ended and prose has begun. The latter is most challenging. Many think the trade union movement is anti-social, anti-national, and a retrograde movement. All we are trying to do is to create a society which is just, fair and equal.” Employees from corporations such as the IBM, Wipro, and Mindtree registered with the KITU on August 20. Within 15 days, the KITU, with it 21-member executive committee, will submit an application with the registrar to incorporate the body.
A leak was reported from the gas pipeline from the Kesavadasupalem well-4 in the Sakhinetipalli mandal of East Godavari on Monday. The leak was capped by afternoon after the emergency technical team of the ONGC had moved in. They closed the four pipelines in the well.
Reverse pressure Residents of Kesavadasupalem, who heard a hissing sound, reached the agriculture field from where the gas was leaking and alerted the ONGC officials. Gas combined with some crude oil leaked into the paddy field as the pipelines were laid through it. The ONGC said reverse pressure was suspected to be the reason for the leak.
Terming it a minor incident, executive director and asset manager of ONGC, Rajamahendravaram asset, D.M.R. Sekhar said the pipeline was corroded and worn out. Measures were being taken to replace all the old pipelines in phases in Konaseema. According to him, four gas producing agencies had 840 km of pipelines in Andhra Pradesh, with GAIL maintaining 620 km and the ONGC 220 km. Earlier, three incidents were reported from the mandal, particularly near the village. All the three were minor incidents. In recent times, leaks have been occurring in Konaseema and the local farmers and public are demanding permanent measures as their agriculture fields were being damaged.
Stranded woman gives birth in auto Special Correspondent
“Manikanta or Ayyappa, the presiding deity at Sabarimala, is close to my heart and very special to me,” said singer K.J. Yesudas on his arrival at the hillock on Monday. He has undertaken the pilgrimage to the temple many times. But this time, his wife, Prabha, accompanied him, that too after observing the customary 41-day penance.
In devotion: K.J.Yesudas, with wife Prabha Yesudas, offering prayers at Sabarimala on Monday. RADHAKRISHNAN KUTTOOR
‘Great experience’ “It’s a great experience that melts our soul in divine ecstasy; I am unable to give a
verbal description of the soulful feeling,” Ms. Yesudas told The Hindu. Tantri Kandararu
Lord Ayyappa is close to my heart and very special to me, says singer
Maheswararu Mohanararu offered them prasadam after performing the ‘neyyabhishekom’.
“Sabarimala is the one and only pilgrimage centre where every devotee gets equal treatment. Religion, caste, and creed have no place at the abode of Lord Ayyappa. Everyone is a ‘Swami,’ ‘Ayyappa,’ ‘Manikanta,’ or ‘Malikappuram’ (female pilgrim) here. “Nowhere else can one find such sublime philosophy,” Mr. Yesudas said. Mr. Yesudas sang ‘Harivarasanam’, the sacred lullaby, when the Melsanthi (head priest) was closing the sanctum sanctorum after the day’s prayers.
A tribal woman gave birth to a baby in an autorickshaw after a swollen stream flooded the Kurnapalli-Charla road, obstructing the vehicular movement to several remote tribal hamlets in Bhadrachalam Agency on Sunday. The woman, identified as Ramya of Kunrapalli, developed labour pains while travelling in an autorickshaw from her interior village to the Primary Health Centre in the mandal headquarters town some 20 km away in the morning.
Centre’s rider leaves Vijayawada metro in limbo Even the Light Metro Rail project faces a host of challenges
The YSR Congress Party leadership here accused the ruling Telugu Desam Party leaders of political vendetta on Monday after two of its MLAs here received notices for appearing before the police officials in connection with the ongoing investigation into the cricket betting case. Nellore Rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy and Nellore Town MLA P. Anil Kumar were served notices under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code over their likely acquaintance with the accused in the case. The incident took place amid reports that the police found evidence of these MLAs having links with the arrested cricket bookies whose telephone call records have been closely tracked and analysed as part of the extensive probe. Mr. Sridhar Reddy blamed it on the ruling TDP saying that it was a clear case of misuse of the police machinery to harass the opposition leaders taking advantage of the case. The timing of police notices also indicated that the officials were under pressure from the TDP leaders, he added. Mr. Reddy told a media conference here on Monday that he was served notices when he was busy with the party activities for the Nandyal bypoll in Kurnool district on Sunday and he had rushed back in order to appear before the police officials and extend all cooperation in the case. At the same time, Mr. Sridhar Reddy took objection to the reports suggesting that they were involved along with the bookies and punters in the case. “I am clarifying that this is part of a political misinformation campaign. We will appear before the officials concerned and give any information that they would ask,” he added.
Yesudas visits Sabarimala, with wife RADHAKRISHNAN KUTTOOR
ing a president and to “strive to secure fair and just and reasonable conditions of work environment.” “Revolutionary greetings to you,” said Amanullah Khan, the newly-elected president of the KITU, which has Left leanings. “A trade union in the IT sector is taking birth after a prolonged period. The industry and the government prevented us from trying to form a union for reasons well-known.”
22 resolutions passed by the first union of the sector Jay Shankar
Leak in ONGC’s A.P. pipeline
V. Raghavendra VIJAYAWADA
Artificial effort: Project ‘Varshadhari’ was launched by the Karnataka government in Bengaluru on Monday under which an aircraft will spray chemicals to induce rainfall. The cloud seeding project will cover Bengaluru, Gadag and Yadgir. K. MURALI KUMAR *
Weak monsoon worries Kerala government
By making private participation mandatory in metro rail projects, the Central government has essentially ruled out the possibility of providing any financial assistance to the one proposed in Vijayawada unless the State government ropes in private partners. The new Metro Rail Policy (MRP) that was just brought out by the Ministry of Urban Development made PublicPrivate Partnership (PPP) component mandatory for Central assistance. For the Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (AMRCL), which has been anticipating a relaxation in the norms — 20 lakh population and 20,000 peak passenger per-hour in a direction traffic — that have been a stumbling block so far, the
new policy has come as a disappointment. AMRCL managing director N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy says that it is nothing but cheating as the proposal has reached the Public Investment Board (PIB) for approval having been given the in-principle clearance following consultations at the highest level.
AMRCL payment in vain The AMRCL had paid ₹17 crore (₹15 crore towards mobilisation advance and the remaining amount for preparing a Detailed Project Report) to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which was entrusted with the task of implementing both the Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam metro rail projects. The Vijayawada project has since been stuck in the tendering process while the
Bigger idlis, new dishes to tackle Indira Canteens Restaurants tweaking business model and menu to take on new ‘competitor’ Tanu Kulkari
CM calls for participatory action to avoid water crisis Special Correspondent Thiruvananthapuram
The Kerala government has highlighted the need for long-term planning and participatory action to stave off a water crisis likely to be triggered by a weak monsoon. In a statement made in the Assembly on Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the weak southwest monsoon this year had come as a setback for the State at a time when it was struggling to handle the acute rainfall deficit last year. Citing data released by the India Meteorology Department, he said Kerala had registered a rainfall deficit of 29.1% during the period from June 1 to August 16. Wayanad had the maximum
deficit of 59% followed by Idukki with 36% and Thiruvananthapuram with 35%. The major hydel reservoirs in the State were down to 35% of their storage capacity, 20 to 30% below the normal level. The crisis could aggravate if the situation continued till
September end. Mr. Vijayan said the southwest monsoon had delivered below normal rainfall in Kerala in seven of the last 10 years. The northeast monsoon had also failed the State six times during the decade. Climate change could be influencing the recurring rainfall deficit, he said. Listing the slew of projects launched by the government to tide over the impending water crisis, he said 3,931 public wells were dug and more than 15,000 revived under the Haritha Keralam Mission. Besides this, 3,855 new ponds were built and 13,247 ponds rejuvenated across the State. Canals and streams were also being cleaned up, he said.
objections raised by the NITI Aayog on non-fulfilment of the above criteria brought the entire exercise to a grinding halt. The State government then started exploring alternatives and reached the conclusion that a Light Metro Rail (LMR), not the Medium Metro Rail (MMR) as conceived originally, is feasible under the circumstances, but it has not given up the hope that the Central government would consider the Vijayawada metro as a special case as it has already promised to bail out Andhra Pradesh from the financial crisis precipitated by bifurcation. The challenge now is to bring in private partners in a situation where no concrete assurance can be given at the moment on financial returns.
If you thought the idlis on your plate or the portion of rice bath at the neighbourhood darshini has gotten bigger, your mind is not playing tricks on you. Rather, you can thank the nearest Indira Canteen. The State government’s ambitious new offering — canteens that serve staples at highly subsidised rates — are giving the local darshinis a run for their money. Darshinis are reworking their business model and introducing a slew of measures to take on the new ‘competitor’ and retain their regular customers.
‘Value for money’ Their concern is simple: breakfast costs ₹5 and lunch/ dinner ₹10 at the Indira canteens, which is around four times cheaper than what they would cost at a
Beefing up the menu: Some are increasing the quantity while others are adding new items to their menu. SUDHAKARA JAIN *
darshini. Nagaraju Aithal, cashier at Mahalakshmi refreshments in Mahalakshmi Layout, said that they have increased the size of their idlis. “We do not want to reduce the price of our food. So, we are increasing the quantity so that customers feel there is value for their money,” he said.
Vikram R., who works as a delivery executive for a food delivery app, said, “I am usually in a hurry. Standing in a queue at an Indira Canteen for breakfast would be difficult. So, I am glad that darshinis have increased the quantity of food.” Some others are adding new items to their menu and
including those that are not available in Indira canteens. Namratha Verma, who runs South Idlis in Rajajinagar, said their business had been hit due to the opening of an Indira Canteen 200 metres away. “Our business has declined by 10%. We are doing everything we can to retain customers. We have been offering only South Indian food, but now plan to serve noodles, fried rice and other Chinese items,” she said. Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association president Chandrashekhar Hebbar said it is natural for darshinis to tweak their business model for their survival, as they are already incurring losses after the introduction of GST as more people are opting for street food. He, however, has not come across reports of businesses in darshinis dipping after the launch of Indira canteens. A ND-NDE
Plans afoot to make Bhubaneswar an ecotourism hotspot
Weather Watch Rainfall, temperature & air quality in select metros yesterday
Govt proposes to connect three major forests in and around the capital by bus service CM opens campuses of Kashmir university
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is on a three-day visit to the Ladakh region, on Monday inaugurated the Leh and Kargil satellite campuses of the University of Kashmir. The setting up of the satellite campuses at these places was a long-pending demand of the people of the region, given its inhospitable terrain, an official spokesman said. PTI
The Odisha government proposes to connect three major forests in and around Bhubaneswar by bus service in order to make optimum use of their ecotourism potential. Tourists are likely to be ferried by tourist buses to Nandankanan Biological Park and Chudanga and Bharatpur forests of the Chandaka division as part of the government’s larger plan to showcase Bhubaneswar’s ecotourism assets. According to a Forest and Environment Department officer, one can hardly find wilderness in close proximity to a city anywhere in the country, except in Bhubaneswar. A fleet of buses would soon be acquired to facilitate visits of tourists to the three forests. Taking a cue from Karnataka, which has been cashing in on the exquisite natural beauty of the Bannerghatta Biological Park, spread over 731.88 hectares about 22 km from Bengaluru
Utkal Express to run from today BHUBANESWAR
The Kalinga Utkal Express would resume services from Puri on Tuesday and from Haridwar on August 25 after remaining cancelled for a day due to the derailment near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh. The train will run as per the composition, timings and stoppages scheduled for this train. PTI
Netaji’s close associate dies at 102 BAREILLY
Colonel Amar Bahadur Singh, a close associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, died at his ancestral village Sirsa in Uttar Pradesh. He was 102. Singh, who joined the British Indian Army in 1933, had served the Azad Hind Fauj after he met Netaji, his family members said. His last rites were performed on Sunday
At least 20 sheep die after being hit by car HISAR
At least 20 sheep died on Monday after being run over by a car near Juglan village, about 20 km from here on the Hisar-Sirsa NH, the police said. The incident took place when a herd of about 150 sheep was crossing the national highway, they said. PTI
panese, bougainvillea and heritage inside the botanical garden. The government can connect the botanical garden with Chudanga by providing an underpass on KhurdaBaranga bypass road. The Nandankanan Biological Park, spread over 437 hectares, received more than 32 lakh tourists last year, while the botanical garden was visited by over 2 lakh tourists.
A fleet of buses would soon be acquired to facilitate visits of tourists to the forests. BISWARANJAN ROUT *
city, the State government is contemplating creation of two more safaris in Chudanga Reserve Forest and Bharatpur Reserve Forest. While Nandankanan and Bharatpur are almost within Bhubaneswar, Chudanga is
just two km from the city limits. Sources in the department said they would require minimal investment to make packaged ecotourism tours. Apart from the rich captive zoo population, the
Nandankanan Biological Park boasts a botanical garden spread over 173 acres. Over the years, the forest department had developed several gardens including butterfly, medicinal, rose, Ja-
People’s choice As far as the people’s choice is concerned, Nandankanan comes second only to the Mysuru zoo, which is ranked first in the country. With an area of 1,000 hectares, the Bharatpur Reserve Forest, which is part of the Chandka-Dompara Sanctuary, is also a natural forest which is situated inside Bhubaneswar. Apart from the Asiatic elephants, wild pigs, deer, hyena and pangolin can be sighted in the forest. Several water-bodies also add to its beauty.
Complete probe in constable’s death, SC tells J&K police Cop’s body was recovered on June 7, over 20 days after he went missing from Kupwara Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Jammu and Kashmir Police to place its final report on the probe into the death of constable Sameer Bhat who had allegedly gone missing on May 14 this year. A Bench of Chief Justice J. S. Khehar and Justice D. Y. Chandrachud took note of the submission of the State government that the probe into the Bhat murder case
was likely to be completed within four weeks. The State police made the submission on court’s query regarding the time it needed to complete the probe. The State government also said it was in the process of filing a supplementary charge sheet in the lower court in a day or two. “Investigation is likely to be completed in four weeks. Let the investigation be completed and final report be submitted before this court,”
the Bench said and posted the matter after four weeks. The court also rejected the petitioner’s plea that he should be given a copy of the status report filed by the police in a sealed cover. The court had on July 17 directed the State police to file a fresh report in four weeks giving details of the probe conducted in the case so far. It had also perused a report filed by the police earlier and said there was
nothing in it except a confessional statement of an accused. The constable went missing after leaving Kupwara town in Kashmir for Srinagar and is alleged to have been killed by his colleague, Special Police Officer Eijaz Ahmed, to avenge an alleged sexual assault. A vacation Bench of the apex court had on June 19 asked the state Director-General of Police to file a fresh status report as it was not satisfied with the one filed
that day. M K Pandita, who has sought an independent probe into the constable’s death, had said there was foul play in the policeman’s killing. Bhat’s body was recovered on June 7, 21 days after he went missing. The apex court had on June 8 issued notice to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir Police on the plea of Mr. Pandita, who also hails from Kupwara, and sought the status report.
Temperature Data: IMD, Pollution Data: CPCB, Map: Skymet (Taken at 18.00 Hrs)
Forecast for Tuesday: Heavy to very heavy rain is likely at isolated places over Saurashtra & Kutch, Uttarakhand, east Rajasthan, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Konkan & Goa, Gujarat, coastal Karnataka, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura city rain max min Agartala...............6.6.... 34.0.... 27.0 Ahmedabad........52.7.... 34.4.... 25.3 Aizawl ..................32.... 30.2.... 12.5 Allahabad .............. —.... 36.0.... 27.7 Bengaluru .............. —.... 28.0.... 20.3 Bhopal.................0.5.... 31.3.... 24.4 Bhubaneswar ..........4.... 34.0.... 25.2 Chandigarh ........18.8.... 30.4.... 25.2 Chennai ...............5.2.... 34.9.... 26.1 Coimbatore............ —.... 31.8.... 22.8 Dehradun.............3.1.... 28.8.... 24.4 Gangtok..................1.... 22.0.... 17.5 Goa ...................23.3.... 31.3.... 24.0 Guwahati ............... —.... 35.5.... 26.6 Hubballi................. —.... 24.0.... 21.0 Hyderabad ............. —.... 31.2.... 20.7 Imphal.................0.4.... 31.8.... 22.4 Jaipur .................... —.... 35.0.... 25.3 Kochi.................10.6.... 30.0.... 24.8 Kohima.................. —.... 27.0.... 26.4 Kolkata...................4.... 33.5.... 26.6
In observation made at 4.00 p.m., Amritsar, recorded an overall air quality index (AQI) score of 104 indicating a moderate level of pollution. In contrast, Panchkula, Haryana recorded a healthy AQI score of 31
Air Quality Code: * Poor * Moderate * Good SO2: Sulphur Dioxide. Short-term exposure can harm the respiratory system, making breathing difficult. It can affect visibility by reacting with other air particles to form haze and stain culturally important objects such as statues and monuments. NO2: Nitrogen Dioxide. Aggravates respiratory illness, causes haze to form by reacting with other air particles, causes acid rain, pollutes coastal waters. CO: Carbon monoxide. High concentration in air reduces oxygen supply to critical organs like the heart and brain. At very high levels, it can cause dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness and even death. PM2.5 & PM10: Particulate matter pollution can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death in people with heart or lung disease (Individual pollutant data for various cities are averages for the previous day)
The Maharashtra government on Monday issued orders banning bullock cart races in the State, soon after the Bombay High Court ruled that races without any rules governing them should be prohibited. “The government is in the process of drafting rules. Until these rules are issued in the State gazette, no races should be held,” a senior official said.
50 children still missing, Kerala High Court told KOCHI
Fifty children below 15 years are yet to be traced in cases registered during the past three years, State police chief Loknath Behera informed the Kerala High Court on Monday. In an affidavit filed in response to a High Court directive, Mr. Behera said of the 2,221 children who had been missing since August 1, 2014 to August this year, 2,171 had been traced.
Women take out rally in support of Mudragada KIRLAMPUDI
A rally was taken out by women from Simhadripuram in Kirlampudi mandal, Kakinada rural, Jaggampeta, Pithapuram and Anaparti constituencies in Andhra Pradesh on Monday in support of the agitation launched by Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham for the inclusion of Kapus in the Backward Classes list. It was followed by a motorbike rally.
152 have died in Bengal floods, says Mamata About 1.5 crore people affected in State; losses total ₹14,000 crore
215 animals, including 13 rhinos, killed in Kaziranga
Staff Reporter Kolkata
Releasing for the first time the official figures of casualties due to the flood-like situation in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday said the death toll had reached 152. She was speaking to reporters in Malda after visiting of flood-hit areas. She also visited Uttar and Dakhshin Dinajpur in north Bengal. “So far 152 people have died in Bengal. It is not a small figure. About 1.5 crore people have been affected in the state and the (property) damage is tentatively worth 14, 000 crore so far,” Ms. Banerjee said. She also said that out of the 1.5 crore affected people, 45 lakh were from Malda and Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts.
Report to Centre She said that “compared to the floods in Gujarat and Assam, the flood in Bengal is not a minor one.” She said the Bengal government would send a report to the Centre seeking funding. The Chief Minister said the District Magistrate of Malda had informed her that a dam had been breached in Purnea district of Bihar as a result of which large areas of Itahar block in Uttar Dinajpur and Buniadpur area in Dakshin Dinajpur district
Press Trust of India Kaziranga
In distress : Flood victims wait to collect medicines at a camp in Morigaon district of Assam on Monday. At right, villagers in West Bengal use a bamboo bridge to cross a flooded area at Itahar village in North Dinajpur district. RITU RAJ KONWAR & PTI *
were getting flooded. She denied reports of lack of flood relief material and said that adequate relief material was being supplied. “In the districts of Malda, Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur alone we have distributed 4 lakh tarpaulin sheets,” she said, adding that 32 boats had been deployed in Malda.
Toll in Assam now 154 Meanwhile, with three more deaths on Monday, the toll in Assam in the second phase of floods has gone up to 70 (since August 10). During the first phase, between May to July, 84 people had died, officials said.
43,000 in U.P. relief camps Press Trust of India Lucknow
Three more flood-related deaths have been reported in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, taking the toll to 72. The overall situation in the State is still grim, the Relief Commissioner’s office said.
20 lakh affected Over 20 lakh people have been hit by the current spell of floods in 24 districts and
2,688 villages are under water. A report said 43,602 people had taken shelter in relief camps in eastern U.P., whipped by the raging waters of the rivers emanating from Nepal. Army choppers, NDRF and PAC jawans continued relief and rescue operations. A Central Water Commission report said the Sharda river was flowing above the red mark at Palia Kalan and near the danger mark at
Shardanagar while the Ghaghra was flowing above the red mark at Elgin Bridge, Ayodhya and Turtipar (Ballia).
With 70% of its area still submerged, 215 animals including 13 rhinos and a Royal Bengal Tiger have so far lost their lives at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, a senior forest official said on Monday. Due to the flooding, the animals at the UNESCO World Heritage Site are facing food shortage within the park, compelling them to go out to the nearby hills, tea gardens and even human habitations in search of food, KNP Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rohoni Ballav Saikia said here. As the flood water from the national park recedes, Mr. Saikia said, the carcasses of animals were being recovered from its four ranges.
Dual trouble He said the two waves of floods this year had caused the death of endangered species. “Till date, we found bodies of 13 rhinos, 188 hog deer, four elephants, two swamp deer, four wild boars, two buffaloes and one Royal Bengal Tiger. All died due to drowning.” The Kaziranga National Park is spread over 430 square kilometre.
Moderate rain in Bihar In Bihar, light to moderate rainfall occurred at one or two places in the past 24 hours. With the south west monsoon getting weak, major cities of Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur and Purnea did not receive any rainfall during the day.
Gujarat grapples with swine flu
‘Let SC order probe into Srijan scam’
Death toll touches 280; over 1,000 people under treatment across State
RJD’s demand comes a day after an accused dies in hospital
Special Correspondent Ahmedabad
With 280 deaths and 3,220 reported cases, swine flu has emerged as a major challenge for the Gujarat government. The flu killed more than 100 people in the last 10 days and more than 1,000 new cases were reported across the State, particularly in the cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat, which account for more than 60% of the cases and deaths. Authorities expect the death toll to rise sharply because as on Monday, as many as 1,981 people were under treatment in various hospitals across the State. “It is expected to go up because more than 150 new cases are coming in daily compared to those getting discharged,” said a senior medical officer
Three infants die in Raipur hospital Staff Reporter Nagpur
Three infants died at a government-run hospital in Raipur on Sunday, allegedly due to disruption in oxygen supply. Denying the allegation, R. Prassanna, the director of Chhattisgarh’s Health department, said though there was a drop in oxygen pressure at the B.R. Ambedkar hospital “owing
in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. To contain the spread of H1N1, Rajkot police commissioner has banned public fairs, which are organised in
to a mechanic’s fault, the supply of oxygen did not stop.The deaths are due to [other] illnesses.” Ravi Chandra, the operator in charge of monitoring oxygen supply, however, was suspended. He was later arrested by the police. Some health officials claimed that the operator was drunk and was sleeping when the oxygen pressure dropped.
the festival season in August and September. Jamnagar administration has also cancelled permission to fairs. “We have directed the dis-
ICHR employees strike work Cite delay in getting Seventh Pay Commission salary hike
trict administrations to take a call whether to allow public events with large gatherings because this viral infection is spreading rapidly,” a senior government official said, adding that the state authorities and civic bodies had launched a Statewide awareness campaign.
Hospitals given Tamiflu On Monday, the State government constituted a task force to monitor the situation. All private and government hospitals have been given stocks of Tamiflu, the tablet given to those diagnosed with H1N1 virus. The State government has sought help from the Central Health Ministry to tackle the epidemic. According to sources, a high-level team from the Central government is likely to visit the State to assess the situation.
Special correspondent Patna
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Monday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the multicrore Srijan scam, a day after an accused in the case died at a hospital in Bhagalpur. The accused, Mahesh Mandal, allegedly helped the Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, an NGO, siphon off government funds to the tune of ₹870 crore with the connivance of bank and government officials. Mandal
who was the Bhagalpur district welfare department accountant, was arrested on August 13. He died of kidneyrelated complications on Sunday night. The RJD called for the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and asked his deputy in the Cabinet, Sushil Kumar Modi, to ensure a “fair and impartial probe”. “Nitish Kumar is aware of Srijan scam since 2007... rather than taking action he was encouraging scamsters… the first death among the 13
arrested in the scam has happened and the one who died was the father of a rich leader of Nitish Kumar’s party,” RJD chief Lalu Prasad tweeted on Monday. His son and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, addressing reporters, sought a “Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Srijan scam, which is an even bigger than the Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh”. The JD(U) and the BJP, dismissed the RJD’s allegations, saying “RJD chief Lalu
Prasad, at least, has no moral right to demand a probe”.
18 arrests till now: police “In all, 18 people have been arrested and 11 FIRs lodged in the Srijan scam… until the CBI takes over it, the State police will continue the probe,” State police chief P.K. Thakur said. Meanwhile, Ramesh Kumar, a relative of Mahesh Mandal, alleged that the government did not provide proper treatment to Mandal.
Drunk man drives off with bus
Special Correspondent NEW DELHI
Sixty-five permanent staff members of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) went on an indefinite strike on Monday demanding revised salaries recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission, which was implemented for Union government staff last year. The ICHR, an autonomous institution under the Human Resource Development Ministry, is a premier body for historical research. The striking staff sat through the day in the park outside the building, raising slogans against the Centre and the institution. They wrote to the officiating member secretary of the ICHR on August 10 that they would strike work from August 21 if their demand was
Seeking their right: ICHR employees stage a protest outside their office in New Delhi on Monday. R. V. MOORTHY *
not accepted. “The Seventh Pay Commission has not been implemented here, more than a year after it was implemented for Central government servants. There has been correspondence with the Ministry — it had asked about the number of employees and the budget,” an employee told The Hindu. “Details have been given to the Ministry at least two months ago, but we con-
tinue to get the Sixth Pay Commission salaries.”
Union stand A retired official from the institution said that as per ICHR’s Memorandum of Association, employees there get salaries in line with Central government pay. “The workers’ union of the ICHR has decided that we will go on an indefinite strike, ” said the letter from the union.
Navy gets amphibious landing craft Special Correspondent NEW DELHI
The second Landing Craft Utility L52 of Mk-IV class, an amphibious ship to transport combat equipment and troops of the Navy, designed and built by Garden Reach Ship Builders, was commissioned at Port Blair on CM YK
Monday. These ships would be based in the Andaman and Nicobar Command and can be deployed for multirole activities such as beaching operations, search and rescue operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands.
The ship, commanded by Commander Kaushik Chatterjee, has a complement of five officers and 46 sailors. It is capable of carrying 160 troops in addition. Displacing 830 tonnes, it can transport various kinds of combat equipment such as Arjun main battle tanks.
A man in an inebriated condition who wanted to quickly reach his house at Attingal from Kollam city late in the night on Sunday hit upon the idea of driving a KSRTC bus home. Many buses, with the switch keys left on the dashboard, had been parked along Link Road at Asramam across the KSRTC depot. Any bus was an easy pick. Aloysius, 25, chose a fast passenger that was scheduled to make a trip to Thiruvananthapuram in the morning. With ease and confidence, he negotiated the bus through Asramam and reached Chinnakada. But he faltered at the wheel at the traffic roundabout and the bus crashed into a 11-kV electric post inside the median there. The loud noise of the crash alerted the police patrol who rushed to the scene. By then, Aloysius had alighted from the bus and was standing there as a spectator. But the police quickly identified him as one of his shoes was lying under the driver’s seat. He was arrested and subjected to blood test for alcohol content. A ND-NDE
Rebooting India-Nepal ties Indian interventionism having backfired, the Nepal PM’s visit is an opportunity to raise the level of bilateral ties
Prison and privilege
Derailed priorities There must be a quick inquiry into the Khatauli accident, and a larger safety upgrade
ailway Minister Suresh Prabhu took several Rail Bhawan mandarins to task within hours of the latest tragedy on the tracks. Thirteen coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli, near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 23 people. A portion of the track had been disjointed and was being welded in order to be put back in place as part of ‘routine maintenance’. But no one bothered to put a traffic blockade in place, as required, and the welding could not be completed before the train passed through. A probe by the Commissioner of Railway Safety may reveal whether this was a systemic communication failure or an instance of a casual approach to a task that needed to be done but could have waited if traffic blocks were not feasible that day. Reposing confidence in the inquiry process may appear difficult as the CRS is yet to conclude its investigation into one of the deadliest railway mishaps in the past decade: the Indore-Patna Express crash near Kanpur last November, that killed 152 passengers. That process may have been muddied by suggestions of sabotage, from the highest levels of government, and accountability is yet to be fixed. But in Khatauli, evidence is available of serious lapses, including an audio recording of railway officers conceding bungling over the maintenance work. Two engineers have been suspended, another has been transferred, and three top officials, including a Railway Board member in charge of engineering and tracks, have been asked to go on leave as ‘exemplary punishment’. Action against Railway Board members is rare, and this sends out a strong signal. However, it is no substitute for a larger course correction. Nearly 70% of the 303 rail accidents reported between 2012-13 and 2015-16 were caused by carelessness of railway staff, which includes shortcuts in maintenance work and failure to heed safety norms. Derailments — often caused by defects in the tracks or the rolling stock — have been the second biggest reason for accidents and casualties over the past decade. The Railways has over 1.14 lakh km of tracks, but their renewal, the Ministry told the Parliamentary Committee on Railways, depends on the financial resources allotted in a given year rather than the length of tracks that need refreshing. The induction of coaches with anti-climbing features, that could minimise fatalities in incidents like Khatauli, remains far too sluggish. A five-year corporate safety plan, first announced in the Rail Budget for 2015-16, has been drafted, but is yet to be approved. Humans err, but when the system turns a blind eye to the obvious needs of a public utility, the wake-up call needs to go beyond rapping a few officers. As the Railways itself has said, unless operations are safe, there are no operations. CM YK
epal is run by a revolving door of political leaders who have weakened the polity and economy over the years, but who did battle the odds to promulgate a new Constitution. India, meanwhile, has a Chief Ministerturned-Prime Minister who has had to learn geopolitics on the job. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have realised the limits of optics in geopolitics, and Nepal serves as a marker of adventurism gone awry. With global geopolitics on the boil, and the Hindi-Chini relationship in free fall, it should be in India’s interest to secure its own neighbourhood, and that can only be through letting national politics and governance of the smaller neighbours evolve without interference.
Impediments, implausibilities New Delhi must use the visit of Nepal’s newly anointed Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, on Wednesday as an opportunity to hit the reset button on Nepal-India relations. Such a rebooting requires a cold and hard look at how Nepal was handled over the past decade, exemplified by the impediments placed in the writing, adoption and implementation of the Constitution. True, India played a valued role in ending the Maoist insurgency in 2006, but the period thereafter was marked by escalating micromeddling in Nepal’s internal affairs. In Constitution-writing, there were attempts to define the new provincial boundaries according to Indian dictates — pushing first an unwieldy and unworkable plainsonly province, then a two-province formula. The presence of India’s heavy hand contributed in numerous ways to the distortion of consen-
sual governance needed in transitional times. Kathmandu’s civil society was preoccupied with managing the fallout, and much time has been spent rallying around the flag rather than stabilising the new republican democracy, trying to end ‘bhagbanda’ share-the-spoils politics, and working to ensure that the inclusion enshrined in the Constitution is observed in practice. (The scarcity of Madhesi faces in the recent appointment of ambassadors, judges and government appointments is a case in point.) For reasons best known to South Block, India ‘noted’ rather than welcomed the Constitution. A society trying to emerge from the April 2015 Great Earthquake was slapped with the punitive Great Blockade. Even today, New Delhi seems uneasy with the recognition of Maithili, Bhojpuri and Avadhi in Nepal, and prefers the elevation of Hindi as in India. While keeping silent for years on Nepal’s post-conflict transitional justice process, in November 2015 India’s representative in Geneva cynically utilised the forum of the Human Rights Council to influence government change in Kathmandu. A year ago, Indian interlocutors pushed the Nepali Congress to renege on its promise to continue in coalition with the mainstream left Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and engineered what is the implausible current embrace of the Congress with the Maoist party of
Pushpa Kamal Dahal. At the tactical level, New Delhi’s motives behind the heavy-handedness of the recent past may have to do with electoral calculations related to the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh polls. On the Constitution, the idea of a ‘buffer’ province is thought to have been floated either to prevent third country militant infiltration or to control nationallevel politics in Kathmandu. Some point to an agenda to try to take Nepal back to ‘Hindu state’ constitutional status. For the long term, Indian strategists may be seeking ways to get Kathmandu to allow the construction of high dams and deep reservoirs on Nepal’s rivers — for flood control, navigation, urban use and irrigation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. A particular federal demarcation might make Kathmandu more amenable, goes this line of thinking. In trying to push some or all of these goals, New Delhi made deep inroads into Nepal’s political class, but none did it use more than the Madhesbaadi parties. Besides the fact that this has done great injustice to the plains-based Madhesi citizens of Nepal, the Madhesbaadi leadership is presently incensed that after all its goading New Delhi now seems to be backtracking — a recent example of this ‘use and throw’ policy is seen in how the Madhesbaadi leaders were made to stand against local government elections, followed by a volte-face of the Indian Embassy urging them
Pending matters Once Nepal and India get past the era of interventionism as but a bad memory, the two can concentrate on the numerous matters that need concentration and resolution. An important issue is the open border itself, which is a unique joint heritage of the two countries. While it is Nepal’s Left that has traditionally demanded restrictions on the border, the call now rises from the Indian security establishment. As we speak, the Nepal plains are suffering from massive floods that have also affected downstream areas across the border. Besides the spread of settlements, a prime cause for the severity is that the Chure (Shivalik) hills have been gouged of rocks to build elevated roads and levees just south of the border, leading to inundation in Nepal. A permanent bilateral mechanism is required to save the plains population of Nepal from suffering, which is ongoing as this is written. The Kosi Barrage and attendant embankments have the possibility of wreaking havoc because siltation of six decades has raised the riverbed within the levees far above the outlying tracts. The easy answer for the Indian politician is to demand a high dam in the hills of Nepal even as alternatives are not studied, such as redistribution of waters into various older channels
of the Kosi in Bihar. There are many other matters pending between Nepal and India, much of it due to neglect by the Kathmandu intelligentsia, such as regarding the impact of demonetisation and the application of Goods and Services Tax on Nepal’s economy and citizenry. Similarly, Kathmandu prefers not to discuss the fact that the Nepali rupee is pegged to the Indian rupee and what it means for the long run. The rights of migrant Indian labour in Nepal and Nepali labour in India is a topic that rarely comes up. There are border disputes pending between the two countries — at Susta, Kalapani and the ‘tri-junction’ of Lipulekh — but Kathmandu has been timid in raising these matters. Nepal has since long planned to sell electricity to India once it has a hydropower surplus, and the completion of the much-delayed Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line was supposed to facilitate that. But along comes an Indian government directive that it will not allow import of electricity other than from power companies with more than 51% Indian equity. The arbitrary blockages and goslow at Indian Customs at border points, the selective use of quarantine for the export of Nepali agricultural produce, the increasing high-handedness of the Sashastra Seema Bal (India’s frontier force in this sector) in dealing with Nepalis crossing over — these are only some of the other challenges on the bilateral plane. Due to domestic political instability more than anything else, over the years Kathmandu lost its confidence in dealing with the Dilli Durbar. With the self-assurance that comes from Nepal moving towards normalcy under its new Constitution, and with India seemingly changing gears on its Nepal policy, one hopes for a threshold of maturity in relations between South Asia’s oldest nation-state and its largest democracy. Kanak Mani Dixit, a writer and journalist based in Kathmandu, is founding editor of the magazine ‘Himal Southasian’
Newsrooms under siege The fourth estate in India faces greater threats from within than outside
ublic discourse on the media’s ills through the media is relatively rare. The fourth estate of the world’s largest democracy is fast acquiring a dark underbelly which threatens the vibrancy of democracy itself. Threats to press freedom are far greater from within than from without. Paid news is no more a phrase elite national English newspapers condescendingly used to describe malpractices in small Hindi or regional language newspapers. “Advertorial” is the new sophisticated catchphrase to legitimise and blur the distinction between reportage and paid content. Bribed reporters, ferociously lobbying senior editors and highly politically biased journalists and anchors preach to us every day as “independent” voices, in both the print and visual media.
Hidden influences An association of ethical journalists (not always an oxymoron) has published an 18-country study of how “corruption and conflict of interest stalks the newsroom”. Examples would be hilarious if they
were not tragic. Thus, TRPs are the craze because they determine advertising revenue and dictate how much sensationalism and how little sense are to be injected. The print media circulation calculation methodologies, though infinitely better, still leave much to be desired. TRP consultants have sprouted all over. They reportedly find the supposedly secret location of viewer meters, then approach that family with freebies such as a new 60-inch plasma TV, gifted so long as the family promises to watch the ordinary old metered TV for specific programmes at specified times! Top newspapers send out marketing persons with a rate card to cover celebrity events and product launches, published the next day as news, occasionally with unreadable fine print at the bottom saying advertorial. A Press Council study has documented date-wise the lobbying report for a proposed government policy in established newspapers, which is followed, next day and for several weeks, by advertisements from the known beneficiary of that policy. The recent elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have innumerable documented cases by the Election Commission (EC) of paid news. No party’s representative, just like virtually no media segment, can be sanctimonious on this issue. “Is hamam mein sab nange hain (no one is above board)” is the business-as-usual
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR No prison Earlier, jails were meant to be places for prisoners to feel contrition for misdeeds and crimes perpetrated by them; with the budding of self-reformation, the person was all set for course correction. Leaders such as Nehru, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela wrote thoughtprovoking books while in prison which benefited society. Prisons were construed as edifices of sacrifice during the freedom struggle. Today, prisons have attained notoriety because of the connivance and complicity of greedy officials. Prisoners relishing feasts, using an array of cell phones to get instant updates from the outside world and even having access to narcotics, all reveal the dismal state of our
t is not uncommon for some influential prisoners to get concessions or privileges from obliging officials. The privileges and favourable exemptions that V.K. Sasikala seems to enjoy in the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru appear to confirm what one hears only in corruption folklore. Initially, it was rumoured she had a makeshift kitchen and been provided with an inmate as a cook; it was said she had a special visitors’ room with enough chairs for political confabulations. Now, dramatic footage has emerged showing her and her relative and fellow convict, J. Ilavarasi, entering by the prison’s main door, suggesting that she may be returning from a trip outside the prison’s precincts. It appears, in the video, that she has been exempted from wearing a convict’s uniform. These are not fanciful charges emerging from unreliable quarters. These are part of purported evidence submitted to investigators by former Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) D. Roopa, who blew the whistle on Sasikala’s special privileges weeks ago. Ms. Roopa has submitted the footage, presumably taken from a surveillance camera focussed on the prison’s entry point, to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which wanted proof of her earlier charges about rampant corruption among prison officials. Ms. Roopa had been transferred out from the post after she made the sensational allegation that the Director General (Prisons) and other top officials had taken a ₹2-crore bribe to extend these privileges to Sasikala. The former DG (Prisons), H.N. Satyanarayana Rao, who rejected the charges as baseless, has since retired. The Karnataka government has ordered an inquiry headed by Vinay Kumar, a retired bureaucrat, into irregularities in the prison, while the Anti-Corruption Bureau is examining the corruption charges. These investigations should not be mere formalities as prison corruption poses a great danger to society. It is not only influential politicians but also offenders jailed for serious charges, such as Abdul Karim Telgi, the kingpin of the stamp paper racket that rocked the country over a decade ago, who are the beneficiaries of a suborned system. Overcrowding, ill-treatment, lack of infrastructure and inadequate facilities are some of the problems that the country’s prison system has been facing for years. In recent years, newer vices have been added to the list of problems: availability of drugs, for instance, and access to mobile phones to prisoners to beat the communication protocol. Any inquiry into Ms. Roopa’s charges cannot be limited to the facilities that one or two prisoners may enjoy, but should comprehensively address all these issues. Failure to curb the illegal facilities allowed to some prisoners will ultimately lead to the loss of whatever deterrent value a jail term has. To paraphrase Shakespeare, one must not make “a scarecrow of the law” that is set up to scare away birds, but lets “custom make it their perch and not their terror”.
kanak mani dixit
NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
If illegal facilities are allowed to select prisoners, jails will lose their deterrent value
to join. As Mr. Deuba deplanes, indeed there are indications of a scaling back of Indian involvement. Hopefully this is a response to a growing realisation in New Delhi that a peaceful, stable Nepal that evolves of its own volition is good for India, and especially for the central Ganga plains. From the Kathmandu perspective, politically micromanaging Nepal could not have but backfired. Take the Great Blockade, which forced the Kathmandu political leadership to reach out to Beijing and sign a slew of trade, transit and infrastructural agreements with it. Few know that Nepal is today better connected by air to Chinese cities than to India.
justification. Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra is one of the rare subjects of a timely, completed judgment on paid news suppressed from election affidavit disclosures.
The corporate shadow Corporate and political power has overwhelmed and overawed large sections of the media, both print and visual, where boldness and fearlessness are no doubt displayed but very selectively and in a slanted manner. Corporates have humongous financial interests in the media. First, they have large financial stakes in either print or visual media. Second, they have full ownership of both categories in innumerable cases. Third, they have significant control even of rival visual platforms. Fourth, instead of Chinese walls between managerial/ownership activities and editorial jurisdiction, the exact opposite prevails, the former is boss and the latter is frequently anonymous. Direct blackmail is no
rare thing either. The biggest joke is the concept of peer regulation, which India has borrowed from the U.K. with disastrous results. The Press Council of India (PCI) is a toothless tiger, though I would not want to insult the king of the jungle and prefer to call it a “legislatively impotent and powerless” club giving futile sermons which no one even listens to. A comprehensive study commissioned by the PCI itself, documenting specific cases of many of these abuses with facts, figures and data had to be shelved and buried because of peer pressure. The PCI can take solace in the fact that other peer regulators have probably done worse — for example, the Medical Council of India, or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, which none less than the Prime Minister recently admonished.
Ways for reform What are the remedies? First, the zeal for reform must come from within, from senior print and television journalists who must dare to speak, write and expose more clearly the subject of this article. Second, the same persons must start publicly condemning, if not ostracising, clear examples of such abuse. Third, some ownership restrictions on cross holdings and aggregate holdings have to be legislated. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India suggested a maximum of 32% market share,
calculated on any of the following bases: customers, geographical area or languages. (Predictably they were laughed out.) Fourth, legislation must create mandatory Chinese walls between managerial and editorial departments. Fifth, the last will work only with ‘provision of contracts and employment conditions for journalists that meet international labour standards and which give them the right, without fear of retribution, to refuse any form of work that infringes upon their professional codes or conscience’. Sixth, create ‘genuinely independent and transparent systems for assessing circulation and ratings of media’. Seventh, introduce internal systems for disclosing potential conflicts of interest, deal with complaints and have mandatory disclosure of ownership or relationship conflicts at the end of each print article or visual programme. Eighth, similar disclosure, in bold letters, of paid-for news or any reporting must be done. None of this will happen without penal legislation. I have no doubt that such legislation will not come in the foreseeable future because here we are talking of the most powerful club in the world. Abhishek Singhvi is an MP, national spokesperson for the Congress party, former Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee, and former Additional Solicitor General. The views expressed are personal
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jails. That wealthy ones receive preferential treatment is evident as many cases have shown earlier. It is no wonder then that V.K. Sasikala has been able to get things done her way. For the people at the helm, the incident should serve as a pressing need to reform the system (‘Exclusive report – “Did Sasikala go out of Bengaluru prison?”, August 21). R. Sridharan, Chennai
Off the rails The train accident at Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh is another entry to the sad accident statistics and misgovernance in the Railways. Train accidents seem to be occurring at regular intervals, which is alarming. It is also a fact that
a number of job vacancies in crucial departments are still vacant, which is leading to work pressure. Lopsided priorities such as attempting bullet train services without focussing on core issues such as poor track maintenance, a disproportionate increase in services without balancing maintenance, and not adhering to minimum safety precautions are resulting in a crisis. Sending a Railway Board member on leave — for the first time — is not enough. Safety must come first. If it means reducing services, a bold step has to be taken. Instead of rushing to conclusions such as sabotage, the Railway Ministry needs to constantly focus on the upkeep and maintenance of tracks, bridges and coaches. There
must be refresher courses for front-line staff at frequent intervals. Murthy Palakodeti, Hyderabad
■ It is regrettable that a blame game begins once a major catastrophe occurs. The pertinent questions are obfuscated. In this case, the main question should be whether the procedures laid down in railway operations when track maintenance were undertaken were followed correctly. In cases of major maintenance, trains are brought to a dead stop and then hand-signalled over the affected section. To alert approaching trains of a speed limit in force, a black and yellow warning board is placed well in advance of the speed limit indicator
board and at a distance adequate for a speeding train to slow down with a normal application of brakes. Media reports do not mention this. There should be a proper inquiry. S. Rajaram, Chennai
Linking rivers With the death toll as a result of floods on the rise in Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it is time that the plan to interlink rivers is revived. Grim stories in the media — “Bihar toll touches 119; over 4 lakh evacuated”, August 19; “Flood situation
grim in Bihar”, August 20, and “88 more die in Assam, Bihar, U.P. flood-hit areas”, August 21 — highlight the death and devastation. Some international organisations have come up with more details. There has been no move to interlink rivers which will drastically reduce the loss of precious lives, livestock and property. The needs of the affected people must be met with priority. Long-term projects must be thought of. Manzar Imam, Purnea, Bihar
more letters online: www.hindu.com/opinion/letters/
corrections & clarifications: The photo caption that accompanied the report, “Army to get only six Apaches” (August 21, 2017), wrongly referred to the helicopters as Apache helicopters. The Readers’ Editor’s office can be contacted by Telephone: +91-44-28418297/28576300; E-mail:[email protected] A ND-NDE
The outgoing Vice President, M. Hamid Ansari, was subjected to one of the strangest send-offs in Parliament in the history of independent India. A distinguished and wellspoken diplomat, scholar, author and the country’s Vice President for two terms (2007-17), he was made to sound, in the Prime Minister’s speech, like nothing more than an insecure Muslim. The Ansari brothers of his grandfather’s generation, in the first half of the 20th century, were close comrades of Mahatma Gandhi, supporters of the Khilafat Movement, and founders of the Jamia Millia University. His own association with the Aligarh Muslim University as Professor and Vice Chancellor, his stints as ambassador of India in many capitals of West Asia — all these, in his humiliating farewell, were summarily reduced to being functions of his individual religious identity.
Unfairly denigrated In a convocation address at the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru, as well as an interview to Rajya Sabha TV just days before he stepped down, Mr. Ansari spoke about the growing feelings of insecurity and marginalisation among India’s minorities, especially Muslims, given the atmosphere of religious nationalism and cultural chauvinism that currently prevails. For expressing his legitimate concern as a holder of one of the highest offices in the country, Mr. Ansari was rudely demoted from the status of an Indian citizen, patriot and public official to a narrowly defined and ideologically confined member of, as they used to say in press reportage of communal riots until quite recently, “a certain community”. The opposition’s candidate for the vice presidency, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, had by this time already lost the election by a wide margin. Mr. Gandhi, a grandson of the Mahatma and himself a diplomat, scholar, author and former Governor, also wellspoken, erudite and distinguished, though not a Muslim, was similarly made out to be unfit for the job on account of his lineage and political
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associations, whether historical or personal, with the Congress party. Both men were denigrated as tokens of a ‘secular’ type, their valuable contributions to public life dismissed as mere reflexes of an accident of birth, their entire careers collapsed into their respective surnames, their personae and participation diminished as parochial and unworthy of our respect. Hardly a few weeks earlier, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, had casually and deprecatingly referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a chatur baniya (“wily trader”). After a public outcry, a few days later, speaking at the Sabarmati Ashram, Mr. Modi recalled one of the best-known songs from Gandhi’s multireligious ashram prayer book, “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye” by the medieval Gujarati poet, Narsi Mehta. While the refrain of this celebrated bhajan means, “Call such a one a true Hindu, who empathises with another’s pain”, Mr. Modi suggested that the words vaishnav jan (meaning “a devout Hindu” or “a truly pious person”) be replaced by “public representative” — jan pratinidhi — so that the line would become: “Call such a one a public representative, who empathises with another’s pain”. The implications were bizarre, to say the least: one, that a natural equivalence stands to be posited between pious Hindus (vaishnav jan) and public representatives (jan pratinidhi) in contemporary India; and two, that Gandhi’s profoundly moral message of empathy as a political virtue can be scrambled and appropriated in the most banal way, to stand for what are at best bureaucratic aspirations, from efficiency to governance to accountability. In fact, this powerful piece of public poetry, written in Gujarati but a part of the Indian nation-
alist lexicon for close to a century, is here made to signify anything other than what the Mahatma actually meant. This was that genuine piety is the capacity to relate to and share in the suffering of others, whatever our differences with them, including, crucially, religious differences. In other words, a sincere public representative in the Gandhian sense would first and foremost empathise with beleaguered minorities in a majoritarian political context — ironically, quite the opposite of the BJP’s attitude to weaker sections, especially Muslims. It would be pertinent here to recall Gandhi’s commitment to establish reconciliation and non-violence in the midst of the most intense communal conflict preceding and during Partition in 1946-47. So also we should acknowledge Mr. Ansari’s empathetic efforts, as chairman of the National Minorities Commission (2006-07), to secure justice, relief and rehabilitation for victims of sectarian carnage in both Delhi 1984 (where Sikhs were affected) and Gujarat 2002 (where Muslims were affected).
Manipulation of language What is going on in all of these instances of sophistry, silence and insinuation used so masterfully by the Prime Minister and others who hold important positions in his party, cabinet and government? How are identities imposed, implied and then targeted in this sort of discourse that is as damaging as it is oblique, as insulting as it is ambiguous? How is language misused to render those perceived as political opponents in the worst possible light? Collective memory is degraded in the age of instant gratification, fake news and social media, but we need to recall over the past 40 months extremely prob-
lematic phrases that were tossed out into the mainstream national conversation just long enough to hurt, but not long enough to invite consequences. “Ramzaade ya Haraamzaade” was one such. “Love Jihad”, another. “Kuttey ka baccha”. “Pink Revolution”. The list can go on. It is important to recognise that the manipulation of language, the deployment of silence, the disparagement of individuals, the erasure of historical memories, the marginalisation of minorities and women, the crushing of institutions — these are all strategies on a continuum, designed to effect the tectonic shift of a plural and diverse India into a Hindu Rashtra. It is part of the same push then, when the incoming President, Ram Nath Kovind, in his inaugural address to the nation, simply did not mention India’s principal freedom fighter and first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), or when the Nehru Pavilion and Hall of Nations, iconic modernist buildings in Delhi, located on Pragati Maidan, were demolished overnight despite the matter of their future continuation, use, re-purposing or demolition still being debated in court. People, places or events — anything can be made to vanish from the historical record. If we do not acknowledge their past existence, or if we remove all present traces of their existence, it’s as if they never were. The world’s greatest apostle of nonviolence can disappear overnight — the author of Hind Swaraj, the architect of our freedom, the father of our nation — and in his place, as if by magic, a chatur baniya, scheming, selfish, stingy, sectarian, is installed by a slip of the tongue. We cannot help notice acts of terrible bodily harm, like lynching and rape, routinely enacted against minorities — Muslims, Dalits, Christians, tribals. Do we also pay attention to the violent use of words, or to the equally dangerous failure to speak, the omission of facts, the denial of empathy, the refusal of respect that have all become par for the course in the reign of Hindutva? The larger question of course is, whether the devaluation of language, the distortion of truth and the undermining of democracy we are witnessing right now, are one-way processes, irreversible, now that they have begun. Ananya Vajpeyi is a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi
The bureaucracy needs to embrace lateral entry, technology, and the ‘perform or perish’ culture
Srivatsa Krishna It is impossible to run a 21st century economy with a 19th century bureaucracy using 18th century rules. The “New India” that is under way also needs independence from bad bureaucracy, not necessarily from all bureaucracy, for any state would need to be run by some set of rules, by some set of people — call them by any name you wish. The minute you say banish all bureaucracy, there will begin a chorus claiming nepotism, politicisation, lack of transparency and accountability, and the need for an umpire and a strong catalyst of change — which is what the higher civil service ought to be in the first place. The civil services need to bring about three fundamental changes, some of which are already under way under the new dispensation. First, specific clauses under All India Services and Central Services Conduct Rules have been invoked to sack officers on grounds of incompetence and/or corruption. The rules always existed in the rule book but this government has had the courage to use it in public interest and more will follow soon. The black sheep should be identified and sent home, with public opprobrium.
Lateral entry Second, lateral entry into the higher civil services should be welcomed but with some caveats. Espousing lateral entry as a manna for all failures of governance will only set it up to fail, for history is replete with examples of some of the most accomplished private sector professionals failing inside government. Let’s not forget that Hasmukh Adhia who delivered the Goods and Services Tax, Parameswaran Iyer who manages sanitation, Aruna Sundararajan who gave us Digital India, Sanjay Mitra who delivered highways, S. Jaishankar who places India on the global map, Anil Swarup who led coal auctions, Rita Teaotia who led GEM (government e-marketplace) and preferential procurement for “Make in India” products, each along with their respective team of civil servants from various services, and the entire leadership of Prime Minister’s Office who oversee and catalyse all the above, did not come into government through lateral entry. Conversely, lateral entry has also produced a pilot who was designated Cabinet Secretary in a State who then ran amok, and thoughtful economists who were disasters as leaders inside government. It is highly unlikely that a private sector professional will view civil services as a ‘ca-
reer’ for, say, 10-15 years given the modest compensation and significant ecosystem issues which often mitigate against measurable inputs and outcomes. Earlier the ‘lal batti’ (red beacon) used to be one fatal attraction but now that’s also gone. Whether they would want to break their heads working with the many inscrutable gems and political dynasties of corruption and nonperformance spread across parties, at the national and State levels, remains to be seen. Lateral entry does open the risk and prospect of powerful corporate groups placing their men in key positions of government. However, when one looks at the serious lack of decision-making abilities or willingness in some of the government’s senior leadership, as also the existing allegiances of some in the system with groups outside government, on balance, lateral entry is indeed a necessary condition of good governance. Alongside introducing lateral entry, there is a need to “put to pasture” those due to whom administrative rigor mortis has set in — if someone is not found suitable in the IAS/ IRS/IPS/IFS after about 15 years, i.e. at the Joint Secretary level, shift them out to noncrucial posts or give them their lifetime pension today and send them home now.
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Can the ongoing devaluation of language and undermining of democracy be reversed?
Harnessing technology The third big step should be to infuse more and more technology into every touch point where a citizen interacts with the government. Today with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), global technology leaders such as IPsoft use virtual assistants to deliver citizens services in the U.K. and U.S. In the context of government service delivery, cognitive intelligence can deliver it with greater superiority, accuracy, consistency and at lower cost than humans can. The time is ripe for introducing AI in government services such as passports, licences, building permits, certificates, etc. where it can communicate in natural language with citizens and ensure process compliance. At 70, India needs independence from bad bureaucracy and inane processes and meaningless forms — not necessarily from “good” bureaucracy, which in every country, system and time has been the harbinger of positive change. Srivatsa Krishna is an IAS officer and tweets @srivatsakrishna. Views are personal
Teachers and politics: clash of views Most of the State Eduction Ministers to-day [August 21] sharply disagreed with the Union Education Minister, Dr. Triguna Sen’s view that teachers be granted the right to participate actively in politics and contest elections. This disagreement came to the fore when Dr. Sen conferred with the Ministers at an informal meeting here [New Delhi] to discuss the national policy on education. Dr. Sen said there was nothing wrong if teachers were given the right to participate in politics and contest elections. The Maharashtra Education Minister, Mr. M.D. Chaudhuri, said that this would create practical difficulties in running schools efficiently. The Kerala Education Minister, Mr. Mohammed Koya, said political activity by teachers would vitiate the scholastic atmosphere in schools.
Reality is far from the affirmative policies that are on paper ADITI DATTA SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA
With a strength of 76,348 personnel, as of January 2016, Delhi Police is one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world. As it is responsible for a diverse population of 1.68 crore (2011 census), it too needs to be diverse, inclusive, and sensitive to the people it serves. Yet, over the past two decades, despite the city seeing extensive migration from Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and the Northeastern States, among others, the recruitment at the lower and middle levels in the force has mainly been from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. Affirmative policies are on paper: there is 15% reservation for Scheduled Castes, 7.5% reservation for Scheduled Tribes, 27% for Other Backward Classes, and 33% for women. Currently, there are 11,787 SCs (15.43%), 5,596 STs (7.32%) and 16,416 OBCs (21.5%) in Delhi Police. This means that while the SC and ST quotas are being filled, this is not the case with the OBC quota. Also, there are only 7,004 women in Delhi Police, which is less than 10%. This is woefully low.
Inadequate representation From time to time, the courts and the Central government have issued directives to improve this situation. In 2014, the Delhi High Court had directed the eight Northeastern States to send police officers on deputation to Delhi following the beating and subsequent death of an Arunachal Pradesh student, Nido Tania, in South Delhi. Yet, as of July 2017, there was only one police officer from the Northeastern States on deputation to the Delhi police, and that too at the subordinate level. It is estimated that more than several lakh people from the Northeastern States live in Delhi. Though Delhi Police has inducted more than 400 persons from the Northeast, the representation of the region in the force is less than 1%. It is also important that Delhi Police implement the recommendations of the M.P. Bezbaruah Committee, which, in 2014, had suggested, among other things, sensitisation of law enforcement personnel to cases involving those from the Northeast. There are other concerns too. Until 2013, the National Crime Records Bureau used to provide information about Muslims in the State police forces. This has since stopped. As per the 2011 Census, Muslims constituted about 12.86 % of the total population of Delhi and as of 2013, there were a mere 1,485 Muslims working in Delhi Police. Today, there is no way to find out the latest figures. The need for a diverse police was highlighted by the National Police Commission in the early 1980s. The commission had suggested that the composition of the police should reflect a “general mix of communities as exists in society”, so that the people would have confidence in the force. The reality is sadly far from this. To achieve this general mix, Delhi Police should first undertake a demographic study of its force. Based on the findings, it should then chalk out a road map to build a multicultural, multireligious and multilingual police force. Aditi Datta is Senior Programme Officer with the Police Reforms Programme at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
The Asian strain is more dangerous than the African one
This is a paradoxical situation where a society that shows unlimited tolerance towards people with intolerant ideas eventually loses its capacity to be tolerant as the intolerant group destroys their rights. This was elaborated by Austrian philosopher Karl Popper in The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper argued that for a liberal society to sustain itself, it must be intolerant towards intolerance. However, Popper did not propose that intolerant ideas need to be suppressed. It is only intolerant actions like violence that he thought need to be stopped in a liberal society. CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
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There’s history between India and Britain bit.ly/2wwrJjD
Clinical studies have already shown that infection of pregnant women by the Asian Zika virus strain, especially during the first and second trimesters, leads to significantly higher foetal anomalies. Now, laboratory studies using blood samples taken from pregnant women in their first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy have confirmed that foetuses are more vulnerable to the Asian strain during the first and second trimester. A study published on August 21 in the journal, Nature Microbiology, has also found that infection by the Asian strain leads to expression of two genes that are associated with pregnancy-associated complications. The experimental evidence also strongly suggests that the early stage of pregnancy is a time of “high susceptibility” to the Zika infection.
Suan-Sin Foo from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and others tested whole blood samples of pregnant and non-pregnant women using both the African and Asian Zika virus strains. While the two strains share closely similarity (90%), the presence of African virus in certain blood cells was much higher than the Asian strain. However, the Asian strain showed greater ability to trigger immune suppression, which allows the virus to replicate and even possibly sneak into the womb and cause more foetal damage. Particular white blood cells called CD14 are the primary target cells for Zika infection. The CD14 cells turn into another kind of white blood cells (macrophages) that swallow bacteria and viruses and keep the body healthy. But the researchers found that the Asian Zika virus strain was pushing the CD14 cell to be-
come a kind of macrophage that suppresses the immune system. During pregnancy, the body naturally suppresses the immune system to protect the growing foetus from being rejected by the womb. The reduced immunity makes pregnant women highly susceptible to Zika infection during this period. After infection, the Asian strain further promotes immune suppression. Also, there is higher level of expression of two genes — ADAMTS9 and FN1 — that are detrimental to pregnancy. The authors hypothesise that the expression of these genes may be induced during the first and second trimesters “specifically” when infected by the Asian strain. While elevated expression of the ADAMTS9 gene is implicated with preterm birth and small birth weight, higher expression of the other gene causes foetalgrowth restriction.
It is a curious fact that people who distrust bankers are singularly lacking in ingenuity in the devising of hiding places for their money. A year or two ago a woman admitted that she had her savings beneath her mother’s tombstone, and not long since it seems to have occurred to a number of hoarders that disused cannon made a secure hiding-place, for some children found £100 in one of the Crimean cannons at Liverpool. This reminds one that some time ago a bag containing seventy sovereigns was taken from another old gun in Peel Park, Bradford, while a parcel containing jewellery was discovered in a cannon near Shore ham. CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Malegaon case: SC gives Purohit bail The court gave credence to Lt. Col. Purohit’s case that he is a serving Army officer involved in counter-intelligence operations and was a mole for the Military Intelligence who had infiltrated right wing organisations. The judgment mentions that Lt. Col. Purohit claimed to have leaked intelligence inputs to his superiors. He had alleged that the ATS officials had framed him by planting RDX explosives in the house of another accused Sudhakar Chaturvedi. The court said these were fresh revelations in the case
which has compelled the Bench to look at his case in a fresh light and made this bail application quite different from the earlier ones which had been declined by courts previously. “The grant or denial is regulated, to a large extent, by the facts and circumstances of each particular case. But at the same time, right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused,” Justice Agrawal, who authored the judgment, observed.
SC to deliver verdict on triple talaq today It rued the missed opportunity to address gender inequality in both the Shah Bano and Danial Latifi cases. In the Shah Bano case, it had merely goaded the government to frame the Uniform Civil Code. The Latifi case upheld the right of Muslim women to maintenance till remarriage. Many Muslim women and organisations joined forces with the court’s initiative. However, the Constitution Bench decided to confine itself to examining triple talaq and not polygamy and nikah halala. For over 65 years, Muslim women, who comprise almost 8% of the population
according to the 2011 Census, have remained extremely vulnerable. “Muslim women want to have a life equal to that of another woman, say a Christian or a Hindu wife,” the government argued in court. The Centre claimed that instant talaq is not fundamental to Islam. It promised to bring a new divorce law for Muslim men in case the court strikes down the three forms of ‘talaq’ — Ahsan, Hasan and Biddat. The AIMPLB had countered that triple talaq is a matter of faith like the Hindu belief that Ayodhya is Ram’s birthplace.
Kovind dedicates Leh trip to jawans Confers Presidential Colours on Ladakh Scouts, asks soldiers to uphold the honour of the country
Indian IS recruiter killed in Syria
Press Trust of India
President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the Presidential Colours to Ladakh Scouts, and reminded the troops of their pledge to protect the sovereignty of the nation at any cost. The Ladakh Scouts, or “Snow Warriors”, is a regiment of the Army stationed in Ladakh and serves as the first line of border defence. Dedicating his Leh visit — his first official trip outside Delhi — to the armed forces, Mr. Kovind said: “Being the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, this visit is dedicated to the soldiers.” Mr. Kovind’s visit comes just a week after Indian and Chinese troops got into a scuffle following an attempt by the Chinese soldiers to cross the Line of Actual Control near the Pangong Lake.
The Islamic State (IS) on Monday claimed that an Indian suicide bomber had killed a “number” of people in an attack in Syria’s north-west Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the terror group. In a statement in Arabic, the IS identified the terrorist as Abu Yusuf al-Hindi, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based monitoring firm. The terror group claimed killing and wounding a “number” of what it described as “Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] apostates” in the suicide attack. However, Indian agencies had not confirmed the IS claim. Al-Hindi was the fugitive chief recruiter for the IS in the Indian subcontinent and was known as Mohammed Shafi Armar, who had many aliases like ‘Chhote Maula’ and ‘Anjan Bhai’. The 30-year-old was named a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ by the U.S. in June, becoming the first Indian leader of the outfit against whom U.S. had imposed sanctions.
Heroic battles Recalling the heroic battles fought by the Ladakh Scouts in defending the country, Mr. Kovind said, “We have pledged to protect the sovereignty of our nation in all situations. I am sure we will fulfil this pledge at all costs and uphold the pride and honour of the country.” Stating that the Ladakh Scouts was set up to thwart
Supreme service: President Ram Nath Kovind at the presentation of the Presidential Colours to the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre in Ladakh on Monday. PTI *
the Pakistani attack in 194748, he noted that the regiment had displayed exemplary courage and the spirit of sacrifice in fighting the Chinese in 1962, Pakistanis in 1971 and the Kargil war in 1999. Presidential Colours is
one of the greatest honours conferred upon a unit for their extraordinary service. “Posted in one of the most difficult climatic conditions and geographical locations, your bravery is bigger than your numbers,” he told the troops after inspecting an
Another government official said the Ladakh incident was a repercussion to incidents in Doklam and Chinese PLA was indulging in such “frustrated acts” due to domestic compulsions and it could continue till its snowed in October. The ITBP is deployed along 3,488 km of the Himalayan border. “They have been caught red-handed in Doklam — building a road in someone else’s territory. As the Army refused to retreat and stopped them from extending further down the Doklam plateau, they became frustrated and irritated and initiated the brawl in
Ladakh,” the official said. The official added that a day later during the flag meeting, both the armies admitted to their mistake and apologised to each other for trading punches and kicks and it was decided that such incidents will not be escalated in future. “But you never know with China, we cannot lower our guard. We have not rushed reinforcements but forces are at maximum alert along the China border,” the official said. Mr. Singh also said India had never attacked any country. “But our forces are equipped to handle whoever comes in the way of India’s security,” he said.
AIADMK factions bury the hatchet In the unified AIADMK, a coordination committee has been set up with Mr. Panneerselvam as chairperson and Mr. Palaniswami as cochair. One representative each from the two camps — former Minister K.P. Munusamy and organising secretary and Rajya Sabha member R. Vaithilingam have been made deputy chairpersons. There will be 11 members in the steering committee. In response to the Panneerselvam camp’s demand for the removal of Sasikala as interim general secretary, Mr. Vaithilingam told mediapersons that a resolution would be adopted to this effect at a meeting of the party general council to be called soon. Addressing a gathering of party leaders and senior members, Mr. Panneerselvam, who visited the party office after a gap of six-and-a-half months, described the merger as historic and said “no one can hereafter separate us” amid applause from those present. The merger had been made, fulfilling “dreams of workers” of the party.
‘Blow to sceptics’ Recalling how he faced a “number of problems” in the last six months, Mr. Palaniswami said the merger had come about to end that phase, and Mr. Panneerselvam had “wholeheartedly come forward”. Some were sceptical about the reunion but the coming together of the two factions had delivered a “strong blow” to their CM YK
thoughts, the Chief Minister said and added that the immediate priority was to retrieve the “two leaves” symbol.”
Last minute hitches Though it became clear even on Saturday that the merger would happen on Monday, considered auspicious being a new moon day, the much-awaited event took place only after a couple of hours of uncertainty. For starters, Mr. Panneerselvam, who was expected at the AIADMK headquarters in Royapettah around noon, did not turn up. Mr. Vaithilingam and Ministers P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani shuttled between Mr. Panneerselvam’s residence and Mr. Palaniswami’s house, both on Greenways Road. At 1.55 p.m., School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan told The Hindu that Mr. Palaniswami would come to the party headquarters shortly, implying that the merger would, indeed, take place. About 15 minutes later, the Chief Minister reached the party office. Around 2.45 p.m., Mr. Panneerselvam followed. Before going to the Raj Bhavan for the swearing-in, the two leaders visited the Marina to pay homage jointly at the memorials of Jayalalithaa, M.G. Ramachandran and C.N. Annadurai. The AIADMK had split in February after Mr. Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala. Eleven more legislators followed him.
Border review The Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, participated. General Rawat, who arrived in Leh on Sunday,
BJP plans ‘Sushasan Yatra’ Modi, Shah take stock of progress of Central schemes in BJP-led States
Reshuffle in the offing?
‘Doklam standoff will be resolved soon’
impressive parade at the Ladakh Regimental Centre.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States here on Monday for a quarterly review of Central schemes in these States. They also discussed a plan to undertake a “Sushasan Yatra” (good governance march) in the runup to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “The ‘Sushasan Yatra’ will highlight the 17 welfare and development schemes of the Central government,” said a party source, who did not mention when it will be held. The meeting follows the one held by Mr. Shah last week at which he unveiled the party’s road map for 2019, with the goal being winning 350 Lok Sabha seats.
The AIADMK factions, led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam, which announced their merger on Monday will have to report the development to the Election Commission for withdrawal of their petitions staking claim to the party symbol.
Verification process “The two groups had earlier filed petitions for the party symbol. They also submitted affidavits of their supporters. The process for verification
China wants to go back to ‘1959 LAC’ Accuses India of ‘violent actions’ Atul Aneja BEIJING
Special Correspondent New Delhi
Setting goals: BJP president Amit Shah welcomes Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY
After cancelling Tamil Nadu tour citing a need to stay back here for “important meetings”, BJP president Amit Shah has scheduled one-on-one meetings with some of the party’s Chief Ministers on Tuesday. This has triggered speculation about an impending Cabinet reshuffle next week.
After the meeting, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that doubling farm income by 2022 and reducing corruption by increasing digital transactions were also discussed. “Prime Minister Modi provided guidance on how
best to implement Central schemes, especially those aimed at the poor and rural households.” He indicated that the party would highlight that the OBC Bill was not cleared by Parliament “due to the anti-poor and anti-OBC
stance of the Congress”. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh added that Prime Minister Modi stressed increasing transparency in governance, and shaping the road map for 2022 in terms of his concept of ‘New India’.
AIADMK must report merger to EC Special Correspondent
would review border security against the backdrop of the tensions with China. Earlier, on his arrival at the Leh airport, Mr. Kovind was received by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and General Rawat.
of the affidavits and other documents is under way. Now that they have announced their merger, the party is required to submit necessary details to the commission, effectively withdrawing the petitions,” said an official. It is learnt that both the groups had filed more than 1.5 lakh affidavits of supporters with the Commission and the electoral body has been examining them to ascertain if there are any duplications or common supporters. In March, the poll panel had frozen the “two leaves”
party symbol for the R.K. Nagar byelection in Chennai, which was then scheduled for April 12, pending a final resolution of the dispute. However, the Election Commission later cancelled the byelection based on evidence of large-scale bribing of voters.
Sasikala’s post The Panneerselvam group has also challenged the appointment of V.K. Sasikala as the party’s interim general secretary and therefore, all the decisions taken by her were also in dispute. That petition is also pending be-
fore the Election Commission. Earlier this month, amid reports that the two factions were in talks for a possible merger, Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan filed a fresh affidavit saying the AIADMK (Amma) group had in effect admitted his legal contentions vis-à-vis Sasikala, while holding T.T.V. Dinakaran ineligible to be an office bearer. Through the affidavit, Dr. Maitreyan reiterated that Sasikala’s appointment was illegal and that the Commission should not acknowledge her as the party’s interim general secretary.
China on Monday urged India to abide by the Line of Actual Control (LAC) position of 1959, following last week’s scuffle between troops of the two countries along the Pangong lake in Ladakh. To a question, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying accused Indian troops of undertaking “violent actions” and injuring Chinese personnel. The Ministry urged India to abide by the “1959 LAC” — an apparent reference to the alignment espoused by former Chinese Premier Zhou en Lai in a letter to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In his 2016 book, Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy,
Amid Doklam row, China holds drill Indo-Asian News Service Beijing
Amid escalating tensions over the Doklam standoff with India, China has conducted a military drill in the western part of the country. The drill was meant to “strike awe in India”, a Chinese military expert was quoted as saying by the Lianhe Zaobao daily. The drill was conducted by the Western Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The location and timing of the exercise were not dis-
Modi promises support to T.N. govt. BJP denies having helped in the merger, says a stable government in the State will help Centre Nistula Hebbar NEW DELHI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to congratulate the Tamil Nadu government after the merger of the AIADMK factions and the swearing-in of members of the Panneerselvam faction. He tweeted: “Centre assures all possible support to chief minister Thiru Edapaddi K. Palaniswami and deputy chief minister Thiru O. Panneerselvam for the growth in Tamil Nadu.” He congratulated “O. Panneerselvam and others who took oath today. I hope Tamil Nadu scales newer heights of progress in the years to come.” The BJP was also quick to sidestep any suggestion that it had helped in the merger.
Speaking to The Hindu, BJP general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu P. Muralidhar Rao said: “Their [the two factions] own interest lies in being united; they seem to have taken a call on the fact that there are four more
years left for this government.” “When you have a stable government in Chennai, one which was supportive of the BJP-led government in Delhi in the recent presidential and vice-presidential polls,
we will welcome it. Our attitude is only limited to this context,” he said. He denied that there was any help provided by the BJP in effecting this merger. “Ultimately, whether it is OPS [O. Panneerselvam] or EPS [Edapaddi K. Palaniswami], the party draws on Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Any faction that destabilises the government or aids the DMK in coming to power risks losing the cadre’s support. We feel both factions have realised it, therefore any talk of our support to any such endeavour is stretching the matter too far,” he said.
Skirts question Asked if the AIADMK would become part of the ruling NDA at the Centre, he said it was not within his remit to
former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon points out that in the proposal of November 1959, the Chinese describe the LAC “only in general terms on maps not to scale”. India rejected the proposal in 1959 and 1962. Zhou en Lai then wrote to Nehru that in the eastern sector, the line “coincides in the main with the so-called McMahon Line, and in the western and middle sectors, it coincides in the main with the traditional customary line which has consistently been pointed out by China”. Ms. Hua said the incident at Pangong lake had “violated the consensus” on border issues. She said China had expressed “grave dissatisfaction” and lodged its serious concern with India.
answer the question. “That matter is between the NDA leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, and the AIADMK. I cannot answer that question,” he said. With BJP president Amit Shah cancelling his threeday tour of Tamil Nadu, which was to begin on Tuesday, because his “presence is required in Delhi for some meetings”, talk of a Cabinet reshuffle this week has gained ground. BJP sources say three slots in the Union Cabinet may be offered to the AIADMK (a Cabinet Minister and two Ministers of State). Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai may be moved to the Cabinet as his current position is usually held by an MP of an Opposition party.
closed. According to the China Central Television, 10 PLA units, including aviation and armoured forces, participated in the drills. Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan and Chongqing come under the Western Theatre Command. In July, the PLA held a live drill in Tibet, which borders India. China has said its Army is ready for a military conflict with India. Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim section of Sino-India border.
HC notice to EC, Patel on RS election Special Correspondent AHMEDAABAD
The Gujarat HC on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission, Congress leader Ahmed Patel, BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani over a petition challenging the recently held Rajya Sabha polls in which two votes cast by Congress rebel MLAs were held invalid by the EC. The petition filed by BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput, who lost to Mr. Patel, contended that the two votes invalidated by the election panel after the Congress party raised objection on the ground that the legislators had shown their ballots to unauthorised persons, was not tenable in the law. A ND-NDE
A former MCOCA detainee gets bail NIA charge sheet says there are several shortcomings in evidence against Purohit, but he can still be prosecuted ‘Govt. protecting accused with RSS connection’
Some relief: A file photo of Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. S.P. Purohit being taken to court in Mumbai. VIVEK BENDRE *
Vijaita Singh New Delhi
Six persons were killed and over a 100 were injured in an explosion at Malegaon in Maharashtra on September 29, 2008. The Maharashtra AntiTerrorism Squad, which first investigated the case, charged Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur with provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). In its charge sheet filed in May 2016, however, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) gave a clean chit to Ms. Thakur and dropped MCOCA charges against Lt. Col. Purohit. The NIA said though the evidence gathered had several shortcomings, he could still be prosecuted.
Formed Abhinav Bharat The agency said Lt. Col. Purohit had floated Abhinav Bharat in 2006 while he was a serving Commissioned Officer, which is against services rules. He mentioned his profession
as farming while registering the organisation. “At a closed-door secret meeting in Bhopal in April 2008, Purohit decided to take revenge against Muslims by exploding a bomb at Malegaon, a Muslim-dominated area. In August 2008, he attended the meeting at Ujjain with the absconding accused, Ramchandra Kalsangra, and discussed the procurement of RDX as directed by
Col. Purohit < > Lt. floated Abhinav Bharat in 2006 while he was a Commissioned Officer NIA charge sheet
the accused Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi,” the charge sheet said. The NIA said it was a Maharashtra ATS official who had planted RDX samples in Lt. Col. Purohit’s house. The 70-kg RDX, which the ATS claimed were in Lt. Col. Purohit’s possession, had all been accounted for
in Army records, the agency said. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said on Monday that Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit got bail after a “long struggle for nine years”, and said that it was his right. Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde, who served as Home Minister during the UPA government said, “It was a professional job done by the police.” Union Home Minister Kiren Rijiju said there was “no conspiracy” behind Lt. Col. Purohit getting bail and it was a judicial process.
Prosecutor’s charge In 2014, soon after the NDA government came to power, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian alleged that she was pressured by NIA officials to water down the case where several right wing leaders were involved. Following the news of bail, she told presspersons in Mumbai, “God save the nation.”
Army to review SC bail order Special Correspondent New Delhi
The Army will review the bail order granted by the Supreme Court to Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit to decide the course of action on his suspension from service. “Once the bail order is received, whether his suspension will hold or not and will he be given work or not will be reviewed. Till then he will be under open arrest, which means he would be attached to a unit and is allowed to wear his uniform,” an Army source said. Lt. Col. Purohit was arrested on January 2009 for his alleged role in the September 2008 Malegaon blasts.
Open arrest On Monday, the Supreme Court granted him bail. The guidelines on open arrest are specified in Para
349 of the Defence Service Regulations (DSR). As per Para 349 of the Defence Service Regulations, any personnel arrested by civil authorities on a criminal charge may be suspended from the date of his arrest depending on the nature of the offence and extent of his involvement. Para 349 of the Defence Service Regulations further states: “While under suspension, an officer will be placed under the same restrictions as an officer in open arrest, but will be shown as effective on the first day of each month. He may be permitted to wear plain clothes.” After his arrest, Lt. Col. Purohit was suspended and was granted 25% of his salary. Lt. Col. Purohit later approached the Armed Forces Tribunal which granted 75% salary.
Now, passport sans police verification CCTNS data for applicants’ credentials Special Correspondent
The Congress on Monday accused the BJP government of “protecting” all the accused “connected to the RSS” after the Supreme Court granted bail to 2008 Malegaon serial blasts case accused Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit. The Opposition party also raised questions over NIA chief Sharad Kumar getting two extensions and hoped that justice would be done in the Malegaon serial blasts case “without fear or favour”. PTI
The physical police verification for getting a passport may soon be dispensed with as the Centre plans to connect the procedure with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS), a project first conceptualised by the UPA government in 2009. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said the CCTNS, an exhaustive national database of crimes and criminals that will check the antecedents of applicants at the click of a mouse, was expected to be linked with the passport service of the External Affairs Ministry.
Yechury ‘surprised’, seeks clarification from NIA NEW DELHI
CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday called the SC verdict a “surprising” one. “It is the same NIA that was responsible for the arrest of Pragya Thakur, Aseemanand, and Col. Purohit. Now, these people are given bail, with Col. Purohit being the latest addition. The NIA must clarify why the arrests were made in the first place, if bail was subsequently to be given” Mr. Yechury wanted to know. ANI
Shiv Sena welcomes grant of bail PANAJI
The Shiv Sena on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to grant bail to Lt. Col. S.P. Purohit in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and termed him a “hero” who fought against terrorists. The party said Purohit, who spent the last nine years in jail, was falsely implicated in the terror case by the UPA government. “Col. Purohit is a hero,” party leader Sanjay Raut said. PTI
National database “Police in some states are already using CCTNS for passport credentials. Police will be given handheld devices to go to an applicant’s address and his or her details will be uploaded on the network. It will minimise contact of an individual with police and reduce time (for getting passport),” Mr. Mehrishi told presspersons. Mr. Mehrishi was speaking after Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched the CCTNS project, which aims to connect the country’s all 15,398 police stations. He said the mandate of the CCTNS had been expanded by incorporating citizen-centric services such as tenant verification, which could be done with the consent of the person being verified, quick registration of FIR in any crime and connecting the network with criminal justice delivery system.
Rajiv Mehrishi Asked about the safety of the database, the Home Secretary said possibility of hacking was always there but enough safeguards had been put in place and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre had been roped in for the task. The Home Minister said the digital police portal would provide citizens facilities for online complaint registration and request for antecedent verification. “The police portal will provide 11 searches and 46 reports from the national database for state police and central investigation agencies. Central investigating and research agencies have also been provided logins to the digital police database to access crime statistics,” Mr. Singh said. Mr. Singh said the CCTNS has enabled 13,775 out of 15,398 police stations to enter 100 per cent data into the software. He said as of now the CCTNS national database has around 7 crore data records pertaining to past and current criminal cases. The project will interconnect about 15,398 police stations and 5,000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country.
Will SC end personal laws’ immunity? Verdict may settle debate on whether or not these can be brought within the ambit of Article 13 Krishnadas Rajagopal New Delhi
The Supreme Court’s judgment on the constitutionality of triple talaq may also decide the age-old debate whether personal laws can be brought within the ambit of Article 13 (laws inconsistent with or in derogation of, the fundamental rights) of the Constitution. While the All India Muslim Personal Law Board ( AIMPLB) has argued that the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to strike down provisions of personal law, organisations calling for reform and Muslim women
from various walks of life across the country have urged the court to declare triple talaq and polygamy “un-Islamic”. This is the first time that aggrieved persons — individual Muslim women — themselves have approached the apex court in person to settle the law on whether religious law is immune from constitutional standards enshrined under fundamental rights. Article 13 includes in its ambit any “ordinance, order, by-law, rule, regulation, notification and even customs and usages” passed or made
should not violate the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in Part III. A judicial declaration from a Constitution Bench under Article 13 that personal laws are liable to comply with the fundamental rights guaranteed by Constitution would bring religious law, even uncodified practices, under judicial review.
by the Legislature or any other “competent authority”. It mandates that any law in force in the country before or after the commencement of Constitution
Discordant notes In the past, courts have made discordant notes about the immunity enjoyed by personal laws. In 1951, the Bombay High Court in State of Bombay
versus Narasu Appa Mali held that personal law is not ‘law’ under Article 13. The judgment was never challenged in the Supreme Court. In Ahmedabad Women Action Group versus Union of India, the Supreme Court was asked to consider that unilateral divorce by talaq and polygamy violated Articles 14 and 15. The court rejected the claim, saying it was for the legislature to determine. Whether this Constitution Bench will resolve the ageold dispute or leave it to the legislature to decide is to be seen.
Triple talaq lost staunchest support As the case winds to a close, AIMPLB has swung to a view against the practice Legal correspondent New Delhi
In the past two years of litigation over the legality of instant triple talaq, the Supreme Court has seen a climbdown in the position of Muslim bodies, from declaring that the practice helps estranged couples to “move on” effortlessly to filing finally an affidavit that Muslim men who resort to instant talaq will be socially boycotted. In September 2016, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) argued that the Shariat permitted instant talaq in the interest of both the man and woman as a means to keep their dignity and privacy intact. The intention is to save the family from delayed justice in conventional courts and to avoid mudslinging in public. “To presume that each triple talaq is arbitrary and unreasonable is a fallacy of reason ... it is a misconception that triple talaq is always a result of haste and is CM YK
Manual for divorce: AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani, second from left, with other executive members unveiling “Instruction for Talaq” on April 16, 2017. RAJEEV BHATT *
a power which is freely misused by a Muslim male,” the Board had told the court. It had justified that there were “innumerable instances where a Muslim wife seeks dissolution of marriage and approaches her husband seeking immediate dissolution by resorting to triple talaq”.
Judicial legislation The Board had argued that a religion cannot be “reformed” out of its existence
or identity. It had accused the Supreme Court of trying to indulge in judicial legislation in the name of “socially reforming” Islamic practices of marriage and divorce. Getting rid of the “peculiarities” of Islamic personal law will be akin to enforcing the Uniform Civil Code by judicial process, Jamiat Ulemai-Hind, a prominent Islamic organisation, had told the Supreme Court. However, one of the judges on the Constitution
Bench, Justice Kurian Joseph, towards the end of the hearing, had suggested whether Muslim brides can be armed with a right to forbid instant talaq in the nikah namah. However, the AIMPLB, on the last day of the hearing, conveyed its resolution to boycott Muslims who pronounced divorce in one go. “This social will be much helpful in decreasing the incidents of divorce,” the AIMPLB had assured the court. A ND-NDE
Govt. urged to speed up Constitution drafting Panel co-chair calls for SLFP- UNP deal
10 U.S. sailors missing after accident American warship collides with Liberian-flagged oil tanker near Singapore; 5 people injured Reuters Singapore
Meera Srinivasan COLOMBO
Texas varsity removes Confederate statues The University of Texas removed Confederate monuments from its Austin campus in an operation that began during the night on Sunday. “Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism,” wrote university president Gregory Fenves. AFP
Nepal fails to pass key Amendment KATHMANDU
Nepal’s Parliament on Monday failed to endorse the much-awaited Constitution Amendment Bill to address the issues of Madhesis as the ruling coalition could not garner a two-thirds majority. In the 592-member House, 395 votes were required. A total of 347 lawmakers voted in favour while 206 voted against the Bill. PTI
1 killed as van hits bus shelter in France MARSEILLE
At least one person was killed and another injured in Marseille on Monday when a van crashed into two bus shelters in different parts of the French city, police said, in an incident not being treated as terrorism at this stage. A source close to the investigation said the suspect was known to police for minor crimes and had psychological issues. Reuters
U.K. to treat online hate crimes seriously LONDON
Online abuse will be treated as seriously as offline offences, Britain’s prosecution service said on Monday in new guidance on handling hate crimes. The rules were meant to encourage more people to come forward and press courts to impose longer sentences, it said. Reuters
Finnish court identifies Turku stabbing suspect HELSINKI
Court documents in Finland on Monday identified the suspect in last week’s stabbing spree in a Finnish city, which is being probed as the country’s first-ever terror attack, as 18-year-old Abderrahman Mechkah. The motive for the attack was still not known. AFP
The pending agreement between the two parties in the government is the main challenge to drafting Sri Lanka’s new Constitution, according to Jayampathy Wickramaratne, a government parliamentarian, who co-chairs a committee overseeing the exercise. “You cannot bring out a Constitution at the tail end of Parliament,” he told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Monday. Referring to a similar exercise in 2000, he said though it was “one of the best drafts [of the Constitution]”, it came too late, just a few weeks before Parliament was dissolved, and “then other factors come into play”. “Constitutions must be made and finished at least in the first half of Parliament. Ideally in the first year, but that has gone,” said Dr. Wickramaratne, widely regarded as an expert in constitutional law. Constitutional reform was a key election promise of the Maithripala SirisenaRanil Wickremesinghe combine that formed the national unity government in 2015, bringing together the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the rival United National Party (UNP). While a steering commit-
tee working on the draft is awaiting consensus among all the parties, sections have criticised the government for its slow pace on the initiative. The SLFP is expected to submit its views on a draft interim report this week. “Good progress” has been made on electoral reforms, but executive presidency — which the leaders promised to abolish in their election campaign — remains a contentious issue for political parties. “There are indications that the SLFP wants to retain the Executive Presidency,” Dr. Wickramaratne said. On the Bill of rights and the push from the Left to include economic, social and cultural rights in it, he said: “Some people on the Right think including these rights in the Constitution will bring socialism…it won’t…it didn’t happen in South Africa.” When such rights are made enforceable, it is not about the “right to food” but “the right of access to food”, he explained. Emphasising the need to expedite the drafting process, Dr. Wickramaratne said the current opportunity cannot be missed. “The Tamil leadership has been very flexible while holding on to their key concerns. It is up to the parties in the [Sinhala majority] south to respond.”
Ten U.S. sailors were missing after a U.S. warship collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore before dawn on Monday, tearing a hole beneath the waterline and flooding compartments that include a crew sleeping area, the U.S. Navy said. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said there will be a wider investigation into U.S. naval operations after the collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and the tanker Alnic MC, the second involving a U.S. Navy destroyer and a merchant vessel in Asian waters in little more than two months. The ships collided while the U.S. warship was heading to Singapore for a routine port call, the Navy said in a statement. “Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft,” the Navy said. “There are currently 10 sailors missing and five injured.” The destroyer had made its way to Singapore’s Changi Naval Base by Monday afternoon under its own power. Significant damage to the hull had resulted in flooding to compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms, the Navy said, but crew members were able to stop the flooding. Four of the injured were
Busy waters: The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain is seen after the collision in Singaporean waters, on Monday. REUTERS *
taken by helicopter to hospital in Singapore with nonlife threatening injuries. The fifth needed no further treatment.
Mattis promises inquiry The USS John S. McCain’s sister ship, the USS Fitzgerald, almost sank off the coast of Japan after it was struck by a Philippine container ship on June 17. The bodies of seven USS Fitzgerald sailors were found in a flooded berthing area. Gen. Mattis told reporters in Amman, Jordan, there
would be a broader investigation into U.S. naval operations. “The chief of naval operations’ broader inquiry will look at all related accidents at sea, that sort of thing. He is going to look at all factors, not just the immediate ones,” he said. Collisions between warships and other large vessels are extremely rare, with naval historians going back more than 50 years to find a similar incident. A search-and-rescue mission was under way for the sailors missing from the USS
U.S. scales back visa services in Russia Cites Moscow’s move to expel embassy staff; Lavrov calls it a political decision Reuters Moscow
The United States began to sharply scale back its visa services in Russia on Monday, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow, three weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered Washington to more than halve its embassy and consular staff. The move, which will hit business travellers, tourists and students, was the latest in a series of bilateral measures that have driven relations to a new post-Cold War low, thwarting hopes on both sides that they might improve after President Donald Trump took office in January.
The U.S. embassy said it was suspending all non-immigrant visa operations across Russia on Wednesday and that when they resumed, on Sept. 1, they would be offered “on a greatly reduced scale”. Beginning on Monday, it would be cancelling an unspecified number of appointments and asking applicants to reschedule, it said in a statement. “Capacity for interviews in the future will be greatly reduced because we have had to greatly reduce our staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement,” the embassy told applicants on its website.
A Russian flag flying next to the U.S. embassy building in Moscow. AFP *
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. demarche looked like an attempt to provoke ill-feeling among ordinary Russians against the authorities. “The American authors of these decisions have come up with another attempt to stir up discontent among Russian citizens about the actions of the Russian au-
thorities,” Mr. Lavrov told reporters. “It’s a well known logic... and this is the logic of those who organise colour revolutions.” Mr. Lavrov said the U.S. visa move had a “political overtone” and that Moscow would consider how best to respond. The U.S. step means that Russian citizens wanting to visit the United States for business, tourism or educational reasons will no longer be able to apply via U.S. consulates outside Moscow and will have to travel to the Russian capital instead. The U.S. embassy signalled its new scaled-back visa regime could be in place for some time. “We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced,” it said.
Moscow names new U.S. envoy Reuters Moscow
Russia’s next Ambassador to Washington will be Anatoly Antonov, a former defence official who is subject to European sanctions over his role in the conflict in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced on Monday. Mr. Antonov, 62, who takes over from Sergei Kislyak, is currently a Deputy Foreign Minister. Between 2011 and 2016, he served as Deputy Defence Minister, a period which coincided with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
John S. McCain involving Singaporean ships, helicopters and tugs, as well as U.S. Navy aircraft. Reuters video footage from the Singapore Strait showed an area of impact about 6 m-wide in the John S. McCain’s port side. The U.S. Navy said the amphibious assault ship USS America had arrived to provide messing and berthing for crew of the USS John S. McCain. It would support the search for the missing and divers to assess the damage.
A crew member on the Alnic MC told Reuters by telephone there was no oil spill from the Liberian-flagged, 183 m-long tanker, which was carrying almost 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge in Singapore. Stealth Maritime Corporation, the Greece-based owner of the tanker, said the vessel was moving to safe anchorage for assessment. Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said no injuries were reported on the Alnic, which suffered some damage above the waterline. “There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected,” the MPA said, adding that the collision happened in Singaporean territorial waters. However, the Malaysian Navy said the collision happened in Malaysian waters and it had sent vessels to assist. The Pedra Branca area near where the collision happened has long been contested by both countries, with an international court ruling in Singapore's favour in 2008. Malaysia filed an application to review that ruling this year. The U.S. Navy said Malaysian navy vessels and a helicopter joined the search in the afternoon. Indonesia said it had sent two aircraft and two warships to help.
Barcelona suspect shot dead by police He was spotted in a nearby rural area Reuters Barcelona
Spanish police on Monday shot dead a man they suspect was the Islamist militant who drove a van into a Barcelona crowd last week, killing 13 people. Ending a five-day manhunt, police tracked 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub to a rural area near Barcelona. They said they shot him after he held up what appeared to be an explosives belt. Abouyaaqoub had been on the run since Thursday evening, after he drove at high speed into throngs of people strolling along Barcelona’s most famous avenue, Las Ramblas, in
Spain’s worst militant attack in over a decade. Police believe the attack was planned by a dozen accomplices, including a brother and two cousins of Abouyaaqoub. “The suspect wore what appeared to be an explosive belt. He has been shot down,” police said in an official tweet.
Trump set to announce new Afghan policy
Britain to look into spousal visa concerns
President has made strategic decisions, says James Mattis
Varghese K. George Washington
President Donald Trump will announce his new strategy for Afghanistan — which his administration now calls a South Asia strategy — on Monday night during an address to the nation, the White House has announced. Mr. Trump will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia,” a statement from the White House said. Defence Secretary James Mattis said the President has taken the “strategic de-
cisions,” and the Pentagon would follow it up once it is announced. “The President had to make strategic decisions... he delegated to me... tactical and operational decisions. He did not delegate one ounce of the strategic decision,” he said, refusing to preview the President’s announcement, during an interaction with reporters travelling with him to Jordan on Sunday.
Rigorous process “The process was rigorous... I’m very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did
Indian women’s rights groups say the terms for visas for non-EU partners are ‘ripe for exploitation’
not go in with a pre-set condition in terms of what questions could be asked or what decisions would be made,” he said. The President had, during his election campaign, spoken against American involvements in long-drawn foreign battles, but Afghanistan poses a security threat to homeland. National security is another of his critical political planks, and his new Afghan strategy will have to balance his desire to disengage from conflicts with the need to secure America against another terrorist strike.
The British Home Office has said it will look at arrangements for spousal visas, following warnings from Indian women’s rights groups in the U.K. that its conditions left the non-EU partner coming to the U.K. “ripe for exploitation”. The Indian Ladies in the U.K. (ILUK), a campaign group, argues that the terms of the visa leave the partner not only dependent on the British partner for five years after arriving in the U.K. but enables the British spouse to cancel the non-EU spouse’s visa, leaving them “destitute and in limbo”. The group says it has seen
dozens of cases where a husband has “routinely abused his position of power, leaving women exploited, abused” and in some cases has abandoned them in India in the guise of going there on a holiday. They’ve cited a recent example where a family went back to India on holiday, and the son took the wife’s passport, telephone and left India with the children.
Online petition In another recent case a husband took his wife’s residency permit, and cancelled her visa claiming they were no longer married. “The Home Office based on his word alone has proceeded to
cancel her visa barring her from seeking justice in the U.K.,” said the ILUK. The group, which held a demonstration outside the Home Office last week and has launched an online petition urging change, is pushing for the Home Office to make the processes for cancelling a dependent visa more stringent. “The Home Office must demand documentation proving that there has been a legal separation — meaning that the wife has been granted her rights under the separation — before proceeding with the cancellation of a visa... alternatively, particularly in the cases of abandonment of wives in India, a pro-
Before Charlottesville, Bannon was set for a graceful exit He clashed with Kelly over how to respond to the race violence and also angered him with his interview last week Jeremy W. Peters Maggie Haberman Washington
John F. Kelly, the new White House Chief of Staff, told Stephen K. Bannon in late July that he needed to go. The two worked out a mutually amicable departure date for mid-August, with President Donald Trump’s blessing. But as Mr. Trump struggled last week to contain a growing public furore over his response to a deadly, race-fuelled melee in Virginia, Mr. Bannon clashed with Mr. Kelly over how the President should respond. Give no ground to your critics, Mr. Bannon urged the CM YK
The Right ones: Steve Bannon once operated with such autonomy that he reported only to the President. REUTERS *
President, with characteristic truculence. At the same time, New York real estate investor friends told Mr. Trump that the situation with Mr. Bannon was untenable: Steve Roth on Monday, Tom Barrack on Tuesday and Richard LeFrak on Wednes-
day. By Thursday, after Mr. Bannon undercut U.S. policy toward North Korea in an interview, Mr. Trump himself had concluded that Mr. Bannon was too much of a liability. By Friday, when he was forced from his job as Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Mr.
Bannon had found himself wholly isolated inside a White House where he once operated with such autonomy that he reported only to the President himself. This account is based on interviews with a dozen White House aides, associates of the President’s and friends of Mr. Bannon’s. Mr. Kelly was outraged by the indiscretion Mr. Bannon displayed in the interview with The American Prospect, according to three senior administration officials. And Mr. Bannon could no longer turn to Mr. Trump, whose confidence in him had eroded over a period of
months, to ask for a reprieve. In truth, long before Charlottesville, Mr. Trump had begun losing patience. The arrival of Mr. Kelly to play precisely the gate-keeping role that would stymie aides like Mr. Bannon marked the beginning of the end. Mr. Trump believed that Mr. Bannon had been leaking unauthorised stories about infighting inside administration for months before he ultimately took action. After Charlottesville, Mr. Bannon maintained that an Aug. 14 exit would look like part of the President’s response to the violence. He did not want that, and others
were understanding. So they discussed moving the date to around Labor Day weekend, although two administration officials said Bannon sought to entirely renegotiate the terms of his departure. Then came Mr. Bannon’s unguarded comments to The American Prospect, published on Wednesday evening. He denigrated some colleagues, specifically identified one that he was going to see fired and said of striking North Korea, “There’s no military solution here, they got us” — a direct contradiction to the message Mr. Trump had been sending. Mr. Bannon could buy no more time. NYT
vision must be put in place to ensure that the Home Office is aware of the wife’s position and that their most basic human rights are protected,” it said.
Home Office’s response “This government will not tolerate abuse through marriage or other relationships and we will continue to take the lead in tackling modern slavery, forced marriage and domestic violence... We will look carefully at any evidence of where further action might help to prevent abuse or support victims,” said the Home Office in a statement. “If there is evidence that an individual in the U.K. on a spouse visa has been the vic-
tim of domestic abuse, including controlling coercive behaviour, they can apply for settlement in the U.K.,” it added. “An individual on a spouse visa abandoned overseas could apply to return to the U.K.” “I am extremely heartened by the Home Office’s commitment to crack down on the exploitation and abuse of women on dependent visa,” said Poonam Joshi, founder of the ILUK. “I am also all too aware that this is but one step in bringing about change to not just the legal aspects governing migrant but also the cultural and social mindsets that enable their exploitation and abuse.”
Hasina slams judge over Pakistan comparison Very much disgraceful, she says Haroon Habib DHAKA
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday slammed Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha for comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan, after he made a reference on Sunday to the disqualification of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “This is very much disgraceful that Bangladesh has been compared with Pakistan, this is not tolerable at all,” she said while speaking at a rally after placing wreaths at a memorial of the 24 party leaders and
workers killed in an attack on August 21, 2004. Mr. Sinha, currently facing criticism from the government following the annulment of the Constitution’s 16th Amendment, a decision that curtailed the Parliament’s ability to impeach High Court judges, had told Attorney General Mahbubey Alam during a hearing on a case related to separation of powers: “We are being very, very patient. The Supreme Court of Pakistan removed the Prime Minister. Was there any criticism over it? No,” A ND-NDE
Impact on buyback? The SEBI move could affect the proposed ₹13,000-crore buyback of Infosys shares as well. The regulator could in-
Domino effect: If dissatisfied, SEBI could well halt the firm’s proposed ₹13,000 crore share buyback. GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK *
sist on getting a complete clarity on investor complaints before giving a final go-ahead for the buy-back proposal. “While it is too early to say that an actual probe in on, the process of getting data and information is on, which, typically, precedes any formal investigation,” said a person familiar with the development, who requested anonymity. The regulator had also asked the ex-
changes to look into the trading pattern and report any unusual activity, he added. Clearly, the regulatory probe post the feedback received from the stock exchanges could also conclude that the company was fully compliant with the disclosure and listing regulations. Incidentally, Infosys did not attract any adverse action from SEBI when the regulator examined the whistle-
particular disclosures, seek a specific audit, make due diligence reports public or provide conditional approvals. SEBI has wide powers to deal with the issue, if circumstances demand it,” he added.
Street turns bearish Meanwhile, going by stock recommendations, it appears that an increasing number of analysts are turning bearish or at least cautious on the stock of Infosys. According to data from Bloomberg, there are currently a total of 20 ‘buy’ recommendations along with 18 ‘hold’ and 12 ‘sell’ ratings on Infosys. On Friday, there were 34 ‘buy’ reports on the software major. Since Friday, brokerages such as Equirus Securities, Edelweiss Capital, Dolat Capital, Emkay Share & Stock Brokers, IDBI Capital, Axis Capital, Elara Securities, ICICI Securities, JP Morgan, IIFL and Prabhudas Lilladher have all downgraded the Infosys stock.
IT major’s shares fall 5.37% to three-year low Nod for buyback fails to excite market Special Correspondent MUMBAI
Shares of Infosys continued their slide on Monday, shedding 5.37% or ₹49.60 to close at ₹873.50 on the BSE. This is the lowest close in three years for the technology major. It had closed at ₹870.09 on August 8, 2014. Infosys was also the worst performer in the Sensex pack on Monday as the benchmark index lost 0.84% to close at 31,258.85. The shares have lost close to 15% in the last two trading sessions since CEO Vishal Sikka resigned citing what he termed as ‘baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks’ by co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, that had constrained his ability to bring about change. Even a buyback announcement at ₹1,150 per share did not stem the slide. On Saturday, the board of the company approved a buyback plan amounting to ₹13,000 crore.
Stable management is key for share to trade at a premium, say analysts. IIFL said on Monday in a report that while it continued to believe in the company’s long-term potential, it had downgraded its rating to ‘Add’ as a stable management, peace with shareholders and consistent earnings delivery amid this development are the key for Infosys to trade at a premium again. IDBI Capital has also cut its FY18 and FY19 revenue forecast for the company by 1.1% and 3.6%, respectively, downgrading the stock to ‘hold’ from a ‘buy’.
Sikka blamed Murthy to hide bad performance: Pai
‘Fortunes linked to one individual’
‘Executive vice-chairman’s appointment created confusion’
Oommen A. Ninan
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is examining whether there were any lapses in corporate governance or disclosure requirements by Infosys. The SEBI move comes reportedly after a few shareholders approached the regulator following the resignation of Vishal Sikka as the chief executive officer amidst allegations by cofounder N.R. Narayana Murthy. According to persons familiar with the development, the regulator had asked the stock exchanges to look into this matter by seeking clarification from the company. Exchanges, being the firstlevel regulators, often seek clarification from companies based on regulatory directions or media reports.
blower letter it had received in February. Mr. Murthy had said that the corporate governance standards in the company were falling after the anonymous complaint alleged that the acquisition of Panaya was made without following proper procedure and obtaining relevant approvals and that the severance payout given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal was in excess of that stated in his contract. Lawyers specialising in securities market regulations said that the SEBI could investigate a complaint of any contravention of the securities laws received from any investor or intermediary or any other person. “There are precedents of relief from SEBI where stakeholders have sought quality in financial reporting, transparency and corporate governance,” said Sumit Agrawal, founder, Suvan Law Advisors, and a former legal officer at SEBI. “SEBI can always direct
Former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai on Monday flayed executive vice-chairman Vishal Sikka for blaming cofounder N.R. Narayana Murthy for the crisis in the company to cover up his “bad performance.”
‘Own admission’ “Yes, true. He (Sikka) wanted to leave from February by his own admission. He is covering up his own failure to reach the target by blaming Narayana Murthy,”
T.V. Mohandas Pai
he told PTI in an e-mail interview. Mr. Pai stated this in response to a question if Mr. Sikka put the entire blame on Mr. Murthy to cover up
Will Infosys face class action law suits in India?
his “bad performance.” He said that Mr. Sikka’s appointment as executive vice-chairman of Infosys was a governance issue and had created a confusing line-up, with the firm already boasting a chairman and a co-chairman. Former CFO V. Balakrishnan also said chairman R. Seshasayee and co-chair Ravi Venkatesan must step down before the firm begins to search for a CEO. He said that for Infosys to appoint a CEO without fixing its board first would be “suicidal”.
Infosys’s peers have seen seamless change of CEOs, says research firm Thiruvananthapuram
Vishal Sikka’s exit from IT major Infosys evokes mixed responses from research firms such as ICICI Securities (I-Sec), which on Monday said, “no other company within our coverage, barring Infosys, has had its fortunes linked to just one person.” Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and HCL Technologies have seen their CEOs change over the past two years with the transitions being seamless, having limited impact on employee morale and customer perception, it said in a report. “Dr. Sikka’s exit from In-
fosys [is expected] to have a definite impact on high-performer employee attrition, pace of next generation capability creation, investments in software and products, and in the organisation’s risk-taking ability,” it said.
According to I-Sec, high performers at Infosys identified more with Mr. Sikka in recent times rather than with Infosys as an institution, and may now look at avenues outside the company. It added that this wasn’t the case with TCS, for example, “where employees have always prided themselves in working for an iconic institution more than anything else.”
‘Insider likely’ “Since the board desires the next CEO with an innate understanding of the company’s culture and the services industry, and given
that the friction with founders seems far from over, the likelihood of the next CEO being an outsider becomes that much lesser.” However, it said, continuity of strategic direction is a must but may be at peril if someone from the ‘old guard’ joins back. In the past year and a half, Infosys had seen more than 10 top-level exits from the company, it said, but “the latest exit of Dr. Sikka is most surprising and concerning... When things were gradually looking up for Infosys, Dr. Sikka’s exit pushes it back to the wall,” said another research firm Sharekhan.
Essar seals $12.9 bn deal with Rosneft Special Correspondent
Section 245 of the Companies Act provides such an option K.T. Jagannathan
also gives the option to claim damages or compensation or demand any other suitable action against “the company or its directors for any fraudulent, unlawful or wrongful act or omission or conduct or any likely act or omission or conduct on its or their part.”
The Infosys episode seemed to have opened a Pandora’s box. With Mr. Vishal Sikka, who quit as CEO and cofounder N.R. Narayana Murthy — going to town virtually with their blame games, stakeholders have moved swiftly to position their strategies. Indications are Infosys may face a class action suit from U.S. investors. Indian law also permits similar action. A class action suit allows a number of claimants, who have a common grouse, to pool their resources and file a suit against a company. Such option for company law cases is a well-established principle in foreign
jurisdictions, especially in the U.S. The Satyam episode forced company law formulators to incorporate a rule providing for such action in India. Section 245 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides for such an option for Indian investors. Such a suit can be filed before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Sec. 245
Public notice One can sue the firm, its directors, auditors and technical advisers who are party to alleged fraud. Once the suit is admitted, NCLT will issue a public notice to allow those not having enough qualifying shares to join. Similar applications in other jurisdictions will be consolidated into a single application.
Ruias-led Essar Group has concluded a $12.9 billion deal to sell its cash-rich Essar Oil to Rosneft and the consortium of Trafigura and UCP, but Indian lenders can get only ₹4,000 crore out of the ₹86,000 crore deal. “Indian lenders, including LIC, with other insurance companies and banks, will get ₹4,000 crore from this deal,” said Essar Capital director Prashant Ruia. According to Mr. Ruia, this is the single largest ever de-leveraging exercise undertaken in Indian corporate history as the deal will bring down Essar Group’s debt by 50%. Lenders of Essar Steel and Essar Power are unlikely to get anything from this deal.
Rosneft to double Essar refining capacity Move to place oil company in direct competition with RIL-BP consortium Piyush Pandey MUMBAI
Rosneft, along with the consortium of Trafigura and UCP, the new promoters of Essar Oil, plans to double the refining capacity of Essar Oil to 40 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in phases and almost double the retail outlets to 6,000, said a source in the know of the development. The move will place Essar Oil yet again in direct competition with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL), as RIL along with its partner BP Plc., is planning to scale up its retail presence to take up the opportunity of de-regulation of petroleum retail market in India.
Retail outlets “The plan is to take the retail outlets to 6,000. This a rapidly growing market. Given this growth, we can compete in any market,” said Tony Fountain, the newly-appointed chairman of Essar Oil. CM YK
Double barrel: Essar Oil chairman Tony Fountain, right, and Jonathan Kollek, non-executive director. SHASHI ASHIWAL *
Mr. Fountain was the chief executive for refining and marketing at Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. from January 2012 to February 2016. He is the UCP nominee on the board of Essar Oil. Talking about expansion of Vadinar refinery, Mr. Fountain said, “Clearly, we think there are opportunities for investment. But, we want to start from scratch as we plan to bring some more
people with expertise. That’s why we pass on the action to a new committee to provide us the strategy for action plan.” RIL operates the world’s largest refining complex with a capacity of 60 mtpa near Essar’s 20 mtpa Vadinar refinery. “Essar Oil already has government licence to increase its capacity to 40 mtpa. So, the new promoters do not need government approval to increase the capacity,” the
source told The Hindu. While announcing a joint investment of ₹40,000 crore in June, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani and BP Plc. chief Bob Dudley expressed desire to jointly tap the fuel retail market. RIL and BP Plc. are partners in oil and gas exploration, but no such tie-up exists in the petroleum fuel retailing business. Interestingly, BP Plc. also owns about 20% stake in Rosneft. RIL, with 1,253 operational retail outlets covering all key highways, has seen 82% year -on-year growth in diesel and 51% growth in petrol with four-fold increase in its customer base in the last one year. RIL had garnered a 12% market share in fuel retailing in 2005 within one year of starting operations, but saw its share slip to less than 0.5% in 2014, by when it had shut most of its fuel retail outlets due to spiralling crude oil prices. A ND-NDE
Mercedes-Benz unveils luxury cars This can be another year of ‘missed opportunity’ due to the Centre’s inconsistency in policy, says MD start? Prior to GST, customers postponed their purchase as the prices came down. But, now it is going to go up, affecting the sales,” he said.
N. Anand New Delhi
Aurobindo’s HIV drug gets USFDA nod HYDERABAD
Aurobindo Pharma said it had received tentative approval from the USFDA, under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, for its new drug application for Dolutegravir, Lamivudine and Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TLD) tablets. The product is used in the treatment of HIV-1. The triple combination product is expected to be introduced in sub-Saharan Africa in Q3 of FY 18, a release from Aurobindo Pharma said.
Yamaha unveils Fazer 25 motorcycle at ₹1.28 lakh MUMBAI
India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd. unveiled Fazer 25 motorcycle under its FZ Series at an ex-showroom Mumbai price of ₹1,28,335. The motorcycle is mounted with a newlydesigned, air-cooled, 249 cc, 4-stroke engine on a lightweight frame. Masaki Asano, MD, Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt. Ltd., said, “With its improved looks and other suitable changes, the new Fazer 25 will keep up with the expectations of the FZ breed of riders.”
To boost retail loan demand during the festival season, the State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to waive loan processing fees on car, gold and personal loans. For car loans, the entire processing fee has been waived till December 31. The bank will waive 50% of the processing fee on gold loans till October 31 and 50% of processing fees on Xpress Credit — a personal loan offering by the bank — till September 30, the lender said.
German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz India plans to strengthen its position in the performance car segment with the roll-out of two new cars — AMG GT R and AMG GT Roadster — in New Delhi on Monday. “We are strengthening our position by rolling out these news cars,” said Roland Folger, managing director and chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz India. “With this roll-out, we are now offering 12 AMG models in India.”
Two additions Titled ‘Beast of the Green Hell’, the AMG GT R and the AMG GT Roadster (an open top car) are the two additions in the Mercedes-Benz’s performance cars in India, he said. “We are excited to pursue the 50 years of AMG celebrations in India. These new
Adrenaline rush: Roland Folger, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, and Christian Hohenadel, AMG driver, at the unveiling of Mercedes-AMG GT R in New Delhi on Monday. PTI *
cars will entice MercedesAMG enthusiasts in India and redefine the performance motoring segment altogether,” he said. The AMG GT Roadster is priced at ₹2.19 crore and the AMG GT R at ₹2.23 crore onwards (prices ex-showroom,
all India). Mr. Folger said that more than 15% sales of AMG GT came from tier-II and tierIII cities and that the company was planning to open AMG Performance Centres in Chennai and Kochi soon. The Centre’s decision to raise the cess on large
vehicles will impact the sales of luxury and Sports Utility Vehicles, he told The Hindu. “We don’t know what will be the tax impact. A 5-7% increase will lead to car prices being higher than pre-Goods and Services Tax (GST) prices. When it is going to
‘High level of insecurity’ He also said that there was a high level of ‘insecurity’ and that it was not good for business. “The sales this year are likely to be flat and it is going to be another year of missed opportunity in India,” he said. Elaborating on his demands, he said: “First,... we should have a sustainable and long-term policy from the Government and not too many changes. Changes should be announced properly. We have significant stock there and some commitment to Germany. So [it] gives us some time to adjust. If that does not happen, it is highly disruptive to business.”
‘Vizag Steel arm set to make profits again’
IHCL to pump in ₹3,000 cr. in five years for brand expansion
Rise in demand revives RINL’s hopes
Chairman backs past financial decisions, Mistry demurs
Special Correspondent KOLKAT A
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd., the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, is hopeful of returning to the cash profit zone this fiscal, on the back of improved demand conditions, said chairman-cum-managing director P. Madhusudhan. “There is an uptick in the demand situation of steel... we are sensing an appetite for consumption and if this is sustained, then we hope to become EBIDTA positive this fiscal and make cash profit by 2018-19,” he said at a press meet here on Monday. RINL made losses for two consecutive years in 2015-16
and 2016-17. Totalling ₹2,657 crore, these losses came after a continuous 12-year profit making stint since 2002-03. He said that product prices, which were lowered in the wake of the disruptions due to GST rollout, had been increased again in August but sales were good. While there has been a 10% growth in RINL’s saleable steel production between April and July 2017, turnover increased by 27% to ₹3,915 crore in this period. RINL is in the last stages of implementation of a ₹12,300-crore expansion programme which doubles capacity to 6.3 million tonnes.
Press Trust of India MUMBAI
With the focus on the domestic market, Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) plans to pump in at least ₹3,000 crore for expansion of the brand in the next 4-5 years. “We expect that the strong Indian economic growth, the growing base of domestic customers and higher foreign tourists shall benefit us. We have a capex of ₹3,000 crore for next 4—5 years, but it will depend on the performance of the company,” IHCL chairman N. Chandrasekaran said at its 116th AGM. IHCL is also raising up to ₹1,500 crore through a rights
issue. He said Indian Hotels took “appropriate financial decisions” by selling certain assets following the financial crisis while retaining iconic properties like the Pierre hotel in New York. “Post the financial crisis, and the resulting adverse impact on the hospitality sector, the board took appropriate financial decisions and decided to exit some of these ventures.”
Our bureau adds: However, former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry said IHCL had faced a ‘neardeath experience’ and listed out ‘10 bad strategic decisions’it had taken, leading to erosion of its economic
value. This comes after the directors’ report called some of Mr. Mistry’s earlier observations as ‘incorrect and careless.’ The ‘bad’ decisions include those taken on Sea Rock, Pierre, BJets, Taj Air, Taj Boston, Taj Campton Place, IHMS, South Africa, Orient Express Hotel and Ginger. “The company... over the last four years, has had to take writedowns amounting to nearly its entire net worth,” he said. “The new chairman... and the board... should exercise proper care while making statements to ensure they are responsible.”
Primary focus: The aim is to achieve significant improvement in brand perception, says Guenter Butschek. REUTERS *
‘New products to get ₹4,000 cr. investment’ Tata Motors in turnaround phase: CEO Special Correspondent MUMBAI
The loss-making domestic operations of Tata Motors Ltd., having completed its business transformation exercise, has embarked on its turnaround phase by targeting bottomline improvement of ₹1,500 crore, a top official said. The company did not specify any time frame, but is hopeful that the domestic arm will turn profitable by the end of this financial year. “Now we have entered the turnaround phase of the domestic business. Our target is to improve the commercial vehicles market share by 5%, to have a bottomline impact of ₹1,500 crore through various cost reduction and performance improvement measures. And we aim to achieve significant improvement in brand perception,” Guenter Butschek, MD & CEO, Tata Motors, told reporters.
‘Aggressive strategy’ He said the company had embarked on an aggressive sales strategy to achieve its objectives. As against the earlier laid back approach, the company is now conducting rigorous month-onmonth review of performance and sales target. And performance is closely be-
ing monitored by the executive committee headed by chairman N. Chandrasekaran. “From a functional organization, we have become profit and loss oriented. We have changed from a headquarter-driven organization to a front line sales approach, so that decisions are made fast at the spot. Now, a majority of the people are in the front line to achieve higher sales targets and this will change the game completely,” Mr. Butschek said. He said the company was rolling out new products in the heavy and medium commercial vehicles segment and new passenger vehicles were in the pipeline. He said the company would invest ₹4,000 crore in new product development. This includes ₹2,500 crore in the passenger vehicles business and ₹1,500 crore in the commercial vehicles division. The passenger vehicles business of Tata Motors will be introducing Nexon, an SUV, to complete its product offering for customers. The company on Monday unveiled its brand promise — Connecting Aspirations — to better represent itself as “an interconnected system of mobility solutions that are intelligent, perceptive, warm and expressive.”
Pothas slams selection policy Sri Lanka coach says it is difficult to devise a strategy with constant changes INDIA IN LANKA
Angry fans halt Lankan team bus AGENCIES DAMBULLA
Agence France-Presse DAMBULLA
’Gabba curator Mitchell to retire after Ashes BRISBANE
Long-serving ’Gabba curator Kevin Mitchell, who has prepared pitches there for over 30 years, has said he will step down after the seriesopening Ashes Test. Australia has not lost a Test at the ’Gabba since 1988, when it was beaten by the West Indies, and only two of the last 13 matches have been draws. REUTERS
Rafael Nadal back atop the perch PARIS
Rafael Nadal was confirmed as the World No.1 for the first time in three years in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday. The Spaniard last topped the charts in July 2014. The 31-year-old Spaniard deposes Britain's Andy Murray, who withdrew from the tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati with a hip injury. AFP
Sri Lanka’s cricket coach Nick Pothas has blamed outside interference for a string of poor performances, saying frequent changes to the selection line-up had made his job “very difficult”. Pothas hit out after Sri Lanka, which suffered a 3-0 Test whitewash at home last week, went down to India by nine wickets in the first of five one-day Internationals on Sunday. “You do get angry — to say ‘too many cooks’ is probably accurate,” the former wicketkeeper-batsman told reporters. “You get frustrated. Am I angry with the players? Absolutely not. The players work as hard as anyone can ask of them. “They’ve been superb. Support staff have been out of this world. Brilliant. They work endless hours with planning and helping the boys.” Sri Lanka’s woeful run has
Hitting out: Nick Pothas, left, has minced no words in criticising the selectors.
continued since a first-round exit in the eight-team Champions Trophy in June followed by an embarrassing 3-2 ODI loss to Zimbabwe at home. The Sanath Jayasuriya-led selection committee has fielded 40 players in ODIs since taking over in May last year. Pothas, who took up
coaching duties after Graham Ford quit mid-contract end of June, said there had been too many changes. “When you get consistency within a team of players, you will see improvements in performance,” said the 43-year-old. “When we’re getting new players every game, it gets
very difficult from a confidence point of view. From the player’s point of view it’s very difficult. It’s difficult for us — the coaching staff — to create a strategy.” There have been reports of a power-struggle emerging after 1996 World Cup hero Asanka Gurusinha was appointed manager.
A group of Sri Lanka fans held up the team bus, expressing displeasure at the performance after the ninewicket loss against India in the first ODI here on Sunday. The defeat followed a clean sweep by India in the threeTest series. The fans reportedly shouted slogans — “we want our cricket back”, “no politics in cricket” — until security officials cleared the area. This delayed the players’ departure from the venue by nearly half an hour. Kumar Sangakkara was the most notable voice to take to social media. “When we won, you celebrated with us, and when we lost, you grieved alongside us. When the team was struggling — when we were most in need — your love and support was our strength. Now, what our cricketers need is the same, love, support, patience and effort. Let’s hope for the team’s victory, and support them as one,” he said.
‘Indians playing cricket the Australian way’ S. Dinakar Chennai
USA wins second straight Solheim Cup LOS ANGELES
The United States won the Solheim Cup on Sunday, thwarting Europe’s comeback bid to triumph 16-1/2 to 11-1/2 in the women’s matchplay showdown at the at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa. Juli Inkster joined Judy Rankin as the only women to captain back-to-back winning US Solheim Cup teams. AFP
Early exit for Indians in world wrestling PARIS
All four Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers in fray made early exit on the first day of the World wrestling championships here on Monday. Yogesh (71kg), Gurpreet Singh (75kg), Ravinder Khatri (85kg) and Hardeep (98kg) lost their first round matches to crash out of the event.
Dolgopolov betting patterns alert TIU
BUDA MENDES/GETTY IMAGES
Agence France-Presse London
Suspicious betting patterns involving Ukraine’s former top 20 player Alexandr Dolgopolov in his match on Sunday against Thiago Monteiro at the WinstonSalem ATP tournament has prompted the Tennis Integrity Unity (TIU) to investigate. Dolgopolov, presently ranked 63 but who reached a career high ranking of 13 in January 2012, lost 6-3, 6-3 to the Brazilian, who is ranked 114th in their first round clash. The TIU was alerted because the 28-year-old Ukrainian’s odds drifted spectacularly before the match got underway with some bookmakers going so far as to suspend their market on the tie. “The Tennis Integrity Unit was made aware of concerns over betting patterns during their match on Sunday,” read the TIU statement.
TV PICKS Badminton World Championships: STAR Sports 1 & HD1, 3.30 p.m.
Tri-nation football: STAR Sports 2 & HD2, 5.20 p.m. Cue Slam: Sony ESPN (SD & HD), 6 p.m. ProKabaddi League: STAR Sports 2 & HD2, 8 p.m. CM YK
Michael Hussey feels the Indians are now playing their cricket the Australian way. And he believes Virat Kohli is the reason behind this mental transformation. The former Aussie batting star told The Hindu on Monday, “India are now starting to get that tougher Aussie cricket culture as well. Skipper Kohli is very hungry for success, he’s happy to get into a scrap for a win which we haven’t always seen from the Indian teams in the past.” Hussey pointed out, “I am not saying there have not been tough India teams before but now they are willing to get into a fight. That’s got a
lot to do with the way Virat leads the team, he’s very aggressive. It’s the Australian way.” The former Aussie player said Australia’s upcoming tour of India for the ODI and T20 series next month was as much a contest between two strong sides as a duel between two talented and ambitious skippers. “Steve Smith will look at individual battles between him and Kohli. The great players, they like to get one up on each other and the opposition. “And both being determined and captains as well, I am sure they will be pushing hard at each other, trying their best to get ahead, score more runs than one another. It will be an interesting battle
Battle within a battle: Hussey feels Kohli and Smith will push each other in the upcoming series. FILE PHOTO: V.V. KRISHNAN *
within the battle, a race within a race.” During the rather dramatic and hard-fought Test series between the two sides in India earlier this year, there were many acrimonious on-field incidents.
Hussey opined, “These are two pretty passionate teams. And when they get on the field, sometimes emotions run high. We just hope that it doesn’t go too far and the line is not crossed.” He observed there were
fewer chances of matters getting out of hand on the behavioural front in the shorter formats. “There is not much time to get involved in that kind of stuff because the game’s moving so quickly, the next over, the next phase of the game, the next wicket. And there will not be much chatting because the fields will be spread out.” Hussey said Australia, which possessed game-changing players with experience in the Indian conditions such as Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell, had “a good chance of upsetting India.” He elaborated, “It is a nicely balanced squad. Yes, Mitchell Starc is a huge loss but Pat Cummins has been bowling very well.”
BCCI: reforms and growing concerns Most units hope for early solution to vexing issue before it affects the game Vijay Lokapally
There is a growing concern among the cricket administrators with the 2017-18 season a mere month away. There is a clamour now to announce their “willingness” to adopt the Lodha Committee reforms as the date for the Supreme Court hearing nears but it is the daunting task of organising the game that is giving the officials sleepless nights. Uttar Pradesh has indicated it was ready to implement the reforms. Punjab too has said it would fall in line. “Do we have a choice if the Supreme Court declares that we have to adopt the reforms in toto,” asked a veteran Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official. A senior official from the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) confirmed that it had implemented 90 per cent of the reforms. “We are waiting for the final verdict in this matter — on issues like having five selectors and the tenure and age cap. At UPCA we have already appointed an Ombudsman and there is a system in place as desired by the Supreme Court. Once the directions come, we would be too happy to fall in line because we don’t want to harm the game and the cricketers,” the official added. Some units, like the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and Vidarbha (VCA) have been functioning on the lines of the reforms. Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen has pledged to cleanse the dented image of the DDCA and has introduced a transparent style of functioning with the forensic auditing and a vibrant official website. The UPCA official claimed, “Our auditing has not shown any misappropri-
Muguruza dashes Halep’s hopes Morgan takes Buddies home Dimitrov overcomes Kyrgios in the men’s final
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza humbled second-ranked Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0 in Sunday’s final of the ATP & WTA Western & Southern Open, denying the Romanian the world No. 1 spot in the process. Sixth-seeded Spaniard Muguruza needed only 56 minutes to capture her second title of the year and her first in a US event, taking the $522,450 top prize in the last major US Open tune-up. The Czech Republic’s Carolina Pliskova, whom Muguruza beat in the semifinals, retains the No. 1 slot. Muguruza dominated the match against Halep at all times, never allowing her rival to develop her best shots, powerful blasts from the right deep into enemy territory. Meanwhile in the men’s section, Bulgaria's 11thranked Grigor Dimitrov captured his seventh career ATP title and third of the year, defeating Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 in the summit clash. Dimitrov never dropped a
Ah, that feels good! Garbine Muguruza dispatched Simona Halep in quick time to claim the Cincinnati Open title. AP *
set in taking the top prize of $954,225 and the biggest title of his career, a perfect stepping stone into the US Open that begins a week from Monday. “In the big picture, it means a lot to me,” Dimitrov said. “I’m pretty confident after that win. This is what I’ve been practising for. It’s my biggest win so far. I’m going to enjoy it for a day or two but then it's back to the routine and prepare for the US Open.” Not since Guillermo Canas beat Andy Roddick in 2002 at Toronto had two
first-time ATP Masters finalists met for a Masters crown. Kyrgios, who bounced top-seeded Rafael Nadal out of the tournament in the quarterfinals, could not rely on his decisive serve for the win, although he did fire 15 aces to Dimitrov’s six, he also had four double faults to the Bulgarian’s five. Dimitrov broke the Australian’s service twice, once in each set. The results (finals): Men: Grigor Dimitrov bt Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5. Women: Garbine Muguruza bt Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0.
Pankaj Advani blew a chance to clinch the icon match against a seasoned snooker campaigner in Welshman Darren Morgan and also the tie for Chennai Strikers against Bengaluru Buddies. Forced to rush his shot for a black ball finish in the second frame — because only a few seconds were remaining — he missed. The setback allowed Morgan to level frame scores 1-1 and take the third frame with the black ball on the green baize. This match revealed the thrills and frills of the Cue Slam Indian Cue Masters League at the Rajpath Club on Monday. Advani's failed attempt at the last shot of the second frame proved costly for the Strikers as it lost the icon match and the last singles frame match that Laxman Rawat pocketed for the Buddies with considerable ease. The Buddies won 3-2. To start with, Vidya Pillai won some big points in the opening 6-Red mixed doubles with Advani against Morgan and Anastasia Nechaeva. Sandeep Gulati won
they exchanged banter and laughed off the two black ball-related events in the second and third frames. Delhi Dons won the first round robin league match when it beat Hyderabad Hustlers 4-1. Kelly Fisher won her icon match against Amir Sarkhosh and the snooker doubles with Malkeet Singh. Darren Morgan. *
his 9-ball pool against Dharminder Lilly in seven minutes. Advani won the opening frame of the icon 6 Red snooker in style at 41-10. Behind 0-29 in the second, he potted the last red and yellow, and the sequence of colours — yellow, green, brown, blue and pink. Sinking the black would have given him 30-29 win and the tie for his team. The Strikers were in the fray because they won the mixed doubles 9-ball pool. The Advani-Morgan tussle just about captured the essence of the Slam event;
The results: Bengaluru Buddies bt Chennai Strikers 3-2 (6-Red Snooker Darren Morgan & Anastasia Nachaeva lost to Pankaj Advani & Vidya Pillai 7-19; 10-8, 22-5: Darren Morgan bt Pankaj Advani 10-41, 29-23, 21-18; Laxman Rawat bt Dharminder Lilly 42-0; 9-ball pool: Sundeep Gulati bt Dharminder Lilly 2-0; Sundeep Gulati and Anastasia Nachaeva lost to Pandu Rangaiah and Vidya Pillai 0-2). Delhi Dons bt Hyderabad Hustlers 4-1 (6-Red Snooker Kelly Fisher and Malkeet Singh bt Kamal Chawla and Amee Kamani 14-31, 25-15, 20-18; Kelly bt Sarkhosh 21-5, 24-2; Manan Chandra bt Kamal Chawla 39-17; 9-ball pool: Chandra lost to Sarkhosh 0-2; Laura Evans and Malkeet bt Amee Kamani and Anuj Uppal 2-1.
India made a promising start at the World Championship with in-form shuttler K. Srikanth and Sameer Verma advancing to the second round of the men’s singles competition here on Monday. Srikanth, seeded eighth, defeated Russia’s Sergey Sirant 21-13, 21-12. Sameer Verma also reached the second round after his Spanish opponent Pablo Abian retired midway with the score reading 21-8, 17-4 in favour of the Indian. Tanvi Lad fought back to beat England’s Chloe Birch 17-21, 21-10, 21-19 in the women’s singles first round. The results (Involving Indians):
The calendar (for men, women and juniors) for the forthcoming season has not been finalised yet
ation of funds. We are looking forward to open a new chapter under the new constitution.” Associations like Tamil Nadu and Punjab assure they would not waste a day once the issue is finalised. A senior official observed, “Not all BCCI units are corrupt. We have worked to bring cricket to this stature with our diligence. It would not be fair to bracket the progressive units in the same bracket as some regressive ones. Just look at how some of the units have used the subsidy to provide state of art facilities to their players. Most state associations have world class stadiums. Penalise those units who have nothing to show in terms of infrastructure. But the situation is alarming now.” The alarming situation the official referred to concerned the non-payment of dues to the players and the support system for the last season. He painted a grim picture, “Many units just don’t have the funds to plan for the season. There is no money to organise camps and finalise travel and accommodation for the teams. There is welcome talk of increasing the remuneration for domestic players, umpires and scorers but what about the last year’s payment?” Most units are hoping for an early solution to the vexing issue before it affects the game. “The calendar (for men, women and juniors) for the forthcoming season has not been finalised yet. And that is not a good sign,” warned the veteran official.
Bangladesh ropes in Sunil Joshi Shayan Acharya CHENNAI
Former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi has been recruited by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as the team’s spin bowling consultant for the Test series against Australia beginning this Sunday. Joshi will be flying out to Dhaka in a day or two to join the side. Confirming the development, Joshi said he was looking forward to the new assignment. “I am just going to Bangladesh for two Test matches. I will be helping them out with the spin department,” said Joshi, who played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs for India. It would be an interesting battle of wits between two Indians as Australia has already taken in another India left-armer S. Sriram to aid its spinners
India-A bowled out for 276 Agencies
Srikanth and Sameer sail through Press Trust of India
WORLD C’SHIP First round: Men: K. Srikanth bt Sergey Sirant 21-13, 21-12; Sameer Verma bt Pablo Abian 21-8, 17-4 (retd). Doubles: Chung Eui Soek & Kim Dukyoung bt Manu Attri & Sumeeth Reddy 22-20, 21-11. Women: Tanvi Lad bt Chloe Birch 17-21, 21-10, 21-19; Doubles: Sanjana Santosh & Aarthi Sara Sunil bt Natalya Voyetsekh & Yelyzaveta Zharka 21-15, 21-18. Mixed doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & K. Maneesha bt Tam Chun Hei & Ng Tsz Yau 2422, 21-17; Prajakta Sawant & Yogendran Khrishnan (Mal) bt Lu Ching Yao & Chiang Kai Hsin 2115, 13-21, 21-18.
Prajakta makes a point
Smooth start: K. Srikanth started his campaign with a facile win on Monday. AFP *
Prajakta Sawant has been involved in a lone and bitter legal battle with the Badminton Association of India and chief coach P. Gopi Chand for last five years on being ‘continuously sidelined’ by the authorities despite having the international ranking to stake her claim in the National squad. The 24-year-old from Mumbai made a point by entering the mixed doubles second round at the Worlds in Glasgow, partnering Yogendran Khrishnan of Malaysia, on Monday. The pair, which defeated the Chinese Taipei’s team of Lu Ching Yao and Chiang Kai Hsin 21-15, 13-21, 21-18, will
Prajakta Sawant and Yogendran Khrishnan in action. REUTERS *
next face India’s N. Sikki Reddy and Pranav Chopra, both of whom have been Prajakta’s partners. (with inputs from Amol Karhadkar)
Dane Piedt took four wickets as India-A tumbled to 276 in the second ‘Test’ here on Monday. South Africa had increased its lead to 184 runs having made 138 for four in its second essay. Stephen Cook was batting on 55. In the morning, Shreyas Iyer fell for 65 (5x4, 4x6) and it took a dogged effort from No. 10 Shahbaz Nadeem (36, 67b) to take his team past the 250-run mark. The scores: South Africa-A 322 & 138 for four (Stephen Cook 55 batting) vs India-A 276 in 89.4 overs (R. Samarth 77, Sudip Chatterjee 46, Shreyas Iyer 65, Shahbaz Nadeem 36, Dane Paterson three for 48, Dane Piedt four for 70). A ND-NDE
K.D. Jadhav memorial championship from Sept. 15 The sport will be staged in boxing style in the tournament Special Correspondent New Delhi
FC Pune City snaps up Marcelinho PUNE
FC Pune City on Monday announced the roping in of the last edition ‘Golden Boot’ winner Marcelo Pereira, popularly called Marcelinho, for the upcoming Indian Super League season. The Brazilian winger, who has plied his trade in Spain, Greece and Italy, represented Delhi Dynamos FC last season. In his 15 appearances, Marcelinho scored 10 goals and made five assists. PTI
Karman & Cengiz advance ARTVIN (TURKEY)
Karman Kaur Thandi and her Turkish partner Berfu Cengiz squeezed past the first hurdle in the ITF women’s tournament here on Monday, as did the Indo-Montenegrin pair of Prarthana Thombare and and Ana Veselinovic. The results: First round: Berfu Cengiz (Tur) & Karman Kaur Thandi bt Veronika Kapshay (Ukr) & Julia Wachaczyk (Ger) 6-3, 4-6, [10-5]; Ana Veselinovic (Mne) & Prarthana Thombare bt Anastasia Potapova (Rus) & Valeriya Strakhova (Ukr) 6-4, 4-6, [10-8].
Asia Cup hockey: India, Pakistan in same group DHAKA
India and Pakistan have been drawn together in Pool A of the Asia Cup, to be held here from October 11-22, and which is one of the qualifying events for the 2018 World Cup. The two teams will play each other on Oct. 15. Meanwhile, the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Monday announced Hero MotoCorp Ltd. as the title sponsor for the event.
Wrestling will emerge in a new avatar, in boxing style, on a ring instead of a mat, in the first K.D. Jadhav memorial international championship to be staged at the Talkatora NDMC Indoor Stadium, on September 15. At the announcement press conference here on Thursday, the country’s only individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra appreciated the effort of the organisers, Sangram Singh Foundation, on their initiative to give more competition for the athletes, and also honour the memory of the country’s first individual Olympic medallist, K.D. Jadhav. There will be five bouts, including one for women, and the entire event is scheduled to be telecast ‘live’ by Doordarshan. “It is always good to have more competition to increase the level of competition in the country. Work hard, persevere and enjoy the journey,” said Abhinav
Come, visit us: Abhinav Bindra with Tourism Australia MD John O’Sullivan and Queensland Tourism and Events CEO Leanne Coddington at the Gold Coast CWG 2018 tourism launch in Mumbai on Monday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
Bindra. The sponsor of the event, Subhash Jewria, felt that the initiative could be a game changer for the sport in the country and assured all support “with all my energy.” Olympian boxers Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar also appreciated the effort to revive the memory of Jadhav. Unlike traditional wrestling that spans two spells of three minutes each,
the new venture will spread over six rounds of three minutes each, with 45 seconds interval. “The referee will not stop the bout by a fall, and it will continue”, said Sangram Singh who himself would be fighting the American star wrestler Kevin Radford. There will also be boxing style count, allowing ten seconds for the battered wrestler to regain his
ground. Meanwhile, Abhinav stayed clear of the various lines of arguments when he was asked about the points system for deciding the Arjuna awards, or for that matter the methodology of selecting coaches for Dronacharya award, and the suggestion of a Padma award for the late KD Jadhav. However, when asked about Indian shooting, the former World and Olympic champion was confident that the sport would continue to deliver results on the world stage owing to the tremendous depth in a variety of events. Sangram Singh who has played many roles as an athlete, and had been confined to a wheel chair for eight years, said that he understood the pain of the athletes and would whole heartedly attempt to improve their standard through many such initiatives. The new format is expected to be taken to many cities across the country in due course of time.
Agneya, Ilina win NEW DELHI Agneya Kaushik and Ilina Jha won the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively in the ONGC AITA talent series under-14 tennis tournament organised by the Grand Slam Tennis Foundation at the DLTA Complex here on Sunday. The champions were presented Decathlon vouchers worth Rs.6000
and the runners-up were presented vouchers valued at Rs.4000. The finals were originally scheduled for Saturday but had to be postponed owing to rain. The results (finals): Boys: Agneya Kaushik bt Siddharth Karur 6-2, 6-1.
Girls: Ilina Jha bt Manshi Bhagyamani 6-1, 6-1.
Swimming championship More than 500 swimmers will take part in the annual New Delhi YMCA interschool championship beginning at the YMCA pool on Tuesday. The event will be inaugurated at 9 a.m.
Booker Jones wins Nizam’s Gold Cup HYDERABAD: Booker Jones (P. Trevor up) won the Nizam’s Gold Cup, the main of the Hyderabad races at Malakpet on Monday. Trained by S.S. Attaollahi, the winner is owned by Mr. Rienzie M.K. Edwards and Mrs. P.P.M. Edwards.
NBA probes charge against LA Lakers LOS ANGELES
The NBA has launched an independent probe of the Los Angeles Lakers after Indiana complained it improperly approached Pacers star Paul George while he was still under contract to the team. ESPN reported that the league is investigating whether Magic Johnson, the former Lakers star who is now president of basketball operations for the club, had improper contact with George. The Pacers, however, traded him to Oklahoma City Thunder. AFP
CAPE KNIGHT PLATE (Div. I), (1100m), Cat. II, maiden 3-y-o only (Terms): NEW STATE (P. Trevor) 1, Takisha (Deep Shanker) 2, Soaring Sensex (R.J. Hannam) 3, Aerofoil (Mukesh Kumar) 4. Sh. hd., 1/2 and 6-1/4. 1m, 08.30s. ₹23 (w), 8, 5, 12 (p), SHP: 20, FP: 51, Q: 18, Tanala: 295. Favourite: Takisha. Owner: Col. S.B. Nair. Trainer: M. Srinivas Reddy.
K. BHAGVAN DAS MEMORIAL CUP (Div. I), (1200m), Cat. II, 4y-o & over, rated 42 to 62: DANCING LEAF (P. Trevor) 1, Breezeofthesouth (A. Sandesh) 2, Sweet March (Deepak Singh) 3, Pentagon (K. Sai Kiran) 4. 1-1/4, sh. hd. and nose. 1m, 13.81s. ₹18 (w), 6, 5, 9 (p), SHP: 15, FP: 42, Q: 17, Tanala: 119. Favourite: Breezeofthesouth. Owners: M/s. M. Rama Krishna Reddy & R. Vinayak Reddy. Trainer: L. D’Silva.
CAPE KNIGHT PLATE (Div. II), (1100m), Cat. II, maiden 3-y-o only (Terms): NEWS O’ STAR (P. Trevor) 1, Royal Green (A. Sandesh) 2, Breaking News (Shailesh Shinde) 3, Shivalik Class (R.J. Hannam) 4. 3-3/4, nk. and 1/2. 1m, 07.55s. ₹21 (w), 8, 7, 15 (p), SHP. 19, FP: 56, Q: 29, Tanala: 1136. Favourite: Indian Aristocrat. Owner: Mr. Sarasam Madhusudan Reddy. Trainer: Sk. Waseem Ahmed.
BYERLY BRIGADE CUP (Div. II), (1400m), Cat. III, 4-y-o & over, rated 26 to 46: SURPRISE PARTY (Nakhat Singh) 1, Princess of Dreams (Deepak Singh) 2, Citi Colors (A.A. Vikrant) 3, Abracos (P. Trevor) 4. 3/4, 2 and 1/2. 1m, 28.50s. ₹21 (w), 8, 7, 11 (p), SHP: 21, FP: 99, Q: 34, Tanala: 491. Favourite: Princess of Dreams. Owner: Mr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust represented by Mr. A.C. Muthiah. Trainer: K. Satheesh
K. BHAGVAN DAS MEMORIAL CUP (Div. II), (1200m), Cat. II, 4-y-o & over, rated 42 to 62: ANS ANS ANS (Aneel) 1, Scooby Dooby Doo (Ajit Singh) 2, Legend (Rafique Sk.) 3, Khoshgel (Akshay
Kumar) 4. 1-1/4, 3 and 1/2. 1m, 13.97s. ₹14 (w), 7, 10, 11 (p), SHP: 28, FP: 72, Q: 32, Tanala: 746. Favourite: Ans Ans Ans. Owners: M/s. M. Ramachandra Rao & Ramachandra Raju Manthena. Trainer: R.H. Sequeira.
BASALATH JAH MEMORIAL CUP (1200m), Cat. II, 3-y-o & over, rated 58 to 78: CHASE YOUR DREAMS (A Sandesh) 1, Preciosa (Deepak Singh) 2, Dream Vision (Deep Shanker) 3, Without Makeup (P. Trevor) 4. 2-3/4, 3/4 and 1. 1m, 13.16s. ₹7 (w), 6, 8, 14 (p), SHP: 19, FP: 22, Q: 17, Tanala: 166. Favourite: Chase Your Dreams. Owners: M/s. Ahmed Alam Khan & Mohd Alam Khan. Trainer: Laxman Singh.
NIZAM’S GOLD CUP (2000m), 4-y-o & over (Terms): BOOKER JONES (P. Trevor) 1, Aika Aika Aika (Akshay Kumar) 2, Germanicus (A. Sandesh) 3, Western Wind (C. Umesh) 4. 3, sh. hd. and nk. 2m, 05.79s. ₹19 (w), 8, 9 (p), SHP: 15, FP: 145, Q: 73, Tanala: 165. Favourite: Germanicus. Owners: Mr. Rienzie M.K. Edwards & Mrs. P.P.M. Edwards. Trainer: S.S. Attaollahi.
BYERLY BRIGADE CUP (Div. I), (1400m), Cat. III, 4-y-o & over,
rated 26 to 46: RUBY’S GIFT (N. Rawal) 1, Silver Dollar (A.A. Vikrant) 2, Golden Xanthus (P. Sai Kumar) 3, Sher Afgan (Mukesh Kumar) 4. Nk., 3-1/4 and 1/2. 1m, 29.00s. ₹429 (w), 74, 15, 13 (p), SHP: 61, FP: 6289, Q: 2248, Tanala: 38704. Favourite: Charming Beauty. Owners: M/s. B.S. Reddy, C.V. Krishna Rao, S. Prasad Raju & K.S.N. Murthy. Trainer: K.S.V. Prasad Raju.
SUBRAMANYA BHARATI PLATE (1200m), Cat. III, 4-y-o & over, rated upto 30: SPACE SHIP (C.P. Bopanna) 1, Penthesilea (Akshay Kumar) 2, Super Grey (Kuldeep Singh) 3, Ikigai (R.J. Hannam) 4. 1, hd. and 4. 1m, 14.94s. ₹. 45 (w), 15,9,8 (p), SHP: 22, FP: 237, Q: 103, Tanala: 1275. Favourite: Super Grey. Owner: Mr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Charitable Trust represented by Mr. A.C. Muthiah. Trainer: K. Satheesh. Treble (i): ₹134 (210 tkts.), (ii): ₹123 (420 tkts.), (iii): ₹10403 (10 tkts.) Consolation (i): ₹414 (130 tkts.), (ii): ₹4830 (26 tkts.) Jackpot (i): ₹9316 (30 tkts.), (ii): ₹130424 (five tkts.)
Delhi cricket coaches association threatens legal action Special Correspondent NEW DELHI
The Delhi Cricket Coaches' Association (DCCA) on Monday threatened to seek legal recourse for being denied opportunities to apply for the position of coaches. “If we do not receive a positive response to our request, we shall be left with no alternative but to approach the courts. We should not be faulted for having held up the entire selection process and hurting the interests of cricket in Delhi this season because we want justice,” said DCCA president Gurcharan Singh. The Delhi and District
Cricket Association (DDCA) Administrator Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen had followed the process that was set last year by inviting applications for various positions in coaching and selection. The DCCA has questioned the criteria for the same. “The DDCA’s basic criterion for the applicants to be a first-class cricketer debars practically 90% of the coaches in Delhi's from applying for a job. No where is this practice followed that only first-class cricketer can be taken as coaches. Professional coaches have been the backbone of Delhi cricket for long. Why deny
Gayle and Samuels in ODI squad ANI St. John’s (Antigua)
West Indies batters Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have been included in the 15-member ODI squad for the five-match series in England. Gayle last played an ODI in March 2015, and Samuels in October 2016. Speaking on their inclusion, the West Indies’ chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said: “Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels [...] will
both add value to our batting and help with the nurturing of the young batsmen in the team.” The squad: Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (c), Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph. Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams.
them this opportunity just because they have not played first-class cricket,” asked Gurcharan, who is a Dronacharya Award recipient. “Our association consists of coaches who have acquired professional coaching qualifications from NIS, and other Level I, II and III courses from recognised institutions,” said Gurcharan. Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi supported the DCCA's anguish. “They have every right to feel let down because they work all the year. It's grossly unfair to not allow them a chance to stake claims.”
Bayi Kamo nets four goals Sports Bureau KOLKATA
Stephane Bayi Kamo struck four goals as Mohun Bagan rallied from one goal down to outplay Pathachakra 5-2 and post its third consecutive win in the premier division-A Calcutta Football League here on Monday. The result: Mohun Bagan 5 (Stephen Bayi Kamo 24, 42, 62, 89, Kromah Agogo 58) bt Pathachakra 2 (Nadong Bhutia 15, Joel Sunday 90+2).
Lucky-Arunima duo shoots gold SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT NEW DELHI
The champion mixed pair of the World junior championship, Anmol Jain and Yashaswini Singh Deswal, was pushed to the silver medal in the under-21 section of the Syed Wajid Ali memorial shooting competition, organised by Jaspal Rana, at the Siri Fort Sports Complex. The duo was beaten to the
Dhaiya prevails over Madarassz NEW DELHI: Paras Dahiya fought his way past Gergely Madarassz of Hungary 6-7 (13), 7-6(3), 6-1 in the men’s first round of tennis in the World University Games in Chinese Taipei on Monday. In the second round in a draw of 128, Paras will play fourth seed Chung Hong. The other Indian boy Yuvraj Singh also won his match and set up a second round against second seed Roman Safiulllin of Russia.
The results (first round): Men: Paras Dahiya bt Gergely Madarasz (Hun) 6-7(13), 7-6 (3), 6-1; Yuvraj Singh bt Aranguren Mora (Ven) 6-2, 76(2). Women: Bhuvana Kalva bt Alexandra Rey Gazelle (Sui) 6-0, 6-0.
gold by Lucky and Arunima Gaur by a margin of four points. In the under-15 section, Jaspal’s son Yuvraj Singh Rana along with Parnika Bhalla won the silver behind Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker.
The medallists: Briton James Dedman won the double trap gold on Sunday ahead of Miki Ylonen of Finland and Shapath Bharadwaj. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *
Sports Bureau Porpetto (Italy)
Anant Jeet Singh Naruka shot a 114 and missed the junior men’s skeet final by three points in the junior shotgun World Cup here on Monday. Naruka had a series of 25,
20, 22, 23 and 24. Hamza Sheikh (109), Arjun Singh Mann (108), Abinash Pratap Singh Sidhu (101) and Gurnihal Singh Garcha (101) took the 33rd, 37th, 50th and 51st spots respectively in a field of 63 shooters.
13 Preliminary task has gone through the mill without extreme risk (10) 15 At first, boys in school took rolls out of restaurant... (6) 17 ... and put in pouch the Spanish breakfast item (5) 20 Six brought under cover are angry (5) 21 Change men at university gallery (6) 24 A rule that may not be known for civility (7,3)
■ ACROSS 1 Admirer and karate competitor attempt Spanish dance (8) 5 Destroyer vehicle used by Indian party (6) 9 You've to give it to prove who you are (8)
6 Honour a tie-up (5) 7 Digger so worked up as to pour out (8) 8 Mile travelled by relative to get large oven (4,4) 11 Leave home in a hurry, having no provisions whatever? (3,3) 14 Chance upon flipper on far end of mound (4) 16 Roll over — with son, it will be nearly a fall (6)
29 Sweet emergence from IGNOU gathering (6)
17 Quick snack may be dentist's request (4)
30 Desis' strange movement over said judge is aslant (8)
18 Readiness to forgive fellows involved in cycle collapse (8)
31 Be curious about wife leaving for the unknown over there (6)
19 Upset open vessel (8)
■ DOWN 1 Female's stiff and cold (6)
10 Delivery charges? (6)
2 Want the French stylus? (6)
12 For one, that is Sri Lanka — in the middle (4)
3 Being pretentious, do leave out pawn (4)
4 Reptile found by girl on a mountain (5)
27 Just charge, we're told (4)
32 Rough, according to setter, with extremes of temerity (8)
22 After Oriental greeting, one put away a sausage (6) 23 Father, with old pen, is cold and unfriendly (6) 25 Buccaneer, on losing power, is angry (5) 26 Pitiful expression about one's false identity (5) 28 Party by model-in-charge (4)
Solution to puzzle 12091
Solution to yesterday’s Sudoku
Of all the Lord’s infinite names that attempt to explain His innumerable auspicious qualities, extraordinary manifestations and His Sarvatva, Govinda is symbolic of His Saulabhya, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse. Suka states that Krishna had interrupted the sacrifice to Indra to teach him a lesson in humility and to rid him of his pride in his prosperous position as Indra. In anger at being denied the offerings of the people, Indra had sent torrential rains, hailstones and storm to punish the people. But Krishna, moved by pity, had uprooted the Mountain Govardhana and lifted it as one would a mushroom and held it as an umbrella to keep the people safe. Indra understands Krishna’s greatness. Ashamed of his act, he seeks Krishna’s pardon. Along with Surabhi, the divine cow, he performs Govinda Pattabhisheka. Surabhi bathes Krishna with her milk in the presence of Indra and other celestial sages and devas and Indra crowns Krishna as the Lord and protector of the cows and Gokula and proclaims Him as Govinda. Interpreters have dealt at length on the relative supremacy of the name Govinda over the name Narayana. Andal refers to this in a hymn when she hails the name Govinda as totally devoid of any shortcomings whatsoever. He remains untainted by His Maya by which He creates, sustains and protects the entire universe. While all beings in creation are subjected to ignorance and bondage because of His Maya, He alone can relieve this bondage of every jivatma. It is also believed that the truly devout count on the protection that His name promises as it is more effective than Him. Draupadi pins her faith in the efficacy of His divine Nama when being humiliated in the Kaurava court. Such is the response to her prayer that there is no taint to her modesty that seemed to be at stake. A ND-NDE
Cheer for Barca on emotional night ‘I just love badminton’ Sometimes I miss my family and friends: Lakshya
Real Madrid also starts with a win; Alonso hits a brace for Chelsea
Ashwin Achal Agencies MADRID
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona both won their opening games of the new La Liga season on what was an especially emotional night in Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium in the wake of Thursday’s terrorist attacks. When the game got under way without the departed Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barca struggled to take control before magic from Lionel Messi and Gerard Deulofeu ended with Betis defender Tosca turn the latter’s cross into his own net in the 37th minute. Deulofeu then did well to win the ball and set up Sergi Roberto for Barca’s second two minutes later, although Messi was the Barca star with a performance which saw
him hit the Betis post twice, while directing all of his side’s best moves. The results: Premier League: Huddersfield 1 (Mooy 50) bt Newcastle 0, Tottenham 1 (Batshuayi 82-og) lost to Chelsea 2 (Alonso 24, 88). La Liga: Athletic Bilbao 0 drew with Getafe 0, Barcelona 2 (Tosca 36-og, Sergi Roberto 38) bt Real Betis 0, Deportivo La Coruna 0 lost to Real Madrid 3 (Bale 20, Casemiro 26, Kroos 62). Serie A: Atalanta 0 lost to Roma 1 (Kolarov 31), Bologna 1 (Di Francesco 27) drew with Torino 1 (Ljajic 34), Crotone 0 lost to AC Milan 3 (Kessie 6-pen, Cutrone 18, Suso 24), Inter Milan 3 (Icardi 6-pen, 15, Perisic 79) bt Fiorentina 0. Bundesliga: Freiburg 0 drew with Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Borussia Monchengladbach 1 (Elvedi 49) bt Cologne 0.
Familiar scene! Lionel Messi displayed his wares, occupying several Betis defenders at once, as Barcelona started its quest for regaining the La Liga crown on a winning note. AP *
Dhopade, Aravindh survive Debashis and Deepan’s qualification prospects brighten With this, the 2015 champion reached 9.5 points and became the first to ensure qualification to the next National championship. Eight other spots are up for grabs over the next two days.
Rakesh Rao AHMEDABAD
Front-runner Swapnil Dhopade and top seed Aravindh Chithambaram overcame anxious moments to force draws on the top two boards as battles became expectedly fierce in the 11th round of the National Challengers chess championship here on Monday. The other two Grandmasters, Debashis Das and Deepan Chakkravarthy, won with white pieces to join Himanshu Sharma and M.R. Lalith Babu in the second spot. Aravindh, R. R. Laxman, S. Nitin, S. Ravi Teja and Sammed Shete share the sixth spot with eight points, half a point ahead of a pack consisting of 18 players. In the two decisive battles on the leading boards, Debashis trapped the rook of
Arghyadip Das and Deepan forced S. Satyapragyan to resign by threatening to capture a bishop following 40 moves. A clearly-relieved Dhopade retained his overnight one-point lead after escaping the desperate designs of third seed Babu following a top-board clash in 32 moves.
The results: 11th round: M.R. Lalith Babu (8.5) drew with Swapnil Dhopade (9.5); Himanshu Sharma (8.5) drew with Aravindh Chithambaram (8); Debashis Das (8.5) bt Arghyadip Das (7.5); Deepan Chakkravarthy (8.5) bt S. Satyapragyan (7.5); S. Nitin (8) drew with S. Ravi Teja (8); E. Arjun (7) lost to S. L. Narayanan (8); Abhijit Kunte (7.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury (7.5); Padmini Rout (7.5) drew with P. Shyamnikhil (7.5); Sameer Kathmale (7) lost to R.R. Laxman (8); Sriram Jha (7.5) drew with Akash Iyer (7.5); K. Ratnakaran (7) lost to Sammed Shete (7); Mary Ann Gomes (7.5) drew with Baivab Mishra (7.5).
Better day for stronger Indians Sports Bureau
Important results (involving Indians): Seventh round: Nigel Short (Eng, 5.5) bt Shardul Gagare (4.5); Tsegmed Batchuluun (Mgl, 5) bt S.P. Sethuraman (4); Parham Maghsoodloo (Iri, 4) lost to Aryan Chopra (5); Aleksandar Indjic (Srb, 4) lost to Abhimanyu Puranik (5); Rahul Sangma (4.5) drew with Ivan Rozum (Rus, 4.5); Bogdan-Daniel Deac (Rom, 4) lost to N.R. Vignesh (5); Dennis Wagner (Ger, 4.5) bt Neelotpal Das (3.5); D. Harika (4.5) bt Aydin Suleymanli (Aze, 3.5); Ahmad Asgarizadeh (Iri, 3.5) lost to Nihal Sarin (4.5); Nguyen Anh Khoi (Vie, 3.5) lost to Al Muthaiah (4.5); Sohan Phadke (3.5) lost to M. Karthikeyen (4); Vantika Agrawal (4) bt Eesha Karavade (3); Tania Sachdev (4) bt Hari Madhavan (3); M. Mahalakshmi (3) lost to Rishi Sardana (Aus, 4); Abhijeet (3.5) bt Ajgaonkar (2.5).
Abhimanyu Puranik, Aryan Chopra and N.R. Vignesh were among those sharing the sixth spot with five points after seven rounds of the Abu Dhabi Masters on Sunday. On a day when UAE’s Salem Saleh joined overnight leader Egypt’s Amin Baseem in the lead at six points, Shardul Gagare slipped following a loss to top seed Nigel Short. It was a better day for some of the stronger Indians in the fray. Abhijeet Gupta, after suffering three losses in the last four rounds, won to reach 3.5 points. Though S.P. Sethuraman suffered his second successive loss, National champion M. Karthikeyan, D. Harika, Aryan Chopra, Puranik, Sarin and Vignesh emerged
Lakshya Sen, 16, has been away from his home in Almora (Uttarakhand) since the age of nine. It would be natural to assume that he misses his family and friends. “Sometimes, I miss them. But at the same time, I just love badminton," he says. His move to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) here happened in unusual circumstances. In 2010, Lakshya’s father, D.K. Sen — a respected badminton coach — brought a group of youngsters to compete in a National-ranking tournament at PPBA. Among this bunch was his eldest son, Chirag Sen. PPBA chief coach Vimal Kumar recalls, “At first, we wanted Chirag to join PPBA. Lakshya was playing in the under-13 section. “He was a brilliant prospect as well, but we felt that he was too young to be away from his parents. “Surprisingly, Lakshya was adamant about moving to PPBA. He persisted, so we signed on both brothers,” Vimal says. Just a year later, the young ward proved his worth when he won an under-11 title in Singapore. “Even at that time, he showed outstanding temperament. This caught my eye. “He is also not the kind to complain and moan. Whatever is told to him, he follows,” adds Vimal.
Exposure tours Lakshya and a few other promising juniors were then inducted into a special programme, wherein the shuttlers were regularly sent on foreign exposure tours. “The boys were taken on 10-15 day camps to national training centres at Indonesia, Malaysia, Denmark,
My life: The game means the world to Lakshya Sen. *
G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR
2018, Lakshya < > By should be a regular on the GP Gold and Super Series circuits Vimal
France and other countries. Instead of competing in small domestic events, we felt that this is a better option to develop their game,” Vimal says.
Quick results The results began to show in quick time. Lakshya dominated National-level agegroup tournaments, and captured a fair share of international titles as well. In February this year, the shuttler became the World No. 1 junior – a significant milestone. The true test has arrived now, with Lakshya taking his first steps into the gruelling senior circuit. It has begun on the right note, as the teenager won the Bulgaria Open a few days ago. He defeated top-seed Sam Parsons in the first round, and didn’t look back. Lakshya has been supported by Olympic Gold Quest
(OGQ) for six years now, providing him a professional team of coaches, physios and physical trainers. Former National champion Sayali Gokhale, one of the coaches, usually travels with him to overseas tournaments.
Prakash, the mentor Former All-England champion Prakash Padukone, OGQ Board of Director member, acts as a mentor. “After every tournament, I speak to Prakash sir. He has taught me to be disciplined and professional,” Lakshya says. A clear plan has been put in place to help Lakshya gain success on the senior circuit. “We are working on improving his core strength, which is the key to explosive movements on the court. For the next few months, he will compete in International Series and International Challenge events, and then graduate to Grand Prix. “By 2018, hopefully, Lakshya should be a regular on the Grand Prix Gold and Super Series circuits,” Vimal says.
Pope calls for ‘temporary visas’ for refugees VATICAN CITY
Pope Francis on Monday called for people fleeing conflict zones to be given “temporary visas” to help them reach safety, and slammed “collective and arbitrary expulsions” of refugees. The pontiff said humanitarian corridors need to be set up to prevent thousands dying at sea. AFP
Migrant family names baby after Angela Merkel BERLIN
Meet one of Germany’s newest residents: Angela Merkel Muhammed. The little girl was born last week to a migrant couple who fled Syria’s bloody war and decided to name their daughter in honour of the German Chancellor whose policies allowed them to start a new life in 2015. AP
Singapore gets soda makers to reduce sugar SINGAPORE
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that soda makers have agreed to reduce the sugar content in drinks sold in the country. He also urged people to eat wholemeal bread and choose brown rice over white as part of a health push to curb the incidence of diabetes in the city-state. REUTERS
Novel surgical glue inspired by mussels LOS ANGELES
A team of researchers have developed a surgical glue after studying how mussels maintained a tenacious grip on slippery rocks. They say the adhesive would be useful in foetal surgeries as it can prevent the amniotic sac from tearing after the procedure. PTI
Drones on a mission to restore Myanmar’s mangrove cover
Six of them can ‘plant up to one lakh trees per day’ and cut costs by nearly half Reuters BANGKOK
Fast-dwindling mangroves in Myanmar’s low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta, ravaged by decades of deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture and aquaculture, could find an unlikely saviour — drones. Mangroves protect coastlines in the face of storms and rising sea levels, absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and boost fish stocks, experts say. Yet Myanmar has lost more than 1 million hectares of mangroves since 1980, said Arne Fjortoft, founder and secretary-general of Worldview International Foundation (WIF), which has worked with two local universities to restore mangroves in the nation since 2012.
Dwindling green cover In the delta region, known as the country’s rice bowl, only 16% of original mangrove cover remains, Mr. Fjortoft told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. There is an “urgent need” to restore mangroves to stem saltwater invasion of farmland and shoreline erosion due to sea level rise, as well as to protect lives and property from storms and floods in coastal areas, he added. WIF has so far planted some 3 million mangrove
Flight plan: Drones can be used to send seed pods to the best locations for germination. AFP *
trees, but the task is laborious and time-consuming. Drones, on the other hand, could plant trees 10 times faster and cut costs by half, according to U.K.-based start-up BioCarbon Engineering (BCE), whose CEO is an ex-NASA engineer who worked on the search for life on Mars. Once the process is fully
automated, a single pilot operating six drones can plant up to 1,00,000 trees per day, BCE says. In late July, the inaugural BridgeBuilder Challenge, which awards $1 million in prize money for ideas with global impact, selected as one of its winners a proposal by BCE and WIF to test the use of BCE’s drones to plant
a million mangroves in Myanmar. The plan covers 250 hectares and involves training and employing locals to collect and prepare seeds, as well as to maintain, monitor and protect the fragile ecosystems. It still requires approval from Myanmar’s authorities, but Bremley Lyngdoh, a WIF board member who is applying for further grants, is hopeful work could start later this year. Drones are particularly useful in complicated or dangerous terrain that is hard for people to access, said Irina Fedorenko, a cofounder of BCE. BCE’s technology works in two phases. First, drones flying 100 metres above the ground take highly detailed, 3D images of the land while sensors record information such as soil type, soil quality and moisture. The data is then used to create a planting pattern, pinpointing the best spots and species to plant in each location. Then a drone uploaded with the mapping information flies 2 metres above the ground, shooting biodegradable seed pods designed to enhance germination success. A drone carrying 300 seed pods can cover 1 hectare in 18 minutes, according to BCE.
Celestial sparkle: The moon eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, the capital of the U.S. State of Oregon, on Monday. AP *
China to relaunch one of world’s fastest bullet trains 1,250-km trip from Beijing to Shanghai in 4 hours, 30 minutes Associated Press Beijing
After cutting back the speed of the Beijing to Shanghai bullet train following a deadly crash, China is set to again make it one of the world’s fastest. New generation trains will service the route starting next month, making the
1,250-km journey from the capital to Shanghai in just 4 hours, 30 minutes. The latest trains were unveiled in June and have a top speed of 400 kmph. China first ran trains at 350 kmph in August 2008, but cut speeds back to 250 – 300 kmph in 2011 following a train collision near the city
of Wenzhou that killed 40 people and injured 191. China has laid more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail, with a target of adding another 10,000 km by 2020. China has spent an estimated $360 billion on highspeed rail, building by far the largest network in the world.
Last bongs for Big Ben as 4-year repairs begin Agence France-Presse London
The iconic Big Ben fell silent on Monday for a four-year repair, as a political outcry mounted over renovations that will rob Britain of a cherished symbol at a time of national uncertainty. The 12 bongs from the famous bell rang out for midday in front of a hushed crowd of over a thousand people assembled in Parliament Square to mark the longest silence in its 157-year history. “I can see it from where I live. I do live my life by it. I’m 72 and I’m worried it might be the last time I actually hear them!” said Denise Wiand, one of the spectators. Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower, which looms over the Houses of Parliament and is one of Britain’s most
Iconic chime: People record the Big Ben’s bong at noon in London on Monday. AP *
popular tourist attractions, is due for conservation work. The famous clock’s bell has been stopped over health and safety concerns. The decision will protect builders working on the site, amid fears that prolonged exposure to the 118-decibel bongs from the 13.7-tonne Big Ben bell could damage hearing.
Tech industry leaders seek ban on ‘killer robots’ Elon Musk joins appeal to U.N. against weapons of terror Agence France-Presse Sydney
Elon Musk is leading demands for a global ban on killer robots, warning technological advances could revolutionise warfare and create new “weapons of terror” that target innocent people. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX joined more than 100 robotics and artificial intelligence entrepreneurs in signing a letter to the United Nations calling for action to prevent the development of autonomous weapons. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” warned the statement signed by 116 tech luminaries, also including Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of Google’s DeepMind.
Falling into wrong hands “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at time scales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter read. The innovators also highlighted the danger that the technology could fall into the wrong hands. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations,” the letter read. “We do not have long to CM YK
act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” Both Mr. Musk and British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking have regularly warned of the dangers of artificial intelligence. The renewed plea on autonomous weapons was released as the International Joint Conference on artificial intelligence in Melbourne got under way on Monday, with a record 2,000 of the world’s top AI and robotics experts taking part, organisers said. One expert said autonomous weapons could make war more likely. “Today the potential loss of human life is a deterrent for conflict initiation and escalation, but when the main casualties are robots, the disincentives
change dramatically and the likelihood of conflict increases,” Professor MaryAnne Williams of the University of Technology Sydney. She warned a killer robot ban may be disregarded by some nations but would stop “countries such as Australia from developing defensive killer robots, thereby being vulnerable to other countries and groups that ignore the ban”. Another expert said the decisions made today would help shape the “futures we want”.
Both good and bad “Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different,” said Professor Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales. Organisers said the conference, which concludes on Friday, has attracted a record number of participants from China, reflecting a push by Beijing to become a leading player in the field. A UN group on autonomous weapons had been due to meet Monday but the gathering was postponed until November, according to the group’s website. In 2015, thousands of researchers and personalities launched an appeal to ban autonomous weapons. A ND-NDE